Disclaimer: Oi! Didn't your mother teach you not to play with others things without asking? No? Naughty little heathen. Well these are mine, and my mother didn't teach me how to share. Copyright 2003

Love/sex/subtext disclaimer: Ok, for those who have been living under a ROCK, this story contains romantic and sexual relations between consenting women. If this offends you, I shall refrain from making caustic remarks about your narrow world view. (It just kills you we are having this much fun without you doesn't it?)

Age thing: This is for external use only! Not for use by children under the age of 18 or while handling heavy machinery or while playing under power lines (and what the hell are you doing playing under power lines! Cut that out!)

Language Disclaimer: Some of the words chosen by this author and contained within this piece of fiction may be of a disturbing nature to some of the reading audience, and we wish to advise any who may be upset by this language in order to maintain a pleasant reading experience… In other words, NO SHIT SHERLOCK!

Toaster warning:No toasters were harmed during the making of this story.

Alcohol Disclaimer: Lots and lots of alcohol was abused during the making of this… what? Oh INthe story? Well duh.

Dedications: First of all thank you Trin for not only being a loyal fan and a merciless beta reader but also for this wonderful disclaimer. Dear M, I will always be your dreamweaver even if it seems like it is taking me forever. Also want to thank the rest of my beta readers for all their help in making this possible. And finally to my lovely wife, thanks for always being there and letting me know I can do this.
Feed the bard at kaysladyj@hotmail.com.)

Spring Break

Chapter 3

Becca paused, the liquor bottle poised in her hand. A cut glass tumbler partially filled with ice sat beneath its chrome spout. Eyebrows furrowed together, she whispered to herself, "A triple???  What???"

Placing the bottle carefully back on the tray at the top of the bar she walked over to the door of the aircraft to ask Jessie to clarify her last comment.  Becca was about to call out when her words were stopped from leaving her lips by the sight that met her eyes.

For heaven's sake what's this all about?

Her confusion turned from shock to amusement as she viewed Shannon holding Jessie suspended in the air by her collar.

A few moments past as she watched Jessie try to extricate herself from her taller friend's hold only to just go limp and resign herself to the fact that she couldn't figure out a way to get down.

Oh this is just tooooooo funny.

Bouncing down the stairs Rebecca tried not to giggle as she jogged across the tarmac toward the two blondes.

Oh how the little one hates to be picked up, Becca chuckled under her breath.  I'm going to have a fun with this.

Sidling up next to Shannon, Becca placed her hands on her hips and in the most petulant tone she could muster looked up and asked, "Jessica! Jessica… I want to get goin' ….now y'all get down from there this very minute. Ya heea?"

"You are kidding me, right?" came Jessie's surprised reply.   "And why is it that all of a sudden you sound like Daisy Mae from bf no where who has seven brothers who all have the middle name Bob?"

Becca laughed in the lighthearted fashion that was all her own as she quickly took in the details of this little tableau.  Her eyes lighting first on the long fingers that were nervously clutching Jessie's shirt, then to the "deer caught in headlights" look of Shannon's stare, and finally to the comical sight of Jessie hanging like a rag doll unable to get down.

Becca waved a well- manicured hand in front of Shannon's vacant eyes.

 "Jessie, honey, what is going on hear and why does Sha look like that?"

"Bec, our little Shannon is afraid of flying.  When she saw that Victoria was flying the plane…. well…." Jessie shrugged while she spoke to Becca with a soft tone, trying not to further agitate the panicked blonde.

"And Elvis has left the building," Becca commented.  Nodding knowingly, "I see. We have a little panic attack going on hmmmm?"

"You don't understand…she can't work a toaster…nope can't work a toaster…" Shannon mumbled.

Turning more towards Shannon, Becca gently traced her tightened jaw with a seductive finger then said, "Honey, that don't mean nothin'.  Hell I can't work a toaster either but I can sure cook, if you know what I mean."

Becca wiggled her eyebrows up and down. Jessie snickered in spite of herself as she watched Becca's antics.

"Darlin, everything is gonna be ok. Now let's just put down little Jessie real easy, that's it," She said in smooth southern tones as Jessie slowly descended to the pavement.  "Nice and slow. Good girl," Becca praised Shannon.

Simultaneously both Becca and Jessie let out a sigh of relief.

"Ya know, Sha, I won't make you go into that big ole nasty plane if you don't want to," Becca cajoled using her best 'butter wouldn't melt in my mouth' tone.

Frightened blue eyes met cool brown. "You won't?"

"Shoot no, darlin', I would never force you to do anything you didn't want to.  But it sure is a shame…. I mean about the trip and all."

She was glad as she watched confusion replace panic in Shannon's eyes before the frightened woman replied, "What do you mean?"

Becca shrugged. "Well if we don't fly we won't be able to go at all.  Too late to get train passage.  Take too long to drive, I mean by the time we got there we would just have to turn around and head back.  Nope it's
a damn shame."

Shannon, who had become much more lucid since releasing Jessie simply said, "Oh."

"Yeah, and after all the trouble Victoria and her parents went to.  You know this is also the first real vacation Jessie has been on since I've known her.  But," she shrugged, "can't be helped."

Shannon looked down at the ground unable to meet her friend's gaze.  She didn't want to disappoint everyone, hell she had been looking forward to this trip as much as anyone.  But…

"Hey!" Victoria called from the top of the stairs that led to the plane's plush interior, "What's going on?"

"Nothing!" Shannon called back to the surprise of both Jessie and Becca.

"Then hurry up and get aboard," Victoria replied and ducked back into the plane.

"I can do this... I can do this... I can do this," Shannon mumbled under her breath like a mantra.

"Ya know, darlin'," Rebecca began, "Ain't no firing squad in there.  You'll be ok. Jessie and I will see to it."

Shannon took a long deep breath and let it out slowly.  After a few more moments she finally squared her shoulders, lifted her chin, turned, and strode to the plane with great determination.

Becca stifled a chuckle as she watched the tall blonde board the plane. Leaning over to Jessie she whispered, "I wonder if she wants a blindfold and a last cigarette?"

Jessie playfully slapped Becca as they closely followed a shaky Shannon into the plane.

Victoria had leaned her long frame against the jam of the door leading to the state of the art cockpit.  Dark brows creased slightly as she watched a very grim Shannon take a seat.  Dark eyes looked up questioningly at Becca and Jessie as they entered.  Jessie walked over and knelt in front of Shannon speaking softly to her as Becca went to talk with Victoria.

"What's up Rebecca?" asked Victoria.

"Well, Shannon had a little panic attack outside…" Becca began.

"Shannon had a panic attack?" Victoria interrupted, "You're kidding around right?"

Becca shook her head, "Nope."

"We are talking about Shannon, right?  Our Shannon who surfs in shark infested waters and has been known to actually pet the beasts?  Our Shannon who put electronics in a cadaver so that it would buzz every time anyone touched it with a scalpel like that game Operation?  That Shannon?"

Becca shrugged. "It would seem our Shannon is afraid to fly and when she saw you were going to fly the plane…well …she just didn't take that little piece of information too well."

Dark brows arched high in surprise. "She has a problem with me??  Why?"



Becca noted that Victoria sounded hurt and she laid a hand on her shoulder in the way of comfort, "Not sure," a slight smile played around the edges of her lips "she kept saying something about a toaster."

Victoria shook her head and snickered,   "One bagel.  It was ONE BAGEL! Actually, to be totally accurate, it was only half of a bagel that got stuck in a toaster and caught on fire.  Really, how was I to know that they made toasters especially to accommodate your typical bagel?  I admit I was totally ignorant to the fact that a thin slice toaster could become a fire hazard once a fat bagel half was put into that deceptively slender slot.  I mean it looked like it would fit.  Becca, do I deserve to serve hard time for it? I mean there were no injuries associated with this little accident."

"Damn, that happened freshman year, and I haven't torched another kitchen appliance since.  Ok, so it did billow smoke like the California brush fires and our room did smell of burnt croutons for weeks, but seriously, am I gonna be paying all my life for that ONE BAGEL?"

Becca could not help laughing out loud at hearing Victoria carry on about the unforgettable flaming bagel incident.  Victoria scowled, trying to pin the out of control Rebecca with her patent icy glare. Her dark eyes narrowed at the failure of Becca to contain her over exuberant amusement. This only led Becca to laugh even harder, tears now streaming down her face.   Grabbing her sides she put up her finger to stop Victoria's gaze. Unable to speak, she finally collapsed helplessly into the nearest chair.

Damn my evil eye must be on the blink, Victoria shrugged before shaking her head at Becca and striding over to where Shannon was sitting.

She tapped Jessie's shoulder and the two women smoothly switched places.  Victoria placed her hands lightly on Shannon's knees and looked up into unsure eyes.

Standing back Jessie watched the interaction between Victoria and Shannon.  Victoria, so tall and dark, who normally would put forth a formidable persona, was stroking Shannon's arms gently while talking softly to her.

Jessie continued to watch Victoria.  Was this the same woman who had caused her months of anguish when she found out she was gay?  Was this the same woman she watched almost reduce a professor to tears with a mere look and a few sharp words?  Was this the same cold and callous woman who had been dubbed the Ice Queen behind her back?

When had she forgotten how kind and tender this tall woman could be?  Isn't that the first face of Victoria she had met?  Isn't that why Victoria's rejection had not only cut her to the quick but also totally surprised her?

Jessie stared as long tapered fingers caressed Shannon's hands.  Her short-sleeved pullover revealed her smoothly muscular arms.  Her tall lean figure crouched small before her frightened friend made the usually intimidating woman seem fragile in a strange way.

How could she have forgotten just how vulnerable Victoria could be?   Hadn't she held her while she cried the last time they were at her parents' home?  Hadn't she been incensed that they treated Victoria little better than the hired help?

Mirrored aviator glasses pulled high on her head kept her long onyx tresses from obscuring Victoria's symmetrical, angular features.  Her dark eyes held tender warmth in them as she gazed into Shannon's pale ones.   Right now, to Jessie's surprise, she was finding the whole package Victoria was presenting very attractive.

Quickly she shook her head.  What are you thinking, Jessica Ann?!!  If Becca knew she would have me committed.

She glanced over at Becca, relieved to see that she was still incapacitated by whatever Victoria had said. She was not looking Jessie's way at all.  Sighing in relief she turned away to be sure that Becca would not see her eyes before she had settled these odd emotions.

Suddenly Victoria stood, quickly unfolding her long frame.

"Ok, ladies, let's get this show on the road." Victoria smiled as she headed to the windows and began pulling down the shades.  "So just buckle up and leave the flying to us."

Becca groaned, "Bad humor does not become you, Vic."

Victoria giggled as another blind was snapped shut.  She shrugged. "Oh well, I tried."

"Why are you closing all the shades?" Jessie puzzled out loud while adjusting her seat belt more tightly around her midsection.

"Well," Victoria explained, "most times the hardest thing about flying is the take offs and the landing.  I figure if we close the shades until we are at altitude, it will be easier for Sha.  Once I say we are ok, you all can unbuckle, walk around the cabin, and open them back up.  It's going to be a gorgeous day so the view should be spectacular."

"Well sounds good to me," Becca piped up as she strapped herself into the plush seat.

"Good," Victoria replied as she finished snapping down the last shade.  She crossed back to the front of the extravagant aircraft and once again knelt in front of Shannon, and taking her hands, she said something to her that neither Jessie or Becca could hear.  Shannon just nodded mutely watching Victoria disappear into the cockpit with big blue bambi doe eyes.

Jessie looked over at Shannon who resembled a child being left alone at kindergarten on the first day of school.

"Sha?" Jessie spoke, breaking the silence carefully.

Shannon looked at Jessie, turning her head so slowly that the action looked mechanical.   Her pale eyes still reflected a carefully restrained panic.

"Yeah," was her flat answer.

"I was just thinking…" Jessie continued, "I did promise to sit on your lap all the way to Florida if that would help?  And besides you did want to kinda get your wings while we were up here."

Shannon looked at her confused.

"You did offer to join the mile high club with me." she paused and then continued, "Remember? We thought it would help keep your mind off the flight?  And I would finally qualify for that toaster oven I' ve always wanted."

Becca began to giggle again.  She watched Shannon blush beet red as the realization of what Jessie was saying began to penetrate her fear.  Jessie looked into Shannon's eyes as the most engaging and seductive smile crossed her sensuous lips.

Nice touch, little one, very nice touch, Becca thought as Jessie shamelessly flirted with the now much calmer and much redder Shannon.

Taking the bait Shannon replied, "Why, Jessie, I didn't know you cared.  And here I was worried about all those other women."  Shannon winked.

 "Well I do care," she winked in return, "but to be honest I'm not sure how to go about it.  I mean I've never done anything like this before." A decidedly demure nature being prominently displayed by the little blonde.

Oh puhlease…. who are they trying to kid? thought Becca as she viewed the shameless flirting that was going on before her amused eyes.

"Geeeezeee, no one is this innocent.  All you have to do is go into the restroom and do your thing when we are up in the air," Becca piped up.

Both women looked over at her, a bemused silence filled the cabin.

"Wwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaattttttt?"  Becca asked with a wink and a smile.

With that all three girls began to laugh and no one noticed that the plane had begun to taxi down the runway.  Before Shannon could react, the plane gained speed and smoothly rose into the pristine blue skies.  Shannon's heart skipped a beat as she felt the tires leave the safety of solid ground behind, but the sensation of accelerating skyward was not as oppressive or stifling as she thought it would be.  To her surprise it felt more exhilarating than horrifying.  At first her fingers gripped the armrests so hard they turned white, but gradually, as she took deep breaths, her hands relaxed, and her fears receded.

Jessie and Becca watched the parade of changing emotions as they crossed the face of the tall blonde.  They were both relieved as they watched the discomfort and fear slowly drain away. A small smile tugged at the edges of her down turned lips.

Finally Victoria gave the all clear and the ladies quickly partook of all the amenities that the cabin had to offer.  Jessie went for the stereo, manipulating the knobs until the cabin filled with the smooth strains of her favorite jazz hits.  Becca headed to check out the generously stocked bar, while Shannon, herself, began to open the shades that covered the windows.

Upon unlatching the first shade and lifting it up the stunning beauty of endless blue skies generously dotted with billowy white clouds greeted her immediately.  Shading her eyes from the glaring sun she looked out on the patchwork of land that spread itself out beneath the gliding aircraft.  Fascinated, she continued to gaze out of the porthole until she felt a soft tap on her shoulder.

Grinning brightly she looked over to see sparkling brown eyes.  "How are you doing?" Victoria asked.

The bright smile faded instantaneous as Shannon grasped Victoria by the shirt in the same panicked manner that she had grabbed Jessie.

"Who's flying the PLANE?" she cried.

"Hey, hey… take it easy.  We're on autopilot, I just wanted to check on you." Victoria tried to remove Shannon's viselike grip from her shirt.  "Everything is alright, Sha, I'll go back to the cockpit right now. Ok?" Victoria soothed with velvet tones.

Shannon nodded and released Victoria's shirt and smoothed it out against her chest.  "Oh, sorry, Victoria," she mumbled, "Sorry."

Victoria lifted her down turned chin and looked into her blue eyes. "It's ok. Come on, Shannon, you already survived the hardest part, your first take off.  It's a beautiful day and we are going to make it to Florida way ahead of schedule, so just relax and enjoy the view," she smiled. "And I'll go back to the controls."

Shannon relaxed once again and a slight smile graced pink lips.  She nodded mutely as Victoria squeezed her shoulder and passed her, returning once more to the cockpit.

"Hey, Sha, you want a drink?" Becca called from behind the bar.

"God yes! " Shannon enthused walking to the bar to join Rebecca.

"How about you, Jess?" Becca asked.

"Uhhh…yeah yeah, sounds good," Jessie answered absently while she watched Victoria's sensuous form disappear into the cockpit once again.

"You ok?" Becca asked.

"Oh yeah, sure sure," she giggled trying to cover her unusual thoughts of her tall dark friend. She took the drink that was offered and started a conversation with Becca and Shannon about what they would do, and where they would go once they got to Florida.

The excited banter continued until the descent for refueling.  Jessie drew all the shades once again to keep Sha's discomfort down to a minimum. The landing went so smoothly that the contact of the landing gear on the runway was hardly felt.

Jessie was duly impressed by Victoria's expertise.  She watched as the tall brunette delegated responsibilities to various mechanics and technicians in much the same manner that she suspected her father would use in the boardroom of his company.  There was no questioning Victoria: she commanded respect no matter what hat she wore.  Inside she sneered at Victoria's parents for being so blind that they could miss just how vibrant and accomplished she truly was.  Yep, money can't buy love and it can't buy good sense either. That was painfully obvious.

As Victoria prepared for take off, Becca bopped in to ask if she could sit with Victoria and bring her up to speed on the plans that were being hatched behind her back so to speak.

Victoria was glad for the company.  Becca's excitement was contagious and though Victoria only smiled and nodded, the stoic woman could feel exhilaration mounting within her.  This was going to be much more fun than previously anticipated, and knowing that her parents would never approve of an outing with her friends only added to the excitement.

Oh yes, Daddy did know that she was going to the summer place for the spring break, but neither he nor Mother had any idea that she was bringing her friends.

Well, some things are better left unsaid, Victoria thought to herself.  And if they find out, who cares? It was worth all the grief her parents would give her to see the smiles on her friends, faces.  Especially the smile that graced Jessie's face.  Oh how I missed that smile and God knows I owe her for the way I acted.  Yep, I owe her big.

A huge smile crossed her normally reserved features thinking how poetic this was. The shameful way she treated Jessie was due to her parents and their narrow view of the world: now she was making it all up to Jessie at their expense.

Yep, that works for me… I know this won't make up for everything I put you through, Jessica, but I hope it's a start.

After awhile Jessie switched places with Becca and was heartily enjoying the beautiful view that was laid out before her, both inside and outside the aircraft.  Victoria was more animated then she had ever seen her.  Obviously flying was a secret passion of hers, part of that quiet little world of Victoria's that very few people were privy too.  As Jessie watched her, she knew she was seeing into a very personal place in that world, and she felt honored to be able to share in it.

While Jessie enjoyed all the interesting nuances of Victoria, Shannon and Rebecca spent their time totally engrossed in their conversation and their imbibing of the extensive inventory that the bar had to offer.

Shannon, having drank sufficient courage, summoned up the strength to half stagger, half walk up to the cockpit door. Poking her head in the doorway she asked if she could take her turn to sit in the cockpit with Victoria. This request Victoria answered with a resounding, "You sure can!  Just don't touch anything."

Jessie chuckled softly seeing Sha's obvious state of inebriation and made her way carefully past her, not wanting in anyway to upset her delicate emotional or physical balance.  Shannon nodded and then settled into the seat securing her belt in her lap.

She was frightened, but giddy at the same time. Victoria's skill, along with her gentle assurances, (and Jose Cuervo), had been a big part of her ability to take this huge step.

Shannon watched with great interest as Victoria expertly flew the plane, headset resting around her neck like a chocker on steroids. She spoke with confidence and authority into the mouthpiece in a strange language that consisted of words and numbers that Shannon could not understand, but she felt comforted by the fact that Victoria did.

Shannon smiled at herself and her fear of flying, and especially her panic at Victoria being the pilot.  She had lived with this brooding young woman for almost five years and had not seen her ever fail at anything she had attempted, why would flying be any different?

She chuckled at herself.  Well I guess I can let that flaming toaster issue rest.

Victoria asked, "What's so funny?"

"Oh nothing."

Victoria watched with her peripheral vision as Shannon settled into the seat.   Seeing her friend at ease filled her spirit with contentment. Shannon's trust in her abilities meant a lot to her.

She was also thrilled with the way the plane was responding to her commands.  She felt totally in her element.  Flying offered her the only real freedom she had ever known.  To be flying a precision machine on a beautiful day like this brought a pleasure to her very soul that was unparallel by anything else in her life.  Well maybe almost anything.

Victoria smiled. It was so seldom that she was truly happy, and today she was truly happy.  She was happy with the weather, a clear calm beautiful day. She was happy with the way the plane gracefully cut through the azure skies as they winged their way toward the promise of sunshine, white sandy beaches and bronzed bodies.  And she was also happy listening to Shannon's half inebriated babble.

As the time drifted away Victoria began to notice that the clouds on the horizon were becoming dark and menacing.  Squinting her eyes and trying to bring the sight closer, she caught an instant flash of light among the encroaching darkness

"Hey, Sha, why don't you go back and see what Jessica and Rebecca are plotting?" Victoria asked, making sure that her concern did not color her voice.  "I'm afraid of what those two would cook up if left alone too long."

"Yeah sure. So you want something to drink?" Shannon inquired.

"No, I'm good," Victoria returned as she watched Shannon leave the confines of the cockpit.

Once Shannon was out of earshot Victoria put on her headset and contacted the nearest tower for an updated weather report.  Once the report was received she realized, with a chill running down her back, that her flight plan had her flying right into the storm.

This will not do at all.

The plane was already beginning to hit some slight turbulence and Victoria asked for clearance to land at the nearest airstrip.  Clearance for her approach was granted and she told the girls to strap in for a landing.

The occasional pitching of the plane was making Shannon nervous all over again, and the unscheduled landing did nothing to settle her nerves.  Becca and Jessie shrugged it off as nothing, trying to calm an increasingly agitated Shannon.

"But what if there is something wrong with the plane?" Shannon whined.

"Geeze, Sha, there's nothing wrong with the plane. It's not like Vic told us to put our heads between our legs to kiss our asses goodbye.  She just said she had to land to check something out.  It's no biggie," Becca replied, trying to calm Shannon and herself at this point.

"She's right, Sha, I talked to Victoria and she said there''s nothing wrong at all.  Just something about checking the flight plan against the weather.  I don't know what it's all about but she didn't sound worried so why should we?  Besides we are almost there,"  Jessie said.  "And I for one can not wait."

Victoria placed the earpiece more snuggly against the side of her head.  She was having trouble hearing the tower but stated the plane's ID number through the increasing static and informed the tower they were ready for their final approach.  She also reported the increasing turbulence and the rapidly approaching storm front.

The dark clouds seemed to come from everywhere at once, closing in on the plane suddenly.  Strong wind shears were buffeting the small aircraft, and Victoria focused all her piloting skills on keeping the plane level and on its designated approach.

She waited for what seemed an eternity for the confirmation of her transmission from the tower.

"What is taking them so long?" she growled.

The plane was pitching and bucking like a wild bronco that Victoria desperately tried to reign in and control. She cursed the turbulence just as a bright flash of lightning filled the cockpit, blinding her.

To be continued in part 4

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