Second Chances

M. E. Tudor



Casey waited impatiently for Pam to open the door. When she did Casey tried to step inside the apartment but Pam stopped her. Pam stepped outside and closed the door behind her. "What are you doing here?"

Casey stepped closer and looked deeply into Pam's eyes. "I want you to be with me forever, Pam."

Pam tried not to respond but those had been the words she had been longing to hear.

As soon as Casey saw the response in Pam's eyes, she pulled Pam to her and kissed her. Pam seemed to be trying to resist but quickly began kissing Casey back. Casey knew she had done the right thing.

Pam tried to stop herself from kissing Casey back but Casey's lips were so soft and sweet. Pam had wanted this for so long but nowÉ Pam pulled away and looked into those beautiful hazel eyes. "I'm sorry, Casey. I can't be with you." Pam closed her eyes and turned away. The shock and pain in Casey's eyes were going to be etched in Pam's mind forever. She knew she would never be able to forget this kiss but she had no choice. She took one last look at Casey's shocked, now angry expression. She opened the door to her apartment and went back inside.

Casey could not believe this was happening. Pam had kissed her back. She had looked at her with such love in her eyes. Casey thought this was what Pam had wanted to hear. Why was she doing this? Casey started to knock on Pam's door to demand an explanation then she heard a man's voice on the other side of the door. Casey turned away with a sob. She should have never let her guard down. Casey ran from the door. She ran from the building and Pam.

Pam stood on the other side of the door with her forehead pressed against it. Her father appeared behind her. "Is it done?"

Pam sniffed and wiped away the tears that had begun to roll down her face. "It's done."


"What do you mean Mom is missing?" Casey Durham demanded of her brother.

Chad Durham repeated what he had just told her. "Mom is missing. No one seems to know where she is. Have you heard from her today?"

"No."Casey sat down as she felt a tinge of panic starting to set in. "I haven't heard from her. Explain to me exactly what you've heard."

"Mom's friends from church went by her house to get her this morning to go to Nashville to work at the homeless shelter. Her car was gone and there was no answer at the door. They thought that Dad had told her she couldn't go or that she had come to town to see me or Charles." Chad took a breath and went on. "When they came back to town, they went by the house to make sure everything was okay. Dad was there and he said he hadn't see her since that morning. The ladies called me and told me all of this. I called Dad. He's drunk. He said he didn't know where my blank, blank, blank mother was. He said he'd better not find out that Charles and I had come and got her again or there would be hell to pay."

Casey had been chuckling about Chad not being able to repeat her father's cuss words until he said that their dad had said that he and Charles had better have not come and got their mother again. "Why would he say that?"

"It's a long story; I'll tell you when you get here." Chad was not looking forward to that conversation because Casey would be furious that he and Charles didn't tell her about them trying to help their mom leave their dad before.

"You think I need to come there? Is this that serious?" Casey stood up and began hunting for her purse.

"I'm afraid so. We've called everyone we know and no one has seen or heard from mom since yesterday afternoon. Except for Dad, who says he saw her this morning." Chad answered wearily.

"Alright, I'll be there in an about an hour. Call me on my cell phone if you hear anything. Okay?"

"I will. I promise. Please drive carefully."

"I'll try." Casey wasn't making any promises. Now she was panicking. Chad must think this is very serious to tell her to come home.

Casey had not been home since Christmas. She had been finishing up some business in Memphis where she had been playing professional basketball for the Memphis Blues. Casey had decided to retire from playing after five years on the team. She had suffered a lot of injuries in that five years and decided that she didn't love playing enough to risk getting crippled doing it. She had finished medical school at the University of Tennessee at Memphis during the off season. Now she was in the process of moving back to Nashville so she could start her residency to become an orthopedic surgeon at Vanderbilt's Medical Center.

Casey left her apartment and rushed downstairs to her car in the parking lot. She got in and got on her way. She tried to drive safely but she had found herself speeding many times. It was just a miracle that she was still in Nashville moving stuff into her new apartment instead of in Memphis when this happened.

Casey had been worried about her mother's safety ever since she had left home to go to college. Her father had always been abusive. Now it would seem that he had done something with her mother at least that was her fear. She was hoping that she was going to pull into Chad's driveway and find out that it was a wasted trip.

Casey was glad it was not rush hour in Nashville. She took in the city lights and familiar sights as she drove through town. She had spent four years at Vanderbilt studying for her pre-med degree. She was really looking forward to being back in this town that she considered home.

Once she got completely out of Nashville, Casey still had a half an hour on the road to get to Chad's house. She was getting impatient to get there. She hadn't heard anything else from Chad. She hoped that he would call and say someone had heard from her mother. Casey trudged on, pushing the interstate speed limit.

Casey let her mind wonder back to the days when she lived in Nashville before. She thought back to the days she had been a dyke jock and had her pick of the women on campus. That made her think to call her best friend Terri and tell her about what had happened with her mom. She and Terri had played basketball together for Vanderbilt and had competed with each other for the ladies' attention. They had remained close friends and kept in contact after Casey had left to go to Memphis.

She called Terri on her cell phone. Terri was very sympathetic. Casey promised to keep Terri updated of what was happening. She also promised stop in and see Terri before she went back to Memphis to get the last of her stuff.

Talking to Terri helped the next thing she knew she was pulling in Chad's drive. Charles was already there. Chad greeted her at the door. "No news. The police are going to come out and we're going to go ahead and file a missing person's report."

"I can't believe this happening." Casey said after she got inside and hugged everyone. She immediately cornered the boys before the police got there and made them tell her about them going and getting their mother.

"You were away playing ball and we thought we could get her out. We went and got her and a bunch of her stuff. Dad had a huge fit and tried to physically fight Chad. When he couldn't win that way he went to his friends. Apparently he knows people in the administration at the hospital. We were both warned that our careers could be at stake. Mom insisted on going back before letting our names be ruined. So we let her." Charles, who had been explaining, looked away from his sister's glare.

"What?!" Casey growled. "I can't believe the two of you let her go back!" They were both saved from the chewing out they were about to get by the police arriving. Casey made a mental note to deal with those two later.

* * * * * *

Pam Matterson had been woken up at four that morning by a frantic phone call from Dorothy Durham. The operator had asked her if she would accept collect charges, of course Pam did. Dorothy was on the other end of the line. Pam could still here the desperation echoing in her mind.

"Pam what can I do? I can't go back! I can't!" Dorothy had cried.

"Where are you now?" Pam had asked.

"I'm at Wal-Mart in Bowling Green. I have to get out of here. People are staring at me. If they call the police, Bob's buddies on the police force will just go get him and tell him where I am. I can't go back, Pam. I can't take it anymore. I'm so afraid he's going to kill me."

Oh my God, Pam thought, she must be in bad shape if she's drawing that much attention. "It's okay, Dorothy. I'm going to get you out of there. Can you drive a little further?" Pam asked and started getting dressed.

"Yes. Where do you want me to go?"

"Do you know where the rest stop is at the Tennessee state line?" Pam asked as she hunted for her keys.

"Yes." Dorothy remembered stopping there with the church group.

"Go there and wait for me. Park under a street light next to the Welcome Center and keep your doors locked. Okay?" Pam found her keys and put on her coat.

"Okay. What are you driving?" Dorothy looked around nervously.

"A blue Toyota Camry. What are you driving?"

"A white Ford Taurus." Dorothy replied.

"I'll probably be there about ten minutes after you get there so don't panic. Everything is going to be okay." Pam reassured her.

"I hope so." Dorothy saw more people pointing and whispering. "I'm leaving right now."

"Me too." Pam said as she grabbed her purse. "See you in a few minutes." They both hung up.

Pam raced as fast as could from her house in west Nashville to the rest area at the Tennessee state line. This was the first time Pam had ever actually gone after a woman in trouble. The AWAY group, an abused women's advocacy group Pam worked for, usually had police officers go get women out of their dangerous situations. Pam knew Dorothy would never go for that. Apparently Dorothy's husband had some political pull where they lived. Dorothy hadn't gone into great detail about it. She just said that her husband had friends in high places that could easily get him out of trouble with the law. She also said that he would be able to find her if she went to abused women's program where they lived. It was the reason why Dorothy had not left before now.

Dorothy had never driven so fast in her life. She was doing seventy miles an hour all the way there. She did as Pam told her. She parked under a street light close to the Welcome Center. She didn't have to wait long before she saw the blue Toyota Camry racing into the parking area. Pam pulled up next to Dorothy's car. Dorothy opened the door and got out slowly.

Pam had her door open before she came to a complete stop, she spun around to face Dorothy who was getting out of her car and gasped. She put her hand to her mouth. Pam usually didn't see the women like this. Dorothy's face was swollen and bleeding from cuts on her face and arms. There was blood every where she looked.

Pam whisked Dorothy into her car. Dorothy had not brought anything but her purse and a small amount of clothes she had kept hidden in the car. Pam left Dorothy's car unlocked and got them out of the rest area as quick as she could. There weren't many cars there at this hour but she didn't want any extra attention either.

Pam composed herself. "How are you feeling?"

"Okay, just a little tired." Dorothy said as she dabbed the blood on her lip with a tissue.

Pam went into lawyer mode and began asking Dorothy questions about what had happened, where she was hurting and who else she had talked to. Dorothy answered that her husband, Bob had gotten mad that morning because she wasn't getting out of bed fast enough to fix him breakfast. She told her that she hurt most around her face, head and arms. She had left the house the minute she knew Bob was far enough away from their house that he wouldn't see her leave. She had driven to Bowling Green, which was a half an hour from where they lived in Kentucky. She had called Pam and had talked to no one else, not even her children.

Pam insisted on taking her to the hospital that morning to have her looked at. Dorothy begged Pam not to. She was afraid of having to face the police, whom she knew would be called. Pam assured her everything would be okay.

Pam took Dorothy to a small all night clinic in one of the rougher sides of town where they see this kind of beatings all the time. She took her there because they were less likely to call the police if Dorothy said that she didn't want them to. Pam asked them to do x-rays on Dorothy's face and head. She was afraid that Dorothy may have broken bones but was still in shock and not really feeling the pain. The doctor on call at the clinic said that Dorothy didn't have any broken bones but she was really lucky that she didn't. He said that she had severe bruising that would have to be watched closely for the next few days. He really gave her a thorough exam to make sure she wasn't hurt anywhere that wasn't showing. He said everything looked pretty good considering how badly she was beaten. He wanted Pam to bring her back in a week so he could make sure she was healing good. He gave Dorothy a prescription for the pain and swelling. Pam paid for the bill with her credit card.

When they got outside Dorothy said, "I'll pay you back just as soon as I can."

Pam put her arm around her and gave her a slight squeeze. "Don't you worry about that. AWAY will reimburse me and if they don't I'll just write it off my taxes."

Dorothy shook her head, "You have to let me pay you back somehow."

Pam thought about it for a minute, "Do you cook?"

"Of course I cook."

"Well, I'm not very good at it. How about you teach me some cooking tricks and we call it even."

Dorothy shook her head but conceded, she still didn't feel quite right about it because she was sure that the hospital bill was at least a few hundred dollars, "I can do that. You just let me know when you're ready to start."

It was eleven o'clock in the morning by the time they got to Pam's house. She set Dorothy up in the guest room. Dorothy laid down for a nap and Pam went to her office.

When Pam got to her office she called Nancy Hamilton, head of the AWAY's Tennessee Women's Shelter Program. She told Nancy about what had happened last night and that Dorothy wasn't wanting to press charges. She just wanted to go into hiding. Pam told Nancy that she hadn't explained to Dorothy that it wouldn't be that easy yet because she was such a mess this morning.

Nancy reminded Pam that they have to get a restraining order so that Dorothy's husband couldn't come down there and pretend to be a concerned husband just looking for his missing wife.

Pam assured Nancy that she would be taking Dorothy to the police department later to file charges and get a restraining order. She just wanted to get the ball rolling on trying to get her into a safe house.

Nancy told Pam she would check and see what was available. They got off the phone with each other but it wasn't a half an hour before Nancy called back with bad news. There wasn't a safe house with an opening in the local area at all. The nearest one was in Knoxville.

"No way!" Pam knew there was no way she could send Dorothy to Knoxville in the condition she was in.

"I'm sorry Pam, but we just don't have a space right now." Nancy apologized. "We can put her on the waiting list and get her into one as soon as it comes open. Until then, I'm not sure what to tell you to do with her. Maybe AWAY can put her up in a hotel for a week or so, hopefully we'll have an opening by then."

"It's okay, I'll figure something out." Pam had already planned on letting Dorothy stay with her until there was a safe house space available. "Go ahead and put her on the list and put my phone number as a contact number."

When Pam got off the phone with Nancy, she went to see her boss. She knew that she would not like Pam keeping a client at her house, but Joan Harry was an understanding woman. She would understand Pam's need to keep this particular client safe.

Pam explained to Joan that Dorothy was the mother of a friend of hers. She explained the situation with the safe houses and that there was no safe place for Dorothy to go while she waited. She told Joan that she wanted to keep Dorothy with her until a safe house space opened up.

Joan didn't really like the situation but she understood. She told Pam that she would put another attorney on the case with Pam who would deal with Dorothy's husband so that there would be no risk of him finding out that Dorothy was staying with her.

Pam went back home and got Dorothy up. She didn't look much better than she had earlier but at least some of the swelling had gone down. She explained that they needed to file a police report and get a restraining order against him so that he couldn't come after her. Dorothy hesitantly agreed. Dorothy was clearly scared to death of the step she was taking, but she knew she couldn't go back because the next time he would kill her and she wasn't going to die in his hands.

Pam and Dorothy went to the police station. The officer put in charge of Dorothy's case explained everything that she had to do and helped her get it all done. He also assured her that they would not go after Bob Durham, if she was not pressing charges. He told her that Bob would not be able to find out where she was unless she told someone who might tell him. He also assured her that if Bob came to Tennessee to try to hurt her and she called the police to arrest him, he would not be able to get out of the charges like he could at home. He didn't have any friends down there and after seeing what he did to her this time; the police officer told her that he would personally make sure Bob got prosecuted to the letter of the law if he tried to hurt her again.

Dorothy was clearly relieved. Pam watched and listened to her on the way back to her house. She was a different woman. Pam had explained to her that it would be a little while before they would be able to place her in a safe house because they were all filled up right now. She told Dorothy that she would be staying with her for as long as it took them to find her a place.

Dorothy didn't know what to say. She told Pam didn't have any way to help out on the bills, buy food or anything. Pam told her not to worry about it. Dorothy nodded but Pam knew she would continue to worry about it.

It was late in the evening by the time they got back to Pam's house. They talked for a little while then watched television Dorothy thought about how she had ended up at Pam's house as she began to get sleepy.

She had met Pam Matterson two months ago when Pam had come down to the homeless shelter to hand out business cards to women who were trying to leave their abusive partners. Pam was an attorney from a new national group called the Abused Women's Advocates Yoke, or AWAY, which stood for a united group of women's advocates that were helping abused women. They had networks that helped women be placed in safe houses all over the country so that their abusers couldn't find them.

Pam had handed Dorothy a business card and smiled at her. It was as if Dorothy's story had been written in her eyes and Pam had read it. Dorothy had called Pam the next time she was in Nashville helping with the homeless shelter. Pam had come down and talked to her. Pam had told her that she would help her get away anytime she was ready to leave. Even though Pam had told her time and again to call anytime, Dorothy had not expected the young woman to actually come to her rescue Pam did today. Dorothy let herself drift off to sleep feeling safe for the first time in a long time.

Pam was watching Dorothy. She had smiled at Pam right before she fell asleep. Dorothy had been watching her quietly and smiling like she was remembering a fond memory. She curled up into a loose ball with her arms wrapped around her pillow. She was almost childlike. Pam could just imagine that she probably felt like a child again, needing protection and taken care of as she faced this brand new world she was entering. Pam smiled to herself and thought back to the first day she had met Dorothy.

Pam had felt that there was something special about Dorothy the first time she met her at the homeless shelter. There was something about her eyes that seemed familiar. It wasn't until Dorothy told her about her daughter that Pam realized why eyes were familiar to her. They were the same eyes of a woman Pam had known in college. A woman who had been in love with Pam and whom Pam had hurt.

Pam had seen those same hazel eyes for the first time from across a crowded room at a party when she was in college. She had thought they were very intriguing. They had locked with hers and moved towards her with the woman they belonged to. Pam did not follow basketball so she didn't know who Casey Durham was. Her friends with her at the party that night had noticed Pam looking at Casey and quickly warned her about Casey's promiscuity

Pam had been quite disappointed. She thought Casey was very attractive but she was not interested in being somebody's plaything for the night.

Casey had come over and talked to Pam. Pam had been quite enchanted by Casey's charm. She had been glad that her friends had warned her because she could have easily fallen under Ms. Durham's spell. Pam would never forget the look on Casey's face when Pam had told her that she wasn't interested in being a notch on Casey's bedpost.

Pam wondered if Dorothy knew that Casey was gay. She got up and made sure the older woman had plenty of blankets and went to bed. Pam fell asleep thinking about that night when she met Dorothy Durham's daughter for the first time. She dreamed about it as if she had gone back in time to that moment. It had been so clear....

* * * * * *

Pam was talking with her friends Tiara and Karen. She hadn't been to any parties since she had broken up with Diana. Pam had been devastated by the break up but she had to do it. Diana had been cheating on her for a long time and Pam finally had enough. She promised herself she would never get into a relationship like that one again.

Tiara and Karen had talked her into going out with them because she had been sulking around her apartment for months. When they had got to the party Pam had noticed Casey Durham right away. The tall blond was hard to miss. She carried herself with a strong air of confidence. Pam had watched her for a little while. Suddenly she looked up and saw Casey staring at her. Those hazel eyes twinkled mischievously and Casey began making her way towards Pam.

"Oh no." Tiara had said.

"What?" Pam pulled her eyes away from Casey to look at her friend.

"You've been spotted by the vamp." Karen whispered.

"Vamp?" Pam raised an eyebrow. "Is she going to suck my blood or something?"

"She'll suck your soul right of you if you let her." Tiara answered with Karen nodding in agreement.

"Oh come on, you two. Seriously, what's her story? Make it quick she's on her way over here."

Tiara took a deep breath and spewed what she knew about the seductress Casey Durham without taking a breath. "She is Casey Durham. Hot to trot basketball star for the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores. She has probably slept with every woman in this room except you and she has an impressive collection of notches on her bedpost from women that are not in this room. She is the smoothest sweet talker you'll ever meet. She will make you feel like there is not another woman in this world until after she gets you in her bed. Her longest relationship to date lasted two weeks.

Pam's mouth dropped open slightly. "Are you serious?"

"Very." Tiara straightened up. "Watch yourself."

"Hi!" Casey had said as she comes into their circle.

"Hi!" The three women said in unison.

"So, how've you been?" Tiara gave Casey a seductive smile. Pam didn't need to get hooked up with Casey, Tiara thought to herself, but she wouldn't mind a romp in the sack with Casey. Tiara remembered quite clearly how pleasurable it had been up until she had wanted too much from Casey.

"Good, you?" Casey smiled as the recognition set in.

"Just fine." Tiara moved towards Casey.

"So who are your friends here?" Casey motioned towards Pam and Karen.

Tiara pointed at Karen, "I'm sure you remember Karen." then motioned towards Pam. "This is Pam.

Casey held out her hand to each one but held on to Pam's a little longer. "Of course I remember Karen." Casey nodded and smiled sweetly at the somewhat familiar, shorter woman then turned to Pam. "Very nice to meet you."

Pam understood clearly what Tiara had meant. Just the way Casey was looking at her had made her warm and tingly all over.

"So are you a student at Vanderbilt?" Casey asked, continuing to look at Pam.

"We're both graduating from law school this year." Karen answered.

"Wow! That's great." Casey was being so polite. Pam was really enchanted but she could tell by the way Tiara was acting that Casey apparently had that effect on all the women she talked to. Even level headed Karen, who had apparently slept with Casey also and knew her reputation, seemed to be hanging on her every word.

While they were talking one of Casey's friends had walked up to their group. Casey introduced her, "Ladies, this is Mary DeBoer."

They had all said "Hi" to the tall dark haired woman. Mary asked all of them if they were enjoying the party then she asked Karen if she wanted to dance. Karen let the very pretty ball player pull her out onto the dance floor.

Tiara, disgusted that Casey wasn't paying any attention to her flirtations, offered to go get everyone drinks leaving Casey and Pam alone. "So would you like to dance?" Casey had asked.

"No thanks."

"Why not?"

"Because I know all about you Miss Casey Durham," Pam answered most seriously. "I know all about the notches in your bed post. I've been warned by more than one person this evening that you had been watching me and for me to take care."

Casey tried to act shocked. "Notches on my bed post? I don't have any such thing."

Pam grinned, "You know what I mean. I've heard that you are quite the player and I'm not interested in being one of your trophies."

"Well," Casey said haughtily "I didn't realize that my reputation was so jaded. I do like the ladies but I really don't see any of them as trophies." She tried to put on her 'I'm so offended' look.

Pam had to laugh. "You are really a piece of work." Pam walked off and went to talk with some of her other friends. She had looked back to see a truly shocked Casey staring after her. Pam almost laughed. Had no one ever walked away from her?


Pam woke up at five-thirty in the morning. She decided to go ahead and get up. She and Dorothy were going to have a busy day. The dream had troubled her. She hadn't had a dream that vivid in a long time. She told herself that it was just because she was helping Casey's mom and Dorothy had those same eyes. Pam had too many memories of those eyes and their different moods. The memory of the pain, sadness and anger she had seen in them the last time she had seen Casey in person, had haunted her for a long time. She prayed that Casey eyes would not be filled with hate the next time they met, Pam looked down at Dorothy's sleeping form, which was going to be soon.

Pam got out of the shower to the smell of coffee brewing Dorothy must be up. Pam came in to the living room where Dorothy was watching the news. "I hope you don't mind that I made coffee." Dorothy said quietly.

"Not at all. How are feeling?"

Dorothy put her fingertips to the swollen side of her face. "Sore. I need to take that pain medicine the doctor gave me, I guess."

Pam looked at Dorothy's bruised face. It looked like the swelling hadn't gone down much. "Yes, you need to do that. If the swelling doesn't go down more by tomorrow, maybe we'll go back to the doctor and have him look at it again."

"No, Pam. I can't do that. I don't know how I'm going to pay you back for the doctor bill you paid yesterday. I can't afford to let you pay for another one." Dorothy pleaded.

Pam sat down next to Dorothy. She gingerly put her arm around Dorothy's shoulders taking care not to squeeze too hard. "I told you yesterday not to worry about that. AWAY will reimburse me or I'll write it off my taxes. I don't want you worrying about that. You just need to focus on getting stronger so we can get Bob out of your life forever, okay?"

Dorothy looked into Pam's eyes and saw the sincerity there. Dorothy wasn't comfortable taking anything from anyone but she would concede this time. "Okay."

"Good. I'm going to get me a cup of coffee. Later, I'm taking you out for breakfast, no arguments." Pam put her finger to Dorothy's lips to hush her protest. "We'll go to my office and finish up some paperwork then we will go grocery shopping. We do still have a deal about you showing me some home cooking techniques, right?"

Dorothy smiled and nodded her head slightly, "Yes we do." Dorothy watched Pam get up and go to the kitchen. She really liked that young girl. She had instantly felt like Pam was someone she could trust completely. She felt uncomfortable inconveniencing Pam like this but there was no other alternative. Pam kept saying it was okay. Dorothy just prayed that the program would find a safe house that had an open spot quickly so Pam could go back to her normal life.

Dorothy went back to watching the news; it was one of her morning routines. Dorothy had missed the national news when she was talking to Pam but they would tell it again in a little bit. They had just come back from a commercial with local news when she saw her car at the rest area. The police were investigating a missing person. Oh my gosh! They were talking about her. "Pam come quickly!" Dorothy cried and turned up the volume.

Pam came rushing in from the kitchen just in time to hear the newscaster say. "Dorothy Durham has been missing since yesterday. Her children believe their mother may have been the victim of domestic violence. Police found blood inside of a car at the Tennessee State Line Welcome Center that they believe to be Dorothy Durham's but nothing else. Robert Durham, of Barker Lake, Kentucky, Mrs. Durham's husband, was taken into custody this morning. Mrs. Durham's son, Chad Durham, said that their father said that he had last seen their mother yesterday morning. Chad Durham was alerted to his mother being missing by her church group that she travels with to Nashville with every other Thursday to help feed the homeless people at the Trinity Homeless Shelter. They were slightly concerned when they went to pick her up yesterday and she didn't answer the door. They became even more concerned when they stopped on their way back through and Bob Durham said he didn't know where she was. The police are doing a thorough search of the area surrounding the rest area as well as the Durham's home and properties in Barker Lake, Kentucky. We'll have more on this story tonight on the six o'clock news."

"Pam what are we going to do! I have to call the children! I didn't expect them to start looking for me so soon." Dorothy stood up and began to pace. "They've arrested Bob. He'll be so mad!"

"Don't worry about him, Dorothy. We'll let the police here tell the police in Kentucky what is going on. We'll make sure that they talk to the state police and not the local police that Bob knows." Pam went and got her cordless phone. Her number would only show as a private number on their caller ID so they wouldn't be able to trace the phone number. "Go ahead and call your kids but don't tell them where you are."

Dorothy took the phone and dialed Chad's number.

* * * * * *

Casey had not slept but maybe an hour all night. As soon as the police had left, she tore into Charles and Chad about letting their mother go back and not telling her about any of it. They were both very upset and felt like this was all their fault. Casey reminded them their father could have gotten to their mom even if they hadn't let her go back. They grudgingly agreed but continued to beat themselves up for not standing up to their father.

The rest of the night had been spent pacing by the phone. The police had called about ten o'clock last night to tell them that they had found their mom's car at the Tennessee state line. They said it had blood in it and that they were going to question their father. Of course, when they got to their father's house he was drunk and belligerent. The state police arrested him on at least two charges other than suspicion of him hurting their mother.

The three of them had taken watches over the phone that night, even though none of them had really slept. Charles and Chad both seemed to be snoozing right now, one at each end of Chad's couch. Casey was sitting in an oversized chair next to the couch by Charles with the phone in her hand.

Casey had just started to nod off when the phone rang. She nearly jumped out of her skin.

"Hello." She greeted the caller groggily.



Both boys jumped to their feet. "Is that mom?" They asked at the same time. Casey nodded her head excitedly.

"Where are you?" Casey wanted to know.

"I can't tell you right now, Sweetie," Dorothy answered, "But I'm okay."

"Are you sure? The police said they found blood in your car. Mom what happened?" Casey asked as the tears began pouring out of her eyes. Both brothers were crying with her as they sat on the arms of the chair and wrapped their arms around their sister. Casey held the phone out so they could hear the conversation.

"Oh, Baby," Dorothy began to cry too. "I'm so sorry I had to put you guys through this. I had to get away. Your father beat me up again and I decided I wasn't going to take it any more. I'm with a friend who is going to help me get to a place where your dad won't be able to find me to hurt me anymore."

The siblings continued to hug and wipe their tears as relief set in. "Why can't you come up here and be with us? We'll protect you from him!" Casey told her.

"Honey, you guys can't protect me from him. He will always find something he can hold over your head to get to me." Dorothy answered sternly. "No, this is the best way." Pam was writing a note for her to tell them that her attorney would make arrangements for them to get to see her. Dorothy told the kids this and that seemed to calm them down a bit. Dorothy assured them again that she was okay. "Now, I have to get off here. I have already started some things so that Bob won't be able to come near me. I'll keep in touch. You all keep your chins up and don't let your father upset you. I'll talk to you all very soon, okay?"

"Okay." They all said. They had put her on speaker phone so they could all hear her.

Dorothy hung up and began crying again. Pam put her arms around her client and held her until the sobs finally stopped. "I hate having to put them through all of this but I know they'll understand later."

"They will and they'll be glad you did it this way." Pam reassured her. "So are you ready for breakfast?"

"Yes, I'm starved." Dorothy admitted.


Casey stayed at Chad's until about one o'clock that afternoon. Chad and she had stayed to help get Charles' children calmed down. They had heard part of the news and some of the adults' conversation. They wanted to know where "Mammaw" was. Charles and his wife, Nancy finally convinced their four year old son, Eddie, and two year old daughter, Amy that their "Mammaw" was fine and would see them soon.

Casey went back to her apartment in Nashville. She had moved one load of stuff from Memphis there last week when she had come to do interviews with the doctors she was doing her residency with. She had brought mostly nonessential stuff, except the couch which she was using as a bed while she was in Nashville.

Casey really needed to get back to Memphis and finish tying up loose ends there. She was just afraid to leave right now. She was terrified that her mother was not as okay as she tried to sound. If she could just see her so she would know for herself, Casey would be able to go back to Memphis and finish her business there. Casey hoped that her mother remembered her new phone number and would call her in the next day or two.

* * * * * *

Pam could see clearly where Casey had gotten her stubbornness from. Dorothy would not be swayed from her decision to cook and clean for Pam. Pam thought she was going to have to get a court order to get her to go back to the doctor to be checked again. Dorothy did feel better about going to the doctor after Pam's boss, Joan, came in to Pam's office and reassured Dorothy that the AWAY program would reimburse Pam for all the money she had spent on medical care for Dorothy.

Dorothy refused to use the phone to call anyone unless Pam was there as said it was okay. Pam understood that this behavior was just part of being abused. She was sure that Bob didn't allow Dorothy to call anyone unless he said it was okay.

The past couple of days had been extremely busy but the process was begun. Pam and Dorothy could both take a breather for a few weeks. That evening after they got back from getting groceries Dorothy seemed very restless. Pam felt she knew what was wrong and finally asked, "Dorothy would you like to call the kids again to reassure them that you are still okay?"

"I don't want to run up your phone bill." Dorothy said with her eyes on the dishes she was washing.

"Don't worry about that. Why don't you go call them? I'll finish up here. I think you will feel much better if you do this." Pam took the dish from her.

Dorothy still didn't feel right using Pam's phone but she did want to talk to the kids. She handed the plate over to Pam with a nod and went into the living room. She called Charles first. He told her that the police had let their father go. Bob, of course, was furious and accusing the boys of having something to do with all of this. He was threatening to go to the hospital board of directors again.

"Charles, I'm so sorry about all this." Dorothy said sadly. She wished that Bob would just leave the kids alone.

"Don't be sorry, Mom. We are all so glad that you are out of there. Don't worry about us. We'll be okay." Charles assured her. Dorothy would continue to worry. She knew that Bob would stop at nothing to get to her.

Chad told her pretty much the same thing. He wanted to know when they would be able to see her. Pam told her to tell them that she was going to make arrangements for all of them to go out to dinner next week. She was still working on reservations and would call each of them to let them know when and where.

Finally Dorothy called Casey. Chad gave her Casey's number at her new apartment in Nashville. Dorothy was so glad she was moving back here. She hated it while she was living in Memphis and traveling with the basketball team. Casey rarely came home after she started playing pro basketball. Dorothy hoped all that would change now that Casey had retired.

"Hi Sweetie!" Dorothy said when Casey answered the phone.

"Mom! Hi! How are you?" Casey asked excitedly.

"I'm good. How are you?"

"Good. I'm so glad you called I've been so worried about you."

"I know. That's why I wanted to call to let you know I'm doing okay."

"Have you talked to Charles and Chad yet?"

"Yes," Dorothy said with a sigh. "They told me about what's going on with your father I hope he leaves them alone."

"Isn't there something your attorney can do to make him leave the boys alone?" Casey was angry about it too.

"I don't know, Hon. I'll ask her about it later. By the way, she is planning on getting all of us together next week for dinner. Are you still going to be in town?"

"Well, now that I'm getting to talk to you, I will go ahead and make another trip to Memphis to get the last of my stuff and take care of things there." Casey replied.

Pam had been listening to the conversation in the background. "Ask her for a number to call her there and I'll let her know when the dinner is going to be, maybe she can come back for it.

Casey heard the voice in the background talking to her mom. It sounded so familiar but she couldn't quite place it. "What was that Mom?"

"She said to find out where we can reach you in Memphis and she'll call you and let you know when and where the dinner is going to be and hopefully you will be able to come back for it."

"Okay, just call me at my old apartment. Do you still have that number?"

"Yes, I do Sweetie. We'll call you there then."

"You be very careful driving back, Hon." Dorothy said, she hated the thought of Casey being on the road by herself.

"I will Mom. I really wish I could see you before I leave though. Is there any way we could work something out?" Casey pleaded.

Dorothy looked at Pam. "Is there any way we could meet with Casey tomorrow before she has to go back to Memphis?"

Pam took a deep breath. She really was not ready to face Casey Durham yet but she knew that she would have to sooner or later. Really it would be better for them to meet again with just Dorothy present and not Casey's whole family. Pam didn't want Dorothy's sons to lose faith in her ability to protect their mother based on what kind of a reaction Casey has upon seeing her again. "Yes, ask her if she could come by my office at about nine in the morning?"

Dorothy asked Casey. "Yes, that would be wonderful." Casey replied, "Where's her office.

Dorothy told Casey where it was. Casey was shocked that it was just a few blocks from her new apartment. Casey was also curious about the woman behind the voice. She knew she should know that voice but no name was coming to mind and her mom hadn't mentioned a name. Casey promised to be there in the morning.

Pam excused herself for the night not long after Dorothy got off the phone with Casey. She was suddenly quite tired. She was so concerned about how Casey was going to react when she saw who her mom's attorney was. Pam and Casey had not been on friendly terms the last time Pam had seen Casey. It was Pam's fault that they weren't. She had hurt Casey badly but at the time she couldn't explain to Casey all of the reasons for what she had done. At the time, Pam didn't think Casey would not have understood.


The next morning Casey woke up early. She couldn't wait to get to see her mom. Casey was so afraid that she was in worse shape than she wanted the kids to know. She found herself pacing and watching the clock until it was time to go. Finally at fifteen minutes until nine she headed out. It didn't take five minutes to get there. She was really hoping that she wasn't going to have to wait until right at nine o'clock.

She went into the AWAY office and walked up to the receptionist desk. "Hi. I'm Casey Durham. I'm here to see my mother."

"Yes, Ms. Durham. You're expected; please follow me to Ms. Matterson's office." The receptionist got up and led her to an office at the end of the hall. That name struck a familiar cord with Casey, like the voice. She had a feeling she should know this person.

The receptionist knocked at a door with frosted glass. Casey did not notice the name on stenciled on the glass. The receptionist poked her head in at the sound of a voice on the other side. She stepped back and said, "Go on in."

Casey stepped in to the office. She saw her mother standing in front of the desk. Casey rushed over and scooped her mom up in a big bear hug. She immediately sat her back down. "I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"No, Hon, I'm fine." Dorothy hugged Casey to her. "It is so good to see you."

"Oh, you too. I was so worried." Casey pulled back. "Let me look at you." Her doctor's eyes took in every bruise on her mom's face. "Did he break anything?" She asked through gritted teeth.

"No, just bruises. I've been to the doctor twice and he said I'm healing up just fine."

"Good." Casey hugged her again. "I'm so glad you are getting out of there."

"Me too. I've never felt this free in my life." Dorothy pulled back and smiled up at her daughter who towered over her by about six inches. "I really owe it all to my wonderful attorney. If she hadn't given me her card down at the homeless shelter, I might not be here right now."

"Well, where is this wonderful attorney?"

"She's right here." Dorothy said pointing behind Casey. "Casey this is Pam Matterson. My savior."

Casey spun around to see someone she was hoping she was not going to run into period. She took a deep breath. Casey knew her mom was watching so she held out her hand politely to Pam. "Pam." Casey said tightly.

Pam took Casey's hand and put on a smile. "It's good to see you again, Casey." She said trying not to show the jolt her body had felt when she took Casey's hand. Pam was shocked. She hadn't expected to feel that again, especially not with Casey standing there glaring at her. She was not even trying to hide the anger in her eyes. "We've got your mom well on her way to being a completely free woman." Pam went on trying to break the tension.

"That's wonderful." Casey said dropping Pam's hand. "I'm very thankful that you are helping my mom."

"Well, she's a wonderful lady who deserves a better life." Pam looked away from Casey's cold stare and moved towards her desk.

"Yes, this is very true." Casey took another deep breath and turned around to face her mother who was giving her a questioning look.

Dorothy could feel the tension and coldness that suddenly came over Casey. Pam had told her that morning that she had known Casey in college but there was clearly something wrong between them. "Pam is going to try to get me assigned to a safe house here in Nashville, until then she is letting me stay with her. Hopefully they will find something soon, I hate inconveniencing Pam."

"Why can't she come live at my apartment?" Casey asked looking directly at Pam.

"Because your father will look there for her," Pam pointed out. "Men like your father don't just let this drop. He will continue to look for her long after he remarries and moves on with his life."

Casey pondered that thought for a moment then agreed. "You're right. Well, how much is this going to cost? What can I give you for mom's upkeep while she's staying with you?"

"Nothing." Pam answered unwaveringly.

Casey's eyes had not left Pam for the entire exchange. She was making it clear that she was not happy about Pam's answer. "Surely you'll need money for food, extra utilities, laundry or something?"

Pam clenched her jaw and continued to give Casey a look that said there was no arguing with her about this. "No, I don't need any money. You're mom is costly me very little extra, all of which I will right off my taxes."

Casey gritted her teeth but didn't argue. She hated having to leave her mom so soon but she had to get out of this office. She turned to her mom, "If you need anything, you call me."

"I will." Dorothy promised. She was completely perplexed by this tension between the two young women. She would have to ask Pam about it later.

Casey took out a business card and wrote her new phone number and her number in Memphis. She handed it to Pam. "I'm only planning on being in Memphis for another week. Let me know when and where this dinner is going to be."

Pam took the card from Casey, careful not to touch her hand again. "I will. I'm expecting it to be late in the week, probably next Thursday or Friday."

"Good, I'll make sure to be back by then." Casey turned to her mom. "I'm going to get going so I can get everything wrapped up in Memphis and get back. I'll call Mrs. Matterson's..."

"It's Ms. Matterson." Pam corrected with extra emphasis on the Ms.

Casey turned to give Pam another glare and then turned back to her mother and smiled sweetly, "I'll call Ms .Matterson's office and let them know when I'm back in town. I want you to call me if anything happens or even if you just want to talk. Okay?"

"I will, Sweetie. I promise." Dorothy hugged her daughter tightly. She had hoped they could visit longer but Casey was clearly eager to get on her way.

Casey gave her mom one last squeeze. She glanced over at Pam as she turned to leave. "Pam." She said and gave a slight bow.

"Casey." Pam returned. Pam let out a sigh as Casey walked out the door. She was really glad now that they had this little exchange at her office instead of at the restaurant. She wished Dorothy had not been there though. Pam could tell by the look on her face that she had many questions about what had just happened. Pam wasn't sure what she was going to tell her.

* * * * * *

Casey couldn't believe it. Pam Benton was her mom's attorney, or rather Pam Benton Matterson. Terri had told her about Pam getting married not long after Casey left to go to Memphis. Casey had not wanted to hear anymore about what was going on with Pam after that.

Casey had been so hurt and mad because of Pam's rejection. She had given up her wild lifestyle and had been ready to settle down. Pam had never even given her a chance.

After their disastrous meeting at that first party, Casey and Pam had become friends and Casey never hid the fact that she wanted to be more than friends. Pam had led Casey to believe that she might be a chance if she could convince Pam that she had given up the one night stands and party lifestyle. Casey had been so nuts about Pam that she would have done anything to be with her. Apparently she couldn't do enough. After months of abstinence and being at Pam's every beck and call, Pam had flatly turned Casey down when Casey had asked her to become her lifelong partner. Casey had walked away from Pam that night and not looked back. She wouldn't even speak to Pam when Pam had approached her at their graduation.

Now Pam was back in her life, at least for awhile. Casey was very thankful that Pam was helping her mom. She was just going to have to make it a point to try to be nice to Pam around her mom. She didn't want her mom asking too many questions. Casey still had not found the courage to tell her mom that she was gay. Right now she didn't want to add to anymore to her mom's worries. Casey couldn't believe that Pam's husband would allow her to move a client into their home. Especially a client whose was the mother of someone who had pursued her romantically in college. Well, she probably hadn't told her husband about that part of her life. Casey made a mental note to call Terri later and find out what kind of person Pam's husband was. She wanted to make sure that no one was going to make her mom feel uncomfortable again.


Casey pushed Pam and her mom's situation out of her mind for the moment. She had enough problems to deal with now that she was back in Memphis.

Casey had made herself call her former girlfriend, Sara Dempsey, to try to get the last of her stuff. She and Sara had parted on very bad terms and Sara had been making things difficult for Casey ever since. She tried to make Casey out to be the bad guy in the break up. She told all of their friends that Casey had been cheating on her and that was why she had cheated on Casey. She made Casey wait for almost two months before she would let her move the majority of her clothes and furniture out of her apartment. She hid many of Casey's personal effects, such as her CD's in order to force Casey to come back looking for them. Each time she tried to seduce Casey into getting back together. Casey refused.

Casey was angry with herself for being so blind to Sara's scheme. Casey had been completely smitten by the confident blond. She was very beautiful and charming. She had played Casey at Casey's own game except Casey never set out to intentionally hurt anyone. Casey had always made it clear that she was just playing around with all of her girlfriends except Pam. After Pam, Casey had planned to stay clear of relationships but Sara had made Casey think she was looking for a lifetime commitment.

What Casey didn't know was that Sara was into socializing with the doctors' circle in Memphis, as well as with the professional athletes, in an effort to win herself a prestigious position in the community. Sara came from inherited money. She didn't want to have to earn a living and planned on getting her prestigious position in the community by sleeping her way into it.

Sara had really thought she'd found her dream catch with Casey because Casey was a pro athlete studying to be a doctor. Things were going well until Casey began to talk about moving back to Nashville to be closer to her family. Sara didn't want to have to start her scheming all over in a new town, especially since she had so many connections in Memphis. Sara decided to start looking for a new lover. She decided that this time she would go after a doctor. Despite the fact that she loved having sex with women, she decided that being a doctor's wife would be a much more important and powerful position than the lover of a lesbian doctor.

Casey found out at a medical community fund raiser that Sara was sleeping with both men and women from a male colleague that Sara had propositioned. Casey confronted Sara in a back room of the clubhouse where the fundraiser was being held. Sara tried to lie about what she was doing. Casey told her that she had been told by the man Sara propositioned about her affairs. Sara finally confessed that she had decided she wanted to be a doctor's wife. Casey walked away with no intentions of looking back. Unfortunately for Casey, Sara decided to play games with Casey and her property. Casey was almost done with the game. Sara had about one hundred dollars worth of Casey's CD's but Casey had decided that she would leave them behind if Sara made it too difficult to get them.

The more Casey thought about the situation she was leaving behind in Memphis and the one she thought she had left behind long ago; she decided that she was going to stay away from relationships all together for while. She was going to focus on her new career direction and little else.

Casey decided this trip to Memphis was her last. She had finished all her paperwork involving her retirement from the Memphis Blues. She was going to gather the rest of her stuff and say goodbye to her friends then head back to Nashville for good.

* * * * * *

This had been an incredibly long week for Casey. The Memphis Blues threw her a huge retirement party. Marsha Collins, the head coach, spent the whole night trying to talk Casey out of retiring. Casey wouldn't be swayed. She had torn up both of her knees in the past five years and was afraid she was going to do permanent damage if she kept going. This past season she had a career low in points and rebounds and Casey could feel herself being pulled towards home.

All her friends on the team had gotten her gifts. Many of them silly gag gifts but Casey appreciated them all. The party was the high light of her week.

The rest of the week was spent packing and trying to tie up loose ends. She had the electric, water, cable and phone all set to be shut off by the day after tomorrow. She had packed everything she wanted to take and loaded it into the U-Haul truck. Everything else she gave to Goodwill or threw away. She had been trying to get Sara to set a time for her to pick up her CD's. Sara was apparently trying to avoid her. Casey had decided to that if she couldn't get Sara to meet with her today she was just going to leave without the CD's and buy new ones. She hated to do that because it was a lot of money but she was tired of dealing with Sara and she needed to get back to Nashville by Friday.

Pam had called on Tuesday and left a message on Casey's voice mail to let her know that the dinner would be Friday night. Casey was glad she had not been there to take the call. She was really very uncomfortable with having to deal with Pam. Casey tried to remind herself that what had happened had been a long time ago. It didn't help much. Just thinking about Pam brought back the pain she had felt at Pam's rejection. Casey didn't understood Pam still not trusting her at that time. Casey had a very sorted past as far as relationships but Pam wouldn't give her a chance even after Casey spent months staying close to Pam so that Pam would see that Casey had given up the one night stands and wild affairs. Casey had never gone that far to win anyone before and she wouldn't again.

Sara had not helped Casey's feelings about relationships. Casey had put all of her energy into her relationship with Sara. She did everything she thought she should to make Sara happy. The bad thing was that Sara did act happy because she was having her cake and eating it too. She had Casey wrapped around her little finger while she was having affairs on the side to get good political and social positions. It might have taken Casey a long time to find out about Sara's affairs if Sara had not propositioned the wrong person. Casey had been very thankful that her good friend and colleague Dr. Mark Andersen had been the one Sara propositioned. No one else had bothered to tell her what Sara was up to. Casey had been devastated. She had no idea that Sara was fooling around behind her back.

Just thinking about it now made Casey sick. She was angry with Sara but she was more angry with herself for not seeing what was happening right under her nose. She dialed Sara's number angrily. She was giving her one last chance. Casey was about to hang up after four rings when Sara answered the phone. "Hello."

"Sara?" Casey said through gritted teeth.

"Casey. I am so sorry. I had forgotten all about you wanting your CD's." Sara purred.

Yeh, right, Casey thought to herself. "Can I come over and get them now. I'm leaving first thing in the morning."

"Sure, come on over. I'll be here all night." Sara said sweetly.

"Okay, I'll be there in a few minutes." Casey hung up the phone. That was entirely too easy. Sara was up to something. Casey decided to take some precautions. She had a feeling that Sara was going to try to seduce her into having sex with her one last time.

Casey called her friend, Jo Ann and asked her to go to Sara's with her. Casey knew that Jo would deter any romantic tactics that Sara might have in mind. Jo was the travel coordinator for the Blues. Jo had her own reasons for not liking Sara and she had been really mad when she found out about Sara cheating on Casey.

Just as Casey had suspected, Sara was dressed in a silk night shirt with her robe barely concealing her full breasts. She was clearly disappointed to see Jo with Casey. She gave Casey a pout. A few months ago Casey would have run Jo home and come right back for a night of wild sex. Today, Casey just gave her a smug grin. "So where are my CD's?"

"In here, come on in. I've got them ready to go." Sara said in a sulky tone.

Casey and Jo pushed past her. Sara and Jo exchanged glares. Sara had tried to put moves on Jo once because Jo looks like she was a big ole' dyke but she's actually a straight good ole' country girl. Jo had laughed at her and told her she wasn't equipped right. Sara had caused a huge scene to embarrass Jo and the two of them hadn't gotten along since.

Sara was, of course, lying. She hadn't even looked for Casey's CDs. The living room was lit up with candles and soft music was playing. Jo gave Casey a raised eyebrow. "Don't you just hate when you are right?"

"Yep," Casey said looking around. "Alright, where are they?"

Sara pointed to the bottom of the stereo cabinet "They're in there." She said in a resigned tone.

Casey sat down and started going through them. She handed the ones she knew where hers to Jo who put them in a box. Casey found most all of them. She decided she would just get new copies of the ones she couldn't find. She got up and looked around for anything else that was hers. "Well, I guess that's it." Casey said finally.

"No, wait a minute." Sara sighed. She went into the bedroom and came out with two more CD's. They were Casey's favorite Janet Jackson CD's.

Casey took them from Sara. "Thanks."

Sara came up to Casey, put her hand on Casey's chest just above her breast and looked into Casey's eyes seductively. "Can I at least have one last kiss?"

"You kiss her and I'll smack you." Jo said grabbing Casey's arm, spinning Casey around to face her. "Let's get out of here before she gives you some cooties."

Casey burst out laughing. Sara opened her mouth then shut it again. She stamped her foot, turned, went into her bedroom, slamming the door. Casey and Jo left the apartment. Both of them were laughing hysterically by the time they got to Casey's car. "Man, I'm going to miss you so much. You are going to have to come out to Nashville to see me."

"I will." Jo assured her. "I may have a winter job there for the Nashville Predators. I'm supposed to find out something in the next couple of weeks."

"That is so great!" Casey was very excited for her friend. "Well, you know that you've always got a place to stay in Nashville anytime."

"I really appreciate that, Case. I may just take you up on that when they call me to come out for my final interview."

"You better." Casey said wagging a finger at Jo.

"I will." Jo smiled at Casey. They talked the rest of the way back to Casey's apartment about the possibility of Jo being a part-time roommate. Casey didn't have any plans of having of too many other people being there. She definitely would not be having any live in lovers for a long time.


The next morning couldn't come quickly enough. Casey tossed and turned all night. She had dreams about Sara. She had dreams about Pam. She had nightmares about her father. She finally gave up trying to sleep at three in the morning. She decided to go ahead and leave. She gave one last look at the apartment she had lived in for five years and headed out.

Memphis was quiet when Casey left. It was dark with just a few building on the skyline lit up. She had enjoyed living there. She had got a good education. She had a blast playing pro basketball there. The fans were the best but it was time to move on.

The late summer morning didn't give way to sunrise until almost six-thirty. Casey found herself thinking about the dinner that night and seeing Pam again. Casey was not looking forward to the meeting. She was going to have to make a point to try not to give Pam hateful looks. Her mom was paying very close attention to the interactions between her and Pam. Her mom obviously thought a lot of Pam and wanted Casey and her brothers to as well. Casey would try to put the past behind her. She would try to view Pam as just her mother's attorney and not a bitter memory.

Casey finally arrived in Nashville right in the middle of rush hour. Fortunately she didn't have to travel on the interstate far. She got off and wove her way through town to get to her apartment. She called Terri to let her know she was at her apartment. Terri had taken the day off to help Casey get moved in. Terri told her she would be there shortly to help her. Casey went ahead and began packing boxes out of the truck up to her apartment.

Terri got there about an hour later. It took her and Casey four hours to unload the truck and set up Casey's apartment, after which Casey ordered pizza for the two of them. They hadn't talked much during the moving. Casey had been mulling over how to tell Terri that Pam was her mom's attorney. Terri helped by bringing up the subject. "So how's your mom? I got your message that she turned up."

"She's good. She's staying with her attorney until the Abused Women's Advocates Yoke can find her a safe house to move into."

"I've heard about them." Terri commented between bites. "I heard that they have networks of women in businesses and private homes that help the women get away from their abusers. Many times there are women who will take the women on the run into their home and let them hide out there for while. I heard that all of the businesses involved have very strict protection policies in effect. Only a few select people within the company actually know that these women have different identities than the one they come into the company with."

"Wow." Casey was very surprised. "I didn't know much about it. I was just glad that they were helping Mom get out."

Terri played with her pizza a little. She was afraid to tell Casey this but she needed to know. "Ah, I'm not sure how to tell you this but Pam is one of the attorneys down there."

Casey let out a sigh, "I know. She's my mom's attorney."

"Seriously?" Terri was surprised Casey seemed to be taking that so well.

"Yeh, I met Mom at her office last week." Casey shook her head. "I didn't react very well to seeing her. I kept my cool but I know my mom noticed the tension between us."

"Well, look at it this way, Pam is a very good attorney. She's helped a lot of women get better lives."

"I'm sure she has. I have no doubt that she's a good attorney." Casey poked at her pizza. "My mom likes her a lot. Apparently she had mom meet her at the Tennessee state line rest area and brought her to Nashville. She took her to the doctor and did everything else for her." Casey fidgeted some more. She had to ask Terri this question. She wasn't sure if Terri would know the answer. She wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer. "She's got my mom staying with her. How do you think her husband feels about that?"

Terri took a deep sigh. She knew it was hard for Casey to talk about Pam but she needed to know the answers to these questions. "She isn't married anymore."

Casey looked up. "Oh really?"

"Yeh," Terri watched Casey's expression to know when to stop with the information she was about to give her. "She was married to John Matterson for about three years. They parted amicably. She apparently told him about her sexuality. They worked out an agreement so he could get a senior partnership with her father's firm."

"I thought she was working for her father."

"She was. They had a huge falling out over a case and Pam went to work at AWAY right after that." Terri wasn't sure if she should go on. She watched Casey and Casey seemed to be taking it all in and digesting it. "Her father had pushed her into the marriage with John and was quite mad when they got divorced." Terri hesitated but Casey still seemed to be interested. "He accused her of leaving John for a woman. John stood up for her but Pam let her father know that she was going back to her gay lifestyle. He told her that he wasn't going to have anything to do with her as long as she continued that lifestyle and they haven't spoken since."

"So when exactly did her dad make her marry John?"

Terri was afraid she was going to ask that. "The summer after she graduated law school."

Casey pursed her lips. That was right after she shut Casey down. Casey might be able to have a little forgiveness for Pam if her father was pushing her to not have a relationship with a woman at the time Casey was pursuing her. She would still be mad that Pam had not told her that. She had thought that she and Pam were close enough of friends that Pam could have told her something like that.

Terri watched Casey thinking it all over. Casey pursed and twisted her lips. She seemed to be between angry and confused. "I think I know what you want to know." Casey looked up at Terri and raised an eyebrow in question. "Her father was putting a lot of pressure on her to leave behind the gay lifestyle and get married. He pretty much told her that he would not hire her at his firm if she didn't walk away from the life she had been living."

Casey nodded. She really didn't want to hear anymore. Knowing this put a bit of a different light on things, but Casey still wasn't quite ready to forgive Pam. Pam should have told her what was going on. She would have been hurt still but she would have understood where Pam was coming from. She wouldn't have felt that Pam was just not giving her a chance to prove she could be faithful.

"So, how's Beth?" Casey asked, deciding it was time to change the subject.

"She's good." Terri was glad she had told Casey these things. Maybe now she and Pam would be able to work together to help Casey's mom


* * * * * *

Pam was so nervous about tonight's dinner. She had been worrying about it all week. She really wanted to make an impression on Dorothy's sons. Most importantly, she wanted to make an impression on Dorothy's daughter. Pam hadn't realized it until tonight when she was trying to get dressed for dinner. She had been through at least six outfits and couldn't find one that gave the impression she wanted to give. When she analyzed what kind of impression she was looking for, her thoughts went to: What would Casey think I look attractive in? She couldn't believe that was the first thought that went through her head. She kept trying to give herself a mental shake. Casey didn't like her anymore. She was not going to be checking me out, Pam told herself.

Finally she gave up. She couldn't get her mind off of Casey and what Casey was going to think about her, what she was wearing, what she was saying. She went to the guest room and asked Dorothy to come and help her. "I can't decide what to wear."

Dorothy had to giggle. Her normally very professional lawyer seemed to be flustered. They went back to Pam's room where Pam had the outfits she had gone through strewn across the bed. Dorothy walked right over to a very nice dark blue business suit. "You look incredible in this." Dorothy stated picking up the jacket.

"Thank you very much. I was kind of favoring that one too." Pam took the jacket from Dorothy.

Pam finally got dressed and was ready. She was really glad that it was time to go and she wouldn't have anymore time to think about what was getting ready to happen.

As they drove, Pam looked over at Dorothy in the passenger seat of her car. Pam had taken her out for a make over earlier in the day. She looked absolutely incredible. Her bruises had almost completely healed, which was part of the reason they had waited to have this dinner with the kids. Dorothy didn't want the boys to see how badly their dad had beaten her this time.

Pam had chosen a quiet restaurant downtown to have the dinner. It was one of Pam's favorite places. She had given the boys and Casey instructions on how to get there. Pam was really hoping that they were already there when she and Dorothy got there.

Pam wasn't disappointed. They could see the three of them standing in front of the restaurant talking when they pulled into the parking lot up the street. "Let me walk in front of you." Dorothy said as they got out of the car. "The kids have never seen me made up. I want to see if they will recognize me."

Dorothy knew that Casey would recognize Pam right away so she had her walk about six feet behind her. Dorothy walked right into the middle of their little group. They all were surprised by the intrusion and even more surprised when they realized who she was. Charles was the first. He had turned around to give her a glare for bursting into their group but Dorothy smiled at him. He narrowed his eyes as he tried to figure out where he knew her from. When the recognition came his eyes popped open wide. He grabbed her up into a big bear hug. "Oh my God," He cried.

Casey and Chad swung their heads around to see who he was hugging then joined in for a big family hug. After a few minutes of hugging and kissing, they all pulled back to look at each other.

"Wow Mom!" Chad shook his head, "I would not have recognized you! You look fabulous!"

"I just couldn't believe my eyes!" Chimed in Charles, "You look like a different person. I can't believe how much better you look."

Dorothy blushed slightly. "Thank you, Sweetie."

"Yeh, Mom," Casey added, "You look beautiful." Casey turned to Pam, who had just reached there group. "You did this, didn't you?"

Pam smiled sheepishly, "I took her to Maude Long."

Casey smiled and nodded in acknowledgment of who Pam was talking about. Maude was one of Casey's many college flings and one of the best make-up artist in Nashville.

"She sends her best to you, by the way." Pam added quietly.

Casey nodded again then turned to the boys. "This is Pam Benton..."She paused and looked at Pam apologetically because she had forgotten her new last name.

Pam smiled understandingly. "Matterson. Pamela Benton Matterson. I'm your mother's attorney through AWAY." She shook hands with both men. "Let's go inside." She led everyone into the restaurant.

The host called out to Pam. "Ah, Ms. Matterson, it's good to see you."

"Thank you, Chas." Pam smiled sweetly, "Is my table ready?"

The host bowed slightly and pointed towards the back of the restaurant, "Yes, right this way."

Her table? Casey thought to herself. It would seem that Pam had come a long way in the past five years. Casey watched how professional she was. The way she was dressed in the dark blue business suit with slight heals. Even the style of her hair said she was a professional woman. They way she talked and carried herself said that she had knowledge and self-confidence. Casey remembered that Pam was well on her way to being this woman back when they were friends. Casey was quite impressed with the woman Pam had become. She couldn't help but think that Pam was even more beautiful now.

They all sat down at the table and ordered drinks. They looked over the menus quickly and ordered their dinners. While they waited for their food, Pam began explaining to the boys and Casey how the AWAY program worked.

Casey was listening to Pam but she was also watching Pam's mannerisms as she talked. Pam liked to use her hands when she talked. Casey's eyes began traveling to more places than she intended. She noticed that Pam had earrings that had sapphires in them that almost matched her eyes. She was wearing the slightest bit of makeup. She had always been like that with makeup. No nail polish. Short, neatly manicured nails. No rings. She was wearing a satin peach colored blouse under her jacket that was buttoned conservatively almost to her throat.

Pam was explaining the legalities of the AWAY program and why it was crucial that none of the kids know exactly where their mother was for awhile when she noticed that Casey was checking her out. She couldn't believe it. She stopped in mid-sentence. A chill ran all through her body when she saw the look of approval and appreciation on Casey's face.

"Ms. Matterson?" Chad broke into her thoughts.

Casey looked up and met Pam's eyes when she heard Chad say Pam's name. They both quickly looked away. "Sorry." Pam flushed apologetically, hoping that everyone else at the table had not been paying attention to all that. "I just thought I saw someone I knew." Pam said, letting go of a little dig towards Casey. "This is why it's so important for you mom...." Pam went on with what she had been originally saying. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Casey grinning behind her glass. So the dig had hit its mark, Pam noted.

Yes it had. Casey couldn't help but grin at Pam's remark. She had looked Pam over like that many times in the past. Casey was a bit surprised to see Pam's reaction. She had looked surprised, a little embarrassed and flattered. Didn't she think Casey would still find her attractive?

Maybe Pam hadn't expected Casey to be interested in looking at her considering the last parting. Even though Casey was still angry about what had happened before, she couldn't help but look. Who wouldn't? She was a beautiful woman. Casey let her eyes wonder around the room. Sure enough, Pam was drawing quite a bit of attention from men and a few women. As Casey's eyes wondered they came around to meet her mom's, who was giving her a puzzled look. Her mom looked over at Pam then back to Casey. Casey wondered if she had seen the exchange between her and Pam. This would be the second time she had seen a strange exchange between them. She was probably trying to figure out what was going on.

Dorothy had seen the exchange and she was really wondering what had happened between the two of them. Had they fought over a man? Dorothy couldn't put her finger on it but there was definitely tension between the two of them.

By the night's end, Casey, Charles and Chad were convinced that Pam was taking good care of their mother. Casey had never really had any doubts. Both of the boys had liked Pam right away and were talking with her like they were old friends.

The kids gave their mother a hug as they got ready to leave. They all shook hands with Pam, including Casey. Dorothy promised to call each one of them and give them weekly updates as to how things were progressing.

On the way back to Pam's apartment, Dorothy made the comment, "I think you've made quite an impression on my children. I think they are quite relieved and have full confidence in you."

Pam reached over and patted Dorothy's hand. "I hope so. They all seem to be good people, like their mom."

"Thank you." Dorothy smiled. Pam was such a sweet girl and Casey was always very easy going and got along with everyone. She just couldn't imagine what on earth could have happened between them to make them not like each other.

* * * * * *

The following morning a large boutique of Pam's favorite flowers: daisies, hollyhocks, gardenias, pink roses and tulips, arrived at Pam's office. "Wow!" Pam's secretary, Amy, said as she carried them in to Pam's office. "Somebody either knows you or got real lucky guessing."

Pam laughed, "I can't imagine either one. Even John could never remember the hollyhocks. It must be from my mom." Pam started looking for the cared wondering why her mom would be sending her flowers. It wasn't her birthday or any other special occasion. Finally she found the card that had fallen down into the flowers. It read, "I'll never be able to thank you enough for what you have done for my mom. I'm forever in your debt. Friends, Casey."

Pam was grinning from ear to ear by the time she got done reading the card. It was so chivalrous. It was so Casey. Pam couldn't believe Casey had remembered all of her favorite flowers. Pam chewed her lip a bit. She hoped that this meant that Casey had forgiven her for what had happened in the past and that they would be able to be friends.

"So?" Amy asked impatiently.

Pam kept grinning and put the card in her pocket. "They're from an old friend."

"So you have old friends sending you flowers now." A new voice came from the doorway. It was Stacy, the woman Pam had been dating.

Pam was surprised to see her there. They had a huge fight when Pam told her that she was letting Dorothy stay with her. Stacy had told Pam to call her when she moved the old woman out. "So what brings you over to this neck of the woods?" Pam asked coolly. She was still quite mad that Stacy was being so childish about Dorothy staying with her.

"I thought I would take you out to lunch." Stacy came up to Pam's desk and sniffed the flowers. "That is if you don't already have a date." Stacy gave Pam a questioning look.

"No. I don't have another date." Pam gritted her teeth a little. She didn't know why she put up with Stacy's crap but she really didn't feel like fighting right now "I'd be glad to have lunch with you." Pam turned to Amy, "Only put through emergency phone calls."

"You got it boss lady." Amy said and bounced off into the other room. She wondered who this old friend was. She really hoped that who ever it was came and took Pam from the barracuda. Amy had not liked Stacy the first time she met her. She really couldn't see why someone as beautiful and intelligent as Pam would waste her time with an average looking dyke.

Pam dropped off a note at Amy's desk ask she walked by. "Take care of this while I'm out." She said as it landed on Amy's desk.

Amy picked it up after the two of them had walked out the door. It read, "Call me in an hour. Say that there is an emergency with one of the clients and that I must come back right away." Amy shook her head. Why didn't she just tell Stacy to buzz off?

Stacy took Pam to a sandwich shop down the street from Pam's office. Stacy was the head grounds keeper for the city parks. She could take off for an hour or so while her crew worked and no one would notice. "So when's the old woman moving out?" Stacy asked right after they ordered.

"I don't know. We still haven't had an opening come up." Pam said evenly.

"You can't send her to Texas or something?" Stacy asked irritably.

"No," Pam answered still keeping her cool. "She wants to stay close to her children so we are trying to find something closer to Nashville."

"It's been over two weeks, Pam." Stacy did not understand Pam's need to take these people in. They make some stupid mistakes and got themselves hooked up with the wrong people. She didn't need to treat them like lost children.

"I know how long it's been, Stacy." Pam was working real hard at not getting hateful. "I told you before that she will be staying with me as long as it takes."

"What about us?" Stacy practically growled. "So when are you going to have time for us?"

"We could still be talking with each other if you weren't being so difficult about this." Pam shot back.

"I want to do more than talk. We can't do that with grandma in the living room. I know that you don't want to run off and leave her alone. So what about that?"

"So is that all our relationship is about?"

"No, but I would like for us to be able to kiss or hold hands."

Pam was so sick of trying to explain the importance of helping her clients to Stacy. "Stacy, it's not going to kill you to talk to me with out kissing me for a few weeks. Dorothy is safe with me and that's what is most important."

"And I'm not important?"

"I didn't say that."

"And what is this about you getting flowers from an "old friend". Are you seeing someone else?" Stacy demanded.

Pam looked around to make sure no one was watching their exchange. "No, I'm not seeing anyone else. My "old friend" sent me flowers in appreciation for something I did for them."

"Them? So it was more than one friend?"

"Alright!" Pam hissed. "They were from a woman. No we were never lovers. No, we aren't sneaking out now. She was just simply showing her appreciation for me helping her, period."

The waitress brought their food. They stopped arguing and began eating. Pam picked at her food. She was fuming. She had spent the past year doing this bickering back and forth with Stacy and she was tired of it.

Pam's phone rang, making her jump. She had been absorbed in her thoughts about how to call things off with Stacy without causing a huge scene that she forgot Amy was supposed to call her. Pam looked at her watch. It was too soon to be Amy. "Hello."

"I know you said to wait an hour but there's been a real emergency." Amy said excitedly.

The first thing that went through Pam's head was that Bob had found Dorothy. "Okay, what happened?"

"Lucy Rodriguez's husband found out where she was working and went out there. I guess it was real bad. Lucy is at Vanderbilt. You need to go up there." Amy hated it when things like this happened.

"Oh my God. She's at Vanderbilt? It must be bad. Okay. Thank you Amy, I'll leave right away." Pam started getting her stuff together. "I have to leave. One of my client's husbands found out where she worked and put her in the hospital."

"This is bull shit!" Stacy stormed. "It can't wait until after you're done eating?"

Pam glared down at her. "One of my clients is in the hospital, again, because of her abuser. I have to go see her."

"Pam, you need to choose right now between me and them." Stacy threw the ultimatum up at Pam.

Pam was relieved to be given her way out. "Them." She said and walked away.


The past few weeks had been extremely busy for Casey. She had a busy schedule each day. She was off on Mondays and Wednesdays but those days were filled with studying. Although Casey had talked to Pam a few times, she hadn't really had time to really analyze how she was feeling about Pam right now. She was more beautiful than ever. She still made Casey's heart skip a beat when she smiled at her. Knowing that Pam's father had been pushing her into getting married to a man during the time Casey was courting her had eased some of Casey's pain but Pam should have told her. Casey would have been disappointed but she would have understood. It wouldn't have hurt Casey as much as thinking Pam just didn't want her did.

Casey wasn't going to let herself dwell on it. She had enough going on with her residency and worrying about what was going to happen to her mother now. She did try to get out and play basketball at least a few times a week. She had worked out a schedule with Terri for them to play together. That was her only real down time.

The holidays were just around the corner and Casey was hoping that they would be able to have a family dinner at someone's house. Charles really wanted to have Thanksgiving at his house this year. Casey and Chad said that was fine. They just had to find a way to get their mom there. Casey was really hoping that they would be able to get together for a cookout sometime this fall before the weather turned bad. Maybe she could talk to Pam about them all meeting at a public park somewhere in Nashville. Surely her father would not try anything at a park. Hopefully he wouldn't be able to find them.

Casey decided that she would stop by Pam's office while she was running some errands to see if Pam could work out a time for her and the boys to get together with their mother and have a cookout.

Casey got to Pam's office at about ten o'clock. It was quite busy. Casey wondered if it was always like that on Mondays. She had come on a Friday the last time she was here and it had been pretty busy then.

Casey approached the receptionist desk. "Hi. I'm a daughter of one of Pam...Matterson's clients. Is there any way I might be able to see Pam for a few minutes?"

"Just one minute. I'll call back to see what her schedule looks like." The receptionist answered and called Pam's secretary. "Pam's secretary will be right up to talk to you."

A few minutes later a small woman with long, sandy blond hair came out of one of the back offices. The receptionist pointed at Casey to let her know who was waiting. "Hi. I'm Amy Jensen, Pam Matterson's secretary. How can I help you?"

"My mother is one of Pam's clients. I wanted to talk to her about arranging a cookout so my brothers and I could visit with our mom." Casey explained.

"Okay. What's your name?"

"Casey Durham."

"The Casey Durham? Didn't you play at Vanderbilt?" Amy asked.

"Yes, ma'am, that would be me." Casey puffed up a bit, proudly.

"Wow. I was a big fan of yours. I really hated it that you retired from playing professionally. The Blues won't be the same without you." Amy said sweetly.

"Well, thank you. So, is there any way I can speak to Pam about the cookout for a few minutes?"

"Sure." Amy motioned for her to follow her "She is just about done with the client she is with. I'll slip you in between clients."

"I really appreciate this." Casey said gratefully.

"No problem." Amy motioned for Casey to sit down in her office while she went to talk to Pam.

Casey looked around the room as she waited. This girl was obviously very sports oriented. Besides certificates and diplomas on the walls, she had basketball and volleyball trophies. She had a framed Vanderbilt women's basketball poster hanging up. She also had one for the Memphis Blues with a team picture that included Casey and a similar one for the Indiana Fever. She had a WNBA basketball that had been signed by various players. Casey was looking at the ball when she came back.

"I wasn't sure if this would be a good time to ask you, but would you mind signing my ball?" Amy said sheepishly and blushed.

"I'd love to. Do you have a marker?" Casey smiled at the cute blond.

Amy produced a marker and Casey signed her ball. Amy beamed. It always took Casey by surprise when people wanted her autograph. "Now I remember where I saw you recently, you came by here a few weeks ago to see your mom."

"That's right. We didn't get to talk much that time; I was in a bit of a hurry."

"I'm glad your mom is doing so well, she's a very nice lady."

"Thank you."

"Pam can see you now." She stated still smiling and led Casey to Pam's office.

Casey steeled herself for seeing Pam again. It amazed her that after all this time and the pain she had felt over her perceived rejection by Pam, she still got butterflies when she was around her.

Pam was on the phone and motioned for Casey to sit. Casey took a look around the room while she was waiting. There were several different diplomas and awards. She had beautiful paintings of women and children in various relaxing and playful situations in bountiful gardens with birds and butterflies around them. The walls of her office were a cobalt blue with mahogany colored, possibly real mahogany trim, bookcases and her desk was the same color. The carpet was also blue but marbled with different shades of blue. The color of the walls really made Pam's eyes look more blue than they already were.

Pam watched Casey taking in her office. She finished her visual tour with a nod of approval towards Pam, who nodded back appreciatively. Casey fidgeted a little. She seemed nervous. Every time they had met she had seemed nervous, Pam observed. She wondered if Casey was feeling the same fluttering of her heart that Pam did. Pam shook herself mentally and got back to the thoughts at hand. She had way to many problems going on right now to allow herself to think there might be something between her and Casey again.

Pam seemed tired. Casey thought as she listened to her talk. She tried not to listen to the conversation but Pam seemed very upset about what who ever on the other end was saying. Once she even closed her eyes and let her head fall back as if she were saying a quick prayer for God to help her deal with the person on the other end. Finally she ended the conversation and rubbed her temples slowly. "So, how are you?" Pam asked Casey.

"Good." Casey answered, "You?"

Pam took a deep breath then let it out slowly. "I've had better days." She closed her eyes briefly. When she opened them back up she picked up her phone and called her secretary. "Amy, please bring me some ibuprofen and some coffee." Pam covered the mouth piece and asked Casey, "Would you like some coffee or a soda." Casey shook her head. "That will be it then." She told Amy.

"So what's wrong?" Casey asked. She didn't really expect Pam to feel comfortable enough to unload on her but she did a little.

Pam came around her desk and sat in the chair next to Casey. "Well, I have a client in the hospital that might not make it. Her husband found out where she worked. He went out there and beat her up then shot her three times."

"My God!" Casey exclaimed.

"Now, INS is giving me a bunch of crap about her because she hadn't become a citizen yet. Her husband was put in jail. He was here illegally. When they called Mexico to deport him they found out he was wanted there on several charges so he got extradited. After he got down there, he called the INS and told them that she was also here illegally. I've shown them all her papers where she is trying to get citizenship." Pam let out a deep breath and rolled her eyes. "Now the stupid jerks want to question her and I can't make them understand that the woman is in a coma and might die." Pam shook her head. "This has by far been my worse case." Tears began to form in Pam's eyes. "She is just the sweetest young woman in the world. She was trying to make a better life for herself and now this." Pam wiped the tears rolling down her cheek with a tissue from her desk.

Casey put her hand on Pam's arm. "I'm so sorry, Pam. Is there anything I can do to help?"

The sincerity in Casey's voice brought Pam's eyes up to meet hers. The touch of Casey's hand and the concern in her eyes reached deep inside Pam. They opened up feelings Pam had pushed away for a long time. She could feel everything she had felt for Casey before. The love, tenderness and desire all welled up inside Pam. She could see that Casey was feeling it too.

Casey was feeling it, much to her dismay. Just touching Pam and having this tender moment with her had brought back every emotion Casey had felt before. She looked into Pam's eyes that revealed the deep caring Pam felt for Casey. Casey had seen this look before. The night she had kissed Pam, she had professed her love for Pam. She had seen, or had thought, that she had seen in Pam's eyes the return of those affections. She had kissed Pam the way she had been longing to for so long. Pam had kissed Casey back in a way that had made Casey feel sure that she felt the same way about Casey. But, she had pushed Casey back after the kiss and told her that she couldn't be in a relationship with her. Pam walked away and did not look back.

Pam was thinking about that same moment. She was remembering seeing this same look in Casey's eyes. She remembered how she had felt. She had not intended on kissing Casey back but she couldn't stop herself. The minute Casey's lips had touched hers. Her resolve to stop Casey and tell her that she couldn't be more than friends with her had died. She was so sorry afterwards. She had never forgotten the look of hurt on Casey's face. She had been so sorry that she had been the cause of it. She should have told Casey the minute she had showed up that night what was happening with her father. She should have stopped her before it went too far.

Both women looked away from each other and their painful memories at the same time. They were both silent for what seemed like forever. Finally Pam broke that silence. "Thank you very much for your offer. I really wish there was something you could do. But, that brings me to the other thing I must tell you."

Right at that moment, Amy showed up with Pam's coffee and ibuprofen. Lord, did she really need it now. Amy asked Casey if she was sure that she didn't want anything. Casey said that she was fine and didn't need anything. Amy left the office.

Casey looked back at Pam who still had her eyes turned downward. "A safe house has come open and I'm moving your mom into it today." Pam made herself look up at Casey, "I must say that I'm quite sad about it. I've grown very fond of you mom. I'll miss her being at my apartment every day. I really enjoyed her staying with me."

Casey could see that Pam really meant what she was saying. "Thank you. I'm sure my mom feels that same way. She has said several times that she thinks of you as another daughter."

Pam beamed when Casey said that. "Really? She is really a great lady. Funny, I bet you didn't know that she was funny."

"No." Casey smiled shaking her head. "We didn't have much laughter at our house."

"She can cook too." Pam patted her flat belly. "I bet I've put on five pounds since she moved in."

"Well, it doesn't show." Casey said, giving her an appreciative look over despite her mind telling her not too.

Pam blushed and shook her head at Casey. "Thank you. I'll see what we can do about setting up a cookout date. I really want to be very careful." Pam said more seriously. "This thing with Lucy Rodriguez has really shaken me up. We still haven't figured out how he found her. She was moved up here from Texas. She hasn't been talking to her family because they liked him. I just don't understand it." Pam was clearly upset.

"Well, the boys and I will do whatever you say needs to be done." Casey assured her.

Pam smiled at her, "Good. I'll give you a call real soon and let you know when and where." Pam stood up. "I hate to rush this but I do have a few more clients to see before I take your mom to her new home."

Casey stood too. "I understand. I really appreciate you seeing me with no notice like this."

"No problem, Case. Drop by anytime." Pam flushed a little when she seen the grin curl at Casey's lips when she called Casey by her pet name. She had told Casey once that she called her Case because she was a real nut case.

"I'm not as bad of a 'case' as I used to be." Casey said with a wink. "I better get out of here. I'm supposed to be meeting Terri to play basketball."

"Terri Miller?"


"Well, tell her I said 'hi'". Pam said walking towards the door. "I've haven't seen her in about a year."

"I'll tell her. Tell my mom to call me later. I should be home about five."

"I'll do it." Pam said holding the door open for Casey. "I'll be talking to ya soon."

"Looking forward to it." .

Pam stood there looking after her. What a day! First the INS, then Casey Durham. She was really going to have to unwind after this day.

* * * * * *

Casey headed to cafeteria at Vanderbilt. Terri was going to meet her there for lunch. They wouldn't be able play ball until three o'clock this afternoon when Terri got off from work. Casey decided not to talk to Terri about this thing with Pam just yet. She just wasn't sure what she was feeling right now. She didn't really want to think about it at this moment.

Terri was there waiting for her. "What's wrong?" Were the first words out of Terri's mouth.

Casey told her part of it. "Mom's getting to move to her safe house today. I'm just worried for her."

Terri took that with a nod and they sat down to eat. "So how is your mom?"

"She seems to be good. She's very relaxed when I talk to her. It's kind of weird because she was always tense before. Always whispering when she talked to you. Now she talks loud and confidently."

"That's wonderful!" Terri said between bites of her sandwich.

Casey noticed a new ring on Terri's ring finger that she had not seen before. She pointed to it. "What's this?"

Terri grinned from ear to ear. "Beth gave that to me. She said she wants everyone to know that I'm spoken for."

"That is so sweet." Casey said watching her friend. She had never seen Terri be like this about anyone. "So, do you think this is the real thing?"

"Yes." Terri nodded looking at her beautiful diamond studded ring. "Yes, I do." Terri looked up at Casey beaming. "I've never been with someone who really cared about what I was interested in or what I liked. It was always about them. What I could do for them. Beth wants to do for me. It's so weird having someone bring me gifts, give me massages, just sit and really listen to what I'm saying."

Casey was smiling as she listened to her friend. She was remembering at the same time, though, what had transpired between her and Pam. There was a time when she thought she had found that with Pam. Even Sara for a time pretended to be really interested in what Casey wanted or thought. It didn't last. Casey really hoped this lasted for Terri. She knew Beth was several years younger than Terri but she seemed so grounded.

Casey and Terri spent the rest of lunch talking about Beth. Terri was really quite smitten with the dark haired young beauty. Casey was really looking forward to getting to know her better. Terri told Casey that she was planning a party at her house sometime around Halloween. That reminded Casey to tell Terri what Pam had said. "By the way, Pam Matterson said to tell you 'hi'."

"Really, when did you see her?" Terri watched Casey's expressions carefully.

"This morning I went to see her about setting up a time when the boys and I could have a cookout with mom." Casey said nonchalantly.

Terri assessed from Casey's body movements that she was still upset about the meeting with Pam. She wanted to ask Casey more about it but she knew that Casey would stay clammed up until she was ready to really talk about it. "Well, that was nice. I haven't seen her in a while. The next time you talk to her, you tell her I said 'hi' back."

"Sure." Casey promised. She changed the subject. She didn't want to get started on Pam right now.

* * * * * *

Casey went shopping after lunch with Terri. She was furious with herself because she kept thinking about Pam's favorite foods when she was getting her groceries. She had almost gotten pears, which she didn't like, because Pam liked them. Like Pam was going to be coming to her apartment to eat anytime soon. Before the grocery she had gone to buy some pictures to put on the walls of her apartment. She found herself looking at pictures of women and children together with lots of hues of blue. That reminded Casey that Pam had not said one word about the flowers she had sent her. Casey was sure that she had remembered all of Pam's favorites. Not one 'thank you' or nothing. That made Casey even madder.

By the time Casey got to the student recreation center at Vanderbilt, she was thoroughly furious with herself. She got there an hour before she was supposed to meet Terri so she could workout with the weights. She really threw herself into her workout. She knew she was going to be sore the next day but she didn't care. She put on more weight than she usually worked out with and really pushed herself. She was pumped and ready to go by the time Terri got there.

Terri observed her friend as she walked into the gym. Terri knew she was going to get her but kicked today. Not only was she exhausted from a long day at the city's parks and recreation department, but she could see that Casey was really worked up about something. She went into the locker room and got dressed. When she came back Casey was practicing free throws. "Ready?" Terri asked warily.

"Yep." Casey said snippily and tossed the ball at Terri hitting her hard in the chest.

Oh yeah, she is mad about something, Terri thought to herself. Terri in- bounded the ball to Casey and the game was on.

An hour later, Terri was wiped out. Casey had run her to death. She stood bent at her waist trying to catch her breath. "That's it." She said when she finally got her breath.

"So what are you doing, wimping out on me?" Casey said breathlessly.

"Yes, I am." Terri answered straightening up. "What is with you today, man? You act obsessed or something."

"Maybe," Casey said shaking her head, "Hey, you want to go get a beer?"

"That sounds good." Terri said taking her towel and wiping her face off. "I have to go home and change first."

"That's fine. Where do you want to go?" Casey said wiping the sweat off of her face as well.

"There's a real nice lesbian bar on the west side now. Why don't you come over to my house later and you can either ride with me or follow me up there." Terri started gathering her stuff.

"Okay. I'll call ya when I get ready to head over there." Casey said and picked up her stuff as well.

* * * * * *

Casey got to Terri's about six o'clock. She hadn't eaten. She was still too mad about not being able to get Pam out of her head. That whole event in Pam's office this morning had started up feelings that Casey thought she had tucked away for good, especially after Sara hurt her the way she did. She really didn't want to start having feelings for anyone. She really couldn't be sure what was going on with Pam. She wasn't sure that she wanted to feel this way about her. Unfortunately, she was afraid her heart was thinking for itself.

Terri watched Casey pace in an agitated manner. Something was really eating at her. Hopefully after a few drinks Casey would loosen up and talk to her about it. Even Beth noticed. "What's wrong with your friend?" She had pulled Terri into the bedroom and asked.

"I'm not sure. She's was like this earlier when we played basketball too." Terri had took the opportunity to give to cute little brunette a kiss.

Beth smiled up at her. "Let's get her buzzed and maybe she'll forget what she's upset about."

A little while later Terri and Beth emerged from their bedroom. They left the apartment, got in Terri's car and headed towards the bar. Terri had promised to take Casey home if she got too drunk. Casey thought she just might, maybe that would get Pam off her mind.

The bar was really nice. It was in a small shopping center with some clothing stores. It was really a quiet atmosphere. They had soft pop and oldies music playing. Most everyone was playing pool. Terri told her that they changed the dance music after nine. She said it was nice dance music, stuff from the seventies and eighties. Songs you could slow dance to. Casey was so glad. She really hated the techno music they played at the other gay bars.

They sat down at a table. Terri and Casey both ordered Corona's and a shot of tequila. Beth ordered a rum and coke. Casey downed the shot of tequila and asked for another one. She sipped on her beer and immediately downed the other shot when it arrived. No lemon, salt or nothing, just straight. Terri sat there making a face at her. That was it. Casey never drank tequila shots without at least a bit of salt. She reached over and put her hand on Casey's and squeezed it affectionately. "Alright, what is really going on Casey?"

Casey took a deep swig of her beer and looked at her friend. More memories came back, as she gazed at her longtime friend. Terri had introduced Casey to the joy of loving women, as well as, the pain of loving women. Terri had been Casey's first lover, if you wanted to call it that. Casey had been fresh meat on campus and Terri had seduced her into her first tryst in the bed with a woman. Of course, once conquered, Terri lost interest and was on to a new conquest. Casey had been quite hurt. She had thought they would continue to see each other after they had sex a few times. Terri had other ideas. Unfortunately they were also teammates at the time for Vanderbilt's Lady Commodores. They had several heated battles in practice and a few hard shoves before the head coach, Kim Daniels, made them work things out or get off her team. After a night of drinking and laughing, they had emerged friends and remained that way ever since.

"There was more to my meeting with Pam this morning." Casey's tongue was already a bit thick, causing her to slur a little.

Now we're getting somewhere, Terri thought. "Like what?"

Casey sat back and rubbed her hands over her face. "She was telling about some problems she is having right now. I put my hand on her arm and offered to help in any way I could." Casey took a long swig of her beer. "She turned and looked right into my eyes and it happened again."

"What happened again?" Terri almost thought Casey be being a bit silly about whatever happened.

"Those feelings came back. All of them." Casey answered.

Terri nodded knowingly. Beth looked between the two of them. Apparently Terri knew about these feelings that Casey was talking about.

"That's not the worst of it. She was looking back at me, just the way she did that night."

"Really?" Terri knew all about that night, it was the night Pam had told Casey they couldn't be lovers. Casey had come over to her apartment crying. She had never seen Casey cry. Casey told her that Pam had shut her down. Terri had not been surprised by the shut down. Pam had confided in Terri that her father was pushing her to leave behind her lesbian lifestyle in order to get a job at his firm. Pam had been stuck between a rock and a hard place. Her father's firm was once of the most prestigious in Nashville. Lawyers from all over the country coveted positions with him. He was offering one of those positions to his daughter but on his terms. She had to quit seeing women and get married. Terri had been very surprised that Pam had not told Casey about her problem. They were actually good friends. Pam told Terri later that she knew Casey would try to talk her into arguing with her dad or walking away from the position he was offering. At that time, Pam didn't feel like she had a choice and didn't know how to explain it to Casey.

Pam never admitted it, but Terri was real sure that she was in love with Casey. She would drop whatever she was doing to hang out with Casey. She never missed a Lady Commodore game after she met Casey. Terri had caught Pam giving Casey some very hot looks when Casey wasn't looking. She had not understood Pam's game until Pam told her about her father's ultimatum. He had been pushing it on Pam before she met Casey. Pam was a little afraid of Casey's reputation as a womanizer but she was more afraid of her father. Terri felt that Pam had wanted to be with Casey but knew she couldn't. She may have felt that if Casey knew that there was not going to be a chance for them to be together that she would drop her friendship with Pam. Pam had not wanted that to happen because she enjoyed being with Casey.

Pam had been very upset about that night as well. She had been even more upset when Casey wouldn't even talk to her afterwards. She had come to Terri hoping Terri could make Casey understand. It had tore Pam to pieces that she had hurt Casey and that Casey would no longer speak to her. Terri had tried to reason with Casey but Casey refused to talk about Pam at all, until now.

Casey was watching Terri who seemed to have drifted away for a moment. "Hello?" Casey wanted Terri's help with this and she seemed to have left.

"I'm here. I was just remembering that night." Terri took a deep breath and decided to try to venture into this territory. "So what about that look?"

"It was like she was feeling the same thing I was. I always thought she felt more for me than she was telling back then but I don't know..." Casey said taking another drink of her beer almost finishing it off.

"You don't think she was?" Terri asked carefully.

"I... I didn't think so." Casey played with her bottle, pulling off the label.

"What if she was feeling that way even though she knew that she couldn't?" Terri queried.

Casey sighed. "You know why she shut me down that night, don't you?"

"Yes." Terri answered evenly, taking a drink of her own beer.

"Was it because of her father or did she decide she just wouldn't ever be able to trust me?" Casey asked quietly.

"It was because of her father."

Casey closed her eyes. She was so afraid of how these feelings had taken her over. "I don't know if I want to feel this way about her again."

"You may not have a choice." Terri reasoned, knowing that sometimes when you fall in love with someone those feelings never go away.

"I was afraid you were going to say that." Casey drained the dregs of her beer. Just then a waitress came up and sat a beer in front of Casey.

Casey looked up at the stocky, butch woman who smiled and said. "It's from the lady over there."

Casey spun around in the direction the waitress was pointing. It was Pam. She was sitting at a table by herself and lifted her bottle to Casey. Casey picked her beer and toasted her back. Casey looked at Terri.

Terri knew the question in Casey's eyes. "Invite her over."

Casey motioned for Pam to come over and join them.

Before Pam could get to them, Terri patted Casey's hand. "Maybe you two should start out being friends again. If it's meant to be, it will be."

"Hi." Pam said as she arrived at the table.

"Hi" The three said in unison.

"Thanks for the beer." Casey said scooting her chair to make room for Pam to pull up a chair.

"Well, I wanted to thank you." Pam said sitting down. "I didn't get a chance to before. I really enjoyed the flowers you sent a few weeks ago." Pam smiled shyly "I was surprised that you remembered all of my favorites."

"Well, I'm glad that you enjoyed them." Casey smiled back.

Beth looked at Terri who grinned and squeezed hand. Terri whispered in Beth's ear. "I'll tell you all about it later."

"So Pam, I hear that you have rescued Casey's mom." Terri said breaking the slight tension that seemed exist now.

"Yes. I am really glad I've been able to help her." Pam turned to Casey. "Did she call you tonight?"

"I missed her. She left a message and said she likes the house but she misses you." Casey answered, pleased to see Pam smile. Casey was getting a bit tipsy. She stared a little longer than she had intended to at Pam's full lips.

"I miss her too. That's part of how I ended up here tonight. It was so quiet, I couldn't take it anymore." Pam wasn't going to say that the other reason was to try to quiet her mind after her visit with Casey this morning. Obviously being here now was not going to help deal those feelings that were starting up again with her sitting there with Casey. She wondered if that meeting this morning had affected Casey? Was it why Casey was working on getting drunk?

Beth nudged Terri, who hadn't introduced her to Pam. Terri blushed apologetically and squeezed Beth's hand. She had gotten caught up in the interaction between Casey and Pam and had forgotten that Pam had not met Beth yet. "Ur umm..." Terri spoke up. "I'm sorry Pam. I forgot that you hadn't met Beth. Beth this is Pam Matterson, an old friend. Pam this is my partner Beth."

Pam reached over and shook Beth's hand. "It's nice to meet you Beth. I was wondering when Terri was going to get around to introducing us." Pam looked at Terri. "So how long have you two been together?"

Terri put her arm around Beth and smiled proudly, "Six months next Tuesday."

"Wow," Pam was quite shocked. Terri had never been in a relationship longer than six weeks when she knew her before. "Congratulations." Pam stopped the waitress and ordered another round of drinks for their table. "Drinks are on me this round to celebrate you happy union."

"Thank you." Terri smiled happily.

"So how did you meet?" Pam asked. Pam noted out of the corner of her eye that Casey was quietly checking her out.

Casey was trying to be discreet about it but she was really too drunk to not be obvious. Besides, she decided that Pam liked it because she would look out of the corner of her eye at her and grin.

"Beth coordinates the sporting events at all the parks in town. She works at a different office for the Parks and Recreation Department so I had never met her. We met at a fund raiser about a year ago. We became friends. I finally got up enough nerve to ask her out and here we are." Terri summarized the story.

Casey and Pam both looked at each other then said at the same time. "Got nerve enough?"

"Since when have you ever been afraid to ask someone out?" Casey asked.

Terri blushed sheepishly. "Well, she was special. I was afraid she knew about my wild past and wouldn't go out with me. Sound familiar?" Terri asked looking at Casey, who just dropped her headed and nodded.

"So did you know about Terri's sorted past?" Pam asked Beth.

"Oh yeah, I'd been warned by many people. I thought she was cute and started asking who knew her. Well, everyone knew her." Beth laughed, "I have heard some of the wildest stuff. Terri assured me that most of it was probably true. I was terrified." Beth squeezed Terri's hand, "She was very patient. She kept finding ways to run into me all over town. She'd call and ask silly questions. I just couldn't stand it anymore. I figured what the hell, if nothing else it would be a few weeks of wild sex." Terri's head was dropped and her whole body was shaking from laughing. "So, I dropped a few hints to some people who I knew liked to gossip that I might go out with her. Well, Terri calls me like a week later. She beat around so many bushes trying to figure out how to ask me out that I finally said, 'So do you want to go out?' She's says yes, she wants to take me out to dinner."

"So she gets dressed up very sexy." Terri says through bursts of laughter. "She's very beautiful and I was tongue tied all night. She dogged the crap out of me."

"She really couldn't get anything to come out of her mouth right. I'm thinking, 'Wow, she must really be nervous.' So by this time I've decided that all these stories were a bunch of crap. How can this mousy, nervous, tripping over herself person be a womanizer? The whole night I'm putting my hand on her knee and touching her in places that is making her jump and look around, worrying that someone is going to see us."

"I was freaking out. We were at a fairly open restaurant. I just know that people are watching us. I'm thinking, 'Oh my God. She's into wild public sex. She seemed like such a nice woman.'" Terri was shaking her head and laughing. "When we got up to leave everyone turned around and looked at us. She," Terri points at her giggling partner, "pinches my butt as we're walking by this really old couple. Who, of course, both gasp and look away."

"So," Beth stops giggling a bit, "we get back to my house and I invite her in. She was going to chicken out."

Casey's mouth dropped open. "No way!"

Terri shrugged. Beth went on. "I'm trying to talk her into coming in. I'm promising her it will be okay. She finally agrees. I get her to sit down on my couch while I get us something to drink. I come back in a black teddy. Terri jumps up off the couch and starts heading for the door. I stop her at the door. I push her against the wall and practically plaster myself to her. I say, 'I thought you liked wild women.' Terri's like. 'I do. I did. I didn't think you...'" Beth starts in a new roll of laughter. "I thought she was going to pass out when I put my tongue in her ear." Beth looks at Terri who is kicked back in her chair laughing. "Finally I step away and go, 'You aren't such a stud after all.' That was it! Her eyes had flames in them. She snatched me up, threw me over her shoulder, took me into the bedroom and threw me down on the bed. She jumped my bones. The wildest sex I've ever had." Terri is now wiping away the tears as are Pam and Casey from laughing so hard at Terri's demise. "The next day she says, 'Why did you do all that stuff last night?' I told her I was testing out all the stories I had heard about stuff that she had done to other women trying to seduce them. She was just really lucky I never got her to go into the bathroom. We would have probably gotten arrested on our first date."

"Terri," Pam queried, "did you really do all of that to other women trying to get them in your bed?"

"That and then some," Terri admitted. "She was so serious about everything she was doing. I was so freaked out. I kept thinking, what have I got myself into? She seemed so nice."

"The next morning I asked her, 'So will I get to see you again.' She said 'You'll never be able to get rid of me'." Beth picked up Terri's hand and kissed it. "I thought I'd lost her about halfway through the night. She looked so shocked. I thought that all those rumors were crap and she was going to dump me on my doorstep and never speak to me again. She got a little dose of her own medicine."

"Oh yes, I have actually called and apologized women who I had really embarrassed doing wild stuff to them in public." Terri admitted.

"No more. I'm the only one she's going to do wild stuff to in public with."

"That's right, Sugar Bear." Terri promised and kissed Beth on the lips.

Casey and Pam were both shaking their heads at the pair, and then they looked at each other. Both were thinking about that night and how their lives would have changed. Casey was thinking, what did I doing wrong. Pam was thinking maybe if I hadn't had other pressures. The heated look between them did not go unnoticed by Terri and Beth.

Right then the disk jockey began playing "Let's Make Love" by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Terri and Beth excused themselves to go dance. Once out on the floor, Beth asked Terri. "I thought you said that those two were never lovers. Did you see the way that they looked at each other? I can't believe that there wasn't something going on between them."

"I didn't say there wasn't something going on between them. There was definitely chemistry. But, they were never lovers. Believe me, if Casey would have ever had Pam she would have called me the very next day and told me all about it. No, fate and other people got in the way. Maybe now that things have changed they will let themselves get lost in each other." Terri said quoting the song and pulling her lover closer. She was very glad that she had let herself get lost in Beth.

Pam turned in her chair to watch the couples dance. Casey scooted up behind her. Casey was still quite buzzed and feeling a bit brave.

Pam was trying not to look at Casey because she knew that Casey would see what she was feeling.

Casey was positive that Pam still had feelings for her that she was trying not to show. Much like she had before, this time, though, she was having a harder time hiding them. Casey scooted to the edge of her seat so that she was almost touching Pam.

Pam was well aware of Casey moving closer behind her but she didn't move away. She didn't want to. She was enjoying the feeling of Casey's body close to hers. Pam could feel Casey's breath on her hair. She waited to see what Casey would do next.

Casey was just drunk enough to feel brave and little wild. Being around Pam was bringing out feelings she couldn't seem to push away or hide. She wanted to touch her, even if it was the briefest feather touch. When Pam didn't move Casey inched closer so the she was almost straddling Pam from behind but was still not quite touching her. She leaned closer and whispered in Pam's ear. "They make a cute couple, don't they?"

"Yes." Pam whispered back, careful not to break the flow of the moment.

Casey could smell Pam's hair. "Still using lavender scented shampoo?" Pam nodded. Casey moved closer, taking in Pam's perfume. She let her lips lightly brush the side of Pam's neck causing Pam to shiver all over. Casey smiled at the effect that she was having. "Still wearing Liz Claiborne?"

"Yes." Pam whispered. She was slowly melting back into Casey.

Casey moved in closer and gently nuzzled Pam's neck. She couldn't believe Pam was actually letting her do this. She had only let Casey get romantic with her a few times in the past. She would always stop Casey before Casey could kiss her. Casey wondered if she would stop her tonight. She put her lips on Pam's neck. She could hear Pam's sudden intake of breath. She planted another small kiss on Pam's earlobe. She could see Pam's eyes were closed and she was letting Casey slowing move closer so that their bodies were against each other.

Pam was shocked at own abandon. Her body had taken on a mind of its own and it wanted Casey to touch her. Casey's closeness was making Pam's heart race but Casey putting her lips on Pam's neck had almost made her heart leap out of her chest. They had done this before. Pam had always stopped it before it went too far. She was always afraid that she would have given up everything she had worked for just to be with Casey if she had ever given in to the love and passion Casey had been offering. Tonight, Pam was seriously toying with the idea of letting Casey have her way her. Pam knew she shouldn't because of her client/attorney relationship with Casey's mom but she couldn't stop herself from wanting Casey to touch her.

Casey was sure it was going to happen. She moved her gentle kisses to Pam's cheek. Pam turned slightly towards Casey allowing Casey to move closer to Pam's lips. This was it. It was going to happen. Casey gently reached up and tilted Pam's chin around towards her. She was just about to plant her kiss when she heard a voice behind her. "Well, well, well, what do we have here?"

Casey jumped up and swung around ready to beat the crap out of who had just stolen her moment with Pam.

The shorter blond woman glared up at Casey. "You are kissing my girlfriend."

"What!?" Casey demanded.

Pam stood too. Furious that Stacy had not only interrupted a long awaited kiss but that she had the audacity to still consider Pam her girlfriend. "I thought we settled this the other day." Pam demanded.

"You said you were choosing your troubled straight women over me. You didn't say that you had someone else waiting in the wings." Stacy growled and moved closer to Pam.

"I didn't have someone waiting in the wings. You told me to choose. I made a choice and it was not you." Pam growled right back.

"So, a week later you've decided to see if you can tame the legendary Casey Durham? Or were the two of you rekindling an old flame that you swore never existed." Stacy demanded.

"I never said nothing existed between us. I said nothing happened between us and whatever is happening between us now is none of your business."

Casey stepped back away from the exchange not sure what to think. Who was this woman and were she and Pam in a relationship? Casey didn't want Pam on the rebound. She couldn't take finding out that Pam wanted to be with her for any reason other than that she loved her. Maybe it was too soon to expect so much from a simple moment that they had allowed themselves to get carried away with.

Terri walked up behind Casey. "What's going on? A few minutes ago you guys were cuddling and now there's all this screaming."

Casey looked Terri point blank in the eye. "Did you know Pam had a girlfriend?

"I heard it was over between them. Why?" Terri didn't think it was important to mention that Pam had just broken up with a woman that she saw on again, off again.

"Because that is her and she wanted to know why I was kissing her girlfriend. Pam's story is that they broke up because of the women Pam works with. The other woman is accusing her of having me waiting in the wings to be with as soon as she broke up with her. I don't know what to think or believe. I do think I need to go home though." Casey said rubbing her now throbbing head.

"Okay." Terri patted Casey on the back sympathetically. "We both have to get up early tomorrow anyway." Terri told Beth what was going on. They all got there purses.

Terri interrupted Pam's argument with Stacy to say goodbye. "Hey, can you all hold up for a minute?" Terri asked, drawing a glare from the very furious Stacy. "Pam we're going to head out." Terri gave her a hug. "It was good to see you again. I'll give you a call soon. You take care, okay."

Pam hugged Terri back. "Do that. Beth it was nice meeting you. Casey, I'll let you know about the cookout with your mom." Pam couldn't look Casey in the eye.

"Thanks for working that out for us. I'll let the boys know to be waiting for your call." Casey said, not looking at Pam either.

Both of them we're surprised by what had happened tonight, especially Casey. She had come there to try to get Pam out of her mind. Pam showing up had made that impossible. Casey had not even considered touching Pam but after she come over and sat next to her, she couldn't think of anything else. She never dreamed Pam would actually let her touch her again. Casey had been drunk and bold. She expected Pam to completely shut her down. She had not dreamed that Pam would actually want her touch.

Pam watched Casey walked out of the bar with Terri and Beth. She wanted to stop her. She wanted to finish what they had started. She turned and glared at Stacy, who was smiling smugly. "It is over between us. I'm not interested in playing your games. I told you why we were breaking up before. I really don't care if you believe that my clients were the reason or not."

Stacy twitched her lips and frowned. She had not wanted this conversation to end this way. When she had seen Pam there she was hoping they would be able to talk about things. She hoped that Pam would give her another chance. She could see now that was not going to happen so easily. "Look, I know I acted like a jerk earlier. I'm sorry. Can we at least be friends. I'd hate to think you were going to stay mad at me."

Pam narrowed her eyes. She knew Stacy was up to something with this sweet talk but she decided to agree so she could get away from her. She had a feeling if she didn't, Stacy would continue to beg her until she did. Pam wanted to go home and evaluate her feelings over what had just happened with Casey. "Sure. I don't know if I'll be dating anyone anytime soon but I'd appreciate it if you didn't approach me if you do see me out with someone."

Stacy started to protest but decided it was best to let it go for tonight. "Okay."

"Good. I have to go now." Pam turned and retrieved her things from the table she had been sharing with Casey, Terri and Beth. When she turned back around Stacy was still standing there. "What?"

"Can I at least have a hug?" Stacy asked, giving Pam a wounded pup look. Pam rolled her eyes and gave her a quick hug.

"See ya around." Pam said as she walked away.

"You bet." Yes, you will Ms. Matterson, Stacy thought to herself. Stacy was not giving her up that easily.


The phone was ringing when Casey walked in the door. She was hoping it was Pam but it was her mom. "Hi, Sweetie!"

"Hi, Mom, how are you?" Casey asked flopping down on her couch.

"I'm good. It's a bit too quiet here. You know I've never lived by myself." Dorothy said looking around the empty room. She really missed Pam. She wished she could visit with the kids freely but she knew that would come in time.

"You'll get used to it. You'll be surprised how much you will come to enjoy knowing that there's no one there that you have to deal with." Casey tried to comfort her mother.

"I know but I miss having someone to talk to. I guess Pam spoiled me a little. She's a very intelligent young lady. It was really fun to talk to someone who wasn't belligerent. I guess that was what I missed the most about you. After you left home, I didn't have anyone but your father to talk to."

"I worried about you a lot after I left." Casey admitted.

"I know you did, Sweetie. I didn't want you too, though. I wanted you to focus on your studies so that you would not have to depend on a man to take care of you. I wanted you to be able to live on your own without help from anyone." Dorothy replied.

"Well, I'm almost done doing that. I really haven't had any help from anyone all this time. I won the scholarships I've received on my own merit. I must admit that I do miss having a roommate though. I've always had one except for a little while in Memphis. Isn't there other women around there that you can talk to?"

"Yes, I haven't met them yet. Pam is supposed to come by tomorrow and introduce me to the other ladies that are living in the same apartment house." Dorothy smiled as she thought about Pam coming by the next day and getting to meet some other women who are going through the same thing. "Pam said she is even going to try to find me a job as soon as she as she can. I'm really looking forward to that."

"That will be wonderful for you. How long has it been since you've worked?" Casey rubbed her temples. Her mom mentioning Pam every few words was not helping Casey's headache.

"Well, let's see Charles is thirty-two so it's been about thirty three years." Dorothy was surprised herself. She hadn't realized it had been so long.

"My gosh!" Casey exclaimed. "That's a long time."

"I know. I've been a bit afraid that I won't be able to get anything but Pam said that with my record of volunteering at the hospital over the years that she may be able to get me a job working in the cafeteria or something at one of the hospitals."

"That would be wonderful." Casey hoped Pam would be able to get her on at Vanderbilt. She was so glad that Pam was taking such good care of her mother.

"Have you talked to Pam today?" Pam had told Dorothy she was going to call Casey this evening.

"Yeh, I talked to her." Casey dropped her head on the back of her couch. I also touched her, kissed her skin, smelt her sweet perfume. Casey picked her head back up and shook off her memories.

"Did you hear me?" Dorothy asked after Casey didn't answer her question.

"No, Mom, I'm sorry. I'm a bit out of it." Casey wasn't lying but she hadn't heard the question because she had been lost in her memories of earlier that evening.

"Did she say when she was planning on us having the cookout?" Dorothy asked again.

"No. She said she still wasn't sure yet but she would call me soon to let me know when she had worked it out."

"Oh, I really hope it's soon. I can't wait to see you and the boys again."

"I know Mom." Casey agreed. "I'm looking forward to it too."

"Well, I better let you go. You sound so tired." Dorothy said with a sigh. She knew she needed to let Casey go but she didn't really want to get off the phone with her yet.

Casey could hear it in her mom's voice. "Well, I'm tired but we can keep talking. Why don't you tell me about your apartment?"

Casey kicked back and listened to her mom for another hour. She couldn't wait until they got everything situated where Casey could go visit her anytime she wanted to.

* * * * * *

Casey paced her kitchen and stared at the phone. She had been through this routine at least a hundred times this week. She wanted to call Pam and apologize for being so forward at the bar but she really wasn't sorry about what she did. She really just wanted to hear her voice again. She kept trying to think of a way to start a conversation with Pam but the words just wouldn't come.

Casey was so caught up in her thoughts that she jumped with the phone did ring. She took a deep breath and calmed herself. She picked up the receiver. "Hello."

"Hi." It was the voice that she had been waiting to hear.

"Hi." Casey continued to pace nervously.

"So,uhÉ How are you?" Pam couldn't believe she was so nervous about talking to Casey.

"Good. You?"

"I'm okay. IÉuh....I called to let tell you that the boys wanted to set up the cookout for this weekend, on Saturday. Neither of them is on call so they thought it would be the best time." Pam hesitated then went on. "So, will that be good for you?"

"Yeah," Casey expanded her pacing to the living room. "I have to work that morning but I'll be off by noon. Where are we going to have it?"

"At Centennial Park."

"What time did they say they wanted to start?"

"They both agreed on noon. I have an appointment at that time and won't be able to get your mom there until later, but if you guys want to go ahead and start, go ahead. I'm sure your mom won't care." Pam twirled a lock of hair between her fingers as she spoke.

Casey gnawed on her lip. "We could do that. The boys and I could have everything set up by the time you guys get there. Are you going to stay and eat with us?" Casey asked hopefully.

"We'll see. I'm not real sure how comfortable I would feel. You all need to have some private family time." Pam really wasn't sure if she could handle being around Casey. She was afraid the way she feeling about her would show up for everyone to see.

"Think about it. I'm sure Mom would love for you to stay." Casey really wanted her to stay for the cookout. She knew she would have to be on her best behavior so that the whole family wouldn't figure out why she wanted Pam there.

Pam grinned. Using your mom against me are you? "I'll think about it."

"PamÉuhÉ" Casey began, "IÉuh...wanted to apologize for being so forward at the barÉ" Casey paused, "but I'm not really sorry about what I did."

Pam could feel the blush creeping up her neck. "It's okay. I was enjoying it anyway."

Casey's whole body flushed with heat at Pam's words. "Really?"

"Yeah. No one but you has ever done stuff like that to me." Pam paused, she was a little surprised that she wanted to admit what she was about to tell Casey. "I used to look forward to the way you always tried to touch me. I've been sorry many times that I didn't give in."

Casey almost fell over. She went to the couch and sat down. "Why didn't you tell me about what was going on with your father?" Casey wasn't sure if it was a good idea to open old wounds but maybe this would help heal them.

Pam dropped her head. She knew this question would be coming sooner or later. She wasn't sure how to answer it. It had been so complicated then. "I know I should have told you but I didn't really know how to explain how complicated it was for me. I guess, too, I was afraid that you would try to convince to go against my father and at that time I couldn't do that. I didn't want to have to choose between you and him. I had hoped I could keep your friendship. I just didn't think you would understand." Pam finished quietly.

"I'm not sure I would have then." Casey admitted. "I wish that you had given me a chance to though."

"I know. I'm so sorry I didn't. I really missed your friendship." Pam took a deep breath. "I missed you."

Casey sucked in a sharp deep breath. She couldn't believe Pam just said that. She had never thought that Pam had even thought about her after everything that happened. "I missed you too. I'm sorry I was so hateful to you afterwards but you really hurt me."

The pain in Casey's voice brought tears to Pam's eyes. She knew that she had hurt Casey badly. She had nightmares about that night and the days that followed for months afterwards that had reoccurred on and off throughout the past five years. "I know and I'm really sorry. I wanted to try to talk to you about it but you wouldn't let me near you."

Casey nodded sadly. She had thrown up huge walls around herself as far as Pam was concerned. She wouldn't even let her friends mention Pam's name around her. "Yeh, I was pretty angry for awhile." Casey didn't really want to continue this conversation over the phone. "We'll have to sit down sometime and really talk about what had happened. Right now, let's talk about now." Casey wasn't real sure she wanted to have this conversation on the phone either but she just needed to hear at least Pam's feelings on the surface.

Pam sat back in her chair at her desk and twirled her hair some more. "UhÉwell, what exactly do you want to talk about that's going on now?"

"Who was that woman at the bar and are you in a relationship with her now?

"Her name is Stacy and I'm not having a relationship with her anymore."

Casey grinned, "How do you feel about me now?"

Pam chewed at the end of her pen. What was she going to tell her? She wasn't ready to tell her that being around her made every nerve in her body stand on end. "Well, I like being around you. I'm not sure what else I can say. I want to get to know you again."

Casey could hear her running something across her teeth. "What are you chewing on?"

Pam pulled the pen out of her mouth and grinned. "My pen."

"Am I making you that nervous?"

Pam chewed at her lip. She hated it that Casey remembered so much about her. She knew she chewed on pens when she was nervous. "Maybe."


"I don't know. I guess I'm just not sure of how to react to you yet."

Casey rubbed her chin thoughtfully. So she isn't going to admit that she has deeper feelings for me, Casey thought to herself, that's okay, I'll get her to show her true feelings soon enough. "I understand. We haven't really talked in a long time. How about we get together one night next week and have a sit down, spill your guts session."

"Okay." Pam agreed. They really did need to do this face to face. "Call me and let me know when you want to get together. My schedule for next week is pretty open."

"I will."

"Okay. I do have to get off here now. I have to go check on your mom and some other women. I'll call Chad and tell him your decision and I'll see you on Saturday." Pam really wanted to stay for that picnic but now she really wasn't sure if it would be a good idea. She knew that Casey was picking up on her feelings for her. She was picking up on more than Pam wanted to admit.

"Okay, see ya then. Bye." Casey hung up the phone. She laughed at Pam's nervousness and her own elation. It was like she had felt the first time they had met and started talking on the phone. Casey smiled at the memory. Maybe they really could put the past behind them and start again.

Casey was surprised she was feeling this way. She had promised herself that she would not let herself feel this way towards anyone again especially Pam. Apparently the feelings she thought she had buried deep insider her so long ago had found their way to the surface and needing to come out. Casey sighed. She prayed that she would not get hurt again.

* * * * * *

Pam went to see Dorothy not long after she got off the phone with Casey. "Well, we look awful perky this evening. Did you have a good day?" Dorothy asked.

"Yes. I have actually." And I just talked to your daughter and she made me feel like a giddy teenager again, Pam smiled to herself.

"Good. You have a beautiful smile. I'm glad to see you wearing it a little more often here lately." Dorothy busied herself in the kitchen making tea for them both.

"Well, the cookout is set for Saturday at noon. I told Casey and Chad that I probably wouldn't be able to get you there until about one but they said that was okay. They were going to try to have the food ready by then." Pam sat down at Dorothy's kitchen table. She looked around the room. She loved the way that Dorothy had decorated it. It had lots of yellows, greens and blues, very cheery.

"You're going to stay and eat with us aren't you?" Dorothy asked as she brought Pam's tea and sat it in front of her.

"Casey asked me the same thing. I'm not sure." Pam put a spoonful of sugar in her tea and twirled it.

"I hope you will. You've really come to be like family to me." Dorothy said and reached across the table and squeezed Pam's hand.

"I'll think about it." I wonder if you would feel the same way about me if you knew what kind of thoughts I've been having about your daughter lately, Pam wondered to herself. This was a whole different issue that she and Casey would have to discuss. She didn't want to do anything to upset Dorothy.

"Good. So have you heard anything else about that job at Vanderbilt?" Dorothy asked hopefully.

"Yes, you are going to get to start next Wednesday." Pam was so thrilled for Dorothy. She knew it was such an important step for women in this situation to be able to start to be able to take care of themselves financially and emotionally. Dorothy was adjusting very well to living at this secure house. She had told Pam that she felt safe knowing that there was a security guard and a security system at the house. Now she would be getting a job to be able to pay her own bills with. It had been almost two months since they started the divorce proceedings and everything was moving along quickly. The courts did try to rush these situations so that the husband could no longer have any rights over the women. Fortunately for Dorothy she didn't have any dependent children. Those cases always took a lot longer to get resolved.

"Fantastic!" Dorothy said excitedly.

"Yeh, all those years of volunteering to work at the soup kitchens paid off. I think that was the deciding factor in them letting you work in the kitchen." Pam said sipping her tea.

"I knew that the Lord would reward me for that one day and now he has." Dorothy lifted her cup for a toast. "To rewards for good deeds done."

"Cheers." Pam said lightly tapping Dorothy's cup with her own. This was Pam's best reward. When she could see the women getting stronger and their lives pulling together for them, there just wasn't a greater reward. Except maybe, when the really abusive men get put away for along time so that they really can't get to their ex-wives.

Like Lucy Rodriguez's husband, who would be serving twenty years in prison in Mexico and if he gets caught in the United States again he would be have to serve another ten years here. Plus the INS just today had agreed to let Lucy be granted her citizenship that she had been working so hard for. The news had really perked Lucy up and the doctors had said she might be able to get out of the hospital next week.

"What are smiling about?" Dorothy asked about the grin that had snaked across Pam's face.

"I was just thinking about my client that had got put in the hospital by her husband a few weeks ago. She was granted her citizenship today."

"Oh, yes! I remember you telling me about her. Her husband's in jail in Mexico right?"

"Yes, that's the one."

"Wonderful." Dorothy was truly happy for the woman. She really wished Bob would get put in to jail for a long time so she wouldn't have to worry about him either. She didn't like the silence that had come from him. So far, the kids say they haven't heard from him or seen him since the first divorce papers went out. It really made her worry about what he was planning.

"So what was that frown about?" Pam was afraid she already knew.

"I was just wishing I knew for sure where Bob was like the Mexican girl knows where her husband is." Dorothy admitted.

Pam was afraid she was thinking like that. "Well, hopefully he'll just go on with his life and leave you alone." Pam, too, was concerned about the silence. The husbands usually always try something to find out where the wife is so they can get at them. No one had heard anything from Bob Durham. Pam's sources in Kentucky said that he'd had a lot of real estate transactions going on. He seemed to be selling off a lot of his properties fairly cheaply. Pam was afraid he was going to hurt Dorothy then leave the area.

"I think we both know better than that." Dorothy gave Pam a stern look. At the same time, though, she had a determined look. "He had better not try to get at the kids again. I know he'll try something to get at me but I really hope he doesn't use the kids as pawns in his little game."

"I don't think they'll let him." Pam was sure that none of them would.

"I hope not but we'll see." Dorothy gritted her teeth and changed the subject. "So what do you think I should wear Saturday? Is it going to be real hot?"

Pam spent another hour with her before she made herself go check on the other ladies. She really prayed that Bob got picked up for drunk driving or something stupid before he had a chance to try to get at Dorothy or the kids.


Pam only had a few days before the cookout to get ready. She knew that Casey was going to challenge her to a game of basketball. Pam played basketball in high school but tennis had been her love. She didn't necessarily want to beat Casey. She just wanted to make it interesting. She decided she would call the person who knew how to play against Casey best.

Terri Miller was Casey's best friend and former teammate. She knew that Terri would know most of Casey's moves and ways to counter them. Pam called Terri and asked for her help. Terri readily agreed and the two met at the YMCA's gym to practice.

"So you want to give Casey a run for her money, huh?" Terri asked twirling the ball on one finger.

"Yep. That's the plan." Pam nodded.

"How would you like some tips that would really throw Miss Durham's game off?"


"Now you know that there was a time, a long time ago, when we were lovers, right?"

"Yeh. I thought it was very brief." Pam raised an eyebrow.

"It was." Terri assured her. "But, we were playing on the opposing teams during scrimmages during that time. After I stopped seeing her, Casey was real mad and really came at me during practice. Well, quite by accident, I found out that she would totally lose her concentration if I touched her in certain places when I was trying to get around her."

"Really?" Pam was real interested in hearing this.

"Yeh. Once I put my hand right here." Terri put her hand on her own stomach close to her groin. "I was trying to push her back and my hand landed a little to close to home, if you know what I mean. She almost fell down. It was so funny. Of course that made her really mad. She came back again. I went to push her again and my hand landed on the side of her boob. She really flipped out a little then. Afterwards I did it on purpose to mess with her. Once I was guarding her and slid my hand around her waist, she dropped the ball."

Pam was laughing so hard. She could just picture Terri doing that to Casey. "I wish I could have seen that."

"Yeh, it was pretty funny. But don't tell her I showed you anything. She'll kill me."

"No problem. I'll let her think I was good all this time and didn't want her to know." Pam took the ball and shot. She actually made it. "Man, it's been a long time since I played basketball."

"Ah, it's like riding a bike. It'll come back. Come on, let's practice." Terri said going after the ball and motioning for Pam to come onto the court.

For the next two hours Terri showed Pam some of her best stuff and some things to watch for with Casey. She also showed her how the touching thing worked. She was guarding Pam from behind and snaked her hand around Pam's waist. Pam dropped the ball. "That really does work."

"Yeh, it'll work really great for you. Casey really wants you to touch her but won't expect you to. It'll totally blow her concentration." Terri assured her.

Pam rubbed her hands together and laughed. "Good. I want to mess up her concentration." Pam stopped dribbling and looked at Terri thoughtfully. "What can you tell me about the woman Casey was with in Memphis?"

"Sara was a horrible person. She used Casey. I didn't like her the first time I met her. I didn't tell Casey that because she seemed so happy at the time. She was just using Casey to get in with people she thought had power and money." Terri stepped closer to Pam and said in a lower tone. "You know she never really got over you."

Pam dropped her head. "I know. I never really got over it either."

Terri nodded knowingly. "I knew you liked her more than you were letting on. I wasn't surprised when you came to me and asked me to talk to her, but there was no talking to her about it. She just completely shut down there for awhile and didn't let anyone in."

"I know. I was so sorry. I should have told her what was happening. I guess I was a little afraid that if she thought there was no chance of her being with me that she would stop being my friend altogether. I was so stupid. She stopped being my friend anyway, after what happened." Pam dribbled the ball a little. "I still care for her a lot. I feel like we're moving closer to each other. I'm still a bit afraid though. I don't want her on the rebound or thinking that I'm the same person I was then. Both of us have changed in the last five years."

"Yes, you have. You guys need to get to know each other again. You need to really talk about what happened before so you can put it behind you. Then, you need to get to know each other all over again. You all need to do a lot of talking to each other." Terri tried to steal the ball but Pam used one of the new moves Terri showed her and avoided her. "She's still nuts about you but now she's afraid to let you'll hurt her again." Terri tried to get the ball again just to have Pam shoot it over her head and make a basket. Terri retrieved the ball. "Her head might be telling her to take all of this slow but judging by the way she was acting the other night at the bar, her body is telling her other things. Don't let that deceive you into thinking all is forgiven. Yes, she wants you but she may be a little distant emotionally."

"I understand. I guess I am too. The physical attraction has always been there. You don't know how many times I almost gave in and slept with her but I couldn't give her false hope when I knew at that point there was no hope. I knew that she would see me sleeping with her as me making a commitment to her and I couldn't do that then."

"Can you now?" Terri asked shooting a basket from three point range and getting nothing but net.

"Yes. I can and I think I'm ready too, but like you said, we do have to spend some time getting to know each other." Pam blocked Terri's next shot.

They played some more. Pam got Terri good when she ran her hand up Terri's side, almost touching her breast. Terri had jumped back and Pam snatched the ball. Pam was laughing all the way to the goal. "It seems that some of those tricks work on married women as well."

"Oh yeh. Beth would have killed both of us on the spot if she would have seen that, and then asked someone else what had really happened." Terri said looking around to make sure her beautiful little girlfriend had not shown up by surprise.

"I appreciate all your help, Terri." Pam said breathing slightly heavy after their workout.

"No problem. I really hope things work out for you two. I always thought you should be together. I was quite frustrated for you about your problem with your dad." Terri bent over and calmed her breath. "I'm glad that you've gotten that solved but I hate it that you had to pay such a heavy price. I just don't understand how some parents can be so stubborn about their beliefs sometimes."

"Yeh, me too. My mom has gotten better about it. We talk secretly about once a week but Dad and I are still not speaking to each other. My sister calls me about once a month but she's pretty cold. She always was a daddy's girl. But, my brother, Tony has been completely supportive of me. We talk all the time. He usually comes by after there's been a family dinner and tells me how lucky I was not to have to be there."

"That's good. Maybe your sister and dad will come around one of these days."

"I hope so. I really miss both of them sometimes." Pam straightened up and headed towards the side of the court where they had their stuff. "I'll have to give you a call after I get home and tell you how it went."

Terri had followed Pam. "You better. I can't wait. I bet you have a great time messing with her with your new skills." Terri chuckled. "Hey, you are coming to my Halloween party aren't you?"

"Sure when is it?"

"It's the weekend before Halloween. There are several parties during that next week so I decided to start the party season with mine. It's a masquerade party and you have to come as one half of a famous couple, gay or otherwise."


"You can come as The Lady or the Tramp, Mickey or Minnie Mouse, Romeo or Juliet."

"What is Casey coming as?"

"I don't know. See, that's the catch. You have to come in a good enough costume so no one will know who you are except the person you come with I'm not going to answer the door. Beth will be letting everyone in because I'm sponsoring a contest for the best costume. I'm giving away a night at the Opryland Hotel for two. The winner will be the person in the costume that it takes the longest for me to figure out who they are."

"OohÉThat sounds like fun. No one will know who anyone else is unless they really work at trying to figure it out."

"Yep." Terri said with a nod. "It's going to be real interesting. It starts at eight o'clock so make sure you pick a good costume and try to keep me guessing."

Pam nodded thoughtfully. "I'll have to do some thinking about that. I can't wait to see what Casey comes as. I wonder if I could guess."

Terri looked at her watch. "Well, I have to run. Beth will be wondering what happened to me."

"She won't get mad about you helping me, will she?" Pam asked, hoping she wasn't going to start trouble for Terri. She seemed very happy with Beth.

"Nah. Beth isn't that jealous. Plus, I told her that I was helping you and why. She thinks it's quite cute that you want to brush up on your game so you can beat Casey." Terri picked up her backpack. "Be sure to call me. I want to hear all about it." She gave Pam a hug.

"Oh, I will. I'm sure it's going to be quite interesting to see how Casey handles me getting in several shots on her." Pam got her stuff and left with Terri. They said goodbye again in the parking lot. Pam headed home. She couldn't wait until Saturday.

* * * * * *

Casey and the boys had been playing ball almost since they got to the park. Charles's wife, Nancy, and Chad's wife, Tina, were busy setting up the table and taking care of the kids. Charles quit playing to go start the barbeque. Chad took Casey on in a game of one on one. He had always been able to beat her when they were kids and thought his still could.

Pam and Dorothy arrived to see Casey knocking away one of Chad's shots. Everyone else was at the picnic tables. Charles was getting the meat ready to put on. Charles kids, Eddie and Amy came running as soon as they saw Dorothy get out of the car. "Mammaw!" They cried and flung themselves into her arms.

Dorothy knelt down and hugged her grandchildren. She hated not getting to see them. She hadn't got to see them much before because of Bob. She was hoping that she would get to see a lot of them when things cooled down. "Hi, my beautiful angels." She greeted them.

"We worried about you, Mammaw." Eddie stated in his best four year old English.

"I know Sweetie. Mammaw's okay now." She assured them.

"Me too, Mammaw." Amy chimed in.

"I know you too." Dorothy hugged the baby to her.

Dorothy stood up and took the children's hands. She led to them to where Pam was standing on the other side of the car. "This is Pam , she is the very nice lady who has been keeping Mammaw safe. Can you say hi to her?"

Both children peeked up at Pam bashfully. "Hi" they said together.

"Pam, this is Eddie and Amy."

Pam knelt down to the level of the babies. "Hi. It's nice to meet you." Pam shook each one's little hand. Both children smiled shyly at Pam then run off to their mother. Pam stood up and looked over at the basketball court where Casey and Chad were going at each other. Chad was just a little taller than Casey and seemed to be giving her a run for her money.

"They used to play ball together all the time when they were both at home and when Chad would come home to visit from college." Dorothy said following Pam's gaze.

"Are they real close?"

"They all are really. They all talk quite a bit. I think Chad may be a bit closer to Charles than Casey is because they are boys and closer in age than Charles and Casey. Other than that they have always been very supportive and protective of each other." Dorothy motioned for Pam to follow her. Dorothy led her to the picnic tables where Charles' and Chad's wives were sitting "Pam this is Tina, Chad's wife and this is Nancy, Charles' wife." Dorothy bent down and gave both women a hug.

Pam shook hands first with Tina, who was very pregnant. Pam suspected about seven months along. She had short sandy blond hair. She was a small woman. She didn't seem to have any warmth about her. Pam thought it may be because she was pregnant but she sensed that Tina was not a very friendly person.

Nancy, on the other hand, was very warm and friendly. She pushed Pam's hand aside and gave her a hug. "We are so thankful you helped Mom. Charles and Chad have wanted to get her out of that house for a long time. Things got pretty bad while Casey was away." Dorothy looked away as Nancy went on. "Mom wouldn't let the boys tell Casey how bad things were. Dorothy was afraid that Casey would come back and try to get Dorothy out herself. She was afraid that Bob would seriously hurt Casey if Casey tried to confront him about what was going on."

"He would have." Charles assured Pam as he came to the picnic table to hug his mother and Pam. As he turned the steaks sitting in marinade sauce, he went on, "Dad tried to beat the crap out of Chad and me like he used to when we were kids. The old man forgot that we are both pretty good sized men now. Chad completely lost it when Dad called us "momma's girls". I didn't think I was going to be able to pull him off the old man." Charles finished with the meat and looked directly into Pam's eyes. "Dad is not done trying to hurt any of us, including you. I don't think he knows who you are yet but he'll find out somehow. The silence that has come from him is just to keep us wondering. He hasn't gone on with his life. He's waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike."

Pam nodded. She had seen many men like Bob Durham. She had more than one of them actually threaten her but so far none of them had followed up on their threats. "Chad nor you have heard anything from him?"

"Chad said that he thought he saw Dad following him one day but other than that we've heard nothing. He's changed his phone number. Uncle Charles, Dad's brother, hasn't seen him since right after the first divorce hearing. He said that Dad was beyond irate. Uncle Charles tried to warn him not to try anything but he said Dad told him to mind his own business."

"Well, we'll all have to continue to be very cautious for awhile. I'm not sure how we'll be able to work out the holidays but we'll put our heads together and figure something out." Pam assured the group.

* * * * * *

Chad was up on Casey by one point when he saw his mother get out of the blue Toyota that had pulled in next to their picnic area. "Mom's here." He announced to Casey.

Casey looked up and Chad stole the ball. Casey chased him down and blocked his shot. She got the ball back and squished one from three point range. "I see that."

"That still only counts for one point in this game."

"So, you want to call it quits with who ever makes the next shot?"

"Yep." Chad tried to pull a dodge and weave move on Casey but Casey knew his game. She stripped him of the ball as he tried to pass her and dunked it.

"That's it, I won." She chirped.

"I'll let you have this one." Chad panted as he bent over to catch his breath.

Casey patted him on the back "Come on let's go give Mom a sweaty bear hug."

"Deal." Both ran down the where their mom was and enveloped her into a bear hug between the two of them.

Dorothy squealed with delight as her two youngest children pretended like they were going to crush her. She didn't care that they were all sweaty. She was just glad to see them. After hugging their mom, Casey and Chad stepped back then they looked at Pam, back at each other with a nod and quickly snatched Pam up in a bear hug too. She squealed just like Dorothy did. Everyone laughed as Pam made a face when she realized how sweaty they both were. Casey and Chad stepped back and gave each other a high five for their triumphant sliming of their mom and Pam. "Welcome to the family." Chad told Pam.

"Yeh thanks." She said wrinkling her nose.

"Well, Casey has successfully beaten us both at basketball again." Chad informed Charles.

"I guess that's just the disadvantage of having a former professional basketball player for a sister." Charles sighed.

"I could beat you two before I went pro, so that's no excuse." Casey said putting her hands on her hips. "I think I'm ready for some fresh meat. Casey said eyeing Pam. "How much longer until the food's ready?"

"About a half an hour." Charles replied turning the steaks in the marinade again.

"So, how 'bout it?" Casey said taking in Pam's khaki shorts, royal blue polo shirt and white tennis shoes. "You feel up to trying to take out the pro?"

Pam grinned smugly. "Sure." She was hoping Casey was going to challenge her. She was dying to try out the tips that Terri had shown her. Pam had a feeling that Casey was going to show up in her athletic shorts and running shoes, ready to play ball. She hadn't expected her to be wearing basketball jersey with her sports bra showing threw the extra large holes in the arms. The shirt really showed off the muscles in Casey's arms and shoulders. Pam had always found athletic women attractive. It was one of the many things that had attracted her Casey before. She found that she was going to have to really work at not giving Casey a good looking over in front of Casey's family. She noticed that Casey was having the same problem. This was going to be an interesting game.

The two walked casually to the basketball court. "So, how have you been?" Pam asked.

"Good. You?"

"Good. Your mom looks great doesn't she?"

"Yeh, I haven't ever seen her this relaxed." Casey turned around a looked over the park that spread out in front of her. "I still worry that he's out there somewhere watching us."

Pam had stopped and looked over the park too for anyone suspiciously close to them. "That's what Charles was saying too. We are all going to have to be on our guard for a while."

"Yeh." Casey agreed then changed the subject. "So how many points you want me to spot you?"

Pam looked over at her. "How high are we playing to?"


"Ten points."

"Done." Casey even let Pam have the ball first.

Pam bounced the ball and hunkered down like she was going to try to go around Casey. Casey stayed back and waited for her. Pam tricked her and shot from where she was at. She made the basket.

"Good shot." Casey complimented her.

Pam in bounded the ball to Casey. Casey was going to play the same trick on Pam but Pam was all over her. Casey had to maneuver around her. She made her shot but Pam had not let it be easy for her.

Pam's next turn she went in for a lay up but Casey was there. Pam decided to try out one of Terri's plays. Casey was blocking Pam to the side to keep her from going around her. Pam reached over to push Casey back. When she did she put her hand just under Casey's breast. Just like Terri had said, the intimate contact coming from Pam threw Casey's guard off and Pam was able to get around her and make the shot.

Casey wasn't sure what to think about that. She decided Pam hadn't realized where she was putting her hand. Casey pulled a similar move as the last one on Pam and got another point. Pam's next few possessions, Casey stole the ball and made shots. That gave her four points and Pam twelve. They played back and forth until the score was tied at eighteen all. Pam had used the touching the breast move a few times but was saving the better moves for when it was so close.

Casey had the ball and Pam was right with her. Casey went to make a lay up but Pam moved in front of her, practically shoving her breasts in Casey's face. This, of course, threw Casey's concentration off and she missed her shot. She was already acutely aware of them touching each other constantly. The two of them being sweaty and hot was making her think of a more intimate setting for being sweaty and hot.

Pam could tell that the closeness was having the desired effect on Casey but it was doing the same to her. She had never suspected that a game of basketball could be so arousing. On her next possession, Casey was all over her and around her. She had her back to Casey, who seemed to be wrapped around her. Casey's long arms were reaching around her trying to get the ball. Pam decided it was time to see just how aroused Casey was getting. She reached back with one hand, making Casey think she was going to give Casey a shove. What she did was put her hand on Casey's stomach just below her waistline.

The touch sent a shock wave threw Casey that almost knocked her down. It was like Pam had touched a nerve that went straight to her crotch area. She felt a keen wave of desire shoot through her and she stepped back away from Pam's touch, giving Pam the room to shoot and make her basket.

Casey couldn't believe Pam was two points from beating her. Now she was also having a bit of trouble believing the touches where that innocent. With this possession, Casey got right up in Pam's face, challenging her to find a way to stop her.

Pam could tell Casey was waiting for her to touch her intimately again. This time Pam looked into Casey's eyes and grinned seductively and ran her tongue over her lips. This worked like a charm. Casey's eyes followed Pam's tongue and Pam stole the ball and made another basket.

"All right," Casey said stepping back. "I've figured your game out. You won't be getting anymore easy points."

"I don't know what you're talking about." Pam replied innocently.

"You know perfectly well what I'm talking about." Casey accused and continued to bounce the ball back and forth between her legs. Casey met Pam's eyes. Pam grinned and tried to knock the ball away. Casey was too quick. She spun right past Pam and dunked the ball.

Pam took the ball from Casey and moved away from Casey. Casey wasn't letting her get away. She wrapped herself around Pam again and tried to get at the ball. That got her an elbow in the stomach. Casey grunted but became more persistent. She pressed her front into Pam's back and tried to reach around her to knock the ball away.

"Isn't that a foul, reaching around like that?"

"Not if you don't get caught." Casey purred in Pam's ear and gave it a little lick.

Pam almost tripped over the ball and ended up kicking it out of bounds.

"That was totally not fair." She protested.

"Like you almost touching my breast or groin area was fair." Casey countered.

Pam blushed. "Well, I had to use whatever tactics necessary to attempt to beat you."

"Is that right?" Casey said getting the ball and tossing it to Pam for her to inbound it to Casey.

"Yes, that's right. I am playing against a superstar."

"That's right, trying to flatter me into dropping my guard."

"No. I wouldn't do that."

"Yes, you would." Casey bounced the ball back and forth in front of her, challenging Pam to try to knock it away. "This is it. Whoever gets the next point wins."

"Okay." Pam said not taking her eyes off of Casey's.

Casey moved in on Pam and tried to spin past her. Pam blocked her way. Casey tried the other side but that wasn't working either. It was Pam's turn to press her front into Casey's back. Casey was pushing her back towards the basket. Pam was trying reach around and knock the ball away but Casey was keeping it out of her reach. Finally in frustration Pam made up her own move to get Casey to drop the ball. She slid her hand around Casey's stomach at the waist line then let her hand drop down to Casey's crotch and gave it a little squeeze. Casey gasped and jerked to get away from Pam and let the ball bounce away. Pam snatched the ball and shot it just as Casey jumped up to block the shot. Both turned just in time to see the ball spin around the rim and drop in.

Pam jumped up and down. "I won. I won."

Casey turned around with her mouth dropped open in disbelief.

Pam raced back to the picnic table. "I beat Casey. I beat Casey."

"You're kidding." Both boys said at the same time.

Casey was right on her heals. "You cheated."

"How did I cheat?" Pam's eyes danced mischievously.

"Well, uh... well, you just did." Casey said in frustration. Little vixen, she knew Casey couldn't admit to how she won in front of her family.

Pam danced around the picnic table chanting. "I beat Casey. I beat Casey."

Casey gave her a pretend hateful glare. She grabbed Pam's arm as Pam passed her and growled in a whisper into her ear. "Pay backs are hell."

"Bring it on anytime you're ready." Pam whispered back.

"Alright girls, that's enough." Dorothy said. "It's time to eat." Dorothy watched the two of them grin at each other and sit at the table. She wasn't sure but she was certain that there was more to the girls' friendship than what meets the eye.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with family news and catching up with each other. They got Pam to tell them a little about her family. She was careful not to tell them too much. She just said that her father was an attorney there in Nashville and her mother was a housewife. She told them that her sister was married to one of the attorneys at her father's firm and was also a housewife. Her brother is a teacher at one of the high schools. She didn't tell them that she doesn't speak to her father or her sister. She didn't tell them that she talks to her mom secretly because her father has forbidden her mother to talk to her. She and her brother are very close and he keeps her updated of what is going on with the family. She didn't tell them that she has two adorable nieces that she is not even allowed to send birthday cards to. All because she chose to follow her heart and her natural instincts instead of being who her father wanted her to be.

Pam was very touched that Casey's family had made her felt very welcome in their family. Both of the boys talked with her about how to protect their practices from their father and the possibility of moving to Nashville to be closer to their mother. They confided things to Pam when Casey was away from the table that had gone on while Casey was away, that made Pam feel extremely trusted.

After everything was cleaned up, they began saying their goodbyes. Every one, including a sulking Tina, gave Pam a hug. Casey gave her a very tight squeeze. Casey made Pam promise to call her as soon as she had dropped her mom off safe and sound. Pam promised Casey she would. Pam told all of them that she would be in touch with them about Thanksgiving. She told them it would depend on what Bob had done by that point before she decided where they would meet for dinner. No one argued with her. They accepted what she said as law.

Pam left with Dorothy before everyone else did. "You really have a great bunch of kids." Pam commented as they drove away.

"Thanks. I'm so proud of all of them." Dorothy looked back and waved again to the group staring after them.

"I can't get over you beating Casey. She's never going to be able to live that down."

"I just got lucky and I got a few tips from an old pro." Pam smiled. She couldn't wait to tell Terri what had happened.

"So when did you and Casey know each other?"

"Our senior year of college."

"You both seem to have reconnected despite whatever had happened between you." Dorothy watched Pam's reaction.

Pam knew she was watching and keep her eyes forward. "Yeh, we've talked in the past few weeks. I think we've gotten things worked out."

Dorothy nodded. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but there had been something between those girls that had caused quite a rift. She wasn't going to dwell on it too much. They seem to have worked things out for now.

* * * * * *

As promised, Pam dialed Casey's number as soon as she walked in the door. "Hi." She said when Casey came on the line. "I just walked in. Your mom is home safe and sound."

"Yeh, I know. She called me right after you left from the pay phone in the building." Casey had just gotten home herself when her mom had called and was just now in the process of taking off her sweaty clothes.

"You're not mad at me for beating you today, are you? Pam chewed her lip and twirled the phone cord in her fingers.

"No, but I will pay you back for that little trick you played on me at the end." Casey wasn't going to admit it just yet, but she was still wet just from the thought of Pam touching her so intimately. "And you just wait until I get my hands on Terri Miller. If she thinks I've forgotten who first used those dirty tricks on me, she has another thing coming."

Pam began to giggle, "Well, I didn't tell you she was the one who showed me how to get you."

"No, you didn't so she can't be mad at you." Casey grinned to herself. She was going to have to have a little talk with Beth about how to win against Terri. Beth had told Casey once that she wouldn't play Terri much because she could never win. Casey was going to give her the key to beating Terri. Turn about was always fair play. "So did you enjoy yourself today?"

"Yes, I did. You have a very nice family." Pam knew that wasn't what she was talking about.

"Uh huh," Little vixen wasn't going to admit it. "Yes, they all seem to like you very much." Casey wondered how they would all feel about her being a new in-law. Casey knew she was warming up to the idea. She still had her guard up though. Pam was giving plenty of signals of possibly becoming more than friends at some point but Casey was afraid to get her hopes to high. They still had a lot to work through.

"I'm glad." Pam was also glad that Casey didn't press her about whether she enjoyed touching her. She had enjoyed it way too much. She could feel Casey loosening up around her. She could feel herself falling in love with Casey all over again. She wondered if Casey would understand what had happened before that kept her from being with Casey back in college. She wondered if Casey would believe that she had really been in love with her back then and how hard her decision had been. She wanted to find out. "So, what do you think about you and me getting together for dinner sometime this week.

"I'd enjoy that very much. What night did you have in mind?"

"How's Thursday for you?"

Casey made her way over to her desk to look at the upcoming week's schedule. She would be working the third shift all week. "That would be fine. Do you want to meet some place or do you want me to pick you up or what?"

Pam thought about it for a few minutes. After a serious debate with herself, she decided it might be best for them to meet somewhere just in case Casey got upset about what had happened and wanted to leave. "Why don't we meet at that fondue place downtown?"

"Ooh, yeah, I haven't been there in forever. What time?"

"How about seven?"

"That's fine."

"Okay, I'll make reservations." Pam let out a breath that she didn't even realize she had been holding. She was already nervous about this meeting and how Casey was going to react to her story.

"That will be great." Casey was nervous too. She knew Pam was eager to tell her about what had happened in college. She was a little disappointed that Pam wasn't going to let her pick her up. She had been looking forward to the closeness being in her car would have brought.

Pam had managed to twist the phone cord into a tight knot. She didn't want to end the conversation but she wasn't sure what else to say. "Well, I guess I better go. I have to be up early tomorrow."

"Yeh, I have to go in to work in a few hours anyway. So I guess I'll see you Thursday."

"Okay. Goodnight."

"Goodnight." Casey said, too disappointed that they were saying goodnight. Really, though they had talked about just about everything earlier that day but Casey was enjoying hearing Pam's voice over the phone. It reminded her of the hours that they had spent on the phone before as friends. Sometimes it overwhelmed Casey how much she had missed Pam's friendship while she had been away. She was also very leery of the resurfacing of the very powerful feelings she had for Pam. She was so afraid she would be hurt again.

Pam gently put the phone back in its cradle after she unwound the cord. She was really going to have to seriously think about buying a cordless. She couldn't wait to see Casey again and yet she was afraid that Casey had built walls she wouldn't be able to break through to bring the two of them close again. She prayed Casey would understand the position she had been in and forgive her. She hoped Casey would give her a second chance.


The week had seemed to drag on forever to Pam. Each day she had fought with herself about calling Casey. She just wanted to talk to her about anything, just to be talking to her. When Thursday did finally arrive, Pam was a bundle of nerves all day. She couldn't get her thoughts together at all. She got two appointments turned around. If Amy hadn't caught her mistake she would have gone to meet the wrong person at the wrong time.

She was pacing around her office babbling to herself when Amy finally asked, "What is wrong with you?"

Pam stopped pacing and stared at Amy blankly for a moment. Finally she grinned shyly, "I have a date tonight with an old friend. You remember the one that sent me flowers for helping her mom?"

"Casey Durham, right?"

Pam blushed deeply. "Yeh."

Amy shook her head. "I've never seen you this messed up about a date. She must be very special."

"Yes," Pam nodded, "I blew the chance to be with her before. I'm hoping she is going to give me another chance."

"So what time is your date"


"Well you better go home and get ready then."

Pam's eyes widened. "Why? What time is it?"

"It's six o'clock." Amy answered with a chuckle.

"Oh no!" Pam exclaimed and quickly gathered her things. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yes and I want details." Amy called after Pam as she raced out the door.

Pam couldn't believe it. The day had dragged on so slowly, now all of a sudden the time was flying. Pam raced home, took a quick shower and began dressing. She had been agonizing all week about what to wear but finally chose a casual blue sweater, khaki slacks and shoes with slight heels. It was ten minutes to seven when she finally left her house. She prayed traffic was not heavy.

* * * * * *

Casey had been thankful that she had to pull a double shift at the hospital the day before and had been able to sleep most of the day. She woke about four o'clock that afternoon and started getting ready. She was completely dressed and ready to go by six o'clock. She was hoping that Pam was coming casual. Casey was donning a green, long sleeved button-down shirt, black slacks and casual loafers.

Casey paced restlessly until six-thirty. She finally just had to leave and hope Pam was early.

Pam walked into the restaurant at five after seven. Casey, who had been there since six forty-five was sitting at the bar watching for Pam. Their eyes met as soon as Pam walked in. She smiled apologetically and Casey smiled back.

Good, Pam thought to herself, she doesn't seem mad that I'm late. Pam told the host her name as Casey approached. Pam could see Casey taking her in as she walked toward her.

"I was hoping you were going to coming in casual clothes. You look nice."

"Thanks." Pam blushed slightly at the comment.

The host sat them at their table. Their waiter was right on his heels to take their drink order. Casey was already working on a glass of wine. Pam ordered a burgundy for herself. She had to get her nerves settled.

"So how are things down at the AWAY office?" Casey asked, taking a sit of her wine.

"Crazy as always." Pam admitted, "But we had some new corporations join this week with offers to help women re-establish themselves in new towns once the courts have given them the okay to leave this area."

"That's wonderful." Casey watched Pam adjusting her napkin and silverware. She decided that Pam was much more nervous about this meeting than she was. Casey couldn't imagine what Pam wanted to talk about that was making her so nervous.

"How has your week been?" Pam asked looking into Casey's questioning eyes and looking away. Pam knew that Casey had already noticed her nervousness.

"It's been busy too. I had this poor woman today who broke her wrist. The company she was working for let her go as a result of her injury but they put in her files that she had quit. She was very upset when I told her that we were going to have to put pins in. She was worried to death about the bill and how long it would be before she could go back to work. I couldn't get over that any company would do someone that way. Aren't there laws to keep them from doing that?"

"Yes," Pam sighed, "but unfortunately she will have to spent time and money on lawyers fighting the company. Depending on what she actually she said when they let her go, they may be able to win the case. That's why most people don't even bother to fight the companies. Many companies do that sort of thing in situations like that, banking on the employee not knowing how to fight them or not having the time and money to do so."

"That's awful!"

"Yes it is."

"Did you see very many cases like that when you worked for your dad?" Casey asked just as the waiter brought Pam's wine and asked if they were ready to order. They both agreed on the three course sampler meal.

While waiting for the waiter to come back with first course, Pam answered Casey's question. "No," she began through gritted teeth, "the cases I was involved with had much more vile actions going on in them."

"Really?" Casey was intrigued that what ever it was apparently upset Pam very much.

Before Pam could answer, the waiter returned with the first course of cheese with bread, raw vegetables and fruit to be dipped into the hot cheese. They both listened patiently as he explained what exactly he was doing and that they were to be very careful of the hot pot and cheese.

"Yes, there are some really horrible monsters in this world and they hire my father to protect them from going to jail for the actions." Pam said as she swirled a piece of bread into the steaming cheese dip.

After a few minutes of savoring some of the food, Casey asked, "Is that why you quit working for him?"

"That was part of it." Pam answered quietly.

Casey watched as Pam seemed to mull over something else that she seemed to want to say.

Pam really wanted to get the truth off her chest but after the waiter came by to see how close they were to the next course she decided to wait until that had been served because they would have less interruption during that course. "I really love this rye bread with this cheese mixture. Which one is your favorite to dip in it?"

Casey grinned. Whatever it was that Pam wanted to talk about must be serious for her to be beating around the bush so much about. "I like the apples best."

The conversation stayed on the food until they both had their meat and vegetables simmering in the wine and broth. Pam had to get this started before she chickened out. "I want to talk to you about what happened between us before you left. Please hear me out before you say anything." Casey nodded and sat back. Pam took a breath and began, "The first time I saw you at that party I thought you were beautiful and I wanted to meet you until my friends told me you were a player. I was still quite taken by your charm after you came over and started talking to me. I had been hurt badly by Diane and was determined not to be hurt again. On top of that, my father had been hinting around that he suspected what my sexuality was and that he would not have anyone of that nature work for him. I danced around the issue and even started bringing some guy friends around the house to keep him from looking to far into my business."

All the while Pam was speaking she was playing with fondue forks, twirling her food cooking in the broth. She didn't look directly at Casey who listened quietly.

"After Diane, I decided that I wasn't going to let anyone get in the way of my career. I worked harder on my grades and pushed my father to let me start my internship. He was still asking a lot of questions about my social life and dragging his feet about the internship. I was getting depressed so Tiara and Karen insisted I go out partying with them and that's when I met you." Pam grinned shyly. "I was determined I wasn't going to be one of your many conquests. When we ran into each other at the bookstore a few days later and you said that you hadn't realized how jaded your reputation had become you seemed so sincere but I wasn't buying it. I was sure it was a ploy for getting me in your bed."

It was Casey's turn to grin and blush but she still didn't say anything.

"When I kept running into you at various places around town, I decided you were stalking me. I was a little flattered by all the attention. I was also really starting to like you as a friend. You were just so sweet." Pam got quiet. She took her well done food out of the broth and put in more.

Casey followed suit then sat back to listen again.

"I was trying not to like you too much but I couldn't help it. I enjoyed hanging out with you so much but I knew we couldn't get involved and me be able to have my career. I was hoping we could just keep on being friends even though I knew I was falling in love with you."

Casey began stirring her food. She was frowning thoughtfully but held onto her silence as she had promised. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Pam had been in love with her!

"The weekend before graduation, I had gone home to visit with my parents and talk to my father about the internship. He had finally said I could start after graduation. During my visit he confronted me about you."

Casey's eyes shot up to look at Pam. Her jaw was set, her teeth gritted. She was clearly still angry about this meeting.

"He told me that he knew I was hanging around with you. He said he knew who and what you were. He said that I would have to stop hanging around you if I was planning on working for him." Pam looked down at the steaming broth and began to take this batch of food out and put in another one. "I was so angry but I didn't feel like I had a choice. I wanted to be a big shot lawyer and my father was the owner and senior partner for one of the biggest firms in town." Pam took a breath and a deep drink of her wine. She started to twirl her food again but her hands were shaking too much so she put them in her lap. She didn't even notice Casey taking out her food and putting more in as she went on. "I was planning on talking to you about what he had said but I was afraid that you wouldn't understand. When you showed up at the apartment that night, my father was there making sure I had accepted his ultimatum. I couldn't tell you what was going on with him right behind the door listening." Pam hesitated but didn't look up at Casey, "I couldn't stop myself from kissing you back when you kissed me. It was something I had secretly wanted and it has haunted me ever since."

"Can I say something now?" Casey ventured quietly.

"Yes." Pam held her breath.

"No, I would not have understood at the time that you had chosen your career over me. But, knowing now that I would not have given mine up for you either, I understand where you were coming from. Why didn't you try to tell me afterwards?"

Pam looked up sadly. "You wouldn't let me."

Casey nodded. She remembered Terri coming to her and trying to explain what was going on with Pam but Casey didn't want to hear it.

"Terri had given me your phone number in Memphis. There were so many times I wanted to call you just to hear your voice. I missed you very much."

"Why didn't you try?"

Pam shrugged, "I heard about you and Sara and I didn't want to start problems for you. You seemed to have it all going on. I did send flowers to you when you busted your knee but I didn't sign the card."

"I always wondered who those had come from. I hadn't expected, or really wanted to hear from you after you got married. I felt you were running from who you really were."

Pam nodded in confirmation. "I was. My father was still badgering me about my friends. John was a friend of my sister's husband and a junior partner at the firm. He is a very nice man. I thought I could put the past behind me and live like normal people."

"Normal people?"

"I know. I was wrong."

"So?" Casey raised an eye brow.

"So what?" Pam began picking at her food and popped a piece of boiled vegetable in her mouth.

Casey gave her a serious look. "So how was it with him?"

Pam chewed her food thoughtfully and studied Casey's face. Casey had begun eating too but studied Pam expectantly waiting for an answer. She really wanted to know. Pam twisted her lips, "It was okay."

"Just okay, huh?"

Pam actually thought she was detecting a little jealousy as well as sarcasm in Casey's tone. "Yes, it was just okay."

Casey studied Pam's flushed face. "What happened?" She asked, popping some more food in her mouth.

"I met a woman. She reminded me a lot of another woman I knew who had created a memory that I couldn't forget. We had a brief affair. I couldn't be with John intimately afterwards. I knew it wasn't right. I sat him down and told him the truth and offered him a divorce. We'd been married about a year and a half. He was my father's favorite son-in-law and on the verge of his senior partnership. He asked me to keep the marriage pretenses up but let me be with whomever I wanted. That was working out okay for a while. I was an up and coming lawyer, married to a great lawyer working in my father's huge firm." Pam put more food in her mouth. She began again a few minutes later, quietly. "My father gave me an assignment on one of his really big divorce cases. The wife wanted a divorce because she said the husband was abusive. My father wanted me to go find holes in her story. You see, she was heir to a fortune and the husband didn't want to lose the money. My job was to make him look like the victim. I had done a few other cases similar to this that were awful but not like this one. I went to see the wife. She had a black eye. The husband said that she ran into a cabinet door. This was a typical scenario for the abuse cases I'd dealt with before. Her lawyer cut the husband a deal where he would end up with a bunch of money and he'd go his merry way. This guy wanted it all." Pam took another deep drink draining her wine and motioning for the waiter to get her another. "The wife wanted out period. She even tried to leave town but he hunted her down and broke three of her ribs. All the while, my father was saying 'he's an important client'. He told me to find some dirt on her but there wasn't any. The more I talked to her the more upset I became that my father was helping this monster. She tried to leave again and he put her in the hospital. Each time claiming that there had been an accident. I told my father I wanted off the case but he insisted it would toughen me up. Finally, I had enough. I told my father to stuff his job and I found some people who agreed to help hide this woman until the divorce hearing. She was granted the divorce. The husband lunged at her in the court room. They arrested him for contempt of court. He hunted her down the next day and put her back in the hospital. This time he was put in jail but my father got him out before the woman got out of the hospital." Pam shook her head sadly and took another bite of her food.

"Did he kill her?" Casey, who had been on the edge of her seat through the whole story, asked.

"No, her father was an extremely wealthy man. He lives in California and didn't know about the abuse until his daughter decided to get the divorce. After he got wind of what was going on, he made her husband disappear."

Casey's mouth dropped open. "You're kidding?"

"Nope. The wife is one of the founding members of the AWAY program and personally helps many women. She reimbursed me all the money for you mom's medical bills."

"Really?" Casey couldn't believe this story.

"Really." Pam said with a nod around bites of food. "She really tries to help women with husband's who have power and influence because she knows what kind of reach they can have."

"Wow. So that's why you quit your father's firm?"

Pam nodded. "Yes. Shortly afterwards John and I pretended to have a huge fight about the case at my sister's. My father and I were already not speaking to each other so it was okay for me to get divorced. John had been in complete agreement with me about the case but he didn't want my father to know. Plus he had fallen in love with another woman and wanted to marry her. It worked out so that he looked good in my father's eyes. I came out to my parents and told them I was going to live my life the way I wanted to. My father told me never to come back and that's what happened." Pam said with a shrug. "John and I are still friends. He got remarried and has a little boy now. He quit my father's firm and went to work at a smaller one that helps injured people. I'm quite happy for him and he is for me, as well. I talk to my mother secretly but my father and my sister aren't speaking to me. My brother comes by and sees me about once a month. He keeps me filled in on the family news."

"I'm so sorry about your family doing you that way." Casey was quite sad for all the pain Pam must have gone through.

Pam shrugged. "Thanks. Your family doesn't know, do they?"

Casey shrugged one shoulder, "I think my brothers have a pretty good idea but my parents don't know. I think my mom would be okay with it but my dad would have a fit. He punched me in the face the week before I graduated from high school because of a rumor about me and my friend Jennifer. I told you about her?" Pam nodded. "The rumor was actually true because I had kissed her but it had been a fluke."

"I remember you telling me about that." Pam chimed in. "A girl who was sleeping with Jennifer's boyfriend had seen it happen and spread it around school."

"That was it."

"He actually punched you in the face?"

"Yeh, he didn't even give me a chance to tell my side of the story. He said he had better not ever hear of me doing anything like that again, so I've kept it quiet." Casey took out more of her cooked food, "So, what's going on with you and that Stacy person?" Casey asked changing the subject away from her father.

"Oh, that's been over for awhile." Pam reached over and put her hand on Casey's, causing Casey to meet her searching eyes, "Now that you know what happened, can you forgive me for the way I sent you away that night?"

Casey raised Pam's hand to her lips and brushed them across Pam's knuckles. She could hear Pam suck in her breath. "Of course I forgive you. I wish I hadn't been so hard headed maybe things would have been different."

The two sat looking into each others eyes; each was pondering how different things might have been. They were so caught up into searching each others eyes that they didn't notice the waiter standing by their table until he cleared his throat.

"So, are we about ready for the final course?" He asked the two very embarrassed women.

"Just a few more minutes." Pam said with a grin but didn't look at the waiter.

The waiter disappeared and they both burst out laughing. "So are sure you want to have chocolate? I hear it's an aphrodisiac." Casey asked as she began finishing her meal.

Pam laughed and shook her head. "You haven't changed much have you?"

"Actually, I have but I just wanted to watch your face flush." Casey laughed.

"A..." Pam's mouth dropped open and she swatted Casey's hand. "You are rotten."

They quickly finished their main course and the waiter brought the desert course. The women ate in silence but both were having their own fantasies about the fruit, chocolate and the woman sitting across from them.

When it finally came time to go, Casey insisted on following Pam home. She assured Pam that just wanted to make sure she made it home okay.

Pam was thrilled Casey wanted to follow her home. She hoped that Casey was still as gallant as she was before. That would mean getting walked to her door which would give Pam a chance to get a goodnight kiss. Talking about the kiss they had shared and watching fruit and chocolate slide across those lips had made Pam hungry to taste them again.

Casey had seen it in Pam's eyes. There was an open invitation. Casey wished she did have to rush off to work because she was sure Pam would have let her come in for a nightcap. Casey had to remind herself that they needed to go slow. They still needed to get to know each other again.

Once they pulled in Pam's drive, Casey got out of her car and rushed to open the door for Pam. Pam stepped out of the car and smiled. She hasn't changed too awful much, Pam thought to herself. At Pam's door, Casey stood right behind her as she unlocked the door. Pam stepped inside and motioned Casey to follow. Casey shook her head, "I really have to go get ready for work."

"That's too bad." Pam said in a husky tone and stepped closer to Casey. "I had a nice time tonight."

"Me, too. We'll have to do it again soon." Casey moved closer to Pam.

"Yes, very soon." Pam was almost touching Casey with her body. She looked into Casey's eyes. The want was there, like before. This time Pam returned the look without trying to hide any of her feelings.

Casey couldn't help but remember their last kiss. She had seen a similar look in Pam's eyes before that kiss but afterwards she had pushed Casey away.

Pam could see the direction Casey's thoughts were headed. She had to chase away that memory by making a new one. She started this kiss. She slipped her hand behind Casey's neck and pulled Casey's lips down on hers. Pam wrapped her arms around Casey's neck and kissed her deeply. She ran her tongue across Casey's lips and into Casey's mouth, tasting that sweetness that she had never been able to forget.

Casey melted into her. She couldn't believe that Pam was kissing her so intensely. If she was trying to burn that old memory out of Casey's mind, it was working as their lips parted then came back for more. They stood there kissing for what seemed like forever. Finally out of breath with burning swollen lips they stopped and just held each other for a moment. "I really have to go." Casey said finally and pulled away. "I just want to ask one quick question."


"Earlier you mentioned a woman who had created a memory that you couldn't forget. She's not someone who might show back up is she."

"She already has, silly." Pam pulled Casey back into her arms for another long kiss. "It was you."

Casey gave her a huge smile and kissed her again. Finally she pulled back and looked at her watch, "I really have to go."

"I know." Pam said with a smile and let go of her hand. She watched Casey get back into her car and wave as she was leaving. Pam waved back and went inside. She definitely was going to be dreaming about Miss Casey Durham tonight.


The next week Casey and Pam spent every minute they could talk on the phone. Casey had pulled double shifts over the weekend so they had not gotten to see each other since that Thursday. Casey was going to be off on Wednesday and invited Pam over for dinner. Casey was going to try to be good but she knew it would be hard.

Wednesday afternoon, while Casey was still sleeping, she got a call from her friend Jo from Memphis. She was on her way to Nashville for a couple of weeks for interviews with the Predators. Casey didn't hesitate to invite her to stay with her. She was going have to tell Pam about Jo arriving later that evening. She hoped Pam would understand.

Casey got up and got dressed. She wanted her apartment to be beautiful when Pam got there. She had bought some from fresh flowers this morning on her way home. She had put them in vases and sat them around the apartment. She made sure everything was straightened up and dusted. She started the chicken cacciatore and set the table. She was in the middle of dressing when the doorbell rang. She didn't think it would be Jo yet unless she was closer than she said she was when she called.

Casey peeked through her peephole. It was Pam. She was early. Casey looked down at her robe that she had pulled around her naked chest. She had her slacks on but hadn't even put her bra on yet. Horns popped up on her head from the devil himself. Casey opened the door for Pam. "Hi. You're early."

Pam stepped inside. "Yeh, is that okay?"

"Sure," Casey said as she let go of the front of the robe revealing the sides of her naked breast, which Pam's eyes immediately fixed on. "I just need to finish dressing."

A huge devious smile spread across Pam's face, "Need any help?"

Casey stopped for a moment, shook her head, and said, "I think dinner would get burnt if you helped me get dressed." She didn't look back at Pam because she knew that if Pam had that same look of want in her eyes that she had on their last date, they wouldn't have any dinner tonight at all.

Pam stayed in the living room and let Casey dress. She knew Casey had dropped open her robe out of sheer mischievousness and not an invitation for anything more. She thought it was sweet that Casey wanted to wait to give them time to get better acquainted again before they started thinking about sleeping together.

She strolled around Casey's living room taking in the decor. It was actually more feminine than Pam would have expected. She had pictures of country meadows and flowers on the wall. The furniture was a simple cream color that matched the frames of many of the pictures. She had fresh boutiques of lazy Susan sitting around the room.

Pam wandered on into the kitchen where something that smelled very delicious was cooking. She picked up the lid on the skillet. Umm, chicken cacciatore, one of her favorites. The kitchen was very bright. White walls, in contrast to the light beige colored living room, with still life paintings of wine bottles and fruit. She had small houseplants and a real herb garden on the window sill. The window was facing the courtyard of the apartment complex.

Pam was studying one of the very nice still life paintings when Casey slipped up behind her. "Chad painted those." Casey said quietly but it still made Pam jump.

Pam spun around and swatted Casey's arm. "You scared the crap out of me."

Casey chuckled and pulled Pam into her arms. "I'm sorry. Let me make it up to you." She said as she lowered her lips to Pam's. After a long deep kiss, she asked. "There, is that better?"

"I don't know," Pam answered huskily, "Maybe you need to do it again."

Casey was glad to oblige. She finally pulled her lips from Pam's. "I better check the food or we'll burn it yet." She reluctantly pulled from Pam's embrace, went the stove and stirred the food.

Once she was sure the food would be okay for awhile, she took Pam's hand and led her to the living room. She sat down on the love-seat and pulled Pam down next to her. She took both of Pam's hands in her and looked into her eyes. "I have something to tell you."

Pam didn't like the seriousness of her tone. She began to get a sense of dread. "Okay." She answered quietly.

Casey immediately sensed the tension in Pam. She prayed that she would not get upset about Jo. Even though they were just starting again, Casey was already so attached to the new feelings between them that she would be devastated if Pam got mad. "A friend of mine is coming to stay with me for a few weeks. She's a friend from Memphis. She's coming here to do some interviews for a job here and I promised her she could stay with me anytime." Casey could see the darkness creeping into Pam's eyes. She remembered very clearly that was one of the first signs of anger. "She's straight. We were never lovers, not even a kiss. She is the travel coordinator for the Blues and she's coming here to try to get a job working for the Predators during the Blues' off-season. I know you'll like her. She's quite a character. Please don't be mad."

Pam was working on mad. Their second date and she was talking about moving a woman in for a few weeks. Casey's "please" with that pleading look diffused her anger. Her friend had apparently just sprung this on her and Casey had made a promise before they had started seeing each other again. She couldn't be mad at her for being a good friend. "I'm not. It's sweet of you to help her. You two must have been close?"

Casey let out a little of the breath she had been holding. Pam said she wasn't mad but there was still tightness in her voice. Casey brought her hands to her lips and kissed her knuckles. "You are the sweet one and yes we are very close, almost as close as Terri and me. She helped me get through the ending with Sara. She's been a good friend."

Pam realized that Casey hadn't really told her anything about her life in Memphis. Terri had told her some things but Casey hadn't brought it up. She decided turnabout was fair play and asked Casey the same question she had asked her. "So how was it with her?"

"Sure you really want to know?" Casey wasn't sure Pam really wanted to hear that Sara pushed all of her sexual buttons.

Pam wanted to know if this woman might ever be a threat in the future. "Yeah, I want to know."

Casey let go of Pam's hands and sat back. She looked off into the distance for a moment to gather her thoughts. "Sara was a piece of work. She drove me nuts in every way. She figured out how to push all of my buttons in a way that made me her puppet." Casey wasn't sure how to explain that after the way Pam rejected her that she had allowed herself to be duped. Casey gritted her teeth and shook her head. She closed her eyes and tried to push away her anger. "She came into my life at a time when I was very vulnerable. I was very taken with her beauty and charm. The saying that 'you reap the seeds you sow' is very true. She was a bigger and better player than I ever thought about being. She played me for the biggest fool. I had no idea she was cheating on me. Any time I started to suspect, she would do things to make me think there was no way she would do that to me. All the while, she was sleeping with my friends and associates, women and men, to work her way into the hospital and the athletic social circle. I had just broke things off for good before I came back here. I had no intentions of getting involved with anyone for a long time." Casey looked into Pam's weary gaze. She had definitely not planned on falling in love with this woman, who had hurt her so deeply, again.

Pam saw it happen right before her eyes. A few of the bricks in Casey's wall that she had managed to knock down were going back up. It was her fault for wanting to know about this Sara person. She had unwittingly reminded Casey of the pain that she had caused her. She had to diffuse this situation quickly. "I'm sorry you've been caused so much pain." Pam said it in a way to let Casey know that she knew Casey was putting her walls up again. "I don't want you to have anymore pain." Pam scooted closer to her. She lifted Casey's chin to bring her downcast eyes up to meet Pam's. Pam could see the fear in their depths. She didn't want Casey to start having doubts now that they had come this far. She tried to make sure that Casey saw the sincerity in her own eyes. She put her lips on Casey's and kissed her gently.

Casey closed her eyes and kissed Pam back. She wanted so much to let go of the past. Now she understood the position Pam had been in before, but once you've been burnt badly it's hard to let go of the fear of it happening again. Casey needed to feel the intensity of the passion they had shared the other night at Pam's door. She hoped it would erase the memories of the past. She put her hand behind Pam's head and deepened the kiss. She slipped her tongue into Pam's mouth and pulled her closer. Before either one knew what was happening, Pam was on Casey's lap and Casey was cupping her breast. Both had given up their resolve to wait before sleeping together and would have ended up in bed in a matter of minutes if there hadn't been a knock at the door.

"Shit!" Casey hissed, "That is probably Jo." Casey looked into Pam's heated gaze. Damn they had been so close to finally crossing that line. She took another quick kiss then sat Pam back on the love seat.

Pam watched Casey's wobbly figure make its way towards the door. She had to smile at the fact that she had caused her to be so wobbly.

"Who is it?" Casey called as she tried to compose herself.

"It's Terri."

Casey shook her head and laughed. Terri would read right into what was going on. She opened the door. "Come in."

"Hey what's up?" Terri asked pulling Beth in with her. Terri took one look at Casey and at Pam, who was on the love-seat trying to straighten her clothes. "It looks like we've come at a bad time." She winced and started to turn around to leave, "So sorry."

Casey stopped her. "No, stay. I was expecting another guest in a little while anyway." Casey shut the door and headed towards the kitchen. She gave Pam an apologetic smile as she passed.

Pam mouthed, "It's okay," as Casey passed her. "So, how have you guys been?" She asked a very embarrassed Terri and Beth.

"Good. How about yourself?" Terri asked.

"I think you already know the answer to that question."

Beth started giggling. "Yep, I guess we do. Are you sure you don't want us to come back another time."

"No. Casey really is expecting one of her friends from Memphis any minute." Pam hadn't realized that Jo was coming tonight but things had gotten so heated that she forgot everything except the woman who had her burning alive.

"Jo?" Terri queried.

"Yes, have you met her?"

"Oh yeh, she helped Casey move down here." Terri got up to catch Casey in the kitchen. "Have you met her yet?" Terri asked as she started for the kitchen.


"You'll love her. She's a character."

"Funny. Casey said the same thing."

"She is hilarious." Beth chimed in.

"I'm going to go see what smells so good." Terri said and disappeared into the kitchen as Beth began to tell Pam about the time they met Jo.

Terri slipped her arm around Casey and dropped her chin on Casey's shoulder. "What's cookin', Doc."

"Me." Casey quipped.

"I see that. We could leave and let you take up where you left off." Terri was a bit surprised that Casey hadn't shoved them right back out the door. She had been trying to get into that position with Pam for a long time. She didn't understand her backing down now.

"No. We really needed to cool things down anyway."

Terri swung Casey around to face her. "I can't even believe I'm hearing that coming out of your mouth." Terri studied Casey's eyes. "You're afraid." She whispered. Casey nodded. "Don't be, she has always been nuts about you. She really wants things to work between you two."

"You think so?" Casey whispered back. "Yes, she asked me about you all the time when you were gone."


"You may not believe this but she was just as tore up about what happened as you were."

Casey nodded, "We talked about what had happened over dinner last week. It's going to take a little time. I just don't want to rush into anything."

"I understand. So what's really cooking?" She motioned towards the food.

"Chicken cacciatore, want to stay and have some? There's plenty."

"Are you sure you want us too?" Terri asked very seriously.

"Yes," Casey whispered, "I need you to protect me from myself."

"You got it." Terri went back to the living room to tell Beth they were staying for dinner.

Pam was a little disappointed but she understood why Casey asked them to stay. She just wasn't ready for the step they had almost taken. That seemed so odd to Pam, from a woman who used to sleep with women because they gave her the right look. Pam had just not realized what an effect what she had done, and what Sara had done, had on Casey really until now. She couldn't turn back the time but she would give Casey the space to get to feeling comfortable about their relationship.

* * * * * *

Dinner had been delicious. Casey had made enough for everyone to be stuffed. Jo still hadn't shown up yet so the four of them sat in the living room and talked. After about an hour Terri said they had to get home because they both had to be at work early.

"Yeh, me too," Pam took the opportunity to go ahead and leave. She knew that she and Casey would end up in Casey's bed if she stayed and Casey apparently wasn't ready for that. She got up with Terri and Beth and began to collect her purse.

At the door, Terri reminded them about her masquerade Halloween party. "Don't forget, my party is in two weeks. I expect to be able to figure out who both of you are."

"Yeh, we'll see." Casey challenged.

"Bet I figure out who you are before anyone else." Terri put her finger in Casey's chest.

"You're on. If some one else figures out who I am before you, you owe me a bottle of mine favorite wine."

"Done," Terri turned to Pam and whispered, "You let me know what she's coming as."

"Nat," Casey admonished. "No cheating. Beth you better take her home and punish her. She's being a bad girl."

"Ooh, that sounds like fun. Come on, you bad little girl you." Beth giggled and pulled Terri towards the stairs.

Casey and Pam laughed at their silliness. "I had better be going too." Pam said as she took Casey's hand.

Casey pulled her back inside and shut the door. "I'm sorry about tonight. I hope you aren't mad."

"No." Pam met Casey's searching eyes. She was disappointed but not mad. "I'm not mad. I'm sorry I'm not going to get to meet Jo tonight. We'll all have to get together soon."

"Yes, we will." Casey could feel that Pam was keeping her distance a little now. She was surprised that this was being so complicated. Casey pulled Pam into her arms and hugged her tightly. Pam squeezed her back.

They just stood there for a little while then Pam pulled back and kissed Casey on the lips. "I have to go. Call me tomorrow."

"Okay but you call me tonight when you get home." Casey worried about her a lot.

"I will." They kissed again and Pam left.


Jo arrived not long after Pam had left. She apologized for getting there so late. Casey told her it was okay. Jo immediately sensed something was wrong with Casey. "Want to talk about it?" She asked as she set her suitcase in the guest bedroom.

"Yeh, actually I need to." Casey sighed. "I've become involved with Pam again."

"You told me about her helping your mom. I thought you were going to keep your distance from her?" Jo asked as she sat down next to Casey on the couch.

"I was but I had to deal with her in order to see my mom, then we ran into each other at the bar. I was drinking and started touching her. She let me. She seemed to want me to. She's really made it clear almost from the first conversation that she wanted to be close to me again. My body wants it so much but my mind is trying to be cautious." Casey shook her head. "I'm already attached to her again."

"What about what happened before?"

"She explained that her dad was putting pressure on her to get out of the gay lifestyle or he wouldn't let her be a part of his practice. She has apologized for what happened. She said that she was in love with me back then. There were times when I thought she might have stronger feeling than just friendship, but then she would shut off her feelings again. She says she missed me. I know I missed her. I just don't want to get hurt again, Jo."

Jo reached over and hugged Casey. "I know, Hon. Just take things slow. Have you slept with her yet?"

"No, but we came so close tonight. If Terri and her girlfriend hadn't shown up it would have happened." Casey pulled back. "I just know that once I cross that line with her, I'll never be the same. She will own my soul. I'm not sure I trust her with it yet."

Jo looked into her troubled friend's eyes. She was afraid that this Pam person had owned Casey's soul for a long time. She had never seen Casey so troubled not even with Sara. She knew, though, that Casey had been head over heals in love with Pam before. She just hoped that Pam truly cared for Casey the way Casey cared for her. If not, there was no telling what Casey might do if things didn't work out between them. "Just keep your guard up. Make her prove to you how much she wants you this time."

Casey agreed. She had done everything she could to win Pam before. This time she wanted Pam to win her.

* * * * * *

Pam had sensed that Casey was pulling back. She understood Casey's need to put her guard up. She felt that they were making progress in their relationship on the mental level. The physical level was the dangerous part.

A sexual tension had always existed between them. Pam had almost talked herself into succumbing to Casey's sexual prowess before. She had been afraid, back then that she would fall under Casey's spell and never be able to get free. Even now, for as much as she wanted to be with Casey, she was still a little afraid of the intensity of the electricity that existed between them. She wasn't as afraid of getting burned so much this time, as she was of being consumed. Yet, she was willing to take the risk. Something deep inside had been telling her from the moment she met Casey that they could share the love of a lifetime.

She had to keep working on Casey's walls. She would never have suspected that a woman who had once prided herself on one night stands could be so vulnerable and afraid. She knew it was her fault in a lot of ways. She had kept her guard up with Casey but there had been many times that she had let herself enjoy Casey's attention. Casey had probably seen it as progress in their relationship then Pam would put the brakes on again. She had to convince Casey that she wasn't running away this time. She also had to keep Casey from running as well.

Pam called Casey when she got home as promised. Casey told her that Jo had arrived shortly after she left and that they were catching up. Casey had kept their conversation short. It concerned Pam that she almost seemed curt with her.

* * * * * *

Casey didn't call Pam the next evening so Pam called her. They talked about their day but Casey still seemed distant. Finally Pam asked. "Casey, what's wrong?"


"Are you having second thoughts about us?" Pam asked quietly, afraid of Casey's answer. She had been worried all day that all the talk about the past had made Casey change her mind about trying again.

"No, no." Casey quickly reassured her. "I just want it to be real this time."

Pam understood. There were many things she had said and done before that would have raised Casey's hopes about them getting together. She wanted so much to show Casey how real it was for her this time. "Would you like for me to come over and show you how real it is?" Pam asked huskily. She heard Casey suck in her breath.

Casey couldn't believe she had heard that come out of Pam. Pam had never shown her seductress side. She had teased Casey a few times but this was the first time she had really taken the initiative to be aggressive. "If I didn't have a house guest, I might have to give that offer serious consideration."

Jo was watching Casey turned red. She didn't know what Pam had offered but it had an instant effect on Casey. Jo couldn't help egging things on. "Don't turn down a good toss in the hay for my sake. I'll just turn the TV up so I can't hear you."

Casey spun around in her chair and gave Jo as mean of a look as she could muster.

Pam had heard what Jo said. "See, she won't mind."

"Both of y'all quit it." Casey said fanning herself. She had said she wanted Pam to come after her but she was still surprised by Pam's brazen offer. "I just got out of the shower and now I'll need another one before I go to work."

Pam and Jo both burst out laughing. "Good," Pam said in a deep tone. "I'm glad to know that I have that effect on you."

"You've always had that effect on me." Casey retorted.


"Yes," Casey said quietly, "but I think you already knew that."

"Yes, I guess I always have." Pam answered sadly, thinking about the time they lost. "But, you've had that effect on me too. I just didn't want you to know it until now."

"There were a few times I saw it. Remember that night at The Gathering dance club when I saved you from that cavewoman?" Pam started giggling. "You were rubbing yourself against me and I saw it in your eyes. I could have had you that night."

Pam remembered vaguely because she had been so drunk that night. She did remember Casey tucking her into bed and kissing her on the forehead. The truth was that she had been thinking about letting Casey have her way with her. "Why didn't you try? I probably would have let you."

"Because, I didn't want you that way, I wanted you sober and certain of your choice."

Pam got quiet for a minute. "That is one of the things I've always loved about you. You were always so chivalrous."

"I wanted you to see that I wasn't just after sex with you. I wanted the whole package, white picket fence and all."

Pam sighed. "I had a feeling that you did. I just couldn't give that to you then."

"I always thought you wouldn't give me a chance because you didn't trust me."

"Well, I did worry about that too." Pam confessed.

"Are you worried about it now?" Casey wondered out loud.

"No. I can see that you've given up your horn dog ways."

Casey hadn't realized she had said her thoughts out loud until Pam answered her question.

Jo left the room. This conversation had taken a very personal turn.

Casey watched her friend leave then glanced at the clock. She hated to have to end this conversation but she did have to get to the hospital. "Well, I'm glad. Look, I hate to cut this short. I'm glad we covered all of this but I do have to leave for the hospital."

Pam chewed her lip. Casey was still not letting her guard down as much as Pam had hoped. She wanted them both to let go of the past and work on today. She felt that she needed to work harder on establishing their physical relationship. She just had a feeling that Casey wanted her to make the first move. "So what are the possibilities of you stopping by on your way to work?"

Casey licked her lips. What is she up to, she wondered but kept it to herself this time. "I won't have enough time." She fibbed a little.

"How about on your way home in the morning? I don't have to leave until eight-thirty." Pam twirled the phone cord nervously. She was surprising herself with her brazenness. She had never really been a seductress but she wanted to seduce Casey.

Casey held her breath. Pam's tone had turned husky. "I suppose I could."

"I really wish you would. I just want to talk to you in person for a little while." Pam said in a honey coated voice.

Casey couldn't resist. She was already getting hot just imaging what Pam might really want. She knew they shouldn't go too far but what would a little kissing hurt. She would just make sure that was all that they had time for. "Okay. I'll swing by before you have to leave."

"Good. I'll see you then."


Casey came into the kitchen fanning herself.

Jo sat at the kitchen table eating a sandwich and shaking her head.


"You were right. You've got it bad for this girl again. I cannot wait to meet her. She must really be something special." Jo took another bite of her sandwich and watched Casey squirm a little.

"She is special."

"She must be. Based on what I've heard about the way you were before, it would have taken someone incredible to get you to become as vulnerable as I've known you to be. You let Sara lead you on in a way you would not have before this thing with Pam. I just can't wait to see what is so special about her." Jo watched Casey's eyes beam. She has it so bad for this one, Jo summarized.

"You'll get to meet her soon." Casey got out a bottle of water and took a deep drink, hoping to get cooled off. "I gotta run. You know to make yourself comfortable. Did I give you your key yet?"

"Yes, I'm all set. You get going before you really are going to be late."

* * * * * *

Pam stayed in her sexy nightgown for as long as she could. At eight o'clock she gave up and got dressed. She decided Casey wasn't coming for whatever reason. She was actually a little mad that Casey hadn't even called.

She was standing in front of the bathroom mirror putting on her earrings when she heard the doorbell. She looked at her watch, eight-fifteen. She twitched her lips. Was it her, this late? She padded to the door in stocking feet. She peeped out. Casey stood there in her green scrubs looking very tired. She opened the door. "Hi." She tried not to sound mad. "I didn't think you were going to make it."

"Me neither." Casey answered wearily. Great, she's mad. That's just not what I need this morning.

Pam's eyes softened a bit. "You look tired. Come in here and sit down." Pam moved out of the way to let Casey in. "You want some coffee?"

"No. I've already had three pots tonight." Casey glanced around. Pam's furnishings were quite dark. Casey was just too tired to really check it out. She had a splitting headache. "Do you have any aspirin?" She asked putting her hand to her throbbing head.

"I have ibuprofen."

"That'll be fine."

Pam gave Casey a concerned looking over. Her eyes looked heavy. She looked wiped out. Pam retreated to the bathroom, got the medicine and a cup of water. She came back and Casey was slumped down on the couch.

"I love this material." Casey said running her hands across the couch.

"It's velour." Pam said handing Casey the pills and water. She sat down next to Casey and massaged her neck. "I'm sorry I was a bit grumpy when you first got here. I had just had my heart set on having more time with you."

Casey took the pills then turned to look into Pam's concerned eyes. "I know. I should have called but there was no time. There was a real bad car accident early this morning. I had to set both legs on this guy and assist the lead surgeon after he decided he needed to put pins in around the guy's knees. The poor man is going to be in full leg casts for probably eight weeks. Another passenger had a broken arm but the other orthopedic crew came out of surgery, from an earlier incident, just in time to take care of that guy or I would still be there."

"Well, I'm glad you made it before I left. We can have at least a few minutes together." Pam said as she went from massaging Casey to embracing her.

"You smell so good." Casey said into Pam's neck as they hugged.

Pam stroked Casey's golden tresses. "Thank you." She pulled back enough to kiss Casey on the forehead. "You're a bit warm."

"I'm alright. I'm just tired." Casey pulled back to look at Pam's face. Pam's clear concern warmed Casey's heart.

Pam studied Casey's face. It didn't really look flushed but she did look extremely tired. "Why don't you crash here for a little while before you go home?"

"Na, I've got company."

"I don't think she would care if she saw how tired you look. In fact, if she was a good friend she'd be mad that you were driving like this." Pam said sternly.

Casey could just imagine that Jo would give her an earful. "Okay, maybe just for a few minutes while you finish getting ready to leave."

"That's my girl." Pam said and started to get up to go get Casey a pillow.

Casey grabbed her hand before she could get up. "Am I your girl?"

Pam looked into those beautiful hazel eyes. "I want you to be." She answered and kissed Casey lightly.

Casey kissed her back and started to deepen the kiss when a yawn overtook her. "Sorry, not very romantic." She said as she yawned again.

"That's okay. We'll be romantic another time." Pam got up and got Casey a pillow from her bed. She handed her the pillow. "Lay down, I'll wake you before I leave."

"Okay." Casey took the pillow and stretched out.

Pam called her office and told Amy she was running a few minutes late. She put her shoes on, got her purse then went to check on Casey. Just as she suspected, she was out cold. She leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. Casey's breathing didn't even change. Pam decided not to try to wake her. She left her a note telling Casey that she was welcome to anything Pam had and to lock up when she left.

Pam went to her office. She called Casey's apartment and Jo answered the phone. She told Jo that Casey was asleep at her house because she was too tired to be driving. Jo was glad she made Casey stay there. They both said that they were looking forward to meeting each other soon. Jo offered to cook dinner whenever Pam could work out a time to come. Pam assured her that she would like that very much. She sounded nice Pam thought when she had to hang up a few minutes later. She had actually hoped to get to learn a little more about her, just to ease her worries that she wasn't after Casey.

Her first appointment arriving had been why she had to end her conversation with Jo. The rest of the day was crazy. She had four new clients walk in looking for emergency help. She was afraid she would lose track of time so she told Amy to call her house at about eleven o'clock to make sure Casey got up.

Amy had wanted to question her about Casey being at her house asleep. Fortunately it had gotten busy and didn't lighten up until it was time to go home.

* * * * * *

Casey woke a bit startled to find herself in strange surroundings then she remembered she was at Pam's. She rolled onto her back slowly and let her eyes adjust. It was a very dark room. The walls were wood, maybe oak or pine. The curtains were burgundy with light burgundy sheer curtains underneath. The couch she was laying on had burgundy, hunter green and tan Native American patterns. Casey sat up. There was a matching love-seat and chair. The coffee and end tables had a cherry wood look to them. The carpeting was a marbled mixture of brown shades. It was very masculine, like Pam's office. There were Native American paintings and sculptures around the room. Casey had never known that Pam had been into Native American stuff.

Casey got up to hunt down a bathroom. There was a guest bathroom just inside the hall that led to the bedrooms. It was decorated with hunter green and peach colors with pictures of peach roses on the walls. She had a tray of little rose shaped and scented soaps. The spotless bathtub was hidden behind a hunter green shower curtain.

Casey finished her business in the bathroom and was getting ready to leave when she found Pam's note. She didn't really feel comfortable in Pam's house with Pam not at home but she couldn't stop herself from snooping a little more. She realized that in all the time she had known Pam before; Pam had always lived on campus. Casey found herself more than a little curious about how the rest of the house was decorated.

The kitchen was a little lighter. It had oak stained cabinets, smoky blue tiled floor and counters. She had an island stove with stainless steel pots and pans hanging above it. The refrigerator was black. What was with these dark colors?

She had to get a peek at Pam's bedroom before she left. The room was just a little messy in comparison with the rest of the house. There was a black silk negligee lying on the bed. Casey wondered if she had been planning to greet Casey at the door in it.

This room was a bit more feminine than the others. It had peach walls with navy blue drapes and bedspread. There were pictures of wild flowers in various places like meadows, mountains and sea sides. The master bathroom also had peach walls with more wildflower pictures. The shower curtain was navy blue matching the curtains and bedspread in the bedroom.

Casey decided she was being too invasive and that she needed to get home. Just as she was walking out the door the phone ring, she had a feeling it was Pam calling to make sure she got up. She looked on Pam's caller ID and sure enough it was the AWAY office. Casey picked up the phone. "Hello."

"Hi, this is Pam's secretary, Amy. She wanted to make sure you got up."

Casey was a little disappointed that it wasn't Pam. "I was just leaving. Tell her I said thanks and that I'll talk to her later."

"Okay." Amy said sweetly. She was dying to know if Casey had spent the night but Pam wasn't telling.

* * * * * *

Casey called Pam on one of her breaks that night. "Thanks for letting me crash on your couch."

"Anytime." You can even crash in my bed if you want, Pam mused to herself. "So when are you getting off?"

"I'll get off from hospital duty at three. I have to go to the clinic and work from eight until five." Casey hated that she was going to have to work another double. She had a feeling Pam was going to invite her over for breakfast this weekend.

"What about Saturday?"

"I have to work doubles both Saturday and Sunday."

Pam could believe they were making her work so many hours. "So when will you get to sleep?"

"Oh, I'll catch naps here and there."

"When can I see you again?" Pam wanted them to have time together to get through the barriers holding them back from a full relationship.

Casey smiled. She liked the way Pam had asked that. It sounded like she needed to see her. "I don't have to be at work Monday until eight in the evening."

"Well, I will have to make it a point to get over there to see you."

"I hope you do."

Pam sighed. She really wanted to see her now. She was dying to kiss her again. "You are going to go home after your shift and get some sleep, right?"

"Yes. I'll sleep at home tomorrow morning from three-fifteen until seven. I'll get up and get a shower and then be off again." Casey answered nonchalantly.

"Okay. I just don't want you driving tired. If you want to go home but are too tired to drive, call me and I'll come get you." Pam assured Casey.

"Thank you. That is so sweet."

"Well now that I've got you back in my life I don't want to lose you over you having to work so hard."

Casey's heart swelled. Her resolve was really melting in the warmth of Pam's caring. "I can't get over how special you are."


Casey's name was being paged. "I have to go. I'll try to call you tomorrow."



After they got off the phone, Pam got the idea in her head that she was going to see Casey the next day. She decided she was going to go by Casey's apartment before Casey went to work.

* * * * * *

Casey had been thinking about Pam all day and all night at work. She was a little mad at herself for intentionally planning on getting to Pam's house late yesterday, even though things had gotten out of her control and she would have been late anyway. She would have been robbing herself of getting to see Pam in her sexy night gown. Pam had looked beautiful anyway. She had been wearing a flowing, long-sleeved, white blouse and green slacks. Her long dark hair spilled over her shoulders and around her breast. Casey really didn't know who she was kidding by trying to keep from getting physical with Pam. She had fantasized about it for years. Now the opportunity was just around the corner. Unfortunately her work schedule was going to keep her very busy for the next few weeks. She really didn't want their first time together to be a rushed quickie.

Casey drug herself up the stairs to her apartment. It was six-thirty in the morning. Dr. Kim, who Casey's internship was with, had seen Casey at the hospital this morning when he came into to assist Dr. Andersen in an emergency surgery. Casey was still waiting for the other intern to show up. He finally did at six. Dr. Kim told Casey not to worry about coming in the office until about eleven that morning so she could get some sleep. Casey was so glad. She thought she was going to have to go straight to the office without any sleep.

Jo had told her that she had a series of interviews with the managers and owners of the Predators all day today so she would already be gone. Casey would have the apartment to herself and could go right to sleep.

Casey was just about to put the key in her door when she heard someone coming up the stairs. It was Pam. "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to see you." Pam smiled and embraced Casey.

Casey squeezed her back tightly. "I'm glad. I'm afraid I won't be good company though. I'm pretty wiped out right now."

"I see that. I really wish you wouldn't drive like this."

"I didn't. I took a cab home."

"Good girl." Pam didn't like that idea much better but at least she had not been in rush hour traffic driving. "Are you just now getting home?" Casey nodded. "Let's get you inside and tucked into bed."

Casey nodded again and unlocked the door. As soon as they were inside, Pam shut the door and pinned Casey to it. Pam kissed Casey with so much passion; it took Casey's breath away. "Wow." She got out when she could finally breath.

Pam grinned. She had planned on a marathon kissing session with Casey before she had to leave to go to work but she could see that wasn't going to happen. Casey had kissed her back equally as passionate but she was clearly too tired for any playing this morning. "You do get to go to bed? You don't have to go ahead and do to the office now do you?"

"No, Dr. Kim saw me at the hospital. He told me to come in at eleven." Casey led Pam to her bedroom. The bed wasn't made from when Casey had taken a nap after she had come home from Pam's the day before. She sat down on the edge of the bed and smiled sleepily up at Pam. "I am so sorry I am too tired to talk to you this morning."

"Its okay." Pam took Casey's backpack that she carried everything to work in and set it next to the door. She turned around, Casey's eyes were closed and her head was bobbing as she nodded off to sleep while she still sitting upright. Pam took her keys that were still clutched in her hand. She put them on Casey's night stand. She gently pushed Casey back onto the bed. She took off her running shoes and sweaty socks.

"You're a brave soul." Casey mumbled.

"Only for you, Sweetie." Pam cooed.

"You sound like my mom. Have you talked to her lately? I haven't seemed to be able to catch her."

"Just briefly," Pam admitted. "She said she had left you messages on your machine because she could never seem to catch you. She's doing really well. She loves her new job. If you get a free minute you should run down to where they fix the patients' meals and try to catch her."

"I'll do that." Casey hoped she remember this conversation later. "I have to try to call the boys too. They have both called. We keep missing each other." Casey licked her dry lips as Pam tried to get her settled in the bed.

"You want some water?"

Casey nodded.

Pam went the kitchen and got Casey a glass of water. She thought it was interesting that Casey had her dishes set up similarly to the way Pam had hers. Pam came back with the water and Casey was out. She shook her head and put the water on the night stand. She decided Casey looked uncomfortable. She tugged off her pants, taking in the pale muscled thighs. Wow, she has such a great body. She thought as she pulled Casey's shirt off.

That woke Casey a little. "What are you doing?" She slurred.

"I'm trying to make you more comfortable." Pam said tugging at Casey's sweaty sports bra.

"You are just trying to sneak a peak at your Christmas present." Casey said stopping Pam's hands. "I'll do it. You just get me that shirt over there."

Pam giggled at Casey's sudden bashfulness. "I saw part of them the other day. Are you going to make me wait until Christmas to see the rest?" Pam asked as she handed Casey her night shirt.

"No. I don't think I'll make it that long." Casey said, pulling the shirt over her head and flopping back down. Only allowing Pam brief glimpses of her breasts.

Pam leaned down and hovered over Casey's lips, "Don't think you can make it that long, huh?"

Hazel eyes opened to stare into twinkling dark blue ones. They gazed into each others eyes for a few minutes. Casey kept an even gaze. Lightning fast, Casey grabbed Pam and flipped her onto her back. Casey covered Pam's body with hers, slipping one leg between Pam's.

Pam had not even seen it coming. Casey hadn't even flinch when she moved. Now she had Pam pinned to her bed. Casey writhed against Pam, whom was already squirming. Casey dropped her lips to Pam's and kissed her gently. "You have any important appointments this morning?" Casey asked huskily. She was only teasing Pam because she knew Pam had to leave in a few minutes. But if Pam said that she didn't have to leave, she would find the energy to be awake.

Did she have any important appointments? Oh yes, she had a meeting with her boss at nine and the head of two corporations at lunch. Pam was dying. She wanted so bad to stay right where she was but she knew she had to leave. "Yes, I'm afraid I do."

Casey produced a big, devilish smile. "You're just lucky I'm too tired to do anything about you being under me in my bed. Next time, I might not be so tired."

Pam began to giggle. Casey never had any intention of doing anything. "You are rotten."

"I know." Casey said rolling off Pam.

Pam rolled with her so that she was on top. "Just keep in mind that if I don't have anywhere to be next time, you will be the one in trouble." Pam punctuated her point with an extremely hot kiss.

"Umm, a threat, I love a tough woman." Casey mumbled sleepily. She was going again.

Pam got up and tucked her in. She gave her another hot kiss. Casey smiled, said goodbye and was out cold again.

Pam shook her head at her very tired, soon-to-be lover. Casey wasn't the only one who wouldn't be able to wait much longer.


The next week was spent playing phone tag and having brief hot visits with each other on the mornings Casey did not had to pull double shifts. They still hadn't slept together because Casey insisted that they would wait until they could have a whole night together. Casey was supposed to off the night of Terri's masquerade party. Pam was hoping that would be the night they would finally get to consummate their relationship.

As the day for Terri's party approached, Casey still refused to tell Pam what she was wearing. Pam had left her numerous messages almost threatening not to go if Casey didn't tell her. Casey had teased her, saying that part of the fun would be seeing how long it took Pam to recognize her. Pam couldn't imagine it would be that hard. Casey was almost six foot tall. A select few of their women or men friends, who were going to be at the party, were that tall.

Pam even had Dorothy try to find out but Casey was not telling anyone. Dorothy thought it was funny that Pam was so upset about it. She kept telling her that if she worked at it she could probably come up with something better than Casey was going to wear. Pam knew Dorothy thought she was upset because she wanted to win the contest. The truth was it was the first party they were going to as a couple and Pam wanted everyone to know that they were together. She wanted to make it very clear to all the other women there that Casey was off the market.

Pam had even talked to Jo, who Terri had invited to the party, about it. She still had yet to meet her because she was always gone when Pam was at Casey's, but Jo didn't know either. She was very frustrated that Casey was keeping it such a big secret.

Pam would not get even one clue before the party.

* * * * * *

The night of Terri's masquerade party finally came. Terri's house was completely filled with people. Men and women dressed up as their favorite famous lovers. Most people were already there as a couple, although, there were a few who were looking to meet someone new.

Some of the costumes were really incredible. Terri had promised a prize of a night at the Opryland Hotel and dinner for two for the best costume. Everyone was wearing masks, which was a requirement. Part of the contest was to see how long you could go before someone besides who you came with recognized you.

Casey had full intentions of winning the contest. She already had plans for what would happen at the hotel if things worked out right. She had come dressed as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, in a costume that no one had seen except Maude Long, who wasn't going to be able to go to the party. Even Casey's friend, Jo Ann had not seen her.

Casey waited until most everyone was there before she showed up. She spotted Pam across the room. Pam had hinted that she would be coming as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and she had. She was looked really well. It would have taken Casey a little while to figure out who she was if she hadn't said she might come dressed that way. Casey decided to see if Pam would be able to recognize her. She slipped around the crowd and made her way up behind Pam. Pam turned and glanced at Casey. She looked her directly in the one eye that was open. "Hi." Casey said in a deep rasping voice.

"Hi." Pam said back then went back to looking at the crowd.

Casey almost laughed. She was obviously looking people in the eyes thinking she would recognize Casey's hazel eyes. Pam didn't really give Casey a good looking over but so far she didn't have a clue.

Next Casey was going to see Terri and get her reaction. Terri was across the room talking to Jo Ann who had come as Samson. Casey slipped up behind Terri and listened in on their conversation. "Of course you know you're disqualified for this contest." Terri was saying. "No one knows you except Casey."

"Oh, I know." Jo Ann replied with a laugh. "I love masquerade parties. I just thought it would be fun. I really appreciate you inviting me."

"No problem, the more the merrier." Terri said with a wave of her hand. "You're not gay, right?"

"Nah. Not that I haven't experimented, but I just like men better." The large brunette said with a shrug.

"Well, I just want to warn you. You will probably be hit on several times tonight." Terri said giving her a once over. She was a nice looking woman. Terri preferred her women a little smaller and a bit more feminine. But, Terri knew a lot of women here tonight who would think Jo Ann was the cat's meow.

Jo Ann gave Terri a brilliant smile. "I know. I actually like being flirted with by women, but I don't plan on taking anyone home. I just want to have a good time."

"Casey said you were like that. She said she hadn't ever gone out anywhere with you that you guys didn't have a good time."

"Life's short. You have to have fun while you're here." Jo Ann reasoned.

"You're right there." Terri looked around the room again. She still hadn't seen Casey. She was sure she would recognize her. "So did Casey come with you?"

"No. She's really gone all out with this costume apparently. She wouldn't even give me a hint about it." Jo said scanning the room too. "But I figured I'd still be able to recognize her. I bet she's just planning on making a big dramatic entrance."

"Yeh, probably." Terri agreed.

Casey bumped Terri as if she had accidentally run into her. "Sorry." Casey said in her rasping voice.

Terri looked down at her. "It's okay. Do I know you?"

"You invited me." Casey stated.

Terri looked her over. She looked into Casey's eye like Pam had. "Great costume."

"Thanks." Casey said and sauntered off.

"Who was that?" Jo asked.

"I don't know but I will figure it out. I just have to go through my memory of who I invited that is short and stocky." Terri tapped her chin thinking about it.

Beth walked up to them. "Who was that?" Beth asked as Casey's figure faded away.

"I don't know yet. Who did we invite that is short and stocky?"

Beth thought for a minute. "Man or woman?"

"I'm not sure." Terri said quite surprised at herself. She couldn't really tell by the voice.

"Well, Sheila is short and stocky, so is Brenda really."

"No. They came as J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Canton."

"Well, what about William?"

"Maybe, or Claire."

"Yep, she's real short. There's also Alice and Sharon."

"Yeh, and Michael and Todd."


Terri looked at Jo Ann. "Would you be interested in helping us find out who the Hunchback is?"

"Sure." Jo was always game for a mystery.

"Why don't you go over to who ever it is and hit on them. That would let us know if it's a man or a woman." Terri reasoned. Beth nodded in agreement.

"Okay. Where did he/she get off too?" They all scanned the room but there seemed to be no sign of the character.

That was because Casey was back across the room hiding behind some guys. She was making her way over to Pam, who had staked out a spot close to the door. Casey made her way, weaving through people until she came up behind Pam again. "You look beautiful."

Pam spun around and looked down at Casey. "Thanks, but I'm waiting on someone." She looked into Casey's eye again then spun back around to watch the door.

Casey moved away quickly and quietly. She watched as Pam looked behind her and saw that the Hunchback was gone. Casey knew the sky blue contact would really throw everyone off. Even Terri had been looking for hazel eyes.

Casey was weaving in and out of people again. Staying close to the outside and being pretty much unnoticed. She got a few glances. It was funny because people would try to figure out who she was then shake their heads at her costume. The costume was a masterpiece of her making. She had studied the Disney's Hunchback movie. She got body pads that made her look heavier than she is. She got extra baggy pants so she could squat as she walked which would even shorter than she already did hunch over. She used a body pad to make the large hump on her back. She had Maude fix her a brownish red wig to cover her blond hair. She even went to the trouble to go to a vision center and get them to hook her up with the blue contact lens.

The women there had laughed hysterically when Casey told them what she was doing. They said they wanted to see pictures. Even Maude had been shocked at the difference in Casey when she showed u at her place tonight completely dressed. Maude had quite a time with Casey's make up. She made one eye look swollen shut. She spent an hour making up Casey's face so that you couldn't tell if she were a man or a woman.

Casey noticed Jo Ann mingling with the crowd and apparently looking for her. She decided to pull a little prank on Jo Ann, who was a prankster herself. Casey limped her way over to Jo Ann and stood next to her. "Hi." Casey smiled up at her. Jo Ann really looked like an Amazon from this point of view.

Jo Ann looked down at her. Good, Jo thought to herself, I didn't think I was ever going to find the squirt. "Hi." Jo smiled sweetly. "Having a good time?"

"Yes." Casey said making her raspy voice deeper.

"So are you here with someone?" Jo asked huskily.

Casey almost burst out laughing. She couldn't believe Jo was hitting on her. Terri must to have put her up to it. Jo liked her men large, definitely not short and dumpy. "No, as a matter a fact, I'm not." Casey smiled showing her blacken teeth that made it look like she was missing a few.

Jo flinched. Damn this person was ugly. She shook herself. How on earth was she going to figure out if this was a man or a woman? "So would you like to dance?"

"Can't." Casey said showing her foot, encased in a made up shoe that looked like she really had a club foot.

"Oh." Jo said lost as to how she was going to determine what sex this 'thing' was.

Casey loved it that she had Jo stumped. Jo was squirming. "So what are you doing after this party?"

"Uh, I'm not sure. Did you have something in mind?" Jo asked nervously.

"Maybe we could go get some coffee or something." Casey said raising the eyebrow of the one good eye suggestively.

"That sounds nice." Jo said through gritted teeth. "Did you have someplace in mind?"

"Well, my place is just down the street. I make a mean cup of coffee." Casey said wiggling the eyebrow a little.

"Oh, I don't know about that. I don't usually go home with someone on the first date." Jo answered nervously.

"That's too bad. I don't go out in public much." Casey looked around and spotted Pam making her way towards Terri. "I need to go to the restroom now but maybe when I come back we can figure out somewhere to go."

"Sure." Jo said and watched to munchkin meander off. She could not believe she was doing this. She still had no clue if it was a woman or a man.

Casey slipped around to the other side of the room and stood quietly by a wall that was within ear shot of Pam and Terri. "So have you seen her?" Pam was asking Terri.

"Not even a hint." Terri said scanning the room again. "I can't believe she hasn't shown up."

"Me neither." Pam said sadly and glanced towards the door again.

Casey made her move. She bumped Pam. "Sorry." She said in a deep rasp.

"Who are you?" Pam asked irritably.

Casey tried not to smile but it was hard. She put on her confused, scared look. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to run into you."

"It's alright. I'm sorry." Pam apologized.

"Who you were waiting for hasn't shown up yet?" Casey asked pretending to be shy.

Pam smiled sadly. "No, not yet."

"Maybe she's here and you just haven't seen her yet." Casey suggested.

"No, I've talked to everyone in the room. She's not here." Pam turned to Terri. "Do you know how many people in this room have hazel eyes?

Terri shook her head.

"A lot." Pam started to move away. "How much longer until you have the contest?"

"About another ten minutes." Terri put her hand on Pam's shoulder. "She'll show up, I know she will."

Pam nodded and walked off.

Casey had to bite her tongue to keep from telling her who she was. Casey moved away the same time that Pam did.

Terri turned around to speak to her but she was gone. Terri turned to Beth. "I cannot wait to find out who came as the hunchback. We've accounted for most everyone we thought it was. I wonder if Jo had any luck."

Terri made her way over to the tall brunette. "Well?"

"I can't tell if it's a man or a woman but I think we have a date for coffee after the party." Jo said shaking her head in disgust.

Terri laughed. "Well, you know it's just a costume. Maybe it's someone cute."

"God, I hope so." Jo said with a wince.

Casey made her way up to Pam. "I'm sorry you're so sad." She said in a quiet rasp.

"Thank you." Pam said looking down at her. "That is a great costume. Has anyone guessed who you are?"

"Not yet." Casey answered proudly.

"Well, maybe you'll win the contest." Pam said, trying to be nice.

"Maybe. I don't know who I would take though." Casey said shyly.

Pam looked down at her and pursed her lips. "Persist aren't you?" Casey shrugged her shoulders and dropped her head. "I'm sorry but if my friend doesn't show up then I'm going home alone." Pam walked off.

Casey's heart almost leapt out of her chest. Did that mean she wanted to go home with her? Casey hurried and made her way to Jo just as Terri was announcing that the judging was beginning. "I didn't get your name earlier." Casey said as she approached her.

"It's Jo Ann."

"Oh, you're a girl." Casey said in her deep voice.

"Yeh, don't you like girls?" Jo asked, hoping it said no.

"Not really. I'm sorry." Casey really had to work at not grinning.

"That's okay." Jo was so relieved.

"Well, you better get in line. The judging has started." Casey said and walked away.

Jo shook her head and shrugged her shoulders. She looked up and saw Terri looking at her questioningly. Jo mouthed that it was a man. Terri gave her the thumbs up.

"Okay everyone line up." Terri said. The crowd formed in a long line that semi circled the room. Terri had made a list with throughout the night of which she had recognized and when. Terri went to each person one at a time from the beginning of the list to the end. So far, Tom who had come as Cleopatra was winning. His make up had been superb and his partner, Andrew had come as Tarzan. The two stayed away from each other almost all night. If she hadn't heard Tom laughing she wouldn't have figured it out. Just as she reached the end of the line, the Hunchback showed up. "You! I forgot all about you." Terri stood there shaking her head. "Ladies and gentlemen we have our winner. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, who I still don't know who it is," Terri took Casey's arm and pulled her out for everyone to see.

Everyone clapped except Tom who thought he had it. Terri paraded Casey up and down the line. Casey could see that Pam was still quite sad. "Well, you've won a night at the Opryland Hotel and dinner. The runner up, Tom, won a bottle of champagne. So, winner, who are you and have you picked someone to share your evening with?"

Casey stopped Terri in front of Pam. "Yes, I've picked someone." Casey said at looked up at Pam. "I want you to come to the hotel with me."

Pam stood there shaking her head.

Casey grinned at her and opened the eye that she had kept shut all night.

Pam stood there looking at this person who had bugged her all night. She caught her breath and brought her hand to her mouth. She couldn't believe it. The other eye was hazel. Casey's hazel!

"No way!" Terri exclaimed. "You've been under our noses all night."

Jo strode over and spun Casey around. "Jesus, it is you!"

Casey burst out laughing.

Terri shook her head. "Everyone, our winner is Casey Durham."

"No way," was resonated throughout the crowd. No one could believe it.

Pam put her hands on her hips. "I can't believe you went to all this trouble to win this contest."

"I wanted to win this contest so I could really make our first time together an extra special event."

This was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done. Pam would have never suspected this diehard romantic side of Casey. She leaned down to kiss her but Casey stopped her. "I have three inches of make up on my face. I won't even be able to feel a kiss."

"Well, what do you think about us getting out of here and getting you cleaned up?"

"That sounds good. I'm burning up." Casey pulled at the collar of her cloak.

It took another hour for them to be able to leave the party because everyone kept coming up to compliment Casey's costume, even Tom who had really wanted to win. When they finally got back to Casey's apartment, they spent the better part of two hours getting Casey cleaned up. It was three o'clock in the morning before an exhausted Pam finally got the kiss she had been wanting but it was broken up by a big yawn.

"I am so sorry." Pam apologized.

"It's okay." Casey yawned herself. "Why don't you spend the rest of the night here? I have a shirt you can sleep in."

Pam yawned again. "That might be a good idea." She hoped that Casey hadn't changed her mind and wanted to make love now. Pam was quite afraid she would fall asleep in the middle of it.

As if reading her thoughts, "You want to sleep in here with me or would you be more comfortable on the couch?"

Pam could hear in Casey's voice that she really wanted her to sleep in her bed with her. "In here will be fine."

Pam went to the bathroom and changed. Casey was already changed and in bed when Pam came back. Casey snuggled up to Pam's back and kissed her on the cheek. They were both out after that.

Both women were startled awake by the phone ringing. Casey peered over at her clock. It was six in the morning. Casey picked up the phone. "Hello?" Casey listened to the doctor on the other end telling her what was happening and that she needed to come in right away. "I'll be right there."

Casey sat up and rubbed her eyes. She looked over at a very sleepy, beautiful woman giving her a questioning look. Casey leaned down and kissed Pam's lips gently. "There's been a bad wreck and I have to go in. You go back to sleep. Hopefully, I won't have to be there more than a few hours."

"Okay." Pam yawned. She pulled Casey down for another kiss. Pam rolled over and went back to sleep. She pulled Casey's comforter up around her because she was already missing Casey's warmth.


Pam had the best dream about Casey and her walking down a beach together and feeding each other fruit by firelight. She finally woke regretfully. She looked around Casey's bedroom. It was so bright. She shaded her eyes and looked for a clock. She caught a glimpse of Casey's alarm clock. Ten o'clock, she hadn't slept this late since college, not even on the weekend.

She rolled over to where Casey had been sleeping earlier. She wrapped her arms around Casey's pillow and hugged it. She could smell Casey's soft perfume still lingering there. She really wished Casey would not have had to leave. She was sure they would have already made love by now.

Pam lounged for a little while longer then the phone rang. It was Casey. She apologized over and over for having to leave. She told Pam that she was welcome to hang out there for as long as she wanted but that she would not be back for awhile. Pam told Casey she would probably go ahead and go home. Pam made Casey promise to call her as soon as she got home.

Pam got up and got dressed. She hadn't really paid that much attention to this room before. It was quite a bit darker than the living room and kitchen. It was still very feminine. Casey had more pictures of flowers on the walls, as well as some family pictures. Pam noted that there wasn't any of Casey's father. The walls were a light reddish brown color. The sheets and comforter were flowered with beige, white and red, with curtains to match. It was a very warm, comfortable room. Casey's master bathroom was decorated with similar colors, Pam noted.

Pam went to the kitchen to see if Casey had any juice. She did, so Pam fixed herself a glass. She wandered around the apartment a little more. She noted that almost all of the paintings were by Chad. Casey had never mentioned that Chad was an artist as well as a doctor.

Pam passed the guest bedroom door. It was ajar. Pam knocked softly but there was no answer. She peeped through the crack of the slightly opened door. The bed had not been slept in. Jo apparently had not come home last night. Maybe she got too drunk and decided to spend the night at Terri's. Or, maybe she thought Casey and Pam needed some time alone. Pam smiled, that was probably why she hadn't come home yet. Pam did notice that the room was decorated very similar to Casey's.

Pam went back to the kitchen and finished off her orange juice. She started hunting around for a note pad and pen to leave Casey a note. She finally found them in a small desk where Casey's phone sat. She wanted to let Casey know that she was hoping Casey would not keep her waiting much longer for them to be together. Pam had worked very hard to ignore the powerful physical attraction she had towards Casey. Now she really wanted to explore all those feelings.

She made up Casey's bed and left the note in the middle of it. She smiled as she remembered the feel of Casey's body next to hers. "Soon, Sweet Baby," She whispered, "Very soon."

* * * * * *

Casey came home late that evening. It had been a horrible day. There had been an accident involving a bus load of people. The majority of which were brought to Vanderbilt. There were so many people with broken bones. Casey didn't think they were ever going to get them all patched up.

She knew that Pam had already gone home but she went into her bedroom hoping to find her there anyway. It would have been so nice to come home and curl up with Pam. Right away, she saw Pam's note.

"Dearest Casey,

I really enjoyed sleeping next to you. I loved the way your body fit mine as you curled up around me. I can't wait to hold you again. I hope it's soon.

Love, Pam"

Casey's body heated up at Pam's words but her heart skipped a beat at the "Love, Pam" part. Did she mean that the way Casey wanted her to? Casey was so afraid of the way she had fallen for Pam so quickly again. She wanted so much for Pam to love her. She wanted so much to believe that Pam had been in love with her before and had fallen in love with her again.

Casey picked up the phone and called Pam. She got a sleepy, "Hello."

"Hi. It's me. I just got home."

Pam peered over at her alarm clock. Eleven o'clock at night. "My God! You must be exhausted."

"Yeh, I'm pretty pooped." Casey hesitated, and said, "I got your note."

Pam smiled. "So when are we going to get to snuggle again?"

Casey flushed at Pam's seductive tone. "How about Wednesday? I'll be off."

"Sounds good to me."

"Okay then." Casey said very quietly.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure." Casey answered firmly then got quiet again.

"So what's wrong?" Pam was worried that Casey was still not sure of their relationship and afraid to go too far.

"IÉI was just wondering about the way you signed this note. Do you love me?"

Pam sighed in relief. Is that what she's worried about? "I've loved you for a long time."


"Yes, really. You want me to come over there and show you." Pam offered seductively.

Casey's whole body shuddered at the thought. She had to really think about that offer.

"Well?" Pam demanded.

"Lord, woman, you know I want you to but I'm afraid I would be sound asleep by the time you got over here." Casey sat down on the bed and began pulling her shoes off.

"Alright, I'll let you off the hook this time but you better be ready Wednesday." Pam warned.

"Oh, really?"

"Yes, really." Pam answered firmly.

"Well, I had better get started on my sleep so I can do without that night."

"Yes, you had."

Casey smiled. She really hoped she would be able to reserve a room at the hotel on such short notice. If not, she would invite Pam to her place. She wasn't going to let anything get in the way of them being together Wednesday night. "I am so in love with you."

"You love me?"

"You know I always have."

"I'm going to make sure that you don't regret having waited so long to be with me." Pam promised.

"I can't wait. I want our first time together to be the most incredible experience you've ever had."

Pam's heart swelled. "I am continually amazed by this tender, romantic side of you. I never saw that before."

"I wonder sometimes now, if I had shown you more of this side of me then, would I have been able to win you over."

"I would have probably given in and slept with you. Ultimately, though, I would still have had to walk away because of my father and my ambition. I'm afraid I would have hurt you more than I did."

Casey nodded. She could see where Pam had been coming from more clearly now. "Well, then, I'm glad things worked out the way they did. We might not have had this chance now."

"I'm glad you came back into my life, Casey." Pam said earnestly. "I'm sorry it was under the circumstances that it was at first. I really want this to work between us. I really enjoy just talking to you and being with you."

"I feel the same about you." Casey yawned again. "I'm so sorry."

"That's okay. You get some sleep. We'll talk more later."

"Okay. Bye for now."

Casey hung up the phone and fell asleep with Pam's beautiful face in mind.


Casey woke the next morning at seven. She had to be at the doctor's office by eight to start seeing patients. She immediately called the Opryland Hotel to make reservations for Wednesday night. She got lucky. Things were a little slow because it was before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season when the hotel is booked solid. They had a few rooms but not the honeymoon suite which was what Casey had wanted. She settled on a large executive suite with a king size bed. Just three days until she would have Pam in that king size bed. Casey still couldn't believe that a fantasy that she had carried with her for so long was finally going to come true.

Casey got up and showered. She heard Jo come in. She came out of her bathroom in her bathrobe. "Hey, where have you been? I've been worried sick about you."

Jo grinned sheepishly. "You aren't going to believe it."

"Try me."

"Well, I got pretty smashed at Terri's. She insisted anyone too drunk had to stay the night." Jo wasn't looking at Casey, she was shuffling her feet. "I woke up with this cute little red head curled up against me." Jo looked up at Casey. Her face flushed. "I couldn't remember a thing. Her name is Karen. She said we didn't do anything but that I had let her cry on my shoulder about her lover breaking up with her right before they came to the party. They came because they had promised Terri but when it was over her lover left her there. We talked for a long time with her laying there by my side then she offered to make me breakfast if I took her home."

Casey started grinning. "Wasn't the ex there?"

"No, apparently the ex was staying at her new girlfriend's place. Of course, Karen got weepy again. You know me. I can't stand to see anyone cry. I started comforting her. She was going on about not being desirable anymore. I don't think she's chunky but she says that's why her girlfriend found someone else. Well, one thing led to another and here I am."


"Well, what? It's not like it was the first time I've been with a woman. You know that."

"Yeh but it's been a long time."

Jo was blushing so deeply. "Yeh, I'd forgotten how soft women are."

"So, are you going to see her again?"

"I don't know. I'm focusing on this job right now. Besides, I do remember how the game is played and her ex could be back by the end of the week." Jo reasoned.

Casey nodded. True enough. Lesbians did have a bad habit of going back and forth between lovers and Jo had no patience for that kind of stuff. It easily could have just been a fluke for both of them. "I understand what you mean." Casey started back to her bedroom to get dressed.

"Don't run off. I told you about my night. You tell me about yours." Jo said flopping down on the couch.

Casey grinned. "I don't have much time but nothing happened. We came back here and fell asleep. I got called in to the hospital and ended up being there all day yesterday. Wednesday is the big night. I've already made reservations so the house will be all yours."

"Nothing happened! I can't believe you. You couldn't drum up at least a little bit of energy to give Pam a toss in the hay?"

Casey shook her head at her silly friend. "We were both wiped out. Plus, I really want our first time to be more than a toss in the hay. I'm going to wine and dine her first, then spend the whole night making up for lost years."

"You are such a romantic, Case." Jo grinned at her blushing friend. "I still can't believe that you were ever some kind of Casanova. Although, I did hear some very interesting stories about you from some old friends of yours at the party."

"I was pretty wild there for awhile. You ask Terri about it sometime. She and I were the top tomcats cruising around here for long time." Casey snickered at the memory of her and Terri competing for women. "I have to get ready for work. I'll talk to you later."

* * * * * *

When Casey drug in at eleven thirty that night, there was a message from Pam to call her no matter what time it was. There was another message from Casey's mom asking Casey to meet her for lunch at the hospital the next day. She would have to make a point to get down to the meal preparation kitchen and find out for sure what time her mom got lunch.

Casey dialed Pam's number as she got undressed.

"Hi!" Pam answered cheerfully. She knew it was Casey.

"Hi. You still up?"

"Yeh, I'm working on a new case. How are you?"

"Tired. How about you?"

"Me, too, I talked to Jo earlier. She said something about having a date. She already hooked herself up with a Predator?"

"Not exactly," Casey grimaced a little. She wasn't sure how Pam would take this news after she had assured her that Jo was straight.

"Well, has she told you about it yet?"

"A little," Casey chewed her lip.

Pam stopped writing. Casey was being too quiet about this. "What's going on?"

"Well, apparently she met a woman at Terri's party and they spent Sunday and Sunday night together."

"I thought you said she's straight?" Pam felt the tinge of jealousy rearing its ugly head.

"She is but she has slept with women before. She just has never been interested in having a relationship with women. She hasn't slept with a woman in years and this was kind of a fluke."

"Does this other woman know that it's a fluke?"

Casey didn't like Pam's tone at all. She had to get her calmed down. "Well, what she told me was that she got drunk at Terri's and woke up with this woman in her arms. She said that apparently the woman and her girlfriend had broke up right before the party and Jo had let her cry on her shoulder. The woman offered to make her breakfast if Jo gave her a ride home. They visited some more. One thing led to another and there you have it. It doesn't sound like she is changing her ways. It was just something that happened. She said the ex might even come back."

Pam let her anger diffuse. Things like this happen all the time. She knew that she didn't have to worry about Jo stealing Casey from her. "Well, I just hope no one gets hurt in all this.

Good. She's calmed down. Casey thought. "Yeah, me too. So, what time did you want to meet me at the hotel Wednesday night?" Casey changed the subject.

Pam grinned. "Got the reservations, did you?"

"Yes, I did."

"I have an appointment at three. I should be able to be up there by five. Would that be okay?"

"That would be wonderful." Casey smiled thinking about getting Pam inside that room and having her way with her.

"Do you have any idea what you want to have for dinner that night?" Pam asked setting down her pen and sitting back in her chair.

"You," Casey answered simply.

"Oh, you'll have me. Did you have any kind of food in mind?"

"Strawberries and whip cream."

Pam burst out laughing. "Just having desert, are we?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"You are so silly."

"I'm so serious." Casey laughed too. "Actually, I thought we would wait to see what they had on the menu at the hotel and see if we actually were hungry for anything other than each other before we made any dinner plans."

"Umm, good idea," She was right. Once they got into that room together, they may not want anything else.


Wednesday finally came. Casey couldn't believe a few days could last so long. She was finally going to have the one thing that she had wanted so long ago. Pam was finally going to be completely hers. Tonight she wanted to make a commitment to Pam. She was praying that Pam would make a commitment to her.

Casey had gotten to the hotel at noon. She had flower arrangements sent up and spent all afternoon arranging the room so that it would be memorably beautiful. As five o'clock rolled around, Casey ordered the wine and began pacing. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door; Casey expected it to be room service with the wine. Casey opened the door and there stood Pam holding the bottle of wine. "Were you waiting for this?" She asked seductively.

Casey pulled her into the room. She took the wine from her and put it on the table next to the door. Casey looked deeply into Pam's eyes. "I was waiting for this." She said and lowered her lips to Pam's. Casey kissed Pam deeply, pulling Pam's body into hers.

When they finally pulled apart, Pam smiled up at Casey. "I've been waiting for that too." Pam looked around the room. She stepped away from Casey to smell one of the many roses that were in vases around the room. "Wow, you really went all out. This is so beautiful."

"I wanted to make sure it was a very memorable experience for you." Casey smiled and looked around at her handy work.

When Casey's eyes settled back on Pam, Casey could see the fire in them. "I have no doubt it will be memorable." Pam said huskily. She licked her lips and looked Casey over. She had never seen Casey so dressed up. She was wearing olive green dress slacks, black heels and a creamy, white silk blouse. The blouse had no buttons and crossed loosely at the middle revealing a good bit of Casey's breasts. "No bra?" Pam noted.

Casey had swelled up with pride at the way Pam was looking her over. She had gone to a lot of trouble to find an outfit that was sexy and slightly feminine. "I didn't think I needed one."

Casey took in Pam's form fitting black dress. She appeared to have the dress, black strapped heals and nothing else on. "It doesn't look like you thought you would need one either."

Pam shook her head. She stepped closer to Casey, put her hands on Casey's chest just above her breast and began stroking the creamy skin revealed. "So what did you decide about dinner?" Pam looked up at Casey's hungry eyes.

"I've decided to have you." Casey brought her lips down on Pam's. Casey put her hands on Pam's waist then let them slide down to Pam's buttocks. She pulled Pam into her as she deepened their kiss.

Tongues dueled passionately. Pam came up to catch her breath only to dive back into Casey's mouth. She slid her leg between Casey's and pulled Casey into her.

Casey didn't have enough hands to touch Pam every where she wanted to. She ran her hands up and down Pam's back and buttocks, cupping and squeezing them. She slid her hands between them to cup Pam's breast and stroke her nipples.

Pam let out a groan and pulled away slightly. "Let's get closer to the bed." She suggested breathlessly.

Casey obliged, pulling Pam to the huge bed. She reached behind Pam and unzipped her dress. She peeled the dress down to reveal Pam's beautiful breasts. Casey bent her head and began to suckle on Pam's nipple as she pushed the dress the rest of the way down.

Pam began to pull Casey's shirt out of her pants and run her hands up inside it. She ran her hands up and down Casey's back and around to her breasts. Pam slowly let her hands glide down to Casey's pants. She began unfastening them. She could not wait to see Casey completely naked.

Pam was already naked except for her shoes. Casey tried to get Pam to let her undress herself so that she could feel Pam's body against hers. Pam wasn't having it. She wanted to undress Casey completely. Pam pulled Casey's shirt over her head and planted kisses on Casey's breasts. She licked Casey's nipples as she pushed Casey's slacks down and let them fall to the floor. Casey didn't have any underwear on, much to Pam's delight. Pam cupped Casey's naked buttocks. She ran one hand around to stoke Casey's mound. Casey let out a gasp and pulled Pam up for another kiss. Pam pushed Casey back onto the bed and instructed her to sit. Pam knelt down and pulled Casey's pants the rest of the way off. Pam kissed her way back up Casey's leg, running her tongue along the inside of Casey's thigh.

Casey's response was to pick Pam up. She put Pam on her back on the bed and covered Pam's soft body with hers. Casey hugged Pam tightly to her and kissed her passionately.

As Pam lifted her leg to wrap it around Casey, she remembered she still had her shoes on. She tried to push Casey back a little so she could undo her straps. Casey caught on to what she was doing. She pushed Pam back down on the bed. She got up and slipped Pam's shoes off her feet. She started kissing Pam at the knees and worked her way up to Pam's neatly shaved mound and run her tongue from Pam's nether lips to her belly button.

Pam let out a squeal and pulled Casey up to her. She wanted to feel Casey's firm body on hers again. Pam kissed Casey deeply. Casey lowered her body to Pam's and slipped one leg between Pam's. Pam wrapped the free leg around Casey's and began rocking into Casey. Casey responded by cupping Pam with her hand. Pam rocked faster as Casey dipped her fingers into her. She stroked Pam's nether lips and clit slowly. Pam couldn't take much more. She rocked harder and faster into Casey's fingers. Casey obliged by stoking Pam harder and faster until Pam let out a deep cry. Her whole body shuddered. She held Casey tightly to her as waves of the orgasm overtook her.

Pam came down out of the clouds to look up into Casey's loving eyes. Pam blushed when she realized that Casey had watched her face throughout the entire orgasm. Pam had never experienced such a rush of love with anyone.

Casey had been completely entranced by the beauty of watching Pam being overtaken by the orgasm. It filled Casey's heart with such love that she had done that to Pam. She couldn't wait to start on the next round and show her just how much she really did love her.

Pam could see it in Casey's eyes. The words hadn't crossed Casey's lips yet but Pam could see the love there. She smiled and pulled Casey down for another deep kiss. With a surprise show of strength, Pam flipped Casey onto her back. She slid her leg and her hand between Casey's legs and began stoking Casey's clit. Casey was already hot and wet. Pam knew it wouldn't take much to push her over the edge. A few more well placed stokes and it was Casey's turn to cry out.

Pam had watched Casey let the orgasm take control. She realized that she had never watched any of her other lovers during an orgasm. It was really incredible to see the power of the pleasure she was giving her.

They both lay in each others arms breathing heavily. The stoking began again. This time Casey was determined to finally get a taste of the sweet honey she had dreamed of for so long. She quickly started kissing Pam deeper. She moved down and began sucking on her nipples and stoking Pam's clit.

Pam couldn't believe she was ready to come again so quickly. She was immediately aroused by Casey's kisses and strokes. Just as Pam thought she was going to explode again, Casey slipped down Pam's body and began stroking her with her tongue. That was it. Pam went right off the edge. She gripped Casey's head and screamed out. The orgasm ripped through her body making her convulse against Casey time and again.

Casey just held on for the ride. She loved it that she had taken Pam to an even higher level that they had been before. Casey was relentless in her effort to get every last drop until Pam begged her to stop.

Pam pulled Casey up to her. She wanted to taste herself on Casey's lips. She kissed Casey letting her tongue search the recesses of Casey's mouth. Pam pushed Casey back onto the bed. She kissed her way down to Casey's nipples and sucked on them lovingly. She was making Casey squirm with her skillful tongue. She slipped her hand between them and began caressing Casey's clit. Casey squirmed and pushed against Pam's fingers. Pam licked her way down to Casey's mound and spread Casey's legs. She slipped between them and began her exploration of Casey nether lips and recesses. Casey bumped and grinded against Pam's tongue until she let out a low growl. She called Pam's name. Pam wasn't stopping. She wanted Casey to squirm the way Casey had made her squirm.

"Oh my God! Pam, stop please!" Casey begged.

Pam finally had mercy and let Casey rest. She pulled herself back up to lay on top of Casey. Casey and Pam held each other as their bodies calmed from their passion.

"I love you." Pam whispered softly.

Casey smiled and hugged Pam tighter. "I love you too."

The couple fell asleep in each others arms. They woke many times through out the night for more passionate rounds of exploring each others bodies. As the sun's early morning rays began to peep in under the shades, Casey asked Pam. "So how many times has it been?"

"Ten, including this one," She said as she started the next round.

An hour and another nap later, they woke up starving for food this time instead of for each other. They called room service and had them send up breakfast. They finished breakfast and got all their stuff together. Check out time had come and they had to be leaving. Both had dressed quietly, each uncertain of how the other was feeling.

Finally Casey came over to Pam and took her hand. Pam looked up into her questioning eyes. "So how are you?" Casey asked.

Pam smiled. "I'm okay. How about you?"

"I'm a little worried about you being so quiet. You aren't having any regrets are you?"

"No." Pam put her hand on Casey's cheek and looked directly into her eyes. "No, I'm not having any regrets. I was afraid you were."

Casey leaned down and kissed Pam gently. "No way would I have any regrets about making love to you. I wish I didn't have to go to work so I could spend the rest of the day being with you. I am so in love with you."

Pam let out a deep sigh, wrapped her arms around Casey's neck and kissed her passionately. "I am in love with you too. I want to spend every moment with you." It was true. Over the past weeks talking to Casey on the phone had re-ignited the fire Pam had felt before and had tried to ignore. They had rekindled the friendship they had shared by talking to each other about all the minute details of the relationships and troubles they had dealt with. Now they had become lovers. Casey had stirred up passions in Pam that she had never known possible. She wanted to keep feeling these feelings forever.

After the kiss was over, Casey looked into Pam's eyes and saw Pam meant every word. She hugged Pam tightly. "Come on, let's get out of here." She picked up both of their bags. "I don't have to be at work until four today. Why don't you come back to my place and visit with me until I have to leave."

"I'd love to." Pam said opening the door for Casey.

They spent the rest of the afternoon talking, making love again and making promises to each other. Casey promised not to be a flirt or give Pam any reason to be jealous. Pam promised to be understanding of the fact that there would still be women hitting on Casey until they all knew that she was taken. They promised to be understanding and respectful of each other and their careers. They promised to keep the communication going and always be truthful with each other.


The weeks that followed were great. They spent as much time together as they could. Jo eventually moved out of Casey's apartment and into the one with the woman she had began seeing. Pam stayed at Casey's place on and off. Casey stayed at hers. They had even begun some discussion of Casey moving in with Pam.

All of the promises and understanding would be put to the test on Thanksgiving Day. They had come in separate cars to Charles' house for dinner. Although there still had not been any kind of a confession from the couple, Casey's family had figured out what was going on between them.

Even Dorothy had picked up on the cooing and the looks they gave each other when ever Pam brought Dorothy to meet with Casey. Dorothy had also seen Pam at the hospital visiting with Casey. She was really quite happy for them both. Dorothy had suspected that Casey may not like men. When she had seen one of the loving looks Casey had given Pam when she didn't think Dorothy was looking, she knew that her suspensions had been true. They seemed quite happy and she was happy for them. Dorothy really liked Pam. She had been her savior and very much like a daughter to Dorothy ever since. Pam being another daughter-in-law was just fine with Dorothy.

Charles and Chad had known Casey was a lesbian for a long time. They both wished she felt she could talk to them about it but they knew it would come in time. They both made it a point to make Pam feel welcome at their homes, not only because she had helped their mother, but also because they understood the nature of her relationship with Casey.

The dinner was a big affair. Charles had gone all out. He even got Nancy to get out their fancy china. The food was delicious and the conversation was great. No one discussed Bob Durham at all. Charles and Nancy filled Dorothy and Casey in on all the new things the kids were doing. Chad and Tina's baby was sleeping after he had been rocked by Aunt Casey. Casey and Dorothy filled Charles and Chad in on what was new with them. Casey just looked at Pam and grinned when they had asked if she was getting to have any fun.

At just that moment, Casey's cell phone rang. "Sorry," she apologized and went into the other room.

Pam frowned after her. She thought Casey had said she was going to leave that at home. Casey was gone for quite a while. Pam finally excused herself from the table to go check on Casey.

"I promise, Jen. I'll be there. Don't answer the door for anyone but me, okay. I'll be there as soon as I can. Bye." Casey closed her cell phone and turned around. She nearly jumped out of her skin as she ran into a very unhappy Pam.

"Who was that?" Pam demanded.

"Jennifer. I know I promised to leave my phone at home but she had called and left a frantic message. Andy has apparently thrown her out of the house. She went to her parents' house and now he is stalking her. He tried to break into her parents' house last night. She thinks he's coming back and her parents are out of town. She's asked me to come and get her." Casey explained as she watched Pam's face.

Pam didn't like it. She knew who Jennifer was. Casey says that she never had a thing for Jennifer. They were childhood friends but Jennifer was also the first girl Casey had ever kissed which made Casey start wondering about her sexuality.

"Come on, Pam. Please don't be mad. She was always there for me when I needed her. I have to help her. You have to understand." Casey pleaded.

Pam nodded. "Okay but I want you to put her up in a hotel. You don't need her husband finding out where you live."

Casey didn't like that idea but Pam might be right. If Andy was watching her parents' house he would probably see Casey come and Jennifer leave with her. "I will. I'll call you as soon as I get her settled in somewhere. I promise." Casey hugged Pam to her and gave her a peck on the cheek.

Pam tried to smile but just couldn't quite get one out. She didn't want to feel this fear and jealousy but it was there. She kept telling herself that Casey had waited for a long time to be with her and now they were together. They loved each other and nothing would get in the way of that.

They went back to the dining room where Casey filled the rest of the family in on what was going on. All eyes went to Pam who was looking at her plate and pushing her food around. Casey promised to contact all of them later when things were settled down. She gave everyone a quick hug. She gave Pam's shoulder an extra squeeze to try to get Pam to look at her but she wouldn't. Damn, Casey thought, she has got to understand why I'm doing this.

Pam asked Dorothy not too much later if she was about ready to go or if she wanted to stay the night there. Dorothy opted to stay the night and Charles promised to bring her to Nashville the next day.

Pam went home with a dark foreboding feeling. She just had this horrible feeling that something was about to go wrong.

* * * * * *

Casey got to Jennifer's parents house just across the Tennessee state line in record time. Her parents had moved there not long after Jennifer graduated from high school because her dad got a better paying job.

Jennifer quickly opened the door for Casey when she knocked. Casey had told her to have her stuff ready so they could leave quickly. Jennifer was ready. Casey shoved Jennifer and her bags into her car quickly and they left.

Just as Jennifer suspected, Casey saw Andy slide in behind them. Casey led him on a wild goose chase all the way through Nashville. Andy apparently knew Nashville well enough that Casey couldn't loose him. Casey decided that she would get him in Memphis where she knew she would be able to loose him and find a place to hide Jennifer.

On the way to Memphis, Casey made some phone calls and got some of the girls from the Memphis Blues to come out and help her lose Andy. The women managed to wrap Casey and Jennifer up in a convoy allowing Casey to exit the Interstate and keeping Andy from being able to get off at the same exit. Casey quickly made it to a doctor friend's house and parked in his garage so that Andy wouldn't be able to find her car.

By the time they got settled in at Casey's friend, Dr. Jared's house it was six o'clock the next morning. Casey was completely wiped out. She called the hospital and told Dr. Simpson what was happening. Dr. Simpson was very understanding and told her to keep her friend safe. She told Casey to keep her updated of when Casey would be back to work.

Casey called Pam's house but there was no answer. She called her cell phone and got Pam on her way to work. "Where the hell are you?" Pam yelled into the phone. "I have been up all night worried sick about you."

"I'm sorry but we couldn't get rid of him. I had to go all the way to Memphis and get some friends here to help get him off our tail so I could get Jennifer hid." Casey explained.

"You didn't have your cell phone with you?"

"Yeh, but he was chasing us. I had to keep an eye on him and watch the road."

"You couldn't take two second to call me and let me know what was happening?"

"No, Pam, I couldn't. He was acting like he was going to bump the car."

"You couldn't have your friend call me. Anything to let me know you were okay?"

"I'm sorry I didn't think about doing that." This was not going well, Casey thought.

"So what are you going to do now?"

"I'm going to make sure he's left town and head back to Nashville."

"With her?"

"Yes, with her. I can't leave her here in Memphis by herself."

"Fine, just call me when you get here." Pam hung up.

Casey couldn't believe Pam was being like this. It was Pam's job to help people like Jennifer in these circumstances. She would have thought Pam would understand her wanting to help her friend. Casey knew part of if was jealousy but Pam had promised to try to not think like that. She should have called Pam on the road and let her know what was happening. She could feel that Pam was more mad her not calling than she was about her helping Jennifer.

As the day went on and Casey was finally able to head back to Nashville with Jennifer, the madder she got about Pam acting this way. If it would have been one of Pam's friends, Pam would have said it was her job to help them. Casey was going to try to reason with her, but Pam was just going to have to understand that Jennifer had been her best friend since kindergarten. No one was stopping her from helping Jennifer. If Pam really loved her, she would understand and help Casey keep Jennifer safe.

Jennifer could feel Casey's tension. Casey hadn't really told her but Jennifer had a feeling that Casey's helping her had caused problems between Casey and her new girlfriend. Casey had told Jennifer a little bit about Pam when they talked a few weeks ago. She had sounded so happy and excited about their relationship. Jennifer didn't want to come in between them.

Casey had told Jennifer about her being gay back when Casey was in college. Casey had been home on vacation and they had gone to their favorite cove at the lake to talk. Jennifer had suspected it when Casey wrote her about college and never once mentioned any guys. Jennifer had a feeling that the night Casey had kissed her at the lake had done something to Casey. She had never been the same after that. She had even been a bit less affectionate with her, Jennifer had wondered about it at the time but Casey's confession made sense of everything. Jennifer had been a little worried that Casey may have had a crush on her for a time but Casey had said no. She had sisterly feelings for Jennifer. Jennifer was relieved because she would not have been able to return that kind of affection.

Jennifer looked over at her friend and saw her clenching her jaw. "Casey?"

Casey looked over at Jennifer's worried face. She smiled tightly, "I'm okay."

"She really has reason to be upset. We really should have called her on the road."

"I know but I'm madder about the look she gave me when I said I was coming after you. She, of all people, should understand my need to get you to safety." Casey sighed, "She promised me she would forget about the past and believe in the person I am today."

"Were you two together before?" Jennifer remembered Casey writing about a Pam that she had a huge crush on before but she didn't realize this was the same woman.

"No but I wanted us to be together. I wrote you about her. I tried so hard to get her to overlook my wild past. She says that she did somewhat but she had ambitions to be in her father's law firm and that kept her from being with me. We ended up parting on bad terms. I met her again because she helped mom. The old feelings that I had were still there. I guess she had those feelings before too. She says she did. She says that she was in love with me before. We put the past behind us and moved forward, or so I thought." Casey sighed. "She says that she loves me. Well, if she does then she needs to be able to deal with me helping you or any of my other friends without being jealous."

Jennifer listened and watched. Casey was angry but she was also afraid that her chance had been blown again. Jennifer had to make sure that nothing came between Casey and Pam because of her. She would make it a point to go talk to Pam right away.

* * * * * *

Pam had just walked into her office when her cell phone rang. She expected it to be Casey but it was Dorothy.

"Pam, this is Dorothy. Is there any way you can pick me up at Vanderbilt's medical center?"

"Sure, Dorothy. Is everything okay?"

"No, it was awful Pam." Dorothy let out a long sigh. "Bob showed up at Charles' house this morning. He didn't even knock. He walked right in grabbed me, started hitting me and screaming at me. Chad was there. He jumped up and grabbed Bob and threw him to the ground. Charles and he held Bob down until the police arrived. The whole time Bob was screaming that he was going to kill me. It was so awful."

"Oh, Dorothy, I am so sorry. I had a feeling I should have went a head and brought you home. Are the boys there with you?"

"Yes but they both needed to get back to work and I don't think it's a good idea for them to take me back to my apartment yet. Bob is out on bail already this morning. They are going to wait here with me until you get here."

Pam told her secretary to rearrange a few appointments for that morning. She rushed down to the medical center and got Dorothy. Her face was all bruised again. Bob had wasted no time doing as much damage as he could. Pam had hugged Dorothy tightly when she arrived at the medical center. She was so mad at herself for not following her instincts. She let her problems with Casey get in the way of thinking clearly. "I am so sorry, Dorothy." Pam apologized again.

"Don't worry about it, hon. I'll be alright."

Chad and Charles hugged their mother and thanked Pam for coming. They both made Pam and their mother promise to call them later to let them know everything was okay.

"Honey, it's not your fault." Dorothy said hugging Pam as the boys walked away.

"Yes, it is. I should have insisted you come back with me but I just wasn't thinking clearly at that moment." Pam confessed.

Dorothy pulled back and looked into Pam's eyes. She wasn't sure if she should approach Pam about this subject without talking to Casey first. Dorothy knew that Pam had gotten upset last night over Casey going to get Jennifer. Somehow she had to make Pam understand that Casey doesn't have those kinds of feelings for Jennifer. "You are really worrying yourself for nothing, you know."

Pam stared blankly at Dorothy, not sure exactly what she was referring to.

"Jennifer has been the sister Casey never had ever since the two of them hooked up when they were little tots." Dorothy went on quietly.

"Oh, really?" Pam couldn't believe Dorothy just pretty much told her that she knew what Pam had been upset about last night. Dorothy was also making it clear that she knew what kind of a relationship she and Casey had.

"Yes. They had been inseparable for years until that Andy Thomas come along. Jennifer just thought that he was it. Casey tried to warn her a few times about what she knew about him but Jennifer didn't want to hear it." Dorothy picked up her bags and headed towards the door. "There was an incident with the two of them the last week of their senior year. There were a lot of rumors about what exactly happened. Casey and Jennifer have both said all the stories were not true. What ever happened, it changed their relationship and it changed Casey. Casey seemed to distance herself from Jennifer for a time. They patched up whatever had happened between them but Andy didn't want Casey being around Jennifer too much. He knew that Casey would try to get Jennifer to get out and get a life of her own. Andy tried to do everything he could to keep Casey and Jennifer from being able to talk to each other for several years. They would send messages to each other through friends so he wouldn't know. Casey, Jennifer's parents and I have tried to get her to leave for years. Something pretty bad must have happened for Jennifer to walk away and leave her boys behind."

"I see." Pam said quietly and let Dorothy into her car. She still couldn't make herself not being worried about what Jennifer coming back into Casey's life might mean. Pam knew what happened between them that last week of their senior year. Casey had told her all about it. That was a long time ago. What if Casey started thinking about the closeness she had with Jennifer and decided she wanted to keep her close to her to protect her? What if she realized that she really had been in love with Jennifer all that time and convinced Jennifer to try having a relationship with her? Pam made herself shake off her negative thoughts.

Dorothy sat there and watched the emotions cross Pam's face. Fear, anger, frustration and more fear. Dorothy didn't know what else to say to ease Pam's mind. She didn't understand the way lesbians' relationships worked. She knew there was more to Pam and Casey's story than either was telling. She would just have to sit Casey down and make her tell it all.

"I hope you do. Casey cares for you very much and I have never seen her as happy as she has been here lately." Dorothy continued to watch Pam take in her words.

Pam smiled shyly. "I'm not sure what to say to that."

"Just promise me that you won't jump to conclusions about Jen and Casey. Don't let your fears get the best of you."

Pam just nodded. The rest of the ride home was spent talking about the new problems with Bob. Dorothy wasn't sure how he found out that she would be at the boys' house. Pam reasoned that he may just have shown up because it was a holiday. Dorothy wasn't sure. She thought that the boys had told him not to come around. Pam decided that they would have to have Christmas in a more secure place. She also decided it was time to file a restraining order on him in Kentucky so that he would have to keep his distance from her there as well.

Pam prayed things would calm back down. She and Casey needed to talk things out as soon as possible. She hated this feeling of helplessness. She knew she had to trust Casey.


Jennifer had been staying with Casey for two weeks. She was still terrified that Andy was going to find her. She wasn't sure what he would do to her if he did. He had never hit her before. It had always been just words but ever since he told her to leave and she did, he had been acting crazy. It was tearing Jennifer apart that she couldn't call her house and talk to her sons. Even though they had both been mean to her for the past few years with their father's encouragement, they were still her babies and she missed them. She wanted to talk to them and make sure they were okay. Her parents talked to Andy's parents all the time and tried to keep Jennifer informed of what was going on. They were all very shocked by Andy's behavior.

Andy had always been controlling, even when they dated in high school. After they got married and had James, Andy had become verbally abusive. Jennifer had threatened to leave and take the baby but Andy calmed down for a little while. Jennifer had not really wanted to have another baby but she got pregnant with Tommy the next year. Andy went back to verbally abusing her. Sometimes he would get better and be nice. The past two years Andy had become very hateful and was getting the boys to say mean things to her as well. Jennifer tried to discipline the boys but Andy wouldn't let her. That ultimately led to their last fight. Jennifer told Andy that she wasn't putting up with anymore abuse. She told him that she was going to leave and take the boys. The boys said they didn't want to go with her that they wanted to stay with their dad. Andy told her to pack her stuff and leave if she didn't like the way she was being treated, so she did.

On top of worrying about her sons, Jennifer was feeling guilty about the problems she was causing Casey with Pam. She still couldn't get over Pam coming in and seeing them asleep on the couch together and having such a huge fit. Pam had stormed out of the apartment and was refusing to take Casey's calls.

She supposed she would have felt the same way if she had come in and saw another woman asleep in Andy's arms. Jennifer wished sometimes that her and Andy's problems were as simple as another woman.

Jennifer stared out Casey's window. She was so bored and frustrated. Casey was finally sleeping. Casey hadn't been getting much sleep because of her job in the first place but since the incident with Pam, Casey hadn't been able to sleep even though she was exhausted. Jennifer decided she was going to take a ride around Nashville while she waited for Casey to get up. She really wanted to get a job and start getting her life together. She had made a decision to get a divorce from Andy. She wasn't sure what she was going to do about the boys. She had spent these few weeks mulling things over but not being able to talk to the boys wasn't helping.

Her parents said that Andy was still looking for her. They warned her to be careful. He had told his parents that he was determined to bring her back home. His parents had told her parents to warn her to stay in hiding a while longer because he was still acting very weird. None of them understood what was happening with him. No one seemed to know what had triggered any of his actions for the past two years. He just suddenly was much meaner than he had ever been.

Jennifer left Casey's apartment and took Casey's car. Casey had told her to use it if she needed to. Jennifer drove out to the far west side of town. She really liked Nashville. It had so much more going on than Barker Lake did. Even Bowling Green was a boring town in comparison. Jennifer stopped and got a bite to eat. She was headed back to Casey's apartment when she noticed a car following close behind her. She didn't recognize the car. She studied it in her rearview mirror and that's when she saw Andy pointing at her and motioning for her to pull over. Jennifer sped up. Andy stayed on her tail. She tried not to panic but he stayed right with her at every turn. She tried to get another car between them but he wouldn't allow it. Jennifer got into the maze around Vanderbilt trying to lose him in the traffic there but it wasn't working. Becoming frantic, Jennifer called Dorothy's cell phone.

"Hello." Dorothy was wondering why Casey would be calling her at this time of day. She was usually sleeping.

"Dorothy, it's Jennifer. I'm in Casey's car and Andy's following me. What do I do?"

"Where are you?" Dorothy jumped to her feet and looked out her window.

"I'm by Vanderbilt. I thought I could lose him in the traffic here but he is practically riding on my bumper." Jennifer squealed tires and she rounded a corner quickly.

"Why isn't Casey with you?"

"I was bored. I didn't want to wake her. I just thought I'd take a nice drive around town. I didn't really believe he could find me here." Jennifer glanced in the rearview mirror and he was still there but losing a little ground. "What do I do Dorothy?"

"You have to get over to Broadway."

"I just passed it. I'll get turned around." Jennifer cut across the street, cutting off a few cars and turned on a side street. She lost Andy momentarily as he had to wait on traffic. She went around the next block so she could get on Broadway. "Okay, I'm on Broadway and temporarily lost Andy. What now?"

"There's a street that turns to the right just a after an apartment complex with brick buildings six blocks from Vanderbilt."

Jennifer raced towards where Dorothy was talking about. She could see in the rearview mirror that Andy had pulled out on Broadway and was trying to catch her. Suddenly she saw the street Dorothy was talking about. "I see the street." Jennifer squealed tires going around the sudden turn.

"There's an alley a few houses down next to a light pole. Turn right on it."

"Got it." Jennifer had to slow down to make the turn. Out of the corned of her eye she saw Andy pass the street she was on. She thought she saw him turn and look at her. "Now what?"

"There's a small parking lot behind a red brick house. Park there and go around to the front entrance of the house. This is Pam's office. Go inside and tell them that you have to see Pam right away."

"Pam! She won't see me."

"Yes, she will! I promise."

Jennifer whipped into a parking space behind the house and ran around to the front door. She burst into the front door and cried, "I have to see Pam right away!"

Amy jumped up from her desk. "Ma'am?"

"I have to see Pam right away, please!" Jennifer cried.

Pam heard the commotion going on in the outer office and rushed out. "What's going on?" She stopped in her tracks when she saw the crying, frantic Jennifer.

"Dorothy said you would help me." Jennifer cried, with tears flowing freely down her cheeks. She handed Casey's cell phone to Pam.

"Hello." Pam said warily into the phone.

"Pam, it's Dorothy. Andy is chasing Jennifer through Nashville. You have to hide her right away."

"Consider it done. I'll call you later." Pam said quickly and snatched Jennifer's arm and pulled her into the back of the office. Pam tucked Jennifer in a back office not a moment to soon. There was the sound of a car screeching to a halt behind the office and a door slamming. Pam looked out the back window and saw a man looking through Casey's car. He had parked directly behind it so it couldn't be moved. He started beating on the car when he couldn't find what he was looking for. He looked up at the house and saw the sign telling whose parking lot it was and headed for the house.

Pam rushed back to the front of the house. "Call the police right now." She barked at Amy.

Amy hit the emergency auto dial. She told the police what was happening and where. "They're on their way."

Pam nodded and turned to face the furious man who was charging through the door. "Where is she?" He demanded.

Pam squared her shoulders. "Are you the man who was just beating on my client's car?"

"What?" Andy was surprised to be questioned instead of being answered.

"I saw you beating on the car in my parking lot." Pam stated again.

"Yeh, so what," Andy took a menacing step towards her. "Where's my wife?"

"Your wife is my client and under my protection. You are trespassing on my property and causing damage to my client's property." Pam stated, standing her ground with the man.

"That's not her property. That's her dyke girlfriend's car. Now get her out here. She is still my wife and she's coming with me."

Pam had to steel herself. Calling Casey, Jennifer's dyke girlfriend ran all through her but she had to keep her feelings cool and professional. "I told you that your wife is my client and under my protection. I am not bringing her to you."

The police pulled up outside and in the alley. The officers where familiar with Pam's office and positioned themselves outside the exits to keep anyone from leaving. The officer in charge came into the office. "Ms. Matterson your office called and said you had someone causing property damage." The officer stood behind Andy with his hand on his gun.

"Yes, sir," Pam pointed to Andy. "This man pulled up behind one of my client's cars and started beating on it. He is trying to demand that I give his wife over to him. His wife is my client and under my protection. We are in the process of filing a restraining order against him so he cannot come within a thousand feet of her."

"You don't have the restraining order yet?" The officer asked a little surprised because he knew that was always the first thing Pam did for her clients.

"Not yet but it will be done by the end of the day." Pam assured the officer.

The officer nodded. "Sir, were you beating on a car on these premises?"

"Yes, I was. It's my right to see my wife. If she doesn't have a restraining order she cannot stop me from seeing my wife. I'm not leaving here until she comes out." Andy fumed.

"Sir, it sounds to me like you don't need to be seeing your wife right now. If your wife doesn't want to see you, it is her right to refuse to do so. Right now, you and I are going to go look at the car you were hitting on to see what kind of damage you've done. Now you can either come with me peacefully or I will take you out in handcuffs." The officer moved between Pam and Andy.

Andy glared at Pam and pointed his finger at her. "I'll be back. This isn't over yet."

"Yes it is." The officer moved towards Andy. "You will not be coming back here or I will arrest you for trespassing." He motioned towards the door. "This is your last opportunity to leave of your own free will or I will be putting cuffs on you.

Andy gave Pam another glare, turned and left.

"I'll be back to get your statement in a few minutes, Ms. Matterson." The officer called over his shoulder.

Pam went back into the back room. Jennifer was sitting in a chair with her knees drawn up to her chest crying uncontrollably. Pam went to her and hugged her. "It's going to be okay. I promise." She assured Jennifer. "I have to go back out front to give the police a statement. Afterwards, you and I will work on getting you a restraining order, okay?"

Jennifer nodded and sniffed. "Thank you."

Pam smiled slightly. She got a box of tissues off the desk and gave them to Jennifer. "I'll be right back." Pam left the office and went to the front of the building. She looked at Amy's questioning expression. "Go back there and see if you can get her some coffee or a soda or something." Amy nodded and headed to the back office.

The police officer was back. Pam gave him her statement and gave him the run down of what was going on. Pam's office had been a regular part of his beat for the past few years and he had been here more than once. He had great respect for what Pam and her crew did for women. He tried to keep patrol officers around this area at all times. He listened to Pam's version of what was happening. He was very concerned about this particular husband because the man didn't seem to be quite right. After Pam was done, he said, "I want to you to keep extra vigilance going on for your office, yourself, this client and your client's friend." The officer warned Pam. "The man didn't give me enough trouble to arrest him but I did right him up a citation for the property damage and trespassing. He didn't say a whole lot of threatening stuff but he was studying your office and where it's located very carefully. I believe he has intentions of stalking you to get to his wife. You need to get her to a safe house and let someone else deal with her right away."

Pam was surprised by the officer's serious tone and the concern in his eyes. He had dealt with a few men that had come to her office to cause trouble before. This one seemed to concern him a great deal more than any other had before. "If he didn't make any threats, why are you so concerned?"

"There's something not right about this guy. There is a crazed look in his eyes that doesn't seem to be coming from drug use. I think he's simply on the edge."

Pam frowned, "Well, from what I know it sounds like he's been on the edge for a little while now."

The officer shook his head slowly. "In that case, he may be close to going over the edge, make sure he don't take you and your client with him." The officer stood up from the couch he had been sitting on to write his report. "I'll keep a few extra officers close at hand for awhile. Hopefully I'm wrong about this guy. I've only seen it in a few other people. I just want you to be safe not sorry."

Pam stood took and shook the officers hand. "I'll keep you advice in mind and be very careful. If he has you worried, I know I need to be."

Pam took a deep breath after the officer left. She didn't like his dire warning. She had never seen him quite so concerned. She looked back to the office that held a woman that she wanted to dislike. Pam had not talked to Casey since the couch incident. She wanted to believe that it had been an innocent act. Casey had left numerous messages on her voice mail promising her it was nothing. Pam just couldn't control her anger over feeling betrayed. Now the woman she felt Casey had betrayed her with was sitting in her office asking for her help. Pam knew she had to put her feelings aside and listen to Jennifer objectively. It was clear that Jennifer did need her help. It was also clear that Pam had to do something with Jennifer in order to protect Casey.

Pam went to the back office where Amy was sitting with Jennifer. Jennifer had stopped crying and was drinking a cup of coffee. She looked up at Pam with her tear streaked face. "I don't know how to thank you."

Pam nodded and smiled slightly. "Well, don't thank me yet, we have a lot of work to do. Amy, I want you to go call Wanda Green. Ask her if she has any openings." Amy nodded and got up and left the room. Pam sat down in the chair Amy had vacated. "The police officer is very concerned that Andy is going to come back later today or tomorrow. We have to find a place to hide you right away. I know for a fact that the women's shelter here in Nashville is full right now. I'm having a woman check the county shelter and a few surrounding areas."

Jennifer wiped her nose and eyes. "I'm so sorry for putting you in the middle of this mess but Dorothy insisted that you could help me."

Pam nodded. "Dorothy was right to send you to me. She knows that hiding women is what I do best."

"She told me about how you helped her. That was so wonderful. Bob has been so mean to her and those kids for so long. I was so happy to hear she got away." Jennifer sniffed and went on. "First things first, I want to apologize to you for the problems that I have caused between you and Casey. I never meant for any of that to happen." Pam started to speak but Jennifer stopped her. "No, you have to hear me out. Casey and I have never had anything between or nor will we ever. I don't feel that way about women and she doesn't feel that way about me. She had just been telling about how happy she was before all of this happened and I can't stand it that I'm the cause of you two not speaking right now. We have always been there for each other and I knew I could count on her to help me, that's why I called her on Thanksgiving.

As for the couch incident, I was crying so hard and she was just being a good friend. It was late, she was hugging me while I cried on her shoulder and we both fell asleep. That's all it was. She loves you very much and it's killing her that you won't talk to her."

Pam got tears in her eyes at those words. "It's killing me too."

Jennifer put her hand on Pam's, "You have to promise me you will call her personally and tell her what is happening. I don't want her to hear about it from anyone else." Pam nodded. "She brags about you all the time. She had told me all the way back from Memphis that you could help me get my life back on the right track. She had planned on bringing me right to you that day until you all got into it on the phone." Pam dropped her head and looked away. Jennifer pulled her hand back. "Now, I really need your help. I can't go back to Casey's and put her at risk of getting hurt. Andy has hated Casey for a long time because she tried to make me see him for who he really was before. I was just too blind."

Amy came back and knocked on the door. Pam looked up at her. "Wanda says the closest thing she could find was either Chattanooga or Memphis."

"Thank you." Pam turned back to Jennifer. "Let me explain a little more about what we do. We try to place women in local shelters when possible. When it's not possible we look to a network of homes that are owned by individuals who allow us to use them as temporary hideouts or shelters, especially if a woman is in extreme danger. I believe this is going to be the case with you. It sounds like the closest one of these private shelters is either in Chattanooga or Memphis. I cannot make you go to one of these but I can advise you that it is in your best interest to get to a safe place."

Jennifer nodded, "I understand. Since it doesn't look like it's going to be possible for me to get my boys at this time, I guess I'd like to go to Memphis. Casey has told me quite a bit about it and could possibly help get me a job out there."

Pam nodded. "Very true, in fact, I think Casey would be relieved if she knew you went out there." Pam smiled, "Let's get this ball rolling. I'll have Amy call Wanda and we'll make arrangements to get you to Memphis and in a home out there. You and I will go downtown and file a restraining order on Andy." Pam stood up and helped Jennifer to her feet.

"I know this is hard for you because you still aren't sure if you believe what I told you about me and Casey. I can see it in your eyes but I really appreciate you helping me."

Pam stood there looking at Jennifer for a moment then wrapped her in a hug. "I do believe you. I can tell that you are not gay and I understand what Casey did. I would have done it for one of my friends and expected her to understand too."

Jennifer hugged Pam back. "I'm glad to hear that. I'm looking forward to us all being friends."

Pam took Jennifer up front and they put together all the necessary paperwork. Pam took Jennifer downtown and filed her restraining order. When they got back to the office, Wanda Green was there to take Jennifer to Memphis. Pam assured her that her clothes would find their way out there and that Wanda would make sure she got to stop by a thrifty store to get some things to hold her over until her clothes did arrive.

Jennifer hugged Pam and thanked her again. She asked her again to promise to call Casey. Pam said she would as soon as Jennifer was on the road. Jennifer waved from the car as it left Pam's office. Pam told Amy to call that police officer and tell him that Jennifer had left with Wanda and ask if they could give her a little bit of a police escort just in case Andy had stuck around to watch for Jennifer to leave.

Pam took herself back to her office. She took a deep breath and picked up the phone. She dialed Casey's number. Casey answered on the first ring with a sharp. "Hello."

"Hi." Pam chewed her lip.

Casey was caught off guard. She was hoping it was Jennifer calling to explain where her car was. "Ah...hi."

"If you're looking for your car, it's at my office." Pam said quietly and chewed her lip some more.

"Your office?" Casey was dumb struck. Why would it be at Pam's office? Then, it occurred to her. "Is Jennifer at your office?"

"Not anymore." Pam sighed, "She's on her way to a safe house in Memphis."

"A safe house in Memphis?" Casey sputtered, why would Jennifer suddenly decide to go into a safe house?

"She took your car earlier to get out of the house for a little while and Andy apparently started following her on her way back. He chased her around town for a little while. She called your mom and your mom sent her to me." Pam explained

Casey sat down and scratched her head. "Why didn't she call me?"

"Because she didn't want to put you in danger," Pam answered simply. "She didn't want him to follow her back there. You need to be very careful because he apparently knows where you live and has been watching your apartment for a little while."

"No way!" Casey was astonished and furious. She couldn't believe that little twit had been stalking her and Jennifer.

"Oh yes, in fact, we had to have the police come here. She thought she got away from him to come here but he found the car, parked behind it, searched it then began to beat on it when he couldn't find her. He came in here demanding to see her. The police arrived and after they took him outside, he apparently became cooperative and was given citations. The police officer in charge came in and warned me to watch out for this guy. He pretty much said he seemed nuts to him and was potentially dangerous to Jennifer, me and you."


"He told the police that you were Jennifer's dyke girlfriend that she was staying with." Pam said in a low tone. She hadn't meant to sound angry but she couldn't help it. She didn't like hearing Casey being anyone's girlfriend but hers.

"Oh. She straightened him out about that didn't she?"

"I did. They talked to me. I wouldn't let Jennifer out of the back office until I knew Andy was gone."

"Oh." Casey said quietly.

"Jennifer talked to me about you."

Casey's head snapped up. "She did?"

"She assured me that there was nothing between you two and made me promise to call you. She said you love me very much and she was so sorry that we were having problems because of her." Pam held her breath for Casey's response.

"I do love you very much. I wish that you could trust me when I tell you that there's no one else." Casey answered soundly.

"I love you too." Pam let out her breath. "I miss you." Hearing Casey's voice had made her really realize how much she was missing out on by being so silly. She knew better than to think Casey wanted Jennifer. She just let her insecurities get to her.

Casey surprised by Pam's quick admission. "I miss you too."

"You have to work tonight, don't you?" Pam asked sadly.

"Yes, why?" Casey could feel herself suddenly coming up with excuses not to go to work.

"I just wanted to get together with you so we could talk about Jennifer and maybe try to make up for being such a jerk." Pam suggested.

"I might be able to get out of work, or at least go in late maybe."

"Really?" Pam's heart leapt.

"Yeh let me make some phone calls and I'll call you back." Casey promised.

Casey quickly called the hospital. Before she could say that she needed the night off, Nancy Kitchens, one of the day shift interns, said, "Casey, thank God. I just had the nurses start looking for your phone number. We are covered up down here. Dr. Watson is beside himself. Two of the other interns didn't show up this morning. You just have to come in as soon as possible, please."

"Well....If you really need me..."

"Yes, we really need you. I guess people are doing so much of their shopping this week and this weather has really turned traffic into a horrible mess."


"Yes, Casey. Haven't you looked outside yet? It's snowing."

Casey quickly went to her bedroom window and looked out. Sure enough, it was snowing pretty hard too. She hadn't even been paying attention to the weather for the past few days. Considering that it was the second week of December, she really shouldn't be surprised.

For some strange reason, people seemed to feel more compelled to get out onto the road during bad weather, which caused more accidents and filled up the emergency rooms. "Oh man! It looks awful out there."

"It is. It really started quite suddenly and people down here just don't know how to drive on icy roads."

That was so true. Tennessee just didn't get a lot of ice or snow so people weren't really prepared for how quickly the roads get slippery. It being so close to Christmas, as well as time for people to get off from work, made traffic a mess to start with. Add a little rain or snow and you have all the elements for disaster. "I'll be there as quickly as I can." Casey finally said sadly.

"Thank you, thank you." Nancy bubbled and on a more serious note, "Please be very careful Casey, it really is horrible out there."

"I will." Casey disconnected the call with Nancy and called Pam. "Bad news."

"I know. I was just watching the news. There's a six car pile up on I-40 and a four car accident on I-65, not to mention all the other minor accidents going on around town. I didn't even realize it had started snowing. It is just amazing how quickly it messes up traffic." Pam smiled sympathetically into the phone. "I bet they begged you to come in now, didn't they?"

"Yeh, two day shift interns didn't show up which made them short handed to start with. I'm so sorry."

"It's okay, Dr. Casey. I know it's your job to help these people. We will see each other soon, I promise."

Casey sighed, "I'll call you as soon as I get off."

"Okay." Pam chewed her lip nervously. "I love you Casey. Please be careful."

"I love you too, Pam." Casey wished so much she could see Pam right now. She wanted so much to hold and kiss her. She wanted this fear of losing her to disappear. "Promise that you will stay at home tonight."

"I can't. I already promised your mom I would take her to her survivors group meeting tonight." Pam really hoped that they would cancel the meeting so she could stay in and wait for Casey's call.

"Well, be very careful. I'll call and check on you both later when I get a break." Casey promised.

"We'll be okay." Pam assured her.

Casey was feeling quite uneasy about Pam and her mother being out tonight. She couldn't explain the sense of foreboding that she had. She just assumed she was worried about the streets being so icy tonight. Still, something didn't feel right but Casey didn't know what to say to make Pam and her mom stay home tonight. Maybe the group would cancel their meeting. "Okay. I have to go. Bye."



Pam and Dorothy made their way across the busy downtown Nashville street to a small restaurant where the survivors meeting was to be held. Pam was surprised that the group didn't cancel their meeting because of the weather. Nashville didn't get much snow but when it did it made traffic much more horrible than usual. The roads were icy and slick. Many other scheduled events had been cancelled.

Pam held onto Dorothy's arm as they walked to help make sure she didn't slip and fall. They were crossing the street in a crosswalk. Pam could see the car coming at them out of the corner of her eye. It was coming at them at a good rate of speed. She ushered Dorothy more quickly to get them out of the road. She got them into the parking zone thinking that they would be safe. Pam looked behind her to glare at the speeding car only to see it headed right for them. Pam shoved Dorothy up onto the sidewalk and out of the car's path. Pam tried to jump onto the trunk of car next to her to avoid being crushed between the oncoming car and the parked car but she wasn't quick enough.

Andy was trying to stop but the road was too slick. He just wanted to get Jennifer alone where he could talk to her. He had to make her come back home. When he saw that attorney woman pass him with someone in her car he just knew it was Jennifer. He followed them downtown. He had planned to pull up beside them, jump out, and grab Jennifer then speed off before the attorney could stop him. He didn't expect to lose control of the car. He watched in horror as the car slid towards the attorney and Jennifer. The attorney pushed Jennifer out the way and tried to jump up out of the path of the skidding car. She didn't get up high enough and the car caught her leg between it and the parked car in front of him. He saw the attorney's leg snap and she dropped down onto the hood of his car hitting her head on the windshield. There was blood everywhere.

Andy jumped out of the car and ran to Jennifer. Andy was even more shocked when the woman on the sidewalk turned to look at him and it wasn't Jennifer at all. It was Casey Durham's mother.

"Oh my God!" She cried as she looked past him at the body on his car. She began screaming at him and hitting him with her purse. Andy took off running. He couldn't believe it. He had killed Jennifer's attorney by accident trying to get to Jennifer but it wasn't even Jennifer with her. It was a woman who knew who he was and knew what he had done. He ran faster. What was he going to do? He just kept running.

Dorothy was screaming for help as she dialed 911 on the cell phone she had been furnished by AWAY. People came rushing out of the restaurant trying to help. Dorothy went to Pam's body. She was still breathing, thank God! Dorothy told the 911 operator what had happened and where they were.

It seemed like it was just seconds before the ambulance was there. The paramedics had looked Dorothy over and determined she was alright, just scratches and bruises. Dorothy insisted that they let her stay with Pam but they wouldn't let her ride in the ambulance. The police gave Dorothy a ride to the hospital. Dorothy was terrified. Pam was still alive but she was critical, the paramedics had told her. Her leg was crushed and she had a severe concussion. She was rushed to Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Dorothy had Casey paged as soon as they arrived at the hospital. Casey had told her just a few hours earlier that she had to go into work early because of all the accidents on the highway. Dorothy didn't even know how to begin to tell Casey how bad Pam was. Casey had told her that she and Pam were trying to work things out between them. Casey would be devastated by this news.

Dorothy was giving the police information about the accident when Casey came rushing up. "Mom, are you alright? What happened?"

Before Dorothy could answer, the intercom blared. "Dr. Casey Durham report to the emergency room. Dr. Casey Durham to the emergency room stat!"

Casey gave the intercom speaker overhead a hateful glare. "Are you okay?"

"Yes but ..." Dorothy couldn't tell Casey what had happened. Not right before she might have to go into emergency surgery. Dorothy smiled weakly. "Yes, I'm okay. You go on. I'll tell you all about it later."

Casey nodded. She gave her mother a tight squeeze and raced towards the emergency room area. She rushed up to the nurses' station. "Dr. Harmon wants you to assist in emergency surgery. He'll brief you in the scrub room." The nurse shouted as she rushed to next patient being brought through the doors.

Casey ran to the scrub room. She quickly donned her surgery scrubs. As she scrubbed her hands, Dr. Harmon rushed in and began to fill her in. "We have a young woman, in her thirties with a crushed tibia, fibula, talus and broken metatarsals. It's going to be a long surgery. I hope you've eaten." Casey just nodded and held out her hands for the nurse to put on her rubber gloves.

Casey walked into the emergency room with Dr. Harmon. Casey stopped at the door when she saw the patients face. It was Pam! Dr. Harmon looked back at Casey's ashen face.

"Dr. Durham?"

Casey closed her eyes. She had to compose herself. She couldn't leave. She had to stay and make sure Pam was okay. She couldn't let Dr. Harmon see how distraught she was because he would make her leave if he knew Pam was a friend of hers. "I'm okay. There have just been so many fairly young people in here tonight."

Dr. Harmon nodded and went to the table. "Patient's name: Pamela Lynn Matterson. Age?" He looked over at the head nurse.

"Twenty-eight, Doctor." The nurse supplied.

The doctor continued speaking into the overhead tape recorder. "Female patient is twenty-eight years of age. Patient has incurred crushed bones of the shin and foot due to being crushed between a moving vehicle and parked vehicle. Corrective surgery will include ....."

Casey listened to the doctor but her thoughts were on the young woman on the table. The woman she loved. She shouldn't be in there. She could get into a lot of trouble if they knew who Pam was to her but she couldn't leave. She had to make sure every possible measure was taken to restore Pam's leg to as close to normal as could be. Casey stepped up to the table and began to take instructions from Dr. Harmon.

* * * * * *

Four hours later they emerged out of the operating room. "You did a fabulous job in there Casey." Dr. Harmon said patting her on the back. "Why don't you take a break, get some coffee and some rest. I'm going to go talk to the woman's family."

"Yes, sir," Casey wearily made her way to doctors' lounge and fixed herself some coffee. She gave Dr. Harmon enough time to have talked to her mother then called her mother's cell phone. "Meet me in the cafeteria." Casey told her.

Dorothy quickly made her way to the cafeteria to find a very tired Casey waiting for her. Dorothy hugged Casey before getting some coffee for herself. "I have something I have to tell you." Dorothy began.

"I already know."

"What do you know?"

"About Pam."Casey whispered.

"How?" Dorothy whispered back, not knowing why they were whispering.

"I helped with her surgery." Casey looked around. "You can't tell anyone that she and I are friends. I could get into big trouble."

Dorothy nodded. "Is she really going to be okay?"

Casey shrugged. "The next forty-eight hours are crucial. We have to pray that she wakes up soon. We have to somehow make arrangements to let her parents know."

"They already do. They arrived in the waiting room just as Dr. Harmon was about to leave."

"Really, how did they react?" Casey was curious as to how parents who wouldn't even speak to their daughter because she was gay would react to her being hurt so seriously.

"They were both devastated, especially her mother. She was very angry with Pam's father. She kept saying that this might not have happened if he hadn't been such a jack ass." Dorothy sipped her coffee. "Pam told me that she didn't have a good relationship with them but she never really said why. Is it because she's gay?"

Casey spit out her coffee. "What???"

"Casey, I'm not blind. I have been trying to figure out a way to approach you about this for weeks now but I guess the only way is the direct way. I know that you are gay. I've suspected for a long time. I knew for sure when I saw the way that you looked at Pam. You love her so much, it's written all over your face." Casey blushed and dropped her mom's gaze. Dorothy reached over and lifted her daughter's chin to bring her eyes back to hers. "I wish you would have felt that you could have come and talked to me about it."

"I'm sorry. There were so many times I wanted to call and ask your advice but I was afraid. There are so many parents like Pam's who just don't understand."

Dorothy reached over and squeezed Casey's hand. "I will never stop loving you or being there for you for any reason, don't you ever forget that."

Casey squeezed her mother's hand back. "Tell me what happened."

"It was Andy, Casey. He came right at us. I think he thought I was Jennifer. After he hit Pam, he grabbed me. When I turned around and he saw who I was he stared in shock. I hit him with my purse and he started running away. I told the police where he lives and where his parents live. I hope they catch that sorry punk." Dorothy finished angrily. Dorothy had never liked that boy from the first time Jennifer had brought him around.

Casey gritted her teeth. "Thank God Jennifer is in Memphis. Hopefully Andy will get put in jail and Jennifer can come back and get her boys. Maybe with Andy out of the way, she can get the boys straightened out."

Casey was paged back to the emergency room. "I have to go, Mom. Do you need money for a cab?"

"No, Sweetie. I called Joe a little while ago. He's going to give me a ride home."

"Joe?" Casey raised an eyebrow.

"Yes, he's the police officer who helped me file my restraining order. He's really followed my case and been very helpful. He told me to call him anytime I needed help so I did."

"Sounds nice."

"He is. Handsome too." Dorothy giggled girlishly.

Casey grinned. She was glad her mother was making new friends. She got up and hugged Dorothy tightly. "I'm so glad you didn't get hurt."

"Well, that I owe to Pam. She shoved me out of the way and got herself hurt. You have to promise me, Casey, to keep an eye on her. Make sure she's going to be okay."

"I will, I promise." Casey hugged her mother again and headed to the emergency room as they paged her again.


When Casey's shift was over she went to ICU to check on Pam. Her conditioned hadn't changed much. Her vitals were good but she hadn't waked up. Casey stood outside her room and looked in. Pam's mom was at her bed side weeping. Pam's father was asleep in the chair in the corner. It was just sad that it took something like this for them to come around. Casey wanted to stay but she knew she wouldn't be able to get any closer to Pam with her parents there. She would go ahead and go home. Maybe tomorrow she would be able to slip in and tell Pam that she loved her.

Casey woke the next morning filled with sadness. Even though she and Pam had spoken on the phone of making up, Casey wished so much that she would have swallowed her pride days ago and went to see Pam. Maybe she would have gotten to hold her or even make love to her before all of this happened. Casey was certain Pam would be okay. She couldn't think of it any other way. She also knew that Pam had a long recovery period to go through. She would have to have someone to care for her and help her get around for a long time. Casey was certain Pam would move back to her parents' house until she recovered enough to live on her own. This would mean that she would not be seeing much of Casey for a long time.

Casey tried not to let the sadness of knowing that she would have to put her relationship with Pam on hold until Pam got better. Hopefully Pam's parents wouldn't put things into her head that would make her not want to see Casey again. Casey called Terri to get some moral support.

"Oh my God! Is she going to be okay?" Terri was shocked to hear what had happened to Pam.

"Yeh, she's very strong. She's going to be in physical therapy for a very long time. If she really works hard she should be able to play tennis again. She won't be able to play as well but that's better than not at all."

"Oh yeah." Terri agreed. Casey sounded so tired and sad. "So how are you?"

"Frankly, I'm very afraid, Terri." Casey confessed.

"Afraid of what?"

"I'm afraid her parents will take her away from me and I won't be able to see her."

"Aren't you one of her doctors though? Surely they would have to let you see her professionally."

"Just while she is in the hospital, some one else will be responsible for her day to day therapy."

"Why don't you think her parents will let you see her?" Terri knew a little about Pam's relationship with her parents but not everything.

"There's no way her father is going to let a dyke come over to his house and hang out with his daughter." Casey said angrily.

"Not even if she wants you there?"

"Especially if she wants me there," Casey took a deep breath and launched into the story of Pam and her father.

"Well, I kind of knew about all that but surely he'll changed his mind by now." Terri reasoned.

"I don't know. I'm just so afraid that I'm going to lose her after all we've been through to get to where our relationship is."

"And where is your relationship?" Terri asked, "The last time I talked to you, she was still mad about the thing with Jennifer and you two weren't speaking."

"We've been talking. We were actually trying to figure out how to get together last night but I had to work and she was taking my mother to that survivors meeting." Casey wiped away the tears that had begun to fall. "I was planning to go see her as soon as I got off." She sobbed.

"Oh, Case, Hon, I am so sorry. Do you want Beth and me to come over for awhile?"

Casey wiped away her tears. "No, I'll probably go back to the hospital after I get a shower. I need to find out if she has woke up. I just wanted to let you guys know what was going on."

"Well, if you need anything you call us. Promise me you'll call me later and let me know you are okay." Terri demanded.

"I will." Casey promised. "I'm going to call my brothers and Jo too. I'll keep you updated I promise."

Casey got off the phone with Terri and called Jo.

"I can't believe it." Jo exclaimed. "Is your mom okay?"

"Yes, just scratches and bruises." Casey was still wiping away sniffles and Jo heard her.

"How are you holding up?"

"Okay, I guess. We were just talking about getting together and trying to get things patched up between us and this happens."

"It'll be okay." Jo tried to assure her. "She'll be up and around in no time and you'll be able to put things back together."

"I don't know, Jo." Casey sighed, suddenly exhausted. "I'm sure her parents are going to insist on taking her to their house while she's in therapy. There's no way her parents are going to let me see her."

"We'll see. You might be surprised what will happen. I think Pam is very strong willed. I don't think Pam is going to let them stop her from seeing you if she really wants to." Jo reasoned.

"That's if she wants to see me after they start working on her about her sexuality. Her dad convinced her to leave the lifestyle behind before for him, who's to say he won't do it again."

"I can't believe all this negativity is coming out of your mouth." Jo scolded. "This is not the end of things between you two Casey. After all the time of separation, the feelings between you two were still there even though you had never been together as a couple. Now that you have been together, your feelings are stronger and you will be able to conquer this as long as you don't give up. Don't let them take her away from you. You don't want that and I don't believe Pam does either. She loves you very much Casey."

Casey nodded. Jo was right. She was just so freaked out about this happening that she wasn't thinking clearly. Maybe she should try to lie down for a little while and get some rest.

"You're right. I'm just panicking. I'm going to get off here and call my brothers real quick. I think I'll take a quick nap before I go back to the hospital. Hopefully Pam will be awake when I get back up there."

"That's more like it. Call me if you need me and keep me informed."

"I will, I promise."

Casey called Charles and Chad. They had both already talked to their mother and knew what was going on. They were both very worried about Casey. Casey assured them she was fine. She called the hospital to check on Jennifer. There was no change. She was stable but still critical. Of course, her leg would be in a cast for at least eight weeks or longer. Dr. Harmon would probably take x-rays every week to make sure the bones where healing and lining up properly. Casey had been glad Dr. Harmon was the orthopedic surgeon who worked on Pam. Casey did her part to help and even made some helpful suggestions but it was Dr. Harmon's knowledge and skill that put Pam's let back to together. Pam had a really good chance of being able to have full use of it again.

Casey took a nap like she said she would and showered. She went back to the hospital early and checked in on Pam. Pam's sister and brother were there with her father and mother. They were all taking turns sitting with her. Casey stopped at the nurses' station. "How is Ms. Matterson coming along?"

"She's doing pretty good but she hasn't woken up yet" The nurse informed her.

Casey nodded and headed to the doctors locker room to change. Casey was just about to leave when Dr. Harmon stopped her. "I understand that you knew Ms. Matterson."

Casey tried to sound nonchalant. "She's my mother's attorney."

"You know you could have jeopardized the operation by bringing too much emotion into it don't you." Dr. Harmon scowled down at her.

"Yes, sir. I just wanted to be there to help her as much as possible. She has saved my mother's life twice now. I wanted to do what everything I could to help make sure she would be able to walk normally again." That was the truth, Casey reasoned.

"Well, considering that you did a really great job helping with surgery, I'm going to let it slide this time. Next time a friend or family member shows up in the emergency room, you get who ever else are available to take your place." Dr. Harmon said pointing his finger at Casey.

"Yes sir." Casey agreed readily. He would have probably turned her in for misconduct if he would have known that Pam was her lover. Casey wasn't sure how she made it through that surgery except she just had to make sure Pam was in good hands.

Casey made her way up to Pam's room. Dr. Harmon had assigned her to Pam's case. Casey was thrilled. It gave her an excuse to get to be around Pam every day she was in the hospital. Pam's family would not know anything other than that she was one of Pam's doctors.

Pam had still not regained consciousness but had not slipped into a coma either. Her vitals were very good and strong. Casey checked Pam's cast and her leg position, trying not to let the sadness show as she touched Pam's bear leg. Casey knew this would be the only way she would get to touch Pam at all for a long time.

Pam's mother watched Casey as she looked Pam over. She waited anxiously for whatever Casey had to say about how Pam was doing. Casey wished she had better news but she just didn't have anything new to tell her. "She seems to be doing very well." Casey said quietly. She didn't look into Mrs. Benson's searching eyes directly. "We'll know more about her leg in a week or so, after it has had time to heal a little."

Mrs. Benson nodded silently then looked at Pam's quiet face. Casey followed her eyes. Pam had good color. That was a good sign. "Will she be able to walk normally again?" Mrs. Benson asked without looking back at Casey.

"It's too soon to tell but we did everything we could think of to put her leg back together in a way that would make it possible for it to heal as normally as possible." Casey assured her.

Mrs. Benson nodded again, remaining silent.

Casey left the room feeling empty inside. She wished so much that she could have some time alone with Pam. She found herself praying constantly for Pam to open her eyes and to ask for her. Casey didn't know how Pam's family would react to that and she didn't really care. She just desperately needed to hear her name come from Pam's lips again.

Casey spent every hour for the next day and a half working at the hospital as much as she could. She was constantly finding excuses to go by Pam's room, hoping for news of her waking up. Pam's family was always there. Pam's brother and sister took turns with their parents watching over her. Casey hated it that she couldn't get in there to have her time alone with her.

Dorothy had been up to visit Pam. She had been careful not to mention Casey's relationship to her or to Pam in front of Pam's parents. Pam had told Dorothy that she and her parents had not had a good relationship since Pam got divorced. Pam's parents had been nice and appreciative of Dorothy's concern. Dorothy could feel the tension in the family. Pam's mother and brother appeared to be on one side and her sister and father on the other. There was definitely a very strong tension going on between the parents. Dorothy felt that the mother blamed the father for her not getting to spend time with Pam for past several years and she was feeling very guilty about having let him stop her from seeing her daughter.

The end of the first forty-eight hours came around. Pam was showing signs of possibly waking up. Her family stayed with her constantly. Casey was so frustrated and depressed that she couldn't have just a moment alone with her. Casey's break finally came. Pam's sister was with Pam when Casey came in to check Pam's leg. Amanda looked up from where she had laid her head on Pam's bed and had been sleeping. "Do you have a few minutes?"

"Sure," Casey agreed quickly. Here it was, her chance to tell Pam how much she missed her, how much she loved her.

"I have got to go to the ladies room and freshen up." She said getting up and stretching. "My mom will kill me if I leave her alone even for a minute."

"That's fine. Go ahead and get you a snack and some coffee if you like." Casey hoped that she would jump on that opportunity so Casey would have more time with Pam.


Casey nodded.

"Thank you so much. I would just kill for some coffee right now." Amanda jumped up and grabbed her purse. She gave Pam a quick glance then looked back at Casey. "You sure you can stay until I get back?"

"Sure, I was just about to go off duty anyway." Casey lied.

Amanda headed out the door. Casey waited until she was sure Amanda was out of sight before she stroked Pam's hair. Casey looked around nervously to make sure that no nurses were watching. She placed a small kiss on Pam's pink lips and let a tear silently roll down her face. "God, I miss you so much, Baby." Casey wiped away her tears, knowing that she couldn't get caught in here crying. She sat down next to Pam and took her hand. She stroked it and kissed it gently. "Please come back to me, Pam. I love you so much. I need you." Casey closed her eyes to fight back the tears but they came anyway. She put Pam's hand to her cheek then kissed her knuckles. "Please Pam, baby, I want to talk to you so badly. I miss your voice. Your sweet smile. I just can't believe this is happening."

"Case." Pam whispered hoarsely.

Casey's head shot up. Pam's eyes were open just slightly. "Oh my God! Pam!"

Pam's eyes opened a little more. "Casey." She said again quietly.

"Shhh, Sweetie, we must call the doctor."

Pam squeezed Casey's hand weakly. "Don't want to go home with parents." She stated weakly.

"Okay. What ever you want, I promise. Just please don't leave again." Casey begged.

Pam shook head. "Am here. Missed you."

"Oh my God!" Casey heard a voice behind her. It was a nurse. "She woke up." She said giving Casey a questioning look.

"Yes, just now." Casey said letting go of Pam's hand.

"I must get Dr. Jawbroski right away!" The nurse ran to the nurses' station and paged the doctor.

Casey looked down at Pam. She had closed her eyes again."Oh no Pam, please." Casey said grabbing her hand.

Pam gave a weak squeeze to let her know it was okay.

Within minutes the doctor was there as well as Pam's sister, "She woke up?"

"Just now." Casey answered quietly and moved out of the other doctors' way.

"Oh my gosh, I must call Mother right away." Amanda exclaimed, digging for her cell phone. "Thank you so much for staying with her." She said absently to Casey as she began speaking to her mother. "Mother! She's awake, come quickly."

The rest of the night was crazy for Pam and Casey. Casey made as many trips as she could up to Pam's room from the emergency room. Her room had been swarming with neurologist and other doctors. Pam came and went but she had made a dramatic improvement. Pam's family waited impatiently outside her room for any new news that came with each doctor coming and going.

Each day that followed for the next week, Pam improved a little more. She stayed awake longer each day. Casey managed to see her at least three or four times a day. Just through the grace of God, Casey managed to be in Pam's room at least once a day when she was awake. Casey made sure that they made eye contact when that happened. They didn't exchange many words but a slight smile and squeezed hand spoke volumes.

By the second week, Pam was showing an even more dramatic improvement. There had begun to be talk of her getting to leave the hospital. Pam had told Dr. Chi, the doctor in charge of her case that she did not want to go to her parents' house to recover. Dr. Chi told Pam that she would have to have someone at her home at all times to care for her for many weeks still to come. Pam insisted that she would hire someone to be there.

Dr. Chi decided to have a consultation meeting with the other doctors involved in Pam's case to discuss Pam's decision. Casey was there in Dr. Harmon's place. Dr. Chi told everyone that he felt that she would be better staying with her parents. That's when Casey spoke up. "Dr. Chi, I really don't believe Ms. Matterson would accept that idea."

"Really? And how would you know this?" Dr. Chi asked in a superior doctor manner.

Casey stood her ground and didn't cower down to his attitude. "Ms. Matterson has spoken to me about this matter a few times. She has said that she has a very strained relationship with her parents that she feels would hamper her recovery."

Another doctor across the room spoke up, "Yes, I must say that I have seen the strain already and its effects." The woman who was obviously gay looked directly at Casey and somehow Casey just knew that she knew something was going on between Casey and Pam. "Ms. Matterson has also spoken to me about hiring a nurse for a few months and she has said that she has a couple of friends who would consider staying with her at her home to care for her."

"Well, Dr. Sims, as a psychologist, do you feel that would be in her best interest?"

The woman, apparently being Dr. Sims, said, "Yes, Dr. Chi, I believe it would be best. Like I said, I have already seen the strain that exists between her and her family, especially her father. It went so far one evening to raise her heart rate and blood pressure to a level where we had to ask him to leave the room."

"Is that right?" Dr. Chi raised an eye brow and Dr. Sims nodded, "Well, if the rest of you concur in this matter, I will tell Ms. Matterson that I will release her to go home as soon as she has sufficient proof that she has the needed care givers in place."

The rest of the doctors agreed that this would be in Pam's best interest and Dr. Sims left to discuss it with Pam.

Casey went by to see Pam later. She was lucky to arrive at one of those rare moments when Pam was alone. "Hey beautiful, how are you?"

Pam smiled up at her. "Good, I just talked to Dr. Chi. Mother is upset but I think she understands. She wants to meet whoever is going to be taking care of me."

"Really?" Casey had planned on being one of those people, was Pam really going to introduce her to her mother.

"Yeh, I've already talked to Marsha's girlfriend, Tammy. She does home health care. She said would be more that glad to come and take of me for a few months. Your mother insisted that she come to my house and cook and clean for me. I think Mother will be okay with both of them."

"What about me? Am I going to get to help take care of you?" Casey asked quietly.

"Of course you will, you'll be the one to give me hugs and kisses okay?" Pam smiled at her silliness.

Casey looked around to make sure no one was watching and stole a quick kiss. Unfortunately she was not quick enough. Pam's mother stepped through the doorway just as she did. "Oh my God!" She said and stormed away.

Dorothy, who also had just walked up to see what happened, looked at Casey and Pam's horrified faces and said, "I'll go after her."

Dorothy found Pam's mom in the chapel crying. She approached her slowing. Pam's mom turned to see who it was. "Hi," Dorothy began, "I'm Dorothy Durham."

"Yes, I remember meeting you the first night Pam was here. You were with her when the accident happened."

"Yes, I'm one of Pam's clients. I'm also going to be one of the women taking care of Pam at home."

Pam's mom stood up and took her hand, "I'm Emily Benson. Just so you know, my husband and I are very upset about this. He wants to stop her from going home and make her come to our house."

Dorothy shook her head sadly. "I don't think he can win. Her psychologist says she's of sound mind and can make a decision like this on her own."

"I know. I just... I just wanted to take care of her." Emily said breaking down into tears.

"Shhh," Dorothy pulled Emily into a hug and let her cry on her shoulder. "You can play a part in her care if you really want to."

"She doesn't want me there. She's still angry with me for siding with her father all these years. I should have been stronger and came to her sooner. I'm so angry with myself for letting him keep me from my baby." She began a new round of tears. "And I know why she doesn't want to stay at our house. She wants to be able to be with that woman. I don't know who she is. Tony said they've been seeing each other for awhile. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm telling you all this...but I hope you knowÉShe's...well..."

"She's a lesbian, yes, I know." Dorothy answered quietly.

"Are you okay with that?"

"Yes, I am." Dorothy wanted to wait to see how Emily really felt about Pam being gay before she told her too much about herself.

"We've had such a hard time with it. She wasn't raised that way. I don't know why she wants to be like that. I finally accepted it when she divorced John but I still don't' understand it." Emily sniffed and took the tissue offered by Dorothy.

"She is who she is and it's important that you accept her that way. I think most people have a misconception about who they think gay people are."

"You're right. I know my Pam is a good person. She has always liked to help people. I'm so proud of what she has done with the AWAY program. Her father hates it but he works for the husbands and often the abusers. It's really quite sad. He wasn't even as affected as I had hoped he would be when he found out that it was a wife abuser who did this to Pam. He just said that this wouldn't have happened if she would have kept working for him." Emily sniffed and looked up into Dorothy's eyes. "You are a good listener and seem very caring. I can see why Pam wants you to help take care of her."

"Well, she is a very special person to me. She has done so much for me. I'm just glad I can be there for her." Dorothy smiled kindly at Emily.

"That woman in there looked familiar. She's one of Pam's doctors isn't she?"


"Do you know her?"


"Is she nice?"

"Very and she cares for your daughter very much."

"I just don't know, Dorothy. I want to accept this and be close to Pam again. We used to be so close. I miss talking with her." Emily tears began to form in her eyes again.

"Accept it then, what's stopping you? Your religion?"

"No, it's more of a moral, and I guess, a social thing. I just don't know what our friends would think."

"And your friends are more important than your daughter?"

Emily just stared at her, almost offended, but she realized that Dorothy was right. No one should come before her daughter. "No, you're right. I should go up there and meet this person and get to know her. I need to get to know my daughter again. I missed out on a lot of things with Pam. I need to start catching up."

Emily got up and thanked Dorothy. She marched up to Pam's room. Casey, of course, was gone by then. "Where's your friend?"

"She had to go back to work." Pam answered warily.

"You and I need to talk, Pam. I'm so sorry for being such an ass for so long and listening to your father," Emily started to cry and took Pam's hand. "Can you forgive?"

"Oh Mother of course." Pam began to cry too. They hugged. Emily sat down and she and Pam spent the next several hours catching up on each others lives.

* * * * * *

A week later, Pam was released from the hospital to go home. She left with an entourage of family and friends. The doctors insisted that Tammy, the home health nurse, be with Pam when she left. Even though they had given Pam a clean bill of health, they were still concerned because it had taken her so long to wake up after the accident. Tammy, Dorothy, Pam's mom and Casey all road together with Pam in Pam's mom's SUV to Pam's house. They were followed by several cars of friends who were bringing the large amount of flowers and gifts Pam had gotten while she was in the hospital back to Pam's house.

Pam's mom begged Pam to let her stay with her for the first few days that she was home. Pam agreed. They had spent a lot time talking this week but they still needed to work on repairing their relationship.

Tammy and Dorothy were going to bunk in the guest room and work together to take care of Pam until the doctors decided Pam didn't need to have someone living with her. Tammy was going to continue to be Pam's home health nurse even after the initial period of staying with her.

Casey was just trying to spend every second she could with Pam. She had practically lived at the hospital this past week. She knew she was going to hate it when she had to get back into her regular work and going home routine. She knew she had to go home sometime but she was not looking forward to being there without Pam.

When they arrived at Pam's house, Casey picked Pam up out of the car and carried her into the house that had already been opened by Dorothy. Casey carried Pam straight to her bedroom as quick as she could in hopes of getting a kiss before everyone else came in.

Her planned worked. Pam grabbed Casey's face and kissed her soundly as soon as they got to the bed. They kissed until they could hear the voices approaching the bedroom. "I love you." Casey whispered.

"I love you too." Pam smiled up at Casey.

The rest of the afternoon was spent setting up the flowers, putting away the gifts and eating. Pam's mom had food catered in for them. It turned into a very nice welcome home party with many more friends who hadn't been with the group that came from the hospital stopping by to see Pam.

Finally, everyone left except Pam's mom, Dorothy, Tammy, Tammy's partner Marsha and Casey. They all began to settle down for the night. Dorothy let Tammy and Marsha have the guest room. Dorothy and Pam's mom set up in the living room on cots Pam's mom had provided. Casey had planned to sleep on the couch but just as she was about to leave Pam's room Pam stopped her. "Where are you going?"

"The living room."

"I don't think so." Pam said patting the bed beside her.

"I can't sleep in here with your mom in the other room."

"Why not, we're not going to do anything, unfortunately, but sleep."

"I don't know."

"Come on," Pam insisted, "She's going to have to get used to this."

Casey chewed her lip for a minute then slipped under the covers next to Pam.

Pam scooted down, slid her arm around Casey and pulled Casey in close to her side so that her head was resting in the crook of Pam's arm.

Casey leaned up and gave Pam a kiss. Within minutes the couple was asleep.

Pam woke first the next morning. She was a bit stiff from lying in the same position all night but she didn't care. She looked down at the beautiful woman sleeping curled at her side. She made the decision right at that moment to make this a permanent arrangement. She didn't care if anyone liked her decision but it was what she wanted, what she had to have.

As if sensing something was up, Casey began to stir and look around. "Good morning," She whispered hoarsely and snuggled closer to Pam.

Pam pulled her closer and began to caress her back. She wasn't sure how Casey would feel about what Pam wanted but she was sure she could convince her to let her have her way.

"Something's up. What is it?"

"Something is up. I want to talk to you about something very serious. What time do you have to be at work?"

Casey wasn't sure what to make of this tone Pam had. She looked across Pam to the night stand and the alarm clock, which read eight o'clock. "I'm supposed to be there now." Casey groaned and started to get up.

Pam held her where she was. "You're not going anywhere until we get something settled."

Casey stayed where she was. She was a little scared of Pam's determined tone. "Okay, what do we need to settle?"

Pam scooted around so that she could see Casey's face. She studied the concerned look there. "I want to wake up every morning like this."

Casey sat up so that she could see Pam's face better. "What are you saying?"

Pam hesitated for a moment. She wanted to make sure she said this in the best possible way. In the end she put it simply, "I want you to marry me."

Casey's face lit up. "Can we do that?"

"Not legally silly, but before God and our friends we can. So is that a yes?"

"Yes, yes, yes, yes." Casey followed up with kisses all over Pam's face.

Pam giggled with delight then grabbed Casey's face, she kissed Casey passionately. She let go when they both began to moan a little too loud. Pam looked at the door and listened for noises coming from the living room but all was quiet.

She looked back into Casey's glistening eyes. "Why are you crying?"

"I'm just so happy. I was afraid we would never make it to this place in our relationship."

"We have and we will continue to get stronger together." Pam wiped the tears that slipped down Casey's cheek. "I want you to move in with me today."


"Yes, I don't want us to ever be apart again."

Casey smiled at Pam's determined tone coming back. "You have my promise that we won't ever be apart again." Casey sealed her promise with a kiss.


It has been a year since Pam's accident. Andy turned himself in and was serving time for hit and run. Bob Durham attached a police officer when the police officer interceded when Bob tried to attach Dorothy. He's now serving time in jail for assault. The police officer, Joe, and Dorothy have been dating almost six months. Dorothy is still working as a dietary aid at Vanderbilt Medical Center and living in Casey's old apartment. Jennifer moved to Memphis permanently with her sons and is doing very well on her own. She got a job working for the University of Tennessee at Memphis and is dating a doctor.

Casey and Pam have been living together since the accident. Casey will be finishing her internship and begin her tenure as an orthopedic surgeon at Vanderbilt later this year. Pam is walking on her own again, but still with a slight limp. She still works as an attorney for the AWAY program.

It was a beautiful spring day. A perfect day for a union ceremony, Pam and Casey couldn't have planned this day better if they had tried. The ceremony was being held in the back yard of the new home Casey and Pam had purchased together. The yard was filled with dogwoods, which were in full bloom, and lilacs that scented the air.

Almost a hundred people had come together for this blessed event, including Pam's reluctant father. Her mother insisted he come to ceremony but he refused to give Pam away. Her brother, Tony, said he would be glad to do the honors.

Casey was dressed in a white linen suit and Pam wore a white linen dress. There was a hush over the crowd as Pam moved slowly down the aisle with Tony to Casey's side. They read their vows to each other which left no eye dry, not even Pam's father who couldn't help but be touched by the beauty of the words the women spoke to each other.

It had taken a lot of suffering for Casey and Pam to finally commit to the love that they had always had for each other. They had changed many lives in the process, including both of their sets of parents. Most importantly, they had changed each other enough to make a loving partnership to last a lifetime.



It has been more than a year since Pam's accident. Andy was arrested and put in jail. He won't Be out for several years. Jennifer moved to Memphis permanently with her sons and all are doing very well. Jennifer's parents followed her out there to help raise their grandchildren. Bob Durham is still serving time for assault. Dorothy stayed with Pam and Casey up until a few months ago when she got promoted to a dietician's aide's position and could afford her own apartment.

Pam had Tammy taking care of her on a daily basis, along with Dorothy until she was strong enough to start getting around her house by herself. Casey, of course, was always close at hand when she wasn't finishing up her residency.

Pam was walking on her own again. She still has a pronounced limp but is in physical therapy to fix that. That limp didn't slow her down, though, as she walked down the aisle on her brother's arm at her and Casey's union ceremony.

It was a beautiful spring day. The ceremony was being held in the backyard of the new home Pam and Casey had just purchased together. The lilacs and dogwoods were all in bloom providing a spectacular floral display for all of the guests at the ceremony. Almost a hundred people had turned out for the occasion, including a reluctant Mr. Benson. He refused to give her away but he did show up for the ceremony with a little threatening from his wife.

All was quiet as Casey and Pam said their promises to each other. Casey and Pam's mothers sat together and cried. Even Chad and Charles teared up a little at the beauty of the words the women spoke to each other.

It had taken a lot of suffering for Casey and Pam to finally commit to the love that they had always had for each other. They had changed many people's lives in the process, including both of their sets of parents. Most importantly they had gotten each other to change enough to make a beautiful union.


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