Disclaimers in Part 1

Chapter Twenty

As the first rays of sunlight hit the tent, Ryan woke in a comfortable little nest. She was spooned up against Jamie with her face pressed against her back. Her left arm was behaving itself, nestled between their bodies, but her right arm had snuck down across her partner's torso where her hand was firmly wedged between Jamie's legs. She slowly extracted her hand from its little haven and placed it on the much less dangerous terrain of her waist. The movement caused her partner to stir, and moments later green eyes looked up at her in question. "Is it time to get up?"

"If you want to get going early it is," Ryan replied as she nuzzled her neck.

"Okay, I'm up," she said as she struggled to her knees. "Hey, c'mere," she said, as Ryan turned around to crawl out. Ryan crawled back over, and Jamie ran her hand up and down her torso. "You are losing weight. You're all concave here," she said as she patted her tummy. "We've got to get some more food into you."

"I'll have an extra bagel for breakfast. And I'll bring some GU today. They'll give me another 500 calories."

"What's GU?" Jamie asked.

"They're little tubes of a flavored energy replacement. Each one is 100 calories, and it's fat free. It's just an energy source that doesn't upset my stomach, but gives me some easy calories."

"Do you like them?"

"Given how much I love food, I'd prefer to get my calories the old-fashioned way. But I'm really sick of energy bars, so I haven't been eating enough of them. And too much lunch really upsets my tummy, so this is my only option."

"You'd better take care of yourself, because you're going to need every ounce of energy you can get your hands on next week. This ride is nothing compared to what I'm going to do to you," Jamie purred.

"You really are a little sex maniac, aren't you?" Ryan teased.

"You're just going to have to wait and see," Jamie said as she kissed Ryan right on the tip of her nose.

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

Ryan was already well into her breakfast when Jamie finally joined her. She was chatting with an Irish couple who had come from Dublin just to do the ride. She introduced Jamie, and they all chatted for a while. The couple got up, wishing them both a 'good ride,' giggling as they left. "Why was that funny?" Jamie asked.

"We were just joking about that before you came up. "Ride" is slang for making love, and they just find it funny that people are always wishing them good sex."

"Do you know a lot of Irish slang?"

"Yeah, I do. My cousins always had to give me a crash course every summer to teach me the current terms, and I'm sure a lot of what they taught me goes in and out of style just like here, but I can figure most things out when I hear them in conversation."

"Will you take me to Ireland with you sometime?" she asked with a big smile.

"I can't imagine ever going without you," Ryan replied solemnly.

They got started really early, pedaling out of Santa Maria just before 6:30 a.m. The first 15 miles were a breeze: flat road, good pavement, and no traffic. They pulled into the first pit stop just as a huge truck from an L.A. television affiliate did. "We're getting close, Jamie. The media's here," Ryan observed.

"I couldn't imagine saying this before this week, but I don't want this to end, Ryan," she said with a catch in her voice.

"I know just what you mean," Ryan said, as she gave her a hug. "I always start to feel like this by day five, but this year it's worse. I just feel like we're in such a blissful little cocoon. People take care of all of our needs, we're together twenty-four hours a day, and we can be as affectionate as we want...it's really been idyllic."

"I can't think of a better way to start our life together," Jamie reflected.

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

Ryan proved to be correct when she described the Zaca Mesa Winery as a gorgeous little place. They ate their curried chicken salad sandwiches in a beautiful setting, surrounded by vibrant grapevines, then found a spot under a small grove of tall trees, where they decided to take a little nap. Ryan had brought a shiny metallic space blanket that they spread out after they had cleared the area of rocks and twigs. Ryan rolled up their jackets and made an adequate pillow for herself while Jamie was perfectly content to use her favorite human pillow—namely, Ryan's shoulder.

Moments later they were both sound asleep. Jamie soon had her leg thrown over Ryan's pelvis; an arm draped across her torso was next. By the time Melanie saw them, they looked as though they were welded together. She reached into her fanny pack and snapped a few pictures of them, grinning the whole while.

They slept for over an hour in the cool shade. They were both a little groggy when they woke, but the rest had done them good, and they started off again around noon. Heartbreak Hill was their first real obstacle of the day. It was just over a half-mile long, but was about a 12% grade, so it was challenging. They both rode up without stopping, and Jamie felt a good bit of satisfaction as she powered up the last fifty yards.

They zoomed along for another four miles or so until The Wall. This little beast was a full one and a half miles of at least a six percent grade. Ryan knew that Jamie was tiring a bit, so she offered her an inducement. Jamie was constantly begging Ryan to sing to her, and while she usually indulged her requests gladly, she had yet to sing a note on the ride. "I'll make you a deal," Ryan said mischievously, as they took a water break just before the hill. "I'll stay behind you and sing a song. I'll keep a nice, steady pace. But you'll only be able to hear me if you stay in front. So I'll serenade you up the hill, but I'm not repeating any of the verses, so keep moving," she said as she poked her in the butt.

Jamie took off, trying to keep an even pace. Ryan began her song, a long, lyrically dense story about a young maiden who is seduced by an old flame who intentionally gets her lost on the back of Rare's Hill and has his way with her after they drink a nip or two. Jamie missed an important verse as Ryan passed her at one point, but she pressed her lips together in concentration, lifted her butt from the saddle, and cranked for all she was worth until she was back within earshot. They crested the hill to the cheers of many other riders and crew, and as they pulled over to join the crowd for a bit, Jamie gave Ryan a heartfelt kiss for trying so hard to make the hills fun for her.

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

As they approached the campsite, Jamie mused to herself that Lake Cachuma was one of the most glorious sights she had ever seen. She knew that the place was actually not the stuff of postcards, but the lure of real showers made it seem like a showplace. The only drawback was that they weren't allowed to swim, but that was a small sacrifice, given the lovely setting. Their first stop was not to look at the scenery however, it was to find that porcelain and take a real shower. They were among the first in line, and they soaked up the hot water like manna from heaven. They were both careful not to use too much, since they knew everyone else needed a turn, but every drop was delicious to their dirty bodies.

They got into the tent in their t-shirts and panties and fell into a deep sleep in a matter of minutes. As they woke, Jamie thought that nothing had ever felt quite so good to her as snuggling together with their clean, shower-scented bodies and fresh clothes. A light breeze blew through the open tent flap, and Jamie could not resist tasting the toothpaste-fresh mouth right next to hers. She kissed and nibbled and sucked on that sweet mouth for many minutes. Ryan tried her best to control the escalation of passion, but as usual, she failed miserably. Jamie wound up straddling her hips, grinding against her with overwhelming need. Ryan took pity on her and whispered, "Do you want me to leave you alone for a while?"

But Jamie merely pressed her lips together and shook her head in frustration. She rolled off her hips and once again started kissing Ryan deeply. The dark woman eventually came up for air as she again whispered, "Honey, you seem so frustrated. Are you okay?"

But Jamie held steadfast--frustrated beyond belief--but steadfast. She bent down again for another round of frantic kissing, seemingly trying to physically merge with her partner. After a long while she rolled over onto her back, panting deeply. Ryan leaned over and asked solicitously, "Is there anything I can do to help you, Honey?"

Jamie blinked up at her and shook her head, a tiny smile finally gracing her lips. "I'm gonna assume that was rhetorical," she chuckled. "Because we both know that you could help plenty."

"Well…" Ryan drawled, "I don't like to boast, but I do have some experience in these matters."

"Save your experience until Monday," Jamie said, as she flopped down onto her back. "I can use all the help I can get."

"Don't think I'm laughing at you," Ryan insisted as she chuckled deeply. "But I think you're gonna prove to have a certain natural gift." She placed a few final kisses on Jamie's swollen lips and added, "I predict that you're going to be a real phenom."

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

After they loaded up on dinner, they walked around the lake. They found a deserted little spot near the banks of the placid lake, and sat down to chat. After a while Jamie asked, "Have you given much thought to our living situation?"

"Yeah, I have," Ryan replied. "I don't think I can live without you, even for one night, so whatever we do, I really need for you to be with me."

"I agree completely," she replied as she gave Ryan a kiss. "But what would you be comfortable with? Would you consider moving in with me?"

"That makes the most sense," Ryan agreed. "But I'm a little worried about moving out completely. I know Da probably seems really independent to you, but I think he'd be lost without me around. So I'm kind of torn."

"Well, we have the house to ourselves until September. I want to go to summer school, so it makes sense to stay in Berkeley during the week. But I'd be willing to go back and forth on the weekends if he's serious about letting us sleep together at your house."

"Would you really do that for me?" Ryan asked with a look of wonder on her face.

"Ryan, I'd carry you back and forth to Berkeley if it would make you happy. I love you, you big goofball," she teased.

"Okay, okay," she laughed. "It does make the most sense to stay in Berkeley during the week since I have to work every day. But we could go to my house on Friday evening and stay until Monday morning. Would that be okay with you?"

"Yeah, then we can see Caitlin, and have Sunday dinner with the boys," Jamie happily agreed. "I would really miss Sunday dinner, Ryan," she said seriously.

"You really do understand my connection with my family, don't you?"

"Yes, I do, but I have a connection too, and it's important to me to spend time with them also."

"You know, if I were to design a girlfriend, she wouldn't be a perfect as you are," she said contentedly, as she gave Jamie a brilliant smile.

"Well, that settles the summer. Let's see how it goes and then decide later what we want to do during the year."

"Okay," Ryan agreed. "Let's just make this the best summer we've ever had."

"It already has been, for me," Jamie said as she kissed her tenderly.

"This does bring up one little tiny issue, however," Ryan said.

"What's that, Hon?" Jamie asked lazily.

"I think your parents are going to have a few questions. Have you given any thought to telling them about us?"

"Uuhhhh…no," she admitted. "I've been so focused on the ride and everything that I haven't really thought about it. But I guess I do have to do it at some point."

"Yeah," Ryan drawled. "And given your mother's visit, I think that point might be soon. You really should think about how you want to do it…and when," she added.

"Okay, as soon as we're back from our honeymoon, I'll start discussing it with Anna. At least then it'll be too late for them to protect my lesbian virginity," she said with a giggle.

"It certainly will be if I get a vote," the dancing blue eyes agreed wholeheartedly.

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

Day Five was the night of the traditional rider talent show. Jamie pestered Ryan to sing, but she firmly refused. "I'm saving my voice for the woman I love," she replied. "I only perform for an audience of one."

They had a great time watching the show; several people had marvelous voices, and a few professional-quality drag acts had everyone howling. One guy was a terrific juggler, and a few really talented guitar players rounded out the high quality talent. A few people with more enthusiasm and guts than talent really made the night fun, though. It was great to see people feel so much a part of the community that they didn't mind exhibiting their foibles.

They were in bed by nine and asleep by 9:01. The next day was going to be a tough one--emotionally, it was their last night of camping; physically, the Gaviota Pass awaited them.

Chapter 21

Return to Main Page