I Found My Heart in San Francisco

Book 7: Getaway

By S X Meagher


PART SIX (conclusion)

They managed both the Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones rides before the park started to fill up. It was nearly lunchtime and Caitlin was starting to get a little fussy, so they decided to go back to the room for a nap. After feeding her a half jar of tapioca, Ryan placed the baby in the crib and sang to her while Jamie and Catherine relaxed in the living room.

"You’re not mad at me for tricking you into going on the Matterhorn, are you?" Jamie asked.

"Of course not, Honey. I’m glad I went."

"Was it scary?"

"At first it was," she reflected. "But I have to admit that having Ryan holding on to me made me feel strangely comforted."

"That’s how I feel when she holds me," the younger woman admitted. "I feel warm and safe and impervious to harm. There’s just no safer place on earth."

Ryan came out as they were talking, and sat on the opposite end of the sofa from her partner. Jamie immediately lifted her legs and tossed them onto Ryan’s lap. "Foot rub?" she begged. Ryan gave her a gentle smile as she did her bidding without question.

"So what do you want to do for the rest of the day?" Catherine asked. "We need to leave for the airport by 5:30 since we have to arrive by seven. I assume we’ll need to have dinner before that, since we won’t get in to the city until 9:30 and I know Ryan can’t wait that late to eat," Catherine smiled, knowing her daughter-in-law’s habits already.

"I know what Caitlin wants to do," Ryan observed, "but I wanna do the boat races again." She had a childlike grin on her face, and Catherine cocked her head in question.

"Boat races?"

Jamie rolled her eyes and said, "They have a little pond by the restaurant we ate at on Tuesday. Didn’t you notice it?"

"No, I don’t think so," Catherine said.

"Well, Ryan doesn’t miss a thing as you know, and she noticed that one of the boats was named Ronewa Ryan, whatever that means. You control the boat with these big steering wheels, and you can take it around the little pond and dock it next to an island. I haven’t been able to get her away from them since!" She gave her partner a fond smile and said, "For someone who hates to waste money, you sure were tossing your quarters into that game."

"It was like the kind of video games they had out when I was a kid," Ryan insisted. "But it was real! Well, kinda real," she admitted sheepishly.

"Other than playing your game what would you two like to do?" Catherine asked.

"I don’t really have anything on my agenda," Ryan said. "How about you, Honey?"

"What about a workout? You haven’t done much since we’ve been here. There is a small fitness center in the hotel. Would you like to use it?"

"No. I think I could satisfy both Caitlin and myself by going to the pool," she said decisively.

After a room service lunch, Catherine arranged for a late checkout, and they made their way down to the pool. When they arrived, Ryan went to speak with the lifeguard, who directed her to a large storage bin on the end of the pool deck. She came back with a wide blue belt, explaining that it was a jogging belt which would help her stay buoyant while she ‘ran’ in the deep water.

They all hopped in the water, Catherine and Jamie staying in the shallow end with the baby, Ryan going to the deep end. She began to bob up and down in the water, moving along rather quickly. Jamie watched her as she developed a rhythm and began to ignore everything around her. She could tell that Ryan was getting into one of her zones and she just glanced at her occasionally to check on her progress over the next hour. Caitlin didn’t mind her absence since she could see her, so everyone was happy.

After a solid hour of exercise Ryan came back over looking a little winded. "That’s a lot of fun," she said happily. "It’s nice to get the strain off my knees once in a while."

Given that Ryan claimed to be interested in guarding her knees, her next activity seemed an odd choice. She carried a pair of sand-filled dumbbells to the five-foot depth and began to do a strange exercise that Jamie assumed she had just devised. She crouched down as low as she could go, assisted by the weights. Then she would burst from the water and leap as high as she could go. She repeated this at least 100 times, and both Evans women grew tired just watching her. But young Caitlin grew more animated by the minute. By the time Ryan was finished, the baby was slapping the water with both arms and jumping up and down as well as she could with her unsteady legs.

To her great delight, Ryan came over and snatched her up, holding her above her head until they were back in the five-foot depth. This time, instead of the weights, Ryan held Caitlin. She was light for her age; nonetheless, she weighed in at around 20 pounds. Ryan extended her arms fully and locked her elbows. Again she launched into a deep squat, but she kept her eyes on the baby as she submerged. When Caitlin was in the water just to her waist, Ryan shot up again, pushing the baby high into the air, much to her squealing amusement.

Catherine and Jamie watched the proceedings in fascination, as did most of the other guests. Caitlin was nearly hysterical with glee, and she giggled and shrieked nonstop. Ryan stopped frequently to make sure she was enjoying herself, but with even a momentary pause the baby jumped and stretched, trying to imitate the movement.

The game went on four times longer than Jamie imagined it could, and by the time Ryan slogged over to them she was completely out of breath. She handed Caitlin over to Catherine and flopped onto her back while Jamie lent a hand to augment her buoyancy. "She’s insatiable!" Ryan finally gasped out with a laugh.

"Gee, I wonder where she gets it from," Jamie dryly remarked.

"Hey, we only share one quarter of the same gene pool," she protested.

"Maybe so, but some of this is environmental, and all of that is from you and Conor!"

Catherine was still in shock from watching Ryan work nonstop the entire time they had been at the pool. "Do you always play this hard?" she asked.

"No," Ryan said as she stood up, "but I’ve got to get in shape for volleyball."

"Could I come to see some of your games?" Catherine asked. "I don’t think I’ve ever been to see volleyball played."

"Sure! You can come and sit in the O’Flaherty rooting section. When I played sports at U.S.F. I usually accounted for half of the crowd!"

"You’re going to have to give both of us some instructions, Ryan," Jamie reminded her. "I’ve only seen volleyball played at the beach, and I think your collegiate game is a lot different than that."

"Yes and no," she replied. "The strategy is a lot different, and there are a ton of different rules, but the concept is the same—hit it where they ain’t!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

To cool down, Ryan took the baby on the long water slide a few dozen times. Jamie had warned her that Caitlin would not be able to stop once they started, but Ryan was just headstrong enough to ignore her warnings. As expected, when five o’clock rolled around, the baby was still going strong and very upset about leaving such a wonderful place. Luckily, the crying spell was much shorter than yesterday’s, likely because she was totally exhausted. After five minutes of weak sobs, she fell asleep, and remained so while the adults quickly showered and changed.

They had packed earlier, and when the bellman showed up to take their bags, Jamie caught her partner struggling to put every piece of fruit and cheese from the gift basket into her suitcase. She caught Jamie watching her and gave an embarrassed little giggle. "I can’t bear to waste good food," she admitted.

"I think it’s an adorable trait," Jamie replied as she gave her a healthy squeeze.

On the way down in the elevator, Caitlin woke briefly, managing to stay alert until they were settled in the limo. As her last conscious act, she followed Ryan’s instructions, waving goodbye to Mickey as they pulled away.

Since they were making good time through Orange County, Ryan checked her watch and said, "Can we stop for a little dinner? I’m weak with the hunger."

"Of course, Dear," Catherine agreed. "Just tell the driver what you want. I’m sure he knows where things are."

A half hour later, Ryan crushed the wrapper from her In-N-Out Double-Double, and sighed, "This is living large!" After a moment of reflection she turned to Catherine and said, "Other than the AIDS Ride and visits to my family in Ireland, this is the first vacation I’ve ever had. I think it’s obvious how much I’ve enjoyed myself, Catherine. I just can’t thank you enough." Her beaming smile was infectious and Catherine returned it happily.

"The pleasure was truly mine, Ryan. I can’t remember having more fun than I’ve had these last three days. I felt like a kid again or, should I say, for the first time," she corrected herself.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

When they reached the airport it was 7:10 and Ryan looked around in dismay at the mess they had created in the back of the limo. But when she saw the tip that Catherine handed the driver her guilt was immediately assuaged. He could have the thing detailed with that amount, she thought wryly. That’s one more thing I’ve got to say for Catherine: she knows how to tip!

By the time they got everything checked and made a stop in the spacious bathroom to change the baby, they were called to board. The flight was only half full with only one other passenger in first class. The flight attendant came by to introduce himself as they were getting settled. "Hi, I’m Robert," he said in a friendly fashion. "Looks like you’ve got me almost to yourselves," he announced, "so if you need anything at all, please call. I get lonely back there all by myself," he teased.

"We could use a bottle warmed," Catherine asked.

"Be back in a jiffy," he said after Catherine instructed him on how to do it properly.

When he returned, he spent a few minutes inquiring about the baby. When he asked if they lived in San Francisco, Ryan piped up, "My partner and I live in the city. Upper Noe. But her mother," here she pointed out Catherine, "lives down in the Peninsula."

He stood with his hands on his hips and slapped Ryan on the shoulder playfully. "That gorgeous young creature is not your mother-in-law! Don’t even go there!"

Catherine grinned broadly as she replied, "Guilty as charged."

"You must have been nine when you had her!" He turned to Jamie and said accusingly, "Although…you could be 14…"

"Hey, I’m 21," she said with a touch of pique.

"I’ve got ties older than you are, Sweetie," he chided her. As he turned back to Catherine he said conspiratorially, "I think it’s fabulous that you have a new baby. You go, girl!"

Catherine blushed but did not correct him. She merely got Caitlin settled in her car seat and began to feed her the bottle as Robert went to tend to his other passenger.

They took off a few minutes late, but once again they did not have to wait long for clearance. The baby was more aware this time, but to everyone’s relief, she seemed much more interested than frightened. After they had been in the air 15 minutes or so she fell asleep, and shortly afterwards Catherine joined her. Ryan was so charmed by the sight of Catherine’s blonde head resting on the top of the car seat that she insisted that Jamie get up and snap a picture.

The young women sat close together in the big leather seats, holding hands and snuggling a little, both starting to relax from the very hectic day. Robert just grinned at them each time he passed, but after a little while the other passenger must have slept also because the attendant did not reappear for a long while. Ryan gave Jamie a sly little grin as she dipped her head and began to plant tiny kisses all the way along the ridge of her jaw line.

Jamie was a little hesitant, but after a moment she gave in and tilted her head back to allow her lover full access. Ryan continued her assault, dipping down to her exposed collarbones and the hollow between them. Jamie’s hands lifted involuntarily as she threaded her fingers through the dark hair and grasped Ryan’s head tenderly, pressing it to her sensitized neck as she let out a soft moan.

Getting a verbal reaction always compelled Ryan to go further, and she moved from the soft neck onto the even softer ears. Jamie’s toes curled when the warm, wet mouth claimed her always-sensitive ear, shivers chasing down her spine while Ryan’s tongue softly teased every bit of skin.

Sighing deeply, Jamie lifted her lover’s head and gazed into her vivid blue eyes. "You’re playing with fire, Baby," she warned, her voice low and languid. "I’m not sure you want Mother to wake up and see your pants around your ankles."

"I’m just trying to eliminate some foreplay later tonight," Ryan said innocently. "I like to make good use of down time."

Her head dipped to return to Jamie’s ear, but the smaller woman pulled her face close and rewarded her with a scorching kiss that sent chills running down Ryan’s spine to slam into her groin. She let out a breath as though she had been punched, as Jamie smiled sweetly and patted her cheek. "Two can play your little game, Ryan. Don’t underestimate your opponent." With that, she tossed her hair and crawled over her stunned partner to make use of the restroom.

A few minutes later Jamie opened the restroom door to exit. She looked up in shock as a warm hand made contact with her chest and firmly pushed her back in. Ryan’s eyes burned into hers as Buffy made her second appearance of the trip. Jamie gulped audibly when she saw the fire in those crystal eyes and she knew that no matter what her brain told her, it would be overridden by her hungry body. She felt herself being lifted and placed onto the sink as Ryan slid between her open legs. Her head was tilted up by Ryan’s gentle fingers, and she soon felt all of her concerns fly from her mind as those incredibly soft lips captured hers fully, and her racing mind calmed as her body was enfolded into Ryan’s warm embrace.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

20 minutes later Jamie slid out of the bathroom and spent a moment straightening her clothing. Thank goodness I wore a dress, she mused as she ran her fingers through her hair. Now I just have to wipe the smile from my face!

To her eternal gratitude, both of their companions were still sleeping peacefully when she slid back into her seat. Several minutes later, Ryan joined her and gently pinned something to her dress just over her breast. "What’s this?" Jamie asked as she looked down.

"Your wings," her lover explained with a grin. "This means you’re now a member of the Mile High Club. Robert gave them to me with his congratulations."

The flush traveled from her chest to her hairline in record time. "You told him!?"

"Well, sure," Ryan replied logically. "I had to submit your name to headquarters."

Jamie looked at her as though she had lost her mind, but Ryan’s poker face finally gave way to a hearty laugh. "I asked him for some wings for Caitlin to commemorate her first trip," she explained, "but the look on your face was worth walking back home from L.A.!"

"You’re gonna be walking," Jamie threatened as she narrowed her eyes. "Actually I might just toss you out from here!"

"And not ten minutes ago you were singing, or should I say howling, my praises," she scoffed. "You sure are mercurial!"

Jamie dropped her head onto Ryan’s broad shoulder as she enthused, "Don’t ever change, Ryan O’Flaherty. You’re absolutely perfect just the way you are."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

As arranged, Tommy and Annie were waiting for them at the gate with anxious, wide-eyed looks on their smiling faces. Three of the four travelers were very happy to see them, but Caitlin was absolutely uninterested. She turned sharply and buried her head into Catherine’s chest as Annie ran over to the foursome to claim her precious one. Her face fell when she realized that Caitlin was shunning her, and Ryan knew that tears were just a heartbeat away, so she tried to mediate the dispute after a quick introduction of all the parties. "Let’s go over to Starbucks and have some cocoa," she suggested as she pointed out the omnipresent coffee bar just a few dozen feet away.

As they walked along, Catherine continued to carry the baby while she tried to reassure the worried parents. "I can’t tell you how precious she was during the entire trip," she reassured them. "She loved the plane and she slept perfectly. She was an absolute angel!"

Both Annie and Tommy smiled at the compliments, but it was clear that they were heartbroken by Caitlin’s snubbing. When they entered the coffee shop, Jamie took everyone’s order and went with Ryan to fetch the beverages. Tommy grabbed enough chairs for all, and Catherine sat down, still holding the baby snuggled into her chest.

Looking at Tommy and Annie with compassion, she revealed, "The exact same thing happened to me when Jamie was a baby. Regrettably, rather than just a few days, I was gone for two weeks when she was about 16 months old." She smiled sadly at the memory as she continued. "I don’t know how much you know about Jamie’s youth, but she was raised much more by her nanny that she was by me." Tommy and Annie nodded, even though they had not known this fact about their friend.

"The nanny assured me that it would not be too traumatic for her, so I went on my usual summer trip to Italy and left her at home with her father and her nanny. I hadn’t been gone more than two days before I realized what a mistake I had made, but when I called home they assured me that everything was fine. In a way, it was, and Jamie did just fine without me, but when I got home, she acted like she had never seen me before in her life! She had learned a dozen new words, and she was taller and heavier--she was like a different child!"

Jamie and Ryan came back to the table just then. They could tell that Catherine was recounting a story, so they slipped quietly into their chairs. "One of the worst mistakes of my parenting career was not the fact that I left her--I think she would have quickly forgiven me for that. But once I came back, I know that I shied away from her. It hurt me so much to have her ignore me that I just withdrew even further from her life. I allowed her nanny to have an even bigger role in her upbringing, which was a grave mistake that I will never forgive myself for." Jamie slid her arm around her mother’s shoulders, showing that she had fully forgiven her. Catherine smiled warmly at her daughter, blinking back a few tears as she said, "I’m sure Caitlin will get over being angry with you as soon as she gets home. But please try not to be angry with her for feeling a little abandoned."

Tears were falling down Annie’s cheeks as Catherine finished her story. Jamie was crying as well, and after sucking in a ragged breath, Catherine joined her. Annie started to sob in earnest as she saw everyone else in the same state.

The baby knew that something was going on, and she warily lifted her head from Catherine’s chest and cast a tentative look up. She paused for a moment, seeing both Catherine and Jamie crying, then she turned quickly, seeking out her mother. When she saw her sobbing, she burst into tears, twisting her little body as she held her arms out to her mother. "Mama!" she cried to force her attention. Annie looked up and caught sight of those big green eyes as another flood of tears overcame her. She reached out for the baby as Catherine leaned forward to deliver her. Caitlin collapsed onto Annie’s chest, crying softly and muttering, "Mama, Mama," repeatedly, her little voice strangled with emotion.

There was not a dry eye in the group by this time, with even Tommy surreptitiously wiping his eyes. Caitlin continued to stand on Annie’s legs and hug her, allowing both of her parents to comfort her. Jamie had wrapped her arm around her mother and was giving her a well deserved hug, very proud of her for sharing such a painful story. Only Ryan was left out, so she snuck her hand under the table to gently grasp Jamie’s thigh.

"Well, that’s not how I expected her first words to come, but they were sure welcome!" Annie gushed when she was composed again.

"That was her first word!!" Catherine cried. "Jamie! Get your camera. We need to record this moment!"

Jamie pulled her little camera from her bag and snapped a few pictures of a now beaming Annie and Tommy with their happy, verbal child.

"Don’t worry, Tommy," Ryan said knowledgeably. "I have a feeling that Dada is right around the corner."

"I’m not worried," he smiled, still fighting for composure. "If that’s the only word she ever says, I’ll be happy."

When everyone had dried their eyes, Catherine asked, "Back to work tomorrow, Tommy?"

"After a fashion," he replied. "Our house is a rental, and the landlord’s been after us to have the house exterminated. We decided this was a perfect time, so we let him do it while we were gone. We’re going to spend the next couple of days cleaning the place so it’s safe for the baby."

"That certainly doesn’t sound like much fun," Catherine said solicitously. "What will you do with her?"

"We’ll take turns watching her over at my mother’s house. We can’t have her near the place until we’re sure it’s safe."

Jamie leaned over and whispered something to her mother and then to her lover. She obviously got two affirmative responses because she quickly made her offer. "I propose you go back to Pebble Beach and get some bonding time in with Caitlin. If you spend three days playing with her in the pool, I guarantee all will be forgiven!"

"But Jamie, we can’t do that!" Annie protested. "Your parents want their house back for the weekend, and we’ve got to clean!"

"I don’t want the house back for the weekend," Catherine assured them. "I’m going to pack up and head off to Italy, so the house will be empty. I’d love for you to return to the beach."

"Ryan and I will recruit the rest of the family to help us clean your house," Jamie added. "If we get everybody over on Saturday, we can be done in a few hours. Please let us help you out. I really think Caitlin needs your undivided attention for a little while."

Tommy looked at Annie for just a moment before saying, "You’ve got a deal. I don’t know how we’ll ever repay any of you, but I think Caitie does need some attention, and her needs come first."

"Speaking of attention," Annie said brightly, "which one of you gave her this marvelous haircut?!" She ran her fingers through the pale blonde hair that attractively framed her little round face.

"Neither of us," Jamie admitted. "We took her with us when we got our hair cut on Monday. The fellow who cuts our hair is crazy for babies, and they both had a ball. I think we have to keep taking her there."

"Okay," Annie agreed, "But you have to let us pay for her haircuts. We can’t keep imposing on you like that."

"Be careful what you ask for," Ryan said mysteriously. "You may get it."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

After many tears were shed they all said their goodbyes. Tommy and Annie insisted on taking Catherine home, and she happily agreed. "I get to spend a few more minutes with my little Cupcake," she whispered to Jamie as they hugged goodbye. She held Jamie out at arm’s length and said, "I’m sorry that I didn’t take you to Disneyland 20 years ago, but I’m so glad that you let me take you now."

"I know I had a better time than I would have 20 years ago," Jamie said, meaning every word. "Thanks for taking us."

Ryan came over and extended her arms, smiling when the older woman gave her the usual light kisses on the cheek. She waited until Catherine started to pull away, then wrapped her in her arms, resting her chin on top of her head as they hugged gently. "I hope you don’t mind, but I can’t stand those dainty little kisses. In my family we touch when we hug," she chuckled.

Catherine sighed, feeling her body relax into the warm embrace. "I could grow to like this, Ryan," she murmured into the soft cotton of the tall young woman’s blouse.

"That’s my plan," she admitted, releasing her with a little pat. Grinning down at her mother-in-law, Ryan said, "Thanks for everything, Catherine. I hope this was the first of many trips we’ll take together."

"You’d be on Alitalia with me on Saturday if you’d say yes," the older woman chuckled, knowing that she would have a marvelous time if the young couple would accompany her. "I guarantee many, many future adventures, Ryan."

They snatched Caitlin away for a group hug as they each kissed her little blonde head. When she was returned to Tommy’s firm hold she snuggled her head down onto his chest and sleepily batted her eyes at her baby-sitters. Upon cue, she waved bye-bye as they parted ways, peeking over her father’s shoulder for one last look as the groups took off in different directions.

As the elevator transported them to their car, they leaned heavily against each other and the walls of the elevator. "I could sleep for a week," Ryan moaned.

"I could stay in bed for a week," Jamie purred as she stole a kiss.

"You have become my insatiable love nymph," Ryan chided her in a teasing tone. "What am I going to do with you?"

"Whatever you want," she promised. "As long as you start tonight!"

* * * * * * * * * * *

"No one’s here," Ryan marveled as they walked into the O’Flaherty home. "I mean no one. Not even Duffy!"

"Here’s a note," Jamie said, finding a pad on the dining table with a message in Martin’s neat hand. Reading it quickly she informed Ryan, "Your father says he’s taking Duffy out for his usual lengthy walk." Her face crinkled up into a grin as she said, "I think that’s code for the fact that he’s with your aunt."

"Yeah, Duffy’s getting a good deal out of this clandestine courtship. He not only gets to go on long walks with the two of them, he also gets to hang out at Aunt Maeve’s in the evenings. He loves it over there," she laughed. "He can usually find cookie remnants from Caitlin hidden somewhere."

"It’s only nine thirty," Jamie said. "Wanna stay upstairs and wait for him to get home so we can tell him all about the trip?"

"Yeah," Ryan said excitedly. "That’s a great idea. We can stay up for hours and hours…talking about every little detail. Then we can go downstairs and collapse before our heads hit the pillow. Good thinking!"

Placing her hands on her hips, Jamie stared at her and said, "Ryan O’Flaherty—I think you’re making fun of me!"

Wrapping her up in a tender hug Ryan said, "Not you, Honey. Just your idea. I have one thing…and one thing only on my agenda…and it doesn’t involve talking to my father or petting my dog, even though I love them both. I made you a promise this morning, Love, and I’m gonna keep it."

"Let’s see," Jamie said thoughtfully. "A promise…do I remember a promise?"

She tapped at her chin with her fingertip, finally nodding as she said, "That’s right! I remember a promise about you making love to me all night long…is that the promise you’re speaking of, Honey?"

"That’s the one," Ryan agreed, her eyes bright with interest.

"But, Honey," Jamie complained, pointing to her chest, "I’ve got my wings right here. You already pleased me thoroughly. Consider your promise fulfilled." She was clearly teasing as she struggled to keep her grin hidden.

"I had a nice time on the plane, too," Ryan agreed, her eyes roaming up and down Jamie’s body like a hungry wolf’s. "But that was a very small space, and I’m a very large woman." She was advancing on her partner as she spoke and when the smaller woman felt the dining table hit the backs of her thighs, she linked her hands behind Ryan’s neck and smiled up at her. "My needs…my most pressing needs…were unfulfilled," she said, her eyes now glittering with desire.

Maintaining her gaze, Jamie started to stroke her partner gently, starting at her shoulders and traveling down her arms, then her sides, and finally slipping down to her thighs. "Hmm…I don’t remember making a promise to make love to you all night long," she said thoughtfully. "I distinctly remember that it was a selfless act on your part."

"It was that," Ryan said, leaning closer and closer. She was less than an inch from Jamie’s mouth as she said, "You’re under no obligation whatsoever, Love, but I can’t tell you how much I’d appreciate a little attention. You got my motor running awfully early today, and that little interlude on the plane had me throbbing so badly I was weak-kneed. Have you no sympathy for a poor woman who’s just trying to get a little love?"

"Sympathy?" Jamie repeated thoughtfully, stopping to lick playfully at the outline of Ryan’s lips. "I wouldn’t say that my feelings could be characterized as sympathetic," she declared, shaking her head decisively.

"How would you characterize them?" Ryan asked, her voice gone husky with longing. She licked her lips slowly, hoping to entice her lover to bestow a little attention upon them once again.

Catching the not-so-subtle clue, Jamie closed her eyes and let her tongue slip from her lips to tease Ryan mercilessly. The dark woman let out a low growl, and Jamie regretfully pulled away to answer her question. "I’d say that my feelings could best be considered erotic…perhaps even wanton," she decided, a sexy grin stealing over her features. "I didn’t specifically promise to love you tonight, Sweetheart, but worry not. I have the most pleasant obligation imaginable," she reminded her. "I made a solemn vow to fulfill every one of your needs for the rest of my life." She wrapped her arms tightly around Ryan’s body as she whispered, "Let me fill your…need. In any way that pleases you." The deep, throaty growl and the lascivious look on her face turned Ryan’s legs to rubber, and the dark woman had to grasp the dining table to keep her balance.

Jamie grabbed her hand and tugged her towards the stairs, smiling to herself when she felt Ryan stumble a bit. Oh, she’s in quite a state, she smirked to herself. She’s at the peak of arousal when she’s not only slow-witted, but ungainly.

Locking the door immediately, Jamie set about undressing her partner, quickly stripping her out of her Hawaiian shirt and shorts. "I love summer," she said wistfully. "It’s so easy to get you naked."

Quirking a smile, Ryan reached out with trembling hands to return the favor, but her progress was abruptly stopped. "Unh-uh," Jamie said decisively. "You don’t need to do a thing…except relax and enjoy."

"Oh…" Ryan sighed, her eyes wide with gratitude. "You know just what I need…every time."

"I’m glad this is what you need," Jamie said as she pushed her onto the bed. "Because it’s definitely what I need." She turned and squatted down a little, presenting her back to her partner. "Pull," she instructed, indicating her zipper.

Ryan did so and tried to stop herself from drooling as she watched the small print dress fall from her partner’s shoulders. Constructed in such a way as to preclude the wearing of a bra, the falling dress revealed only a lacy white thong, devastatingly sexy on Jamie’s fit body.

She left the tiny garment on, since Ryan was particularly fond of thongs, and climbed on top of her. As usual, Ryan’s strong hands went to her favorite spot, the bare cheeks that peeked out of the lacy white material. "Do you have any particular requests?" the smaller woman asked lightly. "Because I have a burning need to do something that’s been on my mind since Sunday." She molded her body to Ryan’s, her face just a few inches above her partner’s moist lips. "I’ve thought about this every day…sometimes several times a day," she admitted. "Do you know what I’ve thought about, Ryan? Hmm?"

The dark head shook, her body thrumming with desire, her brain largely performing only routine maintenance functions as it prepared for the sensual onslaught.

"I’ve been dreaming of being able to taste you," she said with the sexiest tone of voice that Ryan had ever heard. "I think about how you taste and how you smell, and it just makes me wet." She captured Ryan’s open lips in a bruising kiss, her body squirming against her taller partner’s as a burst of sensation traveled down her spine. "Does that make you wet, too, Ryan?" she asked with the lethal combination of innocence and lust that drove Ryan absolutely wild.

The taller woman knew that her head was nodding, but she wasn’t sure she was the one nodding it.

Jamie started to move down the long body, not pausing long enough to kiss or touch any particular part, so intent was she in reaching her target. Her eyes were locked onto Ryan’s, the hunger she had for her plainly visible in her fervid gaze. As her head hovered over her goal, Ryan sat up just enough to be able to maintain their eye contact, putting a great deal of strain on her abdominal muscles. She still felt as though she was only partially in control of her movements, but something compelled her to summon the strength to support herself in order to see the look on Jamie’s face when she first tasted her.

She wasn’t disappointed when the blonde head dipped just enough to allow the warm, pink tongue to slip from her mouth and trail a gentle path straight up the center of her desire. Ryan’s mouth opened as her head fell back against her shoulders, but no sound came out. Jamie dipped her head again and again, laving every bit of slick skin with just the tip of her tongue.

After several more charged moments Ryan let out the breath that she had been holding, the force of her exhalation nearly ruffling Jamie’s hair. Her body sank back against the mattress, her senses too overloaded to be able to tolerate watching Jamie love her so determinedly.

Ryan was hurtling along at a much faster rate of speed than she wished for, but she knew that she had absolutely no choice in the matter. She wasn’t sure when her hands went to Jamie’s head and cradled it gently, but soon she was guiding the blonde head firmly, her hips pumping rhythmically as the silky tongue slipped across her throbbing skin.

Her climax washed over her body, seemingly starting at her toes and flying up to hit her hard, making her cry out loudly as she thrashed about wildly, holding onto Jamie’s head with all of her strength.

When the sensation began to ebb, she consciously willed her hands to release and begged, "Hold me?"

In a heartbeat Jamie was cuddled up next to her, holding her tightly while the spasms raced through her long form. Ryan continued to shudder strongly for a few minutes, her body so over-stimulated that Jamie was very careful not to move an inch.

Slowly, inexorably, she calmed, finally spreading her arms and legs out to avoid cramping. "Good Lord!" she moaned softly. "I felt like I was on Space Mountain again! I was just along for the ride that time. No control whatsoever!"

"Mmm," Jamie purred, "you did seem to enjoy yourself."

"That’s not even in the ball park," Ryan sighed. "And as soon as I get my brain back I’m gonna think of the proper word to compliment your skills."

Jamie pulled up and smiled at her, pleased with the obvious satisfaction that Ryan had experienced. "That was fun," she said, a silly grin on her face.

"It was indeed," Ryan agreed. "A good time was had by all."

Resting her head against Ryan’s chest, feeling the steady, slow beat of her heart, she said, "That’s how I feel about our trip. A good time was had by all."

"Mmm-hmm," Ryan agreed, as she began to stretch languidly. "I had a marvelous time."

"It was really nice to get a feel for what it’s like to have a child, too, don’t you think?"

"I do," Ryan agreed. "I learned a lot."

"Still wanna have a baby?" Jamie asked, turning her head so that she could look into Ryan’s eyes.

"Absolutely," the dark woman agreed, smiling gently. "I loved caring for Caitlin with you, Honey. I feel more than ever that you’ll be a fantastic mother. I can’t wait," she said wistfully.

"Do you mean that?" Jamie blinked at her.

"Mean what?" Ryan asked blankly.

"That you can’t wait? I thought you wanted to wait a while…"

"Oh! No, no, Love. That’s just an expression! I can wait…I want to wait," she said, her eyes wide with alarm.

Jamie smiled at her and said, "I want to wait, too." She rolled over until she was lying mostly between Ryan’s long legs, her chin resting on her hands which were placed upon Ryan’s pubic bone. "How long do you want to wait?" she asked, crinkling up her nose in an expression that Ryan found to be absolutely adorable.

"I want to wait until my desire for a baby is greater than my desire to spend every possible moment alone with you," Ryan smiled. "I’m far too focused on you to even consider sharing you." With a love-filled look at her partner Ryan said, "This time is precious. Eventually we have to come down from the clouds and realize there’s a world around us." Jamie laughed gently at her exaggeration, but nodded to urge her to continue. "Until that time comes I want my life to revolve around you…you’re my sun, Sweetheart, and I don’t want to share your glorious rays with another soul. I want to be the only planet in your solar system."

Jamie’s smiled dimmed and she grew thoughtful, finally saying, "I learned some things on this vacation that really made me think, Ryan. One of the most important things I learned is that there’s no greater gift you can give a child than to love their other parent with all of your heart. Before we bring a child into the world, I want to make sure our relationship is rock-solid."

"I agree," Ryan smiled. "Although I think we’re pretty solid right now."

"We are," Jamie agreed, nodding as much as her position would allow. "But I feel selfish, too. My heart belongs to you right now…only you. Someday I’ll be ready to share you, but for right now I want to savor you like a fine wine…one delicious sip at a time."

"Beautifully put," Ryan sighed. "Let’s make up for lost time and spend the rest of the evening savoring each other."

"Oh, what modest goals you have," Jamie teased. "We’re going to spend the rest of our lives savoring each other, Ryan."

Ryan gazed at her partner, her eyes filled with love. She brushed the fine hair from her forehead, smoothing it back gently. "Forever, Jamie," she promised, her voice a mere whisper. "Forever begins tonight."


The End

To be continued in Book 8: Honesty


As always, to Carrie.


My sincere thanks to Day and Stacia for their time, skill and efforts in beta reading this piece.

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