I Found My Heart in San Francisco

Book 3: Coalescence

By S X Meagher



See Part 1

***Part 12***

Hunger woke the pair, Ryan coming to first, of course. "I’m starving," she complained, her voice muffled by her lover’s skin. During their nap, Jamie wound up on her stomach, with Ryan’s dark head resting on her smooth back. She rolled off to allow her lover to move, and each of them spent a few minutes stretching out the kinks. "You’re gonna have to get some thicker mats in here if we’re gonna do that very often," Ryan pointed out.

"I’ll leave a note for Mother," Jamie replied absently, trying to get her own kinks out. "God, I’m stiff," she complained. "My back’s been funny since the ride, and that little nap didn’t do me any favors."

"I’ll throw something together for dinner," Ryan decided. "You go swim a few laps to loosen up, and then sit in the spa until you’re nice and loose. By the time you get out, I’ll have dinner ready."

"No arguments." She winced bending over to pick up her clothes. "I hate for us to be apart, even for a few minutes, but I know you’re hungrier than you are stiff. So get going, Buffy, and don’t eat everything before I get there."

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

45 minutes later, Jamie was relaxed and rejuvenated. The swim had helped tremendously, and her back felt perfectly normal as she walked up the path to the house. Ryan had obviously found the stereo hidden behind an articulated door in the kitchen, because the smaller woman could hear the pounding beat when she was still a good 25 feet from the back door.

Ryan didn’t hear her when she entered. Given the volume, she wouldn’t have heard a 747 land in the back yard, for that matter. She had put on her new red and white board shorts and a skimpy square cut white tank that stopped a good four inches shy of the low cut shorts. Jamie’s mouth actually went dry at the sight, but when her partner began to dance, she had to grab on to the doorjamb to keep from falling.

Ryan was a fabulous dancer, all long legs and sexy hips. But she was usually dancing in public, or for Jamie. Tonight she was dancing only for herself, and there was something so incredibly sexy about watching her body move only to satisfy her own desire that Jamie felt transfixed with lust, despite their recent lovemaking.

The song was being sung in French, but Jamie didn’t recognize the accent. She had spent a good deal of time in France and had journeyed through the countryside, but this intonation was completely unfamiliar. After a few more lines, she realized from the beat and the rhythm that the singer was most likely African. She knew that Ryan had a fondness for music from around the world, but she had never been in a position to watch her dance to her favorites. . The song was obviously one of that group, because even though her partner could not sing the words, she moved to the beat as though she had heard it hundreds of times.

As the words drummed through the speakers, Ryan’s butt twitched and jerked, the movement of her micro shorts hypnotizing Jamie. Her lover was grilling a steak on the stovetop grill, and simultaneously warming some tortillas. As she worked, her movements perfectly reflected the beat and tempo of the music, gliding around the kitchen as if the entire dance had been perfectly choreographed. She had something in one of the low warming ovens, and as she bent over severely to check the contents, her butt kept twitching to the beat. Jamie couldn’t take any more, and she practically flew across the room to grab two handfuls of the twitching bottom. "You have the sexiest ass I have ever seen on a human being," she growled into Ryan’s surprised ear, leaning over to cover her bent body with her own.

"Glad you like it," Ryan purred, as she squeezed the hands that now wrapped around her waist.

Jamie pulled her up and turned her around quickly, now grasping the cheeks as she nuzzled her head against the perfectly located breasts. "I love being short," she drawled, as her face rubbed against a now hardened nipple.

"Dinner’s gonna burn," Ryan reminded her, as she turned in her embrace to remove the sizzling steak from the grill. Jamie let her go, but not before she snaked a hand up the tiny leg of the shorts and grabbed a handful.

"Gruuuuurf," she growled, as she forced her body to behave and let her partner finish cooking. She crossed over to the stereo and turned it down five notches, then went to the refrigerator and took out a Corona. "Want one?" she called to her partner.

"Absolutely," Ryan replied with a grin. "You’ve got my temperature rising again, chica."

"Ha! If I was wearing any panties, they’d be soaked after that little dancing exhibition." She handed her partner a beer, tapping the necks of the bottles together to toast. "Cheers," she said as she grabbed a full cheek, copping one more feel before dinner.

"Just sit down and relax for a minute there, Hot Stuff." Ryan smiled indulgently. "Let’s get some food into our systems before we start munching on each other again."

"Oh, I don’t think so, Baby," Jamie said with a shiver as she gently placed her hand protectively over her own vulva. "I need to save some energy for our last full day together. I’ve got big plans for you, Sweet Cheeks."

"Okay," Ryan agreed. "We can take the night off."

They worked together to finish the impromptu, but delicious, meal. Sitting next to each other on the window seat they ate quickly, both too hungry to spend much time in idle chatter. As the meal progressed and their pace slowed, Jamie broke the silence. "Ryan?" she began hesitantly, as she stared at her plate.

"What is it, Honey?" Ryan asked, interrupting the progress of her fork to look closely at her lover.

Jamie looked up at her with a sidelong glance, failing to meet her eyes. "How did you feel about today?"

"What part of today?" Ryan asked neutrally, guessing what Jamie was getting at, but not wanting to speculate in case she was wrong.

"What did you think about the sex we had in the gym?" she asked, as she looked down at her plate.

"I think it was about as hot as anything I’ve ever done," Ryan said, a big smile on her face. "I can’t tell you how great it is to have you share the little fantasies that you’ve had on your mind all these months."

Jamie looked completely flustered as she choked out, "So I’m the wildest woman you’ve ever been with?!"

"No, no, that’s not what I meant at all," Ryan assured her.

"But you said…"

"I said it was as hot as anything I’ve ever done, and it was, Honey. I don’t think I’ve ever been more aroused than that. But it’s certainly not the wildest thing I’ve ever done."

"What is?" she hesitantly asked, looking up shyly through her golden bangs.

"Uh, uh, uh," Ryan said with a smile. "I want to keep a little mystery in my life."

"Why won’t you tell me?" she begged.

"Because I might…no, I will want to do it to you and I don’t want to spoil the surprise," Ryan said with an evil grin.

"Okay," she agreed. "But are you sure you don’t think what we did is…too much?" she persisted hesitantly.

"Too much? Too much what?" Ryan asked, clearly puzzled.

"Do you think we’re moving too fast? I mean it was less than a week ago that I was confessing to Mia how frightened I was of making love to you at all, and now I’m kinda acting like a dominatrix," she said with a blush.

"Jamie," she said with a laugh. "You don’t act anything like a dominatrix, Sweetie. And believe me, I would know," she added with a wiggling eyebrow. She took Jamie’s hands in her own and squeezed them tight. "You are gentle and loving and open, and very, very sweet to me. You never try to cause me pain or discomfort…well, maybe a little discomfort," she corrected, with a twinkle in her eye.

Jamie lifted her eyes to see if Ryan was teasing her. When she saw that she was, she gave her a hesitant smile.

"Jamie, you are experimenting with power in our sexual interactions. Everybody does that, Honey. It’s one of the most fun things about sex," she said confidently. "I do it to you, too, Honey."

Jamie looked up again to gauge Ryan’s meaning. "Honey, every time we’ve made love, I could have tossed you down and finished you off in two seconds. But it’s fun to make you beg for more. That’s what lovers do, Jamie. It increases the sensation, it makes you just want to be touched so badly you could scream. That’s kind of the whole point of having a lover. If you’re only going to do the expected, you could just masturbate. It’s knowing that your partner is in control, and that they can do whatever they want to you, that makes it hot," she said with a big smile.

"I just never, ever did things like that with Jack," Jamie admitted. "I guess it kinda scares me."

"Tell me what about it scares you, Sweetheart?"

"I guess it scares me because I don’t know where it will stop," she confessed with a little blush. "I mean, I think you’re right, I’m just figuring out what I like and what turns me on. But, what if I find out I want to tie you up and walk all over you in spike heels?" she asked with a little embarrassed laugh.

"Hmmmm…" Ryan gave that some thought, trying to hide her sly grin.

"I’m kidding, Ryan!" she exclaimed, as she slapped her on the thigh.

"So am I, Jamie," Ryan retorted as she leaned over to give her waist a little tickle. "But I am serious about one thing, Honey. I want you to be completely free to tell me what pleases you. That doesn’t mean that I will agree to do it, but I promise I will never make you feel bad for having a desire, no matter how wild."

"Will you do the same thing for me?" she asked tentatively.

"Of course I will," Ryan assured her, as she leaned over and gave her lover a kiss on the cheek. "I couldn’t be more pleased with the way we’ve interacted sexually this week, Jamie. I was not kidding when I told you that this has exceeded my wildest dreams. But no matter how much we love each other, and no matter how great sex is between us, we will always have to keep communicating about it." She wrapped her arms around Jamie’s waist as she continued. "Sex is just an intimate form of communication, Honey. Some days I’ll feel like being wild, but you might want something soft, and gentle, and very vanilla. We need to be able to talk about that, and not take offense if we don’t mesh sometimes. I guarantee that we won’t be in the same mood all the time, Sweetie. The only way to make this great is to make it perfectly safe to express our individual needs and desires."

"So, did you really enjoy this afternoon?" she asked again, but this time there was a sexy little grin on her face.

"I don’t have words to describe how hot I thought this afternoon was," Ryan replied with a big grin, as she leaned in to kiss her partner on the lips. "I’ve waited five years to be able to taste a woman, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that you were the woman I got to experience it with."

Jamie sat up straight and stared at her partner. "What?" Her eyes blinked slowly as she tried to process this information. "What are you talking about?"

Ryan smiled and reminded her, "I’ve told you that I’ve been practicing safer sex for five years, Honey. Unprotected oral sex is a no-no."

"God!" Jamie uttered as she allowed herself to consider what "safer sex" really meant. "That never occurred to me."

"It has been a sacrifice," Ryan admitted. "Luckily, my Pavlovian reflex adapted pretty quickly. Now I get aroused from tasting Latex." Her bemused smirk caused Jamie to laugh, and soon they were both chuckling at Ryan’s adaptability.

"Well, you never have to have your lips on another dental dam," she said with a fond smile.

"Not so fast, Sparky." Ryan was still grinning, but Jamie could tell she was serious. "I’ve gotten quite used to the little things. I’m not ready to give them up permanently. You actually might like them for a change of pace."

Jamie made a face. "I’m not aroused by the taste of Latex," she insisted.

"No…but you might like to feel my teeth raking over your clitoris through a little barrier. You use a whole different technique when you have oral sex with a dam. It’s kinda fun." Waggling eyebrows punctuated just how much fun Ryan was talking about.

"I am sooooo lucky to have you, Girlfriend," Jamie said, as she laid her forehead against Ryan’s.

"I’m the lucky one, Sweetie," she insisted, turning her head to nibble on her lover’s tender lips. "I’m luckier than I ever thought possible."

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

After dinner they went into the living room to let their meal digest. Sitting next to each other on one of the tasteful print sofas, Jamie said, "You know, for someone who claims not to cook much, you do a darned nice job. I might just have to keep you in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant." Ryan paid her back for her comment by fiendishly tickling her for a long while. Jamie gasped and giggled wildly as she fought to push her demonic lover away. The pushing and grasping soon gave way to some rough kisses that quickly progressed to passionate ones. Ryan came up for air and said with a laugh, "I thought you didn’t want to do the wild thing tonight!"

"Who says I do?" Jamie queried with a smirk, leaning in for another kiss.

"Well," Ryan breathed into her ear. "When you do this..." she placed a slow, deep kiss on her lips. "Or this..." she slid her tongue into Jamie’s receptive mouth and let it languidly explore for a minute. "Or this..." she ran her hands up under her sweatshirt to tease the sensitive skin around her breasts. "A girl can get the impression that you want to get wet and messy," she explained with a sly smile.

"I’m just testing your response time," Jamie replied. "Purely scientific inquiry."

"How’d I do?" Ryan whispered into her ear as she rolled her over and sat astride her hips.

"I would say that you are quite responsive," she said as she pulled Ryan’s tank up to reveal her rock hard nipples. "But there’s one more place I should check for evidence," she decided, sliding her hand up the leg of her shorts.

Ryan grabbed her hand and held it firmly, pulling it out of her pants and placing it on her thigh. "I can save you the trouble," she said as she bent to kiss her again. "All systems are go. But if you don’t want to blast off, you’d better keep your fingers off the launch button."

"So I could interest you in a little love?" she teased.

A slow, shy nod was her answer.

"Do you ever say no?" Jamie smiled, shaking her head at her partner’s constant receptivity.

Ryan cocked her head and thought about the question carefully, as was her fashion. "I guess I don’t," she admitted. "I’ve been a little like a hunter/gatherer from prehistoric times."

"Hunter/gatherers were always horny?" Jamie asked, having missed that tidbit in history class.

"No, silly," Ryan laughed. "Hunter/gatherers were never sure where their next meal was coming from. When they killed a large animal or came upon some food that would perish quickly, they ate as much as they could to make sure they got all of the nourishment they could stand. It helped them weather the next dry spell."

"And?" the curious blonde prompted.

"And…when I didn’t know where my next sexual experience would come from, I felt like I needed to take what was offered, when it was offered. I trained myself to always be receptive, because I didn’t know when a dry spell would hit."

"But, Honey," Jamie purred, "you’re never going to have another dry spell."

"Tell that to her," Ryan said, pointing to her always-receptive vulva, a smirk covering her face.

"Oh, so ‘Little Ryan’ is the one I have to convince, huh?" Jamie asked, as she gently patted Little Ryan.

"Yep. She’s suspicious by nature," the dancing blue eyes maintained.

"I’ll make you a deal, Baby. Let’s play a game. If I win, I get to ravish you. If you win, we go to sleep."

"Um...how does that make me the winner?"

"Oh, don’t worry, Ryan, you’ll lose. You’ll definitely lose."

She got up and offered her partner a hand, and led her into a big room at the back of the house. It was a big, fully equipped game room, with a large green-felt pool table in the center of the room. Two large Tiffany-style lamps hung over the table, lighting it to perfection. The room also contained two poker tables, two dartboards and a big screen TV, with comfortable overstuffed leather chairs facing it. An impressive wet bar took up one corner of the room, and big leaded glass windows looked out over the lawn and the blackness of the sea.

"Wow," Ryan said in amazement. "Yet another room bigger than our whole first floor."

Jamie gave her a fond grin and asked, "Do you play pool?"

"Am I not a lesbian?" she asked rhetorically, giving Jamie a big grin.

"Yes, but are you any good?"

"Let’s see, if I win, we go to sleep, and if I lose, you make love to me." She wrinkled up her forehead, seemingly deep in thought. "I totally suck!" she announced forcefully.

Jamie walked over to the rack where a number of nice cues hung. Ryan came over and picked up a couple, sighting down them with practiced ease. "Um, Jamie," she said as she picked up one particular cue. "This one has your name engraved on it," she said suspiciously.

"Oh my, so it does," she agreed casually as she snatched it out of Ryan’s hand. "Imagine that." She looked up at her lover with an innocent smile.

"I think I’m in trouble," Ryan gulped.

"Deep, deep trouble." Jamie nodded with a knowing smile.

They flipped to see who would break and Jamie won. Ryan could have left the room after that, because she didn’t get to pick up her cue until the game was over. She sat open-mouthed on a stool and watched as her partner ran the table, methodically stoking each ball into a pocket, one at a time. As the eight ball fell into the corner pocket, she came over and stood between Ryan’s spread legs. "Pay up," she insisted lustily.

"Two out of three?" Ryan begged.

"Are you really more competitive than you are sexual?" Jamie asked, as she placed her hands flat on Ryan’s chest and gazed at her in wonder.

"Duh!" Ryan said as she slapped her forehead. "I forgot that losing was winning! Let’s go!" She grabbed Jamie’s hand and headed for the door.

"What’s your rush?" Jamie’s sultry voice purred. "We haven’t christened this room, you know."

"Geez, you’re got me so confused, I don’t know what’s going on," Ryan said, plopping down on her stool again.

Jamie just gave her a throaty laugh as she stood between her spread legs. "Do you have any special requests?" she asked with a grin that was partly innocent and partly lascivious.

"Uh-uh," Ryan replied, shaking her head slowly. "You haven’t disappointed me yet."

"Hmmmm…" She looked Ryan up and down speculatively. "How would I like you tonight?" She ran the backs of her fingers teasingly over the pouty breasts and considered. "I could make these little beauties the focus of my attention." Ryan seemed to like that idea just fine as she threw her shoulders back to make her breasts even more available. Jamie stepped back and looked all around the room, considering her options. When she returned her gaze to Ryan, she had a smug little smile gracing her face. "I’m set." She leaned in and started kissing her, signaling that the games had begun.

As usual, Ryan was putty in her hands as soon as she began to kiss her. In just a few minutes, she was breathing heavily and leaning in hard. Her mouth opened wide to suck Jamie’s wet tongue into the warm, welcoming space. Jamie gripped her face with both hands and held her steady as she delicately nibbled on her lips, teasing every millimeter with her teeth and tongue. Ryan groaned lustily as her lover forced her way into her mouth and explored her thoroughly.

Jamie loved the power she felt as Ryan responded to her so enthusiastically. The dark woman was truly limp, and this surrender served as a powerful aphrodisiac. Ryan’s total trust and complete submissiveness revealed the depth of her love, and this vulnerability made the gift of her body all the more precious to Jamie.

She grasped Ryan’s hand and pulled her over to a low leather sofa, then pulled a cotton throw from a chair and placed it across the seat to provide a warmer place to lie. Turning to Ryan, she reverently began to remove clothing, kissing all of the warm skin as it was revealed to her worshipful gaze. She spent a few minutes loving both the exposed and the covered skin until she grasped the shorts by the bottom hems and slowly pulled them down. Ryan kicked them off as Jamie rose to her feet.

She slowly tossed off her own clothing, her gaze never leaving Ryan’s sapphire blue eyes, now smoldering with desire. She stood close enough that they were breathing the same air and she carefully turned her head and rested it on Ryan’s strong chest, her hands loosely clasped behind the small of her partner’s back.

"I love you, Ryan," she said softly, as she tightened her embrace and squeezed her firmly.

"I love you, too, Jamie," came the husky reply.

Jamie sat down on the sofa and pulled her legs up on the surface. She raised her left leg until her foot rested on a cushion, and spread her right leg wide open so that Ryan could sit between them. As she slid in place, Ryan gave her a little smirk feeling the wet warm kiss that her back received from Jamie’s vulva. She leaned back against her partner as Jamie slid each of her legs under Ryan’s.

Jamie nibbled sensually on her neck as each hand cupped a heavy, lush breast. She kneaded the firm flesh, teasing Ryan’s ears unmercifully with her tongue. She spent extra time running the tip of her tongue all around the blue diamond that Ryan wore in her left ear, whispering, "I love that you wear this sign of my love for you. I want everyone to know how much I love you, Ryan."

Her mouth captured the sensitive flesh of the tender earlobes, and she lightly nibbled and sucked each little bit of flesh into her mouth. Ryan was moaning softly as her hips began to sway slowly back and forth.

Jamie simply needed to show her love for her partner tonight, without teasing or refusing her entreaties, so she gently slid two fingers from each hand into her partner’s wetness. Ryan’s hips lifted off the sofa abruptly as she sucked in a very satisfied breath. She sank back down as her lover’s fingers slowly increased her arousal, just a bit at a time. The knowing fingers ratcheted up her excitement until she was tossing her head back and forth against Jamie’s chest, gasping for breath as her hips thrust up and down insistently. Just a bit of firmer pressure sent her over the edge. Sighing deeply, she let out a small whimper, sinking onto the sofa, nestled securely between her lover’s legs.

Her head rested limply against Jamie’s shoulder, breath still coming in heavy gulps. She lifted and turned her head catching a glimpse of her partner’s smiling face. "That was very, very nice," she said appreciatively.

"I just needed to touch you gently tonight," Jamie admitted. "Do you like that as well as when I’m a little wild?"

"Absolutely," Ryan said firmly. "It’s like when you want to go out to dinner. Sometimes you want spicy Szechwan food, and sometimes you want a nice turkey sandwich. They’re each perfect if that’s what you’re in the mood for. But if you really want a turkey sandwich, and somebody gives you Szechwan green beans, you’re not a happy camper. Tonight I think we were both in the mood for a little tenderness." She reached up to grasp the back of Jamie’s head and pull her down for a gentle kiss. "How about you, my sweet? Could you stand a little tenderness?"

"Hmm, I’m afraid that I’ll be sore if I get much more friction," she mused.

"I guarantee I can give you a nice little sedative without much friction."

"Umm, I am feeling awfully aroused," she mused. "Sure you’re up to it?" she asked with a leer.

"Double your money back if I fail to deliver," Ryan smiled down at her.

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

A short while later they lay in bed, snuggling as they relaxed before sleep. "As usual, you are a woman of your word," Jamie chuckled into her partner’s ear.

"No friction?"

"Just the right amount," she murmured. "You’re a virtuoso, Babe."

Without warning, Ryan hopped out of bed, running to retrieve the bag her new shoes had been placed in. "What are you doing?" Jamie asked, sitting up and watching her partner dash around the room.

"I bought you a little something," the brunette informed her, holding the object behind her back. "I felt bad about buying that shirt for Ally, and I didn’t want you to feel left out. So when you were buying coffee today I went on a little search and got a shirt so I could continue the custom with you. Now, it’s not quite the same, since I’ll never let you out of my sight, but when we go somewhere together, I’m going to buy you a shirt to commemorate the trip."

"Come over here, you big, sweet, gorgeous hunk of woman," Jamie ordered. As Ryan approached the bed, the blonde asked rhetorically, "How did I get so lucky?"

"Search me," Ryan joked, shrugging her broad shoulders.

"Later," the grinning blonde promised with a waggling eyebrow. "Now…show me my gift," Jamie commanded, crooking her finger at her grinning partner.

"Okay, but promise you won’t be offended," Ryan cautioned. "It’s a little joke based on a conversation we had…but it is a joke."

"Mmm, this I gotta see," the smirking blonde said. "Hand it over, Babe."

Ryan did just that and grinned as Jamie held up the large black T-shirt. Big purple block letters proclaimed, "I’m not a lesbian, but my girlfriend is." Lifting her amused green eyes to Ryan, Jamie just shook her head as she said, "My motto is: there are no straight women."

"What?" Ryan said, a frown covering her face. "What in the heck do you mean by that?"

"There are only women who haven’t met Ryan O’Flaherty," Jamie decided with conviction.

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

They had been asleep for just a few minutes when Jamie sat up as though she had been slapped awake. Her eyes were wide with alarm, and she sucked in a deep breath as she tried to calm herself. Ryan sat up quickly and darted her eyes from Jamie’s shocked face to the surrounding room, returning to her face again when she noticed nothing amiss.

"What’s wrong?" she asked, her own voice echoing Jamie’s obvious alarm.

"Closed circuit cameras," she replied, turning a ghostly shade of pale.

The abrupt awakening and the late hour combined to cloud Ryan’s usually perceptive mind. "What?" she cried, thinking that Jamie might be recounting a dream.

"My parents have closed circuit cameras…" now she began to almost hyperventilate as she gasped out, "in the gym!"

Ryan immediately understood the gravity of the situation. "Are you sure they’re running?" she asked, more calmly than she felt.

Jamie just nodded her head slowly. "They’re only on when my parents are gone."

"Where are the controls?"

"I’m not sure. They put this in last year when those burglaries started. The police thought they knew who was committing the crimes, but they needed evidence. My parents and some of their neighbors installed these cameras to survey the rooms when they’re gone and help the police," Jamie gasped out as she tried to calm her racing heart.

"Do they keep the tapes here, or is there some service that does it?"

"I’m not sure," she said, starting to cry. "Oh, Ryan, if they find out about us this way, we’ll never be able to have a relationship with them. This would kill them if they saw us having sex here. Like we did," she added with a deep blush, as scenes from their gym adventure flooded her brain.

"Jamie, Jamie," she said as she patted her heaving back. "We’ll figure this out, Honey. I promise you. " Staring into Jamie’s eyes, she repeated sincerely, "I promise you."

Jamie clung to her tightly, her mind running through various scenarios, all of them disastrous. She looked up at Ryan, her tear-stained face reflecting shame and embarrassment. "It’s making me sick to my stomach to think of someone watching us," she said as the sobs overtook her again.

"Jamie…" Ryan slowly pulled back and lifted her lover’s face with her fingertips. "I swear to you that we will figure out a way to make sure your parents don’t see that tape. No matter what we have to do, they will not see it," she said firmly. "I’ll bring all of my cousins down here to tear this place apart brick by brick if we have to, Honey. We will absolutely figure out a way to make sure your parents do not ever see that tape, Baby."

Jamie still looked physically ill, and Ryan continued to soothe her. "There is nothing wrong with how we made love today, Jamie." She lifted her chin as her partner dropped it again in shame. "What we do together is intensely private, and I never want another soul to watch us. But whatever we do together is done with love, and trust and tenderness." She softly kissed her lover on the lips. "Sometimes we’ll be a little wild. Sometimes we’ll be very tame. But no matter how we touch each other, it will always be based in love," she said fervently. "Always."

Jamie curled up into her embrace and laid her head on her strong shoulder. "I do love you, Ryan. So very, very, much," she said softly.

"I love you too, Jamie,’ she said as she nuzzled into her neck, "with everything that I am. I’ve never lied to you, Baby," she said fervently, "and I’m not lying now. We will fix this, and no one will ever know."

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

As soon as her partner was asleep, Ryan slipped out of bed and went downstairs to find the keys to the gym. Walking down the path to the garage in the heavy fog, she got the key into the lock by feel alone. When she went in to investigate the workout space, she spotted a door in the corner that she had not previously noticed, and she wondered if the equipment might be kept there. She tried the knob, but it was, of course, locked. There were no other potential hiding places, so she glumly walked back to the main house. She spent another few minutes looking all around the library and the kitchen, searching for a set of keys that might work for the door, but they all looked like the ones for the front door or were clearly for automobiles. She sat down on a stool in the kitchen and rested her head on her crossed arms, deep in thought. After a bit, an idea hit her, but she couldn’t explore the thought until morning, so she turned off the lights and went back upstairs to slip back into bed, her temporary absence completely unnoticed by her partner.

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

Continued in Part 13

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