That Friend of Mine


S. Lee

Disclaimers: These characters are all mine. Please do not use them without my permission. There is some mild profanity and quite a bit of sex between two women in love. If that is not your cup of tea or you are underage, then I suggest you have some punch. Seriously, this isn't for you.

Author's Note: This is the final story in the Kat and Beth series. While they could each stand alone, you should first read "Three Days" then "Love Has No Pride" to really understand the significance of this story. I hope y'all have enjoyed reading this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Musical Notes: These amazing songs are not mine, so I must give credit to the writers. "Emotionally Yours" -Bob Dylan; "You Belong to Me" - Pee Wee King, Chilton Price, and Redd Stewart; "Never is a Moment" -Jimmy Lafave; "Come Away With Me" -Norah Jones; "I'll Be" -Edwin McCain; "Godspeed" -Radney Foster; "That's Right You're Not From Texas" -Lyle Lovett; and "That Friend of Mine" -Vince Gill.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my series and special thanks go to those who have given me feedback. Your support keeps me posting. To my beta-readers: Julie, Patricia, Maria, and Trish, the time and effort y'all put forth to make me look good astounds me. I could never thank you enough. You are fabulous women and I couldn't do this without you, nor would I want to.

Feedback is always welcome. Drop me a line and let me know what you think of my series. I'd love to hear from y'all. You can reach me at

Chapter 1-Emotionally Yours

Kat stood in front of the mirror adjusting her outfit. She looked sexy and a little dangerous in her black jeans and t-shirt. She pulled on her black boots, checked out her backside, inspected her flat stomach, and played with her hair. Kat began to swing her arm and swivel her hips, singing, "I'm just a hunka hunka burnin' love," in her best Elvis voice. Laughter broke her out of her reverie. She turned around and noticed her fourteen year-old daughter at the door.

"Presley Erin Green, don't sneak up on me like that!" she admonished.

Still laughing, the teenager asked, "What were you doing?"

The singer put on her silver watch and sprayed perfume over her pulse points. "Nothing. How do I look?"

The girl appraised her mother's attire. "Uh huh, yeah, right. Not bad for an old woman. So, where are you taking my mother?"

"Watch it, little one. I'm also your boss at work. You might want to be nice to me. I'm taking your mother out for dinner and dancing."

"And then?"

"I don't know, maybe a motorcycle ride."

"When are you bringing her home?"

Kat chuckled. "When I am good and ready. Besides, you're going to be at your grandparents' house."

Presley continued her inquisition. "And what are your intentions toward my mother? I have to make sure they're honorable before I let you go out with her."

Kat became very serious. "To win her back and love her for the rest of my life."

The teenager nodded. "Okay, I guess that'll do."

The singer put her wallet in her back pocket. "I'm so glad I meet with your approval. What's with the twenty questions anyway?"

The girl came up and put her arm on her mother's shoulder. The mirror reflected the striking similarity between the two. "Just looking out for my mom. Plus, I like giving you a hard time. You look cool."

"Well, thank you, darlin'. What do you think of your mom and me dating again?"

"I'm happy about it. Scout and I both are. We want you to live with us again. I remember when you and Mom were happy together. I used to hear you all night long, talking and giggling. Sometimes, I would sneak out of bed and watch you sing to her. You would be sitting at the piano and she would be next to you with her arms wrapped around your neck. She always smiled when you were around."

Kat grinned and shook her head. "Presley, honey, you have no idea. Your mother and I were very happy together. We had some very special times."

"Ewww. I don't think I want to know." The teenager grimaced.

The singer laughed. "We had something very rare. We still do. Beth is the most amazing woman. She is beautiful both inside and out. She's strong, yet vulnerable. There are very few women like her. I have loved her since I was eighteen years old and I will love her until I die. I hurt her so deeply. By some miracle, she's willing to give me another chance. I'm not going to screw this up." Kat gently cupped her daughter's cheek and softly spoke, "Your mother completes me."

Presley smiled. "Alright, I'll let you date her. You can keep her out as late as you want."

Kat hugged her daughter tightly, holding her for a few extra moments. "So, what has your mom been up to? I haven't seen her since she left early this morning."

"She's getting ready too. She talked about you all day. She's also been smiling a lot."

Kat had a giddy expression on her face. "Really? She talked about me?" Kat's thoughts drifted for a second. "What time are your grandparents coming?"

"They should be here any minute. What time are you picking Mom up?"

"At seven. I ordered her some flowers earlier and I need to go get them and you need to go back home. Do you want a ride?"


As they were leaving the house, Presley teased her mother, "Elvis has left the building." The teenager laughed hysterically.

The singer shot the girl a look. "I am seeing bathroom duty for a certain teenage employee of mine."

Presley cringed. "Yuck!"

Kat dropped her daughter off at Beth's house and went to finish last minute details for the date.

Beth stood in front of her bedroom mirror, putting on her makeup. She couldn't keep from grinning. Scout walked into the room and sat down on the bed.

"Hi, Mom."

"Hi, Sweetie. Are you ready to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's?"

The young blonde nodded. "Yep. You smell good."

Beth continued to put on her makeup. "Thanks. It's your mom's favorite."

"That's cool. Are you excited?"

"Yes, I am. I am very excited in fact. It has been a long time since your mother took me out on a date."

"Are you two gonna get back together?"

Beth stopped what she was doing and sat beside her daughter. "I can't tell you, 'yes' or 'no' right now. I don't want to make you any promises I am unable to keep. But your mom and I still love each other very much, and we're going to try. Relationships aren't easy and sometimes loving someone isn't enough. But, it's a good start."

"Yeah, but Mom's home all the time and she doesn't drink anymore. She still goes to those meetings. She spends lots of time with us too. That's good, isn't it?"

Beth beamed and covered Scout's hand with her own. "Yes, it is, sweetheart. It's very good. You won't realize until you get older how much your mother gave up to be with you. She has worked hard to be a better person and a better mother because she loves you. Someday, you'll understand how hard she's worked. I'm very proud of her and you should be too."

The young girl nodded her head. The conversation was interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. Beth looked at her daughter. "That's Grandma and Grandpa. Could you answer the door, please?" Scout ran downstairs as Presley walked into her mother's room.

"Hey, Mom."

"Hi, Presley. Your grandparents are here. Are your things packed?"


The blonde stood in front of her daughter. "So, how do I look?"

The girl appraised her mother's tight Wrangler blue jeans, chestnut colored lace-up boots, white t-shirt, and her short, tousled hair. The teenager smiled. "You look great. She's going to love you in that. She's wearing black as usual. She went to pick up your flowers."

The blonde grinned. "Really? She's getting me flowers?" Her mind wandered a minute to thoughts of Kat. "But, you shouldn't have told me. I'll act surprised. Is she excited?"

"Very. And nervous."

Beth was giddy. "She's nervous? I suppose that's a good thing. So am I. Let's go down and see your grandparents."

The two walked downstairs. The older couple drew their granddaughter into a big hug. Beth walked over to her parents and hugged them tightly. "Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad."

Her mother assessed her outfit. "You're wearing jeans on a date? Shouldn't you be wearing something more dressy?"

Beth shook her head. "No, Mom. We're going out dancing. I don't need a dress for a lesbian bar."

Her mother looked skeptical. "Should Kat be going to a place like that? Isn't that too much temptation?"

Beth answered, "I have total faith in her. She's been sober for almost a year. I'm sure she'll be fine. She goes to meetings twice a week, sometimes more if she needs it. Besides, if it becomes a problem, we can go somewhere else."

Beth's father didn't say a word. He still held a grudge against Kat for the pain and embarrassment she had put his daughter through. Turning to her granddaughters, Beth's mother broke the silence. "Are you girls ready?"

Both nodded. Scout asked her grandmother, "Can we go swimming tonight?"

Her grandfather spoke, "I think we can do that."

Beth looked at her daughters. "You two have fun. Give me a hug and I'll see you both tomorrow."

The grandmother smiled. "I thought we'd keep Scout and Presley until Monday, if that's alright?"

The professor assented, "That's fine with me if it's alright with them." The girls both nodded in agreement. Beth grinned at her girls. "Then go pack some extra clothes."

Her daughters went up the stairs. "Thanks, Mom. I'm sure you're going to have a great time with them."

The older woman looked at Beth. "Have some fun this weekend. I'm pulling for you and Kat."

Beth was grateful for her mother's acceptance. "I appreciate that. Let's just see what happens, shall we?"

Presley and Scout came downstairs and left with their grandparents. Beth watched her family leave and then walked to the mirror in the hall. She ran her hands through her short hair, evaluating her appearance. Her hands trembled slightly. 'Why am I so damn nervous? I was married to her for over twenty years.' She anxiously glanced at her watch. 'Okay, just a half hour left.' She sat down at her computer to respond to her students' e-mails. As she finished, she heard the roar of a familiar engine. Her heart began to beat faster and stronger. The noise from the motorcycle stopped and the doorbell rang. The professor opened the door to find Kat with a big grin on her face and a very large bouquet of flowers in her hand. The dark woman was tall and gorgeous. Her breath gone, it was several moments before Beth could find her voice.

"Ummm...hi. Come on in."

Kat smiled shyly as she walked in the house and handed the flowers to her date. "These are for you. I mean, they're obviously for you. Who else would they be for?" Kat babbled nervously.

Beth was tickled at her companion. "Thank you. They're beautiful. You remembered all of my favorites. That's very sweet." She reached up and lightly kissed the taller woman.

"You're very welcome. You look wonderful tonight." Kat hungrily stared at her date. "Those jeans fit.....really well."

Beth grinned at the desired effect. "You're very tempting yourself."

Kat laughed. "Good. That's a good thing."

The blonde walked into the kitchen to put the bouquet in water. Kat came up behind her, putting her arms around her date. Beth settled back into the embrace. Kat inhaled her scent and whispered against the warm neck, "I have been wanting to do this all day. I have been dying to see you."

Beth turned around in her date's arms. "Me too. I really loved staying up with you last night. We said many things that we've needed to say for a long time."

Kat reveled in the feel of her love in her arms. "You're right. I'm so glad you came back. I don't know what I would have done if you had gone through with your weekend with Emma."

They both stood and gazed at one another without saying a word. Kat smiled and caressed her date's face with her hands. "That's enough of the past. Tonight we're starting over. I love our history, but right now, some of it's still too raw and hard for both of us. So, tonight, it's just the two of us, right here and now." She held out her hand. "Are you ready?" The question meant many things on many levels.

Beth smiled and accepted the offered hand. "Yes."

Kat looked at her and returned the grin. "Let's go."

They walked outside. Kat's classic Harley-Davidson was polished to a high shine. The singer turned to her love. "Is this alright? I thought it might be fun to take the bike tonight." She offered Beth a helmet.

Beth nodded and drew a deep breath. Riding with her lover was one of her favorite activities. She donned the helmet as Kat did the same. The dark woman started the motorcycle and extended her arm to assist her date. The blonde climbed on and wound her arms tightly around Kat's waist. The two bodies melded together as the Hog hugged the curves of the road.

Kat pulled up to Beth's favorite Chinese restaurant. Beth loved the restaurant that overlooked the capitol. The taller woman got off the bike and helped her companion. Each woman took off her helmet and the singer grinned, running her hands through her long black hair. "How was that?"

Beth's face broke into a huge smile. "Oh, my God! That was so much fun! We haven't done that in years. It was a wonderful idea. I feel like a teenager again."

"That was the point."

Kat reached for Beth's hand and led her into the restaurant. The couple held hands and talked about their work and their family. Kat told Beth about Alcoholics Anonymous and the knowledge she had gained since she began the program. They laughed and fed one another Kung Pao Chicken and Mongolian Beef. When they finished dinner, the couple returned to the motorcycle. They stood gazing into one another's eyes. The singer smiled at the woman she had loved her entire adult life.

"You are so beautiful tonight, Beth. Thank you for agreeing to go out with me. I'm really enjoying myself."

"I am too. I love being with you."

Kat's response became lost in her throat as she gazed into the smaller woman's eyes. She handed Beth a helmet then placed her own upon her head. The bike vibrated with power as the engine rumbled to life. They drove a short way to Rainbow Cattle Company, a gay and lesbian country bar on Fifth Street. The couple pulled into a large parking garage and Beth took her helmet off again. "I love the way it feels to ride with you."

Kat moved closer and put her arm around the petite body. "I love the way you feel when you wrap yourself around me."

With that she leaned down and stole a kiss, which began to grow in intensity. When Kat pulled back, Beth was breathing heavily and wanting more. The singer grinned and placed her arm around her date's shoulder as they walked to the bar. The woman taking money at the door recognized the singer. Kat gave the door attendant a tip to watch the helmets. She then led Beth by the hand straight to the dance floor. The couple danced together to a fast-paced Elton John song. Both women grinned and moved closer to one another, feeling the heat radiating from their bodies.

Sounds of a fiddle and steel guitar filled the club. Kat held her dance partner gently, yet securely. Their eyes were locked onto one another as they two-stepped along in a circle with the other couples. Song after song, they danced together, smiling and laughing. The DJ recognized Kat and played one of the performer's hits. The two women were enrapt with each other as they heard the familiar music play. They shared a private smile as the singer pulled her date closer. Beth laid her head against the taller woman's chest, feeling her heartbeat. The singer quietly joined in with the recorded vocals as the couple swayed slowly. Kat had recorded the Bob Dylan cover at Beth's request years ago, before their relationship fell apart.

"Come baby find me, come baby remind me, where I once begun.

Come baby show me, show me that you really know me,

tell me you are the one

I could be learning, yeah baby you could be yearning

to see behind closed doors

And I will always be emotionally yours.

Come baby rock me, come baby won't you lock me,

into the shadows of your heart

Come baby teach me, come baby won't you reach me, let the music start

I could be dreaming, but baby I keep believing

you're the one I've been praying for

And I will always be emotionally yours.

It's like my whole life never happened

Every time I see you it's like I never even had a thought

I know my dreaming may be crazy

But it's the only, only one I got.

Come baby shake me, come baby won't you take me, I would be so satisfied

Come baby hold me, come baby won't you please help me,

my arms are open so wide

Baby I could be unraveling, oh I may be traveling,

somewhere on this distant shore

But I will always be emotionally yours

Oh baby I will always, I will always be emotionally yours."

As the song faded, the two women ended their dance with their foreheads touching. The air was heavy with emotional longing. Feeling overwhelmed and needing to break the tension, Kat swallowed the lump in her throat. "Would you like something to drink? We could go shoot some pool."

Unable to speak, Beth nodded. As they made their way through the bar, Kat stayed close to her date. Each ordered a Coke and Kat put quarters in the pool table. She noticed the alcohol around her and felt the familiar craving. She looked at Beth. The love she held for this woman lessened the need she felt for the liquor. Kat grinned and chalked up her cue.

She playfully teased her blonde competitor, "Alright. Would you like to break? Either way, I'm going to win."

Beth laughed. "I wouldn't count on it. I've been practicing since we played last. You never know, you could be surprised."

Kat played along. "Care to make a wager, Ms. Green?"

With a sly grin, Beth stood toe to toe with the singer. "Actually, yes, I would. What do you have in mind?"

Kat kissed the smaller woman deeply, filling her mouth. "Lots of things. But let me hear your ideas, professor."

"Okay. The loser takes the winner wherever she would like to go and do whatever she would like to do on our second date."

The performer looked at her date flirtatiously. "Is that your way of asking me out?"

Beth grasped the tight black shirt until the singer's lips were inches from hers and placed a smoldering kiss on Kat's mouth. Beth then pulled away, leaving the tall woman dizzy. The teacher grinned. "Maybe."

Kat challenged, "Bring it on."

The blonde leaned over the table, stick in hand, and struck the cue ball to break, sending two solids into pockets. Kat nodded appreciatively. "Not bad, but you're still gonna lose."

Beth smiled confidently. "We'll see." She took another shot, and missed.

Kat strutted over, wrapped her arm around Beth, kissed her on the head, and teased, "Awww, honey. That's alright. Nice try though."

The singer leaned over to take her shot. As she lined up her cue, Beth eased down beside Kat and questioned, "So, what's your game plan here?" She ran her hands through the long black hair.

Kat leaned into the touch. She closed her eyes and lost her train of thought when she felt the hot breath on her neck. She turned to the blonde who was attempting to distract her and whispered into her ear, "To take this stick right here and use it to get those balls into those little holes."

Beth bit her lower lip. "I see. Well, good luck then."

Kat took her shot, knocking the nine ball into the side pocket. She moved around the table and shot the eleven ball in the left corner pocket. Just as she was about to hit the cue ball, Beth purposely dropped her stick and slowly bent over in front of Kat, giving the singer a full view of her back side in the tight jeans. Distracted, Kat missed her shot. With a triumphant grin, the blonde stepped up to the table. The woman in black just shook her head at the cheating blonde.

Beth lined up her shot, sinking the four ball. She attempted to knock the six ball into the corner pocket but missed.

The singer walked by and stole a quick kiss. "Let me show you how it's done, darlin'." Kat hit the cue ball in the direction of two balls that were lined up, sinking them both. Kat strutted to the other end of the table. The next shot was an awkward one, but possible to make. The tall woman knelt down to check the angles. Beth watched her date prepare to shoot. She walked over and placed a mind numbing kiss on her lips that lasted for nearly a minute. When she stepped back, Kat still had her eyes closed and her lips puckered.

The blonde smirked. "For luck."

Kat shook her head. "You are cold, woman."

Still lightheaded from the kiss, the singer missed her shot. Beth giggled and positioned herself, knocking another ball in the side pocket. She put her arm around the taller woman's waist. "I wouldn't be so cocky if I were you. Anything can happen. This game is not over yet." She sank an easy corner shot. With a big grin on her face, she hit the cue ball, but banked it and missed her target completely. Kat chuckled with her hand over her mouth. Beth gave her a fierce expression. "What's so funny there, stretch?"

Trying to hold back her laughter. "Nothin', honey." She lined up her shot, successfully sinking it. The singer continued to knock the rest of the striped balls into the pockets. Kat prepared to hit the eight ball. She pointed to a corner hole. "Right corner pocket." Beth stood beside her and waited until she was about to shoot. Kat pulled the stick back and as she hit the cue ball, Beth came around and stroked between the taller woman's legs. The cue ball went directly into the pocket.

Beth began laughing. "I win. I win. I win. Ha ha ha."

With a playful scowl on her face, Kat grabbed her date, pulling Beth's hips against her own. "You are so bad. I thought you would be old enough by now to be above your little tricks. You haven't changed a bit."

With an almost taunting expression on her face, Beth stared straight into Kat's eyes. "Do you really mind?" She kissed the tall woman hard. Their hands began to roam over each other's bodies.

Breathless, Kat responded, "No. Let's get out of here. I want to be alone with you."

Beth whispered hungrily, "Yes."

Walking out to the bike, Kat wrapped her arm around her date. Beth held onto her body tightly. The singer started up the classic machine and helped the smaller woman onto the seat. The blonde encircled the singer's waist with her arms. Kat placed one hand over the ones on her stomach and drove off. She pulled off onto a winding, uphill road near their ranch on the edge of town. When they reached the top, Kat put the kickstand down and shut the motorcycle off. She turned around straddling her bike and removed her helmet. She lovingly reached out and removed Beth's helmet and smoothed the short blonde hair. The teacher moved closer and wrapped her legs around Kat's waist. The couple held one another and looked out onto the city.

The tall woman smiled at her date. "Thank you so much for going out with me tonight. This has been amazing."

Beth returned the grin. "You are very welcome. Thank you for asking me. I couldn't have imagined a better evening. I don't remember when I've had so much fun. I feel wonderful just being with you. I want you to know how proud I am of you. You are an incredible mother and you've maintained your sobriety for nearly a year. I've wanted to be close to you like this for such a long time."

Kat stroked the side of Beth's face. "God, Beth, I've dreamed about this for over a year. I've wanted to kiss you and hold you close. " Lips met in a sweet union of love and promise. The couple began to lose themselves as time seemed to stop.

Breathlessly, Beth ran her hands through the long black locks. "You are beautiful, Kat. I need you."

Kat spoke softly, "I feel like I'm going to explode. I'm so scared right now. This is one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced."

Beth tightly held her hands. "Tell me why you're scared."

"I've been praying a long time for this moment to happen. I want you and I love you more than I could ever express. I'm afraid of losing you again. I'm afraid of the pain. I'm empty without you in my arms, 'Scilla."

Beth kissed her deeply. "I'm afraid also. I thought I didn't want you anymore, but you again became the woman I first fell in love with. It hurt to feel you move so far away from me. I would cry myself to sleep, waiting for you to come home at night, needing your touch."

"I'm sorry baby. I know I hurt you. I will never be able to apologize enough. But tonight, there was alcohol all around me and I'd be lying if I said I didn't crave it; I did." Kat paused. "But, I was only into you. I barely noticed anyone or anything else. I've told you this before and I still believe it. We're meant to be together. I'm not complete without you and you aren't complete without me. I thank God that you still love me and that you're willing to give us a second chance."

"You're right. I didn't want you to be right. You told me that at the rehab center and I wanted to deny it. I really tried hard. My emotions are so raw with you. Giving my heart to you is such a risk, because you are the only one to whom I could truly give it. Believe me, I am just as frightened as you. But, I think we have to take a chance and try again."

Kat nodded, smiling. "I think so too. Let's just go slowly here and we'll see what happens. I think we both want the same thing.


Beth laid her head against the tall woman's chest. Kat held her tightly for several minutes, without speaking a word. Kat lifted the small hand she held in hers to her lips and placed a tender kiss on each of Beth's fingers.

"'Scilla, I should take you home now."

"I don't want to leave your arms." Beth sighed and ran her hands up and down Kat's chest. "But, we agreed to take it slowly."

"Yes, we did. God, I feel like my heart's on fire. I need to drive you home before I lose my resolve and end up making love to you right here on this bike."

Beth chuckled. "It wouldn't be the first time we've ever done that."

Kat began to laugh as well, remembering times long ago. "That's true. But that's not how I want it to be the first time we make love again."

The motorcycle came to life and the two women rode home. When they reached Beth's house, Kat unlocked the door, letting her date inside. She wrapped her arms around the smaller woman, breathing her in.

"I hate for this night to end."

Beth looked into her eyes intensely. "Then stay with me. I want you, Kat. I need to be with you tonight."

Kat gently lowered her head until her lips met the soft ones waiting for her. She whispered painfully, "Do you have any idea what you are doing to me? It would be so easy for me to take you upstairs and spend the rest of the night making love with you." She softly touched Beth's face. "I want us to do this the right way. I think we should wait like we agreed. I love you and I am grateful for this chance. I just don't want to blow it."

Beth bit her lip. "You know, this noble streak of yours is very attractive. I hate to say this, but you're right. I guess I'll be heading up the stairs to take a cold shower.....alone...damnit." Both women laughed. "Well then, if I can't spend the night with you, could I at least spend the day with you tomorrow?"

Kat squeezed the smaller woman in her arms. "Of course you can. I have some odds and ends to take care of at the store in the morning and then an AA meeting. Did you have something in mind?"

"Yes, but may I go to the meeting with you? I haven't been to one with you yet, and I'd like to see what you do and what's involved."

Kat smiled. "I'd really like that. If you don't mind sitting at the store, I can pick you up for breakfast and we can go to the meeting after I finish my paperwork."

"That sounds like a plan. We can spend the rest of the day by the pool and you can cook something on the grill."

Kat asked playfully, "Why am I doing the grilling?"

"Because you lost tonight."

"Ah, yes, because you cheated."

Beth displayed her most innocent expression. "Now would I do such a thing?" She batted her eyelashes at the tall woman.

Kat shook her head in defeat. She wrapped her arms around the blonde, drew her near, and kissed the top of her head. "You are too damn cute for my own good. I'll pick you up at ten."

"That is perfect. Good night, E."

Kat leaned down to kiss her lips gently. "'Night, 'Scilla."

Beth closed the door, leaning back against it. She touched her lips lightly where the kiss still lingered. She exhaled deeply and smiled, thinking about the evening she and Kat had just shared and the promise of the day ahead.

The next morning, Kat jumped out of bed, eager to start her time with Beth. The night before had been the perfect start to their new relationship. Kat had felt more alive than she had in years. She arrived at Beth's house with a silly, excited grin on her face. Beth was waiting at the door with a smile and a kiss. Kat wrapped her arms around the smaller woman, holding her tightly.

"Damn, it's good to see you, woman. I couldn't wait to get over here."

Beth glowed. "I feel the same way. I tossed and turned all night, thinking of you. When I did sleep, I dreamed of you. All night long, I felt you around me."

"I was." Kat placed a tender kiss on her lips. "Are you ready?"

Beth nodded.

"Then let's go. I've had some new ideas for the store and I want to get your opinion."

At the store, Kat walked to the corner of the large shop. "I want to add a small stage over here in this area and have an open mike night or some kind of venue for local artists. I thought I'd start with a singer/songwriter night, then see how it evolves. I'd like to see this place become a major spot for music and then produce some of the local artists in the studio at the house."

Beth smiled. "Oh, honey, it's a fabulous idea. Your reputation could be a major factor in its success. People around the world still know you and you're a legend around town. I'm sure anyone here would love the chance to work with you."

Kat touched the smaller woman's face. "Thank you, sweetheart. I want to have it up and running within the next couple of weeks."

"What about you? Do you plan on recording?"

"I don't know. I'd love to do some bluegrass. Lainie's group plays a lot and I really like it. I've recorded some things that I've written within the last year, but I don't plan on releasing it anytime soon. I do like the thought of working with up and coming artists and I plan on performing here."

Beth loved seeing Kat's enthusiasm. "That's wonderful, babe."

Kat entwined her hand with Beth's and led her to the back "Have you ever seen my office?"

The blonde smiled. "No, I haven't "

The desk was a mess of papers. Sitting near the edge of the chaos, were three picture frames, one held a picture of Scout dancing in her ballet leotard, a second had a picture of Presley at the piano. Inside the final frame was a picture of Beth, sitting on a large tree branch. Multi-colored fall leaves filled the background.

Beth gazed at the photo, grinned, and turned to Kat. "You have a picture of me?"

"Yes, I do. It's been there since I bought the place. I took that picture at Cades Cove three years ago."

"I know. Why do you have a picture of me here?"

Kat softly kissed the blonde. "Because, in my heart, you never stopped being my wife."

The two women stared into one another's eyes, lost in the moment. Finally, Kat softly spoke, "I, uh, need to get some work done. You can have a seat or look around the store." Beth smiled and nodded.

Later that afternoon in the recreation hall of a local church, the couple sat together at the AA meeting. Beth held Kat's hand as she listened to each person stand up and introduce themselves. Some of them shared their stories. Beth's heart broke as she heard the wrenching words of pain and loss. When it was Kat's turn, the singer stood to speak.

"My name is Kat and I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober for eleven months and three weeks. I celebrate my first anniversary next week. Drinking cost me my wife and nearly cost me my children. It wasn't until my older daughter refused to speak to me and I finally heard the pain in my younger daughter's voice that I decided to get help. I have become a much better mother to my girls, and Beth and I are dating each other again. She's here with me today. It hasn't been easy, but this program has done wonders for me. I've learned that I don't need a drink to have a good time, unwind, and deal with the problems in my life." Kat sat down and Beth looked at her as tears of pride welled in her eyes.

During the ride home, the couple held hands and shared few words. After several silent minutes, Beth turned to the singer. "Thank you for allowing me to come with you to your meeting. I'm so proud of you for maintaining your sobriety. I had my doubts, but I truly hoped you could do it. The Kat I used to know would have been able to, and you did. I've watched you with the kids. Presley isn't angry anymore. She loves working in the store and she's grown so much musically. I was very impressed with the job you did helping with the school musical. And then there's Scout. She's so happy to have you around. Every other word out of her mouth is about you. She loves the attention she's getting from you. They love being with you and that makes me love you so much more."

Kat turned to her and asked, "Did you ever really stop loving me?"

Beth shook her head. "No. But I fell out of love with you. My love for you changed and became something that hurt. I couldn't live with you anymore and I couldn't allow my heart to be open with you. Let me ask you, did you stop loving me?"

Kat considered her answer carefully. "No. I think I took you for granted, almost as if you were part of the furniture. I was too caught up with myself to even notice you. Every time I got a gold record, Grammy, or CMA, all I could see were all the young, hungry singers coming up behind me, trying to knock me off my pedestal, wanting what I had. My career became my priority. After a while, so much time passed without me putting any effort into our relationship, I fell out of love with you too. I was numb all the time because of the alcohol. Once I got that out of my system, I started to think and feel clearly again, but by that time, I lost you. That's when I realized how much I did love you and that I would do anything for another chance."

Beth responded, "When you became sober, I saw the you I loved for so many years. Spending time with you, hearing your ideas and thoughts, and watching you with our girls; I realized that I still loved you too. But I had taken a stand and was determined to stick with it. I was leery of being hurt again, but you kept tearing down my defenses by being your wonderful, loving, incredible self. You became you again, but maybe a little different, grounded, I think. I've fallen for you a little bit at a time. But, I was afraid of feeling that much pain again, so I thought that I'd be okay if I met someone nice who would love me, because I knew that she could never truly hurt me. It's why I began seeing Emma. She is sweet and kind, but I wasn't in love with her. I enjoyed her company and I cared about her. I couldn't fall in love with her. That is what made her safe. But then you had to go and spoil my plan." Both women chuckled. "That kiss in the rain was incredible and it was as if you flooded my entire being again."

Kat grinned. "I should have kissed you months ago. Since I was eighteen, I have believed with everything in me that we belong together. I knew we would be together again. I don't know how I knew and I didn't know when it would happen; I just knew it would. I love you, Beth. This past year, I felt like I was meeting you all over again. You aren't just Beth, the wife and mother; you're Beth, the woman, and you are remarkable. You are brilliant, loving, funny, and incredibly beautiful. You're tough when you need to be and tender when you need to be. All of that together just makes my heart pound wildly." Beth beamed and brought Kat's hand to her lips.

That afternoon, at Beth's house, the two women held one another tightly, exchanging long slow kisses in the cool water of the swimming pool. Kat ran her hands over the smaller body in her arms. The singer pressed her lips against the wet flesh of Beth's neck.

"You feel so good in my arms. You belong here, you know that, don't you?"

Beth looked into her eyes. "Yes, I do. This is where we both belong."

"There's no place I'd rather be." Kat emphasized her point with a deep, loving kiss. The rest of the afternoon was spent with the two women reconnecting, opening their hearts to one another.

After sharing dinner together on the deck, the two cuddled on Beth's couch. Kat rested her chin on top of her love's head. The blonde wrapped her arms around the singer's waist.

"Kat, may I ask you a question?"

The singer placed a gentle peck on Beth's head. "Of course, darlin'."

"Why did you start sleeping around?"

Kat took a minute to think. This was the first time Beth had asked about the infidelity. The singer took a deep breath and began the painful recounting of the past. "I really don't know. You know that alcohol caused me to do things I normally wouldn't do. You also know how it is on the road. Sex is available any time of the day or night. There's always a groupie or fan or reporter who would love to brag that she or even he slept with a celebrity. Put the two together with my damn self-absorbed attitude, and I gave in. It stroked my ego to have all those women wanting me. After the first time, I felt awful. I cried and cried about what I had done. I don't know if you remember, but I called you and asked you to come out and see me. But of course, the girls had school and you couldn't. I know it sounds like I am blaming you, but I'm not. It was me. I was an ass. After that, it became easier and easier."

A tear slipped down Beth's cheek. "For a long time, I wondered if it were me. I wondered why I wasn't enough anymore. I couldn't figure out how to be good enough for you in bed."

Kat lifted Beth's face to meet her eyes. She lovingly wiped away the tear from the teacher's soft face. "You listen to me, Elizabeth Green. It was never you. Making love with you is the most beautiful thing I have ever known. You are an incredible lover. You were and are everything I ever wanted. You never disappointed me. I have never stopped wanting you. It was me and my damn stupidity and over-inflated ego. I'm sorry I made you feel like you weren't enough."

"When did you first sleep with someone else?"

"About a year and a half before we split up. I never cheated before that. I was approached over and over, but I turned them down."

"You really are a completely different person when you're not drinking. You're so sweet, funny, charming, and sexy."

Kat smiled and kissed Beth's lips softly. "Only for you; I mean that. I'm never going to betray you like that again. I'm done with all of it. I couldn't stand to hurt you and the girls again. When you were pregnant with Presley, if anyone had told me that our life would end up like this; that I'd have everything I ever possibly wished for, but was an alcoholic shit with a family that left her, I'd have said that they were crazy. If I knew then, what I know now, I'd never even go down that road. Do you remember how happy we were when you were pregnant with Presley and when she was a baby? Things were so much simpler then. We felt like we could take on the world together."

Beth concurred and grinned. "Those were some amazing times. I think we were happier when we didn't have half the things we do now."

"Exactly. One thing I've learned is that all I really need in the world is you, Presley, and Scout. I will never again do anything to jeopardize our family. Please believe me, 'Scilla."

Beth looked at her. "I believe you. I can see the truth in your eyes. They're different since you've been sober. Did you know that?"

Kat shook her head. "No."

"Yes. They sparkle and shine. I've always loved your eyes. They show your strength, your tenderness, your loving spirit. Would you do something for me?"


"Sing to me. It's been so long since you sang and played your guitar just for me, without singing to or teaching one of the girls."

Kat smiled and gently brushed her lips against Beth's. "Anything for you."

The singer left and returned a couple minutes later with a guitar. She sat next to Beth and tuned the steel strings. She began to strum and softly sing.

"See the pyramids along the Nile

See a sunrise from a tropic isle

Just remember darlin' all the while

You belong to me

See the marketplace in old Algiers

Send me photographs and souvenirs

Just remember when a dream appears

You belong to me

And I'll be so alone without you

Maybe you'll be lonesome too

Fly the ocean in a silver plane

See the jungle when it's wet with rain

Just remember 'till you're home again

You belong to me"

When she finished singing, Kat set the guitar to the side as Beth tackled her onto her back. The singer held the blonde tightly as they explored one another through deep kisses. Beth said hotly, "God, I love it when you sing to me like that."

The couple spent over an hour exchanging soft kisses and caresses. Finally, they broke apart, their lips sore.

Kat looked at her, smiling. "Do you remember when we would race back to my apartment between classes and make out, driving each other crazy before we had to go back to school?"

Beth laughed. "How could I forget? We'd have one another worked up into a frenzy, then have to get back to class."

"That was until we finally made love. Then we would go back to my place for a quickie."

"I swear, we were like rabbits. I couldn't get enough of you."

Kat caressed Beth's face. "You are so beautiful. I can't get enough of you now. I could hold you in my arms forever."

Beth sighed. "There's nothing I would love more."

Kat answered with a gentle peck on her lips. "So, what do we want to tell the girls?"

"We'll tell them that we're dating, but that we don't want to rush anything by living together too soon."

Kat nodded. "I think we should spend more time together as a family as well as a couple."

"I agree. Why don't you start coming over for dinner more often?"

The singer smiled. "I would really like that. I don't want to push things. Also, if you'd like to go to counseling, I'd be open to going."

"That might not be a bad idea."

Kat kissed her date's forehead. "In the spirit of not rushing things, I'm going to go home, as much as I don't want to. I have to be at the store in the morning."

Beth held her hand and walked her to the door. She wrapped her arms around the tall woman. Kat leaned down and placed a soft kiss on the blonde's neck.

Beth smiled. "Come over for dinner tomorrow night."

Kat returned the smile. "Yes, ma'am. Can you pick Presley up from the shop on Tuesday? The music club is meeting that night. Then I ....uhh... have a date afterward."

Beth faked a menacing look. "Come again?"

Kat laughed. "I had dinner with one of the women in the group last Tuesday to get my mind off you. She plays the fiddle and is very sweet. Thinking you were into someone else, I made plans to have dinner with her again. I forgot about the plans until just now. I'll have to call and tell her that I'm spoken for."

Beth reached up to kiss her companion, biting Kat's lip. "Yes, you are spoken for and you better not forget it."

"Ouch! Yes, ma'am. You know Presley wants to work extra hours to get that new guitar before she goes to music camp next month."

Beth shook her head. "I know. It's your decision; you're her boss."

"I really enjoy having her there. She loves being around the instruments as much as I do."

"She's so much like you. If I didn't know better, I would think she was your biological daughter."

"Yeah, and sometimes it scares the hell out of me because I know how I was growing up. These teen years aren't going to be easy. But, I couldn't love her anymore if she were. I feel the same way about Scout. She's much more like you though. I think that's why she has me wrapped around her finger. I simply crumble around her. Just like I crumble around you. You three are the greatest gifts in my life."

Kat leaned down and placed her lips on Beth's. Holding one another tightly, the couple melted into the kiss, then reluctantly pulled apart.

"So, I'll be over tomorrow around seven-thirty. I'll talk to you at least once before then. Sometimes, I'm just overcome with the desire to hear your voice."

Beth grinned. "Then, feel free to call me as many times as you like. I'm sure I'll be calling you as well. Goodnight, E, I love you."

Kat lifted the smaller hand to her lips. "I love you too, 'Scilla. Goodnight."

Chapter 2-Never Is a Moment

The couple spent the next month and half dating and spending as much time together as they could. Most of their evenings were spent making out and cuddling on the couch after the girls went to their rooms for the night. At the end of June, Scout left for writing camp in Arkansas and would be gone for a month, and Presley was at music camp in the mountains of Tennessee. Kat and Beth were planning to make love for the first time in over a year and a half. As far as Kat was concerned, July couldn't have come soon enough. She was going to take advantage of this opportunity.

Kat completed the final preparations for the Fourth of July surprise she was planning to give Beth. Beside their pond, Kat had set up a tent filled a with a variety of flowers. She inflated a large air bed and had coolers filled with treats for the woman she loved. She stepped back and gave the inside of the tent a thorough appraisal. 'This is pretty damn good if I do say so myself.'

She had previously arranged for a private fireworks display to light up the night sky. She planned to give Beth the most romantic night of her life. Once satisfied with the campsite, Kat rode her four-wheeler with the attached trailer back to her house to change clothes. After changing into boots, jeans, and a clean t-shirt, she grabbed her cowboy hat and went down to the stables near her house to saddle her new horse. She had bought the horse a few weeks before and had worked with the golden palomino daily before bringing her home. Kat climbed up on the beautiful mare and galloped to Beth's house.

Beth sat at home waiting for Kat to pick her up. The singer's only instruction was to wear something comfortable. Beth only knew that they were going to see some fireworks. She sighed contentedly as her thoughts drifted to the singer and their renewed love affair. The girls were gone for the month and the couple was eager for some extended time alone. Beth hoped that tonight would be the night that they would finally make love again. A knock at the door interrupted Beth's thoughts. She opened the door excitedly and leapt into Kat's arms.

Kat held her tightly and chuckled. "I take it you're happy to see me," Kat said as she nestled the beautiful woman in her arms.

Beth kissed her deeply. "You could say that. So where are we going?"

"It's a surprise. But, I will tell you that you'll be out all night," Kat responded coyly.

With a waggle of her eyebrows, Beth complied. "Oh, really? I think I can handle that."

"Let's go."

Kat offered her arm and escorted Beth outside. Beth noticed that Kat's truck was not there. She turned to her date. "Where's your truck? Are we taking mine?"

Kat smirked and whistled loudly. Her horse came strolling leisurely around the house. Beth's eyes grew wide. "What's this?"

"This, my love, is a horse."

"I know that, but what is it doing here?"

"I bought her a few weeks ago; her name is Sunshine. I've been working with her daily so that she could become accustomed to me. I brought her home this morning. It's part of the surprise. We've got the stables; I just thought we should use them."

Beth shook her head in wonder. "So we're taking the horse?"

Kat grinned. "Yes, ma'am"

Kat swiftly mounted the horse and extended her hand to Beth, who took the proffered arm and climbed up behind the singer. Beth entwined her arms around Kat as she led the horse to the campsite.

Once they reached their destination, Kat slid off the mare and placed her hands on her date's waist to help her down. Beth marveled at the campsite. She turned back toward the dark haired siren.

"Wow! This is amazing!"

"Go look in the tent."

Beth walked inside and took in the flowers arranged throughout the shelter and the large bed. She turned to see Kat behind her, smiling. She threw her arms around the tall woman. "Kat, this is so beautiful."

"It's all for you, 'Scilla. The surprises aren't over. I love you. I want to give you the most romantic, amazing night of your life. I want to make love with you. Do you remember the first time? We were camping and we made love in our tent. It was a bit more primitive than this, but it was beautiful."

Beth lifted her date's hand to her lips. "I could never forget. It was like coming home. I love you too, E. You are unbelievably wonderful. You even brought your guitar."

Kat smiled. "Yes, I did. I also brought all of your favorite drinks and snacks, including a bottle of sparkling cider for later. But for now, I need to catch our dinner, then maybe we'll go for a swim."

Beth beamed in return. "I'd like that."

After catching and cleaning two trout, Kat started a fire in the small grill. Beth lay back on the grass, enjoying the early evening sun on her face. Kat watched her woman, her heart bursting with love and her flesh burning with desire. The couple finished dinner as the sun finished its descent from the night sky.

Beth sat by the calm water safely held in the arms of the woman she loved. "Play a song for me."

Kat kissed the top of her head. "I wrote something for you last week." She stood and reached for her guitar. She plucked the strings and softly serenaded her lady.

"In the vastness of this world, baby you're so unique

From your pouty little mouth to your pretty little peaks

From your head down to your toes, you are beautiful divine

No there never is a moment that you are not on my mind.

Circumstances cast our fates may be wrong may be right

Though our dreams are miles away, I try to reach you through this night

If you hear music in the wind, I hope my melody you find

No there never is a moment that you are not on my mind.

In the vastness of this world, baby you're so unique

From your pouty little mouth to your pretty little peaks

From your head down to your toes you are beautiful divine

There never is a moment that you

There never is a moment that you

No there never is a moment that you are not on my mind."

Beth brushed a tear from her eye. "That was beautiful. You are beautiful. The fact that you would come up with something like this is why I love you. Nobody could ever make me feel the way you do."

Kat set the guitar to the side and moved in to softly kiss her companion. Their lips met in a warm kiss of promise and desire. The exchange became more heated as caresses became more intense. Kat gently pushed her lover back to lie on the soft blanket. Beth pulled back and placed the palm of her hand on Kat's face. "Make love to me, Kat."

The words shot straight to the singer's groin. Kat removed the hand from her cheek and placed a soft kiss in its center. She rose and lifted the blonde to stand in front of her. The singer put one arm around Beth's waist and one behind her head. Kat leaned down and captured the lips of the woman she loved. Hand in hand, they anxiously walked into the tent.

Beth sensed Kat's tension. She led the singer to sit on the bed and stood between the long legs. She knelt down on her knees and peered up at Kat. Holding her lover's trembling hands, Beth asked, "Honey, are you alright? You have a weird look on your face."

Kat smiled shyly and lifted Beth's hand to her lips. "I'm wonderful, baby. I guess I'm a little nervous."

Beth touched her face lovingly. "So am I. I have butterflies in my stomach. I want you so badly."

"You have no idea what it does to me to hear you say that. I think my heart just jumped."

Beth gazed into Kat's blue eyes and pleaded softly, "Kat, I love you; I want you; I need you to make love to me."

The words washed over Kat and passed through her body like a wave of energy. She pulled Beth into her arms and kissed her firmly. Beth moved up to Kat's lap, wrapping her legs around her lover as she straddled her.

Beth removed her shirt and looked at Kat seductively. "You do the rest."

Kat swallowed hard and reached around to unclasp her lover's bra. Her nervous fingers fumbled with the garment. Beth smiled sympathetically. She leaned in to kiss the singer. "It's okay, honey. I'll help."

Kat looked shy and held her hands in her lap. Beth released herself from the bra, tossing it aside. Kat stared at the soft skin before her. With trembling hands, she reached out to touch the love of her life. "I'm so nervous. It's been a long time. I feel like it's the first time."

Beth smiled reassuringly. "It feels like that to me too. You haven't seen me naked in so long. I'm a little scared myself. I mean, I'm not twenty-five anymore."

Kat shook her head. "Oh God, Beth, you are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. I love the way you look. I love everything about you. I love you with everything I am."

To emphasize her point, Kat began to shower her lover with tiny, soft kisses on the smooth flesh of her neck. Without breaking contact, she maneuvered Beth onto the bed and under her. Straddling her lover's torso, the singer pulled off her own white t-shirt. Beth reached up to run her hands on the hot skin. The dark haired woman gasped at the feel of the small hands on her body.

The singer lay on top of her blonde angel, then rolled them both over until the smaller woman was above her. Kat sat up and wound her arms protectively around her lover. Tears came to Kat's eyes.

"You are so beautiful. This feels like a dream. I'm afraid I'll wake and it will be over."

Beth ran her hands through black and silver hair. "It's very real. I've never forgotten how you feel. We belong together." With her small fingers, she removed Kat's bra. The sensation of their breasts colliding gently brought both women closer to the edge.

Beth cried salty tears of love and joy. "It's been so long. I have wanted this for so long."

Kat lost herself in the tender flesh of her lover's body as she held her. She brought one of the precious orbs to her lips and ran her tongue around the hard nipple. She began to suckle like an infant. Beth held her lover's head against her. Kat moved back up to claim the mouth that craved hers. Both women whispered sacred words of love, like a prayer of devotion in the summer night. Familiar hands caressed naked skin, filling the void that had been open for so long. The couple spent over an hour savoring each kiss, each touch. Suddenly, loud popping noises broke their concentration.

Beth appeared puzzled. "What was that?"

"I don't know, let's go check," Kat urged. She grabbed a blanket as the couple walked outside. The singer wrapped her arms around her lover from behind as giant sky rockets of colored light streamed across the dark sky.

Kat moved her lips closer to Beth's ear. "Surprise," she whispered.

Beth turned around in her lover's arms. "You did this for me?"

The tall woman nodded. "Yup. They're set up at the house. The fireworks guys will let themselves out when they're done." She spread the blanket on the grass and the women, who were nude from the waist up, lay down in one another's arms. Kat pulled her lover closer as they watched the fireworks.

Soon, the couple became caught up in passionate kisses as the rockets burst above them. Their remaining clothes were hastily thrown aside. Kat moved down to the center of her lover's desire. As Kat breathed deeply, the familiar scent wafted through her being.

"I've always loved the smell of you." The singer lowered her mouth to drink her lover's nectar. It was as sweet as it had always been. She ran her tongue along the soft folds. Kat found Beth's hardened clit and began licking and sucking. Her tongue moved lower to tease the blonde's opening. Kat dipped her tongue in, causing the smaller woman's hips to rise involuntarily.

Beth groaned, "Oh God, Kat!"

Just as Beth began to climax, Kat replaced her tongue with her fingers. The muscles tightened around the digits automatically as Beth's body convulsed.

Beth screamed out in a way her lover had never heard before. When the waves subsided, Kat moved up to hold her. Both women cried freely.

Kat kissed the top of Beth's head. "I feel like I'm home after being gone for so long."

Beth looked at Kat through glistening eyes. "You are home. We both are."

The blonde kissed the tears off the taller woman's face. The couple exchanged long, slow kisses as Beth explored Kat's strong body. She kissed and licked all of Kat's favorite places. The singer writhed and moaned under her. Beth claimed the full breasts, taking each one into her mouth, alternating from left to right.

Kat bit her lower lip. "You are so good at that. I need you now, Beth."

Beth tongued her lover aggressively. She entered the slick center. She used both her mouth and fingers to drive Kat insane with need. Beth moved in and out of the singer, moving deeper with each thrust, causing her hips to rise. As Beth anticipated Kat's impending climax, she used three fingers to claim her.

The force of the orgasm ripped through Kat's body. She cried out as her body seized, holding Beth's hand in place. As the singer began to relax, she gripped her lover against her. The couple relaxed under the moon, holding one another near.

"That was amazing. It's been such a long time. You are so beautiful. God, I love you." Kat kissed the top of Beth's blonde head.

In a voice of contentment, Beth cooed, "It's even better than I remember. This has been the perfect night. I love you, E. You are the hero of my heart."

The singer pressed her lips against her lover's. "I'm in heaven here with you."

Beth sat up and smiled at Kat. "Let's go for a swim in the moonlight."

The tall woman stood and reached for Beth's hand. "Come on, darlin'."

The two women stepped into the water to cool off their overheated bodies. Kat held onto her lover and kissed her passionately. Beth moved her hands along the tall woman's slick body. Cravings were ignited once again and Beth straddled Kat, wrapping her legs around the singer's slender waist. The singer walked out of the water, carrying Beth into the tent.

Kat lay her lover on the bed, remaining between her legs. She could feel Beth's clit against her own. The dark haired performer began to grind into her companion. Beth tightened her legs around her partner. Kat moved harder and faster against her lover as their desire and passion grew. The couple climaxed together, crying out their love to the heavens. After, the two women cuddled together, breathing heavily.

Beth smiled. "Can we do that all night long?"

"Yes, we can." Kat kissed her tenderly.

"I love you, Kat. I can't believe you went to all this trouble. Those fireworks were stunning; these flowers are beautiful."

"I want to show you how much you mean to me. I never want to give you a reason to doubt that you are the most important thing in the world to me. I know what a life without you feels like. I never want to feel that again."

Beth softly cradled her lover's cheek. "Neither do I."

The two women began massaging warm skin and continued their reunion until the sun came up the next morning.

Exhausted and happy, Kat held Beth in her arms. "Is this real? Did we just spend the entire night making love?"

Beth ran her fingers along the taut skin of her lover's stomach. "Yes, we did. This is very real. I can barely move. I'm not as young as I once was."

Both women laughed. Kat answered, "Neither am I. I haven't used these muscles in so long. Boy, does it feel good. It's about damn time."

"Tell me about it. So how long can we stay here?"

"We have enough food to last until tomorrow morning. We can always ride back to your house or mine to pick something up. But right now, I need sleep." She waited for Beth to answer, but all she heard was a light snore. Kat grinned and drifted off.

Late in the afternoon, Kat awoke to wet hair on her face. She opened her eyes to find the emerald eyes of her lover staring back at her.

Beth hovered over her, smiling and giggling. "Hey there, sleepy head."

Kat's eyes adjusted to the light. "Hello, you. Did you go for a swim?"


"Why didn't you wake me? What time is it?"

"It's after noon. I spent a long time watching you. You just looked incredibly peaceful and beautiful, and you worked very hard on all of this. I wanted to let you sleep. I felt so good this morning, I thought I'd go for a swim. I don't remember when I've felt this alive. It's all because of you. Thank you." Beth leaned down to place a soft kiss on Kat's lips. Beth's stomach growled, breaking the emotional moment.

Both women laughed as Beth stood up to walk to the cooler; she brought strawberries and grapes back to their bed. Beth selected a ripe, red berry and placed it in Kat's mouth.

"Mmmm. Thank you very much. You spoil me."

Beth popped a couple of grapes into her own mouth. "You deserve it. I had such an amazing night with you." She placed a strawberry between her teeth, offering it to her lover.

Kat brushed her lips against the blonde's as she plucked the fruit from Beth's mouth with her teeth. The singer purred. "Okay, now I really feel spoiled. Please do it as often as you like."

Beth chuckled. She chose another berry and bit off the tip. She took the cool treat and rubbed it on her partner's nipples. The blonde leaned down and licked the juice off her lover. Kat arched into her.

Beth retreated. "Mmmmm.... Tasty."

Kat bit her lower lip. "Don't stop."

Beth smirked and took the berry, painting the singer's body, spreading red juice on hot skin. The blonde followed the sweet trail with her tongue. When she reached Kat's center, she dipped the berry into the warm nectar that flowed freely. She placed the morsel into her mouth. "Ohhh. I like that a lot. I'll have to have some more of that."

Kat only whimpered in response.

Beth leaned in to drink her lover. She lapped at and sucked on the heated folds. The blonde deeply entered her tall lover. Beth's tongue plunged in and out, as Kat loudly moaned. The orgasm crashed over the singer as she grabbed the blonde head between her legs.

Kat pulled Beth into her arms as her breath returned to normal. "You are so incredible."

"What can I say? I'm inspired."

Both women laughed and soon, light, easy kisses became heated again. Kat flipped the blonde onto her back and proceeded to consume her body hungrily. She nibbled, sucked, and licked aroused flesh. The singer feasted on her lover's breasts. She moved down and devoured Beth's hot, wet center. Using three fingers, Kat claimed her lover again, taking her with each thrust. Beth came hard, her body rising uncontrollably to a sitting position. Kat held onto her securely, eventually easing her fingers from her lover. She pulled the blonde close and the two fell into a peaceful sleep. The couple spent the rest of the day making love, swimming, and talking.

The sun rose too early for the women on their last morning together. They were curled tightly around each other. Kat ran her finger along Beth's soft skin. "Good morning, beautiful. How was your night?"

Beth snuggled closer. "It was perfect. I wish we could stay like this forever."

Kat placed a soft kiss on Beth's head. "I wish we could too. I can't imagine a better way to wake up. However, my love, we need to be moving soon. I have to get to the store."

Beth whined, "I don't want you to go anywhere."

Kat chuckled. "But I have to. There's a shipment coming in today and I need to be there to inspect it."

"How am I going to sleep without you?" Beth pouted. "Sleeping alone sucks!"

Kat agreed, "Yes, it does. How about I come over after work tonight and stay over?"

Beth's face lit up with excitement. "I would love that. I don't know how I'm ever going to sleep without you again. Part of me wants to jump and move back in together and part of me is scared that we'd be making a mistake."

"Well, honey, it isn't like we've never lived together. We kind of know what we're getting."

"I know that. But, we aren't the only ones in this family. We have two daughters who would be devastated if we were to get back together and couldn't make it work. We can't hurt them like that."

"You're right. What do you think of a trial reconciliation? We can live together while the girls are gone. But when they come home in a few weeks, I'll go back to my place and we'll continue to see one another until we agree we can live together on a permanent basis. Presley and Scout don't need to know."

Beth nuzzled her softly. "I love it."

There was sadness in the air as the couple left their haven. Beth couldn't wait to have Kat home that night. She spent the afternoon preparing a surprise of her own.

As she walked in the door that evening, Kat was greeted by a very excited Beth. The tall woman set her bags down and wrapped her arms around her lover, lifting her off the ground.

"Hi, honey, I'm home."

Beth claimed her lips fiercely. "Those are the sweetest words I've heard in such a long time. I made you dinner."

"Wow. Thank you, darlin'. You are the sweetest woman ever. I thought about you all day. I missed you."

Beth stole another kiss. "I missed you too. Come, sit down. Dinner's ready."

The smaller woman led her to a candlelit table. Kat brought her lover's hand to her mouth. "This is beautiful."

"Well, it's nothing like what you set up."

Kat captured her lover's lips. "It's perfect."

After sharing a romantic dinner, Kat sat at the piano with Beth by her side. The singer played a soft jazz tune in three-quarter time as her lover laid her head on her shoulder. Her voice was soft and smoky, as if she were playing in a blues club in Memphis.

"Come away with me in the night

Come away with me

And I will write you a song

Come away with me on a bus

Come away where they can't tempt us with their lies

I want to walk with you

On a cloudy day

In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high

So won't you try to come

Come away with me and we'll kiss on a mountaintop

Come away with me

And I'll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain

Falling on a tin roof

While I'm safe there in your arms

So all I ask for you

To come away with me in the night

Come away with me."

Beth began kissing Kat's neck. The singer diverted her attention from the piano to her lover. The women stood and rid themselves of their clothing without breaking contact. Beth reclined on the couch with Kat above, making love to her passionately. The couple rocked against one another at a frantic pace, pushing themselves over the edge into the bliss of their mutual climax. Their cries of pleasure echoed in the empty house.

After, Kat laid her head on Beth's breast and ran her hands along the warm skin. "God, I love you, 'Scilla. Being here with you is a miracle. I prayed and I wished that I could be with you like this again."

"I missed you so much and I have been smiling all day just thinking about you."

Kat kissed her softly and rose to her feet. She held out her hand and led Beth to the bedroom where they continued to express their love long into the night.

Kat and Beth spent the rest of the month falling more and more in love. Beth often dropped by the store to take Kat for a picnic on Town Lake or out to a downtown cafe. They even shared lunch under the tree where they first saw one another on the University of Texas campus. They spent their nights making love and holding one another close. Unfortunately, the month came to an end and it was time for Kat to return to her own home.

Beth sat on the bed and sadly watched Kat place her belongings in her suitcase. "I hate that you're leaving, Kat."

Kat smiled. "Me too. But, we're doing the right thing. Aren't we?"

Beth held out one of Kat's shirts. "I think so. I'm not sure anymore. I do know that I dread my first night without you."

Kat walked over to her lover. Beth wrapped her arms around the tall woman, laying her head against the firm stomach. Kat held her gently. "Me too, 'Scilla. It's not forever and we have to be sure for the girls' sakes."

Beth sighed. "Yes, we do."

Kat lowered herself onto her knees, looking into green eyes. "Hey, we still have tonight."

With that, the couple made love slowly, making the most of their limited time.

Chapter 3-I'll Be

In the mountains of Tennessee, Kat, Beth, and Scout sat in an audience of parents on the last night of Presley's music camp. Kat held Beth's hand securely as an expression of pride spread across each of their faces while watching their older daughter play the guitar with a bluegrass quartet. Presley played confidently and had a strong presence on stage. Tears of joy ran down the blonde's face as her daughter sang into the microphone. After all the performances, the family met Presley backstage. Several musicians and parents excitedly greeted the famous performer.

Kat presented her daughter with a large bouquet of roses and hugged the girl tightly. "That's my girl! You played beautifully. We've missed you so much, sweetheart."

Beth wrapped her arms around her teenage daughter. "You were wonderful. I am very proud of you. I think you've grown at least a couple inches since you've been here. "

Even Scout had a big squeeze for her sister. "Hey, butthead, I missed ya. You weren't too bad."

"Thanks, scumbag," Presley responded. "I kinda missed you too. Did you have fun at writing camp?"

"Yeah, I did."

At the reception for parents and campers, Kat stood back and watched her daughter bask in the praise and accolades of the other musicians and audience members. Presley gracefully thanked all the people who came up to her to tell her what a great performance she gave. The singer watched her daughter with pride. She saw so much of herself in the girl. Watching her, Kat realized that this was exactly what Presley was meant to do. Her thoughts were interrupted when a teenage boy walked up to Presley. The young woman's face lit up when she saw him.

"Mom, Mother, this is Jimmy Ray Walker. He's from Kentucky and plays the fiddle and the bass. He was in my group."

Beth offered her hand and a smile. "It's nice to meet you. Jimmy. I'm Beth Green and this is Presley's other mom, Kat Green."

The boy's eyes widened as he looked at Kat. "I know who you are, ma'am. My mama thinks you're the greatest. She's got all your CD's."

Kat grinned and shook the boy's hand. "Well, thank you, Jimmy. You're quite a fine musician yourself. You have excellent technique and a bright future ahead of you."

"Thank you very much, ma'am. Presley here is the best. Everyone wanted to be in her group."

The singer's chest swelled with pride. "Well, thank you. I take that as a supreme compliment since I taught her."

The boy turned to Presley. "Would you come meet Mama?"

Presley smiled and nodded, then turned to her mothers. "I'll see y'all later."

Jimmy asked Kat, "Ma'am, would you mind if I brought my mama to come meet you?"

"I wouldn't mind at all. I'd be happy to meet her."

Presley walked on air as her family left her on the last night at the camp. After being in her mother's shadow all her life, it was nice to have a bit of stardom for herself. She could barely move through the compound without someone stopping to congratulate her on her performance. But, Presley was able to sneak away with Jimmy Ray long enough to experience her first kiss. The teenager was so excited, she could hardly sleep.

The next day, the family arrived at the camp to pick up Presley. The other campers were leaving with their parents as well. Kat grabbed her daughter's bags to put in the rental car.

With a shy grin, Jimmy came up to Presley. "I just wanted to come say goodbye. It was real nice gettin' to know you."

Presley took his hand and looked at her family. "Y'all go on and I'll catch up to you."

Kat smiled innocently and countered, "That's okay. We can wait right here. Take your time."

Beth glared at Kat, then turned to the teenager. "We'll be in the car whenever you're ready, sweetie." She turned her attention back to her lover. "Come on dear; let's give them a little privacy."

Kat attempted to argue, but was led toward the car by her smaller partner. The singer glared back at her. "Why did you do that?" She turned around to see her daughter and the boy share a goodbye kiss. "They're kissing. She shouldn't be doing that. She's too young. What does she know about this boy anyway?"

Beth could barely hide her grin. "Now honey, didn't you have any camp romances when you were her age? He seemed like a very nice young man."

Kat became indignant. "Yeah, well..... She's too damn young. What if he's just getting involved with her because of who her mother is? She doesn't need a boyfriend."

Beth shook her head as the family sat in the car and waited for Presley. "Kat, you just need to relax. She's a teenage girl and is going to be dating soon. She's had little boyfriends before."

"I just don't like it. She has the makings of a first-rate artist. Love or crushes will only distract her. The last thing in the world a rising musician of her caliber needs is to get all crazy over someone and become distracted from her music."

Beth turned to her. "Oh, so does that make me a distraction?"

Kat swallowed and tried to quickly think of something sweet. "Of course not, honey, you are the exception and I think I'll shut up now."

Beth smirked. "That's very wise of you. I know you're concerned about her, but she'll be fine. You have to let her grow up at some point."

Kat leaned forward, laying her head on her arms crossed over the steering wheel. "I don't want to. Can't we just lock her in her room until she's thirty? I don't want either of my girls to grow up."

Presley got in the car and Scout began to tease her. "Presley and Jimmy sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s..."

Kat and the teenager both interrupted her. "Knock it off, Scout!!"

Once the family was back in Austin, Kat returned to her own house as Beth and the girls prepared for school to start again. The family had dinner together every night and every night Kat went home frustrated. Beth didn't want to send their daughters the wrong message. Both women had become accustomed to sleeping together and had difficulty when they slept apart.

After two weeks of sleeping alone, Kat sat up in bed after another restless night. "Shit! I've had enough of this. This is absolutely ridiculous. I love her and she loves me and that's it. I'm not spending another night without her." She stormed out of bed and began pacing around the room. Finally, she came up with a plan to reunite her family under one roof. She called Lainie to enlist the band's help. Lainie assured the excited singer that the group would be more than willing to help out.

Later that morning at the store, Kat pulled her daughters into her office. "Girls, I need to talk to you. I love your mother with everything I am and I want us to live together again as a family. I'm tired of being away from y'all. I'm going to ask your mother if I can move in. I'm planning sort of a second wedding. I need your help though. Today, I am going to call your mom and have her come pick you up. I'll tell her that I have some things to do and that I can't come over this evening. I want you to get her wedding ring. Do you know where she keeps it?"

Presley nodded. "Yeah. She keeps it in her jewelry box."

"Good. I want you to get that ring by seven o'clock. Scout, ask your mother to help you with a story or poem or something. You know how much she loves that stuff. When she's busy with you, Presley will sneak into her room and get the ring. When you have the ring, Presley, I want you to call me. Around nine or so, I will set up my band outside your mother's bedroom balcony. While I'm doing that, I'll call you on your private phone. Presley, you can bring the ring outside. After you give me the ring, I want you to go back inside and get your mother to her balcony. I'll place a ladder against the rail. I'm going to serenade her, climb up the ladder, give her a rose, and put her wedding ring back on her finger. Then, when she and I go inside, you girls go back in and leave us alone for the rest of the night." Kat grinned at her kids.

Scout hugged her mother tightly. "We're gonna live in one house again?"

Kat squeezed her daughter. "If your mom says 'yes'. "

Presley was excited. "We'll help. I can't wait."

"Neither can I. I have some things to arrange and I'm having dinner with your grandfather."

The teenager asked, "He doesn't like you very much, does he? He doesn't say anything bad, but he makes a face when someone talks about you."

The singer answered her daughter, "Your grandfather loves the two of you and your mother very much. He's being protective, just as I am with you. You both know I did things that were wrong and hurt your mother and you girls. He is angry with me because of it. I need to ask for his forgiveness. I would be the same way with anyone who hurt you. Before I live with y'all again, I have to make amends. I don't want any bad feelings in this family. It's part of taking responsibility for my actions. So, can you two keep the secret from your mother?"

Both girls nodded enthusiastically.

Her daughters went back to work and Kat telephoned Beth. "Hi honey. Can you do me a favor and pick up the girls around five? Some things have come up and I have a dinner meeting tonight with a local artist who wants me to produce a CD for him. I won't be at dinner tonight."

Disappointed, Beth said, "That's not a problem. Will I see you at all tonight?"

Kat tried to keep from giggling. "I'm not sure. I might not be in until late."

"I will probably be up late writing. If you see a light on, stop by."

"I may do that. I'll see you later when you pick up the girls."

"I'll be there. I love you, Kat. I miss you. I don't sleep well without you."

"I love you too, darlin'. I haven't been sleeping well either and I miss waking up with you. Have a good day, baby."

Smiling, Kat hung up the phone. She couldn't wait to see Beth's reaction tonight.

The day went by quickly as Kat began to set her plan into action. She had written a new song and had spent the last music session teaching it to her band. It would be the perfect song to play tonight. The all-woman group was ready.

Kat sat in the Pecan Street Cafe, waiting for her father-in law. She stood and waved at him when he walked into the restaurant. He had a serious look on his face as he sat down at the table.

Kat drew a deep breath. "I appreciate you meeting me, George. I'd like to speak with you."

"Alright, let's be straight with one another. What's on your mind?"

"As you know, Beth and I have been seeing one another again. I love her very much. I always have. I love our daughters as well. They are more important to me than anyone or anything in this world. Tonight, I'm going to ask Beth to allow me to move back in. I don't want any hard feelings in this family. I think it's time for us to make peace. I understand your feelings about me. You love Beth and the girls and I hurt them. You're protective of them and I appreciate that. Beth has forgiven me and I'd like you to forgive me as well. We were friends once; I'd like that again."

Kat's father-in-law looked at her skeptically. "What makes you think you deserve another chance?"

"Maybe I don't. All I know is that I'd give my life for them and I will spend every day devoted to Beth and our daughters. I'll never forgive myself for hurting them."

"Do you have any idea how much you hurt my daughter? When she came back here, the light in her eyes was gone. You killed it. When Beth told us she was gay, I wasn't thrilled about it, but I love her. Then she told us she was in love with a musician. I wasn't happy with that either, but she was happy and you obviously loved one another. We eventually came to know you and welcomed you into the family. You promised me you would be good to her and take care of her. You broke that promise to me like you broke your promises to her. You were like a daughter to us. You hurt us too."

Kat absorbed what George was saying. "I know, and I will never be able to apologize enough. I love you both like my own parents. I miss the time I used to spend with y'all. I've been sober for over a year now. I want to reaffirm my commitment to Beth. I will never hurt her like that again. I want us all to be a family again and that includes you. Please, George, your blessing means so much to me. I won't let you or my family down again."

George considered Kat's words while the singer held her breath in anticipation. "You've always lived up to your financial responsibility to your family. You've always made sure they were secure, and I respect that. You've also maintained your sobriety for over a year, and you deserve a lot of credit for doing so. Beth is happy again. I want to believe in you, and I want to believe that you've changed. Beth and the girls mean the world to me. Quite honestly, you do too. But, their happiness is what is most important. If my daughter can give you another chance, I can too. I will tell you one thing though, and I'm only going to say this once. Jesus will forgive, but a daddy won't forget. If you ever do anything like that to them again, I don't care if you are a woman; I will come after you and make you pay for the rest of your life."

Kat nodded. "I understand and I respect how you feel. To be honest with you, a life without my family is like living a slow death. I will never do anything again to jeopardize my relationships with them."

The older man smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. So, when are we going to play some golf?"

Kat's face brightened up. "How about this Saturday morning?"

The two continued their dinner with friendly conversation. Kat shared her plans with her father-in-law, who seemed genuinely pleased. Afterward, Kat went back to the store to rendezvous with her band. On her way, Kat's phone rang. Presley was reporting on the other end. "The eagle has landed."

Kat laughed. "What?"

"I got the ring."

"Good girl! Does your mom suspect anything?"

"Nope. How did things go with Grandpa?"

"They went very well. I'm picking up a rose and meeting the band at the store. We should be there in a while. I'll call you when I need you to bring the ring out to me."

"Cool. Good luck, Mom."

"Thanks, sweetheart, I love you."

At the store, Kat changed into her black slacks, black shirt, and trouser boots. She grabbed her gold lame` jacket and slipped it on. She admired the fit. 'Not bad. After twenty years, this sucker still fits.' Her band arrived soon after. Once organized, they followed her to Beth's home.

The five women stood outside Beth's window while Kat grabbed a ladder out of her truck and placed it against her wife's balcony. She put her guitar over her shoulder and called her daughters' phone. "I'm out here. Bring me the ring and then get your mom."

Scout answered, "'Kay."

Presley ran outside and gave her mother's ring to Kat. Scout told her mother, excitedly, "Mom, there's something on your balcony. I don't know what it is. You need to take a look. Come on!"

Bewildered, Beth went into her bedroom and heard music coming from outside. She opened the French doors and stepped onto the balcony. Her eyes grew wide with surprise when she saw her lover standing there with a guitar strapped around her body, wearing the same outfit she wore when they married many years before. Kat's band stood just behind her.

The musicians continued to play the introduction of the song. Kat came in with the vocals.

"The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful

Stop me and steal my breath.

Emeralds from mountains thrust towards the sky

Never revealing their depths

Tell me we belong to together.

Dress it up with the trappings of love.

I'll be captivated.

I'll hang from your lips

Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.

I'll be your crying shoulder

I'll be love's suicide

I'll be better when I'm older

I'll be the greatest fan of your life

Rain falls angry on the tin roof

As we lie awake in my bed

You're my survival

You're my living proof

My love is alive and not dead

Tell me we belong together

Dress it up with the trappings of love

I'll be captivated

I'll hang from your lips

Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

I'll be your crying shoulder

I'll be love's suicide

I'll be better when I'm older

I'll be the greatest fan of your life

Well I've dropped out, burned up, fought my way back from the dead

I've tuned in, turned on, remembered the thing that you said

I'll be your crying shoulder

I'll be love's suicide

I'll be better when I'm older

I'll be the greatest fan of your life

The greatest fan of your life."

When the band finished playing, Kat picked up the single red rose that was sitting on the ground beside her. The singer swung the guitar behind her and placed the rose between her teeth. She climbed the steps of the ladder to her lover who waited for her. Kat took the rose from her mouth and handed it to Beth, who pulled the singer onto the balcony.

"You are a crazy, wonderful woman. Look at you. You are beautiful. I love you so much." Beth wrapped her arms tightly around the singer.

Kat stepped out of Beth's arms and got down on one knee. Their daughters and Kat's band mates watched. The singer removed her lover's wedding ring from her pocket and held Beth's left hand. She slipped the wedding band onto Beth's ring finger as tears streamed down the blonde's face.

Kat gazed up into her eyes. "Beth, I don't think I can take another morning of waking up without you. I want to be with you every day and every night. I am nothing if not yours. I want to dedicate myself to being your wife and Presley and Scout's mother. You make me a better person. Your love and grace humble me. I don't want to spend another day without you. I love you, 'Scilla. Wear my ring and be my wife. Let me come home again."

Beth was crying so hard, she couldn't speak. With a big grin on her face, she pulled Kat off her knee. Kat pressed her lips to her wife's, their salty tears mingling. The women clung to one another tightly. Kat's band and daughters applauded the scene. Beth pulled her wife into their bedroom.

The singer pulled out of the embrace and called out. "Bye girls, thanks for your help. I'll see you Tuesday. Presley and Scout, don't stay up too late and don't disturb your mother and me unless someone is bleeding profusely. We'll see you in the morning."

The singer moved back to her wife. The couple held each other tightly. The blonde looked up at her. "I can't believe you did all of this. This is so wonderful, E. I love you so very much. Is this the same outfit you wore at our wedding?"

Kat brushed Beth's face tenderly. "Yup. I was surprised it still fit."

"Let's see if it still comes off the same way."

Beth pulled the gold jacket off her wife. She unbuttoned the black shirt, revealing a soft, black bra. Beth unfastened the black slacks, uncovering black panties. Kat kicked off her boots and pulled her lover's tank top over her head. The singer was rewarded by the sight of soft breasts. Kat removed Beth's shorts and panties. When the clothing was gone, Kat lifted her wife into her arms and placed her gently on the bed. She lowered herself into Beth's embrace.

Beth asked breathlessly, "Where's your wedding ring? Did you bring it?"

Kat nodded and walked over to her pants, taking the gold band out of the pocket. She returned to the bed and held it out for her wife. Beth took the ring and held Kat's left hand.

She slipped the band onto Kat's ring finger. "Tonight, I take you, Kat Green, as my wife. I pledge my loyalty, my love, my life to you. I have loved you for my entire adult life. We've been through so much. But, we're still here, stronger than ever. I am proud of you. I want to spend the rest of my life loving you, making love with you, taking care of you, and raising our daughters with you. You are my great romantic hero and the only woman I will ever love. I never want to be apart from you again."

Kat wiped the tears from her own eyes. "Thank you."

Kat covered her wife's lips with her own. The singer's kisses moved lower, covering Beth's body. Beth ran her hands through the long, black hair of her partner. Kat settled between her lover's legs. She entwined her long fingers with the blonde's smaller ones.

Beth whispered hotly into her wife's ear. "I want you. I need you now."

Warmth flooded Kat's body. The performer kissed Beth passionately.

Beth moaned. "I need you to fill me. I need more than just your fingers. Take me, Kat."

The singer nodded, stood, and walked over to the dresser. She opened the top drawer and pulled out the dildo and harness that they had recently picked out together. Kat strapped the apparatus in place and returned to her wife.

"Is this what you want, 'Scilla?"

Beth touched her lover's face. "Yes."

Kat entered her lover with just the tip.

Beth gasped and arched into the touch. Kat slowly moved deeper, pumping her hips, back and forth, moving in and out. Beth moaned at the contact. "More, Kat. Deeper."

The singer thrust her hips harder and faster. Beth wrapped her legs around Kat. She clawed at the tall woman, needing all of her. The two women rocked against one another at a steady pace, grunting and groaning. Pleasure exploded through Beth's body as she tensed and grabbed Kat, digging her nails into her lover's back side. The singer cried out in both pleasure and pain. Kat felt her wife's release and began to slow down.

Beth pleaded, "I'm not done yet. Don't stop. Keep going."

Kat resumed her rhythm and pumped into Beth, moving in and out. The singer moved her lips to her lover's breast. She sucked on them greedily, alternating from one to the other, driving her lover insane with desire. Kat raised up, arching her neck and back as the orgasm claimed her. Her wife's climax sent Beth over the edge as well. Both women cried out and clutched one another.

Kat collapsed in exhaustion. "Oh wow! That was amazing!"

Beth panted, "Yes, it was. I love you, Kat Green."

Kat pulled her lover into her arms. "And I love you, Elizabeth Green."

The couple lay together, satisfied and utterly content. A faint smile adorned both their faces. After several minutes, Kat turned to her wife. "So, when can I move my stuff in?"

"Whenever I decide to let you out of this bed."

Both women giggled. "Can I bring my Elvis memorabilia?"

"We'll see."

Kat kissed her wife softly. "I can be very persuasive." She wiggled her eyebrows playfully.

Beth grinned. "I just bet you can."

The couple fell into a blissful sleep in one another's arms.

The next morning, Beth heard a soft knock on her bedroom door. She looked at her wife sleeping peacefully next to her. She kissed Kat's cheek and slipped some clothes on. The teacher opened the door and found two smiling faces looking back at her.

Presley and Scout stood at the door excitedly, holding a tray of food.

"We made breakfast for y'all," Presley announced proudly.

Beth kissed her girls on their heads and took the offering. "Thank you very much. You two are so sweet for doing this. Your mom is still asleep, but we'll be down in a little while. I love you both."

Scout was excited. "Is she moving back in?"

Beth nodded, "Yes. We're going to get her things later today.

The little girl beamed. "I'm so glad. I want her to be with us all the time."

Beth spoke gently to her daughter, "Me too, little one. Me too."

Chapter 4-That Friend of Mine

Two Years Later

Kat and the Tuesday Night Music Club stood on the stage on a hot Saturday in June, playing for a large crowd of people at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Presley stood next to her, playing the mandolin and singing harmony with the group of women. Beth and Scout sat on a blanket on the grass in front, proudly watching their girls on the stage. In her arms, Beth held a baby boy with coal black hair and large brown eyes. Their son was just over a year old. Beth tickled the toddler in overalls and a baseball cap. Kat nearly broke out in laughter more than once during her set as she watched her gleeful little boy from the stage. Six months prior, the couple had adopted from an orphanage in Russia. Being the lone man in a house full of women, the little angel quickly became spoiled.

After singing several songs, Kat introduced her band members. "Thank y'all for coming out to the festival. I'd like to introduce my band. This is the Tuesday Night Music Club. On the fiddle, we have Natalie. Playing the guitars, are Lainie, Rebecca, and Sarah. It is a special pleasure to introduce our mandolin player, my lovely daughter, Presley. I'm Kat and we've got some great music for you here at the festival this weekend. Hang loose and enjoy this beautiful weather. Our next performer is my good friend, and guitar man extraordinaire from Austin, Ian Moore. It's been great playing for y'all and we'll see you again tomorrow."

The group walked off the stage. Kat was busy signing autographs when she heard a familiar voice behind her.

"Kat, could you autograph my hat?"

The singer turned around and her face lit up when she saw John, her former manager. "Hey there, brother." The friends embraced heartily.

"Hey, Kat, it's good to see you."

The singer pulled back. "It's great to see you too."

"You sound and look incredible. I can't believe Presley is so grown up."

Kat shook her head. "Tell me about it. See this gray hair? She's dating and driving now and I hate it. It's making my hair turn this awful color. I make Beth nuts."

"How is Beth?"

As if on cue, Beth walked around the corner with a very excited little boy, toddling as fast as he could. Kat turned toward them, beaming. "There they are."

Kat walked over and lifted the baby into her arms. The mother and son giggled together as Kat tickled him. "How's Mama's boy? Are you Mama's boy? Yes you are. Yes you are."

Beth shook her head, cherishing the sight of the two of them. "Thank you. He wanted to come see you. He's quite attached to you, you know."

Kat grinned and kissed her wife on the cheek. "Hi, darlin'." The little boy played with his mother's shoulder-length hair.

Beth turned to their old friend. "John, what a wonderful surprise! It's good to see you."

The petite blonde wrapped her arms around the giant teddy bear of a man.

"It's good to see you too, Beth. I've missed you both. Who's this little one?"

"This is Steven James Green. We adopted him about six months ago."

John cooed at the toddler in Kat's arms. "He's beautiful. Let me guess, you named him after James Taylor and Stevie Ray Vaughn."

Both women laughed. Kat replied, "That's right. Do you know me or what?"

The man inquired, "How's little Scout?"

Beth answered, "She's wonderful, absolutely beautiful. But she's not so little anymore. She's almost a teenager and getting more grown up every day. Thank God she takes after me and is much easier to deal with. She's off with some friends of hers that she met here." Beth turned to Kat. "Honey, would you mind taking Stevie for a bit? I'd like to check out some of the new vendors. It's hard to shop when he's squirming."

"Of course not. We can trade. You can take my banjo and I'll take the munchkin. Oh, and honey, if you're going to sit in the front, don't tickle the baby. It's incredibly distracting. I nearly laughed in the middle of my songs."

Beth bit her lip. "Oops, sorry hon. Thank you for taking him." She turned to John. "It was so good to see you. Why don't you come hang out with us in the tent village today. I hope you don't have to run. We'd like to catch up."

The manager smiled. "I'll be there."

Beth placed a soft kiss on her baby's cheek and then on Kat's cheek and walked away. The baby waved and said, "Bye, bye."

John asked Kat, "So, why did you adopt another child?"

Kat gave her little man a squeeze. "Beth and I got back together. The girls are so much older now. I think we both really missed having a baby in the house. We wanted a third child for a long time but we never did because of my schedule and my problems. We worked out those issues and that missing piece was more evident to both of us. We were concerned about Beth having a baby at her age. It could be safe, but the risk for complications is a lot greater. I didn't want to take any chances. We talked about adoption for a few months. Lainie and her partner were beginning their adoption paperwork and she was showing me the pamphlets and videos. It just felt right. Everything seemed to come together like it was meant to be. We decided to adopt a baby too."

Almost on cue, Stevie started playing a game of putting his hands in Kat's mouth to see if she would bite it. Kat played along and bit his hand lightly when he stuck it in her mouth. John laughed at the exchange.

Kat continued, "Anyhow, we went to Russia with Lainie and her partner and I saw this little guy in a crib. There was just something about him. He reached out to me, literally. Beth and I both fell in love with him. We were there a month until we could get all the processing done. It was easier doing this when I was twenty-eight, but I wouldn't give up my little man for anything in the world. Plus, I always wondered what it would be like to raise a son. You should see the girls; they fuss over him so much. They adore him as well."

The little boy pulled his mother's hair. Kat grimaced and untangled the small fist. "Although, I think I might get my hair cut."

Both laughed. "That's wonderful. I don't think I ever expected to see you quite so content and happy with this low-key life. Don't you miss being in the spotlight?"

Kat held her son securely. "Let me see, hmmmm. Do I miss thousands of people screaming my name, having my every desire met instantly, the gold records, the fun times with the band, and the ungodly sums of money? No, I honestly don't. When I'm up to my elbows in baby food or vomit, or God only knows what else, I think to myself there is no place I'd rather be. I'm financially set for the rest of my life, I play music all the time, and most importantly, I get to wake up with my family every morning. I am there for everything that happens. I'm able to tuck him in and sing him to sleep every night. I wouldn't miss this for the world."

John inquired, "So, I take it you're still sober?"

"On the wagon for three years now. "

"No slip-ups? No binges?"

Kat shook her head. "Aww, hell no. Just call me Johnny Cash. I walk the line, brother. I have too much to lose and life couldn't be better. So tell me about you. What's going on with you?"

John grinned. "That is wonderful. I am so proud of you, pal. Kelly and I got married a year and a half ago. I finally popped the question after eight years. We flew to Vegas that same night. We have a baby boy as well who is the greatest thing in the world." He pulled out photos and showed them to the singer. "This is John Waylon Carter."

"He's gorgeous. Luckily, he looks like Kelly. " Kat slapped her old friend on the back. "I'm so happy for you. It's about time you two got married. She's a good woman, especially if she's put up with you for so long." Both friends laughed.

Presley walked up to the old friends and rubbed her little brother's dark hair. "Hey, Mom. Hey, squirt. Hi, Uncle John, I haven't seen you in a long time. It's nice to see you. "

The man smiled as he hugged his honorary niece. "It's good to see you too. You were great up there. You've gotten so grown up and pretty, just like your mothers."

Presley blushed. "Thank you."

Kat turned to her daughter. "Your mother is off shopping, and John and I are going for a walk to catch up. I'll take little Stevie with me. You've got some free time; go have fun. You did a great job, kiddo. Your harmonies were right on."

Her mother's opinion meant nearly everything to the teenager. "Thanks, Mom. I'll be around with some friends. I'll catch you later." Before Kat could say it, she added, "I'll be at the tent by five."

Kat motioned toward her older daughter, who had walked off. "She's begging me to produce a CD for her. I'd rather wait until she turns eighteen, but I remember how I was at that age. So, what brings you all the way down here?" Her son was content to play with the gold chain around her neck, drool on her shirt, and make loud baby sounds.

"As you know, every year the Opry has the homecoming for its birthday in October. They want you to perform this year. It's still some time away, but they want to confirm the lineup so they can begin promoting it."

Kat took a breath. "The Opry. I've missed it. I always felt like I was home when I was on that stage."

"You belong there, Kat."

"I'd love to, but let me talk it over with Beth tonight and I'll give you an answer tomorrow."

"Sounds good."

Kat smiled and looked at her son. "What do you think little one? Would you like to go to the Opry? I'll have to buy you a new cowboy hat to match mine." The little boy laughed as Kat blew raspberries on his neck.

The family spent the rest of the afternoon with their long time friend.

That night, all the musicians and their families sat around a large campfire in the tent village. The musicians and singers played and sang together; music filled up the summer night. Kat and Presley both played their guitars. Beth sat beside Kat, while holding their little sleeping son. He was tired from a big day of play and discovery. Presley and Scout sat on the other side of the singer. Kat began to play a song she had written for Steven as she watched him sleep one night.

"Dragon Tales and the 'Water is Wide'

Pirates sail and lost boys fly

Fish bite moonbeams every night

And I love you

Godspeed little man

Sweet dreams little man

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels' wings

Godspeed, sweet dreams"

Some of the other musicians began to accompany Kat with their fiddles, mandolins and guitars. Presley knew the song well and came in with harmonies. Kat continued to play her guitar and lovingly watched her little boy, asleep in her wife's arms. Beth rocked her body smoothly and kissed the top of the small head. Kat's heart was bursting with love and pride at her wife and children. Soft music rose and floated above the group in the warm summer air.

"The rocket racer's all tuckered out

Superman's in pajamas on the couch

Goodbye moon, we'll find the mouse

And I love you

Godspeed little man

Sweet dreams little man

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels' wings

Godspeed, sweet dreams

God Bless Mommy and match box cars

God bless Mama and thanks for the stars

God hears 'amen' wherever we are

And I love you

Godspeed little man

Sweet dreams little man

Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels' wings

Godspeed, sweet dreams"

In their tent after the festival campfire, Kat curled her body around Beth while their baby slept in his playpen a couple of feet away. "'Scilla, what do you think about me performing for homecoming?"

Beth caressed her wife's arm and turned around slightly. "I think you should do it. The Opry is something special. You aren't going out on the road for months. You'll be away for maybe a week." She touched Kat's face. "Honey, I know how important this is to you."

Kat smiled. "You really don't mind? I was thinking about having Presley perform with me."

"She would absolutely love it."

"I would too, actually. I also thought I might write a song with Scout. We can all take a few days off from school and go together. I want you and Scout and Stevie to be there when Presley and I sing."

Beth gently pressed her lips to Kat's. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."

The following October, Kat stood backstage at the Opry with her band. Kat, Beth and the kids were welcomed by their old friends and fellow performers. Everyone cooed over the new addition to the family. Presley and the rest of the band were nervous. Kat wore black slacks, black t-shirt, a black leather jacket that went just above her knees, and a black cowboy hat. Black boots completed the ensemble.

Beth held their little boy and watched her lover being interviewed live on a national broadcast. She couldn't help admiring Kat's poise and beauty.

"We're here live at the Grand Old Opry with singer Kat Green, who's making her first national appearance in almost three years. Kat, it's good to see you again. You've been gone for so long, what have you been up to?"

Kat grinned charmingly. "Thank you. It feels good to be back. Everyone here feels like family and it's been wonderful seeing everyone this week. I've had the most incredible times here at the Opry. This has always been a special place to me. As for what I'm doing now, I own a music store in Austin, I've been raising my kids, and I produce local artists on my own label, Lone Star Music."

"You have a new band too, don't you? Will we be seeing any new Kat Green music soon?"

"Yes, I do have a new band, the Tuesday Night Music Club. I brought them with me also. I'm looking at recording an acoustic bluegrass CD with them."

"We also heard you have a special guest performing with you tonight."

Kat smiled proudly. "That's right. My daughter, Presley, is performing with me tonight. I'm just so pleased to have her with me. This is her first time to actually sing on stage here and I seriously doubt it will be her last. She spent much of her childhood running around backstage here. She'll play with my band for our first number. For my second number, I'll be doing a brand new song with her that I co-wrote with my younger daughter, Scout."

"I see you have a new addition to your family since we saw you last. Tell us about your little boy."

Kat beamed when talking about her pride and joy. "We adopted our son in Russia almost a year ago. His name is Steven James Green. He's the only man in the house, so he gets lots of attention from his big sisters. This is his first time here at the Opry."

"It's just a family night for you here then?"

Kat looked at her wife. "Yes, it is. I'm very blessed to have such a wonderful and talented family."

Kat noticed Presley waving to her, signaling that it was almost time to perform.

The interviewer smiled. "Looks like you're wanted on stage. Thank you for talking to me. It really is good to see you again."

"Thank you, Kim. It's good to see you as well. You look wonderful."

Kat stood offstage while her band walked on and prepared to perform. As Presley was about to walk out to plug in her guitar, Kat stopped her.

"How do you feel?"

"Like I'm going to throw up."

Kat chuckled. "You'll be fine. I love you and I'm very proud of you. Enjoy this. Nothing compares to the first time you walk on that stage and sing into those old microphones. Think of all the amazing people who have come before you on this stage. They all felt the way you do right now the first time they played here. This is the greatest gift I will ever give you; this is your destiny, Presley. I know how much you want this. I can see it in your eyes. I had that same hungry look when I was your age. After tonight, if you want, we can start working on your first CD. You're a damn fine player and singer and your songwriting is developing nicely. I'm glad you're with me. You look beautiful and you are so talented, you blow me away. Now go on out there and plug in your guitar and I'll be out as soon as they announce me."

Presley looked at her mother, trying not to cry, "Thanks, Mom, for everything. I'm glad I'm here with you too."

The singer forced herself not to cry, knowing her voice would tighten if she did. "Go on and set up."

Beth walked up to the performer after watching the exchange. "You look beautiful. You're a really great mom, you know that?"

Kat smiled. "Thanks."

The emcee for the night stood in front of the microphone and introduced the singer. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce our next performer. She's been gone for too long and it is so good to have her home. She's one of my favorites and I'm happy to see my old friend tonight. Y'all give a nice warm welcome to Kat Green."

Electricity shot through Kat's body as she walked out onto the stage with her guitar strapped around her body. The audience erupted in cheers and applause. Kat was humbled by the reception. "Thank y'all so much for the warm welcome. It's such a pleasure to be here tonight for the Opry's birthday. I've missed this old place. I'll tell y'all, one of the greatest nights of my life was the night I was inducted as a member here. I've listened to the Opry on the radio on Saturday nights since I was a little girl. This old place is very special to me. For my first song tonight, I'd like to sing a hit from a few years ago, "That's Right, You're Not From Texas".

Kat's band and the Opry house band broke into a western swing. Kat grinned and began to sing.

"You say you're not from Texas

Man as if I couldn't tell

You think you pull your boots on right

And wear your hat so well

So pardon me my laughter

'Cause I sure do understand

Even Moses got excited

When he saw that promised land

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

But Texas wants you anyway

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

But Texas wants you anyway

See I was born and raised in Texas

And it means so much to me

Though my girl comes from down in Georgia

We were up in Tennessee

And as we were driving down the highway

She asked me 'baby what's so great

How come you're always going on

About your Lone Star State'

I said that's right you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

But Texas wants you anyway

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

But Texas wants you anyway"

Beth and Scout watched their family from backstage. Beth held the squirming little boy in her arms. Steven was excited watching his mother and sister. He reached and called out, "Mama, Mama pway."

Beth smiled at her son. "Shhh, little one. Mama will be back in a minute. Listen to Mama sing." The doting mother turned to her daughter. "Your mother and sister look so beautiful and they sound incredible. I can't wait to hear that song you wrote. I wish y'all would have let me hear it before tonight."

Scout smiled and played with her brother. "You'll like it. It's a surprise. We wrote it for you and I was told I would be doing the yuck jobs at the store if I let the cat out of the bag. You'll just have to wait to hear it."

Beth grinned and put her arm around her daughter who was now the same height. "That's sweet, thank you. Now I really can't wait to hear it."

They continued to listen as Kat finished her first song.

"So won't you let me help you mister

Just pull your hat down the way I do."

Kat smiled and adjusted her hat when she sang the words.

"And buy your pants just a little longer

And next time somebody laughs at you

You just tell 'em you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

That's right, you're not from Texas

But Texas wants you anyway

That's right you're not from Texas

That's right you're not from Texas

That's right you're not from Texas

But Texas wants you anyway

Texas wants you anyway."

The audience clapped and cheered as the band walked off the stage. Kat removed her guitar and handed it to one of the stagehands. She picked up the mandolin from the stand and placed the strap over her shoulder.

"Thank you very much. This next song is very special to me. It's a new one that I wrote with my younger daughter, Scout. It's also special because I get to sing it with my older daughter, Presley. I hope you like it."

Presley began to play the slower song on her guitar and her mother joined in, playing lead on the mandolin. Kat looked offstage and winked at her wife and daughter.

"That friend of mine wears an old work shirt

For a long, long time she has blessed this earth

With a smile that shines even when she hurts

Oh, how I love that friend of mine.

That friend of mine gave her heart to me

Oh how sweet and kind oh the truth can be

With God's ties that bind us as family

Oh how I love that friend of mine"

Presley joined her mother with the harmonies.

"She's an angel

She's the answer

The sweetest piece of heaven in my eyes

She's drawn to me like gravity

I'd lay down and die for that friend of mine

She's an angel

She's the answer

The sweetest piece of heaven in my eyes

She's drawn to me like gravity

I'd lay down and die for that friend of mine

I'd lay down and die for that friend of mine

That friend of mine wears an old work shirt."

The song ended and the audience applauded loudly, showing their appreciation. Kat beamed at her older daughter with pride as Beth hugged their younger daughter and cried tears of joy.

Kat placed her arm around Presley as they walked offstage. "Good job, sweetheart. You were the ultimate professional. I love you. We'll start working on the CD whenever you're ready."

The teenager grinned. "Thanks, Mom. I love you too."

The toddler was excited to see his mama and came running into her arms. The singer picked up her son and cradled him close to her while Beth wrapped her arms around her older daughter.

Kat kissed her son on the nose. "Hey there, little man. Did you like my singing?"

"Mama sing good."

"I'm glad you liked it, sweet boy."

She handed her mandolin to Scout and placed a soft kiss on her head. "Well done, Scout. You did a wonderful job with those lyrics. I'm proud of you, darlin'."

The singer held Beth gently with their son between them. Kat tenderly lifted her wife's face and kissed her softly as the next performers brushed past them.

Beth peered into her lover's eyes. "That was the most beautiful song I've ever heard. Thank you."

Kat smiled at her partner. "I'll love you forever, 'Scilla."

The baby broke the serious mood by taking Kat's hat and placing it on his own head. "'Tevie sing too."

The couple laughed and poured their affection onto the rambunctious toddler in their arms.

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