Explanation of Badfic:

It's intentional, folks. The goal is to make it as cliché-ridden, in a humorous way, as I possibly can. It's not meant as a slight at bards or their stories, 'cause without them, this never would have been written.


All together now: "Stacia the needy, she's not greedy, posts her stuff in cyberspace, signs it with a smiley face, some of it is funny, but none makes any money, she's Stacia, Stacia the needy." That's just my way of saying I'm not trying to profit from characters that I've based on the copyrighted property of MCA, Universal, RenPic, or whoever it is that owns 'em these days.

Violence: Huh?

Language: English, mostly. They're adults and they use naughty words.

Sex: Yes, please. What? Oh. Yeah, they're together. Very together. If this offends you or is illegal where you are, I'm sorry. Please click the little X in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

Thanks to Faithful (even though she blushed too much to be of much help as a beta), Kam, SX, and the entire Ex-Guards mailing list for putting up with this truly awful piece of prose.

Feedback is most happily accepted at stacia_seaman@hotmail.com




by Stacia Seaman


I flicked my honey-blond locks over my toned shoulder and hopped on the Stairmaster. That's when she came into the gym. She was six feet tall, with an incredible body and the bluest eyes I'd ever seen.

She looked at me and time stopped. Well, except for the Stairmaster. That kept going.

She crossed the room and stopped in front of me. "Hello, I'm Marina. But of course you already know that because you've been fantasizing about me for weeks."

I blushed.

"Let me know if you ever want to act out one of those fantasies." With that, she turned and walked away.

I made a mental note to buy some batteries on the way home. Tonight was definitely not a night to be without my toys.

My best friend Stephanie, a perfectly built amazon with caramel eyes and corkscrew curls, looked at me from her perch on the ExerCycle. She's been in love with me for years, but understands that she's not The One and always allows me to cry on her shoulder over yet another failed relationship while encouraging me in my continuing search for my one true soulmate.

The last five minutes of my Stairmaster workout passed in silence. I jumped off, grabbed my towel and bottled water, and walked back to the locker room.

"She's bad news, you know."

I sighed and turned around. "I know, Steph, but when I looked in her eyes I felt like I'd known her forever."

"I just don't want to see you get hurt again, Becca." She put an arm around my shoulders. "Promise me you'll be careful."

"Of course." I gave her a quick hug, then headed for the shower.


I awoke the next morning in a grumpy mood. Despite a good twenty minutes in fantasyland before I fell asleep, I'd still dreamed of black hair, blue eyes, a sword, a meadow, and a palomino. Definitely an interesting combination; probably just as well, I mused, that I didn't remember the specifics.

I staggered into my kitchen, put some water on to boil and tossed a bagel into the toaster oven, the only reminder I had of my first girlfriend.

"No, really, take it. I want you to have it," she'd said. "I already have three at home."

The whistling of the teakettle cut into my thoughts. I finished preparing my breakfast and moved into the den. After popping an Indigo Girls CD into the stereo, I turned on the computer and munched on my bagel as I waited for it to boot up.

Five minutes later I was online. I groaned when I saw my inbox - 136 new messages. Scrolling down, I saw that most of them were from a TV show discussion group mailing list that I subscribe to. "Probably people grumbling about the writers again," I said to myself, highlighting and deleting them.

*Ah. 24 new messages. That I can deal with.* The first was from my agent. I'm a freelance travel writer, which means that I travel all around the world, write stories about the places I've been, and then sell them to magazines. It's a great life because I'm usually either on a trip or writing. When I'm between stories I spend most of my time in the gym or in bars with my friends.

Now, you're probably wondering how a 25-year-old landed a gig like this.

Did I mention that I'm independently wealthy?

Well, I am, but you wouldn't know it to look at me. I'm usually in faded jeans and crop tops, I drive a bright green Honda Del Sol, and I live in a basement apartment near Dupont Circle. Hardly the country club image my parents so desperately want me to project.

It's their own fault, really. After graduation they encouraged me to spend a summer in Europe -- London, Paris, Rome. They were horrified when the postcards arrived from Budapest, Zagreb, and Tirana.

"Rebecca," my mother had wailed during one of my rare phone calls home. "I read in Newsweek that there are prostitutes working right out of the Inter-Continental Hotel."

I've had the travel bug ever since, spending most of the last five years tramping around third world countries with a walking stick and battered Jansport knapsack containing only a threadbare towel, guidebook, travel diary, and bottled water.

Back to my email.

Five--no, six--of the messages were from Julie, my agent--one congratulating me on the publication of a piece on the Pacific Northwest, two updating me on the status of my trekking Nepal travel diary ("I insisted on color pictures, darling, and the proofs look marvelous"), one gushing over the "Cycling Ireland" article I sent her last night, and, finally, two asking about my next project.

"But I just got home," I whined, stretching my arms over my head. I closed her message, not wanting to think about leaving again just yet.

Five minutes later my inbox was empty and my trash folder was full of urban legends (my favorite was the guy in New Jersey who discovered that his Taco Bell chalupa was full of ground-up lemur meat), top 10 lists--none of which contained a six--and virus alerts, both real and fake. Ten people had forwarded messages to me and not one had bothered to include so much as a "how are you."

Feeling a little grumpy and full of excess energy, I shut down the computer and went back into my bedroom to change. Fifteen minutes later I was on my way to a cardio-kickboxing class.


Ah, another perfect spring day in the nation's capital. As I trotted out of the gym, the cool breeze on the back of my still-sweaty neck made me shiver. I was rummaging in my backpack, looking for a t-shirt, when I ran into a wall.

The six-foot, black-haired, blue-eyed wall of Marina's perfectly toned female body. Covered only by a black sports bra and black leggings. With her hands resting firmly on my hips, where she'd put them to keep me from toppling over when we'd collided.

For the first time in my life -- no, really -- I was unable to speak.

She raised an amused eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest, emphasizing her cleavage. "We meet again."

"Huh?" I forced my eyes upward and found myself drowning in her crystal-blue gaze.

Her lips curved into a feral grin and, taking a step back, she looked me over from top to bottom and back again.

I had closed my eyes during her examination and now I shuddered involuntarily at the sudden warmth of her breath against my cheek.

"You should cover up, you know. Somebody might try to attack you."

When I opened my eyes she was gone. I yanked my t-shirt over my head and practically ran back to my apartment, trying to remember where I'd put Flipper. *Get a grip, Becca, you're using more batteries in your toys than in your walkman these days.*


I sat at my computer, staring into space. A long, hot shower had helped to relieve some of my tension - well, that and Flipper - but I was completely unable to concentrate on planning my next article. I had already decided that this trip would be relaxing. Maybe the beach? Unbidden, an image of Marina in a black tank bathing suit floated into my consciousness.

"Damn her!" I pushed the keyboard away. Truth was, I *had* fantasized about the dark-haired beauty the entire time I was in Ireland (which, as it turns out, is not the brightest idea when you're on a ten-day bicycling trip, but that's beside the point) until I thought I had finally gotten her out of my system. Obviously, I was wrong.

I closed my eyes and leaned back in my chair, replaying her velvety purr in my mind. "Somebody might try to attack you," she said as her hand caressed my right breast, her thumb circling the nipple. I moaned and leaned into--

"Shit!" I stood up and paced the room, running my hands through my hair. This was bad. This was very bad. I was as horny as a 15-year-old-boy who's just found his dad's secret stash of Playboys. This called for serious action.

I hit the speed dial button on my cell phone as I walked back toward my bedroom. "Steph, it's me. I'll meet you at the Big Hunt in half an hour."


We had a nice booth in the middle of the bar with a view of the door and the pool table. Well into my second Midori sour, I found myself admiring the perfectly heart-shaped ass of the woman lining up her shot.

"Take a picture already!" Stephanie was highly amused by my uncharacteristic lewdness. "Jesus, Bec, why don't you just find Marina and ask her out? She's obviously interested."

I hung my head. "She was just teasing me."

"She certainly is." Long curls brushed my shoulder as Steph laughed. "I can't believe you've held out this long."

"That's not what I meant. She must've noticed me looking at her and thought it would be fun to mess with me, that's all." My hands twisted in my lap. "It's not like I'm even in her league."

"You're kidding me, right?"

Biting my lip, I looked over at Stephanie, then slowly shook my head, trying to keep the tears from my eyes.

"Oh, honey." She put a toned arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. "How many times do I have to tell you? You're beautiful, babe."

I sniffled and nestled against her warm torso. "Thanks, Stephie. I needed to hear that."

"Anytime, girlie." She pressed a kiss against my forehead and shifted slightly so that she could wrap both arms around my waist. "Hey, check it out. She's about to take another shot."


The bar was crowded now, full of bodies and voices and smoke. I'd switched to vodka and tonics about an hour ago and was enjoying a warm, mellow buzz. Steph was leaning against the wall with her eyes closed, apparently the victim of food coma.

The remnants of our double order of super-deluxe nachos sat in the middle of the table, adorned with six crumpled napkins, five cocktail straws, three shredded slices of lime and a maraschino cherry stem, neatly tied in a knot. Idly, I wondered if there were any jalapenos left under there.

"Lemme out." Steph slapped my leg as she sat up.

"What's the magic word?"

She gave me her best "don’t go there" look and shoved me again. "C'mon, move. I gotta see a man about a horse."

"All right, all right." I slid slowly out of the seat. As I stood, I felt a rush of cold air. Shivering, I turned around to tell whoever had just walked into the bar to shut the damn door already.

My mouth went dry. It was her. Jesus, how did she know? Who could have told her?

I had an epiphany of sorts at my best friend Heather's slumber party when we were sophomores. We were up late watching bad movies. Really bad movies. The ones that proudly bore the sticker saying "Joe Bob says check it out." One of that night's selections was Chopper Chicks in Zombietown. Watching that movie, I fell in love.

I mean, I knew I dug chicks, but thus far my fantasies had consisted of feeling Heather up in the peach-scented bubbles of my mother's jacuzzi bath. Those disappeared with an audible pop when I heard Rox say, "For the record, I'm the dyke." I was smitten. The engines. The chrome. The leather.

And now here she was. Sweet Jesus, here she was. I watched as she ran a hand through her hair, pushing it back from her face, then shrugged out of her black leather jacket. She wore a tight-fitting ribbed t-shirt that clung to her torso, ending just above the waistband of her button-fly jeans. I ran my eyes down her long legs and only then noticed that the scuffed motorcycle boots were much closer than they had been a moment ago.

My knees gave out and I sat right on Steph, who gave an indignant squawk and shoved me off her lap and directly into Marina.

Her arms closed instinctively around me and I leaned into her, breathing deeply her scent of leather, cinnamon, and... "Baby powder?"

She pulled back slightly, one eyebrow raised. "What?"

I stared at her, surprised, then realized I'd said that last bit aloud. Pushing away, I looked down and rubbed the back of my neck with one hand, trying to come up with something to say.

Before I thought of anything, however, a slender, spandex-clad woman with bleached blonde curls sidled up to Marina and ran a red-lacquered nail up her forearm. "I missed you, baby."

A large hand shot out and grabbed the offending appendage as Marina growled, "Get away from me, Tiffany."

As the women's voices rose, I felt a flush of sudden anger. How dare Marina hit on me when her girlfriend was here? Who the hell did she think she was, anyway? *I mean, sure, she's hot--ok, so she's very hot--and that leather...and that low, sexy voice...Gods, she's gorgeous when she's mad.* I licked my lips. If this lasted too much longer I was gonna get rid of the blonde bimbo myself. I knew I could take her. After all, I was up to the advanced Tae-Bo tape. My hands curled into fists.

This, of course, did not escape Marina's attention. She smirked and said to blondie, her tone dismissive, "Go away." Turning back, she leaned in toward me and purred seductively, "Now where were we?"

I just stared at her, feeling the energy that rolled off her body in waves. A second flush made its way over my skin as I realized what she must be thinking; I had, after all, practically thrown myself at her. I pulled away slightly. I didn't want to, mind you, but....well, I couldn't let her think I was that easy, you know? She hadn't even bought me a drink yet or, now that I thought about it, even said hello. I frowned slightly.

Tiffany looked from Marina to me. "Oh dear, was I interrupting something?" She reminded me for all the world of a kitten who has just learned how sharp its little needlelike claws are.

"Not at all," I managed to get out, then turned and fairly ran toward the ladies' room.

Marina caught up to me by the cigarette machine, grabbing my wrist and spinning me around. "You mind telling me what that was all about?"

"What what was all about?" I pulled my arm free of her firm grip.

We were interrupted by a short, stocky shifty-eyed woman in black jeans and a vest who tapped Marina on the shoulder. Quicker than I thought possible, the dark beauty had pinned the woman against the wall and had one hand around her throat. The poor woman managed to say something--I couldn't hear what it was, but I knew it was bad when I saw the cerulean blue eyes narrow.

Marina released the heavyset woman, shoving her into the wall. She leaned in slightly and, as the trapped woman looked for an avenue of escape, gave vent to her anger. "I am *not* a fucking drug dealer! What the hell is it with you people?" As she stalked off, I ducked into the bathroom and locked myself in a stall.


"Becca! Where the hell have you been?" Stephanie thrust a fresh drink into my hand and pulled me down onto the padded bench of our booth. "I've been looking all over for you."

"Bathroom." I squeezed the lime into my drink, then tossed it carelessly onto the growing pile of debris on the table.

"So?" She leaned forward. "What happened with you and tall, dark and brooding?"

My head fell back against the seat. "I made such a fool of myself," I moaned. "She must think I’m a total psycho."

Stephanie laughed out loud. "News flash. Anyone who used to hang out with Tiffany knows a psycho when she sees one, and you're not it."

I tilted my head slightly. "Thanks, I think."

"How did you make a fool of yourself, anyway?"

"First of all I practically threw myself at her, then I commented on her deodorant, and then when she tried to talk to me, I took off." I groaned and buried my face in my hands. "Please tell me she's gone."

"No can do, babe. She's over by the bar." When I groaned again Steph took pity on me. "Tell ya what. Let's go play some pool. Maybe she won't see you over there."

I sighed, trying to regain my composure. I could handle this. I'd made an ass of myself before, and Goddess knows I probably would again. So I blew my chance with the hottest woman I'd ever seen. No need to dwell on it, right? Besides, that girl with the nice ass was still over by the pool tables and she didn't seem to be with anyone. *I wonder if she likes redheads?*

"All right, Steph, but I gotta warn ya, I'm gonna kick your ass." I stood and held out a hand to help her up.

"Yeah, you and whose army?"

Our friendly banter continued as we pushed our way toward the back of the bar.


"Can I buy you a drink?" The six words I'd been dying to hear all night were delivered not in a dusky contralto but an adorable, almost childlike treble. I turned to look into blue eyes. Not cerulean blue, not crystal blue, or cornflower blue, or even icy blue. Just....blue. I sighed.

"That would be nice. Vodka and tonic." I swirled the plastic cup to mix my now watery drink as Whitney smiled and walked away.

Steph put her elbow on my shoulder and leaned against me. "She's cute."

"Yeah," I said listlessly. "I guess so."

"Great ass."

"Oh yeah." Couldn't argue with that.

"She's definitely interested."

"You think?" I perked up a bit at that because, as I've already told you, my sex life of late has been limited to inanimate--or, rather, battery-animated--objects, and having a real live girl in my bed would be a definite improvement, right?

Then again, now that I thought about it, my sex life had been better over the last couple of months than it had for a long, long time. "Bitch," I muttered. "Even when she's only a figment of my imagination she's better than my ex."

"Table's open," Steph chirped, pulling me out of my thoughts. "Rack or break?"

"Break," I responded automatically.

"Wanna play doubles?" A chill ran down my spine when I heard the low, velvety voice just beside my ear. Or maybe it was because I'd just spilled the last of my drink down the front of my shirt.

"Don't you ever say hello?" I snapped, hoping she wouldn't notice my now-erect nipples straining through the cold, damp fabric of my shirt.

"Hello." She crossed her arms and smirked. "Better?"

Just then Whitney came back with our drinks. "Here you go." She brushed past Marina and perched on the stool beside mine, resting a hand on my thigh. "Friend of yours?" Her nose crinkled as she smiled up at Marina.

Who growled. *My god, did she just bare her teeth?* My pulse started racing.

Whitney gulped audibly, then moved her hand back to her own thigh.

"Hey, Becca, you gonna break or what?" Stephanie was standing at the end of the pool table, hands on hips.

I looked from Marina to Steph and back again.

"You play," Marina ordered Whitney, who jumped off her perch and practically ran to pick up a stick. The brunette then leaned against the vacated stool, crossing her long legs in front of her. She took a sip of her dark beer then, looking me straight in the eye, asked, "Been thinking about me lately?"

It was straight out of The Jungle Book. You know, the snake with the crazy eyes who sings "Trust In Me" while he hypnotizes his prey? Well, that's exactly what was happening. Looking into those gorgeous blue eyes I was absolutely hypnotized. It’s the only explanation for what happened next.

"I haven't been able to think of anything else," I whispered. "Just you."

Her eyes were an impossibly dark shade of blue as she leaned in and brushed her lips across mine so gently that I might have imagined it. "Come with me."

I simply nodded and took her outstretched hand, following her out of the bar.


We were out on the street in a matter of minutes and I found myself hoping she'd throw me up against the wall--or, better still, her motorcycle--and kiss me senseless.

Instead, she leaned against a parking meter and pulled me between her thighs, cupping my chin in her hand. "Your eyes are the most amazing shade of green," she murmured. "They remind me of..." she paused for a moment, searching for the words, "fresh-cut grass." She smiled for a moment, then added, "Only they don't make my nose run."

I can tell you with complete honesty that no one had ever said that to me before. I almost laughed in her face but then I saw the sincerity in her chlorine-blue eyes. I reached out an unsteady hand to touch her face and, seeing my hesitation, she put her hand over mine and brought it to her soft, warm cheek, still looking into my eyes as I caressed her face.

"You're so beautiful," I said softly, then pulled away my hand and looked down. "But I guess you hear that a lot."

"Yes, I do." She gently tilted my chin up. "But not from anybody I cared about, until now."

I was dreaming. That had to be it. This was not what I'd imagined all those nights. And afternoons. And mornings. What was she saying? Why weren't we kissing yet?

In fact, this was obviously a nightmare, brought on by the combination of guacamole, melon liqueur, and vodka. Here I was, nestled between the legs of the sleek, confident sexual predator that I'd been fantasizing about for months and not only had she not even tried to kiss me, she was actually trying to conduct a sensitive chat!

Hoping to distract her, I licked my lips and leaned forward slightly, then froze when I heard her next words.

"When I looked in your eyes, it was like I'd known you forever."

My breath caught in my throat. In that instant, as I looked at her, the world shrank to include only us, blue eyes locked onto green in a bone-deep connection that transcended the boundaries of space and time.

"You feel it too." Her voice was full of wonder.

I nodded, hypnotized anew. "From the first time I saw you."

A brilliant smile lit up her face as she pulled me closer. "Like we were meant to be together."

All right, so maybe this wasn't a nightmare after all. I nuzzled Marina's neck, suddenly desperate to inhale her rich, spicy scent. I felt her pulse against my lips and I sucked there, gently at first but then harder, wanting to mark her even if it was only in my dream.

She moaned and her hands clutched at my back. She moved them up to my shoulders and gently pushed me away. "Let's go."

I looked around. "Where's your bike?"

She frowned. "What bike?"

"You don't have a motorcycle?"

She laughed. "No. What gave you that idea?"

I blushed and, unsure what I should say, mumbled something about her jacket.

She smiled again then, suddenly serious, spoke quietly. "I know you've probably heard things about me." Seeing me nod, she continued. "Some of it's true, but most isn't. I'm not a dealer or a gang member, I don't have any tattoos, and I've never worked for the cops."

I gestured for her to go on.

"I'm not a model, an actress, or a reporter." She glanced at me with a self-deprecating smile. "I own a computer but I have no idea how it works."

I smiled back. "Neither do I."

"I have, however, been with a lot of women." She looked down. "And men."

I jammed my hands into my pockets, waiting for the rest.

"Sometimes I like to play a little rough," she saw my saucered eyes and added quickly, "but only with partners who are willing."

I wanted to raise my hand and jump up and down. Was I ever willing. I squeezed my thighs together, imagining myself in restraints, pushing my body upward against hers in an effort to maximize contact.…

A small whimper escaped my throat.

She looked at me, her surprised expression quickly replaced by a knowing, sexy grin. "I see. You ready to go?"

"Yes," I swallowed. "Please."

"Where do you live?"

"17th and S."

"Let's go then." She pushed off the parking meter and started up Connecticut toward my apartment.

I pinched myself, hard. No, it definitely wasn't a dream. It was the single most intense encounter I'd ever had and we'd hardly even touched. I hurried after her, hoping against hope that I'd remembered to put my toys away.


I didn't say a word the whole way home, mesmerized by Marina's long legs and her loose, easy stride. Now that I was only about 15 minutes away from actually being alone with her, my imagination was working overtime.

I'd seen the lace of her demi-cup bra outlined against her tight t-shirt at the bar. What was she wearing under her 501s? Matching lace panties? A thong? Would silk boxers go with a lace bra? While debating the answer to that last question, I almost walked right past my building.

"It's this one," I said, fumbling in my pocket for the key as I gestured toward the stairs.

I somehow managed to get the door open and we entered my living room. A quick look around reassured me that the place was presentable.

Marina said nothing as she went around the room, looking at the books, CDs, and photos that adorned my bookshelves.

Nervous, I did what I do best: babble. "Would you like a drink? I'm sure I've got something in the fridge. There's water, tea, gatorade…"

"I'm fine." She turned and slowly walked over behind me, then removed her jacket and tossed it over the back of the sofa. Her hands rested on my shoulders, massaging them lightly through my denim jacket. I leaned back into her, my eyes closed, straightening my arms when she pulled the jacket from my body.

Strong arms closed around my shoulders as she nuzzled my hair. Needing to see her, I turned around and rested my hands against her belly, my thumbs rubbing the smooth skin left exposed by her cropped shirt. She picked me up and set me on the back of the sofa. I wrapped my legs around her waist, pulling her close. We stayed that way, holding each other, for several moments.

Finally, she tilted my chin up and gently kissed me.

To this day I don't know what came over me but if I find out I'll pass it along. All I know is that at the first touch of her lips on mine, I needed more. I pushed off the sofa and launched myself into her body, causing her to stagger back as she tried to maintain her balance. I suppose I should have been concerned about her ability to support my weight, but I'd seen her at the gym enough to know that I was safe.

I kissed her hungrily, wrapping my arms around her neck and moaning when she opened her mouth to me. For a beautiful, shining moment it was just her and me and passion and tongues and spit, and then the sudden impact of my back against the wall of my bedroom. *How did we get in here?* She broke the kiss and I whimpered.

"What, are you trying to kill me?" She took a couple of deep breaths. "Jesus."

She was gorgeous. Her hair was wild, her face flushed, her lips bruised. As I looked at her, my ego began a happy dance and high-fived my raging libido, saying "go get her, tiger!" I felt my mouth widen in a goofy grin.

Blue eyes sparkled with gentle laughter. "Calm down, baby. We've got plenty of time." She nuzzled my neck. "And believe me, Becca," kissing her way up my cheek to my ear, "this will last," she nibbled my earlobe, "all night."

I tilted my head back, then shivered when she teased my lower lip, sucking it gently for a moment before pulling back and readjusting my weight in her arms.

"You ready to move this to the bed?" I nodded and she lifted me, carrying me effortlessly across the room and then gently lowering me to the bed.

Kneeling, I put my hands on her hips, lacing my fingers loosely through the belt loops of her jeans, then gave a sharp tug. She tumbled onto me, sprawling us both across the mattress.

Without saying a word, she smoothed my hair back from my face and kissed me, gently at first but with increasing intensity, until we were both moaning.

I was in heaven. Almost. Skin. Needed more skin. I tugged at her shirt and, when she removed it, started on the buttons of her 501s. She kicked off her boots and pants and stood before me like a goddess in her lacy black bra, matching high-cut bikini underwear, and knee-length black socks.

"Ah, shit," she muttered. "Meant to push those off with the jeans."

I lay back on my elbows enjoying the view: firm breasts; smoothly muscled abdomen; dark curls barely visible beneath black lace; long, strong legs.

She knelt beside the bed and, taking my hands in hers, pulled me to a sitting position, then reached for my already-untucked shirt.

I needed no further encouragement. Just like a four-year-old, I lifted my arms in the air so she could more easily remove the garment. While she ogled my breasts, I started on the zipper of my jeans.

"Slow down, Becca."

I gaped at her. Slow down? What the hell was she talking about? This was already way, way slower than it needed to be. I'd be more than happy to put everything back on later so she could undress me as slowly as she liked. Now, however, I wanted to be naked as soon as possible.

She shoved me back onto the mattress and growled playfully. "Stay."

That was more like it.


Marina stood at the end of the bed watching me as I lay there in my sheer peach floral bra, jeans--zipper halfway down revealing matching panties--and cowboy boots. I stayed still for all of 30 seconds before I started squirming under the intensity of her gaze but she stayed motionless, her lips curved in a ghost of a smile.

*What does a girl have to do to get laid around here?* Unable to take it anymore, I raised myself on my elbows and glared at her. "I'm waiting."

She raised an eyebrow. "You gonna be good?"

*You have no idea.* I bit back a smirk and nodded.

"All right then." She knelt beside the bed, took my foot in her hand and pulled off the brown boot, her eyes never leaving mine.

Now, I know this is gonna sound ridiculous, and I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't been there, but there is something incredibly, mindblowingly sexy about lying there half-undressed while a girl in black lace underwear pulls your boots off. Trust me on this. I actually whimpered when she reached for the other foot.

Shoving our footwear aside, Marina rose slightly and put her hands on my thighs, tugging gently at my jeans, which came off easily and pooled at the foot of the bed. She climbed up on the bed and lay on her side, inches from me, her head propped on one arm.

I turned onto my side, admiring the gentle curves of her thigh, hip, waist. When my gaze finally reached her face she was smiling. "Isn't this better?" She trailed a finger down my throat, between my clavicles and into the valley of my breasts.

Oh yes, this was most certainly better. I felt another whimper catch in my throat as goosebumps erupted over my skin. Her hand closed over my breast, cupping it gently. Arching into her touch, I put a hand on her waist, pulling her toward me.

"Please," I whispered. "Please."

She kissed me again, another soft, teasing kiss that promised the world, then reached around to unclasp my bra. As I rolled onto my back, she eased the straps down my arms and tossed the garment aside. Long strands of black hair tickled my chest as she leaned in and took one nipple into her mouth, moaning as she began to suckle. She nibbled and licked her way to the other breast.

Good as this was, and it was awfully damn good, I wanted more. Marina threw one long leg over my hip and lowered herself onto me, eliciting an all-out groan from both of us. I pulled her toward me and kissed her deeply, roughly. When she came up for air, I ducked my head and, pushing the lace aside, sucked hungrily at her breast.

She pushed away and sat up, straddling my hips. "I thought you were gonna be good."

"And I'm not?" No, no cockiness in that statement.

"That's not what I meant." Her voice was low, seductive, distracting me while she grasped my wrists and raised them above my shoulders. "And you know it."

She shifted her weight forward, effectively pinning me to the mattress. I could see the pulse point in her neck and tried to make contact with it but her mouth, throat, and breasts were all just barely out of my reach.

I considered struggling, but let's face it, who was I kidding? I was exactly where I wanted to be. Looking into eyes gone dark with passion, I knew that she was too. I relaxed my arms.

"That's better." She kissed me lightly on the mouth, then moved down to lavish attention on my breasts, squeezing and kneading and suckling. Her tongue flicked an erect nipple and, feeling my hips jerk, Marina repeated the action on the other breast. My hips took up a gentle rhythm as she continued her ministrations.

My hands tangled in Marina's inky hair and I breathed in the scent of leather, cinnamon and our combined arousal. "God, you feel good."

She looked up at me and I nearly came right then and there. I was still trying to catch my breath when she resumed her journey downward, kissing and licking her way down my torso.

When she reached the band of my panties she sat up, gently caressing my torso. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

It took a minute for the question to penetrate the haze of my arousal. "You're kidding me, right?"

"I just...I don't want to rush into anything."

Bit late for that, I mused, seeing as how we're both in our panties. I looked into blue eyes that were clouded with confusion. "What's going on, Marina?" I turned around on the bed, pulling my legs up toward my body.

"I--I've never felt this way about anybody, Becca," she confessed, looking down at her hands. "I think I love you."

Biting the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing, I managed to wrestle Keith and the Partridge siblings back into the deep recesses of my mind.

*Oh, man, we definitely need to talk.* The gravity of the situation asserted itself. With a deep sigh, I stood and went to the closet, retrieving my favorite ratty baby-blue terrycloth robe. "Want a t-shirt or something?"

She shook her head. "No thanks."

Apparently she had no modesty whatsoever. This is not something that I would normally complain about, but given the situation, it was...distracting. Closing my eyes, I tried to focus on the matter at hand.


I sighed again and tried to regain some composure. "I'm gonna make myself some tea. Would you like some?" She nodded and followed me down the hall.

Marina gave a small gasp we entered the kitchen, prompting me to look quickly around the room. "What is it?"

"Where did you get all this?" she asked, wide-eyed, gesturing at the contents of the counter and the glass-paneled cabinets. Walking over to the stove, she trailed a hand over the cast-iron dutch oven that sat on one of the burners, caressing its porcelain finish. "Are you a chef?"

"No," I said slowly, watching as she padded around my kitchen in her black lace panties, pulling a Wusthof knife from its wooden block and testing the sharpness of the blade against her thumb. "No, I'm not."

"You must cook a lot, though." After replacing the knife, she fiddled with the steamer on the espresso maker. "Right?" She turned to face me.

I looked down at my feet. "Um..." Truth is, I don't, at least not if I can help it. You'd never know to see my kitchen, though, which is stocked with the best cookware money can buy.

Marina pulled a turkey baster out of a plastic canister and raised one eyebrow.

I spun around and grabbed the silver teakettle, filled it and clicked on the burner. "Tea's in there," I gestured toward the cabinet nearest the refrigerator. "Why don’t you pick something?"

Satisfied that the teamaking, at least, was under control, I headed into the living room to put on some music, unable to deal with the nearly deafening silence in the kitchen.


I settled onto a wooden chair, resting my cup of lemongrass tea on the table, trying to make sense of the events of the past two hours. *First she comes on like gangbusters, then she tries to tell me that even though we hardly know each other, this isn't just casual sex, then she practically ties me to the bed, and now--having left me high and dry--she's asking about my kitchen appliances as though nothing's wrong.* I knew I should say something but seeing her leaning against my counter in her panties, long legs crossed at the ankle, hands wrapped around an earthenware mug, rendered me speechless.

She looked up at me when I tucked one leg under my body. "Good tea."

I nodded.

"I guess I probably owe you an apology," she offered, with a low chuckle and a sheepish expression. Pushing away from the counter, she began to pace the length of the kitchen. In a low, intense voice, she continued, "I don't know what's going on. I've been thinking about you, dreaming about you. Well, not you exactly," she ran a hand through her dark hair, "unless you have a pea-green sports bra?"

I shook my head.

"Didn't think so. Anyway, I tried to ignore it until I saw you the other day at the gym. When your eyes met mine, I finally understood." She stopped pacing, standing directly in front of me. "You're a part of me." She knelt. "You're my other half."

I choked on my tea, usually a bad thing, but now provided a wonderful reason for me not to respond to her statement. She jumped back to avoid being sprayed, setting her breasts in motion, and once again I inhaled hot liquid. As I coughed and sputtered, I wondered whether anyone, even someone as hot as this woman, was worth what I'd been put through all day.

Once she was convinced that I was all right, Marina walked back over to the knife block and pulled out my slightly dull fillet knife and sharpening steel. Settling herself against the counter, she began to hone the blade with slow, easy strokes.

After a few moments, she began to speak. "Have you ever read Plato's Symposium?" She smirked at my startled look. "Let me guess. You thought I dropped out of school and could barely read?"

Ashamed, I looked into my tea. "Of course not."

She waved a hand. "Whatever. Have you read it?" When I shook my head, she raised an eyebrow. "Really. That's surprising."

My eyes narrowed slightly. "Your point?"

With a chuckle, she continued. "In the story, a group of men get together for a banquet and they start talking about love. One of them, Aristophenes, says that in ancient times all people were round and had four arms and legs. Their heads had two faces, one looking in each direction. They also had two sets of genitals, one male and one female. They tumbled and rolled around and generally had a good time, and the gods were so angry at man's pride and strength that finally Zeus split them all in two. He allowed Apollo to heal everyone by tying their open half shut," she gestured toward her navel, "and then the gods watched as these new half-humans tried to find their mate. I guess he felt sorry for 'em, because at some point he moved their genitals around to the front."

"Why did you say you read this?"

"I was a philosophy major," she said hurriedly, turning to replace the knife and sharpening steel in the wood block.

I felt my eyebrows take off under my bangs.

"What?" she asked defensively.

"Nothing," I replied quickly, my mind racing at the contradictions this woman embodied. I mean, who ever heard of a philosopher wearing leather?

"Anyway, the reason I'm telling you this," walking over to me, she knelt once again and gazed earnestly into my eyes, "is that I think I've found--I think you are--my other half. Now, I know," she hesitated and looked at the floor, "that I'm not exactly the perfect catch. I've done a lot of things that I’m not necessarily proud of. So if you want me to go..."

"What are you talking about?" I was hopelessly confused. Clearly this wasn't just about sex anymore, which in some ways was fine by me, but I wasn't entirely sure what exactly that meant. I'd been fantasizing about Marina since the moment I first saw her, but that was about sex, right? And the dreams.... Well, those weren't Marina's strong arms that held me close while I dozed beside a campfire. They belonged to some other dark-haired, blue-eyed, leather-clad woman. In fact, I reasoned, that blonde, green-eyed woman dozing by the fire wasn't even me. I wouldn't be caught dead in a pea-green sports bra.

"Oh shit," I breathed. "It is you."

Her sapphire orbs radiated pure joy. She whispered, "It's me," just before she kissed me tenderly, but I wanted none of that. I put one hand on the back of her neck and yanked, enjoying the clash of lips, tongues, and teeth as we kissed.

Soon our moans drowned out the Melissa Etheridge CD that I'd popped into the stereo earlier. Several minutes later, Marina lifted me in her powerful arms and once again carried me into the bedroom.


Back in my bedroom, Marina placed me gently on the bed and lay down beside me. She smiled and tugged at the belt of my bathrobe, then quirked an eyebrow.

I stood up and tore the robe off, throwing it onto the floor, and was about to give my panties the same treatment when I remembered her earlier instructions. Instead, I stretched languorously, running my hands down my body, over taut breasts and smoothly muscled abdomen, then lay down once again.

"You are gorgeous," she murmured, leaning in to kiss my neck. "Beautiful." She ran a finger along my jawline. "What did I do to deserve you?"

Goddess, did this woman ever stop talking? I had thought she was the strong silent type, but apparently I was wrong. Very wrong. I wrapped my hands in her thick black hair--determined to shut her up once and for all--when she began nuzzling my neck, mixing her kisses with whispered descriptions of what she planned to do to me for the rest of the night.

Maybe talking wasn't so bad after all. I whimpered and allowed her hair to slip through my fingers as she slowly began to make her way down my body.

Years later, she dipped her tongue into my navel, then kissed the soft skin just below it. "I want to see all of you," she said, dipping a finger under the waistband of my panties. I looked into her eyes, almost prussian blue with arousal, and felt myself nodding. I lifted my hips slightly and she delicately removed my underwear.

"Mmm," she hummed as she kissed the insides of my thighs, her hands running up and down my sides. "Perfect."

I grabbed her wrist and pulled her back up for a searing kiss. Pushing her over onto her side, I caressed her breasts. She moaned and rolled onto her back, pulling me on top of her. "That's it, baby," she said when I took the pebbled flesh of her nipple into my mouth. "Oh, you feel so good."

Obviously not good enough if she was still able to speak in complete sentences. I redoubled my efforts, kneading one breast as I suckled the other. Her breasts were amazing, so soft and round and…. She yelped as I nipped the tender skin, snapping me out of the breast-worshipping haze I'd slipped into.

Marina's wonderful scent of leather and spice changed subtly, picking up earthy, musky undertones, as I explored her body. She continued to murmur encouraging phrases, punctuated with sensual moans, as I kissed her belly and her thighs.

And what thighs they were. Long and strong, with smooth, silky skin. Those thighs were made for sex; the thought of being trapped between them when she reached the height of passion caused me to shiver with anticipation.

I rubbed my cheek against the sensitive skin, smiling when I noticed how thoroughly soaked her panties were. *Time to get rid of those.* I peeled them off her and dropped them on the floor beside the bed, then just sat back and looked at the magnificent body that lay before me.

I had barely enough time to take it all in when she growled and, moving with a leonine grace, flipped me onto my back and pinned me to the bed.

Her hands were everywhere--in my hair, on my breasts, my belly. I could feel the moisture trickling down my thighs and, judging from what she was saying, so could she.

I couldn't remember ever having been so aroused. Just listening to her was taking me right to the edge; I had to do something or I would come before she ever touched me.

"Inside," I grunted.

"You sure?"


I had her down to two-word sentences. This was definitely going well.



I realized my mistake just as she turned to open the top drawer, the one that doubled as my toybox. "No!" I sat up abruptly, jerking my thighs, and lunged for her arm. She pulled it back and that momentum, combined with my sudden motion, carried her right off the bed and onto the hardwood floor of the bedroom.

I peered over the edge of the bed, my relief at the successful diversion mingled with concern for my soon-to-be (or maybe not, at this rate) lover.

"Owww," Marina whined, rubbing her bottom. "Your floor broke my ass."

She looked so adorable that I began to giggle and then, when I tried to stop, snorted.

She got up an all fours. "You laughing at me?"

I shook my head even while I chortled.

Blue eyes narrowed as she climbed up onto the bed. "You think this is funny?"

I tried to calm myself, taking slow, deep breaths, but it was too late. I lost it, dissolving into hysterical laughter, quieting only when she positioned herself over me, looking down with a dangerous glint in her eye.

"Now, Marina," I said nervously. "You wouldn't want to do anything hasty now, would you?"

She pounced.


I awoke just as the sun peeked into my bedroom, its rays illuminating the sable hair on the pillow beside me. In sleep, Marina's face was calm and peaceful, almost like a child's. Snuggling closer, I replayed the events of the night in my mind.

A thousand fantasies hadn't even come close to the reality of being loved by Marina--her strong shoulders against the backs of my thighs, the gentle pressure of her palm on my hip, the silky strands of her hair on my belly, the intensity of her violet-blue gaze--and I'd reached my peak almost instantly, crying out as my body convulsed again and again.


I was alone in my bed when I woke up again. For one aching moment I thought that Marina had left, but then a delicious aroma--eggs and bacon, or maybe ham--wafted in the open door of my room.

Curious, I put on a green silk robe and padded out to the kitchen where I found Marina standing by the stove in her tiny ribbed t-shirt and black panties cooking a frittata.

"Morning," she said cheerily, handing me a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice as I sat down at the table.

"But I...where did..." My sleep- and sex-addled brain was unable to process this latest turn of events.

"Oh," she blushed and turned back to the stove to stir the home-fried potatoes. "Your refrigerator was empty, so I went out and did a little shopping."

This was quickly becoming the best morning after of my entire life.

"Marina, you didn't--"

"I know I didn't." She leaned against the counter and smiled shyly. "I wanted to."

A big old shit-eating grin appeared on my face. I tried to stop it, I really did, but it was there to stay.

"Thank you, Marina," I got up and wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her close.

"Call me Mara." She kissed the top of my head, then gently pushed me away. "This'll be ready in a minute or two. Now scoot."

I sipped my juice and watched as she expertly slid the frittata onto a plate and garnished it with a sprig of mint, a slice of melon, and several blueberries.

"Go ahead and start," she said. "Mine's in the oven, and the tea should be ready."

This was *definitely* the best morning after of my entire life. Better even than the time that redhead in Prague told me where I could find grapes in October.

She sat down across from me and picked up her fork, hesitating when she noticed my untouched plate. "Something wrong?"


"You're not eating. Is something wrong?"

Oh, man, she looked adorable when she was worried. Bit her lower lip and everything. That, of course, triggered memories of another time that I'd seen those teeth on that lip, and I realized that the sooner I finished my breakfast, the sooner I could see her do it again.

Picking up my fork, I dug into the omelet. "Mmmm," I moaned. "Oh, Marina, this is amazing."

A thousand watts of smile lit up the room. "I'm glad you think so," she said, then reached across the table and took one of my hands in hers. "I'd really like it if you called me Mara." When I nodded, she squeezed my hand before letting it go.

We finished eating in silence. While Marina drank her tea, I rinsed the plates and stacked them in the dishwasher. Everything else had already been washed, dried, and put neatly in its place.


She quirked an eyebrow at me over her teacup.

"Sorry. Mara." The smile again. I just knew that I was gonna spend the rest of my life finding things that she liked just to see that smile. Then again, if the previous night was any indication, I wasn't going to have to try very hard.

My question forgotten, I sat on Marina's lap and gently kissed her. "Thanks for breakfast."

"You're most welcome," she said, nuzzling my neck. "Last night was amazing."

I moaned my agreement.

"I mean, I've had sex before--a lot of it, really--but that was...." she leaned her forehead against mine and caught me in a steady gaze. "Thank you, Becca."

Turns out it's really hard to focus on a face at extremely close range. I blinked. "For what?"

"For showing me how to make love."

My lips met hers in a scorching, soul-stealing kiss. That kiss led to another, and then another, and another, until Marina broke away, saying, "If you don’t want to break the teapot, we need to move this into the bedroom."

Laughing, I grabbed her hand and pulled her down the hall.


Marina's gentle stroking of my hair and the warm spring day were putting me to sleep.

"Did you have any plans for this afternoon?" Her voice sounded as lazy as I felt.

"Not really. You?" I turned to look into dancing sky-blue eyes.

"I was planning go to the gym for a while."

"Oh." After what she'd put my body through I wasn't sure I could make it up the stairs, let alone work out. My ego turned around three times, curled up into a little ball, and whimpered.

"Yeah," she said casually as she stretched, then settled me against her chest. "There's this adorable blonde I've been dying to meet."

"Why you little..." She shrieked with laughter when I began tickling her, then took off down the hall with me in hot pursuit.

I finally caught up with her in the bathroom. She was backed up against the counter with no hope of escape. Never taking my eyes off her, I opened the shower curtain and turned on the shower, flicking some of the icy water on her.

"I gotcha now, Mara," I taunted. "You're gonna get wet."

She just laughed and began to hum the theme song from Flipper.

My eyes saucered and I followed her turquoise-blue gaze. Sure enough, there he was, perched on the edge of the tub.

"Oh man." I buried my face in my hands.

"It's ok, Becca," she said, pulling me close. I could hear her laughter rumbling through her chest. "Mine's a beaver."


I sat on the bed watching Marina run a comb through her damp hair. "You are so beautiful."

She sat down behind me and rested her chin on my shoulder. "I'll never get tired of hearing you say that."

After arranging the pillows against the headboard, she leaned back, turning me slightly so that my head was cradled against her shoulder.

I was still trying to get over my amazement that this sleek, sexual creature had such a tender side to her. Snuggling against her so that she wouldn't see my smile, I remembered a snippet of conversation from our shower; holding the container of Sunshine & Flowers moisturizing body wash, she'd said, "Ah, that explains it."

"Explains what?" I'd asked.

"Why you always smell like sunshine."

Her deep contralto pulled me out of my daydream. "I love you, baby."

I tilted my head up for a kiss. "Love you too, Mara."

"You getting hungry again?"

I nodded. "I could eat."

"Chicken sound ok? I thought I could saute it with mushrooms and a wine sauce, maybe some rice pilaf on the side..."

"Uh, Mara?"

"Yeah, baby?"

"You don't have to do this, you know. We can go out and get something."

"Oh." She hesitated, then continued uncertainly, "Well, if you'd rather--"

"No," I interrupted, "I'd like it if you cooked. I just didn't want you to feel like you have to or anything."

"I like to cook," she kissed me quickly. "It's what I do."

"What you do?" I looked at her quizzically.

"Um, yeah. Didn't you know?"

"Know what?"

"I'm a pastry chef at the Heidelberg Bakery."

No doubt about it, I was in heaven. The only thing missing was a Harley. I smiled mischievously.

"Mara, you want to go shopping with me tomorrow?"


The End

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