By S. Berry

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Disclaimers: Characters belong to me; I think we all know the people they look like don’t.

Love/Sex: Amazingly enough, the muse let me put both in. It’s two women, so if you can’t deal, or are chronologically challenged, this is not for you.

Language: He** yeah, there’s cussing. But it’s not gratuitous. Honest.

Violence: Discussions of attempted window breaking, but that’s about it.

Mangled song lyrics: I used a Melissa Etheridge line, but I acknowledged it at the point I used it. I used a line from Faith Hill’s song about going to Vegas to get married. The actual line is “Kiss the single life goodbye.” Well, I always hear it as “It’s the single life wouldn’t buy,” thus the title.

Chapter 1: Demon Clock

Laryssa Gannon hated her alarm clock. Every morning, without fail, the demon device shrieked right as she was about to embark on her maiden voyage to ecstasy in the arms of her raven haired, blue-eyed dream lover. The fact that she felt more sexual frustration over a dream than she ever had over anybody in reality was a tad bit disquieting in and of itself, but she never blamed the clock for that. She blamed her town’s shortage of raven haired, blue-eyed dream lovers. She had her practical moments.

Sunday morning was no different. At exactly 9:01 a.m., it went off. Laryssa gave her ritual primal scream and threw it at the wall. It bounced off and landed on the brown shag carpet. It looked dead, but Laryssa knew otherwise. She’d plug it in again before bed and it would work just fine. She made a mental note to write the manufacturer a letter. She’d thrown the damned thing against the wall every morning for the past five years, and it didn’t have so much as a scratch on it. She idly wondered if the company also made cars.

After spending as little time in the bathroom as possible (hadn’t she just duck taped -- duct taped? -- the toilet seat?), she sleepily turned on her computer so she could wake up slowly with the morning’s Xena fan fiction updates. She only read alt stories -- it made her feel better that somebody got to have uninterrupted intimate moments with their raven haired, blue-eyed lovers. Of the non-dream variety. Well, usually.

Several of her favorite stories had been updated, and a few of her favorite authors had new stories out. She was grateful. She hated the days when nobody had anything new posted. Those were the times when she admitted she had a problem. She was a fan fiction junkie. Were there 12 step programs for that? She’d post inquiries on all the mailing lists she’d joined. No, she couldn’t -- that’d be OT and she couldn’t risk getting a moderator mad at her! What if she got kicked off? That would limit the amount of fan fiction that she could access! Then she got so upset she reread something.

As a general rule, she didn’t print anything off, but this morning she decided to. She had just bought a new ink cartridge and it wasn’t like she couldn’t buy another one later, anyway. Five hundred pages and three hours later, Laryssa forced herself to do something constructive.

Laryssa had a rather odd way of keeping herself in spending money -- she did laundry for elderly people. [I could go into all the how's and whys, but you’re either anxiously awaiting the arrival of UberXena and the sex part, or you’ve given up in disgust. Either way, you probably don’t care.] She had spent most of the last month suffering from serial illnesses (who knew you could catch the flu from cornflakes?) and was terribly behind. She decided it would be faster to go to the laundromat across town and do it all at once -- or at least several loads at a time -- rather than one load at a time at home like she generally did. The aggravation level would be higher since Sundays were the busiest laundry days, but it couldn’t be helped. Her customers had been waiting long enough. So she loaded up her van and made five stops for change and supplies on the way. She thanked the gods that the city crews had been through. Two days before it had begun to snow and it didn’t show any signs of stopping. The local radio station had even started to play “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” ad nauseum. Laryssa hoped that there’d be plenty of washers and dryers available -- and a bench. She hated standing, but hated sitting next to strangers more.

She was in luck, she noted happily when she arrived. Nobody else was there. It should’ve struck her odd that the laundromat was empty at three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, but she was so thrilled at the opportunity to get all her laundry done at once -- and being able to sit by herself while doing it -- that she didn’t think anything of it. It took awhile to get everything washing, but eventually she got everything started. While she waited, she reluctantly began reading a textbook for an essay. She really hated homework.

Chapter 2: Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Nevada Duncan awoke at precisely six a.m., as was her custom. By eight a.m. she had worked out, showered, dressed, and eaten. She called into the office to see what was on her agenda for the day. She was a Maytag man, but she also did other appliance and car repair out of her garage and basement. She loved fixing things. Sometimes Maytag didn’t have anything for her, but she was in luck that morning -- one of the local laundromats had seven broken machines. Happily, she packed a lunch and her Walkman. She liked working for the laundromats. They were noisier than the office or her workshop, but there was just something about them...

She drove carefully to her destination, a bit worried about the snow, but not much. Surely it’d stop soon. They never got more than a foot or two.

Soon, she was absorbed in washing machine guts and Melissa Etheridge, and never noticed the increased wind or the passing of time.

Chapter 3: Laryssa meets her dream lover

“What? Huh?” Laryssa sputtered, awaking abruptly. Her dream lover was bending over her. Totally surprised, but going with it, she pulled her down and kissed her very enthusiastically. [Insert sappy fireworks cliché of choice.] It took her several seconds and a strong push to realize that it wasn’t her dream lover because she was very much awake. Laryssa blushed furiously. “I’m sorry. I thought I was still asleep,” aware this was a very lame excuse, but that kiss did some serious brain damage. Or maybe it was all those years of inhaling car exhaust. Why do they have to make pollution smell so good?

The clone stopped frowning, and smiled easily (all those lessons finally paid off), mollified. “S’okay. I was more stunned than anything. I generally like to at least get someone’s name before kissing them. Nevada Duncan,” she offered, holding out her hand.

Laryssa blushed again, “Laryssa Gannon,” shaking the offered hand.

After a pause for the obligatory tingling and shyly hidden meaningful looks, hands were reclaimed and Nevada imparted the information she’d awakened the blonde to impart. “We seem to be snowed in. I tried breaking the windows and doors, but it’s all shatter proof. Snow’s too heavy to open the doors, and the payphone’s broken. I was hoping you had a cell phone.”

“Nope, no reason to,” she absently replied, turning to look out the window. Sure enough, it was covered with snow except for an inch or so at the top. It looked as dark as night. Checking her watch, she noted it was almost 10:00pm. “No wonder I’m stiffer than a teenage boy in a porn shop,” she noted distractedly, avidly watching the brunette’s rear.

Nevada was well aware of the eyes on her ass and purposely bent over to enhance the view. As a general rule, she hated this sort of attention, but hell. They were trapped together for who knew how long, so it would probably behoove her to play nice. She’d never had causal sex before, but the blonde was mighty fine and obviously interested. Very obviously interested. She bet Laryssa knew all sorts of reindeer games. No, wait. That’d be sick. With actual reindeer at least.

“What?” She asked, realizing her companion had said something.

“I’ve been sleeping like this for six and a half hours. No wonder I’m stiff.”

“I’ll give you a massage if you like,” Nevada offered, sexual fantasies dancing through her head like sugar plums.

Laryssa hesitated, afraid Nevada had more than a massage in mind -- and just as afraid she didn’t.

Nevada sighed impatiently. “Listen, we’re stuck together for God knows how long, so I need you capable of helping me keep us safe and warm until help comes. You can’t do that if you can’t move. If you like, we can do the usual getting to know you small talk.”

Laryssa couldn’t argue Nevada’s logic, so she nervously agreed. She hoped she didn’t embarrass herself again.

“I hope you don’t mind me drying your laundry. I got bored, and besides, I figured you may want some of it when you woke up,” Nevada said a tad sheepishly.

Laryssa was rather embarrassed. “You managed to do all that without waking me up?”

“Yep. I didn’t realize you were here at first. I was in the back working on some washers -- I work part time for Maytag -- and didn’t realize how late it was or how bad the snow was. I threw some tools and parts at the doors and windows back there and nothing happened. Figured if you could sleep through all that, a little dryer noise wouldn’t wake you. I had to do something while I waited for you to wake up. I kinda got tired of waiting, so I thought I’d try to wake you. I hope you don’t mind,” Nevada added a bit awkwardly.

“No, that’s okay. I didn’t mean to sleep at all, so I’m glad you did,” Laryssa replied reassuringly.

“Good. I didn’t think you minded -- I mean, most people don’t kiss people they’re mad at. Well, guys if they’re horny, but they don’t count. Not that I know from experience -- never been there, don’t even want to think about doing that.” Nevada shuddered just thinking about thinking about it. She almost threw up from having to touch a guy to deck him, let alone swabbing one’s deck. Ewww. Think Clorox. Lots and lots of Clorox. Bargain bleach in a bathtub of beautiful blooms. Rain fresh, rain fresh, rain fresh. Clorox, Clorox, Clorox. Lysol, Lysol, Lysol. Her mind feeling sufficiently sanitized, she tuned into the conversation already in progress.

“-- threw up on his shoes. Or maybe it was the flu. Never wanted to try again to find out. About the only thing that men can do better than women is be stupid and insensitive -- and I know a few women who come mighty damn close.”

Nevada burst into startled laughter. “Me too. Course, I’ve been accused of being one, too.”

“A man?” Laryssa questioned, surprising herself with a bold appraisal of her companion. “Were they blind? Or did they just think you have Ken Syndrome and odd shaped pecks?”

“No, no, and what’s Ken Syndrome?”

“Have you seen a Ken doll naked?”

“No, I’ve always hated dolls.”

“Me too, but my best friend loved Barbies, so sometimes I gave in and played with them. We took Ken’s pants off and let’s just say Ken is undefined.” Bittersweet memories of her first love returned unbidden. Sally had flaming red hair and emerald eyes. Laryssa could spend hours brushing and styling Sally’s hair. They were best friends from preschool until sixth grade when Sally discovered Peter Delaney and the Playboy Laryssa stole from a gas station within the same week. Laryssa conceded it was probably a bit disconcerting to see the models in a dirty magazine wearing your face, and seeing your best friend doing that while reading said magazine was too, but did Sally really have to have Peter spray paint “Laryssa Wears Care Bear Underwear” on the cafeteria wall? Peter, Senior had ordered the janitors to paint over it, but somehow it kept coming back.

Nevada, in a rare moment of sensitivity, sat beside Laryssa and finally got her attention enough to gently inquire what the matter was. Laryssa couldn’t think of a good lie, so she told part of the truth, “I loved her and she didn’t love me.”

Nevada winced in sympathy, and awkwardly slipped her arm around her shoulders. “That happened to me, too. Was she your first love?”

“Yeah, Sally O’Grady. She, uh, didn’t take the news well.” Laryssa snuggled a little closer, finding the contact comforting.

“Mine was Martha Goodnoughe. I wasn’t,” Nevada recalled, the memory still painful all these years later.

“What happened? I’ll tell if you will,” Laryssa offered.

“Okay. We were friends in middle school. She had the prettiest brown hair that shimmered like copper in the sun. I always wanted to touch it to see if it was as soft as it looked. I knew I was different -- all the other girls wanted to kiss boys and I wanted to kiss Martha. One night at the end of seventh grade I spent the night at her house and I finally got up the nerve to tell her how I felt. It was like diarrhea -- I couldn’t keep it in anymore. She said she felt the same and kissed me. I should have been suspicious then. Her kiss and touch was too practiced. But I believed her when she said I was her first-first, too. We were together all that summer, and I can’t remember ever being happier. She broke up with me on the first day of school. It turns out her parents forbade her to date boys until eighth grade, so she fucked girls instead. I wasn’t even the only one that summer. Her Monday night fuck had broken up with her the afternoon I told her how I felt, so she figured she could use me to fill the gap,” Nevada couldn’t believe she was telling a complete stranger something she’d never even told her best friend. And that it helped.

Laryssa snuggled closer and grabbed a large, strong hand in hers. “I thought I had it rough. At least I didn’t know what I was missing.”

“You never slept with yours?” Nevada asked.

“Nope. We were friends from preschool to sixth grade when ...” Laryssa was surprised how unimportant it seemed in Nevada’s embrace. It seemed odd to have just been almost crying over the same story five minutes before.

Nevada tightened her arm and laughed. “You wore Care Bear panties?”

Laryssa bristled. “I most certainly did not! Okay, once. But I was four years old and my grandmother made me.”

“Mine still sends me Batman boxers every Christmas,” Nevada confided in hopes it’d placate the miffed blonde until she could think of something better. This being sensitive stuff was hard!

Laryssa tried hard not to imagine Nevada in her underwear. It didn’t work. “Have you ever been in love again?” she asked shyly, hoping to discover if Nevada was currently involved.

“No. You?” Nevada asked interestedly.

“No. I, um, haven’t even dated,” Laryssa admitted.

“Me either. What’s the point? All a woman’s gonna do is dump me when something better comes along,” Nevada grumbled, suddenly depressed.

“Judging from our half-hour acquaintance, I wouldn’t think it got better than you,” Laryssa purred, then turned more shades of red than Crayola ever dreamed possible.

Nevada’s ego did a happy dance, and she beamed. Oh, yeah. I’m finally gonna get some! she thought. Aloud, she tried her sexiest voice, “How bout we get even better acquainted?”

Laryssa’s loins were all for accepting the invitation as meant, but her brain said no. Damn brain. Wouldn’t work in math, won’t stop working elsewhere. She hoped Nevada wouldn’t be mad. After all, she had given the woman the impression she was very much ready. “I thought that’s what we were doing. So, tell me about your family. Is your grandmother still living?”

Nevada was flummoxed. Weren’t they gonna have sex? What did her family have to do with that? “Is this some kinky form of foreplay?” she inquired warily.

“I don’t think so. Listen --”

“I was afraid of that,” Nevada interrupted dejectedly. “We aren’t gonna have sex, are we?”

“Not right now, but I’d like to eventually. I’d like get to know you in English before we switch to body language,” Laryssa said gently.

Nevada brightened. “Eventually is good. I can handle eventually.” Then she added tentatively, “You aren’t gonna make me wait too long, are you?”

Grinning, Laryssa replied, “Isn’t that a line in a Melissa Etheridge song?”

“No, that’s ‘don’t make me wait too long’. It’s from ‘Meet Me in the Back.’ I love that song.”

“Me, too. Course, I love almost everything by her. She could probably sing the phone book and I’d buy the CD,” Laryssa said wryly.

“I probably would, too. What other music do you like?”

“I like 50s, 60s, 70s music, and I recently discovered the Indigo Girls. You?”

“Country from the eighties on and kd lang.”

“I’ve heard of her, but I’ve never been able to find anything of hers. Is she any good?”

“Yeah. I’ve seen her in interviews and she’s hilarious. I have three of her CDs at home. Maybe when we get out of here you could come over and listen to them,” Nevada suggested tentatively.

“I’d like that. Maybe we should plan on spending a lot time together when we get out of here,” Laryssa replied hesitantly.

“Great. Now that we have that settled, why don’t we raid the vending machine? I’m starved!” Nevada exclaimed, immensely relieved her companion seemed to want to spend time with her when they weren’t forced to. Maybe she’d want to go out on a date...

Chapter 4: Maytag, don’t sue me

“I can’t believe I washed my wallet!” Laryssa wailed a few minutes later.

“Hey, don’t feel bad. I’ve fixed machines after people have washed bananas in them. Have you ever tried to clean banana out of washing machine guts?”

Laryssa guffawed.

“It’s no big deal. We’ll put it in a dryer on low until it’s dry, okay?”

“I don’t have any change. I was going to break a bill later.”

“I don’t have any money at all. I rarely carry any unless I intend to buy something, and I didn’t. But don’t worry. I know how to open the change bins in the washers and dryers. We’ll just keep track of how much of the owner’s money we use, and if nothing else, I’ll subtract it from my bill.”

“I insist on paying half,” Laryssa asserted.

“If it’d make you feel better, but it’s not necessary.”

A few seconds later, Nevada had a bin open. After a brief discussion over who got to count the quarters, they discovered they had fifteen dollars.

Four dollars and twenty minutes later, they were both reasonably full and ready to do something else.

“Can I have my kiss now?” Nevada asked eagerly; hopefully. She’d let Laryssa have the last Snickers bar in exchange for the promise of a kiss. She knew she was easy, but she was a sucker for green-eyed blondes. Especially ones named Laryssa who liked Snickers.

Laryssa pretended to think about it. Like she wasn’t dying to be kissed. “Okay. But just one.”

Nevada beamed and quickly crossed the short distance between them, taking the blonde into her arms. Unfortunately, she tugged a little too hard, and Laryssa ended smacking her nose on Nevada’s sternum. Nevada wasn’t sure what hurt more -- her chest or her pride. Here she was, trying to be all smooth and cool, and she screwed up a simple embrace.

“God, I’m sorry, Laryssa. Are you okay?”

Laryssa tried, but couldn’t help it. She rested her forehead on Nevada’s poor abused chest and laughed hysterically. Nevada was hurt at first, but when she really thought about it, it was kinda funny. After a few minutes, laughter faded into thoroughly kissing away any owies on sternums and noses and lips (oh, my). Laryssa lost herself in Nevada’s kisses, which were way better than in her dreams. The strong, warm hand stroking her breasts was very nice, too. Soon, a heavily muscled thigh was gently insinuated between her own, and two large hands on her bottom were lovingly guiding her center up and down it. That was very nice, indeed.

Chapter Five: Afterglow and Other Awkward Moments

Nevada couldn’t believe Laryssa let her go that far. But there she was, holding the completely relaxed blonde in her arms. She had no idea where all that came from. She hadn’t meant to do more than kiss her once. She hoped Laryssa wouldn’t be mad -- or disappointed. It had been pretty quick, and unromantic. Well, at least she knew she could make her lover (wasn’t that what Laryssa was now?) orgasm. That had to count for something, right?

“Are you okay?” Nevada whispered nervously after several minutes of silence.

“Oh, yeah. That was incredible!” Laryssa replied in a dreamy too-much-henbane-laced-nutbread way.

Nevada beamed with pride. Oh, yeah. I still got it!

“You liked it, too, didn’t you?” Laryssa frowned.

“God, yes! I’d never done that before, let alone with clothes on. I’m glad it worked,” Nevada shyly confessed.

But Laryssa had fallen asleep. Shrugging, Nevada carried her to the laundry and picked out a few blankets awkwardly with one hand and spread them out. Carefully, she laid her burden down. She slipped under the blankets and gathered her maybe girlfriend close. Morning was soon enough to ask her.

Chapter 6: It’s The Single Life Wouldn’t Buy

Laryssa woke to warmth, softness, and a pounding head. It took a few minutes to realize that she was using Nevada as a pillow and the pounding was Nevada’s heartbeat. It took a couple of minutes to remember what had happened the night before. She felt like she had a hangover, and she hadn’t even had a drink. Sometimes her life just sucked.

Looking up, she noticed Nevada was watching her nervously. “Sorry for falling asleep on you last night,” she offered lamely.

“Um, that’s okay. I’m sorry for going further than you said I could,” Nevada replied awkwardly.

“I think it goes without saying I didn’t mind that,” Laryssa chuckled.

“Does that mean you’re my girlfriend now?” Nevada blurted, then blushed redder than a matador’s cape.

Laryssa was surprised, though she supposed she shouldn’t be. Hell, she’d came in the woman’s arms. Surely this new development wasn’t that unexpected. “I guess. You’re the one with experience.”

“My two months as Martha’s Monday screw were eleven years ago. Besides, we didn’t go on dates or anything. You don’t have to go out with me if you don’t want. I know we don’t really know each other, so I guess I’m jumping the gun. I’m sorry; I just thought maybe you’d want to,” Nevada babbled, feeling the heat of humiliation creep up her neck. She had been so sure the other woman had liked her, too.

Laryssa immediately realized she sounded more indifferent than cool, and rushed to reassure her. “No, no. I didn’t mean I didn’t want to. I do. It’s just I’ve never had a girlfriend -- or a boyfriend either, for that matter -- so I don’t know all the rules. Does that make sense?” Laryssa hoped Nevada understood what she meant because she lost herself somewhere in there.

Nevada grinned in relief. “You do wanna be my girl, right?”


“Cool. So now that we have that settled, what do you want to do?”

“Can we do that thing again? And this time, I’ll try not to fall asleep.”

Nevada eagerly agreed. She sure as hell wasn’t stupid!

Rolling over, she clumsily rearranged herself and the blankets over her girlfriend. God, she had to practice that maneuver until she got it right. A woman’s work was never done. Bending her head, she began softly kissing the lips she’d became addicted to.

Minutes or possibly hours -- who was keeping track? -- later, Nevada found herself fondling soft breasts and enjoying small, strong hands rubbing her back. She was in heaven. Soon though, she discovered narrow hips bucking at her leg, which was tucked between her girl’s. She was pretty sure this was a hint to get busy, but she was uncertain how exactly she was supposed to accomplish the act her love had requested. Shrugging, she stopped her other advances and gave it her best shot. From the fingernails raking her back through her shirts and the little moans and groans from the figure below her, she was equally sure she was doing a good job. Not to mention the incredible feelings radiating from her own center. She groaned her release shortly before Laryssa did. She collapsed on top of her lover, and barely managed to roll slightly aside to keep from crushing her.

Chapter 7: Rescue 411

Nevada woke to men’s shouts. Listening closer, she realized one was shouting, “We’ll have you out in just a few minutes!”

Almost reluctantly, she roused her lover with a few soft kisses. “Hey, sweetheart, time to wake up. We’re being rescued.”

“Hmm, I like how you say that. Okay, let’s get ready to go.”

A few more soft kisses were exchanged, and blankets were folded. By the time both were ready, the front door was completely uncovered. A firefighter opened the door and several more were just behind him. He informed them Nevada’s co-workers had missed her when she hadn’t been in the office last night. A rescue couldn’t be made until first light. Crews were out all over the city cleaning up. Only four feet of snow had fallen, but it had drifted against the building.

Arrangements were made to leave the laundry there until their vehicles could be dug out. Nevada’s co-workers agreed to help the next day. Nevada wasn’t in the mood to do it right then.

Laryssa and Nevada looked at each other shyly, each wondering if the other wanted to spend more time together. Laryssa cleared her throat nervously. “Would you like to come home with me?”

Nevada laughed. “I was about to ask you the same thing. We could listen to kd lang.”


“Great, I’ll let the guys know.”

One of ‘the guys’ drove them to Nevada’s. KD played to an empty room. Laryssa discovered dreams really do come true.

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