Hillary knocked softly on the Queen’s door and waited until for an invitation to enter. JP opened the door after she quickly threw on a robe. Cierra was barely stirring and would fall asleep again in seconds. The survivalist thanked the cook’s assistant warmly and promised to return the tray in the morning.
The small adobe home only had one table but the pitcher and wash bowl sat on it. JP placed the tray on the flat top of a trunk and gently gave Cierra a shake to waken her.
“Hillary brought us some dinner. Are you hungry?”
Cierra’s dark eyes opened and blinked as she tried to shake away the cobwebs. She pushed herself into a sitting position and pulled the covers over her nude body. JP grinned at her crookedly. They had been sleeping in the nude together and she found the shyness funny.
“Don’t look at me with those laughing eyes,” Cierra pouted. She looked around for the tray and JP retrieved it.
“Hon, we sleep in the nude and just bathed in same room. You have little I haven’t seen yet,” the tall woman said, her eyes sparkling with promises to correct that oversight.
“Yes?” she replied, her voice still quavering with humor.
“If you don’t want to wear dinner I suggest you behave yourself long enough to eat and let me do the same.”
“Yes ma’am,” JP answered, doing her best not to giggle.
“After that you and I can…explore…new territories together,” Cierra added huskily.
The survivalist felt the sun tea reverse direction and shoot out her nose. She stood up as she choked on the drink. She grabbed one of the still damp towels and wiped her face then the floor. “You are pure evil Queen Cierra,” she complained. JP tossed the towel aside and crawled in next to Cierra, who was grinning widely. She leaned her head against the smaller woman’s arm and grinned back. Cierra took a morsel from her plate and placed it at her lover’s lips. JP took it willingly and chewed.
“Yum,” she grinned, opening her mouth for another bite.
“I guess I have to feed you since the dog just gobbled up your dinner,” Cierra giggled.
Blue eyes widened and she looked over at the dog that was sitting next to the now empty plate, licking his muzzle clean.
“Damn, no wonder that guy willingly gave him up!” JP moaned.
“Oh hush. We’ll share this plate and sneak into the kitchen later for a snack,” Cierra suggested. JP grinned and waited until Cierra offered her another bite. They didn’t rush finishing off the meal and took the time to savor every morsel while each thought about what the evening would bring. Cierra gave the last bite to her lover and stretched out her arm to place the empty dish on the trunk. JP didn’t move as she watched the smaller woman discard the plate and turn her gave towards herself.
Cierra smiled and ran a fingertip along JP’s strong jaw. Her blue eyes smiled up at her and Cierra felt the smile spread to her own lips. It was time for them to take the next step. She lowered her lips and tasted the sweetness of the strawberries they had eaten with dinner on JP’s soft full lips.
Neither of them seemed in any hurry and the soft kisses remained gentle and leisurely as hands slowly glided over each other. Cierra was lost in the honey warmth of the moment and never noticed when she slowly pushed JP to her back and brushed aside one half of the robe her lover was wearing. Mid-kiss she felt the warmth of JP’s small breast cupped in her hand and the dark nipple was pressed against her palm.
She smiled against her lover’s mouth as she felt it tickle her own flesh as she moved her flattened palm over the stiff peak.
“What?” JP asked with a smile. Cierra explained how ticklish she was and JP chuckled. The touch felt nice, sensual, but didn’t drive her insane with need. That was fine with her. She didn’t want to rush at all tonight. She loved the way Cierra touched her softly, reverently, making her feel languid and content. JP didn’t need to be told with words that the night would be spent exploring one another and that Cierra didn’t want to hurry either.
She took Cierra’s hand and kissed each fingertip. “You do know I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you in it,” JP whispered softly. She felt a warm teardrop against her breast and JP drew the woman she had come to love into her arms.
· * * * *
Tracy was kissing a path along Robbie’s breastbone in spite of the woman’s very feeble protests.
“Hon, I can’t even move I hurt so bad!” she whined.
“Who said anything about you moving? I’m perfectly happy just nibbling on you. Go ahead and relax. I’ve missed you and want to get reacquainted before I forget how you taste,” the petite woman said with a leer before licking along the underside of Robyn’s generous breast.
Robbie felt her blood rush south and moaned. Tracy was being so cruel. She wanted to have a proper reunion but being saddle sore made it nearly impossible. The blonde whimpered and was about to suggest that they stop when her lover cancelled that option. Tracy dragged a fingernail across one nipple as her mouth took possession of the other, tugging on it firmly.
Her body arched in pleasure. Robbie forced her lips tight against one another, trying to be quiet because of the other people in nearby tents. Tracy, in spite of being quiet spoken, was a she-devil in bed. The former clerk tossed her red hair over her shoulder and returned to tormenting her tall lover until she was insane.
Her lips traced along Robbie’s neck, nipping gently at the lobe, then sucking wildly against the soft skin under her ear. Tracy knew leaving a hickey there always got Robbie nearly to the point of no return by that alone. She slid her hand along Robbie’s toned stomach, briefly enjoying the feel of the firm muscles there, then found the blonde’s moist curls. Tracy caressed the inside of Robbie’s thigh and urged her to move her leg just a bit.
As much as she wanted to travel down her lover’s torso and feast below the smaller woman didn’t, knowing it would be cruel until Robbie felt better. But she craved Robbie’s responses. Tracy felt herself get lost in the amazement that someone so powerful and beautiful could love her so deeply. Everything she did gave Robbie intense pleasure and she could do no wrong in the bodyguard’s eyes. The once shy woman had felt both humble and exhilarated once she found confidence in herself.
Tracy bent over Robbie and whispered, “Mine,” before touching her lover intimately and bringing her over the edge.
· * * * *
Cierra strolled with her lover through the colony late the next morning. As always, Elu followed Cierra like a faithful shadow, eager to meet new people. They held hands as they followed Jenny while she explained a few of the things everyone had begun while they were gone. In just a few days the pair indeed noticed a change for the better scent wise. Two latrines had been built over the eleven-foot wide stream and people tended to use those in the daytime rather than the outhouses.
“And that’s not all, look what Maggie has been building,” Jenny said, on the verge of jumping up and down in excitement as she led the couple into the blacksmith’s work area. The robust smithy was welding some copper piping to what looked like a crude water heater.
“Is that what I think it is?” Cierra asked. She stepped closer to examine the cylindrical metal container. Elu left her side long enough to sniff the container.
“Yup. If you guessed it’s a boiler,” Maggie grinned. “The tub over the fire is fine for just one or two tubs but we needed a bit more if we’re going to build that large indoor bathing pool like we talked about. This baby isn’t the prettiest thing in the world but it ought to get the job done. Kelly promised to bring back one of those big round horse troughs from the feed store when she arrives. I figure I can add a pipe to it and rig a couple of faucets to it. With a plug drain on the bottom leading into the sewer pipe we can drain it. Should be able to hold about six women at a time then.”
“That’s a lot of dirty water to drain and a long time to refill it,” JP commented.
“True, if people didn’t rinse off first. We figure that if we bathe Japanese style the water can be used for quite a while before draining. Everyone soaps and rinses off before getting in. The big tub is for soaking and socializing more or less,” Jenny informed them. “We just drop in a little chlorine to keep down the germs. We can still keep the small tubs for women who are shy or have other reasons to stay out of the communal tub.”
“Sounds like a plan,” JP grinned. “The only thing is that is a lot of water to pipe away. It seems like a waste.”
“Someone already made a suggestion. Since we’re already planning on laying more pipes for the flow toilets we thought we’d use the water from the drained tub to flow into those pipes. That way we save several hundred yards of piping. All we need to do is alter the direction a little bit and they will work together,” Maggie told them. “We can even use the pipe we have set up for the first row of houses and connect them all rather than use that sink hole. The first row will just have to use the outhouses for a day or two until we relay them.”
“But we already have the ground dug up for where we planned to put them. We don’t have the back hoes anymore and that’s a hell of a lot of digging with shovels,” Cierra reminded them.
“Ah, that’s the beauty of this new plan. We let gravity do most of the work. We were originally going to have all the pipes for each row of housing lead to that leech field but now all we have to do is zigzag them with each row just a little lower than the row next to it. Instead of using all those pipes to lead away from the village, we connect the rows. We just have to dig out each of the ditches already there down a little more to work.”
“And the pipes lead to the river?” Cierra asked.
“Yup, and away from us. No more throwing ashes and lime into the sink hole or worrying about the wind shifting,” Jenny said.
“That’ll be a relief,” JP commented. “And I noticed a few women with shovels and a wheelbarrow picking up poop off the ground. Are they tossing it into the compost pile I hope?”
“Yup. It’ll break down in there too. “We’re trying not to add animal carcasses in there though. We already had a couple of animals trying to dig into it. Sharon suggested burying them deep where the fields will be planted next month. At least it’ll fertilize the soil.”
Now reminded about planting, JP wondered how the food supply was holding up. They hadn’t brought nearly enough for everyone and knew Carey’s hunting trips were for stretching the larder more than adding meat to their diets. They just hadn’t planned on so many joining this quickly. Perhaps they should send out parties to forage, she thought to herself. The counsel would have to discuss it later.
“Maggie, did you finish that wagon yet?” JP asked in case they decided to send a group out.
“Nearly. I figure another day or two and we’ll have a wagon just like dear ol’ great grandpa had,” the woman grinned. “Rita Jones already has the leather rigging done and Brenda just needs to finish nailing in the final boards to the wagon bed. That woman is a miracle worker when it comes to wo-”
Elu stood suddenly and growled low, his gaze focused on the western edge of the community. JP felt her neck hairs prickle. She reached for her pistol as her eyes strained to look into the shadows of the woody area.
Maggie felt it too and reached into her tool chest and pulled out a sawed off shotgun. Both of them walked a little closer to the area slowly, their weapons drawn and ready. People around them noticed and looked around, wondering what could have drawn their attention. The women who were armed walked towards the same area while the others drew back to a safer distance.
Then something moved. JP couldn’t make out what if was but it was dark and not all that large. She took a closer step then stopped as the animal left the shadow of the bushes and stepped into the sunlight, its nose lifted and smelling the air.
“Holy Shit!” JP shouted and stumbled backwards as a good-sized skunk wandered closer. Even the bravest of the women turned tail and ran back. No one wanted to be near the thing if it decided to defend itself.
Elu barked loudly, telling the intruder to leave but the nocturnal animal was ignoring the dog and wanted to investigate the tempting smells coming from the food scraps set out for the pigs.
Fearlessly, he strolled across the open area as he followed the scent to the metal trays near the pig coral. He placed his paws on the top edge of the trough and pulled himself up awkwardly, his hind foot waving until he managed to get it over the edge. He slid into the feed tray and helped himself as dozens of women watched helplessly.
No one was about to shoot the damned thing, not inside of the village parameter, nor could they prevent it from stealing from the pigs. All they could do is hope it left soon and never returned.
Continued in Part 4
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