Disclaimers: See Part 1

Suggestions and constructive criticism are welcome; vitriol is not. Encouraging words and a pat on the back are more than welcome. That having been said, read on and let me know what you think sageamante@yahoo.com

WHERE EAGLES FLY

Copyright Saggio Amante 2003, 2004

All rights reserved.

Part 4 - Polonaise

Meriam could hear the moans from Lark's room, soft and distant at first, then louder and louder. She went into the room and saw her friend writhing in the bed. She touched her hand gently, careful not to startle her, then slid onto the bed beside her and held her loosely.

"Shhh. It's all right. It's all right." Meriam said to the sleeping form. She brushed the hair back from Lark's brow and continued to stroke her with soft, soothing touches. "Sleep, my friend, sleep," she whispered. "Everything is all right."

Lark's restlessness slowly diminished as she sank into a deeper sleep.

Within a few minutes, Meriam fell asleep beside her.

*~*~*~*

Lonnie awoke with a start and felt a moment of panic. She didn't recognize her surroundings. Slowly it dawned on her where she was, and she felt gratitude for the doctor who had opened her home to the agent and the judge. Her mind revisited the horrible events of the day before, and she found herself unable to fall back asleep. Lonnie sat up in the bed and gasped as the pain of her chest bruises took her breath away. She stood up and lifted her nightgown, tears welling in her eyes, as she looked at the angry bruises criss-crossing her chest.

'Cut it out, Lonigan. It could be worse. You're lucky to be alive,' she thought. 'If it weren't for Lark, you wouldn't be.'

The desire to see the agent filled her senses. She lowered the nightgown and slipped out of her room, moving toward Lark's. She opened the door quietly not wanting to wake the sleeping agent and felt her breath catch in her throat as she realized that Lark was not alone on the bed.

'Oh my god, you fool,' she thought. 'They're lovers!' She closed the door quietly and hurried back to her room. She closed her bedroom door and sat on the bed sobbing softly, as a deep ache settled like a vice around her heart.

Meriam was awakened by the click of a door closing. She opened her eyes and looked to see who was there. When she saw no one, she started to relax again and slide back into sleep. Suddenly, she realized what had probably happened. She got up from the bed slowly, careful not to disturb the sleeping agent, left the bedroom, and walked across to the closed door of Lonnie's room. She put her ear to the door and could barely hear the small woman's quiet sobs. She knocked on the door but received no invitation to come in. She opened the door anyway and saw Lonnie sitting on the bed, tears of anguish running down her cheeks. Meriam walked over to the small blonde and sat down on the bed beside her.

Meriam put her arm around the smaller woman's shoulders. "Shhhh. It's all right," she said "Everything will be all right." She felt Lonnie stiffen and sensed a wall go up around her.

"I didn't realize," Lonnie said coldly.

"There's nothing to realize," Meriam replied softly refusing to relinquish her hold on the small blonde.

"But, you are " Her unspoken words hung in the air between them.

"I am nothing. I am Lark's close friend. Nothing more." Meriam assured the younger woman.

"And you never were anything more?" Lonnie asked. "Don't take me for a fool, Doctor. I know what I've seen, and it is more than friendship."

"Perhaps, once," the doctor replied. "It's up to Lark to tell you about our relationship, but I assure you, we are just friends. She loves you, you know."

"Loves me? How could you possibly know that?" the blonde asked.

"I know her. She's risked her life at least twice for you that I know of. She obviously would die for you," Meriam responded.

"That's her job, her assignment. She's paid to protect me." Lonnie stated. "You of all people should know that she takes her job seriously."

"It's more than that," said Meriam, "and you know it. For a smart woman, you certainly are pretty dumb. I've never seen her look at anyone with such open adoration. The woman's in love with you, lady. If you don't feel the same way, then you'd better cut her loose, emotionally at least."

"I do love her," Lonnie mumbled.

"What?" Meriam asked. "I couldn't understand a word you said under all that blubbering."

"I do love her!" Lonnie said adamantly.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Go in there and tell her," the doctor ordered. "In the meantime, I'll see what I can find to feed us. Are you hungry?"

Lonnie's stomach grumbled loudly.

"Enough said," Meriam chuckled as she left the room.

Lonnie followed Meriam out of the bedroom. As the taller woman turned and walked toward the kitchen, Lonnie once again let herself into Lark's room. She glanced lovingly at the tall dark-haired woman on the bed then slipped in beside her. Lark stirred slightly, and Lonnie rolled over against her side, resting her arm over the agent's stomach.

"I love you," Lonnie whispered, certain that the sleeping agent could not hear her. "

"I love you, too," Lark whispered back before slipping once more into sleep.

*~*~*~*

Lark awoke first and lay gazing down at the small blonde snuggled against her side. 'I could get very used to this,' she thought. A light tap on the door caught her attention, and she looked up to see Meriam entering with a breakfast tray containing juice and toast.

"It's almost 4 P.M. You ladies must be starved. Start with this. I'll put together a little more when you're ready," she said. She winked at Lark and nodded at the figure sleeping by her side. "Guess you gals worked things out, huh?"

"Shhh," Lark replied. "Don't wake her. She needs her rest." She heard a quiet giggle come from the body next to her.

"Whoops, too late," Meriam chuckled. "I'll leave you two alone for a while, but I'll be back to check on you shortly."

Lonnie rolled onto her back and sat up slowly. She looked down at Lark. "How about it? Ready for something to eat?" She said.

The older woman looked bemused. "Don't think I'm in any condition," she smirked, casting a lascivious grin at the younger blonde.

Lonnie looked at her quizzically, and then felt herself blushing. "Oh, I ... I didn't mean ... I mean ... there's uh ... uh ..."

"God," laughed Lark, "for a lawyer you are oh so bad with words!"

"And, yes, I'm ready to eat some ... food," she continued. "Would you mind asking Meriam to come in here first?"

"Can I do anything?" Lonnie asked.

"Thank you, no. I just need her to check my wound first. Why don't you send Meriam back here to see me while you freshen up and get dressed? O.K.?"

Lonnie wanted to be the one to care for Lark but she knew the older woman was right in asking for Meriam. Nevertheless, she found it hard to keep the hurt out of her voice. "All right, I'll get her," she said as she rose and went in search of Meriam.

*~*~*~*

As she entered Lark's room, Meriam could hear the shower going in Lonnie's room. "O.K., friend," she said to Lark. "What can I do for you?"

"Help me to the bathroom, for one thing," Lark replied.

Lark was weak but, with Meriam's assistance, she was able to make it to the bathroom. When she heard the toilet flush, Meriam went back in and helped Lark with her morning ablutions. She checked Lark's wound and was glad to see that the earlier difficulties at the hospital had not resulted in any broken stitches or further damage. She redressed the wound, and helped Lark into some clean clothing, then back to bed. She placed pillows behind Lark's back and the breakfast tray over her knees.

"So, tell me, what's really going on here?" Meriam asked. "It is so obvious that you are more than that woman's bodyguard. Spill it, kid."

"I think ... no, I know I love her. God, I don't know how this is going to work. If the bureau finds out, I'm going to have some real problems. And I can't have her taking care of me. Jesus, that's no way to work on a relationship," Lark said dejectedly.

Meriam cocked an eyebrow at her friend. "Ah, a relationship. Is that what it is? I thought you weren't into 'relationships'," she teased.

"Cut it out, Mer," Lark warned. "This is something different. I want it to be solid, real. I don't want to screw it up."

"So, she's that good in the sack, huh?" said the doctor.

Lark blushed uncharacteristically.

"Oh, my god, you haven't even been to bed with her, have you?" Meriam laughed delightedly. "Well, my big Lothario, you're full of surprises! Let's see ... what was it you always said ... 'just enjoy the moment; commitments aren't for me, play 'em and lay 'em' ... Shall I go on?"

"Stop it, Meriam," Lark warned. "This is different. It may not work out, but I'm going to do everything I can to try to make it work. This is no wham, bam, thank you ma'am kind of thing. When she's ready, when the time is right, then we'll go to the next level, but not before then. Now back off!"

It was easy to see how serious the agent was. "Whoa, there, friend. I was just teasing. She's in love with you, you know. I don't think you'll be waiting too long."

Lark looked at her friend suspiciously. "And just how would you know that?"

"Simple. I asked her." Meriam replied.

"You what?"

"I asked her. Well, actually, she sort of asked me. She wanted to know if we were lovers. I told her we were just friends, but the story of our relationship was yours to tell. Then I asked her about her intentions, and she told me she loved you."

"Well I'll be damned," said Lark. "It wasn't a dream."

"No, my friend, it seems it's very real," Meriam smiled.

*~*~*~*

Max and Jake continued to take turns guarding the door of the condo, and both were pleased that there were no more incidents. Although it was unusual for only two agents to perform a 24-hour watch, neither was willing to leave their friend and insisted that they could protect her. It took a lot of arguing to convince their superiors, but in the end, the two agents won out.

The other two agents who had been on the courthouse duty when the attack on Lonnie occurred were on leaves of absence. Both had been rendered unconscious by some form of sedative apparently fired by a dart gun but there appeared to be no permanent injuries. Until the investigation was concluded, however, they were both relieved of duty with pay.

The women settled into a comfortable routine. Meriam was at the hospital much of the time, but she was able to monitor Lonnie and Lark's progress daily. Lonnie's bruises were fading quickly and her sore ribs were healing well. Lark was making amazing progress in her healing process. Though Meriam was very concerned when Lark first insisted on leaving the hospital, the doctor no longer had second thoughts. Everything was ahead of schedule, and both women were getting stronger every day. Physical therapy had been initiated, and Lark was rapidly outdistancing the requirements placed on her by her therapist.

While the doctor was at the hospital, Lonnie and Lark spent time getting to know each other better. They found they shared a similar sense of humor and a love for the outdoors. They both enjoyed poetry and loved to read the classics. They liked board games, as well, and often spent hours at them. They were well-matched and alternated wins at chess. Neither watched much television, both preferring to listen to music.

The two women relished the private time they had with each other, settling into a comfortable routine as though they had been together always. Their touching was hesitant but the reality of their need for each other was growing, if only subconsciously, in each of their minds.

When Lark returned to her meditation and modified tai chi exercises, Lonnie joined her. They became emotionally and spiritually entwined long before their relationship deepened into something more.

*~*~*~*

Meriam rushed into her condo, slamming the door behind her. "Anybody home?" she called. She could smell something wonderful cooking and headed toward the kitchen where she found Lark chopping vegetables and Lonnie whisking something in a bowl.

"Hey, ladies," she said. "I know you're going to be as disappointed as I am but this little threesome is going to come to an end."

The two women looked at her quizzically, and then Lark spoke. "You're right. It's about time we got out of here. Sorry if we've worn out our welcome, Mer."

"No, no." Meriam responded. "What I mean is I have to go out of town for a couple of weeks, so you two will have this place all to yourselves if that's o.k." She grinned widely at them. "You can leave when you're ready to, but you can stay as long as you like. Actually, I've rather enjoyed having you here. Look, I've got to go pack. My plane leaves at 9, and I've only got two hours to get ready and get to the airport." Meriam exited the room quickly.

Lark and Lonnie smiled shyly at each other and continued preparing the evening meal, each relishing the thought that soon they would be alone together with no fear of interruption.

It wasn't long before Meriam was back with her packed bags. "I've called a cab so I'm going to go downstairs and wait," she said. The tall, ebony-skinned woman walked over to each of the other women, gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," she snickered. "See you later."

Lark laughed and Lonnie blushed as Meriam raced out the condo door.

While Lonnie put the finishing touches on dinner, Lark set the table. She lit candles and put on an old Etta James recording that she found among Meriam's CDs. As the haunting sounds of James filled the room, she opened a bottle of Pinot Noir, certain that its light and fruity flavor would complement the light fish dish they were having for dinner. She prepared balsamic vinegar dressing for their salads because she knew that any other dressing would interfere with the taste of the wine. Lark was used to hours spent in small spaces but Lonnie was not. Lark knew the smaller woman was getting cabin fever, and she wanted to make the evening as perfect as possible for her.

Lonnie brought the main dish to the table, and the two women sat down to eat. They basked in the glow of the candle light and each other. James' sensual sounds moved over them as they ate. They smiled at each other almost shyly, speaking seldomly. They luxuriated in the sexual tension that was building between them, each anxious for the moment when the tension would be broken by the more intimate contact they both craved. When dinner was over, they helped each other clear the table. Lark helped Lonnie clean up the kitchen and load the dishwasher but excused herself before they were through, leaving the smaller woman to finish up.

When Lark returned to the kitchen, Lonnie had just finished putting the last of the dishes in the dishwasher. Lark took Lonnie's hand and led her to the living room, drawing her over to the balcony. Lark opened the balcony doors, and the two women stood in comfortable silence listening to the sounds of the moonlit ocean beating against the sand of the shore.

Lonnie stood in front of Lark, leaning back against the long lean body behind her, enjoying the feel of Lark's hands on her shoulders. Lark tightened her hands on Lonnie's shoulders and turned her around, pulling the small blonde into her arms. It felt so natural. The fit of their bodies pressing against each other was perfect as they moved together ever so slowly, swaying in time to the sensual music playing softly in the background.

When the song ended, they stood there, breathing against each other, neither moving until Lark stepped back just a bit and lowered her lips to the smaller woman's waiting mouth.

Lonnie opened her lips slightly and their tongues danced together in much the same rhythm as their bodies had only seconds before.

Lonnie could feel the heat pulsating through her. She was wet and burning. She had never wanted anyone so much in her entire life.

Lark moved away from Lonnie and looked down into her eyes. The separation was almost too much for both women and their bodies moved back together automatically. Lark took Lonnie's hand and lifted it to her mouth, circling her tongue on the smaller woman's palm sending shocks of electricity down her spine.

Lonnie smiled and nodded. 'I feel like a teenager, ' she thought, as Lark reached for her and they walked hand in hand toward Lark's bedroom.

Lark opened the door of the bedroom and held it as Lonnie stepped into the room. The tall agent smiled as she heard Lonnie moan with a quiet sigh of delight. The room was aglow in candle light. Rose petals were strewn across the bed. Glasses of wine sat on the bedside table and soft music filled the room. Lonnie turned and reached up for Lark, curling her hands in her dark hair and pulling her head down until their lips met again, not hurriedly, but softly with aching passion.

Lark broke the kiss and began to undress Lonnie slowly, but with determination.

Lonnie reached out and did the same.

When the last of their clothing dropped to the floor, they moved together and each gasped audibly as their naked bodies melded against each other for the first time.

"Please," Lonnie whispered. "I want you so much."

"Oh God, I want you, too," Lark whispered back as she carefully lifted the smaller woman in her arms and placed her on the rose-covered bed.

*~*~*~*

(To be continued)

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