This is a work of fiction, Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

The Introduction

Joanna had moved to town after her parents died. Her father had willed her the home she was now living in. She had been unaware that her parents had this place. The land was beautiful. It was perfect for the horses she had. The barn was spacious and had room for more horses if she chose to get more. Joanna had been walking around the place, getting a good look at her new surroundings when she had discovered the cabin.

The cabin would become Jo's place of refuge when the rest of the world was too much to deal with. Jo spent many hours in the cabin. She would spend the time thinking, not about anything specific, just random thoughts. She spent much of the time time thinking about her parents and why she was alone. She wondered if she would ever meet someone that she wanted to devote her life to. Ordinarily, it would have been easy for Jo to go to a club and pick up someone, except Jo was a lesbian and hadn't found a place to pick anyone up at.

She had adopted a puppy and kitten, but hadn't named them yet. They gave her someone to love and they loved Jo in return. Was Jo doomed to a life of being alone? Would she ever meet that special someone that could give her life the change that she felt was needed? Jo was content with being alone, but, like everyone else, she wanted to find that one true love. Jo had no idea that when she met the woman of her dreams, her life would turn into a nightmare.

Lisa had lost her husband and stopped living. She did what she had to in order to survive, but she had lost the will to live, it seemed. Many men had tried to win her affections, but none had succeeded. Lisa had gotten used to a life alone and had decided that she didn't want to be involved with anyone ever again. The pain of losing her husband, her only love, had taught her that being alone was better than being hurt. She had decided that the pain of heartache wasn't worth it.

Lisa was a member of the local fire department and was used to getting calls for all types of fires. This day, when she responded to a fire, she would discover a fire that could be put out and one that would only simmer until it erupted into flames that could never be put out, forever changing her life in a desperate attempt to tame it....

Chapter 1

The barn had burned to the ground. She had been lucky to get out as quickly as she did; yet she had gone back in, even though the fire department was there. Lisa, one of the firefighters, was trying to understand why as she placed the oxygen mask over Joanna's face.

All of a sudden, two balls of fur come from underneath Jo's shirt. Upon seeing the puppy and the kitten, Lisa understood. Not only had she gone back in to free the helpless horses, she went one last time to get the puppy and kitten.

Jo's hands had been severely burned and she was covered in soot. Her face was completely black. The only color was when she smiled and you saw her dazzling blue eyes. For some unknown reason, Lisa was drawn to those blue eyes, and when Jo asked her to care for the puppy and kitten, Lisa agreed.

Three weeks had passed. Lisa knew it was against regulations for her to visit Jo, so she never thought she would see Jo again. Lisa looked at the puppy and kitten playing. "Kids," she thought. Joanna had given her children, in a way. Lisa had named the animals. The puppy was named Samson and the kitten, Delilah. Lisa watched them playing, remembering those blue eyes when she agreed to take them home.

Joanna had been out of the hospital for a week. She had been dealing with insurance companies and trying to clean up the remains of what was once her barn during the day and, at night, her dreams were filled with the blonde-haired, brown-eyed firefighter she had given the animals to. Jo couldn't explain her fascination with the firefighter. It wasn't that she was concerned for the animals, even though she was. She decided to try to locate the firefighter.

She went to the stationhouse that had responded. She talked with a couple of firemen, who were new. They had no idea who Lisa was. Since Jo didn't know Lisa's name, the only description she had was the blonde hair and brown eyes. She came back each day because of shift change. She had given the firefighter her animals was the reason she was trying to locate her. At last she was told that Lisa was on vacation. She wouldn't be back until the following week. "Well, at least I know who I'm looking for now," Jo said to herself. "I'll come back next week," Jo told the man.

The following week, Jo went back to the station. She got there just in time to see the fire truck leave. "Damn, I'm too late," was Jo's first thought. "I hope everyone is safe and no one gets hurt," was her next. Jo drives on and is following the fire truck. Jo stays within the speed limit and has to turn right as the fire truck turns left. She watches as the truck takes her fantasy woman farther away. Later that same afternoon, Jo returns to the station. She has a bouquet of flowers for the firefighters.

"These are a simple thank you," she says, "they aren't enough, but I hope they will do."

"They aren't necessary, but thank you," she's told. "We were only doing our job."

"I don't see it that way," Jo says as she looks at each member of the team. One member is missing. Lisa. She asks for Lisa.

"Lisa had to go home but she should be back very soon," one fireman answers.

"Was she hurt?" asks Jo, alarm filling her voice.

"No," the fireman replies, "we told her you were looking for her because of your animals, so she went home to get them."

"Thank you," says Jo.

"She could have kept the animals," Jo thinks. Lost in her thoughts, Jo doesn't realize Lisa is back until she hears the puppy.

"Here are your pets," Lisa says. "I didn't know their names, so I've been calling them Samson and Delilah.

Jo laughs. "Then those are their names. I hadn't named them yet."

It's obvious to Joanna that Lisa and the animals have formed a bond.

"You should come by my place, if you're not working, Friday for a cookout. That goes for all of you," Jo says.

"Unfortunately, we are working Friday and, besides, the rules won't allow that," Lisa says. This remark brings strange looks from the crew.

Jo doesn't miss seeing the looks. "Well," Jo thinks, "either they didn't have to work, or Lisa is only being nice to me because of the animals."

Looking at the puppy and kitten, Joanna makes a split second decision. The next morning, when it's time for shift change, Jo gives the pets back to Lisa.

"You have a bond with them, and if you'd like to keep them, I want you to have them," says Jo.

Touched, Lisa accepts them with a heartfelt "thank you." Joanna watches as Lisa places the animals in her truck and drives away.

Jo gets in her car and goes home. On her way home, she thinks long and hard about Lisa. She goes through the reasons Lisa is keeping her at a distance. The only one that makes any sense to Jo is that Lisa just sees her as someone whom she met while doing her job.

Joanna has no idea that Lisa is losing sleep because she can't get Jo out of her mind. Another three weeks have gone by. Jo has learned Lisa's schedule and drives past the station just to catch a glimpse of Lisa. Lisa has noticed Jo doing this, and begins to wonder if she's being stalked.

Then it happens. Lisa decides to go to a club. As she walks in and looks around, she sees Jo sitting by herself. Lisa hesitates before approaching her. Jo is surprised. She wasn't aware that Lisa had come in. Lisa asks if she can join her.

"Yes," answers Joanna.

This is the first time Jo has seen Lisa in anything besides her firefighter clothing and she runs her eyes over Lisa, appreciating her beauty.

Lisa begins the conversation by talking about Samson and Delilah. As the conversation continues, Lisa loses some of her uneasiness. Lisa decides to ask Joanna why she drives past the station house when she's working.

Jo catches Lisa off guard when she replies with, "I've got a new fire burning." She sees the alarm in Lisa's face so she clarifies her statement with, "this is a fire that only you can put out. You won't need the rest of your squadron, the fire truck or even your uniforms. In fact, you won't need clothes at all."

Lisa stares at Joanna. Jo returns the stare. It's as if Jo is expecting a response but Lisa has no idea what to say. Once more, Lisa is filled with uneasiness. Jo sees this and tries to put Lisa at ease.

"You are extremely sexy in your uniform. You're just as sexy in regular clothes."

"Thank you," is Lisa's response, but Jo can tell that Lisa is embarrassed. Jo is a little confused.

"Why does my compliment bother you? Is it because you're not out?" asks Jo.

"Not out? I'm not gay, at least I don't know it if I am," is Lisa's answer. Now, it is Jo's turn to be embarrassed.

"My gaydar must be on the fritz."


"It's like a radar. It can help determine if someone may be gay."

"Well, yours must really be off then. Okay," says Lisa, "clarify something. You're gay, but why are you in a straight bar?"

"I was meeting some friends," answers Jo. "They had just left when you came up."

Lisa and Joanna continue to talk. Jo turns down every request to dance. Lisa dances a couple of times with Jo's eyes are on her the entire time. Finally, Lisa suggests they go to a diner. Jo is all for this idea.

They get to the diner and just order coffee.

"How are your hands doing?" asks Lisa.

"They're better," says Jo. "They still hurt, but I'm adjusting."

"Do you need help with anything?" Lisa asks innocently. She takes one look at Jo, and it's obvious what she's thinking.

"No, but thank you anyway," Jo replies politely.

Lisa gives Jo her address saying, "anytime you want to come by to see Samson and Delilah you can."

"Thank you," says Jo, as she accepts the piece of paper that has Lisa's address on it. "When should I come by?" asks Jo.

"I told you anytime," Lisa replies.

"I mean in the morning, afternoon or evening?" is Jo's remark.

"You know my schedule. My phone number is on that paper as well, so call me and we will set up a time."

This goes on for a couple of weeks. As the friendship becomes stronger, Lisa tries to understand her attraction to Joanna. Jo hasn't pushed for more than Lisa is willing to give, but she hasn't hid the fact that she wants Lisa.

One afternoon, as they are watching the pets play, Lisa decides to bite the bullet. "Look, Jo, I'm attracted to you and I've never felt this way for another woman. I'm not sure what to say or how to act."

"We will take things slow, if you want to give it a try," Jo answers. "Why don't you come to dinner Friday night. It won't be black tie or anything, so just come as you are."

"Okay," says Lisa.

Friday evening arrives. Lisa gets to Jo's a little early and Jo is astounded.

"I came early to see if you need help with anything," says Lisa.

"No, thank you," answers Jo. "I have everything under control."

Joanna finishes fixing dinner. The table has already been set, so Jo lights the candles. Jo also has soft music playing in the background. They eat and are talking when Jo asks Lisa to dance.

"I've never slow danced with another woman."

"Trust me. I won't hurt you."

They begin to dance and Jo can feel Lisa's tension.

"Just relax, Lisa. Listen to yourself. Trust your instincts. Let go of the fact that I'm another woman."

Just as Lisa is beginning to feel comfortable, the song ends. They sit down once again and resume talking. They talk for a while and, later, Jo asks Lisa for another dance.

"I told you that we would take things slow. If you're not comfortable, we can ends things now and just be friends."

"I'm not comfortable, but I don't want to end things, either. I would like to dance with you, though."

Jo takes Lisa by the hand and they begin to dance once more.

"Relax," Jo tells her. "Relax in my arms. You're safe."

Lisa does, and they spend the rest of the night dancing. What neither of them knows or realizes is just how much the other is enjoying being in their arms.

Chapter 2

This scenario continues for another two weeks at Lisa's house as well as at Jo's. Joanna is aware that Lisa has become comfortable in her arms when they dance. Jo is also aware of the fact that it might cause Lisa some problems at work. Lisa is aware of the same things. She has also become aware of the fact that she wants to taste Jo's kiss. Lisa doesn't have to wonder any longer when, in the middle of a dance, Jo suddenly kisses her.

Completely caught off guard, Lisa pulls back.

"I thought that was what you wanted. You are staring at my lips," says Jo, slightly confused.

"It is what I want," answers Lisa. "I have wanted that for the past week."

Joanna kisses her once again and Lisa returns the kiss. Jo looks into Lisa's brown eyes and runs her fingers through Lisa's blonde hair. Lisa is captivated by Jo's blue eyes and the softness of her lips. They dance a few more dances and share more kisses. It isn't long before Lisa has to leave. She has to be up and ready for work, she explains.

"That's okay," says Jo. "The time will come when the only bed you will want to be in will be mine."

Lisa just looks at Joanna.

"Leave now or I won't be letting you leave," Jo tells her.

Lisa leaves. As she's getting into bed, she can't get Jo's words out of her mind. She wonders if there will ever come a time she wants to share a bed with anyone again.

Jo goes to bed but can't get Lisa's face out of her mind. It seemed as if there was a sadness to Lisa's smile. Jo wonders about it. She's remembering how it felt to hold and kiss Lisa as she falls asleep.

The next day, Jo stops by the station during lunch. Jo knows that she is taking a chance, but the sadness in Lisa's face is still bothering her.

"I know this isn't the time or place, but there is something that's bothering me."

"What's that?" asks Lisa.

"The sadness I saw in your smile last night. Did I do something wrong, Lisa?"

"No, you didn't do anything wrong. If you will give me time, I will explain it."

"You can have all the time you need. I will be here when you're ready."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

No sooner does Jo say this than the fire alarm rings. Jo moves out of the way and watches as Lisa puts on the fire resistant uniform and climbs into the truck.

A few days later, Lisa calls Jo and asks if Jo can come to her place so they can talk. Jo says that she will be there shortly. When Jo arrives, Lisa is obviously upset.

"What's wrong?" asks Jo.

"I can't see you anymore," answers Lisa.

"Is it because I went to the station? Have I gotten you into trouble at work?" Joanna wants to know.

"It's not that," says Lisa. "It's not you at all. It's me. I'm sorry for having to hurt you like this. I don't regret anything we've shared, but I can't do this anymore."

Joanna is desperately trying to understand what has happened to change Lisa's mind.

"Am I going too fast for you?"

"It's not that. I told you, it's not you at all, it's me."

"Okay. Let's talk about it. Why don't you want to see me anymore?"

"I just can't," says Lisa.

"I want to know why," remarks Jo.

"I can't tell you anything more. Just accept that it's over, and don't push."

"I can't just give up so easily," Jo replies. "It's not who I am."

"This time you're going to have to," Lisa remarks and walks away.

Jo watches as Lisa walks out of the room. She follows Lisa as Lisa goes to her bedroom. Jo stands in the doorway and watches Lisa as Lisa picks up a photo from the nightstand by the bed. Jo realizes it's a wedding photo. A silent tear rolls down Lisa's cheek. Jo quietly steps into the room and approaches the bed. Jo wipes the tear away and holds Lisa close. Not one word is spoken. Jo holds Lisa until she falls asleep. Jo replaces the photo on the nightstand and covers Lisa with a blanket. As she turns to go, she glances at the photo. Joanna picks up the photo to get a closer look. It's a photo of Lisa on her wedding day. Now, Joanna is totally confused. Lisa had never said anything about being married.

Lisa consumes herself with work, in order to avoid Jo. Jo is aware of it. It becomes obvious to her when Lisa won't return her calls. This goes on for a week. Jo can't take it anymore and goes to the stationhouse to talk to Lisa.

"I told you it was over, Joanna. I do appreciate you holding me that night, but we can't be together."

"Why can't we be together? What are your reasons?"

"Just accept that it's over."

"I can't. Don't you understand, I love you."

Lisa looks at Joanna. "This is not where we should be having this conversation," says Lisa, who realizes the other firefighters are watching.

"You won't see me, you won't return my calls. You're avoiding me, so it might as well be here."

This infuriates Lisa. She grabs Jo by the arm and leads her out of the sight of the others.

"I told you that I don't regret what we've shared, that I appreciate all you've done for me, but we're over. I've already told you that I'm not gay, and you have been very gentle and patient with me. You haven't ever pushed for more than I can give. Don't start now."

"I'm not pushing for anything but some answers. You owe me that, at least."

The alarm sounds and Lisa has to go.

"I will come by tomorrow."

Jo watches as Lisa climbs into the truck and it pulls out, sirens blaring.

Joanna spent the morning pacing and just trying to keep busy. Lunchtime came and went. Jo was beginning to get antsy when there was a knock on the door. Finally, Lisa was there. Joanna invited Lisa in. Jo was trying to be polite but Lisa wasn't in the mood for politeness.

"How dare you come to my job the way you did yesterday? What were you thinking? What did you expect? What were you hoping to accomplish?"

By this time, Jo has lost her cool as well. "What was I for you...a chance to walk on the wild side without any consequences? Were you just a little curious? Is that why you didn't tell me you were married...or maybe you're still married and he's on his way home?"

Lisa glares at Jo, but Jo doesn't miss the hurt in Lisa's eyes. Lisa starts to leave, but Jo stops her. "What aren't you telling me?" Jo asks more softly.

Lisa turns to Jo once more. "Do you know why I was so touched when you gave Samson and Delilah back to me? Because I see them as kids. My husband and I had wanted children. He was in the army. I was 2 months pregnant the day he was killed. I lost my husband and then had a miscarriage. I lost both within one month. You are the first person I've let get close to me in the last year."

Jo is horror stricken by what Lisa has just told her. "I'm so sorry. I had no idea."

"Now you understand why it's over. I can't take the chance of ever getting involved again. I'm sorry I hurt you. I shouldn't have kept seeing you."

"Stop," Jo says. "I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself. I understand about not wanting to let a man close, but I'm a woman. You say that you're not gay and have never been with a woman, but you let me closer than just a friend. Why is that?"

"I can't explain it," Lisa answers. "I love your eyes and your smile. I fell in love with those the first time I saw you."

Jo walks to where Lisa is sitting. Lisa has her head hung down and Jo gently lifts it. She lowers her lips to Lisa's in a gentle, tender kiss. "I told you that we would go slow, and we will. Don't shut me out."

"I don't want to shut you out, Jo, but I'm scared. I'm scared of how I feel about you. You remind me of my husband in a lot of ways. Maybe that's why I was drawn to you to begin with. He would have gone back to help the animals the way you did. The more I've come to know you, the more I realize that you're what I want. I'm...I'm...I..."

"Shhh. You don't have to say it. I understand. This is new to you and you're second guessing yourself. If you truly want this to be over then I won't push you."

Lisa looks at Jo. "No, I don't really want this over. I love you, Jo. I can't lose you now."

"You won't lose me. We will go slow, though."

"Kiss me again, Jo."

Once more, Jo lowers her lips to Lisa's. Lisa wraps her arms around Jo and deepens the kiss. Knowing that she must control things, Jo breaks the kiss and simply holds Lisa. Lisa is aware of just how much Jo does understand and is grateful. Lisa asks Jo if she can stay the night, and if it would be okay if Jo only holds her.

"Sure it would. Why do you ask?"

"Because after everything that's happened, I wasn't sure," says Lisa.

"It's fine," answers Jo.

Chapter 3

This continues for a few weeks, but Lisa is becoming aware of just how hard it must be for Jo. She tells Jo this, saying that Jo would be better able to get some sleep if she weren't there.

"Is that what you want? You want to sleep alone? I've enjoyed you being next to me at night."

"I've enjoyed being in your arms very much," says Lisa. "I would rather be here in your arms. I just think it might be too much for you. I know you want to make love, and I want that, too, but I still have doubts."

"I know you have your doubts, Lisa, and I do want to make love to you, but I told you we would go slow."

Jo traces the outline of Lisa's face with her finger. Lisa looks at Jo. The phone rings. It's for Lisa. Lisa has to go to the station.

"Will you be back here tonight?" asks Jo.

"I don't think so," answers Lisa.

After another two weeks, Jo goes to Lisa's house. She makes dinner and has it ready when Lisa comes home. Lisa is surprised to see her.

"I made dinner for you."

"Thank you. Let me take a shower first and then we will eat."

Lisa starts the shower and undresses. She steps into the warm shower and, as the water runs over her body, her muscles begin to relax. Jo wants to join Lisa, but knows that she can't push it. Jo waits as Lisa showers.

They have dinner and Jo builds a fire. As they are sitting watching the fire dance, Lisa turns on the stereo. Soft jazz is playing. Jo tells Lisa that she's going to take a shower and Lisa says it's fine.

Jo starts the shower and undresses. She is unaware that the door is ajar. Lisa starts to go to her bedroom. She sees that the door is ajar and starts to say something about it when she catches a glimpse of Jo stepping into the shower. Instead of saying anything, Lisa turns around and goes back to the fireplace.

Jo finishes her shower and returns to where Lisa is sitting. Neither says anything to begin with. As they are watching the fire dance, Jo moves closer to Lisa and runs a hand along Lisa's arm. Lisa turns to Jo. Jo traces the outline of Lisa's face with her fingertip. She runs her fingers through Lisa's hair as she leans in to kiss her. Lisa returns the kiss as she takes Jo in her arms.

"I want to make love to you Lisa. If you're not ready for this, tell me now."

"I want you to make love to me, Jo. You know that it will be the first time I've ever been with a woman. What you don't know is that it will be the first time I've been with anyone since my husband's death."

"Then I'm honored in more ways than one," whispers Jo.

She gently kisses Lisa once more. She takes Lisa by the hand to lead her to the bedroom. Lisa follows. She looks at Jo, uncertainty filling her eyes.

"What's wrong,? Do you wants me to stop?" asks Jo.

"No," answers Lisa. "What do I do? How will I know if what I'm doing is right?"

"Trust your instincts. Do what you feel is right."

Lisa looks into Jo's eyes. She very gently kisses her. It's a rather shy type of kiss. Even though Joanna just wants to take Lisa into her arms and make passionate love to her, Jo forces herself to remain still as Lisa's confidence grows. Once more she kisses Jo. Slowly, so as not to frighten her, Jo takes Lisa into her arms. Lisa is enjoying the feel of being in Jo's arms as Jo deepens the kiss. When Jo pulls back, she can see that Lisa is assuming she did something wrong.

"You didn't do anything wrong," Jo tells her, as she removes Lisa's robe. Lisa reaches to remove Jo's robe. Jo can see that Lisa is trembling. She takes Lisa's hands and holds them.

"If this is too soon for you, say so. I can wait. I don't want to wait any longer and you know it, but I won't force it, either."

"It's not too soon, Joanna. I want to make love tonight."

Jo kisses Lisa once more. This kiss is deep and full of passion. As they lie on the bed, Jo caresses Lisa. She is running her hands over Lisa's body when Lisa lets out a slight moan.

Jo runs her hand underneath the t-shirt Lisa is wearing. She caresses Lisa's sides as she continues to kiss her. Gently and slowly, she reaches Lisa's breasts. As she caresses one breast, Lisa lets out another moan. This one is more profound. She removes the t-shirt and stares at Lisa's breasts.

"You are very beautiful," Jo says.

She places her hands on Lisa's breasts and watches Lisa's face. Lisa is obviously enjoying Jo's touch. Lisa looks back at Jo, her eyes filled with wonder.

"What is it?" Jo asks.

"Your touch is different from any I have ever known," Lisa says as she closes her eyes. "My husband's was gentle, but yours is..."

Suddenly, Lisa feels a new sensation as Jo begins to kiss on one breast. "Oooohhhh," moans Lisa, as Jo captures the nipple and begins to lightly suckle it. Lisa reaches for Jo's t-shirt to remove it. Jo lets her, and watches as Lisa's face turns from wonder to amazement.

"I've never looked at another woman sexually. Oh, I can appreciate another woman's beauty...I just never thought I would learn to appreciate their body sexually."

"Shhhh. You don't have to explain."

Once more, Jo takes Lisa's breast into her mouth. Still unsure of herself, but doing as Jo said, she trusts her instincts when she reaches for Jo's breasts. Upon feeling Lisa's touch, Jo lets out a "yesss" as she continues kissing and suckling Lisa's breasts. Jo kisses her way down Lisa's chest and abdomen, caressing her sides. Even though she doesn't want to, Jo asks Lisa if she wants her to stop.

"No, definitely not," is Lisa's answer.

Jo removes Lisa shorts, caressing her legs as she goes. Finally, Lisa is lying before Jo completely naked. She looks at Lisa's body for a moment.

"Is something wrong?" asks Lisa, as she reaches for something to cover herself with.

"Not at all," Jo says as she stops Lisa. "I was just admiring your beauty," she says as she kisses Lisa, letting her breasts rub against Lisa's.

"Would it be okay if I took your boxers off?" asks Lisa.

"That would be fine," answers Jo. Lisa does this and is caught off guard by the overwhelming desire she feels as she looks at Jo.

As she lies back down beside Jo, Jo presses her body to Lisa's. As she kisses Lisa once again, Jo slides one hand over her abdomen. She feels the hairs of Lisa's mound. Knowing that this is Lisa's first time with a woman and the first since her husband died, Jo is aware that she has to be careful.

Jo slides her fingers along Lisa's lips, caressing the outside. Lisa spreads her legs slightly. Jo runs a finger on the inside of Lisa's lips. Jo suckles one of Lisa's breasts as she does this. Lisa is becoming more wet by the second.

Jo very gently slides one finger in and starts a slow, steady rhythm of strokes. Lisa widens her legs even more. Jo kisses her way back down. When she reaches Lisa's mound, she very lightly licks the outer lips. She gently parts Lisa's lips and begins to lick the inside. Jo lets her tongue dance on Lisa's lips and circle her clit, without touching it. Finally, she begins to tease the clit with the tip of her tongue. Lisa is so hot and wet by this point that Jo removes her finger and inserts her tongue.

Jo begins a rhythm of strokes with her tongue as she licks Lisa's inner walls. Lisa completely relaxes, letting her legs part fully. Jo begins to suck as much juice out of Lisa as possible. Lisa is moaning with pleasure. Jo moves back to Lisa's clit. Jo begins to lick it. It's not long before Lisa lets out a groan that she's cumming.

Jo moves back down and inserts her tongue once again. Lisa thrusts her pelvis against Jo's tongue. When Lisa finally stops her thrusts, Jo licks all of her juices up. Jo kisses her way back up Lisa's body.

Lisa tells Jo it's now her turn. Lisa mimics Jo's movements until Jo is screaming in orgasm. Later, as they are lying in each other's arms, Lisa asks Jo to teach her everything she knows about being lesbian. Lisa can see the surprise in Jo's face.

"You told me once that you had a new fire burning that only I could put out. Well, congratulations. You've started one in me that only you can put out."

"Oh, really," remarks Jo.

"Definitely," says Lisa.

"Well, that's good," answers Jo as she takes Lisa in her arms.

"I love you," says Lisa.

"I love you, too."

Chapter 4

The next morning, they are awakened by Samson and Delilah. Both have gotten on the bed. Delilah walks across Jo to get to Lisa while Samson licks Jo in the face. Lisa is laughing as Jo has to wash her face.

"I will feed them," says Lisa, as Jo emerges from the bathroom.

"Okay, but what do you want for breakfast?" asks Jo.

"Why don't we go out for breakfast? The only room I want heated is the bedroom," Lisa says smirking.

"Sounds good," answers Jo, "but you should think about it before you announce to the world that you're gay."

Lisa gives Jo a strange look.

"Why should I hide it? What's wrong with the fact that I'm in love? I've always thought that love was love, no matter the age of the two. It doesn't matter what color or sex either."

"No, none of that matters, but what about your family and friends? How will they react? What about your job? Not everyone see things as we do."

"Are you embarrassed by me?"

"Are you crazy? Of course I'm not embarrassed. I'm proud. I'm just warning you of some of the downfalls."

"I'm aware of the downfalls. I can handle them, as long as I have you."

"You will always have me. It's not that I want you to keep it quiet, it will be a lot easier if you're out because I'm out, but you're new to this, and I want you to be careful."

"Okay. Now, lets eat."

They go out for breakfast. They have finished and are drinking coffee when Lisa's cell phone rings. Joanna can tell by Lisa's tone of voice that something is wrong. Lisa doesn't say much so Jo has no idea what it might be. Lisa hangs up, looks at Jo, and says they need to leave.

"I'm ready when you are," says Jo.

Lisa can tell Jo is trying to figure out what is going on. When they are back in Lisa's truck, she turns to Jo.

"Remember when I told you that the fire at your place was being investigated?"

"Yes," answers Jo.

"I didn't tell you that your barn wasn't the only one that burned. There have been others, and they were under investigation, too. It has now been determined that they were all arson. We still don't know who set the fires, though."

"How come you know all of this? I didn't think they would tell you just because you're a firefighter. I thought you had to be captain or someone high up."

"I don't always wear my captain's bars." Lisa can see the surprise and shock in Jo's face. "You really didn't know, did you"?

"No, I didn't. I just doesn't matter what I thought."

Lisa puts her hand on the side of Jo's face and whispers huskily, "it does matter. It matters to me."

Jo lies her head in Lisa's hand. "I knew you were getting a lot of calls. I knew something was going on, but I thought you were just a firefighter. I had no idea that you're the captain."

"I wasn't trying to hide it. Some people don't believe I should have been named captain. They think it should have been someone else. Someone who just happens to be a man. I was chosen because my qualifications are better. I'm the first female captain at the station. I don't always wear my bars so I can keep trouble down."

"I see," replies Jo. "Now, about the fire that burned my barn...."

"Like I said, it was arson, and we don't know who started it - yet. We will get the person responsible, don't worry."

"I'm not worried. I just don't want you pushing this investigation on my behalf because of us. I wasn't the only victim of arson."

"I will treat each case the same. Right now, there is nothing that links any of the fires except the arson."

They pull into the stationhouse. The firefighters are surprised to see them together. Jo doesn't miss the looks and neither does Lisa. No one says anything as Lisa goes into her office. Thinking Lisa has some official things to take care of, Jo waits outside. One firefighter decides to approach Jo.

"What's going on between you and Lisa? Why are you two together? The last time you were here, Lisa was angrier than I have ever seen her. She told you that there was no chance for you two to be together, so why are you pushing it?"

Jo only stares at the man. She thinks before she speaks. Even though she wants to tell this guy that it's none of his business, she only says, "that will be up to Lisa as to whether or not your questions are answered."

This seems to upset the man. "I asked you, not Lisa. You should be the one answering my questions."

"I'm not telling you anything," snaps Jo.

This angers the man even further. He grabs Jo by the arm. What neither of them know is that Lisa has seen and heard the entire conversation. That is, not until she steps forward and speaks.

"Get your hand off of her," Lisa growls at Chris, the male firefighter.

"Lisa, I was only trying to protect you," mumbles Chris.

"I don't need your protection, and when you address me it's 'captain,' not 'Lisa.' When you're in uniform I expect protocol. As far as putting your hands on anyone, don't ever do it again. Who I associate with is none of your business."

As Lisa heads toward the truck, with Jo following, she turns to Chris once more. "One more slip up and I will put you on suspension. I should have already done it, but you're good at your job. This is the last time I will give you another chance."

Once inside the truck, Jo doesn't say a word. They pull out and are heading back to Lisa's when Jo finally says, "thank you for defending me, but I also know you were doing your job."

"In a sense, yes, I was. I have warned him before. This time he went too far. When I saw him put his hands on you, I was ready to break his neck."

"You controlled your temper very well."

"Remember when I told you that I beat out a man for the title of captain, well Chris was that man. I'm glad you didn't tell him about us. I want to tell everyone about us. I want to shout it from the roof tops that we're in love, but I know Chris will try to use it against me to try to get me removed as captain."

"I thought we went to the station because you had paperwork."

"No, I just had to make sure a fax had arrived. Lets not talk about work anymore. I want to enjoy the rest of the weekend with you."

"Sounds good to me," Jo says.

They return to Lisa's house. They spend the day playing with the pets and just enjoying being together. As dusk draws near, Jo tells Lisa that she has to go.

"Why?" asks Lisa.

"Because I don't have any clean clothes with me."

"Let me get some for tomorrow and I will stay with you tonight."

"Don't take long. I will meet you back at my place."

Jo goes on back to her house. She sees a car parked near her drive. She pulls in, parks the car and gets out. She sees a woman standing next to the field where her horses are grazing.

"Hi," Jo says.

"Hello. I'm Vicky. My husband was one of the firefighters who responded the night your barn burned. He told me how brave you were in helping the animals that night. I just wanted to see the horses. I hope you aren't upset."

"No," says Joanna.

They hear another vehicle pulling in. When they turn to see who it is, they realize it is Lisa. Lisa doesn't see Vicky at first, so when Jo reaches her, she catches Jo in a passionate kiss.

"We have company," Jo tells Lisa.

Lisa looks up. It's only then that she sees Vicky. She walks with Jo to where Vicky is standing.

"Hello, Vicky."

"Hello, Lisa. I was admiring the horses. I've yet to see the cat or dog that I heard was rescued as well."

"They're at my place. Jo was kind enough to give them to me when she got out of the hospital."

Jo stands there watching and listening. The conversation is pleasant enough, and Vicky seems nice enough, but something is wrong with Lisa. Vicky gets a phone call and has to leave.

"Explain that. Who is Vicky and why don't you like her, Lisa?"

"It's not that I don't like her, there's just something I don't trust about her."

"She seems nice enough to me," Jo responds.

"You really don't know who she is?"

"No, why?"

"How long have you been here? What I mean is, how long have you lived here?"

"Only a couple of months."

"That would explain it, then."

"Explain what? What's going on?"

"Why you don't know. Vicky is married to Chris."

"Oh," says Joanna becoming aware of Lisa's reasons for being so uneasy.

"Her car was parked near my driveway. Didn't you see it when you pulled in?"

"I saw a car, but it wasn't Vicky's."

Jo wonders about this, but doesn't give it much thought. She is busy watching Lisa.

"What's wrong?"

"I'm not sure. Maybe my mind is working a little too much. I said I wanted to spend this weekend with you, so lets forget my job, Vicky and everything but us."

"Agreed," Jo says.

They go inside. Lisa says that she wants to take a shower. Jo says it's fine and that she should go ahead. Lisa is already in the shower when Jo steps in. Lisa is rinsing her hair when she feels Jo's hands on her body. She wipes the water from her eyes. Jo turns Lisa around, out from under the water, and presses Lisa against the wall. She kisses Lisa passionately as her hands roam Lisa's body. She spreads Lisa's legs.

As she continues to kiss Lisa, she gently slides one finger into her. Lisa moans, but her moans are swallowed by Jo's kiss. Jo moves to Lisa's breasts. She sucks on each nipple, gently at first. She begins to suck a little harder and then to bite them. Not hard enough to hurt, but hard enough to send a shock through Lisa.

Jo gets on her knees as Lisa watches. Jo can see the shock in Lisa's face as she realizes what Jo is about to do. Jo spreads Lisa's lips and inserts her tongue. She slides a second finger into Lisa as she continues to lick Lisa's clit. It's not long before Lisa cums, screaming her pleasure at the top of her lungs.

Lisa is so weak in the knees that Jo dries them both off. Lisa lies on the bed and Jo gets over her. She places one of her legs between Lisa's and one of Lisa's between hers. Slowly at first, Jo begins to ride Lisa's thigh. As her excitement builds, her pace quickens. Before long, Jo is the one screaming her pleasure.

What neither one is aware of is the fact that someone is outside...lurking and listening.

Chapter 5

This goes on for two weeks, at both Joanna's place and Lisa's. The two are so wrapped up in each other that both fail to realize that they are being followed.

On more than one occasion they have found Vicky watching the horses. Lisa has asked Vicky about the use of a different car. Vicky explained that hers was in the shop. Lisa accepts this.

There have been 3 more fires per week. What Lisa hasn't told Jo is that they now have a suspect, Chris. Lisa can't believe that it would be Chris, though. Yet, everything is pointing to him.

One night, while eating dinner, Lisa decides to tell Jo this information. Jo is stunned.

"It's to much like the movie 'Backdraft,' " says Jo.

"I know," Lisa replies, "but everything is pointing to him."

"Why would he do it, though? Does he hate you being captain that much?"

"He hates it, but I truly don't believe it's him. Besides, he had no idea we are a couple."

"Had? Had? What do you mean he HAD no idea? Why the past tense?"

"The squadron knows. Someone found out and went to my higher ups. I told them the truth about us. I also told them that it wouldn't affect how I do my job."

"Why would your relationship with me affect your job? Jo asks.

"Because your fire was one that was under investigation."

They finish dinner and watch a movie. After 2 movies, they decide to get some sleep. It's midnight when a phone call awakens them. One of the horses has gotten out, and Jo is told she needs to put it back. Lisa says she will go get the horse so Jo can sleep. Lisa decides to take Jo's car instead of her truck.

While Lisa is dealing with the horse, Jo lies sleeping. Thinking that it was Jo who left, the house is set afire. The house had already been doused in flammable liquid, so it's not long before it's entirely engulfed.

Lisa can hear the fire truck approaching as she puts the horse back into the field. The fire truck passes and Lisa follows. The whole time she senses something is wrong, very wrong.

The truck begins to slow as it approaches Joanna's house. It turns onto her drive and Lisa is immediately panic stricken. When she sees the entire house engulfed, her panic turns to horror. She heads for the burning building, but is stopped.

"You know that you can't go in." Lisa recognizes the voice. It's Chris.

"What are you doing here? Why are you in uniform? It's your night off."

"I know, but I told Larry that I would cover for him so he could go watch his son's football game."

"That's fine," says Lisa, "but Jo was asleep when I left. What if she didn't get out in time?"

A car pulls up. It's Vicky. She looks at the house, at Lisa being held by Chris and the horror hits her full force. She runs to Lisa.

"Where's Jo?" She looks from Lisa to Chris. "Is she still inside?"

"We don't know," answers Chris. About that time, the firefighters bring Jo's lifeless body out. Lisa breaks free of Chris and runs to where they place her. Vicky and Chris are right beside her.

"Move back so the paramedics can work on her," Chris says.

"I won't lose her. I can't lose her. I can't lose another person I love."

"You won't," says Vicky. "Chris told me how brave she was when she rescued the animals. We have to be brave for her now. I know you don't trust me, Lisa, but I really like Jo. She has been letting me come here and spend time with the horses. It has really helped me. Even though I love to look at them, I've been afraid of them since I got kicked by one."

"You've been spending time with my girlfriend?"

"Yes, and I know she is a good person. I also know she loves you very much."

The paramedics have gotten Jo in stable condition and are ready to take her to the hospital. Lisa follows. When the doctors tell Lisa it is only bad smoke inhalation, she is relieved that it wasn't worse.

The next day, when Jo is released, she tells Lisa that she wants to see her house. Lisa takes her there, but the house is completely burned.

"We will come back to see what we can salvage. For now, you will be staying with me."

"I only have enough clothes at your house for a few days."

"We will go shopping later, after you have rested."

"I need to get a new toothbrush."

"Use mine for now. We share everything anyway."

"True," says Jo.

Jo rests for a while, and then tells Lisa she wants to go back to her house. Lisa is not sure about this.

"It's too soon," says Lisa. "The investigators still have to do their job. I'm sure they're not finished yet."

Jo knows that Lisa is right.

"I still need to make sure the horses are taken care of, though. I need to make sure they have fresh water and hay."

"I will do it for you, Jo. You need to just lie around for today. As soon as the investigation is complete, I will go through the things with you."

"I need to find my purse, if possible. It has my driver's license, credit cards, social security card and a lot of other important things. I don't remember exactly where I put it."

"It's in your car, Jo. I took it with me when I went to put the horse back last night. I didn't mean to pick it up, but when I picked up your keys I accidentally knocked it over. Instead of going through your things, I just grabbed the things and put them back as I was going to the car. I took your car instead of my truck. Even if it had been in the house, if it hadn't burned, it would have gotten wet."

"You've got an answer for everything, don't you?" Jo remarks sarcastically. "I'm sorry, Lisa, that was uncalled for."

"It's okay," Lisa says. "I know that you're frustrated. You just got out of the hospital, and you don't feel good. I understand."

Jo gives Lisa a slight smile. "How did I get so lucky to have found you?"

"We were both lucky."

"Did you notice anything strange when you left last night?"

"Not when I left I didn't, but when I came back I did. Let me ask some questions and find out some things and we will talk."

"If my purse is in my car, then let's go shopping."

"Why are you so anxious to get out of my house, Jo?"

"It's not that I want to get out of your house, Lisa, it's just that I can still feel the heat from the fire and I can still smell the smoke."

"Ah, that explains it. Well, lets go shopping."

They go shopping for a while. Most of it is just window-shopping, but Lisa understands why. Jo just wants to be outside.

They buy clothes because even though Lisa said she would help Jo see what could be salvaged, Lisa knows that basically all her clothes were lost because the fire seemed centered on the bedroom. Lisa wonders about this. Who would target Jo and why? Was Jo the real target? Lisa thinks back to that night.

As she replays that night in her mind, she only finds more questions. She wonders how the horse got out, why she didn't notice anything suspicious, when did Chris tell Larry he would cover for him, why Larry didn't come to her first about changing shifts and why Vicky showed up? She goes to the stationhouse in search of answers to some of these questions. Both Larry and Chris are there, so she decides to question them.

"Larry, why didn't you come to me to tell me that you needed the night off? I could have made arrangements."

"I was going to, captain."

"Why didn't you, then?"

"I ran into Chris and we were talking. He said he would cover for me until I got back."

"Okay, you may leave. Send Chris in."

Larry stands and leaves the office, sending Chris in as he goes out.

"You've got some explaining to do."

"I know, captain. I came here that night because Vicky and I were fighting again. Larry said he wished he could see his son play, so I told him I would cover until he got back."

"You know I can suspend you for this. I told you no more slip ups."

"I know, captain. I thought it would be okay considering the reasons why."

"Yes, it is okay. Why was Vicky out at Jo's that night?"

"I don't know. She had come by here, but had left. She should have been home. She did say something about needing to go to town."

"Okay, thank you. You're dismissed."

Lisa continues to replay that night. She knows that there is something she's missing.

The phone rings and Lisa answers it. When she hangs up she is ghost white. She calls the squad for a meeting the next morning.

The next morning, Lisa tells the squad to be extra careful from now on. Not only are they looking for an arsonist, but also it has been upgraded to an attempted murderer.

She looks directly at Chris when she says, "you have been cleared of the fire at Jo's house. You are still being investigated for the other fires, however."

Chris is stunned. He can't believe it.

"Why are they still investigating me? I had nothing to do with it. I put fires out, not start them."

"I know that, and have told them that I don't think you're responsible. On the nights of the fires, you weren't working. Lets finish this in my office."

Chris follows her into her office.

"As I was saying, you were off those nights. They have it narrowed down to a firefighter. It's someone who is aware of what's going on here, someone who has access to things. You're the second in command, but I truly don't believe it's you."

"It's not me, captain. I would never put the squad in danger...or you, for that matter."

"We've been working together for a while now. I thought you had come to terms with me being your captain."

"I did, a long time ago. You're better for the job. My ego was hurt, but I'm over it."

"What about Vicky? Has she gotten over it? Do you think she would do this? She's been spending a lot of time at Jo's."

"Vicky wouldn't hurt Jo. She got over you being named captain a long time ago, too."

"You can't be objective, she's your wife."

"I know she's my wife, but I can be objective. Why do you think its Vicky?"

"I don't trust her, she has been spending way too much time with Jo and...and...oh hell, I don't know what to think."

"Are you jealous?"

"Maybe. Vicky should get her own girlfriend and stay away from mine!" Realizing what she said, Lisa softens her tone. "I'm sorry, Chris, I shouldn't have said that."

"It's okay. Actually, that's why we were fighting. I told her she spends too much time with Jo."

"Thank you, Chris. You can go now."

As Chris starts to leave, he asks how Joanna is doing.

"She's doing better. We will see what we can salvage tomorrow. Oh, and Chris?" Lisa says as he reaches for the door knob, "thank you for what you did for me that night."

"You're welcome."

Chris leaves the office leaving Lisa to wonder what she is missing about that night

Chapter 6

Lisa takes out some paper and writes down everything she remembers about that night. She still doesn't understand what she's missing. Even though Chris explained about Vicky, Lisa can't shake the uneasiness. She decides to talk to Jo.

"How close have you and Vicky gotten, how much time do you spend with her and what have you told her?" Lisa asks Jo in a voice that comes across as both demanding and jealous.

"Are you accusing me of something? What's with the hostility?" Jo asks defensively.

"I want to know what's going on between you two."

"Nothing is going on. There has never been anything between Vicky and myself. She's married, and more importantly is the fact that I love you, Lisa."

"She knows things she shouldn't. Things that I've only told you, Joanna."

"You think I told her?! I would not do that."

"I'm sorry, but she knows things she shouldn't, and I can't figure out how. I know she has been spending a lot of time with you, too much, in fact."

Joanna doesn't say another word. She walks out the door, gets in her car and leaves, leaving Lisa furious with herself.

Lisa thinks back to Joanna's first meeting with Vicky. It was after the first time she and Jo made love. Forgetting Vicky for a few moments, Lisa remembers that first night with Jo. As she is remembering, she becomes wet. How could it be possible to be so turned on by a memory? Lisa knows that she has to find Joanna so they can talk. Lisa finds Jo at Jo's burned house, going through things.

Jo sees Lisa pull up and braces herself. The investigators have just left, but Lisa is unaware of this.

"I told you we would go through this together, after the investigation is over."

"It is over. They just left. I was with the horses and when I came over, they said they were through," Jo says without looking at Lisa.

"Will you please look at me?"

"After all we have been through, and all we've shared, I can't believe you think I told Vicky anything. What's worse is that you think there is anything more than friendship."

"I know there is nothing more than friendship, Jo. I'm at my wit's end. I'm trying to figure out who would want to hurt you and why. I'm sorry for the way I spoke to you."

"It's okay. I do understand your frustration, but did you ever stop to think that maybe my house was burned because whoever is setting the fires is after you?"

This doesn't seem to phase Lisa.

"Yes, I did think of that. No one I know or work with has anything against me, at least not that I'm aware of."

"Do you have any new ideas as to what happened here that night?"

"I don't. There are some things that make me uneasy, but I'm not sure why. Do you want my help in seeing what can be saved?"

"I would like that very much."

They go through what's left from Joanna's house, but not much can be saved. The entire house isn't much more than ashes.

"I've been thinking," says Jo. "You took my car that night, and if whoever set the fire thought is was me, then you're the one in danger. You're the one somebody wants dead."

"I thought about that myself. The porch light was on, so they would have seen me."

"Not if they didn't have a clear view, or if they weren't watching to see who got in the car. They may have just been watching to see the car leave."

"That's true."

"I don't want to lose you, Lisa, but if someone is making an attempt on your life because of us, then I will walk away."

Lisa drops what she is holding and takes Joanna's face in her hands.

"This is not because of us. I don't think I'm in any danger."

She takes Jo into her arms and kisses her. As Jo returns the kiss, Lisa deepens it, letting her hands drift to Jo's hips. It's obvious to both that they want each other, but both are dirty from the ashes. They pull away from each other and load what they've salvaged into Lisa's truck.When they return to Lisa's, Jo is surprised to find a man waiting for them.

"Lisa," he says, "we need to talk."

Lisa is as shocked as Joanna to find the man standing there.

"Go ahead inside, Jo, I will talk to Grant," Lisa says.

"Are you sure?" asks Joanna.

"I'm sure. I know Grant."


Joanna gives Grant a long, hard stare before going inside.

"What is this about Grant?"

"This is about your relationship with that woman."

"Why does my relationship bother you, and since when is it any of your business?"

"Lisa, you will always be my daughter-in-law. No one could have loved Ryan the way you did. Anna and I consider you our daughter. We love you and want you safe."

"I love both of you. I'm safe, and will continue to stay that way."

"Then this uh...uh...fling with that woman isn't serious. That's good. We knew there would come a time when you would find someone new. We weren't aware you were attracted to women."

"I have never been attracted to any woman EXCEPT Joanna. When Ryan and I were together, no one else existed. In a lot of ways, Jo reminds me of Ryan."

"No one can ever replace Ryan. I'm glad you started to let yourself feel again."

"You're right, Grant, no one will ever replace Ryan, and Joanna isn't trying to. I have started to feel again. I love Jo."

"Love Jo? Love Jo? She is here for now, but what about when she wants to stop you from having any contact with Ryan's family or friends?"

"She won't do that. You don't know Joanna, so how can you assume anything about her?" Lisa demands.

"I do know her, but she doesn't know me," Grant replies. "Just be careful. I must go now. I wish you well, Lisa."

With that, Grant gets in his car and leaves. Lisa watches him go, wondering how he knows Jo.

Lisa tells Jo about the conversation with Grant and Jo is totally shocked.

"I love you, Joanna, and I told him so."

"I don't know him, Lisa, and this isn't a game to me. What we have is real, and I love you very much."

They shower, eat and are watching TV when Jo says she is tired. They go to bed. Even though they both want to make love, they simply hold each other. The next morning, Lisa recalls why she was looking for Jo.

"How close have you and Vicky become?"

"Not this again," Joanna says. "I have already explained my friendship with Vicky to you."

"I know and I believe what you have told me. I was just wondering if she had confided something to you."

"No, Lisa, she hasn't, and if she did, I couldn't tell you. If she had said anything about how the fires got started then I would tell you."

"I would appreciate it."

With that being said, Lisa leaves for work. Joanna contacts the insurance company and goes through all the problems she went through when the barn burned. After she gets off the phone, she goes to her place to begin the clean up. She is busy when she hears a car pull in. She looks up and realizes it's Vicky.

Vicky is thrilled to see Jo. She doesn't hesitate to give Jo a hug.

"Now you've gotten this on your clothes," Jo tells her.

"Your girlfriend is my husband's captain, remember?" remarks Vicky. "I'm used to this kind of dirt and grime."

"I guess you're right," Jo says.

"I've missed you, Jo. You're my best friend. Not many people know the person on the inside. You do."

"I know what that can be like. You could've come by Lisa's if you wanted to see me."

"Lisa doesn't trust or like me. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to go to her house. Besides, Chris is complaining that we spend too much time together, anyway."

"Lisa is complaining of the same thing. She actually thinks we might sleep together."

"That's insane. I'm married, and you love her," Vicky states.

"That's what I told her," is Jo's reply.

"Would it be okay if I spent some time with the horses?" Vicky asks.

"Sure, I will go with you," Jo says.

By now, Vicky has gotten over her fear, somewhat, so when Jo suggests they go for a ride, Vicky agrees.

Jo takes Vicky riding on the back part of her land. They ride along the stream that flows there.

"How did you get this place so fast? Chris and I had to wait before we could buy our home."

"It was left to me in a will. Apparently, my father owned it, but I never knew about it. I inherited it when he died."

"I'm sorry about your father."

"Thank you."

They dismount and are sitting by the stream, talking. They have been there for hours when suddenly a bird flies past and spooks Vicky.

"It's okay," Jo says as she tries to calm Vicky.

"I guess I'm not a country girl. A simple bird spooked me."

"You don't have to be a country girl. Sometimes they even spook me. It's beginning to get late, so maybe we should head back."

They mount the horses and head back. What they aren't aware of is the photographer that has been snapping pictures.

Chapter 7

They get back to the barn with the photographer following at a safe distance so as to not to be seen. Jo has become aware that something isn't right. The wildlife seems agitated. She chalks it up to all that has been going on with the fire and investigation. That is, until she is brushing the horses before putting them away. That's when she notices it. She doesn't say anything to Vicky, but also knows that she has to call Lisa. She can't call Lisa with Vicky there without alerting Vicky as to what's going on.

Vicky's cell rings. Jo listens in while she is pretending to be completely focused on the horses. Vicky hangs up and tells Jo that she has to leave.

"Is something wrong?" asks Jo.

"No," says Vicky.

"Okay, well I hope to see you soon."

"I will be back soon. I've really enjoyed today, Jo."

As soon as Vicky is in her car, Jo calls Lisa.

"When you get off, you need to come to the barn. I've found something interesting."

"I'm on my way now," Lisa says.

"I will be waiting," Jo answers.

While she is waiting on Lisa, Jo gets some things and puts them in a saddlebag. Lisa arrives a few minutes later.

"What did you find?" she asks Jo.

"What do you make of this?" Jo asks her, showing her a broken lock on the stall.

"This is interesting."

"It shouldn't be broken. I replaced the old ones with new ones after the barn burned."

"You just now found this?" Lisa asks.

"Yes," Joanna replies.

"Why did it take you so long to notice it?"

"I've been at your house. I haven't been riding since my house burned."

"What made you decide to go riding today?"

"I was cleaning up some more when Vicky showed up. She wanted to see the horses, so I said I would go with her. She has overcome her fear somewhat, so I thought riding one might help make her more comfortable."

"Vicky! And just what did she say when you showed her this?" Lisa asks with venom.

"Nothing. because I didn't show it to her," Jo says smugly. "I also eavesdropped on a phone call she got."

"What did you find out? Are you starting to doubt her now, too?"

"I didn't find anything out and, no, I don't doubt her."

"Where did you take her riding? These fields are big, but I don't see how they can give you much room."

"We went down by the stream."

"What stream?"

"The one on the back part of my property. Would you like to go riding with me. Lisa? There is some place very special that I would like to show you."

"Sure," says Lisa.

Jo takes one horse out of the stall. She spreads a saddle blanket on its back.

"Mount up. Lisa."

Lisa thinks Jo has lost her mind.

"Trust me."

"What horse are you going to ride?"

"This one. We will ride double."

Still a little doubtful, Lisa mounts the horse. Jo has the saddlebag and mounts behind Lisa. When Lisa feels Jo's arms go around her, she relaxes in them. Jo is thrilled. She kisses Lisa on the neck.

They ride to the stream, but go in the opposite direction that Jo took Vicky. It's not long before they come to a fork in the stream. They follow the fork until they reach a clearing. Lisa sees a cabin. It reminds her of the old westerns she has seen.

"It's beautiful here," Lisa states.

"Only you know about this place. I took Vicky the other way. I didn't want her stumbling on it by accident. What time do you have to be at work tomorrow?"

"I'm off tomorrow."

"Will you stay with me here tonight?"

"I would love to."

They dismount and go into the cabin. Lisa is shocked and wonders what she has agreed to when she realizes that there are only two rooms.

"Where is the bathroom?" she asks Jo.

"There is an outhouse not far from here."

"Okay," Lisa says hesitantly, "where do you take a bath?"

"In the stream."

Once more, Lisa looks at Joanna as if she has lost her mind. Jo is trying to keep from laughing but failing miserably.

"What's so funny?" Lisa demands.

"The look on your face," Jo says. "It will be okay. You're safe here."

"I don't doubt that, but this is...."

Jo places on hand on the side of Lisa's face and tenderly caresses it.

"Tell me your fantasies. I want to make them a reality."

"I don't have any fantasies."

"You've made my fantasy a reality by agreeing to stay with me here tonight. Let me make yours real for you."

"I have never had a fantasy about anything like this, but if I did it would be.... I've never told anyone any fantasy, Jo."

"Why is that?"

"I'm embarrassed. It's just fantasy, it isn't reality."

"I want to make it reality for you, Lisa."

"I'm not sure I should say. I never even told my husband my fantasies about him."

"Lets take a bath and you can decide. I will respect whatever you want."

With that, Jo gets the things they will need for a bath. Once they reach where the stream has formed a small pond, they undress and get into the water.

"This is cooler than I thought it would be," says Jo.

"It is a little on the cool side," answers Lisa.

They bathe and are getting ready to get out when Jo drags Lisa back in. Jo dunks Lisa. Before long, they are playing like children. Jo grabs Lisa from behind and is about to dunk her again when she realizes just how hard Lisa's nipples are. Instead of dunking her, Jo lifts her hands to cup Lisa's breasts. Lisa moans with pleasure.

They get out and dry off. Jo turns to Lisa and kisses her tenderly yet passionately. Lisa returns the kiss without hesitation. Jo spreads a towel for them to sit on.

"My fantasy would be to sit by the stream, like we are now, with a fire and watch it dance. Then it would be for you to take me in your arms and to make love to me," says Lisa.

Jo is caught off guard by Lisa's sudden admission. Jo gets up and builds a circle with some rocks that are nearby. Lisa watches. Jo places wood in the circle, goes to where she has the saddlebag with the things they needed to bathe with and removes some matches. When Jo returns to where Lisa is sitting, she has a fire started. Jo takes Lisa into her arms and just holds her as the fire catches. They watch the fire for a while.

Lisa relaxes in Jo's arms. Jo slowly moves her hands to Lisa's breasts. Lisa lets out a soft moan as Jo caresses them. Lisa turns to Jo and they share a long, deep, passionate kiss that is full of burning desire. Jo reaches for Lisa's breasts once more and slowly takes a nipple in her mouth. She suckles it lightly as she flicks her tongue against it. Lisa is overcome with emotion.

"I've never had anyone want to do something so special for me."

"Relax and trust me. I love you, Lisa, and want to do whatever it takes to make you happy. Just tell me what you want."

Jo returns to Lisa's breasts. Lisa reaches for Jo's. Jo lets out a groan.

"Don't stop," Jo says.

"You either," says Lisa.

Jo slides her hand between Lisa's legs. She can feel Lisa's heat and knows Lisa is ready for her. She slides two fingers along Lisa's lips until she reaches her vagina. Jo then slides them in. She does this very slowly, teasing Lisa's clit. Lisa it thrusting against Jo's hand. Jo slides her body between Lisa's legs and kisses her way down. When her mouth is over Lisa's mound, she lightly blows on it.

Jo lightly licks Lisa's lips. She parts them with the tip of her tongue and slowly circles Lisa's clit. Lisa is moaning even louder now. Jo slowly inserts her tongue into Lisa. She begins a slow, teasing rhythm of strokes in and out of Lisa. Lisa is thrusting against Jo's mouth trying to get her tongue deeper.

Finally, Jo rises above Lisa. She spreads Lisa's lips, exposing her clit. Jo then spreads her own lips. Lisa is watching every move Jo makes. Jo lowers herself to Lisa and begins to rub their clits together. Lisa wraps her arms around Jo and holds on. Jo has Lisa so turned on from the teasing that it's not long before Lisa is screaming in orgasm. She digs her nails in Jo's back. Hearing Lisa scream drives Jo over the edge. She cums, filling Lisa as their juices mix together.

Jo reaches for Lisa, just to hold her. The fire is almost out in the circle, but the fire in both Jo and Lisa is just coming to life.

When the fire in the circle goes out, they dress and go back to the cabin. It has gotten cool in the cabin, so Jo builds a fire in the fireplace. They sit and watch the flames without speaking for a while. Jo is afraid that she may have been too forward with the way she mounted Lisa. Lisa is lost in the memory of it.

Jo is sitting on the floor as Lisa comes up behind her. She sits down behind Jo and reaches her arms around Jo. Lisa lays her head against Jo's.

"I can't believe I experienced something so very special," says Lisa.

"Why is that?" asks Jo. "Didn't your husband make it special when he made love to you?"

"Yes, he did, but that was amazing. I want you again, Jo. I want you now."

Jo turns to Lisa and can see the desire in her eyes. She kisses Lisa once more. Lisa returns the kiss but when Jo reaches for Lisa, Lisa stops her. Jo is confused by this.

"You said you wanted me again."

"I do, but this time I will be the one in charge."

Jo gives total surrender to Lisa. Lisa begins a slow licking of Jo. She tells Jo that her tongue is the paintbrush and that Jo's body is the canvas. Lisa slowly licks her way to Jo's breasts. There, she starts a gentle tease of the nipples. Jo is loving this, but going out of her mind with desire at the same time. Lisa slowly works her way down Jo's abdomen. She reaches the apex between Jo's legs and lightly places kisses around the outer edges. Jo is the one who is now thrusting to meet Lisa's lips. Lisa separates Jo's lips and slides two fingers in. She only slides them in to the first knuckle. She moves back up Jo's body as she keeps her fingers in place. She kisses Jo. Jo returns the kiss.

"I want your fingers even deeper Lisa."

"I told you that I was in control, so you will just have to wait."

"Oh god, please don't tease me like this."

"I learned from the best. You are now having a taste of your own medicine."

Lisa kisses Jo once more as she continues the slow, short thrusts of her fingers. Lisa kisses back down Jo's body until she is once again over Jo's mound. She parts Jo's lips once more and begins a slow tease around Jo's clit. Jo is thrusting upward but Lisa isn't letting her fingers go deeper.

Finally, Lisa begins to lick Jo's clit as she drives her fingers deeper. It doesn't take Jo long before she cums. She then tells Lisa to turn around. Not understanding at first, Lisa turns her back to Jo.

"No, I want you in a 69."

Lisa straddles Jo's body and places her tongue on Jo's clit once more. Jo licks Lisa until they are both screaming in orgasm in unison.

The photographer has followed them and watches....silently. He has been snapping photos the entire time, knowing that they are too lost in each other to realize he is there.

"Now," he says, "to develop these and make sure they fall into the right hands. Then we will see how much this captain and her little girlfriend can really endure. I don't think Lisa will last long, not after what I saw when Joanna's house burned."

He walks away quietly, a smug smile on his face.

Chapter 8

The next morning, Lisa and Jo gather their things and ride back to the barn.

"Last night was incredible, Jo. No one has ever made me feel like that."

"What do you mean by that, Lisa?"

"The way you let me do things my way. You didn't try to suggest things. You let me be me."

"I told you that I wanted to make your fantasies a reality. I'm hoping that was only one."

"I guess I should start having more fantasies, but I also want you to tell me yours."

"Deal, Lisa."

Lisa noticed how agitated the wildlife was the night before. They seemed to be calmer today. She is thinking that maybe it was the horse, along with her and Joanna, that had them upset.

"The animals seem calmer this morning," she says to Jo.

"I noticed that, too," Jo replies.

"I guess they had never seen two naked women," jokes Lisa.

"I think it might have been the fire and the following investigation."

"Are they normally upset by things like that?"

"I'm not sure, but I have never seen them this agitated. They are used to me by now, or so I thought."

They brushed the horse and put him in his stall. Jo made sure all of the horses had fresh hay and water. Lisa helped some, but just mostly watched Jo.

"Are you ready to go home?" Lisa asks.

"Home. I like the sounds of that," Jo says.

"I'm glad," Lisa says, smiling.

They go back to Lisa's and spend the rest of the day together.

The photographer has developed the pictures he took of Lisa and Joanna as well as those of Vicky and Joanna and the ones he has taken of Vicky. He surveys his work.

"These will work perfectly for what I have in mind."

The following day, when Lisa is back at work, she receives a package. She opens the package and out fall some photographs. They are photos of Joanna and Vicky. The first few show them as they were when they went riding. The next ones show them in a totally different way. Lisa can't believe what she's seeing. Jo had told her that Vicky didn't know about the cabin, yet here were photos of Jo and Vicky making love - in the cabin. She immediately calls Jo.

"You need to get to the stationhouse," Lisa growls.

Jo can tell that Lisa is upset and asks what's wrong.

"Just get here," Lisa commands.

When Jo walks in Lisa is waiting for her.

"In my office," Lisa growls, leaving no room for argument.

Jo walks into Lisa's office. She can see that Lisa is extremely upset but doesn't know why.

"Explain these," Lisa snaps, thrusting the photos into Jo's hands.

Jo looks at the photos with complete shock.

"You can't believe I would do this, Lisa."

"All I know," Lisa growls, "is that you told me you took Vicky riding. You said that she didn't know about the cabin. Those are the clothes you were wearing that day, so I know those photos are real."

"Yes, these photos are," Jo snaps, showing Lisa the ones of her and Vicky riding and sitting by the stream. "I don't know where these came from, though. Vicky doesn't know about the cabin. I've only showed it to one person and that person is you, Lisa."

"Do you deny that this is you in the photo?"


"Do you deny that this is your cabin?"


"Explain to me how the photos were taken if you DIDN'T sleep with Vicky," Lisa says, hurt filling her voice.

"I have no idea. I didn't sleep with Vicky. I have only slept with one person since I got here and that is you, Lisa."

All of a sudden the alarm rings. Lisa knows she has to leave.

"We will finish this at home, Jo."

Jo watches as Lisa gets into the fire truck and it pulls away.

Jo is pacing the floors when the phone rings. It's Chris. He's at the hospital with Lisa. Lisa was injured and he doesn't know how badly she's hurt.

Jo races to the hospital. Chris informs Jo that the fire was a rather bad one. Everyone else managed to get out ok. Lisa was trapped by some falling debris. He isn't sure how badly she is burned. As he is explaining this to Jo, the doctor comes out. He informs them that Lisa has a broken leg and some minor burns, but it isn't anything serious. Jo is filled with relief. She asks if she can see Lisa. Lisa is in a private room. She is asleep when Jo walks in so Jo sits in the chair by her bedside all night.

The next morning Lisa awakens to find Jo sitting there, watching her sleep. The look of worry leaves Jo's eyes when Lisa looks at her.

"Why are you here?" Lisa asks.

"Where should I be?" Jo wants to know.

"With your girlfriend," Lisa says, sarcasm filling her voice.

"I'm with my girlfriend," Jo says defensively.

Lisa gives Jo a hard, cold look.

"Look at me any way you wish, but I'm not leaving your side," Jo states matter-of-factly.

"I don't need a traitor around me."

"A traitor? You really don't know me if that's what you think."

"All I do know is that I was played for a fool. Did it feel good to turn the straight chick? Was I just another notch on your belt? I had you checked out, Joanna. In other words, I have had a private investigator find out all there is to know about you," Lisa tells her.

"Just what did he find out, CAPTAIN? I'm not a member of your squad or a suspect. If you had wanted to know something, all you had to do was ask and I would have told you."

"Would you have told me you are a player?" Lisa asks bitterly.

"Yes, I would have told you I WAS a player. I'm not playing anymore. I got out of that a long time ago. I have not played you, Lisa. I love you and always have. Something drew me to you the first time I met you....remember when my barn burned? I knew that if I ever got a chance with you I would hold on and never let go."

"You love me, so then what is Vicky? Just a way to get your thrills when I'm working?"

"For the last damn time, Lisa, I DID NOT sleep with Vicky," Jo says, frustration filling her voice.

"I don't believe you."

Jo turns to Lisa, who has Jo fixed with a look that could kill.

"What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to go away and not come back. I don't need you."

Tears fill Joanna's eyes.

"Okay, I'll go."

What neither know is that someone has been listening to their entire conversation. With a satisfied smirk on his face, he walks away.

Chapter 9

When Jo leaves Lisa's room, she finds Grant and Anna outside. Grant looks at Jo as if he can see right through her.

"I knew something bad would happen to Lisa if she kept seeing you," he says venomously.

"What is with you? I don't know you, but you seem to know me. I would never do anything to hurt Lisa. I love her," Jo says defensively.

"You love her? Is that why she's lying in a hospital bed?" Grant says with sarcasm. "She was never hurt or in any danger when she was with Ryan."

"I'm not trying to replace your son. I can't do that, no one can. I love Lisa for who she is and she loves me for who I am, not who she wants me to be."

"I think it would be best for everyone if you left and didn't come back."

"Don't worry. Lisa just told me to leave and not come back, so I'm going now."

With that, Jo heads to the elevator. As she leaves the parking garage, Jo is lost in thought. She drives back to Lisa's. She goes inside and looks around. The place seems empty and cold without Lisa.

Later that afternoon, Lisa is released from the hospital. Grant and Anna drive her home. It has been agreed that Anna will stay with Lisa to help her out. As they pull up to Lisa's house, they see Jo's car.

"I will handle this," Grant says.

"No," says Lisa. "She has been staying with me since her house burned."

"I think she needs to stay somewhere else for now," Grant replies.

"Let me deal with Jo," Lisa remarks.

They go inside. Lisa is sitting on the sofa with her leg propped up when Jo comes into the room.

"I think...." Grant starts.

"Grant," Lisa warns, "I told you that I would deal with Jo."


Lisa turns to Jo who has been watching this exchange very closely.

"I think it would be best if you found somewhere else to stay for now."

"Who will be here to help you? You don't need to be alone," Jo says.

Grant rolls his eyes and mumbles under his breath.

"Grant, if you can't stay out of this then I think you should leave," Lisa states.

Once more she turns to Jo. She tells her that Anna will be staying and that Jo isn't needed. Lisa and Anna can see the hurt in Jo's face.

"Here is some money for a hotel," Grant says coldly.

"I would rather sleep in the streets and starve than take anything from you," Jo spits.

Jo gathers everything she owns and puts it in her car. She looks at Lisa once more. Jo silently walks to Lisa and very gently kisses her goodbye. With tears streaming down her face, she gets in her car and drives away.

"Good, she's finally gone," Grant says, overjoyed.

"Stop it, Grant," says Anna. "What do you have against that woman, anyway?"

"She reminds me of her mother," Grants says. "Her mother was nothing but trouble."

Lisa has been listening.

"How do you know Joanna and her mother?" Lisa asks.

"I dated her mother before I met Anna. Her mother wasn't all she pretended to be."

"Why take that out on Joanna?"

"Joanna is a player, just like her mother was."

"I'm not going to listen to this anymore, Grant. I think it would be best if you leave. I'm tired anyway."

"Suit yourself, but I told you not to get serious with her."

Grant leaves after saying this. Anna helps Lisa to bed.

Lisa lies in the bed and can't help but wish Jo was with her. After a few hours, Lisa falls asleep, but it is a restless sleep haunted with brief nightmares. What if Joanna is at the cabin? What if she had been telling the truth all along?

The next morning Anna can tell that Lisa didn't really sleep. She asks Lisa if she is ok. Lisa says she is fine, but Anna knows that she misses Jo.

Jo is at the cabin and she doesn't sleep either. She is also haunted by dreams, but they are dreams of a different kind. What has made Lisa doubt her? Who took those pictures? Who knows about the cabin besides Lisa?

The photographer just sits back and watches. Joanna is out of the picture as far as being with Lisa is concerned. He just has to decide what his next move is. With Jo at the cabin and only Lisa knowing about it, he makes his decision. This is easier than he thought.

Lisa and Joanna both go through the day sort of lost. They are so used to being together that neither one knows what to do without the other. Anna offers Lisa a shoulder to cry on. Lisa says she appreciates it, but that she is ok.

Joanna works on her barn. She knows that she needs to check all locks on the stalls and see what needs replacing. She hears a vehicle pull in. She can tell by listening to the sound that it's Vicky.

Vicky comes into the barn all happy and cheerful. She goes to give Jo a hug but Jo backs away.

"What's wrong?" asks Vicky.

"This," says Joanna as she shows the photos to Vicky.

Vicky is horrified.

"Where did you get these?"

"Lisa got them yesterday."

"She doesn't believe that we slept together...does she?"

"Yes, she does."

"I've never even been to this place in the photo. I've never seen it before. Do you know where it is?"

"Yes, I do, and so does Lisa. She is the only one who knows and the only one I will tell."

Vicky looks at Jo more closely. Jo seems tired.

"You didn't get much sleep last night. Chris told me that Lisa got hurt. He said that she was going to be ok, though. It must have really been rough on you if you are here and not with her."

"Lisa asked me to leave last night and not to come back."

"Oh, no. It's because of these photos, isn't' it? I will talk to Lisa. She has to know that this didn't happen."

"Don't go over there. If Grant is still there then you will not be able to talk to her. He acts as if he's her keeper just because she was married to his son. It's great that she still has a relationship with them, but damn, is that man controlling."

"I don't guess you are really up to company."

"No, I'm not. I'm sorry, Vicky, but I just want to be alone for now."

"It's ok, I understand. If there is anything that I can do please don't hesitate to ask."

"Thank you, but I'm going to be okay."

Vicky leaves.

Jo has been cleaning up what was her house and spending time with the horses, so when it starts to get dark she is more than ready to call it a day. Jo decides to stay in the barn that night instead of going back to her cabin. She showers and gets ready for the night. After making sure the animals are secure, she goes into the little office she had built into the barn when the barn was rebuilt. She has the strange feeling that she is being watched. Jo just chalks it up to a bad case of the nerves. She lies on the sofa that she has in the office.

Knowing that Lisa has a broken leg and won't be able to help Jo like she did before, he douses the outside of the barn in flammable liquid and sets it afire. Jo isn't sleeping very well so when she hears the horses, she goes to see what is going on.

Jo sees the flames and immediately releases the horses. She dials 911 and alerts the fire department. As Jo is going out, a burning timber falls on her and pins her.

Lisa has her scanner on and hears that Jo's barn is on fire. Knowing that Jo would have gone to the cabin, Lisa tells Anna that they need to get to Jo's. Anna doesn't hesitate. She takes Lisa to Jo's place.

The fire department is already there and the entire place is chaos. This is the night that Jo's house burned all over again. Lisa looks around. She doesn't see Joanna. Another vehicle pulls up and it's Vicky. Vicky runs to Lisa.

"Where is Joanna?"

"Go check her cabin," Lisa answers with sarcasm.

"Where is it?" Vicky asks.

Lisa just gives Vicky a cold stare.

"I have no idea where her cabin is."

"It's on the back part of her property."

"Where on the back part? I didn't see a cabin when Jo took me riding, Lisa. She could be in real danger."

About that time, the firefighters bring Jo out. Lisa is horror stricken by what she sees. Jo has been hurt, and badly this time.

Chapter 10

Jo is taken to a burn center where she spends the next eight weeks getting the treatment and skin grafts that she needs. During this time Lisa has done a lot of thinking. She has had it out with Vicky about the photos. Lisa now knows that Jo has never slept with Vicky and it was all a setup.

When Jo is released and finally able to return home, she decides to go to her cabin. She is surprised when she pulls into her driveway and finds both Lisa and Vicky standing there.

Vicky greets Jo with a hug and tells her that she is glad to see her.

Jo looks at Lisa, who has the cast off by now, and is doing fine.

"Lisa had your barn and house rebuilt," Vicky says with enthusiasm.

"I see that," Jo replies without enthusiasm.

"Lisa and I have been spending time together, and she knows it was a setup. She knows that you and I have never slept together, Jo."

"Too little, too late."

Jo goes to the barn and inspects it. It is exactly like the one she got burned in...right down to the office. She turns to Lisa.

"Thank you for doing this and for taking care of the horses."

"I didn't do it alone. Vicky was a big help."

"What are you two doing here together?"

"Vicky and I think it's a good idea if we all three sit and talk," Lisa answers.

"I don't agree. I've always been honest with you and you treated me like I'm a pariah. I have no desire to sit and talk with you, Lisa, but I will sit and talk to Vicky."

"Okay then, you talk to Vicky. I will wait."

Jo rolls her eyes at Lisa.

"Why bother waiting, and how did you get the insurance company to get this place rebuilt so fast? Why would you even bother?" Jo asks.

"I did it because I love you, Jo. I was wrong about so many things. I got the insurance company to get on the ball by using a little persuasion."

"Whatever," Jo smarts off.

Jo walks to where Vicky is. After a few words, they go into the office. Vicky tells Jo that Lisa confronted her about the photos. Jo just listens. Vicky explains how they were made. Jo has questions.

"Who were you with to get caught in a compromising position such as the one in the photos?"

"They had to be taken when I was making love with Chris. What cabin do you have? Lisa swore that I knew about it, but I still have no idea what she is talking about."

"It's one I have here on my property. That is all I'm going to say. That place is sacred to me. It's not that I don't trust you, but it's where I go when I want to be alone. I've only shared that place with one other person and that person is Lisa."

"I can understand, and I'm not offended," Vicky replies.

"What made Lisa change her mind about you?"

"It was the night you got burned. I was here but had no knowledge that a cabin even existed. Lisa was here that night. She was on her crutches. When they brought you out she fell apart when she realized how badly you were hurt. I was freaking out myself. I just knew I had lost my best friend. She saw something that night, but I don't know what it was. There was something in her face. It was as if she recognized something."

"Has she said anything to you about what it might have been?" Jo asks, her curiosity peeked.

"No," answers Vicky. "You will have to talk to Lisa to find out more. She does love you, Jo. She has been going crazy without you here. She has been keeping a check on your progress."

"Why didn't she come to see me when she got the cast off, or even before the cast was removed? I'm sure Anna would have brought her to see me."

"Again, Jo, you will have to ask Lisa those questions. I will send her in. Play nice, and don't make me have to come in to break up a fight."

Vicky leaves the office. A few minutes later, Lisa walks in. Jo starts questioning Lisa about that night.

"I know what I've been missing from the night your house burned. It was the same scene that night when your barn burned."

"Vicky said you saw something, and I would like to know what you saw."

"I saw Ryan."

"What do you mean when you say 'I saw Ryan'?" Jo asks, confused.

"I saw Ryan in you when they brought you out of the barn. It's what drew me to you in the first place. Remember when I said I couldn't explain it...that I had never been attracted to another woman? Now I know what drew me to you. It's your eyes."

"What in the hell do you mean, Lisa? Do you think I'm your dead husband? Is that why you decided to take a chance with me? Talk about someone being played for the fool!"

"Listen to me for a minute. It's your eyes and the way you are. It's the same characteristics Ryan had. No, I don't think you're Ryan come back to life. I buried Ryan over a year ago. I couldn't understand it at first so I had the private investigator do some more checking."

"Damn you, Lisa", Jo spits out with venom, "I told you that if you want to know anything about me to ask me."

Vicky can hear Jo shouting so she re-enters the office.

"I told you to play nice, Jo. Since you don't seem to be able to do that and just listen to Lisa, then I'm going to stay right here. We will have that talk after all...all three of us at once."

Jo glares at Vicky. Vicky looks at Lisa and tells her to continue. She also tells Jo to sit down and listen, not talk, just listen. Jo is furious with both Lisa and Vicky at this point.

Lisa begins to explain once more.

"I know you told me to ask you if there was anything I wanted to know about you. I have and you have always been honest with me. I had the P.I. do some more checking because what I saw scared me. It wasn't just the fact that you were hurt. I once again saw the lifeless body of someone I love. I saw Ryan's body when they brought you out. It was you, but it was also Ryan. I have thought back to that first time I met you...the night your barn first burned. Now I know what it was that so fascinated me. It was your eyes. You have the exact same eyes he had. I thought maybe that was why Grant hates you so much. It isn't. I've been talking to Vicky and we've compared notes. You told her you got this place from your father's will. You also said you knew nothing about it. There is a reason for this. Your mother and father, or should I say the man you knew as your father, never bought this place...Grant did."

Jo rises and looks at Lisa.

"What do you mean 'the man I knew as my father?' she asks coldly. "If you dare to badmouth my father..."

"Sit down and shut up, Joanna," Vicky snarls at Jo. "Listen to Lisa. It will all become clear. She isn't going to badmouth anyone except Grant, and he deserves it."

"Grant bought this place and gave it to your parents. They moved away from here when you were order to avoid Grant. The man who raised you and loved you wasn't your biological father...Grant is. I have all of this documented if you don't believe me. Grant hates you for what you represent to him. Your mother loved Grant at one point, but he was the player, not her. When she became pregnant with you Grant swore you were not his. Your father loved your mother, so he agreed to keep her secret and love you as if you were his. I still have some locks of Ryan's hair. I took some strands of your hair from a hairbrush in my house and had them both tested. You are, without a doubt, the half sister of my late husband."

Jo is blown away by this news. She looks from Lisa to Vicky. Vicky leaves the office for a few moments. When she returns, she has a file. Vicky hands the file to Jo. Jo opens the file and begins to read. Lisa sits beside Vicky and watches as the truth of what she has told Jo begins to sink in.

"The man who raised me was sterile? How can that be? I've always wondered why I didn't have brothers or sisters, but this is incredible," Jo stammers. "Grant is my biological father? I thought he hates me because he sees me as trying to replace Ryan."

"No," Lisa says. "He hates me because I've fallen in love with the one child he never wanted, the one who reminds him that he isn't Mr. Perfect."

"What do I do now?" Jo asks, stilled stunned.

"You come home with me, where you belong," answers Lisa.

"We can't be together now, Lisa. Not now that I know you're my brother's widow." Jo catches herself. "My brother," she says, her eyes filling with tears. "I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother or sister. I had a brother and a sister-in-law and never knew."

"We can be together, Jo. I love you and you love me. You didn't know about Ryan or any of this. It doesn't change what we have already shared or how we feel."

That being said, Lisa walks to where Jo is sitting and bends down to very tenderly kiss her.

"Well, Jo is Ryan's sister. This should make things very tough on our beloved captain. Lisa will not be expecting what I do next," says the man to himself as he walks away.

Chapter 11

"I don't know about this, Lisa," Jo says with uncertainty.

"Why does it bother you so much, Jo?" Lisa asks. "It can't change what we've shared before, and it doesn't change how we feel."

"I didn't know I had a brother before."

"I didn't know I had a sister-in-law, either. If you had known that I was your sister-in-law, would that have made a difference?"




"Maybe it would have, but now it's too late. We love each other and that can't be changed just because you now know that your brother is my deceased husband."

"This isn't something I should hear, so I'm going to leave," Vicky says as she rises to leave.

"Thank you, Vicky," Lisa remarks.

"I will be waiting outside"

"You don't think I can play nice?" Jo asks, half joking.

"I rode over with Lisa," Vicky replies. She leaves the office.

"Come back to our home with me, Jo."

"I remember thinking how great that sounded the first time you called it ours."

"Let's go home, our home."

Jo is hesitant, but she agrees. Lisa is driving. Jo sits between her and Vicky. She has noticed how Lisa and Vicky seem to get along. She wonders about this.

After they drop Vicky off, Lisa takes Jo home. Jo walks in and looks around. She is seeing the house in a completely different way. This was her brother's home. Lisa has told Jo about Ryan, so Jo doesn't need to ask any questions. Lisa watches her. She can see the look of familiarity yet strangeness at the same time in Jo's face.

"How are you feeling since you got out of the hospital?" Lisa asks.

"I'm okay, I guess. Maybe a little tired, but after what you told me today, I'm in total shock. Is there anything else I should know about? I've been gone eight weeks, have they figured out who the arsonist is?"

"Yes, I know who it is. I can't say because we only have circumstantial evidence."

"Does this have anything to do with your new friendship with Vicky?" Jo asks.

"In a way it does. She really does care about you, Jo. I saw that the night you were so badly injured. She was freaking out. It really got bad when I showed Chris the photos of you and her."

"You did what?!," Jo exclaims.

"I took him into my office and he didn't say a word. He was as shocked as I was to see them. He also knew they were fake the instant he saw them. He saw something I didn't, and pointed it out to me. Our photographer isn't as first rate as he would like to think."

"So do you know who the photographer is?"

"Yes I do. I haven't confronted him yet because I'm waiting on his next move. I will tell you this, though, he is the arsonist as well."

"I thought the arsonist was a firefighter," Jo says confused.

"They are all the same person," Lisa answers.

The phone rings. Lisa takes the call but uses hushed tones so that Jo can't hear what is being said. After she hangs up, she tells Jo that there is something that is going to happen that very night. Jo looks at Lisa oddly.

"We were being followed by the 'photographer'. That is why the wildlife was so agitated that night, not because of the fire to your home or the following investigation. This is what I need you to do."

Jo listens as Lisa fills her in on the plan.

"Will you help me by going along with this?' Lisa wants to know.

Jo gets up and walks out of the front door. Lisa follows her.

"This is my brother's house. There is no telling what you will ask me to do next."

"This is our house now, Jo. I lost Ryan a long time ago. This had become a place where I ate, slept, showered and changed. It had stopped being a home until I met you."

"Is that so?" Jo remarks, sarcasm in her voice.

"Yes, that is so. Lets go inside and talk about this rationally, Jo."

They go back inside. The photographer is watching the house intently. He sees Jo come back out, get in her car and drive away.

"Good," he says to himself, "they will both be alone tonight. Who should I take out first...Lisa or Joanna? They both deserve to die. One was married to Ryan and the other is his sister. I think I will take Jo out first, just to give Lisa more heartbreak. She has earned it after what she has done."

Jo has left, but she is watching the rearview mirror to see if she is being followed. Sure enough, the car that she and Lisa saw in the adjacent driveway is following her. She pulls into her drive, gets out, and goes into her house. Lisa has had it rebuilt the exact same way it was before it burned. She goes to the phone and calls Lisa.

"Yes, I was followed just like you said I would be."

"Okay, you will be his first target tonight. This is what I want you to do...."

Jo follows Lisa's instructions to the letter. She knows that both of them could lose their lives if she doesn't. At the appointed time, Jo finds the place where Lisa said she would be able to get out of the house without being seen.

She turns out the lights and makes her way to her cabin. The wildlife are accustomed to Jo being alone when she comes to the cabin so they are not alarmed. This will work to her advantage. She watches as the house is doused in liquid and then set aflame. She watches the man get in his car and drive away.

She uses her cell phone to call Lisa.

"The house was just set afire. He got in and drove away like there was nothing to it. This guy has no conscience."

"Are you at the cabin?" Lisa asks.

"Yes, and the wildlife are calm."

"Good," Lisa replies, "they didn't give you away. It just came over the scanner that your house is on fire. I will be there, but under no circumstances are you to come from the cabin. You stay hidden or this will not work."

"I understand."

Chapter 12

Jo watches as the fire department arrives. She sees the firefighters enter her burning home. She sees Vicky drive up. She is watching all this happen and feels as if she's watching a movie on TV. She feels so helpless, especially after the fire is out and she sees a fireman tell Lisa that Jo perished in the fire. Lisa is distraught. Vicky is overcome and collapses. The paramedics treat Vicky and release her into Chris' care.

Over the next couple of days, she sees Lisa come to the burned house. Vicky has also been making trips there. On this day in particular, they arrive at the same time. Jo stands hidden among the trees and watches. She sees Lisa take Vicky into her arms to comfort her. Jo hates what she is having to do, but knows it's for the best.

A couple of more days pass. She has stayed in the cabin, totally hidden from view. She knows that she can't call Lisa because it's not safe. Lisa has to call her. Jo is awaiting Lisa's phone call when she hears someone near the cabin.

She turns off her ringer and finds a safe place to stay hidden until the intruder leaves. As she watches, she is surprised to see Grant and Anna. She listens intently to their conversation.

"Yes, I have always known that Joanna is my daughter."

"Why haven't you ever mentioned her to me before?"

"The man who married her mother adopted her. They moved away. I thought they were gone for good."

"How can you be so heartless? She is your child the same as Ryan was."

"Heartless? I have kept tabs on Joanna. I knew where she was and what she was doing at all times. You're right, she is my child, which is why I made sure that she was never in need of anything. I even paid her college tuition. I just never thought she would show up here, much less get involved with Ryan's widow."

"Did it bother you that Jo was gay?"

"No, not at all. It had never bothered me until she got involved with Lisa."

"Why is that?"

"Lisa was Ryan's true love. I knew she would find someone else, but when she hooked up with Joanna I knew it would be revealed that I'm her father. This is the cabin where she was conceived," Grant says, pointing it out to Anna. "You said you wanted to know everything about Joanna."

When Grant and Anna leave, Jo goes back into the cabin. She replays the conversation in her mind. When the phone rings, she picks it up. Lisa can tell immediately that something isn't right. Joanna repeats the entire conversation to her.

"Did he go into the cabin? Did they see you? Do they have any idea that you're still alive?"

"No, to all of your questions. How is Vicky?"

"She is taking this harder than I thought."

"How are you doing, Lisa?"

"It's hard with you not by me at night. I found out today that Grant will have your house rebuilt. It will be the exact same way it was built before. He wants to do this as a way of acknowledging you as his daughter."

"How do you feel about that, Lisa?"

"I think it's about time."

Just then, Jo hears Lisa's house phone ring in the background. Then she hears an explosion and the line goes dead.

Jo is completely horror-stricken. This wasn't supposed to be part of the plan. She knows that she isn't supposed to make any phone calls, but she is terrified that she may have lost Lisa for good. She dials 911. She reports what she heard only to discover that it has already been reported and that the fire department is in route.

She leaves the cabin and goes to Lisa's house. Grant and Anna are both there, along with Vicky. They can't believe their eyes when they see Jo. The entire house has exploded. The firefighters are trying desperately to put the fire out.

Jo starts for the house but Grant stops her.

"I've got to get to Lisa," Jo screams.

"The firemen will get to her," Grant says, trying to reassure her.

Anna and Vicky walk to where Jo is standing with Grant. Vicky looks at Jo like she has two heads.

"I will explain everything later," Jo tells Vicky. "If this is true, then Chris will be cleared of everything."

After the fire is put out, the police come walking up with a man in handcuffs. He is wearing a ski mask. Lisa is right behind them.

Upon seeing Lisa, Jo breaks free from Grant and rushes to Lisa. She grabs Lisa in an embrace that leaves Lisa gasping for air.

"I know you told me not to call anyone or to leave the cabin, but when I heard the explosion I...."

Lisa silences her with a kiss.

"This has all gone like it was planned. I couldn't tell you everything because I knew you wouldn't go along with it if I did."

"So, who is the arsonist? Why did he want to hurt us?"

"The arsonist is Larry," Lisa says, walking up to the man who is cuffed and then removing the mask.

"How did you know?" asks Chris, completely stunned.

"When Jo's barn burned for the second time, the same squad responded that had responded when her house burned. I knew I was missing something from that night, but I couldn't quite figure out what. I looked at each face and knew what I had been missing. If Larry had been at his son's football game, he would not have been at the house fire that night. He used his friendship with you, Chris, to get information he shouldn't have. He thought Vicky still had it in for me, so he was telling her things that only you and I should have known."

"Why would he do that, though? Why was he trying to hurt us, Lisa?" Jo asks, dumbfounded.

"Ask Larry," Lisa says.

Jo turns to Larry.

"Well...I'm waiting"

"When my brother died it should have been Ryan. When Ryan died, I was there for Lisa, but the bitch wouldn't give me the time of day."

Jo doubles up her fist and puts Larry to the ground with one punch.

"Don't you ever talk about my brother again," Jo snarls as she is leaning over Larry. "And as for Lisa being a bitch, well if she is, then she is MY bitch, and I suggest you don't ever forget it!"

Grant, who has been watching this exchange along with everyone else, proudly proclaims, "that's my daughter."

After all is said and done, Lisa asks Grant if he would rebuild the home she shared with Ryan as a memorial to him.

"I would be honored to do that, Lisa, but where will you and Jo stay? Her house isn't rebuilt yet."

"We will stay in our cabin for the time being, Dad," Jo says with an emphasis on the word ' Dad.'

Grant can only smile. Anna gives Jo a hug and says, "welcome to the family."

Vicky looks at Jo. Jo approaches Vicky and says, "I'm sorry this had to happen this way. It broke my heart to know that I hurt you, but it was the only way to keep everyone safe."

"If you ever do this to me again, Jo, I will bring you back to life just so I can kill you myself," Vicky says jokingly, as she gives Jo a hug.

Chapter 13

Lisa and Jo go back to the cabin.

"How did you get Grant to come around?" Jo asks Lisa.

"You were gone for eight weeks for the needed treatment for your burns. I approached Grant and told him some things he wasn't aware I knew," Lisa answers.

"What kind of things?" Joanna wants to know.

She listens as Lisa remembers her conversation with Grant.

"I called him after I learned he was your father. He tried to deny it at first, but I told him I had the proof. He said there was no way that I had any proof because there was none. I told him to come to my office at the stationhouse and I would show him the proof. I had already gotten your adoption records. Grant isn't listed on your birth certificate, so I did some checking on your father. Since I'm the captain here, I used that to my advantage. The private investigator also came up with a few things. When Grant saw that I meant business, he admitted to it."

"How come I was never told of my adoption, or that Grant is my biological father?" Jo wants to know.

"Grant made arrangements for it to be withheld from you. He knew that the man you know as your father loved your mother. He also knew that he was sterile."

"How did he know that? Why was my father sterile? Lisa, what do you know about me that I don't?"

"If you will just listen, maybe some of your questions will be answered before you ask. If there is something that isn't, then I will do my best to answer it for you....Grant knew your father was sterile because he had been your father's best friend. They had gone to a rodeo. Your father had been admiring the horses when a car backfired. One of the horses kicked and your father just happened to be standing a little too close. The horse had kicked him in the groin. Grant got him to the hospital and notified your grandparents. A few hours later, the doctors told them that your father would live, but that he would be sterile. Grant was also in love with your mother. He called her and told her what had happened. When she arrived at the hospital, she was distraught. Grant tried to comfort her. Later, after your father was released and things were back to normal, your mother and father had a big argument. They separated for a while. That's when Grant made his move. Your mother was still a virgin when she was with Grant that one time. Grant had assured your mother that your father had told him to go after her...that your father no longer wanted anything to do with her. That wasn't true, but Katherine had no way of knowing it. She also didn't know that Grant and Michael had been arguing over her. Grant took advantage of the situation to be with Kate. When Michael discovered that Kate was pregnant, he knew it wasn't his. He confronted Grant and Grant told Michael that he could adopt you and be your father because Grant was going away to college and didn't need a wife and child. Since Michael was going to college here and would be with Kate, it made sense to Grant. After talking it over with Kate, Michael agreed, but they decided to move from here. They had no intention of ever coming back. Grant did keep tabs on you. He and Michael kept it from Kate. Your mother didn't know they were still in contact. Grant did arrange to make sure you didn't go in need of anything...including college tuition. It was a savings account started by Grant."

"So," says Jo, "what is my real last name?"

"It's Garrison, just like it has always been."

"What is my birth name?"


Joanna is becoming frustrated.

"My blood name is Spencer, just like your married name. If Spencer is Ryan's last name, then that's also my name, unless Ryan wasn't Grant's son."

Lisa looks at Jo. She understands why Jo is spewing venom, but is also hit with the realization that this is the one thing that she didn't check.

"Ryan is Grant's son and your brother. I'm sure of it."

"Did you check this out as well?"

"No, but why would I doubt it?"

"Grant made sure I was out of the way. Maybe he thought that by adopting Ryan, he was replacing me. Maybe, now that you know that Ryan is my brother, if Grant really is his father, then you're trying to replace Ryan with me."

"No one will ever replace Ryan...not you, not anyone. If it will make you happy I will have it checked to make sure that Grant is Ryan's father."

"When I called Grant 'Dad' at the fire, I was being sarcastic."

"I know that and so does Grant. Anna was sincere, though. She sees you as family."

"I know that."

"Anna isn't underhanded like Grant."

"I never thought she was. She is a very nice person. I really like her."

"You can talk to her, Joanna."

"She doesn't know anything, Lisa. Remember, I told you about the conversation she had with Grant when they came here."

"I've known Anna for a while and it might help you to understand a few things that I can't explain to you if you were to talk to her."

"She is why you're so certain that Grant is Ryan's father. It's written in your face."

"Yes, but if it will make you happy, I will have her checked out as well."

"I think that would be a good idea. Your life may not be as nice and neat as you thought," Jo says.

"My life is fine. Nothing has been a lie. Ryan is Grant's son, just like you're his daughter. I loved Ryan, and now I love you. I lost Ryan, but I won't lose you."

"I think maybe it would be best if we separate until you find out the truth about everything," Jo says.

Lisa looks at Jo with disbelief.

"You're not serious?!"

"Yes I am."

"This can't be happening," Lisa says as she throws her hands in the air.

Joanna approaches Lisa. She places her hand on Lisa's cheek. Lisa can see the pain in Jo's eyes and hear the hurt in Jo's voice. "You can stay here with me, but I don't think we should be intimate until all of this is settled."

"It's settled as far as I'm concerned," Lisa says as she takes Jo in her arms.

Jo is helpless. She knows that she can't resist Lisa. Lisa very gently places her lips to Jo's, waiting for Jo to pull back. When Jo doesn't try to pull away, Lisa deepens the kiss. As Lisa deepens the kiss, she lets her hand slide down Jo's back to her posterior. Jo can feel her resistance draining and is ready to give in when she hears Lisa say, "I love you, Joanna Spencer." She pulls away from Lisa.

"What is it?" Lisa asks.

"You called me Spencer."

"You are a Spencer by blood. I fell in love with Joanna Garrison."

"I'm not sure who I am, Lisa. Should I use Spencer or stay with Garrison?"

"You know exactly who you are, Jo. Did I lose who I was when I gave up the name Chandler to become a Spencer? No, I only changed my marital status and my last name. You are a Garrison. You may be a Spencer by blood, but that's it. You have always been a Garrison and you always will be. A name change doesn't change who you are on the inside."

"Why did you call me Joanna Spencer then?"

"I'm thinking of a future. One in which we are together...married. I don't think Lisa Garrison sounds right and, besides, if you use Spencer, then you will have the name you were entitled to since birth."

"Why should I have to marry my brother's widow to claim my birth name?" Jo says incredulously.

"I didn't mean it like that, Jo," Lisa answers flatly.

Jo just stares at Lisa for a moment.

"What did you mean, then?"

"I meant...oh hell, this isn't coming out right. Grant should have never insisted that Michael adopt you, but since he wanted to be sure you had all medical access to your family history, then there was no other way of doing it."

Without another word, Jo leaves the cabin. Lisa is aware of the fact that this is a lot for Joanna to take in all at once and doesn't follow her. Lisa waits in the cabin. After several hours have passed, Lisa starts to become concerned. She thought Jo was going for a walk and would be back soon. Lisa goes in search of Jo.

Jo is sitting by the stream, lost in thought. How could something so important be kept from her? Why is it that she is just finding out she had a family - one she didn't know existed? Why did she have to fall for her brother's widow? Jo is searching for answers when she hears Lisa approach. Lisa sits by Jo and doesn't say anything at first. She can see that Jo is truly troubled by what she has learned.

"What answers are you looking for, Jo?"

"There are several, Lisa. None of which you have. You've answered some, but they still have me lost. I understand why Grant didn't want would mess up his perfect world...but why didn't my parents tell me the truth?"

"Maybe because they didn't want you to feel like you were different or less loved."

"I never felt that way. I always had the best of everything. Did Grant make sure I always had the best?"

"No. That was Kate and Michael."

"Why did I have to fall for my brother's widow? Why was I so wrong when I first thought you were gay? Why didn't you just end things when you had the chance?"

"This has nothing to do with your parents or Grant. You are questioning us."


"Why are you doubting our love? Why are you doubting all we've shared?"

"Why did you decide to 'be gay' when the truth is that you're not?"

"I've told you was your eyes that first attracted me. The more I got to know you, the more I realized that I was falling for you. It scared me. I had never been attracted to a woman before. You were very patient. You didn't push. That made me fall even more in love with you. Ryan was the only other person who didn't push. I was a virgin when we got married. The only two people I have ever been sexually intimate with are Ryan and you."

"You like to keep it in the family," Jo says sarcastically.

"That was a low blow and entirely uncalled for," Lisa says, hurt filling her voice.

"You're right. I'm sorry, Lisa. You're my brother's wife and that makes it wrong for us to be together now."

"I'm not your brother's wife, I'm his widow. You think I only want to be with you because you are a lot like Ryan. Explain what you're thinking Jo. I can very easily see it in your face, but it might help if you say it."

"You want to hear it? Okay, you will hear it - all of it! I think you are using me to replace Ryan - just like Grant used Ryan to replace me. What neither one of you seem to realize is that I can't be replaced and neither can Ryan. We are two different people. Ryan was my brother, if he really was Grant's son. I won't marry you just to have the Spencer name. I am entitled to that name, but I don't want the damn thing. I am a Garrison. Who knows, maybe if I had had a brother some of the things that I have gone through I wouldn't have had to go through alone or at all. If he had had a sister, I could have protected him from the playground bullies," Joanna spews.

Lisa just sits and listens. She knows not to let Joanna's words go too deep in her because Jo is working through the pain she is feeling. Lisa watches as Jo gets up and begins stomping around while she continues her tirade. All at once, Jo turns on Lisa.

"You asked Grant to have your house rebuilt as a memorial to Ryan. I'm all for honoring my brother, but if you think I'm going to live in that house, you've got another thing coming. There is no way I could have competed with Ryan when he was alive, and I'm sure as hell not going to compete with his ghost for you now."

"There isn't any competition, Jo," Lisa says, trying to calm Jo down. "I love you and only you. I asked Grant to rebuild the house as a memorial to Ryan, yes, but I don't intend to live there. I intend on living with you."

Jo rolls her eyes at Lisa. "Yeah, I'm sure you do. If you can't have the brother, then the sister will do."

This remark is too much for Lisa. She rises and approaches Jo once more. This time, however, she isn't tender and compassionate.

"I loved Ryan. He was my husband. I will not let you badmouth a man you didn't know. Furthermore, he was your brother. If you want us over, then it's over. I can stay at the stationhouse. I would rather be there alone than be here with you when I know that I'm not wanted."

"Fine, then," replies Jo, "go to the stationhouse. I never said I didn't want you here, but maybe it's best if you weren't!"

With that, Lisa leaves Joanna by the stream. She goes back to the cabin, gathers her belongings and takes one last look around. She is looking to see if she has missed anything, but is flooded by the memories of the night of love she shared with Jo. Lisa remembers the first time they made love and how patient and kind Jo was. She wonders if Jo will remember those precious nights as well. Finally, Lisa picks up her things and leaves the cabin.

Jo has been watching the entire time. Jo is thinking of the night she and Lisa shared here. She wonders if that is what Lisa was thinking of.

Jo gives herself a shake. "Lisa should leave and this should be over," Jo thinks to herself. At the same time, though, she can't help but feel a loss. She knows that she has lost more than just her girlfriend...she also knows that when Lisa walked out, she lost her best friend.

Jo lets Lisa leave without saying anything to her. Lisa goes to the stationhouse and into her office. She tries to throw herself into some paperwork, but can't get Jo out of her mind. She is visibly upset and when Chris opens the office door, he just misses getting hit by the stapler Lisa has thrown across the room.

"What has you so upset?" he asks.

"Nothing," Lisa snarls.

"Right...that's why you're breathing fire and throwing things."

"I will be staying here until further notice, if that's alright with you" Lisa replies sarcastically.

Chris closes the door.

"Okay, what has happened that has you so upset? We've known each other a long time, and the only times I recall you ever being this upset it has always had something to do with Jo."

"It's none of your business!" Lisa snaps.

"Fine. If it starts to affect the squad, then it becomes my business. You may be the captain, but if you can't do your job properly, then I will step in."

"You would love that, wouldn't you?! You being temporary captain and showing that a woman isn't right for the job."

"Enough! I know something has happened with Jo, and now you're taking it out on me. Either you tell me what's going on, or I will go over your head and have you placed on a mandatory vacation. You have no choice. If you're going to snap at me for caring, then you're in no frame of mind to handle a squad."

"I'm just fine, Chris. I can handle my squad just fine, so I would suggest before you threaten me again you might know for a fact that I can't do my job."

Hearing the shouting, Grant opens the office door.

"What is going on in here?" he asks.

"It's none of your business," Chris remarks.

"Chris, leave my office. I will handle Grant," Lisa says.

Chris gives Lisa a look.

"Come back later and I will explain things, when I'm calmer," Lisa says.

"Why are you so upset, and what are you doing here? I thought you and Jo were staying at the cabin," Grant says.

"Was Ryan really your son, or did you adopt him?" Lisa asks Grant, who is stunned by her question.

"Ryan was my son, yes. Joanna is my daughter. You know this already," is Grant's answer.

"Did you try to replace Jo with Ryan?" Lisa wants to know.

"No, Joanna is Joanna and Ryan was Ryan. They can't be replaced. No one can replace either."

"You need to have a talk with your daughter and explain that to her," Lisa says, trying to control her voice.

"What happened between you and Jo?"

"We broke up. She thinks I'm using her to replace Ryan."

"Are you?" Grant asks.

"No, I'm not," Lisa spits. "No one will ever replace Ryan."

"I will talk to Jo. Where is she?" Grant asks.

"She was at the cabin when I left," Lisa tells him.

Chapter 14

Grant leaves. He goes to look for Jo. Meanwhile, Jo is sitting alone in the cabin remembering everything that has happened from the day she first met Lisa.

"This didn't get complicated until I learned I had a brother and that Lisa is his widow."

She is writing this down as Grant is approaching the cabin. He knocks on the door and Jo lets him come in. He looks around. Jo can see that he is lost in his memories.

"What do you want?" she asks Grant.

"You look just like your mother," Grant says.

"Why are you here, Grant?"

"I just left Lisa. She is upset. She said the two of you broke up. I came to see how you feel."

"How do you think I feel?! I just lost the woman I love because I told her it would be best if we separate."

"Why would that be best?" Grant asks.

"She's my brother's widow, if he was my brother."

"Lisa just asked me that. Yes, Ryan was my son. You are my daughter. I'm sure Lisa told you why I let Michael adopt you."

"Yes, she told me, and my opinion of you isn't very good at the moment. I thank you for the college tuition, but that was nothing I couldn't have done myself."

"I'm aware of that," Grant says.

"What are you trying to prove? Why come to me now? Lisa and I broke up, yes, but it's none of your business!"

"It is. You're my daughter, so that makes it my business."

"I'm NOT your daughter. Michael Garrison was my father. You are nothing more than the sperm donor that got my mom pregnant!"

"Is that why you're so angry?"

"I'm angry because something so important was kept from me. I'm angry because I have been lied to my entire life. I'm angry because the woman I love is also my brother's widow. I'm angry because...because....of YOU!"

"Do you think Lisa is trying to replace Ryan with you?"


"You didn't know that she was married to your brother when you fell in love with her."

"I didn't know I had a brother...thanks to you," Jo snarls.

"I made mistakes, Jo."

"Yes you did, like me for instance."

"You are not a mistake. You never were, Joanna."

"Then why didn't you want me? I know how you seduced my mother with your lies."

"I was young and stupid. I never thought of you as a mistake, Joanna. You are the product of my love for your mother."

"Your love? If that's what you call love, then I don't want to know what you consider hatred," Jo spits with venom.

"Is this why you pushed Lisa away?"

"What happens between Lisa and myself is none of your business, Grant!!"

"Lisa is my daughter-in-law and you are my daughter. It is my business as far as I'm concerned."

"Go to your daughter-in-law then, and leave me alone. I never needed you before, I don't need you now. Be there for her. You're nothing to me."

With that, Jo opens the door for Grant. He leaves, saying that he will be back.

"Do me the favor of not coming back. You were never there for me before, why try to be there now? I'm an adult. I don't need you to hold my hand while I cross the street," Jo says with malice.

"I am well aware of that, Joanna. Maybe one day you will at least accept me. Think about how you and Lisa first met, how the two of you fell in love, all that you two have shared."

"I don't need you telling me what to think, Grant. Just leave."

"I will go, but like I said before, I will be back."

Grant leaves and Jo is Grant and herself. She takes out her journal and is reading through it. She reads what she has written about Lisa, about the day they met and all that they have shared. There is a knock on the door.

"Grant, if that's you I've already told you that...," she is saying as she opens the door.

"It's not Grant. It's only me," Lisa says. "We need to talk."

"It's over, Lisa. Why can't you accept that? You are my brother's widow. I can't be with you now, no matter what."

"Can I come in?" Lisa asks.

Jo steps aside and lets Lisa in.

"We've been through this already, Jo. It was when I told you that Grant was your biological father. He is Ryan's father and Ryan was your half-brother, but it doesn't change what we've shared so far. It also doesn't change how we feel."

"If Ryan was still alive then there would be no question, we would not be together. I can honor his memory by leaving you alone."

"You can honor his memory by loving me. I don't want to be without you, Jo."

"Why are you so calm about this?"

"I talked to Chris. Maybe you should talk to Vicky."

"You told Chris?! Why on earth did you do that?!"

"I threw a stapler and it almost hit him. I couldn't do paperwork or anything else. Grant came in and asked what was wrong. I sent Chris out, telling him I would explain it to him later. I sent Grant looking for you. From the tone of voice you had when you thought it was him back, I take it things didn't go very well."

"That's an understatement."

"Talk to me, Jo. Lets work this out together. I love you. I can't just let you go. I walked out earlier because you said to, but I couldn't stay away," Lisa says as she steps closer to Jo.

Jo sees Lisa coming closer but doesn't move. Lisa reaches for Jo. When Jo doesn't pull away, Lisa pulls Jo into her arms.

"Things will work out, Jo," Lisa says as she holds Jo.

Jo knows that even though she wants to honor her brother's memory and not be with Lisa because she feels as if she is betraying Ryan, a man she never knew, she wants Lisa in the worst way. Lisa wants Jo just as badly. Lisa gently kisses Jo. Jo can't resist when she feels Lisa's lips on hers. Without thinking, she returns the kiss. As it becomes deeper and more passionate, Jo knows this will be the first time they have made love since she found out that Lisa is Ryan's widow and that Ryan was her brother. Feeling guilty, Jo pulls away.

"What is wrong? I want you and you want me. Can you honestly say that you don't?" asks Lisa.

"No, I can't. When we were together before, things were different. I knew you were a widow, but I didn't know that you're my sister-in-law," Jo says.

"Remember when we first met, Jo? Until I looked into your eyes, life didn't have meaning. I had lost Ryan and was simply drifting through the days. Every day was the same. I stopped living...really living. I did what I had to do to get through each day. I would get up, go to work, come home and go to bed. Nothing mattered anymore. That changed. You gave me Samson and Delilah. That puppy and kitten needing me helped breathe a new life into this body. Then you came looking for them. I knew that giving them back to you was the right thing to do, but it also broke my heart. Then, you came back to the stationhouse the next day and gave them back to me. Life was real once again. Next, you decided you wanted me. What was I supposed to say to that? You knew that I wasn't gay, at least I didn't think I was, and that I had never been with another woman. You were patient. You didn't push. I knew that this was something I wasn't sure of, but I also knew that I wanted to be with you - in every possible way."

"You said that you have only been sexually intimate with Ryan and me. Did I remind you of Ryan at all in the way I decided to go after you? Did he wait for you, the same way I did? Did he make love to you in the same way?"

"Yes, to some of your questions. Ryan did wait for me. Like you, he didn't push for more than I could give. He was gentle and tender, like you are, but there are some differences in the lovemaking...obviously."

"You want my brother. I'm not Ryan. I can use a strap-on, but you would be calling Ryan's name and not mine," Jo says, her voice full of pain.

"No, I wouldn't Jo. I've told you, you are the first person I have been with since Ryan died. I never thought of Ryan when we made love. I know the difference."

"Knowing the difference and feeling it are two different things. Can you say that you don't still think of Ryan and wonder how it would have been if he hadn't died?"

"I still think of Ryan, but I can't spend time thinking of 'what might have been'. 'If' is only a two letter word, but it is the biggest word that has ever been created. If Ryan hadn't died, if I hadn't been on duty and responded to the fire at your barn, if you weren't gay, if I hadn't fallen in love with you, if...if...if.... that is such a waste of time."

"Why did you come back here, Lisa?"

"Because I won't let you give up on us so easily. I won't give up on us so easily. If one of us should feel that they are betraying Ryan's memory, then it should be me. I don't."

Jo just rolls her eyes and shakes her head. She gathers the things she needs for a bath and leaves the cabin. Lisa follows her. Jo is aware that Lisa has followed her and tells Lisa that she doesn't need to be there when she bathes. Lisa's answer is to undress and get in the water. It is colder than the last time and has a bite to it. Jo just shakes her head once more and gets in the water as well. The coldness doesn't seem to bother Jo. Lisa comes up behind Jo and wraps her arms around Jo's waist.

"If this is as close as I can get to feeling your naked body against me, then I will take it," Lisa tells her.

Jo can feel Lisa's erect nipples pressing into her back. Jo lets out a slight moan.

"You feel so good next to me, Lisa. I want this and you know it. I feel as though I will be betraying Ryan, though, and I don't understand how you can't."

"It's because I had to come to terms with the fact that Ryan is gone. He isn't coming back. I think you feel guilty because you have just learned he was your brother. Before, when I was just a widowed firefighter, you felt okay being with me. Now that you know that I will forever be your sister-in-law, you feel guilty about it. You think you have to compete with Ryan's memory. You don't. Have I ever called Ryan's name when we made love?"

"No, you haven't. You've only called my name."

"You are who I want, Jo. Your name is the only name I will call. I love you. How can I call the name of someone I'm not in love with?"

"But Ryan...," Jo starts.

Lisa silences her with a kiss. The kiss is deep and full of passion. Feeling a little antsy about kissing Lisa and knowing where it will lead, Jo gets out and dries off. She gets dressed and goes back to the cabin. As she steps in the door, she is hit with the memories of the last time she and Lisa took a bath together here. Lisa comes into the cabin and can see that Jo is thinking about that night of love. Lisa walks up behind Jo and wraps her arms around Jo's waist once more. She begins kissing Jo's neck. Jo lies back in Lisa's arms.

"This feels so right," Jo tells Lisa.

"That's because it is right, Jo."

"I want you so much, Lisa, but I'm afraid."

"Afraid of what? Afraid that I will think you're Ryan? Afraid that you're betraying your brother? Afraid that I will compare you to Ryan now that I know he was your brother?"

" everything."

Lisa turns Jo to face her.

"It's not going to happen. I didn't do any of those things before, and I'm not going to now. I fell in love with Joanna Garrison. Joanna Garrison is who I want in my life, in my bed. Joanna Garrison is the only person in my heart."

"I want you so much right now, Lisa, but I'm still not certain."

"It's okay, Jo. I will just hold you tonight, the way you once did for me. I will not push, but I won't give up, either. I can be just as stubborn as you can when it comes to something I want...or someone."

They go to bed, but Jo is having a restless sleep. Lisa tries to hold her, but Jo is thrashing on the bed. Suddenly, Jo sits straight up in bed screaming.

"What is it? What were you dreaming?" Lisa asks, her voice ringing with alarm.

"You don't know everything about me, Lisa."

"I know more than you think, Jo. The private investigator was very thorough. I know about your past, and the sexual abuse you suffered. Is that what your nightmare was about?"

"It was so long ago. I had put it behind me. I went to the group support and had counseling. I even confronted the man."

"Does Grant know? Did you tell him earlier?" Lisa asks.

"No, I haven't told him anything. We didn't talk about my past at all."

"Do you want to tell me about it? About how you are feeling?"

"I obviously can't tell you anything about me that you don't already know," Jo says sarcastically.

"I don't know everything, Jo," Lisa answers. "Is this what you meant when you said if you had known you had a brother then maybe you wouldn't have had to go through certain things, or at least not have had to go through them alone? Is this another reason you're afraid to make love with me now?"

"Yes. I couldn't talk to my mother...she was way too distraught. I couldn't talk to anyone but the counselors, and they only listened because that's how they make their money. No one wanted to listen, so finally I just hushed. It was reported, he was arrested and sent to jail, so that means it's over...right?"

"No, that's not how it works. I obviously don't have first-hand experience with what you're dealing with, but I do know something about it."

"What do you mean?" Jo asks her.

"A woman I went to school with was raped. When I found her she was in bad shape. I called the police and told them what I knew. When she was questioned the only name she could say was 'Ryan.' "

"My brother was a rapist?" Jo says in disbelief.

"No, it wasn't Ryan. He was with me when the attack happened."

"Was he really with you, or are you covering for him?" Jo asks.

"He was really with me. We weren't even in town when it happened. Ryan was questioned, and so was I. When they told the woman that Ryan had a solid alibi, she couldn't believe the police had screwed up so badly. Ryan wasn't the name she said...Brian was. They eventually caught the guy, but she was left traumatized. I went with her to the group meetings. They weren't going to let me stay because those meetings are sacred. My friend told them that she needed me to be able to talk about it. They let me stay."

Jo tells Lisa the story, every horrid detail of that night. Lisa listens and then takes Jo into her arms to offer comfort and support. Jo tries to push Lisa away, but Lisa will have none of it.

"Don't," Lisa says. "Just let me hold you, Jo. You can trust me and you know that. I won't hurt you."

Jo knows that what Lisa is saying is true. She lets Lisa hold her. Eventually, Jo drifts off to sleep. Lisa knows that it's because Jo feels safe with her. Lisa wonders what brought it back, though.

The next day, as Lisa is looking through the newspaper, she gets her answer. The man that raped Joanna has been released - with the support of Grant. This infuriates Lisa, and she goes to Grant's house. Grant isn't home, but Anna is. One look at Lisa and Anna knows that something bad has happened.

"What's wrong, Lisa?" Anna asks.

"Where is that piece of trash you call your husband?" Lisa growls.

"He isn't here right now. What has you so upset?"

"This!" Lisa snarls as she shows the paper to Anna.

"Grant has been trying to get Neil freed. He thinks that Neil was railroaded. He doesn't believe that Neil actually raped that young girl. Grant says that the young woman had sex with her boyfriend and then blamed it on Neil. Grant has known Neil since Ryan was ten."

"I don't understand him anymore. I used to know Grant, but I don't want to know him now. When Ryan was alive Grant was the perfect dad. Does he really hate Jo that much?

"What does this have to do with Joanna?" Anna asks, confused.

"Joanna was 'that young girl." She is having nightmares now. How could Grant free the bastard that raped his daughter?"

Anna is horrified.

"You didn't know?"

"No, I had no idea. How would I know that, Lisa? I didn't even know Joanna was Grant's daughter until you discovered the truth."

"Well, the more I learn about Grant, the more happy it makes me to know that Jo was raised as a Garrison. If it wasn't for the fact that Ryan was nothing like Grant, I would drop the Spencer name in a heartbeat."

"That wouldn't stop you from being our daughter-in-law. You were the love of Ryan's life. You know that. Now, what can I do to help Joanna?"

"For right now, just keep Grant away from her," Lisa says in a calmer voice.

"I will do my best and you know it."

"If Grant comes near Jo he will have to deal with me."

Anna looks at Lisa as if she is looking at a stranger.

"Right now, I'm fighting to keep Jo in my life. I love her. I will do what I have to in order to protect her. After Ryan died, life no longer held meaning for me. You saw what I went through, Anna. When I pulled Jo out of the first fire and then she asked me to care for the pets, it was like someone had breathed a new life into me. Those animals depended on me. They needed me. It had been so long since I felt that anyone needed me. Then Jo decided she wanted me. Like Ryan, she didn't push for more than I was ever ready to give. She has a lot of the same qualities that Ryan had, but that's not why I'm with her, or why I love her. I'm just glad that neither she nor Ryan turned out like Grant."

Chapter 151

As Lisa approaches the cabin, she can hear Jo screaming. Lisa bursts through the door like a mother lion protecting her cubs. She sees Jo curled up in a fetal position on the floor. Standing over her is Grant.

"What in the hell have you done to her, you worthless bastard?!"

"I didn't do anything, Lisa. She was like this when I arrived. I'm trying to help, but she won't let me near her," Grant says confused, yet also concerned.

"Get out and don't come back. If you do come back, you will regret it, I promise you that," Lisa snarls venomously.

Grant backs out, watching Lisa and Jo. He has never seen this side of Lisa. She was protective of Ryan, but this is totally different. Grant doesn't understand it.

When she is certain Grant is gone, Lisa eases her way to Jo. She is sitting on the floor, slowly scooting closer to Jo while she talks to her in soothing tones.

"It's okay, Jo. He is gone now. He shouldn't be back."

She reaches for Jo, but Jo pulls back from her.

"It's okay, sweetheart, it's Lisa. I'm not going to hurt you. No one will ever hurt you again if I can help it."

She is sitting beside Jo now. She reaches for Jo once more. Jo doesn't pull away this time, instead she lets Lisa hold her.

"How could he do it? How could he set that monster free? Does he hate me that much? Why did he come here to rub it in?" Jo asks Lisa.

"He didn't know it was you who was that monster's victim, apparently. He had best stay away from you. I'm here angel," Lisa says as she gently rocks Jo.

Grant has gotten home by now and Anna is giving him hell.

"How could you set that monster free? Neil raped that young girl, I have no doubt."

"I thought you supported Neil?" Grant says.

"Do you know who the girl was that he raped?!"

"No, but Neil says he didn't rape her, and that's good enough for me," Grant says defensively.

"It's not good enough, not when it was your own daughter he raped," Anna spits.

"My own dau...."

"Yes. It was Joanna. You know that she is gay, so do you still believe that she slept with a boyfriend, was going to get into trouble because she wanted it rough, and then said Neil raped her?!"

Grant just looks at Anna in stunned silence.

"I had no idea it was Joanna," Grant stammers.

"You said that you had kept tabs on Jo. Was that a lie? If you were so in synch with what was going on with Jo then how could you not have known?" Anna demands angrily.

"I...I'm not sure how I didn't know this," Grant stutters. "Oh God. This explains it then."

"Explains what?" Anna asks.

"Why Jo was such a wreck and Lisa's attitude."

"You went to see Jo? When? How does Lisa know?"

"Yes, I went to see Jo. That's where I was before I came home. Lisa came in like a mother lion protecting her cubs. Lisa obviously knew about this."

"She was here before she went back to the cabin. She knew because of this," Anna says, handing Grant the paper.

Grant just hangs his head in shame.

"She told me to keep you away from Joanna," Anna informs him.

She is my daughter. I have to make things right...somehow," Grant says.

"There is no way for you to make this right, Grant. Leave Joanna alone. Stay away from both Joanna and Lisa," Anna tells him.

"I need to know what happened, and not from Neil or anyone affiliated with his defense," Grants says.

"Right now you should just leave it alone, Grant. If you're thinking of finding out what happened from Jo, then I suggest you don't. Lisa will have your hide. She loves Jo as much as she ever loved Ryan."

"I know she does. There is no mistaking her devotion to my daughter. It was there with our son, but this is different, Anna."

"It's different because Ryan was a man and Jo is a woman. You saw how she defended Ryan when he was falsely accused of rape. Now, there is Jo who was raped, and Lisa will go to any lengths to protect her from being even more hurt. How you got lucky enough to find one woman who can love both of your children so devotedly is a miracle. Right now, though, she hates you, Grant."

"She has every reason to," Grant says.

"You should have everything checked out, without going to Joanna or Lisa," Anna tells him.

"I intend to. If I find out that Neil has lied to me and that he really did rape Joanna, then I'm going to..."

"What will you do, Grant? You can't send him back. You're the one who set him free. You did your level best to make Joanna look like a someone who would sleep with anyone, she always liked it rough, she was nothing more than trash. Guess what, dear, the trashy young girl is your flesh and blood. I'm going to go check on Joanna and see if there is anything Lisa needs. Under no circumstances are you to follow me or go near Jo."

"Tell them both..."

"I won't tell them anything. Not from you. It's just empty words. They mean nothing."

Anna leaves the home she shares with Grant and goes to the cabin. She has a little trouble locating it at first. She knocks on the door. Lisa answers it.

"If you're here because Grant sent you..." Lisa begins.

"I didn't come here for Grant. I came here for my daughter...both of my daughters."

Lisa and Jo both just look at Anna.

"Lisa, you will forever be my daughter-in-law because you're Ryan's widow. Joanna, you are Grant's biological daughter, which in turn makes you my stepdaughter. I only see my daughters, not my daughter-in-law or my step-daughter."

Lisa turns to look at Jo. Jo nods her head yes, that it's okay to let Anna in. Lisa steps aside and invites her in.

"I came to see if there is anything you need, Lisa, and to see how you are, Joanna."

"I'm not doing so well," Jo says with a shaky voice.

Anna goes to where Jo is sitting. She sits beside her and reaches out her arms. Jo looks at Lisa. Lisa nods her head. Jo places her head on Anna's shoulder as Anna wraps her arms around Jo.

"What can I do?" Anna asks.

"I have to go to work in the morning, so if you could come by and stay with Jo..." Lisa starts.

"Say no more. I will be here before you leave," Anna answers.

"Keep Grant away from here and away from Jo."

"Not a problem. Consider it done."

Chapter 16

The next day, the squad is called to a house that is burning. After the fire is extinguished, Lisa notices a young girl who is beaten up badly. Lisa can tell the injuries didn't come from the fire. As she looks at the girl, she is hit with the realization that these injuries are similar to the ones she saw on the young girl when she was in school. Lisa doesn't hesitate. She calls a police officer over and they both approach the young girl. The girl responds to Lisa, but not to the cop. Lisa gathers as much information as she can from the girl. She then relays this information to the police officer. As she is telling the girl's story for her, Lisa gets a strange sense of having heard the story before. That's when she realizes that it's identical to Jo's story. She tells the police officer to investigate Neil Johannsen.

Grant has walked up while Lisa was telling the story to the police officer.

"Do you really think it was Neil?" Grant asks in disbelief.

Lisa turns to look at Grant.

"It's what he did to Jo," Lisa says, barely able to control her voice.

"We have to get him for this. Lisa, I had no idea that it was Joanna that had accused Neil. I'm so sorry I helped get him released."

"Sorry doesn't help Jo. You have turned into someone I don't know, someone I don't want to know. It would be in your best interest to stay away from both me and Jo," Lisa snarls.

"You and Jo are my daughters."

"No we aren't. I was married to your son, so that only makes me your daughter-in-law. You gave up any parental rights to Jo the day she was adopted. She may have Spencer blood in her veins, but she has a Garrison heart."

At the cabin, Anna has been with Jo all day. Jo has enjoyed the time she has spent with Anna. Anna has told Jo things about Ryan that Lisa didn't. Some things Lisa knew, but not all of them. Jo feels that she has found another mother and tells Anna this.

"I'm honored that you feel that way, Joanna, but don't you feel as if you're betraying your real mother?" Anna asks.

"No. My mother would have liked you very much. She would be grateful that I have you in my life," Jo answers.

"Then why do you feel as if you're betraying Ryan by being with Lisa?"

"I didn't know Ryan. I now know that he was my brother, but what would he say? His sister is queer and has turned his wife that way. How would he feel?"

"He would have loved you, no matter that you're gay. Ryan didn't pass judgment on anyone. He even helped the young girl who was raped. They thought she said 'Ryan' when she was really saying 'Brian.' He didn't hold it against her. He stood up for her."

"My brother sounds like a saint."

"He wasn't a saint, but he was a good person."

"I wish I could have known him."

"Do you think Lisa thinks about Ryan when you two make love?"

Jo just looks at Anna. Jo isn't completely comfortable discussing her sex life with Anna. Seeing Jo's discomfort, Anna laughs. Jo gives Anna a strange look.

"It's okay. I know you're uncomfortable, but I'm only trying to help. Ryan was my son and Lisa was the love of his life. They were so right for each other. When Ryan died, I saw the pain it caused Lisa. Now, I see a new Lisa. I don't mean because she is gay, I mean because she has the light in her eyes that was missing for so long. It's because of you. She loves you as much as she ever loved Ryan. I told Grant this. I also told him it was a miracle that he found one woman who could be so devoted to both of his children."

"I'm not Grant's child. He was nothing more than the sperm donor that got my mother pregnant."

"I understand why and how you feel that way. What I don't understand is why you are pushing Lisa away. She loves you so very much, Joanna, and I know you love her."

"I do love Lisa. I love her as much as I ever did. I fall more in love with her with each day that passes. I want her in my life forever, but I know that's not least, not now."

"Why do you think that's not possible?"

"She will forever be in my life because she is my sister-in-law. I want more than that, is what I meant."

"I know that, Jo. Lose some of your insecurities and don't look at me as Ryan's mother, your stepmother or even Lisa's mother-in-law. Look at me as just your friend. Talk to me. I will help you if I can."

There is a knock on the door. Jo tenses up. The only other people who know where the cabin is are Grant and Lisa. Lisa wouldn't knock. That only leaves the possibility that it's Grant at the door. Seeing Jo's discomfort, Anna starts to the door.

"If it's Grant..." she begins.

"If it's Grant, I will handle him. It's going to be okay. I told Lisa that I would take care of you, and I will."

Anna opens the door and it's Vicky. Anna turns to Jo.

"It's okay," Jo tells her.

"I'm so glad to see you, Jo," Vicky says.

"I'm glad to see you, Vicky. How did you find this place? What are you doing here?"

"Lisa told me how to find it. Chris had told me that you and Lisa had broken up. I went to the stationhouse to talk to Lisa. Knowing that you're my best friend, she sent me to talk to you."

Anna is about to excuse herself when both Jo and Vicky tell her to stay.

"If that's what you want. I just thought you might be more comfortable talking to Vicky if I wasn't listening," Anna says.

"It's okay, Anna...really. Maybe the two of you can understand why I can't be with Lisa now if we all three talk about it. I only want to go through this once anyway. Unfortunately, Lisa isn't here so it won't be only once. Maybe you two can help her to understand."

"We are listening," Anna and Vicky say in unison.

"If I was with Lisa now it wouldn't be right," says Jo.

"Why is that?" asks Vicky.

"She is my sister-in-law. I will be having an affair with my brother's wife."

"No, you won't," Anna says. "Ryan isn't here anymore. He would not have wanted Lisa to mourn him forever. I think he would be pleased to know that she is with his sister. You love so deeply, Jo. Before, when Lisa was only a widowed firefighter, it didn't stop you from loving her, or making love with her. Why do you think it's different now just because you now know that her deceased husband was your brother?"

"I feel I can honor my brother's memory by not being with Lisa," Jo answers.

"Did you tell Lisa this?" Vicky wants to know.

"Yes, I did."

"What did she say?"

"She said that I could honor Ryan's memory by loving her."

"I think Lisa knows best in this situation," Anna says.

Vicky is watching Jo, who just looks at Anna like she has lost her mind.

"I agree with Anna. Lisa doesn't feel guilty for loving you, Jo. If anyone should have misgivings about the relationship, it should be Lisa. She doesn't."

Jo just looks at them both.

"You two don't understand."

"Then explain it," Vicky says.

"Would it be better if I left?" Anna asks.

"No," answers Vicky. "You should to hear this. Ryan was your son as well as Lisa's husband and Jo's brother."

"I feel...I feel...I feel like I'm sleeping with my brother. I feel liked I betrayed both him and Lisa."

"Nothing could be farther from the truth, Joanna. You haven't betrayed Lisa, and you didn't know Ryan. He was your brother, yes, and I know it's said that whoever we sleep with we are also sleeping with everyone in their past, but does that mean that I should feel that I've slept with your mother? Grant did, and that is why we have you. You are a special gift, Jo," Anna states.

Jo looks at Anna a little puzzled.

"I've never thought of it like that. Do you think about the other women Grant has been with?"

"No, because I love Grant. You shouldn't think about Ryan, only Lisa."

"She is the only one that has ever been in my thoughts."

"Has she said that she thinks about Ryan when she makes love with you?"

"No. She says that she only thinks about me."

"Okay...I'm not understanding what you're getting at, Jo. I must be missing something," Vicky says.

"It's okay, Vicky. You're just having a blonde moment," Jo says teasingly.

"A blonde moment?" Lisa asks as she enters the room.

"It was a joke, Lisa. I didn't mean anything by it," Jo says.

"I know. You forgot for a moment that I'm blonde," says Lisa.

"No, I didn't forget. I haven't forgotten anything...not the way you look, the way you smell, the taste of your kiss, how it feels to have your hands on my body when we make love..."

"Okay," Anna says, "I don't need to hear any of this. I will be going now."

"Me, too," Vicky adds.

Neither Lisa nor Jo have heard either of them. All they are aware of is each other. When they are alone Lisa takes Jo in her arms. Jo can tell by the way Lisa is holding her that something is wrong.

"I've got some bad news," Lisa says when Jo asks what's wrong.

"Did something happen at work? Is this news something that has to do with Larry?" Jo asks, referring to the arsonist that's tried to kill them both.

"No, this has to do with Neil Johannsen, the man who raped you," answers Lisa.

Lisa watches as the blood drains from Jo's face and she turns white as a ghost. Then just as quickly, Jo's face turns beet red with anger.

"Did he hurt you?! If he has threatened you or come near you, I will kill him," Jo says in anger.

"No, he hasn't. The squad responded to a fire today. After it was out I saw a young girl. She had been raped, Jo. As I listened to her, it was your story she was telling. Maybe it wasn't Neil, but I think it was."

In the meantime, Grant has received a call from Neil.

"I need your help," Neil tells Grant.

"What has happened?" Grant asks.

"I've been arrested. They say a girl was raped and they are blaming me. I think it's because I just got out," Neil tells him

Chapter 17

Anna has arrived home by now. She sees that Grant is on the phone. She is putting her things away as Grant finishes the call.

"Neil has been arrested for rape," Grant tells her.

"Why am I not surprised?" Anna responds sarcastically.

"I'm going to go to him."

"If you help him, Grant, then no matter how much I love you, I will leave."

"I'm not going to help him. I'm going to listen to everything he has to say and let him hang himself. If he did do it, then I'm responsible. I helped set him free. If he has hurt another woman the way he hurt my daughter, then I will make sure he goes back and I will not help him ever!" Grant says with venom.

"Jo sounds just like you. She thinks she will be betraying Ryan by being with Lisa and you feel responsible for this young girl if Neil did rape her," Anna says.

"How is Jo?" Grant asks.

"She's doing better, I think. I love Joanna as much as I love Lisa. As far as I'm concerned, I now have two daughters," Anna says smiling.

"I'm glad they aren't shutting you out. You are my only link to them now," Grant says, sorrow filling his voice.

"You have no one to blame but yourself. I will not tell you things just because you want to know them. I will tell you only what I think you should know."

"I can't ask you for more than that. You have been very accepting of Joanna being my daughter. You have a good heart, Anna. I'm lucky I have you just like Joanna and Lisa are lucky to have each other."

"Then you really don't have a problem with the fact that Lisa is involved in a lesbian relationship?" Anna asks.

"I did, but that was because I didn't want anyone to know that Joanna is my daughter."

"Why is that? Are you ashamed of her because she is gay?"

"No, I'm not ashamed. At first, I did have trouble with it."

"Why would you have trouble with it? Joanna is a grown woman. Who she has a sexual relationship with is none of your business. As long as she is happy, what difference should it make?"

"It bothered me at first because I couldn't believe my daughter would want another woman. Why are you so accepting of it so easily?"

"Because, Grant, what you don't know is that I've also been involved in a lesbian relationship."

Grant stands there looking at Anna trying to absorb what she has just told him.

"What? When was this? Why didn't I know?" Grant asks.

"It was, and still is, none of your business, but I will tell you," answers Anna.

"I would appreciate that," Grant says.

"I was in my early 20's. I had never felt an attraction to anyone least not a sexual attraction. She was my best friend as well as my roommate. I knew she was bi, and I had no problem with the fact that she had a girlfriend. They had been broken up for a while the first time I slept with her. I had not thought of sleeping with anyone at that point. Yes, I was still a virgin. I lost my virginity to another woman on that magical night," Anna says.

Grant is watching in stunned silence as Anna relives that time in her life with a fond smile. These memories are obviously very special to her.

"We had been talking about the fact that I wasn't sexually attracted to anyone. It became very deep and intense." Anna looks up at Grant. "We shared a kiss. I felt awkward but Belle told me that it was okay. I didn't know what I was doing. She kissed me once more. I was still as stiff as a board. She told me to relax and follow my instincts. When she kissed me for the third time I responded. It felt so right. Her hands felt so good on my body."

She looks at Grant once more before continuing her story. Grant knows that she is deliberately leaving things out, but has enough sense not to ask what.

"She picked me up off of the sofa and carried me to the bedroom. I could have told her to stop, but I didn't want her to. We made love that night. We dated until she was transferred out of town because of her job."

"Is that all you're going to tell me?" Grant asks.

"Yes," Anna answers. "I've already told you that it's none of your business. I do not think you need to know anything else about that relationship."

"Have you ever fantasized about another woman?" Grant asks.

"No more than you have," is Anna's answer.

Back in the cabin, Jo is disturbed by what Lisa has told her.

"I want to see this young girl," Jo tells Lisa.

"I can't let you do that, Jo. She is underage so, legally, it isn't possible right now. When this is over you can," Lisa says.

"Over? It won't ever be over."

"That isn't what I meant and you know it. Wait until someone is formally charged and I will see if I can arrange you a meeting with her."

"I would appreciate that, Lisa. I will do whatever I can to help her deal with this."

"I know you will, Jo, and I will be right beside you the entire time." Jo goes over to Lisa and hugs her.

"I thank you for that," Jo whispers in her ear.

"Do you have any way of heating the water we bathe in, or do we have another cold bath on the agenda?" Lisa asks.

Jo tells Lisa that, yes, she can heat the water. Lisa watches as Jo leaves the room and comes back dragging a small tub. She places it near the fireplace. Lisa is skeptical.

"You really don't think I'm going to bathe in you ?!"

"It's this or the pond," Jo says with a slight giggle.

"Just how are you going to fill it?"


Jo leaves once more. When she returns, she has two five-gallon buckets of water with her. She dumps both into the tub and goes back out again. Once more she returns with water but this time it's only one bucket. She sits the bucket away from the fireplace. She tests the water in the tub. It's warming up nicely. She tells Lisa to undress and get in. Lisa gives her a horrified look.

Jo approaches Lisa and begins to unbutton her shirt. Lisa captures her hands. Jo looks at Lisa. Both are thinking the same thing. It's obvious that they want each other, but they also know that with everything that has happened that day it would be careless to make love. Lisa finishes unbuttoning her shirt and removes her clothes. She gets into the tub while watching Jo, who is laughing at her.

"This isn't funny!"

"That depends on which viewpoint you have," Jo says as she rolls in laughter.

"Well, from my viewpoint, it isn't funny," Lisa snaps in a teasing manner.

"Ah, but from mine it is."

"Yeah, I just bet!"

"You haven't done this before, have you?" Jo asks, trying to control her laughter.

"What makes you think that?" Lisa asks with sarcasm.

"The look on your face tells me so."

Lisa just rolls her eyes at Jo.

"What is that bucket for?"

"If the water gets too hot then I can cool it down."

"The water isn't what needs cooling down," Lisa says huskily.

"I know," Jo says "but you know that if we made love tonight that it wouldn't be right."

"Because you still feel as if you're betraying Ryan's memory?"

"That and the fact of what you've been through today."

Lisa finishes her bath. When she gets out, Jo gets in. After they have both had a bath, Jo puts on gloves to remove the tub. Lisa is watching.

"The gloves are to hold the tub so that my hands don't get burned. They have been burned enough."

"I agree with that," Lisa says.

After Jo has taken the tub out and things are back in place, she and Lisa decide to call it a night.

"I will bring my things back into the cabin tomorrow," Lisa tells Jo. She can see that Jo has some reservations.

"Do you think you should do that, Lisa? There is only one bed. I was going to let you sleep there tonight."

"Where were you going to sleep?" Lisa wants to know.

"I was going to make a pallet on the floor," Jo tells her.

"No, you won't. We can share the bed," Lisa says as she approaches Jo.

"I'm not sure that would be a good idea."

"After what I told you about Neil, I think it would. Just let me hold you tonight, Jo."

"I want you to hold me, Lisa, and I want to hold you. I know that finding that young girl brought back some bad memories for you."

"Then it's settled. We will both sleep in the bed and just hold each other."

They go to bed and do just hold each other but they both want more and each knows it.

Chapter 18

The next day, Anna comes back to the cabin. Lisa isn't working, so they all three spend time together. It isn't the amount of time, but the quality of time, and all that is shared among them that matters. Eventually, the conversation turns to Jo and Lisa being together. Jo isn't ready to go another round with Lisa, but knows she can't avoid it.

She looks at Anna for help. Anna just shakes her head.

"I agree with Lisa. There is no reason that you two shouldn't be together," Anna says.

"Lisa was meant for Ryan," Jo responds. "You've said before that they were meant to be together."

"Ryan and I were meant to be together for the time we were together. I lost Ryan. I'm not willing to give up on us, Jo. I recall when you first decided that you wanted me, when I told you that we couldn't be together, you wouldn't accept it without a fight. I'm fighting for us now. I won't accept that this is the end for us without a fight," says Lisa with determination.

Jo knows that she isn't going to get any help from Anna, so she decides to take the heat off of herself for a moment.

"Anna, why are you so accepting of me with Lisa? This isn't the type of relationship she had with Ryan," Jo asks curiously.

Anna then informs them both that she has been involved in a lesbian relationship. Lisa and Jo just stare at her in stunned silence. Anna tells them the same story she told Grant.

"When I fell in love with Grant, that part of my life I left behind me. I do understand the attraction between you two. Don't get me wrong, I've never thought of having sex with either one of you, but if I wasn't married, then I definitely would have made a play for one of you," Anna tells them.

"You understand more than I ever thought," Jo tells Anna.

"Yes, I do."

Lisa is still speechless. She can't believe what Anna has just told them.

"You were involved with another woman?" Lisa asks in disbelief.

"Yes," Anna answers. "I'm not gay and I'm not straight. I'm bi."

"That's why you told me to just see you as a friend," Jo says.

"Yes. I have always thought that Lisa might be gay, but she was so devoted to Ryan that I began to think I was wrong. Then you came into the picture, Jo. I knew that I had been right when the attraction between you two became so obvious. Grant didn't want Lisa with you, Jo, because he didn't want his paternity as your father revealed. I have always known that as much as Lisa was meant to be with Ryan, she is also meant to be with you," Anna says.

"Why is it only now that you're telling me this?" Lisa wants to know.

"I didn't want to push you. I knew this time would come...eventually. I didn't want you thinking that I would only accept you when you found someone new if it was another woman. I'm thrilled that you have discovered this side of you. I'm even more thrilled that it is with Ryan's sister."

Jo just sits back, watching and listening.

"Until Jo, I never felt an attraction to another woman," Lisa says.

"The reason for that," Anna says, "is that when you love, Lisa, you love for life. I knew that Jo would be that woman. I also know that Jo loves you just as deeply as you love her."

Jo hasn't said a word. She looks at Anna.

"Do you deny that, Jo?" Anna asks.

"No, I don't deny that I love Lisa. I love her more than I ever thought I would love anyone. I never thought I could feel that type of love in return. Lisa did that for me. Then, I discovered she is my sister-in-law."

"Do you want Lisa as more than your sister-in-law?"

"Yes, but I know I can't have more than that."

"You're wrong," Lisa says to this remark.

Jo just sits there, staring at Lisa. Lisa gets up and goes to where Jo is sitting. Lisa sits beside Jo, takes Jo's hands in hers, looks into her eyes and says, "I love you Joanna Garrison. I want you, in every way possible. I don't feel as if I'm betraying Ryan. Remember the night you held me? It was the night I told you that we couldn't be together. I was having trouble because I felt as if I was betraying Ryan, not to mention the fact that I had just discovered my attraction to another woman. You held me that night until I fell asleep. You didn't ask anything of me or from me. That night, after you had left, I awoke. I picked up Ryan's picture and the more I poured out my heart, the more it felt like he was saying to me that it was time to move on, and that you are the one I should move on with. I think your brother is watching over us now. He knows that you are having trouble because you feel as if this is an affair with his wife. It's not. What we have is strong. What we have is beautiful. It is something very special. I'm not going to give it up. I'm not giving you up, Jo. We are meant to be."

Anna, who has been watching this exchange, knows that if anyone can get through to Jo, it's Lisa. Anna quietly slips out of the door and leaves.

Lisa knows that Jo is still uncertain, but when she tenderly kisses Jo, Jo doesn't try to pull away. Lisa then takes Jo in her arms as she deepens the kiss a little more. Jo is starting to respond.

"Trust me," Lisa whispers.

"I do trust you, Lisa. I've never trusted anyone more."

Lisa kisses Jo once more, and this kiss is filled with desire, passion, yearning and longing. Jo returns the kiss with just as much intensity.

"I want you, Jo. I want to make love to you and I want you to make love to me. I want what we had before. I want the passion that was uncontrollable. I want to show you my desire for you. I want to feel the desire you have for me," Lisa says, as she runs her hands underneath Jo's shirt.

"I want the same things, Lisa. I want you now," Jo says, as she is unbuttoning Lisa's shirt.

Jo removes Lisa's shirt and reaches to unfasten Lisa's bra. Lisa has removed Jo's shirt and is reaching for her bra.

"Are you sure about this?" Lisa asks Jo.

"As long as I know that it's just us, then, yes," Jo says.

"There is no one else, Jo. There never has been," Lisa says, as she removes Jo's bra.

Lisa just looks at Jo for a moment. Then, she slowly slides a hand over Jo's abdomen and to her breasts. Gently cupping one, she lowers her lips to it. Lisa captures the nipple and begins to lightly suckle on it. Jo runs her hands through Lisa's hair, pulling her closer as she lets out a yessssssssssss.

Jo removes Lisa's bra. Lisa has to let go of Jo's nipple in order to sit up. Jo is looking at Lisa's body. Lisa can see it in Jo's face.

"Don't, Jo. Don't go there. Get Ryan out of your mind. He isn't here anymore. I want you, and only you. Ryan looked at me, but never in the way that you do."

Lisa takes Jo's hands and places them on her breasts.

"Caress them as only you can, Jo."

Jo cautiously begins to caress Lisa's breasts. Lisa watches Jo's face. The longer she has her hands on Lisa's body, the more Lisa can tell that Jo isn't thinking of Ryan. Finally, all thoughts of Ryan leave both women. The only thoughts are of each other.

Jo lowers her head to Lisa's breast and begins to suckle the nipple she has captured between her lips. Lisa grabs two handfuls of Jo's hair and pulls her to her lips. She kisses Jo. Jo reaches for Lisa's pants and unfastens them. Lisa does the same for Jo. Their pants are removed, Jo removing Lisa's and vice versa. Lisa slides her hands over Jo's abdomen to down between her legs. She can feels Jo's heat before she feels how wet Jo is. Jo is making the exact same moves as Lisa. When Jo feels how wet Lisa is, she slides two fingers into Lisa. Since they are sitting on the bed instead of lying down, Jo's fingers go deeper into Lisa. Lisa moans. Jo begins a steady rhythm of thrusts. She is teasing Lisa's clit with her thumb. Lisa decides to even the playing field and does the same thing to Jo. Jo lies on the bed, pulling Lisa with her.

"I want you over my face," she tells Lisa.

"Are you sure?" Lisa asks.

"Yes. I want you to ride my tongue, Lisa. I want you to use it for your pleasures."

Lisa gets over Jo's face. Jo spreads Lisa lips with her tongue. When she reaches Lisa's vagina, she slides her tongue in. She begins to lick Lisa's inner walls as she thrusts her tongue in and out of Lisa. She moves her tongue to Lisa's clit and licks it as well. Jo then begins alternating between licking Lisa's clit and thrusting her tongue into her. It's not long before the built up desire explodes into Jo's mouth in an earth shattering orgasm that leaves Lisa drained of strength. Jo sucks as much juice out of Lisa as possible while licking the juices that have escaped and ran down Lisa's thighs and lips. Lisa collapses on the bed by Jo.

With one look, Jo can tell this was the most intense orgasm Lisa has ever experienced. She doesn't ask anything of Lisa as Lisa lies there trying to regain some strength.

After a few moments, Lisa tells Jo that she wants her in the same position. Jo knows that this will be something Lisa has never done before and hesitates.

"Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?" Jo asks.

"I'm positive. I want to show you something," Lisa says with a smirk.

"If you become uncomfortable at any time," Jo begins, but Lisa silences her with a kiss.

Jo mounts Lisa's face. Like Jo did to her, Lisa spreads Jo's lips with her tongue. She begins at Jo's clit, though, instead of her vagina. Lisa has her tongue twisted as she licks Jo. Reaching Jo's vagina, Lisa inserts her tongue and begins to go in and out of Jo in a drilling sort of motion. Jo can't believe that Lisa can twist her tongue in such a way and is loving it! Lisa goes back to Jo's clit, using only the tip of her tongue this time. Jo can feel Lisa's tongue as it twists on her clit.

"Oh God! Don't stop, whatever you do," Jo screams.

Lisa continues this on Jo's clit before inserting her tongue into Jo once more. Jo screams that she is coming and Lisa makes her tongue become a straw to let Jo's juices flow into her mouth. Lisa licks Jo dry and Jo collapses by Lisa on the bed.

"I have never felt such an intense orgasm," Jo says with amazement.

"Neither have I," admits Lisa.

They are too far gone to be able to move. They do manage to wrap their arms around each other before falling asleep

They are awakened the next morning by the ringing of Lisa's cell phone. It's Grant.

"What do you want?" Lisa asks.

"I tried to call you at the stationhouse but they said you weren't there," Grant tells her.

"Who is it?" Jo asks.

"It's Grant," Lisa says, and Jo flops back on the bed groaning.

"Are you with Jo?" Grant asks.

"Not that it's any of your business, but, yes," Lisa answers.

"I'm glad," Grant remarks.

"What do you want, Grant?"

"Neil has been arrested and charged with raping that young girl."

"Let me guess, he didn't do it, and you're going to make sure he isn't railroaded this time," Lisa says with sarcasm.

"Wrong. I know he is guilty of it just like he was guilty of raping Joanna."

"You called me and woke me up just so you could tell me that you're not going to try and help Neil this time?" Lisa asks with sarcasm.

"No. I need to see my daughter. I want to talk to Jo."

Looking at Jo, Lisa repeats what Grant has just said. Jo shakes her head no.

"She doesn't want to see you, Grant."

"I want her to tell me that." Lisa hands the phone to Jo.

"What do you want, Grant? Lisa told you that I don't want to see you because I told her I didn't. I don't want to talk to you, either."

"Can I explain why I helped Neil?"

"No, you can't. I'm going back to sleep and I'm taking Lisa with me. Do not call back," Jo snarls, then she hangs up the phone.

Jo hands the phone back to Lisa. Lisa puts it away, laughing as she does so.

"What is so funny?" Jo asks.

"The way you just handled Grant. I love the fact that you are strong. You are so tough, yet you can be so tender, and you're not afraid to show that you can be weak," Lisa says. "At least you're not afraid to show me," Lisa adds seeing the disgusted look on Jo's face.

Jo laughs as she pulls Lisa to her.

"I've got an idea. Lets just stay in bed all day," Jo says with a smirk.

"So much for your idea," Lisa says, when there is a knock at the door.

Getting out of bed, they both put on a robe. Jo answers the door. It's Vicky. Vicky is embarrassed when she realizes what she just walked in on.

"Uh...uh...uh, never mind. I will just come back later," Vicky stutters.

Lisa and Jo are both laughing.

"Just give us a few minutes and we will be with you," Jo says.

"If you're sure," Vicky says.

"We're sure," answers Lisa.

"Chris and I have something for you two. I will go back to the car to help him while you what you need to," Vicky says.

Jo and Lisa are laughing as Vicky goes out of the door.

Chapter 19

Jo and Lisa brush their teeth, get dressed and take care of everything they need to before Vicky comes back with Chris in tow. When they are all four in the cabin, Lisa lays some ground rules for Vicky and Chris.

"So far, the only people who know where the cabin is are you two, Anna and Grant. I want it kept that way. No one is to speak to anyone about what happened at the fire we respond to," Lisa says while looking at Chris. "I'm sure you have told Vicky, and that's fine, but neither one of you should be speaking to the press."

"Did you hear that Neil Johannsen, the guy that Grant got released, has been charged with the rape?" Vicky asks innocently.

"Yes, we did, and we won't be discussing it," Lisa growls.

"It's okay, Lisa. Vicky doesn't know," Jo says, as Vicky looks at them both, confusion in her face.

"The young girl Neil was sent to prison for raping was me," Jo says, as she opens the coffee Chris has handed her.

There is a look of horror on the faces of both Chris and Vicky. Vicky goes to where Jo is sitting and wraps her arms around Jo while Chris does the same for Lisa.

"How could he?!" Chris demands.

"He apparently didn't know it was Jo," Lisa says.

"It doesn't matter," Vicky growls. "He should have left that animal behind bars. Grant is sick!"

Looking at Jo, Vicky realizes that her outburst may have caused pain.

"I'm sorry, Jo. I know he is your father," Vicky starts.

"He isn't my father! He is nothing more than the sperm donor that got my mom pregnant. Michael Garrison was my father," Jo says.

"There is a fair in the next county and Vicky and I thought it would be fun. We were thinking that maybe you two would like to go with us. We were hoping we could help the two of you patch things up, but I think we may be too late for that," Chris says, trying to change the subject.

"Yes, you're too late for that," Lisa says, as she gives Chris a look of gratitude.

"Please say you'll go with us anyway," Vicky says.

"It does sound like fun, but I think Lisa has to go into work in a couple of hours," Jo says, as she looks at Lisa.

"Well, Lisa is the captain, but if she doesn't want to go with us, then I will be pleased to escort my wife and the captain's girlfriend," Chris says teasingly, as he places an arm around Jo.

"Oh no you don't," Lisa remarks, as she removes Chris' arm from around Jo.

"I have to do some paperwork and a few other things, but when I'm finished with that we can all go together, if you don't mind waiting."

"How about I give you a hand?" asks Chris. "This is Saturday, and the four of us could spend the day having fun."

"Sounds good to me," says Jo, "but I'm not the captain. That would be Lisa's decision.

All three look at Lisa. Knowing that this would be good for Jo, Lisa agrees.

As she and Chris leave, Lisa can see that the rebuilding of Jo's house is coming along nicely. It shouldn't be long before it is completely done. What Lisa doesn't know is that it has been arranged that the off duty firefighters will help the construction team finish the house.

Lisa is doing the paperwork while Chris does some other things. At the cabin, Vicky and Jo have been talking. Jo has told Vicky about her rape. Vicky is visibly shaken by what Jo has told her.

"Will you be okay?" Jo asks.

"Yes," Vicky answers, "I just need some air."

"Would you rather not be associated with me?" Jo asks, trying to hide the hurt in her voice, frightened that Vicky will say yes.

"No. You didn't do anything wrong. You were a child. You didn't deserve what happened to you. No woman deserves to be raped, no matter what," Vicky says rather forcefully.

"I'm glad you said that. I was afraid that you wouldn't want to be friends anymore."

Vicky looks at Jo, bewilderment filling her face.

"I'm not that shallow, Jo. You are my best friend, aside from Chris. I know that, other than Lisa, I'm your best friend. We have taken the time to make our friendship a real one, not one of those that are more acquaintance friendships. I would never hold something like that against anyone - especially my best friend," Vicky says as she wraps her arms around Jo.

"Thank you for that. You ARE my best friend, aside from Lisa."

Jo and Vicky go for a walk. They walk along the stream and up to the house where the construction is going on. They stand and watch for a while before going back to the cabin. Chris and Lisa arrive a few moments later.

Chris asks if Vicky and Jo are ready. They reply "yes" and they go out to get in the car. When they get to the car, Chris says he needs to make a phone call and then they will be on their way.

After the phone call, they leave. Chris knows that when they get back, Lisa and Jo will once again have a house. The barn is being rebuilt at the same time. Grant has been pushing for the house that Lisa shared with Ryan to be rebuilt as well.

Vicky and Chris are having a blast. Lisa and Jo are having just as much fun.

"It's so nice to just be with friends to relax and just have fun for a change," Jo says.

Looking at Lisa, Vicky says, "Lisa, I know you still aren't 100% sure of me, but I hope that we can become friends."

"I am sure of you Vicky. You obviously care about Jo, and Jo is crazy for you as well. I think that a friendship between us has already started to grow. I do like you, Vicky. The fact that, aside from me, you are Jo's best friend helps. I think that we shouldn't try to force things, but let them grow naturally."

"I thank you for that, Lisa, and agree with you about not trying to force things."

"Just one thing, don't forget that Jo is MY girlfriend and there is no way in hell I will share her," Lisa says in a teasing manner.

"You won't share? Not even for one night? Well hells bells," Vicky say, teasing right back.

Jo and Chris only laugh.

When they arrive at the fair, it is decided that they will start with a ferris wheel ride.

"I get to sit with Jo. That way, I can say I've had my captain's girlfriend in my arms," Chris says playfully, as he wraps his arms around Jo.

"Fine," says Lisa as she wraps her arms around Vicky.

This move surprises Vicky, Jo and Chris.

"Oh hell no," Jo says as she pulls Lisa to her. "Now we are with who we are suppose to be with."

"But...but...but I wanted Vicky," Lisa says jokingly.

"Get your own girlfriend and leave my wife alone," Chris teases.

"I've got my own girlfriend, thank you very much," Lisa says as she kisses Jo.

They ride the ferris wheel first and then sit to decide what they are going to ride next.

Chapter 20

They all four spend the day laughing, teasing each other and just having fun. At the end of the day, they stop in a photo booth and have shots made. On the drive home, it is mainly quiet since they are all tired. When Chris turns into the drive, Lisa and Jo get a big surprise. The house has been completely rebuilt and the barn is just being finished. Chris stops the car.

"I can't believe you guys did this," Lisa says, as she sees the off duty firefighters.

"We wanted it to be a surprise," Chris says, smiling.

"It is," Lisa replies.

"This is why you wanted us to go to the fair with you," Jo says.

"Part of it is," answers Vicky.

"We had made arrangements for some of the housing supplies, but we thought you should pick out the bedroom furniture yourselves," one of the firefighters responds.

"Thank you for this," Jo says. "I just have one question."

"Grant had no part of this," Chris answers before Jo can ask.

"That's fantastic. I don't want him having any part of anything where I'm concerned," Jo says a little more forcefully than she means.

"He hasn't been, and won't be, involved with anything we do as a squad," Chris tells her, understanding why she wants no part of Grant.

"Want to go in and see your new home?" Vicky asks with excitement.

Jo takes Lisa by the hand as they walk into their new home. They are amazed as they walk through it, looking at all of the beautiful rooms, knowing how much hard work that went into it.

"I can't believe this. It is so beautiful," Jo says, emotion filling her voice.

"You guys did a terrific job. Was this your idea, Chris?" Lisa asks.

"In a way, but I can't take all of the credit, Vicky also helped. She picked out the furniture and kitchen supplies, but we thought it would be best to leave the bedroom for you, Jo. We didn't know that you two had already patched things up. We were hoping, like we said earlier, to help you two get things sorted out, but..."

"It's okay," Lisa responds.

"There is a furniture store that is still open, if you want to go ahead and pick out your bedroom furniture while we still have the help," Vicky says hopefully.

"You're really interested in their bedroom, aren't you?" Chris asks, teasing his wife.

"Yes. Maybe I will be able to join one of them, if not both, in bed," Vicky fires right back.

"What about me?" Chris says, feigning wounded pride.

"No men allowed," Lisa replies, playing along.

"No men allowed?!" Chris says playfully, in horror.

About that time, Samson bounds into the house and stops by Jo.

"This is the only male allowed to sleep in this house," Jo says laughingly, as she pets the pup.

"Where is the kitten?" Vicky asks.

"She is probably curled up somewhere, asleep," Lisa answers.

"Well, I think we still have some shopping to do," Jo says, looking at Lisa. "Or we can wait and stay in the cabin until we do go shopping."

Remembering the bath, Lisa says, "I love the cabin, but I think we need to go"

Jo just laughs because she knows what has gone through Lisa's mind.

Lisa and Jo take Lisa's truck and Chris and Vicky follow in their car. When they arrive at the furniture store, Jo heads straight to the bedroom department. Lisa is right behind her. They are looking over the beds when Vicky calls their attention to a canopy bed. Jo and Lisa look at each other and then roll their eyes at Vicky. Chris only laughs. They finally decide on a queen sized bed. The bed is loaded into the back of Lisa's truck and they return to the house. Chris and some of the other men unload the bed. When it is set up, Vicky asks where the sheets are.

"We didn't get any sheets," Lisa grumbles.

"I have some in the cabin," Jo says.

"You are determined to stay in the cabin," Lisa says playfully.

"No, I just have some extra ones there," replies Jo.

The barn has been finished and the construction crew, as well as the off duty firefighters, are about to leave.

"Why don't you all go home, take a shower, and then come back here. I think a cookout would only be right, considering what you did for us today," Jo says with enthusiasm.

"I agree," Lisa adds.

The off duty firefighters and construction crew decide that it is a good idea, and ask if they can bring their spouses.

"By all means," Jo and Lisa reply in unison.

Chris and Vicky volunteer to help with the cookout. Vicky and Jo go to the grocery store to get the things needed. Lisa and Chris are getting the grill set up.

"How did you manage this without me knowing?" Lisa asks him.

"It wasn't easy. We had to find out certain things from both you and Jo. I knew that Vicky could find out from Jo. Finding out the things we needed to know from you was the tricky part. The entire squad, not just the ones who were working on the house, took turns finding out things from you. It was like a game of twenty questions at times. Some things we knew, but others we had no idea about. You are so quiet most of the time. You can be outgoing and friendly, yet you are still shy. At times it felt like we were pulling teeth to get any information from you. When it was obvious that some of the things we needed to know we couldn't find out from you, I would send Vicky to talk to Jo. Yes, it was dishonest, but we did this because we wanted to do something for you and Jo. You are our captain, Lisa, and Jo may be your girlfriend, but we feel as if she is a member of our family. She fits here. She belongs here with us as much as she does with you. Her sudden idea for a cookout tonight shows how spontaneous she is. When she brought us flowers for the first time we had ever responded here shows how thoughtful she can be," Chris answers.

"She can be spontaneous. She is thoughtful. She is also very loving, tender, can be stubborn, feisty, playful, sexy without trying, understanding and a lot more, but I don't have the words."

"You have the words, Lisa. You don't have to tell me any of those things, I can see them. Even if I couldn't, Vicky would have already told me. I may be overstepping here, but there are some things I think you should know," Chris says.

"Go ahead," Lisa answers.

At the grocery store, Vicky and Jo decide on burgers, hot dogs and sausage. They get french fries as well as chips and salsa. They also get some 3 liter cokes.

"This should be enough, don't you think?" Jo asks Vicky.

"I would think so," Vicky says.

"You have lived here longer and your husband has worked with the firefighters, so I'm assuming you would know something about their appetites," Jo remarks.

"This should be plenty," Vicky answers laughing.

Meanwhile, Chris is having a very intense conversation with Lisa.

"After Ryan died and you miscarried, you seemed to stop living. You lost the spark of life in your eyes. Everyone tried to bring the spark back in some way. I didn't see it again until after you met Jo. It had never crossed my mind that you could be gay. I wasn't sure you knew what you were doing when you first started seeing Jo, but then you told her that there was no chance for the two of you to be a couple, and I knew you had come to your senses. Then the day came when you showed up at the stationhouse with Jo. When you came out of your office and let me have it, I knew that you were back to being you. It surprised me that you and Jo continued dating, though. Then when you made it clear that you and Jo were an item, well, at first I thought you were just experimenting...trying dating again. I didn't think it would become so serious.... Vicky adores Jo, so I have always known that Jo is a lesbian. When you said that Vicky should find her own girlfriend that day, I knew that you were hopelessly in love. It took some getting used to the idea of you being gay, and with Vicky also hanging out with Jo, I began to wonder if my wife may be gay, too. It helped me that you always believed I was innocent of setting those fires to see that just because you are now involved with a woman instead of a man, it didn't matter. You are still Lisa Chandler friend and captain. I also know that Vicky has no desire for another woman. She isn't gay, but her best friend is. Her best friend just happens to be my captain's girlfriend. Ordinarily, no one would give that a second thought... except for the fact that my captain is a woman. I do like Jo, so please don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say. I'm not doing a good job, obviously, but I think you know what I'm getting at," Chris says.

"I do understand what you're getting at, and I thank you. Thank you for accepting Jo, not only as Vicky's best friend and my girlfriend, but for who she is as a person, and accepting the fact that I have a new facet to my life that I wasn't aware of before Jo," Lisa replies.

They hear a vehicle pulling up and look to see who it is. It's Vicky and Jo. They all four unload the groceries. While Vicky and Jo cook the fries and get the drinks ready, Lisa and Chris work the grill. The burgers and sausage are done when the crew begin arriving. Each person has brought their spouse and children and there are some who have brought their girlfriends/boyfriends. The fries are finished, along with the hot dogs, and everyone is enjoying the meal.

One woman has been watching Jo, and Lisa is beginning to feel uneasy about it. Lisa knows the woman looks familiar. She is certain that she knows the lady, but can't place from where just yet. The woman isn't looking at Jo in a sexual way, but more in the way of a predator stalking its prey.

Chapter 21

The woman eventually makes her way over to Lisa and Jo. She starts the conversation by asking the usual run of the mill questions that everyone else has. Then things change. She begins asking questions about Grant. Lisa is about to tell the woman just where she can go when Jo surprises her by answering this woman's questions. Jo is very guarded, but acting like it's no big deal. Lisa doesn't move an inch. She is desperately trying to place the woman. Things seem to be going fine with the questions until Rita asks about Neil. Then it hits Lisa where she knows Rita from. Rita is a reporter with the local news. Trying to get Jo out of harm's way, Lisa excuses both herself and Jo from Rita.

"What is it, Lisa? Who is that woman?" Jo asks.

"She is a local reporter. Something has happened," Lisa says.

"What's happened?"

"I don't know, but I intend to find out. I am familiar with Rita, but can't say I know her. I do know how she operates, though. Unless there is something in it for her, she wouldn't be asking so many questions. I will find out what she is up to," Lisa says, as she starts toward Rita.

Rita knows with one look at Lisa that Lisa is on to her. Rita tries to get out of the way, but Lisa has zeroed in on her.

"What do you want? Why are you harassing Jo?" Lisa demands.

"I'm not harassing anyone. It is common knowledge that Grant Spencer is her biological father. I simply wanted to know how she feels about her father letting a rapist go free," Rita says in defense.

"She doesn't consider Grant her father. She is Joanna Garrison, daughter of Michael and Katherine Garrison. She doesn't like the fact that a rapist is on the streets anymore than the next."

"Just how would you know Ms. Lisa Spencer? Spencer! What is the connection between you and Joanna? Are you her long lost sister or cousin?"

"I was married to Jo's half brother," Lisa spits out through gritted teeth. "It would be best if you leave Jo alone."

"You sound like more than just an over protective sister-in-law. You sound like you and Joanna may be involved in an affair."

"Leave now while you are still able to leave under your own power," Lisa threatens.

"You aren't the Ms. Spencer that invited me, she is. If I should leave, then she will have to tell me herself."

Rita walks away, leaving Lisa fuming. Jo approaches Lisa to find out what is going on. Lisa repeats the conversation she just had with Rita to Jo.

"I just got a call from Grant," Jo says.

"What does he want now?" Lisa asks while groaning.

"Neil Johannsen has been killed," Jo whispers.

Lisa just stares at Jo in stunned silence.

"Neil is dead? When did this happen? How? Who killed him?" Lisa wants to know.

"It just happened. We need to go to Grant right now. I will explain on the way," Jo tells Lisa.

Jo tells Vicky and Chris that she and Lisa have to go due to a family emergency. Vicky tells them to go

and that she and Chris will take care of things at the cookout, and to call if they need anything. They thank Vickyand Chris and head for Lisa's truck. Rita has been watching and she decides to follow them, hoping to get a scoop for her network. She already knows that Neil is dead, as well as the circumstances surrounding his death.

"What has happened?" Lisa asks, alarmed.

"Neil attacked Anna," Jo says.


"He found out that Grant wasn't going to help him this time. He went to the house to find out why.

Grant wasn't there but Anna was. She told Neil that Grant believed the young girl who was raped. She also told Neil that it was because Grant knew the other young girl that Neil raped. Neil said that he had never raped anyone...that the other young girl was lying. Anna told him that it wasn't a lie. When Neil asked her if she knew the other young girl, Anna told him yes. Neil kept asking her questions that she refused to answer. Neil was becoming extremely angry. She asked Neil if he was going to rape Grant's wife the same way he raped Grant's daughter. That stunned Neil for a moment, and when he realized that she meant me, he went after her. Anna picked up a heavy vase and hit Neil in the head with it after he had slapped her. The head blow was apparently to his temple. I don't know how much of what I have told you is accurate, but that's what Grant told me. We have to get to both him and Anna."

"I understand your desire to get to Anna as quickly as possible, but why Grant?"

"Because, whether I like it or not, he is my father. Besides, I think my brother would approve of me."

"I know Ryan would approve of you, but what does he have to do with this?"

"Anna told me how he had helped that girl, the one they thought was accusing him of rape. Grant's son was accused of rape, his wife was almost raped and his daughter was raped."

"Are you now saying that you accept Grant as your father?" Lisa asks.

"Grant has always been my father...he has never been my dad. Michael Garrison was my dad. Grant was Ryan's dad and Ryan was my half brother. Both Grant and Ryan gave me a special gift. Grant gave me life and then allowed a man to raise me that he knew would love me. Ryan gave me your love, in a way. You have always said it was my eyes that attracted you to me at first. Ryan and I have the same eyes. We both have our father's eyes."

They arrive at the hospital, with Rita in tow. Lisa is the first to see Rita.

"How dare you follow us here! This is none of your business. If we want it on the news, we will call you. Why don't you just get the hell out of here?" Lisa snarls.

"You may not want it on the news, but it is news. I just got a call telling me to cover this story," Rita says sarcastically.

"You stay away from Jo, and I damn well mean it!"

"I will go near Jo if the story calls for it, and there's nothing you can do, Ms. Spencer."

Lisa watches as Rita interviews Grant. Anna is still being examined. Rita finishes the interview and knows that she won't be allowed to interview Anna until later. She is trying to decide what to do next when she sees Jo approach Lisa. She watches as they talk in hushed tones. Rita then makes up her mind on what to do. Jo will be her next interview.

Rita approaches Joanna but Lisa steps in between.

"Don't," Lisa growls.

"This is part of my story, so I most certainly will," Rita smarts off.

"You are really looking to get hurt, aren't you?" Lisa asks Rita, not trying to hide the intended threat.

"I will have a policeman here in a matter of seconds. You see, they are taking a statement from Anna Spencer as we speak. Now, step aside and let me do my job," Rita counters.

Lisa doesn't move. She watches as Rita calls the police officer over. It's the same officer that Lisa helped the night she found the young girl that was raped. Upon hearing the story, the officer looks at Lisa. Lisa doesn't deny any of it, but she makes it clear that she won't let Rita near Jo. When she hears her name mentioned, Jo walks up beside Lisa.

"How would you feel about giving Mrs. Stapleton an interview?" the officer asks Jo.

"Don't waste your time, Jo," Lisa tells her.

"That should be up to Jo," Rita replies to Lisa's remark.

"I don't know anything, Rita. You were at our house when we got the news, the cookout?

I'm thankful to your husband for helping get our house together, but I can't tell you anything," Jo


Rita knows that Jo has a point, but she hasn't missed the way Jo referred to the house. She used the pronoun "our" not "mine".

"Our house? Who is the "our" you're referring to, Joanna?" Rita wants to know.

"Lisa and myself," Jo tells her, as she watches Lisa fidget.

"My house is being rebuilt now, Rita," Lisa informs her.

"Yes, but aren't you and Joanna more than just roommates? Isn't it true that the man who tried to kill you both did it because of your decision to have an affair with your late husband's sister?"

"No, it isn't true. Larry tried to kill Joanna because I didn't want him. Jo and I aren't having an

affair," Lisa growls.

"I don't know of a man who would attempt to kill two women if there wasn't an affair going on," Rita says, baiting Lisa.

"It's not an affair. Larry tried to kill Jo because I fell in lo..." Lisa snaps, realizing her mistake too late.

"Because why?" Rita prods.

About that time, Anna comes out of the exam room. The doctors have checked her over and given her clearance to go home. Lisa and Jo follow Grant and Anna back to their place. The police are finishing up and leaving when Jo, Lisa, Grant and Anna arrive. While Grant helps Anna get ready for bed, Jo and Lisa start the clean up.

After they have finished cleaning up, they wait on Grant. He comes out and tells them that they can go in to see Anna. He informs them that she was given a sedative at the hospital. They go in and stay with Anna until she falls asleep. When they leave Anna, they find Grant watching as the news is just coming on.

"I want to see what kind of reporting Rita Stapleton did," Grant remarks.

"That sounds like a good idea," Lisa says.

They are all three watching. Nothing seems amiss until Rita mentions Jo. She tells how Jo just discovered that Grant is her biological father. She also tells about Larry and all that has happened since. She mentions how Larry tried to kill Jo, saying that it had something to do with Lisa. She tells how Lisa protected Jo, but hints that Lisa wasn't doing it simply as an over protective sister-in-law. Rita explains how Lisa and Jo are sisters-in-law. She is very factual in her reporting, but does leave a viewer with the sense that there might be something more between Jo and Lisa.

"I knew it. I knew she would pull some kind of crap. She must be up for some award or a raise," Lisa grumbles.

"How could you have known anything Lisa? You said you don't really know her, you only know of her," Jo wants to know.

"I've heard rumors. I didn't give them much credit until now."

"What kind of rumors?"

"That she is a sweet person until she wants something, then she is a backstabbing bitch. You had

nothing to do with this, Jo. This was a slip of the tongue that I made, and I will fix it."

"What do you think she will do...or at least try to do?"

"She will try to cost me my job because of our relationship. What she doesn't know is that I've already

dealt with this," Lisa says with an evil grin.

"What are you up to Lisa Chandler Spencer?" Grant and Jo ask in unison.

Lisa tells them to just watch and listen. Grant and Jo know that Lisa is up to something that is not-so-nice, but have no idea what.

Chapter 22

"You have brought out a side to Lisa that I never knew existed," Grant tells Joanna.

"Oh, really?" Jo retorts.

"Really. I knew she could be protective, but I didn't realize just how far she would go to protect someone she loves. She was protective of Ryan, but this is a different Lisa now."

"When she told me about that young girl she had found that was raped, she said she thought it was Neil. Until she told me that Neil hadn't gone near her or tried to hurt her, I was ready to kill him. If Anna hadn't killed him, I would have, for what he tried to do to her."

"It's over now."

"It won't ever be over. Just because he's dead doesn't end it. I have to forever live with what he did to me. Anna has to forever live with what he tried to do to her. It won't ever be over for either one of us."

"I only meant...," Grant starts.

"I know what you meant. Where did Lisa go, I wonder?" Jo says.

What Jo doesn't know is that Lisa has gone back to the cabin, gathered things for her and Jo to stay with Grant for a while, and left Rita a message saying that, yes, there is more to Jo and Lisa than just sisters-in-law. She has gotten Vicky to make the call to Rita. Lisa has told Vicky about what Rita is up to, and Vicky has volunteered to help Lisa. Lisa also enlists Chris' help. Chris, who doesn't like Rita, is more than happy to aide Vicky and Lisa. They all three agree to keep it from Jo for now.

Rita contacts Jo. She arranges for Jo to give her an interview - without Lisa present. What Jo doesn't know is that Rita has uncovered the files where Neil raped Jo. Rita has planned to ambush Jo with this information as well as that of her relationship with Lisa. Rita has set her sights on destroying Lisa. She has decided to use Jo to do it.

The next day, Rita interviews Jo and asks her questions about Grant. At first things are going smoothly. Then Rita starts to question her about Neil. Jo is a little hesitant about answering those questions. That's when Rita spills that she knows Neil raped Jo when she was young, Jo loses it and attacks Rita. Some others pull them apart. Rita has a black eye and fat lip. Jo has bruised knuckles and numerous scratches.

When Lisa returns to Grant's, Jo is alone. Grant has taken Anna to the precinct to answer some questions. Upon seeing Jo's bloody hand, Lisa asks what happened. Jo tells her about the interview, and how Rita found out about Neil somehow. This infuriates Lisa. Lisa calls Vicky.

"I'm going to need your help to get rid of a certain nosy reporter," Lisa says.

"What did she do now?" Vicky grumbles.

"She has gone after Jo personally. Jo has bruised knuckles, so I think Jo got the best of her, but it's time that Rita be put in her place," Lisa growls.

"Leave her to me when the time comes,'" Vicky remarks.

"That time will be here very soon, Vicky. Rita has it in for me, and she's trying to use Jo to get to me. I'm on to her. I will play her game, but I will play it by my rules, and I damn sure won't lose."

"Count me in for everything, Lisa. No one will hurt Jo and get away with it. I don't care if she is your girlfriend, she is my best friend and I love her. If you ever hurt her, Lisa, then you will have me to deal with."

"I can say the same thing to you, Vicky. If you ever hurt Jo, give your soul to the Lord, because your ass is mine."

"With the two of us defending Jo there is no way anyone will push her around," Vicky says triumphantly.

"It's nothing that she wouldn't do for us," Lisa says proudly.

"What's our next move?" Vicky asks.

"This is what I want you to do," Lisa says.

Vicky calls Rita to arrange a meeting to "out" Lisa. She says that she doesn't like Lisa because Lisa got her job as captain unfairly and Chris should have it. Thinking that she may have an inside track to Lisa, Rita gladly says that she will meet with Vicky.

When they meet a few days later, Rita is full of excitement.

"What did Lisa do to get the job unfairly?"

"She changed some of the names on some of the paperwork. She said that she did a lot of things that my husband did. She doesn't deserve to be the captain."

"What about her husband? Does he know how she got the title?"

"Lisa isn't married, she's a widow."

"Oh, I had no idea," Rita says, knowing that she is telling a lie. "How long has she been a widow?"

"A little over a year now. I thought she was going to hook up with Larry, but this Joanna person made sure that didn't happen," Vicky replies, baiting the trap.

"Is it because Lisa was married to her brother?"

"Hell no, it's because Joanna wanted Lisa for herself."

"What?!" Rita exclaims.

"Joanna is know - a queer, a lesbian, a muff diver, a beaver eater, a carpet muncher, a clit licker...."

Rita acts as if this is news to her.

"I had no idea."

"Yeah," Vicky says, laying it on thick. "She wanted Lisa from the first time she saw her, and Lisa wanted her, too."

" you think they are dating?"

"I know they are dating, and it's not just dating they are doing. You saw them at that cookout. I'm pretending to be Joanna's friend to bring Lisa down. With your help, we can do it."

"What do you want me to do?" asks Rita.

As Vicky is about to tell her, she 'happens' to see Jo and Lisa walk in.

"Wait here," Lisa tells Jo.

Lisa approaches Vicky and Rita.

"Vicky, I think we should have a talk."

"Well, I don't, Lisa."

"If you're really Jo's friend, you will stay away from Rita," Lisa says in front of Rita.

Rita rises from the chair. "Who says that Vicky can't talk to me and still be Joanna's friend?"

"I do," snaps Lisa.

Knowing that Lisa can make things difficult for Vicky, Rita says she needs just one more moment with Vicky.

"One minute and not a second more or else you stay away from Jo forever. Don't forget, I can and will make your life a living hell, Vicky!"

Vicky pulls Rita to the side and tells her that she will be in contact.

Rita leaves, not wanting to lose the newly found 'informant' she has. When Rita has left, Lisa calls Jo to her and Vicky. Rita is watching. She thinks for a moment that she might be being set up, but then discards that idea. Vicky wouldn't have asked for her help or told her she would be in contact with her if she were trying to set her up. Vicky is out to get Lisa just as badly as Rita is, or so Rita thinks.

"How did it go?" Lisa asks.

"She fell for it hook, line and sinker," Vicky answers.

"What is going on?" Jo demands.

They inform her of what Rita is up to.

"But why?" Jo asks, confused.

"Because Rita was Larry's lover once. She wanted him back, but he wanted me. She doesn't think I know that bit of information. She thinks she will destroy me by "outing" me. She is going after you, Jo, to get to me."

"That bitch! She's mine," Jo snarls as she starts to rise to go after Rita.

"Don't," says Lisa as she catches Jo by the arm. "We are going to let her hang herself. Act like nothing has happened. If she contacts you again, talk to her. She thinks she will discredit me because of our relationship, Jo. She will lose. Just play along."

"Okay, fine! I will play along, for now, but the first chance I get she had better make her an appointment with a plastic surgeon. If she does anything to you, Lisa, or you, Vicky, I will make minced meat out of her."

"You are so sexy when you're mad," Lisa says huskily.

Jo just rolls her eyes at Lisa while Vicky laughs.

Chapter 23

Vicky gets a phone call and has to leave. She tells Lisa she will be waiting for instructions on what to do next. After Vicky leaves, Lisa turns to Jo.

"You really are sexy when you get angry," Lisa says in a desire filled voice.

"You're sexy no matter what," Jo says huskily.

"Why don't we buy some new sheets for our new bed and start staying in our home from now on," Lisa suggests.

"I won't argue with that suggestion at all."

"Lets go, then."

They leave and buy some new sheets, pillows and other things for the bed.

"I think we need to make one more stop," says Jo.

"What for?" asks Lisa.

"Remember when you asked me to teach you everything about being a lesbian? There is a shop that I found that I want you to see. If you're not interested in anything it has, then that's fine, but I want to share this with you if you are interested."

It suddenly dawns on Lisa what type of shop Jo is talking about.

"A sex toy shop?! You found one?!"

"Yes, a sex toy shop. I just want you to look at things. If you're not interested right now, Lisa, like I said, it's fine. If there is something you want to try, then I want to share that experience with you."

Lisa follows Jo's directions.

"This isn't a toy shop. This is a lingerie shop, Jo."

"You obviously haven't been in the back," Jo says with a sly grin.

Jo takes Lisa by the hand and leads her into the back of the shop. Lisa just stares in stunned silence. Lisa can't believe her eyes. There are vibrators, dildos and strap-ons of different colors and sizes, not to mention a host of other toys such as whips, cuffs, feathers, harnesses and more. Jo looks at Lisa and can tell she has never been inside a store like this before.

"I've never seen anything like this," Lisa stammers, slightly embarrassed. "If you want to get something from here, Jo, you get it, and I will be waiting in the truck."

"No you don't. We came here to decide together. You have to want this as much as I want it or it's no good. If you would rather come back later then we will," Jo says tenderly.

"You said you had a strap-on, so why are we here?" Lisa asks, slightly confused.

"I had several "toys," but I lost them in the fire. I will get new ones, sure, but I want these to be our toys, not just my toys."

"Obviously, I don't know anything about "toys," Jo," Lisa whispers.

"It's okay. If you see something you like, then let me know. If you're not ready for this, then we will leave now."

"We can look around. I guess it won't hurt anything," Lisa says shyly.

Jo watches Lisa as she begins to look through the toys offered. She sees various looks...amazement, disbelief, surprise and a "what in the hell is this for?" look come across Lisa's face. Jo is suppressing her laughter at Lisa's bewilderment toward some of the toys. After about an hour of looking, asking questions and just staring, Lisa picks up a strap-on. She looks at Jo. Jo tells Lisa that the one she is holding is like the one she had at home. Lisa decides to try the strap-on and puts it in a bag so it can be taken to the counter and paid for. Jo reaches for the bag. She puts some gels and oils in it that she has picked up. Jo tells Lisa to wait in the truck while she pays for it. Lisa gladly lets go of the bag and heads for the door with a sigh of relief.

Jo pays for the toy and then gets in the truck with Lisa. Lisa is blood red with embarrassment. Jo can't control her laughter.

"Laugh all you want," Lisa says, hurt filling her voice.

This stops Jo's laughter immediately.

"I'm not laughing at you, sweetheart. I was laughing at the look on your face. I did not mean to embarrass you. Look, we have this now, but we won't be using it."

"I thought that was why you wanted me to come here."

"No. I told you we didn't have to do this. I told you that this was our decision, not mine."

"I was curious. I had never been in one of those shops and I wanted to see it. I want to share this with you, Jo. I'm embarrassed because I'm stupid when it comes to these things. I'm not the smart woman you thought I was."

"Stop it, Lisa. You are very smart. You had Ryan. I don't expect you to know everything. Don't ever say you're stupid just because you haven't experienced something. It makes me love you even more that you want to share something so special with me. I want to share this with you, but only when you're ready."

"You're disappointed."

"No, not at all. I told you when we first got involved that we would take things slow. I meant it then and it still stands for now, too. Toys will only be used when you're ready."

"I'm sorry. I wanted to buy things for the bed and sleep in our home. I wanted to be able to make love in our bed. That house has no memories of Ryan or anyone else. I wanted our first night to be very special."

"It will be very special. It doesn't matter if we make love or not. This will be our home, our bed, our memories that will fill the house."

"You really aren't upset, are you?" Lisa asks, slightly surprised.

"No, I'm not. After what we went through before we made love for the first time after I learned that you're my sister-in-law, how could I be upset? You didn't give up on me."

"You didn't give up on me, either. You were so patient, and you waited for me. You showed me love like no one else. Ryan was patient and waited, but you.... I don't think anyone could have shown me the love that you have. No one could ever be so patient and understanding."

"I love you, Lisa. I will wait for you no matter how long it takes. Sexual intimacy isn't the only important thing. It is a very enjoyable part of the relationship, but it's not the most important. The fact that we love and trust each other is more important than anything."

"I love you, too, Jo. You mean so much to me."

Jo leans over and takes Lisa in her arms. Very gently and tenderly she kisses Lisa. Lisa returns the kiss. Before long, the kiss has gotten extremely passionate.

"Maybe we should continue this at home," Lisa says breathlessly.

"If you don't start driving, I will take you right here," Jo says, her voice full of desire.

Lisa starts the truck and begins to drive. Jo is not exactly sitting still...or staying dressed. Lisa is watching Jo as much as she is watching the road.

"I can't wait, Lisa. I want you now. Pull off to the side of the road."

Lisa pulls over and looks at Jo like she's crazy.

"You can't be serious?!"

"Yes, I am, Lisa," Jo says as she reaches for Lisa's shirt.

When Lisa feels Jo hands go underneath her shirt to remove it, she gives in to the desire. It's not long before both women are undressed. Jo reaches in the bag and pulls out some of the oils she bought. Lisa's hands are all over Jo's body and Jo is responding to every touch. She chooses a packet of the oil and tells Lisa to lie back on the seat.

Lisa does so and Jo licks her from one end to the other. She blows cool air on Lisa's mound and then pours the oil on Lisa's clit. It feels cool to Lisa but heats up in a hurry, especially with the help of Jo's tongue. It doesn't take long before Lisa is screaming in orgasm. Lisa then returns the favor.

They do manage to both put their shirts back on before they finish the drive home.

When they arrive home, Lisa is still amazed at what has happened.

"What is it?" Jo asks.

"I've never just stopped on the side of the road like that before. That was amazing. I feel so free right now," Lisa responds.

Jo takes Lisa in her arms and kisses her once more.

"Join me in the shower," Jo says.

"Gladly," Lisa replies.

They put the sheets and things on to wash before getting in the shower. Lisa is still turned on. She steps up behind Jo and wraps her arms around Jo's waist. She lets her hands slide up and capture Jo's breasts. Jo turns to face Lisa, capturing her in a passion filled embrace. Jo backs Lisa against the wall in a kiss that leaves them both trembling with desire.

"I want you, Jo, and I want you now."

"I'm yours, Lisa. Take me however you want to."

"I want to use the strap-on."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. I will need some help, but I want you very much. It will be the first time anything resembling the male sex organ has been near me in over a year. I want to share this with you, Jo. I want to take you. I want you to take me."

Jo captures Lisa in another passion filled kiss. Her hands roam Lisa's body. Jo caresses one of Lisa breasts and then lowers her mouth to it. As she takes the nipple into her mouth, she lightly bites it while her other hand slides even lower. She can feel how hot and wet Lisa is.

Lisa slides her hands through Jo's hair and down Jo's body. Her hands slide over Jo's breasts and she lightly pinches Jo's nipples. This brings out the animal in Jo. She presses Lisa hard against the shower wall.

"Take me like you've always wanted to be taken, Lisa."

"Shouldn't we dry the sheets and be in bed, though?" Lisa asks innocently.

"Okay," Jo says, realizing she has almost lost complete control.

After the sheets are dry and the bed made, Jo is standing and looking out a window. Lisa walks up behind her and wraps her arms around Jo. She kisses Jo on the neck.

"I'm sorry, Lisa."

"Sorry? Sorry for what?"

"I almost lost it. I forgot for a moment that you are new to this. I shouldn't have had you stop by the road."

"Yes, you should have. I want you to lose control with me. I want to lose control with you. I've never known this kind of passion. I was always reserved, in a way, with Ryan. You have let me be me. You have shown me that it's okay to just let go. I want that for us. I don't want any barriers. You told me to take you like I wanted to be taken. Get ready for the surprise of your life."

Jo looks at Lisa, slightly stunned.

"I may not have vast experience, but I have seen a porno before, and I've heard women talk. Lets go to bed."

Jo follows Lisa to bed. Suddenly Lisa turns to Jo. She pulls Jo to her by the robe lapels. Lisa kisses Jo thoroughly. Jo can't believe her sweet, demure Lisa has this side. Lisa picks Jo up and carries her to bed. There, Lisa removes Jo's robe. She looks at Jo's body and pushes Jo back on the bed. She crawls on the bed until she is between Jo's legs. She takes some more of the oils and spreads them on Jo. Then, Lisa sucks Jo's clit into her mouth. She sucks, licks and gently nibbles on it until Jo is screaming at the top of her lungs. Lisa then reaches for the strap-on. Jo helps her put it on and tells Lisa to take her. Lisa spreads Jo's legs and slides the toy in. Jo is loving it as she sees the confidence in Lisa grow. Lisa begins a slow and steady rhythm of thrusts that become hard and fast before long. Soon, Jo is screaming in orgasm.

Lisa takes off the toy and lies beside Jo.

"Are you okay?" Lisa asks.

"I'm more than okay," Jo replies.

"Did I hurt you? Are you disappointed?"

"You did not hurt me and no way in hell am I disappointed, Lisa. I'm thrilled that you feel safe and secure enough with me to let go in such a way."

"Take me, Jo. Make me yours."

Jo puts on the strap-on. She wants to take Lisa in the worst way and drive her crazy with wanting, but she also knows that she has to be extremely careful. She makes sure Lisa is good and wet before she starts to slide the toy in. Jo is watching Lisa. She sees it in Lisa's face...the confusion because this isn't Ryan's manhood.

Then all of a sudden Lisa wraps her arms around Jo and screams Jo's name. Jo freezes for a moment, afraid that she has hurt Lisa.

"Don't stop, Jo! Take me the way no one ever has before. Make me yours."

Jo begins a slow, steady rhythm. Lisa drags her nails down Jo's back, which only serves to turn Jo on even more. Unaware of what she is doing, Jo speeds up the thrusts. Before long, Lisa is screaming in orgasm.

Jo removes the strap-on and lies beside Lisa.

"You're mine, and forever."

"You're mine, and forever."

They wrap their arms around each other and fall asleep.

Chapter 24

Over the next few weeks, Vicky has told Rita how Lisa is "gay" and that she isn't out yet. It has been driving Jo insane that Lisa won't let her put her hands on Rita.

The investigation into Neil's death has been resolved with Anna being cleared. Jo has been spending time with Grant, getting to know him. She has even gone as far as telling Grant that even though he will never be her dad, he is her father and she does accept him. Anna is thrilled that Jo has been spending more time with Grant and that Jo now feels that she has a family, one that includes Lisa as more than just her sister-in-law.

Lisa has been in constant contact with Vicky as they plan the demise of Rita. They are waiting for Rita to make a mistake. Then, that fateful day comes.

Rita goes on the air with a report saying that Lisa is morals are questionable and doesn't deserve to have the title of captain. At first, she is just reporting the 'facts' that Vicky has told her. They aren't facts. but Rita doesn't know this. Then the day comes when she "outs" Lisa. Lisa, Jo, Anna, Grant, Chris and Vicky are waiting in the studio for this. Rita has no idea that they are there.

"Lisa Spencer, the captain of our fire department, is involved in am incestuous lesbian affair. This has been going on for quite some time. Do we really want this type of a person as a role model for our children?" Rita asks.

"Yes, we do," Jo answers, surprising Rita as she walks into the line of the camera.

"Well, Jo, this isn't anything against you."

"It most certainly is. You are trying to destroy my girlfriend because your ex lover wanted her over you. She didn't want him and he tried to kill both Lisa and me. There is no incest because Lisa isn't my sister, she is my sister-in-law. She is the widow of my deceased half brother Ryan. As for the facts that you have that say Lisa got the title of captain unfairly, you better do your homework. They aren't facts...they are lies. Vicky is my best friend. She, along with Chris and Lisa, have played you for a fool. You think you are better than anyone else, but you're not."

Rita loses her cool and goes after Jo. This is what Jo has been waiting for. With one punch she puts Rita down the same way she did with Larry that night so long ago.

"Lisa is a bitch and so are you, Joanna," Rita says, as she cowers away from Jo.

"Lisa may be a bitch, but she is my bitch, just like I'm her bitch. You're jealous that neither one of us want the likes of you," Jo growls through clenched teeth.

The ratings for the news that night are higher than they have ever been. The station offers Jo the job Rita had when it is discovered that Jo has a background in reporting. Jo accepts the job.

"One daughter is a firefighter and one is a reporter. I couldn't be prouder," Anna says smiling.

"We have two daughters that make us so proud," Grant agrees.

"Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but I will only be your daughter-in-law. I know you love me like your daughter because of Ryan. Ryan is gone now. Do you think you could love me as your daughter because of Jo?" Lisa asks.

Everyone looks at Lisa slightly confused.

Lisa approaches Jo and gets down on one knee.

"Will you marry me, Joanna Garrison?"

"Yes, Lisa Spencer, I will be proud to say that I'm your wife."

"Will you take my last name?" Lisa wants to know.

"Which one...Chandler or Spencer?"


Jo looks at Grant. "Well, I may have been raised a Garrison, but it looks as if I will have your last name after all, DAD."

Chapter 25

Jo has adjusted to having Grant around. Lisa is making the adjustment of having to share Jo's time with Grant. Jo loves her new job as a reporter. She has learned quite a bit about her town and the people in it. Lisa always watches when Jo is working. Vicky is thrilled that she and Lisa have made peace and are now friends considering that Lisa is her husband's captain and her best friend's soon to be wife. On more than one occasion the four of them have had dinner together.

One evening Vicky just happens to be at the stationhouse when the news comes on. Both she and Lisa are watching. Jo is reporting about a fire that had broken out in a local hotel. One person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The name Jo gives is Erica Bauer. Jo is steady as she gives the report but Lisa notices something different in Jo's voice. Vicky notices it also, but when she questions Lisa about it Lisa chalks it up to all that Jo has been through. Lisa knows that there is more to it than just ghosts from the past and so does Vicky. Vicky tells Lisa this saying they should find out just who Erica Bauer is and what her connection to Jo is. Lisa agrees and they plan a dinner for later that night.

Chris has walked in and heard the last bit of their conversation. He tells them to include him in whatever plan they are cooking up.

"You have really grown fond of Jo haven't you," Lisa asks.

"Yes. She put a smile on your face after I didn't think it was possible that you would ever let yourself love again and she is my wife's best friend. I feel as if she is family and I will do anything to protect her," Chris answers.

"Remember what you said about having the two of us watching over her, Vicky? I think that number has just changed," Lisa says with a laugh.

Later that night, after Jo gets off from work, they are all having dinner when Lisa asks her about Erica. Jo tells them that Erica is someone she used to know.

"Is that all? Are you sure there isn't more," Vicky questions.

Jo is put on the spot by Vicky's question.

"Erica is an ex-girlfriend. I didn't know that she was in town."

"As long as she doesn't try to change the status from ex to current then things will be just fine," Lisa says as jealousy fills her voice.

"You have nothing to worry about. I love you Lisa. We are getting married. Don't worry about Erica. She was a long time ago and doesn't have any hold on me. I care about her but I'm not interested in her."

"As long as it stays that way then I'm fine with you talking to her," Lisa says.

"Would you like for me to be present when Jo does talk to Erica," Vicky asks Lisa.

"NO," snaps Jo. "I can handle talking to Erica without an audience present."

"It's okay Vicky. I trust Jo. She won't let things get out of control. Have you ever realized what she does when she lets her temper get the best of her? She has done it with both Larry and Rita. She punched them without hesitation. I have no doubt that if Erica tries anything she will do the same to her," Lisa tells Vicky.

"They were both trying to hurt you Lisa. I will protect the people I love. I don't appreciate the implication that I can't control my temper," Jo says as hurt fills her voice.

"If you hadn't hit Larry then I would have," Chris tells her. "As for Rita, it was taking all I could do to keep both Lisa and Vicky from jumping on her when she went after you."

"I can handle myself. I'm glad you didn't let them get involved," Jo tells Chris.

"We all love you and want to protect you," Lisa says to Jo.

"Then let me deal with Erica in my own way. I had to let you deal with Rita. Give me the same respect," Jo answers.

"I will," Lisa sates.

After dinner is over and the kitchen is cleaned, Vicky and Chris leave. Lisa approaches Jo.

"How long were you with Erica?"

"She was the first woman I slept with. She was a nymphomaniac. I couldn't keep up with her. I didn't get undressed some of the time but I made sure she was satisfied. She would ride me with my jeans still on."

"Is that why you're so gentle with me? Are you afraid that I will leave you if you ask for intimacy more often?"

"No. I love you Lisa. There is a big difference between making love and just having sex."

"I'm aware of that. Are you afraid to let go with me because you're afraid you will scare me the way Erica scared you?"

"I never said Erica scared me."

"You didn't have to because I see it written on your face. Are you afraid that if she wants you that you might give in?"

"No and you're being ludicrous by even asking. I'm going to bed."

For the first time since they became involved Jo goes to bed and turns her back to Lisa. Lisa sees this, but will have none of it. She reaches for Jo to hold her.

"I didn't mean..... I know you would never betray me."

"I have betrayed you Lisa. I didn't know that Erica was in town but I did get a visit from her while I was in the hospital. Before I came back here, I had phone sex with her."

Lisa is stunned. She can't believe what Jo has just told her. She lets Jo go and gets out of bed.

"Would you have ever told me this if she hadn't come to town," Lisa demands.

"We were not together. I betrayed my heart when I did it. I love you and only you."

"Then why did you do it?"

"I really don't know why I did it. I was stupid."

"That's an excuse and I want the truth. You know why you did it and now I want to know why," Lisa says as tears roll down her face.

"We were not together Lisa. I never thought we would be back together. You made it clear what you thought of me the night you told me to leave your hospital room and not come back. Then you told me to leave your home. What was I suppose to think? All I do know is that I laid in that hospital for eight weeks and didn't hear from you. No phone call, no visit, not even a letter. No nothing."

"I was busy trying to make things right for when you came home."

"Now who's making the excuses? I think you didn't contact me because you didn't want me."

"That's not true. I've always wanted you Jo. When I threw you out of my hospital room and home I was hurt. I had finally let someone close again and I got hurt by lies. It wasn't you telling the lies but I listened to the wrong people. When I got to the truth I knew I had to make things right for you when you came home...I had to make things right for us," Lisa says through sniffles and the streaming tears.

"Yeah well, I really made them right didn't I? You stay in the house and I will go to the cabin."

Jo packs some things and heads to the cabin. Lisa sits by the fireplace and stares at the cold stones there. She can't believe Jo would do this. Jo stares at the cold stones in the fireplace that the cabin has and can't believe she was so stupid. No, she and Lisa weren't together but why did she give in to Erica on the phonewhen he didn't give in to her face to face? Could she really be so stupid as to think there was a difference? On the phone or in person didn't matter. She had betrayed Lisa. The fact that she was hurt emotionally and not just physically made no difference. She had still betrayed the woman she loves. What was it that made her do it? Jo knows that she has some soul searching to do and that she owes Lisa answers. Back in the house, Lisa has gotten a blanket and is on the couch. She refuses to sleep in the bed.

The next morning there is a knock on the door. Lisa gets up to answer the door. It's Vicky. She lets Vicky in, but has forgotten to put the blanket and pillow back in the bedroom. Vicky sees them and asks questions. Lisa tells Vicky what Jo told her. When Vicky asks where Jo is Lisa tells her that Jo is in the cabin.

"I will talk to her Lisa. I really can't believe she would do this."

"You think I'm making this up," Lisa demands.

"No I don't. I think you're telling me the truth but I also think there is more to the story."

"That is all Jo told me last night. Why don't you find her and make sure she is okay! After all she did nothing wrong," Lisa says sarcastically.

"I will talk to Jo. This isn't right. The two of you belong together," Vicky replies.

"I will be moving into the stationhouse until my home is rebuilt. You can tell your best friend that she can have her house back," Lisa snaps.

Chapter 26

Vicky goes to the cabin to talk to Jo. Jo lets her in but is in no mood to talk.

"Lisa told me what happened. Why did you do it Jo?"

"I don't know why I did it. It was wrong but...."

"But what? I thought Lisa was the only woman you couldn't control yourself around."

"You seem to have the answer Vicky so why don't you tell me," Jo says with venom.

"Back off Jo. I'm trying to help you. Lisa says you can have your house back because she is going to stay at the stationhouse," Vicky says through gritted teeth.

"That's just great!"

"What did you expect? I don't know what happened last night, but Lisa is very hurt. Looking at you I can see that what you did has hurt you too, Jo."

Jo repeats the story she told Lisa to Vicky.

"I'm not sure why I gave in on the phone. I didn't when she was face to face. Why was I so stupid? Why did I trash what I had with Lisa?"

"Only you can answer that Jo. I'm not leaving but I do need to make a quick call. I will be outside."

Vicky calls Chris and tells him what is going on. She explains to him that they are the only people who know. She tells him to go to Lisa but not to say anything to anyone else. Chris says he won't say a word but will go to Lisa. When Vicky goes back into the cabin Jo is crying uncontrollably.

"What is it?" Vicky asks.

"I thought I had lost Lisa forever. Erica was there. She said all of the right things. I gave in because I couldn't take being alone right then. It wasn't making love, at least not to me. Erica knew how to push my buttons; she always has."

"Is that why you gave in on the phone when you wouldn't in person?"

"In person I couldn't have let her touch me. All I could see was Lisa."

"What was so different on the phone?" Vicky wants to know.

"There was no difference really. I just thought I could pretend that it was Lisa's voice I was hearing and pretend it was Lisa's touch. It wasn't though. It was Erica's voice I heard, and my own touch."

"There's more to it than just that Jo. Take your time. I will be here. I have nothing to do that is more important than this."

Meanwhile Chris has shown up at the house just as Lisa is loading her things into her truck.

"I see Vicky wasted no time in calling you. Who else has she told?" Lisa spits.

"She hasn't told anyone else and neither will I. Don't start on Vicky."

"You're right. I know she won't tell anyone else," Lisa says in softer tones.

"Tell me what you're thinking and feeling right now Lisa. Vicky and I want to help you and Jo. You two apart isn't right."

"I don't think there is anything left but for us to be apart."

"You don't have to stay at the stationhouse, you can stay with Vicky and me."

"Have you asked Vicky about this? She may not approve of your offer."

"I will clear it with her later. Right now, you come to our home and stay with us, Lisa. You need to be around friends, people who care about you."

"Vicky and Jo are best friends. I couldn't handle it if Jo was to show up right now."

"I will make that understood. The four of us will talk this out when the time is right. Vicky can visit Jo here."

Lisa goes home with Chris. He calls Vicky and tells her of the plans. Reluctantly, she agrees to the circumstances.

"Lisa will be staying with Chris and me," she tells Jo.

"You will like having her around. You will see just how good of a person she is, unlike me."

"You're a good person Jo, You made a mistake and you need to understand why and so does Lisa."

"Erica was my first lover. Being sexual was new to me. She was a nymph and couldn't get enough. She used to call me her nymph in training. I was new to physical intimacy but I loved it. I loved the way she looked when she was satisfied. She told me that I was the only one who could make her feel that way. Yes, she was stroking my ego but it made me feel good about myself. When Lisa threw me out of her hospital room and home I felt like trash. Erica said all the things I needed to hear - ego wise. She was also telling me that she missed how we were...sexually. She asked if I had someone at the time and I told her no. Lisa and I had broken up so I didn't lie. I did betray Lisa when I had phone sex with Erica though. I betrayed the trust and love she has invested in me. I know this because I betrayed my own heart by doing it."

"If you and Lisa weren't together you didn't cheat on her."

"Yes, I did, in a way. We had disagreements before, but I let this go to my heart."

"Why didn't you tell Lisa this before?"

"I never thought Erica would be in my life again."

"Is she part of you life now?"

"No, she isn't and I don't want her to be. She is my past and that's where I want her to stay but I've let her back in."

"She doesn't have to be in your life. Let me talk to Lisa when I get home."

Meanwhile Lisa has told Chris everything she knows. Chris has listened and been a comfort to Lisa.

"If you and Jo weren't together, then it's not like she cheated on you," he tells Lisa.

"If she will have phone sex with someone she was with once then she will have it in person."

"Not necessarily. You said that you hadn't been in touch with Jo while she was in the hospital."

"You're a man. What would you know about this sort of thing anyway?"

"I may be a man but you're not exactly "old" at being a lesbian. Until Jo had you ever been with any other woman?" Lisa just gives Chris a blank stare. "I didn't think so," he says.

"Would you have phone sex with one of your ex-girlfriends if you and Vicky separated?"

"No, but there is a difference...Vicky and I are married."

"Oh hell. I forgot I had given Jo a ring."

"Do you want me or Vicky to get it back for you?"

"She wouldn't give it to you or Vicky."

"Then she would be in the right. If you want the ring back Lisa you have to be the one to tell her."

"Then why did you ask about one of you getting it back for me?"

"I wanted you to see that Jo does know what she is doing. She didn't cheat on you Lisa. I know that's how it feels and that you're hurting, but so is Jo."

That night Jo goes back to the house. In the cabin she is constantly haunted by the memories of the nights she has spent there with Lisa. The house isn't much better but it only holds the memory of one night not several. One night is one too many for Jo. She goes to the barn to stay.

She looks around and can see Lisa still standing there the way she was when Jo first took her to the cabin. Jo takes one horse from the stall and goes for a ride. She rides to the stream and goes in the opposite direction of the cabin. She rides for hours. Finally she goes back to the barn. As she rides up she is aware that someone is at her house. When the person turns around Jo gets the surprise of her life. It's Erica.

"What are you doing here Erica?" Jo asks when Erica walks to where she is.

"I wanted to talk to you, Jo."

"What about?"

"About the female firefighter you are with."

"What do you know about Lisa?"

"I know that she is staying with a male firefighter."

"I'm aware of that."

"Are you aware that they are involved in more than just friendship?"

This infuriates Jo.

"You don't know as much as you think you do Erica. Not only is Lisa Chris' captain, Chris is also married to my best friend Vicky!"

"So you've got the hots for a woman in a power position."

"When did you become such a heartless bitch Erica?"

"When I lost the most precious thing I had," Erica says as she approaches Jo.

Jo has combed the horse and is putting him back in the stall when Erica reaches her.

"What was so precious?"

"You," Erica says as she pins Jo to the wall and begins to kiss her.

Jo is smaller than both Erica and Lisa. Neither would have any trouble over powering Jo as Erica is demonstrating now. Erica isn't forceful with Jo. She is holding Jo but not to the point that Jo couldn't get away. Breaking the kiss Jo looks at Erica and asks,"What in the hell? Have you lost your ever-loving mind? I'm NOT interested in anything with you."

"You least on the phone. It can be right between us again. You want this as badly as I do. Don't fight it. Don't deny yourself the pleasure you know I can bring you," Erica says huskily as she runs her hands over Jo.

"Stop it Erica. This isn't right. We are over. It ended a long time ago. Sex isn't important."

"That's bull and you know it Jo. You are a very passionate lover. Let me re-ignite that fire," Erica says as she slides a hand under Jo's shirt.

"I'm engaged to Lisa," Jo says.

"You're not engaged. You told me that you two had broken up when I saw you in the hospital."

"We got back together when I came home. She asked me to marry her and I accepted," Jo says as she feels Erica begin to caress her breasts.

"She isn't here now and what she doesn't know won't hurt you. Make love with me Jo,"

Erica whispers in a husky, desire filled voice.

"No," Jo says as she pushes Erica away. "I only want Lisa."

Neither is aware that Lisa has come up and is watching the exchange. Hearing Jo tell Erica that she only wants Lisa fills Lisa's heart with pride. Chris may have been right Lisa is thinking. She doesn't move or say anything until Erica reaches for Jo once more.

"The lady said "no"," Lisa growls.

"What?! This is none of your concern. This is between Jo and me," Erica spits upon seeing Lisa.

"She is my fiancée," Lisa spits right back.

Lisa pulls Erica off of Jo and gets between them, shielding Jo with her body.

"She doesn't want you Erica. I'm the only woman she wants," Lisa says.

"She didn't want you when she made love to me last night," Erica lies.

"She didn't make love to you last night," Lisa says with a smirk, "because she was busy making love to me."

"With you it's just sex Lisa and you are stupid if you believe it's more. You could never light her fire or handle the animal in her."

"That's where you're wrong Erica. I love the animal side of Jo and I do know how to light her fire. The only time she has had sex is when it was with you on the phone."

"Do you really think you can handle Jo? Do you think you can handle it when she cums to the point of passing out from desire? Do you think she will always bend to the way you want the sexual intimacy to be?"

"I passed out not from desire, but from the exhaustion of trying to keep up with you," Jo tells Erica.

"I will go for now but I will be back my little nymph in training," Erica says to Jo.

"She isn't your anything except ex," Lisa says with venom, "and that's how it will stay!"

"I'm tired of your mouth already. Jo knows that only I can please her the way she wants it," Erica snaps.

With that Erica leaves. Jo looks at Lisa with gratitude in her eyes.

"How long were you here before you said anything," Jo asks Lisa.

"I saw her when she first approached you."

"Why didn't you say anything then?"

"I wanted to see just how far it would go."

"Why are you here, Lisa?"

"I came to get the engagement ring back..." Lisa starts.

With tears filling her eyes Jo takes the ring off and hands it to Lisa.

"You didn't let me finish what I was saying," Lisa says. "I came to get the ring back but I don't want it back. I only want you Jo."

"If Erica hadn't been here would you still be saying the same thing?"

"No," Lisa tells her, "but Erica was here and what I've seen and heard only makes me believe that maybe everyone is right...we do belong together."

"Take your ring and leave Lisa," Jo says as her heart continues breaking.


"If Erica hadn't been here today you wouldn't still want me. I can't keep doing this. One minute you want me, and then the next you don't. We can't get married if you can't decide what you want. I love you Lisa but this is becoming too much for me."

Lisa pushes Jo against the stall door and kisses her passionately. Jo knows that she can't resist Lisa the way she did Erica. This becomes evident when Jo returns Lisa's kiss. Lisa runs her hands over Jo but there is something different in Lisa's touch. Jo can feel it and pushes Lisa away.

"What's wrong?" Lisa asks.

"You should be answering your own question," Jo answers.

"What do you mean?"

"There is something different going on here. Your touch has never felt like that. It's almost mechanical. You don't want me Lisa, you've already said so. What are you trying to prove and who are you trying to prove it to?"

Lisa stares at Jo. Jo stares right back. Jo is trying to understand what is going on.

"If it hadn't been for Erica and your phone sex with her we wouldn't be going through this at all," Lisa tells Jo.

"I am aware of that. I'm not the only one to blame though. If you hadn't listened to the wrong people and would have believed me and had faith in me we wouldn't have this problem. If you had given me the slightest hint that you still wanted me then anything with Erica wouldn't have happened - not the phone sex or anything else."

"You are the one who wanted out when you learned that my dead husband was your half brother."

"I was trying to honor his memory the only way I could think of. I never knew I had a brother and then to discover not only did I have one, but the woman I love is his widow was a shock. How would you have reacted?"

"You saw how I reacted. I had just discovered my late husband had a half sister and she just happens to be the woman I'm in love with."

"You didn't act as if there was a problem Lisa. All you wanted was for me to go home with you, to the house my brother shared with you as husband and wife, and make it my home with you."

"You are so wrong Jo. When I first learned Grant is your biological father I knew I had been sleeping with my sister-in-law. I had trouble with being with you before if you will recall. Remember when we first starting getting involved?"

"Why couldn't you just say to me that you weren't interested in me because you're not gay?"

"I would have been lying. I have been interested since that first day I set eyes on you. I knew then that even though I had never been with a woman that there was a part of me that I was denying."

"You were interested because my eyes and smile remind you of Ryan. I can't replace Ryan. I won't presume that I can. He was my brother and no one can ever replace him. I'm Joanna Garrison not Ryan Spencer."

"I'm not trying to replace Ryan. You said it yourself, no one can ever replace him. Can we deal with Erica and not go over this about Ryan yet again?"

"You want to deal with Erica? Okay, what do you want to know?"

Lisa looks at Jo for a moment. Jo is waiting and Lisa knows that Jo will answer her honestly but she also knows that she doesn't have to ask. Vicky has told her everything.

"I talked to Vicky," Lisa tells her.

"Are you trying to turn my best friend against me now?"

"No, I'm not. She told me about the talk you two had."

"Don't think that just because she is staying with you that you can make her betray me,"

Jo says in defense of Vicky.

"I wouldn't even think of trying. Nothing can break the bond of friendship that exists between you and Vicky."

"So why ask her anything about me?"

"She has spent more time talking to you and she isn't involved."

"Isn't involved?"

"Isn't involved like we are. She can be objective where we can't."

"Don't you mean where you can't? What do you want to know about Erica?"

"Is she what you want," Lisa asks, afraid of what the answer might be.

"Would you believe me if I told you no," Joanna asks bitterly.

"Yes, I would."

"Why is it that you will only now believe me? I've always told you I wouldn't lie to you."

"I saw you push her away and I heard you tell her no. Why wouldn't I believe you are telling me the truth?"

"So that's it. You saw and heard the truth, so now you believe me. Just leave Lisa. You got what you came for. I gave the ring back. You want this over then it's over. I'm not going to fight a losing battle."

Lisa captures Jo in her arms. She wipes the tears from Jo's face and kisses her passionately. Jo pushes Lisa away.

"You're not fighting a losing battle. I've already told you to keep the ring. I only want you Jo."

"Now who is trying to force Jo into something she doesn't want," Erica asks spitefully.

"I thought you left, Erica," Jo says.

"I did, but I couldn't stay away. I want you Jo. This "thing" you have going on with HER isn't going to make you happy. We were happy. I loved you and you loved me. It can be right between us again," Erica tells Jo while Lisa watches.

"No, it can't. I don't love you anymore, Erica."

Erica pulls Jo from Lisa's arms and into her own. She captures Jo's lips and this drives Lisa crazy. Pushing Jo out of the way, Lisa wrestles Erica to the ground. As the two of them are going 'round and 'round Jo is watching. Finally Jo has had enough.

"Stop it, both of you. I'm not a trophy you are fighting for. I am a person with real feelings. You two can have each other as far as I'm concerned."

With that being said Jo walks out. Lisa and Erica had stopped fighting long enough to listen to what Jo was saying and just watch as she walks away.

"Leave here and don't come back," Lisa tells Erica.

"You wish I would, but I'm not going anywhere. I will only go back to the hotel to shower and change but then I will be back to get what is so rightfully mine - Jo!"

"Jo isn't a possession. She is a human being and she isn't your girlfriend, she's mine."

"I saw her give you the ring back, so no, she isn't."

"We're not engaged, but she is still my girlfriend. She loves me Erica and I love her."

"We will see just how strong your love is when I make love to her tonight."

Chapter 27

Later, Erica does come back. Lisa is watching and neither Erica nor Jo know it. Jo refuses to let Erica in at first. Eventually she does let her in. Lisa has become familiar with the land so she approaches Jo's house. Lisa knows how to get in without being detected so she makes her way into the house. She is watching and listening to Erica and Jo.

"How long have you been with the power trip woman," Erica asks Jo.

"Her name is Lisa, thank you, and we've been together for several months," Jo snarls.

"I bet she can't make you feel the way you I do," Erica says in a husky, desire filled voice.

"I bet she can't either, Erica. You could make me cum but you couldn't satisfy or please me. Lisa does both," Jo snaps.

"Is that so?"

"Yes, that's so."

"Why don't we just see about that right now," Erica says as she moves toward Jo.

"Don't come near me Erica. I don't want you. Yes, I had phone sex with you but I made a I regret."

"I satisfied you then."

"No, you didn't. You talked and I pleasured myself. The satisfaction came from my own fingers not from you."

"Let me be the one that gives you satisfaction tonight," Erica says as she pins Jo to the wall and kisses her.

Jo is trying but doesn't have the physical strength to push Erica away from her. Instead she bites her. Lisa has been watching this and is furious with Erica for trying to force Jo.

"Why did you bite me you little minx? You want it rough? Okay, lets play. I will make it as rough as you want it," Erica snarls.

"Get away from me," Jo screams, as she tries to push Erica away.

Lisa can't take any more and emerges from where she has been hidden. Jo can't see Lisa until Lisa grabs Erica around the neck to pull her off. A fight breaks out. Jo calls the police. When it's over Erica has loose teeth, a broke nose and needs stitches. Lisa's fingers are broken, she has a black eye and her bottom lips is swollen three times its normal size.

Lisa tells the police that she lives with Jo. Erica starts to dispute this. When asked, Jo tells the police that yes Lisa lives there but is staying with a friend right now.

"I'm coming home tonight," Lisa informs Jo.

"Okay," Jo says with bewilderment in her voice.

"The house Grant had rebuilt as a memorial to Ryan is finished but I don't want to be there, Jo. I want to be where I belong...with the woman I love."

"But she doesn't love you Ms. Power trip," Erica hisses.

"I've already told you once Erica, her name is Lisa. Yes I do love her and I want you out

of our home and lives forever," Jo spits out venomously.

The police escort Erica away from the house.

"Why do you want to be here now," Jo asks Lisa.

"What I saw her trying to do to you scared me. She would have raped you if I hadn't pulled her off of you."

"No she wouldn't have. When she called me "Little Minx" it was her way of letting me know that she wasn't going to hurt me but that it was going to be a little rough and on the wild side."

"She knows you quite well. How come you have never done anything wild with me besides pulling off on the side of the road that day."

"With Erica it was basically just sex. I know she loved me and I loved her, but it is nothing like what I share with you Lisa. What I have with you is something I've never felt with anyone else. You are aware that I was a player. Erica taught me how to be one. With her it was basically an open relationship you might say. I'm committed to you, or at least I was," Jo says as hurt fills her voice.

"I'm committed to you, Jo. Will you go back to Chris and Vicky's with me so I can pick up my things?" Jo looks at Lisa with a questioning look. "I don't want you to be here alone just in case she comes back," Lisa explains.

"I can handle Erica. You have to work and what if she shows up while you're on the job? What are you going to do then, or is it you think I will give in to her?"

"I know you won't give in. I have been nuts Jo. Please forgive my insanity. I couldn't take it if she put her hands on you."

Jo is biting her tongue not to say what is on her mind. Lisa can tell Jo wants to say something but is fighting it.

"What is it, Jo?"

"You don't want her hands on me and she doesn't want your hands on me either. No one has bothered to ask what I want."

"What do you want, Jo?"

"I want you Lisa, but I know that we are over now and I won't ever have you again."

"We are not over, Jo. I told you I was nuts. I never should have believed anyone but you."

"You came to get your ring back therefore breaking our engagement. When that ended, so did we."

"Is that what you want...for us to be over? If we're not getting married you don't want to be with me, is that what you're saying?"

"No, it isn't and you know it, Lisa. I love you. I want to be with you. I told you once that I would wait for you no matter how long it took. I know you thought I meant wait until you were ready to make love and I did, but I also meant..... It doesn't matter. You have made your decision. I'm not what you want. What we had was very special and you will forever be in my life, but it will only be as my sister-in-law."

"I want to forever be in your life, Jo, and not just as your sister-in-law."

"Well, we can't have want we want, now can we," Jo asks with sarcasm.

"Yes we can," Lisa answers.

"How is that possible? I'm not Ryan."

"I'm not Erica."

"I DON'T want Erica, damn it. I only want you Lisa."

"I buried Ryan and he isn't coming back."

"But you didn't say you don't want him. I can't be Ryan."

"I'm not Erica and I can't be her or anyone else but me, Jo. Ryan is gone and I've learned to live without him. It took me a long time not to wish I was dead, too. Until you, Jo, I didn't want to be with anyone. I had always wanted to be in Ryan's arms and longed for him to be in my arms, but when I held for the first time I no longer thought of Ryan."

"What do you mean?"

"I knew that your arms is where I want to be. I want you in my arms, Jo."

Lisa begins to kiss Jo and Jo returns the kiss.

Lisa winces and Jo pulls back.

"It's my lip, not you, Jo."

"I'm sorry, I forgot about your lip."

"I will need some TLC...want to be my nurse," Lisa asks playfully.

"This is your home, too, Lisa, and I will help you with whatever you need," Jo says in a serious manner.

"Right now I need you to show me the wild side that Erica knows. I want to know you just as, I want to know you better than she does."

Jo reaches for Lisa. She pulls Lisa into a passionate embrace. Lisa is loving the feel of Jo touching her body. When Jo reaches for Lisa's hand that has the broken fingers, Lisa winces.

"Lets get you to the hospital and have your hand looked at," Jo says.

"Okay, then we will come home and you can teach me about your wild side," Lisa responds.

"We will see."

"No, we will not see...we will do."

"Since when are you demanding, Lisa?"

"Since there is a side to you that I don't know."

"I have no intention of ever repeating some of the things she had me do to her."

"Maybe it's things that I would like for you to do to me...did you ever think of that?"

"What we share is specia,l Lisa. It's not basic sex like it was with Erica. Lets get you to the hospital."

Jo takes Lisa to the hospital and on the way Lisa has asked some questions. Jo isn't comfortable talking about it, but she does answers Lisa's questions.

At the hospital Lisa's fingers have been set. When they leave Lisa says they need to go to Chris and Vicky's to pick up her things. Jo agrees. Lisa also suggests they make another visit to the sex toy shop. Jo is hesitant.

"Why don't you want to go back," Lisa asks.

"I think the strap-on is enough. You can keep it."

"What do you mean by that?"

"We aren't together anymore, so if you don't want it, throw it out, but I won't keep it."

They have reached Chris and Vicky's by now. Lisa takes Jo into her arms and tells her that they are not over. Jo just looks at Lisa.

"I wish that were true, but I know better."

"Apparently, you don't know better."

"I can't do this anymore. You wouldn't let me walk away when I learned your deceased husband is my half brother, yet you seem to have no problem ending things between us and then changing your mind. You decide right you want me or not, Lisa?"

"Yes, I want you."

"Then this will be the last time we go through this. The next time one of us has problems with this relationship then it's over for good."

They go into the house to get Lisa's things. When Vicky and Chris see Lisa they hit the roof.

"What happened?!" they ask in unison.

"Lisa decided to rearrange Erica's face," Jo answers.

"She shouldn't have put her hands on you," Lisa says in defense.

"Do I need to take care of Erica for you," Vicky questions.

"No," Lisa and Jo tell her.

Lisa tells them that she is there only to pick up her things because she is going home. Vicky helps them because Lisa isn't suppose to do much with her hand. She offers to go back with them to help unload things.

Jo accepts the offer and Lisa reminds Jo of the other stop they need to make. Jo shakes her head no. Chris leaves the room to take a phone call. Vicky has no idea what they are talking about but says she doesn't mind another stop. Lisa tells Jo that since she is outnumbered they will be making the stop.

"You forget, I will be driving," Jo tells Lisa.

"No, I will drive," Lisa answers her.

Jo knows that the stop will be made.

Chapter 28

Chris has some things to take care of at home so Vicky rides with Jo and Lisa. Jo isn't looking forward to the ride home.

"What other stop is there that needs to be made," Vicky asks.

"We will be going to a sex toy shop," answers Lisa.

Vicky's draw drops. "There is one in town?"

"Jo found it," Lisa tells her.

"Really? Where is it? I only know of a lingerie shop."

"The shop has a back room."

"I definitely want to see this," says Vicky excitedly.

Jo is beet red with embarrassment. She only wants the ground to swallow her. She can't believe Lisa would take Vicky to the shop with them.

"I don't think we need to make the stop," Jo says.

"Why is that?" Lisa asks.

"Vicky is my best friend, Lisa. There are some things that shouldn't be shared between friends."

"Nonsense. Vicky isn't stupid Jo and besides she wants to see it."

"You can show her at some other time, Lisa."

"You showed it to me, Jo, so you get to show Vicky, too."

Jo is baffled by the growing closeness of Lisa and Vicky.

"I would like for you to show me the shop," Vicky says to Jo.

"It's behind the lingerie," Jo tells her.

Jo is sitting between Lisa and Vicky. Lisa has one hand on the wheel and the other on Jo's thigh. Vicky has one arm across the back of the seat. She touches Lisa's shoulder. Lisa looks over at Vicky and smiles.

Vicky has confessed to Lisa that, even though she is married, she has had fantasies about what it would be like to be with another woman. Chris doesn't know this though. Lisa has told Vicky that she would not say a word. Lisa and Vicky have formed a bond that Jo is unaware of.

When they reach the shop Jo refuses to get out of the truck. Lisa comes around to Jo's side and opens the door. Jo is still refusing to budge when Lisa kisses her passionately. Vicky is watching this, fascinated in a way she has never been before.

Jo is acutely aware of Vicky watching them so she gets out of the truck. They all three walk into the store. Jo hesitates, but when Lisa gives her hand a slight tug she goes into the back room. Vicky has followed and looks around the shop in amazement. Vicky picks up a pair of fuzzy handcuffs and a wicked smile comes across her face.

"What are you thinking," Lisa asks.

"I'm imagining Chris tied up. It would be so wild when I think about what I could do to him," Vicky answers.

"Wild huh? Those may be a good idea, Vicky," Lisa says with a tinge of excitement in her voice.

Lisa picks up a pair as well and turns to look at Jo. Jo looks at Lisa and turns away.

"What else do you think would be wild, Vicky," Lisa questions. "These can work with me and Jo as well."

Jo's jaw drops as she spins to look at them both.

"Why are you asking my best friend about wild sexual experiences?!," Jo demands with shock.

"You aren't talking. We had this discussion on the way to the hospital. If Vicky has suggestions then I'm willing to listen," Lisa tells her.

"Vicky doesn't know anything about wild lesbian sexual experiences!"

"You may be surprised with a few things," Vicky says.

Jo just looks at her in total amazement.

"You were with another woman? You've never said anything to me about it," Jo says, stunned.

"No I haven't been with another woman, but I have had the fantasies."

Jo looks from Vicky to Lisa.

"I had already told Lisa this," Vicky replies, answering Jo's unspoken question.

"No, I haven't slept with Vicky or told her anything about our sex life," Lisa tells Jo.

"The only thing I know about your sex life, Jo, is what you have told me in front of Lisa."

Jo just stands in stunned silence as Vicky and Lisa continue looking at the toys and talking. Lisa picks up a double headed dildo and looks at Jo. Jo refuses to meet Lisa's eyes.

"We already have the strap-on so the cuffs and this should do for now," Lisa says as she places the dildo in the bag with the cuffs.

When they get home Vicky helps to unload Lisa's things. Lisa makes sure to take her clothes to the bedroom. Jo hasn't said a word, but has let Lisa and Vicky talk. Vicky looks around the bedroom. It wasn't completely finished, as far as setting up the furniture and things go, the last time she was here.

"This is very nice," Vicky tells them.

"Thank you," Jo says.

Jo is sitting on the bed watching Lisa and Vicky.

"When did you start having fantasies about another woman," Jo asks Vicky.

"They started the morning that we all went to the fair. I saw you and Lisa together and have wondered what it would be like to be with another woman since then."

"You saw Lisa and I together even before then."

Lisa is listening to this conversation but isn't saying anything.

"Yes I have seen you two together, but that was different. You two had just gotten out of bed," Vicky tells Jo.

"Seeing Jo like that turned you on?" Lisa asks Vicky.

"Seeing both of you like that started the fantasies, Lisa."

"You are having fantasies, but of who - Lisa or me?" asks Jo.

"Both," answers Vicky.

Chris arrives moments later. No one tells him of the conversation that has been had between the three of them.

"Chris, I need to talk to you," Vicky tells him.

"Sure, what's up?"

"I've been having fantasies about both Jo and Lisa."

"What kind of fantasies," Chris asks.

"The kind of fantasies which include me sleeping with one or both of them."

Lisa almost chokes on what she is drinking. Jo's mouth drops wide open. Neither had expected Vicky to say anything to Chris - at least not yet.

"Well, Vicky, I'm not surprised. To let you in on a little secret, I've also had fantasies about sleeping with Lisa."

Lisa can't believe her ears. Jo just shakes her head. Since they are out on the patio none

of them has heard Erica come up.

"Well, two are fantasizing about sleeping with Ms. Power-trip and one has. Maybe I need to sample some of this as well," Erica remarks sarcastically.

"It will be a cold day in hell before I let you touch me," Lisa snaps at Erica.

"Touch her and you will be lucky to live to regret it," Jo says with venom.

"I've had Jo and since Lisa is off limits how about letting me teach you the pleasures of a woman, Vicky," Erica responds.

"If you touch my wife, what Lisa did to you will be nothing compared to what I do to you," Chris threatens.

"Lisa is the one with the broken fingers," Erica says.

"You're the one with the re-arranged face," Vicky spits.

"Apparently, I didn't finish the job," Lisa says as she goes after Erica once more.

After the fight has been broken up Erica leaves on a stretcher in an ambulance. Chris, Vicky and Jo are amazed; they can't believe Lisa is such a fighter.

"No more fantasies of least not for me," Chris says. "I value my life."

"That makes two of us," Vicky says.

"As long as you say nothing about your fantasies at work then have all you want," Lisa tells Chris. "If you cross the line you will be gone."

"Don't worry. I crossed that line when I referred to you as Lisa that day and you set me to speak," Chris says looking at Jo.

Jo can only laugh.

"Well, considering what Lisa just did to Erica for trying to get to Jo, I think my fantasies of her had better stop, too," Vicky says.

"You can have all of the fantasies you want Vicky but you will never know. I have no intention of sharing Jo," Lisa states.

"I've said it before and I will say it again, there are some things that friends don't share...not even best friends," replies Jo.

Chapter 29

When Vicky and Chris leave, Lisa tells Jo that she wants to know about some of the things Erica had her do. Jo tells her that most would only find it kinky but being new to sexual experiences she found it downright strange.

"What sort of strange things were done," Lisa wants to know.

"I would rather not discuss my sex life with my ex," Jo responds.

"I don't truly want to talk about it either, but how will I know if I suggest trying something and it's too much?"

"You won't, trust me."

"Were cuffs part of it?" Lisa asks.

"Cuffs aren't something I consider a reminder of least not the ones you picked out."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Erica had police issue know, the metal ones. She cuffed me once. I vowed to never again be cuffed like that."

"So the cuffs are out. That's okay. I still have the receipt and they haven't been opened, so I should be able to return them."

"That's not what I said. The ones you bought aren't metal the way the ones Erica had were."

"So does that mean you are willing to let me cuff you?"

Jo has to think about this for a moment.

"Yes, I would be willing to let you cuff me."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yes, I am. I trust you, Lisa."

"You hesitated, though."

"I've already told you about the vow I made. I won't be breaking that vow because these cuffs aren't metal and I know you won't hurt me."

"Did Erica hurt you?"

"Yes, she did, in a way. It was her fantasy to rape me and I agreed to let her live it, but she had the cuffs too tight. She was using the strap-on and pounding me the way a man would...the way Neil did when he raped me for real. I also vowed to never let another woman live out that fantasy with me again."

"Why did you agree to it in the first place, considering what you had been through?"

"I never thought she would actually hurt me, but I was wrong."

They go inside. Lisa is about to get in the shower when the phone rings. Jo answers it. It's Erica.

"Will you come pick me up and take me back to my hotel room?" Erica asks.

"No, I won't," Jo tells her before she hangs up.

Jo tells Lisa that it was Erica and what she wanted. Lisa asks her if she is sure she doesn't really want to go to Erica. Jo tells Lisa that if she wanted to go to Erica, then she would have. Lisa accepts this and heads for the shower.

"Would you mind helping me with a shower?" Lisa asks.

"I don't mind," Jo answers.

After the shower they go to bed. Lisa picks up the cuffs to examine them. She looks at Jo and Jo can see a twinkle in Lisa's eyes.

"Want to try them out?" Lisa asks.

"Now? I mean tonight?"


"Okay," Jo says a little leery.

Lisa picks up on the hesitation. She knows that Jo has only agreed to this because this is what Lisa wants. Lisa doesn't want it to be that way.

"Remember when we first bought the strap-on? You told me that it would only work if that was what we both wanted. I don't think that using the cuffs are what you want, Jo."

"I just think you are trying to be like Erica. You think that if you do the things she did that everything will be better and I won't want her. I don't want her to begin with. I love you Lisa and I only want you. Erica means nothing to me any more. She is in the past and that is where I want her to stay."

"You really think I'm trying to re-create your past with Erica?"

"Yes. Since she showed up, you want to do things the way she did. I'm not comfortable with that. I don't want Erica."

"You did on the phone."

"Here we go again. I explained that, but apparently, you don't believe me."

"I do believe you. I know you don't want Erica. I understand why you did what you did."

"But you want me to be with Erica, in a way, only instead of her it's you."

Lisa kisses Jo passionately.

"I only want you to be with me, Jo."

"That's all I want, Lisa."

Lisa kisses her once more and Jo wraps her arms around Lisa to pull her closer.

"The cuffs will not be used," Lisa tells Jo.

"We can use them just not tonight. Where is the dildo you bought?"

Lisa reaches for it. Jo knows that this will be the first time Lisa has ever used one. Jo pulls Lisa closer to kiss her once more as her hands start a caress of Lisa's body. It isn't long before Lisa tells Jo that she wants her - now.

Jo has Lisa lie down as she inserts one end of the dildo into Lisa. She then inserts the other end into herself. She begins with a slow and steady rhythm and it isn't long before Lisa is returning the thrusts. It isn't long before they both cum.

"Okay, something was missing," says Lisa.

"No kidding," remarks Jo.

"That didn't feel right."

"You've never had sex for the sake of having sex have you?"

"No. If that's what it's about, I don't like it and don't want it ever again."

"It's not always like that. It can be exciting."

"There was nothing exciting about that."

"Now you understand why I don't wish to repeat the sex life I had with Erica with you."

"Yes I do and this won't happen again."

"It will happen again but next time I will show you the enjoyment that can from sharing sex for sex with someone you love. It won't always be making love. It can be a very enjoyable experience. We will share that."

Lisa looks at Jo with a bewildered look.

"If you say so."

"I say so. Now lets get some sleep."

A few weeks have passed without any trouble. Lisa, Jo, Vicky and Chris still have dinner together. Nothing has changed except for Vicky's fantasies. She wants both Jo and Lisa now more than ever. Lisa and Chris are at work when the day comes that Vicky shares a kiss with Jo.

They had been riding and just having a good time. After the horses are taken care of, they go into Jo's office. It's a hot day and Jo thinks nothing of taking her t-shirt off. She tells Vicky to get comfortable, too. She hands Vicky a cold beer. It's not long before Vicky is drunk. It's too late by the time Jo realizes that Vicky isn't used to drinking.

Vicky walks up behind Jo, places her hands on Jo's shoulders and turns her around. Once Jo is facing Vicky, Vicky kisses her. Because Vicky is drunk, Jo knows that she isn't fully aware of what she is doing. Vicky pulls back from the kiss.

"Wow. Kissing another woman is a lot different than kissing a man. I love Chris, but your lips are so soft, Jo. You feel so good in my arms."

"Vicky, this has to stop now. You are married and I love Lisa. I only want to be making love with her. It's nothing against you, Vicky, you're my best friend and I love you but I love you only as a friend."

"I know this. I love you only as a friend, Jo," Vicky says as she captures Jo's lips once more.

Lisa and Chris have gotten home and been in the house. They have figured out that Jo and Vicky are in the barn. Jo and Vicky do not realize that Chris and Lisa are standing there watching and listening.

Vicky runs her hand down Jo's back and across her posterior. Jo gently pushes Vicky away.

"This isn't right, Vicky."

"I've already told you that I have fantasies of you, Jo...both you and Lisa. Make one real for me."

"The only part of any of the fantasies becoming a reality is the kiss we just shared. I won't betray Lisa and I know that you would never betray Chris. You are saying this because you're drunk. It's okay, this will not affect our friendship," Jo says as she moves out of arms reach of Vicky.

Jo doesn't realize that Vicky was hanging on to her just so she could stand until Jo moves. Vicky loses her balance momentarily.

"I think you need a shower and some rest," Jo says to Vicky.

"Are you going to give me a shower," Vicky asks, in a manner which is both teasing and hopeful.

"Yes. There is no one else here and you are my best friend. I will take care of you and then call Chris and Lisa."

"You're going to take care of me? Does that mean sexually too?"

"No, it doesn't. It simply means I'm going to give you a shower and put you to bed so you can sleep."

"Will you be in bed with me?" Vicky asks as Jo reaches for her to help her into the house.

"No, I won't Vicky"

As they are going to the house, Jo spots Lisa's truck. She knows that Lisa is watching her. Lisa and Chris step out of the barn and assist her with Vicky. Jo looks at Lisa.

"You still don't trust me do you?"

"Yes, I do."

"Then why were you silently watching me? Were you hoping I would make love to Vicky?"

"No. I was green with jealousy when I saw you without a shirt and Vicky in your arms. Chris wasn't thrilled either. We were watching and listening and only then did we realize Vicky was drunk. I was so proud of the way you took care of her. Unlike with Erica, you were gentle with Vicky."

"Vicky is my best friend. She is drunk. She made a mistake. Am I suppose to hate her?"

"No. When I saw Vicky's hand go across your ass, and before I realized Vicky was drunk, I was very angry. So was Chris for that matter," Lisa is saying as Chris enters the room.

"I have given Vicky a shower and she is now asleep in the guest bedroom," Chris tells them.

"I would never betray the friendship you have given me, Chris," Jo tells him.

"I know this, Jo. Lisa told me that you would handle things and to just watch. I'm proud of the fact that Vicky has you for a friend. Anyone else would have taken advantage of her. She isn't always the tough Vicky you know."

"I know the tough Vicky. I also know the sweet and tender Vicky, the one who can be so very sensitive to certain things."

"I do have a confession to make to both you and Lisa, though."

"What is that?"

"When I saw Vicky kissing you, I wanted to be the one to kiss you."

"That won't ever happen, Chris. I'm committed to Lisa and you're a man. No offense, but you are not someone I will ever be interested in."

"No offense taken. Since you shared a kiss with Vicky, how would you feel about me kissing Lisa?"

"I don't want to see it if it does happen."

Chris turns to Lisa. Lisa simply shakes her head no and walks away.

The next morning, when Vicky awakens, Chris has left to run errands and Jo and Lisa are in the kitchen drinking coffee. Upon seeing Vicky Jo fixes her a cup. Vicky has a headache and a slight hangover but does remember what happened the night before.

"I'm sorry for what happened yesterday," Vicky tells Jo and Lisa.

"It's okay, Vicky. I didn't realize you weren't used to drinking. There was no harm done,"

Jo tells her.

"I don't know what came over me. I know that things will be different now," Vicky says looking at Lisa.

"Why should they?" Jo asks.

Lisa is watching Vicky, but hasn't spoken.

"Lisa has always had a problem trusting me, Jo, and since the kiss last night I don't think..."

Vicky is completely taken by surprise when Lisa gets up, walks to where she is standing and proceeds to kiss her.

"Now we are all on the same playing field. You haven't kissed Jo and not shared a kiss with me as well," Lisa tells her.

Vicky is stunned. Vicky looks from Lisa to Jo. It's obvious that Jo hadn't expected the kiss from Lisa, either.

"Nothing else will be shared between us, but Vicky I want you to know that I understand why there was a kiss between you and Jo. I'm not angry and I do trust you. We have become friends and I value that friendship."

"Just where do you get off kissing another woman, let alone my best friend?" Jo demands of Lisa in a teasing manner.

"What can I say? Vicky is just so irresistible that I couldn't help myself," Lisa answers in the same manner.

Vicky thinks they have both lost their minds.

"Chris has no idea about the kiss we just shared Vicky, but I intend to tell him," Lisa says.

"He will want a kiss, too," Vicky warns.

"He asked for that last night, but I told him no."


Jo is watching and listening.

"I told him no because I can't see myself ever kissing a man again," Lisa tells her.

Later that afternoon Vicky, Jo and Lisa go to a club. Chris has gone to hang out with some friends at a baseball game.

"Do you recall the night I first ran into you here?" Lisa asks Jo.

"Yes. I haven't forgotten anything, Lisa."

"Are you comfortable in a straight bar?" Vicky asks Jo.

"Completely. I like to people watch."

A waitress brings over some drinks and tells them they were sent from a patron at the bar. They accept the drinks and are enjoying themselves. By the time they leave Vicky is more than a little tipsy.

Lisa and Jo take her home to her house. They have enjoyed the time with Vicky. Chris calls. Lisa answers the call. She hands the phone to Vicky. Chris says that he will be staying at a friend's house tonight because he has been drinking. Vicky says that's good. Knowing that Vicky is okay Chris hangs up. Jo and Lisa leave thinking that Vicky will go to bed. There is a knock on the door. Vicky answers it. It's Erica.

Erica asks Vicky if she can come in. Vicky is a little hesitant, but lets Erica in when Erica says that she wants to talk about Jo. Erica can see that Vicky is drunk, so when Vicky bumps into a coffee table, Erica reaches to grab her so she doesn't fall. Vicky is polite and thanks Erica. She tells Erica to have a seat and she will be right back.

When Vicky returns she is wearing her robe and that's it. Erica can see the swell of Vicky's breasts and immediately her mind goes to work. They sit and discuss Jo and Lisa for a while. With Vicky being of it because of the drinking Erica learns a few things. Eventually Erica has managed to get next to Vicky, who is sitting on the sofa.

Vicky has let it slip that she has kissed both Jo and Lisa, so Erica makes her move. Erica takes Vicky's face in her hands and kisses Vicky. Erica slides her tongue into Vicky's mouth as she slides her hands under Vicky's robe. Erica's kiss is different from Jo's and Lisa's and Vicky pushes Erica away telling her this. Erica says that they were afraid, but that she will show Vicky what being with a woman is all about. Vicky tells Erica she doesn't think this is right. When Erica asks why, Vicky can't answer.

"If you've kissed both Jo and Lisa then you're wondering what it would be like to be with another woman. Am I right about this?" Erica wants to know.

"Yes, you are right," is Vicky's response.

"I taught Jo what it is like to be with a woman so now let me teach you," Erica replies as

she captures Vicky's lips once more.

It's not long before Erica has Vicky completely naked. Erica undresses herself as Vicky watches. Vicky is fascinated by the sight of another woman naked. Erica can see the fascination in Vicky's face. Feeling superior, she pushes Vicky onto the sofa. She kisses Vicky once more, hard this time. She runs her hands over Vicky's body. Vicky reaches for Erica's breasts. As she comes in contact with one she squeezes the nipple. Erica moves her mouth to Vicky's breasts and starts sucking and then biting the nipples. She spreads Vicky's legs at the same time and places herself between them.

She kisses her way down Vicky's body until she is over Vicky's mound. Erica wastes no time in placing her tongue inside of Vicky. As she is tongue-fucking Vicky, she is also pinching Vicky's nipples with one hand, as she rubs Vicky's clit with the other. Before long Vicky cums and Erica straddles Vicky's face. Erica lowers herself to Vicky's lips while telling Vicky to stick out her tongue. Vicky does and Erica rides Vicky's tongue till she is satisfied. What neither Erica or Vicky know is that Jo and Lisa have come back and walked in on them just as Erica was screaming in orgasm.

Jo is furious at what she sees. Even though she is smaller than Erica she pulls her off of Vicky. Lisa goes to Vicky, picking up the robe so that she will be covered. Jo is hitting Erica when Erica lands a blow that knocks Jo off of her feet.

"Are you jealous Joanna?" Erica hisses.

"Of you? NEVER!"

"I think you are. You wanted Vicky for yourself, but Ms. Power-trip wouldn't have any part of a threesome."

"I could have had Vicky at any time and so could Lisa!"

Lisa has been watching this and finally says something.

"You would be wise to get the hell out of town, Erica!"

"Why should she go anywhere?" Vicky, wants to know.

"She doesn't belong here Vicky. She has used you to get to me," Jo answers.

"It's all about you isn't it, Jo? You think every woman wants you. Vicky didn't want you. I had no trouble having my way with her. She is a lot of fun when she drinks," Erica spits.

"How would you know?"

"I was watching you three while I was at the bar. None of you turned down the drinks I sent to your table."

"You sent the drinks?" Lisa asks in disbelief.


"You bitch," Jo says with venom.

"I thank you for that, Erica. I've really enjoyed tonight," Vicky says.

"Shut up, Vicky," Lisa snaps.

"Well now, why are you so mad, Ms. Power-trip? Did you want to have Vicky? Or maybe it's because you want to sample my pleasures," Erica smirks.

This remark is too much for Jo, who goes after Erica once again.

"So you do want me and you want it rough, Little Minx," Erica says.

Jo lands one punch before Erica has her pinned and is kissing her roughly. This infuriates Lisa even more, so she pulls Erica off of Jo and throws her across the room.

"Leave my girlfriend alone!" Vicky screams.

This stops all three in their footsteps.

"Your girlfriend?!" Lisa exclaims.

"She isn't your girlfriend, Vicky. She used you for her own sexual pleasures," Jo tells her.

Vicky looks at Erica.

"It will be whatever you want, Vicky, but you have to get rid of that husband of yours. Maybe Ms. Power-trip will live out her fantasies and take him off of your hands."

It's only then that Vicky thinks about Chris.

"I will not leave my husband for any reason, Erica."

"It's your loss."

"Vicky, you will be going home with Jo and me. Erica if you come near our home I will tear you apart," Lisa says in a voice that leaves no room for argument.

Chapter 30

A few weeks have passed. Vicky has told Chris about what happened. She has been staying with Jo and Lisa as she and Chris try to work things out. Erica hasn't caused too may problems recently, which makes Jo wonder.

Then the day arrives that Erica is caught in a burning building. Chris and Lisa find her. As they are removing the burning material Erica continues to bait them, especially Lisa.

"I guess it's payback time, Ms. Power-trip. You and boy wonder there can always say that even though you tried to get me out you couldn't. With you being the captain of the fire department no-one would doubt you."

"Erica, why don't you just shut up for once. You are going to be rescued. You will not effect how we do our job," Lisa snarls.

Chris and Lisa move a burning timber before it can fall on Erica. Erica is hit in the face by a blast of smoke when they do. Lisa removes her oxygen mask and lets Erica take a few breaths before she puts it back on. Lisa picks Erica up, telling Erica to bury her face in Lisa's neck as she takes her out of the building. After Erica is taken away in an ambulance Chris approaches Lisa.

"I would have gladly left the bitch there," he snaps.

"Then you would be no better than her. I couldn't live with myself if I had. The thought was tempting, but it is my job to rescue people from fires, not to pick and choose who is worth it."

"You're right. I couldn't face you if I had left her there. You would question why I didn't bring her out."

"Yes, there would always be a doubt. I know you and I know you are good at your job Chris, but I understand how you're feeling right now."

"We will need to call our wives and tell them about this."

"Wives? Does that mean you're ready for Vicky to come home and be your wife again?"

"Yes. I remember when we pulled Jo out of the fire and I know that could have very

easily been Vicky in there today. I love her, captain."

"I know you do, Chris. You and Vicky belong together the same way Jo and I belong together."

"Will you write me up for what I said about leaving her in there?"

"No, I will not. Our personal and professional lives met head on today. You did not let what has happened effect how you did your job."

"Can we talk about this at the stationhouse? I don't want anyone overhearing what we are talking about."

"That would be a good idea."

At the stationhouse, after they have showered and changed, Lisa is finishing her report when Chris knocks on the office door.

"Come in," Lisa calls.

Chris enters the office.

"Have a seat. I'm almost finished with this report. Why don't you call Jo and Vicky?"

As Chris makes the calls Lisa, finishes her report. She then reaches to turn the television on telling Chris she wants to see the news coverage of what happened. Chris hangs up saying that he got no answer.

"This is why," Lisa says as she realizes Jo was the reporter who covered the fire.

"Is Vicky there or do you know?"

"I can't tell."

The film shows the building burning and then shows Lisa and Chris as they enter the building and then shows them bringing Erica out. Jo is in the shot as well and Lisa can see the blood drain from Jo's face as she realizes who is coming out of the building.

"Something isn't right," Lisa says, as she calls the news studio.

She is told that Jo left after covering the fire.

"What's wrong, captain?" Chris asks, as alarm fills his voice.

"It's okay to call me Lisa. I'm your captain, but right now I'm your friend. Call me captain when the others are present. I'm not sure what is wrong, but it may be why we can't locate Jo and Vicky," Lisa says as she reaches for the phone.

As Lisa is calling the hospital her office door opens. It's Vicky and Jo. Lisa hangs up and walks to Jo. She takes Jo in her arms and just holds her.

"I saw the news coverage. I know it must have been a shock to see me bring Erica out."

"It was a shock when I realized just how easily I could lose you. What do you mean you

brought Erica out?"

"Erica was who I was bringing out that was caught tape."

"I wasn't paying attention to who it was you brought out, Lisa, only to you."

"Vicky, will you come home?" Chris asks.

"Are you sure?" she wants to know.

"I'm positive," Chris says as he takes Vicky in his arms. "Just one more thing."

"What's that?" Vicky asks.

"No more drinking."

"I will only drink when I'm with you, Chris."

"You can drink when you're with us, Vicky, but you will be spending the night with us," Lisa tells her.

"Do you have any objections to that?" Jo asks Chris.

"No, I have no objections because I know that you two will keep her safe."

After Vicky has gone home Jo approaches Lisa.

"I love you and I want you now, Lisa."

Lisa just looks at Jo.

"Tonight I will show you what you asked to see all those weeks ago," Jo tells her as she pulls out the cuffs.

As they are sharing a kiss the phone rings. It's the hospital and once again it's Erica, but this time she doesn't want to talk to Jo...she wants Lisa.

Lisa takes the phone. Erica wants to know if Lisa will come get her from the hospital. Lisa tells her no. She hangs the phone up and starts to turn back to Jo.

Jo has come up behind Lisa and tells her no to turn around. Lisa does as she is told aware that Jo has something in mind considering Jo has her hands on Lisa's ass and is running them up her sides.

Jo reaches for the buttons on Lisa's shirt and begins to unbutton it while she kisses Lisa on the neck. She pulls Lisa into the bathroom for a shower. She tells Lisa that tonight will be like no other night she has ever experienced.

They shower and go to bed. Jo tells Lisa to lie still, no matter what. She takes Lisa's face into her hands and kisses Lisa, hard. Lisa begins to return the kiss when Jo pulls away.

"I told you to lie still no matter what and that's what I meant," Jo says as she slaps Lisa's leg.

This completely surprises Lisa. Jo has never struck her before and she isn't sure how she should react. Jo sees the surprised look on Lisa's face and leans down to gently kiss her leg. Jo's lips on Lisa are Lisa's undoing.

She grabs Jo and pulls Jo to her. Jo tries to pull away but Lisa has a grip and isn't turning loose. She pulls Jo to her lips and kisses her once more. Lisa runs her hands down Jo's body. When she feels Jo's breasts she squeezes the nipple. Scared she might hurt Jo, Lisa is gentle.

"This is how it's done sweetie," Jo says, as she kisses her way down Lisa's chest.

When Jo reaches Lisa's breasts she squeezes the nipple with no gentleness at all. Lisa is shocked by what Jo has done, but decides to return the favor and reaches for Jo's breasts once more. She pinches the nipple this time. She hears Jo moan. Lisa has gotten the idea that this night won't contain the gentleness they have always shared before.

Jo brings one of her legs up between Lisa's and begins to move it against Lisa. Lisa feels the sparks go through her clit and moans with desire.

"I'm going to do with you what I want, Lisa."

Jo reaches for the cuffs and handcuff's Lisa to the bed. She looks at Lisa and begins to run her hands slowly and gently along Lisa's body. It's not long before Lisa is begging Jo to take her.

"Not yet," Jo says with a smirk.

Jo takes her time getting a closer look at Lisa's body. As she works her way down Lisa's body, she places light kisses and gentle licks. When she reaches Lisa's mound, she blows on it lightly.

"I will be right back," she tells Lisa.

This baffles Lisa as she watches Jo leave the bedroom. Jo returns moments later carrying a cup of ice. Jo takes one cube out and traces it along Lisa's globes and nipples. Jo kisses her way back to Lisa's breasts. She licks the globes where the ice was traced. When she has reached Lisa's nipples, they are rock hard. She sucks one nipple into her mouth and begins to bite on it. This sends a shock through Lisa.

Jo traces the ice on down Lisa's abdomen and through her hairs. She then proceeds to lick the path of the ice. When she reaches Lisa's mound, she blows where the ice had been traced. She then separates Lisa's lips and begins a light tease with her tongue. She places the ice on Lisa's clit for a few seconds and then removes it. She places her tongue on Lisa's clit and begins to lick it. Lisa is thrilled with the difference between the coldness of the ice and the warmness of Jo's tongue. Jo licks down Lisa's lips to her hole and inserts her tongue. She moves it in and out a few times before she slides the ice into Lisa. Lisa shivers both from the thrill of it, as well as the chill. Jo places her palm against Lisa's opening, so the ice can't slide out while she licks Lisa's clit.

The more Jo licks her clit the more that Lisa bucks her hips against Jo's face. It's not long before Lisa is screaming in pleasure. Jo removes the ice and inserts her tongue. She holds Lisa to her face as Lisa rides the waves of her orgasm. Jo then crawls up Lisa's body until she has straddled one of Lisa's thighs and rides it until she cums, screaming her pleasures as well. She uncuffs Lisa and takes her into her arms.

"That is sex for the sake of having sex Lisa."

The next day Grant and Anna show up at Jo and Lisa's house. Anna had told them that they were taking an extended vacation. Vicky has talked to Anna and explained what has happened. When Jo tells Anna that the woman is still in town, Anna is visibly upset.

"Are you okay, Anna," Jo wants to know.

"I'm fine. I know who Erica is. I knew her mother."

"How is that possible?" Grant asks.

"Erica's mother was the woman I was involved with," Anna tells Grant.

Grant, Lisa and Joanna are all surprised by this.

"I was involved with Robin before she learned she was pregnant. Robin was also bi."

"So what does Erica want? I thought she was after Jo, but now I'm thinking that maybe

she has another agenda," Lisa says.

"Has she made any moves toward you, Lisa," Anna asks.

"Just being a troublemaker. Why do you ask?"

"Do you remember when Larry said that when his brother died it should have been Ryan? Larry and his brother Catlin are also Erica's brothers."

"Wait a minute," says Jo. "I knew about Catlin but Larry...are you sure about this, Anna?"

"I'm positive. Robin and I had kept in touch before Catlin died. They have always blamed Ryan. I thought Larry had let it go because of the working relationship he had with you, Lisa, but now I know I was wrong."

"This is so unbelievable," Jo says as she shakes her head.

"Lets deal with Erica only when we have to. Right now lets just plan the wedding," Lisa says.

"The wedding? Ahh yes, the wedding," Jo remarks.

"Yes. I don't want to spend any longer than I have to without you being my wife Joanna."

"The sooner we're married the better," Jo agrees.

Grant noticed that when Anna was explaining about Larry being Erica's brother she said the mother was Robin, yet the woman she had been involved with was Belle. When asked about this Anna explained that her name was Isabella Robin, but that Anna had called her Belle as a nickname when they were together.

Lisa and Jo have run into some problems getting married. Their state doesn't recognize same sex marriage. They have continued living as if they are married, though. Lisa realizes that there are some things about Joanna that she doesn't know.

"How many women have you been with, Jo?"

"Where did that come from, Lisa?"

"You know about me and my past. I don't know about yours that much, and I was wondering if another Erica will show up and try to destroy us."

"I didn't keep score. I was a player, so it didn't matter. I don't think there are any more Erica's out there."

"You're not certain, though. This is just great! We can't get married because the state won't acknowledge it, and there may be other women from your past that comes here to make my life a living hell. All I want is to live in peace and to love you, Jo. I don't want to have to fight for your love every time I turn around."

"You won't, Lisa. We will live in peace and love each other as only we can. There is no one that can take my love, or me, from you. Why are you now starting to question me about my past?"

"We have a new firefighter at the station. It is a woman, she is gay, and Erica has started to hang out there more. Chris hates Erica, but so far I've managed to keep her away from him and Vicky."

"Vicky? What has Erica done now?"

"She hasn't done anything. Vicky avoids Erica when she can."

"I need to have a talk with Vicky," says Jo.

Jo goes in search of Vicky. When she finds her, she says that they need to talk.

"Talk? Talk about what?" asks Vicky.

"About Erica," answers Jo.

"Erica was a mistake. I was drinking, but I know I can't blame what happened on the alcohol."

"It's not about that. Erica has been hanging out at the fire station and Lisa says she is bothering Chris."

"She is making moves on Chris?" Vicky asks in shock.

"No, she isn't, but Lisa says there is a new firefighter there, and that is why she is hanging around. So far Lisa has managed to keep her away from Chris."

"So, what's the problem? If she isn't bothering Lisa or Chris, then why should it bother you?"

"You're my best friend, Vicky. What happened between you and Erica was because I gave you the booze and I left you defenseless. Erica took advantage of the situation and of you."

"You blame yourself for what happened?"

"Yes, I do."


"I knew you were drunk, but I left you by yourself. I also know Erica and how she can be. That is why we went back for you, but by the time we got there it was too late."

"Even though I was drunk, I did wonder what it would be like to be with another woman. It wasn't how I thought it would be. Erica's kiss was so different than either your kiss or Lisa's."

"That's because Erica was only out for what she could get. She didn't care about you then, and she doesn't care now."

"You care about me, Jo. Show me what it's like to be kissed by someone who does care and isn't thinking of only themselves," Vicky says seductively, as she takes Jo in her arms.

"We've been through this already, Vicky. I told you before that it won't happen, and it won't," Jo says, as she removes Vicky's arms from around her.

"Thank you for that, Jo. I know now that what happened between Erica and me has not changed our friendship."

"No, it hasn't, and it won't. I just feel so guilty for leaving you like that. I should have known better."

"You did, Jo, and that's why you and Lisa came back for me. Erica had gotten there first. Don't blame yourself, Jo. You protected me after you saw what was going on - both you and Lisa. Who is this new firefighter?"

"I only know that it is a woman and that she is gay. My conclusion is that Erica is hanging around to make the woman her new conquest."

"Maybe I will start visiting the stationhouse more often, then," states Vicky.

"If you do, then be sure to reassure Chris that it's not because you want Erica."

"Chris and I have talked about this. He knows that I don't want Erica."

"There will be a party tonight. Why don't you and Chris meet Lisa and me there?"

"Sounds like a plan."

"I hope we don't get any more snow. We've had enough already."

Later that night at the party, Jo meets the new firefighter. It's obvious to Lisa that Jo already knows Nancy.

"How do you know Nancy?" Lisa questions Jo.

Jo looks at Lisa but doesn't say a word. She doesn't have to because it's written on Jo's face.

"Nancy was one of the women you played, wasn't she, Jo?"

"No, I didn't play Nancy. Nancy was my first real love."

Lisa looks at Jo questioningly. Jo doesn't answer Lisa's unasked question.

"How is it that Nancy is your first love but Erica is your first lover? You said you loved Erica, and that she loved you, yet you say Nancy was your first love. I'm confused, Jo," Lisa says.

"Nancy and I were involved. We hadn't slept together yet. I loved her with every breath I took. We had gotten into an argument and she told me she hated me and never wanted me. I knew it wasn't true, but I was hurting very badly. I found Erica and she and I became lovers. I loved Erica, but I was not in love with Erica. My heart always belonged to Nancy. After Erica and I separated, Nancy and I patched things up and got back together. We did sleep together, but she always felt as if I had betrayed her. She then found another woman who was everything that I'm not, and left me for her. I have never completely gotten over Nancy, and I don't know that I ever will. She is the first woman who ever had my heart. We are friends now, but not close, although I still get the sense, at times, she wants to talk to me about something, but it would mean going back to when she and I were together, and she doesn't want to do that."

"Erica wanted you for sex. You want Nancy because she has your heart. Where does that leave me?"

"You are where you should be, Lisa, and so am I. I don't want Erica or Nancy. We are together, and that's how it should be."

"Can you honestly say that you wouldn't go back to Nancy if given the chance?"

"With 99.9% certainty I can."

"99.9? Why not 100%?"

"I still love her, in a way. I will always love her, but I know that to go back wouldn't accomplish anything. I can honestly say that the only woman who would ever stand a chance of coming between us is Nancy, but not even she can do that. I'm not going to let her."

"I love you so very much, Jo," Lisa says, as she takes Jo in her arms.

"I love you too, Lisa," Jo says.

Lisa picked up on something while Jo was explaining about Nancy. She lets go of Jo, but just enough that she still has Jo in her arms and can look her in the eye at the same time.

"When you were explaining about Nancy you said that you turned to Erica because you were hurting so badly. When we separated you also turned to Erica."

"Erica just happened to be there when we broke up, Lisa."

"So, if she hadn't been there it would have been some other woman. Why is it you turn to sex and another woman when you're hurting, Jo?"

Jo looks at Lisa with a confused look on her face.

"Sex? Another woman? What do you mean, Lisa?"

"You said that because you and Nancy had a fight and you were hurting that you turned to Erica, therefore making her your first lover. When we had problems and had separated you also turned to Erica, but you only had phone sex with her. You said Erica just happened to be there. Did she just happen to be there, or did you call her?"

"She just happened to be there. I did not call Erica."

"Okay, I accept that, but you always turn to another woman, and it leads to some form of sex, is the way I'm seeing this."

"I...I never thought of it like that, Lisa."

"You were looking for something, but you didn't look inside yourself to find the answer, you looked to someone else. No matter what you are searching for, you will not find it on the outside."

"I know that now. When I look inside I know that what I'm seeing is one very messed up person who has gotten very lucky. I know that I'm lucky in more ways than one, and I know I'm lucky to have you."

"I'm the lucky one," Lisa says, as she pulls Jo close. "Whatever you think is so messed up about you, it has made you a very strong person, Jo. We will work out anything you think is so messed up. One thing I do know we need to work on is Erica and your reactions to her."

"What do you mean?" Jo asks.

"Do you remember that day in the barn? It was the day I moved back in."

"What about that day?"

"Erica was trying to convince you to sleep with her. You told her no, but you didn't exactly fight her off. I saw her put her hands under your shirt and start caressing your breasts. If there had been any indication that it wasn't what you wanted, I don't think she could have gotten that far."

What neither Jo or Lisa are aware of is the fact that both Nancy and Erica have been listening to their conversation.

Nancy has always known what Erica looks like, but Erica never knew what Nancy looked like. Having heard what Jo has told Lisa, Nancy understands how Jo feels. Erica, as usual, is only thinking of herself. Erica now knows that this is the Nancy that Jo was so hung up on.

Nancy is surprised to find that Jo understood her so well. Jo was more of the in your face type of person, whereas Nancy was always more quiet and reserved. Jo was the fireball. She would say what she was thinking without really thinking about what she was saying. Nancy was always the thinker, but never really said too much.

Erica is watching Nancy. She was attracted to Nancy to start with, but given what she has just heard Jo tell Lisa, it makes her even more determined to get Nancy for herself.

Nancy is aware of the fact that Erica is watching her, and it makes her uneasy. She also knows that if she were to move, that not only would she not be able to hear Jo and Lisa, but that Erica would only follow her.

Lisa and Jo are still talking.

"I never should have let her touch me, Lisa," Jo says.

"Would you have given in if I hadn't stepped forward?" Lisa asks.

"In all honesty, I'm not sure. I don't want Erica now, and I didn't want her then, but given what you've just pointed out, I can't say that I'm 100% certain. I would like to think I wouldn't have given in, but Erica knows how to push my buttons."

"Do I know how to push your buttons, Jo?"

"Yes, but you aren't underhanded and manipulative like Erica is. You're more understanding and loving, like Nancy was."

"Is that why you're with me...because I remind you of Nancy?"

"No, it isn't. Nancy wasn't a firefighter. I love you, Lisa. I haven't thought of Nancy in a long time. I knew from the very first time I saw you that I wanted you. You don't look anything like Nancy, and what I've already told you is the only way you remind me of her."

Nancy walks to where Jo and Lisa are talking. She looks at Lisa.

"You're my captain, but you're also my ex girlfriend's new love," Nancy states.

"Will you have a problem with that, Nancy?" Lisa asks.

"I have no problems at all with it. I'm just glad to see that Jo is happy."

"Do you want Jo back?"

"I will always care about Jo. If she ever needs anything all she has to do is ask. Jo is very special to me, Captain."

"That isn't what I asked, Nancy," Lisa replies.

"A part of me will always want to be with Jo. Does that answer your question?"

"Not exactly. Let me make myself clear. Jo is not available to you or anyone else," Lisa says, as she stares at Erica.

Erica walks to where Jo, Lisa and Nancy are standing.

"I don't want Jo anymore," Erica says.

"What has changed your mind?" Lisa asks guardedly.

"I have found someone else that I'm interested in," Erica says.

Jo hasn't said a word until now.

"Nancy is off limits to you Erica," Jo says rather harshly.

All three stare at Jo for a moment.

"That will be up to Nancy," Erica says with a smirk.

"You're delusional if you think I would ever want you, Erica," Nancy says with spunk.

"We will just see about that, my dearest Nancy," Erica responds.

Lisa can see that Jo is fighting mad at the thought of Erica with Nancy. She knows that Jo loves her, but can't understand why Jo lets Erica push her buttons. Erica is not someone Lisa would ever looked twice at. Nancy, on the other hand, is someone Lisa can understand Jo's interest in. From what she has seen so far, Nancy is a good person, unlike Erica. Lisa could see herself with Nancy, except for the fact that Lisa loves Jo.

Chris and Vicky approach the quartet.

"What's going on here?" Vicky asks, as she eyes Erica with a look that could kill.

"This is Nancy," Chris says.

"Hi, Nancy. I'm Chris' wife, Vicky."

"And my one time lover," Erica remarks snidely.

This is all it takes for Jo to catch Erica off guard and put her to the ground with one punch.

"Here we go again," Lisa and Vicky say in unison.

Jo wastes no time in tackling Erica when she tries to get to her feet. She has straddled Erica and has her knees on Erica's arms, as she repeatedly punches Erica in the face. As Vicky and Chris pull Jo off of Erica, Lisa stands ready to flatten Erica if she makes a move towards Jo.

When the fight is broken up, everyone goes home. Once they are home, Lisa questions Jo.

"Why did you go after Erica like that?"

Jo explains to Lisa the story she told Vicky.

"You feel guilty about what happened between Erica and Vicky?" Lisa asks incredulously.

"Erica deserves what I gave her just as much as I deserve to lose Vicky's friendship and your love."

"Why do you deserve to lose that, Jo?"

"I've already told you that I'm a messed up person when I look inside."

"So? I love you just the way you are, Jo. Some of the things you do make me wonder how you've managed to survive until now, but I know that it's because of those things that you did survive. You are a fighter, Jo, except when it comes to Erica. Did you go after Erica because of what happened with Vicky, or was it because she wants Nancy?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"Erica is obviously interested in Nancy. I want to know if her interest in Nancy is why you went after her."

"Why would I go after Erica because she's interested in Nancy?"

"When you saw Erica and Vicky together that night you jumped Erica. I can't understand why you would go after her again unless it has something to do with Nancy. Does Nancy still mean that much to you?"

"Nancy will always mean a great deal to me, Lisa."

"That I can understand because Ryan will forever hold a special place in my heart. Ryan is gone, though, and Nancy is still here. How long will it take before you call us over and go back to Nancy?" Lisa asks as her voice shakes.

"I will not go back to Nancy. I will not leave you for anyone, Lisa. I love you and I want to be with only you," Jo says, her voice full of emotion.

"Then why go after Erica again?"

"I don't like the fact that she has set her sights on Nancy, but that doesn't mean I want Nancy back. Nancy is a big girl and can take care of herself."

"Then let her take care of herself. If she wants to be with Erica there is nothing you can do about it."

Over the next few days it has become obvious to Lisa that Nancy with Erica doesn't sit well with Jo, but that Jo has no intention of getting involved in the situation. Lisa also knows that Jo loves her and doesn't want Nancy back.

It has been snowing quite heavily, which is unusual for this time of year. Erica has formed a plan in her mind based on the amount of snowfall that will get her Nancy, or so she thinks. One night Erica decides to put her plan into motion.

She goes out in the snow and stays for a few hours. She deliberately doesn't wear the proper clothing. When she feels she is becoming disoriented, she calls 911 and asks for help, then she drops her cell and goes to where there is an old shed and lies down in the snow.

She is hoping Nancy is the one to find her because the best way to treat hypothermia is skin to skin contact. Unfortunately for Erica, Lisa is the one who finds her.

Lisa is stunned. How could Erica be so stupid? She picks Erica up and takes her into the shed. Knowing that she has to raise Erica's body temperature, she undresses Erica and then herself and wraps them in a blanket.Lisa has her radio and tells her squad where they are. They tell her that because of the danger of getting lost in the snow, and the fact that the snowfall has picked up, they won't be able to locate them until the next morning.

Lisa knows that she will have to spend the night with Erica. In the meantime, Nancy has gone to Jo to fill her in on what is happening.

"I can't believe Erica wants you that badly," Jo says.

"Maybe she wants Lisa," Nancy responds.

"She doesn't want Lisa. We've already been through that. She wants you, Nancy."

"I don't want her. I can see why she wants Lisa, though, as well as why you love her."

"Don't go getting any ideas, Nancy. Lisa is mine and will remain mine."

"Lisa is a possession? I thought she was your girlfriend."

"Lisa is my wife. She is my partner for life. I will not give her up."

"You mean like the way you gave me up?"

"I didn't give you up, Nancy, you gave me up."

"I loved you, Jo. We were fighting, and you knew that I didn't mean what I said."

"I know you didn't mean it, but it wasn't the first time I had heard it."

"Why did you turn to Erica? You should have known that within a couple of days we would have worked things out and gotten back together."

"We did work things out and get back together. Then you found someone else after we had another fight. What happened to waiting a couple of days and we would be back together? You didn't come back, and I couldn't wait forever for you to decide whether you wanted me in your life or not."

"I didn't think it mattered to you."

"Didn't matter?! Nancy, you were my first love. I loved you with every breath I took. I learned so much from you. I learned what real love is, how to depend on someone, how I didn't have to fight every battle alone. I learned what it was like to have someone be there for you no matter what. I learned that someone could love me for me, even with all of my flaws. I also learned some things that I didn't want to know. I learned what it was like to be told that I was stupid because I don't measure up to your standards and how it felt not to be good enough. I learned that even though you loved me, the way I am, that the way was too much for you. You tried to change me. You fell in love with who I was, yet you wanted to change who I was. A few minor changes that I agreed to because they would make me a better person turned into changes you wanted me to make to the point that I didn't know me, and I damn sure didn't like me."

"You were a fireball, Jo. You would say what you were thinking without thinking about what you were saying. You always seemed to be in some sort of fight. That wasn't the Jo I fell in love with. The Jo I fell in love with was always sensitive to others. That Jo would have never done some of the things you did."

"That Jo was, and is, this Jo. Just because I have an opinion and I don't keep it to myself doesn't make me a bad person."

Back in the cabin Lisa has to hold Erica pressed against her to be able to share her body heat. Erica is not so cold that she is completely out of it. She is on borderline hypothermia.

As Erica's body temperature rises over the next few hours a strange twist of events take place.

Chapter 31

Erica becomes aware of the fact that it's Lisa that has her, and not Nancy. She also knows that both she and Lisa are naked. Erica snuggles even closer to Lisa, making Lisa think it's because her body temperature has risen to the point that Erica is only cold. While this is true, Erica is taking advantage of the fact that Lisa is holding her and they are both naked.

Nancy is with Jo, who has called Vicky. Vicky has told her that Chris is also in the search.

"That doesn't bode well for you," Jo tells Vicky.

"He won't let anything happen to Erica or Lisa. You saw what he did when he and Lisa found Erica in the burning building," Vicky tells Jo.

"Why does he hate Erica so much?" Nancy asks.

When Vicky arrives at Jo's, she and Jo explain what happened with Erica. Nancy is understanding and compassionate. She says that Erica is nothing but trouble, as she looks right at Jo. Jo walks away from them and out of the room to get out of Nancy's line of sight.

Back in the shed Erica has rolled over to face Lisa.

"I knew you wanted me, Lisa. Jo isn't the right woman for you. She is too much of a wimp. You need a real me," Erica says, as she captures Lisa in a kiss.

"Jo is the right woman for me, and you are nothing but trouble," Lisa says, as she pulls away from Erica.

"You're naked, I'm naked, and you have been snuggled up next to me, so that makes me believe you really do want me," Erica says huskily.

"We are naked because you were borderline hypothermic. The best way to treat hypothermia is skin to skin contact, but you already knew that," Lisa growls, as she uncovers herself and reaches for her clothes.

Erica looks Lisa over.

"You are one sexy woman, Lisa. I understand why Jo wants you so much."

"You're not, Erica. Jo was desperate when she was with you," Lisa says snidely.

Erica gets up and walks to where Lisa is getting dressed. She wraps her arms around Lisa, sliding her hands up to capture Lisa's breasts.

"You feel so good, Lisa. Let me bring you pleasure," Erica says seductively.

Lisa grabs Erica's hands and pushes Erica away.

"The only woman who will pleasure me will be Jo, so keep your damn hands to yourself!" Lisa growls. "Get dressed. The rescue team will be here shortly."

"Why would I want to get dressed? Why don't you get undressed and we can make our own heat."

"Dream on, you crazy bitch. It won't happen, now or ever."

A few hours later the rescue squad has gotten them out and to safety. As they are taking Erica to the hospital, a drunk driver runs a red light and hits the truck. Because the truck was trying to avoid a head on collision, it tips to its side.

Unfortunately, Chris is thrown out of the truck. The ambulance takes him to the hospital, and he is rushed into emergency surgery.

Lisa calls Jo and tells her what has happened. She assures Jo that she is fine and tells her to locate Vicky and get her to the hospital ASAP.

Jo, Vicky and Nancy all arrive at the hospital. They meet Lisa in the waiting room. Erica has been treated and released. Vicky sees Erica and goes for her with an intent to kill. Nancy, Jo and Lisa pull her off and a police officer escorts Erica out of the hospital.

Jo wraps her arms around Lisa, thankful that Lisa is okay. They turn to Vicky and take her in their arms. Vicky is crying and an emotional wreck because she is worried about Chris.

Nancy feels out of place, but when the doctor comes out to deliver the update on Chris, Nancy knows that she is needed.

The news isn't good. One of Chris' ribs was broken and had punctured his heart. There was nothing the doctors could do for him.

Vicky is in disbelief. Lisa and Jo are in total shock. Nancy doesn't move or say anything.

Vicky screams at the top of her lungs and tries to get to Chris. Nancy, Jo and Lisa catch her and are holding her while the doctor finishes with his report to them.

Knowing that Vicky shouldn't go home, Lisa and Jo take her back to their place. Nancy has followed and asks what she can do.

"Stay here with Vicky and Lisa while I go get some of Vicky's things," Jo tells her.

Vicky looks at Jo, not understanding why Jo would go get some of her things.

"You will be staying with us for a while," Lisa tells Vicky, as Jo leaves.

"I will be fine, Lisa."

"In time, maybe, but right now isn't the time for you to be alone."

"I will be alone whether I'm here with you and Jo or whether I'm at my house."

"I know that, Vicky, but this isn't the time for you not to be around people. I know because I went through this when I lost Ryan."

Vicky knows that Lisa is right, and a new wave of tears come. Lisa takes Vicky into her arms and is rocking and holding her, offering comfort while Nancy watches.

Jo returns with clothes and other things for Vicky. She walks to where Lisa and Vicky are sitting, and takes Vicky by the hand.

Vicky is lost and doesn't know what to do, but she does know that she can count on Jo and Lisa. Lisa assures Vicky that Chris will have the standard firefighter's funeral, and that she will do everything she can to help make things easier for Vicky.

There is a knock on the door. Nancy says that she will answer it. When she opens the door Erica is standing there.

"What do you want?" Nancy demands of Erica.

"I want to see Vicky," Erica says.

"Go to hell!" Lisa snaps, as she joins Nancy at the door. "Get out and don't come back. Vicky is where she belongs - here with me and Jo. If it wasn't for your stupid, selfish idea about how to get Nancy, none of this would have happened!"

Erica leaves without another word. She knows that Lisa is right in a way.

Lisa instructs Nancy to call the firehouse and inform them of what has happened, and to begin the arrangements for a funeral.

After the funeral, Vicky continues to stay with Jo and Lisa. It has been learned that the drunk driver also died.

Nancy has been trying to help out, and has grown fond of Vicky. Nancy has also wondered about Ryan, and who he is. One day she decides to ask Jo.

"Who is Ryan and how is he involved with you and Lisa?" Nancy questions Jo.

"Ryan was my half brother and Lisa's husband," Jo answers.

"You had a brother?! You never mentioned that to me, Jo."

"I didn't know."

"What do you mean you didn't know? How could you not know?"

After Jo tells Nancy the story of Grant, Nancy understands.

"Did you know Lisa was your sister- in-law before you got involved with her?"

"No, I didn't. I knew Lisa was a widow, but that is all I knew."

"How was your brother killed?"

"He was in the army. Why are you so curious about this? If you're thinking of making a move on Lisa, then I suggest you don't. Lisa and I are together, and that's how it will stay."

"I was not curious until you told me he was your half brother. I still care for you, Jo. Like I told Lisa, a part of me will always want to be with you."

"I will always love you, Nancy. You were my first love. I have moved on. What we had was a long time ago, and we can't go back."

"What about Vicky? What can you tell me about Vicky?"

"I will not speak for Vicky."

"I know that this is a bad time for her, but I do like her very much, Jo. Do you think that I may stand a chance with her?"

"That would have to be up to Vicky. I do not advise you to make a play for her now. She is hurting, and very vulnerable."

"I know this, Jo. I wouldn't want to do anything to hurt Vicky. She was married to a co-worker, but I don't think she is straight."

"Just be careful when the time comes. Don't hurt Vicky. She has been through enough."

"I wouldn't dream of hurting her, and you're right, from what I've seen and heard, she has been through hell the past few months."

At the fire station a new firefighter has taken over Chris' position. This is a woman. Erica is smitten with her. What nobody is aware of is the fact that she is Nancy's ex and is also a player.

When Nancy reports for duty, she comes face to face with Amanda.

"What are you doing here?" Nancy demands, slightly confused.

"I was assigned here when I put in my request for a transfer," Amanda answers.

"Why did you request here, of all places?"

"Let's just say that there is something here that I want."

"I don't want you," Nancy snaps.

"Did I say it was you?" Amanda smirks.

"You didn't have to use those words."

"Maybe you're right, but, then again, maybe not," Amanda snickers, as she heads to Lisa's office.

When Amanda leaves Lisa's office, Nancy knocks on the door.

"Come in," Lisa responds.

"I need to talk to you, Captain."

"What about?"

"About Amanda."

"What about her? She is taking over the position Chris held before he was killed."

"You can't be serious?!" Nancy exclaims, as her jaw drops.

"I'm very serious. How do you know Amanda, and what do you have against her?"

"She is my ex is how I know her."

Lisa takes a deep breath. She then calls Amanda into her office.

"I will be there in a second, Lisa."

"You will be here yesterday, and you will only address me as 'Captain!' " Lisa growls.

Amanda walks into Lisa's office slightly bewildered. She sees Nancy and wonders what Nancy told Lisa.

"I will not tolerate anything between you two," Lisa says, as she looks at both Nancy and Amanda.

"What do you mean, Captain?" Amanda asks.

"Lisa is my name for my friends off the job. You are not my friend, Amanda. You are taking over for a man who was my friend, but even he didn't call me anything but 'Captain' on the job. I will not tolerate any hostility between you two. Nancy says you are her ex, and I get the feeling that you two did not end on good terms. My squad knows and respects each other. I don't care if you hate each other or not, you will treat each other with respect. You may be stepping in as the second in command, Amanda, but I am still the first in command. From what I've seen, Nancy is excellent at her job. Do not abuse your position at any time, Amanda, or I will have you replaced. Nancy, I will not tolerate you coming to me with every little problem. Unless it is valid, I expect you and Amanda to settle things yourselves. Is that understood by both of you?"

"Yes, Captain," Nancy and Amanda answer in unison.

"Then both of you are dismissed."

When they leave the office Amanda turns to Nancy.

"I'm sorry for my smart comments earlier," Amanda says.

"Let's do it like this...when we are on the job, we are not exes. We were never involved. You do your job, and I will do mine," Nancy replies.

"Deal," Amanda says grudgingly.

Chapter 32

Erica has started hanging around the firehouse even more. This infuriates Lisa. On more than one occasion Lisa has told Erica to get lost. Nancy is wary of Erica because of what happened when Chris was killed. Erica does have some guilt and is sorry that Chris died, but she doesn't feel so guilty that she's willing to change her ways. More than once since the funeral Vicky has blasted Erica.

The day comes when Vicky finally decides it's time for her to go back to her house. She tells Lisa and Jo this. Lisa knows that Vicky must face the house without Chris, but does offer to stay with her. Knowing that Lisa understands what Vicky is going through because she lost a husband, too, Jo doesn't have a problem with it. Nancy is also there.

They help Vicky load her things after she has packed, and drive her back to her house. Jo and Nancy stand back and watch as Lisa helps Vicky. Vicky walks into the house and looks around. It's the same as when she left it that day, right down to Chris' coffee mug in the sink.

The feeling of home is welcoming to Vicky, yet scary at the same time, because she knows that never again will she share this home with Chris. She turns to look at Lisa. Lisa knows the feeling of helplessness and emptiness that Vicky is experiencing. She doesn't hesitate to wrap her arms around Vicky.

"How did you get over losing Ryan?" Vicky asks in a shaky, emotion filled voice.

"I didn't get over it," Lisa says. "It had gotten to the point that I no longer cared. Like I told Jo, the home I shared with Ryan had become a place to eat, sleep and change for work. It was just a house. It quit being a home."

"Now you have a home with Jo."

"Yes, now I have a home with Jo. When the time comes, you will find someone else, too. Right now I know that you don't think you will ever get over this pain. It will eventually start to get less and less as time goes on."

Erica shows up wanting to talk to Vicky. Lisa, Jo and Nancy all three let Erica know that she isn't welcome there and won't let her near Vicky.

"This is Vicky's house, not yours, Ms. Power-trip," Erica hisses at Lisa.

Vicky comes forward and tells Erica that she isn't welcome there. Erica leaves.

Since Vicky refuses to go back home with Jo and Lisa, it is decided that Nancy will stay with Vicky in case Erica does come back.

Jo pulls Nancy aside and warns her not to make any moves on Vicky. Nancy assures Jo that she has nothing to worry about.

Lisa and Jo go back to their home. When they walk in the front door the house seems empty in a way. The full force of everything that has happened hits them both and they sit holding each other, sharing tears that have been unshed until now.

"I'm so proud of the way you didn't hesitate to take Vicky in," Lisa tells Jo.

"Vicky is my best friend, aside from you, Lisa. I felt like Chris was my brother. I know that she must feel so empty right now," Jo replies, trying to find words.

"I know she does. I've been where she is. Chris was my friend as well as co - worker. You're right, Jo, he was like a brother," Lisa says, as her voice breaks.

Jo pulls Lisa tighter in her arms and starts to whisper words of comfort. It's not long before Lisa has cried herself to sleep in Jo's arms.

Back at Vicky's, Vicky has taken a shower and just wandered from room to room. Nancy is aware that she is trying to bring some part of Chris home, even if Vicky isn't aware of it. Nancy hasn't said a word, she just silently watches Vicky. When finally Vicky sits on the sofa in tears, Nancy takes her in her arms. Vicky cries herself to sleep in Nancy's arms.

Erica has found out where Amanda lives and goes to see her. Amanda lets Erica in and Erica pours on the charm.

"You're really something else, Erica," Amanda says.

"What do you mean?" Erica asks.

"Don't try to play a player. I know the moves, because I've made them myself."

"You're a player?"

"Yes, and so are you."

"I don't deny that, and never have," Erica says defensively.

"Lose the wounded pride bit, Erica. You're here for one reason and one reason only, so let's get real."

"What would that one reason be?"

Amanda walks to where Erica is standing and captures her in a kiss. She pulls Erica tightly to her. Erica returns the kiss with the same intensity. She clings to Amanda as she runs her hand underneath Amanda's shirt. Amanda breaks this kiss to look at Erica.

"This is the only reason you're here, Erica."

"Does it matter why I came? Let's just 'get real,' as you call it."

Amanda grabs Erica and pulls her by the collar to the sofa. Amanda wastes no time in ripping Erica's shirt off. She looks at Erica, who isn't wearing a bra.

"I'm going to give you just what you came for," Amanda says with a smirk.

Erica feels herself grow wet as Amanda reaches for her. She pushes Erica down on the sofa and proceeds to kiss Erica hard. She has one of Erica's breasts in her hand and is squeezing and pinching the nipple. She moves her mouth to Erica's nipple and kisses it, then proceeds to bite it. Erica rips Amanda's shirt off and looks at Amanda's breasts. She takes one and holds it, before placing the nipple in her mouth. She returns the favor and bites Amanda's nipple. Amanda pulls away.

"No, Erica. You will be my slave tonight. You coming here and wanting to play is fine, but we are playing by my rules. Take off your pants and grab your ankles."

Erica stares at Amanda for a moment. This isn't what she had anticipated. Erica is used to always being the one in control, so this is something new to her.

"Did you hear me?" Amanda demands.

"Yeah, I heard you, but I think you're nuts."

Amanda grabs Erica and pulls her over her lap. She picks up the remote control that she has lying on the coffee table and proceeds to swat Erica on the ass.

"Take off those pants, and do it now!"

This is a real turn on to Erica, and she starts to remove her pants. As Erica is doing this, Amanda goes to the kitchen and gets a wooden spoon. She returns to the sofa and watches Erica's face as Erica realizes what is about to happen.

"Come here and get over my lap. You have been a very naughty girl and you need to be punished," Amanda says in a stern voice.

Erica gets over Amanda's lap and feels the sting of the spoon as Amanda lands the first blow. It surprises Erica, who jumps at feeling it. Amanda continues with the smacks until Erica's ass glows red. She then asks Erica if she can behave.

"Yeah, I can behave," Erica says in a shaky voice.

"Maybe you can, but you didn't address me properly, so the punishment will continue," Amanda growls as she lands a blow, this time with her hand.

"That hurts," Erica whimpers.

"I did not tell you to speak," Amanda barks as she continues.

When Amanda's hand grows tired she rests it on Erica's ass.

"Have you had enough?" Amanda asks.

"Yes, Mistress Amanda," Erica answers.

Amanda rubs the red ass of Erica, letting her hand drift between Erica's legs. Amanda can feel Erica's juices and inserts a finger as Erica remains across Amanda's lap. Erica responds to Amanda's finger in her, so Amanda slides another in. When Erica responds to this even more, Amanda takes Erica to her bedroom. Amanda handcuffs Erica to the bed with Erica on her knees. Erica watches as Amanda opens a drawer. She pulls out a strap-on and some K-Y jelly. Not understanding the need for the K-Y, Erica questions Amanda about it.

"Why would you need the jelly? I'm soaked as it is. I can't wait to feel you take me."

Amanda swats Erica's ass again and says that she will see. Amanda puts on the strap-on and gets behind Erica. She drives the fake dick deep into Erica's pussy with no problem. Erica meets her thrust for thrust. After a few moments Amanda withdraws.

Amanda takes the K-Y and rubs it over Erica's anus. Erica has never had anal sex and is about to tell Amanda this, when Amanda drives the strap-on deep into Erica's ass.

Erica winces for a moment, and Amanda realizes this is the first time for Erica. She holds still for a moment. Amanda lays over Erica's back and runs her hand between Erica's legs. She strokes Erica's pussy, teasing the clit as she does so.

When Erica responds to this, Amanda begins to move the fake dick in and out of Erica's ass. Erica responds by thrusting back to meet Amanda's forward thrusts. It's not long before Erica screams out her pleasure. Amanda is on the verge of coming when Erica screams. She removes the strap-on from Erica's ass and then takes it off. She gets on the bed in front of Erica's face.

"I did not tell you it was time for you to cum, or to scream your pleasure when I did allow it. Now you must lick me until I'm satisfied," Amanda says, as she grabs Erica's face and buries it between her legs.

Erica licks Amanda until Amanda has cum 4 times in a row. Amanda unlocks the handcuffs. She tells Erica that because she has been a good slave that she may spend the night. Erica lies on the bed next to Amanda as Amanda drifts off to sleep.

Erica then gets up, dresses and leaves. She goes in search of Jo.

Erica doesn't realize the time until she gets to Jo's and finds all of the lights off. She drives around for a while thinking. Amanda did things to her she had never experienced before, and she loved it. The truth was so much simpler than that...she had found a woman who is just as much of a player as Erica is, and had fallen in love.

The next morning when Amanda awakens and reaches for Erica, she discovers an empty bed. She had no idea Erica had left. Amanda had enjoyed Erica very much. Erica made a very good slave. Amanda's mind starts turning with ideas of what she could get Erica to do.

Vicky awakens in Nancy's arms. She gets up, pulls the blanket over Nancy, goes to brush her teeth and put on coffee.

Lisa awakens in Jo's arms and snuggles closer to Jo. Even though she doesn't want to, Lisa knows that she has to get up and go to work. A few more minutes next to Jo won't hurt, though, she thinks as she looks at Jo, who is sleeping so peacefully.

When she finally gets to work, Lisa finds both Nancy and Amanda just arriving.

"Sorry I'm late, Captain, it was a long night," Nancy says.

"It's okay, Nancy, I know where you were and why," Lisa answers. "Did Erica show up?"

"Erica didn't show up wherever Nancy was because she was with me," Amanda informs Lisa.

Both Lisa and Nancy are surprised by this.

"What is your excuse for being late, Amanda?" Lisa asks her.

"Like Nancy said, it was a long night. What's your excuse, Captain?"

"I do not need to answer to you, Amanda. I am the captain and I suggest you don't forget it."

In the meantime, Jo has gone to Vicky's. Vicky lets her in.

"How are you doing this morning?" Jo asks Vicky.

"I'm managing," Vicky tells her.

"Did Erica show up here last night?"

"I don't think so. I remember crying myself to sleep in Nancy's arms, and that is where I woke up this morning."

"Did Nancy try anything last night?" Jo asks in a protective manner.

"No, she didn't, Jo. You don't have to be protective of me, or is it Nancy you're protecting?"

"It's you I'm protecting, Vicky."

"I'm glad Nancy was here, though. I don't think I could have made it through last night without her. She didn't say anything, she just held me."

"Nancy is a good person, Vicky. She is kind, considerate and is very in tune with the way people feel. She has been around you long enough to know that she has started to take an interest in you that is beyond friendship."

"Right now I'm not ready for anything of the sort, Jo. I just lost Chris, and I need time to deal with this and then to move on. Besides, Nancy is a woman and I'm not so certain I want a woman after what happened with Erica, and certainly not another firefighter, after losing Chris."

"I understand about the firefighter part. If I let myself think about the fact that every time Lisa goes into a fire that she may not ever come out, I would drive myself insane. Those are chances that are part of her job just like with policemen, and everyone alive, for that matter. We could lose them as they are just walking down the street. It would mean being alone for our entire lives, but that's not how we should live. As far as what happened with Erica goes, not all women are like that. Not every sexual experience is like that. I know for a fact that Nancy's lovemaking is nothing like what I had with Erica. Nancy is gentle and doesn't push for more than you're willing to give. When you find the right someone, even sex for sex can be thrilling. It can be very special and exciting. Ask Lisa if you don't believe me."

"I'm straight, Joanna."

"Not really, Vicky. You have been living the life of a straight woman, but you could very well be bi. I think you are. You have had fantasies about me and about Lisa, and then there is Nancy. She doesn't think you're straight, either. We can talk about this more when the time is right and you think you're ready to start dating again."

There is a knock on the door. Jo answers it. It's Erica.

Jo isn't thrilled to see Erica and tells her so.

"Please, Jo. I need to talk to both you and Vicky."

Jo lets Erica come in, but is on guard at all times. When Vicky sees Erica she is ready to kill until Jo says that Erica said she needed to talk.

"What's this about, Erica?" Jo asks.

"I never meant for anyone to get hurt. I'm sorry that Chris died. I wish I could take back what happened, but I can't. I'm also sorry for what I did to you that night, Vicky," Erica says.

"What night?" Vicky asks, confused.

"The night you were drunk," Erica replies.

"Get out, Erica. I don't want to hear anything you've got to say. You manipulated the situation that cost my husband his life," Vicky spits at her.

"I didn't hit the truck. I wasn't the drunk driver," Erica says defensively.

"No, you weren't, but you are the one who manipulated it so that the squad would have to look for you," Jo says, as she drags Erica to the front door.

"I know that, Jo," Erica says as she pulls away from Jo, "but that's because I thought I wanted Nancy."

"Nancy has made it clear that she doesn't want you, Erica. I have made it clear that I don't, Lisa has made it clear that she doesn't and Vicky sure as hell doesn't."

"Amanda does, though."

"Then I suggest you go to Amanda and leave the rest of us alone," Jo snaps, as she slams the door in Erica's face.

"Why was she here, Jo?" Vicky asks.

"I'm not sure, but something isn't the same."

"What do you mean?"

"Did you notice how she was walking a little strangely?"

"Erica is strange regardless of how she walks."

"Something has happened. She needs a friend, and she realizes that she has none."

"She must be lonely."

"Do you plan on keeping her company, Vicky?"

"No, I don't. Do you, Jo?"

"Nope. She said that Amanda wants her, so let Amanda keep her company," Jo says, as she watches Erica get into her car.

Jo can see that Erica is being very gentle in sitting down. Jo thinks about things for a moment, and then it dawns on her why Erica needed someone to talk to... Amanda gave Erica a night of rough sex, but Erica was on the receiving end for a change. Jo bursts into laughter.

Vicky has been watching as well. She has no idea what Jo just thought, and looks at Jo in bewilderment, as Jo continues to laugh. When Jo explains it to Vicky, Vicky laughs as well.

Jo decides to call Nancy. She tells Nancy that she will be having dinner with Jo, Lisa and Vicky because there is something that she wants to know about Amanda. Nancy gives the phone to Lisa and Jo repeats what she has told Nancy.

That night, as they have dinner, Jo questions Nancy about Amanda. At first Nancy is hesitant to discuss Amanda. When Jo explains the reasons for her questions, Nancy agrees to answer them. Lisa looks at Jo rather strangely.

"Why would it matter whether Erica and Amanda had rough sex or not, Jo?" Lisa asks in bewilderment.

"Erica showed up at Vicky's this morning wanting to talk. She apologized for Chris, and for what she did to Vicky the night she was drunk," Jo answers.

"Erica has realized that she is alone and has no friends," Vicky adds. "I think she wants to talk, and Jo would be the one who would understand her, but she realizes she can't talk to anyone, and she is so lonely for friendship that she's desperate."

"Erica needs help in the most desperate way," Nancy says. "If Amanda gave her a night of rough sex, then I can understand her needing someone to talk to, especially if it's not what's she's used to."

Vicky, Jo and Lisa look at Nancy.

"What do you mean, Nancy?" Jo questions.

"Amanda loves S & M. She tried to make me her slave one night and that's the night I walked out. She was gentle at first, but became more daring as the relationship progressed. When she brought up the idea of performing anal sex on me I knew that there was no way I would do it. She wanted me to do it to her as well. When I told her no, she said that I was too uptight and that plain vanilla sex just wasn't her cup of tea. This all happened in that last night that we were together."

"Did she ever spank you?" Jo asks.

"She wanted to, but I couldn't even do that," Nancy replies.

"That would explain why Erica sat down so gently when she got into her car," Vicky says with a giggle.

"I think Amanda got hold of Erica, and Erica got more than she had bargained for," Jo says.

Lisa just sits and listens. Lisa realizes that Vicky knows more than she has let on.

"How do you know so much, Vicky?" Lisa asks.

"My marriage wasn't just the normal sex, Lisa," Vicky answers. "Chris and I did try the spanking and S & M a few times. It was rather enjoyable."

"You and your husband didn't try anything like that, Captain?" Nancy asks.

"You can call me Lisa when we're off duty, Nancy. What do you know about Ryan, and how do you know?"

"I only know that he was your husband, Jo's half brother and a soldier. I know this because I asked Jo who Ryan was after I heard his name mentioned when Chris died."

"To answer your question, Nancy, no, Ryan was not into any of that, and neither was I."

"Anyway," says Jo, "Erica always thought she had to be in control. I think Amanda took control, and Erica doesn't know how to handle it."

Lisa looks at Jo and Jo can see the gratitude in Lisa's eyes. Lisa knows that Jo steered the conversation away from her sex life with Ryan because until that night with Jo, Lisa had only made love.

"I think I will talk to Erica just to see what's going on with her," Jo says.

"Just be careful," Lisa tells her.

Jo has been spending more time than usual around Erica, and Erica wonders about that. So does Amanda.

"I don't know what you think you're doing, Jo, but Erica is mine," Amanda snaps at Jo one day.

"I have Lisa. I don't want Erica. I can be friends with her, though, and there isn't anything you can do about it," Jo responds in the exact same tone and manner.

"Why would you want to be friends now? From what I've heard, you can't stand Erica."

"There was a time that Erica and I were lovers, not that it's any of your business."

"Like I said, she is mine now, so back off!"

Lisa has overheard this exchange and comes forward.

"You should be the one backing off, Amanda. Jo isn't trying to take Erica from you. She has me, so what could she possibly want with Erica?" Lisa demands.

"Maybe you're just too pure for her, CAPTAIN," Amanda remarks snidely.

"That would be something you know nothing more ways than one," Jo says sarcastically.

Erica has walked up and looks at the three of them in confusion. She understands Lisa's defense of Jo, but doesn't understand why Jo and Amanda were having words. She has no idea it was about her.

"What's going on here?" Erica asks.

"I don't want Jo around you," Amanda informs her.

"I'm not thrilled with the idea of Jo being around Erica, especially after all that has happened, but I won't forbid her not to associate with her," Lisa tells Amanda.

"Don't ever make the mistake of trying to forbid me anything, Lisa," Jo says. "As far as me being around Erica goes, I will associate with whom I choose to, Amanda."

"I don't know what is going on here, but Jo and I were involved once, Amanda," Erica says. "I'm not sure why she has decided to befriend me now, but I have no other friends. That is my own fault. Jo is the only one who treats me as if I'm someone. I will talk to Jo no matter whether you or Lisa like it."

"Watch it, Erica, or I will rearrange your face again," Lisa warns.

"If you put a hand on her, Lisa, I will...," Amanda starts.

"You will what? I've already told you NOT to address me as Lisa. I will do as I please, and there isn't a damn thing you or anyone else can do about it."

While Lisa and Amanda continue to exchange words, Jo pulls Erica to the side for a talk.

"I should really hate you after everything you have done, and have tried to do, Erica, but I don't know how to hate. I could never hate someone who once meant so much to me," Jo says.

"I know. You're too good of a person for that, Jo.

"You know that I hate for anyone to feel like they have no one. If you need to talk to someone, then I'm willing to listen."

"You would do that, Jo? Even after everything that I've done to you, Lisa and Vicky?"

"Yes, I would."

What Erica doesn't know is that Jo is setting a trap, but the trap isn't for's for Amanda.

Chapter 33

A few days later, Lisa asks Jo about the sudden interest she has taken in Amanda.

"I've discovered some things about Amanda that I don't like. If you think Erica was bad news when she came to town, then you know nothing about Amanda," Jo tells her.

"Why don't you fill me in?" Lisa says.

"Amanda was once the lover of the drunk driver that killed Chris. I have a strange feeling that the driver had something to do with Amanda being sent here."

"Not possible, Jo. Amanda had no way of knowing that Chris would die. I think this has more to do with Nancy."

"Amanda is trouble with a capital T, Lisa."

"Maybe she is, but I think you can't accept the fact that she works with, or was, Nancy's lover."

"This has nothing to do with Nancy!"

"I'm not so sure about that."

"I love you, Lisa. I only want you."

"I didn't say that you don't love me or that you don't want me. I just think that you want Nancy and what you two had again."

"Must we do this yet again? I've already told you this would be over if either one of us had a problem like this again. You stay here tonight, and I'm going to the cabin. Think about what you want. I know what and who I want, and that's you, Lisa."

Jo goes to the cabin while Lisa sits and thinks for a while. Lisa knows that Jo loves her as much as she loves Jo. Jo knows that Lisa is scared because of Jo's past, but Jo won't let the demons that once controlled her life control it again. Before long, she heads back to the house and to Lisa. Lisa is surprised to see Jo come back into the house.

"Is there something wrong?" Lisa asks.

"Yes. This entire thing that has been going on since Erica first got here. We belong together, Lisa. I love you and only want to be with you. I know my past scares you, but it's part of who I am. I had to accept the fact that you are my brother's widow and go on. You have to accept my past as a player and go on. You don't have to like it, but you have to accept it, because it's part of me. It's part of who I was and part of what has made me who I am today. Granted, Erica taught me how to be a player, but Nancy was the one who showed me real love; what it was like to love someone and have that love returned. It's what makes it possible for me to love you so completely. You asked me to marry you and I accepted your proposal. Never before had I thought of being with one person for my entire life but Nancy. I told you already that she was my first love. You were married to your first love. I'm ready to settle down and make a life with you. Can you truly say that this is what you want as well, Lisa?"

"Yes, I can, Jo, or I wouldn't have proposed. I want you in my life, in my bed, in my arms...I want to wake to see your face each morning. I don't want to think about Nancy, Erica or anyone else."

Jo walks to Lisa and takes her into a passionate kiss. Just as things begin to heat up between them, the phone rings. It's Nancy and she wants to talk to Jo.

Nancy tells Jo that something is wrong with Vicky. Nancy is at work and can't leave, so she asks Jo to check on Vicky. Jo tells Lisa that they've got to get to Vicky.

"What's wrong?" Lisa asks, as her voice fills with alarm.

"I don't know, but Nancy says something is," Jo answers.

Jo and Lisa go to Vicky. When they get there, Vicky is distraught. Jo tries to talk to her, but isn't getting through. Lisa takes Vicky into her arms and whispers in Vicky's ear. Jo has no idea what Lisa has said, but it seems to be helping.

"What happened, Vicky?" Jo asks.

"I'm used to waking up and Chris not being here when he's working, but I realized he will never be here again," Vicky cries.

"It's will get easier as time passes," Lisa tells her. "I know what you're going through. If you ever need someone to listen, just call me."

"You do understand, Lisa. I really don't want to be alone in this house, at least right now."

"You can stay with us, Vicky," Jo tells her.

"No, that wouldn't be a good idea. I have to face this. I no longer have Chris, and the sooner I can deal with my life without him in it, the better I will be."

"That's true, but let yourself grieve, Vicky. Don't try to take on the world all at once, it won't help you at all," Lisa says.

"What are you two doing here? I called Nancy, but she couldn't leave work."

"Nancy called me," Jo answers.

"You dropped everything and came running?" Vicky asks, surprised.

"You are my best friend, Vicky. I told you that I would be here if you need me, and I meant it."

"I understand what you're going through, Vicky. I went through it when Ryan died. I'm also here for you, if you need me," Lisa adds.

"How could I get so lucky as to have two of the best ladies in the world as my friends?" Vicky asks.

"We are lucky to have you in our lives, Vicky. You and I may not have started as the best of friends, or even friends, for that matter, but between Jo and Chris, I think we have come a long way," Lisa responds.

"I know we have, Lisa. Chris was so lucky to have you for his captain. You have gone out of your way to be there for me when I know that if it weren't for Jo, you wouldn't have."

"I would have treated you the same as any other widow of one of my squad. I wouldn't have done anything different. I would have been there for them just the same. You are no different, either, Vicky.

"But would you drop everything like you did today if it wasn't for Jo?"

"Yes, if you needed me, then I would have."

"Would you have taken the other widows home with you, Lisa?"

"That is where it changes. No, I wouldn't have, but you are as much a part of my family now as Jo is and Chris was."

"I thank you for that, Lisa. You will never know how much that means to me."

"Is Nancy still staying here?" Jo asks.

"No, she isn't, Jo. Maybe that's why I freaked out."

"It doesn't matter why you freaked out, Vicky, if you need us, then don't hesitate to call," Lisa says.

"I will go talk to Nancy for a while. Lisa, you stay and talk to Vicky, okay?"

"Why do you need to talk to Nancy?" Lisa questions.

"I want to know more about her relationship with Amanda," Jo replies.

"What's wrong with Amanda?" Vicky wants to know.

"I've found out some things about her and they make Erica seem like she is so sweet."

"Erica sweet?! You've got to be kidding, Jo. Erica only wants what's best for Erica."

"How do you know so much about Amanda?" Lisa asks curiously.

"I took a lesson from you, Lisa. I hired a private detective."

"You did what?!" Lisa and Vicky exclaim in unison.

"I wanted to know more about her for various reasons, so I hired a P. I."

"What are you up to now, Jo," Vicky asks, as she rolls her eyes.

"Watch and see," Jo says with a snicker.

Jo leaves Vicky and Lisa at Vicky's and goes to the stationhouse. She tells Nancy that they need to talk.

"What's going on, Jo?" Nancy asks.

"I need to know more about your relationship with Amanda," Jo replies.

"What concern is it of yours, Jo? Amanda and I were over long ago. Why are you so curious?"

"I had a P.I. do some checking into her background."

"What for? Amanda hasn't done anything that I'm aware of except sleep with Erica."

"I got a bad feeling the first time I met Amanda. If what I have discovered is accurate, then Erica is going to get hurt, and I don't want that."

"What does Lisa say about what you're doing and the reasons why?"

"Lisa doesn't know that much. She knows that I've had Amanda checked out, but that's it."

"Am I supposed to keep your secret, Jo?"

"No, you're not supposed to keep anything secret."

"Why haven't you told Lisa, then?"

"Because she is dealing with enough right now."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean with Chris' death and Amanda taking over, she just hasn't had time to deal with a lot. Then there is the fact that you were the first woman I ever loved, Nancy. Erica made our life hell when she first came to town. Then she went after Vicky."

"Was the night you told me about the only night she made a move on Vicky?" Nancy asks with a jealous tone.

"As far as I know."

"She had better stay away from Vicky or you will see a side of me that you will not like, Jo."

"You have fallen in love with Vicky, haven't you?"

"Yes. I want Vicky safe. I haven't said anything to her, but I don't stay with her anymore."

"Vicky told Lisa and me this morning that you weren't staying there anymore. I thought that it was because you thought Vicky needed space and time, but now I'm thinking that it's another reason entirely."

"You're right on both counts, Jo. Vicky does need some time and space, and holding her at night had started to get to me. I just want to love her the way she deserves to be loved."

"Give her time, Nancy. Maybe one day she will return your feelings, but right now her emotions are too raw. Now, back to the reason I came here...lets talk about Amanda."

"What did your P.I. come up with?"

"Did you know that Amanda was a hooker? She has also made some porno movies."

Nancy's jaw drops and her eyes widen. Jo can tell this is news to Nancy.

"You're not serious, Jo?!"

"Oh, but I am serious. I have the names of the movies and I intend to get a copy of them. The hooker part was a kid trying to survive on the streets."

"A kid trying to survive? What do you mean, Jo?"

"Amanda ran away because she had gotten pregnant. She then had an abortion, which her parents knew nothing about. They didn't even know she was pregnant until she came down with an infection, and, after a series of tests, the doctors said it was something that could have been avoided if she had gone through the hospital to have the abortion. After she left, she wound up pregnant several times, and each time had an abortion."

"What about the movies?"

"I will let you see them when I get a copy. Oh yeah, her real name isn't's Celia."

Nancy is blown away by what Jo has told her. She just sits and stares with a blank look on her face after Jo leaves.

Chapter 34

A few days later Jo calls Nancy to come to Jo's house. Jo has managed to get copies of the pornos that Amanda had made.

When Nancy arrives, she is suprised that Lisa isn't there. Jo puts a movie in. Nancy questions Jo about the decision not to include Lisa.

"Why don't you want Lisa here?" Nancy asks.

"She will see this soon enough. Right now, though, you need to see what your ex has done."

"We all have a past, Jo."

"Do you have that type of past, Nancy?" Jo asks, pointing to the screen as it shows Amanda in bed with three men.

Nancy watches. Amanda has a penis in her anus, one in her vagina and one in her mouth. Jo leaves the room as Nancy watches. Nancy is so caught up with watching Amanda that she doesn't hear Lisa and Vicky come in. When Lisa gasps at what she sees, Nancy becomes aware of their presence.

"Where is Jo?" Lisa asks Nancy.

"I'm right here, Lisa," Jo replies, as she walk back into the room.

"Jo, would you like to explain why you are watching a porno with your ex?" Lisa demands, with hurt in her voice.

"I haven't been watching it with her, Lisa," Jo says in defense.

"Lisa, look at that woman. That's Amanda, the one who took Chris' place," Vicky says.

Lisa stares at the screen and the woman. It shows a close up of the woman's face and there is no doubt left that it is Amanda.

"What in the hell?!" Lisa exclaims.

"I told you that there was something about her that I didn't like," Jo says. "Furthermore, her name isn't Amanda, it's Celia."

Vicky picks up the box that the movie came in.

"This box does say "starring Celia. Maybe Celia is a made up name for the movie, but I still don't like or trust this Amanda."

Lisa looks at Jo. Jo hadn't thought about this, but knows that it's a possibility.

"What else do you know about Amanda, Jo?" Nancy asks.

"I know that she has worked her way through the ranks to second in command very nicely."

"What do you mean?" asks Lisa.

"According to the P.I., she isn't in one station long enough to have really worked her way up. I'm not sure how or why she got the promotions, but I have a feeling it wasn't done honestly."

"This would be a story for Rita," Lisa says, referring to the reporter that Jo took the place of.

"Between the P.I. and my journalistic instincts, we will find out anything there is to know about this Amanda," Jo responds.

"I have no doubt about that, and if I discover she has gotten her position by less than ethical means, then I will have her replaced," Lisa growls.

"That is Amanda's ex!" exclaims Nancy, when the shot changes to Amanda with a woman.

Lisa, Jo and Vicky look at the screen.

"Is there anything else you recognize, Nancy?" Jo asks.

"Yes, there is. Amanda had a lot of those things in her bedroom when we were together. Oh my God," Nancy says, "this was taped in Amanda's bedroom!"

Lisa, Jo and Vicky just look at Nancy for a moment.

"How do you know it was taped in her bedroom?" Jo asks.

"These," Nancy says, as she points to different things, "are all personal belongings of hers."

"Are you sure that's her ex?" Lisa asks.

"I'm positive."

"How did she manage to convince her ex to make this?" Nancy asks in astonishment.

Lisa rewinds the tape to the beginning to watch the entire thing.

"Are you getting horny, darling?" Jo asks in a teasing manner.

"Not from this. If what Nancy says is true, then I'm not so sure Amanda convinced her ex to make this. Do you remember the photos of you and Vicky that were doctored, Jo?"

"Yes, I do, and I know what you're hinting at. I'm used to working in front of the camera because of my job as a journalist. Let's review this and see what Amanda has done."

Vicky understands what they are looking for, but Nancy has no idea, so she asks.

"The ex may not even be aware that she made this," Vicky says.

Nancy looks at her, confused.

"Amanda may have had a hidden camera set up in the bedroom. There is no telling how many times this has happened," Vicky explains.

As the reality of what may be on a tape somewhere sinks in, Nancy turns ghost white. Vicky sits beside Nancy and holds her as Nancy shakes.

After watching the tape several times, Lisa and Jo come to the conclusion that the scenes with men in them were taped in a studio, but that the ones with women were most certainly taped in Amanda's bedroom.

"Nancy, are you okay?" Lisa asks.

"No, I'm not, Captain. What if there is a tape somewhere that has me on it?"

"There isn't any, Nancy," Jo reassures her.

"How do you know that, Jo?" questions Nancy.

"I have a copy of all the tapes that Amanda made that have been released. I watched each one before I called you. You are not on any tape."

"Thank you for that, Jo," Nancy says.

"It wouldn't matter, Nancy. You will not be losing your job at the station. I want you to play it cool, though, and act like nothing has happened. I want to find out more about Amanda before I take any action," Lisa tells Nancy.

What none of them are aware of is the fact that Erica has made her way into the house and has been watching and listening to everything.

Jo is the first one to realize that Erica is standing there. Jo can see that Erica is in shock. She walks to where Erica is standing. She reaches her hand out to Erica.

"Are you going to be okay?" Jo asks.

"It all makes sense now," Erica stammers.

"What does?" Lisa wants to know.

"Why she handcuffed me to the bed the way she did, and all of her movements afterwards."

"What are you talking about, Erica?" Nancy asks.

"She didn't want me to face a certain way. I had to keep my face away from a certain direction. She must have had a camera hidden there."

Erica looks at Jo.

"What am I supposed to do? I'm...I've..." Erica stutters.

"Leave it up to me, Erica. You just play it cool and be smart. You can do both, and I know that for a fact. I will see what I can find out," Lisa tells her.

"Thank you, Lisa, " Erica says as Lisa leaves.

"Take care of her, Jo. This has really messed with her mind. She actually called me 'Lisa' instead of 'Ms. Power-trip.' "

Knowing that Amanda is at work, Lisa heads to the stationhouse. When she gets there she calls Amanda into her office.

"What is this about, Captain?"

"I want to know more about your background," Lisa says.

"What do you need to know? You have my files, so anything you want to know is in there."

"I want to know more about you as a person, Amanda, not as a firefighter."

"No, Captain. My personal life is just that - mine. Unless you have questions about my work, then I think this discussion is over."

"Very well," says Lisa. "I can find out on my own. I thought you might like to fill me in. If I discover something that leads me to believe that you can't do your job properly, then I will suspend you."

"You won't find anything. I take my job seriously."

"You're dismissed, Amanda."

When Amanda leaves, Lisa pulls out Amanda's files. She goes through them very carefully. Everything seems to be in order. According to the files, Amanda has worked her way to second in command. Lisa thinks about what Jo said...that she didn't stay in one station long enough to have done it honestly. Lisa decides to make some phone calls.

After Lisa has called all of the previous stationhouses that Amanda has worked at, she calls Jo. She asks Jo if Nancy, Erica and Vicky are still there. When Jo tells her they are, Lisa says to keep them there because they all need to talk.

When Lisa arrives home, she tells everyone that she has learned a few things about Amanda by making some phone calls. Amanda did earn her promotions fairly, but there was always a hint of scandal surrounding her.

"What type of scandal are you talking about, Lisa?" Erica asks.

"The pornographic kind, Erica."

"So she made mistakes. Is that any reason to treat her like she is satan?"

"We've all made mistakes, Erica, but if she does something that will put my squad in any type of jeopardy, then I will deal with her personally," Lisa tells Erica.

"Erica, are you saying that we should just ignore what we saw earlier on the tape?" Vicky questions.

"No, not at all. That needs to be explained."

"You have really fallen hard for her, haven't you, Erica?" Jo asks.

"I do love her, Jo. I'm not sure what it is. There is something that just makes my stomach have


There is a knock at the door. When Lisa answers it, she finds Amanda standing there.

"Come in Amanda," Lisa says.

"You've got some explaining to do," Nancy growls when she sees Amanda.

Amanda sees the box that is the cover for the movie. She looks at Lisa as fear fills her eyes.

"I can explain, Captain," Amanda stammers.

"That would be a good idea."

"How many of these kind of tapes are out there, and what women are in them?" Nancy demands.

Amanda looks at Nancy with a blank look.

"They were shot in your bedroom, Amanda, so don't bother trying to deny it!" Nancy screams at her.

"Calm down, Nancy," Jo says. "Let Amanda do the explaining, starting with why she is here in the first place."

"I'm here because of what happened to the man I have taken over for," Amanda says.

Jo, Lisa, Nancy and Erica all watch as the blood drains from Vicky's face.

Amanda knows that this will not be easy, not after everything that has happened.

"What does this have to do with Chris?" Lisa asks.

"I'm not sure if you know this or not, but the drunk driver that hit the truck that day was an ex of mine," Amanda says.

"We do know that, so why don't you just say what you've come to say?" Vicky says in a barely controlled voice.

"I didn't know that she had died also until...until...."

"Until what, Amanda? What do you want to say?" Lisa prods.

"Not until the producer of the movie she was in called me at work," Amanda says.

"At work?! How in the hell did he know where to find you? You will not bring my stationhouse

or any members of my squadron into your little porno escapades, Amanda. You are hereby

suspended until further notice!" Lisa growls.

"What does that have to do with Chris?" Vicky asks, repeating Lisa's original question.

"When the tape was made, she wasn't aware of it. I did the same thing with Erica."

Erica hits the roof.

"You did what?! I will kill you with my bare hands, you heartless bitch!" Erica screams as she

lunges at Amanda.

Lisa stops Erica. Erica looks at Lisa for a moment.

"Let me go, Ms. Power-trip," Erica snarls.

"I see you are back to normal, Erica, but I will not let you commit murder in my home," Lisa

tells her.

Vicky is shaking as she says, "start talking, Amanda, or Lisa won't stop me the way she just stopped Erica."

Amanda looks at Vicky for a moment. She then looks at Lisa, but Lisa just stands there not saying a word.

"My ex found out that I had made the tape with her on it. I did not show her face, but she was out for revenge. She had gotten drunk and was on her way to find me. When she saw the truck, she thought I was in it. That's all I know."

"Your ex killed my husband because of you?" Vicky asks incredulously.

"My ex was after me, yes. Unfortunately, your husband paid the price," Amanda answers.

"Turn in your uniforms, Amanda. You will no longer be on suspension because you no longer have a job," Lisa growls through gritted teeth.

"You can't fire me for this, and you know it. I've done nothing to warrant a suspension or for you to fire me."

Lisa knows that Amanda is right.

"Unfortunately, you are correct Amanda. Be at the station first thing in the morning," Lisa snaps.

Amanda leaves. Vicky is shaking and Nancy wraps her arms around her to hold her close and offer comfort. Jo looks from Lisa to Erica.

"How do I stop her from releasing the tape she made the night she and I were together?" Erica asks.

"Payback's a bitch, ain't it Erica?" Jo says with sarcasm.

"That is your problem, for now, Erica. I will see what I can do about having her removed from my squad," Lisa says.

"I will contact a lawyer," Erica says.

"That would be smart, Erica," Jo says.

Erica leaves and Jo, Lisa, Nancy and Vicky just look at each other. No words are spoken because they each know what the other is thinking.

Chapter 35

Lisa goes to her higher ups but discovers that until Amanda does something that warrants her removal from the squad, there isn't anything that can be done.

Erica contacts a layer. She is told that unless the tape is released without her approval, nothing can be done.

After a few weeks have passed, with Amanda keeping her nose clean, Nancy is still suspicious.

She goes to Lisa's office to talk to her.

"I don't trust Amanda," she tells Lisa.

"Don't trust her with personal things, but trust her when she is on the job, Nancy. She is very good at her job, there is no doubt about that. I have worked here for a long time, I've seen people come in and go out, but none seemed as dedicated to the job as Amanda."

"I'm not used to working with someone I don't trust, Captain."

"I know the feeling. I've been doing some more checking into Amanda's background and have discovered some things that are very interesting. Get Vicky and you two meet me and Jo at our place tonight. I will call Erica and invite her, too."

"Erica? What does she have to do with this?"

"Maybe nothing, but I can't be positive. I have no use for Erica, considering the way she tried to break up my relationship with Jo, but I can't just leave her with her neck on the chopping block."

"After what happened with Chris, I figured you would be more than happy to cut her throat if given the chance."

"I don't like her one bit, do not make the mistake of thinking I've forgotten, but even Erica doesn't deserve to be made a porn star if it was against her will."

"You have a strong set of morals, Captain."

"Just contact Vicky and be at my home tonight," Lisa says, as she dismisses Nancy from her office.

Lisa calls Jo and tells her to contact Erica because they need to have a talk. She also informs Jo that Nancy and Vicky will be there as well.

Vicky and Nancy are already there, so Erica is the last to arrive. When Lisa informs them that she has done some more checking into Amanda's background, all are interested in what she discovered.

"Amanda was in the porn business. It was how she earned money when she lived on the streets. The only movies that starred her were B rated movies."

"B rated?" Erica asks.

"B rated as far as being pornographic is concerned, Erica."

"She got out of it about a year ago. She lost too many chances to make a real life for herself, so she left that world behind. Jo, do you still have the movies that she made?"

"Yeah, they are in the barn. I didn't want them in the house," Jo explains when she sees the confused looks.

"Why did you keep them?" Nancy asks.

"They were discovered by the P.I. that I had hired, so they belong to me. He did what I paid him to do, and they were part of what he discovered," Jo replies.

"Will you go and get them, Jo?" Lisa asks.

Jo goes to the barn and retrieves the movies. When she brings them back inside, Lisa looks at the titles.

"These are all the movies that she made," Lisa informs them.

"If she had no intention of making any more, then why use a hidden camera to capture her with another woman? Maybe those are all she intends to make that have men in them," Erica remarks.

"Because I wanted to remember that night with you, Erica," Amanda says.

All are surprised. They didn't know Amanda was there.

"I came by so I could talk to you, Captain. I saw Jo come in. The door didn't close completely and when I went to knock on it, I could hear you guys talking. I came in and only heard what you had told them and Erica's question," Amanda explains.

"Do you always walk into someone's home uninvited?" Jo snaps.

"No, I don't, but this time it seemed like I should."

"You have done nothing but talk in circles the last two times that I have seen you here," Vicky growls at Amanda, "so why don't you start explaining yourself. I'm really starting to lose any patience I may have while waiting on you to decide what you think we need to know."

"I will explain everything. I will not leave anything out."

"It's about time," Nancy barks.

Erica has not said a word since Amanda came in, and only stares at her when Amanda looks her way.

"Well, we're waiting," Lisa says with sarcasm.

"Here's the truth," Amanda starts.

Amanda knows that five people are listening. One of them is an ex lover (Nancy), one is her captain (Lisa), one is her new lover (Erica) and one lost her husband because of Amanda's actions (Vicky). She doesn't know how this will affect Jo, but she also knows that Jo is part of it because she is Lisa's "wife", Nancy's ex, Erica's ex and Vicky's best friend.

"I first got into the porn business because it was a way to make extra money. My job at the firestation didn't cover the medical expenses."

"You are covered by the firefighters insurance in any firestation," Lisa says.

"The medical expenses weren't for me, they were for my child."

"You don't have a child, Amanda," Nancy says.

"Yes, I do. I gave the child up for adoption, but I still had contact with the family and little boy."

"What do you mean 'you did'?" Jo asks warily.

"My son died a year ago."

"How is it that you still had contact? What aren't you telling us?" Vicky questions.

"It was an open adoption. He never knew that I was his birth mother. He thought I was a friend and he called me 'Aunt Mandy'."

"You never said anything about him being your son! You only told me that he was a friend's son!" Nancy exclaims.

By Nancy's reaction, Jo knows that Amanda is telling the truth.

"It wasn't your responsibility, Nancy. My son needed a bone marrow transplant, and since I didn't know who the father was, his medical bills began to escalate. I helped with what I could, but the money I earned as a firefighter wasn't enough."

"It was my responsibility, Amanda. When we got together your child became my child as well," Nancy says.

"Why are you just now admitting all of this, Amanda?" Jo wants to know.

"I got a call from a lawyer saying that if I used the tape I made with Erica, I would be sued. I have no intentions of using that tape or any other that I have."

"Other that you have? Just how many do you have, Amanda?" Vicky asks.

"Only two. The one with Erica and one with Nancy."

"What do you mean by 'one with Nancy'? You made a tape of me and you never told me?! I

should kill you with my bare hands right now," Nancy growls, as she lunges for Amanda.

Vicky grabs Nancy as Lisa steps in front of Amanda to stop Nancy.

"Well ,Amanda, it doesn't look like you have anyone here who wants to associate with you. Do your job and do it properly and you and I will have no problems. If it's not work related, I want nothing do do with you either," Lisa says in an even voice.

"Erica, are you still willing to have something to do with me?" Amanda questions.

"Answer me a couple of questions, and I will think about it. Why do you still have a tape of

Nancy and why did you make a tape of me?" Erica responds.

"I still have the tape of Nancy because she is the first person I felt that I was truly loved by. I wasn't unfaithful to you, Nancy, but the last night we were together I knew that I would have to be coming up with some extra cash. I also knew that you wouldn't agree to what I was asking, so that is why I asked for it to be that way. I knew you would say no. I took the easy way out. As for you, Erica, you are the first person I have been with since my son died, and the first person I've been with like that, where I wasn't doing it for money. I wanted to remember both, is why I kept the tapes."

"Why make the tapes at all?" Lisa asks.

"I don't know, Captain. I guess I've gotten so used to having the hidden camera in my room that I set it up without thinking."

"Think about this; you've hurt four people I care about and cost another his life. Lisa may stop Nancy, Erica and Vicky from getting to you, but there is no way she can stop me," Vicky growls. "Leave my home now before the coroner is called to remove you."

Amanda leaves. Lisa looks at Jo. She is surprised to see Jo's eyes without color. Jo is so angry with Amanda that the blue of her eyes has disappeared. Erica is in shock at what she has heard. She walks out the door and leaves without saying a word. Vicky tells Jo and Lisa that she will take Nancy home with her and take care of her tonight. Nancy is shaking so badly that she has trouble walking. Vicky places an arm around Nancy to help her to Vicky's car.

When everyone leaves, Jo walks up to Lisa and wraps her arms around her.

" I believe Amanda was telling the truth, based on Nancy's reaction," Jo tells her.

"I will be checking into her story," Lisa says. "Right now, though, all I want is a hot shower and for you to hold me."

"That sounds like a good idea," Jo replies

Vicky takes Nancy home with her. She makes sure Nancy gets a shower as she prepares dinner. After the shower and dinner, they are sitting on the sofa. Vicky asks Nancy if she is okay.

"Yes, just shaken and surprised by what we've learned," answers Nancy.

"It was a surprise," Vicky responds.

"I hadn't expected anything like what Jo learned and then for Amanda to admit to it...well it just blew me away."

"I understand how you feel. If Amanda hadn't done those things, Chris would still be alive."

"I know this wasn't easy for you, Vicky. I do appreciate you bringing me here and telling Jo and Lisa that you would take care of me, but I think it may be too much for you right now."

"Why do you say that Nancy?"

"You still miss your husband and you're still dealing with his death. I think you need to concentrate on taking care of you right now."

"I am taking care of me. Helping you is also helping me, Nancy."

"I'm going to be honest with you Vicky, when I was here before, helping you, I fell for you. I want to lay in your arms tonight. I want to make sweet, passionate love with you. I want..."

"I'm straight Nancy. If I wasn't, then maybe we would have a chance."

"You've never been attracted to another woman?"

"You know I have. I was attracted to Jo. I think it was just curiosity to begin with. I'm blessed to have Jo in my life. Jo is my best friend and has overlooked many mistakes that I have made. Not once has she ever walked away from me."

"What if Jo had returned your attraction?"

"It's a moot point. I was...married and Jo was with Lisa."

"I've told Jo this and now I will tell you, I don't think you are straight ,Vicky. Bi maybe, but not straight."

"You know what happened between Erica and me. That broke me from ever thinking of another woman in that way."

"Not every woman is like Erica. Let me show you what I mean," Nancy says, as she leans into Vicky and gently kisses her.

Vicky starts to pull away, but stops. She lets Nancy kiss her.

"I'm not like Erica. I will not force anything and roughness isn't my style, I think you've figured that much out already," Nancy tells her.

"I know you aren't like Erica, Nancy."

Nancy kisses Vicky once more, but this time it's a longer kiss. Vicky doesn't try to pull away or stop her, instead, Vicky returns Nancy's kiss.

"I want you, Vicky. I want to make love with you tonight. It will be nothing like what Erica did to you. If you're not ready, if it's too soon since you lost Chris, please say so now."

"I did enjoy your kiss very much, Nancy. Is it too soon? I'm not sure if it's too soon or if I even want to chance it with another firefighter. You're also a woman. Like Jo and Lisa, you were very gentle with your kiss. None of the three of you are like Erica."

"Lisa and Jo?"

"I have kissed both of them but it has gone no further and they both know when, where and why it happened. It isn't like we keep secrets from each other."

"Okay. Back to us now," Nancy starts.

"There is no us, Nancy. I don't think there ever will be. I don't think we will be anything more than friends at any point. Can you accept that?"

"If I have to, then, yes, I can accept it, but I don't think I have to. I think it is too soon, added to the fact that I'm a woman and not a man. Tonight, even though I want you very much, I will settle for you just holding me, taking care of me, like you told Jo and Lisa you would."

"I will take care of you Nancy. When I hold you, I will be holding you to comfort you, like the way you held me to comfort me after Chris died, but nothing more."

"I can accept that, Vicky. As long as I'm in your arms tonight, I will accept whatever terms you want to place on it. I know that one day you will not be holding me for comfort, you will be holding me out of passion and desire."

"How can you say that, Nancy? Right now, I couldn't care less about passion and desire."

"I can say that because, even though this is too soon, you want me."

"I want you?"

"You haven't denied it or said anything that would make me think differently."

Vicky knows that Nancy is right, on all accounts. She had underestimated just how much Nancy could sense. She also knows that she has to be absolutely sure of herself before getting involved with Nancy in a romantic way. She decides that she needs to talk to Jo. For right now though, she and Nancy both need to get some sleep.

"Are you ready to go to bed," Vicky asks.

"Yes," answers Nancy.

They go to bed and lie there for a moment. Nancy moves so that she is propped on one elbow, looking at Vicky.

"What?," Vicky asks.

Nancy gives her a slight smile before she kisses Vicky once more.

"Goodnight, Princess," Nancy says as she wraps one arm around Vicky and snuggles up next to her.

Chapter 36

The next morning, Vicky goes in search of Jo. Vicky explains what happened the night before with Nancy.

"I told her NOT to make a move on you," Jo says through gritted teeth.

"She didn't. She only told me how she feels," Vicky states.

"How do you feel?" Jo asks Vicky.

"Honestly? Right now, I'm mixed up, Jo. It's been so long since I've felt wanted, since I've been held, the way Nancy held me, and since I've felt any type of sexual desire, that I'm not really sure how I feel."

"Do you want Nancy?"

"In a way, yes, but in a way, no."

"What do you mean?"

"I've started to have the desire to be touched, to be held, to make love with someone again, but Nancy is another firefighter and a woman."

"What scares you more, the fact that Nancy is a firefighter or a woman?"

"I'm not sure, Jo. I don't want to lose someone again the way I lost Chris. After what happened with Erica, I don't think I want a woman."

"You are more scared because she is a woman. You could lose anyone the same way you lost Chris. You lost Chris because of an auto accident, not because he was a firefighter. You're scared that every woman will be like Erica, therefore you won't take the chance. Take it from me, Vicky, Nancy is nothing like Erica. Nancy is gentle and tender. She will not force anything. When, and if, you make love with Nancy, you will see what I mean."

"Do you remember what is was like when you made love with Nancy for the first time, Jo?"

"Yes, I do. I remember it very well."

"Would you mind telling me about it?" Vicky asks, hesitantly.

Jo explains how gentle and tender Nancy was the first time they made love. She also tells Vicky about the first time she made love with Erica. It is obvious to Vicky that Nancy and Erica are totally different in their love making styles. What neither Jo nor Vicky realize is that Lisa has been listening to the entire conversation.

Lisa steps into the room, surprising both of them.

"I think," Lisa says, "that if you want to try a relationship with Nancy, that you tell her everything up front."

"What everything?" Vicky questions. "She knows everything already. I haven't kept things from her or lied to her. She knows that I've kissed you both. What are you talking about, Lisa?"

"Tell her what you've told Jo, that you are starting to have sexual desires once more, that you enjoyed the way she held you and make sure she knows that it would be too soon for you to get into a serious relationship. Make sure she knows that it isn't because she is a firefighter."

"I knew that I could count on you two to put things into perspective for me," Vicky says. "I thank you both for being such good friends."

After giving both Lisa and Jo a hug, Vicky leaves. After she is gone, Lisa turns to Jo.

"Do you remember the first time with every woman that you've ever been with," Lisa asks in a voice that is filled with both hurt and accusation.

"No, I don't. You know that I was a player Lisa. Most of the women were not important to me, they were just a way of getting my needs met."

"So only if they were important."


"You only remember the first time if they were important to you."

"No. What is wrong?"

"I heard you describe your first time with Erica, as well as with Nancy. Your first time with Nancy was almost identical to the first time we made love."

"No, it wasn't. I remember my first time with Erica because she was my first lover. I remember my first time with Nancy because she was my first love. There is nothing similar between the first time I made love with Nancy and the first time I made love with you, Lisa."

"Yes, there is. Your first time with Nancy was us all over again, just a change of partners," Lisa says in a pain filled voice. "The patience, the gentleness, the tenderness that you showed me was the same as Nancy showed you."

"I love you, Lisa, why wouldn't I wait? Why wouldn't I be gentle and tender? It isn't like you had ever been with a woman before," Jo says, becoming defensive.

"You didn't tell me any of the things you just told Vicky and I'm wondering why," Lisa responds.

"You didn't ask. Have I ever done anything that you didn't want me to do, Lisa? Have I ever been rough or in a hurry?"

"No, because that would remind you of Erica. Now I'm wondering if you make love to me the way you do because it reminds you of Nancy."

"I'm not believing this! I'm not going to have this discussion with you, Lisa. Ask Grant if he thinks of anyone besides Anna when he makes love to her. I mean, after all, it's done the same way with the same result," Jo says as she leaves, leaving Lisa to think about what she has just said.

Meanwhile, Vicky goes to the stationhouse and asks Nancy if she will come to dinner that night.

"I will be there," Nancy responds, with enthusiasm.

"There is something we need to talk about," Vicky tells her.

"What is that?" asks Nancy. "Is it something that we can't discuss here?"

"Yes, it is. It has to do with last night."

"Okay, I will come to dinner. What time should I be there?"

Before Vicky can answer, the alarm rings and Nancy has to go.

Vicky has unknowingly followed the firetruck. She is horror stricken when she realizes that the fire was at her own home. Vicky calls Jo and Lisa with the news. Jo is not in, but Lisa doesn't hesitate in telling Vicky that she can stay with them. Vicky accepts the offer. When she gets off of the phone with Lisa, Vicky approaches Nancy.

"I guess our dinner plans will have to wait until another night," Vicky says.

"It looks that way," Nancy remarks. "Where will you stay tonight?"

"Lisa has invited me to stay with her and Jo, for now. I will be at their place until I can find a new one of my own."

Lisa pulls up to find out what has happened.

"I had a roast in the oven," Vicky tells Lisa.

"I will make sure that it's checked out thoroughly," Lisa responds.

"Where's Jo?" Vicky asks.

"I don't know," Lisa says looking at Nancy. "Jo and I had a disagreement and she left."

"Do you think that she went to the cabin?" Vicky questions.

"No," Lisa responds. "Her car wasn't at home when I left."

Nancy doesn't say anything, but she does notice the way Lisa is looking at her. She can't put her finger on it, but something isn't right.

Nancy has gone back to the station to shower and change, telling Vicky that she will see her soon. Vicky follows Lisa home and doesn't let Lisa sidestep what is going on with Jo once they are inside.

"What is it that has Jo upset?" Vicky wants to know.

"I heard her describe the first time that she made love with Nancy and I told her that it was the same as when she and I first made love," Lisa answers.

"No, you didn't. Tell me that you didn't do that Lisa," Vicky replies in disbelief.

"Yes, I did."

Vicky rolls her eyes and throws her hands in the air.

"This is just great. Nancy is going to come by so that I can talk to her and you are comparing your lovemaking with Jo to Jo's lovemaking with Nancy. Maybe staying here isn't such a good idea."

"Where will you go?" Lisa questions.

"I can stay in the hotel," Vicky tells her.

"Then, you really would have trouble. Amanda is staying in the hotel while her house has another room built onto it. Would you rather deal with Nancy, Jo and me or Amanda and Nancy?"

"This isn't happening. I can't go to the hotel. I do not wish to deal with Amanda - ever. I can't stay here. I don't want problems between you and Jo because of Nancy."

"There won't be any problems between Jo and me. We can handle Nancy. I like Nancy. I think she would be perfect for you Vicky, when you're ready to get involved again."

"I'm ready on a certain level, but I know that level isn't fair to anyone, especially not Nancy. I don't want a one night stand, but I also know that I'm in no way ready for a commitment of any kind."

"Explain that to Nancy and makes sure she understands just how far you're willing to go," Jo states, surprising them both. Neither one had heard her come home.

They fill Jo in on what has happened and Lisa tells Jo that she has invited Vicky to stay with them.

"I think that's a very good idea," Jo says.

Vicky fills Jo in on the fact that Nancy will be coming by for a talk.

"That's fine, Vicky. I will go to the cabin so that you and Nancy have some time to talk," Jo says.

"I will go with Jo in order to give you and Nancy some privacy," Lisa states.

When Nancy does arrive, moments later, both Jo and Lisa leave.

"What's this about?" Nancy wants to know.

"It's about us," Vicky responds.

As Vicky and Nancy sit down to talk, Jo and Lisa go to the cabin. Once there, Jo refuses to speak to Lisa.

"Why won't you speak to me, Jo?" Lisa asks.

Jo just turns away, as if she hasn't heard Lisa.

"Don't do this, Jo. Talk to me. What are you thinking?'

Finally, Jo turns to look at Lisa and to answer her. What comes out of Jo's mouth isn't what Lisa had ever expected to hear.

"You think that the way we make love reminds me of Nancy, that the first time you and I made love was just like the first time I made love with Nancy. You are convinced that they are identical, so go make love with Nancy. Leave me alone for now, Lisa."

After saying this, Jo walks out of the cabin and heads to the barn. Lisa is stunned. Never did she expect to hear the anger in Jo's voice. What's worse, she could also hear the pain. Lisa heads back to the main house without thinking about the fact that Nancy and Vicky are there.

Inside, Vicky is explaining things to Nancy.

"It wouldn't be fair to you for me to start a relationship with you, Nancy. I'm not ready for a serious involvement," Vicky says.

"It doesn't have to be serious, not at first," is Nancy's reply.

"Not at first? You would expect it to become serious at some point, though."

"I think that if we take things slow and keep things light, at first, we could have something very beautiful."

"Nancy, I'm not sure that I want a relationship with you. On one hand, I do want you, but that isn't something that I'm ready to trust. On the other, I'm not sure that you would be what is right for me."

"Why don't you think I would be right for you?"

"Sexually, I don't think we are compatible and it isn't because you're another woman. Jo and Lisa have no problems with that issue and they are both women."

"Why are we not compatible, Vicky?"

"When we were just finding out about Amanda's past, you stated that there are certain things that you would not do. Those certain things just happen to be certain things that I've shared with my husband and that I do find enjoyable."

"What certain things are you talking about, Vicky?"

"With Chris, I learned to enjoy the occassional spanking, the teasing, anal sex and even bondage."

Nancy gets up and walks to where Vicky is sitting.

"Maybe, with the right person, I could learn to enjoy them, too," Nancy whispers huskily as she leans down to kiss Vicky.

Vicky returns her kiss. Nancy sits beside Vicky, without breaking the kiss, and takes Vicky in her arms. Overcome with desire, Vicky pulls back.

"I want you, Nancy. It is only sexual desire, though," Vicky says, with all honesty.

"It has to start somewhere," Nancy responds, as she kisses Vicky once more.

Lisa has come back into the house, but Nancy and Vicky are so caught up in each other that they fail to realize it. Lisa stays behind a wall, peering around the corner, while listening. "Jo wasn't anything like that the first time we made love," Lisa thinks. Lisa knows that staying, watching and listening is perverted, but she can't help herself. What else was different and how could she accuse Jo of recreating the relationship that Jo had with Nancy by being with Lisa?

As Nancy continues to kiss Vicky, she lets her hands drift down Vicky's sides, until they reach the bottom of Vicky's shirt. Vicky reaches to remove Nancy's shirt. Nancy doesn't try to stop her. She removes Vicky's shirt and enjoys the view of Vicky in only a bra. Vicky removes Nancy's shirt, kissing her once more and starts to run her hands down Nancy's chest. All of a sudden, Vicky stops.

"What's wrong?" Nancy asks, concerned.

"'re not flat chested," Vicky stutters.

"No, I'm not. Vicky, it's Nancy, not Chris."

"I know that you're not Chris."

"You weren't expecting me to have breasts? Vicky, we have seen each other many times, maybe not undressed, or anything close to that until now, but you have always known that I'm not flat chested."

"I know, Nancy. I do want to be with you, it';s just...."

"Just what?"

"You know that Erica is the only other woman I've ever been with. You're nothing like Erica. You are being so gentle, so..."

Nancy silences Vicky with a kiss. She reaches her arms around Vicky to remover her bra. Vicky reaches to remove Nancy's, but fumbles with it. Nancy unclasps it for Vicky and lets Vicky remove it from her.

Lisa is watching this, while remembering how gentle Jo was. It was gentle in a way that Nancy's gentleness isn't. Feeling guilty, Lisa makes her way quietly out of the house. She goes to the barn, in search of Jo.

As Lisa leaves, undetected, Nancy takes Vicky into her arms, pressing her breasts into Vicky. Vicky is thrilled by the difference in Nancy and Erica. Erica didn't do anything like this. Vicky feels the same way she felt the first time she made love with Chris.

Vicky brings her hands up between her and Nancy and places them on Nancy's breast. Nancy lets out a moan and returns the favor. After caressing Vicky's breasts for a few moments, she once more kisses Vicky, as her hands drift to Vicky's skirt. Nancy slides her hands up Vicky's thighs, caressing them as she goes. Vicky's moans let Nancy know of her approval. Vicky pulls Nancy closer to her, as she runs her hands down Nancy's back and grasps her buttocks. Nancy doesn't object when Vicky reaches to unfasten Nancy's pants.

Nancy has let her hand drift to the inside of Vicky's thighs and up to her undies. Vicky slides a hand into Nancy's pants and run her fingers over the undies Nancy is wearing. Nancy can see the slight confusion in Vicky's face.

"It's okay. No, I don't have a penis, but this can and will be very enjoyable," Nancy tells Vicky.

Nancy slides the skirt and undies off of Vicky. Vicky slides her hand into Nancy's undies and begins to feel the pubic hairs and wetness of her. Nancy tells Vicky to lie back and to just enjoy this first time.

"No, I want to please you as well, Nancy."

Nancy lets Vicky remove her pants and undies. Vicky stares at Nancy for a moment. Nancy pushes Vicky back onto the sofa and buries her head between Vicky's legs. Vicky is very much enjoying the feel of Nancy's tongue on her clit while Nancy's fingers find their way into Vicky. Vicky reaches down to caress Nancy's breasts once more. Nancy rises off of Vicky to allow Vicky more access. Nancy then spreads Vicky legs and gets into the scissors position, while fondling Vicky's breasts.

They continue in this position until both have cum and are spent. As they lie in the arms of one another, Vicky speaks first.

"That was unlike ANYTHING I have ever known before, Nancy."

"I told you that it would be enjoyable. I know that you're not ready for anything serious, yet, but, I think this is a good start for us."

"What do you mean?"

"You have trusted me in a way that you haven't anyone else, not even Erica. You were drunk when you were with Erica, so that doesn't count, as far as I'm concerned. I know that this is the first time, sexually, since Chris died. I just think that as long as there is no pressure, for anything more than you're willing to give, we have a chance."

Jo and Lisa have come back into the house and are shocked to see Vicky and Nancy. Jo turns away red faced and leaves the room. Lisa follows Jo and has enough sense not to open her mouth. Vicky and Nancy burst into laughter.

"I forgot that I was a guest in their home," Vicky says, trying to stop laughing.

"Jo is my ex and Lisa is my boss. This is just fantastic!," Nancy exclaims, but continues laughing.

When Lisa reaches the bedroom she shares with Jo, she tells Jo that they need to talk.

Jo continues to ignore Lisa, which is driving Lisa crazy. Vicky and Nancy decide to take a shower - together.

"Jo, will you sit down and talk to me"? Lisa asks.

Jo walks out of the bedroom, goes to the kitchen, fixes a glass of tea and takes it out to the patio. Lisa follows Jo. She talks as Jo just stands there. Lisa isn't sure that Jo is actually listening to her, but knows that she can hear her.

"What you and I share is nothing like what you shared with Nancy. The way we make love, well, it isn't like the way you and Nancy made love."

Jo looks at Lisa, slightly confused, and Lisa knows that Jo is listening to her, even though Jo refuses to say a word. Jo sits at the table that is on the patio and just looks at Lisa. Lisa sits as well and continues talking.

"I know now that the gentleness you have shown me is because you love me, Jo. Nancy is gentle, but not in the same way you are. No, I haven't slept with Nancy, and I don't intend to, but I was in the house when she and Vicky first started to become intimate. I didn't see anything that you haven't. I left when they started to remove clothing."

"You were going to watch?!", Jo says, finally speaking.

"No, I wasn't going to watch. When you left the cabin, I came back to the house. I didn't think about Vicky and Nancy being here. They did not see me, but I saw them. Like I said, Nancy was gentle, but not in the way that you are, Jo."

Meanwhile, in the shower, Nancy can't keep her hands off of Vicky. She begins by simply washing Vicky's back and that truns into another round of love making in the shower. Vicky knows that Nancy has shown her something that was only in her imagination, but that she also needs to remind Nancy that it's only sex, at least for now.

"Nancy, you've made me feel wanted, loved, like I'm not alone. I do like you, a great deal, and it's more than just friendship, but, I'm not ready for anything serious, at least, not yet."

"I know that, Vicky. I'm not asking you for more than you're willing to give. I know that you're not ready, emotionally, for anything serious. I must admit, though, I thoroughtly enjoy making love to you. If this is all we can have for now, then I will accept that."

"I do enjoy being with you, Nancy, but I also want to be fair. I don't thinks it's fair to keep you hoping for something that may never happen."

"It will happen, Vicky. I believe in you, I believe in me and more importantly, I believe in us."

"There is no "us". What we've shared today doesn't mean that I'm ready for more, Nancy."

"In a way, there is and I know that there will be. Right now, you need to grieve for Chris and when you're ready, I'll be waiting. I love you, Vicky."

"I'm not ready to say anything close to that, Nancy. I do care about you, a great deal, but I'm not in love with you. I don't mean to sound cruel, but I'm not ready to say that and, in all honesty, I'm not ready to hear that either," Vicky says, as she gets out of the shower.

'I understand, Vicky. What we've shared today gives us something to build on."

"You can't build a relationship on good sex, Nancy."

"I know that and I wasn't talking about the sex. I meant the honesty that we've shared. The sex was a bonus."

On the patio, Lisa has manged to get Jo to talk to her.

"Jo, I wasn't going to watch Vicky and Nancy make love. What I did see and hear was enough to show me that in no way are you trying to recreate the relationship you had with Nancy."

"I love you, Lisa. If I wanted what I had with Nancy again, I could have easily gotten back together with her."

"I know that, Jo. I know that you love me and only me and that what we have, and have shared, is in no way like a past relationship that you've had. I love you so very much, Jo."

Vicky and Nancy step out onto the patio.

"I'm sorry for...," Vicky starts, but Jo silences her.

"It's okay Vicky. We left you two to talk, but I didn't realize the language you would be using would be body language," Jo says, teasingly.

"I didn't...," Vicky starts once again.

"It's okay Vicky," Jo and Lisa say in unison.

"Will this affect my job, Captain," Nancy asks Lisa.

"Why should it? What you do in your private life is none of my business, unless it concerns Jo. In a way, this does concern Jo. Vicky is Jo's best friend, and it is our home that you made love to Vicky in, but, to answer your question, no, Nancy, this will not affect your job in any way. Relax. Oh yeah, we're off duty, you're in my home, so call me Lisa."

"Thank you"

Vicky, Jo and Lisa laugh.

"It will be okay, Nancy, just don't call me Lisa at work, ok?"

"Deal Lisa."

Chapter 37

A couple of weeks have passed. The fire at Vicky's was due to a shortage in the oven's power cord. Vicky has continued to stay with Lisa and Jo. She has been seeing Nancy during this time, but still isn't ready for a serious relationship. There is a distance between Jo and Lisa and Vicky can sense it. Finally, Vicky asks Jo if it would better if she left.

"No, it wouldn't be better, Vicky. What is going on between Lisa and myself has nothing to do with you," Jo tells her.

"There seems to be a distance between you two and it started the day I moved in, after you two saw Nancy and me naked."

"Don't be ridiculous. What is going on has nothing to do with you and Nancy."

"I'm not so sure about that."

At the stationhouse, Nancy has entered Lisa's office.

"Captain, can I talk to you a moment?"

"Sure, Nancy. What's wrong?"

"Vicky says that there is something going on between you and Jo and I was wondering if there was any way that I could help."

"No, there isn't. Thank you for your offer, however."

"If you want to talk, I'm here."

Lisa gives Nancy a strange look.

"I was involved with Jo at one point, so I'm offering as a friend. I know how she can be. She is the most stubborn woman I have ever met."

"Yes, Nancy, she is stubborn, but I don't think this is something you should concern yourself with," Lisa says.

"I am concerned with this Captain. It concerns Vicky, whom I love."

"It doesn't concern Vicky."

"Yes, it does. Jo is Vicky's best friend and whatever is going on between you and Jo apparently concerns Vicky."

Back at the house, Vicky and Jo continue to talk.

"You know what happened already. Lisa told you and I know it," Jo says.

"Lisa told me that she accused you of recreating your relationship with Nancy by using Lisa as a stand-in."

"She told you that I am using her as a stand-in?!" Jo exclaims in disbelief.

"Those are my words, Jo, not Lisa's."

"Did she also tell you that I told her to sleep with Nancy or that she had come back into the house the night you and Nancy made love for the first time?" Jo asks, snidely.

"Knock of the attitude, Jo. What do you mean when you say that Lisa came back in the house? Did she intend to watch us?"

"She says no, and I belive her. Lisa and I were already fighting, and when I left the cabin, she says she came back to the house without thinking of the fact that you and Nancy were here."

"I can believe that, very easily. Lisa loves you, Jo. I think that you should go to the firestation and talk to her."

At the stationhouse, Lisa has told Nancy the exact same thing that Jo has just told Vicky.

"Jo is very impulsive, Captain. Sometimes her hurt comes across as anger."

"You know what, Nancy? I think she meant it."

"No, she didn't mean it. I know how Jo thinks, or rather, doesn't think. Jo was a fireball when we were together and apparently hasn't changed. She has the tendancy to speak without thinking."

"This time, she thought first. Look, it's time for shift change and we can discuss this later, at some place where this is appropriate."

"I'm going to your house to see Vicky, so why don't we finish it there?"

When Nancy and Lisa walk in together, Jo turns and walks out of the room with a disgusted look on her face. Vicky watches her go with a confused look on her face. As Vicky turns back to Lisa and Nancy, she realizes what Jo must have thought.

"You two didn't sleep together, did you?" Vicky questions.

"No, we didn't," Lisa snaps. "If you will think for yourself for a moment, you will remember that I'm Nancy's captain."

"Easy, Lisa," Nancy warns. "Just because you're upset with Jo, don't take it out on Vicky."

"You're right, Nancy. I'm sorry, Vicky."

"Go talk to Jo. You two need to settle things," Vicky says to her.

Lisa goes to the bedroom where Jo is and tries to talk to Jo, but Jo ignores her and walks out. As she reaches the living room and begins to pass Nancy, she gives her a look that is hard and cold, yet filled with pain, too.

"Stop it, Jo," Nancy says in a calm, even voice. "I know that you told Lisa to sleep with me, but she is my captain and I love Vicky, More importantly, Lisa loves you. I have not and do not intend to sleep with Lisa."

"She is only your captain when you're at the firestation. It doesn't matter whether you love Vicky or whether Lisa loves me. You want her, Nancy? Go for it. I won't stand in your way," Jo snaps, before walking out of the house.

"I give up! There is no getting through to that woman!" Lisa exclaims.

"Let me talk to her and see if I can get through to her," Vicky tells Lisa.

"No, Vicky, you stay here and talk to Lisa and I will talk to Jo," Nancy interjects.

Nancy follows Jo to the barn. Jo is aware that Nancy has followed her, but doesn't say anything.

"What is going on with you, Jo"? Nancy asks.

"Nothing," snaps Jo.

"Drop the attitude, Jo. I know that you're hurting and that it's coming across as anger, but what I want to know is why you're hurting?"

"You know exactly why, Nancy."

"You think that I slept with Lisa. You couldn't be more wrong. Lisa is my captain and my friend and that's it. I love Vicky and she is who I want."

"If you didn't sleep with Lisa, then why hasn't she touched me in more than two weeks?"

"What are you talking about, Jo?"

"She hasn't touched me since she saw you and Vicky naked and I know she understands the attraction you and I had. Besides that, I told her to sleep with you."

"I know that you told her to sleep with me, but that hasn't and won't happen. Do you think she is attracted to Vicky?"

"No, it isn't Vicky, it's you Nancy. I want to believe you...that she hasn't slept with you, but I have my doubts."

"Do you think I'm lieing to you?"

"I don't know what to think. Just leave me alone, Nancy."

Nancy respects Jo's wishes and leaves her alone in the barn. As Nancy goes back inside, she can here Vicky and Lisa talking.

"Jo hasn't touched me in more than two weeks," Lisa is saying.

"Do you have any idea why?" Vicky asks.

"Yes, I do. She saw you and Nancy and it brought back the memories of her and Nancy. She wants Nancy."

"That's where you're wrong Lisa," Nancy says, announcing her presence. "She thinks that you want me."

"I think that you and Jo should have a long talk, Lisa," Vicky states.

"I don't think it would do any good to talk at this point," Lisa reples.

"I agree with Vicky," Nancy says. "You need to go to Jo and you two need to straighten this out. She is in the barn."

Chapter 38

Lisa goes to the barn to talk to Jo. Jo takes one look at Lisa and turns away.

"We need to talk, Jo."

"No, we don't, Lisa. There is nothing for us to talk about," Jo says, as she heads to the cabin.

Lisa can hear the hurt in Jo's voice and doesn't try to stop her, but does follow her.

"Do you remember the first time you brought me here, Jo? It was when you asked me about my fantasies. You made those a reality for me that night."

"I remember, Lisa. Now, Nancy can make your fantasies a reality."

Lisa walks to where Jo is standing and wraps her arms around Jo. Even though she just wants to lie in Lisa's arms, Jo remains stiff.

"Nancy can't make my fantasies a reality, Jo. There is only one woman that I have ever let touch me and that is you. I have told you things that I've never told anyone, not even Ryan."

"I may be the only woman that has touched you so far, but you are looking to change that!"

"What in the hell are you talking about, Jo?"

"You want Nancy. You have since you saw her and Vicky naked. That's why you haven't touched me since that night."

"I could say the same thing to you, Jo. You saw Nancy in a way that you haven't in years. It brought back the memories of the love you two shared and that is the reason that you haven't touched me."

"Damn it, Lisa! How many times do I have to tell that I don't want Nancy," Jo says through gritted teeth.

"Why haven't you touched me then, Jo? Have you gotten bored with me?"

Jo grabs Lisa and gives her a hard, passionate kiss.

"Does that feel like I'm bored with you, Lisa?"

Lisa looks at Jo for a moment. Never has Jo touched her in such a forceful manner. Lisa isn't sure what Jo is capable of and isn't sure how to respond. Jo can sense Lisa's fear. Placing a hand on Lisa's cheek, Jo very tenderly leans in to Lisa and kisses her.

"Don't ever be frightened of me, Lisa. I would never hurt you."

"I don't think you would, Jo, at least not on purpose."

"I have been hurt before by someone who did it, both intentionally and unintentionally. Why do you think that I'm so careful? It isn't because I want Nancy. If I wanted her, I could have her with no problems. I want you, Lisa. I love you."

"You're careful because you don't want to hurt me? I never thought of it that way."

"You said it yourself, I'm the only woman you've ever let touch you, I know what it's like to be hurt by both a man and a woman. Neil was the man who raped me, Erica was someone who supposedly loved me, yet she hurt me. I never want you to go through any of that. Remember the night that I taught you about having sex for the sake of sex?"

"I remember that night very well."

"Even then I was careful. I only showed you a hint of my "wild side" as you call it. You have to trust that when the time is right, I will show you everything that you want to know."

In the house, Nancy and Vicky are talking.

"Do you think that Lisa wants you?" Vicky asks Nancy.

"No, I don't and it wouldn't matter even if she did. I love you, Vicky. I know that you're not ready to hear that, but it's true."

"It's okay, Nancy. Just don't say it too often. Let me come to terms with everything between us, the feelings is what I mean."

"I told you that I would be here when you're ready and I meant it. We will go at your pace."

"Thank you for understanding."

"I do understand. I will be here if you ever need to talk. I'm your friend as well as your lover."

"I know that, Nancy. I don't think you know just how much I appreciate you or your patience."

"You're worth the wait, Vicky. I don't think you realize just how precious you are to me."

Back in the cabin, Jo and Lisa continue talking.

"I love you more than you will ever know, Lisa. You have made me feel like love is real, not just a secondary emotion."

"A secondary emotion? What do you mean, Jo?"

"Sex was alway the most important thing, or so it seemed. Only Nancy treated me like I was more than just a sex object, but some of the things she said made me wonder."

"I've never seen you as just a sex object, Jo. You were my friend before anything else. You made it clear that you were interested, but you never asked for any more than I was ready to give at any time."

"I know what you're saying and I do understand, but to be completely honest, these past couple of weeks have made me wonder if a lesbian sex educator is all I am to you."

"What do you mean?"

"You haven't touched me or acted like you want me since the night you saw Nancy and Vicky together. Are you wondering if maybe Nancy can teach you something new? Do you want to try a different woman and compare the techniques?" Jo asks, as her voice fills with pain.

"No, I don't want Nancy or any other woman. There is only one woman for me, Jo, and that woman is you. I can tell you without being with another woman that no one could ever compare to you. Your love and your way of loving are priceless."

"I do love you, Lisa. I don't want you to ever doubt that or think that I want another woman in my bed."

"I love you, too, Jo. I could never let another woman touch me. What do I need with the rest when I have the best?"

Jo laughs at this remark and kisses Lisa very tenderly.

"Let Nancy and Vicky stay in the house tonight, Jo."

"What do you have in mind, Lisa?"

"I was thinking that maybe we should live out some more of our fantasies," Lisa says with a mischevious smile.

"I like the way you think," Jo says and finally relaxes in Lisa's arms.

Chapter 39

Lisa has suggested that they shower at the house.

"You don't wnat to take a warm bath here at the cabin?" Jo asks.

"I haven't forgotten what it was like the first time, but why should you drag the tub in when we can take a shower in the house while we get clothes for tomorrrow?"

"You have a point. Lets go get clothes. You can shower first."

"We can shower together," Lisa tells her as she pulls Jo in closer and kisses her once more.

"Shower together? You have to remember I'm an innocent, Ms. Spencer. I have never done such a thing as shower with someone before," Jo says playfully.

"Yeah, right, whatever," Lisa says as she rolls her eyes and laughs.

"I love you, Lisa. I love you more than I can say and more than you will ever know."

"I love you, too, Jo. You will never know just how much you mean to me."

They go back to the house and find Nancy about to leave.

"You don't have to leave, Nancy. Stay here with Vicky tonight," Lisa says.

Both Nancy and Vicky look from Lisa to Jo.

"Lisa is right. Stay here with Vicky tonight, Nancy. Lisa and I will be in the cabin."

"Cabin?" asks Nancy.

"Vicky knows where it is, but I don't think you need to, Nancy," Lisa says. "If there is some emergency, then tell her how to get to it, Vicky, otherwise you two will have the house to yourselves tonight.

Nancy stands there with a blank look on her face.

"It's okay, Nancy. It's just that the cabin is my private sanctuary. Only Lisa, Vicky, Grant and Anna know where it is and I would prefer to keep it that way," Jo tells her.

"I understand, Jo. I'm just shocked that you want me to stay with Vicky here, in your house," Nancy says.

"The first time you made love to Vicky you did it in my house. Look, Nancy, we are over, Vicky is my best friend and you work for my wife. I'm fine with you staying here," Jo tells her.

"Okay, if Vicky wants me to stay," Nancy replies, while looking at Vicky.

"Yes, I would very much like for you to stay, Nancy," Vicky tells her.

"Then it's settled," says Lisa. "Jo and I are going to take a shower, get some clothes for tomorrow and then go back to the cabin." Taking Jo by the hand to lead her to the bedroom, Lisa says jokingly over her shoulder, "Don't do anything that we wouldn't do"

Jo pokes Lisa and they both laugh. As they are getting in the shower, Lisa makes a suggestion to Jo.

"I have been thinking. What would you say if I told you that I'm thinking about giving the home I have to Vicky?" Lisa asks.

"Are you sure you want to do that, Lisa? That was the home that you shared with Ryan."

"The home that I shared with Ryan got burned, remember. This was built as a memoral to him, but I think it would be of more use if I let Vicky have it."

"What about Grant, what do you think he will say?"

"I'm not worried about Grant. I own the land and rightfully own the house, even though he had it built. I don't think he will object."

"Run the idea by Vicky. She may not want it."

Jo and Lisa finish their shower, gather clothes for the next day and return to the living room.

"Vicky," Lisa says, "you have been staying with Jo and me and we enjoy having you here. I know that you have been looking for a place of your own. I've got an offer for you. My house was rebuilt as a memoral to Ryan, but I think it would be a better memoral if someone actually lived there. How would you like to move in?"

"Are you sure about this, Lisa?" Vicky asks, amazed that Lisa would make such an offer.

"Yes, I am. You are a member of my family and it's not just because of Chris and Jo. I have come to know the true Vicky. If you would like to have it, I will have the deed to the land and home put in your name."

"Wow. Yes, Lisa, I accept your offer."

"Tonight, you and Nancy stay here and you can move in whenever you like."

"Thank you so very much," Vicky says with gratitude.

"One more thing, you have to be in the wedding."

"Wedding?" Nancy asks.

"Mine and Lisa's. The state has passed legislation that will allow us to be married," Jo says.

"Just to make it official," Lisa says as she gets down on one knee. "Joanna Garrison, Will you marry me?"

"Yes! A thousand times, YES!," Joanna responds.

Return to the Academy