Sherry spotted the two women as they were strolling along what was affectionately called Boutique Street by the residents. Her eyes widened as she took in the way they walked close together as they looked into windows and chatted. The gossip columnist watched them from a distance; glad her former co-worker hadn't spotted her.
"So that's where you took off to, you sly devil,' she murmured. Maggie had avoided her questions then stopped returning her calls. Now she knew why. The two of them certainly made a beautiful couple. Sherry pulled out her digital camera and prayed a good photo opportunity would occur. True, neither woman was obvious in their behavior and strangers wouldn't notice they were a couple, but the reporter's female instinct was clanging off the scale. They stood a little too close and often touched one another as they called attention to the other about items in the shop windows.
She watched the pair stop in front of Claire's Boutique, their backs to the reporter but she watched as Maggie's hand rose and was placed on the redhead's hip. Sherry cursed under her breath because she wouldn't be able to get a photo of their faces in that pose. She'd have to wait for a better shot.
The thought of a huge bonus kept her following the couple, even when her feet began killing her. Imagine one of their former reporters and one of the wealthiest women in the United States having a fling. She must have done something right to have them almost jump into her lap like this.
Finally, the two stopped at a sidewalk café and sat down. Sherry quickly sat at a table out of their sight and waited. A waiter took her order for coffee and walked away. The café was fairly quiet since it was midweek and long after the lunch rush hour. There was little between them to block her getting a decent shot of them. She just hoped they did something other than chat. Then her wish came true.
Maggie leaned towards the billionaire and Sherry quickly raised her camera. This was perfect. Maggie's lips met Nessa's in an affectionate kiss just as the columnist's fingers began pressing the button. A large body suddenly bumped into her. Her hand struck the topside of the small water fountain and the camera tumbled into it with a sickening plop.
"I am so sorry!" a man spoke. "I have no idea why I stumbled like that. Are you alright?" Sherry was close to tears as the man apologized repeatedly. She managed to see her quarry look in her direction then leave, their food untouched.
A waiter retrieved her camera and handed it to her, his eyes sympathetic.
"I hope it's not ruined," he said.
"It doesn't matter, not anymore," the columnist sighed. There went her bonus.
* * *
Maggie cursed at herself under her breath. It had been stupid to take a stroll and think no one would pay any attention to the two of them. She, of all people, should have realized that. Not only that, they had come alone onto the city streets without Nessa's bodyguard. They could have run into someone a lot worse than a member of the press. The world was full of angry, greedy, and crazy people who would love to get their hands on someone like Nessa.
"You are not an idiot," Nessa told her kindly. "And even of you were you'd still be my big sexy idiot," she teased.
"You forgot the word that came before it, Nessa" Maggie said with a lopsided smile.
"You know how I feel about vulgarity, brat."
"Yes, I'm sorry. I just can't believe Sherry would do that to me. I thought we were friends. I guess the lure of an exclusive was too much for her to resist," she sighed. "I never thought I'd be on the other side of the camera. What gets me is that some member of the press is going to make a bundle on our love life," Maggie said, her eyes downcast.
"That's what's bothering you? Let's fix that right now." Nessa took her hand and led her into a small shop. Maggie just watched as Nessa bought a small digital camera and had the clerk set it up for immediate use. She thanked him and took Maggie's hand and dragged her outside. Her eyes looked around until she spotted a bag lady pushing an old shopping cart.
"Perfect," Nessa grinned and walked towards her.
"Ma'am, will you take some pictures of us?" she asked the elderly woman. The woman looked at them suspiciously but agreed. Nessa handed her the camera and once more grabbed the taller woman. "Smile for the camera, baby," Nessa said with a devilish smile. She pulled Maggie down for a heart-stopping kiss and began cuddling with her as the homeless woman took one picture after the other.
"I think it's full," the woman said after a bit. It keeps beeping at me. Here," she said, holding it out to them.
"No, I want you to keep it. Do you know where the nearest rag publisher is Maggie?" Nessa asked.
"Well, ‘The Daily' is just around the corner, over there," Maggie told her.
"Ma'am, my name is Nessa O'Shea—can you remember that?" The woman nodded. "Good. If you take that camera to the newspaper office around the corner and tell them that you have pictures of me and my newest love interest they will pay you a LOT of money for it."
Maggie cleared her throat. "I wouldn't let them pay you with a check—take cash and nothing less than ten grand," she informed the woman. The woman's eyes got large and she shuffled off towards The Daily without saying even a word of thanks.
Maggie just watched as the woman hurried away from them. "Nessa, for a properly brought up lady you sure are a hoyden," she said, her voice full of admiration.
"Well, thank you."
"Well, if we're going to stroll around town without a bodyguard we had better do it now. Tomorrow our faces are gonna be printed in the gossip column and we'll be mobbed until the next juicy rumor comes along," Maggie suggested.
"Let's get something to drink and a snack. We didn't even get to take a sip before that ruckus began with Sherry."
They entered a mom and pop convenient store, a bell ringing as they entered. An elderly man greeted them as they walked inside and returned to his newspaper after they declined his help. They grabbed a couple of hotdogs, adding their preferred condiments and a few cans of soda.
"Don't tell Tess I ate this stuff or she'll be in a snit for weeks," Nessa pleaded as they paid for their items.
"No problem. Hey, the lotto is up to 87 million. I ought to get a ticket," Maggie commented.
"I'll get it. Just one line?" Nessa offered. She asked for a ticket and handed it to the taller woman, who slid it into her shirt pocket. Nessa picked up her hotdog and took a healthy bite and moaned. She chewed it in obvious pleasure. She spotted her friend's smirk.
"What? I haven't had one in years. I love them."
Maggie placed another two dollars on the counter. "She'll take another one," Maggie grinned.
* * * *
Nessa declined the offer of another hotdog.
"Any more and I won't have room for dinner, then I have to deal with Tess being offended. Why are you so hot on me getting another one anyway?"
The taller woman cleared her throat. "Well, honestly? Um, well, because I get really turned on watching you eat them," she confessed with an embarrassed smirk. Nessa blushed then grinned.
"I will never, ever eat another one in front of you—unless I have...plans...for you," Nessa said huskily. Maggie tried not to swallow her tongue. And cleared her throat again.
"You are a hoyden, through and through," she complained.
* * * *
"For a cheap little camera it sure took good pictures," Maggie commented the next morning. She had The Daily open in front of her at the tiny dinette in her loft. She and Nessa had grabbed the paper from Rachel's hands and retreated into the loft before the servants could ask any questions.
Nessa leaned over the taller woman's shoulder and rested her hands on her shoulders. "Hmm, not bad. Maybe I ought to buy another one."
"Ha ha. Well, the fat is in the pan now. I'm even afraid of turning on my cell phone. I put it in the nightstand."
"Coward. Fetch it and see what happens," Nessa dared her.
"Oh, sure, and have a zillion messages to sort through? I ought to wipe my voice mail completely."
"Want to bet? You probably only have a dozen calls. Your name wasn't even mentioned in the column."
Maggie laughed. "I haven't collected my last winnings from you yet," she said, avoiding the dare.
The redhead's eyes lit up. Maggie thought to herself, out of the pan and into the fire.
"Well, this is good a time as any to pay up," she said with a grin. "Where would you like to be kissed?"
The reporter cleared her throat. Perhaps she could get away with saying her cheek but the look in Nessa's eyes said no. In fact, her own body had lots of ideas, few of them innocent. Then she smiled and stood up. The brunette turned her back to Nessa.
"My nape. A nice soft, lingering kiss." There was silence for just a moment then Maggie could hear the redhead walk towards her. She could feel her warmth as her body leaned against her own. Maggie bit back a moan of anticipation and closed her eyes.
Warm fingers slid along her shoulders as Nessa stood on tiptoes and brushed her lips along her nape. Goosebumps rose on Maggie's skin and rippled along her spine as Nessa's soft lips nibbled and kissed along her skin. She had asked for lingering and Nessa was delivering, her mouth refusing to leave. The redhead slid her palms along Maggie's upper arms then along her waist until they were caressing her belly through her cotton shirt.
Maggie was lost in the sensation and didn't have the will power to stop her. Warm fingers lifted the shirt a few inches before finding bare skin. Maggie moaned as the effect caused her breasts to swell painfully even before they could be touched.
Nessa moaned softly from behind her and allowed her heels to return to the floor so she could nibble along Maggie's broad shoulders.
"Nessa?" Maggie's rough voice pleaded. Nessa knew what she wanted, for them to stop, but she didn't want to. She had been fighting this need for too long.
"Don't ask me to stop Maggie, not now."
"Shhh, it's alright." Nessa took Maggie's strong hand and tugged gently, asking her to follow her into the bedroom. The reporter meekly followed but her eyes were still filled with a need greater than her body's demands. They sat down and Nessa snuggled up to her.
"I love you," Nessa whispered against her skin.
Maggie felt her heart leap into her throat. Did she hear her right? She lifted Nessa's chin with her finger and looked into her eyes. They sparkled with such warmth and Maggie dared to believe her, but wanted to hear it again.
"When did you realize it, Nessa?"
The recluse smiled. "When you went along with me with that homeless woman. You didn't say a word but I felt such support from you. I realized I could have that for a lifetime if I only reached out and loved you in return."
"Damn, you went half a day without telling me? I'm about to have a very major pouting session," Maggie whined playfully.
The smaller woman made cooing noises and kissed Maggie's chin. "I wanted to hold it to myself for a little bit. I never felt this way before. Forgive me?"
Maggie grinned indulgently and pulled her close. "Yes, I forgive you my little hoyden," and kissed her brow.
"Good, then maybe I can ravish you finally!" Nessa told her as her hands reached for the brunette's shirt.
"Um, nope. Not right now you can't," Maggie held up her hand to stave off her protests. "Before you growl at me, listen. Hear that?"
Nessa listened and heard the sound of someone coming up the wooden steps.
Nessa's annoyed expression was comical.
"Perhaps this is a good time for you to develop a taste for vulgar language," Maggie teased.
To Be Continued
Apply cattle prod to lazy muse at firstname.lastname@example.org btw, she says my Muse is pure evil and she is not to blame for bruised foreheads or hair readers may pull from their head.