DISCLAIMER: This is an original fiction story so all of the characters and
happenings come directly from my twisted imagination.
LOVE/SEX WARNING: Kisses and cuddling. Nothing serious.
FEEDBACK: Comments can be sent to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2003 © by nyrdgyrl
The sun was setting on a wild night and day of partying, the likes of which the Skyway neighborhood had never before seen. Katie McGee, the guest of honor, had been attending these parties since the 1700s. Shed been innocently tending her sheep who were grazing around the base of a standing stone, when the ground opened up and revealed a celebration being hosted by Angus Mac Og, one of the Tuath De Danann. Smitten by her comeliness, he gifted her with long life, unwilling to allow her beauty to pass out of the world.
His gift, though given from the heart, forced Katie to move around, unable to settle down for fear of rousing suspicion about her unnaturally long youth. Drawn by the wild magic and landscape of the American west, she traveled there, determined to find a place to call her own. She disguised herself and was able to find a place where she could age slowly, virtually unnoticed by her ever restless neighbors. Angus had maintained their relationship, such as it was, and visited often, throwing parties wherever they met up. Katies now advanced age kept her confined to her current home. In deference to her infirmity, this party came to her.
"Are you tired, Katie McGee?" Angus Mac Og couldnt resist getting a dig in on the longtime object of his desire. If only shed agree to be his bride, hed give her everything a woman could want, but the woman had denied him for centuries.
"A wee bit Angus," Katie said, "but dont worry your mutton head about it. Ill be fine." Katie rubbed an arthritic hip and tasted a bit more of her whiskey. "Ive still got a bit of life left in these old bones."
"Is that so, Katie? Youre looking right decrepit to my eyes." He ran his eyes over her wrinkled skin and sagging breasts. "Looks like youre just wastin away to me."
Katie snapped. "Whats it to you, you old reprobate? Im going the way of magic in this world, disappearing day by day. Wont be too much longer until I just fade away." Katies eyes clouded over as she gazed at Pikes Peak. "Theres still a bit of magic in those hills yonder, but after it dies, Ill die with it." She smiled wistfully, "Sure will be sad to go though. Theres so much happening that Id like to see. The worlds changing everyday."
A grin stole over Angus face as he contemplated his options. "You know I could fill you with the bloom of youth if only youd consent. I hate to see you waste away like this."
Katie turned a speculative eye on the god, but she didnt trust him as far as she could throw her house. "Sure you could, but what would it cost?"
Katie smiled. "Now Angus, youve been asking 200 years, and in all that time Ive never said yes. Why would I do so now?"
Angus replied, "For youth and beauty maybe? Imagine what you could do with another hundred years of youth."
Katies eyes widened and she tapped her chin with a fingertip. "A hundred years of youth and beauty in exchange for marrying you." She spent a few moments turning the idea over in her mind before her good sense returned. "No Angus," she cackled, "Im afraid even that wouldnt be worth it. Im just not interested."
Angus grunted in disgust. "Stubborn wench. Hows about a wager then? Youve always been a gambling woman."
"True enough. Whatre you proposing?"
"One hundred years of youth to do with as you please if you win, and if you lose, one hundred years of marriage to me."
Katie cringed at the thought of marrying Angus, but was sorely tempted by the thought of regaining her youth. "Okay maybe, but what are the terms?"
Angus wracked his brain for inspiration and smiled when he came up with a foolproof plan. "How about three conditions?"
"Ill call a laborer to fix " He snapped his fingers and the lights in the room flickered then died. Pleased by his cleverness he continued, " the electricity. Then you have to get them to get them to dance on the roof, sing outside at the top of their lungs, then spend the night with you. What do you say?"
Katie looked at the god like hed grown a second head. "Youre twisted, you know that?" She thought about the prospect of renewed youth, then made a counter offer. "Sounds too dangerous for the worker but how about this? Ill have them yell outside at something thats not there, um dance on the ground under the moonlight, and "
"Whoa lassie, wait a minute. Those are big changes."
Katie smiled, mildly chagrined at his complaint. "Im just thinking of the innocent were involving with this, you know how people these days are concerned about liability." She pursed her lips then said, "If it makes you feel better, Ill keep your third condition. Thatll probably be the only one I can accomplish."
Angus rubbed his hands together, already thinking of nights spent with Katie wrapped in his arms. He wasnt happy with the changes, but seriously doubted shed be able to accomplish any one of the conditions without some sort of miracle occurring.
"Done. Now lets shake on it."
"Wait a minute, Angus. Ill need one more thing before I agree."
Angus cocked his head, suspicious of her intentions, but willing to listen if it would achieve his goal. "Go on."
"Ill need a double."
"A double. You know, a doppelganger. An te nach mbionn laidir ni follair do bheith glic! My plan needs two people."
Angus mulled her words before replying, He who is not strong must needs be cunning. What could she possibly mean by that? "Oh no, Katie. No magic to influence the bet, besides, Im here. Why cant I be your second?"
Katie smiled, more excited by the moment at her plan. "What? Are you afraid Ill win? Your conditions are crazy and Ill even let you pick who we call. I just need to create a doppelganger. Itll be me as I am now, and me as a young woman, say in my mid-twenties. Thats all. And no, you cant be my second because I dont trust you to do what I need."
Angus paced the dimly lit kitchen turning his options over in his mind. If I agree and she loses, Ive gained a wife. If she wins . What to do? What to do?
Katie watched the Tuatha De Danann wear a track in her linoleum with his pacing. One hundred years of being married to anyone would be insufferable, but she couldnt bear the thought of leaving this plane. There were so many things that shed never seen or done before and shed never even left the planet. She crossed her fingers in hopes that Angus would agree.
After a few moments of silent pacing, Angus turned and stuck out his hand. "Done, Katie my dear. Now wheres your telephone?"
Katie smiled and grasped Angus outstretched hand to clinch the bet. "In for a penny, in for a pound, hey Angus? The phone and the book are over here. Call and then get out. I need to get ready."
Angus grinned, sure that hed soon be wed. "Now lets see, who should I call?" He ran his fingertip down the Yellow Pages until he found a likely victim. "Heres one. Carter and Son sound good to me."
♦ ♦ ♦
Amanda Carter drummed her fingertips on top of her steering wheel while she hummed along with John Denvers "Sweet Surrender." The song had always been one of her favorites and she bopped her head pleased that she was able to find a danceable rhythm in almost any tune. In her experience, most people couldnt. Amandas work was done so she was headed back to base for a rendezvous with an ice cold beer, a night of bad TV, and an unexpected, but welcome, three day weekend.
Trying to be supportive, her dad had insisted that she take the time off, shed been working nonstop since LizBeth left her to live with their former best friend Sara. No one understood that her heart had been broken; she, LizBeth and Sara were like a three legged stool, none of them functioned well without the other two for support. That was before LizBeth decided she needed Sara in a completely different way than Amanda thought she did. Now LizBeth and Sara were together, and she was floundering, completely unable to do anything but work and sulk. Everyone encouraged her to get over it and move on, but she just couldnt generate the interest.
Amanda tooled down the road chair dancing in time with the music. John was one of her favorites as long as she stayed away from his more maudlin stuff. She thought it was a shame that hed had such a brain stall and chuckled to herself, brain stall, plane stall. Im a real wit. Her amusement dried up when her radio crackled to life and sentenced her to more work; shed been looking forward to the time off.
"Mandy, you there? Whats your location?"
Amanda rolled her eyes. Cheryl, her fathers long time office manager always snapped her gum when talking on the radio. Whenever Amanda complained, Cheryl chewed more vigorously. That taught Amanda to keep her complaints to herself. Theres nothing more annoying than the sound of snapping gum over a radio. Amanda pursed her lips in irritation then amended. Theres nothing more annoying than postponing a hot date with a cold beer after listening to snapping gum over the radio. Why do I always get pegged for last minute calls? She voiced her displeasure. "Quit calling me that. Im just rolling through Colorado and 23rd, heading east. Whatve you got?"
"Okay, A man - da." Cheryl gleefully drew each syllable out until her name sounded like whale song. "Got some kinda short at 475 Ursa Minor. New customer named Katie McGee. Theyre waiting for you."
"They?" Amanda searched for a place to turn around, Ursa Minor was back in Skyview and she was headed downtown.
"Yeah, they." She cracked her gum. "Mrs. McGees granddaughter called it in." Cheryl snapped her gum enthusiastically when she offered that last tidbit of information. Amanda had a soft spot for the elderly and she hated to be teased about it. Of course that made Cheryl poke her every opportunity she got. Using her best sing-song voice she warbled, "A man - da "
Cheryl chuckled evilly. "Nothing sweetie. Just wanted to let you know that Im outta here. Got a date with George that I cant miss." She snapped her gum without unkeying her mike. "Oh A man da." Cheryl paused dramatically. "I just wanted you to know that the granddaughter sounds like a hottie on the phone. Maybe you two could hook up.
Amanda snorted. "Yeah, when monkeys fly out of your butt."
"Dont be crude, Mandy. Im closing the office now. Good luck." She finished her end of the conversation with a few vigorous snaps.
Double clicking her transmitter button to acknowledge Cheryls message, Amanda muttered under her breath. "Everybodys a wiseass."
Amanda enjoyed driving 21st street, it was steep, but some of the best views of the city could be seen from there. The whole downtown spread out to the east, and to the northwest the Garden of the Gods was particularly spectacular, especially in the muted lighting of a summer sunset or the harsh light of a full winter moon. She was headed the wrong way to see the Garden, but she watched the passenger side mirror anyway, hoping for a view. A frantic horn blast made her wretch her van back across the yellow line. Her heart beat a tattoo in her chest while she muttered, "Gotta pay attention. Wouldnt pay to kill myself before a three day weekend." Amanda nodded sharply once then turned her attention to navigating through Skyway. The streets there were always tough for her to sort out.
After getting turned around more than once, she finally pulled up in front of the right house just as the sun touched the top of Cheyenne Mountain. She snatched her tool belt from one of the side doors, shrugged the suspenders over her shoulders, then sauntered up the walk to the front door. Nicest property on the block. Killer landscaping. She lifted her eyes to the roof and admired the overall line of the house. Huh! Missing some shingles, but overall very nice. She kept a running commentary in her head as she approached the front door which opened to reveal a short strawberry blonde woman who was wringing her hands.
Nice. Very nice. This womans a poster child for Irish Spring, right down to her pretty green eyes. Amanda was smitten and for the first time in a long time, her libido surged to life. Her face stretched into a grin then sagged dramatically when she evaluated her prospects. Way outta my league. Shes got that briefcase and PDA professional woman look going. Im softball and beer and shes jodhpurs and Bordeaux. Before she was able to suppress her libido, a fantasy involving high heeled boots, a riding crop, and spanking scampered through her mind, making the tips of her ears flush purple. She was still struggling with her composure when she sidled through the open door.
"Are you the electrician?" The blonde looked past Amanda to the Carter and Son Electrical truck as if someone else might magically appear. Someone more suited to fixing whatever problem had prompted her to call.
Amanda was insulted. She was used to people hassling her about her profession but somehow it hurt more coming from this woman. Lots of people were uncomfortable with women in the trades. It seemed they believed the only trade women should engage in was the one that occurred between the sheets. I was right. She is a snob and a chauvinist. Amanda relented when the woman graced her with a sunny smile. Give this woman a break. You dont even know her name. Deciding to go for charm, she bowed from the waist. Her sudden movement jostled the tool belt shed fastened above her boyishly slim hips. "Yep. Thats me. Amanda Carter at your service. Whats your problem?"
"THERES A MAN ON MY ROOF! GET HIM OFF MY ROOF!"
Startled, Amanda jumped three feet into the air, her tools falling in a ring around her feet. Shed never seen the blondes lips move but maybe shed been distracted by the sunlight winking off the smaller womans hair. She looked like an angel basking in the red-gold glory of the late afternoon sun. Amanda squinted. People had been telling her for awhile that she needed glasses. Maybe thats why she never saw the womans lips move. She had no training about how to get a man off of a roof, but to erase the worry from this womans eyes; shed give it her best shot. Amanda opened her mouth to ask if shed heard correctly when the demand was repeated.
"THERES A MAN ON MY ROOF! GET OFF MY ROOF! KATIE, MAKE ANGUS GET DOWN!"
This time Amanda was sure that the blondes lips hadnt moved. Her eyes had been glued to them since the blonde had sidled closer and fallen into her arms after tripping over her scattered tools.
Amanda couldnt believe how good, how right this woman felt cradled in her arms. Drawn forward by a force she would later describe as fate, she ducked her head, intent on capturing the yet unnamed womans lips in a searing kiss. Her uncharacteristic advance was halted by another screech from down the hallway.
"KATIE! GET ANGUS. GET ANGUS OFF MY ROOF!"
Katie. Her name is Katie. Gotta remember that before I try to kiss her again. Now whats all that ruckus coming down the hall? Amanda contented herself with sniffing Katies strawberry scented hair. The kiss could wait for later.
♦ ♦ ♦
Katie McGee sighed deeply. It had been a long time since shed been held, even longer since shed felt secure. This feels wonderful, Angus must be pissed that he called a woman. She snuggled deeper but flinched away when her nose encountered a suspender buckle. The rainbow suspenders were a nice touch. It was even nicer that they sported an inverted pink triangle. Family! How perfect. Katie knew her prospects for success had just improved dramatically. She had just begun to withdraw from the electricians embrace when her doppelganger bellowed again.
The oft repeated complaint forced Katie out of her safe harbor and back into action. She looked down the hallway then back up into the tender ice blue eyes of her would be savior. The electricians lips were moving but Katie couldnt hear anything over the beating of her heart. Shed never imagined that her luck would work quite so well, Angus had called for a man; thered been no mention of a woman in the Carter and Son ad. This woman however, was everything she could have wished for right down to her strut. Shed have to make a point to thank Angus if she won the bet; the phone call hed made must have been divinely inspired.
Needing to get the situation in hand, Katie placed her palm against the electricians chest and pushed herself completely away. She blinked a few times; trying to reorient herself to her surroundings, torn between attending to the ruckus her doppelganger was raising, and snuggling back into the electricians comforting embrace.
Katie ran her eyes over the woman who was on her knees gathering her spilled tools into a pile. She thought, great eyes, love that hair. Its so black its almost blue. Katie dragged her bottom lip between her teeth and directed her line of sight down the womans long back. Oh. Shes got a very nice Her musings were interrupted by her doppelgangers screech.
"KATIE! KATIE! WHERE ARE YOU? GET HIM OFF MY ROOF!"
Katie started down the hallway towards her bedroom when she was stopped by a hand on her forearm. The electrician was staring at her with clear, very concerned blue eyes. For a moment, Katie found herself sinking into the womans warm regard. She stared back for what seemed an eternity before she twitched the arm that was captured by the electricians callused hand.
"Um " Katies eyes dropped to the nametag on the electricians shirt then lifted back up to her face. She was surprised at the color that had flooded the womans cheeks. Amanda. Her name is Amanda. She cleared her throat and tried again. "Um Amanda. I need to see to my grandmother. Could you let me go?"
♦ ♦ ♦
The electricians hand dropped away as if it had been scorched. Once again her face flooded and she tried to scrub the color out with her hands before she followed the blonde down the hallway. Whats going on here? Sounds like all of their shorted circuits arent in the breaker box. Amada chuckled to herself at her feeble joke and continued down the hallway. Her curiosity was aroused when she entered the bedroom at the back of the house. There she found the tiny Goddess being grasped around both arms by an even tinier white haired sprite. The women were having a whispered conversation that was punctuated by occasional shakes that tousled the blondes glorious hair. Amanda hated to disrupt this intimate tableau, but she was here to do a job. Besides, she wanted to get started on her weekend and they were holding her up.
She made a noise in her throat hoping the women would look up. When that didnt work, she stepped a little further into the room. "Excuse me "
The elderly woman tore her attention away from Katie and turned her head towards the doorway. "Whos there? Come closer. I cant see you."
Amanda approached slowly afraid to set the woman off again. Shed thought her eardrums would shatter from the noise this woman made and that was when she was outside the bedroom. Being inside when she let loose had potentially harmful consequences.
"Quit creeping and get over here," the woman commanded. "Angus, is that you? When are you going to stop capering on my roof?"
Amanda drew herself up with dignity. There wasnt a single masculine thing about her. She was all woman: tall and lush with curves in all the right places. Okay, so shed never worn makeup or dresses. Her mom had died when she was a baby so it was just her and her dad. Hed never been comfortable with girly things so neither was she. She was strong and beautiful and it always baffled her when people confused her with a man. She sputtered, "I Im not Angus and I havent been anywhere near your roof."
Katie waved her over. She whispered, "Come closer, Gram cant see so well. Its the cataracts." She nodded at the elderly womans eyes that were covered by milky gray scales.
The woman shook the blonde again. "What did you say? You know I cant hear when you whisper."
Katie smiled happily, this was one of the best spells shed ever cast. She raised her voice. "I was just telling the electrician to come closer. You dont see so well anymore."
"The electrician? Hes here? Céad Míle Fáilte!"
"What did she say?"
Katie replied, "She just said hello, or to be accurate, one hundred thousand welcomes!"
The woman craned her neck forward and squinted to bring the cloudy image clearer and said, "I see fine when the lights are working. Why hasnt he fixed them yet?"
"Thats she, Gram. The electrician is a she." And a mighty fine looking she at that. Katie covered her mouth with her hand trying to stifle a small giggle when her doppelgangers mouth dropped open.
Amanda felt her cheeks color once again at the old womans presumption. She scuffed her work boot against the carpet and shifted her tool belt before speaking. "Um, Im here to-"
The woman sat up suddenly her cloudy eyes riveted to the ceiling. She thrust a bony arm up towards the corner and screeched, "THERE, HES THERE. BACK ON THE ROOF. MAKE HIM GET DOWN!"
Amanda had been right. The womans screech was deafening up close. She flinched and clapped her hands against her ears trying to protect what was left of her hearing. A careful glance at the ceiling proved there was nothing she could see in the room that might cause harm. She hadnt heard anything on the roof either, but the old woman seemed so certain.
She opened her mouth and ventured, "Um, I dont hear anything. Are you sure someones there?"
"WHAT? YOU CANT HEAR THAT? HES PRACTICALLY DOING A JIG UP THERE! ARE YOU DAFT?"
Amanda had had quite enough of this abuse. She was here to fix an electrical problem, not deal with someones delusional grandmother. She started to offer a sarcastic response when Katie clapped a hand across her open mouth and pushed her back towards the door.
"Be right back Gram. Im going to get the electrician started on our problem." She scowled at her captive as they moved through the open door. Over her shoulder she said, "Please hold off on yelling for awhile. Give me a minute and Ill get him off the roof."
Katie pushed Amanda down the length of the hallway and out into the living room. She stared up into her eyes trying to gauge just how much she should say. Probably not much. Wouldnt want to mess up the terms of the bet. When the electrician ran her tongue across her palm Katie realized that she still had her hand across her mouth. Electricity shot down her arm and straight into her groin.
Amanda smirked and sucked her tongue back in her mouth. She even tastes like strawberries. It looked like that swipe had been very effective. Katie was definitely looking at her with heat in her gaze. Of course she might be angry. Ive lost my mind. Amanda ducked her head once more and waited for her reprimand.
♦ ♦ ♦
Katie thought her heart would melt when she met the electricians shy gaze. She mused, this woman is perfect, its almost not fair. Her conscience twinged until she decided that this was one time the end might justify the means. She gathered herself and set about getting things moving. She had to have things ready when the full moon rose over the horizon.
"THERES A MAN ON MY ROOF."
Katie ignored her doppelgangers histrionics and tried to recapture the electricians attention. "The box is back here." Katie turned towards the kitchen expecting the electrician to follow. Shed made it all the way to the basement door without an escort. Amanda was still standing in the living room staring back down the hallway.
Exasperated, but completely understanding the womans abstraction, Katie walked back and snapped her fingers in front the Amandas eyes.
Hearing the noise, Amanda returned from wherever her mind had wandered. "Sorry about that. You were saying?"
Katie smiled and jerked her head towards the kitchen. "I said the box is back here. Remember, you came to fix it? A bunch of circuits have tripped and wont reset." She stepped away and waved Amanda towards the box.
Amanda shook her head sharply then headed back to the circuit breaker box. "Im gonna have to turn the electricity off to work with this. Is that okay?" Within moments of Katies agreement, Amanda was completely absorbed and waved vaguely to acknowledge Katies departure.
Once Katie saw that Amanda was occupied with the circuits she hurried back to her room gathering supplies as she went. She took inventory under her breath as she selected each item. "Candles, incense, music Rita Connolly I think. Ribbon, alcohol, glasses, and me. That should do it." It took a few trips but she finally had everything collected. Her doppelganger sat on her bed and watched as she placed each item.
While she was working, Angus waved at her from the yard, completely agitated with the turn of events. When she walked out onto the patio he said, "Youre cheating Katie McGee. Somehow you rigged this bet completely."
Katies face stretched with a grin while her head wagged in denial. "Dont be silly Angus. Theres no way I could have planned this so well in such a short time. Some of us are just luckier than others I guess." When Angus face clouded over she said, "A bets a bet. You wouldnt be thinking about welching on the terms would you?"
Angus pulled himself together before replying. "No way, lassie. But dont get cocky just yet. You havent met any of the conditions."
"True enough, my friend. But things are looking up for me. Ill be able to charm the pants off that girl. You just wait and see." Katie preened and fluffed her hair with both hands. "Shell be eating out of my hands in no time. Im sure of it." She flushed when she remembered the tingle shed experienced from the electricians tongue. Or maybe Ill be eating out of hers. Either way, who cares? She giggled and addressed the god. "Now get out of here. Ive work to do and youre holding me up."
Angus grumbled, but dissolved his body from the feet up. Right before he disappeared completely he reminded, "All three Katie. Youve got to do all three."
This is great! He thinks Im going to win. "Sure Angus, All three. Ive got it."
♦ ♦ ♦
Amanda hummed absently while she examined the breaker in her hands. It looked perfectly fine on the outside but it just wouldnt work. There were a few circuits like that in the box. Overall it was a puzzle that she couldnt sort out. Maybe the house had been hit by lightning, a huge energy spike might do this kind of damage, but thered been no lightning today. If the house had been struck, something other than the circuits would have fried too, but the only complaint given was the box. Amanda stepped away, intending to find Katie and ask if they needed anything else, when a Katie sized blur outside the window caught her attention. Katie appeared to be in the middle of an animated discussion with someone out of Amandas line of sight.
Curiosity being one of her faults, Amanda craned her neck, trying to see who her dream Goddess was arguing with. She might have been successful if she hadnt slipped and rapped her forehead against the window glass. Once shed exposed herself that much, she opened then leaned out the window. There was no one visible except for Katie. She shouted, "Um, what are you doing?"
Katies eyes flew up and locked with the puzzled electricians. She gathered her dignity around her and walked towards the window, tossing her head haughtily as she approached opened window. "I was just pretending to talk to someone, it makes Gram feel better."
"Really I was." When Amanda raised her eyebrows, Katie pushed out her lip. "Youd understand if you spent any time around older people. I try to give her everything she wants."
Amanda bobbed her head like she was appeasing a lunatic at the local asylum. "Whatever you say." She grinned and shook her head at the blonde.
Goddess shes a tough nut. Im running out of ammo here. Guess its time for the big guns. "Its not like shes going to be around forever and who does it hurt if I look like a fool in my own back yard? Nobodys here but us."
Amandas grin faded and her shoulders drooped. Who was she to make fun of this woman who was only trying to humor her grandmother? "Um " Amanda scuffed her toe across the floor. "Um, Im sorry. I was just having a little fun. I didnt mean to insult you," she looked up to gaze at her audience, "or your Gram."
Bingo! Now to reel her in. "Its okay. You didnt do any harm and I shouldnt be so sensitive." The women stood staring at one another until their tableau was broken by another screech.
"KATIE, KATIE. HES BACK. GET HIM OFF MY ROOF!"
Perfect timing. "Ive got to get back to her." She waved her hand in the general direction of the circuit breaker box. "Are you about done yet?"
"If you dont have any other problems I am."
"Great, then write up the bill and Ill get a check. Im sure its past time for you to get off."
"Just a minute Gram."
"Im coming. Just give me a minute." Katie stepped through the kitchen door then wandered into the living room absently running her hands through her hair. She muttered under her breath, "Where did I put that checkbook? I know its around here somewhere "
Katie looked down the hallway towards her room pretending to be torn between going to her and staying to find the checkbook. Indecision colored her cheeks and she looked like she might burst into tears at any moment.
Amanda couldnt stand it anymore. The look on Katies face was breaking her heart and making her want to break something on the old woman. Didnt she ever shut up? She said the first thing that popped into her mind. "Hey, Katie how about I go down the hallway and write up the bill in your Grams room while you look for your checkbook. Once you can find it, we can settle up there."
Relief flooded Katies eyes and she flashed a shy smile at the uncomfortable electrician. "If you wouldnt mind, thatd be great. Im sure itll only take me a minute to find my checkbook." She spun in a slow circle as she looked around the living room and mumbled absently. "It has to be around here somewhere."
Amanda backed down the hallway, completely unable to wretch her eyes away from
the beautiful woman in the living room. "Well then, Ill just be back
here with your Gram. Come get me when youve found it."
Bolstered by a wave from the blonde, Amanda inched her way into the bedroom. The elderly woman was just drawing breath to bellow when Amanda made her presence known.
"THERES A MA-" The doppelganger clapped her mouth shut with an audible snap when she saw the electrician sidle into her domain. She smiled a toothless, wicked grin and invited the interloper into her lair. This might be easier than I hoped. "Katie, is that you?"
"No mam. Its me. The electrician." Intending to wipe
the confusion from the womans brow she continued, "Im just waiting
here for Katie to find her checkbook."
The doppelganger decided to have a little fun while Katie stalled for time in the living room. She ran her hands across her hair to tame it then squinted, trying to bring the electrician into focus. "You really a girl?"
Amanda clamped her jaws shut to contain her irritation. She hated it when people questioned her gender. Being an electrician didnt make her less of a woman. She growled between clenched teeth, "Yes Im sure Im a woman. Why would you think Im not? Dont I look like one to you?"
"I cant see very well and your voice is pitched a little low for a woman " She paused after an audible groan from her company. "Plus theres always the fact that you work for Carter and Son. If Im not mistaken, youre no son ." She screwed up her face in thought until inspiration lit up her features. "Ive got it! Youre not the son, youre just an employee."
Amanda quirked her lips at the elderly womans confusion. "Nope. Im the son. My dad just thought no one would call Carter and Daughter. Weird, huh?"
The doppelganger wagged her head slowly in disagreement. "Not so weird. We certainly wouldnt have called for Carter and Daughter." Not that daughter wont be better for my purposes. She opened her mouth in a wide toothless grin that ended abruptly when she whipped her head around to stare at the ceiling. Cradling her head with both hands she whined, "Cant I have any peace? Why wont he stay off my roof?"
Amanda searched the ceiling hoping to find a hint about what the woman was referring to. "Who are you talking about?"
"Angus Mac Og, thats who, hes been capering on my roof for weeks and I want him off!"
Amanda stared at the woman trying to sort our whether she was serious or not. The look on her face was serious and determined. Mrs. McGee obviously believed that someone or something was on her roof. Amanda shuffled her feet, unsure of what to do. Her experience with senior citizens was limited to the repair work she did for Silver Key and the seniors she dealt with there seemed to be in control of their faculties. She wasnt so sure about Mrs. McGee. Maybe I should humor her. She stood there undecided until Mrs. McGee burst into voice again.
"ANGUS! GET OFF MY ROOF!"
Ive gotta do something. I cant just stand here and watch her scream at nothing. Amanda poked her head outside the bedroom door looking for Katie. Where is she? Whys it taking this long to find a stinking checkbook? Unable to think over the ruckus being raised behind her, Amanda decided to take action.
"Look Mrs. McGee, how about I go outside and see if I can get Angus off your roof? Maybe hell leave if I ask him to." Amanda crossed the room to stand before the sliding glass door that led outside. "Ill just step out here and see what I can do."
"Go n-eiri an t-adh leat."
Amanda turned back towards the bed, confused by the old womans words. "What?"
She was stopped again when the old woman scrambled out of bed and dragged a bottle from underneath her mattress.
"Amanda, wait. Have a drink with me for luck." The doppelganger produced two glasses from seemingly thin air and poured a healthy glug into each. She held one out until the electrician crossed back and took it from her hand.
"Sláinte!" The doppelganger brought the glass to her lips and gulped in one long mouthful. She smacked her lips in satisfaction. Upon seeing that Amanda was still cradling her drink in her hand she said, "Drink up. Sláinte!," and mimed knocking back another shot.
This time Amanda followed her lead and swallowed the alcohol so quickly that it brought tears to her eyes. "Whew, thats something. What is that?"
"Irish Whiskey my dear. Have another." She quickly filled both glasses and raised hers in salute. "Sláinte!"
Amanda followed her lead and raised her glass to her lips. "Sláinte!" She coughed as the alcohol burned her throat.
The old woman smiled at the choking electrician then snapped her gaze back
to the ceiling. Amandas eyes followed automatically.
Not finding anything there, Amanda dragged her gaze away from the ceiling and turned back towards the yard. "Guess Id better get out there and get him off the roof, huh?"
"If you think so, dearie. Go n-eiri an t-adh leat." The doppelganger
waved towards the back yard. Ill be right here when you get back.
Amanda stammered. "Oh, okay thanks, I think." She stared at the apple cheeked woman grinning back at her from the confines of the bed then stepped outside the patio door, her head already spinning from the alcohol shed consumed.
Amanda stood in the yard with her hands by her sides unsure of what to do until Mrs. McGees bellow spurred her into action. She stepped smartly forward and directed her words towards the roof.
"Um, Angus " Amanda looked around to make sure she was alone. It was one thing to appease a delusional old lady, it was completely another to make a fool out of herself on the job. Her father would never forgive her if she lost business because of her behavior. She grimaced when she looked up and realized Katie and her grandmother were both standing at the patio doorway watching her. Katies warm smile encouraged her to get on with her business.
Amanda puffed her chest out in an attempt to look imposing. She raised her voice loud enough to be heard by the watching women and yelled, "Um, Angus you need to get off Mrs. McGees roof." She shared a look with Katie before continuing. "She doesnt want you up there and if you dont come down and stay down, Ill come up there and remove you myself!" For effect, she plucked a rock from the ground and heaved it at the roof. "I mean it Angus, get down!" She glared at the roof as if someone was really going to descend from its height.
♦ ♦ ♦
Katie smiled at Amandas antics and stepped out the door to join her in
the backyard. She whispered, "What are you doing and why are you throwing
things onto our roof?" Amandas sudden high color and unhinged jaw nearly
choked her as she suppressed a wild giggle. One down, two to go. Did you hear
"I um I " Amanda stared openmouthed at the woman on the deck. Shed been caught talking to herself in the backyard so she stammered, "I I was just trying to help your Gram out." She cringed at Katies amused smirk. "You said it made her feel better and I-"
"Nevermind," Katie said as she waved her hand at the roof. "Im sure whomever you were yelling at was suitably frightened." She grinned to reassure the fidgeting electrician, then stepped out of her shoes and onto her grass. Wiggling her toes in the plush turf she moaned, "This is absolutely delicious. Youve got to try it."
Amanda gazed down at the womans wiggling toes and immediately dropped to the ground to remove her clunky boots. Perfect every one. What I wouldnt give to give each of those a- Her rambling thoughts were interrupted by the sudden swell of pipes and harps. "What the heck is that?"
Katie looked towards her the patio doorway and grinned when her doppelganger gave her a thumbs up. "Thats Rita Connolly. Gram likes to listen to her every now and again. Isnt it pretty?" She swayed gently to the music and tipped her head to let the moonlight wash the color from her face.
Bewitched by the ethereal beauty swaying beside her, Amandas body tingled with desire and longing. She wanted, no, she needed to hold this woman in the cradle of her arms. Her normal reticence around beautiful woman long forgotten, she bowed to her companion. "Would you like to dance, mlady? Katies delighted grin was all it took for Amanda to sweep her into her arms and waltz her around the backyard under the light of the full moon.
♦ ♦ ♦
While the two women waltzed in the moonlight, Katies doppelganger tried to contain her glee. Theyd met two of the three conditions, only one more, then 100 years of youth would be theirs for the taking. The best part was that she genuinely liked the electrician, and it seemed like the electrician genuinely liked her them - whoever. The doppelganger shook her head in mild confusion then turned and spoke to the empty air. "Are you satisfied yet Angus? Looks like were going to win so maybe you should concede now. Weve met two of the three conditions."
Angus reappeared in a huff. "Things arent looking too good for me its true, but you still have one condition left. Howre you planning to get that woman to stay overnight?"
"A good meal and a few more drinks. That girl looks like she hasnt eaten anything decent in weeks."
"You cant get her drunk! Thats not what I intended when I suggested this bet."
The doppelganger soothed the angry god. "Now Angus, you cant change the rules now. You only said she had to stay. You didnt say why."
"Youre a cheat, Katie McGee. Its a wonder I still want to marry you." The god tugged his beard, angry that he was on the verge of losing.
"Too bad Angus. Now off with you. Weve got to wrap this up."
♦ ♦ ♦
Amanda thought shed died and gone to heaven as she waltzed her companion around the yard. Shed never done anything as crazy or romantic before and she realized that shed gladly do it all again. Just for the chance to cradle this woman in her arms.
♦ ♦ ♦
Katie was also floating, blithely enjoying her impromptu waltz. She tucked her head under the electricians chin and snuggled deeper into her arms. "Amanda, this is divine. Whered you learn to dance so well?"
Amused by her partners dreamy voice, Amanda snorted, "My dad taught me when I told him " She hesitated, unsure of the reception shed receive after her admission.
Katie tipped her chin up, curious about why Amanda had paused. She smiled to encourage her to continue.
"Well, he he taught me when I told him I was a lesbian. He says good dancing is a direct route to every womans heart."
Nodding her head in agreement Katie said, "Your dad sounds like an interesting man, maybe I could meet him some day."
Katie tightened her grip and assured, "Really, but right now Im starving. Would you like to stay for dinner? I can cook."
Amanda stammered, "Yes. I mean no. I mean, I mean Id like to but I-"
Katie dragged the flustered woman to a halt fearing that a refusal would completely dash her chances. She asked again, this time putting her heart into her words. "Please stay, it wont be any trouble and Id like to thank you for being so kind to my Gram."
"Yes, really. Id also like the chance to spend more time with you."
"Then youll stay?"
Nodding slowly, Amanda acceded to Katies request. She didnt have anything better to do tonight and a home cooked meal would be nice. LizBeth had cooked the last one shed eaten and that had been before shed left.
Katie jumped up and down and clapped her hands together, happy that shed won this concession. She spoke quickly. "Is spaghetti okay? Its quick and not too much trouble if thats what youre worried about."
"Sure spaghettis fine. Lead on." Amanda bowed once again and swept her arm towards the kitchen door. "Where you lead, I will follow."
Katie grasped the electricians hand and dragged her towards the house already planning how shed spend the first few years of her renewed youth.
♦ ♦ ♦
Their dinner was lively, filled with tall tales and raucous laughter. Katie tried to refill Amandas glass, but after the first glass of wine, the electrician asked for water. "Twos my limit Katie. I cant drink any more." Seeing Katies pout, Amanda continued, "Its another rule I learned from my dad. I already had two whiskeys with your Gram so the wine put me over my limit. Sorry."
Katie stuck her bottom lip out, if she couldnt get Amanda drunk, shed have to resort to other, less scrupulous means to make her spend the night. Shed enjoyed the womans company and couldnt remember the last time shed had as much fun with someone from the mundane world, but the thought of losing the bet tied her guts in knots.
Forced to regroup, she tried another approach. "Okay then, no more alcohol. How about if we just talk?" Lets go sit someplace more comfortable.
Amanda nodded her agreement and walked past her discarded tool belt into the living room. She sat where Katie indicated and flicked her eyes around the room watching Katie as she lit candles and turned on some soft jazz.
Amanda nodded and fidgeted, anxious about overstaying her welcome and worried that Katie might want more than she could deliver. She sat silently chewing her lip until Katie moved behind her and started massaging her broad shoulders.
Amandas head dropped to her chest and her eyes drooped to half mast. Katies hands were magical and it had been a long, very strange day. She melted when Katies hands kneaded her lower back, but started to full attention when Katie asked if she wanted to remove her shirt.
"Hmm?" She dug her thumbs into the muscles along Amandas spine, drawing an involuntary moan from the woman slumped under her hands.
Amanda sat up then moved away from Katies roving hands. She couldnt think when Katie touched her that intimately. "Um, maybe I should be getting out of your hair. Its late and I need to get the truck back to work."
Realizing that her hopes for youth would walk out the door with Amanda, Katie tried the direct approach hoping to appeal to the womans ego. "I really like you Amanda and Id like it if we could spend more time together. Cant you stay?"
Amanda eased out from under Katies skilled hands and gathered her supplies. Spending the night with this magnificent woman would be wonderful, but she wanted more than just one night. She wanted a lifetime. "Id like to see more of you too " she flushed when Katie cocked an eyebrow at her unintended double entrée, " but I really think I should head home now. Maybe we could get together some other time? When youre not a customer?"
Katie scrubbed her face with her hands. She couldnt let this woman get away, no matter what. She raised her hands to her blouse and slowly eased the first few buttons open. Dropping her voice to its lowest register she said, "Id really like it if youd stay. Maybe we could-"
Amandas heart leapt in her chest. She crossed the room and placed her sweaty palm over Katies hand, stopping her from exposing more of her creamy cleavage. Her voice cracked when she said, "Um, Katie. Thanks. But Im not that kind of girl and I dont think you are either. Please dont."
Katies shoulders drooped as she resigned herself to one hundred years with Angus. There was no way shed be able to coerce this woman into staying with her short of knocking her over her head. The sad thing was that she really did want to spend more time getting to know her. Katie re-buttoned her blouse then moved around extinguishing the flickering candles. "Youre right. Im not and Im sorry. I just dont know what got into me." Tears dripped down her cheeks as she made her confession. She pulled a check out of her jeans pocket and pressed it into Amandas hand. "Heres your money. Thanks for everything youve done here today." Her voice broke when she added, "I mean it. Thanks for everything."
Amanda shifted her weight from foot to foot hating the fact that shed upset the woman. "Please dont cry. I cant stand it when people cry." She pulled a crumpled tissue from her shirt pocket and offered it to the teary blonde.
Sniffing back her tears Katie said, "Thanks. Youre really nice, you know that dont you?"
Katies spine stiffened when she declared, "You are, and dont let anyone tell you otherwise." Realizing that shed made the electrician uncomfortable she said, "Go on. Ill be okay. Its alright if you leave."
Amanda heaved a relieved sigh, she didnt feel good about upsetting her new friend, but she wanted desperately to see her again. "Um, Katie. What would be the chances of getting together again? Like maybe tomorrow?"
"Yeah, can I give you a call? Ive got your number in my receipt book."
"Tomorrow." Katie shrugged her shoulders. "Sure, why not? Ill be here waiting for your call."
Katie smiled through her lingering tears, "Yes, really."
"Great!" Amandas hands twitched, rising towards Katie, then halting in mid-motion. She gathered her confidence then stepped towards the blonde. "Would it be alright if I hugged you?"
Katie stepped into the electricians open arms and basked in the comfort she found there. The women stood silently rocking, reluctant to part, but knowing their time together had to end. Katie dried the last of her tears on Amandas shirt then stood on her toes to place a tender, heartfelt kiss on the electricians slightly parted lips. Breaking the kiss she murmured, "Good night, Amanda. Thanks again for everything."
Amanda pressed her fingertips to her lips, dazed by everything that had happened during this strange encounter. She pushed the screen door open and backed away, trying to keep the blonde in her sights for as long as possible.
Katie pressed her forehead to the doorframe. She knew that Angus was nearby and had witnessed her failure. When Amandas van coughed then rolled away from the curb, she wrapped her arms around herself for comfort. One hundred years was a very long time.
♦ ♦ ♦
Katie raised her head when she heard muffled footfalls in the room behind her. She turned, realizing that the magic had fallen away and shed resumed her elderly aspect. She fully expected Angus to taunt her for her failure but was surprised at the compassion she heard in his voice.
"Yes, she did." Katies eyes filled with tears that slowly trickled into the corners of her mouth.
"You could have forced her to stay."
She nodded slowly, confused by the conversation. "I could have, but it wouldnt have been right. I didnt want to win that way."
"You liked her."
Katie offered a watery smile. "Very much. Shes the sweetest, most honorable human Ive met in years I would have liked to get a chance to really know her."
Angus shook his head, amazed that shed traded her unfettered youth for Amandas honor. "Im surprised that youd give up so easily. I thought you had more spunk than that."
Katie raised her chin in defiance, her green eyes crackling with heat. "I didnt give up - I just ." Amandas gentle smile filled her minds eye and she whispered reverently. "I just decided that the time I spent with her tonight would be enough to see me through 100 years of marriage to you."
Angus cocked his head. "Would marrying me be that bad? I could give you everything."
"I know you wont understand, but I think I just want her. I think that would finally be enough."
The god shook his shaggy head in disbelief. "I never thought Id see the day when my Katie finally fell in love. Its a shame that it wasnt with me though."
Hearing an odd note in his voice, Katies heart quickened. "What do you mean? Dont you want me to marry you?"
"Katie, Katie, Katie. Im the god of youth, beauty, and love. I cant deny it when it rears its head."
"You love that girl. Or you might if given enough time. I cant stand in the way of that."
Katie nodded absently and knelt before the god, ready to embrace her fate. She said, "Its too late for that now, and I lost the bet. Lets just get on with it. Im ready for whatever you want to do."
The god stepped forward and placed his palm on the crown of the elderly womans head. "As you wish, my dear. As you wish."
Katie McGee groaned when she was dragged up from sleep by loud pounding on her front door. She rolled over, burying her head under her pillow, hoping that theyd go away, but sat up when the noise became more insistent. She eased herself out of bed, then shuffled barefoot to the front door. "Who is it?"
"Its me. Amanda. Are you alright?"
Katie squeaked, "Amanda?"
"Yes, Amanda. I called all day yesterday and you never answered the phone. I wanted to see if you were okay. Can I come in?"
"Just a minute. I need to put something on." Katie stumbled back to her bedroom in a daze, confused about why she was still in this house and not off somewhere with Angus, consorting with the other gods and their wives. She shuffled to a mirror and raised her hand to her face when she saw the note that Angus had left for her. Go maire sibh bhur saol nua. Enjoy your new future. Katie ran her hands across her breasts and cradled them with the palms of her hands. She stared at her body that was lush and flushed with the vigor and resilience of her long lost youth and said, "I cant believe he did this." With tears in her eyes she whispered to the empty air, "Angus, wherever you are, I might learn to love you after all. Just give me some time to practice with Amanda." Not hearing anything other than the pounding beat of her heart, she ran to the door to admit her future.
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