For complete disclaimers, see part 1.
If youd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am, or that I royally suck, feel free at XenaNut@hotmail.com or email@example.com.
Kim Pritekel and Alexa Hoffman
Zac walked around the forest, noting the way the snow had melted in parts. Some vegetation could be seen, though still not much. She checked around the area where she used to live. The lean-to was still there, and she kept up on it, making any repairs that needed to be made. Once the Cohens returned that summer, shed move back into it.
She had to admit with a smile that she enjoyed living so close to the cabin. She felt like she was doing them a service, and loved the feeling. In truth she hadnt had to run off anything more offensive than a fox or two, but still she felt important.
Aure ran up ahead, his tail wagging like crazy. The brunette smiled at her dog. Theyd been together for two-and-a-half months. He was the best gift Spinney could have given her next to the blondes friendship.
"Dont go too far!" she called out, and heard a small woof in response. Yep. She and the pup got along famously.
Zac thought about her time back here in Maine since last October. She was glad to be home. And when shed been able to spend so much of her time with her friend, it had made it all worth it. The events of the previous summer seemed like another lifetime ago. She felt safe in that Spinney would not leave her again. Well, leave their friendship, that is. Nor would the little blonde forget about her. The brunette knew she had a firm place in her Spinneys heart.
The grin was instant and unstoppable. Not that she would have wanted to anyway.
The blonde had been gone for 63 days, and was badly missed. The Cohens had left Zac with a cooler filled with food, and a huge bag of Puppy Chow for Aure. She had little to do but miss her friend. She even missed Spinneys family. They were nice. Especially Spinneys mom. She was exactly what the brunette would have wished her mom to be were she still alive.
They all treated her with such liking and respect. It was strange. Even Adam Cohen. They had put up the tent together, and he had joked with her and made her laugh.
She smiled at the memory, climbing onto the snow-covered bluff that she used as a look-out point. She wished so badly that she were climbing up there to watch out for Spinney. Summer time. As she looked around at the snow covering her world, it seemed like years away.
Zac sat down on a log, rested her chin in her palms and sighed.
The weather in Boston was much better. Dirty piles of snow were pushed up against the curbs where the plows had gone through. Other than that, the streets were clear, and the skies were blue.
Abel and Jessica walked along the street they lived on, green eyes looking over into the park across the street. A few winter-bare trees littered the area, which housed a couple people walking their dogs.
She smiled as she watched one particularly active dog nearly run his owner ragged.
"Cute, huh?" Jess said, a smile in her voice. The blonde nodded.
"Yeah. That dogs got some serious energy." She stuffed her hands into her pockets, looking back to the buildings that lined the other side of the street.
"So were talking about maybe Cancun this time. Can you swing it?"
Abel looked up at her friend, and chewed on her bottom lip. Spring break was in a month, and the roommates were trying to decide where to go.
"Im not sure," she said, butterflies filling her stomach. She was nervous to tell her friend what she had been thinking of doing instead. Ever since she had left the cabin in January, she couldnt get Zac out of her head. She missed the taller girl so badly it hurt sometimes. Lying in her bed at night, or even while in the back of the store stocking canned goods, shed remember the brunettes smile.
She could see it as she and Jess walked down the street. It would light up Zacs entire face. Hell, it lit up the entire area. Those beautiful, straight pearly whites. It irritated Abel as she had had to endure braces. And then theres Zac with the most perfect teeth she had ever seen. Just one more little perfection God threw into the mix. Her friend was unusually beautiful, and what made her even more so was the fact that she had absolutely no clue.
She smiled, feeling herself filled with warmth at the thought of those bright blue eyes.
"Dude, you look like a dork."
Abel snapped out of her reverie and looked at Jessica. "What?"
"Whats up with that smile? You look constipated or something."
"Ow! Jesus!" Jess held her arm protectively, moving slightly away from her blonde friend. "Whats up with you?"
"Nothing." Blonde brows drew, embarrassed to be caught daydreaming. "Cancun, huh?"
"Yeah. But that was like five minutes worth of conversation ago. Where were you?" Jessica looked at Abel, wondering what the hell was wrong with her bud. Ever since she had gotten back for the new semester she had been in the clouds. Sometimes the darker girl would go into their room and find Abel laying on her bed, hands behind her head, and staring into space. When asked what she was thinking about, shed fidget and say nothing. Just school.
"I was just thinking."
"About what?" Jess grabbed her key from her pocket and inserted it into the lock on the front door of their building.
"Nothing. So whos all wanting to go?" Abel hurried inside as Jessica held open the door for her.
"Not sure. I think the counts up to seven." The girls headed down the hall until they reached the door to their apartment.
"Wow. Im not sure if Ill be able to afford it or not." Abel bit her bottom lip, knowing she was lying to her friend. She hated it.
"Really? I thought you said your folks were going to be able to help you out."
The blonde shrugged. "Im not sure."
She put her backpack on her bed, and changed for work. She would have to give this more thought.
As she opened the drawer to get her work shirt out, she noticed the neatly folded piece of paper on the dresser. Dropping the shirt on the bed, she unfolded it, a smile brushing her lips as she took in the carefully-written words, and beautifully-drawn pictures.
The paper was bordered by an outdoors scene, trees and deer and wolves. Green eyes scanned to the beginning of the words:
Spinney- Im not sure what to say in this, but will do the best I can. First, I want to thank you for making my life good again. You make my days bright, and make me smile endlessly.
Im no poet by any stretch, but you make my heart want to sing like a bard, shouting through story and lore at the top of my lungs just what you mean to me.
Im no dancer, but my feet itch to glide across the earth in a ritual of comfort and joy every time I see your car round the bend.
I may not be the smartest girl in the world, but I know that what I have is precious, and worth so much more than gold.
I am able to see you every day in the forest. I look up into the sky and see your hair, shining like spun silk, and shining down to warm my skin.
I see your eyes in the new birth of leaves and grasses.
I see your smile in the lake as it sparkles in the sun like diamonds.
I am indeed a rich woman.
Thank you, Spinney. Thank you for being my friend.
The blonde read the words that had so touched her heart and sighed, pressing the paper to her chest.
"What a sweetie." She sighed again.
Spring break was quickly approaching, and Kendra and Jess sat in the kitchen going over the plans for their trip once more. They were excited, both near giggling at the prospect of warm, sunny Cancun for a week.
"Hey, girl!" Jessica exclaimed when Abel walked in through the back door, work shirt folded over her arm.
"Hey guys." The blonde smiled and headed over to the refrigerator to get some juice.
"Are you sure you cant go, Abel?" Kendra whined. She pouted, her lower lip falling to near the floor. The blonde grinned, and fingered the lip as she always did.
"Yes, Im sure." Abel grabbed her juice, and headed toward the room she shared with Jess, who had followed her. She tossed the shirt into the hamper and plopped down on her bed, taking a large gulp of the tangy Tropicana.
"Hey, girl," Jess said quietly as she closed the door behind her. She sat down on her own bed across from the blonde.
"Hi," Abel said, brows drawn in confusion. It was obvious her friend wanted to talk about something, and she felt slightly nervous about it. She eyed her roommate, chewing on her bottom lip. They stared at each other, each lost in her own thoughts. Jessica tapped her chin, trying to decide which angle to take.
"Soooo," she began. "Whats going on?"
"With?" Abel leaned back on her hands, eyes still boring into Jess.
"With the trip. Abel, weve been talking about this for three years." Jessica leaned forward on the bed, forearms resting on her thighs. "Level with me, blondie."
Abel glared, always hating that term that Jess always felt the need to use probably because the blonde hated it.
"Ah, right. The Paul Bunyon of the north." Jess sat back again, waiting for more, and ignoring the second glare from her friend in as many seconds.
"Yes, the girl I know from our cabin in Maine. I worry about her, okay?" Abel threw her hands up in exasperation.
"So give her a call. Invite her to drive up here for a weekend or so." Jess shrugged, not understanding what had her friends undies in such a twist.
"Its not that easy, Jessica," Abel said softly. "She has no phone." She sighed, deciding to tell her the full truth. "She lives in the woods. She lives in a tent that my parents gave her for Christmas, and also in a little lean-to that is part cave that she built herself."
The darker girl looked at her like she was nuts. "What?"
"I know its crazy. Her father was a criminal and brought her to live in the woods in this crappy little cabin to hide from the cops. He instilled in her this horrible fear of anything civilized. Not to say that shes some barbarian, cause shes not."
"Shes lived in the woods in a tent?" Jess asked, incredulous.
"Well, she does now. Before it was a cabin, then a lean-to."
"A lean-to. This girl lived in a shed?"
"Oh, Jess! Be nice." Abel smacked her friend, her protective ire rising. "This poor girl has had nothing and no one to care for her." Jessica saw the green fire burning, and knew that her friend was serious.
"Okay, okay." She reached across and touched her roomies leg. "I was just teasing, Abel. Tell me about her."
As Abel extolled on all of Zacs wonderful virtues, Jessica watched her carefully. She had never heard her talk about someone like this before. It was curious but utterly charming at the same time. Jess sensed something, but couldnt put a finger on it.
Abel almost showed Jessica the sweet letter than Zac had given her for Christmas, but decided against it. She didnt think her friend would understand. She wanted so badly for Jess to know and understand how sweet Zac was. How kind and generous, and just absolutely amazing.
"So, needless to say, I want to make sure that she has enough food and that Aure does, too," Abel finished, looking her friend in the eye, silently daring her to object. Jessica met her gaze, sizing her up, and finally nodded.
"Okay, girl. I hope you have a good time. Ill really miss you in Cancun." Abel launched herself off the bed and grabbed her friend in a massive hug.
"Thanks, Jess," she said, grateful for her friendship with the darker girl. She loved Jessica dearly, and understood why. Jess had always been there for her.
So, Abel started to make arrangements to hit the cabin and see Zac. She was so excited; far more so than if she were going to Cancun with her friends. Packing her bag for the weeks trip, she whistled happily. Knowing that it would still be cool, she packed lots of long-sleeved shirts and a couple pairs of jeans. She also brought along some t-shirts and a lone pair of shorts should they get the occasional freak nice day.
Ready to go days before she was to leave, she sat at the computer set up in the living room. Her roommates had their bags packed and stacked next to the door. They were leaving the following morning. For just a moment, Abel wished she were going with them, but then she remembered where she was going instead and found a smile on her lips.
She worked on the term paper that was due after break, leaning her cheek on her hand as she used the mouse to search several websites for research.
"Hey, girl," Jess said as she entered the apartment.
"Hi," Abel said absently as she searched. Jessica walked over to her and gave her a hug from behind. Abel smiled, wrapping her arms over those around her neck.
"Were gonna miss you," the darker girl said.
"Ill miss you guys, too, Jess." Green eyes met brown. "Thanks for being so understanding. It means a lot to me."
"Yeah, well, I still think you owe me some information." Jess released the blonde and stood, stretching her back from her time at the gym. "Im going to bed. Night."
Zac ran ahead, trying to beat the little mongrel that was close at her heels. She was laughing, her breaths coming out in small, white puffs as the early dawn air filled the forest.
"Come on, you loser!" She grinned, pushing even harder, her booted feet pounding the earth. She could hear the heavy breathing of her dog as he began to eclipse her. "Crap!" she growled. "Oh no you dont." Giving it all she had, she pushed even harder, throwing her head back, long hair flying back from her head in a wave of ebony.
She saw the finish line coming up. If she could just make it to between those two rocks . . .
"Woohoo!" she yelled, scaring some birds out of their spring nests. She slowed and tried to catch her breath. Aure ran in circles around his master, not ready to take a breath yet. "What do you want, you mutt?" Zac gasped, resting her hand on a tree trunk for stability as she allowed her lungs to completely fill with air. The golden dog whined, and got his pet from his master. He turned his head and licked the palm that had just been resting on his fur.
Zac was about to kneel down for their daily wrestle when she stopped. Ears perked, she hurried up to the bluff, Aure nipping at her heels. She scanned the area, the sunglasses she had received for Christmas firmly in place.
A huge grin spread across the beautiful face, and she jumped down.
"Come on, Aure!" she yelled, running as fast as her legs could carry her toward the Cohen cabin and her tent, earlier exertion completely forgotten. The blue car would be there in less than five minutes, and she wanted to be there to greet her Spinney.
She saw the car disappear around the bend, only to appear again, even closer. She could see Spinneys face clearly through the windshield, and was excited when the blonde smiled and waved. She waved back, holding Aure back as he wanted to catch this large, moving thing.
The car came to a stop, and as soon as she had the engine cut off, Abel threw open the door and ran to her friend. She was caught up in a huge hug, strong arms holding her tight.
"What are you doing here, Spinney?" Zac asked quietly, but did not dare relinquish her hold on the blonde.
"I came to see you," Abel said, her eyes closed at the comfort and safety that enveloped her. "Its spring break. I get a week break from school every March," she explained. Pulling apart, she smiled up into sparkling blue eyes. "Surprised?"
"Yeah! Definitely." The brunette looked down at the whining four-and-a-half-month-old pup who sat at her feet. "Spinney, Aure says hi." She grinned at her friend. The blonde knelt down, looking at the yellow lab.
"You have grown, little man." She grinned, petting the velvety ears. "Hes so cute, Zac." She smiled up at her taller friend, then turned her eyes back to the big, brown ones closer to her eye level. The puppy was more than happy to share his wet kisses with his new friend. Abel giggled, meanwhile trying to dodge the smooches. "Hows he doing with the Puppy Chow we left?" she asked, dodging a big wet one.
Zac watched, happy beyond all measure to have her Spinney back with her. And early, too! "Hes doing okay. Be out soon, though. He likes Oscars hot dogs, though." The brunette grinned, mighty proud of herself for finding this little gem out. Able laughed, standing, and swiping at her dust-covered knees.
"Come on, my friend. Help me unload the car." She grabbed Zacs hand, leading her toward the trunk. She pushed the button on her alarm pad, the trunk popping open.
It only took about fifteen minutes for the car to be emptied, and Aure to lay on the floor in front of the quiet fireplace, chewing on his new bone, and the girls to be situated on the couch, watching the pooch, eating.
"These are good, Spinney," Zac said, her mouth near capacity with the Spaghetti-Os.
"I love these things." Abel reached over and fingered a little o that was hanging from the brunettes lip. She grinned, thinking her friends excitement was as adorable as always.
"How long are you staying?" the brunette asked, then sipped from her Coke, which she also found quite tasty.
"You get me for one whole week." Abel grinned, spoonful of Spaghetti Os halfway to her mouth. "You excited?" Zac nodded vigorously.
"Very. And did you know that the muskrat can stay submerged under water for fifteen minutes at a time?"
"Good. As you should be." She looked at her friend, trying to figure out the change of subject. "No, Zac. I cant say I knew that." She grinned big, reaching out to poke Zac in the side. The brunette squirmed, glaring. An evil look swept through the green eyes, and Abel put her lunch on the coffee table, then reached for her friends bowl. Zac looked at her, blue eyes wide with surprise and curiosity.
"What are you doing? I was eating that!" The words were no sooner out of her mouth when ten fingers began to attack her sides unmercifully. "Ugh!" she exclaimed, reeling back against the arm of the couch, trying to avoid her attacker, to no avail.
Abel was laughing wildly. Aure jumped up and began to bark at the ruckus from the couch. He watched as his master was attacked, his ears flopping with every body-shaking bark.
"No fair! No fair!" Zac yelled, finally falling to the floor in her attempt to get away from the seeking fingers. Tears were running down her cheeks from laughing so hard.
"What do ya mean, no fair?" the blonde laughed, following her friend to the floor, straddling her longer body, fingers digging into Zacs ribs and stomach.
"You . . . cheated . . . squirt!" Zac gasped between laughter. The blonde stopped for a second.
"Squirt?!" Her voice was filled with incredulity. Zac grinned, nice and big. "Grr." Abel began her attack again, this time Zac fighting back, her own fingers finding all of the blondes ticklish spots.
Screams and laughter could be heard outside the cabin, a curious fox quickly dashing back into the woods as a shrill bark accompanied the laughter.
After more than an hour of tickle fight, Zac lay on the floor, her body wrapped around that of her Spinney. The blonde laid her head on the brunettes arm, snug as a bug in a rug. She was running her fingers through the sleeping Aures fur. He was curled up against her stomach.
Zac reached an arm over Spinneys waist and ran her hand down the length of her dogs back.
"Hes so cute," the blonde said, her voice quiet. For a moment, just a very strange moment, she felt like Aure was a baby being watched over by two very proud parents. It was slightly unsettling, yet comforting, somehow.
"Yes he is," Zac said quietly in Spinneys ear. She loved the feel of the blondes warm back against her front, and had missed it. She hadnt felt it since the week in December before the Cohens arrived. "Hes a good boy."
"He seems to really love you." Abel caught Zacs hand in hers, and held it, resting on Aures side.
"I love him. He keeps me company." Zac brought Spinneys hand up and studied the fingers, shorter than her own, but strong and capable all the same. She compared their length to her own, seeing that hers dwarfed that of the blonde.
"You have big hands," Abel said, also noting their hands. She felt Zac nod, the brunettes chin resting against her shoulder. "Strong." Able ran a fingertip over some scars that ran along the back of it. "Soft," she whispered, tracing the faint, white lines with a nail. "What are these from?"
Zac shrugged. "Who knows? Different stupid things, I guess. Cuts, scrapes." Blue eyes focused on a very faint scar right in the center of the top of Spinneys left hand. "Whats this from?" She ran a fingertip over it. She loved how smooth the blondes skin was. So unbelievably soft. She could touch it all day.
"Oh," Abel chuckled at the memory. "One time when I was like five, my mom was ironing real quick before work and dropping me off at school. I was standing there at the ironing board, barely able to see over the thing, and put my hand down. She was in a hurry, and didnt notice, zoom!" She moved her hand through the air. "Ran right over it. Burned me." She raised her hand, looking at the slightly raised skin, now only about the size of a bb. At one time it had been the size of a nickel.
"Yeah. It hurt. I remember that pretty good." She smiled. "My mother got so mad at me."
"Why?" Zac took the hand in hers again, bringing the scar to her eyes for a closer inspection.
"Because it made us late. She felt bad later, but at the time she was just concerned with getting us out the door on time."
Zac gently wrapped her fingers around the hand, bringing it to her lips, and lightly kissing the 15-year-old scar. "All better." She smiled down at Spinney, who was already smiling up at her. "I like your mom."
"Good. She likes you." Abel took her hand back, surprised at the slight heaving in her stomach at the light brushing of lips against her skin. She looked at the scar, and for the strangest second, it did feel better, even though it hadnt hurt in years. Shaking her head to clear it, she concentrated on where their conversation was going.
"Im still not sure if your dad likes me," the brunette said shyly. She began tracing a natural part in Aures fur, the pup sighing contentedly in his sleep and flopping over to his side.
"Sure he does." Green eyes watched with rapt attention as the long fingers of her friend played in the golden fur. "I dont know if he is quite sure what to make of you." She grinned. "But I assure you he likes you. Believe me, hes a cheapskate. If he didnt like you, he never would have let mom spend all that money on you for Christmas."
"That was very nice of them," Zac said quietly, her voice almost wistful. "I really wish I had known my mom."
Abel twisted in the brunettes arms until she was resting on her back, looking up into the beautiful face of her friend. "Do you remember anything about her?" she asked gently, taking Zacs hand into her own. Zac shook her head sadly.
"Not much. I remember she had the prettiest eyes."
"Were they like yours?" Abel asked, looking into the blue depths. "Because I have to tell you, Zac. I think you have the most beautiful eyes Ive ever seen." She smiled, enjoying the one she got in return.
"Thank you, Spinney. Yes, I think they were like mine. My father had brown eyes I think." She thought for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah. But oh, theyd get so dark when he was mad." She shook her head at the memory. "He did that a lot."
"Got mad?" Zac nodded. "At you?"
"At whatever." Zac flopped over to her back, her hands clasped behind her head, staring at the beamed ceiling. "I used to go hide in this hole out in the woods. Id dug it years ago to play in."
"Did he ever hurt you?" Abel asked, her voice quiet. She so rarely got her friend to talk about her past or her family that she would do everything in her power to encourage her. Zac shrugged.
"I just kept my distance."
Abel watched her friend, seeing the play of emotions in her expressive eyes, and could see that the brunette was starting to retreat within herself. Okay, so theyd stay away from Bud Lipton.
"What about your mom? Tell me more." The blonde was glad when she saw a small, soft smile play at the edges of Zacs lips.
"She was pretty. Very kind. She used to be so nice to the animals around our house. We didnt live far from here. But there were other houses. She would feed the animals, or leave food out for them."
"I guess you inherited that, huh?" Zac turned to look at Spinney, seeing the smile in her gorgeous green eyes. She smiled back.
"You could be my very own Dr. Doolittle."
"Hes a veterinarian who talks to animals, and can understand what they say back to him."
Zac looked at her friend like she was nuts. "Is he crazy?" Abel giggled.
"No, you goof. Its just a story. And a movie, but started out as stories and I think a television series. I dont know. Thats just what you remind me of." Abel shrugged.
"I remind you of some crazy vet who thinks he can talk to animals?" Zac raised a brow, and received a poke in her side for the trouble. She grabbed it, wincing. Their tickle war had left her ribs sensitive.
"So what do you wanna do this week other than stay with me?"
Zac looked at her friend, smiling at the adorable face that grinned hopefully at her, as blonde lashes were batted. Too cute!
"I dont know. What do you want to do this week? And," She leaned up on her elbows, looking down at her friend. "Yes, I will stay with you."
"Yay!" Abel launched herself at Zac, pushing her back to the floor and giving her a massive hug.
Zac wrapped her arms around the feisty blonde, enjoying the feel of her smaller body against her own. The brunette had never really been much for affection or physical contact, but her Spinney had changed that and so many other things. Never had she waited so impatiently for the appearance of another human being. Always alone and adrift, Zac felt comfortable by herself, and actually preferred it.
"I gotta pee." Abel jumped up, extricating herself from Zac. She hurried up the stairs, a barking Aure at her heels. She grinned as she heard her friend call the dog back. Once behind the closed door, Abel took a deep breath.
She could still feel Zac with her, almost as if the brunette were standing beside her. The buzz was so strong it was almost disconcerting. She closed her eyes, absorbing the feeling. Even when shed been back at school, she had been able to feel her somehow. It was so strange, and the little blonde had the feeling that Jessica was trying to figure it out.
"Good luck, Jess," Abel muttered, unable to figure it out herself.
"Okay." Abel plopped down on the floor of her room, Zac sitting across from her. The blonde reached into her bag, and brought out one of two very heavy books. "This first one," She grunted as she managed to get it placed in the brunettes lap. "Is all about the last century. Things that have happened in Americas history."
Zac watched with rapt attention as the silver paper-covered book waited to be perused.
"We Interrupt This Broadcast," she read, and looked up at Spinney with confusion. "Broadcast?"
"Yeah. You know, like a radio? Or even television. See, when something huge happens, disasters, that kind of thing, theres usually a special report of some kind telling you about it." Abel leaned over and opened the cover of the large text. "This is a really cool book. See, it comes with these two CDs." She tapped their little envelope just inside the cover. "You can listen to the actual broadcasts as your read what happened."
Zac smiled, looking at her friend as she grinned from ear to ear. The brunette didnt totally understand this, but could see how excited her friend was.
"Okay. How does it work?"
"Well, hang on." Abel reached into the bag again and dug out the second book. "This one is on modern inventions. You know, things that have come about within the last hundred years or so. Cell phones," she brought her own off its place on her belt. "Computers, different cars, telephones, all of it." She gave Zac a sweet smile, and reached over to brush some strands of hair behind the taller girls ear. "I figure its about time we get you into the twenty-first century." She was about to turn toward her desk when she heard Zacs voice.
"Spinney? Did you know that muskrats make their houses out of bulrushes, weeds and packed mud?" Abel took in the wide, excited eyes and the flushed features of excited knowledge. "And," she continued, "They have a separate sleeping thingy for each member of the family. Pretty cool, huh!?"
Abel smiled, completely and utterly charmed.
"Thats very cool, Zac. Youve been reading from your zoology book again, havent you?" The brunette nodded, looking slightly shy, but still excited. Abel felt a wave of affection rush through her, stepped back over to her friend, and wrapped her arms around Zacs shoulders in a massive hug. "Good."
She sat at her desk, laptop open and booting as she ruffled through her psych papers. She had a paper due, and decided to do some work. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Zac laid out on her bed on her stomach, legs bent at the knees and ankles crossed. Her calves were swinging slowly back and forth. Green eyes scanned up the long frame to see the yellow and black headphones on the brunettes ears, and the Broadcast book open in front of her.
Zac was slowly turning the page, eager to see what happened with the Hindenburg in 1937. She had never heard of such a thing, like a huge balloon lifting into the air. She knew of airplanes, but . . .
She stopped, looking up, pressing her fingers against the headphones to hear even better as the reporter began to talk of the voyage of the Hindenburg, and how it burst into flames, falling to the ground, and killing thirty-five people. And he be began to actually cry!
"Its a terrific crash . . . Theres smoke and theres flames . . . The fires are crashing to the ground . . . Oh the humanity!"
Zac could feel the sting behind her lids as her own emotions rose with the young radio reporters. She quickly turned the page to see Pearl Harbor Under Attack. Having no clue what Pearl Harbor was, she began to read as the voice in her ear explained what happened on December 7, 1941.
Tears began to fall slowly down her cheeks as she listened to the tin-voiced reporter tell the country of the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian base.
Abel heard the soft sound of a sniffle, and looked over her shoulder. She saw tears flowing down Zacs face and hurried over to the bed.
"Sweetie, oh, Zac." She sat down next to her and put her hand on her back. "Whats wrong?" Bright blue eyes looked up at her, made electric by the upset.
"We were attacked," she cried, lower lip trembling. "And then the thing blew up, and the reporter guy was so upset. And then we attacked on D-Day, then President Roosevelt died." She was crying now.
"Oh, honey." The blonde took her friend into her arms, and let her sob. These were world events she knew that the taller girl had never heard of, so it was almost as if it was happening for the first time for her. "Do you want me to turn it off?"
"No!" Zac looked at her with big eyes. "No, I want to know."
"Okay." Abel brushed back ebony hair, and grabbed a Kleenex off her nightstand. "Here." The brunette took the tissue and wiped at her eyes. With one last look shared, Abel headed back to her computer, keeping a careful eye on her friend.
Zac slowly turned the pages, eyes wide. Her face was a mass of expression. Sometimes she smiled and outright laughed, and then sadness would overtake her beautiful face again.
Abel had turned to her computer screen, computer glasses firmly on her nose, and was reading over what she had already written when she squeaked in surprise. Suddenly a picture of a very dead student was before her.
"Look, Spinney," Zac said, pointing. "How sad. Is Kent State a good school?" she asked. The blonde looked at the picture of the massacre from 1970.
"Oh, uh, dont know, Zac. Ive never been there."
Blue eyes scanned the page again, such compassion filling them. "Sad," she said softly, and Abel put her hand on the brunettes forearm.
"Yes, it is. Its part of our history. From what I understand, the Vietnam war was a time of conflict in America. Lots of young people hated it."
"Why?" Zac plopped down on the floor next to Abels chair, still flipping through the pages.
"Im not sure. I think mainly because they felt the Vietnam war was primarily political for the United States, and we had no right to interfere in the Vietnamese conflict. Especially once our boys over there started dying. It was kind of a loss of innocence for the country, I think." Abel stared at her computer screen, lost in thought. "My Uncle Eddie was lost by a sniper in the war," she said softly.
"Im sorry, Spinney."
"Nah. I didnt know him. He died before I was born, but I know it affected my dad a lot. They were pretty close I think."
"Wow." The brunette leaned back against the side of Spinneys chair, closing her eyes when she felt fingers begin to run through her hair. She released a soft sigh, reveling in the contact.
Abel turned back to her paper, hand absently caressing the long, dark strands. So beautiful.
Abel woke suddenly, not sure why. She opened her eyes and looked around the moon-soaked room. A branch was scraping lightly against the window as it was blown by the wind.
Taking inventory of her body, she felt the warmth along her back and thighs, knowing that it was Zacs body pressed to her own. She gently ran a fingertip over the larger hand that was draped over her side. Sighing deeply, she snuggled her body further back into the brunettes, absorbing its warmth and softness. The taller girl sighed in her sleep, and wrapped her arm fully around the blondes waist.
Abel stared out the window, a soft smile caressing her lips. The moon was bright overhead, and for a moment she had the urge to run outside and dance in its radiance. Deciding against it, she turned her thoughts to her friend instead.
Laying with Zac in her bed made the little blonde realize just how much she had missed her. She had missed the brunettes touch, her voice, her laughter, and the soft trust in her startling blue eyes. She had missed the innocence that radiated through Zac and made Abels heart melt. So much Zac had missed out on, yet she seemed remarkably well balanced despite, or even perhaps because of it.
She loved Zacs purity, yet her evil streak that showed itself in the times that the brunette had shoved snow down Abels sweater the previous winter, and how during their time out in the woods earlier that day, Zac had raced with Abel, only to tackle her to the ground.
Green eyes closed as she remembered the feeling that had coursed through her body when Zac was on top of her, her wrists pinned above her head. The unexpected urgency that had filled her, and settled down south. Seeing Zacs flushed face above her own, those blue eyes blazing with the excitement of their play. The way Zacs breath had caressed her face as they had stared at each other.
"God," Abel whispered, not sure what to do with these feelings that were beginning to wash over her. She wasnt entirely sure what these feelings were. They just were. She knew she loved Zac dearly, and Zac was the best, dearest friend she ever had. But what was nagging at her? Why did it hurt so bad to think of leaving the brunette to go back to school in a few days?
The hoot of an unseen owl answered her silent questions, and made Abel sigh again. She felt no more enlightened.
"No, no. Like this. Hold it straight out from your body, Spinney. Yeah. Rigid like that. Theres no thrust involved, just patient swaying. There you go. Just like that."
"I got it! I got it! Look at it go!"
Zac laughed, pleased to see the large trout flinging itself at the end of Spinneys line.
"Reel it in, Spinney!" she called out, walking up behind the blonde, and placing her hands on the girls hips to keep her grounded. The fish was large, and certainly struggling. Aure stood on the bank of the lake barking his little golden head off.
"Oh, that was sweet!" Abel squealed, bringing the dangling fish to the shore. Zac quickly cut the line, and set the fish in the cooler that the Cohens had given her for Christmas.
"You did real good, Spinney." She grinned big, proud of her new fishing protégé. "Now, watch the master at work." She gave the blonde a nice, big toothy smile, and baited her dads old pole. Abel watched, grossed as Zac impaled the squirming worm to the end.
"That is so nasty," she muttered. She wondered how on earth her friend did any of this wilderness stuff.
"Eh, you get used to it." Line baited, Zac made a fantastic cast, her baited hook making a small plop in the still water.
"Beautiful," Abel said, stepping up beside Zac and placing her hand at the small of the brunettes back. She watched, both of them breathless as they waited for the tell tale sign of bubbles.
Aure watched, muscles taut as he waited to see what his mistresses were watching for, a growl ready in his throat.
"Shh, Aure," Zac whispered, waiting for that perfect moment. The pup whined quietly, but obeyed. "Here it comes," she mumbled, slowly reeling in the line. "Come to mamma."
The fish, large and lively, whipped out of the water, body flailing as droplets of water sprayed across the surface of the water.
"Go you!" Abel clapped wildly as she watched her friend reel in the fish, putting it with the much smaller one she had caught in the cooler. Zac turned to her, blue eyes shining. "I am impressed." The blonde put a hand to her hip, grinning up at the taller girl.
"As you should be. Im the queen of fish." Zac matched Abels pose, daring the squirt to challenge her claim.
"Hey, who am I to question that one? Go you." Abel smirked, making Zac frown.
"What? Arent you impressed?"
"I already told you I was."
Zac eyed her, seeing the grin that was ready to peek out at any moment. "Uh huh. Just for that your next lesson will be in cleaning said fish." She grinned, pulling her knife out of her boot, and handing it to Abel handle first.
The girls laid on the floor, having moved the coffee table out of the way. Theyd gotten terribly burned while fishing, and now didnt want to move. Abel readjusted herself, head laying on Zacs shoulder, arm draped across her stomach.
"I like that," Zac said, pointing to the car on the television screen. They were watching a commercial for the new BMW on the E! channel.
"I could most definitely handle one of those," Abel agreed, watching as the car was driven across a rain-washed street. "Ive always wondered why they wet the streets down before they shoot commercials for cars."
"Maybe because the lights reflect really well."
"Hmm. Maybe so."
The reporter came back on for E! New Live, talking about a new coffee table book of scenery that was being published by Little Brown for photographer Laurel Gleason.
"Laurel is here with us today. Nice to meet you, Laurel."
"You, too, Amber. Thanks for inviting me," the woman with the short blonde hair said, shaking the offered hand.
"So, youve done books of celebrity portraits before,"
"So why did you switch to nature?" The dark haired reporter had the book in her lap and was flipping through the pages.
"Well, we came back to Boston so my partner could attend a funeral, and decided to take in the scenery of the east coast."
"By partner of course you mean renowned heart surgeon Caden Lodge."
"That would be the one." Laurel smiled, her green eyes bright with pride. "So, I decided to put it all together in a book."
Abel watched, looking at the pictures that were shown, thinking how much Zac would probably enjoy that.
"I am totally going to get you that book," she said, sitting up to get a better look at it.
"Why?" Zac also sat up, resting her chin on Spinneys shoulder.
"Because. It looks like pictures of lots of places youd like. You know, places with lots of dirt and mud, and animal dung, ouch!" The blonde found herself pinned to the floor with tickling fingers digging into her sides. "Uncle! Uncle!" she cried between gasps of laughter. Zac let her up and nudged her playfully.
"You think Im only into dirty places, huh?"
"Well I dont know. Are you?" Abel met her gaze.
"I, um," Zac turned back to the screen. Spinney was sitting very close to her, her eyes so beautiful and clear. She loved to look into those green eyes, but suddenly she felt a wave of nervousness go through her. She had to look away, and didnt know why.
Abel also turned back to the screen.
Was I just flirting with her? She pondered this, wondering what the hell was wrong with her.
"Lets take a bath, Zac," she said, getting to her feet. Her arms were sore from their fishing expedition that day, and she thought that the soothing water could help to relax her, as well as cool her sunburned body off with cooler temperatures.
Ten minutes later they sat in the huge tub, Jacuzzi jets on full power. The soothing movement helped their skin, and both relaxed. Abel sat with her head back, eyes closed, and arms resting out along the back of the tub. Zac was looking at her.
Zac watched the way the water rolled around Spinneys shoulders, and she could just barely see the tops of the blondes bra-clad breasts. Her gaze rose to find she was staring straight into curious green. Quickly looking away, she failed to see the green gaze that roamed over her own shoulders, face and exposed breasts. The silk that covered them was near see-through from the water.
Abels eyes scanned the smooth skin, strong shoulders that led to a long, graceful neck. She took in Zacs face, uninhibited by hair now, as it was water slicked. The angular features, straight, proud nose and full lips, which she realized were moving.
"What?" the blonde asked, feeling eternally stupid.
"I asked if you wanted to do that thing you promised," Zac said. She had noticed her friend staring at her, and it made her feel warm in the most interesting places. She was so confused.
"Oh. Um, right." Abel readjusted her position, spreading her legs, and inviting Zac to back up and sit between them. She felt the brunettes body scoot closer, water swishing around them from the movement. The blonde was presented with the smooth expanse of her friends back, and she brought her hands up.
She ran them down the warm skin, only hindered by the bra straps. "Beautiful," she said, nearly a reverent whisper.
Zac closed her eyes, the feeling of Spinneys hands on her skin made her head spin. She felt waves of warmth spread throughout her body, making it tingle.
Abel began to massage the skin of the brunettes shoulders, feeling the muscles relax under her fingertips. The skin was smooth and silky from the water and Zacs own natural softness.
Zac moaned slightly when she felt the muscle of her shoulders being pinched, her head dropping.
"Like that?" Abel asked quietly. She smiled at the nod she got. Her eyes dropped to the vertebrae in Zacs spine, then took in a few scars that littered the otherwise perfect skin. She brought her hand up and brushed the long, wet strands of Zacs hair over the taller girls shoulder so she could have better access.
Zac started a bit when the wet strands brushed across her nipple. The feeling sent shivers down her spine, and she tucked that away to dig out later. What was it about?
"Youre tense, Zac," Abel said, her voice a whisper in Zacs ear. The brunette gasped slightly from the sensation that caused. She could not speak, but instead nodded. "Well change that."
Doubtful, Zac thought. She felt her body becoming more and more keyed up with every touch. What the hell is happening to me?
For Abels part, she was enjoying the feel of Zacs skin immensely. She thought Zac was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen, and the fact that she was allowing such openness with her amazed her. If she put her mind to it, Zac could have any one person she wanted. She wondered just what Zac did want.
"Hmm?" was nearly purred.
"Do you want to date?" Abel dug her fingers into a particularly sensitive spot and Zac winced. "Oh, sorry, sweetie."
"Yeah. You know, find some cute guy and go on a date with him. Have you ever had sex?" Abel cocked her head slightly to the side, studying the woman who sat between her legs. She felt Zacs hand wrap itself around the underside of her calf, the thumb lightly brushing over the water-soft skin.
"No," Zac said quietly. "Ive never thought about it. Dating, that is."
The blonde smiled. "And sex?" Zac shrugged.
"Whod want to do that with me?" She moaned again as the magic hands roamed down to massage on either side of her spine.
"Probably just about anyone. Youre gorgeous," she said matter-of-factly. She continued down Zacs back, her eyes lingering on the bra strap. She considered unsnapping it, knowing it would be easier to massage that way, but felt strange about it. She abandoned the idea.
"Oh." Zac laughed nervously. "Thank you. I think youre gorgeous, too, Spinney." She looked shyly over her shoulder, a small smile playing across her lips.
"Aww, youre so sweet." Abel snaked her arms through Zacs, clasping her hands just under Zacs breasts. She pulled the taller girl back against her, reveling in the closeness.
Zac was surprised by the move, but went with it. She closed her eyes, sighing at the contact. Spinneys skin was so warm and soft. Unbelievably soft. She felt Spinneys hands lock under her breasts, and felt a brand new wave of heat wash over her. It almost made her feel light-headed.
"Would you ever have sex?" Abel asked, resting her chin on Zacs shoulder. She felt the shrug.
"I dont know. It would depend on the situation and who it was. Besides," she said shyly. "I wouldnt have a clue what to do anyway."
The blonde smiled, closing her eyes and inhaling the smell of Zacs hair.
"Have you ever kissed anyone?"
"No. Have you had sex, Spinney?" Zac was nearly holding her breath, not sure she wanted the answer. She had this strange feeling of almost being territorial with her petite friend. The thought of anyone touching her made her feel angry. And . . . jealous?
"Yes." Abels answer was soft. She felt guilty about admitting this for some reason. She was sexually responsible and certainly not promiscuous, but still . . .
"Do you enjoy it?" Why are you asking this!?
"Yes. Its nice."
"Do you have a boyfriend, Spinney?"
Abel was surprised by the timbre of Zacs voice. She almost sounded as though about to cry. Brows drawn, she answered simply. "No." She almost wondered if she had had one, would she have told the truth?
Zac smiled, feeling better as she snuggled in closer to Spinneys chest. It was usually the blonde who snuggled into her, so she enjoyed this turnabout. She could feel the softness of Spinneys breasts against her back, the nipples grazing the bare skin. She felt a flush start from her toes that moved steadily up to her scalp. She sighed contentedly.
Zac led Abel through the woods, hand in hand, enjoying the last day before the blonde headed back to school.
"Its so peaceful up here," Abel said, inhaling the coming spring.
"Yes it is."
"Do you have enough food? What about dog food?"
The brunette grinned, squeezing Spinneys hand, then entwining their fingers. "Were fine, Spinney. Honest. We wont starve."
"Meanie." The blonde lightly punched her friend in the arm. "I am so going to miss you, Zac." She stopped them, turning so she was looking at Zac. "A lot."
"Ill miss you, too." Zac looked down into the beautiful face of her friend. "So pretty," she whispered, bringing a hand up to lightly trace the fine features.
"Thank you," Abel said, closing her eyes and relishing the feel of the soft fingertip on her skin. Zac traced her eyebrows, the shape of her nose and forehead, barely grazing across her bottom lip, just a butterfly touch.
Zac dropped her hand, and sighed. "I hate when you leave." Slowly green eyes opened and looked up into the troubled blue.
"I know." Abel reached up and cupped the side of Zacs face. "I hate it, too. I wish so badly I could just pack you in my luggage and take you back with me." She smiled, but it was sad. It had seemed that the hum between them had grown even stronger and more potent over the past week. Abel felt it down to the marrow of her bones. She knew that leaving Zac behind this time would hurt badly.
"Wouldnt that make a funny picture?" Zac closed her eyes, leaning into the touch. "But I understand."
So come with me! Abel wanted so badly to scream those words, but knew it would be to no avail. She would never force Zac out of her safety zone, no matter how badly she may want to.
That night as they lay in bed, Abel could not sleep. She rested on her side facing Zac, and stared at the calm, relaxed face of sleep. She studied the way all of the brunettes features worked together to form a beautiful picture. So wonderful. So amazingly sweet. Abel felt honored to know this woman, and even more so to be cared for so deeply by her.
Blue eyes opened and met Abels gaze. No words were said. Zac studied Spinneys face, all the features of it, the color of her eyes, the way the blonde bangs fell over her forehead. She studied the way hands were curled up under Spinneys chin. The way her lips rested together.
Abel took in the finely chiseled cheekbones and proud jaw. The delicately arched brows, dark as midnight. The blue eyes, turned gray from the moonlight. The smooth, unlined skin of Zacs forehead. Tiny lines peeking out at the corners of her eyes ahead of their time from continual exposure to the sun.
Their eyes met again, and Abel felt herself being drawn, pulled. It was like an invisible force. She was about to close her eyes in anticipation when reality hit her.
Starting slightly, she swallowed. Turning to her other side, she scooted back into Zacs warm, inviting embrace, and fell asleep.
The last of Abels bags were put into the back of her Jetta. She turned to Zac, hands buried in her back pockets. The brunette and Aure waited patiently for their goodbyes.
"Ill miss you," the blonde said quietly, walking over to them. She felt large paws on her thigh, and looked down to see a very excited puppy vying for her attention. "You, too, little one." She bent down and hugged the dog, allowing a few licks to her cheek. "Ill see you, little Aure. Though you probably wont be so little by then, huh?" Grinning, she stood again.
"Ill miss you, too, Spinney," Zac said, her eyes so sad. It nearly broke Abels heart.
"Come here." She pulled the taller girl in for a lingering hug, sighing with utter contentment. The warmth of Zac, the smell of her, the comfort. All of it nearly too much for her fragile emotions.
"Please be careful," Zac said into the blondes hair. She felt her nod.
"I will. You too, okay?"
Abel pulled away, her green eyes swimming. She smiled through her unshed tears. Leaning up, she placed a soft kiss on Zacs lips. The contact lasted no more than a few moments, but both would file it away in their hearts to get them through the next few months.
Abel pulled out of the dirt drive, glancing back in her rearview mirror. She saw Zac standing there, Aure at her feet. The brunette brought her hand up, placing two fingers on her lips, looking amazed. The blonde smiled, and turned back to the road.
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