I Found My Heart In San Francisco

Book 14


By SX Meagher

Part Seven

By seven o'clock on Saturday evening, Mia was nearing Jordan's neighborhood. The two had spoken four times so far, with Jordan calling twice to check on her progress, and Mia calling just because she was too excited not to. Once again, she dialed her lover's cell phone, smiling when Jordan answered on the first ring.


"Hi, sweetie. I'm close to that shopping center you told me about, so I should be there soon. My next challenge is to figure out how to get around your apartment complex. Why couldn't you guys live on a nice, normal street?"

"'Cause it's cheaper to live in an ugly, industrial-looking, poorly-built dump that looks like a motel."

"Good point. But it's not easy for your guests."

Jordan laughed. "We don't get many. But don't worry, I'll run down to the main entrance and meet you. Besides, I can't stand still for ten more minutes."

"You don't mind?"

"Mia." Jordan's voice was soft and soothing, and Mia felt it wrap around her like a gentle hug. "I would have come to Berkeley to drive with you if I could have gotten out of practice. I'm so excited about seeing you that my roommates have been threatening to nail my shoes to the floor. I'm wearing a path in our cheap carpet."

Mia laughed, fully able to appreciate how hard it was for her lover to sit still when she was anxious. "Okay. I'm getting off the highway now. I should be there in about ten minutes."

"That's what it'll take me to run to the gate. See you soon."

"Bye," Mia said, but Jordan had already hung up.

Mia pulled up to the main entrance of the Castle Pines Apartment Complex and smiled when she saw Jordan sprinting down the macadam. In the second it took her to slow down, three cars pulled up behind her, and two of them were honking their horns. She pulled over to the side of the road and started throwing everything from the passenger seat into the back, clearing the seat for Jordan.

The blonde started to head for Mia's side, but she thought better of the idea when cars started whipping around the vehicle. She made a slight correction and skidded to a stop, spraying gravel into the air. Jordan grasped the door handle and slid into the seat in one smooth move. Smiling brightly, she reached for Mia, but the car started to move when Mia turned to meet her embrace. "Brake!" she called out, laughing at Mia's short but colorful explosion of profanity. "Kiss me, you crazy woman."

Mia nearly melted into her arms, feeling the stress and strain of two full days of driving disappear when her lover cuddled her into an embrace. Their lips met, then pressed tenderly against each other's. The kiss lasted for a long time, the soft sounds of lips touching and touching and touching filling the small car. Mia let her head drop back onto Jordan's arm, and she gave her a lazy smile. "Has it really only been six days?"

"Seems like a thousand." Jordan dove back in for another lengthy kiss. They stayed right where they were for almost ten minutes, neither woman wanting to let the other go long enough to drive to the apartment. "My room is more comfortable than your car," Jordan eventually murmured.

Mia pulled away and pushed the curls from her eyes. She took a breath and asked, "Do you have anything to eat? I'm starving."

"Mmm … not really. I ate at the training center. But there's a lot of stuff around here. Let's go get something right now, so we don't have to leave again."

"Ha! Like I'll let you leave once I get you inside," Mia said, laughing.

"Then let's get you some dinner, 'cause you're not getting away from me, either."

* * * * * * * *

They went to a nearby restaurant and settled into a booth. The place wasn't fancy, but it had a wide selection, and Mia quickly found a salad with grilled chicken that sounded perfect.

Jordan didn't order anything, which earned her a scowl from the server, but she didn't seem to notice. The look on her face showed such perfect contentment that Mia guessed not many things could upset her lover at that moment.

Mia studied Jordan's face. "Are you losing more weight, honey? You look even thinner than you did last week."

Jordan looked down at herself. "Yeah, I lost about a half pound this week. It's not by choice, though."

"Jordy, order some food if you're hungry!"

"No, no, I'm not hungry. I'm fine, really. I'm getting lean, which is good for me."

"You were lean before," Mia said. "You're starting to get skinny."

"Maybe you won't think that when you see me naked," Jordan said, batting her eyes.

"Change the subject or we're bolting," Mia said, not kidding a bit.

While they waited, Mia gave her lover a run-down of the day's activities, which consisted mostly of driving and stopping for gas. The salad was delivered, and Mia concentrated on her food for a minute. When she looked up, Jordan was gazing at her, a surprisingly serious expression on her face. "What?" the brunette asked.

Jordan's expression gentled. "I was just thinking of how big a deal this all is. It's still hard for me to believe you've chucked everything to be here with me."

The fork was halfway to Mia's mouth, but she cocked her head and asked, "Wouldn't you do the same for me if the situation were reversed?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I would," Jordan said. "I guess I'm still having a hard time getting used to the idea that I'm important enough to you to have you do this."

Mia put the bite into her mouth and gave Jordan a scolding look. She chewed for a moment, then said, "You're the last person in the world who should be insecure. I still have a hard time believing that you picked me when you could have had any lesbian in the country."

"Yeah." Jordan gave her partner a good-natured grin. "That's absolutely true. I hear from every lesbian in the country-all the time, as a matter of fact-but I keep turning 'em down. It's costing me a fortune in postage."

"That's not what I mean, and you know it," Mia said. "All I meant was that you don't seem to have any idea of how desirable you are, and that amazes me. A woman who looks like you and is as smart and thoughtful and talented as you are should have a huge swollen head."

"That would kinda ruin the looks part of the package," Jordan teased.

"Fine." Mia took another bite. "You don't have to accept the truth. But you don't have one thing in the world to be insecure about. You're a fantastic woman, Jordan, and no one knows that more than I do."

Jordan reached across the table and took Mia's hand. "No one but you matters," she said, fixing Mia with her pale blue eyes.

"When you say that, I believe it."

Jordan matched Mia's smile. "You'd better, 'cause it's all true. Now finish that salad so we can go home."

"I like the sound of that," Mia said. "Home."

* * * * * * * *

They arrived at Jordan's unit after a drive through a maze of identical apartments. Mia was sure she wasn't going to venture out without Jordan until she'd learned her way around, and she feared that would take months. They each took a suitcase and climbed up the exterior staircase to reach the second floor.

"How did you avoid breaking your neck when these concrete steps were icy?" Mia panted, her aerobic capacity nowhere near that of her companion.

"It wasn't easy. Good thing I don't drink much, huh?"

"Well, I do," Mia said, wheezing through a laugh.

They reached the apartment, and Jordan used her key to enter. "You need to lock the door, even if you're only going out for a minute. There've been a couple of rapes in this part of town, and the police think the rapist might live in the neighborhood."

"Nice," Mia said. "Any ax murderers?"

"Not that I know of. I don't think most murderers use axes any more. Too cumbersome."

They went inside, and Mia was pleased to see that the living room was empty of people, but dismayed that it was also nearly devoid of furniture. "Minimalist. Nice."

"Cheap," Jordan said. "We hardly ever use this room." She lowered her voice and said, "We're with each other all day. At night we want to be alone."

Mia noted that there wasn't a television or a stereo in the room, and the single overstuffed chair didn't hold much appeal. There was a collection of brightly-colored floor pillows that looked like they might be comfortable, but since there wasn't a television, Mia guessed she'd have to use them to stare at the ceiling. "Maybe I should've brought some of your furniture from the garage."

"Nah. You'll be here alone during the day, so all you'll need is the chair. At night, we'll be in my room. This is enough."

Mia nodded, an unspoken "We'll see" held back.

A door in the hallway opened, and one of Jordan's roommates emerged. Mia recognized her as the woman who'd expressed an interest in Jordan during the tournament in Florida. "Hi," the tall, dark brunette said. "You must be Mia."

Mia smiled and extended her hand. "Yeah, I am."

While they shook, Jordan said, "Mia, this is Jill Hennings. This is her second Olympics, so she's an old hand."

She'd better keep her old hands off my Jordy, Mia thought, trying not to let her antipathy show. "It's good to meet you," she said. "I hope having me here isn't going to be a problem."

"No, no problem," Jill said. "This isn't much of a home, anyway. It's just a place to sleep."

Mia felt a twinge of discomfort, realizing that it was going to be her home, even if the other women didn't think of it as theirs. "You don't eat together?"

"No," Jill said. "None of us can cook, and we can eat for free at the training center." She paused for a second and made a face. "Ooo … you won't be able to do that."

"Don't worry, honey," Jordan said. "I'll come home as soon as I can. We'll have dinner together."

Mia smiled at her partner, knowing that Jordan would do anything in her power to make her feel comfortable in this new situation. "I'm not worried. I know it'll all work out."

"It's good to have you here, Mia. If you need any info about the city or anything, I'm your woman. I've lived here, on and off, for six years."

"Wow … that's a long time," Mia said, feeling unsettled at the thought of living with a bunch of roommates for six days, much less six years.

"Yeah, it is," Jill said. "But Colorado Springs is a nice place, and it'd be hard for me to train at home. Sometimes I wish I'd chosen an individual sport-but I love volleyball, so it's worth the sacrifice."

"It's worth it to me, too," Jordan agreed, giving Mia a worried look. "I just hope you get used to it here. You don't get the benefit of playing a sport you love."

"No," Mia said, "but I get the benefit of being with the woman I love. That makes everything all right."

Jordan smiled at her for several seconds, her gaze unwavering. Clearly having had enough of the doe-eyes, Jill went back into her room. Jordan didn't react to the other woman's leaving. She looked into Mia's eyes and blinked away the emotion that was building. "I'm not sure how I'll do it, but I'll do anything in my power to make sure you never regret coming here." When she held out her hand, Mia took it and pulled her close.

Automatically, Jordan's hands rested on Mia's shoulders, and the smaller woman's hands palmed the blonde's hips-this stance now a thing of habit. They stared at each other for another few moments, their eyes saying more than either felt capable of verbalizing at that moment.

Jordan tilted her head and started to lean in. As she did, each woman encircled the other's body with her arms, then their lips met. Gently, tenderly, almost shyly, they kissed, the sweetness of the moment almost too much to bear.

It reminded Mia of their first nights together, when Jordan was so painfully shy and afraid. But this time it wasn't Jordan who was afraid, it was she. Standing in the living room of an unadorned apartment in a city she'd never visited and having to contend with three new roommates suddenly felt a little overwhelming, and she needed the safety of Jordan's arms to reassure her.

Jordan was right there with her, seeming to know that Mia was feeling a little shaky. "Let's go to our room," she whispered. "You can meet the other guys in the morning."

Mia nodded, and they each grabbed a suitcase and headed down the hall. "Jill and Toni are in the first room," Jordan said, nodding at the door they'd passed. "It's Jill's apartment, so she gets the room with the bathroom. Makela and Ekaterina are across the hall from Jill. We're behind Makela and Ekaterina and across from the bathroom. We're gonna have to come up with some kinda schedule, so no one's late in the morning."

Before the door to the bedroom was fully open, Mia decided they needed to move. The room contained a full-sized bed and a television sitting on the floor-and it was overcrowded. The bed was pushed against two walls, and even with that, the door barely cleared it. "It's not much, but it's cozy, huh?" Jordan asked, obviously trying to put a good spin on it.

Mia put everything else out of her mind and focused on the one thing that was worth more than anything in her life. "If we're together, anyplace is fine." She smiled warmly.

Jordan leaned over to give her another kiss. "I'm so lucky to have you." When she broke the kiss, she stayed in position for a moment, staring into Mia's eyes, clearly unable to believe that her lover was with her. She finally straightened and recalled they still had work to do. "I'll go get the rest of your stuff while you start to unpack. I, uhm … don't have a dresser or anything, and this room doesn't have a closet, but it has two windows." Her expression showed that was a big selling point. "I keep my stuff in those plastic bins I bought," she said, indicating the neatly labeled blue rectangles stacked against the wall. "We can go get some for you tomorrow, okay?"

"It's fine, honey. Don't worry about it. I'll get my toothbrush out. That's all I'll need, right?" She gave her lover a sexy smile while fingering the buttons on her fly.

Jordan's eyes widened in delighted agreement. "You might need a T-shirt to go to the bathroom, but other than that-you're set. Be right back."

Mia watched her lover leave, then she walked to the closer of the two windows and looked out, seeing nothing but two-story, flat-roofed, dun-colored buildings. It's gonna be hard for a while, but someday we'll have our own home and a couple of kids, and this'll be the apartment we'll tell stories about. It'll be funny-then.

* * * * * * * *

After a thorough tooth brushing and flossing, Mia scampered back to their room, glad that the other roommates hadn't seen her in her underwear. She wasn't shy by any means, but she liked to meet new people while she was fully clothed. Her moment of discomfort vanished when she saw her lover lying in bed, her long legs tenting the sheet and blanket. Jordan was wearing a dark turtleneck sweater, her golden hair shimmering in the light of a large candle resting on more plastic storage boxes, this set serving as a bedside table.

"Going somewhere?" Mia asked. She stripped off her shirt and panties and jumped into bed, shivering from the cold.

"Nope. I'm just trying to stay warm. I usually wear sweatpants, too, but I'm gonna let you keep me warm down there."

"Not a problem." Mia snuggled close and buried her face between her lover's breasts. "My nose is cold," she mumbled. "It's gonna take a minute for me to warm up."

Jordan stroked her back. "It's gonna take longer than that, honey. Having two windows isn't always the perk you'd think it'd be. They're single pane, and I swear I can feel the wind whistle through the part where they meet."

Mia looked up at the cheap, metal windows, seeing frost covering the bottom half of each. "It's gonna take some time to get used to the weather. I've been skiing a lot, but I've never lived anywhere cold."

"I thought I knew what cold weather was, but I didn't," Jordan said. "It gets kinda mind-numbing after a while. Hard to believe my ancestors came from Sweden, 'cause I don't have the cold weather gene."

"Sleeping together will make everything better," Mia said, curling her body around her lover even tighter. "Being with you always does."

Jordan tilted her head; she seemed fully content to merely gaze into Mia's dark brown eyes. Her lips parted, then closed, and she blinked repeatedly. Mia saw that her eyes were dewy, and knew that Jordan was having a hard time putting her feelings into words. But with Jordan, she didn't need to hear words. She could almost feel the emotion that coursed through her lover's body, and she knew how much it meant to Jordan for them to finally be together.

Mia tightened her grip and held Jordan so closely that she forced some of the air from her lungs. She ran her hands all over her back, probing the thin layer of flesh that covered her lover's lean body. After a long while, Mia's hands were finally warm, and she slipped a hand under Jordan's sweater, just enough of a chill left on her skin to make the blonde flinch. "Mmm … I love to watch you twitch," Mia whispered. She heard someone walking down the hall, then heard voices coming from the next room.

"Hi," one voice said. "Where've you been?"

A voice with a heavy eastern European accent said, "To the movies."

"What did you see? Anything good?"

Mia sat up and stared at her lover, whispering, "What are the walls made of-tissue paper?"

Looking embarrassed and abashed, Jordan said, "I usually have my TV on for background noise. I mean … I knew I could hear 'em, but I guess I didn't really …" She shrugged helplessly. "I sleep really soundly because I'm so tired, and they usually go to sleep pretty early, so it hasn't been a problem. I can … I can …"

Mia pressed a finger to her lips. "It's okay," she soothed, angry with herself for showing her alarm. "We'll just put on some quiet music."

"I don't have …" Jordan looked around the tiny room, apparently looking for a stereo system that didn't exist. "I use my MP3 player."

"We'll get one," Mia said. "I can bring mine from Berkeley or buy a radio."

Jordan looked crestfallen. "I didn't think ahead. I should have figured out how hard this would be."

"Don't worry about it." Mia rubbed her partner gently, her cold hand causing a riot of goosebumps. "We're together. That's what matters. That's all that matters, right?"

With her head tilted down, Jordan looked at Mia through her fair lashes. Her eyes were hooded, and she looked like she expected to be scolded. "Yeah, I guess."

Mia grasped her chin with her fingers. "It's all that matters. To me at least. Isn't being together enough for you?"

"Yes, yes! Of course it is! I'm just so sorry that this place sucks so badly. You're used to your great house. And lots of privacy and your own bathroom and nice furniture."

"None of that matters," Mia said. "Being with you is all that's important to me. If you don't believe that, we're gonna have problems."

"We are?"

"Yes. This won't work if you're walking around apologizing all of the time. I want you to understand that I want to be here. I need to be here. Not to be in Colorado Springs and not to be in a nice apartment. I need to be here because of you. Only you. And if you're here-I'm happy."

Jordan's face relaxed and she smiled-a hopeful, albeit tentative, smile. "I'm happy with you, too. Very, very happy."

Mia gave her a pinch, then jumped out of bed and ran to her suitcase. "I'm happy, but I'm freezing!" She rummaged through her bag and found a baby blue fleece hoodie and a matching pair of pants. She jumped into the clothes, nearly shrieking when the ice-cold zipper hit her bare chest. She added some thick socks and ran back to bed, letting Jordan rub her body to warm her up again. "Why do you only have one blanket?" she asked through chattering teeth.

"Well, I only own one, and I haven't wanted to buy another."

"Why? It must be sixty degrees in here."

"I know, but if I'm really warm, it'll be that much harder to get up in the morning. Now there isn't much difference between being in bed and getting up."

Mia kissed her partner, their cold lips meeting long enough to begin to warm. "You are one nutty girl."

Jordan laughed. "You get up at 5:30 and tell me how easy it is."

"Thank God tomorrow's Sunday."

"Uhm … I have to train in the morning. Sunday's my light weight-training day." Her words came out in a rush. "But I'll be finished early, and we'll have the rest of the day together."

Mia looked at her watch. "What time do you have to get up?"

"Uhm … 5:30 … every day. The coach likes us to stay on a regular schedule. We stay on it in the States, even when we travel. So when we're on the east coast, we get up at 7:30. Of course that means 4:30 on the west coast, which kinda sucks."

Mia gave her a smile that took more than a little effort to fabricate. "I'll get up with you so we're on the same schedule."

"Oh, not tomorrow. You sleep late. I know you're tired after that long drive. Besides, there's nothing for you to do at that time of the morning. I couldn't stay awake if I wasn't lifting weights."

"Can I go with you?"

Jordan shook her head. "No, I don't think so. There's a strict rule against having anyone watch us. The coaches are always worried about someone stealing our training program."

"Yeah, that's what I'm all about," Mia said. "All I want to do is watch."

"I'll ask," Jordan said, "but I wouldn't get my hopes up."

Mia hugged her hard. "Get your hopes up for what we're gonna do when you get home tomorrow afternoon." She pinched Jordan's firm ass, then filled her hand with the flesh.

"Not now?" the blonde asked, looking disappointed.

"It's ten o'clock," Mia said, amazed by her own words. "Time for you to sleep."

Jordan grinned at her. "I hate to agree, but this is late for me. I'm usually in bed by 9:00 and asleep by 9:30."

"9:30 it is," Mia said, forcing a smile. She kissed her lover, spending a few minutes luxuriating in her embrace. All too soon she pulled away and kissed Jordan's forehead, then turned on her side and squirmed around until her butt was firmly pressed against Jordan's abdomen. Long, thin but muscular arms enfolded her, and for the first time in a long while, Mia felt safe and secure. Chilly on the outside, but warm as toast in her heart.

* * * * * * * *

After a full day at Disneyland, Jamie stayed in their room, putting the finishing touches on her article. When she was finished, she brought up her e-mail program and sent it to her father. Her stomach was in knots, but she knew that delaying wouldn't make it any easier. She checked her watch, seeing that it was almost 11:00 p.m. in Washington. I hope he reads it and calls me right away. She considered calling him to let him know she'd sent it, but thought better of that. I've just got to wait it out.

Ryan and Jennie were having dinner with the team, and Jamie wasn't sure where they'd gone, so she called room service and ordered a hamburger. She tried to watch TV, but she couldn't focus on anything long enough to be distracted. She considered calling room service back and adding a drink to her order, but she'd promised herself she wasn't going to use alcohol to get through emotionally tough periods. So she did her best to focus on a documentary on PBS, wishing with all of her might that her father would read the article and call her soon.

* * * * * * * *

A little after eleven o'clock, Ally Webster slid her key into the lock of an apartment in the marina district. "I'm at your home," she called out, smiling when she saw Sara sitting on the sofa watching a movie. Sara climbed over the back of the piece to get to her lover quicker, making Ally's smile grow. "Somebody looks happy to see me."

Sara wrapped her arms around Ally's waist and hugged her close. Few things made her happier than feeling her lover's strong, sturdy frame press against her own body. "I missed you a lot. I wish we didn't both have to work on Saturday."

"I wish I didn't have so many clients on Saturday night," Ally said. "I'd move 'em, but they're all long-timers, and they travel a lot for business. Saturday is one day they're always home."

"Don't be silly," Sara said. She stood on her tiptoes and puckered up, waiting for Ally to dip her head and kiss her. As always, she was rewarded with a kiss that made waiting more than worthwhile. "You have to structure your schedule to make your clients happy. That's just business. Besides, it's nice to sleep late and go into the office in the afternoon. Everyone's leaving just when I get there. I get a lot more done."

"You keep working hard so you strike it rich and start supporting me," Ally said.

She'd said things like this before, but Sara had always assumed she was kidding. She wasn't so sure this time. She put her hand on Ally's chest and looked into her eyes. "If you mean that, you can quit tomorrow. I'll give this place up and move into your apartment. With just one place, we could easily live on my salary."

Ally grasped the tip of her nose and tugged on it. "I don't think I'd be a very good wife. But I'd like to start thinking of getting a place big enough to live together."


Sara's face bore such infectious enthusiasm that Ally's smile reflexively grew wider. "Yeah, really."

Tightening her hold, Sara rubbed her cheek against Ally's breast, nuzzling against her. "That would make me so happy."

"Then we'll do it. Let's check around and see if we can find a nice two-bedroom. Then you could have an office."

"Mmm … that'd be nice."

"But right now, I'd like to get in bed and kiss you for a while. Up for that?"

Sara took Ally by the hand and led her to the bedroom, not even stopping to turn off the television.

* * * * * * * *

They lay together in Sara's bed, their limbs so entwined they looked like a puzzle. Ally wore a tank top and panties, Sara just a satin camisole. As they usually did, they spent a while talking about their days and kissing, seeing if their caresses led to sex or sleep.

Ally still wasn't happy with her progress in therapy, but Sara was so relentlessly enthusiastic about their sex life that it was hard for Ally to complain.

Sara was tracing the pattern the lamplight made on Ally's bare arm. "Talked to my mom today," she said.

"Yeah? Did that go okay?" Ally tried to get a read on Sara's mood. Sometimes a conversation with her mother could upset her for a full day.

"It was fine. We didn't talk about my dad, and that always makes things easier."

"What's going on with her? Was she just checking in?"

"Uh-huh. I think so. She said she had tea with Ryan's dad and aunt the other day. She's happy about getting back into their good graces."

"Mmm." Ally had her own feelings about Mrs. Andrews and the way things had played out with Sara and Ryan's relationship, but she thought she'd better keep them to herself.

"She got the impression that Ryan's not doing very well."

Ally sat up a little. "In what way?"

"Emotionally. Maeve said that Ryan still isn't herself since the carjacking. She says Jamie seems all right, but Ryan hasn't bounced back the way they thought she would."

"I should call her," Ally said. Both women were a little tentative about discussing Ryan, but Ally thought it was time to try and get past the awkwardness.

"Yeah, you should," Sara said. "I think she feels more comfortable with you. Maybe I'll call Jamie."

"I think Jamie feels more comfortable with you," Ally said, smiling.

"It's hard to tell about Jamie. I like her. I mean, who wouldn't like Jamie?"

Ally nodded, waiting for Sara to continue.

"But she's not transparent like Ryan is. You can always tell what Ryan's thinking, but Jamie … Jamie's hard to read. She's good at being polite and friendly, but I can't tell if she really wants to be friends or if she's just being nice because Ryan wants her to be."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I haven't been around her much, but I never would have picked her for Ryan. She just doesn't seem like her type."

Sara sat up. "I don't think so, either! I didn't know you felt that way!"

"I don't think we've ever talked about it. Ryan's been a loaded topic."

"Yeah. But she doesn't have to be. She's in my past, Ally. I swear."

Ally patted her side and moved closer to kiss her. "I know," she whispered when they parted. "I know you don't think of me as second-best."

"Unh-uh." Sara's eyes grew smoky with desire. "You're my number one choice. And there's no second place. It's you, you and you."

Despite her awakening libido, Ally was intrigued and couldn't let the issue drop. "Why do you think Jamie's not the one for Ryan?"

"Ryan seems so much more jaded than she used to be," Sara said, obviously having given the matter some thought. "She's not the sweet, innocent soul I knew. I mean, she's still kinder than just about anyone on the planet, but she's … she's got more of a shell. She's not as open. I think she might be that way because of Jamie. I remember the first time I met her," she said, not going into the details of having Jamie almost catch her kissing Ryan, "and I felt like Ryan was almost afraid of her reaction. That's not the Ryan I knew."

"Huh." Ally was quiet for a minute. "That's not my impression. I feel like Ryan's putting on an act when she's with Jamie. Like she's trying to be more civilized."


"Yeah. The Ryan I knew was a wild thing. She liked riding her bike and having sex and wrestling and having punch fests. She was kinda like a pretty younger brother." She laughed, deciding not to tell Sara about the other side of Ryan-the soft, subservient side that loved to be topped.

Sara looked at her like she was mad. "Ryan was never like that!"

"Sure she was," Ally said. "We used to arm wrestle and leg wrestle and see who could hold out longer when we punched each other in the belly."


"Yes, Ryan. She dated everybody I knew, and I knew a lot of women. She liked fast women, fast cars and fast motorcycles. She never drank around me, but she had a reputation at the gym for being able to drink anybody under the table."

"Ryan. Ryan O'Flaherty?" Sara's eyes were wide, and she was clearly having a hard time believing her partner.

"Tall, black hair, blue eyes. Gorgeous. Ryan O'Flaherty. The Rock."

"You called her The Rock?"

"Most people called her Rock or "O." Not many people called her Ryan."

Sara smiled. "I used to call her Siobhαn."

"No one ever … ever called her that," Ally said, laughing.

Sara cuddled up against her lover and lay quietly for a few moments. "Are you sure we knew the same person?"

"Yeah. But we knew her at different times ... under different circumstances. I guess she has other personas, like most of us do."

"Do you have a different side?" Sara asked, looking deeply into Ally's eyes.

"Sure, I do. I was different with Ryan than I am with you. I didn't let her in very often. We were pretty topical with each other."

"When you weren't punching each other," Sara said, unable to conceive of having a punch fest with Ally.

"We were competitive," Ally said. "We just hung out. It wasn't very deep."

Sara untangled her legs and rolled partially on top of Ally, feeling her chest move up and down under her. "You're deep with me."

"I love you. I trust you. I feel vulnerable with you."

Sara kissed her, then threaded her fingers through her soft hair. "I feel vulnerable with you, too. I love to have your body pressing mine into the bed, feeling all of those muscles." She ran her hands all over Ally's body, letting her fingers slide under her tank top to trace the dips and curves of her flesh.

Ally flipped her lover onto her belly and started at her neck, kissing her tender skin with serious intent. It was clear that sex was going to win the battle tonight.

* * * * * *

Part 8

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