I Found My Heart In San Francisco

Book 11: Karma

By: S X Meagher

Part 2

After waiting a respectable amount of time to allow Jamie to get into character, Ryan strode into the bar in her inimitable, confident style. Regrettably, the first faces she recognized were Wendy and Janet. Trying to be the bigger person, she walked up to them and said, "Hi, guys. What’s going on?"

"Nothing," Janet said abruptly. "Your friend is over there," she added, twitching her head dismissively in Jamie’s direction.

"I knew that," Ryan said. "I was just trying to be friendly."

"Sure. Whatever," Janet said, turning back to face the bar – rudely dismissing Ryan.

Gathering her wits and deciding to let the insult go, Ryan focused on the little game that she was looking forward to playing. She adopted a casual, relaxed pose as she glanced around the relatively empty bar for a moment. There were about two dozen stools at the long bar, but only eight were occupied. One lone businessman sat at the far right end of the bar watching the Denver Nuggets on television. Two men in flannel shirts and jeans sat a few stools from him, and another pair sat right in the middle of the bar. Wendy and Janet got up and left, much to Ryan’s pleasure, leaving only one attractive young woman sitting alone at the far end.

Taking in a breath, Ryan tried to act just as she would have over a year ago, doing her best to erase her image of her partner, and see her as she would have then.

Hmm … nice, she said to herself, nodding slightly. As Ryan spent a minute taking her in, the blonde turned around on her stool, as if looking for someone. Ryan noted the woman’s cream-colored cashmere sweater set and the black corduroy slacks. Mmm, nice dresser, she thought appraisingly. Making up her mind immediately, she walked over to the woman and pulled out a stool one away from hers.

"Hi," she said softly, trying to get a read on how aggressive she should be.

"Uhm … hi," the woman answered absently as she furrowed her brow a tiny bit and looked over Ryan’s shoulder, obviously waiting for someone.

"You don’t mind if I sit near you, do you?"

"No, I uhm … guess not," she answered, casting another look around.

"It can be so intimidating to come into a place like this alone. Guys think they can immediately hit on you." Ryan shook her head a little in distaste, then shot the woman a smile.

The blonde focused her attention on the newcomer and returned the smile. "Actually, it’s nice to have someone to talk to. I was waiting for a date who looks like he’s not going to show, and I’ve had to turn two guys away already." She let out a gentle laugh that rumbled rather low in her chest. There was something very attractive about the laugh, and Ryan decided she would see what the woman’s story was.

"I’m Ryan," she said as she stuck out her hand.

"Jamie," her companion replied.

"Good to meet you, Jamie. Are you a local, or just passing through like I am?"

"Local. Well, local during the school year," she amended.

"Oh, you go to Colorado State?"

"Yeah. I’m a senior this year."

"Oh, me too," Ryan said. "Well, I’m a senior also, but not at CSU. I go to Cal."

"Ooo, U.C.L.A., how cool," Jamie enthused.

"No, no, Jamie. That’s a bit of an insult," she chided her gently. "U.C.L.A. is in Los Angeles. Cal is in Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco."

"Oh, wow," she said ingenuously. "I’ve never been to San Francisco. Is it really as nice as they say it is?"

Ryan leaned back on her stool and gazed at her partner for a moment. She didn’t know how Jamie managed it, but she gave off every indication that she’d never seen Ryan in her life, and had no more interest in her than she had in the bartender. Taking in a breath, she decided to make a small move. "San Francisco is nicer than they say it is," she replied as she slid over to the stool right next to Jamie. "Definitely nicer." She waited a beat and asked, "Who were you waiting for tonight?"

"A blind date," the blonde said with a slightly embarrassed blush. "I should know better by now, though. They never work out."

Ryan looked over at her nearly empty glass and offered, "Let me buy you another drink to cheer you up a little. I’ve had more bad first dates than I can count, so you have my complete sympathies." Before Jamie could even form a word, Ryan had signaled the bartender. "What would you like, Jamie?" she asked as she locked eyes and gave her a dazzling grin.

"A white wine spritzer," she said slowly, still giving Ryan a puzzled look.

"Great. Two white wine spritzers," she instructed the bartender decisively.

As the bartender walked away, Jamie glanced over at her companion and asked, "What are you in Ft. Collins for anyway? Not much here but the university."

"I’m here to play basketball," she said casually. "We’re in a tournament."

"You’re on the women’s basketball team?" the smaller woman asked incredulously.

"I couldn’t make the men’s," Ryan replied with another dazzling smile. Lowering her voice, she added, "I tried."

"Wow, I’ve never known anyone who played a sport in college," she said with obvious interest.

"Then I should introduce myself to you again," Ryan said, her smile growing. "I just finished the volleyball season."

"Really? Two sports?"

"Yeah. I really like to compete."

"God! You must be very talented to play two sports for a big school like the University of California. It is a big school isn’t it?" she asked, just a trifle suspiciously.

"Pretty big," Ryan admitted. "About 30,000 students."

"And with all of those students, they have to keep dipping into the same tiny little talent pool?" Jamie asked with a teasing smirk.

"Yeah, if I wouldn’t play they were going to have to just grab the first woman they saw that was over 5’7"," she said as she shook her head.

Jamie tossed her head back and laughed in a thoroughly delightful manner. "You’re really funny."

"Thank you. Many people don’t get my sense of humor. It’s kind of an acquired taste."

"So, where are all of your teammates tonight?" Jamie asked.

"Oh, I get tired of them after a while," she admitted. "We’ve been here since Thursday evening, and not to insult your town, but there isn’t a lot to do around here. So, I’m looking for someone new to talk to."

"Well, I’m certainly new," she said with a smile.

"Yep. I lucked out tonight," Ryan replied. "You’re not only talkative, you’re interesting too."

"Thanks," she said, smiling tentatively. "You’re pretty interesting to talk to also." She cocked her head slightly, and looked at Ryan for a minute. "I was a little confused when you sat down next to me and offered to buy me a drink," she admitted. "That’s never happened to me before."

Ryan dipped her head a little to take a sip of her drink, flashing Jamie a bright smile. Her bangs nearly covered her eyes, and she peered through them with an impish look — while managing not to comment on Jamie’s statement.

"So, ahh … when do you go back?" the blonde asked, forgetting that she had been waiting for Ryan’s reaction to her comment.

"We’re leaving in the morning. It’ll waste the whole day, regrettably, and we’ve got finals starting on Monday."

"Eeew," she sympathized. "Don’t remind me. I’ve got two on Monday."

Ryan leaned close — just close enough for Jamie to take in the sweet, clean scent of her recently-showered body. "So, you were just going out to let off a little steam before finals, huh?" she asked in a conspiratorial manner.

"I guess. I don’t know, Ryan. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t a decent guy in all of Colorado," she said, shaking her head. "I keep trying, but it’s getting to be depressing."

"Oh, come on, Jamie, I can’t imagine a woman like you has too much trouble finding dates."

"Hrumpf!" she grumbled. "Dates I can get, but it’s rare that I want a second date. Either they’re juvenile frat boys, or just trying to score without too much trouble."

"That must be hard," Ryan said sympathetically as she leveled her gaze, and locked her eyes onto Jamie’s.

"Oh, I don’t really have anything to complain about," she said lightly. "Tell me about yourself," she urged. "Are you seeing anyone?"

"No one exclusively," she replied. "I’m not ready to settle down yet. I want to be out of grad school before I get serious."

"Are you going to law school like everyone else in the world?" the blonde asked with a half smile.

"No. I have no interest in that arena," she assured her. "My major is biology, but I’m considering programs in math, biology, chemistry and possibly medical school."

"Wow, those are subjects I’ve steered away from as much as possible. I’m an English major."

"What area?" Ryan asked, looking very interested.

"English literature. I’ve focused on the Victorian period."

"Wow, I don’t have much knowledge of your subject, but I admire people who can manipulate the language. I bet it’s fascinating to study a certain time period like that intensively."

"Yeah, it really is," she agreed. "I love my subject, but I don’t know what I’ll do with it."

"Does that really matter?" Ryan queried. "Isn’t it more important to do what you love? I’ve always found that sticking with what interests me works out in the long run."

"I like your perspective, Ryan," she said as she gave her a smile. "Hey, your drink’s about gone. Let me buy you another." Her nose wrinkled as she said, "I’ve never bought a woman a drink before."

"Okay. I’d like that, Jamie. You’re a lot more entertaining than television."

"Really?" she asked, tilting her chin. "You’d better check your listings before you make a claim like that, Ryan. You might even have HBO." Her green eyes were twinkling, and Ryan felt herself being drawn into this very attractive woman’s aura.

"I’m absolutely certain," Ryan said softly as she leaned in just a little, lightly brushing her shoulder against Jamie’s. The light was dim, but she was pretty sure she saw a delicate shiver crawl up her companion’s neck. Gotcha, she mused happily as she leaned back into her own air space. Now I just have to reel you in.

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

After another half hour of pleasant conversation and two more spritzers, Jamie took a deep breath and said, "I guess I’d better get going."

"It’s still early," Ryan said as she glanced at her watch. "Only 8:30."

"Yeah, but I’m getting a little buzz on, and I won’t drive if I’m impaired."

"How many have you had?" Ryan asked with a note of concern.

"Umm, I guess I’ve had four," she decided. "I hope I’m okay to drive." She had a worried frown on her face, and Ryan saw her opening.

"Hey, Jamie, that’s nothing to play with. If there’s any doubt in your mind, you should wait for a while. I know, let’s go walk around the block a few times. That might give you a good indication of how sober you are."

"There aren’t any blocks around here," she laughed. "The best we could do is a few laps around the parking lot."

"Hey, I’d gladly walk around the parking lot to make sure you were safe," she said as she leveled her gaze to stare right into those sea green eyes.

Once again Jamie had a hard time making her mouth work, but she finally got out, "I really think I’ll be okay. I don’t want to put you out, Ryan."

"Do you need to be home for anything special?" the dark haired woman asked.

"No, not really."

"Do you normally stay up past 8:30?"

"Uhm … yeah, I’m kind of a night owl."

"Then let’s go up to my room, and watch that riveting HBO for a while," Ryan suggested calmly, as if it were the obvious solution.

"Oh, I don’t know …"

"Jamie, it’s 8:30 on a Saturday night. There’s nowhere to go around here, and we can’t sit here for another hour without ordering more drinks. You won’t go play outside, so why not go upstairs and waste a couple of hours? I swear I’d never forgive myself if you got into an accident on the way home."

"You wouldn’t know," she said softly, stating the obvious.

"Well, that clinches it," Ryan decreed. "I’m not going to stay up worrying about you all night. Either I drive you home, and take a cab back, or we hang out until I’m sure you’re sober." Ryan was gazing at the smaller woman with the full force of her personality, and after a beat, the blonde head started to nod.

"Well, okay, I guess it would be all right." She gave Ryan a lopsided grin as she confided, "I don’t normally go to strange people’s hotel rooms."

"Well, that’s where you’re in luck," Ryan said as she guided the young blonde out of the bar by placing her hand on the small of her back. "I’ve been called many things, but strange is not one of them."

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

As they walked down the long corridor to her room, Ryan noticed that Jamie was walking a little unsteadily. I’ve got to remember that a couple of drinks really does affect her. When she opened the door, Jamie looked around at the suitcases neatly laid out on the luggage racks. "Nice room," she said idly. "I’ve never been up here before." As she walked by the open shelving near the bath she spotted the navy blue Cal warm ups. "You really are on the basketball team," she said with a giggle.

"Hey, I never lie," Ryan said seriously. She walked over to her suitcase and found the T-shirt that she had slept in the night before. "Further proof," she said triumphantly as she held it up to show the "Cal Volleyball" printed on the breast.

"You came prepared," Jamie said warmly, pleased that the tall woman was telling the truth.

"Yep. I’m glad I’m not a gymnast, though," she said thoughtfully. "You’d expect me to have a set of parallel bars in my suitcase."

"You really are funny," Jamie repeated as she sat down on one of the vinyl, barrel-style chairs, next to the small wooden table that was bolted to the floor.

"Thank you," Ryan grinned down at her. "So would you really like to watch T.V., or just talk some more?"

"Let’s do both," she suggested as Ryan handed her the remote. "What programs do you like to watch?"

"I don’t watch T.V. much," she conceded. "I don’t even have one in my room."

"What do you do for fun?"

"Well, my sports do take up a lot of time, and my classes are pretty time consuming, but when I do have free time, I tend to play with my computer. It’s not a lot more interactive than T.V., but I feel like I’m more in charge of the programming."

Jamie looked up and noticed the laptop sitting on the bed and she asked, "Would you rather play on your computer than watch T.V. now?"

Ryan looked at her and then looked at the computer. "Yeah, I would," she decided. She climbed onto the bed and booted up the machine, humming a little tune the whole while. When it was up, she asked, "Internet?"

"Sure. You can show me some of your favorite sites."

Ryan dialed in and waited for the connection as she said, "The phone cord isn’t long enough to reach the table. Do you mind coming over here?"

"No, that’s fine," Jamie said, as she got up and did just that.

Ryan got up just as Jamie sat tentatively on the edge of the bed. "Be right back," she said as she went into the bath. "Feel free to browse."

She returned a few minutes later to find Jamie sitting in a chair next to the table. Her face was clouded with what Ryan could only guess was suspicion or maybe even anger. "What’s wrong?" she asked softly as she came back to sit on the edge of the bed right next to Jamie.

"I…I feel like you tricked me," she muttered softly. "I just feel stupid."

"What? How did I trick you?" Ryan asked, truly dumbfounded.

Jamie shook her head and got to her feet, looking like she was about to cry. "I thought you were really concerned about my welfare. It didn’t cross my mind that you were trying to sleep with me!"

She started to walk to the door, but Ryan dashed right in front of her. She didn’t touch her, but she got in front of the door to prevent her from opening it. "Jamie, I don’t know what made you say that, but I think you owe me an explanation. An apology would be nice, while you’re at it."

"I owe you an explanation! That’s a laugh! How about an explanation from you? You’re the only one who has anything to apologize for, Ryan."

"I still don’t know what in the hell you’re talking about," the dark woman stated, her voice rising. "Will you at least tell me what has you so upset?"

"You’re obviously a lesbian, Ryan," she said in an accusatory tone. "Every other site on your favorites page was gay this or lesbian that."

Ryan gaped at her for a moment, shocked at not only the statement, but also the implication. "And being gay means not only that I want to sleep with you," she said slowly, "it also means that I would have to trick you into it?"

"Well, don’t you?" she demanded with her face still flushed with anger.

"I’ve slept with a lot of women in my life, Jamie, and if I trick you into it, you’ll be the first," she said curtly. "Even lesbians are concerned about drunk driving, you know." A look of pained hurt crossed her features, and she backed away from the door as she added, "I don’t know what your image of lesbians is, but I am not a rapist. I would prefer that you hang out until you’re sober, but if you want to leave, be my guest."

Jamie picked up her purse and stalked out of the room, closing the door firmly behind her.

Ryan leaned against the door for a moment, hear heart racing, actually feeling deeply hurt. How in the hell did this turn out to be so realistic? In her heart, she knew it was ridiculous to be upset about having been accused of wanting to sleep with the woman -- since that was the whole point of the game. Shaking her head, she went into her closet and removed her sweater and turtleneck, and folded them neatly. Jamie’s so good at this that she really hit me in a vulnerable spot, she decided. After removing her bra, she put on her volleyball T-shirt and shucked her slacks. She was just hanging them up when she heard a very quiet knock on the door. "Yes?" she called out.

"Uhm … it’s Jamie," she replied, her voice so soft that Ryan had a hard time picking it up. "Can I speak with you?"

The tall woman opened the door just a crack and said, "I’ve got my pajamas on. I can’t guarantee that won’t exacerbate my rapist tendencies."

Her voice gained a little volume, and she said, "Look, Ryan, I’m sorry I overreacted. I just want to apologize to you. If you want me to do that from the hall, I will."

Relenting, Ryan opened the door and allowed her to enter. Jamie cast a quick glance down to see what her companion was wearing, and was pleased to see that the big T-shirt went a third of the way down her thighs. "I’m getting into bed," Ryan stated decisively. "It’s too cold to be standing around in my underwear." She marched over to the bed and pulled the covers back as she slid in and settled the laptop onto her legs. "You were saying?" she asked, looking up at Jamie impassively.

"I wanted to apologize," she said softly. "It was unfair to assume you wanted to sleep with me just because you’re gay. I’m also sorry that I stormed out, but I wanted to make sure I really could leave if I wanted to."

"Obviously you don’t know me at all," Ryan said, "but I meant it when I said I don’t lie. I just wanted to be sure you were sober before you left."

Jamie sat down on the second bed and looked at Ryan carefully, swallowing before she asked, "Can you honestly say that sleeping with me didn’t cross your mind?"

The dark woman shifted slightly, then took a deep breath and said, "To be completely honest, I first approached you because I thought you were really attractive." A blonde eyebrow rose, and Ryan continued her explanation. "It’s a little bit hard for lesbians, Jamie. I mean, if a guy sees a good-looking woman, the odds are that she’s straight. It’s not that easy for me, though. It’s hard to tell if women are gay or not until you spend a little time with them. After being with you for a while, it was pretty clear to me that you were straight. But I really did like talking to you, and I was a little lonely, so I thought it would be fun to just hang out. I suggested you come up here to make sure you didn’t harm yourself or anyone else with your driving–not to try to seduce you. But if you want to throw yourself at me, I promise I won’t scream," she added soberly.

Jamie graced her with her gentle laugh and said, "You are such a tease! But thank you for forgiving me."

"Your reaction really surprised me," Ryan admitted. "Don’t you know any other lesbians?"

"No, none that I know of. Maybe it’s just the people I hang out with, but we’re a pretty straight bunch."

"Want a little education?" Ryan asked, a tiny hint of a dare in her tone.

"Ahh … what do you have in mind?" she asked hesitantly, backing towards the door once again.

"Let me show you some of the sites I monitor. The wonderful world of lesbianism is really pretty interesting, and you sound like you could use some honest information about my people."

She hesitated for a long while, gazing at Ryan until she convinced herself to take a leap of faith and trust her. "Okay," she said gamely as she climbed onto the bed next to her.

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

By 9:30 Jamie was wearing Ryan’s basketball sweatshirt and a tremendously large pair of sweatpants. She was under the covers, but they weren’t touching in any way – mostly because Ryan was being hypersensitive about giving Jamie space. The blonde had been peppering her new friend with questions about lesbian life for the better part of a half hour, and to Ryan’s experienced eye, she was no longer tipsy.

Over the course of their conversation, Ryan briefly told her of her first experience with Sara; she told her of how it felt to be gay at a young age; she explained that she had never been with a man; and she told her about her current dating practices. After all of the questions being hurled her way, she decided it was time to probe the stranger’s psyche for a bit.

"Jamie, you now know everything about me but my hat size. But I’m the only one answering questions. Tell me about your love life."

"There’s not much to tell," she admitted. "I’ve dated a lot of guys, but I’ve never gotten serious about any of them."

"You’ve never had a steady boyfriend?" Ryan asked. As Jamie shook her head, she persisted, "That seems funny to me. I would think that guys would absolutely love you."

"Why do you say that?" she asked, unable to suppress a delighted smile.

Ryan felt her stomach flip at the shy grin on the blonde’s face, and she recognized the early-warning signs her libido was sending out. "I’ve got three older brothers and a dozen older cousins, and I guarantee every one of them would flip for you. You’re just the kind of girl they like. Besides being very attractive, you’re smart, and witty, and you look like you can take a lot of teasing. You’re not one of those real ‘girly’ girls."

"I’m not girly?" she asked with an even bigger smile.

"You don’t look like you’d be real high maintenance," she amended. "You just look like you’d be a lot of fun."

Jamie looked thoughtful for a moment as she admitted, "Men are pretty interested in me, Ryan, but I haven’t ever felt the spark for any one guy. I know I’m picky, but sometimes I wonder what the problem is."

Ryan turned her entire torso so that they were face to face. She didn’t say a word, just looked deeply into Jamie’s eyes – holding her gaze for endless moments. Her eyes slid from the sea-green orbs flecked with specks of gold, to the perfectly arched brows that framed them so attractively. Sliding down, her eyes landed on the cupid’s-bow mouth, the moist coral lips just begging to be kissed. She wasn’t sure this was the time to make her move, but her heart was starting to beat loudly in her chest, and she could feel the first signs of arousal start to thrum in her body. From long experience, she knew that when she felt this way, the object of her attentions was usually traveling right along with her.

When her eyes flicked back to Jamie’s, she saw the dilated pupils and noticed a slight flaring of her nostrils. Oh yeah … you’re ready. Her voice was smooth, and warm, and so matter-of-fact that the question she posed seemed entirely natural. "Have you ever thought you might be gay, Jamie?"

The pupils dilated even larger, this time with alarm. "No, I don’t think so," she said quickly, biting her lower lip nervously. "Uhm … I’ve asked myself that question a few times, but it just doesn’t seem like that’s it." She looked away briefly, seemingly gathering her courage. After a few slow blinks of those mesmerizing eyes, she looked back to find Ryan’s deep blue gaze still locked upon her face. Her eyes lowered under the penetrating regard, and she heard herself speak the secret that she had never revealed to another soul. "Uhm … I have had some fantasies about women, though."

Ryan’s voice dropped to its lowest register. "Fantasies? Do you want to talk about them?"

Jamie looked away again as she began to blush. "I … I’ve never told anyone about them," she said very softly. Her hesitant gaze met Ryan’s briefly, and she whispered, "Do you really want to hear them?"

"If you want to tell me," the dark beauty replied, keeping her eyes riveted.

"I think I do," she began, but she seemed unable to get started, her voice quavering as she stammered helplessly. "I … I … uhm …"

Ryan tried to ease her way as much as she could. "I remember what it was like when I was first cognizant of my attractions. Want me to tell you what it was like for me?"

"Yes," Jamie agreed, her relief obvious.

"I used to fantasize about the feel of a woman’s lips," Ryan sighed, rolling onto her back. "I’d never kissed anyone romantically, but somehow I knew it would be wonderful. It was," she said, a fond smile forming on her mouth.

"I think about that, too," Jamie agreed.

"The softness, the resiliency, the way you just melt together," Ryan dreamily mused. "It’s wonderful."

"It sounds like it," Jamie sighed as she flopped onto her back as well and stared up at the ceiling.

"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a woman touch you?" Ryan asked quietly, after allowing her friend some time to let her imagination transport her.

Jamie’s reply was a very small nod.

"That’s wonderful, too," Ryan advised. "I’ve never been with a man, so this is just a guess, but I’d assume that they’re usually pretty forceful and determined in bed — especially if you don’t know them very well."

"Well, I don’t have much experience either," Jamie admitted. "I’m sure that many guys are great lovers – I just haven’t met them yet. The guys I’ve played around with have been all about getting me into bed as quickly as possible. Not very romantic," she added.

"Some women are like that, too," Ryan revealed. "But that hasn’t been the norm for me. Most of the women I’ve been with are foreplay junkies," she chuckled. "That’s my favorite kind of obsession."

"I can imagine," Jamie murmured.

Her eyes were closed, and Ryan knew she was imagining it right at that moment, so she decided to add a few images to her fantasy. "I love it when a woman undresses me slowly, letting me see how much she wants me. Then, when we’re both naked, I love to have her touch me from head to toe – first with her hands – then with her mouth."

Jamie let out a soft, strangled cry, and Ryan urged, "It’s okay, Jamie. You can trust me. Tell me what you dream about."

The smaller woman stared up at the ceiling for a few moments, then gathered her courage and said, "I don’t do it very often," she warned, "but once in a while when I’m with a guy, I kind of … replace him … with a woman. Like if he’s kissing me, and his beard starts to irritate my face, or if he kisses too forcefully, I let my mind wander, and imagine what it would feel like to have someone soft and smooth take his place."

"Do you only think about being kissed, or do you do more than that?" Ryan asked, rolling onto her side to rest her head on her braced hand.

As Jamie considered the question, she unconsciously imitated the posture. When she was ready to reply, they were facing each other, with about a foot of distance between them. "I think about other things too," she admitted, her gaze traveling everywhere but Ryan’s eyes. She was unable to continue, and Ryan didn’t push her.

"Just having those thoughts is no big deal," she assured her. "I bet nearly everyone would fantasize a little bit if they didn’t try to fit into a rigid box that defines their sexuality."

"I … I like being in a box," Jamie gulped. "I like having a label for how I feel – and I don’t want that label to read ‘lesbian’," she quietly admitted.

Ryan nodded thoughtfully. She tilted her head and asked, "Would you consider yourself a lesbian if you just dipped a toe into the pool? You know … just to see if you had any interest."

"Well, uhm … no, I wouldn’t," she decided. "I’ve tried to think of a way I could do that, to tell you the truth. But it always felt like it would be too complicated. I don’t know any lesbians, and that’s not the kind of thing you ask your straight friends to do with you," she laughed wryly. "I’m also afraid of the repercussions if I experimented with someone I know. I mean, what if she liked it more than I did, or vice versa, you know?"

"I understand completely," Ryan said solemnly. "The perfect opportunity has just never come up."

"Yeah, I guess that’s it," she agreed.

Ryan’s face broke into an amused grin as she postulated, "I guess the perfect opportunity would be with a stranger, probably in a place where no one knew you, ideally with someone from out of town, and with someone who wouldn’t expect anything from you in the future." She shook her head slowly as she leaned in just a bit and said, "That’s a very tough order to fill. You might never get the chance." At the end of the sentence, she raised just one eyebrow in challenge, as she maintained her calm, open gaze.

Jamie slowly leaned in at a similar cant. The bedclothes rustled gently as she moved, and a single spring creaked. Her voice was thin and tremulous, but she gathered up her courage and asked, "If I ever found the right opportunity, what should I do?"

As Ryan’s voice dropped even lower, she continued to move towards the center of the bed. Her eyes were half closed as she stared right at Jamie’s lips. "I think you should make your dreams come true."

"But I don’t know what to do," Jamie whispered. Her eyes closed, and she took in a breath to try to calm her racing heart.

"I’d love to help you fulfill your dreams," Ryan murmured gently. "But I don’t want to frighten you, or talk you into doing anything that you’re not entirely comfortable with. Tell me what you want, Jamie."

"I want to kiss you." The words were out before she could pull them back in. The blonde was shaking from anticipation, and Ryan could feel the nervous energy rolling off her body.

"I want that, too," Ryan said, her voice confident and warm. "You have the most amazing lips. So soft and full. They’re just about the most kissable lips I’ve ever seen."

Jamie smiled at her serene expression and scooted over until their breasts touched lightly. Ryan was still on her side, but she had dropped her head onto her pillow, waiting for Jamie to reach for her. Her eyes were still closed, but her lips were parted just enough to cause them to look moist and warm and inviting. As Jamie hovered over her, she slid her hand into Ryan’s dark hair, and lowered her mouth until their lips were micrometers apart. She could feel her own heart thudding in her chest, as she closed the remaining gap and lightly brushed her lips against Ryan’s. "Ooo … nice," she murmured as she went back for another slightly longer caress.

"Mmm-hmm," Ryan agreed sensually as she rolled over onto her back and sighed deeply.

"Does this feel good to you?" Jamie asked softly, as her confidence built and she shifted to lean over the long torso and lightly nibble on Ryan’s bottom lip.

"Very, very good," Ryan whispered. "But I’ve been kissed by more women than I can count. The important question is: how does it feel to you?" Her hands were softly stroking Jamie’s back as she looked up into those warm, green eyes.

"It feels very nice," she said as she snuck another kiss. "But in my fantasies I was being kissed. Can you … help me out?" She was still lying very close, and Ryan could feel her breath when she spoke.

"I’ll do anything you ask me to do, Jamie," she said slowly. "Just tell me what you want."

"I want you to kiss me," she asked softly as she leaned in even closer.

With an amazingly quick and powerful move, Jamie was suddenly lying on her back, one long, muscular woman braced over her body – clear blue eyes gazing right into her soul. Ryan dipped her head and covered Jamie’s soft, warm lips with her own, pressing insistently until the lips began to yield. The tiny groan that escaped from her mouth was echoed by her partner as they parted. "Like you imagined?" she asked in a volume just above a whisper.

"Exactly," she breathed with her eyes still closed. Her mouth quirked into a grin, and a little bit of the real Jamie peeked out. "But in my fantasy there are many kisses, and they’re never interrupted by a question and answer period."

Ryan chuckled as she brought her hand up and lightly tweaked her partner’s nose. "Now who’s the tease?" she asked with a smile. But as her hand passed by her visitor’s face, she stroked her cheek with the tips of her fingers as she reminded her. "I said I’d do anything you asked for. I meant that sincerely, Jamie. But if you don’t ask for it, I won’t do it."

"Then let me be more clear," she whispered. "Kiss me again, Ryan."

With a confident smile, Ryan leaned over her and lowered her mouth. She started to nibble, just barely touching the coral-tinted lips, smiling to herself as Jamie sought to increase the contact.

"Like that?" the dark woman asked softly as she lifted her head.

"More," the blonde begged, her eyes still tightly closed.

"How many more?" Ryan asked.

"I want you to kiss me senseless!" Jamie demanded, surprising even herself. She pulled Ryan against her, and her mouth opened slightly as her eyes closed in anticipation of the assault.

Ryan came in close and whispered, "I’m gonna kiss you 'til your eyes cross!" The little smirk that curled up on the corners of Jamie’s mouth lasted only a minute until it was replaced by Ryan’s smooth lips covering every inch of Jamie’s.

The kisses varied in duration and intensity, and they were accompanied by ever more frenzied sounds that came from deep within Jamie’s chest. Ryan had obviously kissed many women, and she had certainly learned a great deal from her varied experiences. She had an unerring ability to slowly increase the passion of her attack until Jamie was nearly faint with arousal, but just when she was sure she could not take another moment of the sensual embrace, Ryan would back off and slowly lower the heat.

During these lighter moments, she would kiss down Jamie’s jaw line, lightly flicking her pulse point with her tongue. After Ryan was sure that Jamie was able to breathe once again, she would dive right back in, and whip her into a frenzy.

After the third cycle, she waited until Ryan was working on the hollow between her collar bones to gasp out, "I can’t take much more, Ryan, you’ve got to touch me."

"You know the rules," she hummed against the soft skin as she licked a wet path back up to a very sensitive pink ear. "You ask – you get."

"Oh God!" Jamie moaned pathetically. "I don’t know what I want you to do!"

"Sure you do," Ryan purred. "It’s no different than being with a man. You have certain parts of your body that you like to have touched … and kissed … and fondled. Just give me a little direction and I’ll get right on it."

"But I … I’ve never asked for what I want," she groaned. "This is hard!"

"No rush," Ryan said easily as she started to kiss her again. "If you think of something, just shout it out."

After another five minutes of incendiary kisses, Jamie yanked her head away forcefully and cried out, "My breasts! God, please touch my breasts!"

"Love to," Ryan purred as her hand slid up under the enormous sweatshirt. Jamie’s bra was still in place, so Ryan just ran her short fingernails over the aching nipples – teasing them through the silky fabric.

"Touch my skin!" she implored after a few moments of the torture.

"Do you want me to undress you?" Ryan asked softly.

"God, yes!’ she cried as she thrust her hips against the air.

Ryan smiled down at her as she helped her into a sitting position, then gently removed her sweatshirt and slipped the bra off her shoulders without Jamie even knowing it had been unhooked. Now her head dropped until it was less than an inch from the deep mauve tip of Jamie’s right nipple. But instead of taking it into her mouth, she used her hands to once again tease and torture the incredibly sensitive mound. Jamie could feel the warm breath glide across her responsive nipple, but Ryan made no move to touch it with her mouth.

After enduring more torture than she thought possible, Jamie finally begged shamelessly, "Please, Ryan, please kiss my breasts."

Immediately the dark head closed the distance and began to plant light kisses all over every inch of flesh. These tender, teasing kisses only made her need grow and before she even knew what she was doing, she roughly grabbed Ryan’s head and forcibly pushed it onto her throbbing breast. "Suck me," she growled deep in her throat, as Ryan began to feed hungrily on the hot flesh. Ryan’s hands and her mouth worked as one to excite her partner until she thought the smaller woman would explode from sensation. "Harder, Ryan," the blonde urged as she pushed against her tormentor’s wide-open mouth. "Bite my nipples! Oh God! Yes! Yes!"

As Ryan’s teeth found the throbbing nipples again and again, Jamie’s legs spread wide and she shifted her body until one of Ryan’s thighs was right between her legs. Her hips were never still as she rubbed against her partner furiously, while still holding the voracious mouth to her breast with both hands.

When the suckling became overpowering, she pushed Ryan’s mouth away so abruptly that a loud pop broke the silence as the suction was severed. Jamie was finally at the end of her rope, and she decided that drastic measures were called for. Grasping Ryan by the face, she stared at her with a gaze so heated it could smelt iron. "Make me come, baby. Make me come now."

"You’re the boss, Jamie," Ryan smirked as she slid down the lithe body, maintaining eye contact the whole while. The blonde’s remaining clothing was removed so effortlessly that she assumed Ryan had accomplished the feat by telepathy, but seconds after she issued her demand, her legs were spread wide with Ryan’s dark head moving slowly as she consumed her greedily.

Ryan barely had time to enter her before her partner screamed out her release in a very loud voice, thrilling the dark-haired woman to the core, as the rough moans continued unabated. Jamie maintained her vise-like grip on Ryan’s head as the spasms continued to thrum through her body, her fingers never relaxing. Her breathing was starting to calm, but after working so hard, she had no desire to abandon her pleasure so quickly. "Stay with me," she urged gently. Meeting Ryan’s eyes, she smiled and said, "You’re good at this."

"Well, I don’t like to brag …"

"Enough chitchat. Back to work." Jamie grasped Ryan’s hand and slid it between her legs. "Gently … " she urged, gazing up into Ryan’s love-filled expression. Her fantasy over, she lay back and just let the love and devotion she saw there fill her soul. As many times as they had made love, she had never failed to be completely charmed by the deep pleasure that she could see in Ryan’s eyes as she brought her to orgasm. Jamie knew that her lover got nearly as much satisfaction from the experience as she did, and she tried to hold her gaze to share the sensation as much as she could. Their eyes locked together, Ryan touched her with a whisper-soft pressure, searching her face for the first signs of her climax. She didn’t have to wait long. Unable to keep her eyes open, Jamie moaned out another debilitating orgasm, and lay limply in Ryan’s arms.

"Damn, you’re good," the smaller woman mumbled. "What was your name again, honey?"

"Princess Charming," Ryan gloated. "And I’ve still got it, ba-bee!"

* * * * * * * * * * *

The warm water beat down on the two women, their embrace protecting the shorter one from the sharp spray. Her voice was muffled by a good deal of warm, wet flesh, but Ryan could easily understand her. "Did you enjoy yourself last night, love?"

"Ohh, yeah," Ryan growled, her voice low and rough. "We’re gonna have to do that more often."

"I think the thrill will wear off over time, honey, but I’ll give it another whirl sometime. Heck, you turned me on so much I might have gone with you if I was acting like myself from a year ago. Maybe I didn’t need to be in character at all!"

"Aww, you’re just trying to butter me up," Ryan smiled. "It’s working, by the way." She dipped her head to make eye contact and said, "I was positively blown away by how realistic the whole thing was. I was really angry when you accused me of trying to jump you!"

"And I was really hurt," Jamie chuckled. "I guess that part of my personality is easily accessible, huh? I really felt like myself – just in a different locale and a different timeline."

"I love you in any timeline," Ryan grinned. "I could fall for Colorado Jamie in a snap. Although in reality I wouldn’t have slept with you last night," she added.

"What?" Jamie’s face turned up so quickly that she got a mouth full of warm water. Spluttering, she repeated, "What?"

"I wouldn’t have," Ryan explained. "You were sending off all sorts of ‘I’m afraid I’m a lesbian’ signals. I never slept with women who did that. I only slept with the ‘I’m mostly straight, but I’ll try anyone once’ types."

"Well! If we play the game again, I guess I will have to act like Mia," she chuckled.

"We can buy you some different wigs to alter your look," Ryan teased. "I’d like to see if I can snare you under a variety of situations."

"Face it, Tiger, I’d fall for you in any situation possible. But, speaking of falling, I was surprised that you feel asleep so quickly. Weren’t you frustrated?"

"Huh-uh. I was in my old way of thinking," she reminded her. "My goal was to give women pleasure. That’s how I got my pleasure. When you let me start to taste you, I was fully satisfied."

"That’s so odd," Jamie decided. "You never do that now."

"I know, honey. We have a partnership – a mutually satisfying partnership. That’s not what I used to strive for … but I’m glad I’ve got it now."

"Me too, love. You deserve to receive pleasure." She slid her hands down and cupped two firm, slippery cheeks. "Can I interest you in a little now?"

Ryan lifted her arm, and cast a quick glance at her watch. "Team breakfast at eight. Then we leave for the airport. Business before pleasure, babe."

"Lord! Who says athletes have all the fun?"

* * * * * * * * * * *

Continued in Part 3

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