Here's part 4...I hope it's still to your liking. ;-)
Disclaimers are in part one and I'm still very happy to receive comments on:

"Looks like Tamara has fallen asleep. The poor thing must be emotionally exhausted," Kelly whispered, greeting Sydney at the door.

The cop had brought down Ryan to turn him over to the agents who had come to collect him. He would be taken to the station where several charges would be filed against him.

"That's good. You'll have to keep an eye on her the next period of time. Being the victim of abuse is terribly hard to deal with. I've seen a lot of people who weren't able to climb out of the negative spiral."

Sydney smiled gently at Kelly when adding: "But most of them didn't have the support Tamara's going to get from her big sister."

The little blonde wrapped her arm around Sydney's waist and hugged her close, releasing the other woman quickly when she winced in pain.

"What's wrong, Syd? Are you hurt? Come with me and lie down on the bed for a while." The concerned woman pulled a reluctant Sydney along with her.

"I'm fine, it's nothing. Really. Just a slight ache in my back, I guess where he hit me with the lamp," the tall woman said, trying to keep the reporter from dragging her to the other room.

Kelly spun around and put her hands on her hips. Green eyes blazed with fire when she pointed in the direction of the bedroom, commanding the dark haired woman to get in there and take off her shirt so that she could have a look.

Duly chastised, Sydney hung her head and slowly walked into the room, silently shaking with laughter. She removed her shirt and stood with her arms spread out, waiting to be inspected by the feisty blonde.

She heard a gasp behind her and felt the feather-light touch of a few fingers trailing over her back. Sydney was then pushed against the shoulders and ordered to lie down on her stomach.

"My God, Sydney. There's an awfully big bruise here and it feels very hot to the touch. You stay still and I'll get you an ice pack. It must hurt a lot," Kelly exclaimed.

"Well, it's not a very nice feeling, no," Sydney admitted. It actually did hurt like hell and she was glad to be lying down. The woman groaned in appreciation when an ice pack was put on the aching spot.

Kelly started to stroke the dark strands of hair, lying on her side and staring at the woman in her bed. Sydney had her eyes closed, dark circles still visible beneath them and Kelly hoped she would fall asleep and get some rest.

Sydney's breathing slowed and evened out, her face became relaxed, and when Kelly caressed a soft cheek, a very sweet smile appeared on the tall woman's lips.

The blonde couldn't help herself; she had to smile back. Kelly was unable to resist the temptation; snuggling close to the already sleeping woman, she also closed her eyes and joined her lover in sleep.

Tamara had been watching the whole exchange ever since Sydney had returned to the apartment. Pretending to sleep, she had observed the interaction between her sister and the intimidating cop.

Noticing the easy banter between the two and the loving touches shared. That, in combination with overhearing her sister call the woman 'Sydney,' gave her a pretty good impression of the relationship between them.

She didn't really know what to think of it. Tamara had never thought about her sister as being gay, not that she was against it. She had never expected it, that's all.

'It'll probably take some getting used to,' she thought. 'But I can be there for her, the same way she has always been there for me.'

She glanced over to the bedroom, seeing Kelly and Sydney together. So close together in sleep, her sister had one arm possessively around the cop's waist.

'They look awfully cute together. All that's left to do is get to know this Sydney and see if she's right for my big sister,' Tamara concluded, still a bit unsure about what to think of the impressive woman.

Feeling tired herself, the brunette once again settled down and closed her eyes. 'A little more sleep would do me good,' she thought. 'Maybe my headache will be less severe when I wake up next time.'


It was getting dark outside when Sydney woke from a deep sleep because she had a sensation of being watched. Keeping her eyes closed she investigated her surroundings. Kelly at her side still snoring softly. Sounds coming in from the street and, yes, someone's breathing could be heard near the bed.

Slowly Sydney turned her head and opened her eyes, seeing Tamara standing at the foot of the bed, watching her and Kelly. Not quite knowing what to say to the younger woman, Sydney decided to not say anything at all. She offered a small smile and waited for Tamara to make the next move.

The prone woman watched the brunette make her way over to Sydney's side of the bed and crouch down.

"Hi," she murmured softly. "I don't think we've been properly introduced yet. I'm Tamara, the baby sister who had some problems back home."

Taking the offered hand, Sydney looked into twinkling brown eyes. "Hi, I'm Sydney. The person your sister came to get to get you out of the aforementioned trouble."

"And thanks for that by the way." Tamara grinned at the dark woman. "But I came in to see if you were interested in something to eat. It's rather late already."

Sydney glanced to her other side at the still peacefully sleeping blonde. Brushing a stray lock behind Kelly's ear, she smiled when the sleeping woman unconsciously moved towards her hand.

Catching Tamara's eyes again, she shrugged sheepishly. "Oh, sorry. You want an answer. Shall we order some take out?"

After receiving an affirmative nod, Sydney told Tamara that there was a list with phone numbers in the kitchen drawer.

"Just pick anything you fancy. You know your sister's taste and I'm pretty easy to please. We'll be out in few minutes, got to see about waking this one up first."

Sydney said, carefully rolling onto her side and wincing slightly because of the painful stiffness that had settled in her back.

A chuckle trailed after the brunette, along with a sincere: "I wish you luck, you're going to need it!"

Tamara looked up when she heard the bedroom door close. Brown eyes widened slightly in surprise as she took in her sister's appearance.

Wet blonde hair was dripping on the floor and the shirt she was wearing seemed to be wet as well.

"What on earth happened to you?" Tamara exclaimed.

Kelly jerked her thumb in the direction of the smirking woman following close behind. "Ask her," she grumbled, before heading in a straight line for the coffee machine.

Tamara turned questioning eyes Sydney's way. The tall woman shrugged in response. "You know your sister," she explained dryly. "I tried to wake her up more nicely but since I didn't get much of a reaction, more drastic measures were needed."

The brunette started laughing, quickly muffling the sounds after receiving a dangerous look from her wet sister.

"Hey, I ordered Japanese. Is that okay with you guys?"

Sydney nodded and winked reassuringly when it became clear Kelly wasn't about to answer. The little blonde was standing in front of the coffeemaker, waiting for the brew to be ready. Sydney could see a shiver run through the compact body and moved to stand behind the chilled woman, silently offering a dry shirt.

"You're not mad at me, are you?" Sydney whispered in a pink ear after the blonde had replaced her wet shirt with the dry one. In her hands she held a towel and she slowly started to dry blonde hair.

"Nah, of course not. I just can't function before having had a cup of coffee after waking up. I need caffeine in my system." Kelly groaned in pleasure when strong fingers started to massage her scalp, working their way down her neck to her shoulders.

Knotted muscles relaxed and the reporter sighed, leaning back into the athletic body so close by. Toned arms circled her waist and Sydney rested her chin on the smaller woman's head, both women lost in their own thoughts but enjoying the quiet moment together.

The peace was over when the doorbell rang and they heard Tamara holler: "Dinner's here."

Giving the woman in her arms a tender kiss on the temple, Sydney said: "I'll go help you sister set up the table ok?"

Kelly gave the hands resting on her stomach a slight squeeze and answered: "Sure. I'll be there in a minute with our coffee. Don't eat everything."

Tamara was busy unpacking the many boxes when Sydney approached. "Need some help?" the tall woman asked, lightly touching the brunette's shoulder.

With a yelp Tamara jumped away, her hands held up in defense against the expected attacker. A flash of terror could be seen in the brown eyes before she recognized the person in front of her.

A bit embarrassed, she mumbled: "Sorry, I guess I'm still a little jumpy." Tamara didn't want to look the self-assured cop in the eye and kept her gaze directed to the floor.

In a soothing voice, Sydney replied: "There's absolutely no need to apologize Tamara. I should have known better to not sneak up on you like that."

Putting a hand on the quiet woman's shoulder, Sydney forced Tamara to look at her and she continued: "It's going to take you a while to get over all of this, but you have a sister who's willing to do anything possible to help you."

The tall woman took a breath before adding: "And I want you to know that you can count on me as well. We haven't know each other for long, but Kelly loves you and what's important to her is important to me."

Tamara searched the deep blue eyes. All she could see was warmth and sincere caring. Grateful, she answered: "Thank you for saying that, I appreciate it. Kelly is a lucky woman to have you for a friend."

Sydney was about to make light of that statement when a hand grabbed hers and a soft voice sounded from her beside her: "Very lucky indeed. And so are you," Kelly directed to Tamara.

Both women had to chuckle upon seeing the flush creep up on a tanned face. Discomfort clearly showed on Sydney's face so Kelly took pity on her. Caressing a warm cheek she pulled her tall friend with her to the table. "Come on, let's eat. I'm starving."

Dinner was a talkative affair with Sydney looking on in stunned silence as the siblings chatted away non-stop, meanwhile clearing the table of food with an amazing speed. Shaking her head in amusement, the cop decided to give up on figuring out how they did it and instead focused her attention on saving some food for her own plate.

After emptying most of the boxes, Tamara and Kelly moved their conversation to the living room while Sydney offered to do the cleaning. She figured both sisters could use the private time to talk after the events of that afternoon.

Inspecting the bruise on her sister's temple, Kelly asked: "Are you okay?"

"I'm more or less okay. It's going to take a while before I can get past all of this, Kels, but I will. And something good came out it as well: I know I don't want to go back to the life I had at home. I decided to apply for college and make my own decisions from now on."

Pleasantly surprised, Kelly observed the determined look on her sister's face. So different from the girl she once left at home.

"I'm proud of you little sister," she smiled broadly." And where were you planning on going to college?"

Tamara hesitated a little, suddenly a bit unsure about Kelly's reaction.

"I was thinking in this area. That is, if you can handle having your baby sister so close by?"

She shouldn't have been worried about the other woman's reaction. Kelly nearly cut off her breathing with the hug she bestowed on Tamara.

"Handle it? I would love it!" she shouted enthusiastically.

Sobering a bit, Kelly caught Tamara's gaze. "But you need to tell Mom and Dad. And there's the situation with Ryan we have to deal with."

Tamara nodded. "Will you help me?" she pleaded softly.

"I'll be there when you call Mom and Dad, but you have to tell them. I can only offer moral support; you'll have to do it yourself if you really want to start living on your own," Kelly replied, hoping her sister would show the strength she knew was in there.

"As for Ryan, darn straight I'm coming with you. I've got some beef with that guy myself. Hurting you and hurting Sydney, in my home no less. That bastard!" Kelly got mad again when thinking about what Ryan had done to the two most important people in her life.

Tamara chuckled softly. "She means a lot to you, doesn't she?"

"Sydney," she added, seeing the confused expression on Kelly's face change into one of warmth at the mention of the dark haired woman's name.

"She's a really great friend," Kelly said, not quite sure about where her sister was going with this. "I know I can always count on her, she's awesome."

Tamara raised her eyebrow. 'A friend, huh?" was all she said, watching her sister's face turn a nice shade of red.

"Yeah…well…" Kelly stammered. Closing her eyes briefly the blonde collected her thoughts and nerves. When she opened them again she looked straight into Tamara's eyes, stating: "Sydney is absolutely wonderful. I'm totally in love with her and I hope to spend a very long time of my life with that beautiful woman."

Kelly held her breath in anticipation of her sister's reaction. So far nothing could be read from her sister's face and she started to worry a bit.

Suddenly a huge smile broke through on Tamara's face and she lunged forward, hugging her surprised sister.

"I was teasing you a bit, relax," she grinned. "I saw you together on the bed this afternoon and great friends or not, that looked a bit too close for just friends."

"Besides, I overheard you on the phone the other night, although I have to admit to thinking 'Sydney' was a man at that point." She smiled gently at her obviously relieved sister.

"So you're okay with this?" Kelly asked, just to be sure.

"I'll be honest with you, Kels, it came as a shock to me at first and I might have some trouble getting used to it, but I'm here for you and if this woman makes you happy, then so be it."

"She definitely does," the blonde woman stated with conviction.

"Good. I kinda like her so far and I've seen the way she looks at you. Sydney cares a great deal for you, that much is obvious," Tamara said.

"Thank you Tam. It means a lot to me to know you're willing to accept her in my life. I know you'll love her when you get to know her."

Both women suddenly got quiet when the subject of their conversation entered. Feeling both sets of eyes on her with Sydney threw her hands up in exasperation. "What?" she exclaimed, causing the siblings to start giggling.

"Oh, Tamara, I was meaning to ask you something, " Sydney started, later that evening.

The three of them had been watching some show about police on mountainbikes, fighting crimes at the beach and they were all lying on the couch, the emotions of the day having caught up with them. Tamara lazily turned her head and encouraged Sydney to go on.

"Your sister and I have been invited to dinner with my boss's family on Thursday. You're also welcome to join us. I'd like you to come along and get to know him and his family," Sydney said, thinking Tamara would like to meet some new people.

"Your boss? Are you that friendly with him?" Tamara asked, surprise coloring her voice.

"John Bailey is like a father to me. I never knew my real one and he's the one who has supported through some really tough times," Sydney softly said, feeling a small hand rub in comforting circles over her back.

"It will be Kelly and me; my partner J; John, his wife Alma, and their two kids; Tess and Laurie. And you, hopefully," she added.

Tamara nodded thoughtfully. "Okay, count me in. I'd love to meet the people who mean something to you, Sydney. It'll give me a better picture of you." She smiled at the dark haired woman.

"Oh, my. Maybe I should reconsider," Sydney mock shivered, drawing a chuckle from the brunette.

"Nah, all I need to see is how you are with my sister. And that's absolutely wonderful, so you got my vote already."

A stunned Sydney couldn't think of anything more to say than a soft: "Thanks." The sentiment was shared by Kelly, who moved in to kiss her sister's cheek, whispering her own thanks in Tamara's ear.

"Well, it's time for me to head home," Sydney said later that evening, rising from the couch.

Kelly grabbed her hand and pulled her back down. "You don't have to go, Syd, it's late already. Why don't you spend the night here?" the blonde asked, glancing at her sister to see what she thought of the idea.

Tamara nodded while she stood. "Yes Sydney, stay over. It would be crazy for you to go home at this hour. I'm sure you're tired as well, and I know your back is still hurting," she mentioned off-handedly, having seen the tall woman wince when rising from the couch.

Kelly watched her sister head for the shower and returned her attention to the silent woman in front of her who was watching her, deeply in thought.

"Are you sure about this? I mean, it's quite the change. First you kick me out because you don't want your sister to see me and now you're asking me to spend the night while your sister sleeps on the couch in the room next door." Sydney hesitated to accept the offer.

"Yes, that's true. But I told Tamara how I felt about you and she was okay with it. I figure she should get used to seeing you spend the night, 'cause I'm planning on having you over very often," Kelly answered, playfully wiggling her eyebrow.

"Besides, who says Tamara is the one sleeping on the couch?" the blonde teased.

"Oh, I'm sure Tam and I will manage to share a bed together without killing eachother," came the cheerful reply, immediately followed by a passionate kiss that left Kelly breathless.

"You're definitely staying in my bed with me," she murmured, catching the soft lips in front of her. She moaned when Sydney opened her mouth and tongues were dueling, quickly making the blood flow hotly through both women's veins.

A discrete cough separated the pair and two sets of eyes looked sheepishly at a bemused brunette who was standing in the door opening with sheets and a pillow in her arms. "The bathroom is free," was all she said, almost pushing them from the couch into Kelly's bedroom.

After having taken care of the necessary tasks in the bathroom, Kelly returned to her bedroom to find Sydney already lying in her bed with the eyes closed.

Softly she tip-toed over, crying out in surprise when a long arm shot out and pulled her on top of the prone woman.

They shared some kissed and tender caresses, but both were too tired to go much further so after a while they settled down to go to sleep.

Despite the blonde's protests, Sydney wasn't willing to let her go and therefore Kelly had no other option than to put her head down on the taller woman's chest and close her eyes in sleep, while draped all over the other woman.

Their breathing evened out and soon they were off to the land of dreams.


Kelly and Tamara walked into the police station the next day. Not seeing anyone at the desk, they decided to go into the squad room. Greetings were offered along the way from the various cops Kelly knew from some crime scene or another.

Glancing sideways, the blonde saw her sister was looking straight ahead, seemingly very focused on the upcoming events. Tamara had been determined to find closure with Ryan by filing a complaint against him and after that she wanted to make the dreaded call to her parents.

Kelly hoped her younger sister would be able to follow through on her plans, thinking that that would serve as a little confidence boost.

Opening the doors that led to the squad room, Kelly entered before the brunette.

She blinked when no one could be seen at his or her desk and her eyes searched the room for a familiar figure. A noise from the far right caught her ear and she turned her head in that direction.

In a far corner some officers were gathered around a table where two persons sat, facing each other. Cheers could be heard and encouragement to do whatever they were doing.

Looking at her sister, Kelly shrugged, indicating she had no idea what was going on. But as she moved closer she could see one of the persons at the table was her dark friend. It seemed that she was arm wrestling with the guy named Goat, and J was collecting bets from his fellow officers.

"What on earth?" Tamara whispered under her breath, momentarily forgetting about the reason she came to the station.

"It doesn't look like Sydney's winning, does it?" she murmured softly to Kelly, not wanting to break the concentration of both competitors.

Kelly observed her lover. She was sitting in a relaxed posture, eyes twinkling yet her arm was pushed a little way down. The muscles in her arms stood out and Kelly admired the play of them under the toned skin.

Leaning towards Tamara, she whispered: "She's playing with him, look at her." Sydney chose that moment to look in their direction, sparing a half-smile for the sisters and giving a wink before sitting up straight and slamming down Goat's hand on the table.

"Yeah, baby!" J exclaimed, holding out his hand to receive the money he had just won. "Told you not to bet against ol' Rambo here."

"Watch your mouth buddy," Sydney warned him. "Always be careful with whom you call old grandpa." She slapped him on the back of the head while passing the big man on her way to Kelly and her sister.

"Good afternoon, ladies. How can I help you guys?" she asked with a smile, ushering them to her desk.

"What was that all about?" the curious blonde wanted to know first.

The cop shrugged. "Goat made some jibes about me being able to control Ryan all on my own. Big muscled man, me being a woman…you know the ones."

"My God, did he ever take a good look at you! I mean, you're in perfect shape and obviously very well-trained," Tamara blurted out, immediately embarrassed when she realized what she had said.

Kelly chuckled at the uncomfortable expression on her sister's face while an amused Sydney drawled: "Glad you noticed Tam, at least now I know my work out regiment pays off."

"But I suppose you came in for some paper work and stuff?" Sydney decided to cut to the chase. "I've got some forms for you both to fill in and after that we'll take care of the rest."

They started working on the several forms while Sydney gave them more info about what would happen. When all was done, the cop motioned J over and introduced him to Tamara.

"J, this is Tamara. She's Kelly's sister and she'll probably hang around for a while."

The dark man shook Tamara's hand and smiled broadly: "Hey ya, welcome to San Francisco. I'm sure you'll like it here, even if your first days were a bit hard with this here woman for company and all." Neatly side stepping a punch from his partner, he continued: "Are you going to be at the dinner tomorrow?"

"Yes, I am actually. So are you, Sydney told me." Tamara already liked the man. His cheerful way made her smile and she could see Sydney and he got along like old friends. Maybe he would be able to tell her some more about the woman her sister had fallen in love with.

"Well, I'll see you there then. Now I'm afraid I'll have to rob you of the sparkling personality of Rambo. Sadly enough, I have to take her along in my patrol car to do some detecting." J pulled Sydney out of her chair and dragged her out of the door.

Kelly yelled after them: "I'll call you tonight. Thanks for helping us with the forms."

Sydney turned to answer when J cut in: "That's okay sweetie, talk to you tonight then."

Shaking her head Sydney settled for a wave and a secretly blown kiss. Kelly had to laugh at J's antics, and she noticed her sister watching him with a speculative look in her eyes.

"That's a nice guy," Tamara mumbled under her breath, causing Kelly to raise her eyebrows in wonder behind her back. 'Hmmm, who knows…' the blonde started thinking.

Giving her sister a little push, Kelly followed her out of the station. They had more things to do today. She had called in sick for work so that she would be able to be there when Tamara called their parents. Sighing a bit, she prepared herself for a difficult phone call.


Kelly was sitting on the couch, looking at her restlessly pacing sister. Tamara had been going back and forth for the last half hour, occasionally glancing at the phone. She stopped again in front it, shook her head a little and let out a brief sigh before resuming her track around the room.

Finally, Kelly's patience had dwindled away. She jumped up and blocked her sister's path. "Just pick up the phone, Tamara. You can't predict how they're going to react, so it's useless to practice what you're gonna say to them in response."

Tamara stared at the woman blocking her path for a few minutes, then she mumbled: "I know you're right, but I'm afraid they're going to persuade me to come home. Afraid I'm not strong enough to resist."

Her gaze dropped to the floor, but Kelly forced her sister to make eye contact by grabbing Tamara's face between her hands.

"You will be strong enough," Kelly stated forcefully, willing her sister to believe in herself. "You've come this far already, I'm not about to let you give up now."

The brunette nodded a bit. Visibly squaring her shoulders, she turned around and faced the phone, dialing her home number with deliberate moves.

Kelly moved to stand closely next to her sister and together they heard the phone ring in the distance, anxiously awaiting the moment they would hear a familiar voice answer.

"Well, that wentwell," Kelly said wryly from her spot on the couch. The phone call had been a disaster, their parents were already livid because of Tamara's sudden trip and when their dad had heard about them getting Ryan arrested…He wasn't happy, that much was painfully clear.

She looked at Tamara; her sister had been great. Finally standing her ground against their father and saying what it was she wanted to do. Of course that didn't went over well at all, but it had made Kelly proud.

That conversation had ended with her father's demand that Kelly would be put on the phone and she had endured a great deal of accusations about leading her sister astray. It had turned into the age-old argument about her leaving her home and being such a disappointment to her parents. Working as a journalist, no man and no children: that wasn't her father's idea of a decent lifestyle.

Kelly snorted and shook her head in disgust. In the end it had been solved like every conversation between them for the last couple of years: one of them slamming down the phone. It had been her father this time.

The blonde glanced up when Tamara sat down beside her holding out a beer. "Here, I think we deserve it, don't you?" The brunette said, letting out an explosive breath.

"Same ol', same ol'," Kelly smiled bitterly. "That man just never changes, does he?"

Tamara didn't answer; both sisters knew hoping for a change would be useless.

"Mom was crying in the background again," Kelly continued in a soft voice. "That's the one thing I always feel bad about after letting a phone call get out of hand. The poor woman never was a match for him."

Tamara turned her head to look at her sister: "She tried you know. Right after you left. Mom missed you like crazy, but she knew why you had to go. She understood it better than any of us I think."

Kelly stared at the brunette; she'd never heard this before. She had always thought her mom was okay with how things had gone.

Her mother had never showed any sign of real affection or even understanding whenever Kelly had come to her as a girl after yet another argument with her dominating father.

Seeing the surprise on the blonde's face, Tamara added: "She tried, but couldn't stand up to him for long. I guess it's hard to change a certain situation."

"I know all about that," she said sadly. "But she did understand, Kels, and she loves you. Very much. Just know that, okay?" Tamara told the slightly shocked woman.

Kelly felt tears come to her eyes and she stood up, stating: "I'm going to take a bath. Shall we decide about dinner after I'm done?"

Not even waiting for a reply, the little blonde headed to her bedroom, immediately closing the door behind her, leaving Tamara on the couch watching her sister's hasty retreat with some surprise.

She had never gotten the impression Kelly missed anything, or anyone, from home. But now that she started to think about it, if her sister thought nobody really cared when she took off, why would she act like she cared one way or another?

'Maybe I should have told Kels about Mom a lot sooner,' Tamara thought to herself. 'Maybe she could have made a difference in Mother's life as well.'

Kelly tried to deny it for all she was worth, but the truth remained that the blonde sister was the strongest of the Ashwood women. The only one who had successfully stood up against David Ashwood, their father.

Shaking her head to rid it of the unpleasant thoughts surrounding her father, Tamara walked to the refrigerator.

"Let's see what's in here. Maybe I can make a decent meal out of it," she mumbled under her breath.


The woman lying in the warm water had her eyes closed, head resting against the edge of the tub. Kelly was trying to determine why the stuff her sister had told her shook her up this much.

She had long ago reconciled herself with the idea of not having loving parents while growing up. Therefore it had been relatively easy for her to leave home and not look back. Leaving Tamara was hard to do, but she had been determined to stay in touch with her.

Now she started to feel guilty. 'Should I have seen how mother really felt?'

'Would that have changed anything?' Thoughts kept tumbling through her mind, all leading back to one question: 'Could she have helped her mother find her own way in life, like she was trying to do for Tamara now? And would that have meant that this thing with Ryan hadn't occurred?'

The blonde sighed heavily while she reached for a towel. This wasn't something with a clear-cut answer. 'Maybe it would have made a difference, maybe not' Kelly concluded. 'What's that saying about spilled milk and so forth?'

Coming to that conclusion didn't lighten her mood one bit. She still felt guilty and frustrated for starting to doubt her decision about leaving home all those years ago.

She could hear the phone ring in the other room. "I'll get it!" Kelly yelled at her sister, wrapping a towel around her body and hurrying to the bedroom.

Taking a seat on the bed she answered: "Kelly here," immediately smiling when she heard the low alto voice on the other end.

"It's so good to hear your voice," she started, feeling tears rise in her eyes again.

In a worried tone, Sydney replied: "I take it you girls talked to your parents?"

Kelly told the whole story to a sympathetic ear, ending with what Tamara had told her about their mother.

"I feel kinda guilty for leaving my mom like that; not ever making an effort to reach out and…" here she hesitated slightly.

"And?" Sydney prodded gently.

"Well, I guess I feel like I missed out on something. As a kid I resigned myself to the fact that a loving, affectionate relationship with my mother wasn't possible. Now it's like I could have had it, if I'd only tried a bit harder," Kelly continued in slightly hoarse voice.

"You never know that, sweetie. Maybe your mom wasn't ready a few years back. If she starts bonding with you, it would mean taking an obvious stand against your father, wouldn't it?" Sydney asked carefully. She felt way out of her league here, especially given the strained relationship she herself had with her mother.

"True. Maybe," Kelly replied thoughtfully. "But I'd think it would be harder now, after so many years of conceding to my father's wishes."

"It might be a good idea to talk to her, Kelly. When you know she's alone. That's the only way you'll get the answers you're searching for and how you can put this behind you," Sydney offered in a gentle voice.

"Like you did?" It was out before the blonde knew it. Dead silence greeted her from the other end of the line.

Kelly tried to make it more playful by quickly adding in a teasing voice: "But I'll make you a deal."

Encouraged by the fact that Sydney hadn't broken the connection yet, she hastily continued: "I'll call my Mom if you go to see Stacy and Bryan."

"They don't want to see me," came the curt reply.

"That's not true and you know it!" Kelly forcefully answered. "She would love to see you. As a matter of fact, she asked me to persuade you to go visit her. Syd, you have to put your own guilt behind you, that's what stopping you from going to see them. And I know you'd like to get in touch again; Bryan's your godson after all. At least talk with her. Please," Kelly pleaded softly.

A long silence stretched out until finally a soft whisper was heard. "Okay, I'll try to stop by this weekend."

"That's great, honey," the blonde answered relieved. "Want some company?" she asked hesitantly, not quite sure if she had pushed her dark lover too far.

"Absolutely," came the sure reply, "You made me go there, you get to go along for the difficult parts. That'll be sufficient punishment for more or less blackmailing me into going," the low voice stated.

Kelly could hear a smile color the other woman's voice and she smiled in response. Quickly she changed the topic to lighter things.

"How about tomorrow evening?" she inquired. Sydney went along with the obvious change in subject and replied: "I was thinking I could come over after work to pick you girls up. If you don't mind me using your shower that is."

"That's fine with me, of course. I don't want to sit at a table with someone who smells badly after all. It would ruin my appetite," the blonde grinned.

A chuckle could be heard on the other end before the dry response came: "Nothing can ruin your appetite."

"Hey! Watch it or…" Kelly exclaimed.

"Or what? Short stuff," the other woman baited her.

"You just wait, Copper. I'll show you what short can do to you," the little blonde threatened the amused cop.

"I can't wait, baby," Sydney drawled in a sexy voice, causing Kelly to laugh in response.

"You nut."

Getting a hold of herself, Kelly said: "I'll be home at 5 tomorrow, but if you want to come earlier, Tam's home, so that's not a problem."

"Okay, I'll probably be there between 4:30 and 5 or so. With my clean, non-smelling clothes," Sydney informed the other woman, already looking forward to the dinner.

Tamara poked her head around the door; whispering: "Dinner's ready."

"Is that Sydney?" after receiving a confirmation the brunette yelled in the direction of the phone: "Hi there, Rambo! See you tomorrow," before leaving the room again.

"That was my sister. As I'm sure you heard," Kelly mentioned to the chuckling woman on the other end. "It seems like dinner is ready to be eaten, so I have to go."

Sydney answered: "Yes, I have to go myself anyway. J and I are going to grab a bite to eat and then go over to his place to watch a baseball game."

"Have fun, sweetie," Kelly said; lowering her voice a bit she continued: "Can't wait to see you tomorrow. I love you, you know."

A short silence greeted her. Clearing her throat, Sydney replied: "I can't wait to see you too, honey. Sweet dreams, I'll be dreaming of you."

Kelly threw on a shirt and sweatpants before heading to the kitchen, wanting to see what Tamara had made for dinner.

Sydney sat staring at the phone a few seconds more, softly whispering: "I love you too." Then she turned around to signal J that she was ready to go.


Tamara was busily waving her hands to help her nail polish dry sooner when the doorbell rang. "Great," she muttered, moving to the door and trying to open it with her arm, not wanting to have to start over with her nails.

The door opened and she stepped back a bit, wrinkling her nose in disgust. The smell was awful. The brunette stepped back further and took in the appearance of Sydney.

The tall woman seemed to be in a foul mood. 'Not that I wouldn't be if I looked and smelled like her right now.' Tamara thought to herself.

With dark hair disheveled, unrecognizable things all over her body and that god-awful smell, Sydney wasn't very appealing at the moment.

"What happened to you?" Tamara got out, trying hard not to laugh at the woman. She sensed that could be a move that could get her killed or wounded at the very least.

"I do not want to explain right now," the chagrined woman grumbled, pushing past the smaller woman. "All I want is a hot shower, see you in a few minutes."

"Wait, Kelly is in the shower at the moment," Tamara tried to stop the much stronger woman, quickly letting go of Sydney's arm when the woman swiveled around and bored blue eyes in her brown ones.

Swallowing she watched the tall woman as she enunciated through clipped teeth: "I. Don't. Care."

Sydney resumed her trek to the bathroom. "It could be the Pope in there for all I care. I'm getting under the shower," she threw over her shoulder, banging the door behind her.

Tamara sniffed the air tentatively. 'This is gross!' she thought. Muttering under her breath the brunette opened some windows to get some fresh air inside.

"I really hope the soap is strong enough to clean her up."

Kelly stood under the hot water, so deeply lost in thought that she didn't hear the bathroom door open and close. Returning to the present she sniffed the air around her. "What in…?" she started to say, letting out a short cry when the glass door was suddenly shoved open.

"My God! You scared me half to death!" The blonde accused the cop, when she recognized the naked form of her lover.

"But what is that smell?" she asked, stepping back when Sydney moved forward.

"It's you!" she exclaimed in surprise. Putting a bar of soap in the dark haired woman's hands, Kelly said: "Please start scrubbing, it's absolutely horrid."

"Why thanks," Sydney responded glumly, quickly lathering up richly and sighing in great relief when fruity smells replaced the terrible smell that had been on her when she came in.

Kelly watched in silence for a while, enjoying the opportunity to let her eyes roam undisturbed over the naked form so close by.

"But what happened?" she asked again, when she saw the other woman was in better spirits.

"We were chasing a guy who had robbed a supermarket. He ran into a building, left by the fire ladder and pushed a garbage container under it as we were jumping after him."

The blonde tried to control herself, imagining the self-assured woman lying in a dumpster. "Did you catch him?" she got out between fits of laughter.

"Go ahead, laugh at me," Sydney grumbled good-naturedly. "And yes, we did.

Got our revenge to," she smiled devilishly. "He had to sit in a patrol car with us for a very long time. We took the long route to the station."

Kelly chuckled. "Come on, turn around and let me wash your hair."

Kelly enjoyed massaging the shampoo in the dark tresses; she gently turned the taller woman so that Sydney was facing her.

"Bend your head so I can reach on top and make sure everything is clean," Kelly ordered the woman. Sydney obeyed, smiling mischievously when she noticed the advantages this position gave her.

The little blonde yelped in surprise when a tongue flicked out to caress a nearby nipple, which turned hard immediately. Groaning she threaded her fingers in the dark hair against her chest, moving Sydney's head closer.

Sydney wrapped her arms around the blonde's waist and started to nibble the delicious breasts. She could feel small hands caress her back and move to the front. Soon all thoughts of garbage, bad smells and waiting sisters were forgotten as both women lost themselves in each other.



to be continued in part 5
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