The Light Fantastic


by LA Tucker



Part XVI - Ladies and Germs

For disclaimers, see Part I


Chloe was in the interior waiting area of her doctor's office, writing a check for her co-payment to the doctor.  From her vantage point, she could see the waiting room, and was amused to see that Sara was leaned, legs sprawled out, head tilted back, rather unglamorously snoring in a chair with a opened magazine in her lap.  There was a two year old little girl standing in the chair next to Sara, her head just inches from Sara's face, intently studying the inside of the slumbering woman's nose.  The little girl's mother, familiar with her daughter's usually benign curiosity, but unaware of the depth it was now achieving, was sitting on the other side of the little munchkin, perusing a magazine with one hand, and her other hand was placed firmly on her daughter's behind to steady and insure her safety during her unnoticed exploration of the tall snoring woman's nasal cavities.

Chloe stood, fascinated, and watched as the little girl dipped her head lower, ostensibly to peer farther up Sara's nostrils.  The receptionist, taking Chloe's check, noticed Chloe's attention was fixed elsewhere, and she followed Chloe's grinning gaze out to the waiting room.  The receptionist giggled when she saw what was happening, and shared a grin with her.  Marcy appeared at Chloe's right elbow, having finished her own check-up with the doctor, and joined the two women in their rapt fascination of what was happening in the other room.  She smiled, too, when she saw the little girl looking deeply into Sara's open, snoring mouth, apparently trying to find out where that awful growling racket was coming from within Sara's body.  Sara's mouth closed in her sleep, and the little girl, fixing on a plan, cautiously and carefully began to stretch her hand to Sara's nose.  Marcy silently elbowed Chloe, and the receptionist put a hand over her own mouth in an effort to muffle the giggles that were threatening to erupt full force.  All three women watched, transfixed, as the little girl carefully inserted a tiny finger into Sara's nostril, and held it there, delighted to see that it was a perfect fit. The mother of the little one, diligent in her daughter's safety, finally looked up from her magazine, and a horrified look covered her face.

"ASHLEY!" she hissed, and pulled her daughter toward her. Unfortunately,  the little girl's small finger was still lodged deep within Sara's nose, so when the little girl was being hauled into her mother's lap, she, by extension, brought Sara's head along with her.  Sara woke up to the very strange sensation of falling to her left,  a strange object up her nose.  Sara reflexively pulled back the other way, the foreign object was removed, but by then she was teetering on the edge of her chair, and she lost her balance, and slid with a thud onto her rump to the carpeted floor.  She blinked, and heard riotious laughing coming from the receptionist's area, but from where she was sitting, she didn't know who was the source of the laughter.  The startled woman looked at the staring little girl being held in her mother's arms, and figuring them as the culprits responsible for her current situation, she raised a single eyebrow high, and gave them a rather scary, feral look.  The two year old immediately burst out in a terrified wail, and buried her head into her mother's shoulder.  The mother quite prudently and efficiently lifted daughter and purse, and found some empty seats as far from the dark haired glowering woman as the small waiting room would allow.

Sara was just pushing herself off of the floor and back into her seat, when the door to the waiting room opened, and two madly grinning women appeared and walked towards her. Perfect. They saw everything. My life is complete.  She settled into the chair and reached to grab Chloe's and Marcy's coats, and thrust them at her silent, but wildly amused friends.  Sara, still groggy from her nap in the chair, and her rather unpleasent awakening, frowned her most terrorizing of glares at both of them, and stood up to put on her own coat.  Chloe and Marcy gave each other little knowing smiles; it clearly wasn't smart to tease Sara about this ... yet.

The path to leave the office crossed directly in front of the mother and her terrorized, still whimpering little girl. Sara, leading the group to the door, paused in front of the little girl, and feeling badly about scaring her, stopped a moment and gave the little one her best and gentlest smiles.  As Chloe, Marcy and the mother watched, the little girl took a long look at Sara's smiling face, and then proceeded to wail anew.  Chloe and Marcy burst out in renewed fits of laughter, and Sara just threw up her hands in defeat and pushed the door open so they could all exit.  Just as the door was closing behind them, they could hear a final comment from the toddler, speaking in a rather loud voice. "GROWLY. She's GROWLY."

Sara slumped her shoulders and walked to the Subaru ahead of two women who were sounding like they wouldn't be able to stop laughing anytime soon .

Chloe slid into the booth, and immediately began fiddling with the knob on the side of the little jukebox so she could look at the song titles flipping by.  Marcy settled into the bench across from her, and Sara sat down next to Chloe, smiling at her utter enthusiasm for the old-fashioned music player.

"Ooh!"  said Chloe, her voice still shredded and coarse. She looked at Sara and demanded, "Gimme some quarters.  I want to play something."

Sara put a hand in her jeans pocket, and pulled out a handful of change.  Chloe dug around, and took several quarters. Sara, curious, said, "What're ya going to play?"

Chloe sighed happily and said, as she inserted the coins into the slot,  "Patsy Cline!  I love Patsy!  It should be a law that every jukebox in America should have Patsy on it."  She pushed a few buttons and completely missed the looks of surprise, pleasure and chagrin that passed over Sara's face.

'I Fall to Pieces' began to play softly through the diner, and Chloe happily settled back into her seat.

"So," began a sarcastic Marcy, "I assume we're allowed to talk now?  Is that all right with you, Princess?"  She dropped her eyelids at Sara, and patiently waited for her to answer.

"Hmmph." said a still growly Sara in reply. "OK, what's the prognosis?  Everyone going to live?"  She took the menu that Chloe handed her, and began to study it.

Marcy looked to Chloe, and grinned. "I'm fine, the doc thinks it's some stomach virus.  He did some tests,  and I'm supposed to call back on Thursday. I get to take one more day off, though.  Back to the grind on Thursday. How about you, Chloe?"

Chloe, noticing that Sara was staring at the menu, winked a conspiratorial grin at Marcy, who winked back in understanding. "Well, he did a throat culture on me, and it seems that I have mono."

"REALLY?", gasped a perfectly playing along Marcy. "Oh shit! That sucks!"

Sara, feeling like she missed something while she was looking at the day's specials, and hearing the surprise in Marcy's voice, looked up and said, "Huh?  Excuse me, what did you say, Chloe?"

Chloe looked her in the eye and said ominously. "Mono."

Sara dropped her menu onto the table, immediately forgotten. "Mono?  As in mononucleosis? The 'kissing disease'?"  That's what Sara recalled it being called when she was a teenager long ago.

Chloe nodded and replied, deadpan. "Yup. Mono. The doctor said it was contagious, and well, I'm afraid ...  well, you know ... I have to cut back on certain activities, to make sure I don't overdo ... "

Sara's eyes were getting wider with every word that was coming from the little librarian's mouth. "What activities, and for how long?"

Marcy settled back further into her seat to thoroughly enjoy the little show that was playing out across from her. 'Crazy' began playing on the jukebox.

Chloe, looking troubled, stared down at her folded hands on top of the table, and crooked her mouth into a frown. "Well, I can still work, and work with the play, once the sore throat and cold settles down.  I'm going back to work on Thursday, too."  She glanced up at the disbelieving Sara, and continued, working her face into an even more pronounced frown. "As for ... other things ... I'm not allowed ... I can't ... you know ... "  She saw the look of comprehension and its resultant unhappiness show up on Sara's face. "I'm contagious.  Highly. I tire easily. I can't get into situations where ... I may be able ..."  She stopped there, and shrugged at Sara.

Sara exclaimed, her voice seemingly erupting from the depth of her bowels. "SITUATIONS?"

Marcy helpfully answered that question for Chloe. "Swapping spit.  Right, Chloe?"

Sara shot Marcy a murderous look, and then looked to Chloe for confirmation. Chloe shrugged again, and hoarsely affirmed Marcy's answer. "Yeah. That and ... any other situations ... that would logically follow from the 'swapping spit' scenario."  She pursed her lips and gave Sara an apologetic look.

Sara, whose hormones were screaming madly in denial of this new information, breathed out another phrase. "For how long?"

Chloe took a sip of her water, and tonelessly replied, "Six weeks." She paused a heartbeat, and then continued. "At least."

Marcy was thinking she should duck out to the ladies room so she could release the laughter she was desperately trying to hold back. She looked back and forth at the two women across from her, admiring the way Chloe was so downright convincing in her little lie, and also at the total air of despair and desperation that was encompassing the whole of Sara. Oh, Chloe, you are good. Now how long are you going to torture the poor woman?

Sara was unable to form complete sentences at this point, so she said the word that was foremost in her brain. "Nothing?"

Chloe clenched her jaw, and repeated Sara's meaningful word. "Nothing."  She sighed, and then looked up at the approaching waitress. If I look at Marcy right now,  we're both going to lose it.  Big time.

Sara's attention was captured by the numerous furious little voices in her head, demanding that she go down and strangle the doctor who had diagnosed Chloe with this horrible news, effectively ruining all the naked Chloe 'scenarios' that had been fermenting in Sara's sexually charged brain.  She was killing the doctor for the third time, in a new and more imaginative way, when Chloe's voice cut through to her vision, stopping it without a satisfactorily grisly ending.

"Um, Sara, she's waiting for your order.", nudged Chloe, whose eyes were tearing at the effort she was applying to keep a serious countenance.

Sara looked up dumbly at the not too patient looking face of the waitress. "Chicken. I'll have the chicken."

As Sara numbly was finishing giving the rest of her order to the waitress,  Chloe finally felt strong enough to look at Marcy across the table.  Marcy rolled her eyes and tapped Chloe's leg with her toe under the table.  She couldn't help herself, she just had to contribute to this bit of fun. "Jeez, Chloe, six weeks ... or longer?  Wow, how are you guys going to manage that?"  She looked quickly out the window to maintain her composure.

Chloe took her cue, sighed, and then said confidently, "Oh, we can wait.  I mean, we've waited this long, right?"  She looked at the very frazzled Sara. "We're both grown-ups, we can manage to control ourselves for that long." She mentally berated herself for doing it, but she plunged ahead anyway. "Or if longer, if need be, right, honey?"  She gave a sweet smile to Sara, full of expectant trust that her sweetie would agree with her confidence in her.

Sara, taking a quick glance around to make sure no one was in the way of the power of the answer she knew was going to come tumbling, forcefully, out of her mouth.

"HELL, NO!"  she roared. "No way, no how, no, no, not going to happen. No. I don't care if you are contagious, I don't care. You got me, Chloe? Six weeks?  Get real.  Not possible. Nope. I won't be able to survive that long. I'll die first, and I'd rather die of mono. Got it?"

Marcy blew a mouthful of her iced tea clear across the table and right onto Chloe's sweater. She started laughing, a good cleansing laugh that was ridding her of all the tension she felt from holding it back .  Chloe, momentarily stunned by both Sara's and Marcy's reactions, wiped at her sleeve, and finally began laughing herself, and then turned her giggling gaze to her glowering girlfriend, who still wasn't aware that she had been the victim of a well played out prank.  Chloe was laughing so hard, and her throat was still rough, so the waves of mirth coming from her sounded much like that of a braying donkey. Those sounds made Marcy laugh even harder yet, and she finally broke down, and quickly excused herself to the ladies room.

Sara watched and listened, and slowly the truth began dawning on her. She took a breath, and carefully measured her tone and words. "What is it, really?"

Chloe wiped a paper napkin across her eyes, grabbed another and blew her nose into it, taking that time to settle herself before she answered, her face softly glowing, her eyes not being able to disguise the twinkle within, "Strep.  Just like I thought. I have to take antibiotics for a week."

Sara propped her elbows on the table, and steepled her hands, and squinted at the vacated bench across from her, before carefully turning her head to meet Chloe's eyes again. "You, you little shit, are in deep doo-doo here, you know that, right?"  She watched Chloe blink, and then smugly grin at her. "I just might make you wait those six weeks ... " Sara said in measured, serious tones, and internally enjoyed the wide eyed response that statement elicited from Chloe. "Yeah ... I'll have to think about it..."  She gave Chloe one more meaningful look, and finished. "I'm a grown-up.  I can wait."

Chloe had to physically stop herself from leaping into Sara's lap right there in the tiny diner, and kissing that serious look off her girlfriend's face,  strep germs, or no strep germs. "Sara ..."  she said plaintively, begging to be absolved from Sara's threat, "I don't want to be a grown-up."

Sara started laughing herself, freed from the bleak future of a false diagnosis, and took pity on the now contrite Chloe. She slid a hand onto Chloe's thigh under the table, high, then higher yet, reaching for the interior of that thigh, and then gave a measured and deliberate stroke there. Chloe jumped a little, got a sexy little smile, and heard Sara say, "Nah, Chloe, I don't want to be a grown-up, either."

Sara put the remains of her chicken dinner in the styrofoam container provided by the waitress.  She looked sheepishly at Chloe, who gave her a small wink before she chided the tall woman next to her. "I thought it was a little weird, you ordering chicken, since that's pretty much all we've eating for the last three days."  She turned her attention to her friend across the table, and cocked her head at her. "How's the stomach doing, Marse?"

Since Marcy had been subjected to Dave's somewhat limited variety of chicken soup products over the same time span, she had the presence of mind to order a beef vegetable soup, with some homemade rolls as a side.  Marcy groaned but her face held a wan smile. "If I eat soup again after all this clears up, it'll be too soon. Stomach is fine, so far. It doesn't feel like it wants to make a return trip out the same way it went in." Marcy saw the 'ews' that appeared on both her friends' faces. "It's been hell. What goes in, wants to come out."  Marcy felt much worse than she was letting on, she still felt very tired, and was glad that they would be heading home soon.  She wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and close her eyes for many comforting hours.

Chloe stretched her hand across the table and gave Marcy a reassuring pat. "Well, old girl, we'll have you home shortly. Can you handle it a little longer, so I can get a piece of pie, or do you want me to get it to go?"

Marcy sighed. "No, have it here. It's nice to be out of the house.", she lied, knowing that Chloe and Sara wanted to spend some more time together before they dropped off Sara at the school to direct the Tuesday play practice.  It was after three o'clock now, and Sara had to be there at four.

Chloe could tell that her friend felt bad, and was putting up a good front. She smiled at Marcy in knowing appreciation, and waved down the waitress and ordered a piece of pecan pie for herself, and a piece of cherry for Sara.

Sara thanked the waitress for the pie, and then began speaking. "Well, since I'm fill-in director for the rest of the week, and you two are merely my useless lackeys, is there anything I should know, or get done for you, Marcy, while I'm there?"

"Yeah, just make sure a tree looks like a tree, will ya?  I don't want any comments from Doris this year, or I'm blaming the whole thing on you."

Chloe, who was resting her voice, and enjoying her pie too much to join into the conversation, grinned and let the two women who liked each other very much treat each other like they didn't.

"Marse, I know what a tree looks like, I'm just not sure you do."

"Yeah, I believe that.  I'm sure you've been mistaken many times for a redwood, yourself, oh tall and wooden one."

Sara stuck her tongue out at Marcy, and showed her the mostly chewed piece of cherry pie residing there before swallowing and countered with , "Listen, Miss Bohemian With Name No One Can Pronounce, just be cooperative for five minutes so your damned corn stalks don't end up looking like a field of marijuana plants."

Marcy and Chloe both let out guffaws at that thought. "Actually, Sara, " said Marcy mischievously, "I kind of like that idea."  Marcy was glad she decided to stay a little longer.

Sara directed a rare and affectionate grin at the curly haired art teacher. "You would.  Have any samples growing behind your house we could use as a model?"

"Too early in the season yet.  Try me in August or so."

Chloe had finished her pie, and was eyeing the remainder of Sara's.  Sara noticed, and placed a small guarding hand over the rest of it. "Nuh, uh, 'Miss Lips'.  Mine, mine, mine."

Chloe pouted and pulled her straw out of her soda glass, and shot some diet Coke drops at Sara.  Sara rolled her eyes, and shrugged, then shoved her plate over to the now clearly delighted librarian.

Marcy noticed this little surrender, and smirked at Sara. "Whipped."

"Guilty as charged." admitted Sara, and gave Chloe a very mushy, adoring look. Chloe was surprised, Sara's truly mushy moments were, well, not as frequent as she would like them to be, but she knew that Sara just wasn't built that way.  So, Sara, in giving Chloe the last of her pie, and cheerfully at that, was really sharing quite a tender moment with Chloe, in her own manner.  To the untrained eye,  Sara had just given in to Chloe, to their hearts, it was a gesture as intimate as a stolen kiss.

Marcy had a trained eye. "God, will you two knock it off?  I can feel my lunch coming back up, and it doesn't have a thing to do with my flu."

Sara grimaced, and blushed just a little. "OK.  Well, you two are off loafing this week, and we only have two days rehearsal next week before Easter vacation starts. I think the dancing parts are well in hand, the sets are coming along fine, and the kids will be ready for some full act rehearsals on the stage after vacation. Right? "  She knew she was, so she continued. "You two know that the weekend after Easter, good weather willing, the golf course is going to open up.  At least I talked Dave into having the grand opening on Saturday evening, instead of Friday.  If it was on Friday, I'm not sure either Nelson or I could make it to Saturday dance rehearsal."

Sara turned on her commander persona, and began making a list, verbally, and repeating it to her ailing troops at the table with her. "Right. This week taken care of. Next week, next Thursday morning, Dave, Nelson and I will be traveling, gaily, down to visit the parental units in Florida for the Easter holiday.  You two, helpless as I know you will be without the Family D' Amico here to guide you, will just have to color Easter eggs all by your lonesome."  Sara noticed sly little grins being exchanged by her two tablemates, but chose to ignore them so she wouldn't lose her train of thought. "We'll get back the Tuesday after Easter,  hauling a U-Haul's worth of chocolate from my mom and dad.  Hopefully, we'll get back before rehearsal that day, if not, you'll just have to manage without us. Then, it's all golf course and rehearsals and more golf course right until Sunday's grand opening.  Dave's going to put on his chef's hat and burn a truckload of hotdogs for this thing, and he's arranged for some kind of musical entertainment.  Then a Sunday's worth of golfers playing at half price.  Should be a swingin' time."  Sara's face frowned at the thought of having to mingle with the public that much, but she had already agreed long ago to do it, so she was going to do it, dammit.

Chloe had watched the frown form on Sara's face, and knew the reason for it, they had discussed it, along with many other things, over their time together during the last few days.  Chloe knew that Sara was not looking forward to it, but had a certain resignation to performing her duties for her brother.

Chloe decided to interject a thought to keep the itinerary ball rolling.  "WQEL the next week after that."

Marcy let out a huge sigh at the mention of WQEL. "Sara, you haven't lived through a WQEL auction and Fort Lafayette Musical Showcase yet, have you?"

"No, but Chloe gave me a general rundown.  It's from 5 'til 10,  kids from the play answering phones,  3 or 4 musical acts from the show interspersed with auctioning bits with you and Chloe in front of the camera, huckstering off donated merchandise and services from local businesses.  What's so tough about that?"

"You try talking about 6 non-related, dull as day old toast, crap items for10 minutes, in front of two TV cameras, that's what's tough about that. Three for me, three for Chloe to yammer about, 10 minutes total, then a new set of six useless items to blather enthusiastically about. All night long. With just the kids' music acts to break the monotony." Marcy gave Sara a condescending smirk.  "I've never heard you talk about anything for longer than two minutes, and then I start considering what a drain it must be on your gray matter."

Marcy cleared her voice, and went into mock auctioneer mode. "Hey, listen, people, only 5 minutes more to bid up that family day pass to Wally's Fun World, it's only up to eight dollars, which is quite a steal, if you ask me.  And the 5 cases of Hires Root beer, graciously provided to us from Sam's Warehouse, is currently at sixteen dollars.  And there are still no bids on the 'Wayne Newton in Hawaii' video tape, with signed photograph of 'Mr. Entertainment' himself, Wayne Newton.  Let's get those phones ringing, folks. What's happening on your side of the board, Chloe?"

Chloe had done this for the last five years, and wasn't going to let a little thing like a sore throat ruin her fun now. She knew the routine in her sleep. "Well, Marcy, with only 4 minutes left,  there's a fifteen dollar bid on 3 nine hole rounds of golf donated by Stonecreek Golf Course, and we're a little low on bids for 12 movie rentals from Bob's Video Shack. That's a thirty-six dollar retail value, and we only have a bid for ten, no, we just got a higher one, that's up to fourteen dollars now.  And the seasonal fur storage at Hammond's Dry Cleaners, right in downtown Stonecreek, has a very low bid at five dollars.  We've got twelve kids out there from Lafayette high school answering your calls, and a few of them look pretty bored right now, don't they, Marcy?  Let's get those phones ringing in support of the fine entertainment here at WQEL Public Television, and remember, your winning bid over retail value is tax deductible. WQEL accepts cash, checks and all major credit cards. How's that Wayne Newton tape doing there , Marcy, what with only 3 minutes left for folks to get to their phones and start dialing?"

Sara let out a tremendous roar of laughter, and was soon joined in by both Marcy and Chloe.

Marcy raised her eyebrows at Sara. "Five, count'em, FIVE hours of that, just me and Chloe.  And since it is Stonecreek night at WQEL, most of our time will be spent shilling items donated by local retailers and businesses, which, when you think of it, consists of oil changes from the Amoco station, dry cleaning, pizzas, and oh, yeah, rounds of golf at D'Amico's Stonecreek Golf Course.  Dave said he's going to donate golf lessons, too, just for the auction bidders only."

Sara puzzled over this. "I don't get it. Neither Dave or I can golf all that well to begin with, certainly not well enough for either one of us to teach anyone else.  Where's he going to get a teacher?"

Marcy's eyes tracked slowly to a clearly confused and unsuspecting Chloe. "Miss Lips here.  I volunteered her to help out the cause."

Chloe started coughing, and Sara had to smack her several times on the back, and handed her a glass of water to sip. When the coughing abated, Chloe, sounding a little bit like Scooby Doo after a long night of howling, rasped out, "Me?  No way. Not me.  I can't teach strangers ..." she stopped when she saw the grin forming on Sara's face. "Oh, wait, you think I owe you guys because of you helping with the dance stuff, huh, well let me tell you, right here, right now, that ...", she paused and saw the grin on Sara's face starting to fade, and she kicked herself because of it and immediately finished with, "I would certainly be delighted to help out the D'Amicos in any way I can."  She gave Sara an apologetic grin, and saw by Sara's return smile that she had been forgiven.

"Paybacks.", stated Sara, and grabbed the check.  Chloe threw some dollar bills on the table, and as Sara paused after standing up, to retrieve her coat off the nearby hook, Chloe took advantage of her perfect positioning, and scooted across the bench seat, and pinched Sara soundly on the rear.

Sara squawked, and said, "Hey, what didja do that for?"

Chloe grinned as her best friend Marcy answered for her. " 'Cause she can."

Sara and Chloe watched a very tired Marcy trudge up her backdoor steps, before turning and waving to them before she entered her house.  Next stop was to drop Sara off at the school, and then Chloe was finally heading home after her stay at the D' Amico Family Hospice.  They both knew that this was going to be their last chance to share a few intimacies until they saw each other again.

Chloe turned off the engine, and glanced at her watch.  Sara was sadly frowning from the passenger seat of the Subaru. Her hand, already placed on Chloe's knee, reached and took Chloe's hand into hers.  They both looked at their joined hands, then their eyes raised to meet and consider each other quietly.

"We haven't had much kissing time in the past few days, you know. " Sara finally said, her eyes memorizing all that was Chloe.

"I know.  It's not much fun kissing a snot-nosed librarian who can barely breathe, is it?"  Chloe sighed regretfully, and softly ran her other hand across Sara's knuckles.

"I can barely breathe when I kiss you, Chloe, and I'm not even sick."

Chloe's heart pounded at such a sweet message, she leaned closer to Sara, and saw that Sara was leaning in, too.  Chloe took a deep breath, and their lips met, so achingly soft and gentle, filled with a tenderness that spoke of their reluctance to be parting from one another. The kiss continued, with Sara bringing both hands up to cradle Chloe's face, and she left the red lips, and began placing small kisses over cheek, nose and forehead before returning to Chloe's waiting lips again.  Even these small, lingering kisses evoked a moan from Chloe, and an answering rumble from Sara.

They broke the kiss, but kept the proximity, Sara sighing her words to Chloe. "I want you so badly. Can you feel it?"

Chloe whispered back, her voice husky from equal parts passion and sore throat. "Oh, yeah.  I can feel it." She rubbed her cold reddened nose across Sara's. "It was nice sleeping with you, even if we didn't get to ..."

Sara kissed Chloe's nose and answered, "Well, you're going to need all your strength when we finally do.  That's a promise."

Chloe leaned back in her seat, and reached for Sara's hand again. "Oh, I do like your promises. Now if we could just get you to follow through on one of them ..."

Sara sat back too, and smiled a sly grin. "Go get those antibiotics, Miss Lips, and some vitamins, too.  And get some rest, you're going to need it."

Chloe sighed, and shook her head. "I'm starting to think we're jinxed or something."  She took a quick look at her watch. "Damn, it's nearly 4 already. I have to get the dance monkey to work." She disengaged her hand from Sara's, who let it drop comfortably back onto Chloe's knee. She started the engine again, and before putting the car into gear, took one last look at Sara, who was now sitting back in her seat, a dejected sad smile on her face.

"Hey, Sara?" Chloe said, as she started the car, and began to follow the turnaround of Marcy's driveway back out to Route 20.

Sara rubbed Chloe's knee. "Hmm?" and the car halted, Chloe looking both ways, waiting for a break in the traffic so she could pull out.

"I love you." Chloe said simply, and accelerated the car onto the road.

It was more than a few moments before Chloe could turn her head and catch the reaction to her first time declaration. When she did, Chloe was very surprised. Not by the gentle smile gracing Sara's face, but by the tears she saw softly welling in her eyes.



Continued in Part XVII

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