Disclaimer 1: Standard uber stuff - though the two main characters bear a strong (all right, identical) resemblance to our favorite warrior and bard, no copyright infringement is intended or implied. Just some good fun.

Disclaimer 2: Though most of the characters and events described herein are fictional(and therefore mine, mine, mine <bg>), the Pride festival where the story takes place and the woman who helped organize it, upon whom the character of Pam is based, are not. Both are used here with the utmost respect and affection. ‘Pam’ you are a great lady and I hope to work with you again in the future.

Disclaimer 3: The group Digital Soldiers is very real. They are Marss Ramos Jr., Paula Flowers and Iowa Mark Ortega, three extremely talented musical artists. Though it is without permission (they kinda just popped in before I knew what was happening), it is with the greatest respect and admiration that they appear in this story. Since they play at many of the festivals around the South land, it seemed only natural that they should play at this one. Anyway, they are wonderful performers and their cd is one of my favorites.

Disclaimer 4: Warning, Will Robinson! Warning, Warning! This is a romance. Mush will abound here. This tale was suggested by the latest Academy of Bards challenge - Summer Lovin’. I was unable to finish it by the deadline for various reasons but I thought some of you might find it entertaining so I decided to post it anyway. The love portrayed in this story is mostly of the same sex variety. If that offends you (can true love really be offensive???) or if it is illegal where you are, I’m sorry. I suggest you go watch The Sound Of Music (I love that movie!!!) - you’ll still get the romance and the music (not to mention a gorgeous Julie Andrews) but without the other (some would say GOOD) stuff.

Disclaimer 5: Okay, last one, I promise. Violence? Nope, not here. This is a romance, remember? Mushiness prevails. So no knocking of heads together, no gutting bad guys with sharp weapons and no hitting people upside their heads with ‘little sticks’. There may be a friendly slap here and there and/or possibly a tickle or two but that’s about it. Sex? Again, nope. Lots of hugging and some kissing of the good, old fashioned G rated variety but no heavy stuff. (Maybe in the sequel if you guys want one.)Allllll rrriighty then. Now that that’s over let’s get on with the story. (Oh by the way, I hope you paid close attention to the disclaimers. There’ll be a test on them at the end of the story.)


A Night To Remember


a little romance never hurt anyone

by MikkiDee

It was one of those beautiful, early summer Sundays for which Southern California was famous. The sun was shining brightly in a crystalline blue sky & a gentle cool breeze was blowing through the trees keeping things from getting too hot. All in all it was a perfect day for the festival and every one seemed to be having a great time.

The craft booths and food sellers were doing a brisk business and even the information booths were attracting a large share of the crowd. But the most popular location was the stage where various local, and not so local, artists were entertaining the masses of people that had turned out for this particular city’s third annual Gay Pride Festival.

The music had been going almost non-stop since the gates had opened that morning and the crowds had been treated to an eclectic assortment of musical stylings ranging from Celtic flavored rock to Country, Disco to Heavy Metal, with a bit of Blues and Jazz thrown in for good measure. And while the faces changed as listeners left to wander around the grounds and new ones took their places, the size of the crowd had remained fairly constant all day. At least until now.

Pam, the festival’s organizer, a tall, slender woman in her mid fifties, wearing a crisp yellow polo tucked into a pair of white jeans, and a ‘Parents and Friends of Gays’ ball cap perched on her short, greyish blonde hair, looked out over the sea of faces from her position backstage. She could see the crowd growing by leaps and bounds as she watched and she congratulated herself again on her choice of performers to close out this year’s festivities. ‘This is going to be great!’ she said to herself, smiling in anticipation.

Amazon Nation, the all girl band now setting up for the final set, had been a huge hit at last year’s festival. It had come as somewhat of a surprise to Pam since their debut performance at the first festival two years ago, had been less than stellar. Pam groaned inwardly as she remembered that fiasco.

They had called themselves The Amazons back then and didn’t quite know what kind of music they wanted to play. They ended up doing a little of everything, infusing it all with a strong, almost tribal beat that totally overwhelmed the music. There was no focus or cohesion to their performance. For the most part, they were just a bunch of kids playing at being rock stars and it ended up being a disaster.

The fallout from that performance caused several of the original members to quit. The defections had included the band’s leader and founder along with the lead vocalist. The resulting vacuum had allowed the lead guitarist, Julia Cameron, known as Jewels to friends and family for her sparkling blue eyes, to take over the reigns of leadership as well as the role of lead vocalist.

During the course of the next year she not only changed the band’s name to The Amazon Nation, but whipped them into shape as well. An extremely talented musician, singer and arranger, her clear musical vision gave them the focus and drive they had lacked before while her velvety alto voice infused their music with a raw, sexy power that cut right to the hearts of their listeners.

It also didn’t hurt that she was drop dead gorgeous with those amazing blue eyes, high chiseled cheek bones, straight aquiline nose, full, red lips and a smile to die for. Her long hair was such a deep, dark auburn it was almost black, at least till the sun hit it and sent fiery copper sparks shooting all over the place. At just over six feet tall in her stocking feet with a lean, powerfully athletic build, she was a walking illustration for the common mythos of the perfect Amazon warrior.

Soon the local clubs couldn’t get enough of the newly revamped band and the reviewers were singing their praises. The critics’ consensus was that Jewels had the raw power of Grace Slick and Ann Wilson combined with the control and range of Pat Benatar and the emotional depth of Judy Garland. All in all a potent combination that would, the reviewers declared, take the band to the heights of stardom.

After word got back to Pam about the changes the band had undergone and the success they had been having, she contacted them with an invitation to perform at the second annual festival in three months time. It was the smartest thing she had ever done. The Amazon Nation blew the other performers out of the water with their superior musicianship and unique style.

The band continued to draw it’s material from most all musical genres. However, Jewels’ tight arrangements, her use of slightly unconventional instruments such as violin, flute and mandolin, along with the underlying, and now underplayed, tribal rhythms they still employed and her raw, emotional vocals gave their music an earthy power all it’s own.

Pam had known right then as she sat spellbound watching them tear the figurative roof off of the place at that second festival that she wanted them back. So, as soon as their set was done, she had offered Jewels the closing act spot on the next year’s bill and here they were.

“Hey, what’re you so happy about?”

Jewels’ unmistakably husky voice came from just behind Pam’s shoulder startling the woman out of her reverie and almost causing her to drop her ever present clip board.

“Jewels!” Pam squeaked as she fumbled to keep hold of her favorite piece of equipment. “You startled the life out of me.”

“Sorry,” Jewels said with a sheepish grin and a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. “Don’t wanna do that. What would we do without you to keep us all in line?”

“Oh, I’m sure you’d think of something,” the older woman replied with an elbow to the singer’s t-shirt clad midriff. She genuinely liked the tall brunette and valued the close friendship they had formed over the past year as plans for the band’s appearance were made and finalized.

Cocking a very expressive eyebrow at her older friend, Jewels pretended to give the idea serious consideration. “Hmm, I think you’re right,” she responded with an evil grin. “Speaking of evil thoughts,” the singer continued waggling both eyebrows wickedly. “Did Shelly make it in o.k.? I didn’t see Laura backstage so I kinda wondered.”

With hands on her hips and head cocked to the side, Pam turned to face the other woman head on. “Now would I disappoint my favorite singer like that? Especially with all the plans we’ve been making?” she demanded, pretending to be angry. “Of course not,” she answered her own question with a chuckle while lightly slapping her friend’s stomach with her clip board. “Laura couldn’t be here this year so I had my son, Ron go pick her up and bring her in. That girl is such a godsend if Ron wasn’t gay, I think I’d be fighting to get her as my daughter-in-law. I’m so glad Laura brought her with her that first year to handle your guys’ stuff.” Realizing she was beginning to ramble a bit, Pam gave the tall vocalist a sheepish smile. “Anyway, Shelly’s right where she always is. Taking care of the merchandise table.”

Both women looked over to the side of the audience area where a long folding table had been set up under a green tarp awning. A blue plastic sheet covered the table upon which was laid out all kinds of performer merchandise such as cd’s, cassettes, autographed pictures, even some music videos. The artists would make the items up themselves so they could sell them at their various gigs to bring in a little extra money.

Seated on a folding chair behind the table was a very attractive young woman of about 25 with short strawberry blonde hair that fell to just above her collar. She had a cute little nose that crinkled adorably when she smiled and beautiful green eyes that always seemed to hold a merry sparkle. Dressed in her ever present blue jeans and sneakers and wearing one of her favorite ‘Xena’ t-shirts, she looked almost like a kid, yet she had a presence about her that totally belied her 5’4” stature and her air of confidence, friendly warmth and exuberant nature was completely captivating. Everyone who met her wanted to skip the introductions and move right to the friendship stage.

Right now, she was doing a rather brisk business. The group that had just finished, Digital Soldiers, was a popular favorite with the festival crowd and people were lining up in droves to buy their cd’s.

The little blonde didn’t seem to mind the rush, though. She was used to it by now. Being one of the festival’s few ‘regular’ performers, the group, a trio of very talented musician-singer-songwriters who wrote and performed their own high-tech dance music, was also one of the very few artists to continually sell out of their merchandise. This year didn’t look to be any different as Shelly was down to her last five cd’s and the line of potential customers was at least ten people long and growing.

Seeing the predicament her friend was soon to be in, Jewels looked around the stage hoping to spot a ‘Soldier’ and let them know they needed to resupply the hard working blonde with more ‘goodies’. She was in luck as the female of the group chose that moment to emerge from behind one of the large amps carrying some of the band’s carefully packed up equipment.

“Hey, Paula,” Jewels immediately called out to her fellow musician.

The black woman’s head turned in their direction as she heard her name. Smiling, she changed course when she saw the two women beckoning her over.

“Hey, what’s up, Girlfriends?” The singer greeted the two women with a nod to Pam and a friendly shove to Jewels’ shoulder.

“Actually, umm... your cd’s,” Jewels replied, returning the gesture.


Seeing the puzzled look on Paula’s face, the tall brunette turned the singer around so she could see the merchandise table. “Your cd’s? You know, the ones you sell out of every year? You guys got any more on ya? Shelly’s down to her last three... ah make that two disks and the line’s growing like a bad case of fuzz on three week old bread.”

“Eeewh!” Both Pam and Paula shuddered at the imagery that last comment generated.

Paula recovered first and looked up at her fellow singer with a friendly scowl. “Girlfriend, you definitely don’t have a way with words. Cd’s? Yeah, I think Iowa’s got another case or two in his trunk. Let me just get this stuff squared away and I’ll go check. In the meantime, I’ll have Marss go let Blondie know she’s got more disks coming her way.”

If it had been anyone else, that ‘Blondie’ comment would have gotten a serious rise out of Jewels’ legendary temper. However, the brunette knew that Paula really liked the bubbly little blonde, as did all the performers, and the nickname was used with great affection by all the festival ‘regulars’. Except for Jewels, who had her own private nickname for her small friend.

“Um, that’s o.k. I’ve gotta take our stuff down to her anyway so I’ll tell her.” Jewels bent down to retrieve the box of cd’s, photos and other stuff she’d set down when she’d first started talking to Pam.

Paula gave the ‘Amazon’ a knowing smirk. “Uh huh. Right. Child, you don’t fool me one bit. You just wanna go down and talk to the lady.”

With a wink at Pam and a wiggle of her eyebrows at Paula, Jewels headed off to have a word (or two) with her favorite green eyed blonde.

Paula turned to Pam with a speculative look in her eyes as she watched the tall singer walk away. “Hey, Pam? Is there something going on between those two? You know me. I won’t tell anyone... well except for Marss. I’ve got a bet on with him for fifty dollars and I could sure use that 5 spot.”

“And how do you know you’ll win?” Pam inquired, her expression unreadable.

Paula donned an ‘Are you kidding?’ expression as she pointedly looked over at the two women in question. Jewels had just walked up to the blonde and, even at this distance, it was obvious the young woman’s day had just been made... ten times over... with bells on... and a cherry on top.

Pam chuckled wryly at the young musician. “I take it yours is the ‘there is’ side of the coin?”

“Oh yeah. And I’ve had my eye on a nice little jade pendant with matching earrings that that fifty bucks will just about cover. So, do I get my jewelry?”

“Well, to be honest,” Pam began, motioning Paula closer as if ready to impart a tremendous secret. “I really couldn’t say.”

“Oh, you,” Paula laughed, sheepishly, chagrined at being taken in by Pam’s little subterfuge.

Pam laughed as well, holding a hand up in mock protest. “Hey, I’m just the organizer here, not the match-maker.”

“And pray tell just what is a match-maker but an organizer of people’s love lives? Answer me that Oh Wise One.”

Pam just shrugged her shoulders and smiled, unaware that her ‘Little Miss Innocent’ act was being totally blown out of the water by the mischievous sparkle that had entered her hazel eyes.

Paula just smirked at the older woman and started off to complete her mission of putting away their equipment and getting more cd’s out to their demanding public. She stopped and turned, though, when she heard Pam’s voice calling after her.

“Oh, Paula, in case you want to take the bull by the horns and ask them yourself, we’re having a little surprise birthday party for Shelly after the ‘Nation’s set is over and the crowd leaves. If you guys wanna stay, and they’re in a good enough mood, you just might get the answer to your question.”

“Oh, you know I’ll stay, Girlfriend. I wouldn’t miss this for the world. See ya later.”

The organizer chuckled softly to herself as she turned back to watch two of her favorite young people try so hard to hide the obvious fact that they were head over heals in love with each other. “Oh, this is gonna be soooo goooood!”

**************************************************************Shelly was busily arranging the cd’s and photos that Jewels had left with her into what she hoped would be an eye catching display when she felt a hand come to rest on her shoulder. Looking up, she was pleased to see Pam standing beside her.

“Hey, Darlin’. How’re you getting along here?”

“Hi, Pam. I’m doin’ fine. We sold out of the ‘Soldiers’ stuff again, even the extras they brought over, and the other acts have been doing pretty good as well. Since I’m almost positive the ‘Nation is gonna sell out too, I think this is gonna be the best year yet.”

Pam smiled and nodded at her young volunteer’s enthusiastic report. Though it wasn’t quite the answer she had been looking for when she posed the question, still it would serve as a good starting point to get to where she really wanted to go with this conversation. Looking down at the table in front of her than back up at the small blonde, she decided on a slightly more direct approach.

“Nice display you got there,” she said pleased with the slight pink color creeping into the young woman’s cheeks. ‘Ah hah. Now we’re getting somewhere.’

“Um... thanks,” Shelly replied, ducking her head to hide the blush she could feel warming her face. ‘Damn it! Why do I always have to blush when I think of Jewels,’ she mentally kicked herself. ‘Cause you’re in love with the woman, idiot,’ her inner voice kicked back which made her blush even deeper.

Peeking up at the older woman through her bangs, she could tell by the twinkle in her eyes that Pam had already noticed her reddening face so she decided to just grin and bear it. “Jewels brought the stuff over a few minutes ago. She helped me set things up a bit than she had to get back to the others so they could get into their gear for the show.”

Seeing the slightly dejected look enter the girl’s eyes, Pam draped a motherly arm across the small woman’s shoulders and led her to one of the chairs behind the table. “You wish she could have stayed a little longer, don’t you?”

Shelly nodded quietly as she looked up at the older woman thankful for her presence. The two of them had become rather close over the last three years, Pam somewhat filling the void left by her mother’s death four years ago. “It’s just been kinda rough, lately, ya know? With the new record contract and all the gigs the record company has been setting up for the band, most of which have been out of town... This is the first time we’ve seen each other in a couple of weeks. I really miss her.”

“I know, Sweetie.” Pam gave the small shoulders a squeeze. “And I also know she misses you just as much as you miss her. One of the first things she asked about when they first got here was whether or not your were here.”

“Really?” A huge smile lit up the blonde’s face and her eyes sparkled happily.

“Yes, really,” Pam replied giving her another squeeze. “In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she asks you out after the festival’s over.”

“She already did,” Shelly murmured, blushing again. “We’re going to dinner after everything’s cleaned up here.”

“I thought that’d be the case. Good thing I told Ron you’d have your own way home tonight, huh?”

“You did?” Shelly was slightly startled at the older woman’s calm conviction. “How could you know she’d even be free tonight.”

Pam cocked an eyebrow mysteriously at her young friend. “I’m a mother. We know these things.”

“Riight.” Shelley looked up into the hazel eyes of the woman next to her and her expression grew serious for a moment. “You know, sometimes I wish you were mine.”

“So do I, Hon,” Pam said softly, surprising Shelly with the slight wistfulness of her reply. The older woman knew her friend missed her mother terribly and was more than glad to be able to fill some of that emptiness. She was also honest enough with herself to know that what she told Jewels earlier was true - if things had been just a little different, she would have been thrilled to have the young woman as a daughter-in-law. But since that was impossible, Pam was content to act as a surrogate mom for as long as she was needed. Giving the small shoulders another squeeze,

she decided a change of subject was in order. “Hey, enough of this mushy stuff, not that I don’t appreciate a little mush now and then, but there’s people to do and things to see...”

“Pam!” Shelly exclaimed, giving the woman a slap on her arm at the risqué comment.

“I call ‘em as I see ‘em, Darlin’,” Pam said with a chuckle. “Anyway, the reason I came over here, oh so long ago, was to give you a break. We’ve got about fifteen minutes before I have to announce the ‘Nation’s set. So, I thought, if you’d like to go get something to eat or a soda or something, I can stay and watch things here while you go stretch your legs. Sound like a plan?”

“Yeah. I have to pick something up at one of the craft booths and a nice, huge, ice cold Pepsi would be so good right now. Thanks, Pam. For everything.”

“Hey, no problem. Oh, by the way, I’m gonna send Ron over to help you out towards the end of the show. I’m sure there’s going to be a run on for their cd’s once they finish.”

“That’d be great. Thanks again, Pam. See you in a bit.” The blonde gave her friend a wave as she headed off to the booths.

“So far, so good,” Pam said softly to herself as she settled behind the table to take care of any customers that should come along. Looking over to the stage, she caught sight of Jewels standing by the entrance of the artist area that was set up behind and to the side of the stage. She gave the brunette a ‘thumbs up’ and smiled to herself, not needing to hear the whispered “Yes!” as she watched the singer grab a fistful of air and pull it down. Now all that was needed was for Jewels to pull off her end and there would be one very happy little blonde at the end of the evening, not to mention an ecstatic brunette.

**************************************************************The Amazon Nation was a total and complete smash. They had finished their last song to a tremendous roar and a standing ovation from the audience with no sign of it diminishing even after over five minutes. While the band members laughed and hugged each other in delight at their reception, Pam moved to center stage and took over the mike for her planned announcement.

“All right, guys. Quiet down, okay?” she said, motioning for the crowd to take their seats again. After the audience had settled down, she continued. “I’ve got a surprise for you. The Amazon Nation has consented to do a special encore tonight, just for you!”

Though that last was directed towards a certain little blonde, the crowd let out another roar knowing their favorite group wasn’t finished quite yet.

When the audience quieted down again, Pam motioned for Jewels to move forward. “So, now, without further ado. Here they are again, The Amazon Nation!!”

With that, Pam stepped back and turned the stage back over to Jewels and the band.

When Jewels took center stage, an expectant hush fell over the audience. During Pam’s intro, she had stashed her guitar and donned the remote headset mic that had been set up just for this number. The band’s followers knew that something was up since the singer was never without her guitar.

The singer stood quietly for a moment, with head bowed, resplendent in her ‘Buccaneer’ costume of burgundy velvet breeches tucked into black, calfskin thigh high boots, the tops of which were folded over to form wide cuffs around her knees. Her top was a white oversized linen shirt with long flowing sleeves gathered in at the wrists to form loose ruffles that draped down her strong hands to the tops of her beautifully tapered fingers, a wide, pointed collar and an open neck. The shirt was cinched in at the waist by a wide leather, silver studded belt causing it to flare gracefully over her slim hips. Over the shirt, she wore a black, waist length leather vest left open to accent the slim waist. Her dark hair was tied at the base of her neck with a black velvet ribbon into a single pony-tail. It all came together into an absolute vision of pirate glory.

When the hush of the crowd grew to such an extent that you could hear a pin drop in the grass, she raised her head and gazed out over the expectant mass. “The band and I want to thank you all for your kind support and we thought we’d do something a little different to show our appreciation.”

The roar that greeted this statement lasted a full five minutes. When the audience was quiet again, she continued. “Normally, we end our shows with a rousing, foot stomping number to get you on your feet and feeling good. But, seeing as this is a festival to celebrate our pride in our selves and our community and the love we feel for each other, either as friends, lovers, or just as a large family, we wanted to do something a little quieter that we hope will leave you feeling just as good. So, everyone grab hold of you friend, lover, significant other, or that someone special in your life because this one, my friends, is just...” she paused for a moment nodding to the band to begin the intro while she let her eyes roam over the audience. When they came to rest on a pair of emerald green eyes watching her every move in rapt devotion she continued quietly. “...for you.”

As the lush, gentle intro finished, Jewels’ rich alto softly took over the melody, the words coming from her heart...In my most secure moments, I still can't believe

I'm spending those moments with you

And the ground I am walking, the air that I breathe

Are shared at those moments with you

You love for real, you show the feel

Of everything that touches youThe strains of the rock ballad soared over the crowd as Jewels walked down the stairs leading to the audience and began moving along the front rows, clasping hands, brushing cheeks and generally weaving a spell of love wherever she passed on her way to the one person who had captured her heart.In the songs I've been singing, quite often a phrase

Comes close to the feeling of you

But I never suspected that one of those days

The wish of a song would come true

You love for real, you show the feel

Of everything that touches youJewels had almost reached her goal and by now the audience had caught on to the fact that the singer was on a mission. Tears began forming in more than one pair of eyes while hugs were exchanged and lovers cuddled, knowing they were privy to a very special moment.You are of gracefulness, you are of happiness

You are what I would guess to be most like

What I've been singing of

Love, Love, Love, LoveThe brunette reached her heart just as the band started into the bridge. Kneeling in front of the stunned Shelly, she took hold of the blonde’s hand and sang her soul’s dreams to the young woman.In the songs I've been singing, quite often a phrase

Comes close to the feeling of you

But I never suspected that one of those days

The wish of a song would come true

You love for real, you show the feel

Of everything that touches you

Love, Love, Love, Love

Everything is loveThe band continued to play and sing the chorus as Jewels pulled a weeping green eyed blonde into her arms and held her close, placing several soft kisses on her temple. After a moment, when she felt the small woman’s sobs begin to ease, she pulled away a little, wiped the tears off the blushing cheeks and pulled her soul mate to her feet.

“Come on,” Jewels whispered to Shelly, taking the woman’s hand and pulling her towards the stage. When they reached the stairs, she gave a signal to the waiting band and they segued easily into the final number as the two lovers reached center stage.

Jewels’ voice again took over the melody, pouring her heart’s desire into every word.You ask me if there'll come a time

When I grow tired of you

Never my love

Never my love

You wonder if this heart of mine

Will lose its desire for you

Never my love

Never my love

What makes you think love will end

When you know that my whole life depends on youKneeling again in front of her soul mate, Jewels took Shelly’s left hand in hers while reaching into her vest pocket with her right hand.You say you fear I'll change my mind

I won't require you

Never my love

Never my loveHolding up a diamond solitaire ring, blue eyes looked questioningly into green as the stage lights sparkled of the gem’s shining facets.How can you think love will end

When I've asked you to spend your whole life with meWith a simple nod of a blonde head, the audience’s, and Jewels’, anticipation was released in a soft sigh as the ring was slipped onto the young woman’s small finger and she was pulled into a warm embrace by the tall brunette.Never my love

Never my loveJewels sang the last two lines softly as if they were a vow from the depths of her soul, which perhaps they were.

As the music died out, the audience rose quietly to their feet, their silence a tribute to the privilege they felt that such a moment of loving perfection had unfolded before their eyes. It was something none of them would ever forget.

Suddenly, the silence was broken by an exuberant shout from the side of the stage.

“All right! Way to go, girlfriend!!!!”

As if that was a signal, the crowd erupted into cheers, clapping and stomping. When someone yelled out “Kiss the girl”, it soon became a chant.

Caught in the middle of this hurricane of noise, Jewels sent a narrow eyed, accusatory look to the culprit that had started the pandemonium. She was rewarded with a sheepish grin and a ‘thumbs up’ sign as Paula mouthed a “Sorry” to her fellow vocalist.

Jewels chuckled to herself and shook her head.

“What’s so funny?” a soft voice came from just under the dark haired woman’s chin.

“Paula. She’s the one who let out the yell that started the crowd off.”

“Oh.” There was a slight pause then... “What crowd?”

Jewels felt a warm glow envelop her as she realized Shelly was oblivious to everything but the two of them. She tilted her head a little so she could see her love’s face. “Hey, you okay?”

“I’m fine,” came the soft, dreamy voiced response. “In fact I’m wonderful. I wanna stay here forever.” A beat then... “We’ll have to get that checked.”


“Your heart. It’s way too loud... drowns everything out. I kinda like it though.”

“Uh-huh. I bet.” Realizing the girl was really out of it, Jewels knew it was time to call it a night. “Hey, what say we put this puppy to bed and go home?”

The blonde head moved then green eyes locked with blue. “I am home.”

Jewels’ heart swelled to bursting as she raised her hand to brush Shelly’s soft cheek. “I love you,” the singer whispered as the blonde’s ruby lips were drawn close to hers with the feather light touch of Jewel’s fingertips along the younger woman’s jaw line.

“I love you, too,” Shelly managed to get out before their lips met in a searing yet tender kiss that lasted until the smaller woman’s knees started to buckle from the intensity. At that, Jewels swept her new partner up into her arms and, with a nod to her band and the audience, simply carried her heart’s desire off the stage and into the rest of their lives.

The crowd, of course, went bonkers.**************************************************************Epilog

The darkness of night now covered the festival grounds. All the booths had been taken down, tables and chairs were folded up and put away, all the trash picked up and thrown in the bins and the last volunteer had left a while ago. The park was virtually empty, except for it’s natural inhabitants returning to their homes now that the day’s invasion was over, and two solitary figures standing together in front of the empty stage.

And the love. Oh that was most definitely still there. It settled over the grounds like a soft, fluffy blanket. The park had been blessed that day and so it would remain for all time, forever being a place of love and friendship where the tragedies and evils of life held no sway.

The two figures standing in front of the stage felt the lingering emotion and added to it as their arms wrapped around each other. The taller figure, a handsome, blue eyed blonde man in his mid twenties, broke the stillness with a small sigh and looked down at the slightly shorter woman he held next to him. “Quite a day, huh?”

Pam looked up at her son and smiled softly. “Yeah.”

“The party was really fun. Shelly was so stunned that Jewels would through her a surprise birthday party after everything else.” Ron chuckled at the memory of Shelly’s flabbergasted expression when faced with a whole slew of friends and family yelling “Surprise” at the top of their lungs.

“It was awesome, all right,” Pam replied, grinning at the memory as well.

“We did good, didn’t we, Mom?”

“We sure did, Hon.”

Somewhat concerned by her low key attitude, Ron looked closely at his mother. “What’s the matter? I thought you’d be overjoyed that they’re together.”

Placing a hand on her son’s cheek, Pam smiled reassuringly. “I am, Sweetpea. I am. I guess it’s just... Old memories, ya know?”

“Yeah, Mom. I know.” Ron did indeed know exactly what his mother was talking about.

Trying to break herself out of her somber mood, Pam gave Ron’s shoulder a playful bump. “So, tall, blonde and gorgeous. You ready to go home? After this I sure could use a few centuries R&R. How about you?”

“Oh yeah, I’m right there with ya,” Ron replied.

As he spoke, a shimmering, sparkling light began to envelope them, clearing after only a moment to reveal the startling figures of Aphrodite and Cupid.

Cupid grimaced slightly as he stretched his shoulders and adjusted his wings. “Eeewh. I’m glad I don’t have to do that more than a couple of times a millennium. I don’t know how humans stand it.”

“You kinda get used to it after awhile,” Aphrodite replied, remembering the several times she’d been forced to spend time as a mortal. “But it’s not something I’m crazy about either.”

Looking at the now familiar form of his mother, Cupid asked the question that had been bothering him. “You think they’ll be okay this time. You know, no wars, no fighting... No tragedies?”

A fiery glint entered the Goddess of Love’s eyes and her expression changed to one of dogged determination.

“They sure as hades better be if I have anything to say about it. And I damn well will have! You can bet your cute little bath towel on that,” Aphrodite stated, giving her son’s short white kilt, his preferred choice of clothing when in his true form, a playful tug.

Nodding in agreement with his mother’s pronouncement, Cupid took Aphrodite’s hand and they disappeared in a flash of pink and red sparkles.**************************************************************Several miles away, in a medium sized apartment at the foot of the Hollywood hills, two soul mates slept peacefully in each other’s arms after a night spent expressing the depth of their love. Bonded for all eternity, they had found each other once again and their dreams were full of the promise of a lifetime spent together in love’s protective embrace.

And this time, they did live happily ever after.

Cause, after all, you may fight City Hall, but you don’t ever cross a determined Goddess and God of love.The E - um - Beginning.



1968 Beachwood Music Corp. Originally performed by The Association

NEVER MY LOVE by Don and Dick Addrisi

1967 Tamerlane Music, Inc. Originally performed by The Association

Now for the Disclaimer test (thought I was kidding, didn’t you).

1) Where does this story take place?

2) The group Digital Soldiers is a real group. True or False

3) What movie was suggested in the place of reading this story?

4) This story contained lots of action and gory violence. True or False

Send your answers to Aphrodite for grading. (It was here idea in the first place - she wanted to make sure you were all paying attention.)

Don’t worry. If you made it this far, I’m sure you all passed.

Thanks for taking the trip with me and I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments they can be sent to mikkidh@excite.com (this was my first attempt at writing uber so I hope you’ll be kind).

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