“I’ve put out feelers to get an idea of how many would like to join us,” Cyd whispered.
“You what!” Cierra hissed in a whisper, not believing the tall butch was really serious.
“You think I’m joking about this but I’m dead serious. Now, I didn’t tell people this was about another dimension or anything like that. I asked if they could move to an island where they could live without all the trappings of the big city and did all their own work if they’d go for it and I was amazed how many women said yes. More and more people are nervous about our future. Between terrorists, war, crime, and all the people hooked on drugs it’s a scary place. Not everyone can make a living in a small town where it’s considered safer.”
“Yes, I know that. But to actually leave everything behind? I think it sounds like a nice fantasy but the reality of it would be damned hard to swing. Remember all the communes during the sixties? Almost every one of them failed,” Cierra reminded Cyd.
“Yes, because it was an age of drugs and rock n’ roll. It was about free love and living on the edges of society. I’m not talking about getting a bunch of barely out of their teens to join up but women old enough to know what they want. And we can have basic laws without having every action controlled by lawyers. People we deem a danger to us just gets popped back into the real world,” Cyd chuckled.
“You’ve been thinking about this all night I bet.”
“Yup, and I’m so hyped I can barely sit still.”
Cierra sighed. Yes, it sounded like a nice dream but all she could think about is that Hallie would never agree to it. Cyd’s plan revolved around her. She was the only one who could transport people back and forth. What if she died? Then everyone would be stuck there with no hope of escape. To be able to jump she would need to be right there. She saw no evidence that she could travel distances only realities. She and Hallie lived in San Diego where her girl friend was doing her best to become a partner at her law firm.
How in the world could she expect the ambitious Hallie to give that up? She couldn’t. To follow Cyd’s vision would mean losing Hallie.
“I can’t do it Cyd. I’m sorry.” Cierra spun around and headed back to her hotel room, not seeing the look of disappointment on her friend’s face.
Once in her room she began packing. The convention would end that evening and she planned on checking out and loading her car so she wouldn’t have pay for another day at the hotel. She picked up her bag and was about to leave when she spotted the large rock on her counter. She picked it up and turned it in her hands aimlessly, thinking she had better drop it outside rather than leave it there.
She checked out at the front desk and headed for the parking lot. She was about to toss the rock into the stone garden when she changed her mind. She’d keep it as a souvenir. She opened her trunk and tossed it inside along with her suitcase.
“Hey, Jumper, get over here!” a voice said from the other side of the lot. Cierra looked up and saw Cyd standing there nervously. She walked over to join her and saw two other people also hiding in the shadows. As she drew nearer she noticed they were carrying rifles. Both looked comfortable handling the guns but not at ease carrying them in city limits. Both were tall and athletic and wore sensible rugged clothing.
“You said we could go back and look around,” Cyd held up her hands, stopping her protests. “Yeah, you nixed the colony idea but I want my friends to see that place too. They think I made the whole thing up. By the way, this is Carey and JP,” pointing to the women as she introduced them. The women nodded nervously as Cyd slung a rifle over her shoulder.
Cierra glanced at the other two women who looked scared as hell. Carey was medium built with light brown hair and hazel eyes. JP was tall, lanky but looked strong. Her blue eyes were striking with her shoulder length dark hair. Both shifted nervously since walking around with loaded rifles was a sure-fire way of ending up in prison. They looked like they wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. She turned to them, wanting to make sure they were really prepared for the jump.
“You’re sure you want to go?”
“This is for real, right?” one of the women asked skeptically.
Cierra grinned. “Yeah, it’s real alright. Well, lets get this over with then. Put your hands on my arm. When we jump you might feel a little dizzy for a moment but that’s normal. Ready?”
The other women nodded and placed their hands on her left arm. Cyd placed her palm on the smaller woman’s right upper arm so she was free to reach for her stone. Cierra closed her eyes to picture the other world and felt the familiar sensation of the jump.
The two newcomers both swayed as their feet settled down but otherwise recovered fast. They looked around quickly.
“Oh my God, it is real,” JP said in wonder, her blue eyes taking in the surroundings.
“Look, there’s the bear prints from yesterday. Boy, he must have been pissed when we disappeared on him, the whole place has been thrashed,” Cyd commented as she looked at the ground. Huge claw marks nearly obliterated the circle Cierra had drawn. Chunks of soil and grass had been torn up from the angry bear.
“I hope he doesn’t come after us today. Bears tend to be territorial,” Carey added.
“We’ll all stick together and keep our eyes peeled. Remember, Cierra isn’t armed and she’s our only way back so protect her at all costs,” Cyd reminded her friends. They agreed and suggested which way to explore first. Carey removed a red strip of cloth from her pocket and tied it to a nearby bush before taking a compass from another pocket and glancing at it. Cierra decided she was the survivalist type and knew what she was doing.
“Okay, let’s go,” Carey said.
They explored for several hours but didn’t come across any wildlife that required them to use their rifles. They spotted deer and birds and even reptiles that had long disappeared from California or had become so rare few people had seen them.
JP was thrilled to see them because she worked for the game and fish department. She expressed a wish to take several pairs of what was now endangered species and bring them back someday. Cierra felt guilty. They could probably do it and help build up the animal population that were fighting to survive. Everything revolved around her and she held back because of her desire to remain with Hallie, who barely spent any time with her anymore. She was pitiful.
· * * *
Cierra opened the door to her apartment and was surprised to find her girlfriend home. It was a rare occasion when the lawyer was home before dinnertime.
“Hey, what a surprise,” Cierra said with a grin. She put down her bag and walked up to Hallie for a hug and kiss. “Let me shower and change and we can go out for dinner, how about that?” Cierra suggested.
“Oh, sorry. I have a business dinner tonight. I’m meeting with clients in about 45 minutes. We’ll go out another time, alright?” Hallie asked absently as she picked up the mail.
Cierra felt a wave of disappointment, which was becoming more common by the month. She loved Hallie, she really did, but was this how it was going to be for the rest of their lives? With her sitting at home and wondering if Hallie would come home at a decent hour or spend time with her like they did when they first met? Cierra couldn’t remember the last time they spent an entire day together and relaxed. Not even on Christmas day, when Hallie got a call from one of the partners asking her to keep care of one of his buddies who had landed in jail for DUI.
Cierra sighed. “Hallie, I think we need a serious talk.”
“Oh? About what?” the redhead asked as she opened a bill.
“About us,” Cierra managed to say firmly. She was beginning to feel a kernel of anger growing.
“What about us? Things are fine,” Hallie said with exasperation.
“No they aren’t. Where are going Hallie? We’re barely more than roommates anymore. You work late and crawl into bed after I’m asleep. When you do happen to come home you have your briefcase full of projects to go over. Okay, you want to be partner and I can appreciate that, but that isn’t all there is to life. You need to think about balancing everything before you burn out.”
“I’m fine Cierra, really. Things will get better once I make partner, you’ll see,” Hallie promised, not understanding what Cierra needed.
The brunette felt a sharp pain between her eyes forming. This wasn’t going to work. “Hallie, have you ever considered taking on a more sedate practice? Perhaps in a small community?”
The redhead snorted. “Oh yeah, right. Take on farmer divorce cases and bail Uncle Jed out of jail for shooting the neighbor’s dog? No thank you. I like the city. I like my Mercedes and designer suits and have no intention of being bored to death in some small town.”
“Well, that answers that. I’ll start packing my things. I’ll be out by this weekend Hallie,” Cierra announced. She loved Hallie but she wasn’t going to change and Cierra needed more than being the convenient lover of someone when they felt frisky.
“Wait, you can’t be serious…” Hallie said, looking up from her stack of bills.
“Yes, very serious. You and I want very different things in life. I want to mean something to someone who loves me just as much as I love her. I don’t want crumbs anymore and that’s all you can offer. I’m sorry.” Cierra left the room and locked herself into the den. She pulled the piece of paper with Cyd’s cell number out of her pocket and dialed from her own. She didn’t want the number showing on Hallie’s phone bill.
“It’s me, Cierra. Were you serious about the whole thing? I’m willing to give it a try if you are,” she offered.
“No shit?” Oh hell yes! Damned serious. Where are you?”
“Back in San Diego. Can I move my stuff into your place for now?”
Cyd’s voice grew serious. “What about your girl friend?”
“I’m so sorry Cierra,” Cyd told her, genuinely saddened by the news.
“Me too, but it’s for the best,” Cierra said, her voice tight. She sniffled and grabbed a pad of paper and pen. “Give me your address. I’ll probably be there in a few days.”
· * * *
Continued in Part 4
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