Detective Amanda Ellis Part 10 Entitled: "Don't Mess With Texas"

by: pat winterburn

Disclaimers: See part 1.

Shania Twain's Forever and for Always is used without permission.

Thanks Ms. T, for the Texas Long Horn info, and Mary my poor coma and semi colon overworked beta reader.

Feedback as always is welcomed.


Lust. Amanda could see it, smell it, envision it. She had glanced up from her newspaper and cup of coffee at the donut shop and saw the raw passion that her partner and friend Mitchell Blake had in her eyes. It took a moment for Amanda to realize this look was not intended for her. Something or someone had caught Mitchell's eyes and Amanda was curious. Slowly she turned around and saw what had her friend so wound up. Ah, she thought. A familiar shapely rear end was leaning over the counter, trying to get the clerk to pick the donut she wanted. Amanda turned back to watch Mitchell's expression turn into desire as Mitchell licked her dry lips, coffee, long forgotten.

"Mitchell slow down, I can smell you from here." Amanda knew Mitchell wasn't listening but waited for a reply.

"Ya sure Amanda." Mitchell just responded, not knowing or caring what Amanda had said.

Amanda counted. 3....2....1

"I'm sorry Amanda, you said something smells?"

Amanda was ready with a smart come back line, but Deb was approaching the table and what was the sense. Mitchell was lost in a fog; hopelessly in love with this woman and nothing Amanda could say or do would make any difference. Amanda just laughed to her self and knew the feeling.

Mitchell got up from her seat, gave Deb a kiss and a hug, offering her, her own chair while she reached for another one. Mitchell had already given Deb her heart, the chair was just good manners.

"Hi Amanda." Deb reached over and gave Amanda a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Hey!" A voice called from the counter. "You trying to make out with my girl?"

Amanda smiled and turned. "Hi honey, glad you could make it."

"Hey good looking, buy a lady a cup of coffee?" Sandy stood there in her black dress pants and her white shirt. The unruly red hair was tied back with a silver clip, that Amanda had bought for her. Amanda stood, offered Sandy her seat and went to the counter for a coffee for her wife. "Anything to eat?" Amanda asked.

"I have my eye on something, but it will keep until tonight." Sandy smirked as Amanda's face went beet red as Mitchell and Deb laughed.

"Ha ha, very funny. I'll remember you said that when we get home tonight, Dr. Wilson. Amanda returned with a large double double and a cranberry muffin, knowing full well Sandra would eat it.

"So this is unusual, all four of us getting together for a coffee during the day. What's up?" Sandy asked.

"Nothing much. Deb stated. I just wanted to know if the four of us could get together for a quiet coffee and conversation without some disaster happening around us."

The words were no sooner out of Deb's mouth when the sound of screeching tires and a loud bang was heard, just outside the donut shop doors.

Deb dropped her head into her hands. "Guess not." She was heard saying as Mitchell was calling the accident into the station as she, Amanda and Sandy headed out the doors to see if anyone was hurt.

Sandy approached the first car. The woman driver had her head leaning down on her chest and was rubbing her shoulder. The car doors were locked and Amanda was trying to persuade the woman to unlock them. The woman looked up with a dazed expression on her face and saw Amanda's police I.D. through the window. She hit the button on the car door, allowing the door to unlock. Amanda opened the driver's door while Sandy moved in.

"Hi there, my name is Sandra Wilson, I'm a doctor. Are you hurt anywhere?" Sandy asked.

The woman rubbed her shoulder indicating it was sore. At that moment a baby started to cry from the back seat.

"Amanda, get the baby out and check for any damage." Amanda didn't hesitate and did as she was requested.

"Mitchell!" Sandy called. "Take your hands and hold them on either side of her neck, until the ambulance gets here." Sandy indicated a possible whip lash for the driver as she went on to the second car.

The driver was slumped over the steering wheel and had not moved.

Deb sat there for a few moments watching her friends and lover in action. I feel stupid just sitting here she thought. Maybe I can help out. Oh well, what's that phrase, in for a dollar or something?

"Hey Charlie, watch our table, we' ll be back."

Deb went over to Sandy's side as the doctor was checking out the driver of the second vehicle. There was no pulse.

"Dammit!" Cursed Sandy. She looked up to see Deb beside her. "Do you know any CPR?" Sandy asked.

"No, but I'll get Amanda." Deb replied.

"About time you learned." Sandy unhooked the seat belt and motioned for Deb to help her pull the driver across the passenger seat and on to the sidewalk. The two woman pulled his body out, laying him flat on the cement. Sandy checked for any obstructions in his mouth. "All clear." She said. "Here, give me your hands, Deb. Hand over hand on his heart, push down like this. One, two, three, four." When the count was finished. Sandy tilted the man's head back slightly and gave him mouth to mouth. "Again Deb, one, two, three, four." The two women worked on the man trying to bring him back to life, until the ambulance would get there with the equipment needed.

What seemed to take eternity was in fact only a few minutes, as the uniform police had arrived, moving traffic for the ambulance to get through. The two paramedic's arrived quickly as Sandy started shouting instructions to them.

Sandy had sent the one paramedic over to the woman's car with a neck collar for support. Amanda still had the baby in her arms and seemed to feel the child was fine, but waited until the mother was stabilized before allowing the paramedic to check the baby out. Another ambulance was being dispatched and was only a few minutes away.

Deb stood back allowing the paramedic and Sandy room to work. She looked around at the flashing lights and sirens and wondered how a simple cup of coffee between friends could turn out to be a circus. Mitchell came over and hugged her.

"Are you ok?" Mitchell asked.

"Yes I'm fine. Is life with you always going to be this crazy?" Deb asked.

Mitchell just smiled and hugged her tighter. "When you hang around with Amanda and Sandy, life is anything but boring." Mitchell peered into Deb's eyes and looked for any signs of rejection, but there were none. Just love, admiration and desire.

" Well then, Deb hugged her back, I think you'd better marry me Mitchell Blake, cause this life with you rocks."


Amanda and Kevin were the first ones home. Whiskey did her usual dance as Kevin and the dog went outside to play ball. Amanda went to the lock box located on the entertainment unit and safely stored her gun. She had questioned her judgment numerous times about bringing the gun home, especially since their adoption of Kevin. She could store it at the station, but then it meant having to go in there every morning. She and Sandy had spoken to Kevin about the gun and that it was very dangerous. He should never touch it and the little boy had assured them that he wouldn't. It had been the one issue with the Children's Aid people that they still kept questioning Amanda about. Amanda sighed. I guess they're just doing their job, but there are so many kids out there who really need help. Her thoughts were disrupted when she heard Sandy's car and knew her lover was home.

Sandy walked in the door and spotted Amanda. "Hi, I'm starving. What's for dinner?"

Amanda grinned and sauntered over to Sandy. "I seem to recall you had your eyes on something earlier on."

Now it was Sandy's turn to blush and she gave Amanda a swat. "You are such a tramp, Amanda."

Amanda pointed to her chest and pretended to be crushed. "Me? I'm hurt Sandy."

"Feed me woman, I didn't get any lunch or my muffin today." Sandy turned and started to head upstairs to change.

"Did that guy make it Sandy?" Amanda called out.

"No." Sandy just kept walking and said nothing else.

Amanda could tell her lover was upset. Sandy hated loosing a patient. Amanda remembered how Sandy had called her that night from New York and had cried on the phone for an hour, as Amanda tried her best to comfort her friend. It was the first time Sandy had lost a patient and Amanda to this day had regretted not getting on a plane, flying to New York and bringing Sandy home to her. But it wasn't meant to be. The Fates had other plans in store, and it took years more to finally bring them home to each other.

Amanda went to the phone, dialed the familiar number, ordered the usual in Chinese food, cracked open two beers and headed upstairs. A hug and some reassurance later, the two women came back down stairs to spend some time with their son.

Mitchell and Deb had finished washing the dishes from their evening meal and sat down to relax and enjoy some t.v. for the evening, when the phone rang.

Deb reached over and answered it.


"Oh is this you Donna?" The familiar voice of Mitchell's mother was on the other end of the line.

"Hi Mrs. Blake, it's Deb, (for the hundredth time) would you like to speak with Mitchell?"

"Yes thank you dear." Mrs. Sarah Blake replied.

"Hi Mom, how are you doing?" Mitchell was always happy to hear from her mother. Although she still had to figure out a way to get her mother to stop calling Deb, Donna.

"Your father and I have decided you've been away to long Mitchell, and we want you to come home for a few weeks." Mitchell's mother never had any problem getting to the point. "You can bring Donna with you, if you want to and maybe your other two friends, if they would like to come.

"Mom, her name is Deb. Deb Tyler. Where do you keep getting Donna from?" Mitchell was very patient with her mother. Sarah Blake was terrible with names and rarely even remembered Amanda's. "Yes, I know it's been awhile. I suppose it's because Daddy needs help with the cattle herd?"

"Well dear, no one can rope one of those smelly cows better then you, and yes it was suggested." Sarah Blake quickly changed the subject. "How is that partner of yours? Mandy isn't it?"

Mitchell just rolled her eyes and knew this was going to be one of "those" conversations with her mother.

When Mitchell had finished talking with her mother, she had agreed to ask Deb, Sandy and Amanda. Heck, two weeks on a cattle ranch, roping steers, horse back riding, sunshine and barn chores. She missed home sometimes. A couple of weeks of mom's cooking and fresh air. It would be fun and relaxing, right?


"Oh come on honey, at some point you will have to meet my parents." Mitchell batted her blue eyes at Deb, who was starting to cave in with her feelings. "Besides, if Amanda, Sandy and Kevin go with us, it will be a nice vacation for all of us. I promise. You make it sound like we're cursed with bad luck or something? Stuff just happens."

"Honey, we can't even have a simple cup of coffee together without all hell breaking loose. Remember this afternoon?" Deb knew this was just a cheap excuse, but she was really nervous about meeting Mitchell's parents; and besides, what if Mitchell's parents find out about my past, she thought? An ex-hooker for a daughter-in-law. That would go over well. Not!

Mitchell could see the troubled look in her lover's eyes. She reached over to bring Deb into a hug, kissing her lips, and promising she would talk to Amanda tomorrow morning first thing.


"But Amanda, you'll like the ranch, it will be fun for Kevin and I'm sure Sandy will enjoy it as well." Mitchell pleaded with her partner to go with her and Deb for this trip.

"Mitchell, I am not spending two weeks of my vacation time, getting a sore ass from horse back riding all day, moving smelly cattle from one grazing field to another." Amanda hadn't ridden a horse in years and was not about to re-learn.

"We have a pool, my Mom's a great cook, and they will love having Kevin around." Mitchell laid her head on Amanda's shoulder, and batted her baby blues at her best friend. This method had worked before when talking Amanda into something, hopefully it would work again.

Amanda growled. "Dammit Mitchell, you are a pain. Alright, I will talk to Sandy and see what she says." Amanda was just envisioning the saddle sore legs and butt she would have, and then grinned at the thought of Sandy helping her to relieve the soreness.

"Texas! You want to go to Texas for two weeks with Mitchell and Deb?" Sandy was half undressed getting ready for bed, when Amanda had approached the subject.

"Well, it would be fun, I guess. I haven't been riding since I left New York. Sandy was pondering the idea. What about Kevin? Do your think he will like it, and what will we do with Whiskey?"

"I'm sure he will like the horses and learning how to ride, and as for Whiskey, I'm not leaving her in a kennel. When we book the flight, I will list her as a police dog, and she will get special privileges, and sit on the plane with us. Besides, Amanda was still commenting, Mitchell and I will be carrying our weapons, and will have to inform the airlines."

Sandy sighed. "Can't you two ever leave your toys at home?"

"Nope, were we go, the toys go." As Amanda climbed into bed she flashed her lover a big grin, with the intent of a double meaning.

"Amanda, you are such a tramp."


The four women had no problem in booking the vacation time off from work, and Kevin was excited about going to see the horses. Amanda had asked the Captain for a police dog vest, and hoped the airline didn't request to see Whiskey's police I.D. She could have "borrowed" one, but could get into enough trouble as it was. Why push it she thought. A sinister grin came over her face as she slipped the I.D. into her jacket pocket. I'm just borrowing it, I'll return it.


"A one piece bathing suit? Why on earth do you want a one piece bathing suit?"

Amanda asked her partner as they were headed for the mall.

"Because of my scar, Amanda. If mom sees this again she'll freak. It was bad enough those two weeks she stayed at the apartment with me. Every day she kept at me about giving up my life here and returning home. I still think she believes my being gay is just a phase, and some day I get married and have a little brood of kids."

Amanda laughed as she and Mitchell entered into the mall. "Ok one sexy Speedo, coming up."

The sports store was fairly quiet and Mitchell was trying on a nice blue swim suit that matched her eyes. "Well, what do you think, Amanda?"

"I think you should have brought Deb with you. I hate shopping. It covers your ass and the scar, what else is it suppose to do?"

"Amanda, you're useless, does it make me look fat?" Mitchell was judging the look of her body in the suit and couldn't decide which of the two she had picked out looked better on her.

Amanda looked at her partner and rolled her eyes. "No you don't look fat in it."

"Which one should I get?" Mitchell asked her.

"Get both, and let's get out of here. I need a coffee ."

Mitchell gave up and decided next time to take Deb or Sandy with her. She took both suits to the clerk, paid for them, and followed Amanda to the nearest coffee shop.

As the two women were sitting drink their coffees, Mitchell reminded Amanda about cowboy boots. "When we get to Texas, you will all need to get cowboy boots and a hat. It gets hot out there driving cattle and you'll need to protect your head from sun stroke."

Amanda grinned. "New boots and a hat, hey how about new guns to match, now that's shopping."

"Amanda that's not exactly shopping. Shopping is buying clothes and groceries."

Mitchell looked over at her partner to see a little sheepish grin appear on her face.

"Um, Sandy makes out a list, and Kevin and I go out and get it. Plus Sandy takes Kevin out for clothes and usually picks me up something as well."

"You're telling me that Sandy buys your clothes?" Mitchell raised one eyebrow at this new and incriminating piece of information.

"Yes, she knows my sizes and just gets me what she likes. Except for shoes. Those I have to get." Amanda was just waiting for the teasing to start.

Mitchell's grin couldn't have gotten any bigger as she started to undo Amanda's shirt. "Nice bra, Sandy pick that out as well?"

"Yes, you perv. Happy now?" Amanda asked.

"Nope, let's see the underwear." Mitchell reached over for Amanda's belt.

"Bite me." As Amanda slapped her hand away.

"You wish." Came Mitchell's reply.

Amanda looked around and realized they were being stared at by some of the patrons of the coffee shop. "Christ Mitchell, I can't believe we just did this in the middle of the mall."

Mitchell got up from her seat and laughed. "Think of the dreams, they'll be having tonight."


"Ok, is everything packed and ready to go?" Amanda asked her friends and family as they loaded up Amanda's SUV and were ready to head for the airport.

"Yup, and I hope you arranged for a bigger vehicle for us when we arrive at Dallas/Ft. Worth." Sandy was buckling Kevin into his car seat as Amanda persuaded Whiskey to jump into the back.

"I got a Honda Odyssey, it should be big enough and comfortable for the drive to the ranch." Amanda and Mitchell had made all the arrangements with the airline and the car rental.

They checked in their baggage, and waited for the boarding call. Amanda and Mitchell identified themselves as police officers, as well as Whiskey, who was wearing her new vest. They had then spoken to the Marshall, who was on the flight and let him know they were armed.

Sandy was sitting beside Deb, who was looking a bit pale at the moment. "What's wrong Deb, you don't look well?"

"I've never flown before and I'm a bit nervous." Deb was more then nervous, she was terrified. Her stomach was in fear of rebelling what breakfast she could get down, and hoped she didn't throw up on the plane.

Sandy took pity on her and gave her some Dramamine. Deb went to get a drink of water from a near by fountain and then returned.

"You brought your doctor's bag with you, how come?" Deb asked.

"Amanda and Mitchell together, with horses, cattle and snakes should answer that question." Sandy gave her friend a bump with her shoulder as Deb started to laugh. "Oh ya, this could get painfully funny."

The plane ride was uneventful; Kevin fell asleep with Whiskey laying at his feet.

Mitchell leans over to Sandy. "My mother remembers you by the way. We could be in for some teasing."

Sandy's face turned red as she recalled the interesting evening that she and Mitchell had, and Mrs. Blake catching them.

"Hey, I never heard that story, spill it." Deb leaned over and wrapped arms around Mitchell's arm.

Mitchell grinned at Sandy, as the doctor buried her face back into the book she was reading.

"When Sandy cleared me to go home, after I got shot, my mother stayed for two weeks with me. For the first week Sandy came over every night to change the bandage and check on the wound. She'd come in, say hi to mom, ask how the patient was, turn to me and say Mitchell take off your shorts. Didn't even say hi to me. So this went on for a week until I thought I'd get her good. Mom had gone out for a few minutes and I went into my room, striped off my clothes and put on a robe. Sandy came over, as usual, I just looked at her and dropped the robe. She; (points to Sandy) never even batted an eye and knelt down to look at the dressing. Who comes back in from her errands but my mother and sees me naked with Sandy on her knees. I thought I would die, and Sandy never even flinched. My mother however fainted."

Deb was laughing so hard the tears were running down her face. She looked over at Sandy, who still had her face buried in the book and refused to look up. Amanda however, was commenting on the lovely shade of red Sandy was.

The plane arrived at the Dallas/Ft.Worth airport. The girls unloaded their luggage, and headed for the car rental. The van was waiting for them, and after reloading the bags, the vacationers headed off for the Double O ranch.

"Mitchell." Sandy pointed to the archway that encased the roadway into the ranch.

"Yes Sandy."

"Why do the O's look like breasts?"

Three heads turned and look at Sandy. Every now and then the good doctor would shock everyone with an off handed comment that would make heads turn and look at her in surprise.

Mitchell stopped the van and all four women piled out to inspect the archway.

"I lived here every day for nineteen years and never thought about it. They do look like breasts. I must mention that to my Dad." Mitchell laughed and the women piled back into the van and made their way to the ranch house.

"Sweet Jesus Mitchell!" Deb commented. "This place is huge. Who's your neighbour J.R. Ewing?"

"Yes, it is big. Six bedrooms with a bathroom for each bedroom, plus the main bathroom. The livingroom, dinning room and library are also big. Wait until you see the kitchen, it's massive. There's my brother and his wife's house over there. Mitchell pointed over to the big brick house across the road. They got the same amount of room. By the way my brother Ron is a total asshole, Connie his wife is nice, and my nephew Taylor is a sweetie."

"Well, well, if it isn't the big dyke and her butch friends, finally come home for a visit." A big booming voice could be heard coming out of the ranch house door.

Speaking of assholes, everyone, this is my brother Ron." Mitchell glared a murderous look at him.

Amanda, not one to be intimidated, pulled out her revolver at Mitchell's startled brother. "Hi Ron, I'm Amanda Ellis. You folks wouldn't happen to have a lock box for my revolver would you?"

At 6'2" tall and well over 250 lbs. Amanda could swear Mitchell's brother had almost wet his pants like a two year old. Ron Blake was a carbon copy of his sister. Tall, blond haired and blue eyed. He was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, boots and a cowboy hat. To bad he didn't have Mitchell's manners.

Mitchell's mother saved the day by coming out and greeting everyone. She somehow had managed to get everyone's name right and hugs were exchanged. "Mitchell honey, your father's going to be away for a week or so. I hope you don't mind helping out more?" She took a moment to eye up Deb. "So you're the girl who has stolen Mitchell's heart?"

"Yes ma'am, that would be me." Deb turned to Mitchell and wrapped her arm around her.

"Well welcome to the family, honey."

Mrs. Blake then turned her attention to a shy Kevin who was petting Whiskey.

"Hello Kevin. It's nice to meet you." Mrs. Blake looked at Kevin and then to Amanda. The resemblance was incredible.

Everyone headed into the ranch house as rooms where assigned and luggage was stowed. Mitchell took Deb down to her old bedroom and walked into the past.

Mitchell's mother had removed nothing over the years. Pennant's from high school and college still remained on the walls as well as the many rodeo trophies that had been won in calf roping. As Mitchell walked around the room, she felt like she was eighteen years old again and wondered were time had vanished to. Most of her childhood memories were fun and loving. She had done well in school, had lots of friends and never needed or wanted for anything. There was a bitter sweet taste in Mitchell's mouth about her past life. No one knew the real reason why she had opted for college in California. She hadn't spoken her name in years and wasn't about to now. Mitchell's heart had been used and torn apart. She had to leave Texas and start a new life, it was the only way to retain her sanity. A pair of arms wrapped themselves around Mitchell's waist and hung on. Deb could sense the turmoil in her lover and wanted to reassure her, that love existed between them, let the demons sleep elsewhere.

"Amanda, did you have to flash your gun in front of Ron like that?" Sandy was busy unpacking their clothes. "Our son is going to get the wrong impression, that a gun solves problems."

Amanda sat down on the bed to collect her thoughts for a moment. "That's the problem Sandy. Kevin is surrounded by women all the time. Even his teachers are female. The Captain is the only male he has contact with and I don't need some asshole like Ron, treating us like yesterday's garbage. He embarrassed Mitchell and I don't want Kevin to get the impression that men can get away with stuff like that. You're lucky that's all I did."

Sandy sat down beside Amanda, hugged and kissed her. "I know, but let's enjoy our time here and not cause any fights. Ok?"

Amanda kissed her back. "I love you, know that?"

"I love you too, you big dumb cop, but you didn't answer my question." Sandy looked into Amanda's eyes and all she seen was a big smile.


"Amanda, quit pouting. You are not buying a new gun." Sandy had grabbed Amanda away from the sales clerk as she reached for her credit card and license.

"But Sandy it was a Smith and Wesson 39-2 and it would fit into my shoulder holster perfect." Amanda was disappointed but understood Sandy's dislike for guns and decided forget about it. The last thing Amanda needed was for Sandy to be upset with her on their vacation. This trip was a much needed break away from real life. The past few months had been very stressful for everyone, and all four women agreed; how could a little fresh air and sunshine hurt.

The girls returned from shopping all sporting new hats and boots. Even Kevin looked like a real cow hand with his new outfit and kerchief tied around his neck.

After lunch it was time for Deb's first riding lesson. "Mitchell, this horse is big."

Amanda and Sandy had already saddled up, with Kevin riding with Amanda. Although he was now nearing 5 years, Amanda did take the time to toss Kevin up into the saddle and walk the horse around with him on it. Sandy stood back and took pictures of her son's face, as he was grinning from ear to ear in his triumph.

Mitchell spent the next hour with Deb in riding lessons, until Deb was comfortable enough to venture out of the walking ring. They joined up with the other three and headed out to the pastures.

"Texas Long Horns." Mitchell sat back on her saddle and looked over at the hundreds of cattle that were grazing in the pastures. She pointed out to one big fellow who's horns were well over ten feet long. "You don't want one of them angry at you." Mitchell went on to explain. "They'll chase you if your on foot, so stay on the horse."

"When does your dad want to start moving the cattle Mitchell?" Sandy asked while taking another picture. She managed to get Deb and Amanda pointing the cattle out to Kevin, with Whiskey nearby. It would make for a great picture as wallpaper for her computer.

"I think on Wednesday Sandy, that will give us a couple of days to get our butts toughened up." Mitchell laughed as she knew how sore everyone would be tonight, especially Deb. Mitchell was pleased she'd brought along a big jar of Tiger Balm, everyone was going to need it, including herself.

Food. Deb had never seen so much food in her entire life. The long picnic table was covered with ribs, burgers, steaks, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and baked beans. Everyone including the ranch hands grabbed a plate and dug in. Pitchers of lemonade and iced tea were on another small table with plastic glasses. Deb's stomach growled, and mouth watered at the site of this feast. Everyone just got in line and helped themselves. Plates were piled high and everyone was laughing and enjoying the conversations around them. Deb couldn't imagine how Mitchell could have ever of left this life, but she was glad she did. It was a subject that Mitchell had vaguely talked about her leaving Texas, other then saying she wanted to go to school in California. Deb had left the subject alone, not wanting to upset her lover and bring back bad memories.

"Come on Deb." Mrs. Blake had hollered. "Y'all need some meat on those ribs of yours, honey."

Deb smiled back at Mitchell's mother, she had gotten her name right this time, and carefully moved stiff legs to join her friends and lover. Although she could barely move, it felt wonderful.

That night Kevin almost fell asleep in the bath tub, he was so tired. Amanda had dried him off, helped with his p.j.'s and carried him into his bedroom. He was asleep in her arms before his head hit the pillow. Amanda waited for Sandy to come in. They both kissed their son goodnight, while Whiskey curled up on a blanket provided for her, and fell asleep as well.

Both women headed for the bath tub in their own room, glad of it being over sized. Sore muscles let out a groan, as the warmth of the water and the soothing salts caressed their bodies. Amanda was leaned against the back of the tub, with Sandy in between her legs. Neither spoke a word and just laid back, with their eyes closed, dreaming of their day and feeling the healing power of each others love.

Deb and Mitchell had taken a nice long hot shower together and now both were laying on the bed. Mitchell was applying some Tiger Balm ointment on to Deb's legs and gently rubbing it in.

"I'm never going to be able to walk again, Mitchell." Deb moaned.

"Sure you will hon, by tomorrow morning you'll be fine and ready to go mount up." Mitchell couldn't help but chuckle at Deb's groaning, her own legs felt the stiffness and would need some rubbing as well. Soon Deb's groaning stopped, as her lover fell asleep. Mitchell kissed her goodnight, used some ointment on her own legs, and fell asleep soon after. Mitchell was happy to be home, she just hoped a certain person never found out about her being here, nor did she want the nightmares to return.


"All right cow, I've had just about enough of you. Now get your ass moving and get back with the rest of the herd." Amanda was sitting back in the saddle at a total loss on how to get this animal back into the herd.

The cow in question who just happen to be an actual bull, snorted at the human in front of him and stomped his feet. Shaking his head in warning, he carefully eyed her for any sudden moves.

"Listen, I'm hot, tired and getting hungry. You'd look mighty good on the barbecue right now, and don't think I won't shoot you, just because." Amanda was getting angry at this stupid, stubborn animal.

The bull bellowed at her in response.

Three heads were stopped watching the confrontation between Amanda and the bull. Bets were being placed as to who was stubborn enough to win.

Finally Amanda had enough and withdrew her lasso, smacked the bull on the hind quarters, and watched as the bull moved off in an indignant manner to join with his mates.

She turned as the sound of clapping could be heard, and saw Sandy, Mitchell and Deb.

"That's it Amanda, you tell that bull." Sandy was whistling and cheering at her lover while Mitchell and Deb were laughing.

Even with the encounter with the bull, the girls and a couple of the ranch hands had managed to move the cattle from one pasture to the other. The job had sounded easy enough, until Amanda realized how many hundreds of cattle there were and how many acres they had to move them. It had taken six hours and the girls were finally heading back to the ranch house for some well deserved lunch. Kevin had stayed with Mrs. Blake. They had spent the time playing and swimming in the pool, with Whiskey guarding over them.

A dark blue Chevy pick up truck was coming down the driveway and parked with the other vehicles. Sarah Blake didn't recognize the truck and watched cautiously as a tall, dark haired woman exited from the truck and walked towards her. It took Sarah a moment to remember who this woman was and frowned. Did Mitchell not realize that her mother had known why she'd left Texas and went to California? Sarah remembered that night when Mitchell was nineteen, and was crying her heart out in her bedroom. Cramps my ass, Sarah thought. The dark haired she devil approached and wore a fake smile that would make a snake crawl away.

"Well howdy Mrs. Blake, don't y'all just look pretty today, and who's this handsome little boy y'all got with ya.?" The she devil in question still had that sweet coated voice that oozed in false sentiment.

"Hello, Holly. What brings you by this way?" Sarah was still a southern gentlewoman and did remember her manners.

"I heard Mitchell was back for a visit, and I thought I'd come over and see her."

At that moment Whiskey heard the four horses coming back and started to bark.

Blast, Sarah thought, bad timing you girls.

As the foursome approached the barn, Mitchell spotted her. Even at this distance away, she felt that uncontrollable urge and silently chastised herself. Dammit she thought, seventeen years later and I can still feel that pull. Mitchell jumped off her horse, handed the reigns to Amanda and asked her to unsaddle the horse.

She took her time to walk to the ranch house, never taking her eyes off Holly.

You are not nineteen anymore Mitchell, she thought. She is not going to twist your mind and heart around again.

"Holly, what brings you here?" Mitchell asked.

"Well hello to you sugar, what no hug or kiss for an old friend?" Holly purred just like time had never moved.

Mitchell stepped back.

"No; no hugs or kisses, or anything else Holly. A flash memory of how this woman had used her and then just tossed her aside hit Mitchell in the chest. Mitchell's heart had held that scar for a lot of years. She felt the ring on her left hand, that Deb had given her and knew that she was loved. It was time to put an end to this insecurity that had held her captive for so many years.

"Oh come on now sugar, don't be that way." Holly had stepped forward to invade Mitchell's personal space once again.

Mitchell could hear the footsteps. She didn't even need to turn around. The three women who meant the most to her in life, were walking up behind her. She could envision each of them. Sandy, always the curious one, would be introducing her self and asking questions in a moment. Deb would know who this woman was and would take her hand and hold on tight. Mitchell had never even told Amanda. "You're only a looser, you'll never be loved." Holly's cold words slapped Mitchell's face. Not today Holly, Mitchell thought. Today I am loved and wanted. Then there would be Amanda. She could see the scowl on her face. The walk that meant business and don't fuck with me or my friends. Amanda would toss Holly's ass in a manure pile and shovel more on her, if she only knew how this woman had hurt her.

"I think you'd better leave Holly." Sarah Blake was still standing by her daughter's side as the other women came up behind her. Mitchell looked at her mother and realized that she had known, all those years ago what had happened. They exchanged smiles and Mitchell put her arm around her mother's waist.

"Good bye, Holly." Mitchell turned, smiled at her friends, took Deb's hand and headed for the lunch table. "Time to feed the help." She grinned and walked off with Deb.

Holly opened her mouth to protest, but Amanda held up her hand.

"I don't know who you are, but you were asked to leave."

Holly sneered at Amanda, turned and headed for her truck. She left with a wake of dust behind her, never to return.

That night when Mitchell had finished with her shower and was crawling into bed with Deb, she put to rest the memories that had blinded her soul back then. This was love that was laying next to her. A heart and soul that mixed with her own, gave her an unbelievable feeling of self worth. She hoped that Deb had the same feeling.

"I love you." Mitchell had whispered as she drew Deb into her arms and began the familiar love making. It was warm and soft and Mitchell could think of no place else she'd rather be then sharing her heart with Deb. This was love, as Deb shared her soul and heart with Mitchell.


Their vacation was almost over. Tomorrow would see the four women, Kevin and Whiskey flying home to San Diego. Today however was a very special day. The knock came to Mitchell's bedroom door as Amanda got up and answered it. "Hi hon." Amanda gave Sandy a hug and a kiss.

"Deb and I are ready, just give us five minutes and then we'll come out." Sandy kissed Amanda back and then looked over at a very pale Mitchell.

"Mitchell, breathe deep, relax, let the Dramamine work." Sandy laughed, gave Amanda a swat. "Fix this, Amanda."

"Yes dear." Came the reply and a swat was felt for all Amanda's troubles.

"I'm going to be sick." Mitchell groaned.

"No you're not, now stand up take a deep breath and relax." Amanda straightened Mitchell's tie, gave her a hug and said. "Let's go."

The joining ceremony was being performed by the Blake's family minister for the price of Sarah Blake's chicken fried steak dinner. The family and ranch hands were all gathered around as Amanda and Mitchell came out and stood before their guests and the minister. Both Amanda and Mitchell were dressed casually in black jeans, a white western shirt and wearing a string tie with the Texas Lorn Horn steer head on it. Mitchell was carrying a small rose bouquet to give to Deb. Each had on a slightly worn but cleaned cowboy hat.

Sandy was the first to walk down the makeshift aisle. She wore a simple denim dress with boots, her red hair tied back with a new clip. She stood to the left of Mitchell and Amanda, in front of the minister. Then all eyes turned back as Deb walked down the aisle holding onto Kevin's hand. As Kevin was the only man in her life, Deb had asked him to walk with her. Gently she shook the memory of that day finding his tiny body laying in the alley. Today was a good day to bring on the future, to hell with the past. For whatever reason, Whiskey chose to follow along behind Kevin.

As Deb stood beside Mitchell, she gave her the bouquet to hold on to.

The Minister welcomed everyone to the service and proceeded to speak.

I would like to welcome everyone here today, for this special occasion of Mitchell's and Deb's joining ceremony. You girls must all be from Texas, because they don't get any prettier then Texans.

In the background someone let out a "whoop" and everyone agreed laughing.

Now young man, as he turned to Kevin, I hear you've been asked to give this pretty girl away to your Aunt Mitchell. Is that correct sir?

That's right sir, Kevin stuttered in nerves, but if Aunt Mitchell doesn't want her, I'll marry her.

With that everyone started laughing , including a very embarrassed Mitchell.

Get your own girl Kevin, this one is mine, as she bent down and kissed the top of his head.

Finally Kevin relented and let go of Deb's hand. He then moved back and sat with Mitchell's parents. Mitchell's father, Albert had finally returned home from the cattle sale and had informed his family that he had bought another hundred head of cattle. Everyone had groaned including Mitchell's brother Ron, who had been staying far away from his sister and her friends.

The ceremony over with, Mitchell and Deb sealed their vows with a kiss. Everyone let out a "whoop" and started clapping. Hand shakes and hugs were exchanged, as everyone headed over to the table to eat. The caterer's were bringing out the food as Deb swore they should have just used a truck instead to unload it all.

As the disc jockey had the music already set up and going, he announced the first dance was a request from Mitchell and Deb. It was Shania Twain's "Forever And For Always."

"In your arms

I can still feel the way you want me when you hold me

I can still hear the words you whispered when you told me

I can stay right here forever in your arms

And there ain't no way... I'm letting you go now

And there ain't no way... And there ain't no how

I'll never see that day

Cause I'm keeping you forever and for always

We will be together all of our days

Wanna wake up every morning to your sweet face, always."

Blue eyes were locked on to brown eyes as the two women danced together, totally lost in their own world and ignoring everyone else. This was their night and life together and if the Fates were indeed willing, it would be forever and for always.

Amanda held Kevin in her one arm, as she held on to Sandy in the other. Both lover and son had laid their heads down Amanda's shoulder and Amanda swayed gently to the music, until a fast song came on. She kissed Sandy. "I'll put him to bed hon, he's already asleep."

"Scratch that lover, we'll put him to bed." Sandy smiled and walked hand in hand with Amanda to Kevin's room. Once the little cowboy was safely tucked away for the night, the two women rejoined the party.

Amanda scooped up Deb and headed to the make shift dance floor, with Deb squealing in protest. Sandy seductively walked up to Mitchell, put her arms around her and whispered. "Mitchell, take your shorts off." Mitchell turned beet red and Sandy laughed. "Yes, your mother remember, in case you were wondering. Now dance with me, maybe she'll faint again.

"Sandy, you are a cruel woman." Mitchell shook her head, but did as she was told. There was something about Sandy, she just couldn't say no to.

The party went on into the wee hours of the night, but finally broke up and everyone headed off to get some sleep. Tomorrow they would be driving back to the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport and flying back home.

Mitchell looked around at this place she had once called home, and wondered if she would ever come back here again to stay. At some point her parents would be too old to manage the ranch, and Ron and her would each inherit half.

She felt a familiar pair of arms wrapped around her waist. Turning to see her mother's eyes looking into hers. "Your looked sad honey, tell momma your problems."

"Just thinking about the future mom."

"Those are pleasant thoughts I hope honey?" Sarah Blake hugged Mitchell a little tighter. "At least you're not thinking about the past."

"You knew didn't you mom?" Mitchell hung her head.

"I knew something had happened honey, I just wasn't sure what it was. Took me a while, but when I figured it out, you had already accepted UCLA. I just didn't figure on you staying out there."

Mitchell smiled at her mother. "I found a new life out there."

"Mitchell." Ron was standing next to his wife and son. He extended his hand to shake his sisters, but she refused. Instead she grabbed him up in her arms and gave him a big hug. "Your an asshole Ron, but I love you."

The van was loaded and everyone was saying their goodbyes. Mitchell walked over to her father with a sassy look on her face. "Daddy, why do the double 0's on the ranch archway, look like breasts? Albert Blake was taken back by his daughter's question, but tried not to show it. He merely grinned at his daughter and made mention of the fact when his father built the ranch, Mitchell's grandma was a good model. Mitchell's eyes shot up and said nothing more as her father walked away laughing.


Monday morning saw Amanda and Mitchell heading into the station with coffee's in hand. Amanda was carrying the police dog vest in her other hand and groaned as she saw the pile of paper work that was piled on hers and Mitchell's desks. "Jesus Christ!" Amanda bitched. "Does this stuff breed or what?"

Amanda made a bee line over to the counter to replace the "borrowed" police dog I.D. She quickly slipped it into the drawer and made her way back to her desk. Thinking she made a clean getaway with the caper, Amanda sat smugly and sipped her coffee. As she went to review the top file on her desk, Captain Anderson called out.

"Ellis and Blake! Get in my office, now!" Mitchell threw Amanda an accusing glare as Amanda shrugged her shoulders in innocences.

Welcome back.

The end for now.

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