Avery Stevens Maintenance Wizard.

by: pat winterburn


Disclaimers: This is a fictional story. The only thing that is real is the City of Toronto. It involves two women in a loving relationship. If this type of story doesn't appeal to you, may I suggest Dr. Seuss?

Only other piece of information I can give you is R.C.M.P. stands for Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


"Avery Stevens."

"Good morning sweet thing."

The voice on the other end of the phone was purring in delight and Avery could envision the caller sitting back in her leather chair, twirling a pencil in her dark coloured hair, smiling with contentment like a cat that had just captured a mouse.

"Hi Alice, and good morning to you." Avery smirked recalling her evening with the Administrative Assistant. " Anything I can do for you this morning?"

Alice Conroy was, indeed, sitting back in her leather office chair twirling her dark hair with a pencil. Her face was filled with contentment and her heart pounding as she heard Avery's voice and envisioned their love making from last night. Her blue eyes darkened with a vision of lust in her mind. She crossed her long legs tightly to keep her libido in check.

Alice just giggled for a moment into Avery's ear. "No, I'm quite satisfied in that department thank you, but I have a burned out light in my office and wondered it you could come up and replace it?" Oh, Peter's in this morning, so behave yourself when you do get here."

Avery checked her schedule. "I'll be up in a half an hour. Mrs. Lucas plugged the toilet up again and I need to plunge it. See you then, and thanks for the warning about Peter."

Avery hung up the phone in her office and briefly wondered what she should take with her to unplug the toilet. The last time Mrs. Lucas must have eaten an entire buffet by her self and Avery almost died from the odor. She had never seen so much shit in her life and prayed this wasn't the case again.

She grabbed her tool kit, a florescent light for Alice's office, and headed out to the elevator. Another day on the job of Avery fix this and Avery fix that. Thankfully the building's management company paid her well, and the free room and board helped too.

Avery leaned back against the elevator on her way up to the 10th floor. The building she was in charge of was smaller than most skyscrapers in Toronto, but older and required a lot of maintenance. When she had arrived from Edmonton she had carried one suitcase and her toolbox and had no place to live just this job. At first she started sleeping on the various couches throughout the building and showering in whatever executive's office was available. She had found a nice sized empty room on the top floor of the building, and as she worked there longer, it became home. She installed a complete bathroom from toilets, sinks and a tub shower combination she had replaced from other offices. Avery had also found enough carpeting to lie down wall to wall, and filled her new apartment with leather furniture when Burke and Associates had redone their office. She had installed a kitchen, built a bedroom off to the one end, and finally had her own home that was the size of a two-bedroom apartment. For free as no one knew it existed. She had even installed a phone that would ring from her office in the basement so she could answer it during the day, or let it roll over to the answering machine.

When the elevator stopped she got out leery of what she'd find in Mrs. Lucas' toilet. She stopped for a moment and took out her palm pilot. That reminds me,

I need to pick up some kitty litter.

Avery had found a mother cat with a litter of kittens behind the trash bin last spring. It had been cool that day and she heard the meowing of tiny voices. The mother cat was very thin and a little rough looking. The babies were obviously hungry and cold. She went into the back storage room, got a box and brought the mother and babies into the furnace room. She went up stairs, found a can of tuna, fed it to the mother, put down a water dish and from then on the cat claimed her as her human. Avery had named her Lucky, and when the kittens were ready to be weaned, she found homes for them from the worker's in the building. So Lucky stayed and ended up being the official mouse catcher of the building.

Avery finally braved herself and entered Mrs. Lucas' office. She smiled at the woman and headed for the washroom. The smell hit her before she even opened the door. Good God, Avery thought, what does this woman eat?

True to her word, Avery showed up thirty minutes later with the light for Alice's office. Alice smiled sweetly at her, but pointed to her boss's office. He was in today and that meant Avery and Alice had to behave. No flirting, no groping, and no having sex on Peter's desk. If that poor man ever knew how many times Avery and Alice had done it on his desk he would have a coronary.

Alice made her a coffee, handed her a Danish, pinched Avery's butt and went back to her desk as Avery got the step stool out of the photocopier room. Avery shook her head and scowled at Alice for the pinch, but Alice just grinned and went back to work. Shades of another evening to come Avery thought, and grinned back.

It was already five o'clock and Avery was ready to close up her office when Vito, the cleaner, walked in.

"Avery", his Italian accent heavy. "The machine, she no a work. You fix, I need for tonight."

Avery hung her head. Jesus she thought, why do I even bother to try and get out of here at night.

"Sure Vito, bring it over here."

Avery had the machine apart in minutes finding a loose wire. She clipped it together with its counterpart, wrapped it in black electrical tape, put it back together for Vito and he was on his way. She knew tomorrow he would bring her some of his wife's cooking, and hoped it would be lasagne. No matter what that woman cooked, it would melt in your mouth, and Avery never minded doing Vito a favour. He and his crew were hard workers and the building was always clean. Rarely was there ever a complaint, which made Avery's life a lot easier.

As she made her way up to her apartment Avery was looking forward to a quiet evening. On her lunch break she had rented a video, and just wanted to chill out tonight and go to bed early. Last night's adventure with Alice had left her little time for sleeping.

While Avery watched the movie and started to fall asleep on the couch she had no idea of the trouble that was happening below her. On the seventh floor of the building two men and one of the employees of the Almherst Financial Co-op were exchanging money and drugs. One of the men was an undercover agent for the R.C.M.P. He was part of the set up to find out who was laundering the drug money. They already had this one employee, but needed the top man.

Sometimes people are in the wrong place at the wrong time and tomorrow night would be the night.


"Avery Stevens."

"Yes, I'm looking for Avery Stevens. " The male voice on the other end sounded frustrated and annoyed.

Avery thought to her self, is this guy deaf or what? I just answered the phone stating my name.

"This is Avery, can I help you?"

"You're a woman?" The male caller replied.

"Last time I looked which was this morning." Avery was now getting a little cranky with this idiot.

"This is Mr. Barrett, from Barrett and Gomerly on the 9th floor."

Avery rolled her eyes and envisioned her caller. He was a pompous ass, tall with greying hair and brown eyes, and always dressed in expensive designer suits and shoes. She had said hello to him one day in the elevator and he had ignored her as if she was invisible.

Mr. Barrett went on to explain how their refrigerator had quit working last night. There was water on the floor and she was needed to come clean up the mess and fix the frig.

Avery sat back and gloated. She was flipping a coin from her pocket. Should she fix the frig or not?

"Does the frig belong to your company, Mr. Barrett, or does it belong to the building?" Avery was hoping for the first answer.

"What does it matter", the irritated man shouted. "Just get up here and fix the damn thing!"

Avery smiled. "Mr. Barrett if the frig belongs to your company, then you have to get in a private repair company. But I will come up this morning and mop up the water."

Now Avery knew she could have taken a look at his frig, but thought maybe next time this guy will be a little bit nicer to her. Just because she worked in maintenance didn't mean she was any less of a person than the big shot Mr. Barrett thought himself to be.

Mr. Barrett slammed down the phone in frustration and Avery sat back pleased with herself.

Later on in the afternoon, Avery got a call from one of the employees from Almherst Financial Co-op. The staff was complaining about the air conditioning not working and that the offices were too hot. After lunch Avery went into the office and checked out the thermostat. It was set for 23c or 72o on the old Fahrenheit scale, but it was a lot hotter. Avery pulled out a small thermometer from her toolbox and propped it up on the ledge. She took apart the temperature control box while she waited. All the wires seemed to be all right. She checked to see if the electrical current was getting through and then replaced the cover. Within moments the thermometer read 27c and she knew it had to be the unit in the ceiling. This building had numerous units throughout the building that had been installed years ago to help with the cooling. The ones on the rooftop couldn't keep the whole building cool enough and secondary units had been installed in various sections throughout the building.

So Avery had no other choice but to get her ladder, remove a ceiling tile, and check out the unit.

Avery stood there with her ladder. Where in the hell would that auxiliary unit be she thought? She placed her ladder in the middle of the office floor, adjusted its height and climbed up. She removed the ceiling tile, climbed higher and shone her flash light around. "Crap!" She cursed. Her light flashed on the unit that was located above the kitchenette. "Great," she muttered to herself, "These jerks will be climbing over my ladder to get at the coffee. I'll be lucky not to end up on my ass."

So Avery climbed back down, replaced the tile and went into the kitchenette. She repeated the process and had finally reached the unit when someone bumped into her ladder. Avery lost her balance, and if she hadn't of grabbed on to the side of the unit she would have ended up crashing through the ceiling tiles. "You stupid asshole," she screamed, "I almost fell."

"What are you doing in here? The man yelled back up to her. The coffee machine is in here."

"Dope," Avery yelled back down, "this is where the unit is."

The man cursed her and then left with his coffee.

Avery was still muttering under her breath as she pulled off the unit's cover. Dust, dust and more dust. Yuck she thought and then sneezed. No wonder this thing quit working.

She took out a small broom and removed the dust. Then she checked to see if any electrical current was still running into the machine. Finding everything in order, she took out her trusty can of WD-40 and sprayed around the fan. She hit the re-set button and leaned back. Within seconds the unit sprang back to life with minimal amounts of lubricant spraying everywhere. Avery stood there for a moment more to make sure the machine kept running, and then climbed back down.

Her cell phone started to ring.

"Avery Stevens."

"Hey there, my stud, where are you?"

It was Alice and Avery couldn't help but smile when she had heard her voice. Alice had been the first person to actually smile and talk to her when she had started this job. She had offered her coffees with Danishes, muffins or bagels. What ever Alice had picked up that morning for herself and Peter, she got one for Avery as well. She had offered Avery help in locating the different offices in the building, and had made up the flyers about the kittens. Theirs was an odd relationship, Avery thought. There was a physical attraction that had grown over the months, but Avery felt the warmth of friendship from Alice as well. So it didn't surprise her when Alice finally mentioned this.

"We're going out for dinner tonight to that new Greek place that just opened up and you're buying." Alice announced.

Avery laughed and surrendered peacefully. "Anything you want gorgeous, just name the time."

"How about 5:30," Alice replied, "and clean up nicely ok?"

With that Alice hung up leaving Avery glowing. After all these months of just play and sex, they were going on their first date. She smiled and hung her cell phone on her belt. A sudden look of horror hit her. "What am I going to wear?" Avery chuckled to herself at the age-old question that plagues women everywhere.

At 5 o'clock Avery stopped at Alice's office. She took a second to admire the dark haired woman who sat behind the desk. Alice was indeed very good looking and Avery wondered if she had any other lovers in her life. Their friendship, if you could call it that, had been strictly about sex. They had never discussed friends or family. Avery knew every inch of Alice's body, and yet knew nothing about the woman herself. Perhaps dinner tonight would change that she thought, and then smiled when the pair of blue eyes glanced up her way returning the smile.

"Hi Avery." Alice's eyes seemed to roam over Avery's body and then looked questioningly at her.

"Hi your self beautiful, I'm just going to shower and change. I'll be back to pick you up in a half hour."

Avery turned and left leaving a question mark on Alice's face. She had already shut down her computer and put the last of the paper work away locking it in her desk. Shower, change and be back in a half an hour Alice thought? Where does she live in order to do that in Toronto?

Alice grabbed her purse and locked the office door behind her. She didn't mean to spy on Avery but her curiosity got the better of her. She had been in Avery's office in the basement numerous times and couldn't recall a shower or anything down there. Even in the cleaner's office and storage room there was nothing. She walked around to the elevator as the door closed. She watched as it rose to the top floor of the building and wondered "what!" She had never been up there, and hit the elevator button, watching it return to her floor. She pushed the button for the top floor, but it wouldn't respond. "Dammit, I need a fireman's key." Alice said to the four walls. Instead she hit the 24 button and waited as the elevator rose. The door opened and Alice walked out and down the hall to the stairwell and opened the door. She took out her master key for the building and tried it in the lock. She didn't want to get trapped. With her luck no one would find her until the morning. Satisfied she wouldn't be locked between floors Alice took the stairs up to the 25th floor. She used her master key and the door opened. This was one part of the building she had never been to before and was curious as to what was up here. Each door seemed to be labelled with different names; electrical room, storage room, and some had no names on them. Finally she came to one room and heard the faint sound of music coming from behind the door. She spotted the extra lock on the door and wondered why it would be there. Slowly she inserted her master key into the lock and the door opened. The other lock hadn't been used. When she opened the door she called out "hello" to no reply. As she opened the door further her eyes were surprised by what she saw. The apartment was beautiful. Alice walked in closing the door behind her. A black and white cat came running up to her and greeted her. "You're Lucky aren't you, sweetie?" As Alice petted the purring feline she started to look around. The carpeting, furniture and lighting fixtures were all familiar to Alice. The only thing she didn't recognize was the picture on the wall. They were shots of the city taken as if someone had been standing outside of a tall building. Alice started putting two and two together and came up with a wet and naked Avery Stevens.

Wow, Alice just stood there quiet as Avery came out of the shower naked except for a towel wrapped around her short blond hair. She softly cleared her throat. Avery turned around, a little startled, but pleased to see her.

"I was wondering when you were going to figure out where I lived." Avery stood there smiling, but then the smile faded.

"You can't tell any one Alice, I shouldn't have done this." Avery went on to explain.

A reassuring smile from Alice greeted Avery. "Don't worry stud, your secret and our secret is safe."

She walked over to Avery and wrapped her arms around the damp, naked body and kissed her. "I think we have a lot to talk about over dinner tonight don't you?"

Avery tried not to look like a deer caught in headlights of what were Alice's eyes, but failed miserably.

The look of hurt came over Alice's face and she went to pull away, but Avery held on tight. "I'm sorry; I'm just a little surprised. I didn't know you felt any thing for me other than a "fuck buddy."

Alice reached down and gave Avery's butt a sound smack. "You idiot, you're not just a fuck buddy; I care about you. In fact I, I," Alice stuttered on the words, "I care about you a lot." Embarrassed, Alice buried her head in Avery's shoulder.

Avery leaned down and whispered into Alice's ear; "I care about you a lot too."

She kissed Alice's cheek and released her hold. "I'm going to get dressed, and take you out for dinner."

With that Avery turned and went into her bedroom.

Alice sat down on the couch and waited. She admired what Avery had done with the apartment, and hoped she could visit here again, soon, she thought, and grinned.

When Avery returned dressed she had chosen a pale yellow dress shirt with a pair of beige coloured chinos. She slipped on a pair of loafers and the two women left the apartment for an evening of dinner and conversation.

The restaurant was crowded, but Alice had made them a reservation for 6 o'clock. The hostess seated them at their table and within moments the waitress came over for their drink order. Avery ordered an Alexander Keith's beer on tap, and Alice ordered a Bloody Caesar. The two women then looked over the menu and decided on the Solvaki dinner. Chicken for Avery and beef for Alice.

"I guess we should talk about today." Avery stared into her beer and awaited Alice's reply.

Alice reached across and took Avery's hand entwining their fingers. "I know every inch of your body," Alice commented, "but I know nothing about your mind or your life. I want that to change."

Alice held her breath. She had known from the beginning that Avery was not looking for a girlfriend. The maintenance wizard that Alice had always referred to Avery as seemed quite happy in their arrangement, and had never asked for any thing from Alice. They shared their bodies with each other and that seemed to be all they had ever wanted from one another. But slowly things started to change, as they would talk to each other more, have the odd lunch break together and Alice always made sure Avery got coffee and breakfast, even if it was on Peter's account. Although their conversations had only been about work or sex tonight would change that.

In fact, Alice and Avery had no idea how much it would change as the evening wore on.

Neither Alice nor Avery could remember eating their dinners although both of them were full. The evening had lasted for three hours and both women took turns in telling the other about their past life.

Alice had been married before, but it hadn't lasted. Her husband had turned out to be a total jerk. Within months he had become abusive and jealous of her position working with Peter. He had accused her of sleeping with him and had started to check up on her at work. It was during an argument the two of them had that Peter came out of his office and tossed David out of the office and called security. He cared for Alice and wasn't going to put up with the nonsense any longer. The woman was his right arm and no one was going to upset her. He helped her secure a lawyer for a divorce, find a new apartment, and even gave her a healthy raise with a new title. Peter was like a father to Alice, and she loved him that way.

Avery had come to Toronto from Edmonton. She had needed to start a new life when her lover had left her for another woman. Her heart had been broken and although Avery's friends had tried to persuade her to stay, she couldn't. Through the Internet she had seen the ad in the Toronto Star newspaper for the maintenance job, applied, and got the interview. She had stayed at a local hostel in the area until she had gotten the job, and then literally moved into the building.

Neither woman discussed their families much. When Avery's had found out she was gay, they had asked her not to come around any more. Alice's folks had thought David was God's gift and blamed Alice for the break up. They felt Alice should have quit her job and started a family like David had wanted. They wouldn't listen to reason when David had lost his job and wouldn't find another one. They felt that Alice had hurt David's pride by earning more money than him. It had been two years since Alice had seen her parents, and she was happy with that. She could only imagine what they would say to her if they ever found out about her relationship with Avery.

After their dinner had ended Avery and Alice walked around downtown Toronto a bit. It had been a warm night and they were full from dinner. They had walked over to the gay district on Church Street. The area was busy with lovers walking and holding hands. The shops were closing down for the night, but the bars were coming alive. By the time they had returned to the office building, Avery had asked Alice to spend the night with her.

Tonight they wanted to make love as a couple. Avery held Alice's hand as they entered the building and walked over to the elevator. The security guard nodded to them and wished them a pleasant evening.

Too bad wishes don't always come true.

Avery asked Alice if she minded if they stopped at the seventh floor for one minute. She just wanted to check the temperature in the office of Almherst Financial. As the two women approached the door the lights were on in the office. Not thinking Avery just assumed the cleaners were in there and opened the door with her key. To their surprise not only were the cleaners in there but other men as well. A gun was pointed at their heads and a voice yelled out. "What the fuck is this, Union Station? Get down on your stomachs now!"

Avery grabbed Alice in a protective hold and the two women quickly did as instructed.

Avery raised her head to see one of Vito's employee's laying on the carpet bleeding. Whatever had happened, the cleaners must have surprised the men and one of them shot him. Then she heard a voice that she hadn't heard in years. She looked over to see the matching brown eyes of her twin brother Richard. He was an R.C.M.P. officer from Edmonton and Avery realized that her dumb ass twin brother must be involved in a "sting" operation and Alice and she were caught in the middle of it. "Shit" Avery swore under her breath. She had hoped that Richard was wired and the cops would be swooping down on the place at any moment. A thought occured to Avery. Richard wasn't armed. If he had of been, surely Richard would have shot the man with the gun. Great Avery thought, we're sitting ducks for this lunatic. Avery pulled Alice a little tighter against her. Why didn't we just go up to my place? We could have been in bed by now making love. But oh no, Stevens, you just had to worry about the temperature. Avery banged her head on the carpet. Idiot she thought.

Alice rolled her head over and looked at Avery. She placed her cheek against Avery's and shivered. She was scared and cold and needed to feel Avery's warm skin against hers. When Avery's fingers started to rub her back Alice felt the calm wash over her and knew Avery would protect her. This was not the ending to the evening that Alice had envisioned, but was a nightmare, and one she hoped she would be able to wake up from.

The man holding the gun was panicking. He was pacing and waving the gun around screaming at the Almherst employee. "You fuck up! Don't you know what time the cleaners come in?"

The Almherst employee had his hands up in the air. I had to see the boss first and he kept me waiting. How the hell do I know what time the cleaners come in here? I'm usually gone by this time." Sweat was started to run down his face and he knew he was in trouble. "Let me call the boss, make some arrangements to get out of here."

"How you dumb fuck? We've got 6 witnesses here that know what's going on." The man wiped his face with a Kleenex from the box that sat in front of him. "And you, you useless bastard, why did you have to take a piss; this is your fault. You were supposed to be on the look out."

Richard Stevens shrugged his shoulders. "I had to take a leak. What did you want me to do?"

Great Avery thought. Thinking about your dick again. She shrugged off the childhood memory of catching Richard and his girlfriend in bed. Yuck, Avery thought. I'll go blind.

For a moment there was silence in the room then the phone rang.

"Hey chickie," the man pointed at Alice, "get that."

Alice shook as she reached up and answered the phone.

"Hello." Her voice nearly broke into tears when the person on the other end identified himself as a Metro Toronto Police officer. He wanted to talk to the person in charge and assured Alice to remain calm, the police were at the scene.

Alice handed the phone to the man with the gun. "It's the Toronto police, seems they want to chat with you."

The building had two security guards that worked at night. One remained at the front desk while the other would patrol the halls. Avery had seen them many times when she was out from her apartment. They always figured Avery had no life and was just there in the building 24/7. While on his rounds he had seen the office lights on and went to check up. To his surprise he had seen the cleaners, Avery and the other woman on the floor, a man waving a gun around , another just standing there and the one employee from Almherst. He moved away from the door and radioed down to his counterpart. "Jake, phone 911. We've got a robbery and hostages up here at Almherst."

When the police had arrived, they had followed the security guard up to the office and witnessed for themselves what was going on. They called for a backup swat team and phoned upstairs to Almherst.

The man with the gun was screaming and yelling. He was threatening to shoot the hostages if the police didn't back off and let him go. It was during this encounter when Richard finally looked over at the two women. The dark haired one was sitting down with the other woman behind her. The familiar blond haired woman had her arms wrapped protectively around the frightened woman. Richard shook his head and smiled. Well of all the gin joints in the world and my sister has to show up here. Well at least she knows how to kick ass, Richard thought and remembered a time or two when Avery had done just that to him.

Avery looked up and caught her brother's eye. She shook her head and smiled. Richard smiled back. A childhood game they used to play on their father came to Richard's mind as he winked at her. Recognition hit Avery and she discreetly nodded back. She didn't know what Richard had in mind, but she knew what the end result would be. Richard walked over to Alice and Avery. "Hey sweet things, how about you and I having a little fun while we're here?" Richard grabbed Alice by the hand and lifted her up. Alice was frightened and looked back at Avery for help. "Let her go." Avery growled as she stood up and brought Alice back towards her.

Richard now moved in front of Avery and shoved Alice behind her. "Oh yea, tough talker, maybe you just want this all for yourself?" Richard grabbed at his crouch and Avery scowled at him. "I'm going to go blind yet, you bastard." Richard laughed and lunged at her. The brother and sister tag team match was on as the man with the gun started to yell at them. "Cut it out you two, you're driving me nuts."

Richard and Avery pushed and shoved each other. They punched at each other and Richard finally put Avery into a headlock. Avery pushed at Richard's body and headed towards the man when each of them shouted. "NOW!" The man with the gun didn't know what hit him as they both tackled him, knocking the gun flying. Avery sat on his chest throwing a couple of good punches as Richard went for the gun. When he retrieved it Richard lifted Avery off the man, announced he was an R.C.M.P. officer and arrested him. Avery got on the phone and called the front desk. "Jake, this is Avery. Have those cops get up here now, and get an ambulance. One of Vito's men has been shot and he's in bad shape.

Alice sat back in a fog and wondered just what the hell had happened. The tears started to fall and Avery picked her up and cuddled her. "I'm sorry honey; believe it or not this moose is my twin brother Richard from Edmonton. He's an R.C.M.P. officer and I'm guessing he was on an undercover assignment.

At that moment Metro' finest burst through the door telling everyone to remain calm. Richard still had the gun pointed at the man and announced he was a police officer. Two uniformed officers came over and took the gun away from Richard. One of them cuffed Richard while the other one cuffed the other man. Richard told the one officer to make sure he cuffed the Almherst employee as well. Avery tried to approach them and tell them that Richard was indeed a cop, but Richard told her it was all right. Everything would be straightened out in an hour.

Vito came into the office and checked to make sure everyone was fine. The paramedics were attending to the shot employee and Vito knelt down to him. In Italian he spoke to him and assured him he would be fine. Vito then went over to Avery and Alice. "Avery, you and your pretty lady, ok?" Both women nodded as a policeman came over. "We'll need your statements. Can you come down to the station with us?" Both women agreed and, with the other cleaners, went down to the station.

It was 2 o'clock in the morning when Avery and Alice returned back to the office building and went directly up to Avery's apartment. Tired and more then a little shaken both women stripped out of their clothes and crawled into Avery's bed. They wrapped themselves in each other's arms and somehow fell asleep.

The next morning was Friday and, fortunately, dress-down day in most of the offices. A lot of employees in the building donated $10.00 a week to a charity of their choice in order to be able to wear jeans and t-shirts to work. Alice was no exception and borrowed a pair of Avery's jeans, boxer shorts and a golf shirt. Even though the clothes were a little big they smelled of Avery and Alice felt warm and protected the rest of the day.

When the news had hit about the drama from last night Avery's and Alice's phones never stopped ringing the whole day with people wanting to know if they were all right. Since Peter was out of town for the weekend Alice finished what work needed to be done, closed the doors at 3 o'clock and set the answering machine on. She headed home for another shower, changed into her own clothes and just "vegged" on the couch for the rest of the evening.

The phone rang and she debated about answering it. She checked the caller ID and smiled when she saw it was Avery's cell phone.

"Hey my big brave defender." Alice answered.

"Hey yourself, I have pizza in one hand and Pepsi in the other. Care for dinner?" Avery asked.

"Get up here." Alice replied and pushed 6 on her phone for the door to open.

Avery set the pizza on the counter and the Pepsi into the frig. She then pulled Alice into a hug and kissed her soundly on the lips. "You ok?" She asked.

Alice breathed in the scent that was Avery and felt that familiar warmth rush over her. "Now I am." Came her reply.

They stood holding each other for the next few minutes and began to realize just how close they came to losing each other last night. Finally Alice drew back. "How's your brother?"

Avery smiled at her. "He's fine and Metro kicked his sorry ass over to the R.C.M.P. We're getting together for dinner tomorrow night and he was hoping you would join us so he could properly meet you."

Alice smiled and said, "Sure, why not? Just don't stop and check on any room temperatures on the way, alright?"

Avery held up two fingers. "Scouts honour, no way."

Avery took the pizza off the counter, Alice got out the Pepsi and the two women sat on the couch and ate while watching the news. When dinner was finished Alice turned off the TV and selected some soft music to listen to. They needed to talk about their relationship, where it was headed, and if in fact, this was what each other wanted.

"I'm scared." Alice had looked into Avery's eyes and wanted to believe that relationships did in fact have happy endings. David's cruelty towards her had made the normally brave woman run gun shy of anything more then casual dating. When she had met Avery there had been something about the woman that Alice had found exciting and caring. She had never been with another woman before, but Avery hadn't promised her anything more than to respect her and make her happy. She hadn't mentioned anything about hostage taking and guns. Alice smiled when she thought back at how protective Avery had been through their ordeal from the other night. Maybe Avery could give her a life and what she needed.

"I'm scared too. This wasn't supposed to happen. I didn't want to start caring again, but I do. All I could think of the other night was how much I did care about you and the feeling I had to protect you." Avery shook her head and smiled. "I think we're both goners on each other and should start tonight and.....

Avery never got to finish her sentence when two lips were upon hers in a kiss that melted her.

When Alice released Avery's lips, she smiled. "I think we should too."

That night in Alice's bedroom, two bodies lay sleeping, arms and limbs wrapped around each other until the morning sun peeked its way in.

Saturday morning was hot and sunny. Avery and Alice decided to go to Ontario Place for the day. They each wore shorts, t-shirts and sandals. Alice had applied sunscreen on her exposed skin; she sun burned easily as did Avery. The two women walked hand in hand throughout the park until they felt hungry. They had a lunch of salad and iced tea at one of the many restaurants in order to have room for a huge ice cream cone while on their way over to the paddle boats. For the next hour the two women peddled in amongst the ducks and seagulls.

"I think the ducks have begun to think we're one of them." Avery commented.

"I think it's because you fed them your cone; you're a cheap meal ticket." Alice replied while poking Avery gently in her side.

Alice checked her watch. "What time are we meeting up with your brother?"

"Seven o'clock, are we running out of time?" Avery asked.

"Depends on whether or not you want to shower and change clothes or meet with him like this?" Alice wasn't sure where they were to meet Richard.

"Knowing him we'll be eating on the patio, so he can deal with us like this." Avery smiled and turned the boat towards the shore. "Let's check out a couple of the rides. Oh, look at that one, with the log." As Avery watched the log fall over the falls she envisioned both of them getting wet t-shirts from the spray. A very nice thought indeed.

By six o'clock Avery and Alice were headed up Church Street to meet her brother. Avery had recommended a restaurant called Zalda's and sure enough when they arrived, Richard was out on the patio with a beer waiting for them.

Matching brown eyes met and Richard stood up to greet his twin sister and her girlfriend. Richard carefully reached out to give his sister a hug. "I know you're probably still angry with me about what happened at home, but please forgive my stupidity and introduce me to this lovely woman of yours."

Avery hugged him back and introduced Alice. A handshake was exchanged between them as the three of them sat down. A waiter came over with menus and took Avery and Alice's drink orders, then left.

The three sat in silence at the table for a moment not knowing what to say.

Finally Alice took matters into her hands and started talking about their day at Ontario Place. It took a bit of persuasion, but finally Avery and Richard started talking and the evening started to look up.

Richard wasn't able to tell them much about the investigation. It was still an on-going affair and he couldn't divulge any information. He did ask how the cleaner was that had been shot, and then went on to ask about Avery and Alice.

"So how long have you two been together?" Richard asked.

Avery almost spit her drink across the table and looked at Alice for some help. Alice merely snickered and looked to Richard. "Well we've been having sex for six months, but this is our second date.

Now it was Richard's turn to almost lose his beer.

Avery just rolled her eyes and thought why me Lord, why me?

Avery decided to change the subject quickly. "Hey Richard, I'm glad you remembered that game we used to play with Dad. That idiot never saw it coming."

Richard laughed. " I have no idea where that memory came from, believe me, but I'm sure glad I thought of it or we were in trouble."

For the rest of their dinner the three sat back, relaxed and talked about childhood memories.

"I'm glad you've found someone else. " Richard commented when Alice left for the washroom. "I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you back home. Mom and Dad would have disowned me too; they were so angry at you."

Avery's lip curled up into a sneer. "Better to have been barefoot, pregnant and on welfare in their eyes, but a lesbian! They made their bed let them lie in it."

Alice returned from the washroom and sat down. She could feel the tension in the air and wondered what the twins had been discussing in the time she had been gone. What ever it was, Alice could see that Avery's smile had disappeared. She placed her hand on Avery's leg and smiled up at her. It took a minute but Avery returned the smile and her face relaxed. Alice squeezed a little bit on Avery's leg and kissed her on the cheek in thanks.

When dinner was over they talked a bit more until Richard announced dinner was on him and he had to get back to his hotel. He had an early flight up to Ottawa in the morning, but when he did return home to Edmonton, he would speak to their parents. "It's time they grew up," he said, "they're missing out on the lives of two beautiful people." Richard gave each woman a hug, kissed Avery's cheek and promised to keep in touch.

As they watched Richard walk around the corner Alice leaned over to Avery. "I like him; he seems very nice. Of course I like you better; in fact, I'd like you better if we ended this evening in some nice dark and cozy bar, drinking cheap beer and dancing."

"Why Miss Alice," Avery spoke in a Southern accent, "I do believe you are trying to get me drunk tonight, dance lewdly with me, and have your way with me later."

Alice stood up, grabbing Avery's hand and headed out of the restaurant. "Yes", was all Avery heard.

They walked down the street and into a bar called The Panther and Fox. It was a new bar that had opened up and already it was crowded. Alice found them a table while Avery went to the bar and brought back two cold beers. They touched the rims of the glasses gently together as Avery made a toast. "To sweet beginnings."

Both women took a sip and looked at each other each hoping it was a new beginning for them and not just for today.

The music was loud and vibrated throughout the bar. The overhead lights were hot as the bodies on the dance floor moved and swayed to the beat. Sweat rolled down from Avery's face and she hoped that after this dance she and Alice could go outside for some cooler air and another beer. When the song had finished Avery took Alice's hand and motioned to the patio, but a slow song came on and Avery found her arms full of Alice and dancing closely with her. The sweat from their bodies mingled together and they swayed together barely listening to Sarah McLachlan.

Alice was slightly taller then Avery and took the lead in this dance. She moved them out to the patio as Avery had wanted. Her purpose though wasn't for cooler air, but to have Avery alone for a moment. She lifted Avery's face up slightly and looked into her dark brown eyes. Gently she leaned in and kissed her lips softly flicking her tongue inside Avery's mouth. It wasn't the evening nor was it the beer Alice thought. I'm falling in love with you, Avery Stevens, and it feels so damn good.

Avery was at a loss as Alice led them dancing outside. The cool air cleared her overheated mind. Damn, I have to stop feeling this way about Alice. I can't fall in love again; it just hurts too much when things go wrong. But Avery abandoned all reason in that one soft kiss of Alice's and let her heart do the talking. Those blue eyes were telling her that I love you Avery Stevens and Avery let her in, knowing she was helpless.

On their way out the door Avery bought two bottles of water and they caught the bus back over Bay Street. Once inside Avery nodded to Harry, the security guard, and the two women went upstairs to Avery's apartment. Lucky met them at the door and Alice took a moment to pet the cat and praise her for her mouse catching efforts, while Avery sighed, cleaned up the dead rodent and gave it a burial in the toilet. She was drying her hands on a towel, when Alice came into the washroom to use the facilities and wash her hands. Avery turned on the shower, stripped and got in. Alice joined her and let the days sweat and the cities grime wash down the drain as they soaped up each other's body and washed their hair. Avery got out of the shower first grabbing a towel for herself and Alice. Once they were dry they headed into the bedroom and climbed in the bed. Avery leaned over and kissed Alice. She didn't know what to expect and just let Alice take the lead. She felt the other woman's hand caressing her breast, her lips working their way down to Avery's nipple.

Alice tucked her leg in between Avery's and felt the wetness that was definitely not from the shower. She looked into Avery's eyes that were tired but filled with desire. "I love you, Avery." She waited to hear if Avery would indeed say the same words back to her. She wasn't disappointed. She listened as Avery told her that she loved and needed her. She wanted to be with her and her alone. "You have me." Alice replied as she kissed her way down Avery's belly; spread her legs wider and feasted on what she could now call hers and hers alone.

They made love until the sun started to peek through the clouds, and finally fell asleep as morning grew brighter.

When Avery finally awoke she was certain of two things. She smelled coffee and bacon and Lucky was sitting on her chest batting her nose.

"Is this a hint, I have to get up?" Avery asked the furry bundle that was now head- butting her.

Avery figured it was, as Lucky jumped off her chest and headed towards the kitchen. She got up, put on a t-shirt and some boxers since her robe was missing.

After using the washroom Avery followed the smells of the kitchen to find Alice had indeed made coffee and was cooking bacon and eggs. She was wearing the missing robe and Avery couldn't help but smile. Oh I could get used to this again, she thought. But then ugly memories surfaced from the time before in Edmonton and Avery frowned.

"What's the matter, don't like my coffee any more?" Alice asked when she saw the smile turn to a frown.

"I'm sorry Alice, bad memory surfaced." Avery tried to make it go away, but it still lingered.

Alice turned down the stove and took Avery's hands. "I'm not going to pressure you in to anything, Avery. I'm not moving in or demanding anything from you. I just realized myself that I love you and haven't a clue how to handle it. You're the first woman I've ever been with and what we had before and what we have now is totally different. Let's just take it one day at a time."

Avery smiled as Alice folded her into a hug. She felt the sting of the smack on her ass. "Hey, what was that for?"

"Because I can't believe I fell in love with you and am cooking you breakfast. It's too domesticated." Alice laughed.

"Well ok Miss Domesticated how's this? I'll set the table."

"Perfect." Replied Alice as she announced breakfast was served.


Monday morning found Avery in her office unpacking some supplies that had been delivered earlier that morning when her office phone rang.

"Avery Stevens."

"Hey brown eyes how are you?" Avery recognized Richard's voice and started to laugh.

"I'm fine; to what do I owe the pleasure of this phone call, since now that you've found me, I can't get rid of you. Avery heard Richard laughing in the background.

"Well one thing I need from you is some skin from your ass." Richard was still smirking on the phone, but Avery could tell this wasn't a joke.

"Richard, you are going to cause me blindness yet. What the hell are you talking about?" Avery gripped the chair arm a little tighter.

"We were involved in a shoot out with our main drug guy. A bullet ricocheted off a steel beam and hit me in the ass. I guess you could say it falls under that old expression, I got carved a new ass hole." Richard was laughing and when he heard Avery start to laugh felt the tension fall away.

"Jesus Richard, only you." Avery joked. "Do you really need a skin graft from me or are you just kidding?"

"Just kidding. He replied. I'm going to have it done tomorrow and just wanted to let you know I'll still be in Ottawa for a few more days before flying home to Edmonton."

"You want me to come up and stay with you?" Avery asked.

"No, that's ok Avery; I'm shipping out to Edmonton on Friday and staying with mom and dad for a week or so, but thanks for the offer." Richard hesitated for a moment then spoke again. "I'm going to talk with them when I get back Avery; maybe if everything works out you and Alice can come out for a week's vacation?"

Avery sat quiet for a second. "We'll see Richard; I won't make any promises and I'd have to check with Alice anyway."

Avery heard someone in the background talking to Richard. "Hey sis, I've got to go for some more tests, but I'll call you when I get back home, ok?"

"Sure Richard, take care and we'll talk later. Good luck."

With that the twins hung up the phone wishing at that moment things had turned out a little different for them. They had been close as kids, and it had hurt them both deeply when their parents had acted the way they did towards Avery. Maybe given time and Richard's talk with them things would change, but right now, in Avery's mind, Toronto was home and Alice was part of that.

With the thought of Alice Avery's stomach started to growl. She looked at her watch and knew her coffee and breakfast pastry would be waiting for her. She couldn't help but wonder where their new relationship was headed, but when she felt the warmth inside of her with just the mere thought of Alice she knew she was in love and welcomed it. Somehow they would bury their pasts and help each other into the future.

The phone rang disrupting Avery's thoughts for a moment.

"Avery Stevens."

"Hello Avery. This is Mrs. Lucas; it seems the toilet has backed up again......................

Avery shook her head and laughed. "Why me God, why me?"

The end for now.

Return to the Academy