Jessie allowed her senses to embrace the unfamiliar sounds and smells of her surroundings before slowly opening her eyes.  She took in the nuances of the room in a sleepy haze before remembering where she was.  She looked over at a snoring Victoria and chuckled to herself.  Damn sleeping with her is like sleeping in a wind tunnel.  It’s a good thing I’m not a light sleeper otherwise I woul’ve been up all night.  I wonder how Shannon stands it? 

She took a moment to imagine the sounds that she listened to most of the previous night echoing through Victoria’s and Shannon’s condo while the tall brunette slept.  She chuckled softly so as to not disturb the slumbering friend beside her.  Boy, wait till I tell Becca, she’ll never believe it.

Without another thought Jessie rolled out of bed to go and visit Becca, who was sequestered in the room just down the hall.  To her surprise the moment her foot hit the floor her entire body cried out in agony.  With a loud thud she landed on the floor.

“SHIT!” she cried out as she instinctively grabbed her ankle and began rocking back and forth trying to ease the pain.

She looked up with tear filled eyes to see Victoria’s dark tussled head looking over the edge of the bed.

“What happened?”  Victoria croaked.

“It’s my damn ankle.  I forgot I twisted it last night.”

“You ok?” 

Still rubbing her effected ankle she grumbles, “Yeah, I guess.  Damn this hurts.   I thought it’d be better by now.”

“Where were you goin’ anyway?”  Victoria asked, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.

Jessie couldn’t help smiling at her friend, who right now resembled a sleepy three year old.  She paused and realized she had been asked a question.  “Ummmm……oh yeah, I was headed down to tell Becca that she’s right.”

Dark brows furrowed.  “Right?  Right about what?”

Smiling brightly, Jessi replied, “Becca always said I could sleep through a bomb blast, and now I know she’s right.”

Victoria cocked her head, a look of total confusion coloring her features.

“Vic, you snore like a freight train pulling out of the station with a heavy load.”  Jessie began to giggle as confusion was replaced by a look of complete and total horror.

“I do not!  Why would you say such a thing?” her aghast bedmate stuttered.

“OH YES, YOU DO…” Jessie assured her as her giggle began to grow into a chuckle.

“I do NOT.”

“YOU DO TO!”  At this point Jessie was laughing so hard she was rolling on the floor. 

Victoria could feel the color beginning to rise to her cheeks when she heard a knock at the bedroom door.

“Come in!”  called the little blonde from her place on the floor.

A disheveled Shannon and Becca shuffled into the room still dressed in their night shirts.  Both young women scanned the room.  Then looked at each other and then scanned the room once again.  They could hear Jessie laughing, but the only person they could see was a blushing Victoria.

“Jessie?  Jessie, where are you?” a confused Becca called.

“Right here,” Jessied answered.   Then a hand appeared from the other side of the bed.

“Girlfrien’, why the hell are you on the floa?”  Becca asked as she and Shannon walked to the other side of the room to see the little blonde almost incapacitated with laughter.

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up?” Jessie said.  She tickled herself with her answer and began laughing all the harder.

Shannon began to laugh following Jessie’s lead.

Becca looked over at the taller blonde skeptically.  “Why are you laughing?”

Shannon simply shrugged.  “Why don’t you ask her?”

Sitting on the floor next to her prostrate friend, Becca asked, “Will you tell me just what can be this funny so early in the mownin’?”

“Victoria snores,” she began as she tried to suppress a new wave of giggling.

“I DO NOT!”  Victoria shouted.

“YOU DO TOO!”  Shannon and Jessie chorused.

Becca looked around amazed for a moment then said, “Is that what I was hearing last night?  Damn, Shannon, I thought it was your ghost.”

Victoria glowered at the assemblage, who were now all dissolving in a fit laughter before her eyes.  “Well, if I snore so badly why you didn’t ever say anything?” an embarrassed Victoria inquired of her roommate.

Wiping the tears of mirth from crystalline blues eyes, Shannon replied, “Well, I really didn’t see a point of ever sayin’ anything since it never really bothered me.  If you had someone spend the night I would’ve at least warned ya, but since ya never did, I figured….”  Shannon shrugged and let the sentence trail off.

Appalled at not only the idea that she actually snores, but also having her lack of intimate companionship being advertised she asked, “So you’ve heard me snore?”

“OH hell yeah.  Some nights you rattle the rafters.  The first time Billy came over you scared him half to death, he thought you were a rabid grizzly breaking into the house,” Shannon replied.

Victoria turned several separate and distinct shades of crimson while the girls once again were lost in laughter.  Victoria finally threw up her hands, fell back onto the pillows, and pulled the covers over her head.

After a few minutes more of uncontrolled guffawing had passed, there was another knock on the door barely heard above the laughter.

“Come in,” came a muffled voice from under the covers.

A happy pair of cousins bopped in the room.

“I can hea’ y’all, but can’t see ya,” Claire commented after she had scanned the room seeing nothing but balled up blankets on the bed.

Three disembodied hands rose from the other side of the lump that was settled conspicuously in the middle of the bed.

“Oh thaya they are.”  Dominique pointed and bounded onto the bed.


Dominique pulled the covers back to see a very annoyed Victoria.  “I’m sorry, honey, I thought it was just a lump of blankets.”

“My dear, how many times have I told you to look before you leap?”  Claire commented as she sauntered to the fainting couch and gracefully sat on the edge of it.  “So how did y’all sleep last night?”

“Some of us better than others,” snickered Shannon.

Jessie poked Shannon with her elbow before answering, “We all slept great, thank you for asking.”

“How’s your ankle, suga’?”  Claire inquired still lounging on the antique chase.

“It’s still bothering me.”

“Bothering is an understatement.  She’s still in a lot of pain,”  Victoria interjected while she sat up against the headboard.

“I see, well then it’s a good thing Madam called Dr. Vance to come and take a look at it.  He should be here..” looking at her watch, “in a half an hour or so.  Now unless you want him seein’ you in your jammies, I would get dressed,”  Claire cooed.

“Besides, breakfast is almost ready,” Dominique chirped as she bounced on the bed jostling a still grumpy Victoria.  “Jessie, do you want us to send Louis up to help you down stairs?”

“No, that’s ok, I’ll be fine.  If nothing else I’ll just slide down the banister,” Jessie replied.

“Really,” commented dryly Clare.  Then looking over at Victoria she remembered the attractive woman’s show of brut strength from the night before.  She shivered almost imperceptivity at the thought of those strong arms encircling her own slim waist.  Wonder what I need to do to make that happen?  With an appreciative glance, that bordered on a lustful leer, she discretely caressed the attractive features of Victoria, who had previously emerged from her quilted cocoon and was now leaning seductively on a pile of pillows.  Or at least that’s how Claire viewed it.  “Oh, I forgot about your strong friend,” Clare almost growled.  “I’m certain that she’ll be more than able to handle any situation.  Can’t you, dear?” 

Claire now looked at Victoria with the undisguised hunger of a ravenous lion stalking her prey.

“Yes, she is very strong isn’t she? “ Jessie growled possessively in return before looking over at her friend, who was now blushing for an entirely new reason.  She was angered by Claire's blatant show of avarice which was directed at HER friend.  “I’m sure she’ll be able to take good care of me, but thank you so much for your concern.”

Becca spoke up immediately, feeling the unmistakable sexual tension crackling in the air,  “No problem, Claire, we can all take care of Jess.”

“Claire, you’re such an incorrigible flirt.  Cain’t ya see you’re embarrassing the girl?”  Dominique asked, then addressing the group as a whole she continued, “I swear she can sniff out a virgin within a fifty mile radius.”

“Dom, you know virgins are like an endangered species.  They’re getting harder and harder to find now a days.  Well, that is finding those that are of the legal age of consent anyway,” commented Claire to the surprise and shock of everyone in the room.

Victoria covered her face with her hands.  Damn, is“Victoria’s a virgin” tattooed on my forehead?

Dominique patted Victoria’s shoulder. “Don’t ya worry, suga’.  There’s no shame in bein’ a virgin.”

“UGHHHH!” was the only comment from the resident virgin.

Paying no attention to Victoria’s angst Dominique continues, “Well then we’ll just leave y’all to get dressed.”

“Right, we’ll see y’all down stairs in a few.  C’mon, Dom, we have to make sure everything is shaping up for the party this afternoo

Dominique bopped happily out of the room with an eye rolling Clare in her wake.

“Ok ladies, up and at’em I guess,” Shannon began as she rose from the floor and offered a hand to Becca, who gracefully stood.  Then all eyes looked down at the injured partner.  Jessie was still seated where she had fallen sometime before.  She was unconsciously rubbing her throbbing ankle.

“Hmmm.”  Shannon rubbed her chin in contemplation.  “Ok, let’s get you up, little miss.”

The taller blonde offered her hand to the smaller blonde’ and with little effort hoisted her to a standing position.  Shannon steadied Jessie, who was teetering slightly on her good leg.

“Ok, now what?” asked Becca.

“I really need to take a shower,”  Jessie said wondering how she would be able to get into that tall tub without biffing big time.

“Yeah me too.  Bec, why don’t you grab her on the other side and we can walk her down there?”  Shannon suggested as she draped Jessie’s arm over her neck.

Becca came around the far side of Jessie, placed her arm around the little blonde’s waist, and with a co-coordinated effort began a very awkward waltz toward the hallway.  Victoria watched the exercise in futility for a few moments then growled, “Stop.  Wait a sec.”  The tall brunette climbed out of the bed and walked over to the trio. “This will take forever.  Becca, why don’t you grab whatever she’s going to need from her bags?  Jessie, just climb on my back and I’ll carry you.”

“Are you sure?” Jessie asked.

“Well unless you want me to do another Rhett Butler imitation?”  Victoria smirked.

“Nahh… that’s ok, Rhett, don’t need another demonstration of your physical prowess.”

“Well, it’s not like you weigh anything.  Besides, if Shannon falls on you, you could be maimed for life.”

“Hey I resemble that remark,” Shannon said, slapping Victoria in a good natured fashion.

“Ok.”  Victoria leaned down so that Jessie could more easily reach her.  “Climb on, your chariot awaits.”

With a slight hop, Jessie easily mounted Victoria’s back and away they went.  To Victoria’s surprise, Jessie was quite the easy burden to carry this way.  Much easier than the way she carried her last night, but maybe that was more due to her fatigue than to the way she held her little friend.  Yet feeling the small blonde’s body pressing against her back gave her the most deliciously awkward feeling she had ever experienced.  The same feeling she got last night as she laid awake watching Jessie sleep and thinking to herself how beautiful she was.  Her mind and soul were filled with so many new and conflicting emotions that Victoria took on the Scarlet O’Hara method of dealing with heavy issues.  She would think about it tomorrow.

Within mere seconds they were at the bathroom door.  Victoria leaned down again so that Jessie could more easily slide to the floor.  Becca helped steady her once she reached the standing position.

“My job is done, at least for the moment,” Victoria joked, trying to cover her embarrassment at the thought that Jessie would obviously need help to get in and out of the tub.  She was afraid that the ladies would read her discomfort on her face at the thought that she wouldn’t mind touching Jessie’s skin much less seeing her naked.

Becca watched as the parade of emotions crossed the normally stoic brunette’s features.  She was puzzled and intrigued by them at the same time, but right now she couldn’t dwell on it, she knew Jessie would need help in the shower. 

“Shannon, can you get my stuff from the room?  I might as well clean up while I am here,”  Becca asked.

“No prob,” Shannon replied, “You gonna yell when you’re done?”

“Yeah, I’ll need some help getting her back to her room,”  Becca said while squeezing her friend’s waist.

“Hey, I’m right here.”  Jessie returned the waist squeeze.  “I’m not a total invalid.”

“Yeah right,” Becca commented before the two women disappeared into the bathroom.


Within an hour all four women were showered, dressed, and heading down the grand staircase.  As they neared the bottom of the stairs, they watched Louis cross the immense foyer and open the front door.  In the doorway stood a tall bearded gentleman, who was holding a medical bag in one had and a set of crutches in the other.  The coarse hair on his head and beard were completely white with the exception of a few scattered dark specs.  With kind dark eyes he looked up at the four young women that were descending the staircase.  He smiled at the little blonde riding on the back of the tall brunette.

“Ahh…this must be my patient,” he commented jovially.

Jessie felt at ease with the doctor at once.  How could you not?  This older man radiated a genial air of competence, caring, and compassion. 

“Dr. Vance, ladies, if y’all will come this way?” Louis asked as he led the group to the morning room.  As with the other rooms, the Morning room was decorated impeccably with well maintained period pieces. 

“Ok, young lady, if you’ll please carefully deposit your friend there, I’ll take a look at the ankle,”  Dr. Vance drawled while indicating the settee next to a large window.  Victoria obeyed and carefully slid Jessie from her back to the small sofa.  Then circling behind the piece of furniture Victoria stood behind Jessie placing her hands upon the back of the couch to either side of the little blonde’s head.

Meanwhile the doctor crossed the room in the opposite direction with Shannon following close behind.  Once he reached the small writing desk, he leaned the crutches to one side and placed his well worn black bag on the leather ink blotter.  Opening the small bag, he removed a blood pressure cuff and a prescription pad.  Shannon took this moment to introduce herself as a premed student.  To Shannon, Doctor Vance was the perfect example of a small town doctor.  He looked as if he stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting now that he had taken off his jacket exposing his colorful suspenders.  While he rolled up his shirt sleeves he smiled as he summed up briefly his career as a country doctor. 

Shannon smiled, it was all she had wanted out of a medical career, but now that may not happen.  She had been accepted to three schools of medicine.  Her grade point average was stellar.  Her ACT’s were almost perfect.  The only thing that held her back was an answer to one question.  Why do you want to become a doctor?  She knew the correct answer, but couldn’t bring herself to say it.  The correct answer and the true reason why she wanted to become a doctor diverged so greatly that none of the boards could accept her.  She wanted to help, she wanted to see that the underprivileged and under insured got good medical care.  What each board member wanted to hear her say was that she was in it for the money.  That she wanted to retire by the time she was thirty-five.  She couldn’t say any of that.  In her mind she knew she should have just told them what they wanted to hear, and then do as she pleased once she had her practice, but she felt she wouldn’t be true to herself and her convictions if she had.  So here she was not sure what she was going to do after spring term was over. 

Dr. Vance was flattered by the young woman’s request and more than happy to have her observe.  Yet there was something hidden in that up beat demeanor of hers.  An out of place sadness reflected from behind those blue eyes.  The elder physician took note of the possible mystery, but right now he had a patient to attend to.  “I would be honored, my dear.”

Pushing an ottoman in front of Jessie, the lanky doctor sat down upon it before examining her affected limb.  “Well, young lady, what do we have here?” he asked looking kindly into Jessie’s eyes.

“Oh, I’m just clumsy,” Jessie replied a slight blush reaching her cheeks.

His eyes not shifting from hers, he smiled slightly.  “No need for embarrassment….” He paused waiting for her to fill in his verbal blank.


He nodded. “Jessie.  If accidents didn’t happen every once in a while, I would be out of business.”

Everyone snickered slightly as the doctor began to examine the ankle.  He carefully picked up Jessie’s foot.  He gradually and slowly manipulated the appendage gauging Jessie’s reaction to each twist and tug.  With the first sharp intake of air, Victoria slid her hands down from the back of the sofa to her friend’s shoulders and squeezed them gently.  Jessie looked up at her friend and grinned a pain filled smile.  She leaned her head on the soft strong hand, but caught herself before she kissed Victoria’s fingers. 

Damn….what is going on with me?  I almost kissed her hand.  Jessie smirked more from the thought that she almost had a lapse than from the pain of the doctor’s manipulations. 

Becca stood silently watching the strange tableau playing out before her again.  The tender care that Victoria was lavishing on Jessie was so out of character for the tall dark woman.  What was even more confusing to the curly headed woman was just why it seemed to matter to her.  She didn’t understand why, when she saw the two friends interacting in such an intimate way, it stirred up emotions in her.  Between this and the phone call from her father last evening there were so many emotions flooding her being that she was at a loss to sort them all out.  With some effort she pulled her eyes away from Victoria and Jessie and turned her attention to Shannon. 

Once the doctor was settled on the ottoman, Shannon quietly crouched next to him.  He pointed out to Shannon how the swelling was evenly dispersed and there was no bruising.  With a deep southern drawl he explained how this was good because, it was a sign that the ankle was very likely not broken.  He showed Shannon how to touch the ankle in such a way as to check for broken bones or  torn cartilage.  Then he had her carefully twist the ankle from one side to the other noting at which position the pain was worse for Jessie. 

 “Ouch,” Jessie muttered pulling back her foot from Shannon’s hand.

“Sorry Jess.”  Shannon dropped the leg as if it had suddenly burst into flame

With the reflexes of a jungle cat Dr. Vance caught Jessie’s foot before it hit the ground.  “Whoa!  Darlin’, remember the first rule of thumb for any type of doctrin’.”  Looking over at the much abashed Shannon his bearded face broke into a warm and knowing smile.  “Don’t damage the patient.”  .

It took a moment for the embarrassed Shannon to catch the joke, but when she did her contrite behavior reverted back to the happy easy going blonde everyone knew and loved.  Chuckling softly she said, “Jess, I’m sorry about dropping the ball so to speak.”

“It’s ok, Sha.” 

Dr. Vance asked, “Are you in a lot of pain?”

“Not really,” Jessie lied trying to dismiss the injury as much as possible.

At this point the doctor looked at Jessie, one eye brow crooked up in as show of silent disbelief.

Seeing this look,Jessie back peddled, “Ok, yeah it does hurt.”

“I thought as much,” He said as he was scratching notes on a pad. “I’m leaving you with a couple of prescriptions.  One for pain, and the other is a mild form of muscle relaxants.  Just keep the foot elevated as much as possible.  Alternate heat and ice, but most of all stay off of that foot for the next few days.”  Looking up at Louis he handed him the piece of paper.  “Louis, can you see that these get filled as soon as possible?”

“Yes Doctor, I’ll send Willie to go fetch it right now.”  And with that Louis was gone.

 “But that’s the rest of my vacation,” Jessie whined.  “What about the party this afternoon, Doc?  The girls are having a big barbeque down by the pool and I would like to…..”

“Play with your friends, huh?  Well as long as you play nice, I think it should be fine.  But remember you need to stay off that ankle for the next few days.  No excuses, Understand?” Dr. Vance ordered.

“Yes, sir.”

 “Ok ,Jessie, let’s stand up.  You tall girl….” The doctor waved towards Victoria.

“Victoria…” Victoria said pointing to herself at the same time.

“Victoria, yeah.  Can you please help her to stand up?” 

“Sure.”  Victoria rounded the couch and helped Jessie rise from her seat.

Dr. Vance walked over to the writing desk where he placed the pad and cuff back in his medical bag and picked up the set of crutches.  As he slowly approached the teetering Jessie he noticed that the crutches were obviously going to be too tall.  He stopped in front of the little blonde and scratched his beard.  Louis quietly entered the room as this little drama was unfolding. 

Without looking at him Dr. Vance spoke, “Louis, has Willie left yet?”

“I believe so,” Louis replied.

“Damn,” Dr. Vance cursed.  “That’s ok, I should come back tomorrow to see how this little one is doing anyway.  Besides, the Widow Jenkins is due to have another bout of neuralgia any time now.”  He smiled over at Shannon.  “Since my precious Annabelle past last year, the Widow has been having these mysterious bouts of illness that seem to be cured by just the pleasure of my company.”  Every one laughed as he winked at Shannon for emphasis.

“I’ll bring a different set of crutches with me tomorrow before I head over to the Widow’s home.  But until then my orders still stand.  No pun intended.  You need to stay off that ankle ok?” the doctor said while tweaking the pretty blonde’s chin.

Jessie smiled brightly, more from the embarrassment of having to use children’s crutches than anything else that had happened to her thus far. 

Dr. Vance looked directly at the rest of the young women in the room.  “Can y’all see she stays off that leg?”

All the women chorused their assent.

“Good,” he said while gathering his bag and the now useless crutches. With a wink at Jessie he said, “See you tomorrow little one.”

“I’ll be here,” Jessie replied. Normally the young woman would be incensed by being referred to as ‘little one’ but some how coming from the old country doctor it fit.  She knew, deep in her heart, that ‘little one’ was a term of endearment that was not veiled sarcasm.

Once said, he smiled brightly at the group of attractive women, turned on his heel, and was gone.


Once the front door was secured, Jessie once again mounted Victoria’s back.  The girls followed a much more comfortable looking Louis through the foyer, passed the formal dining room towards the back of the house.  He quickly guided them down a maze of hallways to a much smaller, much brighter, and much more inviting dining area.

Madame was sitting again at the head of the table sipping her steaming cup of tea, reading the local paper with two other national papers folded neatly to her side.  Both Dominique and Clair were at the table nibbling on toast and conferring on last minute details for the party.  Jean Claude sat head in hand while perusing the latest copy of the Wall Street Journal.  Absently he stirred his coffee while he read the pages.  

 He was wearing a pair of white tennis shorts with a light blue Izod polo shirt.  His feet were donned with pair of Nike’s that were in such pristine condition that they looked unused.  This wouldn’t have surprised Jessie a bit.  Jean Claude was the biggest phony to cross her path in years.  To her, Becca’s male cousin made her skin crawl and she was grateful that he kept his distance from her.  She just wished he would keep his distance from Victoria.  Couldn’t he see that she wants nothing to do with the ‘Lord of the Manner’ wanna be?  Men are just clueless, she thought with disgust.  Moving her eyes to Claire and Dominique, she noted both women were wearing shorts also with matching tight sleeveless tees that made them look more buxom than they had the night before.  Jessie found it very hard to keep her eyes off their breasts or the multi colored swimsuit straps peaking out from under the tee shirts.  

Madame looked up as the group of women entered the dining room.  She noticed that Victoria was still carrying Jessie.  Smiling at the comical sight she asked, “How are you ladies today?” 

“Fine,” all the girls chorused at once. 

Shannon pulled out a chair so Victoria could let Jessie slip from her back and onto the chair in one smooth movement.  Once Jessie was settled, Shannon pulled out a chair next to Madame, and sat down with a great flourish.  Shannon truly liked the older woman.  Now that language was no longer a barrier she intended to spend as much time as she could with the older woman.  There were so many things she wanted to know about the house and the ancient family that occupied it for centuries.

Folding her paper neatly and placing it on top of the others Madame addressed Jessie, “I see Lawrence didn’t pack a miracle cure in his little black bag.  What was his diagnosis, my dear?”

“A bad sprain Madame, nothing more.”

Gray eyes penetrated green.  “And the suggested treatment?”

“He has sent for some pain medication and muscle relaxes.  I have to keep it elevated, iced….”

“And most of all she has to keep off of it,” Shannon piped in.

“Ahh, I see.”  Looking around Madame noticed something strange.  “Jessie, didn’t Dr. Vance leave you with a cane or crutches?  How are you to keep off your foot without them?”

In an effort to save her friend from any further humiliation, Becca spoke up.  “He’s going to bring a pair tomorrow when he checks on her again.  In the meantime Victoria is going to be her rickshaw girl.”

“Really,” Madame said.  Looking over at the taller brunette that glowered at her granddaughter, she noticed that for all Victoria’s growling she seemed to like the idea of carrying the little one around.  That signature twinkle reappeared in her eyes as she decided to test her theory.  “You won’t find this a problem, my dear?  I could send for crutches or a wheelchair and have it here in just a few hours?”

“NO!!!”  Both Victoria and Jessie uttered in unison.

Suprised by the outburst, all eyes turned to the couple. 

Victoria colored slightly before saying,  “Really Madame, it’s no trouble at all.”

“Besides, the doctor will be here tomorrow with the crutches, I don’t want to be any more trouble than I’ve already been,”  Jessie pled.   It wasn’t just her embarrassment over the current situation that had her speak up so forcefully.  She rather liked the idea of being carried around by her strong dark friend.  Even though spraining one’s ankle was not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, to Jessie, it was an embarrassment of Biblical proportion.  Victoria was the only one right now that made it better.  Victoria was the only one who made her feel less upset.  She didn’t want that feeling to end.

Becca again watched a parade of emotions cross not only Victoria but now Jessie’s face.  What the hell is going on with those two?  There is no way that Madame could be right…could she?  Just the thought that Madame could be right gave her a twinge of emotional pain she couldn’t account for or identify. 

“Jessica, it would be no problem to be sure that you are taken care of properly,” Madame commented that suspicious twinkle sparkling more brightly in those clear grey eyes.

“Madame, I think Jessie would rather be carried around at the party than be mobile?”  Shannon suggested before sipping her coffee.

“And why would that be, Shannon?”  Madame asked.

“Correct me if I am wrong…” Shannon started while looking over at Dominique and Claire.  Two sets of hazel eyes looked up to acknowledge Shannon.  “there are going to be lots of strong, attractive, scantily clad men and women at the party who will fight for the chance to carry Jessie around.  Correct?”

Catching on to what the attractive blonde was getting at, Dom looked over at Claire and said, “Didn’t you invite the girl’s softball and volleyball teams?”

“Yes I did, but I also invited the men’s basketball and baseball teams,as well as a few of the star football players.”  Claire replied.

“Ok then, Shannon, you are absolutely right.  There will be PLEANTY of attractive people around who’ll want to take care of that pretty little thang.  So don’t worry about it, Madame, I’m sure we can find a bevy of young people to take care of our resident cripple for the day,” Dominique stated before taking a bite from her toast.

“Maybe longer, if you’re lucky,” Claire cooed,looking over at Victoria with a look that made the tall brunette squirm in her seat.

“Well then, I think that issue is settled.  Girls, is everything ready for the party?” Madame asked.

The girls began to babble excitedly over each other in an effort to be the first to expound the details of their afternoon affair.

While the two women blathered on to an attentive Madame, Lucy burst through the kitchen doors ,a smirk affixed to her generous lips.  “Now will you girls be eating a real breakfast or are y’all gonna nibble on a piece of fruit and half a piece of toast?” She asked eyeing the cousins with mock disdain.

“I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starving.”  Jessie remarked.  “What ya got?”

“Eggs, bacon, grits, toast, sausage, pancakes…”  Lucy started to tick off.

“Ok,” Shannon interrupted.

“To which?” Lucy asked bringing her hands to her hips.

“To any and all of it.  I’m starved.”  Shannon replied a bright smile lighting her face.

“Me too,” cried Jessie.

Lucy looked first to Madame then back to the smiling blondes.  Her permanent scowl turned to a bright smile. “Now heas some women after my own heart.  Someone I can finally cook for.  How about the rest of you skinny girls?” 

Neither Becca nor Victoria had the chance to answer before the big woman turned on her heel and disappeared back into the kitchen. 

It wasn’t long before platters of eggs, assorted breakfast meats, and pancakes were being served by Genevieve and Marie.  These two women couldn’t have been more diametrically opposed if it had been intentional.  Both Genevieve and Marie were pretty, intelligent, and obviously well educated, but that was where the similarities ended.  Genevieve was very hospitable and warm to everyone at the table.  She teased and laughed with all the family while she served the girls their breakfast.  She was dressed in a pair of jeans, pale tee shirt and a pair of delicate sandals adorned her feet.  She was tall and slender with caramel colored skin.  Her beautiful green eyes were mesmerizing revealing her mulatto ancestry.  Marie, on the other hand, was dressed in flowing African robes with her hair was hidden by a matching turban.  Her attitude was brusque, detached, in some ways superior to the point of being offensive.  In many subtle ways this black woman showed disdain for everyone at the table.  A corporative sigh of relief sounded when Marie finally left the room.


The hours sped by and soon Claire and Dominique were not only entertaining Rebecca and her friends, but about thirty to forty of their closest university friends. 

Popular music and laughter echoed across the green acres of Dangerous Beauty.  The pleasant aroma of barbeque hung thick in the air.  Lucille waddled among the different caterers being sure that her high standards of service were being met.  Genevieve, Louis, and several of the adult servants circulated among the guests while their children and grandchildren frolicked in the pool.

Young lean men clad in several styles of swim shorts (thankfully all had the foresight not to wear Speedos) and young women with long flowing hair and short shorts littered the pool area and the back lawn.  Though liquor was plentiful and everyone present freely imbibed not one over indulged.  Well maybe except for one.

Jessie thought she had taken her pain medication early enough before the party to not have it affect her ability to drink as much as she wanted.  Yet in order to drink as freely as she had intended, she would have had to have taken that medication not just hours, but days, perhaps weeks beforehand.  Suffice to say, Jessie was feeling no pain whatsoever. 

As Shannon had predicted, Jessie was surrounded by all sorts of good looking guys and girls that were shamelessly falling all over themselves to see to the blonde’s every need and desire.  They clamored to be the one to rub suntan lotion on her pale smooth skin.  They fought over the ice bag that would be placed on her swollen ankle.  But most of all, they all made sure that her cup continuously overflowed.  No, the ‘little one’ was feeling no pain.  To be perfectly blunt, she was tanked.  The normally quiet and reserved Jessie was blatantly flirting with everyone and anyone who came near her. 

Madame stood in the shadows of the veranda observing the festivities from a hidden alcove.  Her eyes lighted almost immediately on Rebecca.  A flash of joy mixed with sorrow flooded her being.  She enjoyed watching how much fun the young woman was having.  She smiled as she observed how animated Rebecca was as she spoke to the young people around her.  Becca was beaming, her eyes twinkling, her curly locks bouncing with the enthusiasm of her conversations.  Becca was definitely giving her vivacious nature full reign and seemed to be totally in her element. 

‘Seemed to be’, that’s where the sorrow came in.  Madame frowned, she didn’t know the child.  Rebecca was a young adult and she didn’t know her.  A life time had gone by with no memories to sustain an old woman.  Her memories of Jon had faded over the years and were hard for her to grasp.  Any remembrances of Jon’s lovely wife were sketchy at best.  Madame’s eyes narrowed as anger infused into her being.  Anger with her own daughter at causing the schism that separated a grandmother from her favorite grandchild and his family for all these years.  Unfortunate circumstances may have brought this motley group to her door, but to Madame it was a blessing.  It was an amazing opportunity to right a wrong, and she was not going to let this golden opportunity be wasted. 

Loud peals of laughter lured Madame’s attention to the pool where Shannon was playing with the children.  All the children were squealing and grabbing onto the shoulders of the tall blonde.  It was a scene right out of Gulliver’s travels.  The part of the story where the Lilliputians tried to bind the gigantic Gulliver and bring him to the ground.  Just as in the story, the children were not able to bring down the blonde Amazon no matter how hard they tried.  Shannon was wearing a very small two piece swim suit that was little more than four patches of fabric in the right places.  This costume not only enhanced her curvy figure, but accentuated her muscular frame.  Several of the young men tried to make their way to Shannon, but were foiled in their plan to get near the blonde by the many children who refused to give up their toy.  Madame couldn’t help chuckling at this turn of events, thinking that boys will be boys.  But she understood them.  Even wet Shannon was stunning.  But Madame knew that this beauty was much more than just skin deep.  In the short span of time she felt she had come to know the young woman and what Madame felt she knew she liked. 

Scanning the group Madame saw that poor Victoria had once again been cornered not only by Jean Claude but some of his equally pompous cronies.  She couldn’t help snickering when she read Victoria’s body language which was shouting, “Leave me alone.”  The tall brunette was being polite, feigning interest in whatever was being talked about, but even from Madame’s vantage point some fifty feet away she could see total boredom reflected in those dark chocolate colored eyes.  The tall brunette was casually dressed unlike Jean Claude and company who looked more like they dressed for a garden party than for a pool party.  Victoria wore a pair of tight fitting white shorts with a navy polo shirt that hid the modest bathing suit beneath.  A diamond anklet was the only decoration on otherwise bare feet. 

Two things surprised Madame about Victoria,  one that she was barefoot instead of wearing some type of expensive footwear and second that she seemed so uncomfortable being in a group of men that she was sure that her parents would consider the only people at the party to be their daughter’s peers.   Victoria was an enigma to the older woman.  She had none of the traits that she was positive her parents had spent long hours trying to instill in her.  Victoria was beautiful, accomplished, and to the naked eye everything an heiress should be. Yet the older woman felt that Victoria’s haughtiness was a very thin veil covering something that the young woman wanted no one to know.  Madame detected insecurity, unhappiness, and something else that right now she couldn’t put her finger on.  But one thing Madame was certain of, the tender displays that Victoria had shown for Jessie would not meet with approval from neither Roger nor Catherine.  In her opinion Roger and Catherine and those like them were little more than machines.  Just like her late daughter, they traded their souls for a pot of gold.  Material wealth was all they knew.  The elder woman shook her head sorrowfully in pity for those who knew only material wealth and missed out on the true riches life had to offer. 

Madame couldn’t help but notice that the biggest gathering seemed to be around the smallest visitor to Dangerous Beauty.  To the side of the veranda, shielded from the sun by an umbrella, Jessie held court with her numerous admirers.  Having her foot elevated and iced didn’t seem to be deterring the femme fatale at all.  The shrinking violet seemed to be in full bloom, though Madame was concerned about the little one.  Popularity could be a dangerous drug if one was not accustomed to being the center of attention.  The older woman squinted her eyes as she watched the young men and women fawn over Jessie. 

She sighed.  Though Madame knew that these young women, who had come to visit, were all adults in their own rights, yet, she felt there was a certain innocence that seemed to cling to Jessie.  Jessie just didn’t seem to have the same social savvy as her friends.  Granted the woman was very petite and from a distance could be mistaken for a child, but that fact did not figure into Madame’s equation.  Out of the four young women that had descended upon Dangerous Beauty the evening before, she felt most protective of the little blonde.  Gray eyes narrowed again as she watched a young man exchange Jessie’s empty cup for a full one.

Hmmmm…I don’t think that is such a good idea.  She crossed the wood slat floor of the veranda and gracefully drifted down the stairs. 

As if a bell had rung, all eyes turned to the steps of the ancient mansion where the elder woman was descending to meet the throng.  In a flurry of activity all the young men grabbed their shirts from wherever they were hanging or balled up and quickly pulled them onto their naked chests before paying homage to Madame.  The young women in mass with the men surrounded Madame.  Graciously Madame accepted hugs and kisses from just about everyone in attendance.  To each young person that attended the party Madame was someone very special.  She had a way of making you feel that every dream you had could be realized, and then empowered you to achieve them. 

After a time Madame caught sight of Becca and made her way over to where the she stood talking to Claire and several well built young men.  Becca turned to see Madame heading her way a look of concern in her normally sparkling gray eyes.

“Rebecca, have you spoken with Jessie recently?”  Madame asked.

“No, I haven’t seen her in awhile.  Is there something wrong?”  Becca inquired, due more to the look in Madame’s eyes then the question she was asked.

“I don’t believe so, but I would be sure if I were you.”  Madame answered. 

Becca looked around the pool area.  Spotting Jessie was no easy task since she was nearly swallowed by a group of scantily clad males and females of various size and color.  Hmmmmm.  I better check on her.  Excusing herself from Madame’s presence, Becca proceeded over to the captivated audience that had circled her best friend.   

Madame smiled at the retreating form confident that Rebecca would be able to handle the situation.

“Jessie!” Becca called trying to get Jessie’s attention while carving a path through her many admirers.  Jessie was leaning back on the lounge chair flanked by a blonde god and goddess both vying for her attention.   A muscular brunette, obviously from the softball team was leaning in to hand Jessie another beer when Becca grabbed it and drank deeply. “Thanks,” she said looking into the annoyed face of the softball player.  Then addressing the rest of the group she said, “Now if y’all will excuse us for just a few minutes I would like a moment with Ms. Popularity.”

“Is that ok with you suga’?”  the blonde god on her left asked.

“Yeah, darlin’,” Jessie slurred.

“You sure, babe?”  the blonde goddess to her right asked.

Laying her soft hand on her new companion’s arm Jessie nodded. “Yessss, it’s ok.”

Becca rolled her eyes. “Look, Artemis and Apollo, the woman will be just fine so….HIT THE BRICKS.”

Two sets of irritated blue eyes looked at Becca as if she was speaking in a foreign language.  They both stood, walked a few paces away before looking back at Jessie.

“I’ll be waiting for you right over there,” the blonde god said pointing to a group at the other end of the pool.

Then Artemis spoke up, “I’ll be at the bar.”

Becca’s annoyance was mounting.  What the hell, it’s not like I have a gun to her head.

“Don’t worry this woon take long,”  Jessie said as Artemis and Apollo as well as the rest of her admirers filed away slowly throwing adoring glances back at the little blonde. 

Becca rolled her eyes. “OH MY God, what are these people on?”

“What do you mean by that?” Jessie again slurred slightly.

“Well let’s start with Apollo, there.”  Becca pointed at the blonde god, who was staring forlornly at Jessie from the other side of the pool.


“OK, Jason.  Did you notice anything …well out of place with Jason?”  Becca asked.  “You know, out of place when you’re choosing a playmate?”

Jessie, with clouded eyes, looked over at the muscular young man wearing a pair of blue and red baggies.  He was tan, and handsome with sparkling blue eyes.  She let her eyes wander the attractive terrain before remarking, “No, I don’t see anything wrong.  Why?”

“He HAS A PENIS???  The last I knew you were a lesbian, at any point in the last few hours has that fact changed?”  Becca asked with a raised voice to be sure that her friend could understand her.

Jessie laughed loudly.  “No, that hasn’t changed.  But look at him.  He’s really nice to look at.”

“Yeah he is,” Becca commented feeling a twinge of jealousy at her friend’s new found popularity.  After enjoying the view for a few moments Becca shook her head to clear her thoughts.  “But … but… look Jess, you shouldn’t be teasing these poor boys.   They don’t know they’ll never even get up to bat much less get on base.”

Jessie smiled an embarrassed half smile before saying, “Yeah I guess you’re right, but it’s not like I’m forcing anyone to be with me.  Have you taken a good look at the women?”

“No, I don’t tend to look at women,”  Becca replied with a half grin knowing full well she had been looking.  How could you not?  Many of the women were absolutely stunning.  Seeing them made Becca understand why Claire rode the fence instead of committing to one side or the other.

“You’re kidding me right?”  Jessie scowled before continuing,  “But hell, you promised me a good time didn’t you?”

Becca laughed knowing she had been had.  “Yes, I did.  So are you having a good time?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Well then my promise has been kept.  But I think you better slow down on the booze.  I don’t think you should be drinking on top of pain killers anyway,” Becca warned.

“I took those hours ago, I should be ok now, right?”  Jessie sulked, she had been enjoying her high.

Becca gave her a withering glance. 

“Ok. OK.  I’ll slow down,” Jessie pouted.

Becca couldn’t help laughing at her friend that resembled a spoiled ten year after she had been told she could no longer play with her favorite toys.  “Don’t look at me that way, it’s not like I’m sending you up to your room for the rest of the night.”

Jessie giggled.  “Well I do feel like I’m being punished.”

“Well you’re not.  I’m just asking you to slow down the beer.  Why don’t I go get you a sparkling water?  Maybe we can head off the hang over before it begins.” 

“I don’t have a hang over,” Jessie replied, her brows furrowing in confusion.

“Trust me suga’, you will.  It will be a dozy and I don’t think Vic is going to want to be hauling your ass to the bathroom every five minutes because you need to hurl.”  Becca gave her a knowing wink.

“Ok.  Go get me the water, but I’ll have you know that you’re infringing on my pursuit of happiness,” Jessie retorted.

“Honey, this good time should last you for days,” Becca volleyed back before standing and heading for the bar area to bring her friend a non-alcoholic beverage. 

Jessie sat back in her chair pouting at her friend’s good sense.  She gazed from one group of colligates to the other that were gathered at the pool, the barbeque, and the bar areas.  There was another group of men and women standing idly in the volley ball pit occasionally batting the unused ball over the net.  Suddenly the little blonde felt cut out of the party.  Frowning she searched for her ‘rickshaw girl”. 

Ahhh, there she is. With her back to Jessie, she stood sipping on a beer her dark tresses tossed gently by the breeze.  She was talking to a group of Becca’s cousin’s friends standing a mere six or seven feet way.  In Jessie’s inebriated state she thought, It’s not all that far, I can hop to her. 

Scooting to the end of the lounge chair and using her muscular arms, she stood on her good leg.  Once she felt that she was balanced, she hopped toward the tall brunette donned in white shorts and a blue polo shirt.  She reached her goal just before she felt like she was about to topple over.  Jessie latched onto the broad shoulders that she had become to know so well.  “Rickshaw girl, take me to the bar pronto,” Jessie commanded as she leapt onto the muscular back.

Jessie didn’t notice that the back she had just so unceremoniously mounted stiffened for a moment before relaxing.  Jessie also didn’t notice the shocked looks on any of the faces of the other women in the circle as the tall brunette walked slowly toward the bar.

Becca had just picked up a plastic bottle of spring water and a cup of beer from the bar and was heading back to her friend, when she saw Jessie heading toward her on the back of a tall brunette.  She dropped both the beer and the water onto the pool’s concrete patio,  before she could even react a bartender raced out to wipe up the beer.  In a blink of an eye Becca was being handed a fresh cup of beer and an unopened bottle of water.  She was unable to speak, her mind whirling a mile a minute.  Finally noticing that her mouth was hanging open like a big mouthed bass she retrieved her thoughts enough to finally snap it shut.  Trying to pull herself together somewhat, she stuttered, “Ummmm…JJJJesss…do you..?”  She was stopped from telling her friend of the grievous error she had made when the dark head shook slightly and a blue eye winked at her. 

Jessie looked at Becca in confusion wondering why her friend was opening and closing her mouth like a fish out of water.

Becca blinked her hazel eyes several times trying to regain her composure.  Feeling she finally had returned to some semblance of normalcy, she placed her hands on her hips before demanding, “And just where do y’all think you’re going?”  Suddenly, the absurdity of this situation activated her funny bone.  Oh, I am going to have fun with this. 


“I was thirsty?”  Jessie sheepishly said.

“Oh really,” Becca stated nonplused. “I didn’t think I was gone that long.”  Becca handed Jessie the water.

“Thanks.”  Jessie accepted the water without complaint wishing she had been handed the beer instead.

“So exactly where are you heading, Ms. Belle of the Ball?”  Becca asked.

“I want to cool off a little in the pool.”  Tugging on the long dark tresses Jessie commanded, “Rickshaw girl, to the pool steps and be quick about it.” 

Without a word the tall woman headed to the pool steps.

Oh My God this is going to be too funny.  Where are Sha and Vic?  Becca quickly scanned the pool and found Shannon right away.  She excitedly waved her hands and called Shannon’s name until she got her attention.  Shannon looked up finally and swam to the edge of the pool where Becca was leaning.


“What’s up?” Shannon asked.  Becca simply pointed.  Shannon squinted and shrugged her shoulders before looking back at Becca. “So?  Vic is carrying Jess, what’s the big deal?”

Becca growled as she turned Shannon’s head toward the couple.  “Take a closer look.”

Shannon wiped the water out of her eyes and looked more closely in the direction Becca had indicated.  “Shit, who’s Jessie riding?”  Shannon giggled seeing very clearly now that the tall dark woman that Jessie was astride was not Victoria. 

“I don’t know.  Where’s Vic?”

Both women looked around until they spotted Victoria just a few feet away from where Jessie was being toted.

“I am not going to miss this reveal,” Shannon stated as she swam toward the concrete steps.

“Neither am I,” Becca agreed.  She stood from her crouched position and raced to the where Victoria was standing.  Interrupting Jean Claude’s boring story she grabbed Victoria’s arm.  “I don’t mean to cut ya short, Claude, but I really need to pull Victoria away for just a moment.”

Raising an eyebrow in disgust her cousin grumbled, “Jean Claude.”

Waving her hand in the air she said, “Whatever.”

With Victoria in tow, Becca headed for the pool steps.  Victoria was grateful to her friend for getting her away from Jean Claude and party, but wasn’t sure where they were heading.  The taller woman didn’t get the chance to ask before she spied her Jessie being carried to the pool’s edge by someone she didn’t know.  Throwing off Becca’s hand she made a beeline for the little blonde and her new friend.  Standing directly in the couple’s path, Victoria offered her hand saying, “Hi, I’m Victoria.  I don’t think we’ve met?”

By this time Shannon was sitting on the top step of the pool within seconds Becca had caught up with Victoria.  Both women were absolutely stunned.  The  two women that stood before them could have been twins. With the exception of the stranger having bright blue eyes and maybe being slightly taller than Victoria the resemblance was astounding.

Jessie, through her alcohol induced haze, looked at Victoria as if she was seeing a ghost.   Then she slowly looked down at the back of the person that she had mounted.  She shook her head confusion clouding her mind.  After a long moment she returned her gaze to Victoria once again.  FUCK!   I’m hallucinating.  Becca’s right, I shouldn’t have been drinking.  Pleading green eyes searched Becca’s hazel for an explanation, but all she got was a blank stare in return. 

Victoria continued to stand waiting for the stranger to acknowledge her greeting.

Proffering her hand from under Jessie’s thigh the stranger spoke, “Hi.  I’m Skyler.  A pleasure.”

Jessie listened to the liting alto voice that was liberally salted with a British accent.  She sighed relieved that she wasn’t hallucinating after all.  But her relief was short lived as she finally realized that she had jumped on the back of a complete stranger.  You dumb shit, what have you done now?  She moved a hand to cover her blushing face when the voice spoke again. 

“Don’t you be letting go of me now.  We haven’t arrived at your destination yet.” 

Jessie placed her hands back around the stranger’s shoulder without a second thought.  That voice wrapped around Jessie like a blanket and she felt herself drawn surprisingly to this mysterious woman.

“Nice to meet you,” Victoria answered coldly.

Catching the arctic tones in Victoria’s response, Skyler tried to walk around her twin determined to finish her task.  To her surprise Victoria moved to block her way again.  “Do you mind?   We’d like to get by?”  Skyler asked while smiling at Victoria.

“Yes, I do mind,” Victoria countered.  “I can take over from here.”

“No need.  The lady asked me to take her to the steps and that’s what I intend to do.”  Skyler’s answered, her voice becoming menacing.

The tensions were rising between the two women.  Both Becca and Shannon didn’t move a muscle waiting to see where these hostilities would lead these two dark beauties.

“She made a mistake,” Victoria started.  “She thought you were me.”

“What you call a mistake, I call fate,” Skyler retorted.  “Now let me pass.”

Victoria stood toe to toe with Skyler.  Seeing that Vesuvius was about to erupt, Becca decided to intervene.  “Victoria.  Skylar.” Becca stood between the two combatants placing one hand on Victoria’s chest and the other on Skylar’s hoping to keep them at a safe distance.  “Let’s remember that we ARE ladies.  No matter what our differences may be, getting physical is no answer..”

“Not unless we can throw mud on it,”  Shannon added as she got out of the pool and walked over to where the adversaries were still competing for dominance. 

“I would pay to see that,” Becca mumbled.

Walking around the seething Victoria and stepping behind Skyler, Shannon effortlessly lifted Jessie from Skyler’s back.  With the shocked blonde nestled securely in her arms, Shannon said, “Ok, if you two want to make idiots of yourselves and duke it out, go for it.”  Without another word she headed to the pool’s edge where she deposited her precious cargo to dangle her legs in the cool waters.

Skyler watched the tall blonde carry Jessie to the edge of the pool.  She had been admiring Jessie from afar all afternoon.  She felt fortunate that she had chosen her back to ride.  She hadn’t introduced herself earlier being deterred by the constant crowd of admirers buzzing around her, but she did watch her quite a bit.  She wasn’t sure if the striking blonde was gay, but seeing the way this Victoria was reacting to her carrying Jessie she felt certain her ‘gaydar’ was right on track.  Not willing to cause a scene in front of Madame, Skyler felt the need to offer an olive branch to Victoria.  “So sorry, didn’t mean to trespass on private property.”  Victoria looked confused and Skyler wasn’t sure if she didn’t understand the vernacular she was using or just having a problem with her accent.  Pointing at Jessie Skyler tried again.  “Your girlfriend.  Didn’t mean to carry her around like that.  No harm no foul, mate.  Just a mistake?”  Smiling a brilliant smile Skyler offered her hand to Victoria.

“She’s my friend, not my girlfriend,” Victoria stated, wondering if she wanted it to be the other way around.

Skyler cocked her head to the side.  “Then what has all this posturing been about?”  When Victoria offered no answer Skyler turned to go talk to Jessie.  Skyler, newly confident in the knowledge that the tall Yank was not involved with the little blonde, sauntered over to where Jessie sat at the pool side.  The tall woman crouched down offering her hand for a proper introduction. 

Jessie takes the hand more than willingly, being captured by radiant blue eyes.  She invited the taller woman to sit which Skyler gratefully accepted.  The two settled into an easy conversation as the rest of the world slowly faded away.

The world faded away for Victoria as she stood, dark eyes transfixed on the couple.  After long moments passed she felt a hand on her shoulder.  She turned glazed eyes to see Shannon standing next to her.

“Hey bud, let’s go get a drink,”  Shannon suggested as she hugged Victoria’s shoulders.  Shannon was unsure what was going on with her friend, but she felt Victoria needed a stiff belt right about now. 

Victoria simply nodded her head allowing Shannon to lead her to the bar.  She had seen many faces of Victoria over the years, but she had never seen Victoria aggressive to the point of being combative.  Victoria had always been a tight ass, but now she was so tightly wound Shannon wasn’t sure what to expect next.  That fact alone was gnawing at Shannon.  They had lived together for years, shared many highs and lows, and worked through a number of problems together.  Shannon had always felt privileged that the tall dark woman was comfortable enough with her to share her problems.  Yet over the past few months Victoria had become someone that she felt she didn’t know.  Secrets were being kept.  Being kept on both sides, the tall blonde had to grudgingly admit.  Obviously it had something to do with Jessie.  The  confrontation between Victoria and Skyler confirmed that  fact, but what was it?  Knowing that Victoria, when being stubborn, brought stoicism to a whole new level, Shannon hoped that a few drinks would loosen her tongue.

“What can I get you?” the smiling bartender asked while placing a napkin in front of each woman. 

“What will it be, Vic?  Daiquiri?  Martini?” Shannon asked.

“Tequila straight up,” Victoria flatly stated.

“Ok, make that two,”  Shannon said.

The bartender placed a shot glass in front of each woman, and poured each a shot of Jose.  Before Shannon had even reached for her glass, Victoria had slung the shot down in one gulp and nodded at the bartender for a refill.  He refilled her glass and she had drank it before Shannon had a chance to finish her first. 

Well this shouldn’t take long the way she’s slamming them back,  Shannon thought as she downed her second drink while Victoria must have been on her fifth. 

As the tentative bartender was going to refill Victoria’s glass again Shannon reached over and grabbed the bottle.  Downing the rest of her shot the tall blonde walked over to an unoccupied area of the pool deck with the bottle in hand and an annoyed Victoria in tow.  Shannon sat on the edge of a lounge chair placing the bottle between her feet.  Victoria slumped down on the chair just opposite of Shannon and the bottle of tequila.  Offering her empty glass to Shannon, who paused for a moment before reluctantly filling her glass.  In one gulp the brooding woman downed the shot.  Victoria closed her eyes sadistically enjoying the pain as the liquid burned its way down her body.  Turning her glass upside down to show Shannon that she was ready for the next round, Victoria waited expectantly for a refill. 

Slowly Shannon capped the bottle and set it once again between her feet.  “No more.”


“No more until you tell me what’s going,” Shannon answered.

Victoria rolled her eyes before growling, “Give me the bottle, Sha.”

“Nope, not until you talk to me,” Shannon growled in return.  Both women spent long moments trying to stare each other down.

Rethinking her approach Shannon sat back from her confrontational posture.  Taking a deep breath Shannon softened her voice before speaking to Victoria again.  “Vic, please talk to me.  You were way over the top with Skyler and now you’re trying to drown yourself in tequila.  What’s up with that?”

Victoria turned her eyes down to the shot glass that she was twirling in her hands.  She would have loved to tell her long time friend what was going on if she knew herself.  Silent for some minutes she watches the glass twirl thorough her long fingers before she looks up and then over to where Jessie and Skyler were still talking.  She felt her heart fall.  Skyler had stripped out of her shorts and shirt, and was now standing in the water between a smiling Jessie’s thighs.

Shannon watched Victoria demeanor change from anger to sorrow.  She turned her eyes in the direction that Victoria was staring.  Seeing the objects of her attention only added to Shannon’s confusion.  Turning her eyes back to Victoria and seeing no change to her friend’s posture, she softly placed a hand on Victoria’s knees and gently squeezed them.  “Vic.  Babe?  Tell me what’s going on.”  Shannonn asked, placing her hand under Victoria’s chin in order to turn her attention away from the unsuspecting couple and to a place where she could look into those pain filled eyes.  Almost whispering, “Vic tell me what’s going on.”

Victoria sighed deeply and was about to try to say something when Jean Claude tapped her on the shoulder.  “Here you are.  I’ve been looking for you.”

“Well, you found her,”  Shannon said with an unmistakable exasperated tone.  She was totally over this foolish young man.  She was so close to getting Victoria to talk and now that opportunity was gone.  I guess good breeding isn’t a guarantee of having good manners.

“Did I interrupt?”  Jean Claude asked, not really concerned if he had or not.  In his egotistical mind there was no possibility that the lovely Victoria would have anything of importance to discuss with the blonde Amazon.  He felt that it should’ve been painfully obvious to Shannon that she could never run in the same social circles that he and Victoria frequented. 

“As a matter of fact….” Shannon began, but was cut off by Victoria.

“No, it’s ok, Jean Claude.  We were finished anyway,” Victoria said.   She had never been or ever would be this happy to see Jean Claude ever again.  She did want to talk to her friend, but was also relieved she wouldn’t have to do it right now.  She needed more time to put her thoughts and emotions together.  With her eyes she tried to convey to Shannon that they would talk later, but she could see by the cold blue eyes staring back at her that her message was not getting through.

Angered by the dismissal Shannon slapped the bottle of Tequila into Victioria’s hand, stood, turned on her heal then took a running leap into the deep end of the pool.  To quell her ire she began swimming hard laps back and forth in the Olympic sized pool.  She swam until exhaustion over took her and she could feel the endorphins quench the fire within her.  Heart pumping she floated to the edge of the pool near Skyler and Jessie.  Folding her arms she placed her forearms and hands on the cool concrete of the pool’s edge.  Placing her chin on her folded hands, she permitted herself the luxury of sulking while gazing at nothing in particular.  She was suddenly ripped from her reveries by a white orb that bounced mere inches from her face. Startled she blinked hard.

 “Sorry,” a baritone voice of the guy that was chasing the volley ball apologized.. 

Squinting she spied a few guys and girls standing in the volleyball pit waiting for the guy with the ball to return.

“Hey, y’all trying to get a game together?”  Shannon called to the man carrying the volley ball.

“Yeah, you wanna play?” the bright smiling boy called in return.

“Sure.  Right with ya,”  Shannon said, heading to the steps where Jessie and Skyler were still ensconced.  Smacking Skyler on the shoulder the tall blonde asked, “Hey, Skyler you up for a quick game?”

Not wanting to leave Jessie’s side Skyler declined. 

Cocking her head, Shannon coaxed, “Oh come on.”  Looking over at Jessie she continued, “Can I borrow your new girlfriend for just one game?  Please, please, please?”

Jessie couldn’t help, but laugh at the pathetic begging of her friend. 

“Come on, Skyler, we need more people to have a good game.  Jessie can watch from the sidelines,” Shannon pleaded.  Even after the swim she still had some pent up energy she wanted to expend on a spirited game of volleyball.  To have a spirited game she knew she would have to round up a few more people to play, Skyler being her first victim. 

Skyler looked up into the face of the woman she had come to admire and asked, “What do ya think?”

Looking into captivating blue eyes Jessie answered, “Sure.”

“Excellent,” Shannon commented.  She climbed out of the pool to retrieve her shorts and tee shirt as well as find a few more players.

Out of the corner of her eye Victoria watched Shannon climb out of the pool.  She was followed soon after by the statuesque Skyler.  Skyler leaned over to say something to Jessie before disappearing into a  crowd of people.  Seeing this as a chance to reclaim her place next to the little blonde, Victoria began to rise from her seat.  But before she could excuse herself, Skyler returned dressed in her shorts and shirt. She watched the tall woman bow, offering Jessie her hand.  Jessie took the hand and was lifted effortlessly into a standing position.  From there she was scooped up, and carried by a laughing Skyler to the volleyball pit.  Skyler stood holding Jessie in her arms while talking to blonde god like young man.  The well built young man nodded, raced off, and shortly returned with a chair for Jessie to sit in.  Dark eyes narrowed as she watched Jessie being lowered into the chaise by Skyler, but what got Victoria to her feet was the sight of Skyler leaning in to kiss Jessie’s cheek.  Victoria walked directly to the volleyball area without a word to the slack jawed Jean Claude.

Victoria arrived at the volley ball pit at the same time Shannon did with not only Becca, but several other people ready to play a quick game.  Becca took a seat next Jessie’s leg.  She watched Skyler jog to the group standing in the middle of sandy pit.

“Damn Jess, that Skyler is …” Becca finishing her comment with a growl.

“I couldn’t have said it better.  She is amazing isn’t she?”  Jessie agreed.  “Her voice can melt the polar icecaps.”

Both women let their eyes touch every inch of Skyler’s smooth taught body.  Golden brown skin and ebony hair made her vibrant blue eyes pop.  Skyler was leanly muscular with  more than ample breasts.  Her lips were full, perfect as far as Jessie was concerned.  Skyler’s everything was perfect to the little blonde.  Jessie couldn’t believe how hard she was falling, but as corny as it sounded, Skyler’s had her from the first ‘hello’.  If Skyler felt one tenth the way Jessie did right now she would be happy.

“Guess they’re going to get started,”  Becca commented unknowingly waking Jessie from her daydreams of Skyler.  Happily the two friends watched as both men and women stripped off their shirts.  Both women sighed as all those barely covered  buxom breasts, ‘six pack’ abs, and beautiful bodies were revealed before them.  “Now that’s what I call a view,” Becca growled.

Jessie nodded in agreement trying very hard not to drool in public. 

“Hey we’re short one on this side.” A god like blonde man called out to no one in particular.

Before another word could be said, Victoria trotted out of the crowd of spectators.  Stripping off her shirt she took the empty place on the team that was lacking a player. 

Becca was dumbstruck by her first sight of Victoria’s body.  For Becca time stood still while she became acquainted with her friend at a whole new level.  Victoria looked leaner than ever.  Her tight tankini top created voluptious cleavage on the tall brunette that Becca wanted to dive into.  For the first time Becca noticed that Victoria’s body was well cloaked in supple muscles covered with an expanse of clear soft skin.  Becca’s eyes traveled from her breasts, to her flat stomach, past her narrow hips, to finally end her travels with well muscled thighs.

Unbeknowst to the curly haired co-ed her friend was watching her watch Victoria.   Jessie had turned to make a comment to Becca when Victoria jogged onto the scene, but stopped when she saw the look on the slack jawed Becca’s face.  She waved her hand in front of those hazel eyes to no avail.  Snickering she scooted closer to Becca and she whispered loudly into her ear, “HELLO.”

Startled Becca turned toward her friend her mouth still hanging open.  Jessie laughed out loud and used her hand to gently shut her friend’s mouth.

Becca gulped, “Do you see her?”

“Who?” Jessie teased knowing full well she was talking about Victoria.

“Victoria!  Who else would I be talking about?”  Becca answered.

“Well what about her?” Jessie said nonchalantly.   The game had begun so she had turned her attention to the flexing, sweat glistening muscles of the participants.  Especially those muscles belonging to Skyler.

With Herculean effort Becca pulled her gaze from Victoria’s moving and leaping form to look Jessie in the face.  “Jess, do you need your eyes checked?   Look at her.”

Now it was Jessie’s turn to rip her eyes from the action on the court.  Seeing the look on Becca’s face at the moment tickled Jessie’s funny bone.  She laughed and threw her arms around Becca’s shoulders.  “Jumping the fence again are we?”

Becca blushed. “Maybe.”

“Well, I can’t fault your taste in women, but then I never have. “

Pushing her friend slightly, Becca said, “Come on, Jess.  You know it hasn’t been all that many.  Just enough to know that….”

“You like a break from the ‘penis’ every once in a while.” 

Becca slapped her friend’s arm blushing even more brightly.  “Well, just look at the woman.  Damn, did you know about that?”

“Know about what?”  Jessie asked not able to stop teasing her friend.

“That body,” Becca retored.

“Yes, I knew.  Remember, I do jog with her.”

“And you didn’t think to inform me?”

Looking her friend directly in the eye Jessie replied,”I didn’t think you would be interested.  Especially in the light of yours and Victoria’s hate/hate relationship.  Besides, you seemed more interested in the gods on campus than the goddesses so….”  Jessie shrugged.

Becca shrugged in response not knowing a better answer to Jessie’s comment.  Both women returned their gazes to the game.

To Shannon’s delight the game was spirited which was exactly what the doctor ordered to release the rest of her pent up energy.  To add to her pleasure as well as surprise her to no end, Victoria was playing an excellent game.  Shannon didn’t think the tall dark woman had it in her, but she was leaping and diving for the ball with all the expertise of a professional volleyball player.  Something was spurring Victoria on to play such an exceptional game.  Shannon had no idea where the inspiration came from, but she was glad for the nice long volleys it produced.

On the other side of the net Skyler seemed to be playing the mirror image of Victoria’s inspired game.  Unknown to everyone in the game, not to mention the party, a private war was going on between Skyler and Victoria for a prize both would do just about anything to win.  The game was tied up and the play becoming more intense.  Playing close to the net, Victoria spiked the ball and it ended up hitting Skyler squarely in the midsection, driving all the air from her lungs and forcing her to her knees.  As her team mates flocked around her, Skyler looked up and glared at the Yank.  Victoria, who unlike the rest of the her team who rushed to the net to check on Skyler, walked away hiding a smug grin that she could not keep from her lips.

Bitch if it’s a war you want I will bloody well give it to you, Skyler thought as with some help she rose from the ground.  Once on her feet, she was at a dead run in a blink of an eye.  She would have given the ‘bloody Yank’ the thrashing of her life had it not  been for her team mates physically restraining her.  Skyler could see Shannon talking with Victoria,who was about to leave the volleyball pit.  “VICTORIA!” Skyler shouted from her side of the net, where she was still being restrained.

Victoria stopped, turned, and froze Skyler with her icy stare.

“Where ya going?” Skyler called while shaking off the hands that were holding her in place.  “We haven’t finished the game.”

“I believe I scored the winning point,” Victoria stated.

“We’re tiee.  You have to win by two points not one.  You up for another go at it?”  Skyler taunted,  throwing her arms wide in a ‘here I am come and get me gesture.” 

Victoria pressed her rage down within her.  She intentionally walked slowly back on to the sand, and took her place by the net.  Silently, all the other players returned to their positions.  They were all unwilling puppets in a show they had not signed up for but felt obligated to finish.  Shannon took the ball in her hands and looked at it for long moments, sorry she had any part in this game.  Holding the ball away from her body, Shannon with one fluid movement smacked the ball with a clenched fist.

 The white orb easily sailed over the net.

To be continued part 8.

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