For disclaimers see part one.



Lois Kay

“Did you, really?” Maureen laughed out loud, enjoying the sparkle in her friend’s clear blue eyes. “Oh, God, that’s priceless. Her face would have been something else to see.”

“It was,” Hannah nodded with a chuckle. “After I told her that, Rachel looked like she didn’t know what to do: kiss me again or throttle me.”

“What did she do?”

“She kissed me,” Hannah answered with a saucy wink, making her friend laugh again.

“Thanks, Hannah, I needed a good laugh,” Maureen chuckled, after emptying her cup of coffee. “It’s sad to say, but I haven’t laughed a lot lately.”

“That’s a pity, Maureen. Laughing is a good stress reliever.”

“I know,” the redhead nodded with a small smile. “There hasn’t been much reason to laugh, though. Too much work, I guess.”

“All work, no play,” Hannah nodded in understanding. “Rachel gets like that sometimes. It’s not always easy to leave work and turn that knob in your head. Some things stay on your mind a little longer.” Hannah reached out and briefly covered Maureen’s hand with her own, giving it a gentle squeeze before withdrawing. “That’s why it’s so important for you and Lauren to clear up any misunderstandings or insecurities. Life’s too short to waste precious time.” Hannah swallowed hard and sent her friend a sad smile. “Believe me, I know.”

“It must have been hard, those years without Rachel,” Maureen replied with compassion.

“It was horrible,” Hannah nodded. “After Rachel left, I was...devastated. There was this deep, cold pain that never seemed to go away. Even during my, so called, ‘good’ days, it was still there. And when she came back...” Hannah paused and Maureen saw a slow smile spread across the blonde’s face. It was fascinating to see how it reached her eyes, chasing away even the last trace of lingering dark memories. “She came back,” Hannah repeated with a happy sigh. “Even though, at first, I was hurt and angry, I became complete again, because that’s how she always made me feel.”

“Rachel’s a lucky woman,” Maureen smiled warmly.

“No, I’m the lucky one,” Hannah gently objected. “And right now, I’d like to see if she’s done fixing your Agent. Are you coming?”

“Definitely,” Maureen laughed, pushing back her chair. “I’d like to take Lauren out of here and make sure she gets some sleep. Make sure we both get some sleep,” she corrected herself, which earned her a playful pat on the back from Hannah.

As soon as the two women entered the Emergency Department, they ran into two young men who seemed to be completely out their element in their expensive looking suits.

“May I help you?” Hannah asked.

“ work here?” one of the men asked, the frown leaving his forehead when he saw Hannah nod her head.

“ just dropped off a friend who was not feeling well and we’re looking for the exit,” he explained, letting out a short, nervous laugh. “This place is a maze and I’d like to get out of here as fast as I can. No offense, but I don’t like hospitals.”

“None taken,” Hannah smiled. “If you follow me, I’ll show you the way out.”

“Thank you,” the young man grinned, while he sent the blonde an appreciative look. Behind her back he made a suggestive gesture at his friend, who chuckled, but immediately fell silent when he noticed the cold stare in Maureen’s eyes. With a mumbled excuse, he followed the nurse to the exit, under the watchful eyes of the Agent, who patiently waited for her friend to return.

“Did they find it?” Maureen asked.

“They did,” Hannah answered. “I’m not sure what to think of those two. They seemed a little...odd.”

“They were,” Maureen agreed, following the blonde toward the room where they had left Rachel and Lauren. “They seemed a little too slick for my liking.”

“They’re young. They’ll learn,” Hannah chuckled, knocking on the closed door behind which her partner should be.

“Did you bring me half your brownie?” she heard Rachel’s voice.

“Sorry! I shared it with Maureen,” Hannah chuckled.

“Aw. Well, alright then. I guess you can come in anyway, we’re done.”

“You’re too kind,” Hannah replied, opening the door and gesturing Maureen to follow her in.

Rachel was cleaning up the tray she had used, while Lauren was sitting on the edge of the gurney, sipping from a Styrofoam cup of water. Her dark eyes lit up when they fell on Maureen and the redhead had to make a conscious effort not to  reach out and brush her fingertips across Lauren’s cheek.

“Are you alright?” she asked in a soft voice, putting her hands in her pockets.

“I’m fine,” Lauren smiled. “I’m just tired. I almost fell asleep here, but then I remembered Rachel was holding a big, old needle.”

Maureen laughed and sent Rachel a grateful look.

“Thanks for taking care of that, Rachel. I’m sorry you had to...”

“It’s okay, Maureen,” Rachel interrupted. “It was no trouble. I’m really glad you called, because I’ve got a feeling Lauren would just have gone home and it really needed to be cleaned out more and stitched up.”

“So, I’m free to go now?” Lauren asked, glancing up at Rachel with hopeful eyes.

“Yes, you are,” Rachel chuckled. “Keep it dry for a day or three, just try to shower around it and if it gets wet anyway, change the dressing. Tuesday, you can leave it open to air and rinse it out with the shower head. And I need to see you twelve days from now, to take the stitches out.”

“I’ll be here,” Lauren smiled, extending her hand to grab Rachel’s, but the Doctor ignored the gesture and, instead, gave her friend a quick hug, careful not to put any pressure on the freshly- dressed wound.

“I’m glad you and Maureen came out of that tornado unharmed,” she said, giving the Agent’s unharmed shoulder a gentle squeeze. “Now, let us take you and Maureen home, so you can get some rest.”

“Thanks, Rachel,” Lauren sighed, feeling completely drained. “I’m sure I’ll be sleeping for the next week or so.”

“Make that a month,” Maureen yawned, stepping out in the hallway and heading toward the exit.

“Hey, Hannah. Are you guys all done?” one of the nurses asked the blonde when she stepped out of the room.

“Hi, Betty,” Hannah greeted her with a warm smile. “Yup, we’re done and out of here.”

“Did that one guy talk to you?” Betty asked her friend, sending her a curious look. When Hannah shot her a puzzled look, she chuckled. “The young guy in the suit.”

“Oh, him, Yes, he needed to know where the exit was,” Hannah explained.

“Really?” Betty drawled. “I had already told him that, after I ran into him next to the supply room. Are they gone now?”

“I escorted them to the door,” Hannah explained, aware of Maureen’s and Lauren’s undivided attention. “They went outside, but I’m not sure if they actually left.”

“I’ll notify security, just in case,” Betty sighed. “There are too many nut cases around lately. I don’t care if they looked like business men, I don’t trust them. The way they were checking out some of the nurses gave me the creeps and that one guy was asking some strange questions.”

“Like what?” Maureen wanted to know, all traces of sleep gone and in full police mode.

“The effect certain drugs have on an infant,” Betty replied. “And he wanted to know if Fentanyl could be passed through breast milk. Weird question for a guy, really.”

“Did you get a name?” Lauren asked with a worried frown.

“, I didn’t,” Betty shook her head.

“Listen, if he ever comes back, call me, alright?” Maureen asked, handing the nurse her business card. “Right now, there’s nothing to worry about, but after what you’ve told us, I’d like to talk to him myself.”

“Sure, no problem,” Betty answered, putting Maureen’s card in the back of her badge-holder. “I’ll keep my eyes open.”


“I’m sorry to invade your house, again,” Maureen apologized when Lauren closed the door behind them, after Rachel and Hannah had dropped them off.

“Don’t be,” Lauren answered, giving the other woman a gentle push toward the back of the house. “Go on, you know the way,” she encouraged. “I’ll be taking a shower and for the next ten hours, I’ll be asleep.”

“Sounds good to me,” Maureen sighed, heading for the guest bedroom. With her hand on the doorknob she turned around to look at her friend, who was standing in the middle of the hallway. Lauren’s face was pale and the dark circles underneath her eyes were testimony to her fatigue. Maureen had never seen her that tired, but still, in her eyes, Lauren was as beautiful as she always was. Swallowing hard, she saw how the dark-haired woman removed the band from around her braid and raked her fingers through her long, thick hair, until it cascaded down her back, framing her face with unruly strands.

Lauren caught Maureen’s gaze and smiled.

“I know, I look like a scarecrow now,” she chuckled.

Moistening her dry lips, Maureen shook her head and swallowed hard. Before she could speak again, she knew she had to clear her throat, knowing her emotions would be reflected in her voice if she didn’t.

“No, you don’t look like a scarecrow,” she said in a soft voice. “I know you’re dead tired, but you’re still very beautiful.” Maureen exhaled slowly, happy the words had come out smoothly. “Have a good sleep, Lauren,” she added with a smile, disappearing into the bedroom and closing the door behind her. She knew if she would have looked back at Lauren, she would not have been able to control her impulses any longer; she would have ended up in Lauren Darkwolf’s arms. And no matter how much she craved just that, she knew it was not the right time. Not yet.

Unbeknownst to Maureen, Lauren stood in the hallway, staring at the closed door, while her heart was pounding in her chest. The redhead’s words had surprised her. Maureen had sounded subdued, but at the same time very confident, while the tired green eyes had displayed so much warmth and affection, it had taken Lauren by surprise.

“Rachel, you were right,” Lauren whispered, momentarily feeling the cloud of weariness lift when her heart did a double take. “You were right,” she repeated in a voice filled with wonder. “I have been blind.”


The dar- colored car had stopped in front of the barn a while ago. The sun had set and it was pitch-dark. The surrounding trees added to the darkness, with their thick, leaf-covered branches that were stretched out wide, creating a roof that slowly moved in the breeze, blocking the light from the moon overhead.

“I don’t like this, dude,” one of the car’s occupants sighed. “He should have been here by now. He did say ten, didn’t he?”

“That’s what he said,” was the mumbled answer. “He’ll be here soon. Musk’s never late.”

“He is now.”

“Stop whining, Ape. You know he’s busy.”

“Yeah, I know. But you tell me why he wanted to meet us here, man. There’s nothing here. It’s a miracle we found this place. Hey, Squid, d’you think this is the right place? Maybe we’ve missed...”

“This is the right place. Chill, man. Musk won’t be far away.”

“I hope you’re right. This place is giving me the creeps. I don’t like it. Why do you think he wants to meet us here? You think he wants to start a lab here? It looks like a pretty good place.”

“I dunno, Ape,” was the sighed reply. “All I know is I don’t want to piss Musk off. That’s all. I think that...hey, look, there’s a car coming.”

“That’s about freaking time,” Ape muttered, feeling a nervous tingle in the pit of his stomach. “I guess that’s Musk.”

“I guess so,” Squid agreed, squinting his eyes against the bright head lights of the approaching car. “I just wished he’d turn off those lights. I can’t see a damn thing.”

The car stopped a in front of the already parked one, but the headlights were not turned off.

“I can’t see who’s with him,” Ape mumbled. “Come on, Squid, let’s see what he wants.”


No matter how exhausted she might have been, Lauren tossed and turned for a long time, before she finally decided to get up and leave the warm comfort of her bed in search for some welcome distraction. She had to find a way to turn off the endless stream of thoughts that kept running through her mind and the best way she knew how was to get her sketch-pad and start drawing.

Equipped with a pencil and a pad, Lauren sank down in her overstuffed couch  and turned on the lamp behind it, so she had enough light to sketch. Her hand hovered over the pristine white paper only for a few seconds. Her grandfather had always told her to start drawing what came to mind first and Lauren still liked to follow his advice. Closing her eyes, she let instinct take over and with a small smile she nodded when her hand started to guide the soft pencil. Her eyes followed the dark lines on the paper and her smile deepened while she drew from memory. Immediately, she felt herself settle down. The whirlwind of thoughts and emotions receded until she was focused only on the picture that was taking shape underneath her skillful hand. A sense of calm over took her and, with a sigh of relief, Lauren nodded.

“There are a lot of things to think about...tomorrow,” she told herself, feeling her eyes grow heavy.

Within minutes the dark woman’s breathing was deep and regular. The muscles in her hand slowly relaxed, until the pencil slipped out of her hand and quietly rolled to the floor.

Maureen Lawrence let out a frustrated groan and turned on her other side, wondering why she had such a hard time falling asleep.

“I should have been out like a light as soon as I hit the pillow,” she grumbled, wishing she could turn off the constant flow of thoughts in her head. Every time she managed to stop thinking about the abandoned baby and the lone man they had met that day, the memory of the roaring tornadic wind filled her mind and, every time, she shivered. They had been so close. She had been able to feel the pull of the vortex as it was peeling off the roof of the building they had found shelter in. Maureen had been petrified, but as soon as Lauren’s arms had wrapped themselves around her, pulling her close, an immediate sense of safety had eradicated her fears, leaving her calmer and wondering at the peace she felt.

Maureen pushed herself up until she was sitting and raked her fingers through her unruly hair. It was utterly frustrating to be so tired and yet so awake.

“Maybe some hot tea will help,” she mused, remembering an old remedy her mother swore by. “Guess it won’t hurt,” she decided, kicking the blankets off her legs.

As soon as she entered the hallway on her way to the kitchen, Maureen noticed the light in the livingroom and, curiously, she changed direction, wondering if Lauren was still up.

When she stepped inside the livingroom, she immediately noticed the sleeping form on the couch. In her sleep, Lauren had turned on her side, with one hand tucked underneath her head, while the other one still held the sketch pad.

A warm feeling spread through Maureen’s body and with a smile she stepped closer, careful not to wake her friend. When her eyes fell on the pad, she could not contain her curiosity. Gently, she pried Lauren’s fingers away from the pad so she could pull it from the sleeping woman’s grip and when she saw the rough sketch, she let out a surprised gasp. From memory, Lauren had drawn a picture that was so detailed, Maureen felt like she was looking in a mirror.

“Oh. Lauren,” she whispered.

Maureen did know enough about art to recognize the precision and care Lauren had displayed to produce a detailed picture like that.

With a sigh, Maureen sank down on the edge of the couch, careful not to wake the sleeping woman. Her eyes traveled from the portrait she was holding, to the relaxed features of her sleeping friend and for a brief moment she wished she had the talent to capture Lauren Darkwolf in a drawing. The dark-haired woman looked so peaceful and relaxed, it made her look years younger. Long, dark eyelashes rested on tanned cheeks and with a smile Maureen realized she had never known they were so long. A straight nose and full lips, in combination with her tan, gave Lauren an exotic look and Maureen could not help wondering how heartbreakingly beautiful Lauren would be in a traditional, buckskin dress with its colorful beads and decorations.

Not able to resist any longer, Maureen stretched out a hand to brush away a strand of dark hair from the other woman’s forehead. Immediately, Lauren stirred and Maureen held her breath.

“It’s okay,” she whispered. “Go back to sleep.”

“Why aren’t you asleep?” Lauren mumbled, trying to pull herself from slumber.

“I can’t shut off my brain,” Maureen explained, using her index finger to trace an invisible line on Lauren’s cheek.

“C’mere,” Lauren mumbled, scooting back on the couch, making room for Maureen, whose heart had picked up speed and felt like it would pound straight through her chest wall.

“W..What?” the red-head stammered, completely taken aback by Lauren’s suggestion.

“Come here, join me. This couch is warm and snugly. I bet you’ll be out in a minute. You need to sleep, Maureen.”

“I know, don’t want to inconvenience you and...”

Maureen’s words were interrupted by a strong arm that was all of a sudden wrapped around her waist, pulling her down onto the couch, straight into Lauren’s arms.

“Now, make yourself comfortable and go to sleep,” Lauren mumbled. “This couch is big enough for the two of us. Besides, you don’t have to worry about me, if anybody will fall off during the night, it will be you.”

Maureen let out a nervous chuckle and immediately felt herself relax a little. It was not her body that was rejecting Lauren’s proposal, it was her mind. As soon as Lauren’s arms had settled around her, pulling her close to her chest, Maureen’s body had gone limp, craving the contact with the other woman with an intensity that almost took her breath away.

“Maureen?” Lauren’s sleepy voice sounded.

“Yes?” was the whispered answer.

“Close your eyes, relax, enjoy the warmth and shut off your brain.”

Maureen swallowed hard, knowing she did not have the energy to resist any longer.

“Okay,” she answered in a soft voice, smiling when Lauren mumbled: ‘Atta girl.”

Maureen let out a soft sigh and closed her eyes, reveling in the sensation of being in Lauren’s arms. It felt so good to be so close. After her heart rate had settled down a little, she focused on the warmth that had settled in the pit of her stomach and made her feel safe and cared for.

“Lauren?” she whispered after a long silence.


“Thank you.”

“For what?” Lauren asked, rasing her head a little, so she could look at the woman in her arms.

“For keeping me safe from the tornado, for being my friend, for...for comforting me.”

“You’re very welcome,” was the dark-haired woman’s response and Maureen could hear the smile in her voice. “Now, go to sleep.”

“Alright,” Maureen smiled, closing her eyes and snuggling deeper into the arms that were holding her. “Don’t let me fall off the couch,” she added sleepily.

“Never,” was the whispered answer.


Light, filtered by the blinds that decorated the windows, fell into the room, illuminating the furniture with a soft, golden glow. It highlighted the red in the hair of one of the sleeping forms on the couch. It made the color of Maureen’s hair look like burning amber and Lauren’s not so sleepy eyes took it all in with awe.

She had been roused from sleep by an unknown sensation and as soon as she had opened her eyes, it had become clear to her why there was a pressure on her shoulder. It was Maureen’s head. During the night, the other woman had turned around in her sleep and her head had somehow ended up on Lauren’s shoulder, while the dark-haired woman’s arm had held her close, as if, in her sleep, Lauren had wanted to make sure Maureen would not slip off the couch and end up on the floor during the night.

Lauren carefully brushed away a strand of hair, smiling when, in her sleep, Maureen sighed, but did not wake up. Looking down at the sleeping woman in her arms, she was assaulted by a multitude of emotions. She was aware of her increased heartbeat, something that she had become quite familiar with, because that is what it always seemed to do, whenever she was around Maureen. The temptation to lean down and press her lips against the other woman’s skin was almost unbearable. It was something she craved with such an intensity, it made her tremble inside.

“Just do it,” a little voice in the back of her mind whispered. “Maureen’s asleep, she doesn’t know and if you don’t tell her, she never will.”

“No, I can’t,” Lauren answered in silence. “That would be taking advantage of the situation and that’s something I can’t do. I won’t.”

Lauren shifted, trying to remove her arms from around Maureen’s body without waking the other woman up. It took her a few minutes, but when she had almost succeeded, Maureen mumbled something in her sleep and Lauren knew she was on the verge of waking up.

“Sh, go back to sleep,” she whispered. “I’ll be right back.”

“ ‘Kay,” was the sleepy answer and as soon as Lauren managed to get up from the couch, Maureen rolled on her side, hugging an overstuffed pillow.

For a few moments, Lauren looked down at the other woman, swallowing hard against a painful pressure in her chest. It almost physically hurt to get up and away from the warmth and comfort of Maureen’s body, but she felt like she had no choice. Lauren Darkwolf would never take advantage of the sleeping woman, no matter how much she craved the contact.

“I’ll be right back,” she whispered again, while she turned around and left the living room, unaware of the shuddering breath the red-head let out and the tear that slowly made its way down her cheek.

As soon as Maureen heard the kitchen door close behind Lauren, she opened her eyes and stared at the couch, while taking in a deep breath. Even though her eyes had been closed, she had practically felt Lauren’s stare and deep down inside she had known that the other woman was about to kiss her. And when she had felt Lauren put distance between their bodies, she had almost sobbed in disappointment and desperately wondered what it would take for Lauren Darkwolf to give in to something they both seemed to want so much.

“God, I’m so frustrated,” she sighed, wiping the tears off her cheeks. “I should have pulled her right back and kissed her.” Maureen balled her hand into a fist and punched a pillow. “Why didn’t I just do that?”

Maureen knew the answer to that question. If she would be honest with herself, she would admit she knew Lauren was attracted to her, but she did not know if  that was enough to take their friendship to another level. Her biggest fear was Lauren pushing her away, gently, but with determination.

“This being in love stuff is crappy,” Maureen mumbled, still on the verge of tears. “I need to do something about it.”


“Alright, fish, I know you’re there. Let’s see if you want to bite this nice, big, tasty lure,” the man said, casting his line, causing ripples that quietly moved through the water.

“Will it bite now, grandpa?” a young voice asked. “What did you put on it?”

“That, my boy, is a secret,” the older man laughed. “But watch this, Scotty, once I get this fish, you’ll be amazed.”

“The last one we caught was just a little baby catfish,” the boy teased his grandfather, who just laughed and ruffled Scotty’s spiky, blond hair.

“You just wait,” Martin Janek chuckled. “ Catching the big one is just a matter of time.”

Reeling in his line, Martin Janek let out a triumphant laugh when his line was pulled down by something heavy.

“Whoa,” he exclaimed, feeling the small bass boat rock. “Sit down, Scotty,” he ordered his grandson.

“But I’m wearing my life jacket,” the boy argued, looking up at his grandfather with pleading eyes.

“I know, son, but I don’t want you to fall overboard. Just sit down for a minute, alright. You can help me pull this thing in soon.”

Scott obediently sank down on the low bench and stared at the water where his grandfather’s line was still pulled down.  Martin frowned and moved his fishing rod from side-to-side. It was like his line was stuck on something big, but he had fished in the same spot for most of his life and knew there were no shrubs or trees there.

“Weird,” he muttered, all of a sudden feeling the line break free from whatever it was that had it pulled down. Quickly he reeled it in. There was still something fairly heavy attached to the line, but at least it moved.

“Stay where you are, Scotty,” he warned his grandson, who was about to get up. “Let me have a look at this first.”

Martin Janek knelt on the bottom of the small boat and grabbed the fishing line, carefully pulling it from the water. Slowly, but surely a small, plastic bag surfaced. At first, it was hard to see what was inside, but when he pulled it up a little more, his eyes fell on its contents. With a gasp, he almost dropped his line and with a quick look over his shoulder, he made sure his grandson was still sitting down.

“Scotty, hand me the net,” he asked in a hoarse voice.

“What is it, grandpa,” the young boy asked, having noticed there was no sign of a struggling fish. “Grandpa?”

“I’ll tell you in a minute, son,” Martin Janek promised, scooping the plastic bag in his fishing net, securing it on the side of the boat.

“We’ll have to stay here a while, Scott,” he spoke, turning around so he could look at his grandson. “We need to call the police, because I’ve found something they need to know about, alright?”

“What is it?” Scott asked. His grandfather’s face worried him, so did the use of his full name. His grandfather never called him ‘Scott’, unless something was seriously wrong.

“It’s...” Martin Janek debated with himself, not sure if he should tell the boy, but then realized Scotty would hear him talk with the police as soon as he called them. “It looks like a hand, son.”


Lauren stared at the coffee maker, not really seeing the small drops fill the pot with the fragrant brew. All she could think of was the red-haired woman in the living room. She had been so close to kissing Maureen, but she had refused to give into that urge. Thinking back, she wondered if it had been the right choice. It was obvious Maureen was interested in her, so what was the problem?

“Do you want her to take the first step? Is that it?” Lauren asked herself in a quiet voice, unaware of the door being opened. “God, Lauren, you’re such a loser,” she added with a groan.

“No, you’re not,” Maureen’s voice suddenly sounded behind her and immediately Lauren whirled around. Her dark eyes took in her friend who looked adorable with her tousled hair and sleepy eyes. Her heart immediately did a double take and Lauren had to take a deep breath to try and calm herself.

“Maureen? I...”

“If you’re a loser, what would that make me?” Maureen asked, stepping closer. Within a few strides she had Lauren backed up against the kitchen counter, where they stood toe-to-toe. “Lauren,” she continued, moistening her dry lips. “I know we’re both control freaks, I think that’s part of our jobs. But I’ve seen your eyes and I think I know what you want. And guess what? That’s what I want as well,” Maureen said in a soft voice, reaching out a hand to cup Lauren’s cheek. With her thumb, she gently caressed the soft skin that, at first, was cool to the touch, but quickly began to heat up under the soft ministrations.

“So, I think it’s about time we both give up a little bit of that control and just go for it, because, I’m not sure about you, but I’m absolutely dying to kiss you.”

“You are?” was the only response Lauren could come up with as she looked into her friend’s smoldering green eyes.

“I am,” Maureen nodded, cupping Lauren’s face between both her hands, gently pulling it down.

Lauren’s heart was pounding so hard and fast, she was convinced Maureen could hear it and, for a split second, she was afraid she would pass out, right then and there, in the kitchen. Maureen’s face was so close, Lauren could feel the heat radiate from the red-head’s skin. She breathed in the warm scent that was distinctively Maureen’s and involuntarily she let out a soft moan.

“Maureen...,” she whispered.

“Shut up, Lauren,” Maureen whispered back, focusing on Lauren’s lips that looked so soft, warm and inviting. They were only a breath away and all of a sudden Maureen’s nervousness disappeared, leaving her calm, but determined.

The first contact was so incredibly soft, Maureen wondered if their lips had actually touched. But then Lauren’s arms were around her, pulling her closer, while the tentative contact turned into a more solid one.

“Oh, God,” was the last coherent thought Maureen had for a long time, because Lauren’s reaction to Maureen’s initiative was mind-blowing.  The dark-haired woman’s lips quickly took the lead, sliding against Maureen’s in a slow, maddening pace, before coaxing the red-head’s lips apart and intensifying the contact.

If she would have been able to, Maureen would have sobbed when Lauren’s tongue softly, almost shyly touched her own, but instead she moaned, clasping her hands behind Lauren’s head, pulling the other woman impossibly close. All rational thought had fled her mind and instinct had taken over completely, fueled by a deep, burning desire to give into her body’s cravings.

Maureen’s hands had slipped underneath Lauren’s t-shirt and the sensation of the soft, warm skin, in combination with the passionate kisses made her throw all caution in the wind. She was vaguely aware of Lauren’s fingers dancing across her lower back, fueling the fire within and coaxing her body even closer.

Eventually, both women needed to come up for air, which they reluctantly did. Slightly breathless, Lauren moistened her lips, while her dark eyes searched Maureen’s face for any sign of regret or discomfort. She smiled when the other woman sent her a dazed look.

“Is that what you had in mind?” she asked in a gentle voice, brushing her lips against Maureen’s forehead.

The red-head nodded and her green eyes showed a twinkle when she looked up at the slightly taller woman, who was still holding her close in the circle of her arms.

“It’s a start,” she answered in a hoarse voice.

Lauren smiled and kissed the bridge of Maureen’s nose.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“For what?” Maureen frowned, raking her fingers through Lauren’s long, dark hair, reveling in the silky feel of it.

“For taking the initiative,” Lauren explained, dipping her head so she could capture Maureen’s lips in a brief kiss. “I know I had the chance, but I lacked the courage,” she added.

“I was scared, too,” Maureen admitted, pressing her cheek against Lauren’s, smiling when the arms around her tightened.

“What made you change your mind?” Lauren asked with her face buried in Maureen’s hair.

“I was desperate,” was the dry answer and Lauren chuckled.

Maureen lifted her head, tilting it back so she could look Lauren in the eyes. She smiled when she noticed the mixture of desire, joy and shyness in the other woman’s gaze. It made her feel warm inside and happier than she had felt in a very long time.

“You’re beautiful,” she said softly.

“So are you,” Lauren smiled. “But you’re changing the subject.”

“I know,” Maureen sighed. “We need to talk, Lauren.”

“Yes, we do,” Lauren agreed. “But, before we do, may I ask for another kiss?” she added with a twinkle in her eyes.

“Absolutely,” Maureen nodded, happy to oblige.

Just as their lips met Lauren’s ears picked up the familiar sound of her pager beeping and, with a groan of frustration, she broke off the kiss before it became too intense again.

“I’m being paged,” she explained apologetically.

“I heard,” Maureen sighed, pressing her forehead against Lauren’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” Lauren whispered, hugging Maureen close, before reluctantly letting go of the warm body in her arms. Grabbing the pager from the kitchen table, she pressed a button and turned around to cast Maureen a worried look.

“It’s the lab,” she explained. “Maybe the baby’s and mother’s blood tests are in.”

To be continued

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