Don't Ask, Don't Tell

SK Allen


Chapter 1--- Is this Love?

As the dark haired woman stepped out of the shower, she sensed him. She knew he was near. She did not understand it, but there was something about him that unsettled her.

Her tall, lean form was quickly covered in a plain white terry cloth bathrobe then she walked into her bedroom and saw the headlights of his car as he pulled into her driveway. He had been away most of the week on leave, and now he was back. She felt an uneasiness come over her yet she smiled. She walked out to her living room, walking around her Government Issue furnishings.

Just as he'd reached for the door, she opened it. His dark eyes searched her pale blue orbs then he smiled slyly and drew her ardently into his arms. He kissed her passionately as he closed the door behind him. The man inhaled deeply and smelled her fresh scent and deduced that only the bathrobe separated him from her naked body.

The woman let herself get carried off into her bedroom and be placed gently on her freshly changed bed. They did this dance without a word, or eye contact, as he pulled at the belt of her bathrobe and eased it open. He ran his hand along the slight curve of her hips, up to her waist, then over her right breast and back.

The woman suddenly felt ill at ease. Something was not right with this situation, but she missed his physical body terribly, so she danced the dance. He usually did so much for her by just being there, but now she counted on her libido to pull through. She thought it was maybe that he was coming on too strong, though strong is how she usually liked it. Maybe, she thought that if she kept on going, she would forget about it.

His strong masculine hands explored her body. The man loomed over her taking in the sight of her, the scent of her. 'She is so beautiful, and she is all mine.' He thought as he bent down to take a nipple into his mouth.He parted her legs and touched her center, which made her shiver involuntarily. He took this as a sign of her readiness.

She, However, was far from ready. He started to unbuckle his belt as she watched him with a raised brow. 'Moron,' she thought as she got even more uninterested. When he was fully unclothed, he pulled her close with a deep kiss

He entered her, and with a groan of discomfort, she shifted herself to where she could endure the assault more comfortably. This was all about him, and his need. Where did she fit in? She tried to look into his eyes, and in that split second she understood his intentions. 'Oh Hell no, Not tonight buddy. I don't know what your problem is, but you're not using me tonight.' Suddenly she grew tired of him, So she pushed him away. "Wha'?" The man asked as she pushed.

"Go home. I have to wake up early tomorrow. It's graduation and I need my sleep." she stated bluntly as she rolled out of bed and grabbed her bathrobe.

"What? You sound like you have some other guy coming or something." he said as he quickly pulled on his pants. He was unsatisfied and ready to explode. A bit irritated, he stumbled after her. Hoping to convince her, in a not so effective way, to let him back in her bed.

"That's not my style," she said as she walked into the living room and towards the front door. "See you on Friday, I have CQ tomorrow." The woman opened the door grateful that he was allowing her to back out of this without much of a fight.

"All right..." He kissed her softly and pulled on his shirt. "Friday." Then he walked out into the night.

After locking the door behind her, the tall dark haired woman walked back into the bathroom and took another shower. She had to wash the fowl feeling away. That was the point she decided that enough was enough. Handsome or not, Lou had to go.

He hadn't even said a word to her before he laid a hand on her. "Who does he think he is?" She asked herself as she stripped her bed sheets once again. Their mingled scent was faintly present there. "Filthy disgusting pig." She added finishing off.

She went to the kitchen to grab some ice cream, and thought the better of it. "I idiot, why did I even let myself get that far into the process in the first place." With a scowl she turned back to her bedroom and slipped into bed. As she thought about it, and berated herself, she drifted off to fitful sleep.


Lou climbed into his car and angrily slammed the door behind him. "What the hell does she think she is doing teasing me like that?" he growled as he sped off down the road. "You aren't gonna push me away too. I'm not letting you go just like that." he vowed to himself that history would not repeat itself again.

It all started when he was too young to understand why his mother had left him and his father for that man. For some nigger. A low down, no good, no account nigger his father would say to him.

He was only five years old when it happened. His father would tell him it was entirely his fault. If he weren't the way he was, his mother wouldn't have left. He wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. Angel would belong to him forever.







Chapter 2--- Reason to Leave

During the party, a petite blond of about 5' 5" walked into a bedroom, easing herself down onto the waterbed. The waves rocking her gently reminded her that comfort would be a rarity for her in the coming months. This would be the last time, for a long time that she would lay on this bed. She wished that there wasn't a party going on outside of that room. She'd rather have her red-haired fireball all to herself. She wished to just lay with her, holding her tightly.

The bedroom door opened and she looked up and smiled. There was an even more petite woman standing there. Her fiery red tresses framed her face beautifully. "Hey beautiful," the red head whispered. "Light up?" she added holding up a joint

"Why nurse Hansen... don't you have to work tomorrow?" The blond sat up with fake shock, then a sly smirk and ran fingers through her long strawberry blond tresses.

"I won't be high by then... besides, this is my gift to you. The Army will make sure you don't get anymore, so enjoy your last." the shorter woman said she made her way to the waterbed. The redhead sat by the blond and handed her the joint. As she took out a lighter she said, "I like the way you do me when you're high... you're so much fun."

The blond smiled and returned the joint to her. "No thanks, I have to take another piss test and I am not getting bumped off the service for this." She reached for her beer and took a deep swallow. 'Did she just call me a dead fish?' the blonde thought a bit annoyed as she drank. Putting it out of her mind she leaned forward for a kiss. Forget pot, sex was what she was really gonna miss. Where she was going she was going to be hard pressed for a willing party of her orientation.

She moved to straddle the redhead's lap as she kissed her. Soon, their clothes were completely removed. They made love to each other for hours on end. As the party died down, many had joined them in the room to do their own thing. They didn't care, no one would remember the next day anyway.

It was about 4:30 in the morning when the blond felt clear headed enough to go home. She looked around the room at the scattered bodies, then at the red head sleeping in the crook of her arm. She kissed her eyelids gently, and slid out of the bed, nearly stepping on someone's head.

She yanked her clothes out from under some people and dressed on her way out of the apartment. She sat on the hood of her 1996 blue Corolla and pulled on her sneakers, then climbed into her car. As she drove home, she felt a bit uncertain about her relationship with the shorter woman. Something was missing, but she didn't know what, or why. She wondered to herself if she would still be there when she came home.





Chapter 3--- Good-byes

The graduation ceremony was executed beautifully. The pass and review, which is a parade to present the soldiers to their commander, showed the discipline the new Privates had gained since they had first started only eight weeks before. All around the barracks now, there were proud parents. Staff Sergeant Major couldn't help but feel proud of the Privates either. It had been a long, hard cycle for the soldiers and they'd need all the confidence for their next task.

Major walked inside the building, taking off her drill sergeant's hat and heading towards the CQ office. She sat behind the desk with a sigh; it was her turn to pull the all-nighter this time. She turned to face the window, watching the other drill sergeants being introduced to various parents.

"Uh, sergeant. Major?" She heard the masculine voice from behind her. She turned to face a tall, handsome private of about 19 years of age. Beside him was a beautiful woman that stood about a foot and a half shorter. They both had the same facial features only his were more masculine. Their skin was the color of cinnamon, and they both had a shapely African-American nose. The soldier looked dapper in his newly acquired Class "A" uniform and shined shoes. His mother was no slacker, with a nice tailored suit.Her hair was arranged in the most intricate fashion of waves framing her face nicely.

"Hey Bond, what's up?" she said with a smile as she stood for the inevitable greeting of family.

"I wanted you to meet my mom and everything. Mom, this is Sarge Major, my drill sarge." He gestured toward the standing staff sergeant with a sweep of his arm.

"Goodness I don't know weather to salute or what... Shouldn't you salute Christian?" Mrs. Bond asked of her son.

"No Mamma, You don't salute indoors." Private Bond answered respectfully. Major smiled at the comment and extended a hand.

"And you don't salute mere sergeants either. Hello... Nice to finally meet you." Major added shaking Mrs. Bond's hand.

"Ebony Bond, I'm so glad to finally meet you. I wanted to thank you for all you did for us when I was sick back home."

"I did nothing really, he had a right to go. I know how hard it is to lose family and he wouldn't have been able to live with himself had he stayed and something really terrible had happened to you," Major answered the woman.

Mrs. Bond had raised Pvt. Bond alone, since her husband had passed. The second week of training, The Company had been informed that she'd a heart attack and was to have a triple bypass. Bond was flown back home, and he stayed until he was assured that she would be all right.

Mrs. Bond healed fast, and within 6 weeks, Pvt. Bond was back in training, The delay caused him to be unable to graduate with his peers the first cycle so this was his second cycle in Ft. Leonard Wood. Today was the day, and his mother couldn't be prouder.

When they turned to leave, the drill Sergeant sat back down in her chair then called out to the soldier. "Hey Bond... Glad to have you in the ranks..." Bond smiled and headed out.


"Bye Mom. I'll miss you," Jamie said as she hugged her mother tightly.

Jamie was at the gate of her flight which was now boarding, at Baltimore- Washington International Airport, other wise known as BWI.

"All right sweetheart, I'll miss you too," her mother answered giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Jamie ran fingers through her long strawberry blond hair then turned to hug her little brother, which already towered over her 5'5" frame. "Bye Sean. I'll write."

"Cool... be all that you can be J," he answered and hugged her back uncomfortably.

She rolled her eyes at his corny comment, then turned to her father and hugged him too. "Bye Daddy." It was always hard to say good-bye to him. Jamie and her father had always been close. He had been in the navy when she was growing up, and having him leave for so long so often, made them inseparable when he was around. He had not at first liked her decision to join the military, but he supported her one hundred percent.

"I love you sweetheart... and I know you'll do your old man proud." He smiled his winning smile and patted her back. "Go now, the flight's waiting." He stated holding back some tears of his own.

Jamie nodded and walked off toward the group of new privates that were boarding their flight to St. Louis, Missouri. Pvt. Jackson, that's who I am from now on. She thought as she waited.

Jamie knew that she had opted for the Army Reserves for lack of anything better to do. Her mother had been rattling on about her wasting her time and life away. She graduated high school and immediately went to a community college. She took frivolous classes and was still a mediocre student. She just didn't care. After she received her associate degree, she just laid around doing nothing. Lots of parties, some pot, and even more women.

Then her girlfriend started in on her. Shannon was her name, the only person she knew that was shorter than she was. Shannon was a fiery red head that overwhelmed her at every turn. Shannon was also a nurse at Children's Hospital and very dedicated. She came home every evening and told Jamie stories that intrigued her. So on her 24th birthday, she drove herself to a recruiter's office. She wanted something that she could use to get financial support for a real education. When she looked at her options, she chose the medical field. The career path she'd chosen for herself 91C. Civilian translation: LPN.

"Hey." Jamie heard a feminine voice coming from behind her, "It's gonna be cool, you'll see." Jamie didn't know if the comment was for her benefit, or for the young girl of about 18 years old which had said it. She had short brown hair and an athletic build. She was only slightly taller than Jamie and had a friendly smile. Jamie supposed the girl was cute.

"I hope so... I just feel like I am giving up so much." Jamie said smiling back at her. She then turned her attention back to the gate and handed over the boarding pass the recruiter had given her.

She slowly boarded the plane and looked for her seat. It was medium sized with three seats on either sides of the isle. As it turned out, the young girl from before was sitting beside her. "I'm so glad I have the isle," Jamie said once they had settled. "By the way, I'm Jamie."

"Sarah... I hope we are in the same company so we can hang with at least one person we know," Sarah answered her. They continued talking throughout the flight. They talked about their concerns and families, and about the humiliation of the physical exam the day before. They were fast friends by the time the plane landed.

After they got to the USO, The recruits waited for the drill sergeants to come for them. They gathered their bags and sat around waiting for forty-five minutes.

When their escorts finally came through, that was when the shock first hit. "This ain't no summer vacation Privates this is hell. Carry your bags and get in formation. Let's go, let's go, lets go!" Sergeant Savage yelled at them.

Jamie cringed and moved to pick up her gym bag; glad it was the only bag she had brought. She saw a few other women struggle with suitcases and other carry-on bags. There were a few more rounds of yelling and then they boarded a bus for a two-hour ride to Ft. Leonard Wood. Jamie sat next to Sarah, but she went right to sleep as the bus pulled out. Jamie tried to see the city, or as much as she could see of it until her eyes closed as well.

It was only 9 p.m., but to Jamie it felt like midnight, when they finally arrived at the reception center of Ft. Leonard Wood. The sergeants stood and started yelling again. "All right Privates listen and listen good. We are gonna evacuate this bus and it better be done in less than 15 seconds. We start with the front, you get down, run, pickup your bags and line up at the door, you got that?" There was no answer. "I said, did you get that?"

"Yes sergeant!" they responded in unison, then he started the count. Everyone scrambled; they had no time to think. Jamie jumped out of her seat when it was her turn, and ran out of the bus hefting her bag and heading for the line.

"That was too slow Privates, too slow." He said curtly. He lectured on the importance of being prompt during basic training. He filed the group into the building and led them to a classroom where, they were given more paperwork to fill out. Jamie was tired and couldn't wait until they showed her to a bed or something. After all that was done, they filed out and went into a formation on the blacktop behind the building. There they stood; all of them scared, standing in four neat rows looking like dominoes waiting to get tipped over. "All right Privates, you're gonna sound off and sound off loud," came the voice of a new drill sergeant that had taken over the group. "Platoon, attention! Right face! Forward maaarrch!" he began singing his cadence.

I don't know why I left.

But I left on my own

And it won't be long

'Till I get on back home

Dress it right and cover down

40 inches all around

And it won't be long

'Till I get on back home.

As she marched, Jamie thought; 'this isn't so bad, is this all there is?' But this was only the beginning. He finally stopped marching them around and gave the instructions as to what would happen the next day. Jamie went into the barrack and took a bottom bunk. Too exhausted for anything, she just took a shower and went straight to bed. God only knew what they might have in store for her tomorrow. With a deep sigh she gave in to exhaustion. 


Chapter 4--- CQ


Sergeant Major stretched in her chair, glad that dawn was approaching. Her CQ duty was almost over and she would have the next day off. She turned the television off in the office and began walking along the hall for her periodic checks. . She shone her flashlight in each of the rooms, thinking it ridiculous really. There was hardly anyone there, and those that were there had the same rights as any prior service member to their privacy

When her check was over, she walked outside for a breath of air. This all night stuff was not for her. Once outside she took a big stretch. Her senses awakening with the newly implanted oxygen.

Tiny bubbles

In my beer

Makes me happy

Full of cheer

In the distance, she could hear cadence being called. "Ah I like the sound of marching feet in the morning... specially during CQ," The tall staff sergeant smirked. She looked at her watch, 4:30 a.m., half an hour to go.

Tiny bubbles

In my wine

Makes me happy

All the time

"Hey, Sergeant Major," She heard a male voice coming from behind her. Major turned to see a very short black man walking towards her.

"Morning, sarge," She said as he neared her.

Sergeant Taylor had a face fit for his nasty personality. He looked like a Miniature Pincher or a really small Pit-bull, small but deadly. His features were always angry. As if he were mad at the world."I heard this is gonna be your last cycle?" he asked looking up at her, never cracking a smile.

"That's right... changing my MOS. Being a drill is fun for a while but it's time to move on." Yeah... it truly is time for something new, she thought as they both ducked inside the barracks. The cool morning air was starting to seep through the fabric of her fatigues. Even for the end of June, the mornings were still cool.

"Well... I hope this is your best cycle yet then," he said with a curt nod and he walked away down the hall.

"Hey sarge," Sergeant Major called out as an after thought, "which platoon are you getting this time?"

He stopped only for a second to say, "third platoon, I think you're getting second, right?" he asked. She nodded. "Give 'em hell, sarge," he said and walked out to his truck

Major watched the same diminutive sergeant dart past her door. Sergeant Taylor walked as if he had a firecracker up his ass. She was glad that they weren't working with the same platoon. Both of them together could terrorize a soldier.

Sergeant Major walked back into the office and gathered her keys and other things that she had with her overnight. She set them on the desk so she could grab them when it was time to go. A few other sergeants came in and by, 5 a.m., and Major was finally relieved of her duty. She walked out to her silver Mercedes ML320, which had been a gift from her mother as a bribe for her to separate from service. Major decided that she would stay in the Army, but she agreed to change her Military Operational Specialty, or M.O.S.; just for her mother. She felt it was time for a change of career anyway, she was tired of the same old thing. So by the time the next cycle was over, she would be a student at Physician Assistant School, going for something that would serve her well when she actually did decide to separate from the military.

The staff sergeant took her time driving to her modest post housing. As soon as she walked inside the small home, she took off her hat and loosened the tight braid, letting the long raven locks pour over her shoulders. She headed towards the bathroom, and as she undressed, she glanced at her pale reflection in the mirror and the azure eyes that were now blood shot.

Angel took a long refreshing shower and wrapped herself in a freshly washed towel. She made herself some breakfast, replacing her usual cup of coffee with chamomile tea, so that she would be able to sleep. Then, she headed for the living room to check her messages.

"Anjulee this is your mother..." said the voice through the speaker.

Anjulee rolled her eyes at that. "I know your voice, mother..." she muttered into deaf ears. Her mother was an amazing woman, able to balance all difficulties with grace.

"I can't wait till you're back in Texas, darling. Call soon, you don't have to wait until you're back in town to talk to your mother. Bye, dear." Anjulee shook her head with a grin. She and her mother were close and spoke often. This week however she had not called, being that it was one of her busiest weeks. Anjulee walked into the kitchen for her food as she listened for the next message.

"Hey, it's Lou... um, we need to talk Angel... I'll come by after shift tomorrow... Bye," she froze. That didn't sound right. Angel pressed "1" to hear the message again, and again. She sat down after hearing the message for the last time. She wondered what was going on with him. He sounded preoccupied. Yet something in his tone made her angry. She didn't know exactly what it was, but she knew she didn't like it. "What is that fool up to? Whatever lie he is about to concoct is not going to work this time. If he thinks he can charm his way back into my bed, he's got another thing coming.' She thought pacing the room.

"Suck it up and drive on Angel. Wait till he actually talks to you first before you jump to conclusions." She muttered to herself, trying to dismiss the feeling. You were going to break up with him anyway. She lost her appetite and covered her freshly made meal, then headed to the bedroom Angel slipped on her Physical Training uniform and went out for a run. She needed to get her appetite back, and clear her mind. After 5 miles, and an hour later, she returned home to collapse into her bed from exhaustion.


Jamie was up at 5 a.m., showered and dressed in her clean, pressed jeans and sneakers. Because they had gotten in so late, They had not yet been given their uniforms, or gear. They'd asked everyone the night before, to wear sneakers they planned to use during their time in basic training.

The drill sergeants said that there were many people that had come to basic training with something other than running shoes, and people were often injured during their exercises because improper footwear. So they were going to make sure everyone had the correct type of shoes. Jamie had just gotten a pair of brand new Nike cross-trainers in gray and white. So she had absolutely nothing to worry about.

They called formation outside the barrack she now thought would be her home from that moment until the end of basic training. They were marched to a cafeteria, which she later found they called a mess hall, or chow hall, and were all assembled into a line. They weren't allowed to speak in the line and they had to stand at parade rest, which meant feet hip distance apart and hands clasped behind their backs.

Jaime found it extremely humiliating.She felt like an inmate in a high security prison. That was something she never imagined she would be. She understood that the military was built from discipline, but did they have to tell you how to stand in a food line too?

When she finally reached the head of the line, Jamie signed her name and social security number and went on ahead in the line. "I'm starting to think this is like prison." Sarah whispered from behind her in line. Jaime smiled, and as she looked back, a Corporal walked up to them and loudly pointed out that they weren't supposed to be talking in line.

Jaime fumed but kept her anger inside. She collected her breakfast and walked to the next free table. She ate in silence; her forest green eyes shooting darts at the Corporal who had yelled at them.

Once finished, Jamie took her tray to the kitchen and walked out to join the rest of her group in line. The rest of the day was spent getting and changing into their uniforms, getting the rest of their equipment, buying what they may need at the PX shoppette at the reception center, and getting their vaccines.

One of the vaccines hurt immensely. They'd warned everyone that when they received the penicillin vaccine in their rear, they shouldn't tense up or it would hurt. When they got to her, they jabbed the needle in so hard she had no choice but to tense up. She almost howled in pain, and She felt as if she wouldn't be able to walk.

She struggled out of the room and waited for the next task. It was lunch. She sighed and joined the long line. When that was done, there was the humiliation of number assignments as if they were criminals. They carried their now fully loaded and heavy duffel bags to a courtyard where they spray painted their social security numbers and their names on them.

Next they stood around a bed and watched as the sergeants taught them how to make the beds military style. The sergeants even bounced the quarters on the bed. They explained that if their drill sergeants ever found a bed unacceptable they would destroy it and turn bunks over. "One time the whole company returned from the mess hall to find all of their beds outside. Some of them had to carry their bunks up some stairs." One of the sergeants sheared. Needless to say, the entire demonstration left an impression on the new recruits.

After that, the rest of the afternoon was free. Jamie could hardly carry her duffel bag because of the pain on her back from the shot. She carried it anyway and placed it in her locker. She looked at the pictures she had put up on the locker and took them down. She'd just found out, that this would not be her home for the next eight weeks. All of the recruits would be transported the next day to Company quarters deeper into the base.

Jamie put the pictures away with her personal belongings, and hen reached for the calling card she had gotten at the shoppette from inside of her gym bag. She went out and stood in line behind the dozens of other recruits praying to speak with their families of the hell they'd been living for the past 24 hours.

She sat on the ground with Sarah, who had just gotten off the phone with her family. The younger woman kept her company while she waited, telling her all she had talked to her family about. "Oh my god, my mom was like... You can leave, you don't have to stay there and take that," Sarah said. "Then I said, please mom, they had to do that to protect me, you know. Besides, I lied to get into the Army. Why would I want to turn around and leave, now?"

"What did you lie about?" Jaime asked as she moved up on the line a bit.

"I have asthma," Sarah answered.

"No shit, girl. With all the damn exercise they're gonna make you do, that is just not smart."

"I like this Army shit... you're up." Sarah signaled and Jaime ran to get her chance at the phone.

The blond dialed quickly because she was impatient to talk to her mother and father. No answer. Jamie sighed and tried Shannon's apartment. How could she not be there, she thought. Tears welled up in her eyes as she hung up the phone. She limped her way back to the barracks and to her bed, where she laid down crying softly. This just isn't fair, she thought as she lay there. What the hell did I get my self into? She grew angry with herself for feeling defeated. This was after all only the beginning. Right then she took a deep cleansing breath and wiped her tears thinking, no matter what, they will never see me cry.  





Chapter 5--- Played


Angel awoke to the knock at her door. She grumbled and stretched, pulling her long raven tresses into a ponytail. "I'm coming," she said as she made her way through the living room. She looked out of the window, before opening the door. Then she remembered the message Lou had left her the night before. Sure enough, it was Lou at the door. The expression on her face quickly went from Angel to drill sergeant.

"Can I come in?" Lou was the vision of a Greek god. His olive skin, dark brown eyes, and full lips accentuated by a small goatee were enough to make any woman melt. The clothing he wore never softened the rock hard cut of his arms and chest. Lou usually did a lot for Angel, but there was nothing two nights earlier and there was definitely nothing today.

She opened the door wider and let him in. He leaned close to kiss her but she stepped away from him.After closing the door behind him she turned to face him, "You said you had to talk... so talk."

He took her hand and pulled her to the couch. "Relax will you? I wanted to ask you a question, but not until I told you a few things."

Angel looked at him, her scowl unchanged, but her heart was racing in anticipation. "Just say what you came here to say."

"Do you remember that night I went to St. Louis?" he started, Angel nodded as she perched herself on the arm of her couch. "The bunch of us went to this bar, and I found this girl and we talked for a while... then one thing led to an other and." Angel pulled her hand away; she didn't need to hear anymore. "We ..."

"Stop it!" Angel said as she stood up and walked away from him.

"C'mon Angel... I needed to tell you. I love you, and if I weren't planning to get really serious with you, I simply wouldn't have been honest with you."

"And that's supposed to make me feel better?" She finally said with a low growl.

"Please ...listen, I wanna live my life with you..." Lou pleaded.

"No! You know what? Get out..." Angel, said calmly as she stood and headed towards the door. She felt really good to be getting rid of the loser. "Thank you for making this really easy. I mean, I have wanted to break up with you for weeks, but I found no real reason to do it. So lets just leave it at that."

"Angel, I'm sorry, please forgive me..."Lou tried to say more as he stood at the threshold,

"Oh please, you should have thought of how sorry you would be before you jumped that girls bones. It's over Lou, so go try your sick little game on someone else. I'm not biting." She retorted as she pushed him out of her house and slammed the door behind him.

"That asshole!" Angel said turning away from the door. She'd met him in basic training. She remembered him as a blubbering idiot, and an incompetent soldier, so she never paid attention to him.

It wasn't until she returned to Ft. Leonard Wood, that she'd noticed how handsome he was. He also had a quirky side that she'd found appealing in him. They had fun together, and in a barren place like Ft. Leonard Wood, you find fun wherever you can.

Angel paced around the room for a while and decided to put him out of her mind. Besides she was leaving the post in eight weeks, and long distance relationships never worked. She showered and went out for a drive' listening to her CD's.

That's not right

But it's okay

I'm gonna make it anyway

Pack your bags

Up and leave

Don't you come running back to me

She sang along with Whitney Houston, the song mirroring her feelings at that moment. She drove most of Ft. Leonard Wood, just playing the song over and over.


Lou watched Angel drive off. "I'm not gonna loose you too damn it," he said to himself as he drove off behind her for a few rounds. He pondered about how he would get her back. "You belong to me Angel, and you will be in my arms again. You aren't leaving me like all the rest."

His mind wandered back to that day. The day she left him. His mother had hugged him tightly and said, "Here now Lou, listen to me... You be a good boy. Mommy has to go and I can't take you with me." His mother's blue eyes shimmered with tears as she reached out and ruffled his dark hair.

"Where you going mommy?" he said, unable to understand.

"I'm going on a vacation with Jimmy, I don't know when I will be back, just be good for daddy okay?" His mother held him close again. He tangled his hands in her dark tresses, refusing to let her go. He cried, and somehow he knew he would never see her again.

"I swear I am getting you back if it's the last thing I do."

Chapter 6---Back to Basic


Jamie awoke the next morning, dressed in her battle dress uniform or BDU and took down her bed. She stuffed her sheets in the pillowcase and took the blankets over her shoulders. The group stood out in formation and listened to instructions on turning in their linen.

After that was done, they went off to get their breakfast. Everyone was nervous because they were going to be assigned to the companies that they would be with throughout the rest of basic training.

After breakfast, they picked up their bags from the barracks, and headed to a building that was completely devoid of furniture. It was an incredibly blistering day outside so they were all glad that there was air-conditioning inside. They lined up uniformly in four long rows and sat with their bags.

Two tall dark men in park ranger hats walked into the room. Jamie looked up at them and shuddered internally. 'God, I hope they aren't my drill sergeants,' she thought to herself. When they started calling for them to file outside, bear-hugging their duffel bags instead of shouldering them, a chill ran up her spine. 'Oh shit,' she thought.

Sarah was sitting in front of her and was visibly shaking. Jamie patted her back and said, "At least we'll be together." Sarah smiled and they both stood to face their fate.

"Stop!" one of the drill sergeants barked, stopping Jamie, "You stay... we have enough. Lets go, privates!" Jamie stood there in shock; she had been separated from her friend. Now, she was really nervous and she was first in line for the next truck. This definitely is just not my day.

Just then, she walked in. The most amazing woman Jamie had ever seen. If she wasn't so scared and the woman didn't look so angry, she would have completely drooled all over herself. She was tall and had a powerful look about her. Dark hair was braided tightly away from her face and her blue eyes looked around the room scanning the new recruits, probably counting. She looked menacing, yet so beautiful. In different circumstances, Jamie would have been completely turned on.

Angel counted the new privates. She saw their innocent faces and mentally winced at what they were about to experience. She looked at the blond seated at the front of the line and signaled for her to stand and follow her out.

Jamie stood along with the rest of the people behind her. She went to shoulder her bags. "I didn't say to shoulder that duffel, Private! Hug that sucker and come on," the drill sergeant growled, "Do you think you're anymore special than these other privates?"

"I'm sorry, I forgot," Jamie answered her meekly.

"Private, I don't want your apology. JUST GO..." Angel watched the young girl scramble and run out with her bags. She followed the privates out and helped the other drills herd them into the back of a cattle-style truck. When they were in, she climbed up behind them.

There was another drill sergeant was already in the truck yelling at the recruits. "Did I say you could sit down? Ain't no body said that. Stand up."

Sergeant Major looked at one of the Privates who was staring at her and growled at him. "You eye-balling me, son? Put your face onto your duffel. I'm gonna remember your face and I am gonna make your life a living hell." She looked at Jamie who seemed to be looking at her too, "You too little girl." She looked around and saw many crying faces on the soldiers and smirked at Sgt. Sanders, the other sergeant in the truck with them as they drove off to their barracks. "Let me tell you something Privates," she continued, "You need to pray to whatever god you believe in. Because your heart may belong to your god, but your ass belongs to me now."

She looked out of the window while Sgt. Sanders yelled some more. Her eyes wandered again to the young blond that she had yelled at earlier, there were no tears. She smiled to herself; 'Oh she will be a good one to break'.

What the hell have I gotten myself into? Jamie thought to herself as the truck lurch to a stop. This is it. What's next?

"All right, Privates. You have ten seconds to get off this cattle truck and around the other side of the barracks. 10...9..." the woman started counting off. Jamie ran behind several of her mates around to the other side of the building. While they hadn't run that far, the heat and the weight of the heavy bags made the run unbearable. There were lots of people falling and dropping their bags. Jamie was determined not to loose face and made the run without dropping her bag or stopping for breath. She stopped only when she reached the formation started by her peers that had made it before her. It was not until then that she dropped her bags and leaned forward gasping for breath.

Jamie saw the woman drill sergeant carrying a young woman in her arms and taking her into the shade.She strained to look at her, but there were too many guys standing in her way. She couldn't help it; she wanted to see her for some reason.

The blond heard a male drill sergeant called out for the recruits to empty their duffel bags for a supply check. Jamie sighed, still panting a little, and began to empty her bag along with everyone else.

With a sigh, Jamie endured the inspection of her belongings. There was to be no street clothes, no music, and no books. You are not allowed anything that will take your mind from training for the next eight weeks. It was just her luck that her inspector just so happened to be none other than the beautiful drill sergeant. Major opened a small bag strewn among the other items. When she spotting a book entitled "Tropical Storm," she arched a brow at the young woman.

She looked back into the bag at the CD's, mostly alternative. Sergeant Major again raised a brow when she came to a heavy metal CD. The drill sergeant then looked down at Jamie. "You think you'll have time for these things?"

She reached inside again and her hand found a box of tampons. She took out the box and opened it to see if there was anything smuggled in. Candy. She dumped the contents of the box on the floor, and then dropped the empty box on the duffel bag. Shit, there goes my sweet tooth. Jamie thought as she watched her candy get thrown into a large garbage bag that all contraband went into.

"Pick up the tampons and put them back in the box, you might need them later, and thanks for the candy. After you're done, gather all of your personal things and put them in the storage room."Major growled as she pointed to the sergeant waiting to take the personal bags. "You won't be needing them for a while." She added with an evil grin. "Then you can go get some water and consider yourself lucky I don't make you drop and do fifty for the candy," Major muttered as she moved to the next soldier, who was looking at her fearfully.

Man I'm being way too easy on these soldiers; maybe it's the heat. Major thought.

Jamie blushed furiously and quickly picked up her personal items and hid the box of tampons in her duffel, though it was too late, people had seen already. Who the fuck does she think she is? Jaime thought as she moved quickly to give her personal bag to the waiting sergeant.


"Can you believe that bitch?" Private González said to Jamie later that night. "Man, the way she took your tampons and practically threw them for everyone to see was cold."

"It's nothing, I guess..." Jamie answered with a shrug.

"Nothing? Jackson, I hope I don't have to deal with her all the time because I will die."

"Now wouldn't that just be your luck González?" Jamie laughed and walked to her bunk. They were in an eighteen-bunk bay, where all the females were staying, which was separated from the men's side of the building.

The air was filled with the sound of crying. Nobody knew what was going to happen next and everyone wanted to go home. Jamie lay awake for a while, listening to the sobs of her mates, and finally let a tear roll down her cheek. When she finally fell asleep, she dreamt she was still at home, and her girlfriend Shannon was there, with her fiery red tresses and blazing green eyes.

Shannon beckoned for Jamie and they came together, kissing passionately. Suddenly it wasn't Shannon anymore. It was Ssg. Major and she wore a cynical look as she smirked at Jamie. "Do you think you can have me? That's the challenge, Private. Will you rise to it?" the dark haired woman said sultrily. Jamie awoke with a start. Her attraction for the woman was going a bit too far. Yet dream or not Jamie, it was a challenge and you never back down from a challenge.  





Chapter 7--- Tough


Angel sat alone on her couch, watching Letterman. She couldn't sleep. She always hated the first two weeks of basic training. This is where shock was necessary and yelling was a requirement.

She ate a pint of Jamocha ice cream, the cold cream cooling her tired vocal chords as she stretched out on the couch. The phone rang and she reached over to pick it up. "Hello?"

"Well hello, Anjulee. I finally caught you at home." It was her mother.

"Hello mom, how are you?" Angel greeted.

"I'm doing well darling, but I am concerned," her mother said, sounding as if she were about to pry and didn't want to. This set alarms off in Angel's head.

"What's wrong? What did I do now?" Angel asked, reaching for the remote and pressing the mute button.

"I got a phone call from a young man named Lou." With an exasperated sigh, Angel rolled her eyes. "He called me last night and asked me to talk to you. He's hoping you've changed your mind. Now I don't know what's going on, but I told him you had your reasons and all I could do is mention to you that he said he'd really meant it. What's going on?"

Angel chuckled, this was not the first time things like this happen. People seemed to think her mother had some sort of hold on her. When truthfully her mother never really did anything but love her. Angel respected her mother's opinion above all others and that is why people always tried to get their way through her.

"He cheated on me," Angel answered calmly. She knew her mother could identify with this. Angel hadn't seen her father since high school. He had cheated on her mother and left her for the proverbial younger woman. Her mother hadn't put up with it and she didn't think she should put up with it either.

"Oh, darling, I'm so sorry. How are you feeling?" her mother asked. Angel stretched her legs out on the couch and sighed.

Se shrugged, "Okay I guess." She answered distractedly, "The irony is that I was planning on braking up with him anyway. I mean who breaks up with me?" She laughs at this. "I give up mom. No one compares to what I had."

"Oh well... I really don't think being alone is the answer," her mother said. "There are many options out there... if you catch my drift."

Angel choked on her ice cream. "Mom..." she managed to gasp out.

"I'm serious, I just want you to be happy. I hope you never settle for dogs like Lou just because he's there."

"You never got anyone after dad," Angel answered, used to her mother's unorthodox ways of relating to her. They had lived alone until Victoria came to live with them. Victoria was her mother's oldest friend. She had never been married and lived alone in Dallas. Glad to have someone else there to intervene, and calm her mother down whenever she managed to get into scrapes, Angel welcomed Victoria into their lives. Now Victoria had been dead for over three years.

"Whatever gave you that idea..." She heard her mother laugh. The younger woman's eyes widened, realizing what her mother may have meant. She decided to let it go because it wasn't her business.

"You're just the strangest person in the world," Angel said with a smile. She loved her mother with all her blunt strangeness. She was always honest with her, starting with the time Angel had asked her where babies came from. "Well mother, I have to go to bed now... I've got to get up early in the morning."

"All right, Anjulee, good night."

"Night..." They hung up. Angel stretched and chuckled at what her mother said. She made her way to her room had changed into her favorite pair of blue silk pajamas, her shirt buttoned half way.

Angel slid into bed and sighed and thought about the conversation some more. She'd never thought of "other options" that way. She certainly had nothing against lesbians, but...

On the other hand, the thought was now alive and well in her mind. The dark haired woman thought about the afternoon and about Jackson. "She was cute... I could go for that." Angel thought aloud, and then laughed at herself for even thinking about it. She closed her eyes and slowly drifted to sleep.


Up since 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, the new recruits had nothing to do. They couldn't officially start until the rest of their company arrived later that afternoon. Private Jackson swept the bays with a dust mop. Other privates were spread around the barracks with clean up tasks of their own.

Jamie looked up when she heard a familiar voice near the CQ office. She purposely dust-mopped her way closer to get a glimpse of the tall dark woman.

"Major, we are doing this alphabetically, so when the rest of the company gets here, you get G-M," Jamie heard first sergeant say. She smiled to herself despite the growing feeling of dread inside her. Yet she continued to listen.

"We aren't going by numbers anymore?" Major asked.

"Nah, that didn't work too well last time, people hated it. We gotta try something different this time."

"You're going soft, Top." Major chuckled then looked at her watch. "Time for terror. The truck here yet?"

"Not yet they called for it and it should be here in a few minutes. Thought you hated collecting."

"I had fun yesterday," she said with a smirk.

"That's because they didn't know what to make of you. You stand there looking beautiful and they all drool. Then you open your mouth and they get ridden around the base by the bitch from hell. You just love disillusioning them," First sergeant said laughingly as he saw the knowing gleam in her eye.

"Why whatever do you mean First Sergeant?" Major asked archly as she tried to hide a wicked grin.

"You are a sick woman, Major," First sergeant said to her. The woman only laughed and headed out of the office.

Major walked out and almost ran into Jamie dust-mopping the floor. "You eavesdropping, Jackson?"

"Uh... n... no." Jamie blushed.

"Uh huh... Drop." Major growled.

"What?" The private asked, not sure she understood.

"Get down, drop, beat your face," Angel explained, and seeing the confusion in her face, she said with a hint of amusement. "Push-ups... now."

Setting the dust mop aside, Jamie got down in a front leaning rest position and started. The private fumed and watched the other woman's boots in front of her as she continued. She tried to ignore the pain on her back caused by the penicillin shot she had gotten a few days earlier. She made it to 20, but Sergeant Major hadn't given her permission to stand yet. She watched as the boots walked away and out the door. Angrily, Jamie sat up, just as the taller woman walked back into the building. "Did I tell you to stop?" Major asked, glowering at the private.

"When you left me here I assumed I was done. Besides I heard you were going to pick up the other recruits. How was I supposed to know I was going to stay like that till you got back?" Jamie answered, thinking that any denial she'd been eavesdropping would be pointless now. Suddenly, she remembered at whom she was yelling.

Major's eyes narrowed. "On your back, private... flutter kicks, now!" the drill sergeant waited until she got in the starting position before she turned away and walked into the CQ office. Major asked First Sergeant Supan to keep an eye on Jamie and to release her when he thought she'd done enough. Major left the office, glancing at Jamie struggling with her flutter kicks as she walked out or the building and into the waiting cattle truck. So young... so hard headed, she thought with a shake of her head.


"When I call out your names, get into formation in front of me," Major said standing to the left of first platoon. Which had been formed by First Sergeant Supan, and Sergeant Clark "All right... Garret, González, Green, Gunther, Hardy, Holt, Hunt, Huntress, Ibsen, Ireland, Jackson... Jamie, Jackson... Katherine, Jackson..." she smirked as she came across this first name, "Michael, Janeway, Jiménez, Jones, Kawalski, Kelly, Lorton, Lindstrom, Malek, Martinez, Mitchell, Montero, Murphy."

Before this afternoon, Jamie would have been happy to be part of the gorgeous woman's platoon, but now she was starting doubt that this would be in her best interest. She got in formation with a heavy heart. She stood with the fourth squad, as far away from Staff Sergeant Major as she could, glad to be standing behind a tall guy named Green.

One by one, the privates got into formation in front of Ssg. Major. She paced back and forth at the head of the formation, watching them all as Drill Sergeant Armstrong walked up next to her. Sgt. Armstrong is a muscular bear of a man, twice the size of Major, and whose skin was as black as night. He also looked twice as mean until he smiled.

"All right, listen up, Privates," Sergeant Armstrong started. "I'm Sgt. Armstrong and this here is Staff Sergeant Major. We are your NCOIC's, which is Non Commissioned Officers in Charge"

"That means whatever problem you have, you come to either one of us. We'll use the chain of command, take it to the higher powers if we cannot correct it for you. If you have a problem with either one of us, you can take it to the one that is not part of the problem," Major said.

"Yo, Major, we need to assign battle buddies and pick a platoon leader and four squad leaders," Sergeant Armstrong reminded her.

"Right," she said looking around. "Okay, we'll do it like this... Who is standing to the right side of the squads? Raise your hands." All four soldiers raised their hands. "Good Garret, Ireland, Kawalski, and Murphy. You are the squad leaders for your respective squads. You come out every morning and make sure that your squad is present."

"Don't worry you get to rotate." Armstrong interceded. Then he proceeded to count rows assigning then numbers one and two to every other row. "Ones look to your left, twos look to your right. This is now your battle buddy. Look out for each other." Jamie looked to her right; the other female Jackson was her battle buddy.

"Jamie, Jackson... front and center," Major barked. She watched as the young blond, who had previously paid the price for talking back, walked up to the front of the formation.

Jamie reddened in anger as she walked up to Sergeant Major. What is she gonna do now? Smoke me in front of every one? "You're platoon leader. You will stand here every time you come into formation." Major said to her, then looked at Sgt. Armstrong. "Who's gonna carry the Gideon?"

"Who's her battle buddy?" Armstrong asked. "Oh yeah, Jackson K. you stand up front with Jackson J. Jackson K., you carry the Gideon," Armstrong said, bringing over a long flagpole.

Jamie grumbled to herself, She'd never gone by unnoticed, but this time she wished she had. The tall warrior woman had promised to make her life miserable. "This will signal when you have changed phases," Major said, tying a red flag on the pole. "This is the first phase flag. Two weeks from now, it will change if your performance is satisfactory."

"There is also a company Gideon. They'll pick the soldier with the best PT score from the company to carry that one, and it won't be out until..." Sgt. Armstrong looked at Sergeant Major for confirmation, "Next week is it?" Major nodded. "But for now, when we march the company, you run up to the front of the company formation as soon as they say right face. Gideons must always be in front of the formation," he continued.

"Tomorrow, we are out here at 0500 in our summer PT's. Right now, we are going to dinner, then we're back here to get further instructions." Major looked to First sergeant coming out of the building, to lead the entire company to the mess hall for the first time. She nodded and positioned herself in front of her platoon.

Jamie saluted to sergeant Major and let the woman take control of the platoon. At this point she was feeling that maybe she would be able to handle being ruled by the woman. Major seemed to have calmed down from the afternoon when she'd smoked her so badly her legs were still sore, not to mention her back.

"Company," First Sergeant Supan called from the middle of the company. Major looks over her shoulder.

"Platoon." she said, coming to attention.

"A...ten...tion." First sergeant barks as they all come to attention. "Right... Face!" He waits till they turn to their right then says, "Forward... march!" He began to yell in cadence as he led them all to the chow hall.

They say that in the Army

The chow is mighty fine

A roll jumped off the table

And killed a friend of mine

Oh lord I wanna go

But they won't let me go

Ho oh ohm.

Jamie smirked as they sang. Well that's encouraging, she thought as they continued on.

They say that in the army

The coffee's mighty fine

It looks like muddy water

And tastes like turpentine.

Oh lord I wanna go

But they won't let me go

Ho oh ohm Ho oh oh oh oh ome

"Mark time march," First sergeant Supan shouted as the company started to half step. "Company halt" They took two steps and they all stopped. "Left face!" First Sergeant then looked at all the drill sergeants and saluted. "Drill sergeants, take charge of your platoons."

Major saluted back and did an about face to face her platoon. Her eyes rested briefly on Jamie and gave her a warning look. "Jackson, K., take the Gideon and put it in that Gideon holder, and go have your dinner. Then come out and relieve the first platoon's gideon guard." she said urging the young girl to run with her gideon to place it in its holder and got in line first. Then Ssg. Major walked to the squad leaders and said, "When 'I say file from the left, column left,' Garret, I want you to say 'Column Left', and you three will say, 'Stand Fast' okay? Then when the second to last person walks past you, it's your turn, Ireland, you say 'Column left' and so on and so forth." She watched for them to nod and yell "Yes, Sergeant" before returning to her spot at the front of the platoon.

Jamie raised her brows looking at Sergeant Major. The woman seemed different. As she instructed the privates, Sergeant Major's demeanor changed. She hadn't expected anything but coldness from her. It was as if, she were realizing that Major was mean because she had to be.

After the first platoon had completely filed out, she said, "Platoon, Attention! Right face... File from the left... Column left." She heard them say their part then said, "March."

After her people were marched inside, she walked in, taking off her hat, sitting with several other drill sergeants.

Jamie stood in line, thinking of all of what this first day had entailed. She knew that tomorrow it would be a whole other story.


By the time Sergeant Major and Sergeant Taylor, which were the two meanest drill sergeants in the entire company, got through with the company that evening, everyone was exhausted. After chow, sergeant Major moved to stand in front of the formation, looking meaner than she had a half-hour before.

She personally marched them back to the barracks, without cadence or any other sound but her directions. When she halted the company, Major stopped in front of each platoon, glaring. Once she returned to the center so everyone could hear, she yelled, "EVERYBODY DROP." Scowling, she looked at Sergeant Taylor, who looked just as angry. She smoked them until she lost her voice. She finally turned to Sgt. Taylor and he took over.

Now it was 9 p.m. and Jamie sat in her new room, which is a three-man bay that she shared with her battle buddy Katherine. She had just gotten out of the shower and was putting on some socks. All she'd have to do in the morning is put on her cross trainers and she'd be dressed and ready to go to formation.

"I don't know if I can take much more of this," Katherine said. Katherine was biracial girl, not much younger than Jamie was. Her skin was the color of light caramel and her eyes were gray. Her hair was light brown and hung in wild ringlets.

"We can do this... It could have been much worse."

"This is true," Katherine said. "What's your name again?"

"Jamie... yours?" Jamie asked as she lay down in a bunk-less bed.

"Katie, nice to meet you," she answered as she lay on her bottom bunk. "LIGHTS OUT," came a voice from outside, it was Sgt. Armstrong. He went along and turned off all the lights. Soon thereafter Jamie drifted off to sleep from exhaustion.

Chapter 8--- At the pump


Angel cleared her throat a few times as she drove away from the barracks. She had ridden them hard today and she knew it. She wasn't trying to win any popularity contests.

She had no choice, more than a few of the privates leaned against the wall, instead of standing at parade rest, when they were waiting in line. The chow hall was also a bit noisy from too much talking. Then, to top it all off, few of them were too slow. Although she joked around with the other drill sergeants, as they all usually did, she did not relish punishing the recruits. None of them do. They'd been forced to do what they hated to do, and that made them angrier.

Angel flipped through the CD's in her CD changer and landed on her Lauren Hill CD. "Every thing is every thing" came on and she tried to hum through her sore throat, as she pulled into a gas station.

She turned up the volume opened the window and stopped the engine. She wanted to listen to the lyrics as she pumped gas into her Mercedes. Her senses prickled and she straightened, taking note of her surroundings.

In the reflection of the back door window, she could see him. "I know you know I am here... you were always good at that."

"What the hell are you doing sneaking up on me, Lou?" she asked, turning around. She returned the pump to its cradle and braced herself for anything.

"I wanted to apologize again for what I did. I love you, please forgive me." He moved closer for a kiss; instead he received a mouthful of metal as Angel opened the door.

"Forget it..." She slammed the door and closed the window. She drove off toward her home, muttering to herself. "Great, I wish the ass hole would leave me alone."


Lou stood there stunned as a memory vividly replayed itself. His parent's had been arguing in the other room. "You don't make me feel that way anymore. I only married you because of him. Lou isn't enough for me to stay anymore."

"He is our son. You're his mother; I'm not letting him leave me. You're gonna have to leave him with me because, I'm telling you, I'm not gonna let him live with some nigger."

"If I have to leave him I will. I don't want to, but I have to go. Lou is the only person in my life that I love as much as I love Jimmy. But he can't make me happy. He can't hold me like Jimmy does. He can't console me like he does. I am tired of being needed all the time... by you and by him... I need to be taken care of too."

"You're only thinking about yourself you selfish little bitch."

"I was fifteen when he was born Joe, I had no business being mommy to nobody... I should have given him up like my mom told me. Maybe he would have been better off." Lou heard a loud slapping sound.

He clenched and unclenched his fists as he made his way back to his car. "It won't happen again." This would be his mantra. Angel would be his; he wouldn't lose her again.  





Chapter 9--- PT

"Formation in fifteen minutes," was heard from down the hall. Someone turned on the light and walked away from Jamie's room. She hated not having a door, that way they could at least knock on the door to wake her. The sudden blare of lights gave her a migraine. "PT people, lets go!" they heard again as they pulled on their sneakers.

Jamie waited for Katie then ran outside for formation. She stood in front of the formation and counted to see if everyone was out. Yep that's every one; she mused and turned around. There were no sign of her drill sergeants. She knew she'd heard Sgt. Armstrong's voice wake them all up, but where was Sergeant Major?

As Angel drove up to the barracks, she saw the formation already set. She parked and turned off her engine. Major reached over to get her clean pressed BTU's and draped them over her shoulder. Her dark hair was pulled back tucked neatly into a firm bun and the nape of her neck. She wore her gray summer PT uniform, with a physical training patch on her left shoulder. Underneath her shorts, she wore black biker shorts.

The drill sergeant went inside the barracks and into the office to set her uniform down. When she returned outside, everything went silent. She smiled internally and walked towards Sgt. Armstrong. "You wanna count them off or should I?" she asked.

"I'll do it... It's still punishment time." She laughed at that and stood behind him. "Jackson and Jackson, go join the rest of the formation."

Jamie joined the rest of her platoon, glad to be at the back of the formation, behind second squad where Sergeant Major couldn't see her. Sgt. Armstrong explained to them how to spread the platoon out. When he called for them to spread out for exercises, the company took up the entire field.

He stretched them out, counting off. Sergeant Major disappeared and Jamie didn't know where she'd gone. She was glad for it. She was still sore from the smoking they all had received the day before. Then, she caught a glimpse of her while everyone was doing the arm exercises. She was yelling in someone's face, granted they'd been doing a half-assed job until she got there.

Jamie made sure she was doing what she was asked. "The push ups!" she heard Sgt. Armstrong yell.

"The push ups, drill sergeant," the company echoed.

"Go!" everyone scrambled into position.

"One, two, three," he shouted.

"One," the soldiers counted off three push-ups to one count.

"You should be able to do these, Jackson, put your butt down and spread your arms wider, it makes it easier. Keep your arms straight and you'll be okay." Jamie gasped, recognizing the voice. 'She could be nice...' she thought as she saw her feet move away.

They did 10 counts and stopped, but they stayed in that position until Sgt. Armstrong said, "The sit-ups!"

"The sit-ups, drill sergeant!"

"Move." As they scrambled to their backs, more than a few moans of relief were heard.

"First squad turn to face the second squad, and third squad turn to face the fourth squad." Jamie heard another drill sergeant say. There was no one behind Jamie so she sat up and raised her hand.

"Sarge! I don't have some one to hold my ankles," she yelled to him. Jamie looked around and saw that Sergeant Major was partnering up the two other people that did not have partners

She folded her arms and waited, although she hoped not to get noticed at all. She had no such luck; Sergeant Major kneeled in front of her. "Get ready." was all she said as she placed her hands on Jamie's ankles. Jamie's body reacted all too eagerly to the touch and the sound of Sergeant Major's voice.

At first, Jamie went through the exercise with ease. She did these all the time so her abdominal muscles were incredibly strong. Major didn't even say anything; she just held her ankles and looked away. When Major shifted forward a little, so that her head was ducked between Jamie's legs, Jamie shook a little. Sergeant Major looked up at her, apparently misunderstanding her reaction. "Rest position is up, rest if you need to." As she rested for a bit, she avoided Sergeant Major's eyes. "Switch." she heard and Sergeant Major let go of her ankles.

"Start stretching" Major said as she walked away and started to patrol the area again. Jamie looked after her and shook her head, starting to stretch her abdominal muscles.

Angel smiled to herself, knowing full well what had happened to the private.' You just had to check didn't you? You need to stop toying with her, you know how vulnerable they are here' she told herself as she walked inside and changed into her BTU's. By the time she was done, the privates were starting to come into the barracks to shower and change. They were given a half-hour.

Sergeant Major walked to the CQ Office and sat on the couch with bottled water. "How are you doing, Taylor?" she asked with a smirk.

"Much better than you'll be after taking privates to a class and staying awake through all the boring blocks of instruction."

She took a drink of water and shrugged. "Better than working for twenty four hours straight" She said laughing, then she glanced out the door Jackson was ready and heading outside. "Peace." She added with a smirk and headed out of the door. As Major stood in front of her platoon, she sighed and waited for First Sergeant Supan to march them off to breakfast. She hoped that the last evening's rain of terror had taught the privates a thing or two about chow hall etiquette while in basic.


Jamie sat listening to the rules of the Geneva convention and UCMJ or Uniform Code of Military Justice, which spelled out the laws and rights of soldiers.

It wasn't very interesting and she started to tune out long before they got to the rules regarding fraternization among the recruits. She started to daydream about the big drill's hard body. She could still feel where Sergeant Major's strong hands had held her ankles that morning, and the tingle she felt when the older woman had moved so close to her thighs. It was the only thing that kept her from falling asleep that day and she felt pretty good until they'd been smoked again for taking too long at lunch.

Every day that week Major acted meaner and meaner. Second Platoon was glad for that part of the day when she wasn't around. It wasn't often, but when she had to be gone, Sgt. Armstrong, although a big bear of a man, was much kinder when he took control over the platoon. However, she was a higher rank, so she had control whenever she was around.

Armstrong was the nicest drill sergeant around. He actually took the time to get to know the privates. One afternoon, Armstrong explained to them about the Physical Training patch that he wore on his PT uniform. "You have to score 300 percent on your PT test in order to get this," he said.

The test is split into three parts push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Each having the potential for 100 percent. If a soldier scored 100 percent on each activity according to their age group, they received a Physical Training patch. "Y'all have seen Sarge Major." he continued, " Now she's a bad mother... She passed the male's test, so I don't ever wanna hear that you females can't keep up with the guys."

Jamie was impressed. The males had to do almost double what the females had to do. They had a diagnostic PT test at the end of the first week and she did a little better than required, in the 60th percentile. She purposely stood in Sgt. Armstrong's line for the test.

This made Major smile. 'Smart girl,' She thought.

When it was all over, they went back to the barracks, cleaned up and went back to the classroom.




Chapter 10--- Spare Time


Sunday marked the end of the first phase. It was Angel's turn for CQ again. She sat in the chair behind the desk, watching music videos. The Ranger's game was going miserably and she was in no mood to see the massacre. It was a half-day for the rest of the drill sergeants, so when 12 p.m. rolled around, there were only two of them left.

With a sigh, she stood and walked through the barracks, where the privates had been buffing and waxing the floors. The platoon had performed well throughout the entire two weeks, So she decided she would take her platoon to the PX shopette for anything they might need. She walked over to Sergeant Clark and asked him if he could cover for a while, while she took her platoon to the PX.

"Second platoon formation, now," she shouted before she returned to the CQ office, grabbed her drill hat and turned off the television. As she walked outside, the last of the platoon was forming up. They looked afraid of being dropped. She couldn't help but chuckle as she took her place in front of Jamie. "If you need anything from the PX, get your money, The males are going to get their hair cut and the rest of us will wait outside until we're all done."

When they all came back to formation she said, "Platoon, attention! Right face! Forward march!" They started to march.

Jamie was surprised at the angelic sound of the cadence sang by the drill sergeant. It was the first time she had done it, all the other times she'd let Sgt. Armstrong call it, while she pretty much just looked mean. She had a beautiful voice and a rhythm you couldn't help but stay in step with.

Jamie sounded off louder than usual. Angel rolled her eyes as she marched. Anytime a mean drill sergeant decided to be nice, they did everything within their power to stay on their good side.


As the female soldiers waited outside, Major asked. "Has Sergeant Armstrong told you about the contest?"

"No drill sergeant." Private González answered.

"I'm shocked, that is his favorite thing in the cycle. I guess I'll keep that to myself and let him tell you about it." She said.

"Why, come on, can we know now?" Another private said.

"It's a contest that we have between the platoons. We need to start working on a step that is known only by us. So on the weekends during our free time we can work on that. This contest is what determines weather we go to final phase or not."

"Cool... can we start on it now?" Katie Jackson asked.

"Have we come up with a name for the Platoon yet?" Major asked. She was enjoying getting to relax with them. She made sure however that she did not take it too far, because Armstrong truly did enjoy choreographing the steps.

"How about The Regulators." One of the male privates asked as he got into the formation.

"Yeah that's good." Said another. Many others nodded.

"All in favor?" Major asked. The response was affirmative. "Great." She said coming to attention in front of them. "Regulators, attention" they all come to attention "Right face. Counter Column march." She stated. They all looked at her confused. Angel laughed.

"What's that sarge?" Someone asked. She went on to explain the most beautiful formation movement that Jamie could imagine. The four squads wove between each other to end up facing the opposite direction in perfect order.

All in all it was a good afternoon. The privates saw the teaching side of their drill. And Angel didn't feel like an utter witch for a change.


Around 12 a.m., Angel looked around for something to watch on television. She wished that she'd brought her stereo. Suddenly she had an idea and walked to her car, driving it around to the front of the building.

She turned on the stereo and just sat inside the car, looking at the building. She flipped through her CD's, stopping at an old Motown CD. She sang along with the song as Aretha Franklin sang something about her world being in the lost and found, then checked her watch. She left the engine running as she started to walk inside, still singing. She stopped as she saw Jamie at the door and she stopped immediately. "Did you need something, Private?"

"Not really, I was just admiring your car. Nice... didn't know sergeants made that much cash," Jamie said tentatively. Maybe she will talk back, she thought. So what if I'm only asking on a dare from the other fireguard on duty.

"It was a gift..." Angel answered. Jamie smiled to herself, she couldn't believe she actually got an answer. She followed the drill sergeant to each room. Watching as she checked to make sure nothing illegal was going on.

"So... what are we doing tomorrow?" Jamie asked.

"You get your weapons," Angel answered, oddly glad to have the company.

"Oh cool... what are we gonna do with them?" she asked curiously.

"Get to know them intimately."

"Okay..." Jamie said as she looked askance at her drill sergeant.

Sergeant Major rolled her eyes slightly as she explained, "they're gonna take you to a classroom and you're gonna take them apart and put them back together. They'll teach you how to clean your weapons and maintain them."

"I see..."

"Get back to duty, Private." she said ducking into the office. Then remembering her car was still running, she walked out to it.

How sweet it is to be loved by you, she heard as she turned off the engine.

Jamie walked back to Katie. "I can't wait 'till I get my money."

"Yeah, yeah... I know she must have been in a good mood." Katie answered as she watched Sergeant Major walk back into the office.

As the two walked back down the hall, Jamie said "Katie?"

"What's up?"

"I hate guns," Jamie answered






Chapter 11--- Up in Arms


Jamie was up, dressed and standing in formation as she watched Sergeant Major walk slowly to her car. She looked so tired. Well duh Jamie, what did you expect. She's been up for 24 hours; she mused as she turned around to count her platoon. The company went to the warehouse that afternoon and were each given a number. "Okay, Privates..." Sergeant Armstrong said to the company. "When I say,' In weapon number sequence count,' you will repeat this. When I say 'off' you will start to count off until the last one has a weapons. You got that?" he shouted.

"Yes, Sergeant!" the soldiers said in unison.

When they call your number that we gave you last night, you run, don't walk, run to the weapons room and retrieve your weapon.

"Yes, Sergeant!" they shouted in response."

"IIIIIIIN weapon number sequence count!" Sergeant Armstrong sang and waited for them to echo him. "OFF" he barked and they were off and running.

Jamie was number twenty-two. After she ran to get her weapon, she looked at the M16 warily. She felt the cold heavy metal in her hands. She carried it with her to her place in front of her platoon and stared at it.

The weapon made her nervous. She looked around at the guys with their guns, they were too happy with them. She shook her head and sighed. "You look like you're scared of that," Katie said to her.

"I am, Katie... I mean, these guys look trigger-happy. I feel like someone is gonna get shot by the time this is over," Jamie said with a sigh and came to attention.


"Major, it ain't like the man didn't tell you." Sergeant Luna said to Sergeant Major one night after duty. Major and Luna were working out together at the gym. Sergeant Luna was the only person Sergeant Major felt comfortable enough around to talk candidly. Luna was a foot shorter than Major, and was of Hispanic decent. Her long brown hair tied back in a bun, started to unravel as they ran on the treadmill. "He cheated, Luna, weather he told me or not. Even so... he shouldn't have called my mother. I mean how pathetic is that?"

"He called your mother?" Luna asked.

"Yeah he did. My mom was like 'why were you even with him?' Then she gave me a lecture about not being alone," Major said.

"Oh God..." Luna laughed softly, increasing the incline of the treadmill. "Whatever happened to that one guy you said you would have married?"

"He got married to someone else," Major mumbled increasing the speed. "He never really asked me."

"Why not?"

"Because he's black... I mean, he took all kinds of crap from people all four years that we were together because I'm white. He said that he didn't want to subject me to all the things his friends might be saying. I on the other had one 'friend' that didn't give a fuck, but people still talked and I've got good ears." Major said pulling a hand trough her now loose hair before tying it back up.

"So it was his decision, you didn't want to break up?" Luna asked slowing down and lowering the incline.

"We decided that, since we were gonna go to college or whatever else we wanted to do... it was better we split."

"Did you guys go to school far from home?"

"I went to Georgetown... he went to Morehouse."

"You guys didn't have a fling in the summers?"

Major looked thoughtful for a second. "He was married by the end of his freshman year." 'But you fucked him anyway didn't ya, Angel,' she thought and sighed. "Anyway... that's in the past."

"So why did you go with this other joker?" Luna asked. Major was confused for a second before she realized the other woman was talking about Lou.

"Are you kidding? Have you ever seen him?" Angel slowed the treadmill to a walk and kept pace with Luna.

Luna laughed. "So you were thinking with your groin?"

"Pretty much," Major mumbled and got off of the treadmill. "What's next?"

"Chest and arms," Luna answered and they both moved to the weight room.

Chapter 12--- Party


"Okay, Privates. There is a party for those of you who want to go. I suggest that you attend because you won't get many chances at entertainment," Sergeant Armstrong stated one Saturday evening after their training. "You are dismissed. If you want to go to the party, come and let me know. You can wear your PT's"

After a week of hot classrooms and M16's, it was about time for some diversion. "This day is getting better and better," Jamie said to Katie as they broke off the formation.

"I know, no Sarge Major, and now this... So, are you going?"

"Oh hell yea..." Jamie answered walking towards Sgt. Armstrong.

After they had gotten their tickets, they entered the barracks to shower and change into more comfortable clothes.

"I hope there's some good music... although I know there won't be any reggae or anything. God, I wish I were home," Katie rambled on as she undressed.

"Well, you never know. They may surprise you. These drill sergeants may still know what fun is." Jamie grinned, stepping into the shower and turning it on. Outside, she could hear Katie singing something in a reggae beat. Jamie smirked and continued eager to get going.


Angel picked up her car keys and her Dallas Cowboys baseball cap and headed out the door. Her day off and she had to spend an evening baby-sitting soldiers at a party. She supposed they needed the diversion, she just wished that she didn't have to work the next morning.

She put on her baseball cap, pulling her raven hair through the hole in the back making it a ponytail. She started the car and headed for the party. The car radio was blaring.

Hey now you're an all-star

Get your game on

Go play

She smirked at Smash Mouth's song and listened to the rest, learning only the chorus. "Catchy tune," she said to herself as she rounded a corner and came to a stop at the gym.

They were still setting up so she chipped in to help. Looking over the DJ's shoulder, she shook her head at most of the selection. She headed to her car to get some of her own music. She argued with the DJ about her adding some of them and shook her head again. She walked away as she heard marching outside.

Jamie marched the small platoon to the party, being the only platoon leader going to the party out of the whole company. There were people in civilian clothing standing outside the gym and loud alternative music was playing.

As they all filed into the gym, she found her self smiling, starting to enjoy the atmosphere and music. She looked around she recognized Sergeant Sanders, First Sergeant Supan, and a few other drill sergeants that she had come to know from kitchen duty. She flinched as she spotted Sergeant Major. "Great! Just what I needed."

"What do you mean?" Katie said then followed her line of vision to Major. She looked over what she was wearing; baggy jeans, Dallas Cowboys jersey and a matching cap. "Oh... forget her... All you have to do is avoid her... though, I think she looks pretty harmless today."

"Man she looks good in just about anything," Jamie said under her breath, then sighed. "I managed not to get smoked today... but, then again, the day ain't over yet." She had been subjected to daily punishment, unless the drill was off and that didn't happen often. Sometimes she wished she could turn her M16 on Sergeant Major herself.

"It will be over soon, we got 3 more weeks to go... We qualify on Monday, take those last test, and 3 days of bivouac the week after that and we are home free." Katie managed to soothe her battle buddy.

"True, but I just don't know why she likes to pick on me so much." 'Especially since my dreams keep telling me I want you.'

"She does it because you take it personally, and you still yell back," Katie answered.

"I guess..." Jamie trailed off, hearing a song from Cheryl Crow "Oh, I love this song! Dance with me."

" Whoa! What ever happened to don't ask don't tell?" Katie said jokingly

Jamie blanched at the woman's words and laughed weakly. "You know I didn't mean that. I just wanna dance."

They started dancing. "What is this song?" Katie asked.

"All I wanna do is have some fun," she answered, singing. They giggled, dancing around. Katie giggled and followed her to the dance floor.

Angel sighed, listening to one song after another that she really had no interest in. That Cheryl Crow is pretty good though, she thought as she pulled her Cowboys cap off and tucked it into her jeans pocket. Running her fingers through her hair, her blue eyes scanned the area.

She kept her watch, which was pretty much fight prevention. That was not likely to happen without alcohol and she sighed with total boredom.

Her sharp gaze had spotted Jamie dancing around on the floor, with Katie trailing her. There are no slow songs played at these parties. There should be no reason for anyone to touch anyone unless they were looking for trouble. But she saw it; someone grabbed Jamie's arm and hands kept going places where they shouldn't. The private did her best to keep the hands at bay but that didn't work.

Major walked stealthily behind the male, her face twisted to drill sergeant mode. As he pulled Jamie close, Sergeant Major grabbed hold of his wrist and pulled his arm around. He let out a painful sound as she proceeded to push him outside. "You're not supposed to touch. Especially since she didn't want you to touch her." She pushed him against the wall; she could smell a bit of alcohol in his breath.


Major quirked a brow and looked at the person's face, she didn't recognize him. "What company are you with? I hope you aren't in basic training because you don't wanna know what I would do to you."

"No I ain't in basic training. I am with Charlie company engineering battalion."

"You're not very smart are you? I ever catch you so much as looking at a female trainee again, You will have much more than a twisted arm... got that?" her voice held a menacing quality. She let him go "Get your drunk ass home."

She watched for him to go; but he headed for a car. "Don't even think about it," she said to him and he scrambled on foot to wherever he came from. When she finally turned to go back inside, she winced at Jamie's shocked face looking back at her. As she tried to push past her, she heard, "Thank you, sarge Major." She pretended to ignore it and continue on her way. 'I was only doing my job.'  





Chapter 13--- Nice n' Easy


After that night, basic training was more bearable. Sergeant Major began to talk a bit more, especially when she had to teach them certain things. Jamie learned a lot from her, but Major seemed to love to terrorize her.

It was finally time for bivouac, and the prospect of sleeping in a tent with an M16 to cuddle with wasn't Jamie's idea of fun. Once they got there, they immediately started building their small shelter. It had been the day they had qualified for weapons. Jamie qualified as a sharp shooter. She was very proud of herself, thinking it ironic because she hated her weapon. All of the guys had named theirs, and made lurid remarks about them.

Now she had to patrol the area and pick a spot to dig her trench. As she started to dig, the rain came down. "Aw Man!" Jamie said, standing in a mud puddle beneath her.

"Is your trench dug private?" she heard a silky voice beyond the thunder.

"Yes, Sergeant," Jamie said.

"Get down then.... This is war, Private," Major drawled

"But the mud..." Jamie started to protest

"But what? If it ain't raining, we ain't training, Private, get down in there," Ssg. Major said moving on.

Beside her, Katie was already in her trench. "Look at it this way, J, you can get a facial out of this," she said giggling as she watched her battle buddy try to keep the barrel of the M16 out of the mud.

So it rained the first day, the sun was blazing the second day, and they had mosquitoes every night. To top it all off, MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) gear the very last night they spent there, so that they'd know what it was like in a chemical hazard area. They were bulky, carbon lined fatigues, rubber gloves, and rubber boots, and the facemask. And it was all because they had gotten gassed as they slept during the night just as warned.

Angel was not having much fun either. This was her least favorite part of the cycle, and the rain and bugs didn't make it any more enjoyable. She did have a tent all to herself, as she was the only female drill sergeant. The best part of bivouac for her though was the last night. She was CQ for that night. She was bored, so she slunk around stealthily dodging the privates on perimeter patrol. "Halt who goes there?" a private said. She hid behind the tree and stopped breathing.

She waited until he got close enough and she reached out, surprising him and covering up his mouth. "You're dead," she whispered and took his weapon. "Get some sleep, Private." She pushed him and continued to slink around. She got a couple more then, when it was almost dawn, she put on the gas mask, got out four tear gas canisters, and walked towards first platoon encampment.

She spotted the guard standing against the tree, sleeping. Shaking her head, she let go of the pin and yelled, "GAS!" The encampment began to stir coughs and screams shattered the pre-dawn silence. She ran her way towards her platoon, canister ready. Once in the middle, she dropped another and shouted, "GAS!"

She continued the run until all four had been used. She leaned against a tree watching the commotion all around her. Behind the safety of the mask, she allowed herself a smile. That was fun


Jamie heard the commotion from first platoon, the screams of horror, and was prepared. She felt a slight stinging in her eyes and knew what was going on... she yelled, "Gas!" She nudged Katie to wake her up and quickly sealed herself behind her mask. She crawled out of her tent just in time to see a camouflaged figure run past into third platoon's camp.

"Oh my god... I barely got mine on in time," Katie said crawling out after her.

"She's fucking crazy," Jamie said staring after Major.

"Who? Major? Did you doubt that she would be capable of doing it?" Katie said with a chuckle.

"Not in the least," Jamie said with a smirk as they moved on to formation.  





Chapter 14---Out of Control


The very last week of basic training, they had just gotten back from bivouac, and the final PT test was less than 12 hours away. Jamie decided that she was going to try to make 300 points this time around. Last time, she was at her 80th percentile and she needed to go up all of 20 percent. Now that she had a little more freedom, she ran and exercised a whole lot more.

That evening, she heard an argument with a familiar voice. But it couldn't be... Sergeant Major had been off that day because of CQ duty the day before. She stopped short and Katie nearly ran over her. "What?" Katie asked.

"You hear that?" Jamie asked listening to the voices.

"Angel, listen to me... I really miss you... Look at me!" the man said.

"Lou, you must be out of your mind coming here while you are clearly on duty. Let me make something very clear to you, Lou. I don't want you anymore. You betrayed me, and on top of that, you attempted to use me the night before you had the guts to tell me." Jamie heard that and her jaw set.

"You ... You whore. Why are you doing this? You're probably doing one of the cute little privates in your company," she heard the man say. Jamie and Katie plunged into a run and got around the corner fast enough to see Sergeant Major standing over a prone uniformed sergeant with a murderous gleam in her eye.

"Listen to me you pathetic little shit. Not now, nor have I ever mixed work with pleasure. If you truly are that insecure about yourself, maybe it is a good thing that you are no longer in my life."

"Oh shit! We have to stop her," Jamie said to Katie, running at Major and pulling her back before she kicked the living daylights out of him.

"Angel, you are gonna pay for that..."

"Sergeant Melvin, what seems to be the problem here?" First Sergeant Supan walked around the corner. Jamie and Katie let go of Major and ran off again.

It took all her resolve not to rush back and kill him. She watched him tell his ridiculous story of her attack. She had no witnesses, did she? All the Jacksons had seen was Lou on the ground.

"Major, you have anything to say?" First Sergeant asked her

"I came to get something, not to get fondled," she answered and folded her arms. "I could charge him for sexual harassment, or did you forget about those rules, Lou. As for the attack, all I know is that a man insulted me, and I lost my temper, he could charge me for assault, but... I doubt he will."

First Sergeant nodded then turned to Lou. "She's right," he said as he walked away.

"You're gonna pay," Lou said, wiping the blood from his mouth as he walked away.

Angel took a deep breath and walked towards the barracks. She had forgotten what she had gone there for, but she headed for the office anyway. The tall woman shook her hand; she was starting to feel the pain now. She looked at it and saw it was starting to bruise. She reached for an ice pack from the freezer in the office and placed it on her hand.

She looked on the desk and spotted what she had come for. A packet with her orders to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. She was going home. She had already packed up most of her house; the furniture belonged to housing. All she had to pack away were her clothes and her television, all of which fit in the back of her Mercedes.

Angel looked up at the sound of the Jacksons coming back from their run. She silently thanked them and turned back to her orders.

Angel picked up her packet as she walked out of the office and went on to her car.


"You can't get away. I'll have you again. You may think you're getting away from me. Huh... fat chance Angel," Lou said to himself as he walked into the darkness. He waited until she came out again and followed her home

He watched through her window as she pulled the shirt that she had been wearing over her head. His mind wandered back to that night at the bar last week.

...A tall brunette walked into the bar and sat next to him. Lou turned on the charm. She was a gorgeous woman, with her long dark hair and pale gray eye. She was tall and lean.

He smiled at her and the smile was returned just the same. "I'm Lou... and you must be an Angel," he said to her.

The woman blushed. "Nice to meet you," was all she said.

"Care to dance?" he asked. She agreed and they danced to a slow song, their arms wrapped around each other. Lou started to nibble at her neck as the woman's identity blurred into Angel's.

The woman pushed him away and stepped back. "I'm sorry. I won't do that again, I just... you look beautiful," he said. He kept up the charm as he continuously plied her with alcohol. When she was barely conscious, he lured her out to an out of the way place. He took her there. He didn't hear her say no, he didn't feel her struggle, she was there and she was his Angel.  





Chapter 15--- Final Test


Early the next morning, hours they were up and ready for the PT test. Major stood outside holding the PT score cards for her group. "All right, Privates... When I call your name, you stand before me."





Jackson, Jamie


Jamie groaned at the sound of her name being called by the wicked witch of Echo company. She walked over to the group and listened as Sergeant Major instructed them as to what was going to happen.

"All right, Privates," Major said after she finished her instructions. "I want you to do your best. You get this done and you're going to graduate at the end of the week. I want no hold-overs, got that?"

"Yes, Sergeant," the group echoed.

Quickly they scrambled in line. Jaime purposely goes for last. The tall drill sergeant made her nervous and the more time she had to calm her nerves the better. When it was her turn, Major's eyes looked contemptuously at her. Jamie met her eyes with a glare of her own. She would prove she could do it.

Jamie got in the beginning position for push ups and waited for the prompting. Major kneeled beside her. "You think you can max this? There's no way you'll get that 300... Almost doesn't count Jackson." As soon as she was told, Jamie started her pushups

Angel watched as Jamie angrily pushed 85 times in the two minutes. Past experience had taught her that anger helped that particular private succeed. Jamie had maxed the push-ups for men in a younger category. "Not bad, Private, but you still got two more to go.

Jamie smiled her way to the back of the line, giving a few high five's to her line-mates on her way there. The next turn, she saw total boredom in the big drill sergeant's eyes. She placed herself in the beginning sit up position. "There is no way face it, you can't be like me." she heard Major say as she belted out 79 sit-ups. Then she smirked at the blue eyes.

"Seventy-nine, Sarge."

"You're not done yet, go less than fifteen minutes on the run and then we'll talk," Major said chuckling, as she walked inside the building with the cards.

Ten minutes later, Jamie was on the cattle truck. Her stomach was doing flip-flops. Her time had decreased on the run, but it still wasn't her best activity. They got to the track and got off the truck. She caught a glimpse of Major at her car, taking out the cards. "I'll show you," she mumbled to herself, walking to where Major had moved to gather her group.

They were off and running the two miles. 'It's only two miles, so keep going,' Jamie chanted to herself as she ran. She kept a fast enough pace, not looking back, only forward. Her lungs burned as she reached the one-mile mark. She turned around and slowed her jog a little to catch her breath. Come on you can do it you can do it, she chanted to herself, as she began to pick up speed up. She could hear the goading of the male soldiers that must have finished before her. This made her go even faster. She didn't think she could go any faster than she already was, but when she saw the finish line and Sergeant Major standing watching on the sidelines, her legs moved faster and faster until she crossed the line.

Sergeant Major wrote fourteen minutes and fifty-eight seconds on Jamie's card as she watched the girl fly by her. "I knew you could do it, Jackson," she mumbled to herself and continued counting the rest in her group.

Jamie felt like she would collapse. She hadn't heard her end time, nor did she care at that moment. She walked around trying to get her heart rate down.

Later that day, Jamie received her physical fitness patch for maxing her PT test. Sergeant Major personally handed it to her. "I told you I could do it," Jamie said to her.

"I knew you would prove me wrong, Private," she answered, then walked away, leaving Jamie open-mouthed.  





Chapter 16--- See ya!


The night before graduation was not a happy one for Jamie. The day before had been Sergeant Major's last day as a drill sergeant, and apparently she wouldn't be coming to graduation. She didn't know why the prospect of never seeing the woman again bothered her so much. She wondered if the reason she was gone was because of what she'd done to the other sergeant.

To top it off, her parents wouldn't be there for family night, so she was staying on post. She sighed and walked on to the eighteen-man bay where the rest were watching a video. "Half baked". She looked at the screen and hoped she hadn't looked that stupid back when she was smoking.

She sat on a bed with Katie. They had become incredibly good friends in the short time they had known each other. Katie didn't have anyone at all coming. Her family was from the Caribbean and, except for her father, she was alone in the states. She lived with him in New York in order to get her green card. She spent her last year of high school in the states and took some college courses until she decided she didn't want to stay with her father anymore.

Her father was an asshole and didn't care what happened to her. So now she was just going to hang around until she went to Fort Bragg.

"Why don't you come home with me? My parents are driving back to Baltimore.

"That would be okay, I guess."

"Sure it would..." Jamie sighed involuntarily.

"What're you thinking about?" she asked as she looked around the room. They stood up and walked on to the bathroom.

"Nothing, just thinking..."


At home, Angel was laying out her dress greens. She decided to attend the graduation ceremony on the next day, and then leave promptly afterwards. She packed everything into the back of her Mercedes then started to make travel food for herself. She made some tuna sandwiches and packed some fruit, three bottled waters, and some juices. She left it all in her refrigerator so it wouldn't spoil before she packed it in the cooler in the morning.

Before she packed everything into the trunk, she loaded up her CD changer with her favorite disks. With a sigh, she sat on the couch with a pint of Jamocha ice cream, wanting everything to be over. She was going to have ten weeks of almost living as if she were going through basic training. She wasn't looking forward to that.

The phone rang and she picked up. "Hey mom," the tall woman said before hearing the other woman's words.

"Hey, how did you guess? How are you, Anjulee?"

"Ready for a break. I'll be home at noon the day after tomorrow unless I stop off somewhere to sleep," Angel said to her.

"Great, I'll be so glad to have you back... Do you remember Marcus?" Angel set the spoon full of Jamocha back into the vat of ice cream. Of course she did, he'd been the only man who had satisfied her sexually out of the four men she'd slept with, not to mention her first.

"Mom what kind of question is that?" Angel also remembered that he was married now. A good man she should have never left alone.

"He's back in town and he asked about you," she answered

"Yeah? What did you say?"

"I said that he should ask you when you got back." Angel smiled at that. She talked to her mother for about an hour, and finally hung up when she could no longer keep her eyes open. So she moved quietly to her bed and, with a sigh, closed her eyes and slept.


Jamie stood in front of the platoon, waiting for instructions. She spotted the silver Mercedes rounding the corner. She kept herself from leaping for joy when she saw the dark haired drill sergeant step out of the car in her "Class A" uniform.

She walked to stand in front of the company "All yours, Sergeant Major," First Sergeant said and she smiled.

"Company... Attention!" Major called, smirking, she had always looked forward to the graduation drop. The soldiers always got a funny look on their face when a drill sergeant told them to assume the push-up position. "Half right face!" This group was no different and she mentally smiled as she saw the look of horror on their faces. "Front leaning rest position, move!" They all dropped. There were no hesitations, no protests. They were good soldiers perfectly trained. "In cadence... one, two, three."

"One!" they all responded

"Recover, Privates." She stopped them after one set and moved to the front of her platoon and winked at them. The First Sergeant then marched them all to the field. They went through the pass and review and the ceremony, executing perfectly.

There was the pride in her soldiers as she marched next to them back to the barracks. She met parent after parent who said, "Oh I heard about you... you don't seem that mean after all." She smiled at the comments.

Jamie pulled her mother forward. "Here, mom, I want you to meet the woman who made my life a living hell all these eight weeks."

Angel turned around at hearing the word hell. She smiled sweetly at Jamie's family. "Hello, nice to meet you," she said, shaking their hands.

"My god... she doesn't look so mean." her mother said.

"Looks can be deceiving," her father answered.

"Yes, they can Mr. Jackson," Angel said.

She was moving away when she heard Jamie's brother whisper. "Damn she's hot."

"Stop that." Jamie whispered as she pulled him away.

Angel headed for her car and grabbed her duffel bag, taking it back into the Women's latrine to change quickly. She let her hair out of the French twist. She dressed in a white tank top and a pair of thoroughly ripped jeans. Those were her traveling clothes; her favorite pair of jeans accentuated the best parts of her legs and she felt sexy every time she wore them.

She knew she probably should have turned her key into billeting after the ceremony and changed her clothes at home, but she wanted to be seen this way right now. The tease in her wanted to feel sexy in front of the new soldiers. She couldn't even explain to herself why.

She headed out to her Mercedes saying good bye to a few of her coworkers on the way. Jamie saw her as she headed to her car and her jaw dropped. The rips in the drill sergeant's jeans caught her eye, especially the one in the upper region of the back of her left thigh. "May the lord be with me... I won't be able to live without seeing those legs again," she muttered to her self.

Katie, who was standing next to her, asked, "What did you say?"

Jamie blushed, laughed and waved back as the drill drove past them, "Nothing, just my warped brain in overdrive again."

"Come on, girl. Let's change and get the hell on out of here." Katie led her back inside.  





Chapter 17---Blue Rose of Texas


Angel drove all night. It was a ten-hour drive and it was almost over. The clock on the dashboard said 3 a.m.

She listened to Jewel's Who will save your soul and shut off the radio. That girl was starting to grate on her nerves. Music was the only thing that kept her sane most of the time. Even though she loved it, sometimes she had to have a break. She drove in silence for the rest of the morning watched the sun rise over Austin. She drove to San Antonio and to her mother's two-story home. She was there by noon.

She used her key to let herself into the house. "Hello?" She walked around the first floor of the house. She knew her mother was there because her car was out front. Angel heard some footsteps come from her mother's room. She walked up the stairs, and as she reached her mother's door to knock, her mother opened it.

The older woman smiled at her daughter. Her pale skin was flushed and her short dark hair a bit tousled. "I over slept."

"I see," Angel smirked, wondering who was in that room with her. She walked with her to the top of the stairs. "I'll just go get my stuff and bring it to my room."

"All right dear," her mother said turning back to her room.

Angel loitered outside as long as she could before she brought her first bag in. As she stepped inside the house, she saw a younger woman trotting down the stairs and blinked in surprise. 'Jesus, she's younger than me,' she thought.

"I... Oh... I'm Terry," she said extending a hand to Angel

"I'm Angel, pleased to meet you. Be right back, I need to dump this stuff in my room she answered then looked up at her mother who was now descending the staircase.

"Does this bother you?" her mother said to her.

"Would it matter if it did?" Angel answered with a grin.

"Not really," her mother said, hugging her tightly. She was only a few inches shorter than Angel was but otherwise they were a mirror image of each other. "Have you met Terry, Anjulee?"

"Yes, I have..." Angel answered her setting her bag down at the top of the stairs.

"How about some breakfast? I'm famished," the older woman said leading them to the kitchen. Angel bit back a snicker and followed them to the kitchen.


After a wonderful afternoon of chatting, Angel sat on the couch with her headphones on. Terry had left a while ago, and her mother had just left for a bridge game she usually had on Wednesdays. She felt a presence and opened her eyes, pulling off her headphones.

There was a knock on the door. She moved to answer it. When she did, she ran her eyes over the neat Timberland boots topped by wide-legged pressed jeans, followed a blue and white Fubu shirt, He had beautiful milk chocolate skin, and pink lips, wide round nose, and big brown eyes in a handsome face, framed by neatly-cut hair.

"Marcus," Angel said, somehow managing to keep her voice even. The sight of him always made her shiver.

"Hey, Angel... can I come in?" Marcus asked. She opened the door wider and stepped aside.

"How have you been?" she asked softly.

"All right, I guess... Thinking about you a lot," he answered

"About me?" she asked, sitting on the couch and signaling for him to take a seat as well. He sat on an overstuffed love seat.

"Yeah, I should have never broken up with you in the first place... You've always held my heart."

"That kinda sounds like a line... How's your wife? Have any kids yet?"

"Ow, that cut deep," he said with a grin. "We separated..."


"I kept calling out your name..."

Angel couldn't help but laugh at the comment. "You're a fool," she said and watched him move to sit next to her.

"It was irreconcilable differences. The papers are going to be served next month."

"Is that why you have been thinking about me?"

"I had been hoping you had waited for me."

"Sorry," she said laughing out, "but do you know how ridiculous that sounds?"

He leaned back in the couch thinking. "You're right, can we start all over again?"

Standing up, Angel walked over to her stereo and turned to an oldies station. "Perhaps... would you like something to drink?" she asked, walking over to her mother's liquor cabinet. She looked around unsure of what she wanted.

"Sure, I'll have a soda. I know you don't drink, and I want to be able to enjoy every moment with you," he answered. Angel rolled her eyes and headed for the kitchen. She grabbed two cans of pop and a pair of glasses, filling them with ice. She brought them back and placed one set in front of Marcus.

They sat and talked, catching up on each other's lives. During an awkward pause, they looked deep into each other's eyes. A song started to play in the background that made Angel look away. "You remember that song?" Marcus asked. Angel just nodded. Earth Angel remained one of her favorites. "Lets dance," Marcus said, standing and holding a hand out to her.

As they danced to the song, Angel's mind drifted back to when it had become one of her favorites.

Earth angel, earth angel, Please be mine... It was the summer that New Edition had come out with the remake of the song. Anjulee was only 15 and she was at the skating rink when the song started to play.

My darling dear, Love you all the time... She had turned around and was skating backwards and talking to her friend, Melinda, when she suddenly crashed with this tall black boy who seemed like he was just learning to skate. "Ow girl, would you watch where you're going?" he said not really having seen her. She reached out to help him up. Their eyes met and a bit of electricity ran through them.

I'm just a fool... "Look... umm... what's your name?"


"Marcus, I'm sorry I didn't mean to run into you," Anjulee apologized.

"What's your name?" Marcus asked.

"Anjulee," she answered.

"Sounds like Angel... Can I call you that?" he asked. She raised a wary brow but smiled, and nodded. She liked the name Angel.

A fool in love... With you... Angel spent the rest of the night teaching Marcus how to skate and he taught her how to dance. By the time the night was over, Angel had met the only man that would make her happy.

Angel had also gotten her first kiss to that song. It was the following week at the skating rink that they had decided to meet again. When the song played again, they shared their first kiss, it was almost magic.

Back to reality, Angel pulled apart from Marcus and looked at him. "Wanna go roller skating?" she asked with a smirk. Marcus smiled and nodded in agreement.


Angel had fun that week of leave. She and Marcus were like they were fourteen years before, no sex and lots of kissing. Back then, she'd asked that they wait until she was ready and he did. They waited until her 16th birthday. This time she asked to wait again and he told her the wait would be worth it. Besides, he was still married, even though he was separated.

Angel and her mother spent many a day talking to each other. Angel explained all of her problems with Lou and her concerns about Marcus. Her mother again said not to limit herself, there was plenty of time to find someone.

At last, the day came when she had to go to the base. It was only fifteen minutes away from home. She packed her duffel bag and placed it in the trunk of her car. "Well mother, I'm gone again." She reached out and hugged her.

"Be good, Anjulee," she said.

"I will," she answered.

She walked to the driver's side of the Mercedes and suddenly there was a pair of strong arms enfolding her from behind. She turned around and kissed Marcus then pushed him away. "I'll never leave at this rate." After one last kiss, she turned around and climbed in the car and drove off.  





Chapter 18--- Welcome to the Harbor


Jamie's parents had rented a conversion van to get themselves to the graduation. It was a just after 6 p.m. when they had reached the harbor. Sean drove the rest of the way home. Jamie had stretched out on the back seat after she had taken her turn. Katie still sat in the front and opened her eyes to see the harbor.

They unloaded the van and walked into the house. All of the members of the household fell straight into bed. Jamie awoke when the phone rang. She picked up sleepily. "Hullo?" she said; her groggy voice almost a whisper.

"Hey, you're back!" Shannon's voice came from the other end.

"Not quite," Jamie mumbled snuggling under the covers.

"Wanna come over?" Shannon asked purring into the phone.

"Not unless you come and get us... I don't feel alert enough to drive."

"Excuse me... Us?" Shannon asked.

"Yeah, I brought Katie with me. She doesn't know about us yet and I want to keep it that way." Jamie answered while she stretched out on the bed. Sleep was slowly moving to the back burner.

"When are we supposed to spend time together? I miss you." Shannon asked

"She can come along Shannon, it all doesn't have to be sex," Jamie answered, sliding out of bed.

"Did you miss me?" Shannon asked.

Jamie took a little too long to answer that question. She hadn't really thought of Shannon unless she was sleeping. All the red head and she ever talked about was Shannon's work and all the terrible things children went into the hospital with. Other than that, it was almost all physical. "Of course I did," she answered her.

"Sure you did. You sound more awake now. Are you guys coming?" Shannon sounded a bit disappointed.

"I guess, yeah... Let me check to see if she is awake," Jamie said walking out towards the guestroom. She knocked softly on the door and heard a soft "come in". She opened the door and saw Katie combing her long hair, already dressed. "I see you're ready to go out."

"Yeah, I just wanted to wear my civilian clothes. I missed them." Katie grinned

"A friend of mine invited us out. Want to go?" she asked.

"Sure," the younger woman answered with a shrug.

"I'm gonna get dressed and we'll be out, okay?" she said on the phone. "I see you later then."

"I love you." Shannon said

"Bye." Jamie said and hung up the phone.


They went out to dinner, and then to one of their favorite hot spots in D.C. Jamie drank little since she was driving. Shannon said she wasn't working the next day so she tied one on.

Katie danced to all sorts of music, moving them from one dance floor to the next. Jamie found herself getting annoyed with the redhead's drunkenness. As she drove home, she fumed in silence. Katie sat next to her, trying to keep Shannon from distracting Jamie as she made the hour and a half long trip back to Baltimore.

"We're almost home, Katie. I'll drop you off first," Jamie said, turning off at the exit to head towards home. She stopped in front of her house, letting Katie off. Remembering that she had to unlock the door for her, she turned off the car and walked her to the door and unlocking it. "I am so sorry, K... I don't know what's going on with her."

"Well, you don't seem to be getting along that's for sure. You smiled more while getting smoked by sarge Major," Katie said.

"You mean that ugly drill sergeant you were telling me about?" Shannon had gotten out of the car and pushed through the door.

"Shannon, I'm going to take you home now. Come on." Jamie pulled at her arms speaking low.

"Aw come on honey, I haven't met your parents in all of the time we've been together," Shannon announced loudly wrapping her arms around Jamie and starting to nibble at her ear.

Jamie pushed her away, her eyes wide, as cast a furtive glance at Katie. Then she heard a stirring from upstairs. "Shannon please let's get out of here... Come on."

"Come on Jaaaaayyymieee. Let's meet them," she said heading up the stairs.

Jamie and Katie exchanged worried glances and both grabbed an arm and pulled her down the stairs. Her mother appeared at the head of the stairs and it was all Jamie could do not to cringe. "Come on, Shannon, let's go." She tried pulling her out again.

"Do you love me Jamie?" Shannon asked.

"Now is definitely not the time for this. Come on," she answered her face white as a sheet, trying not to look at her family standing at the stairs.

"Do you think I'm sexy? You haven't touched me all night, Jamie," Shannon said, her voice a little sad.

"ShanAnne... Let's go to your house and she'll answer everything okay?" Katie tried now that Jamie looked as if she were going to die. She ushered her out of the door and walked out with her.

Jamie finally looked up at her parents, who looked angry and embarrassed. "Is it true?" her mother asked.

Jamie did not say anything, just looked into her eyes until her eyes blurred with tears. All she could hear was her fathers growl, "Get your things and get out of my house, I don't ever want to see you again." He turned and stormed back into the bedroom with her mother in tow.

For a long moment Jamie just stood there. Katie went back inside and placed her hand on her shoulder. "You okay?" she asked.

"Sure, my family and my career down in one fell swoop," she said bitterly.

"You know I'd never tell," Katie assured her.

"Thanks. Let's get out of here. You up for a road trip?" she asked heading up the stairs Jamie packed all that was important to her, which wasn't much. All of her clothes and her teddy the only thing that meant anything to her. She met Katie at the door of the guestroom. Her mother was standing at the door a look of utter disappointment on her features. Jamie's expression became hard and she walked away. 



Chapter 19--- Road Trip


"Are you all right?" Katie asked as she sat next to Jamie. They were somewhere in Virginia Beach. It was crowded but they had decided to spend the rest of their week off along the beaches before Jamie dropped Katie off at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking about my family. I can't believe they could hate me like that," Jamie answered shaking her head and looking out at the ocean.

"Your parents will come around. They just have to get used to it, that's all. They'll get over it. They love you," Katie said placing a hand over Jamie's bare shoulder.

Jamie had finally given in and bought a bikini when they had gotten to the first beach. Her body was now toned in places she didn't think could be toned, and she could feel the appreciative stares on her. "So, you ready to cross the border?" Jamie asked, looking up.

"Yeah, let's go... I feel homesick, but these beaches are depressing compared to home," Katie answered. "I've had my fill."

"All right, lets go." They packed up everything they had and headed for their car. 


Chapter 20---Lock Down


Angel entered Ft. Sam Houston. She unpacked her trunk and went through a bag drag. The drill sergeant that looked through her things was one she recognized from drill sergeant school. There were a few others she recognized as well. She suspected she was going to regret her time here. "Major, a computer?" The drill sergeant held up Angel's lightweight notebook computer.

"Yes, drill sergeant. It's not a problem, is it? I'm carrying my entire life in this bag, I had no where else to take it but here." They don't have to know that there was always my mom's house.

"Major, you can have electronics here, I ain't trying to be an ogre. I just didn't picture you for a computer nerd," he said putting it back in the bag.

"Well, as my students liked to say, looks can be deceiving," the ex-drill sergeant answered.

Once he was done, Angel hefted her bag and walked on up to the bay he'd indicated. She walked through; impressed by setup and the degree of privacy it created. Wall lockers flanked bunks, so it gave the feeling of being isolated even though there were thirty or forty other females around.

Angel chose a bed in the farthest corner from the door, and the closest to the bathrooms and started putting her things in her wall locker. After that, she went into the CQ office to get the permit for her car, and headed out to park it where the permit allowed.

Angel stood by her car checking and re-checking it to make sure it was locked. Chill, Angel, this is an Army base, nothing will happen to it, she thought as she gave one last good look at her Mercedes and headed off to the Common Training Area, or CTA, of B company 123.

The tall NCO ran fingers through her raven locks and sat at a weight-training bench on the CTA. The CTA was comprised of a large courtyard. There were a few picnic style tables scattered about the large space. On the concrete pad there was a big painted picture of the company's logo and motto.

Angel saw a blue car pull up to the side of the building. A blond in cut-off shorts and a tank top stepped out of the car. Angel blinked. It was one of her students.

Oh great, just what I needed, she thought as she leaned back on the bench.


Jamie stepped out of her car and walked towards the building, looking puzzled. She walked through the CTA with her head down, reading her paper. Seeing a pair of feet near a bench next to her she asked, "Is this B Company 123?"

"Yes it is, You get your parking permit through that office there." Jamie looked up at hearing the familiar voice, followed the hand back to the tall woman holding it up. Oh man, just what I needed, Jamie thought.

"Thanks, Sarge," she said heading toward the office. Jamie retrieved her permit and ran back to her car to park it. She spotted her former NCO's silver Mercedes, which was right next to her parking spot. She took a closer look at it before popping the trunk and grabbing her duffel bag.

Locking her car, she headed back to the building, making it just in time for formation to be called. She ran to formation, forming up in the third squad.

Angel witnessed another bag drag. "Any and all books you may have in your bags, you need to throw them away," the drill sergeant said. The tall woman watched as the young blond winced and leaned forward.

"Push the book all the way down to the bottom of the bag, they won't get that far down. You don't have to give up anything. This is not basic training," Angel said in a low voice.

Jamie complied and pushed her books all they way down. When the bag drag was over, she breathed a sigh of relief and thank the gods for whoever had spoken. Then she heard the drill sergeant again. "You will go nowhere without a buddy. You need to go in groups, especially you females. First and third squads turn around. The person behind you will be your battle buddy. You're responsible for checking on your buddy at every turn to make sure that he or she is squared away."

Jamie turned around and her eyes met crossed arms. She slowly looked up into the scowling face of her former NCO. "Boy, Jackson, you just have the worst luck, don't you?" she asked and smiled softly, losing the hard gaze.

Jamie turned back around to listen to the drill sergeant. Great, just what I fucking needed, she thought as she listened to the rest of the instructions. They wouldn't be allowed to wear civilian clothes during off-hours for at least four weeks, which meant Labor Day weekend would be spent in utter boredom around the barracks. Two weeks after the first phase, they would be allowed off base. Car privileges were left to soldiers with a prior MOS (Military Operational Specialty).

Angel was assigned to be class leader. After their debriefing was over, Angel called on her fellow class members to learn their names. After meeting them all, she walked towards her battle buddy. "Need any help?" she asked the blond.

"Nah... Just point the way to the bunk," she said, hefting her Duffel bag.

"Okay. Follow me," she said, leading the way to the bunk at the far corner.

"Thanks," Jamie said, setting her bag down on the floor.

"Top or bottom?" Angel asked, opening her wall locker and taking out her PT clothes.

"I'm afraid of heights," Jamie said, her face flushing a little in embarrassment.

"I remember. Okay, top bunk for me I guess," Angel said as she pulled off her t- shirt and replaced it with her PT shirt. She remembered the private having some trouble on the obstacle courses when she had been too far off the ground.

Jamie busied herself with unpacking. She didn't quite know what to say to the woman who had dominated her nightmares and dreams all summer. The drill sergeant had never been the talkative type like Sgt. Armstrong.

"I don't bite you know, I just had to make you think I did," Angel said as if she were reading the younger woman's mind.

"Well, you did a really good job," Jamie said, relaxing as she saw the smile flash across the older woman's face. She pulled at the book that she had hidden deep in the bag and waved it at Major. "Thanks by the way. This book is irreplaceable."

"Glad to be of help." Angel looked at the lightening streaked cover. Tropical Storm, by Melissa Good. Hmm... Oh yeah, I remember. "What's it about?" she asked in genuine curiosity.

"It's a corporate love story... a really long one at that. I read it on the Internet. She has like three or four sequels to it. It's great," Jamie, said, her eyes more aglow than Angel had seen them, except when she had maxed her PT test.

"Why did you buy it if you read it on the net?" Angel asked.

"Support? I don't know, I think it's 'cause I like to take it around with me and it's hard to wait to get to a computer to be able to read it."

"I know what you mean, If they hadn't made the portable CD player I would have strapped my stereo on my back." Angel said, taking her CD player, and the binder full of CD's, out of her wall locker. She sat on the bottom bunk looking through CD's.

"I can't wait until I can get somewhere and spend my money on a good laptop or something so I can read more," Jamie said, sitting on the bunk next to her looking through a stack of papers.

"What's that?" Angel asked looking at the papers.

"Sequel, one of the shortest ones," Jamie said.

"Cool," Angel said, standing up and reaching into her wall locker she pulled out her notebook and a cell phone. "Here, download the other's with this cell and read it off my desktop."

"Uh, no thanks. I don't want to impose," Jamie said a little shocked by the gesture.

"No imposition, go ahead, just don't stay on line too long, Jackson. Cellular time tends to get expensive," Angel said, picking up the book next to her. "Can I read this?"

Jamie had been hooking the notebook up when she asked, and almost dropped it.

"NO! Um, I mean... I don't think its anything you'd be interested in read " Jamie explained weakly, feeling foolish.

"All right, if you say so," Angel said, arching a brow. She put the book back down on the bed. She stood to climb into her own bunk. "Hurry up and download those, it's about time for lights out."

Jamie looked at her, shocked that she would still let her use her line, but proceeded to download the next story Ring in the New Year. She looked up at the NCO, who was trying to work a Bach CD out of its jacket. Jamie reached for the book and placed it next to the brunette.

Blue eyes lifted from the cover and looked at her. Angel smiled slightly, her hand resting briefly on the cover before she opened the book. Reading the dedications, she smiled and looked over at Jamie who was unhooking the cell from the notebook. "So you're a MerPup?"

Jamie looked up and smiled. "Pup, Monster, and all around Xenite," the blond answered. Angel went on to the first page, letting the minuet from the Brandenburg Concerto carry her through the words.

The alarm went off softly, nudging the sprawled figure in the waterbed toward wakefulness...


A week later, Jamie looked through her drawer and sent a sidelong glance in the sergeant's direction as she finished the last pages of the book. She has spent the entire week watching for any sign of judgment on the other woman's face as they related to one an other, ready to deny anything but interest in the story. But she hadn't. She still called her Jaime, as the private had asked days earlier, she still treated her respectfully, more so than she did when she was in basic training. But she'd made no move to discuss what was in the book

"Welcome home." Dar's voice burred the words -low and sweet- as they joined again in the warm light of a tropical winter day.

"This book..." Angel started. "Is ... Awesome." Angel finally said as she closed the book. "Never seen love depicted that way before."

Jamie smiled and visibly relaxed as she took back the book from the outstretched arm. "You obviously never watch Xena... It only gets mushier though."

"You mean Dar looses her edge? This I have to read." Angel said with a smirk.

"NO... No. Edge intact... in business anyway." Jamie chuckled. "It's pretty good."

"You got the printed sequel?" Angel said reaching out for the shief of papers that Jamie was handing her.

"Have you ever experienced anything close to that?" Angel asked

"What do you mean?" Jamie asked warily.

"You know... I have this one person that has been on an off for a long time. I love him dearly, but he is married now. That is as close as I've come.

"Oh... well my deepest relationship lasted this summer... by the time I got back home from basic... we broke up." Jamie answered. "So I guess not."  





Chapter 21--- Freedom


After the fourth week, Angel was more than happy to trade her PT's for her regular civilian clothing. After the evening formation, she dismissed the class and hightailed it to her wall locker, grabbing the first civilian clothes she could reach, her favorite ripped jeans and Marcus' blue and white Dallas Cowboys jersey, and threw them on.

Jamie walked up to the bunk and her eyes lit up when she saw the jeans. "Oh my god, is that today?" Jamie said, pulling her civilian clothes out. She pulled on a pair of her baggiest jeans and her father's Navy sweatshirt. She sighed softly; she knew that no matter how upset he had been at her that night, he still loved her.

"You slumming it, Jackson?" Angel said, looking at the oversized clothing Jamie had put on.

"Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black," she said archly as she took the opportunity to stare openly at Angel's physique. She watched then as Angel pulled out her cell phone and dialed a local number.

"Hey, can you come?" Angel asked pulling on her cross-trainers and pulling out her braid, letting the raven locks free from their binding. "Yeah, I'm free to roam the base. Curfew's not until midnight on the weekend."

Jamie decided she shouldn't be eavesdropping and turned to her mirror. She loosened her golden tresses, running a brush through it. " I think I am going to go short," she said to herself.

"I think you'd look cute with it short.... It'll match the rest of your body," Angel joked.

Jamie laughed with her. "You could maybe go short... Well, maybe not too short."

"NO way!" Angel exclaimed, starting to play with her hair.

"Well, at least, you'd look good with bangs," Jamie said.

"Those are too hard to braid back," Angel said, then she looked at herself in the mirror. "But maybe... You wanna come?"

"Where?" Jamie asked.

"To The Hacienda, we can eat dinner there."

"There's nothing else to do," Jamie said with a shrug. "Who are you going to meet there?"

"Marcus," Angel said, locking her wall locker and heading for the door.

"Ooh, I get to meet the love of your life?" Jamie asked with a smile, following the NCO down the steps and out onto the sidewalk.

"The one and only." She smiled and walked on to the running track. "He's the one who named me Angel."

"I thought that was your given name," Jamie said.

"My mother doesn't ever do things simply. My name is Anjulee Andrea Major. I tell ya, I marry the right guy and "AAA" can sue me for infringement."

With a soft giggle, Jamie said. "Annegel-Lee . . . does sound like Angel though. My real name is Jamilla. I don't know where my mother got that from, but it certainly isn't Irish."

"It's pretty anyway," Angel said, opening the door to The Hacienda.

"Thanks," Jamie said referring to both the door and the comment, and headed inside. She looked around the reception area and could smell food to her left, so she headed that direction.

As she entered the kiosk section of The Hacienda, there was a large dark room to the right. "What's in there?"

"A theater. Ooh, Rush Hour is playing. Haven't seen that yet."

"Oh, I have and it' so funny, want me to save you a seat?"

"Sure, go all the way to the front, the recliners look empty. What would you like?" Angel asked before heading to the counter.

Spotting a tall dark man walking in, Jamie hesitated a moment. "Just an order of honey wings and onion rings," she said as the black man winked at her. She decided against a warning to the older woman.

"Okay I'll meet you AAAHHH!" Angel said as she elbowed and stomped on some one's foot. When she turned around, she laughed softly. "Well, you shoulda known better."

"I forgot," he said straightening up. He took her in his arms and kissed her softly. Angel turned back to Jamie, but the blond had already gone into the theater.

"Come on, lets get this order," Angel said walking on to the counter. She noted all of the women of color giving her cutting looks. She glanced at Marcus, who seemed oblivious to the whole thing and, after placing her order, she pulled him into a booth and laid a good, long kiss on him. Maybe I should lay off before neither of us can stop, she thought as she pulled away from him.

"Wow... um... Order up yet?" Just as he spoke, their order came up so they stood up and walked toward the counter. She glanced at one particular woman who looked at her with a totally disgusted look on her face. Angel smiled back and put her arm around Marcus with a content look on her face.

They got their order and headed inside to find Jamie. The blond wondered what they were going to do. She was used to being the third wheel, but this was different. Jamie could see why Angel loved Marcus. He included Jamie in every thing and acted as if they'd been friends forever. They acted with the utmost decorum, with just a slight hug here and there or a slight peck on the cheek or lips. This is the most respect this third wheel has ever had, Jamie thought as she listened to the two reminisce about the 80's. However, it really didn't stop her growing longing for the NCO. The more she got to know her, and the people that surrounded her, the more she loved her, and wanted to be around her.

Angel's feelings almost mirrored that of Jamie's. The differing factor was the fact that she was in love with Marcus. So in-love that it hurt when she felt that Jamie was worming her way into her heart. She hadn't had a best friend in ages, and she wanted to be with Jamie all the time. She finally had someone to confide to about things that she couldn't speak to Marcus or her mother about, and she didn't want to risk alienating her.  





Chapter 22---All Hollows Eve


That Friday, when Angel was finally allowed access to her Mercedes, she raced to her wall locker and changed quickly, singing to herself. Jamie smiled while listening to her. She had to keep up with the NCO or else she was afraid she'd be left behind.

They shut the lockers at the same time and smiled at each other. "Ready?" Angel asked.

"Yup, lead the way, drill sergeant, lead the way." She clapped smartly twice as she grinned at Angel. That was something they did as a platoon when a certain command was given. Angel laughed and ran down the steps and out of the building.

Once she got within the sights of her Mercedes, it was all Angel could do to keep from breaking into a run.

Jamie could only laugh at Angel's excitement. "Now this is love," she said as she finally got clearance to enter the sanctuary.

"Oh yeah... J, you have to be back at what time?" Angel asked, pulling out of the parking lot.

"Midnight... don't you?" Jamie said.

"Nope... I'm free to do as I please... for the weekend anyway."

"Oh you are so lucky," Jamie said leaning back in her seat.

"I paid my dues, I was going nuts. I don't know how I made it the last time." Angel said as her phone rang...


Angel parked her Mercedes in the parking lot of the River Walk Mall, and climbed out. "This is one of San Antonio's biggest attractions. Too bad Six Flags is closed," she said as they walked inside.

"This place is nice... Where are we meeting Marcus?" Jamie asked

"We aren't," Angel answered

"What? Why not?" Jamie asked.

"It's ... his... I don't know if I should say anything. Anyway, he invited us to a Halloween party. We gotta go shopping. Come on."

"Where are we going?" Jamie asked following her.

"There's this great little costume shop in here," she said as she led her to Kieran's Costumes.

They looked around the store and Jamie looked at a costume and smiled. "Hey Angel... You can be Wonder Woman."

"I did the Wonder Woman thing when I was six," Angel chuckled.

"Really? My mom made me do Barbie," Jamie said.

"How cute... but you don't seem the Barbie type to me." The taller woman looked away and spotted a costume. "Here... you be the Amazon Queen," she said, handing Jamie a staff. Angel had started watching a little Xena at her battle buddy's prompting, and started calling Jamie her sidekick.

"Fine... but will you be my Warrior Princess?" Jamie asked grinning evilly.

Angel looked at the costume then back at Jamie and back again. "That looks uncomfortable, and drafty," Angel argued.

"And a sports bra and wrap around skirt aren't drafty?" Jamie replied sarcastically, still grinning.

"Fine... let's go." She said collecting the costume and heading off to pay for it. After they paid, they walked around the mall awhile. Angel spotted an old fashioned ice-cream parlor and made a beeline for it. She got herself a Jamocha ice-cream cone. Jamie went for rum raisin.

Jamie had such a great time with her battle buddy that she almost regretted that they would be separated in four more weeks. Maybe I should switch to PA school too; Jamie mused as she watched the older woman's face watching a boat go by on the river.

"Dollar for your thoughts?" Angel said.

"A whole dollar?" Jamie said coming out of her reverie.

"Hey, this is Texas, we do every thing big," Angel answered.

"Oh... well, I was just thinking that in four weeks, we won't be able to hang out like this anymore. I know I'm not supposed to grow attached to my NCO but..."

"Hold it... I'm not your NCO, I'm your classmate, and right this minute I'm your friend. I'll miss you too, Jamie," Angel said, finishing off her ice cream. "You have a whole year here before you leave for Ft. Mead and I have two... We can still hang out. You'll have a whole lot more freedom when you get to 187. Though I think that you can petition for on base housing."

"You think? Are you gonna petition for that?" Jamie asked her.

"You bet your ass. I'm here for two long years J. I can't live in close quarters for that long... You could be my roommate," Angel suggested blithely.

Jamie only smiled. "That would be great."


On Sunday, Angel and Jamie drove to Marcus' apartment, their costumes in the back of the Mercedes. They got out of the car and took the costumes out. "Marcus loves Halloween. Sometimes he over does it," Angel said, walking up one flight of stairs. She could hear the music from outside the door. She knocked then tried the knob.

As the door opened, she could see a few people sitting on his couch, dressed up in the same regular costumes, Frankensteins, Draculas and witches. Angel gestured toward the bathroom for Jamie and said, "You go change. I'll go look for Marcus." They separated and Angel went into the kitchen.

Marcus was faced off with an irritated looking black girl she recognized as his wife. She decided to go back and get dressed instead of listening to them argue but Marcus turned to face her. "Angel. You made it... um... this is my ex- wife, Rebecca." Angel nodded politely.

"Nice to see you again Rebecca." Angel said in her most diplomatic voice. "Marcus, I just wanted to let you know that Jamie and I were here." Angel said moving back. She walked towards the bathroom but she realized that Jamie would still be in there. She went on to the bedroom and sat on the bed. She allowed herself a soft smile. He said ex... She debated for a while whether to change or not when the door to the bedroom opened.

"She's gone." Marcus said. Angel looked at him, trying to gage his feeling. His deep brown eyes bored into hers and there was a tingle of electricity between them. He moved closer and kissed her deeply. Their bodies met for the first time in ten years and, for the first time in ten years, Angel was satisfied.


Jamie stood in the midst of all the other partygoers. She wondered where Angel had gotten to. It had been an hour and a half since they had arrived and she hadn't seen her yet. Jamie, you haven't seen Marcus either... surprised? Jamie shook her head and relaxed a little. She went to get herself a drink and reached for a beer. "I wouldn't if I were you." She heard the silky voice of Angel from behind her. "They call you in tomorrow for a golden flow and you're toast." It was true that they loved doing random urine tests after party weekends.

Jamie turned to look at the freshly bathed and costumed woman. "You have fun?" she asked archly.

The answering smile told her everything. Suddenly, Marcus came from behind Jamie and grabbed her in a bear hug. If I didn't like the guy so much, I'd be jealous, Jamie thought. She returned the hug and Marcus proceeded to talk to everyone else at the party. There were all sorts of music playing and some adult party games, but by twenty minutes before midnight, the Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen departed.

As Angel climbed out from the Mercedes, she felt a chill run up her spine and the hair on the nape of her neck stood on end. Remembering the familiar feeling she looked around then dismissed it. He is in Leonard Wood. Chill Angel.


"Peek-a-boo, I see you. You and that little private from your company," Lou said to himself, as he watched the object of his obsession walk out of the apartment building.

He followed her at a distance to Ft. Sam, then followed her to the barracks on foot. There was a second there that he thought she'd seen him. She turned and looked around. He knew she was looking for him.

"That's right, you can feel me can't you. I'm right here and I'm gonna get you back." He stood outside the barracks watching for a while then turned away.

A memory flooded his mind as he walked back to his rental car... He was about seven years old and was walking down the street. His father had sent him out to the store to get some milk. He looked to the other side of the street and there she was.

She was as beautiful as he remembered, with her long black hair and her shining blue eyes, walking hand in hand with that man his father called a nigger.

He called out to his mother. She looked back. It was her, he knew it was. He called out to her again only to have her run away. He tried to run after her but someone reached out and snatched him back and away from the speeding traffic.

He started to cry. Why would his mother run away? Why? "WHY" he yelled into the night sky and sped off in his car.  





Chapter 23---Mother's Love


The next three weeks were messy. Field training. The soldiers built a hospital out of tents, with generators and air conditioners. They had mock patients from other field trainees and some real patients.

Angel was glad that at least they got to sleep in the barracks. Something was wrong, she could feel it. Besides that, she felt weak. I must be coming down with something, she thought, not wanting to admit to herself what could be true.

Jamie loved the whole experience. Seeing how a hospital was built from nothing excited her, especially the fact that she was part of it. Caring for the patients was an other favorite of hers and the makeup and prosthetics made it fun. She volunteered several times to be a patient. Once, she was a open stomach wound patient. The prosthetic had a piece of the intestines hanging out of it.

Another time, she was a broken limb patient. The prosthetic showed a piece of white bone sticking out of the skin. Angel took one look at her and went ashen. "That's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen," her battle buddy said, trying to fight back the nausea.

"You obviously didn't see the stomach wound," Jamie said to her with a smirk.

"And I'm glad I didn't. I've been unbelievably queasy lately. It isn't like I haven't seen the real thing before," Angel answered.

"Yeah right..." Jamie said as the instructor wrapped it up for the day. She pulled off the prosthetic. "Too bad this was the last day, I would have loved to try the eyeball," she said, looking up at Angel, who looked a bit dizzy. "Hey, are you okay?" she said, moving closer.

Angel nodded and sat down in a nearby chair. "I just need to rest a little. I think I'm coming down with something."

"Okay," Jamie said, placing a hand on the older woman's shoulder.

"Major! Jackson! Formation!" she heard one of the soldiers say.

"Be right there..." Angel said, standing to go outside. Jamie followed close behind her. Standing in formation, Angel felt better knowing it was the weekend. She had plans to disappear.

Once she was back at the barracks, she slowly made her way up the stairs. She was so slow that Jamie finished before her. "You going out with Marcus tonight?" Jamie asked the taller woman as she walked out of the latrine.

"I'm going home to see my mother," Angel said, giving up on her makeup and curling up in Jamie's bunk.

"You gonna be gone the whole weekend?" Jamie asked. Angel only nodded. "I'll miss you. I'll be bored to death but I hope you feel better."

"I'll get Marcus to come get you tomorrow," Angel mumbled as she got off the bunk. She reached for her lightweight jacket and put it on and Jamie joined her as she walked to the car. "Then you'll get to meet my mom. She's heard all about you already," Angel added with a chuckle.

"Well, I'd love that. See you later, Angel," Jamie said. She turned to walk back to the barracks.

Angel started the car and drove herself to her mother's house.


Angel used her key to her mother's house, and walked quietly through the house. No one was home. That didn't surprise her since it was still light outside. She made herself some tea and curled up on the couch, a bit of classical music playing in the background.

She hadn't realized she'd fallen asleep until she felt her mother stroke her hair. "Anjulee? What's wrong?" Angel opened her eyes to see the blue eyes like her own watching her. Her mother drew in a breath; they'd always shared a connection.

"Yeah... Just don't say it out loud. I hope that's not what's happening, not right now." Her mother reached out and held her.

"Why not now, Angel?" Her mother asked. It was the first time that she'd heard her mother use that name with her. "It's a very good thing you're doing."

"Something bad is going to happen. I can feel it; I can smell it," Angel said holding onto her mother. She loved being rocked by her and she did feel better.

"What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" her mother asked, changing the subject while still holding onto her.

"I'll definitely be here," Angel promised.

"Good, get Marcus to come and Jamie, too, or is she going back home?"

"I don't know, I never asked," Angel said, letting go of her mother and laying back on the couch. "I gotta remember to ask when she comes tomorrow."

She noticed a movement to the right. A friend of Victoria's and her mother's had been watching them. "Hey Lil," Angel said stretching slightly Being held by her mother really had made her feel better.

"Hello, Angel dear... I see you've got a bit more color now. A mother's love always works," Lillian said. Angel blushed slightly and stood up.

"I think I'll go to my room now. Good night, ladies," Angel said, heading up the stairs. She heard a soft voice say, "Liz, what was that all about?"

"Don't say a word ''til I'm gone," Angel said, not willing to hear voice what she feared.


Jamie tried staying around the barracks but she was restless. There was no one that would go with her to downtown San Antonio. Everyone had already gone with his or her battle buddy.

With a sigh, she decided that she was going anyway. She thought about just taking her car, but changed her mind and hailed a taxi. This way I can get thrashed, she thought when the driver stopped. The driver looked back at her and she smiled.

"Where to?" The driver asked.

"Anywhere where a woman can relax without having to worry about men grabbing at her," Jamie answered.

"That's kinda hard to find unless you want a gay bar... or a women's bar," the driver answered

"Do you know a good women's bar?" Jamie asked nonchalantly

With a grin, the driver pulled into an exit. "Yeah, I was heading to a women's bar myself after I dropped you off. You wanna just ride with me?"

"Okay, what's the name of this bar we're going to?" Jamie said as she watched the other woman drive into a taxi depot.

"Audry's." The driver said getting out of the cab. "Come on." Jamie followed and waited as the driver signed out. "I'm Krysta by the way," the driver said when she was all done.

"Jamie," the young blond answered. Jamie looked at the tall form in front of her. Her rich brown hair, cut short, framed her face perfectly.

"Ready to go?" Krysta said.

Jamie nodded and followed the other woman to her car. She felt a little strange, but she decided she was feeling adventurous.

"I am meeting a few friends there, I hope you don't mind."

Jamie was relieved at the thought of being around a group. "Not a problem. My best friend is off sick so I could use the company," Jamie said.

"Hey, it's got to be boring in those barracks without your battle buddy," Krysta said.

"You ain't lying," Jamie answered. They continued their banter until they got to the bar. Audry's was great, very stylish and pretty much smoke free in some sections. There was a big dance floor in the basement and the place was crawling with women. Ooh, tall ones, short ones, young ones, old ones, fat ones, skinny ones, blondes, red heads and brunettes, alabaster or ebony skin, a regular smorgasbord. Pour the wine; dig that girl, Jamie thought as her eyes darted around. None of them are as pretty as what I've already set my sights on.

"What do you think?" Krysta asked as they walked toward the bar. There were some women seated at the bar talking.

"It's nice, I like it," Jamie said. Krysta introduced her to her friends. They all went there every Friday night after work to vent off. She enjoyed the conversation, but it wasn't the same as what she'd grown accustomed to for the past eight weeks. And what she'd have the rest of the year while she was on active duty.

The base housing had come through for her battle buddy and herself. In a small house on base. She knew that being a physicians assistant, Angel would be able to help her with whatever problems Jamie would have with her nursing course. But, then again she didn't have to learn as much as Angel did. It was going to be great.

She found that she thought about the older woman off and on through the night. She wondered if she was all right. She excused herself from the other women and called her friend's cell phone.

"Hello?" came the voice from the other end. It sounded much better than it had before.

"Hey, I was wondering how you were," Jamie said smiling.

"I'm better now. I love being in my own bed when I am sick," Angel replied.

"You've been looking ill for a while. I am surprised you waited this long to go home," Jamie said, voicing her concerns.

"I never felt this bad before. Listen, I wanted to ask you something," Angel said, remembering her conversation with her mother."

"Shoot," Jamie answered, leaning against the wall, watching Krysta at the bar.

"Are you going home for the Thanksgiving?" Angel asked.

"No... I haven't thought about what I'm going to do," Jamie said.

"You don't miss your family?" Angel asked, her curious tones reaching out at Jamie.

"It's a long story. I'll tell you tomorrow, okay?" Jamie responded.

"Okay... I'll talk to you then, J... Have fun though I hope you're not planning to drive if you drink anything."

"I took a cab," Jamie said truthfully

"Cool. Then I'll see ya tomorrow," Angel said, hanging up the phone.

Feeling better, Jamie walked back to the bar. Krysta smiled at her, "Your friend okay?"

"Yeah, she's at her mother's. A mother's love is always like magic," Jamie replied.

"No doubt, that's the one thing I miss about my mother," one of the other women said.

"Yeah, me too, but when I came out to my mom, she jumped back as if I was going to rape her or something," someone else said. Jamie hated this topic now more than ever.

"I'm gonna go dance a little," Jamie said taking her drink with her.

"Good idea," Krysta said, following her. The rest followed. They seemed to be having a good time, but Jamie wasn't enjoying herself, so when they weren't looking, she walked outside, and hopped a cab back to the base.  

Chapter 24--- Stalker


Lou stood out in the woods staring through the windows of Elizabeth Major's house. He had Followed Angel there the day before and had been watching her all day. She looked happy. That was impossible she could not possibly be happy without him.

"I'm failing again." He growled to himself. Just then a memory came to him as vivid as if it were only yesterday.

He was fifteen. He'd become a withdrawn teen obsessed with working out. He kept to himself and was heavy into pot. He'd been at the mall one afternoon, and there he saw her again. His mother was there with his two little half-breed sisters. "Well you have no problem being their mother so you." He said to himself angrily.

He marched up to her and seized her by the hand. "Mom... I've missed you."

"What?" The woman said looking at him. She was afraid. "Please don't hurt me." She said and looked at her daughters.

"WHY would I hurt you?" Lou shouted pulling her to the hall way to the bathrooms.

"I don't know... Let me go." The woman stated as she struggled to get free.

"Mom... Why did you leave." Lou said starting to cry, as he slammed her against the wall over and over again. "Why can't I be your son too?" The woman's cries stopped and she went limp in his arms.

Lou looked at her, really looked at the woman in his arms. It wasn't his mother. He looked at the blood oozing from her head and the blood on the wall. He panicked and pulled her out the back door and dumped her in the dumpster and ran.


Angel was vacuuming her mother's house, singing along to Gloria Estefan's Abriendo Puertas CD when the phone rang. Suddenly, she felt a chill run up her spine as she reached for the phone. "Liz," she said as she answered the phone.

"Angel, I know your voice, don't try to trick me," said the voice from the phone.

"What do you want, Lou?" Angel asked. She could hear street noises coming from the other end. This can't be happening, she thought, moving away from any windows.

"You know what I want, and I'm gonna get it," he replied. She heard a truck run near him. She shivered as she heard the same sound on her end.

"I'm not an "It" Lou," Angel answered annoyed.

Lou chuckled low, "I'm watching you, and I am going to get you when you least expect it." The line went dead. She threw the phone down on the cradle just as the doorbell rang.

Angel opened the door and smiled as she saw Jamie and Marcus on the other side. Liz was not far behind them as she had just arrived.

"Hey guys" Angel said to her friends letting them in.

"Hey." They both said at the same time.

"Well hello, and who is this young lady. Is this Jamie?" Liz asked as she entered.

"Yes, it is. Jamie, this is my mother, Elizabeth Major." Angel said letting her annoyance go, although the feeling of a wrongness was still there.


Lou hung up the phone before the call could be traced. "Why do you sound so angry at me, Angel? I just want you with me, always and always. I love you."

Lou was sent to an insane asylum for a year because of that woman. He wasn't crazy. The fact that she died was just an accident. He didn't mean to kill her. He wasn't crazy. "Hey Melvin, you have a visitor." One of the orderlies said bringing him out of his padded cell.

When he got to the visitors area, His mother smiled nervously. She had been asked to come, for his well being, but seeing as how she had been the actual target she wasn't sure she wanted to be there. "Hello Lou."

"Mom?" Lou said sitting in front of her. He'd been medicated and was docile. He had so much he wanted to ask her. Not knowing exactly where to start, he asked, "How are you?"

With a smile his mother answered, "I'm okay, I've missed you lots kid."

"No you haven't." He said rocking back and forth. "Why did you leave me?"

"I didn't leave you, I left your father. He didn't want to give you up. Besides, he had more money and could take care of you better." His mother answered starting to feel uncomfortable again.

"Do you have any idea what it is like to live with that man controlling what you do say or even think? I would have been better off homeless." Lou said slamming his fists on the table. His mother jumped back a little. "That is why you left wasn't it?"

She sat there stunned. She didn't think that he would do those things to Lou. He was his pride and joy. Realizing that she had doomed her eldest child to the misery she had herself escaped she stood and turned to leave. "I'm sorry... I can't."

"Sure, run away, it's what you're good at." He said and stood up and was lead back to his cell.

Lou shivered at the images that played in his mind. Just then, he noticed the little private and some nigger walking to the door. "What the fuck are they doing here?" he thought out loud.

He watched her open the door to let them in at the same time as her mother had shown up. Angel looked around outside suspiciously and let them in. She smiled brightly at the black man and the blond as she let them in. Then the door was closed. "Man, you put your hands on her one more time nigger and I'll kill you!"  





Chapter 25---I'm Thankful for...


Angel never again asked Jamie why she wasn't going home but the private was looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner around Elisabeth Major's table. Angel and her mother had a great relationship. They finished each other's sentences and had most of the same mannerisms. Marcus had told her that he wouldn't mind waking up next to Angel for the rest of his life, if she was going to have that kind of energy.

Jamie sat on her bunk a few days later and stared at an envelope she had received and sighed. In her mother's hand writing, it read Return to sender. The letter to her brother had been returned, sealed.

Angel walked back to their bunk after taking a shower and opened her wall locker. She looked over to Jamie, who had tossed the letter into her own locker. She sat next to her. "Are you okay?"

"Uh... yeah. I was just thinking," Jamie answered.

"You want to talk about it?" Angel asked. Suddenly, they were aware that the bay was full, women changing into their street clothes, and playing different types of music very loudly.

"Okay, but not here," Jamie replied. Angel nodded and pulled on her shoes.

"Come on."

They left the barracks and started to walk around the track. Jamie admitted to her friend that she'd had a falling out with her parents about her life, without going into any details. Admitting what had really happened to a superior rank was dangerous.

"So they sent back the letter you wrote your brother? That's illegal, you know? I'll write to him for you," she stated.

"Would you?" Jamie asked.

"Of course I would." Angel answered." I'm your friend. Besides, you need your brother."

Jamie smiled as Angel gave her a gentle shove and continued walking around the track.

The next two weeks went by slowly. Graduation from Bravo School occurred the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone was dressed in their dress greens, with Angel forcing her sore breasts into a tight jacket. As class leader, she marched them to their classroom and filed them in into a room full of parents.

After it was all over, they were 91 bravos. Civilian translation - Emergency Medical Technicians. They shouted their class motto loud and strong and the cheers from the parents said it all.

Jamie tried to hide her heavy heart as she saw other soldier's families crowd around their loved ones. Elizabeth came and hugged her tightly. "Congratulations dear."

"Thank you Liz, I couldn't have done it without Angel," Jamie responded.

"Well, a lot of people couldn't have done it without Angel, but I think you would have managed. Will you be staying the night with us?"

Jamie looked at Angel, who was leaning against the wall behind them, talking to one of the soldiers. Their eyes met for a second and Angel nodded almost imperceptibly. "Yeah, I have nowhere else to go until Angel and I get our housing assignment."

"Wonderful. You can help me cook for tomorrow. You do know how, don't you?"

"Mother insisted on it." Jamie answered with a grin as Liz led her outside. She looked back at Angel, who seemed bored to death.

"Maybe I should go save her from them," Liz stated.

"You're right, she doesn't look too comfortable in that suit," she replied turning back.

When Angel finally got to the barracks, Jamie had completed her packing. She'd seen the younger woman's car parked just outside the building. "I have to get out of this. I've gained weight since I last wore it."

"Well, you haven't been doing much PT lately," Jamie stated. Angel smiled involuntarily and continued to free her sore breast from the binding of the jacket. "What are you smiling about?"

"Freedom," Angel replied with a grin and hung up her clothing, replacing them with the most comfortable clothing she owned without slumming it.

"Yeah, at least for a month," Jamie said.

"When school starts again next year, you'll understand what I mean," Angel answered, hefting her duffel bag and heading for the door.

"Wait for me! I'm still not sure how to get to your house from here," Jamie said hefting her own and racing after her. "Where's your mom?"

"She went home. See you there. I can't wait to get off this base for a while."

"I hear ya," Jamie exclaimed as she closed the trunk to her Corolla and hopped inside. She followed the silver Mercedes all the way to the older woman's home. She knew what she was thankful for this year; it was a friend like her.


Angel woke up late Thursday morning; Her body had completely turned against her the night before. She walked down the stairs, sniffing the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. "Mmmm," she stated as she walked into the kitchen. "I don't think can wait until later to eat."

"We made breakfast too. Want eggs or anything," Jamie asked, looking over her shoulder. She'd been worried about Angel all night, as she had watched her friend throw up everything she had eaten the day before, and wondered how hungry she would be.

"Yeah," Angel answered, moving around the room and collecting all sorts of food. Her mother slapped her hand away from the pie filling as the door rang.

"Get that will you dear?" her mother asked. Angel moved to the front door and opened it.

"Look at my girl, all half naked and everything," Marcus said, pointing at the nightshirt that Angel wore.

"You wish," Angel said, putting her hand in the pockets of her cut-off Jean shorts.

"Well, a man can dream, can't he? You up for a bit of football," Marcus asked, tossing a ball in the air. Angel winced slightly.

"Nah, Marcus, not this year." Angel replied, walking inside.

"Aw, baby, you still sick? Or are you scared?" he asked, draping an arm around her shoulder.

"No, not sick... and definitely not scared. I just don't want to embarrass you in font of Jamie," Angel said laughing as she walked into the kitchen.

"Well come on then." he challenged. "Hey Liz, can I help you with something?" Marcus asked as he walked into the kitchen. Angel sank into a chair and watched everything that went on. Everyone helped with the meal and while everything was cooking everyone sat to watch football. Lillian came a little later bearing cranberry sauce. Marcus' mother came after. She had been working that day, so she was glad not to have to cook. It had become a full house.

Jamie had missed things like this. Her family of four stayed within the confines of their home and Thanksgiving was not a big tradition. There was one thing that did make her day. Angel went to check the mail and came back in with an envelope for her from her brother. The taller woman smiled widely at Jamie as she handed it to her. "Thank you so much," Jamie said hugging her.

As she read it, her heart sank. Sean wrote to her and told her how awful it had become in their home. They act as if you died at a war or something. I caught mom and dad checking my mail all the time now. As she continued reading, he went on to say how much he missed her and supported her, and how glad he was that she wasn't alone and had someone to hang with. She smiled when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

Angel stood behind her, a sad look on her face. " You all right?" Angel asked.

"Yeah," Jamie said as everyone was called to the table.

Marcus's mother lead the prayer and then asked every one to say what they were thankful for. "I'm thankful for seeing my son happy again," his mother said, leading off.

"Um... I guess, I am thankful to be among friends instead of alone in the barracks." Jamie said.

"I'm grateful for this long break I'm getting, that I have Marcus back in my life, and that I have a best friend I can trash him to," Angel said with a grin.

"I'm grateful, my girl has a good friend to trash me too and blow off steam so that she can come to me fresh and steam free," Marcus said Angel pushed him gently. "I'm also grateful that my whole legal ordeal is over," he added.

"Well, since you aren't going to say it, Anjulee, I may as well thank god for the new life growing inside you." All eyes turned to Angel and she cringed. "I'm sorry darling, but they were gonna find out sooner or later, and I just couldn't wait any longer to share the news."

Marcus looked at her. "Halloween?"

"It only takes that one time Marcus." Angel answered softly. He smiled and took her in his arms. Jamie stared for a moment a bit shocked but deep down she knew that they had been back together in that way. The group congratulated the two and started to eat.

Marcus heaped food up on Angel's plate until she stopped him. "Who the hell do you think you're feeding, the entire Army?" She slapped his hand and the rest chuckled.

Jamie watched everything and joined in, feeling very much welcomed by the group. The one thing that made the most impact to her was at the end of the evening, when everyone was leaving, she watched Liz kiss Lil lightly on the lips and hug her goodnight. No wonder.

Chapter 26---Christmas Shopping


Jamie woke up to a slight tickling in her ear. Out of years of pranks from her brother, she thought it would be safer to check her hand for moistness. Nothing. She slowly opened her eyes to find brilliant blues staring at her with a look of amusement.

Jamie jumped back. "Shhhhhhhit... Now that I did NOT expect." Angel chuckled slightly and sat down on the bed.

"At least you didn't scream," Angel said. "You up for a little shopping?"

"Are you kidding? It's the day after thanksgiving... The mall is gonna be a madhouse!"

"You have anything better to do?" Angel asked with a raised brow. "If I stay here, all I will do is eat and puke. If I go to the mall, I get to shop, eat and puke. You wanna hold my hair here, or there?"

"You got a point. I'll go shower and change," Jamie said as she slid out of bed.

"Cool... I'll wait for you downstairs with mom," Angel said as she stood and stretched.

"She coming too?" Jamie asked curiously

"Traditional girls day out since I was born," the taller woman answered as she walked toward the door.

"You sure I won't intrude?"

"No way... Thought you knew me better than that, J." Angel said, walking out of the room. Do I know you at all? Yes I do, sometimes better than I think. Oh yeah, I know you figured me out a long time ago, the younger woman thought as she chose what to wear.


Angel wrapped an arm around her mother and walked with her to Laura Ashley's. "Gotta get something good for new year's Mom. Knock Lil off her feet and into her senses."

Jamie smirked. "Why would she have to knock her into her senses? I think that she knows exactly what she is doing."

"What do you mean dear?" Liz asked, raising a questioning brow that was a mirror of her daughter's.

"She is toying with you, isn't she. Like she gives a little, then a little more, until you can't take it anymore... Like I remember this one time, I had a crush on this..." she trailed off. Whoa, Jamie, you may be friends but you still don't know how she'd react. "On the other hand, maybe that's not such a good example."

"I know exactly what you mean, a little touch here, a slight whisper there, such a tease." Liz took the hint. She glanced at her daughter who was blushing slightly as she walked away to look at some clothing. "My daughter was always good at that," she said in a low voice. Jamie laughed softly.

"I have decided that I really like you," Jamie said to her.

"Good, I have a feeling we are gonna be a big part of each other's lives," Liz said squeezing Jamie's hand then following her daughter to the other end of the store. "Find anything?"

"Nah, let's split... This is depressing me," Angel said.

"Why?" Jamie asked as they headed towards the entrance.

"This is stuff I will never get to wear for a long time," Angel said as they headed along the crowded hall.

"Let's eat... Hard Rock?" Liz suggested.

"Okay... I think I still remember how to get there," Angel said leading the way through the crowd.

As they passed a magic shop, Jamie walked towards it. "Oh, I have to stop here first." Angel and Liz followed, looking around the room. At the counter, a dark haired guy was impressing the sales people with card tricks. His blond friend wore shades and stood away from the light. Jamie walked up to the dark headed guy and her eyes widened. "David?"

Angel watched her with raised brows. "Looks like she's found a friend," she said to her mother. Liz nodded.

"Angel, this is David Blaine. Magician of the new school... He's awesome," Jamie said. David's friend laughed

Angel moved closer and looked at the blond. Ha... thought I recognized you. "Don't worry, I won't say a word... You were great in Titanic by the way." The tall dark woman winked at David's handsome friend and walked back to her friend. David was demonstrating his quarter trick where he bit a quarter in half, and then he holding the other half in his hand he spit the other half out of his mouth. The quarter suddenly became whole again.

After the small magic show, Angel and Jamie walked away, Liz in tow. "Well that was interesting," Liz said.

"Yeah, he's the best there is." Jamie beamed.

"The guy is creepy at best... C'mon, I'm starving," Angel said, leading the way to Hard Rock Cafe.

"That's right, you get to eat twice as much now," Jamie said following her.

"Oh no, dear. Don't do that," Liz said following them both. "It will just add excess weight."


"How could you say he is creepy?" Jamie asked as they sat at their table.

"You have to admit, Anjulee, that the young man is formidable at what he does," her mother agreed.

"He makes my hair stand on end. It's just eerie how he does it," Angel said lifting a Carolina honey wing into her mouth.

"I think magic is great though... He does it so well, it makes it real," Jamie said.

"My goodness, when he bit down on that quarter I could feel my jaw hurting," Angel's mother said.

"No natural human should be able to levitate like that," Angel said. "He gave me the willies," Angel said, finishing her food and running her fingers through her dark hair. Changing the conversation, she looked over at Jamie. "Hey, were you really gonna get your hair cut?"

"Are you gonna get bangs?" Jamie answered.

"I could use a trim as well... Shall we?" Liz said waving for the waitress. They left cash on the table and stood to leave. The trio went out to the car to put their things away. They walked back inside towards "Super Cuts."

"What will you have?" the stylist asked Jamie.

"Cut it all off. Give me a total new look. Make me look my age for a change," the blonde answered.

"And how old is that, J?" Angel asked. She had never bothered to ask before, because it never really mattered.

"Twenty four..."

"Gee, I woulda guessed eighteen," Angel said. "The hair definitely has to go."

"How about you?" the stylist asked Angel.

"Oh, she's going for the total Warrior Princess look," Jamie answered.

"Bangs and layers it is." the stylist said with a grin. "Hey, Liz... the usual?"

"Yes, dear. I need to look fabulous for the holidays," The older woman answered as the three sat in the chairs and began the process.


Liz's already short dark hair was trimmed and reddened a bit. Jamie's long, blond hair was colored a strawberry blond and cut short. The hair framed her face beautifully. Angel smiled softly. "That looks great! Both of you look wonderful," she said, watching them.

Jamie turned to face Angel, who's longer hair took more time. They cut bangs for her and then layered the ends, framing her face. They left the length at her mid-back but highlighted parts of her hair with a dark auburn made out of henna, because the chemicals are harmful for pregnant women. Jamie took a breath and turned to look at Liz, who smiled back at her.

"So, what do you think?" Angel asked with a raised brow.

"Ah... wow!" Jamie said. "Bangs are good... very good for you." Liz nodded in agreement.

"Thanks... Lets get out of here, the smell is making me wanna hurl," Angel said stepping off of the chair. When they finally got out of there, Angel admitted tiredly "I have to get to bed before Marcus and I go out tonight." Looking down at her watch, she yawned. "We have been here for six hours."

"Yikes! Really? I have never had so much fun shopping, ever." Jamie said with a smile. "Thanks for inviting me guys."

"J, chill... You are practically family," Angel said.

"That's right dear. You are the daughter I never had," Liz said wrapping an arm around Jamie.

"HEY! I resemble that remark," Angel said, laughing as she walked out to the parking lot.


Later that evening, Marcus knocked at the door. Angel was not ready. In fact, she did not want to go anywhere at all. Jamie answered the door and smiled at the dark man. "Hey, Marcus..."

"Hey, Jamie, your hair looks nice like that... You look much older now. Your girl around?" Marcus said, walking inside.

"Thanks... she's asleep... She got really tired," Jamie answered.

"She is? Oh that's right, girl's day shopping... You have fun?" He asked, seating himself on the love seat.

"Yeah... I had more fun than I have ever had with my own mother," she answered. "Want me to go get her?"

"Nah, I'll get her," he said, standing. He made his way to the stairs where Liz was heading down. "Whooo... Liz, Liz, Liz... If I didn't love your daughter so much...m m m."

Liz blushed slightly. "Oh hush," she said as she walked all the way downstairs. "Jamie, you ready to go?"

"Yeah! Where we going?" Jamie asked, making her way towards Liz and the door.

"Now if I tell you, it wouldn't be a surprise now would it?" Liz said opening the door for her then closing the door behind them.

Marcus walked up the stairs quietly, remembering that she would hear him coming. The woman has the hearing of a bat, he thought as he opened the door to her bedroom.

Angel didn't move and her eyes didn't open, but he could tell she was awake. Then a low voice came from that direction. "Well, are you just gonna stand there or are you gonna come on over here?"

With a smirk, Marcus walked towards the bed. He leaned down and kissed her softly. "Hey babe, how are you feeling?"

"Like someone just poured hot oil down my throat." Angel moved over in her bed. "Join me?"

"You ain't got to ask me twice," he said and laid next to her. She wrapped her arms around him and threw a bare leg over his covered legs.

"You remember when we used to just lay together in my bed when we were younger and sing to each other?"

"Yeah... I loved that," Marcus said, brushing a stray strand of hair from her face. He sang softly to her and they fell asleep in each other's arms.  





Chapter 27--- Green Eyed Monster


Angel awoke, tangled with the warm cotton and denim clad body next to her. Slowly, she untangled herself from him, stretched and took a deep breath. Whoa, big mistake, Angel, the tall woman thought as she felt her stomach bubble over. She slid out of bed, trying not to wake the sleeping man, which she realized she couldn't have done. He was in a deep sleep.

She raced to the bathroom praying that this would end soon. She didn't know how much more morning sickness she could take. No matter how much she felt that something bad was going to happen, she knew that this baby wasn't it. She was looking forward to holding it and caring for it.

Once recovered, she stood to wash her mouth and face but then decided she should step in the shower as well. As she started to strip, there came a knock on the door. "Yeah?" she said softly, her throat still sore from her recent meeting with the head.

The door opened slightly and Marcus popped his head in. "You okay?"

"Oh, just peachy," she said, finishing what she was doing then looking at herself in the bathroom mirror. Her abdomen still had the muscle definition, but not as much as she had. She had stopped doing sit-ups ever since she allowed the thought of the child to remain in her head.

Marcus looked at her body and stood paralyzed. "You should have been a super model," he said, making her smile. With those words, he had dispelled any self-consciousness that may have been surfacing. She stepped into the shower, closed the curtain behind her, and turned the water on.

Suddenly, an alabaster hand reached out from the curtain and a finger crooked and motioned Marcus closer. With a grin, he moved closer, pulling his shirt off. Angel wrapped her arms around him and kissed him softly. After helping him with his pants and underwear, she pulled him in with her for a blending of color lines.


Jamie and Liz walked in soon after. They were giggling but neither was inebriated. They had spent a fun nightclub hopping. Jamie thought the older woman had more life than a person her age. Jamie, Liz and Lillian had danced the night away.

"I can't believe my arms!" Jamie said, chuckling to herself.

"How many did you collect?" Liz said, rolling up one of Jamie's sleeves.

"I don't know... one, two..." Jamie said, starting to count the phone numbers she had gathered as they went from club to club. "Wow, there's twelve of them here!" Jamie laughed when she was done.

"And that's just your arms. Didn't one of them sign your abs?" Liz said dropping on to the couch.

"Aw hell Liz... I had a great time," Jamie answered. Elizabeth noted the familiar drawl her daughter usually spoke with.

"I'm glad you did... Texas rubbing off on you?" Jamie smiled and blushed at Liz's question.

"I guess... If you will excuse me, I am exhausted and think I'll shower and get to bed," Jamie said and headed for the stairs. She headed for the bathroom and barely got the door open when she heard low moans coming from within. She shut the door quickly, her mind not willing to acknowledge the sudden urge to throw something, and concentrated on her need to use the facilities. She went to the railing and shouted down the stairs. "Hey, Liz?"

A dark head appeared at the bottom of the stairs, then the older woman ascended to meet the younger woman. "Yes, dear?"

"Can I use your bathroom? The other is kind of occupied," Jamie said barely keeping the grim expression off her face. "I really have to go..."

"Oh sure... Puke-fest in there?" Liz asked leading the way to her room.

"Hardly," Jamie replied, following her.


They both felt the door close and stopped. Angel reached for the faucet and turned off the now cool water and they disengaged form each other, highly unsatisfied. "Shit," Angel mumbled. Being caught in your mother's house is never good on your libido.

Marcus chuckled slightly and she joined him. Unable to help it, she leaned closer an kissed him before they made their way out of the tub. She heard Jamie ask for the bathroom and cringed as she heard a bit of shortness in her words. "Well, Jamie heard more than she needed to hear," Angel said under her breath. Marcus smirked and continued to pull on his clothing. She smiled back, but she felt regret churning inside her. Why are you so upset? It's not like she is your girlfriend or anything, she thought to herself. She pulled on her nightgown.

"Maybe we should go somewhere today and finish what we started," came the soft whisper as the tall dark man wrapped his arms around her. "Spend some quality time together... Just you, Junior, and me" he said, running his hand over her abdomen.

Smiling and covering his hands with hers, she turned her head and kissed his cheek. "All right... Let me get dressed," she said, opening the door and heading out.

The door to Jamie's room was open and she peeked in as she walked by. The younger woman was looking at herself in the mirror, apparently trying to read numbers that were written on the back of her arm. "You know that is destruction of government property." The statement came out sharper than intended.

The smaller woman jumped and spun to meet the taller woman's eyes. "It's only defacement... I was waiting for the shower to free up so that I could white wash." If Angel noticed the slight hint of jealousy that came out with the statement, she didn't say anything.

"Uh... you might want to wait a bit... What's all of this?" Angel asked curiously. Leaving her drill sergeant voice behind, she took in the blonde's muscular upper arms that were filled with graffiti. What a body... Geez, Angel, took you long enough to admit you liked to look at her, Angel thought to herself, not holding back a wistful smile.

"What?" Jamie said as she picked up her towels and sleepwear from where she had it on the bed.

"Oh... nothing. Just thinking... I'm gonna be gone today. Will you be all right?" Angel asked, sobering up.

"Oh yeah. Your mom and I will probably be completely zonked anyway," Jamie answered, watching Marcus walk past the door and down the stairs.

"Oh, gee I wonder why?" Angel grinned. "Well goodnight"

Jamie smiled in return. "Have a nice day." They headed in opposite directions, Jamie to the bathroom to shower and Angel to her room to change. Both were thinking of the other.  





Chapter 28---New Home


All during the next week, Angel and Jamie made their new on base housing, suitable for them to live in. A one story house with three bedrooms, a small living room and an even smaller kitchen. And only one bathroom.

Neither of the two had much as to say about the cramped quarters, courtesy of Uncle Sam. At least the Army did provide some decent furniture. Angel brought the television she had left at her mother's house, all of her clothes and her stereo system. Jamie never thought about all that she had left behind in her parent's house.

As they brought in the last boxes into the house, Jamie felt muscles pull in her thigh and bit her lip to keep from vocalizing the gripping pain she felt. She set down her last box in the floor of her room and fell into bed. She covered her face with the pillow and screamed into it. Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! She thought as she tried to sit up again. Angel chose that moment to pass by the room.

Out of force of habit, blue eyes searched for the younger woman. "J, are you okay?" Angel asked in concern as she came into the room. She saw the blond struggling to get up.

"I think I pulled a leg muscle," Jamie answered.

"Oh, I have the perfect thing for that. Be right back," Angel said heading out of the room. Jamie sat back in the bed, trying to relax a bit. Soon Angel was back with a bottle of oil and a towel draped over her shoulder. "Show me," Angel said simply

"Um... What are you gonna do?" Jamie asks, a bit apprehensive.

"What does it look like?" the older woman answered with a question.

"I'll be fine. Don't worry about it," Jamie said not sure that she could take the woman's hands on her.

"Don't be silly. Come on. This will make it feel better faster. Show me," Angel said, warming her hands.

"Um... It's my right... upper thigh area," Jamie said hesitantly.

"Okay, then strip. Let me attack that muscle," Angel said forgetting that Jamie still has difficulties being close to her.

Jamie pulled off her jeans, wincing as she moved. She watched Angel rub her hands together. When she finally was ready, she watched as the woman spilled the oil on her upper thigh.

Angel ran her hands gently over the taut muscles looking for the knot. As the pressure increased, Angel lost herself in relieving the pain in the younger woman's muscle, completely mistaking the look in her eyes for physical pain.

Jamie's anguish showed through her very being. Feeling such an intimate touch, from the object of her affection, while knowing that she couldn't have her, was even more overwhelming than the pain.

Tears pooling in the green eyes made Angel pull away from the younger woman. "Does it hurt you that bad? I guess a Motrin wouldn't be a bad idea either, but the rub should help you," Angel said moving back towards the door.

"I'm okay. This really helped me." I'm horny, but it helped... God, you don't know what you do to me, Jamie thought as she moved her leg demonstrating that she felt better.

"You okay alone?" Angel asked. "Marcus and I... we had planned..."

"Go," Suddenly Jamie was irritated. "Have fun," she amended, smiling softly.

It didn't soften the blow any. Angel felt the hostility anyway. She stepped out of the door and walked towards the couch where Marcus had been waiting. "Let's go shopping. I'd like to have the basics before I'm too big to help you build it," Angel said pulling him towards the door. Why is that bothering me so much. I need to get out and away from her for a while.

Face it, it matters what she thinks.

Maybe it's just the hormones.

Sure Angel Blame it on the hormones. Angel still thought about it as they made their way to Babies R Us.


"Calm yourself, Jamie. Just calm down," Jamie said to herself after the older woman left the house. "She doesn't understand. She doesn't feel the same." Sitting on the bed, she felt like she needed to move. She slid out of bed and limped around the room, and took note of her injury. "It does feel a whole lot better... Oh god, I'm bored," Jamie said sitting again.

With a sigh, she reached for the nearest box to start unpacking when she came a cross a sheet of paper. It was the numbers that had been written all over her body a few days before. She smirked as she noted a number with the name Autumn in front of it Any time, anywhere it said.

Jamie smirked and made her way to the living room. "Let's call you on this Autumn," she said, reaching for the phone and dropping into the hard Army couch. She dialed the digits and waited for the answer.

"Hello?" came the answer.

"Autumn?" Jamie said, remembering the times before the Army, before Shannon, losing all sorts of self-consciousness, and taking on her seductive self.

"Yeah... Who is this?" Autumn answered.

"I saw you the other night at the club, and I just couldn't resist you. I was thinking about you and remembered I had your number," Jamie answered softly.

"Ah... So... What's going on?" Autumn asked not wanting to ask who.

"Nothing, I was wondering if you wanted to come over for a drink or... whatever... I just moved in into my new place and my roommate is off somewhere with her boyfriend..."

"Wait just a minute... What makes you think that I am that kind of girl?" Autumn purred softly. Jamie's spine tingled, partly because she had been awakened by her friend's touch.

"You said, anytime, anywhere... but I only asked for a drink and some company." Jamie answered with a grin.

"All right... Where do you live?" Autumn caved in and Jamie smiled as she gave her the address. Two can play at this game Angel... er... What game? Geez, J.

Jamie walked to her room and tossed her three bags into the closet. She made the bed. Come on, Jamie, you deserve this. Get a little release. I bet that after that, Angel won't get to you as much. She looked around the kitchen for what there was to drink. There was a bottle of champagne that Angel and Jamie had reserved for when they had their new home squared away.

There then came a knock on the door and she put the bottle of champagne down on the counter, along with two glasses, and made her way to the door as quickly as her leg would let her.

Two very beautiful women stood at the door. Both were taller than Jamie was and slim, their hair was bleach blond, and both had large pouty lips. Twins... Ah, this could prove to be interesting... Jamie thought, then she realized that she was still wearing only her long shirt. "Welcome to my home. Watch the boxes, we just moved in." She turned and faced away from them, limping slightly, showing them to the living room.

"I remember you... I wrote on your abs. That was on thanksgiving though," Autumn said walking to the couch and seating herself.

"I'm guessing you're Autumn... Well... I just came across the number today, and I figured I should give you a call... and I have got more company than I expected... Hi, I'm Jamie," The blond said extending a hand to Autumn's sister.

"Summer... I wrote on your arm," the other said. "You don't mind that she invited me along?"

"Not at all... Would you like something to drink? All I really have is champagne... and Sparkling Cider," Jamie said, limping to the kitchen.

"Cider?" Autumn asked, following her to the breakfast bar.

"Roommate's pregnant," Jamie said. "So what'll you have?"

"Champagne is good," the twins said at the same time.

With a grin, Jamie poured the two glasses and reached for a third to pour for herself. "What happened to your leg?" Summer asked after a while.

"I wish I could say I was having fun when it happened. Pulled my leg muscle moving boxes."

"Ooh... Ouch... you poor baby," Summer said, moving to her side. She ran a hand up Jamie's back and to the nape of her neck.

"You should be resting," Autumn said, pulling her by the hand toward the bedrooms.

"Well, ladies. What kind of hostess would I be if I spend it in bed?" Jamie purred.

"A splendid one. Isn't that what you called for?" Autumn said softly

Jamie remembered having a pang of regret just then, then a kiss behind each ear and hands all over her, and it was gone... It was an interesting night indeed.


Angel came home late that evening. She had spent most of her time in Marcus' apartment. They listened to a few movies as they carried on as if they were a couple of teenagers. They made love twice. Afterward, she was distracted, thinking of the injured woman alone at home. "What's wrong baby?" Marcus asked kissing her shoulder.

"Nothing, I just feel a little selfish. I'm here having fun, and Jamie at home with a pulled muscle."

"I thought we were going to spend all night here. It's hard enough for me to get away from the office and spend time with you as it is."

"I know baby and I love you for it, but I'm all she's got." Angel said facing him giving him the puppy dog look.

Marcus soon conceded and drove her back home, helping her carry the few things they decided on buying their child, a nice cherry wood crib and dressing table. They placed the items in the spare bedroom, which had already been supplied with a bed and a dresser.

Angel led him to the door and kissed him softly good night. Just as she turned to go check on her friend, she thought the better of it and headed for the kitchen instead. As she pulled out her usual pint of Jamocha ice cream, she heard Jamie's door open.

As the blond rounded a corner into the kitchen, she nearly collapsed into the tall figure watching her curiously. Jamie's flushed features went even redder. "Er... sorry... Is that Jamocha?" Jamie asked, taking a closer look at the carton in the taller woman's hand.

"Yup..." Angel said placing a spoon full into her mouth. Suddenly the spoon and the carton disappeared form her hands. "Hey!"

"Sorry, girlie... No caffeine... I'll just take this... There is some vanilla in there, you know," Jamie said, reaching for three spoons, her hands moving so fast it appeared to only be one. This is where magic works for you J...

"Yeah, well, I don't like vanilla," the taller woman responded, folding her arms across her chest.

"Tough cookies then." Putting away two of the spoons in the pocket of her bathrobe, she took a heaping spoonful with the other. "See ya."

"Looks like your leg is doing better..." Angel said softly watching her walk away.

"Yeah, it feels much better. Thanks for the massage," Jamie replied heading toward her room.

Angel shook her head and looked back into the fridge and reached for a container of orange juice. "To think I was worried about her..." she mumbled to her self. I wonder what she was hiding from me? She asked herself as she walked into her own room with her glass of OJ.  





Chapter 29---The "L" word


Waking up the next morning, Jamie sat up in bed, looking around at the two women that were fast asleep next to her. Oh yeah Jamie you still got it... Although this is the first time you aren't too drunk to remember what you were doing... or who... Now how do I wake them up and get them out of here before Angel finds out? She thought as she pondered a way to wake them gently and quietly.

Jamie leaned close to one of the women and nibbled at her ear. The woman stirred, her hazel eyes opening, and smiled softly. "Hey," Jamie whispered. "You gotta get outta here... My roommate finds out, and she will be forced to report me."

The woman stretched and nodded. Slowly she rolled out of the bed as Jamie focused her attention on waking the other. She stroked her hair gently then kissed her neck and along the shoulder. "Time to go, hon," Jamie said to the half-conscious woman looking up at her.

"Why?" the matching woman asked, opening her hazel eyes.

"Man you're hot. If my roomie, catches us like this, and she will report me... She has to," Jamie answered quietly. At least as far as I understand it.

With a nod, the other woman was out of bed. Jamie watched as they dressed for a minute. Then stood. "I'll go get you some coffee or something," she announced and headed out of the door. She looked around the kitchen, and realized they hadn't bought any coffee because Angel couldn't have any. She looked at the tea that was sitting in near the microwave, got a couple of mugs that she bought for herself and filled them with water. As she heated the water in the microwave, she looked for something they could eat with the tea.

When she walked back into the room, she handed the two smiling ladies a mug and a doughnut. "I'm sorry this is so quick... but you know..."

"Hey girlie, don't sweat it... We had a great time," one of them said, Jamie didn't quite know who.

"We sure did," said the other. "We must do it again real soon." She moved closer to Jamie and placed a kiss on her lips.

Jamie returned the kiss, but her body tensed. She heard a door slam. Angel's morning sickness... I should have known she would be awake at any moment. "Shit, she is up," Jamie said turning and poking her head out of the room and checking for the all clear. Going by the sounds emanating from the bathroom a little further down the hall, she knew it was safe enough to sneak them out. "I'll walk you to the door ladies," Jamie said graciously.

She led them out to the front door. Each of the women gave Jamie a kiss and headed out.

"Who was that?" A tired voice came from behind her. Jamie jumped and turned to face Angel as she dropped on to the couch.

"Nobody... Oh hey... This baby is kicking your ass?" Jamie asked softly placing her hands instinctively on the taller woman's shoulder massaging her softly. Angel chuckled softly.

"You ain't kidding... I keep telling myself it's worth it... and it is. I love it anyway." Angel decided to stay out of whatever Jamie was trying to hide. She could tell she was by the way her eyes quickly found something other than her eyes to focus on. That was the one thing she learned about the young woman that was thoroughly and effectively erasing all the discomfort she had felt earlier. She looked you straight in the eyes when she spoke and she seemed to search your soul for the truth as you spoke.

"It is gonna be great... Your mother is a great mother You have a good foundation to draw from," Jamie said softly.

Angel smiled and patted the hands on her shoulder's, looking up into green eyes. They looked at each other for seemingly an eternity, but neither could look away. As if a magnet pulled them together, Jamie moved down and claimed the lips of the older woman.

Angel reciprocated then froze. Feeling the woman tense up, Jamie pulled away quickly. "Oh god, I'm so sorry," Jamie said, backing away and into her room.

Stunned, Angel sat on the couch, her blue eyes wide. Her mind started to race. Oh god, she kissed me. This can't be happening now, I was happy.

Angel, you weren't happy enough. You know it... you know it.

I know it... That did feel right, better than I have ever had.

But I ... Oh god.

Angel dropped her head into her hands. "Nothing happened, Angel. Nothing," she said to herself over and over again.


In her room Jamie paced back and forth. She rammed her fist repeatedly into a pillow, as her mind raced just as much as her partner in crime. I can't believe I kissed her... How stupid am I.

She kissed you back Jamie... Why?

Why? God, she is such a six sided woman.

It just felt right. There has never been anything like it... ever.


The weeks following "the kiss" had been awkward between the friends. Angel didn't know quite how to approach the younger woman. The kiss had affected her more than she thought at first, the growing emotions making her a little uncomfortable around Jamie.

Jamie seemed a little distant to her, and avoided the older woman at every chance. Even when they couldn't avoid each other, they avoided looking in each other's eyes, each remembering the intensity that had brought their relationship to this confused and intolerable state.

It was a week until Christmas and both Marcus and Angel were sitting in the spare bedroom putting the crib together. Marcus was watching Angel and noticed that her moods were growing more introverted. He wondered at the pain and confusion he saw in her eyes when she looked at Jamie. She didn't speak directly to her anymore or to anyone else for that matter, and that was not the Angel he knew.

"Here, let me hold this while you work the pin in," Marcus said, holding up the final piece of the crib. Angel leaned over to insert the locking pin on the bars. "What's with you and Jamie?" he asked.

"Nothing... Why?" Angel tried to sound unconcerned, but instead sounded defensive. She pushed the pin in place and stood up. They had gotten rid of the bed, placing it into storage, to make room for the baby's crib, and changing table.

"No reason, it just feels really tense around here. Are you angry with her or something? Or is she angry with you?" Marcus asked as he moved to pick up the mattress.

"No one's angry... but I am about to be," Angel said in a warning growl.

"Hey, it's just a..." Marcus was interrupted by a knock on the door. Jamie had gone food shopping so Angel walked out of the room, happy to escape the questions.

A woman even shorter than Jamie stood on the other side of the door. Angel knew why she was here. "I'm looking for Jamie. Does she live here or not?" the woman asked abrasively.

Angel narrowed her eyes. "Who's asking?"

"What's it to you? I asked you a question," the woman shot back.

Angel fought to control her temper and was about to close the door in her face when she saw Jamie's car drive up. Angel backed off a little as Jamie practically ran up to the door. "What the fuck are you doing here? How the hell did you find me?"

"Oh gee, I don't know, maybe I missed you, Jamie... so I accosted your brother and he gave me your address. He thought he was helping you," Shannon said softening her voice.

Angel stood unobtrusively in the background in case Jamie needed any help with the surly woman.

"Are you out of your mind?" Jamie hissed and she pulled Shannon a little further away. "You can't come here just like that. You see her?" Jamie pointed to Angel standing uncomfortably in the doorway. "That was my drill sergeant. She is still my senior non-commissioned officer. Did you come to get me completely thrown out on my ass?" Jamie said hotly and pulling Shannon away from the blazing blue eyes.

Angel suddenly realized that this wasn't just one of the girls Jamie often found herself "going out" with, which always made Angel miserable. This was THE reason she could no longer go home. Does she really think I would do something like that to her? I love her... That's right Angel, you love her... Oh god, I love them both. Angel thought as she walked off into her bedroom.

Marcus had gone to the door to see what was taking so long and looked worriedly as she walked past him. She didn't say anything and knew that she needed room to deal with what was happening. He figured the problem was partly overactive hormones, but he knew that they wouldn't be overacting without stimulus. She needed to be alone.

Angel reached the stereo remote and turned on the music. A low jazz tune, full of turmoil, emanated from the speakers. No words to complicate it, just the rolling emotion.

Marcus didn't bother to follow her. He knew that she needed to be alone at the moment. He didn't know how or why that redhead made her react this way, but he figured he would soon find out.


Jamie pushed Shannon into the front seat of her car, then made her way to the driver side. Starting her car, she sped out of Ft. Sam Houston. She drove in silence for a while, heading towards Audrey's. Shannon watched her thoughtfully. She looked so different to her, so much going on behind those green eyes.

Jamie parked the car and stepped out, opening the door for Shannon, and leading the way inside. Jamie had taken to sitting in the same booth every time she visited the place, and she had been coming almost every night since "the kiss."

"I like your hair..." Shannon finally said.

"Uh... thanks... Why are you here?" Jamie cut to the chase.

"Right... I wanted to know why you left without saying good-bye."

"Are you kidding?" Jamie said, shaking her head. "You outed me and I was totally disowned by my parents, so you have to forgive me if I acted a little upset that night."

Shannon leaned back in her seat. "I was drunk..."

"I know that. That was the only thing that kept me from throwing you out of the car and into the street. And believe me, I was tempted," Jamie said tapping her fingers on the table angrily. The waiter brought them their drinks and she took a chug of her rum and coke.

"Jamie, I'm sorry... I love you. I never would have done it if I had known how it would end up, " Shannon pleaded.

"Look, Shannon. It really doesn't matter anymore," Jamie said softly.

Shannon watched Jamie, as the blond looked around the room and waved at an occasional woman that happened to walk by. "She is beautiful..." Shannon finally said, a hint of pain in her voice.

"Who?" Jamie asked after finishing off her drink.

"The woman at your house. Who is she?" Shannon said softly.

"My old drill sergeant... old battle buddy, and new friend... At least I hope she is still my friend," Jamie answered reflectively, a faraway look in her eye.

"Do you love her?" Shannon asked softly. Jamie looked at Shannon, comparing what she had felt for the shorter woman to what she now feels for Angel.

"Yes," she answered without hesitation. She steeled herself for a tantrum, which Shannon was famous for.

"Watch her closely Jamie... There's something there." Shannon stood up. "I'm gonna go back to my hotel now. I just needed to know why... and oddly enough... I think that it was worth coming here to see you," Shannon said as she stood.

"I'll take you to the hotel. Come on," Jamie said leaving money on the table and heading out with her. They drove silently back to Shannon's hotel, each deep in their own thoughts. Watch her closely? What can you see that I can't, Shannon. The young woman thought as she watched the red head walk through the hotel doors.


After Jamie had returned from dropping Shannon off, she could hear the blues tune playing inside of Angel's room. She walked to the kitchen, setting the groceries she had neglected to bring in earlier on the counter. The young woman pulled out the melted ice cream and grimaced as she put it in the trash.

A long alabaster arm reached for the bag at the same time as she did and Jamie turned to meet the azure eyes. "Hey... I'm sorry about anything Shannon might have said to you... She's a little hot headed."

"That was your ex?" Angel asked quietly, looking at Jamie, who looked on in silence. "Look, I'm your friend and I'm not going to report you or anything. I just want you to know that I'm there if you need me." When the shorter woman nodded, she racked her brain for anything else to say. "I can't believe you found someone shorter than you."

Jamie grinned, and blushed slightly. Angel missed that smile. She hadn't realized it until just that minute.

"Well, I am the butch one so I needed someone smaller," Jamie answered facetiously, resuming her task of putting things away.

With a slight smirk, Angel said, "Somehow "butch" is not the word that comes to mind when I look at you." She continued to help, the tension gone from her stance. They worked in companionable silence until done. "What did she want?" Angel asked quietly as she turned to face her.

Jamie looked over and shrugged, walking into the living room, and turning on the television to Saturday Night Live. Angel sighed to herself. It isn't any of your business, Angel. "Sorry, I just was hoping..."

"That we were okay?" Jamie said looking over at Angel, who was standing at the threshold of the kitchen and the living room. When Angel nodded, she motioned for her to come closer. "I'm so sorry for... you know... the kiss. It wasn't right, I know... and I totally screwed up our friendship."

Sitting next to her, the taller woman stared blankly at the television "It isn't totally screwed up... I did kiss you back... It's just... I don't know... I need your friendship right now," Angel tried to explain.

Jamie nodded. "I need yours too..." They were bound by a silent agreement to work through everything together.

Chapter 30---Feliz Navidad


Their relationship, though not back to its original easy state, was much more bearable for both parties. Angel especially was having a hard time now. The anonymous calls had become incessant, and she knew it was Lou.

Everywhere she went, she could feel his presence. The evening before Christmas, there was a group outing. Liz had suggested it so that Angel could loosen up and feel safe. They all headed to a nearby karaoke place in downtown San Antonio.

Liz, Lil, Jamie, a young woman named Jenny, Marcus and Angel all trooped into the place, taking over one of the front tables by a stage. Apparently, there was a small contest going on, with parades of people coming on and off the stage as the group dined, giving their often-bad renditions of music better left forgotten.

As Angel listened to the singing, the only one that she really liked was by a little girl, maybe twelve years old, presenting her rendition of "Blue," and trying her best to follow in the footsteps of LeAnne Rhymes.

"Would anyone else like to join the contest?" the announcer, asked, coming on stage "Anyone?"

Leaning closer to her daughter, Liz whispered. "Go on, dear... Have some fun up there."

"Mmm, I don't know, Mom. I . . ." Angel said a bit hesitantly.

"Oh, go on, you are so good at it," Liz said.

"Are you really?" Jamie asked as Liz, Lil, and Marcus nodded fervently. Background music started playing again.

"You're pretty good too, Jamie," Jenny said.

Angel looked at the young woman, trying desperately to keep from glaring. The girl's presence irked her. How could she share that with her and not me?

"Sing with me," Angel said decisively, standing, taking Jamie's hand and going over to where the program coordinator was.

They picked a song that they both could sing and waited for the woman on stage to finish singing "I Will Survive." Nervously, they took the stage. Both Angel and Jamie sat on a pair of tall stools on stage. Then the music prompted them to start.

The first part of the song was Angel's solo. When they got to the chorus, Angel had never heard a voice that blended so harmoniously with hers in her entire life. Jamie's voice was velvety and smooth, and mastered the sound beautifully as she sang. Angel almost missed her cue to start the first verse as she looked in Jamie's direction. The dark haired woman closed her eyes and swallowed before she began.

I can see it's hurting you

I can feel your pain

It's hard to see the sun shine through the rain...

As they both sang the chorus again, Jamie couldn't help but fight to keep her concentration on the words she was singing. Those words were so full of emotion, and the song immediately became words that had been left unspoken between the two. Jamie steeled her nerves and prepared for her solo.

As they sang the last chorus, they looked at each other and smiled softly. Jamie shook her head and sang as she walked off to the side of the stage. Angel walked to the other side and they both ascended the stairs meeting in the middle and walked towards the program director, handing him the microphones after the last note was sung.

Wild applause arose all through the bar. People stood, clapping and patting the women's backs as they headed back to their table. At their table, it wasn't any better, more teasing than anything else wasn't. The women won the contest, each receiving a 500-dollar check.

"Oh, I am a rich woman now!" Jamie joked around as they all headed for their cars.

"Oh, Jamie, you're silly," Jenny said. The girl's voice ground on Angel's nerves. She was so cute, Angel she hated her. Making a face, Angel looked away and rushed to Marcus' Rodeo.

"God, that girl gets on my last nerve," Angel said, fastening her seat belt.

"Who? Jenny?" Marcus asked.

"Yes. She is just ... I don't know... unbelievably quirky and cute... or something."

"Jamie seems to like her doting all over her," Marcus said as he pulled out and headed towards Angel's house.

Angel noted that Jamie was heading the opposite direction, probably hurrying to get "miss cutie pie" home. "She doesn't seem to be Jamie's type at all," she mumbled, looking out of the window.

"Do you even know her type, Angel?" Marcus asked in an odd tone.

"I don't know, Marcus. What are you getting at?" Angel asked, turning to face him.

"Nothing! Just forget her and her tastes and let's focus on us for tonight, all right?" Marcus answered hoping that would throw her off the scent. He had his suspicions, and at times like this the jealousy churned inside him. He didn't want that to show. Instead, he just kept telling himself that it was just a deep friendship. Listen to yourself Marcus, lying to yourself again. But she loves you, you know... don't give her up without a fight, he thought as he parked in her driveway. He looked over to her. She had been staring at him since they had stopped talking. Gently Marcus leaned forward and kissed her soft lips.

Angel wrapped her arms around him and returned the kiss, fading any lingering thoughts in either of their minds.


"Look at that nigger with his fancy car." Lou said as he watched the object of his obsession and that nigger fog up the windows of the Rodeo. His anger got the better of him. In his mind the images of when he had first seen Angel rushed at him.

Lou had eventually had some sort of break through at the asylum. He behaved normally and his obsession for exercise had subsided to a healthy pattern. His obsession had made him look like a god he had been told, but everything needed to be done in moderation.

He was released at eighteen. Having no where else to go after his release, he went to a recruiting office and signed up. Half way through the first week of basic training, there was a blizzard. Lou, having a weak immune system because of all of the drugs he had been taking in the asylum fell ill with the flu and developed a pneumonia. This resulted in him missing most of his basic training making him a holdover.

When the new company came to the barracks for the spring Basic training, He headed out to the water bags to help the privates with some water. Then she got off of the cattle truck. A tall dark haired PFC with the most amazing blue eyes he had ever seen... since his mother's.

He watched as her bags were dragged and she put her things in the personal belongings room. When she came to him to get water, he tried to speak, but all that came out was "H-Hi."

She gave him a sweeping glanced nodded and walked away gracefully. Her eyes seemed so sad. Just like his mother's eyes had been. He noted that her name was Major and decided then that she was the one for him.

Throughout the next eight weeks, private Melvin shadowed private first class Major. He got into her group whenever possible. When she was Platoon leader, He was her Gideon carrier. He tripped over himself whenever she was around. Yet she didn't seem to notice him that way. She treated him like her pet dog.

When they did their two-mile runs, he ran them with her. He sat next to her while they cleaned their gear, and shined their shoes. They spoke of what their MOS would be.

"I'm going to be a 91 Mike." She would say

"What's that?" Lou asked.

"Mechanic... but maybe I'll go to air assault school after I'm done with AIT." She answered.

Lou was impressed. "I'm staying here for AIT. Learn to build bridges and stuff."

"That's cool." She said then without much thought she stood up and walked away heading back inside the barracks. That made him angry but he had learned to keep his temper in check at the asylum.

He followed her inside, and she headed into the bathroom. She started to sing to herself and he stood at the door listening until another private walked into the bathroom and interrupted her. That made him angry, and he walked away and headed to the exercise room at the end of the hallway.

On a free day on phase four, he followed her to the gym. She went with one of the male soldiers. He wrapped his arm around her she smiled at him he kissed her cheek, then she hugged him. That made him angry. That soldier fell down the stairs on the next day and broke his leg. He had to be a holdover until next cycle.

Something snapped. Lou looked down and he had broken his binoculars in half. He got in his car and sped off to the base gates.


Hearing screeching tires, Angel stopped mid motion. "You hear that?" She said

"It's probably nothing." Marcus said hoping that didn't totally ruin the moment.

Angel didn't feel right, but she didn't want to stop either. So she shrugged and resumed moving her hips. What could happen to me here? She thought loosing herself in the moment again.


Everyone was gathered in Liz's beautifully decorated living room a stroke before midnight. The soft melodious and joyous sounds of Christmas were playing in the background as they all talked and sang along with the carols.

There was a knock on the door and Angel stood up from the floor and headed for it. As she opened the door, she saw a ghost from her past. The tall man that stood before her now had salt and pepper hair but she didn't notice that as a deep anger marred her features. Angel slammed the door on his face and headed back to the group.

"Who was that?" Liz asked, looking at her with concern.

"No one worth our time, Mom," she stated emphatically, sitting back down next to Marcus and leaning against him. The doorbell rang again and Liz stood up this time to answer.

Jamie watched Angel's eyes go icy, her lips a tight line on her face. When she looked at the door, she noted the man standing in front of Liz, whose face didn't look angry at all. She listened unashamedly to their conversation and suddenly realized who the man was.

"Well, what do you expect, Ray. She's always been stubborn," Liz said softly.

"I just... I needed to see her again... I didn't mean to hurt her."

"But you did... Although, to tell you the truth, your leaving us was the best thing you have ever done," Liz stated folding her arms over her chest.

Jamie looked over at Angel who returned her gaze intently, their eyes locked for a long moment.

"Look... She's an adult. It's not like I can make her talk to you, and I won't even try, that is her decision. Frankly, I think it's too late. She's lost all respect for you," Liz said defensively.

Jamie heard this as she looked back toward the doorway. She made a mental note to ask Angel about her father later.


Angel's night was ruined. Of all the people to come that night, it had to be her father. To say she hated the man was an understatement. Her entire body had tensed up and was now aching as she climbed the stairs of her mother's house and into her room.

Marcus followed behind her and leaned against the doorframe watching her. "You all right?" he asked softly.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little stiff," she answered, rolling her neck to ease the tension.

"Here," he said, sitting on the bed and signaling for her to sit between his legs. He massaged the tenseness out of her back.

Suddenly Angel felt a sense of foreboding around Marcus. She leaned back and reached for his hand. "Hey... What's wrong?" Marcus asked.

"Just hold me," she said, wrapping his arms around her. He held on for a long time.



Outside, eyes watched the home grow dark. "Soon, Angel. You will be mine again... and your little nigger boy won't know what hit him," Lou said, shivering lightly in the night air.

After his failed attempt during Basic to get next to PFC Major years earlier. Lou couldn't believe his luck when at the NCO club, on a return tour to Leonard Wood. He caught a glimpse of Major on the dance floor while on a date with some white boy she could dance circles around. She was grooving to a Marvin Gaye jam.

I used to go out to parties

And stand around- the song started as the DJ re-mixed new sound with the old. It seemed to really hype her up. She never looked more beautiful to him than on that moment. She hugged on the man she was with as he talked to her and she laughed.

That made him angry, so Lou walked up to her and took her hand turning her to face him. She stopped smiling and pushed him away. "Dance with me?" He asked. Lou moved to the music with a natural rhythm that he didn't know he had. It was like he was a god all of a sudden.

She watched him for a while, then couldn't help but smile, because he had never really tried to impress her before, and it was flattering. She grabbed a pen from his pocket and wrote her number down on his arm, then left with her date.

He called her the next day, and she agreed to go out with him. And after four weeks of dates, he got what he wanted. He got her everything, and he was addicted. He was with her every night, unless either one of them was on duty for the first few months.

She started looking at him differently after that, and she didn't seem to want him as much anymore. Angel grew colder and started to deny him what he felt was rightfully his.

He was jealous of her time, of anything that she might do that did not involve him and he started watching her all over again. He began to cheat. The time he had told her about, had not been the first time. That was the only thing that he could control. He tried to control her, but her will was so strong, he could not hold on to that control.

He leaned against the tree and visualized the tall dark man in his mind's eye. "One more white girl to fuck, huh, nigger? You gonna learn that my woman ain't the one to mess with, boy." He raised his hands index finger and thumb outstretched as if holding a gun and pretended to shoot the picture in his minds eye.

He blew on his fingertips then headed down the street, gloved hands in his pockets.

Chapter 31--- Daddy Dearest


The next night went much better for Angel. Her baby had received a multitude of gifts from Santa. She also received her very own copy of Tropical Storm from Jamie. "Hey, it's Dar's birthday!" Angel said to Jamie as they sat in the living room of their little home. Marcus had gone with his family to Louisiana for the rest of the week and would be back on New Years Eve.

"Huh, so it is," Jamie said. "Glad you like your gift. Too bad it's not the illustrated version."

"That may be a little too much information, much as I liked the book, " Angel said wryly, looking over the book.

Jamie only chuckled and turned back to her gift. A deluxe magic set signed by David Blaine. "How did you manage to get his autograph?"

"I asked, and he was happy to oblige," Angel said, as she leaned back.

"When did you even get a chance to ask?" Jamie asked, fingering the trinkets.

"He's not the only one with tricks up his sleeve," Angel said with a smirk, then stretched her length along the sofa.

"God, this is great," she said then looked up at Angel, smiling at the expression on her face.

My god, she so cute when she's giddy, Angel thought, staring into the green eyes. Jamie shifted a little then cleared her throat. "Was that your father at the door yesterday?"

Angel blinked away her thoughts. "Yes," she said shortly.

"Why do you hate him so much?" Jamie asked.

Angel shrugged and stood, her body tensing up again. She walked into the kitchen and reached for the ice cream in the freezer.

"Your mom said he hurt you. How?" Jamie said gently.

"I caught him cheating. It hurt because I know what that did to my mother. She means the world to me. At that moment, I lost all respect for him, and wanted him out of my life."

"How did you see him cheat?" Jamie said softly.

"Oh... this is the classic baby-sitter story. When I was growing up, I had a friend named Melinda. She had this gorgeous older sister. Mel and I loved to follow her around" Angel started, leaning against the kitchen counter and scooping a spoonful of ice cream into her mouth. Jamie waited, as she watched the blue eyes search for words.

"She was your baby sitter?" Jamie asked, sitting on the counter next to her and placing a hand on her shoulder.

"That's how Melinda and I got to be friends. Her sister started watching us when we were about nine and she would have been about thirteen. Usually for two hours after school and then, after a while, for longer periods," Angel answered.

"Then what happened?" Jamie asked, wanting to know this tidbit about her friend.

"When we were thirteen and she was just eighteen, we sat in her room one night as she dressed for a date. She seemed a little edgy. I finally figured out why. See, my father called and I answered the phone. It was her private line so I was shocked when I heard his voice. I was all set on teasing Tawny's boyfriend and embarrassing her to death," Angel said ruefully.

Jamie grinned, that sounded like her drill sergeant all right.

"That's when I first thought something just didn't add up. He gave some lame excuse that he needed to give Tawny instructions on what I was to do that night. When I told him that her parent's were there and that Tawny was going out, he told me to give her the phone anyway." Angel pushed off the counter and pulled Jamie with her, walking them back into the living room. The casual touching that had been absent in their relationship, did not go unnoticed by the blond. She blushed gently, glad that the older woman was walking ahead of her.

Settling down on the couch, Angel continued. "She smiled nervously at us as she talked to him. Melinda and I decided we were gonna follow her around that night because she looked too nervous to be up to any good." Angel ran fingers through her dark hair and looked at the woman who was hanging on her every word.

"We hid in her parent's car that night and waited for her to drive off. Melinda had stolen the keys and, since I was tall enough to see over the steering wheel, I drove. I did pretty well for a while. I followed her to the airfield here in Ft. Sam. I drove past and parked the car badly at the golf club. It was about a two mile hike to get back to the air field where I had seen another car there."

"Oh yeah, we ran past there for the Brigade run," Jamie interjected.

"Uh huh... We thought that it would take us almost no time to get back to where Tawny was, it didn't seem so far in the car," Angel said with a chuckle. "Needless to say I wasn't in good form in those days."

Jamie laughed at the statement.

"After about twenty minutes, we got up to the cars. You could hear their moans in the stillness of the night." Angel's eyes grew dark as she got to this part of the story. "We were crouched behind the cars and listened for a while. You could hear their skin slapping against each other and smell them."

"Melinda and I looked at each other and she moved forward to look. She gasped really low and covered her mouth so that they wouldn't hear her. I swallowed and made my way towards the noise." Angel stopped for a moment and looked at the melting ice cream. She took a few spoonfuls into her mouth and looked as if she was trying to swallow more than the ice cream. As tears were threatening to come out. She hadn't cried about this since that night. Since she saw him... them.

"They were so into what they were doing, they didn't see me until my chunky boots stood next to Tawny's head. My father's face went pale as he looked up into my face. They separated quickly and scrambled for their clothes."

"I stood frozen until he tried to grab for me. I screamed and ran towards Melinda's parent's car. Melinda was faster than I was and even she lagged behind. But she was hot on my trail. That was my very first fourteen minute two mile run." Angel let a slight smirk appear on her face.

"I drove as fast and as safely as I could to return her parent's car so that Melinda wouldn't get in trouble. I think I must have side swiped twenty cars on the way." She chuckled at that. Jamie smiled sympathetically. " I gave her the keys and went home to where my mother sat with Victoria and Lil.

"Lil was fuming about her ex-husband. Victoria saw me speed to my room and came to me shortly after that." Angel paused thinking. "V became my father from that point on until she died."

"So, did you tell her?" Jamie asked.

"Yeah, I told her. I was too upset to tell my mother. I was just so angry that he could do something like that. Victoria made me tell my mother. I had just finished telling mom when the front door opened. The three women just glared at my dad. Victoria reached for Lil's hand, guided her towards the door, and left."

"Whoa, that had to have been incredibly tense," Jamie said, enjoying the length of this conversation.

"It was silent for the longest time, two against one in a stare down. Then my mother's low voice scared the shit out of me and she exploded. She asked him to leave, and I hadn't seen him again until last night," Angel finished.

"So Victoria lived with you ever since?" When Angel nodded, Jamie slid her arms around her neck unconsciously bringing her into a hug. "It must have been hell for you to see him yesterday."

Angel blinked and slowly returned the hug. It felt right, very right. "Nah... Not hell."
































Chapter 32---Birth of a new year... Death of the old?


"It is great out there. Everyone looks so terrific... Oh, it's eleven fifty," Lil said, primping quickly, then grabbing Liz's arm, and pulling her out of the powder room of the ballroom in the Marriott. "I want my midnight kiss, Liz."

"All right already," Liz answered with a smirk and a wink at Angel as they walked out. Angel only shook her head and followed them out to find Marcus.


Lou stood near the side exit of the ballroom. His sights were set on a tall dark figure talking animatedly to a smaller light, haired woman. Then he saw her, the devil with the face of an Angel. Her long dark locks were swept up beautifully, with soft tendrils framing her angular features.

He watched her form walk closer to the dark figure and pull him to the dance floor. Instinctively, he removed the safety of his weapon and cocked his gun.


As the count down began, Angel looked into Marcus' eyes and smiled. "5...4...3..." She counted. He smiled in return and held her closer.

"2...1...Happy New Year!" Auld Lang Syngestarted to play in the background. In what seemed like slow motion, Marcus placed a soft kiss on Angel's lips.

Jamie watched from her chair as the two locked lips, having just broken free from a kiss of her own. She spotted a familiar male figure making his way to where her friends stood.

On the floor, Angel felt a wrenching in her abdomen and pulled away from the kiss and turned her head just as she heard Jamie scream. "Look out!"

A shot rang out as Marcus pushed Angel out of the way to protect her. He was felled by the shot directly into his chest. The gunman was disarmed but he somehow managed to escape.

There was a chase, but all Angel could do is kneel next to Marcus and try to stop the blood flowing from his chest. "It's gonna be okay. It's gonna be fine. Please hang in there, Marcus."

He was conscious and he reached to stroke her face. She kissed his cold hand and held back the tears that threatened to escape her. Finally an ambulance arrived and the paramedics started treating him. Angel held his hand as they lifted him on to the stretcher and went with him into the ambulance.

"Angel..." She heard his soft voice calling to her. She leaned closer to him to hear him better. "She loves you... love her..."

"Marcus, no... What are you saying?" she said, tears finally starting to flow down her cheek.

"I... need her to love you... for me..." Silent sobs escaped her now

"Please don't go... not now... my baby has to know you. Please..." she begged as his hand went limp in hers. The paramedic reached out to move her out of the way as he to resuscitate Marcus, but she knew it was too late... She let out a gut wrenching howl within the confines of the ambulance. It was everything the driver could do not to loose control of the vehicle.

Angel was completely heartbroken. The only man in her life that she had ever respected and loved was gone. He had changed her so much, and filled the gaps in her life. She felt as if she were being ripped apart and exposed for the vultures to pick on her bloodied flesh.  





Chapter 33---Mourning


Angel missed the first week of her training. Both Angel and Jamie's respective schools started on the second day of the new year. The older woman seemed to be having trouble doing anything. She couldn't sleep, and when she did, it was fitful, she couldn't eat, and she wouldn't even listen to her beloved music. She felt nothing.

For the entire first week of training, Jamie tried to entice the older woman to at least eat to no avail. She talked to her for hours on end with no response, and held her when her body shook with silent tears.

The day of the funeral, Angel sat by Marcus's grave, watching as his coffin was lowered and buried. She held his mother's sobbing body in her arms as she stared blankly, her mind running though the events of that fateful evening. I hope that I never see you again Lou, because if I do, I will make you feel pain like you've never felt before; and then I will kill you. Her anger started to rise, the first emotion she had felt since the shooting.

As the next week began, Angel readied herself to join her class. That morning, she dressed into her fatigues for the first time since her graduation. She stood in front of the mirror for a long while before she picked up her brush and started working on her hair. "I won't let you win. You are gonna make a mistake Lou, and when you do, I am gonna be right there waiting," she muttered to herself, working her raven locks into a tight bun. It felt strange after allowing her hair to fall freely around her shoulders for a month.

She stepped out of her bedroom. Jamie had already left, choosing to take her PT time with the rest of her company, and showering there. Angel headed for her car. It still smelled of his cologne. She sat there for a few minutes; not moving blinded by tears that had overcome her. Wiping them away, she started the ignition and drove to her classes.

Her concentration was shot. She was an entire week behind the class, plus she hadn't heard a thing the instructor had said the entire day. The instructor pulled her aside and looked at her. "I heard you missed the first week of this block of instructions because of a personal matter."

Angel, doing her best to keep her emotions in check, looked at him coolly and quirked a brow.

"I suggest you wait till the next class to start with everyone."

"That means expanding my stay here another six months. No, thank you," Angel finally said.

"Aaahh, she speaks! Major, if you want to stay in the program, you have to catch up. Have some of your classmates help you out with notes and studying. Our first test is at the end of this week and covers the first block of instructions. You pass the test, then you can stay. You fail..." The instructor said, not without a hint of sympathy.

Angel looked at the board where it stated that the block of instructions they had been learning was "Medical Terminology." Piece of Cake, they didn't use to call me "Major Dictionary" for nothing, Angel thought as she walked out toward her car.

She paused at the car door, taking deep breaths before she entered. The smell of him bathed her and covered her like a blanket. Instead of crying this time, she relished and embraced the scent and the memories it invoked, knowing that it would not last forever.

Jamie wondered how her friend was. It was her first day back and she still hadn't said more than a few words to her. Worry about her later, Jamie. Angel is a big girl and she has been at this army thing longer than you, remember that, Jamie thought to herself, looking around at the clinic where she was going to start her first increment of clinical training.

She had a lot of fun throughout the clinic, learning about taking accucheks, a test of the blood sugars, and vitals. The time flew, and soon she was back in her little car returning home. She had a smile on her face as she drove into the driveway of her modest new home.

She parked next to the silver Mercedes Benz and glanced inside at the tall form sitting there, staring off at a distance. Her smile faded, and a look of total concern came over her. She walked to the driver's side and watched the older woman take deeper breaths each time. It was as if she were trying to hold on to something.

You have to let it go Angel... You have to, Jamie thought and hesitated, thinking about whether to get her attention or just go into the house. She lifted her hand a couple of times to knock on the window, and, just as she decided to go into the house, blue eyes turned to face her and rooted her to her spot.

The vacancy that had filled the blue orbs for the past week was replaced by a solemn peace. The sadness still lingered in the smile the older woman gave her, but at least she smiled. Jamie couldn't help but smile back.

Jamie stepped back as the door opened. It was all she could do not to throw her arms around the woman, and keep her there for the rest of her life. She wanted to protect Angel from anything else that could bring such pain again.

"How was your first day?" Jamie asked, walking with her towards the door.

"It went. Got a lot of catching up to do." Angel's low drawl was like music to Jamie's ears. She had not heard her voice since the funeral when she talked a bit to Marcus's mother.

"I bet. When's your first test?" Jamie asked.

"Friday," Angel said, walking into the kitchen. "I have to learn a whole lot of terminology... but first I must feed my baby," Angel said, pulling one of the pre-cooked meals her mother had brought from the refrigerator, and served it on two plates.

Jamie smiled internally as she watched Angel pop one of the plates into the microwave and head for her room. That's right, Angel. Life goes on, Jamie thought, following the older woman's lead and heading to her room and striping out of her fatigues.

They sat together to eat. Jamie wanted to say so many things but decided to let Angel talk first. They said nothing at all. As she pushed the remainder of her food around her plate, Jamie started getting discouraged again. Why are you letting him beat you like this? She thought.

"You gonna finish what you have on your plate?" Angel asked suddenly. Jamie shook herself out of her reverie and smiled.

"You want it?" Jamie said looking over.

"Yeah, give it up," Angel said, reaching for the plate.

"Good, I am glad you're back Angel. It was getting rather lonely here without you," Jamie said, knowing that the older woman appreciated directness.

"You certainly haven't looked that lonely, Jamie. Who are you going out with tonight?" Angel answered sharply then regretted having let her jealousy show so quickly. Oh god, I can't believe I said that. I can't believe I would feel that way. Marcus just died because of me and I can't risk Jamie. That man is still loose Angel. She mentally berated herself.

Looking across to Jamie, who looked at her with a bit of hurt gleaming in her eyes that quickly changed to pity. She hated that look. Frustrated, she stood, bringing the plates back into the kitchen and into the sink.

Jamie followed, drying the dishes as Angel washed them and putting them away. "Look, I'm sorry. I understand how lonely you must be after losing Marcus. I should never have compared my feelings to yours."

"Whatever, Jamie. I don't need your pity, all right? Now I am going to my room to study, good night." With that she left, long strides taking her to her room and she locked the door behind her.  





Chapter 34---Be My Valentine


The month of January wasn't as cold as she was used to, but it was still too cold for Jamie. Not in a physical sense, but emotionally. She continued to date whomever asked her and slept with whoever let her stay over, but she never brought them home.

Angel was like a drill sergeant in her aloofness once again. She grunted greetings and never spoke unless spoken to. Angel seemed determined to keep Jamie at arms length and discouraged any comfort and relief she might want to give.

One evening, Jamie found herself at Liz's doorstep. "Hey Jamie! How are you?" Liz said, hugging her and pulling her inside. For the first time since she had known the older woman, she was alone with her in her home.

"I'm doing great Liz. I just don't feel like going home tonight," Jamie answered, sitting on the couch next to her.

"Why? Although I know Anjulee is not entirely back to her normal happy self, she seemed better to me. I went with her to her first ultrasound yesterday and got my first look see at my grandchild," Liz said proudly.

"She didn't mention it to me. Do you have any of the printouts? May I see?" Jamie asked with a soft smile.

"Oh, but of course," Liz said, standing up and walking into the den. "I find it odd that she didn't mention it to you. I know that the reason she didn't ask you to go with her was because of your class, but why would she not tell you about the sonogram?" Liz questioned as she came back into the room and handed Jamie the printouts.

"She hasn't said much except "yes," "no," "good morning," good night," and "see ya later" to me since her first day of school, so I know nothing about her plans." Looking down at the bits of paper in her hand, she looked at the developing shape of a human. "It's amazing that after three months there is this person. I can see its head. Oh, it's gonna be a cute one."

The grandmother beamed at the praise her grandchild was getting. Of course the praise was biased because she knew that Jamie was going to be a big part of the child's life, even though she or her daughter didn't know it yet.

"Do you know what sex it is?" Jamie asked.

"No, Anjulee didn't tell me. I don't think she wanted to know," Liz answered. "What are you doing on Valentines day?" Liz asked after a few moments.

"Probably what I do every other night but I have nothing concrete. Why?"

"Thirty years ago, I missed Valentines day and I received the greatest gift a person could ever receive." Liz smiled at the look of recognition in the younger woman's eyes. I knew you were quick.

"She's gonna be thirty in two weeks? What were you planning?" Jamie asked, excited to know this bit of information about her roommate.

"Nothing. She and Marcus used to celebrate Valentines day. She would spend the day with me and we would do birthday things, but at night she was his. She's bound to be moody this year."

"I see," Jamie said, sighing softly then shaking her head. "She needs to forget."

"She can't forget and she won't. Granted, she needs to deal with it better, but she won't forget," Liz said, pulling Jamie into a motherly embrace and comforting her. "I'm so sorry you have to deal with her moods. Everything was going so well."

They talked for hours and it was 2 a.m. before Jamie realized she was tired. She crashed in Angel's old bed. She could smell her in the room, a smell of violets that seemed to follow her everywhere.

She dreamt of her that night, of how she used to be before the tragedy that had so brutally stolen her friend away. She dreamt of "the kiss" that caused a tingling in her lips every time that she thought of it.

Suddenly, the dream ended when Angel pushed away from her and walked off onto a distance. She stood alone. Her body longing for the woman she loved. This isn't just lust, Angel. I want you mind, body and soul. Just like you have me. I will freely give that to you when you want it.

The two weeks went by in a blur for Angel. She had finally caught up to everyone else and was quickly coming to the head of the class. She studied continuously to keep from thinking about Marcus, Jamie, or Valentines Day.

But that fateful Sunday, she had nothing to do. She searched her mind for something, anything to keep her busy. Her music was playing softly as she paced back and forth restlessly in her room. She sat in front of her computer and stared at the screen, attempting to re-read one of the many stories Jamie had gotten her hooked on during Bravo school.

Standing to pace again, a ballad started to play in the background, Tony Bennett's version of Just the Way You Look Tonight. Walking towards her bedroom window, she spotted Jamie standing next to her car, talking to someone.

Angel noticed Jamie wore leather a lot when she went out. Her pants were skin tight, accentuating the newly developed muscles on her legs, and the firm roundness of her hips and rear. The silk shirt she wore shimmered in the moonlight. It was hunter green, the perfect match for her eyes. She laughed and touched the other woman's arm in a warm gesture.

Angel had noticed so many things about the younger woman. Jamie seemed to seek a connection with whomever she was speaking. She'd often reach out to touch, and if she really was into what you were saying, she'd move very close to you. Angel watched as Jamie did just that with the other woman.

Angel suddenly felt like a voyeur watching through the window, but before she could turn away, green eyes met blue. Quickly, she disengaged from the eye contact and left the window, just as the song was ending.

Suddenly, there was a knock on her door. With a sigh, she opened it, and there she stood as Tony sang.

... Just the way you look tonight.

"We're going out," Jamie stated simply. "Get dressed."

"Excuse me?" Angel said, blinking rapidly, unable to move from where she was standing.

"It will be your birthday in about five hours, and since tomorrow is Monday, midnight will have to do. You cannot spend your thirtieth birthday pacing like a trapped wildcat," Jamie answered; glad she decided to take charge of the situation. She opened the closet wide and turned back to her friend, who had a bemused look on her face. "Come on... time's a wasting."

"I... I... No... J..." Angel stammered.

"No what? Come on, we'll have fun," Jamie said, pulling things out of the closet.

Angel scanned the content of the closet and shook her head. "There is nothing to wear."

"Sure there is. You have great clothes here," Jamie replied, looking through the clothing. There were no dresses but that was all right. She looked at all the slacks on the hangers, then she thought about her friends expanding waistline, courtesy of the baby. She realized that Angel had only been wearing fatigues, which were big on her anyway, and a nightshirt and sweats for the last month. "I see what you mean. You don't look that big though."

"Just forget it, Jamie. I don't feel much like celebrating," Angel answered sitting on the bed.

"You are coming. I didn't just break a date for you to back out on me, Angel," Jamie said as she reached for the phone. "Hey Liz... Have you gone shopping for your daughter? She seems to have ignored that little detail . . . You have? We're going out. . . No, I'm making her go . . . She can pull rank all she wants, it ain't gonna work . . . Okay, I'll see you guys in a bit? Great, bye." Hanging up the phone, she turned back to the older woman. "God, I love your mom."

Angel couldn't help but smile at the confidence that radiated from the younger woman. "That makes three of us. I guess I can take a shower. She should be here by the time I get out," she said, collecting her towel and undergarments before heading to the bathroom. Jamie breathed a sigh of relief after she was gone. The younger woman had been sure that it wouldn't work. Glad that she was wrong, she smiled and headed for the living room.

Birthday girl or not, Angel ended up being designated driver for the night. She knew she couldn't drink because of the baby, which didn't slow down the others, who drank her share. They went bar hopping to places where Lil and her mother could be comfortable in their new relationship. It had gone beyond teasing and coaxing just after the new year. At times, they were so sweet together; it made her teeth ache.

At midnight, a waiter brought a cake with thirty candles lit and it seemed like the entire club sang happy birthday to her, causing the dark haired woman to blush. She blew out her candles and shared the cake with her mother and their friends.

"Hey, let's go dance," Jamie said, pulling on her arm. "Come on. I know you want to. I promise I won't let another girl touch you."

"All right, let's go," Angel responded, following her out of the booth. They danced a few fast songs and Angel was certainly starting to enjoy herself. Suddenly the music shifted to a salsa beat.

"Aw, I was just starting to get warmed up," Jamie said, turning away. A hand on her arm stopped her. She turned to face the deep blue depths of Angel's eyes.

"You know you're not half bad for a white girl," Angel said with a grin.

"Look who's talking? You really do move great Angel," Jamie replied, her heart skipping a bit when Angel pulled her closer to hold on to her.

"I love to dance the salsa. Do you know how?" Angel asked softly.

"N... No... I, er... I never have," Jamie stammered.

"Here, I'll teach you. Look into my eyes and feel my hands and body. Let me lead," Angel said, taking one of her hands in hers and wrapping her arm around her body. Jamie could feel the swell of Angel's abdomen against hers and it felt so good that it seemed like she didn't even touch the ground. Her feet must have moved in time with the music, but she didn't know how. She only followed the body that was pressed against hers.

Angels guided her masterfully, reluctantly pulling away at times to turn her as they danced. There were three more salsa songs in a row before it turned back to regular fast music. They danced to all four, Jamie getting better and better each time. They were unaware of the eyes that were watching.

Liz and Lil grinned at each other as they watched the younger women dance. "They fit together perfectly Liz," Lillian said turning to her lover.

"I knew they would, but they still have a long way to go. Don't they look graceful?"

"Like music to the eyes. While each may draw attention when they are alone, put them together and everyone's watching them," Lil answered. Liz looked around the room. The people on the dance floor watched as they did their last salsa and even the people seated at the tables stopped their conversations and watched.

They projected a lot a sexual heat and tension. Soon, you could see couples disappearing to dark corners or just out the door.

Angel could not complain, it had been the best birthday she had had in years, thanks to Jamie. It was 1:00 a.m. before they got home and she headed into her bedroom again. While she'd had a great time, she really needed to get some rest for the new block of instructions starting the next day.

Her body was still tingling from her friend's prolonged proximity. She entered the shower and let the cold-water fall over her. It didn't really work; the coldness only reminded her of the feelings that she simply wanted to get rid of.

Sore and sensitive nipples hardened, causing exquisite pain. The swollen nodule of her center ached for contact. She reached down and toyed with it then, deciding it couldn't possibly be as good as the real thing, she let it go, trying to concentrate on being cold.

Jamie had no such luck. She paced the room for a half an hour then, finally deciding on trying to sleep, she moved to the bed while removing her silk shirt. As she slid it off her shoulders, the soft fabric ran across her nipples, causing a small groan to escape her lips. She toyed with her nipples a while, wetting her fingers then bringing them to her breasts to roll and pinch them.

Slowly moving a hand down her abdomen to the button of her leather pants, she closed her eyes. Jamie kicked off her shoes as she unzipped the pants. Moving a hand inside her pants, she felt her underwear and thighs soaked with her passion. This sent a shiver up her spine. "Oh god, what you do to me," she whispered to herself, sliding her pants down her hips and kicking them off to the side.

Removing her underwear as well, she let her hands explore her depths, wishing that it were Angel's hands. Soft moans escaped her as she reached a climax on her own. She bit her lip, trying not to call out Angel's name, so that she might not hear what she was doing.

Release having been achieved, she quickly fell asleep and slept well for the rest of the night.

Angel awoke the next morning still feeling incredibly tense. Not having alleviated her sexual tension the night before had made it hard for her to sleep. She dressed quickly into her fatigues and walked into the kitchen to get something to eat before she left for school.

Glancing out of the window, she was surprised to see that Jamie's car was still there. She walked to the bathroom but did not hear the shower running. She moved to Jamie's bedroom, knocked lightly, and opened the door to check on her friend.

The vision that appeared before her was more than her hormones could bear. Angel stood at the door quietly, watching a naked Jamie sleep peacefully and satisfied. She lay on her side turned away from the door. Jamie hugged a pillow to her chest. Angel had a perfect view of her back and just above her round buttocks before the sheets covered her. A few minutes passed before she remembered why she had come in there in the first place, and she moved closer to the sleeping form.

Angel couldn't even begin to explain to herself why she had stared lustfully. It wasn't as if it was the first time she had seen this woman naked. Maybe it was the satisfied look on her face or the faint smell of sex that radiated from her. It didn't matter.

Shaking Jamie's shoulder slightly, she said. "Hey J. Get up, you're late . . ."

Stretching, Jamie turned to lay on her back, giving the taller woman a full frontal view. By the gods... she thought as she turned to look away. "Hmmm?" Jamie mumbled then opened one green eye. She looked around the room and spotted Angel, then she looked down at herself and opened both eyes. "Christ, what time is it?" she asked.

"Seven. You missed PT," Angel answered, moving toward the door. "I'll see you later, Jamie."

"Yeah, and happy birthday, Angel," Jamie said, smiling at the taller woman, who smiled back as she walked out of the room.





Chapter 35---Back in the Saddle


The week went by fast in a flurry of exams for both of them. By the end of that week, Angel was officially at the head of the class. Jamie was no slacker in her school, she was second, and that was good considering that all she could really think about was Angel.

That weekend was a three-day weekend for President's Day. That Saturday, Angel decided to do something she hadn't done since before Marcus died; go shopping for the baby.

As she got ready, the thought back to the ultrasound that she'd had done. It had made the child more real to her. She could see it and now she could feel it. Every time it moved, it tickled her insides, like little butterflies. It was a part of Marcus that she could always hold on to now that he was gone.

She remembered how after the test, the doctor called her into her office and explained to her what she needed to do to keep herself healthy for the child. It was a healthy child with strong heartbeats. The doctor said that she could see no abnormalities in the ultrasound.

The sex of the child was inconclusive, which Angel found just as well because it wouldn't have mattered to her either way. She was starting to love the child more and more as the days went by. She thanked Marcus and whoever else might be listening for it every morning.

Angel took her two best friends with her and Liz and Jamie argued over the best things for her child. She laughed at their discussion over the best nursing pillow. She ended up buying some beautiful blankets and a travel system. A nice blue and yellow stroller that came along with a baby carrier. Now this is practical, a three in one stroller.

While she thought it was enough purchases for the day, her mother insisted on buying a pack and play crib, so that she could keep it at her house. "I want to be with this baby often, Anjulee, until you have to leave," Liz said, hefting the playpen.

"I would never deny you that, mother, but I am a little over budget right this minute," Angel answered.

"Oh hush, I'm buying this," Liz said, handing a young clerk her credit card.

Angel glanced at Jamie, who had just returned from parts unknown. "What do you have in that bag?" she asked curiously.

"Nothing," she replied, seeing Angel's brow arching higher.

"You'll see it later, okay? I promise," Jamie answered, walking ahead of them, and helping Liz by hefting the playpen herself.

Angel forgot how much she loved shopping with these two. Much as she loved shopping, she hadn't felt like it since Marcus' death. She was starting to feel alive again and she was starting to fall in love again.

That very thought scared her. Love was not something she wanted to risk losing that way again, so it was better that she didn't explore the feelings any further. Marcus couldn't possibly have understood what he was saying to her with his dying breath. If Lou could do that to him, what made him think that he wouldn't try to hurt Jamie? Angel shuddered at the thought and decided to put it all out of her mind.

She concentrated instead on her baby; nineteen more weeks and she would have her child in her arms.  





Chapter 36---Kiss Me I'm Irish


The next four weeks were easier for both of them. Angel finally settled into a routine of school and study. Jamie found herself not going out as often as her classes became more challenging. Angel helped her as much as she could, but Angel's studies were geared more toward the books, and Jamie's were geared more towards clinical and daily care.

One evening, Jamie came home to find a package on the coffee table for her. She picked it up and moved towards the kitchen where she figured Angel would be. "Hey... ooh, that smells good. What are you inventing?"

Looking at her friend with a smirk, Angel continued to fry the rice in the pan, adding the fresher ingredients that had already been chopped up. "I felt like Chinese, but I've kind of exhausted my pay..."

"Just don't put any of your crazy cravings in it. I'd love a taste," Jamie said, looking at the return address on the package and staring.

Angel glanced at her friend, then turned back to the rice, turning off the stove. Walking to stand in front of her, she watched as her friend gingerly opened up the package.

It was a care package.

With a wrinkled brow, Jamie just looked at the cookies, green and clover shaped. There was a letter inside. Jamie opened it slowly and read.

Angel watched her friend with concern. Jamie's eyes were shut and her body trembled in silent tears, but she looked relieved. Suddenly, Jamie leaned forward and Angel held her and stroked her hair. "Hey, what's going on?" Angel asked. Jamie handed Angel the piece of paper.

"In the spirit of St. Patrick, our peace offering?" Angel read then looked down at her friend. "Um, J, what does that mean?"

"They... wanna look past what I am. They want me back in their lives," Jamie answered, pulling back and brushing off the wetness from Angel. "Sorry."

"That's okay. BDU's are waterproof, remember?" Angel smiled reassuringly. "Does that mean you'll be going home in September?"

"I don't know... there's still a long way to go," Jamie replied. "I'm going to call them," she added, heading for the telephone.

Angel watched her go, chagrined at the possibility of living without her. You didn't think she would stay just because you were here did you? She shook her head and finished cooking her rice then served herself. She ate as she sat on the counter. God Angel, you got it bad.


Jamie walked towards the phone slowly. Her hands were shaking and her heart was pounding in her ears. What was she going to say? It was hard for her to breathe as she dialed the number she thought she would never dial again.

The phone rang four times and Jamie figured she was safe. She'd just leave a

Message. "Hello?" her mother's voice sounded from the other end. "Hello? Anyone there?"

Jamie couldn't answer, she opened her mouth several times but nothing came out. Her mother must have checked the Caller ID because she said. "Jamie? Is that you?" There was concern in her voice.

"Yes," answered a voice so small that even Jamie was surprised. "It's me. I got the cookies. Thanks," the younger woman continued after clearing her throat.

"How are they treating you?" her mother asked

Jamie wanted to say something hurtful like "what the hell do you care," but she thought the better of it. She knew that if her mother didn't care, she would have hung up. "Fair enough," she replied instead.

"We shouldn't have dismissed you like that. We were just so disappointed. The fact is, we miss both of our children. Sean hates us for driving you away. We needed to reevaluate our priorities," her mother answered the unasked question.

"What about daddy?" Jamie asked softly.

"He is still disappointed, but he loves you. We're both willing to look past it, just as long as we don't have to hear about it," Jamie's mother said.

"I see. So every time I see you, I am supposed to leave anyone I may be in love with behind?"

"We still don't think what you're doing is right, Jamie, but we can deal with it. It is none of our business what you do in your bed in your house," her mother said firmly. "We love you but it is going to take a while to get used to."

Jamie listened and nodded. "You're right. Is daddy home?" Jamie asked in the same tiny voice as before. Her mother told her to hold for a few minutes and went to get him.

A low voice filled her ears when he picked up. "Get the package?"

"Yes, Dad," Jamie answered.

"Good, munchkin, I'll see you at Easter?" her father asked. "I missed you lots, Critter."

Jamie blinked at the telephone. She hadn't been called those names since she was fourteen but she enjoyed hearing them from him again. "Uh sure, dad, Easter. You planning on coming to Texas?" she asked.

"What, you don't get a vacation?" he answered with his own question.

"I'm off Easter weekend and Monday," Jamie replied.

"Okay, then I'll see you at Easter," he said again. "I gotta go, sweetheart. Take care."

It was as if he had forgotten all that had gone on in the last few months, she thought. Her mother was back on the phone and they made their good-byes. As she turned from the phone, she spied Angel, who was leaning against the wall in her usual nightshirt and sweats, her abdomen looking a whole lot bigger than it did in her fatigues. Still, she was the most beautiful sight that she had ever seen.

Ever since they went dancing, Angel was much more alive and, even more excited about the baby. She seemed eager to continue on with her life, and she took much better care of herself so that the slight lump that Jamie could barely feel as they pressed together in that dance, was now a visible growth around her middle.

"Mom and Dad are coming for Easter," Jamie said to her friend.

Angel smiled at the younger woman and nodded. "Great, I'll go to Mom's while they're here." She lifted something to her mouth and sat on the couch.

"You don't have to do that," Jamie said.

"Oh, yes I do. There is not enough room and I don't have enough patience to put up with guests." Jamie chuckled at that. "I put the furniture for the third room in storage, and I don't think anyone will want to sleep in a crib."

"Point taken," Jamie said, sitting next to her friend. "Wanna go out for some Green Sprite?"

Angel nodded and stood, going into her room to change. Jamie grinned, glad not to have to cajole her into coming out with her anymore. Jamie changed into an old "Kiss Me I'm Irish" sweatshirt, which set off her eyes perfectly, and a pair of black jeans.

When she walked out of her room, she spotted Angel, who sat on the arm of the couch, wearing a loose, silky shirt of the softest blue and jeans that before were too big, but now fitted her well. The blue eyes scanned Jamie's sweatshirt and Angel stood from her perch on the couch, walking towards her. She leaned down and kissed Jamie soundly before turning toward the door. "Now I have luck too. I just can't pull green off like you can," she said with a wicked grin.

Jamie just stood there shocked. Talk about luck of the Irish, she thought as she followed the taller form to the car. Happy St. Patrick's Day, Jamie.


Chapter 37---Easter's Dawning


The seven weeks between St. Patrick's Day and Easter went much better than the first time they had sheared a kiss. This time Angel did not draw into herself, although she never pursued that line of conversation either. Jamie didn't either, neither wanting to push too hard, or go too far.

They finished the nursery together during the weekends. Angel was starting to show more than ever. Her frame was still long and lean except for the bulge of her abdomen. She was still small for as far along as she was. She had started to count down the time now. Eleven weeks and she'll be through. She was becoming slower and more absentminded and it concerned her.

On the morning of Good Friday, Angel remained in bed. She was on leave for a week, since her class was on the same schedule as the local universities, which were on s spring break. However, Jamie still had class, so she had already left when Angel heard a soft knocking on the door.

Rolling out of bed, she groaned at how difficult things were getting for her. She padded to the door, grabbing her bathrobe, and running her fingers through her hair on the way, knowing exactly who it could be. She passed by her packed overnight bags and opened the door.

Jamie's mother stood there alone, while her husband took their bags out of the cab. "Uh... Hi, Sergeant Major right? You live here with Private Jackson?" she asked, remembering Angel and noting the pregnancy.

"Eyup, c'mon in," Angel said, stepping aside. Angel watched as the older woman looked around the room curiously, her husband in tow, and smiled politely. Sean smiled broadly and entered last. "Call me Angel. Make yourselves at home. Let me check to see if Jamie left her room ready for you."

"Thank you. I'm Sarah and this is my husband, James, and our son, Sean," Mrs. Jackson said, sitting on the couch.

"I remember." Angel said. There was an uncomfortable silence, as everyone just stared at each other. Angel made another attempt at polite conversation. "Jamie is in class today and won't be back until much later. You might want to rest here. Sean can have the couch and the two of you can have Jamie's bedroom. Our spare bedroom is... a nursery," Angel stated absentmindedly, running her hand over a spot where her baby had kicked. The child felt as if it were uncomfortable inside her, as uncomfortable and crowded as she felt, she supposed.

"Where are you two going to stay?" Jamie's father asked, looking at Angel speculatively.

"I am going home for Easter and Jamie is staying in my room." Angel's voice sounded just a little annoyed.

"James, that is none of our business," Sarah said to him sternly

"I want to know her intentions, Sarah..." James started. Angel would have laughed if she weren't the object of their discussion. The child seemed to turn inside her, making the churning in her stomach more powerful.

"Guys! They're not together. God, Angel's fiancé just died, give her a little respect," Sean said. Angel smiled slightly and turned away. She heard Jamie's mother draw a breath.

"I'm sorry... I didn't ... er... I," James stammered an apology.

"I'm going to get going. We weren't expecting you so early, and I have an appointment today," Angel said, excusing herself as she left the room. She showered quickly and dressed. As she headed out of the house, Jamie came home.

"You're early," Angel said gratefully.

Looking beyond Angel, she recognized the bodies sitting in the living room. "So are they. They let us out of the classes early today and I was hoping to catch you before you went for the ultrasound." She moved to her father and hugged him. "Hi, daddy." Moving on to the other two people, she murmured her hellos.

"See ya next week, J," Angel said, hefting her overnight bag. Jamie walked back to her friend.

"Bye, I'll bring them by Liz's.... Er... maybe not, want to come by for dinner tonight?" Jamie's eyes pleaded to her friend. Angel nodded and headed for the door. "See you then," Jamie said, waving at Angel.

"Later," Angel responded, making her way to the car. My intentions? Give me a break. What are your intentions Angel?


Dinner had been a true test of Angel's patience. The scrutiny of Jamie's parents was a bit more than what she was used to. This was the first time she had been pegged as a wrong mate for anyone. It didn't bother her that they assumed that she was more than Jamie's friend. What bothered her was that they did not think she was suitable for their daughter

"Angel, was your pregnancy accidental?" Jamie's mother asked.

"There are no such thing as accidents," Angel answered. "Excuse me." She stood up and took her plate to the kitchen. She walked into the nursery and looked around the room. She wanted to punch a hole through the wall so badly. For people that didn't want to know about their daughter's private life, they sure did ask a lot of questions.

"Hey, Angel, are you okay?" Jamie asked, walking up behind her.

"Oh, just peachy," Angel answered her friend while looking out the window.

"Well, like they say in Georgia, you can't get better than peachy!" Jamie said getting the desired smile from her friend. "Can I ask you a question?"

"You just did," Angel quipped.

"Ha... I'm serious now," Jamie said, turning Angel to face her. She placed the palm of her hand on Angel's distended abdomen, which caused her to shiver slightly. "Why didn't you correct them when they assumed that you were my lover?"

The taller woman looked away from her, and back out the window for a moment. The silence had stretched so long that Jamie thought she wasn't going to answer, when she heard the soft voice of her friend. "I'm not so sure that I don't want to be your lover," she said as her hands moved down the sides of Jamie's arms. Then in a louder voice, she added, "Besides, it isn't any of their business."

Jamie looked up, her eyes widened in surprise. Angel looked insecure and vulnerable. Jamie smiled, reached up, pulled the taller woman's head down, and gave her a sound kiss of her own. This had been the first time Jamie had initiated a kiss Angel noticed.

Angel's heart was pounding in her ears and she felt her hands move down to Jamie's waist, pulling her closer to her. When they parted, they could only smile. "You'd better get back out there with them.... I'll see you next week," Angel said slightly bemused, pushing away from Jamie.

"All right, but Angel, we have a lot to talk about." Angel nodded in agreement. Jamie smiled and headed out of the nursery. Angel thought of how the kiss Jamie had just given her warmed her insides.


"When did you know you liked me?" Angel asked, leaning against a pillow on her bed. Jamie lay on her stomach next to her. Angel had come back that night after a failed attempt at sleeping at her mother's house.

She had been pacing the hallway until her mother had finally told her to go home. Now here they were, music playing softly in the back ground as they talked.

"Actually, I had a dream about you the first day that I saw you," Jamie answered with a blush.

Angel laughed softly "God, J, dreaming about your drill sergeant? I was awful that day."

"Are you kidding me, I hated you. But you were... are rather breathtaking. Don't even act like you didn't know. You teased me all the time."

It was Angel's turn to blush. She looked down at her hands playing on her rotund abdomen. "Sorry 'bout that."

With a smile, Jamie reached for Angel's hands and kissed them. Angel looked up, and locked eyes with her friend. They both leaned forward, neither could control the motion, not sure that they would want to. Angel pulled the smaller woman towards her, settling Jamie's body against her.

Pulling apart slightly, Jamie ran her fingers through the long dark tresses. "You are beautiful," Jamie said softly, leaning forward to kiss Angel on her neck as she pushed her back onto the pillows again.

Angel shivered under the light touches. Her newly sensitized body, added to her awakened feelings for Jamie, made the slight touches deeply sensuous. She took a deep shaky breath, running her hands along Jamie's sides.

As Angel worked the shirt up over Jamie's head, Jamie took hold of her hands and pulled them away. "Let me please?" she whispered into the skin of Angel's neck. A soft moan escaped Angel's lips. Her breath quickened as Jamie continued to work on her body. Jamie pealed Angel's loose shirt off of her, delighting in the sight of her new lover's breasts. They were larger than she remembered although she never really had a good look at them before. She moved her hand to cup one and traced the nipple with her thumb, causing its owner to gasp and shudder.

Jamie looked up to meet blue eyes so full of desire that she wanted to just wrap that desire around herself like a blanket. "So beautiful," she whispered, breaking eye contact and lowering her head to the aforementioned nipple. She circled her tongue around Angel's nipple until she reached to center, then took the nipple into her mouth and suckled gently, trying not to apply too much pressure since she remembered Angel's previous complaints that they were sore.

Angel writhed in pleasure, although not being able to touch Jamie drove her insane. She shut her eyes tightly as Jamie suckled at her nipple. Jamie's other hand was at her other breast. "Oh god," Angel whispered as Jamie let go of the first breast to repeat her actions on the other.

Jamie's hands slid down the older woman's body, removing the shorts she wore. Slowly her hand made its way back up, caressing her thighs as she did so. She traced her thumb around the elastic at the leg of Angel's panties, feeling the moistness already collecting there. "Oh, Angel, I bet you taste so good," Jamie said more to herself, than to the woman beneath her.

Wherever Jamie touched, Angel's body trembled. The waves rippled through her body like hot lava. Jamie tortured her with light touches, her mouth moving down over her body. Soon, Jamie was removing Angel's panties and went inside her for the first time.

Ecstasy was the only word that Angel could use to describe what she felt as Jamie made love to her. Her orgasm was so powerful; her body shook for what seemed like hours. It had been so hard to keep from crying out loud that she had pulled a pillow over her head, biting down hard on it as she felt the firm pressure of Jamie's fingers inside her.

Jamie waited for the tremors to subside before sliding her fingers out of her lover and moving to hold her in her arms. She smirked as she removed the pillow from her lover's face. They looked at each other and laughed. Angel leaned her head on Jamie's shoulder still laughing. "Oh, my god," Angel said softly.

"What?" Jamie said, wrapping her arms around her.

"I hope no one heard me," Angel said, slipping her arms around Jamie's waist. She moved to kiss on her neck, feeling Jamie's response immediately. She looked up into her eyes and ran her fingers along the short blond hair on her lover's head. "I love your eyes," Angel said. "I could look into them forever."

"Why does that give me the feeling you are about to break into song," Jamie said laughing in an unconscious attempt at deflecting the complement.

Angel only laughed. "I could you know. You make me want to sing."

"I would love to hear you sing," Jamie said. "You are so good."

"You're not so bad yourself," Angel said, grinning.

"Sing to me?" Jamie asked, looking down at the baby blues.

Angel blushed slightly. "I ... um... okay," the older woman replied. She was rewarded with a soft smile. She settled on her back so that she could sing and not be too loud. "Let's see." Jamie switched around and placed her head on her lover's shoulder.

Angel searched for something that she could sing to Jamie. "I kind of only have one song in my head right now," Angel said softly.

"Sing that one," Jamie said softly. "It's probably something fitting to our situation since you always have a song for everything."

"It's in Spanish," Angel warned.

"I just want to hear you sing," Jamie said beseechingly, looking into her lover's eyes. As Angel looked back, she started to sing the song "Tus ojos"(your eyes) from Gloria Estefan's Mi Tierra album. She thought it was fitting.

Angel stopped singing and kissed Jamie softly. After they parted from the kiss Jamie smiled. "What did the song say?" she asked.

"It just says that I really like your eyes," Angel answered with a grin, turning over on her side and running her hands along Jamie's body. "Now off with this sports bra," she murmured, removing the offending item and bending down to collect the nipple into her mouth.

Jamie gasped. She ran her fingers through dark tresses encouraging the woman to continue.

One of Angel's hands felt the insides of her lover's thighs. She was soaked, and that only excited her more. She reached the waistband of the boxers Jamie was wearing and pulled down on both the boxers and her panties, removing them. She made love to Jamie, instinctually knowing exactly where to touch her.

The younger woman could not believe this was happening. It was better than she had imagined from someone who had never made love to a woman before.

Angel moved them so that Jamie was straddling her. Letting her arm rest from the excess weight she carried. She sat with her and worked the fingers inside her. Leaning forward, she swallowed Jamie's moans with a kiss.

Jamie finished with a series of amazing spasms that she had never experienced during any of her many trysts. "Oh god," she unconsciously mimicked her lover as she leaned forward and dropped next to her lover's body. Strong arms wrapped around her and she fell into a light sleep with a sigh.


Jamie awoke wrapped around Angel. The older woman was still asleep. She would have stayed there forever, except that she heard movement outside of her bedroom. With a groan, Jamie rolled out of bed and reached for her discarded boxers and T-shirt. She opened the door and the scent of breakfast greeted her. She could hear Angel stretch out in bed.

Turning around to face the older woman, Jamie closed the door again. "Morning... they are up."

"So I smell... so?" Angel said softly.

"They don't want to know that we're more than friends, Angel." Jamie said disappointedly.

Shaking her head, Angel slid out of bed. "I want to take a shower. I suggest you keep them busy until I am gone," Angel said softly, picking up a few things.

Jamie watched her for a few moments, then walked out to the kitchen to talk to her family. Fifteen minutes later, she saw Angel's Mercedes speeding down the street.

"Was that your roommate that just sped down the street?" Jamie's father asked.

"Yes," Jamie answered, sitting at the table with a glass of orange juice. Angel, they are not like your mother. She sent that thought out to her lover, hoping that she would understand.

She did.  





Chapter 38---Sage Advice

Angel drove blindly through the familiar streets to her mother's house. She understood why Jamie said what she had said, but it didn't stop her from hurting. She parked in the driveway and slowly walked into the house, deep in thought.

Liz was seated on the deck eating breakfast with Lil when she heard the front door. "Must be Anjulee. I wonder how it went last night," Liz wondered out loud.

"Yeah... d id she say anything about why she was pacing the hall last night?" Lil asked.

"No, just that she needed to talk to Jamie. She stayed out all night. Do you think that they finally said . . ." her voice trailed off as she saw her daughter's form appear at the back door. "Good morning, dear."

Angel tried to smile and push away the disappointment she was feeling and went out on the deck to greet her mother. "Morning, what's for breakfast?"

"Thought you would be eating breakfast with the Jackson's today," Liz said gently.

"Well, seeing as I spent the whole night there, Jamie didn't think it very prudent that I stay for breakfast, " Angel answered, unable to totally hide the slight note of bitterness in her voice.

"What happened last night?" Lil asked. Angel flickered a glance in her direction and picked up a piece of toast from the table as she sat down. She said nothing. The silence from the dark haired young woman was almost deafening. "I see," Lil mused, looking over at her partner in concern.

"Anjulee, her family situation is a whole lot more fragile than yours. You need to understand that," Liz said gently, correctly diagnosing the problem.

"I do understand. That doesn't mean that it doesn't bother me. But it is like I can't ignore my feelings and I want to be with her all the time," Angel said dispiritedly, leaning back on the chair, rubbing at a cramped muscle at her abdomen.

"Believe me, I know what it's like to want to be with someone but circumstances keep you apart understand that. I was never happier than when I signed the divorce papers and even more when Victoria was able to move into this house. Until then, w e had a private commitment to each other, and we understood that our families should not know until they were ready to know. We raised you to be open minded, because we would have been destroyed if you didn't understand our relationship. " Liz reached for Lil's hand as she saw the other woman squirm at the mention of her dead lover.

"Maybe, just maybe, I blew things out of proportion. I'll blame it on the hormones," Angel said admitted ruefully, running fingers through her dark hair. Liz laughed softly and stood. She kissed the top of her daughter's forehead, and enveloped her in a gentle hug. Angel squeezed her mother's hand in return.

"I love you, Anjulee, you know that?" Liz stated softly.

Angel only nodded. I love you too mom, she thought looking at her mother fondly. "Thanks, " she said instead.

"Aw, honey, this is my job, " Liz said, letting go of Angel and headed back into the house.


Sarah Jackson watched her daughter intently all of Easter weekend. Jamie kept staring out of the window as if she were expecting someone. Every time the phone rang she sprinted towards it, and every time she realized who it was, she looked deeply disappointed. Her daughter was certainly in love, this much she knew.

Jamie sat in the nursery on Sunday night after dinner. Sarah walked into the room and leaned against the wall. "Are you all right?"

Jamie looked up and smiled. "Yeah, mom. I just needed to be alone for a little bit."

Her mother nodded. "She didn't have to leave that morning you know, this is her house, " Sarah said.

"I... what?" Jamie asked confused.

"It is hard to miss those kind of things even in the middle of the night. Jamie, this is your house and you can do what you want in it. We only asked that you not bring it into our home. We could always stay in a hotel when visiting." Jamie stared at her mother. Sarah only shook her head, not believing that she was having this conversation with her daughter. She wondered whether she could ever get used to her lifestyle. Disgusted at what she was saying and what her daughter had chosen for her life.

"Well, it doesn't matter anymore," Jamie said, a touch of bitterness in her tone. There was a knock on the front door, and it was all Jamie could do not to run her mother over as she made her way to answer it.

Sean had already opened the door it and there stood Summer and Autumn. Jamie cringed remembering them. "Hey guys. W hat are you doing here?"

"J, we haven't seen you at the club for a while and we thought we'd come visit, and you know..."

"Hey, Summer, Autumn, these are my parents and my brother Sean. Mom, D ad, these are my friends, Summer and Autumn," she introduced. Then she heard a car door outside.

Looking past the two women, she saw Angel. Their gazes locked for what seemed like an eternity. Angel closed her eyes and turned away. As the taller woman started to climb back into the car, Jamie ran past the twins. "Angel!"

By the time Jamie had reached the car, the door was locked and the windows were closed. Blue eyes just barely seeing her. Slowly the window scrolled down. "Friday night was obviously a big mistake. We'll talk more when you are not so busy."

Before Angel could scroll the window back up, Jamie put her hand over it. "Angel, why didn't you call? I need to talk to you now. P lease come inside."

"You know where I am. Now let go of the window or say goodbye to your fingers" Angel's face was blank. Jamie only stared and backed off. Right before she pulled away, Angel let her guard down momentarily as she looked at the two beautiful blond women at the door. The pain on her face was etched permanently in Jamie's mind.


As soon as Angel walked into her mother's house, the phone rang. She answered, hoping against hope that it was Jamie. "Are you ready to come to me yet?" Came the

Voice from the other end. Lou.

"You sick bastard. You're dead... Where the fuck are you?" Angel screamed, her

Anger rising. He had disappeared for months after he killed Marcus. This was the first

time he'd called since then.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" he said with a low chuckle. "You will be mine again Angel. That little brat that you're carrying is going to be next unless you come to me."

At the very thought, Angel froze. There was too much happening for her to assimilate all at once. Suddenly there was a pain in at her lower abdomen. She dropped the phone and tried to make her way to the couch.

Liz walked into her house, just in time to see her daughter drop the phone. She rushed over to aid her to the couch. Angel laid down and closed her eyes, her hand rubbing over her distended belly.

"Oh honey, are you all right?" Liz asked, removing her daughter's hair from her suddenly clammy skin.

Angel nodded. "I'm just a little upset. The baby probably sensed that. It feels like it totally flipped over."

"Angel, it probably has turned, that's normal. What has got you so upset?" Liz asked anxiously as there was a knock on the door. "Hold that thought," she said, walking back to the door. "Hey Jamie, are you all right?"

The blond stepped into the house, looking past Liz to her lover then back to the older version. "I'm fine. There was a misunderstanding... I... she is so touchy." she said softly to Liz.

With a nod, she led Jamie to the living room. "You two need to talk about this where there aren't so many conflicting mediums." Looking at her daughter sternly, she turned and left the room.

Angel sat on the couch, still rubbing slightly on her abdomen. It was still a little cramped from the sudden movement before. She stared absently at the wall. Jamie walked closer, and gingerly sat next to her.

They sat in awkward silence for a few minutes, and then Angel cleared her throat. "They were beautiful. I remember them from the clubs."

"They... ah... came to see if I wanted to go out with them or something. Why did you leave?" Jamie asked softly.

"Jamie, I have seen you with a lot of women, one more beautiful than the next. I don't know what made me think I was different."

"But you are different. Angel, I am in love with you. I have been for a very long time. That one night we had together, was like... like magic, like I'd found the missing piece of my puzzle." Placing a tentative hand on Angel's cheek, she saw the tears in her eyes. "Don't... don't do that. Please talk to me."

I can't believe she said it, she said it... she put herself out on a limb... and I can't, I am afraid, Angel thought looking away from her. "Jamie... I... I'm not ready for this. It's too soon." She stood and walked up to her room.

Jamie had never felt pain as sharply as that ever. She had spoken too soon. She felt used and unloved. Just give her time, don't rush it.




Chapter 39---In Memory of You...

Angel never came back home. She stopped by a few times to collect some things when she knew Jamie wasn't home. As far as Jamie knew, Angel had ceased to exist, and there was nothing she could do. She was alone. Jamie spent a lot of time in the nursery, remembering that kiss that had changed everything.

Jamie wished she had someone to pour her soul out to, a mother to embrace her and tell her that everything would be all right. The only one person that would come to mind was taken. She had talked to Liz though.

Liz and Lil would go out with her to the bars, and they would talk all night long. She got updates on the state of Angel, how big she was getting, how unhappy she looked... everything.

It was now Memorial Day weekend, and six weeks had passed since she'd last seen her. She had given her space, but it was now time for Angel to face her. They needed to talk. With this new resolve, on that Friday night, she made her way to Liz's home.

Liz had mentioned, in her not so subtle manner, that she should stop by and plan to stay longer than five minutes. What Liz had failed to mention was that she was not going to be there when she arrived. Angel opened the door.

"Your mom home?" Jamie asked.

"She's in Austin with Lil's family the entire weekend, " Angel said, stepping aside to let her in. She looked around watched for suspicious figures outside before closing the door again.

"What's going on Angel?" Jamie asked, feeling the tension that definitely came from more than the issues she was there to discuss. "Is it Lou?" Before the question had completely left her mouth, the phone rang and Angel jumped involuntarily.

The moment passed, and Angel finally made her way towards the phone and picked it up. "Hello?" she said with more confidence than she felt. For the first time, Jamie noticed the dark circles around her friends eyes. She looked tiered, unhappy and nervous.

"No, she's here," Angel said into the phone. "I know mom . . . Yes, ma'am. I will. I said I'll talk."

Ah Liz, I should have known. Jamie thought as she watched Angel move closer to her. "Mom wants to talk to you, J."

Taking the phone from Angel, Jamie spoke tentatively. "Hello?"

"Jamie, listen to me. Angel needs company this weekend. Other than what is painfully obvious, like what's going on between the two of you, that stalker is back. He call's often, and it stresses her out. That is not good for her or the baby."

"Yeah, " Jamie answered, looking at her friend, who pretended not to listen to her. "I doubt she'll say much though."

"I don't care, you keep my baby company," Liz said emphatically.

"Oh, I will." Jamie replied, looking boldly at her friend, daring her to contradict her.

"And Jamie..." Liz added. "Talk to her, maybe you'll see she loves you too."

"Whatever, Liz. Thank you," Jamie said and pushed the off button hanging up the phone. She handed the phone to Angel, and watched the taller woman place it back in its cradle. "So they haven't caught him yet." Jamie stated evenly.

Angel shook her head. "Want something to drink?"

"Sure." Her eyes followed the tall form, which now waddled from the excess weight that it carried. It was rather cute. Jamie allowed herself a soft smile then quickly suppressed it.

Angel brought back the drinks and handed one to Jamie, and sat down with a groan next to her. "He never stays on the phone long enough to get traced, not that it would make any difference. He's always at a pay phone. The background noises are never the same type, it doesn't have that cell phone sound, you know what I mean?" Angel asked the latter, looking at her friend. Jamie nodded her face grim. "He's gonna come after the baby... and anything else that I might love. I'm afraid for my mother and Lil, but I know that the baby is at the top of that list because it's Marcus'. I'll be damned if I let him kill the only thing I have left from that part of my life."

Jamie remained silent, encouraging her lover to continue. Angel's face reflected her anger. "I even put you in danger the day that I decided, to love you and that you were the only thing besides the baby that mattered." Slowly blue eyes made contact with green. "I'm sorry that I couldn't say it to you before, I was just kind of scared and hurt all at the same time, and I didn't know how to put it into words." Angel looked away, only to feel Jamie's hand caress her cheek. She closed her eyes and Jamie slowly brought her lips to Angel's.

After the kiss broke, Angel held Jamie close a little bit longer. "I missed this. I'm sorry for everything. I should have..." she shook her head, "there are so many different ways I could have let you know."

Jamie looked up at Angel and pulled away a bit. "I totally and completely understand. Just come home. I can take care of myself. Next time... just don't wait a month and a half to tell me how you feel. I'm a big girl. I can take it. Don't make it harder than what it has to be." She loves me; Jamie mused as a rush of happiness went through her.

The next morning, Jamie woke up enfolded in the strong arms of her lover. This was only the second time they had been together, yet this felt so right. The only other person that she'd slept with more than once had been Shannon. She knew in her heart that this, however, was different. This was home.

Jamie looked up, searching for her love's face. Green eyes met sleepy blue ones. Instantly Jamie's heart was flooded with emotions. "I love you too," came the sleepy Texan drawl from the older woman. Jamie felt the low rumble vibrate through Angel's body, making her own body tingle.

The young blond smiled softly and moved closer for a kiss. Angel chose at that moment to look away, so the kiss landed on her cheek instead.

"Hey!" Jamie said softly. She propped her self up on one elbow, guiding her other hand over her lover's swollen abdomen.

"Well, go ahead if you like morning breath," Angel warned with a grin. Jamie's eyebrows lifted.

"Are you insinuating that my breath stinks? Because if you..." She was stopped by a kiss, full of heat and passion. "Ah . . . what was I saying?" Jamie asked when the kiss finally ended. Jamie continued her gentle caress on her lover's abdomen as the older woman's body shook in silent laughter.

"You should have seen your face, Jamie. " Angel said, then winced at the child's reaction to Jamie's caress.

"Oh my god. It is so alive," Jamie said in wonder, having felt the kick.

"Oh yeah, does that a lot, " Angel responded with a soft sigh. Jamie settled back and nestled herself against her love. Being off base sure made it easier to relax. Being with Angel always made it easier to relax. She's good for me, Jamie thought as she nuzzled against Angel.

"So, you still don't know what it is?" Jamie asked curiously, continuing the conversation.

"Doc knows. I asked her not to tell me," Angel responded with a shrug.

"You don't want to know?" Jamie questioned. Shaking her head, Angel stretched and yawned. "Have you picked a name?" Jamie then asked.

"Yep," w as all the response she got.

"God, don't tell me you took it that lightly. Did you know that your name has the power to shape you? Think of how you would have turned out if your name had been something other than Angel, " Jamie said without thinking.

"It is something other than Angel," the taller woman responded ironically. "I certainly wouldn't have been any different."

"Well, I know that if I were named Talulah, I would probably still be well buried in the closet, trying my hardest to fit in and avoid further ridicule, " Jamie stated emphatically.

Angel burst out laughing. "God, what a name, " she said after she calmed a bit.

"It was my Gram's name. I am so glad that the old woman talked mom out of naming me after her." Jamie said with a shudder, running the hand that rested on her lover's abdomen up to the valley just between her breast and the rise of her belly.

"Well, I didn't pick the name," Angel stated, getting back to the original question and answered reveling in the feel of their closeness.

"Who did?" Jamie asked, propping back up on her elbow.

"Marcus did. It's his middle name," the taller woman answered, looking over to her green-eyed lover and tucking a golden lock behind her ear.

"What is it?"

"Jye, We decided that it could fit a boy or a girl go either way. Now all I have to pick a middle name depending on the sex."

"Why not go unisex with both names?" Jamie asked, interested in on at least being able to name the child.

"Mm . . . I don't think I know many of those, " Angel replied, staring up at the ceiling.

"Jye is a beautiful name. You should get something good, some thing totally neutral, like my middle name," Jamie said, leaning back down and looking up with her.

"What's your middle name?" Angel asked.

"Emory, " Jamie said glancing back at Angel.

"Jye Emory Major. Interesting . . . his name, your name, and mine. I like it. It will make a great tribute, " Angel said softly.

Jamie blushed a little then thought about the name. "It is nice, thanks. You hungry?"

"Always," Angel answered, looking at her belly, then she looked her partner approvingly as she slid out of bed. "In more ways than one."

Blushing, Jamie quickly reached for Angel's robe. She looked around her lover's childhood room for the first time. She had always had slight glimpses of it but never really looked closely. "Has this room always been like this?" she asked as she wandered over wondered to a cherry-wood bookcase. An old shelf stereo rested on it. The newest addition to the system was a 5-disk changer.

"It used to be pink, but I made my mom change it when I was five," Angel answered facetiously, sitting up and pulling on a pair of sweat pants and her favorite T-shirt.

Jamie looked at all the music labels, separated and categorized by style and artist. There were lots of tapes, some vinyl and many more CD's. They ranged from R&B to classical. All that was missing was heavy metal. "You mean to tell me KISS is not in your library?" Jamie joked, looking back at her lover.

"Not unless you put it in there," Angel answered with a grimace, standing with some difficulty but since her belly was not too big, it was not too embarrassing. "God, I'm getting so tired of low beds." she groaned, looking piteously over at Jamie in a clear bid for sympathy.

"Come on, lets get you something to eat," Jamie said, leading her lover out by the hand.  





Chapter 40---Her Queen's Birthday

The rest of Memorial Day weekend by pretty much the same. They would wake up together, relax and talk or watch TV. Then they would go to bed together. Angel was extremely happy, and that worried her. One afternoon, about a week later, she was on her mother's deck sitting alone. Jamie and her mother were inside with Lillian. Angel stared into the house, watching her lover affectionately as she laughed.

A chill ran through her again. It was an all too familiar feeling. She immediately started looking for him. Lou. She spotted him 100 yards away, shielded slightly by a patch of trees. Their eyes locked for a long instant. Angel wrapped her arms around herself, fear welling up inside.

"Hey, you gonna come in soon . . ." Jamie started and trailed off as she saw watching her lover's tense features. "Are you okay?" she asked, starting to reach for her. Angel lifted a hand indicating for her to stop. Jamie froze and tried following Angel's line of vision. There was nothing there.

Angel rose. She had been staring to where Lou had been standing for a few minutes after he disappeared, then she turned to her confused lover. "Yeah, I'm fine." Angel answered and headed inside without touching Jamie. Jamie's concerned gaze followed her into the house before she allowed her eyes to sweep the woods behind the house, trying to detect what had caused Angel's worry. That was something the younger woman thought incredibly strange.

Once inside, Liz reached out to her daughter and pulled her aside. "Do you know what tomorrow is?" Liz asked quietly.

"Monday," Angel answered, knowing exactly what her mother was getting at. "There is no way I can get to do what I want tomorrow. That's why..."

"Oh, I understand now. Come on, let's go get it," her mother interrupted, before leading the way up to her room.

"I don't think I understand why I intercepted the woman on her layover. She was headed to California, " Liz said, going to her dresser.

"I know. There was a big convention," Angel said, taking a seat on her mother's bed.

"I'm surprised you even remembered to ask for it, what with Marcus' death and all," Liz answered.

Angel had been reading the on-line updates of Eye of the Storm, a sequel to Tropical Storm, to pass the time when she was alone. When she saw the posting that the author Melissa Good would be heading westward, Angel got the idea to send Jamie's copy of Tropical Storm to be signed. Since she couldn't herself get away, she pleaded with her mother to go in her behalf.

Glad to see her daughter gradually break out of her grief, Liz obliged, intercepting Missy during a two-hour layover. "Well, she was charming to say the least."

"She was expecting you," Angel said, waiting for the book. Angel had e-mailed the bard and told her why she wanted the autograph. Missy had very amiably agreed so there they were.

Liz turned with the book in her hands. Taking the book, Angel hugged her mother. "Thanks mom."

"I'd do anything for Jamie, " Liz responded. Angel took her gift and shielded it from view. She made her way towards the front door. "Hey, J. Let's go." She said and stepped out.

She spotted him again as she tucked the book safely under the driver's seat of her Mercedes. As she stood, the chill was back, the same sensation that she got each time he came lose. Angel looked around until finally she saw him, a satisfied grin on his face. She started for him but was stopped by Jamie's laugh at the door.

As she turned, she watched her lover hug her mother good-bye. Angel, all you'll do now is hurt yourself and Jye right now... Let it ride, she mentally told herself as she climbed into the car.

"Where we going?" Jamie asked climbing into the vehicle.

"Out." Angel answered softly, still thinking about Lou. He is gonna do something soon. He never let me see him before.

"Are you okay?" Jamie asked, rubbing her lover's neck.

"Yeah, the baby's kicking." She gave the half- truth to avoid what was going through her mind.


"Would you mind too much if we just go home?" Jamie asked, sensing the apprehension in her lover's body.

"I thought you might like to celebrate your birthday today, but if that's what you want . . ." Angel answered.

"You are the only person I want to spend it with," Jamie stated with certainty.

With a nod, Angel headed towards home.


"You know what I feel like?" Angel said softly, noticing that the alarm clock said it was midnight.

"What's that?" Jamie asked as she snuggled close to Angel and traced designs on her lover's naked belly.

"I'd like to curl up here with you, with some chocolate ice-cream, and the best modern love story ever written."

Jamie laughed softly. "Dar, Kerry and rocky road... That would be too cool. I'll go get the ice-cream," she said, slipping out of bed and reaching for her robe.

Angel reached for the book from under the bed when Jamie left the room. After some thought, Jamie decided on just bringing the entire pint of rocky road and two spoons. "You wanna read Dar or Kerry?" Angel asked

"You read Dar. You have the perfect voice. Where'd you find my book?" Jamie asked absently, sitting next to Angel on the bed.

"I needed it. Here," she said with barely concealed excitement, handing her the book.

Jamie's eyes widened upon seeing the autograph. "Oh . . . Wow . . . When?" a surprised stutter was all that came out of her mouth.

"Happy Birthday, Jamie." Angel said with a slight chuckle. "What does it say?"

Jamie then read:

Happy Birthday, Jamie,

I hope you enjoy the book.

Thanks for your support,

M Good

"I think that's what it says at least," Jamie said. The handwriting was a little difficult to read. "This is great, thank you."

She hugged Angel tightly, bringing a soft smile to the older woman's lips. "Hey, the ice cream's gonna melt," Angel said softly. "Okay, let's read, but let's start at the first kiss."

At that, Jamie kissed Angel, the book and ice cream completely forgotten.  





Chapter 41---ID4


June was miserable. For Angel at any rate. It was like all of the sudden; she would gain 5 pounds a day. He belly grew so large she thought she might just explode. Her back hurt her feet were swollen she could no longer wear her boots, and subsequently her BDU's.

It was too hot outside, to hot inside. She slept alone. Jamie was happy to oblige. The woman radiated a whole lot more heat than she used to. Angel was irritable, Jamie was irritable, and according to Angel so was Jye. She had Brackston Hicks contractions throughout the rest of that month. Jye was more than ready.

July came around, still no baby. By this time Angel was taking any half-baked advice she could get to bring forth labor. "Anjulee... Did you try..." Liz started. As Angel sat in her kitchen. It was 'The Fourth of July' Angel was glad to have the week off at the very least.

"Yes Mother I have tried it all... I have eaten everything from fish to bananas. Tried every type of exercise you could imagine. Nothing's worked." She answered shortly. She had the worst backache she had ever experienced at the moment and was in no mood to talk about trying anything that involved her body at the moment.

"Well I was just trying to help dear. Could you take this out to the deck?" Liz asked handing her some potato salad. They were celebrating the holiday with a traditional bar-b-q. They had invited Marcus' mother and brother to it. And they were sitting in back with Jaime. Angel had come inside to cool off.

Angel waddled out to the deck. But as she reached the door her pain intensified. Leaning against the door to brace herself she handed the dish to the nearest person. Jamie took the dish and placed it on the table. The ran right back to Angel's side. "Hey... Take a few deep breaths... This the first contraction? Did your water break?"

The calm in Jamie's voice helped her concentrate on taking the breaths. She shook her head. Then she nodded as she felt slimy liquid run down her legs very slowly.

"Oh crap... Let's go." Jamie said guiding her towards the front door. "Hey Liz... Can I borrow a few towels?"

"Of course dear... What's going... Oh... We'll meet you out." Liz said seeing her daughter's distress. Rushing to her side she helped her outside.

Jamie ran outside with a hand load of towels. "She'd never forgive me if the car got messed up." Jamie joked laying down the towels. She felt a slight smack on her back. Angel concentrated on her breathing but had worked in at least that comment.

Just as Angel was climbing into the Mercedes. Lillian pulled up, and Marcus' family was stepping out of the front door. "Is it time?" Lillian asked as she handled the ice she had gone to pick up.

"Yeah." Liz said, "I want to ride with them Lil, can you make sure that my house won't burn down, I am sure Mrs. Montgomery will be right behind me."

"You better believe it." Mrs. Montgomery was already heading towards her car followed by her son.

"Of course I will love, I will see you there in a bit." Lillian said kissing Liz softly on the lips. Angel's mother then climbed in the back of the car, and Jamie was off.


Jamie paced the halls as she waited for the nurses to settle Angel in. This was the hospital she had done her clinicals rounds in. She knew how their labor and delivery unit worked. Liz filled out all of Angel's paper work as they waited.

The nurse came out a little later and guided all of them to the room. It was a big room designed to look as much like a home as possible. Angel had obviously received an epidural; she was extremely calm and sucking on some ice. "Hey." Jamie said quietly as she walked in. She walked towards the monitor and picked up the strip. "Woah... You must be really buzzing."

Angel looked at the strip and laughed. "What's so funny?" Liz asked.

"She is having one of the worst contractions she has had since she has been hooked up to this." Jamie said to her. Mrs. Montgomery laughed as well and walked to the other side of the bed.

Taking Angel's hand the dark woman said. "I am so glad, he had you when he died. I'm so glad he wasn't alone." Angel squeezed her hand

"I was the lucky one. I'm happy that we get to keep part of him with us." Angel said then shifted slightly on the bed to get more comfortable. They could all see Jye move. It was very visible on the exposed skin.

"My goodness. This child gonna tear you apart girl." Mrs. Montgomery laughed. So did everyone else.

The nurse walked in and towards the monitor. "Woah... okay people. If you aren't the coach, you need to vacate the premises." The nurse said. "I have got to check dilation."

"Mom stays, Jamie stays." Angel said and each woman took their place on either side of her.

"All right, saddle up Ms. Major." The nurse said pulling the stirrups up. Angel placed her feet up. "Oh shit, You're crowning." The nurse said and stood to page the doctor. Coming back to Angel she looked at her. "How are you feeling?"

"I feel like I need to go to the bathroom and if I don't push soon it's just gonna come out on it's own." Angel said.

The nurse sat at the foot of the bed just in case it did just slide out on it's own. "Well try to hold it anyway. I'll be here just in case but I am hoping the doc will be here when the baby comes."

"Let her push I'm here." Doctor Steinburgen said walking into the door. She wore scrubs, and a surgical mask. Sitting on a stool at the end of the bed she pulled her latex gloves on. The snap of the glove making the statement that she was ready. "Okay... Now Angel I want you to take a deep breath and push until I count to 10 okay? Then after that you can take a rest... and we will do it all over again."

Angel nodded and took Jamie's and her mother's hand waiting for her cue. "Now Angel... Push." The doctor said. Angel did as she was told and the doctor counted. "One... Two... Three..."


Ninety minutes later, Jamie sat on a rocking chair next to a sleeping Angel. She looked out of the window and watched the fireworks as she rocked Baby Girl Major. Jye was destined to carry her mother's height. She was 22 inches long and 7 pounds. Not very heavy, but very long.

"That's a great picture." Jamie heard a soft groggy voice. She turned to face Angel.

"Hey... you look great." Jamie said to her.

There was a soft chuckle. "I feel like crap."

With that Jamie stood and moved the chair closer to the bed. "Wanna hold her?" She asked. Angel nodded and sat up. Jamie handed the baby carefully to her mother.

"My god... All that fuss." She said to her daughter. "Hey Jye... How are you feeling?" Jamie watched Angel talk to her child. She couldn't help but smile at the sweetest picture. "She is so beautiful J..." Angel said looking up to her lover.

"Yes she is..." Jamie answered. "Hey... I am gonna go tell Liz to come and visit with Jye some more... I am starved."

"Okay... will you stay with me tonight?" Angel asked.

"Nothing but death can keep me from it." Jamie answered then headed out to the lobby. Angel shuddered at the thought.  





Chapter 42---911


One Tuesday morning in September, Angel awoke to Jamie returning from class. She had sent her off that morning to her classes then put the baby to sleep. She had taken that opportunity to take a nap. When she heard the keys at the door she sat up to greet her. "What's up?"

"We're under attack." Jamie said grabbing the remote and turning the television on to ABC. "Classes are canceled."

"What are you talking about?" Angel asked, as she focused on what she was seeing. It looked like one of those end of the world flicks. Both of the world trade towers were in flames. Her jaw dropped listening to what had occurred in the morning. She watched as images of the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania.

Her heart dropped as she saw the first Tower fall. Jamie and Angel hugged as they watched people leaping to their deaths and the second tower's end. Angel called her mother and they spoke for a while, about their plans for Jye if she mobilized before she finished school.

She knew that she could be mobilized since she had a previous MOS. For the next couple of weeks she made ready her paper work, as far as a will and a family care plan in case she died at war. "You can't be serious Angel, they are not going to send you to war. You're a single mother."

"It doesn't hurt to be prepared." Angel said somberly as she signed her will at the kitchen table.

"That would be so unfair, Jye's already lost her father." Jamie said angrily pacing the room

"The ARMY could not care less." Angel said looking up at her. "Jamie, As long as this country has the bodies, they will use them. It is not a matter of choosing me to be one of the first to go, They will wait to send me, because I am a new mother first, and because I am in school second."

"So why even bother, they are not even talking about mobilizing." Jamie objected sitting across from her.

"Oh they'll mobilize all right." The elder woman said walking around the table and wrapping her arms around her lover. "Our boss' ego has been bruised. He needs to prove he's man enough to do the job." She said in a whisper before she let her go. Angel headed to the couch growing tired of the subject.

Jamie came to her, and was pulled astride the Taller woman. "Oh..." Was all the younger woman could say, and sensing that the subject was played out, she claimed her lover's lips. Angel removed her lover's BDU jacket, and started to pull at her T- Shirt, when Jye decided she would cut in.

They broke their kiss and laughed. "Oh god, I'm never getting any ever again." Angel complained

"I'll get her," Jamie said making her way to the nursery. As she walked in she looked down at the infant and lifted her into her arms. "Hey Munchkin, Let's just pray your mommies don't have to go anywhere."




Chapter 43---Maternal Instincts

Angel stayed in the hospital for one more day. After that both her and Jye were released to start living their lives together and getting to know each other. Angel did not plan on having to stay home.

She sat out of the rest of the instructional cycle about three months for maternity leave. When she went back to school in October all of her classmates were one entire cycle ahead of her. It was hard getting used to new people. She had taken time to build a bond with her classmates. As she walked back into the building she ran into a few of them.

"Hey... Major I see you're back in ARMY greens." One of her classmates said.

"Yep." She answered.

"When did you pop?" Another asked.

"On the fourth" She stated

"You got pictures?"

"What kind of mother do you think I am?" She said laughing as she pulled out the pictures. It was nice to see them again. But soon she moved away from her classmates and headed for her own classroom.

Later on that afternoon, she drove her way to her mother's home. The door was wide open. Her mother's car was still on the driveway. Angel's heart was pounding as she walked into the house. It was trashed It was not robbed just trashed and there was a song by Sting playing in the background. She couldn't think of the name but it brought a chill to her spine. Lou.

Every breath you take

Every move you make

Angel walked to the stereo and turned the song off. She looked around the room. Panic rising inside her. Her mother was supposed to still be here. Where is she? Where is Jye? Angel ran upstairs to her mother's bedroom, nothing, she found no one... it was just all trashed.

"Boo!" Came the sound from behind her. It was Lou. "I came to get mine." He said. "Do you know that because of you, I am now discharged from the military? Dishonorably. It seems that I have been AWOL for moths. Do you have any idea what that does to a person's record?" He continued advancing towards her.

"That's not my problem." Angel said, stepping backwards.

"All I wanted was to have you to myself. You know, if it makes you feel any better, that girl from before... she looked just like you. Tall, dark and gorgeous." He added tracing a finger on her cheek. "They all did."

Angel moved away from the touch and spit in his face. "You're sick. Where is my mother?" She asked.

"Anjulee?" She heard from downstairs. "Oh my god what happened?" Liz said once she noticed what had happened.

Lou started to laugh. "I guess..." He started and wiped the spit off his face. "It seems I have gained a few bargaining chips."

"Anjulee?" Liz said as she started up the stairs.

"No Mom don't ... Take Jye and leave the house." Angel yelled out putting herself between Lou and the door to the room.

"You can't stop me you know... Your body is weak. That baby took her toll on you." He continued to talk. As he talked Angel tried to think of what she could do. "I could have done anything to this house while I was trashing it. Maybe I planted a bomb... and all four of us will go up in smoke. Leaving your dyke girlfriend all alone in this world."

Angel blinked at that. "Didn't know I knew did you? I could tell ... even before you two got together... You looked at her, the same way you looked at him right before he died." He moved closer to her and pulled out a 35mm.

"Anjulee... I don't understand..." Liz said and froze as she saw a man spin her daughter around and point the handgun to her temple. Angel was calm enough until she saw the baby in Liz's arms.

"Don't make a sound or Anjulee gets it. By the way I love your name Anjulee," Lou said into the skin of Angel's neck. He nipped at it and licked at it. "Mmm perfect." Angel did not flinch; She just stood there hoping against hope that Lillian was still downstairs. Hoping that she could hear him yell at her mother. Please god help me she prayed in her mind. But she saw the flicker of light in her mother's gaze and she knew that there was hope. "Get in here!" Lou shouted. "I want to take a look at the baby. Jye you said her name was?"

As soon as Liz had passed through the thresh hold of the room. He tossed Angel across the room and grabbing Jye out of her grandmother's arms.

Angel crashed into the wall, the pain in her body resonating through her entire body. She was truly out of shape she noted and everything hurt. Her mother rushed to her aid. It was too late he had her baby.

Jye howled having left the familiar arms and smell of her grandmother. The stranger was not a friendly one she could tell. Tiny arms and legs flailed, wanting to reach for the familiar. "Aw... wittle baby want her mummy?" He said as he pulled a chair to the door and sat in front of it, barring the exit.

Angel managed to regain control of her senses, as she watched Lou dangle the handgun in her baby's face.

"Lullaby, and good night..." He sang, "Why don't you stop crying for Uncle Lou... You know what? I killed your daddy. Yeah... and I am gonna kill your mommy, and your grandma too. But I'm gonna kill you first because you are the best thing your mommy's got." Angel stood angrily and Lou took a grip of the gun and pointed it squarely at the baby's head. Frightened, Jye stopped crying.

She froze. "Lou, For god's sake... I'll do whatever you want okay? Just let them go." Angel pleaded.

"Nope... It's too late... I know police is on the way... You won't do anymore... Sit." He commanded her. She sat next to her mother.

"She's hungry..." Liz spoke up now. "I haven't had a chance to feed her yet." Maybe the lunatic will let Angel have her. At least Jye would be protected. Liz reasoned out in her head.

There were police sirens outside. Hearing the police made him even more nervous. Afraid he had shown his weakness he toughened. "Well, Maybe I should just kill her now spare her the misery." He said cocking the gun.

"Stop it... Just stop it... You might as well kill me now." Angel screamed. "You want me... You can have me, leave my baby alone. There will be no charges filed if no one gets hurt just please..." Angel stood up and walked toward Lou very slowly. "Give her to me please." Angel's pain was so visible, She knew that's what he wanted so she gave it to him.

He smiled evilly and removed the gun from the baby. "Come and get her..." he said. Angel rushed to get her baby. Once she got there he trapped her there. Her face inches form his. She could smell his rancid breath. There were footsteps outside the door.

Angel didn't care that she was trapped. Her main concern was Jye, and for now her body protected her. "Tell them nothing is going on." Lou said.

Angel looked away and towards the door. She waited to hear something. "Angel? It's Me. are you okay?" Jamie's voice sounded a bit angry but calm.

Angel let her pain show through her voice as she said. "Y...Yeah." As if taking her mother's cue Jye started to cry again.

Pushing her back baby and all Lou yelled. "Shut her up." He pointed the gun at them both. This was the opening Angel was looking for. She crawled toward her mother and talked softly to her daughter. She allowed her to suckle a little to calm her then handed her to her mother.

She watched as he looked out of the window near the door. He leaned against it. "Hey... I've been thinking." Angel started. "If they find out about me and Jamie, I'm gonna get kicked out of the service. If I go back to you... I won't have to worry about that you know?" She said as she walked up really close to him.

"And your point is?" He asked. He was not stupid so she had to go the distance. She kissed him; She closed her eyes and visualized Jamie giving it all that she had. If this was gonna be the end, She wanted to have her on her mind.

Lou wrapped his arm with the gun around her. Angel pushed him back onto the wall running her hands down the front of his pants and unbuckled it letting them drop to the ground. Stepping back she pulled him to her and as he stumbled she let him fall, and wrenched the gun from his hand. In her struggle the gun discharged grazing her arm but hurting nothing but a mirror on the far wall.

At this point Liz had already been on her feet and on her way to the door. "You bitch." Were the only words that came out of Lou's mouth as Angel slammed the butt of it on his skull. She sat on him until she was sure the police had him.


Angel sat on the in the back of the ambulance. Dressing was being placed to where the bullet had grazed her. Jamie walked to her and smiled. She smiled back. It was worth surviving the whole deal just to see that smile again.

"You are a hero," Jamie said softly.

"Whatever... I did nothing any mother wouldn't do. God Jamie he had a gun right on her little forehead." Angel said, her body shivering at the thought.

"Hey... " Jamie said placing a hand on her lover's shoulder. "It's all over now. They have him." She leaned forward and kissed her cheek and stroked it.

"yeah... It is." Angel said looking back to Jamie. She smiled and Kissed her deeply. "I was wondering if I was ever going to do that again." Angel said after they broke off the kiss.

"Well you're stuck with me baby take it or leave it." Jamie said wrapping her arms around Angel.

"Never leaving it J... Never leaving it." Angel said with a smile. I'm home.


"Hey check that out, it's the woman that apprehended the gunman!" A press photographer said signaling and angling his camera toward the tall, dark haired woman, that was seated in back of the ambulance.

A young blond woman appeared from her left into his field of vision and watched the gentle interaction between the two. The taller one smiled at something the younger one said then leaned closer for a kiss.

"Did you get a good shot of her?" His companion asked absently looking at his notes.

"Did I ever! It's just that we can't really use it. That is an entirely different story all together." He said turning away from the private moment he had been witness to.

"What do you mean?"

The photographer rewound the tape and handed the reporter the camera. "Look for yourself." As the reporter looked through the lens, he shook his head.

"Damn, This is a hot story, it would be cool to release this and see what the ARMY's response to this would be." He said looking at the fatigues they both wore. "We'll show the hug... For now."  





Chapter 44---Decisions


Angel sat quietly rocking a sleepy Jye gently in a crowded hall. She was aware of the stares directed her way. Those of quiet admiration at what she had done a few weeks prior. She sat next to her mother and Sarah Jackson, Jamie's mother. This was the day Jamie got her LPN certification. Half way through the training. Jamie discovered that she had enough passing General College credits to get her RN title. Jamie had passed her boards the week before and now it was time. Jamie was graduating.

Jamie was thrilled; she had what she had come for. Now with her RN license she could go anywhere. She loved what the army had done for her. As she walked to receive her certificate, she looked out to the crowd to find her family, blood and extended, watch her with pride. She was once aimless heading to the unknown. She'd been scared, but by facing her fears she had found love, truth and acceptance.

After it was over, Jamie walked to her family and received their hugs and congratulations. Then she met the baby blues and moved closer. They hugged briefly, both wishing that there could be more. But there would be more... Later. They both thought and smiled at each other.

Jamie reached for the child in Angel's arms, and cooed at her as they headed out of the building. She is getting so big already. The blond mused as Jye yawned and opened her eyes slightly, letting true baby blues show for only a second. Jaime smiled down at her, then looked up at Angel. "God I love her so much already." Angel smiled and opened the door for her. Jamie slid into the back seat and strapped the child in her safety seat.

Jaime and her mother Flanked the child, Mr. Jackson sat in the passenger seat next to Angel. "You should have gone active Jamie." James Jackson said to his daughter.

"Are you kidding me? I don't want the ARMY to control my life. I like being on my own, and to do my own thing, go where I want to go and when. If I wanna move I can... most of the time." She said examining Jye's tiny left foot.

"What do you mean?" Sarah asked her daughter unable to keep a smile from her lips as she watched the small child kick in response to her daughter's interaction with her.

"I have to go back to FT. Mead..." Jamie said, disappointment shown in her voice. They had no slots at Ft. Sam Houston for her rank and specialty, and she had to go back home until they did.

Angel knew this, yet she couldn't keep the pain from her eyes. Angel stopped at a red light. Glancing through the rearview mirror she held the gaze of the green eyes that gazed back at hers.

A loud klaxon brought her back to reality and she moved on towards her mother's home. Liz had planned a dinner in Jamie's honor there.

The rest of the ride was silent. Jamie's father and Sarah had noticed the exchange between the two women and decided it would be best not to say a word.


"This is not gonna work." Angel said frustrated trying to hook the baby swing Jamie's parents insisted in giving her for Jye. Jamie would be leaving the next day with her father. Her mother had left that morning by plane and her father would ride back with her in the car.

"Sure it will, see," Jamie said pulling on a latch and making an audible click as the swing set nicely into place. Then she sat behind Angel on the floor, and wrapped her arms around her waist. She felt Angel stiffen slightly.

"That's not what I meant." Angel said quietly.

Jamie placed her chin on Angel's shoulder with a soft sigh. "I know... I'm only going away till they have a slot for me here. Or until My IRR papers come through." Jamie said softly.

Turning to look at her, uncertain and needing to know that Jamie really loved her, Angel said. "What about Shannon? Or anyone else that you might know?"

"That's a lot of people Angel. I barely remember any of them. And as far as Shannon is concerned, you have nothing to worry about. I love you Angel."

Turning all the way around Angel kissed the younger woman. She didn't want to waste anytime thinking she just wanted to be, in the moment with her love for the time they had left together.



The next morning, Jamie awoke to find Angel fast asleep on the couch. Jye was nestled on her mother's chest sleeping peacefully as well. Jamie stared at two of the most important women in her life. Her eyes watered at the thought of leaving them behind.

Jye stirred slightly, and Angel groaned knowing that sleep was about to come to an end. Jamie moved closer and stroked the child's back softly and kneeled down next to the couch.

A blue eye peered at her, then closed again. It's owner smiled softly and stretched gently as not to disturb the baby. "Hey," Angel said softly.

"Hey... do you have any idea how cute you two look?" Jamie said softly.

"She likes it, the sound of my heart calms her." Angel answered with a soft shrug.

"I wish I had a picture of it to take with me."

A small smile came to Angel's lips. She closed her eyes and was pensive for a moment. "Can I ask you a question?" She finally said.

"Shoot." Jamie said sitting next to Angel as the older woman shifted to a seated position and placed Jye gently on her lap. "How many were there?" Angel asked

"How many what?" Jamie asked a bit confused at the tangent.

"People... Yesterday you told me there were a lot of people in your past."

"Ah..." Jamie started fidgeting. She rubbed the back of her neck looking anywhere but at the person who posed the question.

That many huh... are you sure you want an answer Angel?

"I... I... Um..." Jamie looked up at Angel, who gave her a bemused expression. "I don't remember, lost count when my bed post collapsed."

Angel laughed softly. "You don't have to tell me, I was just thinking that it couldn't possibly be that many." The older woman said suddenly wishing she hadn't asked.

"I want to tell you, but I really don't remember. I kind of took self-exploration to the limit when I was younger... Then I was lost... and then I found you."

"Ah..." Was all that Angel could say. After a pensive moment she smiled. "I guess blondes do have more fun." They both laughed at this. Jamie was amazed at how well Angel handled it. So was Angel for that matter.

"How about you?" Jamie asked not sure if she could handle it.

"Me? How many?" Angel asked in response. Jamie nodded. Angel lifted her hand and held up fingers. "Five."

"I guess the concept of not remembering who you've been with eludes you." Jamie said feeling just a little inadequate.

"Well... One I had during a drunken binge..." Angel said blushing a little.

"Angel... You don't drink."

"Correction, I will never drink again. I was so shocked and scared that I had done something like that, I got tested for every STD on the face of the earth. I can't take loosing control like that."

"Oh... wow... I guess that is a good thing," Jamie said. "Though... in the right situation, the loss of control is good."

"You are the only one alive that could make me loose control." Angel said running fingers through Jamie's hair.

The younger woman leaned forward and their lips met in a long and gentle kiss.


Angel helped Jamie pack her car a few hours later. The morning had been shared together with Jye. Our Child... Angel thought as she watched Jamie with the baby. Jamie looked wonderfully happy and enthralled by her, and the same went for Jye.

"Okay, this is it..." Jamie said placing the last bag into her car.

"Yeah," Angel said fidgeting slightly. " I'll... um... Miss you." Angel said fighting the tears that threatened to escape her.

Jamie moved closer and wrapped her arms tightly around her. "I'll miss you too. I love you." They stared at each other for a while. Being outside of the small house restricted anything they might normally want to do.

"I love you... Go on. Your dad's probably pacing the lobby waiting for you." Angel said trying to keep the hurt she was feeling from her voice with little success. They Hugged for a long moment having kissed goodbye earlier behind closed doors. "I have something for you." Jamie said reaching into her pocket. Pulling out a small box. " This is for you, so that you know I'm coming back." She said handing her the box

Angel looked at the box and took it from her. "Jamie... I know you're coming back."

"Just open it," Jamie said anxiously.

With a smirk Angel opened the box to reveal a locket. "Jamie it's..."

"Open the locket." Jamie interrupted.

"All right ... " Inside the locket, was a picture of both Jamie and Jye.

"I have one with both of you in it." Jamie said pulling her necklace out of her t- shirt. "This way you guys are always with me."

Angel only smiles and hugs her again. "Thank you. I love it, I love you..."

"I love you too." Jamie said as they parted and wiped a tear from her cheek. "I guess I better get going."

"Yeah, you better." Angel agreed.

Jamie finally turned to her car and entered. With a last wave she pulled out and drove off. Angel watched for her until she could no longer see her and turned to go back into the house.

She couldn't believe that just a little over a year ago She had promised to make that woman's life a living hell. Just another private to torture. Then she captured her heart. "We're gonna miss momma Jay, aren't we princess." Angel said to her daughter as she turned to go back inside.

Before she reached the door there was another car pulling into the driveway. She turned back to see an Military Police patroller stopping there. What the fuck? Angel thought as the Officer stepped out of the vehicle.

"I am looking for Private Jackson, and Staff Sergeant Major." The officer said.

"I'm Sergeant Major." Angel answered warily.

"I have a summons for your Court Marshall." The officer said.

"What? What are my Charges?" Angel asked

"It's all in here sarge." The officer said handing her some papers, then turning to leave.

Angel stood dumbfounded for a while. What the fuck? She thought again as she opened the envelope he gave. Charged with homosexual activities? Fucking Bigots! She thought crumbling up the envelope. Here we go...  





Epilogue: Marshall Law


Days after leaving, Jamie was back in Texas. She was back In Angel's arms. Taking Jye from her mother's arms they head towards the Benz "We're in some deep shit J." Angel says as soon as they step inside the car.


She pulls out carefully and heads towards home. Jamie has no clue what to say. "I wouldn't mind being kicked out right about now." she mumbles looking back at Angel's three-month-old. The events of the previous months were starting to take effect on the military.


"Tell me about it." Angel answered. The upcoming war was a big concern for her. Having had a previous MOS that would send her straight for the front line. Fighting a war for a country that didn't allow her to live the way so wanted to was not something she would want to do. Spending time away from a newborn, to fight in vain.

Their hearing was the following week. The two figured they might need to get prepared. The entire week they worked as a team to secure a position for Jamie in a hospital as an RN.

They worked to find a school that would take military credits for the PA program, so that Angel could finish the courses. Angel also applied for a job as a clinical technician in the same hospital Jamie had been employed in.

The court Marshall went as they had expected. They had gotten dishonorably discharged from the military. Several months later The war on terrorism was in full swing and Jamie's Unit had been deployed. Our heroines remained safely at home.

Jamie went on to work for San Antonio's largest hospital. Later on she went back to school and got her BSN then her masters and became a Nurse Practitioner. Angel eventually graduated from PA school, becoming a Pediatric PA.

During election Year 2004, Both Jaime and Angel joined the campaign against the Bush administration. Lillian and Liz Flew to Vermont and were legally Married. Right after Angel and Jamie declared their I do's.

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