Disclaimers: The characters in this story are mine. This is a 'uber' story, set in today's timeline, and some of the characters may bear a more than a slight resemblance to certain other characters we all know, but which are not owned by me. Any similarity to real people is purely coincidental. The location is Orlando, Florida. This is a character driven piece. There is no plot. There is no violence, nobody is trying to kill anybody else, nobody is chasing anybody else, nobody is…..well, you get the picture. The backdrop is a law firm, and sometimes law firms can be rather routine places to work. This story brings two people together in that environment who end up making each other's lives anything but routine.

Subtext Disclaimer: There is subtext here, too. This story deals with the growing attraction and eventual deep, profound love between two people who happen to be of the same sex. Although there are some scenes depicting the physical expression of that love, there are no graphic scenes here. If that is what you're looking for, you might want to read something else. This is simply a story about soulmates finding each other again.

Feedback: This is my first attempt at fan fiction. Comments are always welcome. Let me know if there's something you especially liked or didn't like. I can be reached at kmmoon@prodigy.net.




Written by KM

Part 5


The early morning sunlight drifted lazily across the room through the small slits in the venetian blinds, casting long, golden slivers of bright light against the far wall. The alarm suddenly sounded, loudly sending its shrill noise throughout the spacious room, then being abruptly silenced by a long, slender hand. Jess opened her blue eyes slowly, adjusting cautiously to the bright sunlight, before finally rolling over on her back to gaze up at the eggshell white popcorn ceiling. Monday. Her mind took a little more time to shake away the fog of sleep before she stretched her arms over her head and let herself lie in bed a few extra moments, contemplating the most recent events.

Her life was totally out of control. No more fun and games, no more taking things as they came along. Everything had turned upside down, spiraling forward at a break-neck pace. Robin had come into her life and set it into turmoil and confusion. Everything she had previously known or believed was now inexplicably irrelevant. A mental sigh. Time to slow this baby down. "Love" was simply not in her vocabulary anymore, and this relationship, or whatever it was called, had proceeded too far, too soon. The near-constant distraction was keeping Jess from focusing on her office work, something which had never happened before. Not to mention the fact that Jess had simply lost all objectivity when it came to Robin. Another mental sigh. So, what to do. Jess pondered the thought, carefully surveying her options. She could have a long talk with Robin. Tell her things were getting too serious. It's not that they were getting too physically serious…..yet. But rather, it was the fact that they were getting too emotionally serious that concerned her. Robin, after all, was on the emotional rebound after David. She might not realize what she was really getting into. And Jess was certainly not emotionally prepared for all this intensity, let alone what entering into this type of relationship would really mean. There was just no way that this could work out. Option One: Pull back. End it now. Jess shook her head in annoyance at the thought, as a knot formed in her stomach and then tightened. Nope, too drastic.

She rolled out of the waterbed and padded over to the bathroom, turning on the shower. She adjusted the water to the right, hot temperature, and then opened the clear glass shower door and stepped inside the large tiled enclosure. As the steam cleared her senses and the hot water tingled her skin, she allowed her mind to continue its thought process. What to do. She could tell Robin they just needed to take a little break from each other. If the feelings were really genuine, they would still be there later on, wouldn't they? Option Two: A break. Jess snorted to herself in dissatisfaction with that thought, as well, as the knot in her stomach involuntarily tightened once again. That would not go over well.

Jess rinsed the soap off her skin and next lathered up her long, dark hair, the herbal shampoo's scent invading her nostrils. What to do. They could keep things friendly. Weekend sleepovers are okay. Some weekend play time together is okay. A little light cuddling is okay. Kissing would definitely not be okay. She frowned. Well, maybe just a little bit of kissing would be okay. Basically, keep things where they are now, but go no further. That way, everyone would be happy. It would allow each of them enough time to decide if this is what they really wanted, and it would allow them enough time to become comfortable with their new relationship without it getting too intense, too soon. Option Three: Status quo. Jess nodded her head to herself at the thought, as the knot in her stomach loosened just a bit. It's a good solution.

She rinsed out her hair and turned off the water, grabbing a huge over-sized bath towel from the towel rack. She stepped out of the shower and dried herself off, wrapping the towel around her head and putting on a soft, plush terrycloth bathrobe. What to do. Jess stood in front of the steam-fogged bathroom mirror and wiped a neat space in the center, staring intently at her own reflection, and mentally clicking through the options again. After a moment's contemplation, she finally decided. I pick Door Number Three: Status quo. A talk with Robin was in order. Invite her over to dinner and discuss things like mature adults. It was true, sometimes the intensity of the feelings and the emotions of the moment tended to cloud the mind, and in those instances, it was just not possible to think rationally about the appropriate course of action. So, keep the lights on, no fire in the fireplace and definitely no cuddling. Just sit down and talk it through. They'd keep things light. No talk of any deep intense relationship thing, no talk of love and foreverafter commitment thing, just the status quo liking each other thing. The perfect solution. Jess gave herself a satisfied grin in the mirror. The perfect solution.



An unexpected fall chill filled the air as Jess made her way from her car, the leaves swirling about the grounds as gusts of blustery wind blew past her. What's this? It's actually cold in November. She made her way into work, being sure to stop into the little coffee shop just inside the building's lobby to pick up a cup of cappuccino. She stepped onto the elevator, pressed the button to the 16th floor, and watched as the doors began to close. Just at the last moment, Harry snuck inside.

"Cold day isn't?" He took his hands from his coat pockets.

Jess smirked. "Unbelievable."

The elevator rose, approaching the desired floor. "Listen, Jess, do you have a minute? I wanted to speak with you about something?"

The elevator stopped and both Harry and Jess stepped out into the firm's reception area. "Sure, come on down to my office."

They walked down the hallway and entered Jess's office, Harry promptly removing his coat and settling himself down in the nearest chair. Coffee would be good right now. He mentally debated whether to call Betty to bring him a cup of the brew, but then decided to wait until he was finished with Jess.

Jess closed the door and set her cappuccino on the cherry wood desk. "What was it you wanted to talk about?" She sat down in her burgundy leather chair and leaned back in a casual manner, flipping on her computer.

"How's everything going with the trial preparations?" Harry looked a bit uncomfortable.

"Fine." No further comment was forthcoming.

Harry cleared his throat. "The reason I ask is that I heard from Keith that there was a little snafu regarding the depositions."

Jess rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Harry, everything's fine. Our weasel of an opposing counsel tried to pull a fast one on us, but it's actually going to backfire on him and it will end up being to our benefit, instead." She looked at Harry a bit cockily and then shook her head. "He at first led us to believe that he would not call a witness at trial, and then later tried to add the witness back onto the pre-trial witness list after discovery cut-off, so we wouldn't be able to depose the witness ahead of time. If he was so desperate not to have us depose the witness, there must be something he doesn't want us to know, and we're gonna find out what it is."

Harry folded his hands in front of him. "I see. But it was Keith that called it to your attention, correct?"

"Alright, Harry." Jess's tone took on a decided edge. "What's your point?"

"An experienced associate recognized there was a problem and brought it to your attention. You told me you that if you thought this trial might be a little too much for Robin, you would consider our reassigning Keith to your trial team." Harry looked at her frankly. "What's it going to be?"

Jess's eyes narrowed slightly. "Are you pulling Robin off the case?"

"I just want to make sure that we're covering all the bases here. If you want Robin to stay, then fine. But you've got to take a more active role in the trial preparation and coordination of the pre-trial activity. I know you like to delegate, but either we have some experienced people in there or you pick up the supervision directly."

Jess was silent for a long while and turned her head to stare at the Florida Statute books lining her bookcase. "It's under control." Nothing is under control.

Harry softened his features somewhat. "Look, this is not a criticism of Robin. We're very pleased with her. She's done a wonderful job for us for the time she's been here. But, a first year associate coming in fresh from law school needs guidance, and with time, will eventually learn a great deal. Robin has great potential and will be one hell of a litigator. She'll probably be wiping the floor with both you and me in a year or two. I just don't want her to be in a position that she's not prepared for, that's all. It's your case, Jess. You make the call. I'll respect your decision and I won't interfere."

Jess's eyes tracked back from the bookcase to Harry, as she paused in thought for a long moment. "Robin stays. I'll not take her off the case now. She and I work well together, and she does one hell of a job. I will take more of a supervisory roll with her, give her more guidance, and utilize Keith more."

"Okay." Harry stood up to leave and gave a small, but reassuring, smile. "You guys go get that weasel, then." He grabbed his coat and headed out the door. Now, where's Betty so I can get my coffee.

Jess took a deep breath and sat back in her leather chair. Shit, shit, shit. Damn. She knew her instincts were right on this one. Robin is the right person for this case. It was a gut feeling on Jess's part. She leaned back in her chair and thought about that. Or was it simply that she was just incapable of being objective here? No. Or maybe she was putting way too much pressure on Robin? No. She sighed and then decided it was better to ask Robin, anyway. The last thing she really wanted was for Robin to feel uneasy or afraid to talk with her about this or any problems she might be having. Fine, let's go talk to her.

Jess finished her cappuccino and then sauntered her way through the lobby and past the reception desk, until she reached Robin's office. She peeked inside and knocked lightly on the door frame. "Hi. Can I come in?"

Robin looked up from the pile of documents she was reviewing and smiled. "Sure, come on in."

Jess closed the door and took a seat opposite Robin's desk, idly gazing out the window at the lake below. "I had a talk with Harry. He says everyone is pleased with your work here." She started out the conversation carefully. "I may not be the best person to judge this, but I want to make sure I'm not putting an unreasonable expectation on you with this trial."

Robin put down her pen and folded her hands on her desk. "I see. Does Harry think there's a problem?"

Shit. "No. He and I want to make sure you're comfortable working on the case. You and I work so well together that I sometimes forget that you've only been at this a few months. I think I've neglected my role in providing you with the necessary direction so that you develop all the skills you need as an attorney. If that's the case, then it's my fault, and I want to apologize to you if I've put too much pressure on you." Now that Jess was finished with her little monologue, she looked up across the desk at Robin and smiled apologetically. "So, if there's anything you need help with or need guidance on, I want you to come to me. No hesitation."

Robin sat slightly stunned. It had never occurred to her that Jess might be putting undo pressure on her. "This has to do with the deposition incident, doesn't it?" Robin bit her bottom lip lightly at the memory. "You were right to call me on it."

"No, Robin. That was entirely my fault. But it's not fatal, and it could end up helping us in the end, especially if we find something to use out of all this at trial." Jess reached forward and tapped her long, slender fingers on the front of the desktop. "I'm more concerned with giving you the proper direction, which you have every right to expect from me. And I'm committed to spending more of my time giving you all the necessary guidance you need."

Robin sat patiently and listened to what Jess had to say. It was true, she was eager to do her best for Jess, not just because of their professional relationship, but because of their personal relationship, as well. She certainly didn't want to disappoint Jess under any circumstances. "Thanks." Robin accepted the offer. "I want you to know how much I enjoy working with you and learning from you, and I will take all the guidance you can give me." Robin smiled. "I happen to think you have a brilliant mind, you know."

Jess cocked her head to one side. "Is that so?"

"Absolutely. You have many fine attributes." Green eyes stared directly into blue. "And I don't think we should discuss all of them right now."

Jess blushed in spite of herself and cleared her throat. "I have an idea, then. As I recall, it's my turn to cook dinner, correct?" She didn't wait for Robin to answer. "So, come over to my place tonight for dinner at, let's say, 7:30. I'll even leave work at a normal hour. Then you can tell me more about my so-called fine attributes." She winked. Jess, you're supposed to have that little chat with her tonight, not flirt with her some more.

Robin nodded. "You're on. Dinner at the big house. I can't wait. I know you can cook breakfast. You'll need to pass the dinner test, too. I can foresee that there should be only one requirement."

"What's that?" Jess responded dryly.

Robin raised a blonde eyebrow. "No….."

"Shrimp." Jess interrupted. We finish each other sentences. "Sorry. Can't promise that, kiddo. You'll just have to take what you get when you're with me."

I'll take the whole package. "Don't I know it." Robin laughed. "That's the best part."

Enough flirting. Jess just couldn't help herself. There was something that was just so entirely infectious about Robin that made Jess grin from ear to ear quite involuntarily. Jess looked like an adorable love-sick puppy, and as much as her mind kept telling her to slow things down, her heart was not listening to a word of it, and was racing full steam ahead, totally out of control. "Are you free for lunch?" Jess heard herself ask. What, dinner's not enough? You have to spend lunch with her, too?

"I'm always free when it concerns lunch." Robin laughed at the joke at her own expense.

"Hey, you're stealing all my good lines. What will I have to tease you with?" Jess bantered.

"I guess that will make it more of a challenge for you, then. Maybe you'll need to improve your teasing skills." Robin's statement had a hint of a dare in her voice.

If we play this game, I will win. "I will definitely consider it." Jess focused her attention to the pile of documents on Robin's desk. "Are you having any luck with finding anything we can use?"

"Not so far, but I think you're right. There's something here and I'm going to find it. Give me a few days and I'll let you know. We've also ordered an asset check, a background check, a criminal check and an bank account search. Something should turn up." Robin was quite pleased with the progress she was making.

Jess stood up and walked to the door. "It sounds like you have everything under control." Her gaze softened as it settled on warm green eyes. "I knew you would."

"Thanks, Jess. Your confidence in me means a lot."

Jess gave her a gentle smile. "Okay, kiddo. See you tonight. 7:30. And don't be late." Jess warned playfully. "I wouldn't want to have to eat all that shrimp by myself." She grinned smugly and then left the office.

Robin just smiled and shook her head. I will definitely take the whole package.


Robin arrived at The Ranch that evening, shivering intensely from the cold, not cool, weather that had befallen Central Florida, and knocked on the front door. Within a moment, Jess greeted her and ushered her inside.

"It's cold out there, Jess." Robin took off her jacket and set it on the coat rack in the foyer just inside the door. "I think you have some serious explaining to do."

"Hey, don't look at me. I don't make the weather, you know. And as I've told you before, just wait a day or two and it'll be back up in the 70's." Jess led them both into the living room. "It'll be a few more minutes until dinner's ready. Would you like some wine? I have both white and red wine."

Robin sat down on the plush sofa. "If you have a light red wine, maybe a pinot noir, that would be great." She noticed as Jess nodded in acknowledgement and left the room to fetch the requested wine. Robin called back to her. "Hey, what did you make for dinner? It smells really good."

Barely a moment later, Jess stepped back into the living room holding two full glasses of light red wine. "Your pinot noir, mademoiselle." She handed Robin a glass of wine and sat next to her on the sofa. "I made pork chops with a bing cherry glaze. It's always been one of my favorites. My mother made it for us during the winter months when I was growing up. I never make it for myself, though. It's hard to cook for one person most of the time." She smiled at Robin. "That's why I'm so glad you came over tonight. I get to have my one of my favorite dinners." The smile turned into a full grin.

Robin furrowed her brows. "I see. So, the only reason you invited me over tonight was so you could have one of your favorite dinners?" She took a sip of her wine. "I'm not sure whether I should feel offended by that."

"I think you should feel very fortunate that you get to enjoy such a fantastic meal," Jess replied with a perfectly straight face.

"So, are you saying that my being here, specifically, is not the driving force behind your meal enjoyment, but rather your cooking is?" Robin looked playfully into blue eyes.

"It's not everyday that you would have such a wonderful opportunity as this, Robin. I am an excellent cook." Jess nodded in mock seriousness.

Robin set her wine glass down on the pine wood coffee table and looked intently at Jess. "You seem pretty sure of yourself."


"Well, then let me put it to you this way. If your dinner turns out to be as good as you say, then maybe some type of reward might be in order." Robin leaned closer to Jess. "But since your sole reason for wanting me to come here tonight is so that you can have one of your favorite meals, it seems that any reward there might be, would surely be insignificant."

Jess swallowed. "May I amend my statement to say that there are two reasons why I invited you over tonight. The first is so I could cook one of my favorite meals, and the second is because I absolutely and truly enjoy your company. The reasons are not necessarily in that particular order." She gave Robin a sweet smile.

Robin patted Jess on the knee. "I'm glad you understood my point so well." She sat back against the cushions and then broke out into giggles.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing. I was just thinking about how much fun we have together." Robin giggled some more. "You can be such a nut sometimes."

"I think I resemble that remark." Jess laughed lightly along with Robin at her own silliness. After a moment, Jess suddenly stopped laughing and got very, very quiet, appearing to listen intently to something. "Did you hear that?"

"What?" Robin stopped and listened.

"Shhh." Jess held up her hand and cocked her head to one side and listened for another moment. "There it is again."

Robin strained to hear and whispered. "I don't hear anything."

Jess, still with head cocked, leaned over toward Robin. "It's seems to be coming from….." Jess held her ear intently near Robin for a moment, trying to hear the sound again. She then turned her head slightly to look Robin directly in the eye, speaking in a bored tone. "You're hungry, aren't you?" She tilted her head and pointed to Robin's stomach knowingly.

Robin's mouth flew open in mild surprise for a brief moment. She then narrowed her eyes and gave Jess a light poke on the arm. "You are so mean to me. Just for that, I might have to rethink my reward idea."

"Hey." Jess pouted playfully. "I was just having a little fun."

Robin couldn't help but laugh at the sight of Jess sitting there with her bottom lip sticking out. "Alright, Jess. You can have your fun. But just remember, the real fun happens when I," she pointed at herself in emphasis, "tease you."

Jess looked at Robin out of the corner of her eye. Well, she certainly can tease. "Hey, kiddo, dinner's about ready. Take a seat in the dining room and I'll bring everything out." Robin stood and followed Jess into the other room to begin their meal.


They ate their meal in complete enjoyment, with Robin making little "yum" sounds quite often throughout. When they were both too full to eat another bite, they got up from the table and set about cleaning up the dinner dishes. Once all that was completed, Jess and Robin headed back into the living room to enjoy some after-dinner coffee.

"Hey, Jess, can you start a fire?" Robin looked over to the fireplace expectantly.

"Sure." Jess got up from the plush sofa and began the task of setting up the firelog and wood. You're not supposed to have a fire, Jess, remember? Ignoring her inner voice, Jess lit the firelog and sat back down on the sofa next to Robin, leaving the glass doors to the fireplace open to spread the attendant heat throughout the room. "It's a good night for a fire since it's kinda cool out there."

"It's cold, Jess, not cool. Admit you erred a little bit as it relates to your weather forecasting skills." Robin moved in a little closer to Jess.

Jess shook her head. "I will do no such thing. I remain accurate. In two days, it will be warm again. Just you wait and see." She grinned smugly and then turned her attention back to the fire.

"I'm skeptical, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt…..this time." Robin kicked her feet up on the coffee table and patted her stomach lightly. "I'm stuffed. That dinner was very good, Jess."

"Told ya." Jess grinned smugly. "And I believe you mentioned something about a little reward if I was right?" She raised both eyebrows at Robin.

Robin turned to face Jess. "Yes, I believe I do recall something like that." She let her gaze travel to the edge of the sofa for a moment in thought and then looked back up into blue eyes. "But that particular reward is best saved for another time." She patted Jess indulgently on the stomach and resumed her watch of the now brightly glowing fire.

"Oh." Jess thought it best not to pursue that particular line of thinking just then. They finished their coffee, and after a few moments of quietly studying the flickering flames, Jess glanced over to Robin and spoke softly. "Can I talk to you about something?"

Robin looked back at her. "Sure, what's on your mind?"

Jess shifted her position on the sofa so that she was turned mostly toward Robin. She reached out with slightly shaking fingers and stroked Robin's hand, very lightly brushing her thumb slowly back and forth across the fair skin. "I think I need to tell you this." She paused. "Recently, I've felt so out of control, like things are happening too fast for me to catch up with them. I think maybe things are happening too fast here…..for both of us." She took a deep, steadying breath, willing her trembling fingers to calm. "I was thinking that maybe we should keep things a little less serious until we both have time to adjust to everything that's been happening between us." Jess shifted her gaze from Robin, finally allowing it to settle across the room on the edge of the fireplace mantle.

Robin remained silent for a long moment, trying to process everything Jess was saying, and not saying. She wants to slow down. We haven't gotten too physically serious. Maybe it's all the emotion. Has it been too emotionally intense? Robin turned to completely face Jess, and took her trembling fingers into her smaller hands. "You're not comfortable with where we are right now, Jess?"

"I'm not sure I'm comfortable with how quickly it seems things are moving. At least they seem like they're moving quickly to me. I'm wondering if maybe we can both take a breath here, and get used to things for a while." Jess rested the side of her head against the back cushion of the sofa. "What do you think?"

Robin mirrored Jess's position. Maybe she's right. I need to more fully let go of the past before I can totally move on with the future. Robin spoke her next words with a gentle understanding. "I think we should be completely comfortable with each other, Jess, and what we do together. Maybe we do need to take a breath and spend some time adjusting before moving ahead." She gently squeezed Jess's fingers with both hands. "Tell me the things you that would be comfortable doing."

"Well, what we've been doing is okay." Jess ventured a small smile.

"So…..would our spending time together one or two evenings during the week be okay?" Robin asked unsure.


"Okay." Robin spoke more confidently. "Would spending hooky time together on the weekends be okay?" She gave a small grin.

"Yes, that would be okay." Jess nodded.

Robin picked lightly at the fabric on Jess's shirt sleeve, and spoke more cautiously. "Would weekend sleepovers be okay?"

Jess looked directly into sea green eyes. "Yes."

Robin hesitated for a slight moment before continuing. "And would cuddling by the fire be okay?"

"Yes, I think so."

Robin moved in closer to Jess. "It's okay?"

"It's okay, yes." Jess's breathing quickened at Robin's proximity.

Robin reached up and tenderly brushed the dark bangs from Jess's eyes and whispered. "Would kissing you sometimes be okay, too?" She let her hand trail down to Jess's cheek and rested it there as she awaited the answer.

Jess leaned in to the touch, unable to resist it, her eyelids fluttering at the contact and her voice barely registering sound as she spoke. "Yes."

"Okay." Robin placed a small, light kiss and Jess's lips and then reached over to the end table to switch off the lamp, casting the room into darkened shadows, the bright orange glow emanating directly from the flickering fire the only visible light. Robin laid herself back, resting her head against a soft throw pillow, and then stretched her petite form out along the length of the sofa. "Come here next to me."

Jess slid down and curled up alongside Robin with her back against the cushions of the sofa. She rested her head lightly on Robin's shoulder, and placed her hand across Robin's waist, breathing out a heavy sigh. She watched the flames merrily dance and listened to the wood lightly crackle as it burned, as the warmth of the fire spread outwardly across the room. It felt so good to be held like this, in a complete and total embrace. Robin stroked her fingers through the long, dark hair, the comforting touch seeming to make all the anxiety disappear and soothing away any lingering tension. Jess could smell the light, clean scent that belonged to Robin, something which reminded her of springtime with a hint of fresh rain. And in that one moment of startling clarity, Jess finally came to realize that she could no longer attempt to deny the intensity of her feelings. All the apprehension suddenly vanished, and in its place settled a peace and serenity the likes of which she had never experienced before.

Robin stroked the dark head, resolving to give them both whatever time necessary to feel completely comfortable with their new relationship and the physical and emotional closeness they were experiencing. She knew there was a risk of letting too much of her inner self be seen too soon. Not even David had seen everything there was to see about her. No one had completely seen her inner thoughts, and fears, and wants, and dreams. If she and Jess were going to be comfortable sharing their complete selves with each other, if that's what ended up happening, then they were going to have to take time to feel comfortable at every step of the way, before they proceeded on ahead to whatever lie next.

They were both silent for a very long while before Robin spoke. "Are you okay? You've been quiet for a really long time." Robin continued to lightly brush her fingers through Jess's hair.

"Yeah. I'm fine. I almost fell asleep, though. You make a good pillow." She turned her head to look up at Robin and smiled fondly. "Again."

"I'm glad you find me so comfortable." Robin chuckled. "Hey, listen. What are you doing Thursday evening?"

Jess shifted to one elbow and rested her head in her hand while looking directly into mischievous green eyes. "Why?" She drawled.

"Because there's a certain person, who shall remain nameless, whose birthday it is Thursday, and I'm having a birthday party at my place for this person." The twinkle in Robin's eyes grew.

"I see. And who all will be at this party of yours?" Blue eyes studied Robin intently.

"Well, there's the host, which is me, and then, of course, there's the guest of honor."

"Anybody else?"

"Nope. I wouldn't want it to be too crowded." Robin gave a hint of a grin. "And did I mention that I am making the guest of honor's favorite shellfish for dinner?"

"Is that so?" Jess grinned affectionately. "Well then I think the guest of honor would be delighted to attend your party." Jess narrowed her eyes in a playful warning. "As long as you don't, of course, make the guest of honor do anything silly or embarrassing."

"I would never, ever do that." Robin winked and then moved her head over closer to Jess, whispering in a conspiratorial tone. "Besides, the guest of honor is rather prim and proper and would probably faint if I ever tried something like that."

Jess broke into a wide grin, and with a lightening speed, gathered Robin in her arms and hugged her fiercely, whispering into her ear. "Prim and proper? I'll show you prim and proper." With that, Jess ducked her head and placed several long and slow kisses on Robin's lips, lingering just a little to nibble on a petite chin, all the while hugging Robin closely to her body like a second skin. Completing her little demonstration, Jess pulled back slightly and gazed into sea green eyes. "Still think the guest of honor is rather prim and proper?"

Robin was still a bit dazed from the kisses. "Um…..I think I'm going to have to rethink my assessment."

"You do that, or the guest of honor might just have to continue with demonstrations until you come to the appropriate conclusion." Jess winked and then sat up against the back of the sofa.

"I think more demonstrations might be in order, but I'll wait until Thursday night to inform the guest of honor of my final decision." Robin sat up as well and then looked at her watch. "Ooooh, it's getting late. Tomorrow's a school day. I really should go." She got up from the sofa, located her jacket from the coat rack, and pulled it on. "The party starts at 7:00 on Thursday night. Make sure the guest of honor is not late."

"I can assure you, the guest of honor will be right on time." Jess walked Robin to the door. "Thanks for understanding what I said earlier."

"There's nothing to understand. I feel exactly the same way." Robin leaned in and gave Jess a quick hug. "See you tomorrow."

"See you tomorrow, Robin. Drive safely." Jess watched her leave and then quickly shut the door to prevent the cold air from making its way too far inside.

I love parties.


It was late morning when Robin looked up from her exhibits, checked her watch and decided to refresh her cold cup of coffee. She stepped out of her office and around a group of huddled, whispering heads on her way to the galley. Selecting the freshly brewed flavor of the day, Irish Crème, she filled her cup and made her way back to her office. Just as she turned to go in through the doorway, Robin saw Paul over by the printer. A twinge of guilt made its presence known, and Robin decided that now was as good of a time as any to have that little chat with him.

"Hey, Paul." Robin called down to him. "Do you have a minute?"

Paul turned his head and nodded, pulling something off the printer. "Yeah."

"I wanted to talk with you about something." Robin waited as Paul approached her. "Could we talk in my office."

Paul casually stepped inside and sat down in the chair opposite the desk. "Okay, shoot."

"Let me close the door." Robin swung the door shut and took a seat behind her desk, idly picking up her pen and twirling it nervously around in her fingers. "I wanted to explain to you about the basketball game." She looked at him a bit awkwardly.

"Really, Robin, there is nothing for you to explain." Paul didn't seem phased in the least.

He's not making this easy. "No, I think I need to explain something to you. When you asked me to go to the game with you, I really had no intentions of going. Later, Jess had extra tickets, and since we didn't have to work, I decided to go after all." Technically, that was true.

Paul nodded. "Hey, no big deal. Don't sweat it. I understand plans change." He then leaned forward, resting his forearms on the front of the desk, and gave Robin a truly charming smile. "Would you be interested in having dinner with me Friday night?"

A mental groan. How did I manage to make this worse? Robin twirled the pen faster in her fingers. "Um…..that's the other thing I wanted to talk with you about." She blew out a breath, trying to order her thoughts. "I like you, Paul, but I'd rather keep things on a professional level. It's just that a lot of things have happened to me recently, and I'm not in a position to see anyone else outside of work." That made no sense even to me.

Paul sat back in his chair and folded his hands in front of him. "If you're saying you're already seeing someone, I understand and I won't mention anything again."

Robin twirled the pen dangerously out of control, and she debated with herself for only a split second before responding, a bit more forcefully than even she had intended "No." The minute she said it, a guilty look came across her face and she felt slight regret at the lie, as the pen now nearly flew out of her hand. "Um…..it has to do with some other issues which I can't really get into. But, thank you for asking me out. That was very nice of you, and if things were different, I would definitely be interested." Robin smiled toward him now with genuine sincerity.

"Okay. But if things change, you'll let me know, won't you?" Paul winked cheerfully, trying to hide his disappointment.

"You bet. Thanks for understanding, Paul. Now, tell me what you need for the deposition next week so I'll have time to do the depo prep." For the next several minutes, Robin dutifully took down the key issues that Paul provided regarding the case, so that she was better able to pull together the relevant documentation for the deposition. When they were finished, Paul exited her office, leaving Robin with a vague sense of unease stemming from their prior conversation.

She sat back in her desk chair and stared unseeingly out the large glass window, the gleaming waters of the lake below going unnoticed. I lied. She tried to understand why that felt so bad. It couldn't have been avoided. How could she tell him the truth when she didn't understand it herself? It occurred to her that perhaps her discomfort with the situation was what Jess was referring to the previous evening. They both needed time to adjust. There were ramifications to their relationship, and they both needed to decide what to do and say, if anything at all.

As Robin gazed into the cloudless blue sky, she idly, and for no particular reason, had the thought that the sky somehow reminded her of Jess's amazingly beautiful blue eyes. She shook her head and mused to herself. I am so hopelessly taken with her. And that particular thought brought her to a whole new series of thoughts. How could she be totally consumed with this ever-present desire to be with Jess, and to be with her very affectionately? It was so soon, after all. Did her feelings for David just disappear overnight? Or were they never that strong to begin with? One thing was for certain. Any feelings she had for David paled in comparison to what she felt just being in the same room with Jess. It was a magnetic pull so strong that she couldn't deny the intensity of her feelings, even if she wanted to. Jess. What was it about Jess that made Robin's skin tingle at the merest touch? What was it that made Robin crave the slightest physical contact, or seek the comfort of Jess's protective embrace? There was the thrill of Jess's presence, and the complete and total sense of being right where she belonged. Home. And what was it that made Robin desperately want something even more intimate, even though she was terrified at the mere thought, just the same?

A flash of sunlight off the metal of a passing airplane caught Robin's eye, and all at once, as if the flash itself were the catalyst, Robin now knew, not only in her heart but also in her mind, that which seemed to have eluded her all along. Her reasoning progressed in logical sequence until she finally came upon the sought-after conclusion. If she had loved David and was willing to spend her life with him, and the feelings that she had for him did not come close to those she felt for Jess, then what she felt for Jess must far exceed that which she felt for David. But whether it was the hidden guilt and grief over David, or the fear of the unknown, or some as yet unanalyzed reason, something inexplicably still prevented Robin from putting a name to her feelings. The feelings themselves were realized, but the words were still left unspoken.

I need more coffee.


"Where are we going?" Jess sat in Robin's blue Miata as they headed down the main highway during the early evening hours.

"Can't tell ya." Robin concentrated on the road, not looking over at Jess.


"Just can't."

"First, you kidnap me, and now you won't tell me where we're going." Jess narrowed her eyes. "Not fair."

Robin turned her head and smiled at Jess sweetly. "Payback are a bitch, aren't they?"

"Now, it's definitely your turn to be in trouble." A pause. "Come on, just give me one little hint." Jess begged.

Robin shook her head playfully. "Nope. You can beg all you want, but it won't get you anywhere."

"I have a snappy remark to that, but it wouldn't be polite to make you blush." Jess gave Robin a look and then focused her attention on the rearview mirror, reaching up for Al.

Robin quickly swatted her hand away. "Don't you even think about touching him. The last time, as I remember, you took him and I had to go looking all over for him."

"I just borrowed him. And nope, you didn't go looking all over for him. You only looked in one particular location, as I recall." Jess now had a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "And I think you enjoyed that quite thoroughly."

Robin turned several shades of red, shielding her face from Jess's view, but not offering a single word in her own defense.

Jess was now laughing quite uncontrollably. "And here I was trying so hard not to make you blush."

Robin shook her head in exasperation. "Why is it that every time I think I've got you, you turn it around on me?"

Jess leaned in closer to Robin. "Don't you worry, Robin, you've got me, alright. She smiled affectionately.

"You can be very sweet, but I see through your little scheme, and I'm still not telling you where we're going." Robin headed toward the mall.

Jess pouted playfully. "Well, you can't blame a girl for trying." Noticing where they were headed, she cocked her head. "Don't tell me we're going to the mall again? Didn't you have enough 'fun' the other day?"

"We're not going to the mall, Jess, so be quiet."

"Can I ride the train again?"

"We're not going to the mall."

"I'll let you sit up front."

"We're not going to the mall."

"And you can ring the bell."

"Jess, we're not going to the mall." Robin annunciated the words very clearly. "Don't make me repeat it again." She chuckled, thinking the whole conversation was rather cute.

"But….." Jess started to speak once more, however Robin effectively stopped her by pointing a stern finger toward Jess's face in a silent warning.

"Be patient, Jess."

"Fine." Jess pouted some more.

Finally, a few moments later, Robin pulled the Miata into the local ice cream parlor, 102 flavors of ice cream, to be exact. "Okay we're here." She looked at Jess expectantly.

"Ooooh, ice cream." Jess slid out of the car, delighted. "How did you know I have a weakness for ice cream?"

Robin followed her inside the parlor. "Well, I didn't know that, but my weakness is ice cream, too." She grinned impishly "So, if you didn't like it, you were just going to have to stay here anyhow and watch me eat it."

They each got a cone with a double scoop of ice cream, Jess getting mint chocolate chip, and Robin getting chocolate peanut butter swirl. They, of course, had to taste each other's flavors several times, effectively sharing their cones the entire way until finished.

"That was delicious." Jess licked her lips. "I can't believe there are 103 flavors. I think we have to come back 103 times to taste them all."

"There're 102 flavors, Jess, and if you want to come back 102 times, I think that can be arranged." Robin chuckled, really enjoying the light banter between them. She is so much fun to be with. "Are you ready to go, now?"

"Yep." Jess got into the car. "Can we come back tomorrow night?"

"Nope. You have a very important dinner engagement, if I remember correctly." Robin started the car. "There's a party at my place and you're in charge of making sure the guest of honor arrives on time."

"Oh, yes. I have it on good authority that the guest of honor is quite looking forward to it." Jess stared out the window nonchalantly.

"Good. And make sure the guest of honor knows there's also going to be a surprise." Robin headed the car in the direction of The Ranch.

"Really? A surprise?"

"Yep. It's a birthday party after all." Robin grinned.

"I think we should skip the birthday part and get right to the surprise part. Tell me what it is." Jess was begging again.

"Nope. The guest of honor will just have to wait." Robin finally pulled into Jess's driveway. "Okay, here you are. Thanks for coming out to play tonight."

"I enjoyed it. Now I can get back to the work I brought home." Jess frowned a little at the thought, and sat in the car for a moment longer, not really wanting to leave. "Um…..Robin, I think you have a bit of ice cream on the corner of your mouth." Jess shifted in her seat.

"I do?"


"Where?" It's too dark for her to see anything.

"There." Jess pointed.

"Exactly where?"

Jess leaned in toward Robin. "Right here." She brushed her finger against Robin's soft lips and then leaned in closer.

Robin melted at the touch and whispered. "Could you um…..maybe remove it for me?"

"Yes." Jess whispered back and bent her head and kissed Robin's lips sensuously, making sure to thoroughly remove all imaginary traces of ice cream. After she was certain she didn't miss any spots, Jess broke away and sat back. "You taste good, very sweet."

Robin tried to regain her senses. "It's the ice cream."

"Not entirely." Jess cleared her throat. "Um…..I think I had better go on inside. If I stay out here, there might be some more ice cream that needs removing, and then I'll never get any of my work done."

"And that would be bad?"

Jess grinned. "That, Robin, would definitely be very bad." She winked.

"Okay." Robin swallowed and then took a breath. "Goodnight, Jess. Don't forget dinner tomorrow."

Jess opened the car door. "I will make sure the guest of honor gets there precisely at 8:00." She spoke with a twinkle in her eye.

"Jess," Robin drawled, "It's at 7:00."

"Ooops, you're right." Jess got out of the car and leaned in the open window. "Okay, then, I'll make sure the guest of honor is there precisely at 7:00." She made her way up to the front porch.

"That's very good, Jess. Goodnight." Robin chuckled and started to pull the car away. "You are so hopeless."

"Goodnight." A pause. "And I heard that." Jess yelled back to Robin from the front porch as the blue Miata pulled away.

Jess, you are most definitely hopeless about her.


Early Thursday evening, Robin put the finishing touches on the special dinner she was preparing and chilled the light Chardonnay wine. She went over to the dining room table and gently lit the candle in the centerpiece, careful to arrange it so that the center of the table was clear for the placement of the dinner dishes. Satisfied that everything was in order, she went back into the kitchen to check the progress of her special meal. After a moment, she heard a light knock on the door, and went to answer it.

"Hi. Happy Birthday." Robin greeted Jess and motioned her into the living room. "Now the party can begin because the guest of honor has arrived, and on time, I may add."

"Hi. Thanks. Of course, I'm on time. Was there ever any doubt?" Jess asked innocently and made her way over to the sofa. "I can't believe you're cooking for me again. That must make it one million to only one for me."

"Perhaps, but this is a special occasion and it's not included in the dinner-making tally." Robin smiled warmly. "Would you like a glass of wine?"

"Alright." Jess relaxed on the fluffy sofa. while Robin left the room.

After a moment, Robin returned with two chilled glasses of Chardonnay. "Here you are." She handed a glass of wine to Jess sat herself down on the sofa. "So how has your birthday been so far?"

"Fine, I suppose. My mother called earlier today and my brother sent me a birthday card. I'm always amazed that he remembers things like this. Most guys don't." Jess took a sip of her wine. "By the way, that's a nice sweater you have on."

Robin looked down at her lightweight, short-sleeved, burgundy colored, velour sweater. "Thanks. I like the way it feels. It's so comfortable."

"It seems to be." Jess glanced over toward the window. " So, I think I was right."

Robin was puzzled. "Right about what?"

"You know."

Robin shook her head. "No, I don't."

Jess put her wine glass down on the coffee table and spoke as if it were common knowledge. "Monday, it was cold. Today's Thursday, and it was 70 degrees. Think about it. I think my weather forecasting skills are right on the mark." Jess gave her a smug grin. "You can now go ahead and admit that I was right."

Robin looked at Jess for a long moment. "I believe that's still open for interpretation, Miss Weather Expert, because it rained a little bit today, it's cool tonight, and another cold front is on the way. It'll be cold again tomorrow."

"It'll be cool tomorrow, and it doesn't matter because I correctly stated that it would warm up in a couple of days, and it did. Therefore, I was right." Jess touched her finger lightly to the tip of her tongue and made an imaginary chalk mark in the air in front of her."

Robin chuckled. "Because it's your birthday, I'm not going to disagree with you…..this time." She rolled her eyes playfully and mumbled. "You were right."

"I didn't hear you."

Robin blew out a breath and spoke louder. "You were right."

Jess leaned an ear in closer to Robin. "I still didn't quite hear you."

Robin reached out with her hand and slowly turned Jess's face so she was looking directly into blue eyes. She then leaned in very, very close, whispering softly. "You were right." Robin's warm breath caressed Jess's face, and she leaned in further and punctuated that statement, placing a tender kiss on Jess's lips.

Jess let the kiss linger for a moment, then sat back and grinned. "I definitely heard that."

"Good. Now, dinner's ready, so come on into the dining room. I hope you like what I made. It's a recipe I actually got off the internet for Shrimp Dijon." Robin went into the kitchen and returned with the entrée and side dishes.

"You are a very good cook and I know I'm gonna love it." Jess heartily dug in, and all through dinner, she barely came up for air.

All in all, it was a wonderful dinner, to say the least, and after the table was cleared, Robin ushered Jess back into the living room while she prepared the dessert. Once everything in the dining room was set, Robin returned to the living room carrying a package wrapped in colorful wrapping paper and a decorative bow.

"I have a birthday present for you." Robin sat on the carpeted floor in front of the fluffy sofa where Jess was sitting, and handed her the package.

"You got a gift? For me? That was very sweet of you, Robin."

"Open it." Robin couldn't help the grin that spread across her face or the look of sheer excitement as she waited in anticipation for Jess to open her gift.

"It sure is heavy." Jess meticulously and methodically unwrapped the present, first unwrapping each side of the box, then the bottom, and finally pulling the remainder of the wrapping paper away, revealing a plain looking brown rectangular box.

Robin was watching impatiently, the slow and deliberate unwrapping of the gift seeming to be pure torture for her. "Will you go ahead and open it, already?"

Jess smiled and opened the box, pulling out its contents. She sat there, silently stunned, as she pulled out, one by one, individually wrapped carved onyx chess pieces and next, the square solid onyx checkered game board. With slightly shaking fingers, she reverently unwrapped several of the chess pieces, taking one in her hand completely, and fingering the smooth, polished surface while intently studying the intricate carvings. During the whole process, Jess never said a word.

Robin broke the silence, speaking quietly. "Do you like it?"

Jess looked up, still clutching the onyx game piece. "It's one of the most wonderful gifts I've ever received." She took a breath. "I haven't told you this before, but my father used to play, and one of my few happy memories of him is when he would take me with him into his study, and show me how to move the pieces on the board in the proper way. I didn't quite understand it all, but I enjoyed that time he spent with me." She looked again at the game piece she was holding. "I'll never forget it."

"I'm glad you like it," Robin said simply.

"You must have spent way too much on this. I know how much these things cost, and one such as this is quite expensive. This is actually exquisite." Jess marveled at the quality of the carvings, her eyes sparkling.

Robin gave her a very warm and sincere smile. "I'd spend my last dime on you, Jess, if it meant I'd get to see, even for one moment, the look in your eyes right now. Happy Birthday." She reached up and grasped Jess's hand, which still had not let go of the onyx chess piece. "Now, come on." Robin tugged. "Dessert is waiting."

Jess set the game piece down and stood up. "It is chocolate?" She raised both eyebrows questioningly. "Because I love chocolate."

"I don't think I knew that, but yes, it's most definitely chocolate."

They walked into the dining room, and on the table sat a chocolate fudge cake with vanilla icing. Two places were set, each bearing a birthday party hat and a color coordinated napkin, with similarly colored balloons strung up from the mini-chandelier.

"Let me light the candles." Robin lit the six candles on the cake. "Put on your hat so I can sing." She grinned and put on her own hat as Jess, with a silly roll of her eyes, did the same. "Okay, now let me sing." Robin sang the entire verse of the birthday song, laughing most of the way through it. When she was finished, she glanced over at Jess. "What?"

Jess was suppressing grin. "Nothing."

"What? Tell me."

Jess silently raised an eyebrow. "Don't quit your day job."

Robin squinted her eyes and wagged a playful finger. "You are an unbelievable brat. Now, blow out your candles."

Jess did so, noticing for the first time the six candles. "Why six candles?"

"Well, there's three on the top and three on the bottom. That's how old you are, right? Thirty-three?"

"Yep. I didn't tell you that, though. How did you know?" Jess furrowed her brows, giving Robin her best menacing glare.

"I have my sources." Robin winked.

"Hmm. I just bet you do. I think I smell a spy somewhere." Jess cut two pieces of cake for herself and Robin. "So, now, let me see if I have this candle thing right. When it's your birthday, I would put two candles on the top and six candles on the bottom, correct?"

"Right," Robin stated matter-of-factly. "See how the system works? It all makes perfect sense."

Of course.


Jess and Robin lay stretched out on the carpeted floor in front of the coffee table in the living room, quite full from a delicious dinner. The soft glow of the single lamplight filtered its way in a dim manner throughout the room.

"I am so stuffed. That cake really did it for me. I'm gonna put on too much weight now and I won't fit into my jeans anymore." Robin patted her stomach.

Jess turned to look at her. "I can't believe you're going to gain weight just from one piece of cake. Ooops, I forgot, you had seconds, and then you finished the last bite of mine." Jess grinned.

"Yep." Robin stretched her arms above her head "And I also nibbled a little while I was making it. Trust me, I'm already gaining the extra weight as we speak."

"Let me check." Jess propped herself up on one elbow and lifted the edge of Robin's sweater just a bit to check the room at the waistline of said jeans. "You seem to have plenty of room here." Jess examined the area in question and then laid her hand flatly against the soft skin of Robin's stomach. "I think there's still space for a least one more piece of cake in there." Jess scooted in a little closer, and began to brush her fingers back and forth lightly against the silky smooth surface of Robin's stomach. A chain bracelet Jess had on her wrist moved in unison with her fingers, as they grazed the velvet softness of the fair skin, sending goose bumps trailing in their wake.

Robin's mind couldn't process the array of sensations all at once, and she heard herself gasp at the contact. Jess was now only a few inches away from her, and their eyes met and locked, green holding blue, as the gentle touch continued.

"I love the way you do that." Robin whispered.

Jess smiled, the cerulean gaze searching and then penetrating sea green to a new level of awareness.

"I love how you care about me, Jess. And I love all the things you do for me." Robin smiled tenderly, spellbound. "I love your eyes and your smile. I love everything about you." She brought her hand up to rest gently against Jess's cheek. "I love….." She searched azure eyes and whispered fervently. "You."

Jess closed her eyes at the contact, and then upon hearing the last words, dropped her forehead to rest against Robin's shoulder, her breathing quick and shallow.

Not a word was spoken for what seemed like an eternity, until Robin finally reached up and placed her hands on either side of Jess's dark head, swallowing hard before speaking. "Jess, I'm so sorry if that made you feel uncomfortable. I know we agreed to stop and take a breath here, so we could get used to things." Robin stared up at the ceiling to collect herself. "I shouldn't have said that out loud."

Jess lifted her head, a lone tear making its way down her cheek, as she inched her way up so that her face was even with Robin's and not more than a hair's breath away. She stared into green eyes for a long, quiet moment, and tenderly caressed a fair cheek, whispering softy. "You love me?"

Robin nodded solemnly.

Jess brushed the blonde bangs away from Robin's forehead, having difficulty breathing, and trembling slightly. "I have loved you forever, Robin. I just didn't realize it until now." She leaned in, and with a tenderness neither previously thought possible, kissed Robin's soft lips.

Robin was overcome with emotion, and she felt hot tears make their way from her eyes, immediately to be kissed away, as Jess lovingly memorized every inch of Robin's lovely face. Robin did the same with Jess, tasting the saltiness of the errant tear that had previously strayed. They both took a moment to steady their emotions somewhat, then Jess shifted herself onto her back, laying flat against the carpet. Robin curled up next to her, resting her head in the crook of Jess's neck.

"I love you, Jess, with all my heart." Robin took a deep breath. "It feels good to finally say that."

Jess kissed the top of the blonde head. "And I love you, Robin, very much. I don't know why I was so afraid to acknowledge that. I think it scared me to think that I was so completely out of control. I tried to deny the feelings, and then when I couldn't deny them any longer, I tried to slow them down." She kissed the blonde head again and hugged the smaller woman closer to her. "But you took over my heart, and you wouldn't let go. It was like you were a part of me, and I ached when you weren't there."

Robin placed her hand at the base of Jess's neck and felt the strong pulse, and then kissed the exact spot. "We're a part of each other, Jess. I believe that." She then shook her head slightly and gave Jess a small, crooked grin. "So much for taking time to adjust, huh?"

Jess let the corner of her mouth turn up in a half grin, as well, and quipped. "Sometimes, my plans don't work."

They both chuckled and laid there quietly together for a while, each trying to process what had happened between them. A few moments later, Robin decided to bring up a topic which she knew they needed to discuss. She shifted her position and lifted herself up on one elbow. "I spoke with Paul the other day."

"What did you tell him?" Jess stroked her fingers through Robin's short blonde hair.

"I told him that because of some things that had happened to me recently, I wasn't in a position to see him."

"What was his reaction?" Jess traced a petite earlobe with her finger.

Robin stared intently at the far corner of the room, as if it held some particular fascination. "He asked me if I was seeing someone."

Jess's hand stilled and her eyes widened. "How did you answer that?"

Robin grimaced, and then closed her eyes briefly. "I lied." She picked at imaginary lint on Jess's shirt. "I didn't know what to tell him. We hadn't talked about what to say to people." She whispered. "I didn't want him to know."

"Do you want anyone to know?"

Robin looked away again, slightly embarrassed. "No."

"I see." Jess sat up. "Let's go sit up on the sofa where it's more comfortable." They got up from the carpeted floor and sat together on the fluffy sofa, cuddled up next to each other, as Jess continued. "We need to talk about this."

"I know."

"Do you want to keep it a secret?" Jess didn't know, herself, the answer to her own question.

"Yes, I think I do. This is just so new to me. I don't feel comfortable yet telling anyone about us." Robin stared across the room. "There are a lot of ramifications that I'm not ready to deal with." She then looked fondly at Jess and hastened to add. "I'm not ashamed of you."

Jess nodded. "I know. I have to tell you that I can't see me telling anyone either." She chuckled softly. "I could hardly even admit it to myself, much less anyone else." She turned her head and tilted Robin's chin up, looking her squarely in the eye. "And I will never, ever be ashamed of you. You are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I just think that what we have is private, and should remain between us, and no one else."

"Do you think someone could find out?" Robin's voice sounded quite apprehensive.

"Honey, if someone finds out, there's nothing we can do about it. Unless and until that happens, this can just be a private matter between you and me. I think it should be private, anyway. It's nobody else's business." Jess brought her lips to Robin's and gave her a gentle kiss. "Nobody else could understand the way I feel about you."

Robin hugged Jess tightly, burying her face in Jess's shoulder. "I wish you didn't have to leave tonight. But I know tomorrow's a work day. I just feel so close to you right now that I don't want to be separated from you. Does that make sense?"

Jess smiled at the sentiment. "That makes perfect sense, and I feel the same way. When I'm apart from you, I ache inside."

Robin sat upright. "Then stay. I mean, I'm sure I could find something for you to sleep in, and then we could sleep together tonight."

"What?" Jess's tone was more than a little shocked.

Robin had a quizzical expression on her face, and then suddenly realized what she said. "Oh, no. No, no, no, no. I didn't mean…..I meant….." Robin stammered. "We would just go to sleep…..together…..rather than apart. I mean….." Robin was trembling at this point.

"Shhhh, honey, it's okay" Jess pulled Robin into a tight embrace. "I know what you mean. We're both a little emotional right now. As much as we feel for each other emotionally, neither one of us is ready for anything more physically at the moment. Am I right?"

"Yes." Robin nodded slowly and then became pensive. "You know, it's funny. I always thought the physical side came first, even if you didn't act on it right away, and then you grew into the emotional side. But with us, it's everything all at once, and I feel it's more than just physical or emotional. There's also an almost spiritual side. It's the whole package." She gave Jess a small, shy smile. "Does that make sense?"

"Yes, I would say so, but I have one small caveat." Jess offered a wry smile.

"What would that be?"

"Sometimes, the physical side gets very strong." Jess grinned adoringly. "Because you absolutely take my breath away."

I'd faint if I were standing up. Robin blushed. "I stand corrected. You have the same effect on me." She got up from the sofa and tugged at Jess's arm. "Come on. Let's find you something to wear to sleep in."

They headed for the bedroom and Robin found a slightly large t-shirt for Jess to wear, while Robin changed into her nightshirt. After they had turned out the lights and were safely snuggled in the bed, Robin turned to Jess and grasped her hand, linking their fingers together. "Happy Birthday, Jess. I hope you had a good day."

"Yep. It was the best birthday I've ever had." Jess turned on her side and looked tenderly at Robin through the darkness. "It was very special. Thank you."

Robin smiled and then positioned herself back against Jess so that they were spooned tightly together, as Jess wrapped a long arm around Robin's waist. After barely a moment, Robin lifted Jess's arm and took the larger hand in her own, gently guiding Jess's hand from the outside to the inside of the nightshirt and around her bare stomach. "I like your hand there."

Oh, God. I'd say that physical side is really strong right about now.

"Goodnight, Jess. I love you."

"I love you, too, sweetheart. Goodnight." Jess tightened her hold on Robin's waist, feeling the soft skin of Robin's stomach against her hand. Let me amend my previous statement. I'd say that physical side is really, really strong right about now.


© Copyright 08/27/2000

Part 6

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