For complete disclaimers see part 1.

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



Kim Pritekel


Part 19


"Yes, honey, Roy is fine." I covered the phone, grinned at Julia. "Yeah, he's been sleeping on your bed. Yeah. Sweetie, you know you can't stay longer- you have a recital, remember?" I listened, nodding. "I know, Parker. I wish Keller could see you play, too. She will be able to. Okay, sweetie. Have fun, and I can't wait to see you next week."

With a sigh, I cradled the phone, smiling when I felt an arm around my waist from behind. I leaned into her.

"You really miss her, don't you?" Julia said, her chin resting on my shoulder. I nodded.

"Immensely. But, she's having a great time, so I'm glad she got to go."

"Zoë's having a great time, too. She says she wants to move to California." We both chuckled. "I told her not a chance. At least not for another twenty years."

I turned in her embrace, looking at her with drawn brows. "Are you going to be one of those crazy moms who make their kids live at home until their fifty?"

"Uh," Julia looked away, pretending to think, then grinned at me. "Yeah, basically."

"Nice." I leaned down and gave her a soft kiss. "Come on. The movie starts in fifteen minutes."

It had been a whirlwind week, Julia and I spending any time we could together, when she wasn't at school, and I wasn't in the air. She'd even come down to the hangar with me a couple times. She laughed and chatted with my crew, and they all loved her.

I was fascinated by her, watching her talk, watching her movements. The way her body moved, so graceful, yet could be an absolute adorable dopey klutz. Too cute.

We had also spent much time kissing. Nothing more than that, though I would be a liar and a fool if I said I didn't want anything more. She was beautiful, fun, and seemed quite willing. However, again, doubts kept creeping into my head. Was she ready for anything? Did I really want the role of inducting her into her new life?

I shook those thoughts out of my head and decided to just go along with the flow.

That flow brought us to the movie theater where we found a place amongst the throngs of fellow movie-goers, a big bucket of popcorn for us to share, and a huge Coke in the holder of the chair arm between us.

"I am so excited," Julia said, squirming in her seat to put on a light sweatshirt she'd brought. Those damn theaters, always freezing.

"Me, too. I've been waiting to see this for-friggin'-ever." I leaned over, sucking from the straw, swallowing the cold drink that filled my mouth. "Mm, yummy."

Julia lifted her hair out of the collar of her shirt, shaking it free.

"I'm just thrilled as hell to be out doing something. I haven't seen a movie in a looooong time."

"How long?" I asked, leaning slightly toward her, letting her perfume fill my head. Mm, loved the way she smelled.

"Let's see, what did I see last in the theater," she brought a hand up, twirling an auburn strand around her finger. "I saw 'Meet the Parents' in the theater."

"My god, Julia! That was years ago." I took a handful of popcorn, tossing the puffs into my mouth.

"Hey, you know what it's like when you've got a kid. Add a husband into that equation, and you've suddenly got three." She took her own handful. I chuckled, happily munching.

When I finished, I reached over, covering her hand that rested on her knee, with my own. Looking around, she slid it out from underneath mine.

"There's people around," she whispered, eyes huge.

"So what?" I looked around, too, trying to see if maybe David was around somewhere.

"So, they might see us," she looked at me, and to my surprise, she actually looked a bit scared.

"What," I was cut off by the lights dimming, and the booming voice of the narrator in a preview. Turning away, stung, I decided to drop it, concentrating on the huge screen.

As the movie began, opening credits back by music, I felt Julia lean into me.

"Are you mad at me?" she whispered. I shook my head, saying nothing. "Is that a real no, or a 'I don't want to talk about it' no?"

I sighed quietly, then turned to her with a small smile. It wasn't worth a fight. "I'm not mad, Julia. Really."

"Okay." A quick smile from her, and a handful of popcorn later, she moved back to her side, focusing on the movie. With a small sigh, I rested my chin on my hand and watched the show.


"So, what's going on with that gorgeous redhead? Wait, what am I talking about, I'm a gorgeous redhead." Penny laughed at her own joke, waving her hand through the air as she took in my raised brow.

"At what point exactly are you going to realize you're not funny?" I asked, sipping from my mug of mud, perched on the corner of her desk.

"When you realize you don't have a sense of humor." She adjusted her glasses, looking at me over the rims.

"Maybe it's just you. Ever think of that?" I grabbed another packet of sugar, shaking it before ripping off the end. "Jesus, this is even stronger than usual."

"Someone's in a shitty mood," Penny typed in her password, computer finally finished booting up.

"Am not."

"Are so. Don't try and deny it. What, thin and gorgeous not giving out or what?"

Choosing to ignore her question, I asked one of my own. "What do you think of PDAs?"

"Public fondling? Hell, I'm all for it!" she grinned from ear to ear, and I rolled my eyes, then glared. "Okay, okay. Dayum. Remind to stay clear of you. In fact," she grabbed the microphone she used with the public address system. Pushing the intercom button, she spoke into it. "Boys, watch out for Garrison. She's being a shit today." Hitting the button to end the connection, she turned back to me.


"Garrison!" She looked me dead on, never flinching. With an inward growl, I looked down into my mug. "And I happen to think PDAs are fine as long as they're tasteful and done with tact."

"Really? So, if some man, woman, or alien you happen to be dating, grabbed your hand while the lights were still on in a movie theater, you wouldn't freak out?" I set my mug aside, totally intent on her response.

"Nope," she shook her head. "But then again, I'm not in the middle of a possible divorce, and a total life change while in my thirties, either." She raised a brow at me, trying to emphasize the point she was attempting to make.

"So, you think I shouldn't be hurt, then."

"You are more than entitled to be, but, assuming that the scenario you put before me is what happened between you and Julia, I do think you need to be a bit more understanding. All this shit is new to her."

I sighed, taking in what she said, trying to wrap my mind around it and make heads or tails of it beyond my own hurt.

"Give her some time, Garrison. If you want to take on a newbie, you're basically dealing with a virgin, here. It comes with the territory. I mean, I know FDR was in office when you were still a virgin, but try to remember, huh?"

"Fuck you."

"Anytime, gorgeous." She looked up at me, chin resting on her hand, eyes dreamy.

I smirked, reaching out to squeeze her arm. "Thanks, bud." She blew me a kiss, sending me off with a smile and a lighter heart.

As I made my way toward my office, I was stopped by Jerome. He handed me two Tylenol, and then with a pat on my shoulder, and me very bewildered, walked off down the hall toward the reception area.

Shaking my head, I unlocked my office door, flicking on the lights to hear a small knock on the door frame. Looking, I saw Aaron, the thirty-something I'd hired to replace Keller in the maintenance area. He set a bottle of generic pain relievers on my desk, then walked casually back across the hall to the hangar.

"What the hell?" Following him, I saw him and Reggie giggling in the corner. "What the hell's going on?" Fists on hips, I looked from one to the other, then brought Jerome into my glare as he entered the hangar from the open bay doors, having gone around outside.

"What do you mean?" he asked, wiping his hands on a well-used rag. Reggie hid his face in his hands.

"This," I held up the bottle of medicine, the Tylenol Jerome had given me in my other hand.

"Well," the dark man said, turning to include his buddies. "We felt that if we could help out early, you know, helping to get rid of those monthly pains," the last whispered as though it were a bad word, "the better for everyone." There was a beat of dead silence before all three broke into raucous laughter, me chewing on my bottom lip so I wouldn't join in. I wanted them to think I was as pissed as Penny had warned.

Walking over to the group of men, who as one entity, backed away as I advanced. I reached them when they backed themselves against my baby, and had nowhere to go. Jerome had pushed Reggie in front of him, he and Aaron hiding behind the blonde man.

I reached out, as saucily as I could muster without puking, and grabbed the zipper head of Reggie's coveralls. I played with it a bit, pulling it down, then yanking it back up without warning. His blue eyes got huge, head thrust back to avoid losing his Adam's apple in the metal teeth.

"That's right, boys, be afraid, cause I'm a bitch on wheels today," I yanked once more for good measure, silently laughing my ass off as Reggie began to actually tremble! I let go of the zipper and sauntered off, hearing Jerome and Aaron trying to stifle their snickers.

Not me. I had a smile big as day on my hand, seeing Penny standing in the doorway of the hangar, huge grin on her own face. I lifted my hand, and without a word, she high-fived me as I passed.

Ah, man. So easy to fuck with.


"Oh yeah, there's been some real winners in my past." Sean smiled big as she poured more wine in first her partner's glass, then her own. "For instance, there was this woman, oh what was her name," her fingers tapped on the table as she thought. Snapping them, she brightened. "Sarah. That's it. This crazy blonde with great legs, ow! Well she did, honey."

Julia gave me a side glance, both of us trying to hide a smile.

"Yeah, totally a loon. I actually had thrown her out of my house Halloween night after a party she'd gone to. I met Jenny the next day." She smiled, and the love I saw in those blue eyes, aimed right at the blonde sitting next to her, made my own heart swell.

"How did you two meet, anyway?" Julia asked, stabbing a piece of steak she'd just cut, with her fork.

Both women looked down, soft smile on both their faces.

"Oh," I rubbed my hands together. "Me thinks we're in for a story." Leaning forward in my chair, breasts almost setting on the table, I waited.

"Go ahead, honey. You tell it so much better than I do." Sean said, squeezing her wife's hand.

"Okay, well first off, I was married at the time. It was a horrible marriage, just not a nice guy." She took a drink of her wine, and for just a moment, I noticed that her hand was shaking slightly. I also noticed that Sean's hand remained covering hers. I wondered what was up with that.

"Not a nice guy. The guy was a fucking monster," Sean clarified.

"Honey, stop, please," Jenny said, her voice quiet. Sean looked down, dully chastised. "Anyway, so I decided to go stay with my brother in the mid-west. We were in Washington state at the time," she said, indicating both she and Sean. "She was heading east for her father's funeral. My car broke down, she heard me crying on the phone to my mother about it, and offered me a ride."

"Just like that?" Julia said, looking from one to the other.

"Just like that." Sean said.

"Do you not know about crazy people? Either of you?"

"Oh, come one, now," Sean grinned rakishly. "How could I resist that gorgeous face and body?" she nodded toward her partner, and once again, the smile found its way to my lips. Oh man, if only I could find that.

"So you guys fell in love on the road?" Julia asked, leaning her cheek on her hand, totally wistful, far-off look in her brown eyes.

"Essentially." Jenny said, her green eyes closing as she received a kiss on the cheek from Sean.

"That is cool, guys. Good for you." I put in my own two cents.

Jenny, absolutely appointing herself as mother to anyone she perceives to be even the slightest bit unhappy about anything, saw Julia and I in the store one day, sitting together and talking about a book we had picked up. Well, I guess Jenny picked something up, too, because she invited us both over to dinner at her and Sean's house the following Saturday night. So, there we were.

"So," Sean said, resting her chin on her entwined fingers, looking from one to the other of us. "You two together or what?"

"Always to the point, love," Jenny smirked.

"Quickest way to get there." Sean said, nodding, then turned to look at us again, fully letting us know she hadn't forgotten about her own question, and expecting an answer.

I looked at Julia, clearing my throat. What were we exactly, anyway? We hadn't talked about it, hadn't put any sort of name, title or label on anything. Or anyone.

"Yes." Julia blurted, taking me by surprise. It must have shown on my face, cause I could tell those blue eyes of Sean's didn't miss a thing. She and Jenny swapped a quick glance, then Sean turned back to us.

"Cool." The older brunette smiled.

Julia shocked me again by reaching over and taking my hand in hers. I left it there, but was utterly confused. Perhaps she was feeling more comfortable? Hell if I knew.

We walked to the car, the late July night beautiful. The bugs were doing there noisy thing all around us, and a very nice breeze was blowing across heated skin. It had been a hot one.

"They're such a cute couple," Julia finally said as she waited for me to unlock the passenger door of the truck. I nodded with a smile.

"Yeah. They really are." I got in on my side, immediately rolling my window down then buckling up. "They've been together a long time, too. I can only dream that I'll have that some day. But I'll tell ya, the closer I get to thirty, the more I'm doubting my luck."

"Oh no, Garrison." Warm fingers on my bare, shorts-clad leg. "You're far too wonderful a woman to have any doubts. Any woman would be a damn fool to let you get away."

I met her gaze, and guilt seized my stomach as I realized my heart was thinking that someone else must be a fool, then. Smiling shyly to cover my thoughts, I put the key in the ignition, but my hand was stopped before it could turn.

"What's the matter?" I said. Julia looked around quickly, then grabbed my by the chin, pulling me toward her. My lips automatically opened to her tongue, hot and probing.

She moaned softly, a hand finding the back of my hair, fingers combing through my hair.

I pulled her closer to me, getting lost in the sensations of feeling the warm softness of another body, human contact and touch. Her hair felt like silk to my fingertips, the cool strands spreading over them in wave after wave of tactile bliss.

I could tell Julia was beginning to get really excited, her breathing increasing, her body squirming, trying to get even closer to me.

"Whoa," I tried to pull away, but she would have nothing to do with that. She held on even tighter, almost painfully pulling me to her.

"Don't stop," she said against my mouth before plunging in again. I gave in, kissing her with brute want before my conscious hit me again.

"No, wait, Julia, stop." I pushed her away, but just enough to get a bit of breathing room. Taking several deep breaths, I faced her hurt, questioning eyes. "We need to slow down."

"Why?" Hand to her chest, she also took several deep breaths.

"Because this is all so new to you-"

"Shouldn't I be the one to make that decision? Honey, I'm fine with it," she slid back across the bench seat to me again, but I stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"Julia, even if this was going to happen tonight, there is no way in hell I want it to be in my truck, which is parked in front of Jenny and Sean's house."

She looked behind her, out her window as the lights in the house all began to go out, one by one. Looking back at me, I was relieved to see I'd said the right thing.

"Do you think they saw us?" she asked, amusement in her voice.

"Who knows. If so, maybe they got a good show and are about to have amazing sex." I grinned, then chuckled as I started the truck's engine, mine already on overdrive.

I drove her home, basically having to make her go inside and let me go home. I promised her we'd do something the following day, all day, she had my total attention. For now, I needed to go home and think.


I enjoy surprises. I enjoy them quite a bit, actually. But this one, however, was not a great surprise. Mainly because of the state my body was in, and the confusion that gripped my mind and heart.

I pulled into my driveway, and it was then that I noticed a bedroom light was on upstairs.

I grabbed a socket wrench from the glove compartment of the truck, and headed toward the front door, cautiously, looking all around me. The hairs on the back of my neck was standing on end, fear gripping me.

Sure enough the front door was unlocked, which made my heart stop. I know I had locked it before I'd picked Julia up. I know I did.

For a moment I thought about just calling the police, but that idea kind of got trashed when I realized my cell phone was sitting on the damn kitchen table in its charger.

"Fuck," I whispered. Then I heard my dogs barking, and that did it. Don't you fucking hurt my dogs! Bursting into the place, I didn't even have time to curse again as I landed flat on my face, my shoe still caught on something.

Looking back down my prone body, I realized it was a suitcase. What the hell?

Looking up, I heard monstrous footsteps coming down the stairs, and I flew to my feet as a smiling kid with bouncing golden curls lunged at me.

"Garrison!" She threw her arms around me, legs, too, nearly knocking me over the suitcase the other way. I gave her a big squeeze, seeing Keller smirking down at us, standing on the fourth step, hand resting on the railing.

I put Parker down, looking at her still smiling, even more tanned, face.

"What are you guys doing here? You're not supposed to be back for another few days." I looked from Parker to Keller, and Zoë, who stood behind the janitor.

"Yeah. Keller wanted to surprise you. See, she moved our flights up so that she could come back to, since she's on vacation now, anyway. She'll only be here for like a few days." Parker grinned at me, finally taking a breath after all that. I hugged her again, kissing her on top of the head. Damn, I'd missed that kid.

Letting her go, I walked over to Keller, hand on hip, smirk on my lips.

"Hey goes it, stranger?" I looked up into her eyes. No matter how pretty a color I thought Sean's eyes were, they couldn't hold a candle to Keller's.

"Not bad. And yourself?" she crossed her arms over her chest, tanned arms now muscular and extremely fit, her tank top, fitted to her svelte frame. I'd guess she'd gained at least twenty pounds in muscle.

"Not bad." Not another word was spoken as I found myself in those very arms I had been gawking at only moments before, and squeezed, lifted off my feet. "Ugh!"

"Jesus, are you eating air for dinner? You don't weigh a thing." I was put down, and glared up at her grinning face.

"Sorry, Arnold, but some of us have more to do than just bench small children for our own entertainment."

Keller smiled, melting all my irritation.

"It's good to see you," she said, all joking aside. I smiled.

"You, too." Then I gave her a real hug, feeling her warm body against me. It made my soul sing. "How long are you staying?" I pulled back from her, keeping a hand on her forearm.

"Until Tuesday."

"Isn't it cool?!" Parker said, standing between us suddenly, looking up at us, grinning as though her cheeks would pop at any moment. She linked an arm in each of ours, a chain. A family chain. "All in the same house."

"It's very cool, honey." I ruffled her hair with my other hand, which got a nice glare from her. "Oh, sorry," I raised the offending hand in supplication. "I forgot I can't mess with the 'do' anymore." I looked up at Keller and winked. She rolled her eyes, knowing exactly what I was talking about after spending almost two solid weeks with the kid.


It was late and the girls were tired, so Zoë just crashed with Parker in her room, and Keller and I plopped into the couch. She showed me some pictures she'd taken of her base, her small quarters that she shared with a woman named Catherine.

"This is us at the beach," she passed a snapshot over, and I took it, careful to handle only the thin edges of the picture. I looked at the two, both looking young and strong. Catherine was grinning big and goofy while Keller looked like she was about to roll her eyes. I smiled. That's my Keller.

Catherine was a pretty girl, and for some reason, I really studied her. Her hair was short, just sneaking over her ears, giving her an almost elfin appearance. Her hair was light brown, though I couldn't tell what color her eyes were from the intensity of the overhead sun.

"And our place."

It looked small, but was kept neat, storage compartments neatly stacked on each other. Only a couple magazines were scattered, and a shirt was hanging on the back of a chair.

"It's nice. Do you like it?"

"Yeah, I do. It's pretty cool, actually." She smiled, looking a little shy all the sudden.

"And you and Catherine get along good?" I tried to keep my voice even with just a tad of curiosity. Truth be told, I wanted to pick her brain about this woman.

"Yeah, she's great. A few years older than me. She's from New Orleans, and has this really cool accent. I find myself picking it up all the time." She chuckled quietly, flipping through some of the other pictures, showing me shots of her and Catherine with other friends, in their uniforms, shots of some of her superiors. It was a slice of Keller's life, and I was grateful to see it.

"Thank you for showing me these." I handed her the last of the pictures, genuinely glad. Keller looked so happy in the shots, so relaxed from the Keller I knew.

She shrugged, placing the pictures back in the envelope they'd come in when she'd gotten them developed.

"Guess I figured you might want to see how the other side lives." Small grin.

"Most definitely. I really want to see what your world is like all the way over there." I leaned my elbow on the back of the couch, leaning my temple on my fist. "I feel so out of touch with you now. Not a big fan, you know."

She looked at me, studying me for a few moments, then looked away.

"I'm glad I was able to come back for a few days, then." She looked at me, a side glance, almost coy.

"Me, too."

"However," she said groaned as she stretched, neck arched, arms in the air, back arched and tank tucked firmly across beautiful, round breasts. "I'm exhausted." She finished her stretch, and I quickly looked away, though she caught me, and we both knew she had.


Turning back to her, I pasted a smile to my face. "Me, too. You sleep well, kay?"

"Yeah, you, too." She looked at me for a moment, then stood, holding her hand down to me. I looked at it, then followed her arm up until I ran smack into those magnificent eyes, looking right at me. I took her hand and she pulled me to my feet. "Goodnight, Garrison."

"Uh, night, Keller."

With that, she gathered up all her picture envelopes, and was gone. I took several breaths, inhaling cool air to chill my heated insides. Damn, I really needed to learn some self control.


That golden skin, gliding across my own, the feel and texture of a woman's body the weight, so familiar and comforting. Pressure building between my legs, fingers lightly stroking me, driving me mad with want and need.

I saw Keller above me, her eyes filled with desire, telling me how much she wants me, though her lips don't move, and there is no sound behind her words. But they're there. I can feel them.

My body arches up to meet her, breasts on breasts, so soft, so wet, musky. My eyes close for just a moment, neck arching back as I'm overcome with sensation. I'm surprised to see Julia's brown eyes looking down at me, her body making me feel this way, making love to me. I want to ask where Keller has gone, but the pressure is building so quickly I can't speak.

Finally, oh, finally, the pleasure and sensation reaches its peak, and I can't stand it any longer. With a fever pitch, those fingers rub faster, press harder against my clit, my breathing matching my heaving chest, small whimpers and moans escaping my throat as I know I'm about to come, about to explode.

And then I do.

And then neither Julia or Keller is with me, only me. And Tut, of course, who was looking at me with utter irritation for interrupting his puppy sleep.

I was stunned to realize that my body was still trembling from my orgasm. Holy shit! I needed some serious help. I smirked to myself as I realized that I apparently helped myself.

"I am losing my mind." Scrubbing my face with my hands, I grimaced, smelling myself on my fingertips. Never in my life had I masturbated in my sleep. Was that even possible?

Meeting the accusing brown eyes of my beagle I glared.

"What? You lick yourself all the time, little man. I don't want to hear about it."

I hobbled to the bathroom, using a wet washcloth to wipe myself down, the insides of my thighs still slick.

"Gross." It always amazed me that what was totally sexy and a turn on during sex was quiet disgusting in the light of day, or the bathroom, as it were. You French kiss someone, getting their saliva all over you, and that's hot. Yet, if someone were to walk up to you and lick you, you'd smack them. At least I would. Quite befuddling.

Collapsing back in bed, I fell back asleep, which, I had to admit, was quite a bit more peaceful now.


Morning came before I was ready for it to, but awake I was. Groaning, I threw the covers aside, Tut prancing happily around the end of the bed. His ritual pee-pee dance.

Running my hands through my hair, I dressed quickly and headed downstairs. The rest of the house was quiet, all my girls still fast asleep. I opened Parker's door just a smidge to let Roy out so he could join his brother in going to the bathroom.

"Just the three of us again, eh boys?" I muttered, unlocking the back door. They ignored me, running out into what was promising to turn into a beautiful day. Maybe Julia could come over, and all of us could hit the park or something.

Filling the filter on the coffee pot, I began the morning brew.


Looking over my shoulder, I saw Keller pad into the kitchen, hair askew, t-shirt half caught in the waistband of her soccer shorts.

"Hey. Coffee's brewing."

She wrinkled her nose. "You will never get me hooked on that vile stuff." She muttered, opening the fridge and grabbing the carton of Tropicana. Opening the cardboard lip, she tossed the container back, her throat working with the long swallows. Shaking my head, knowing damn well that she'd never break that habit, I turned back to my Mr. Coffee.

"Want something to eat?" I asked, my back to her.

"Nope. I'm going out for my morning run." She said, placing the carton back in the fridge. I looked at her.

"Morning run? Since when?"

"Since I had to do it every single day in basic, and still have to keep up on the cardio," she said with a smirk.

"Better you than me,"

"I'd have to agree. You wouldn't make it past the corner."

I glared at her, then remained the amazingly mature adult I am and stuck my tongue out at her. She laughed and pushed through the swinging door.

As the clock over the stove hit seven, the phone rang.

"Hello?" I said absently, sipping my coffee and rifling through the Sunday morning paper.

"Hey, sexy."

A smile curled my lips at the soft morning voice on the other end of the line.

"Hey, yourself. What are you doing up so early?" Pushing the paper aside, I leaned back in the kitchen chair, crossing my ankles on the table.

"Lying in bed, thinking about you." Her voice was so breathy, making the skin prickle at the image that entered my mind. I could imagine her in that big bed, naked body covered just barely by a sheet. Her auburn hair spread over her pillow, creamy skin smooth in the early morning light that shone on her like a spotlight.

"Oh yeah?" I asked, shaking myself out of it. Parker, Zoë, Keller. Keller. I grabbed the newspaper again, flipping through until I found the funnies.

"Oh yeah. Are we still on for today? Cause you know, I was thinking-"

"Well, you might want to hold on to that thought. I think plans have changed just a smidge." I said, trying to get us to safe ground.

"Why?" the sexy voice gone, now just leaving plain curiosity tinged with irritation.

"When I got home last night I found a house full of people. The girls are back, and Keller, too. They wanted to surprise me." I explained.

"Zoë's back?" All irritation and curiosity gone, now just excitement.

"Yes, ma'am. She's upstairs with Parker as we speak."

"Oh, I can't wait to see her." I smiled at the smile I could hear in Julia's voice. "Did she have a good time?"

"I think so. Guess you'll have to ask her that question yourself, won't you? Why don't you come over and surprise her by bringing her and Parker breakfast in bed?"

"Ohhh, what a great idea. You, my dear Garrison," she purred, making me shiver. "are a brilliant woman."

I chuckled, deep in my throat. "I know." I smiled as our conversation ended with her laughter ringing in my ears.


I found myself being whirled around the kitchen to the music of Roy Orbison's 'Pretty Woman'. Julia sang along, turning me this way and that, both of us giggling at our antics.

Breakfast forgotten, the eggs sizzling in the skillet, a covered plate of bacon fragrant in the room, and two glasses waiting to be filled with juice, still we danced.

"Shit!" I stumbled, almost landing on top of a chair, when I was caught, the momentum of Julia saving me from a most uncomfortable landing bringing me into her body. At the sensation of full-body contact, we stopped our dancing, both our bodies and breathing reacting.

It only took a split second for my eyes to close before her lips descended upon my own, one hand buried in my hair, the other roaming down my back. I wasn't sure if she'd stop at my back or not. I didn't care. After all the tension last night's dream/masturbation had aroused in me, my body tingled at the very thought of being touched.

I responded in kind, deepening the kiss, my body putting pressure on hers so she had to move or be knocked down.

We were both jarred as her body made contact with the door of the fridge, my body going with the inertia, and pressing into her, making us both moan.

I can't tell you how badly I wanted to rip all her clothes off at that moment, plop her ass on the counter, and have my way with her.

But the opening of the kitchen door stopped me from doing any such thing. I heard a sharp intake of breath, and ripped my mouth from Julia's.

Keller stood in the doorway, hand still on the swinging door, eyes wide with shock, then quickly narrowing as realization hit. Her jaw clenched, chin raising in defiance. Her other fist balled up at her side.

I could only stare, struck dumb, not knowing what to say, or if I even should.

Another such time popped into my mind, a time during the Christmas holiday with Celeste on the front porch.

Keller's nostrils flared, then she turned, the door swinging behind her.

I broke away from Julia, running toward the door.

"Keller!" The front door slammed, and within moments, I heard my truck roar to life. "Fuck. Not again."

"What the hell happened? Why is she so mad?" Julia's voice was behind me, but I didn't turn around, instead resting my forehead against the front door. I took several deep breaths, trying to calm myself down, not wanting to cry.

"Garrison?" A soft touch on my shoulder reminded me that someone else was in the room with me. I sighed, swiping at an errant tear that had managed to escape, then turned to face my concerned friend, would-be lover.

"She doesn't approve of my lifestyle," I said simply. Julia's eyes widened in surprise.

"Oh." Pause. "That must be hard."

"Yeah. Something like that." I turned, heading back into the kitchen, calling over my shoulder. "Come on, eggs are burning."


I kept up the ruse, smiled and laughed as the girls ate their breakfast. They were so excited and happy to see us, and I didn't want to worry Parker, or raise her suspicions that anything was wrong.

Keller had been gone about two hours when the phone rang. My heart fell, and Julia and I exchanged a look. She could see it in my eyes, and squeezed my hand before I went to my bedroom to pick up in there.


"Yeah, is this Garrison Davies?" A man's voice said. I swallowed, expecting the worst.

"Yes. This is she."

"Hi. Sorry to bother you at home on a Sunday. This is Roger Spencer down at the airport. Uh, a plane took off from your hangar just a bit ago. I didn't know if you were aware of that or not. I see here that you don't have anything on the flight schedule, so-"

"Thank you, Mr. Spencer. I'll be there in a few minutes." I hung up on the poor guy in my haste. Dressing in jeans and a t-shirt, I shouted a quick goodbye, and told Julia I'd be borrowing her car, then headed out.

My hands gripped the wheel like a steel vise, anger rushing through me in waves, mixing with my fear. The potent concoction made me feel nauseous. Damn her.

I had to step on the breaks several times, seeing speed traps, and knowing that my anger was making me floor it. The last damn thing I needed was a speeding ticket.

Finally the exit for the airport came into view, and then the side road I'd take that would lead me to my hangar.

Julia's car was barely stopped before I whipped open the door, seeing that sure enough the big bay door was wide open, my Cessna gone.

"Fuck!" I looked all around the tarmac, knowing I wouldn't find her, but somehow hoping. I stormed into the office, calling up the tower.


"What the fuck are you guys doing giving clearance to someone who isn't on the goddamn flight schedule?!" I nearly yelled into the receiver.

"Ma'am, I don't now what you're talking-"

"This is Garrison goddamn Davies. One of my goddamn planes is gone, and I'm telling you, Fredericks, if anything happens to that goddamn plane, or the goddamn pilot, I'm going to make you personally responsible!" I heard the man swallow on the other end.

"Ma'am, we're doing everything we can to locate your plane. We're not getting any response yet."

"Well you sure as fuck better let me know when you do."

"Yes, ma'am."

I slammed the phone down, an echoing ring filling the small office. Plopping down in the chair behind the desk, I covered my face with my hands, my body consumed with a myriad of emotions and fear …

… that she'd run out of gas. That plane was not difficult to fly, but for an inexperienced pilot …

… jacket that I ran my hand over. My dad's from the Korean War. I kept it hanging on the back of the office door, my link to him. He'd tell me to stay calm …

… as I paced back and forth in the hub of the hangar. I shoved my hands into the back pockets of my jeans, kicking at a pebble that had the misfortune of getting in my path. It rang off some metal object …

… far in the sky, the sun glinting off the metal. I raised my hand to shield my eyes from the late morning sun. Sure enough, it was an airplane, and looked to be the size of my Cessna.

I marched toward the tarmac where she'd finally end up after she taxied. I watched her descent carefully, so afraid. So many things could go wrong during landing, and I knew Keller didn't have near as much training on landing as she needed to try it alone, no one there to guide her, and hell, not even any radio help!

"Straighten it out, Keller," I breathed, my heart stopping as I saw the left wing dip, then as if she'd heard me, she leveled out, but was still coming down too fast. "Pull up, pull the fuck up, Keller," I wanted to cry, wanted to scream to the Heavens for her to hear me.

I held my breath, the plane only fifty feet in the air, thirty, ten, touchdown. A loud skid as the wheels touched a runway that was rolling by too quickly. The small plane looked to be out of control, skidding, moving left, then right, then center again, smoke coming from the tires as their rubber was put to the test.

Finally the plane came to a stop, and I was relieved beyond measure. Wanting to run over there and hug her, so afraid I'd been. But then, once I saw movement in the cockpit, and saw the door opening, I remembered just how pissed I actually was, and began at a dead run.

Keller stepped down from the plane, her foot hitting the tarmac just as I got to her. I grabbed her by the back of the shirt, whirling her around.

"What the fuck do you think you were doing!" She looked at me, her eyes obscured by those damn sunglasses. "You could have gotten yourself killed! This is not your plane, Keller," I pointed at the Cessna. "Do you have any idea how worried I was? You could have killed yourself, goddamn it!" She just stared at me, jaw clenching and unclenching. "I could have reported you to the police. Do you realize that? I could have reported that you stole my fucking airplane!" Still nothing. "Say something!"

My face was grabbed, a hand on either side, and I was pulled forward, stopping hard when her mouth found mine. I grabbed onto her arms, trying to wrench her off me, but she was insistent.

Giving in, my hands slid up her arms until they came around her neck. Hungry, my mouth feasting upon its last meal, little whimpers of desperation escaping me as I felt her tongue against mine. Her hands were steadfast on my face, not letting me go.

Bliss. Utter bliss. My soul had been touched, squeezed and brought to life. I was flying higher than Keller in my Cessna.

Keller. I was kissing Keller.

Realization hit me, and I felt bad, wrong, as though I were taking advantage of her. I had to stop it, but god it was so right. No! It had to stop, she doesn't approve, and I couldn't stand the thought of her hating me.

I forcefully pulled away from her, stumbling as I took a step back, away from temptation.

She was flushed, her chest heaving, lips parted as she looked at me. I was near panting, my body on vibrate.

"God, Keller, I, I'm so sorry," I gasped. "We can't do this,"

Her mouth closed, jaw clenching yet again. Without another word, she tossed me the keys to my plane, and walked away, past me, heading toward my truck.

Somewhere inside I heard the engine, the birds in the trees near-bye. I smelled the fuel exhaust from my plane, the hot rubber against the heated cement of the tarmac. The wetness of my own tears as they fell down my face.

My legs buckled, and I folded neatly, landing on my butt in the shadow of my plane. Hands resting in my lap, my head fell, tears plopping down onto my skin, giving me the chills.

My heart shattered, the connection of my soul gone, lost, drove away in my own truck.

"What have I done?"


Return to the Academy