Past Imperfect

by: TazGirL

Disclaimer: Yes, I know who the characters resemble, but they are all mine! And I know that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed. When the character talks about it, it is part of her past.

Sex: Yes, there is some of that! Would you stick around to read this if there wasn't? Didn't think so!

Violence: Yes, there is a fair amount of that. It all makes for a good story, don't you think?

Bad Language: Well, yeah, people swear! Get over it! If you don't like it, or are offended by it, go somewhere else.

Dedication: This story began because my lovely wife begged me to write an uber fic story. After years of hearing that, I finally gave in and wrote one. This is all for her! I love you!

Other things I need to add: If you're under the age of 18, you probably shouldn't read this, but I'm not your mother. If sex between women is illegal where you live, why the hell are you living there?

Lastly, THANKS SO MUCH TO MY AMAZING BETA READERS!! J.J. and Gypsy, you have helped me immensely with this little project, and without your input, I may never have actually finished this thing. THANK YOU!!

Comments? Drop me a line at: I would appreciate not getting hate mail, but that may not be avoidable. Rest assured that any nastiness I encounter will be laughed at and properly discarded.


It was a busy day at the local retail store. Standing at one of the 6 cash registers was a short, green eyed blonde woman. Taryn hated her job. So many thankless customers who treated her like crap. It was the holiday season, and the store was jam packed full of irritable shoppers. All day long Taryn listened to people complain about the long lines, and how things never ring up the right price. One woman threw a fit when something rang up the wrong price. Taryn was just a cashier. She had no power to change prices at will. She had to call for a price check on the item, and the woman who was standing with her friend behind her, started to throw personal insults at her. She claimed that Taryn had forced her "crippled friend" to go and check on the price of the item because no one answered when Taryn called someone. Another customer threw a fit because they had a coupon that was expired. As if it was Taryn's fault they can't read dates on coupons! Other customers got angry because they misread sale signs in the store as well as the store ad. Of course, to them, it was all Taryn's fault that they can't read. At the end of her shift, Taryn couldn't wait to get out of that store. It boggled her mind as to why people would even want to shop there. She got into her car and hurried back home.

It was a miserable rainy day. There were many careless drivers on the road. Taryn was relieved to finally see her house. Taryn lived in a modest two bedroom house. She lived there with her boyfriend and her Siamese cat, Artemis. After grabbing the mail, she hurried inside to get out of the rain. Taryn was determined to get her new book started. She made herself a cup of coffee and sat down at her computer. Her mind was blank. She sat there just staring at the screen. Right now, Taryn was just a freelance writer in her spare time. She has dreamed of being a best selling author her entire life. Someday, she was determined to make that dream a reality. Someday, she thought, everyone would know her name. Taryn Philips would be a household name. Maybe, if her books were famous enough, someone might even make one into a television series or a movie. Taryn ran her hand through her long blonde hair and sighed. This wasn't the day inspiration would strike. All she was doing was staring at the blinking cursor on the screen. She wanted to scream. Why couldn't she come up with anything? She was about to give up and do something else, when her boyfriend Rob walked in the door. Rob was an average sized guy with short dark hair and dark brown eyes. He had once had an athletic build, but now he just had a beer gut. He was in his early 30's, but losing his hair quickly. He was supposed to be looking for a job today, but obviously, he had gone to the bar instead. He reeked of alcohol so bad that Taryn could smell him from across the room. She cringed knowing what was going to happen next. "Bitch!", he screamed, "Get me something to eat! I'm hungry. Been a long day lookin for work in the rain. Must be nice just to sit at home all day doin nothin!" Rob walked over to the table and sat down. "Get me a beer, too, bitch!" Taryn slowly got up and walked to the fridge. "I'm getting it, Rob, no need to yell like that." She pulled a beer from the fridge and sat it in front of Rob. For some reason, even though Taryn was supporting them both, Rob constantly said she did nothing. There was no convincing him otherwise.

"What do you want to eat?" She asked as nicely as she could muster.

"I don't give a shit, bitch! Just make me somethin!" Rob took a big sip of beer and belched loudly.

"Fine. I'll make you a sandwich then."

"Fine! Make it right this time, bitch! Don't screw it up like your life!"

Taryn sighed and quickly did as Rob asked. She felt so alone. She had no friends anymore. Rob made sure of that. Since he started drinking so heavily, she saw less and less of her friends. Partly because her friends hated him, and partly because Rob liked her dependence on him. It meant that he could treat her like total shit, and she would take it because she had no choice. Rob knew that if Taryn had anyone else in the world, she would drop him like a hot potato. It scared him to death that she might one day meet someone that he couldn't get rid of.

A dark haired woman is sitting at a desk looking at some photos. She studies them all carefully and finally picks one out. "This is the guy!" She said confidently. "This is the guy that I saw on the scene last night. He's the one who robbed the liquor store. I can't believe the bastard gave me the slip! I'm going to find him, and when I do..." A man put his hand on the woman's shoulder. "Riley..." He laughed. "You need to calm down. We'll get him in due time. You don't have to get so hot and bothered every time one of these scumbags gets away. We always get them, don't we?" Riley's blue eyes gave the man an icy glare. "Yeah, yeah, but still... I should have had him last night, dammit! I didn't get where I am by letting criminals get away from me, Ted. As my partner, you should feel the same way. Don't you think?" Ted sighed. "Yes, of course I feel the same, Riley, but it hasn't even been 24 hours yet. We will catch the guy. We always get them in the end." Riley sighed. Ted was right, as usual. Always the voice of reason when she lost her cool. That is why they worked so well together.

Ted was a decent looking guy. He had short brown hair and blue eyes. He also had stubble on his face because he often forgot to shave. Riley knew that Ted had feelings for her beyond just being her partner on the job. Nothing would ever come of it, however. Riley wasn't interested in him or any other man. She used to try to hide that part of herself, but after being discharged by the US Military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", Riley no longer saw the need to hide her true self any longer. She had grown up in the military. Her father was a well respected and decorated general in the army. Growing up, Riley's father was her hero. Her mother died when she was just a baby. Her father was her entire life. She wanted to grow up to be just like him. She lived on several army bases through her childhood. The army life was all she knew. It crushed her when she had to leave. She cursed the day she got caught with that cute waitress she brought home after a night of drinking. She had been careless just once, and it cost her everything. Not only had she lost her promising career in the military, but she lost the respect of her beloved father.

General Matthew Knight was a highly respected man in the military. He had conservative views and a religious background. He raised Riley with the same morals and views as him. Finding out that his daughter was gay had been difficult for him. He knew the shame and disgrace that would follow if anyone should ever find out. When Riley first told him she was gay, her father was furious. He lectured her on the dangers of anyone in the military finding out, as well as how she would burn in hell. He convinced himself that it was all just a phase, and she would come out of it one day. Despite his views on the subject of gays, he loved his daughter very much. He begged her to keep her lifestyle a secret. As any father would, he wanted Riley to succeed in life. He wanted to see her climb the ranks in the military the same as he had. He knew some gay guys who were serving in secret, and he had no problems with them. They kept a low profile, and didn't let anyone know many details of their private lives.

Riley promised her father that she would be careful and not get caught. However, such a promise is hard to keep. Especially for a young woman who upon discovering and accepting who she was, wanted to shout it out to the world from the highest rooftop. Because she was brought up religious, Riley hated herself for feeling the way she did. She knew what it said in the Bible all too well. She did everything she could to make the feelings for other women go away. Eventually, she found out what thousands of gays and lesbians discover after sometimes years of denial. You can't change who you are. You can pretend as long as you want, but in the end, you are who you are. After many talks with a gay minister, Riley finally accepted that God made her the way she was. The minister also pointed out to her that there are in fact, gays in the Bible.

Riley had finally found peace within herself. She knew who she was, and it felt great. Unfortunately, her happiness was short lived. Once Riley was "outed" by a fellow officer who caught her in bed with another woman, her life as she knew it was over. After being accused of violating the policies of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule, the incident was immediately brought to the attention of her unit commander. After reviewing the evidence, the commander brought it to JAG. After a few months of in depth investigations, she ended up being dishonorably discharged from the US Military.

As a result of his daughter being discharged, her father was humiliated by his peers, and he lost a tremendous amount of the respect he had enjoyed throughout his long career. The last time Riley spoke to him, he told her that he loved her, but he didn't want to see her anymore. He was convinced that she chose to be gay, and could have just shut it off at any time and been straight. Because of that, he blamed her for his newly tainted image, and couldn't bear to look at her anymore. Despite her father's basically disowning her, Riley still loved and respected him. She hated herself for letting him down.

The next day, Taryn woke up early. She had the day off work, and was determined to get some things done. She got on the computer and paid some bills online. Thankfully, Rob was gone when she got up. She didn't feel like making him breakfast. She just wanted a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Rob was once a good friend, but now he was just a big pain in the ass. She wanted to break up with him, but she didn't have anyone else. Her parents loved her, but they weren't what you'd call loving parents. They were both too into their careers. Taryn hardly ever saw them as a child. She was mostly raised by babysitters and nannys. She vowed that if she ever had children, she would be there for them. Her kids would know her and love her.

After finishing her breakfast, Taryn decided to get some grocery shopping done. She sure as hell didn't want to hear Rob bitch because there was nothing to eat. Taryn made sure to feed her cat before leaving. After that, she grabbed her cell phone and put it in her pocket. Walking outside, she saw her nosy neighbor, Miss Slayers, staring out her window at the mailbox. Miss Slayers was a short, fat woman with hair from the 1970's era. It was big and poofy, and Miss Slayers claimed she cut and styled it herself. She thought herself to be a professional hair stylist among many other things. The woman was obsessed with her mailbox. Taryn had seen her put envelopes in there and then take them out pretending that her boyfriend wrote her. She would clutch them to her chest and run into her house with them. Any conversations Taryn had with her revolved around the woman's seemingly fictional boyfriend Dennis. She went on and on about her "precious Dennis" and how he was one of her several soul mates. It boggled Taryn's mind as to how this woman actually believed she was so special that she would have so many soul mates, while everyone else just had one. She also believed that God talked to her. The woman was definitely a loon. Somehow in her warped mind, she considered Taryn to be her best friend. She swore that they shared a past life together in which they were sisters. Upon seeing her, the woman ran outside. She was waving a piece of paper. "Taryn! Taryn! I got another letter from my precious Dennis!" She held up the paper briefly before clutching it to her chest. Taryn rolled her eyes. She would bet everything she had that those letters were in Miss Slayers' own handwriting. "That's...good, Miss Slayers." Taryn said tactfully as she made her way to her car. "Taryn! God told me that Dennis would be mine! I knew it! God also gave me a wonderful recipe for chili! My chili is the best in the world! Oh, and he told me how to make that soup from the local Italian restaurant! Everyone loves it!" Taryn rolled her eyes and got into her car. "That's lovely, I'll have to try it sometime. I have to go now. See you!" Taryn sped off in her car as the large woman waddled back into her house clutching the paper to her chest.

Riley was really annoyed. They still had no leads on the guy who got away from her the day before. She hated for anyone to get away. She didn't want to wait for him to strike again before they caught him. She hoped that by chance, she might see him around town and she could bring him in. She drove around all the bad parts of town, but saw no sign of him. She drank the last of her coffee and decided it was time for a break. She headed to the local pizza place for lunch. There was a grocery store next door to it. She could stop in and pick up some donuts to take back to the station. She went to the store first. She wanted to get the good donuts before they were all gone. Her partner was fond of the chocolate glazed ones. Riley preferred the cream filled ones, but she tried not to eat them too often. As she approached the bakery section, she spotted a beautiful blonde woman in the store. Riley had never been so compelled to talk to anyone before. She had to think of a reason to talk to this girl. She was very likely straight, but still, Riley just had to know her. The blonde got a little closer to the area Riley was in. She took the chance and approached her.

"Pardon me, Miss? I was just wondering what kind of donuts you think I should get for my co-workers. I know it's stereotypical for cops to eat donuts, but we don't do it every day. My figure can attest to that." Riley grinned as the blonde did look her over briefly. "By the way, you look familiar. Don't I know you from somewhere?" The blonde shrugged. "You don't need to be shy, Miss. I'm a police officer. My name is Riley. What's yours?" The blonde gave Riley an uneasy smile. "Taryn." Riley smiled and extended her arm. "Nice to meet you, Taryn. That's a lovely name, by the way. Now tell me, what do you think I should pick out for my co-workers?" Taryn didn't know why, but she liked this dark haired woman. She usually didn't talk to people. Rob didn't like her having friends. Riley seemed different, however. She seemed like someone that Rob couldn't scare away. She glanced at the selection of donuts. "I'd go with the cream filled for sure. But that's just my personal favorite. You might want to just go with glazed. Everyone likes glazed, don't they?" Riley nodded. "You're right. I'll get a box of glazed and a couple of those cream filled ones as well." After collecting the donuts, Riley smiled at Taryn. "Thanks for your help, Taryn. Perhaps I can repay you somehow? I'll give you one of the cream filled ones." Taryn shyly smiled back. She wasn't used to people being so nice to her. "Oh, that's OK. I should get going. Nice meeting you." Riley smiled back at her. "Very nice meeting you, too. Hope to see you around."

Riley paid for her purchases and put the bag in her car before going to the pizza place for lunch. She ordered herself a personal pepperoni pizza and a side salad. She picked a table with a view of the parking lot so she could watch for Taryn. What she wouldn't give for that woman's phone number! Riley quietly ate her lunch while gazing out the window. Finally, she saw Taryn come out of the store. It was crazy that she felt so strongly about someone she just met. She didn't even know if this girl was gay! What if she was married with 3 kids or something? Riley didn't really care for kids, but if Taryn had them, she'd make an exception.

Riley was suddenly snapped out of her fantasies when she saw a strange man following Taryn in the parking lot. She narrowed her blue eyes and watched carefully. She mentally dared him to make a move on the blonde woman. The man got dangerously close to Taryn and grabbed her from behind. Riley jumped up and ran outside to help. Taryn was struggling as the man demanded her money. Riley pulled out her gun and pointed it at the man's head. "Freeze, asshole! Let the girl go NOW, or your brains will be all over this parking lot!" The man looked up surprised. Riley grinned. This was the guy who got away from her! Talk about two birds with one stone! The man let go of Taryn and started to run away. Riley easily caught up to him and knocked him to the ground. "Oh, no you don't! You're not getting away from me this time!" She quickly handcuffed him, read him his rights, and stuffed him in her car.

Once the man was secured in the vehicle, Riley rushed over to check on Taryn. She fought the urge to hug the blonde woman. She had to be professional here. "Taryn, are you alright? Did he hurt you?" Taryn was shaking. The man clearly scared the life out of her. "I'm..I'm alright. Thank you so much for saving me! I...I owe you my life. I think he was going to kill me!" Riley grinned. "No one's going to kill you on my watch, Taryn. You look like you could use a break. How about you come have some pizza with me? My treat. Then I'll take you down to the station and you can press charges on that dick head. What do you say?" Taryn looked up at those sincere blue eyes and beautiful smile. She couldn't refuse. "Sure." She said with little hesitation. Tayrn didn't know why she trusted this woman, or why she felt safe with her.

Riley put her arm around Taryn who was still visibly shaken from the attack and led her inside the restaurant. Nearly the entire place had witnessed what just happened and began to applaud as they entered. Riley smiled politely and waved to the people before leading Taryn to her table. The waitress rushed over to them. "Wow! That was amazing! You're a real hero, you know that? You saved this poor girl's life!" The waitress turned to Taryn. "Are you alright, sweetie? Can I get you somethin? It's on the house!" Taryn shrugged. "I'll take a Pepsi, I guess." The waitress beamed and shuffled off to get it. Riley shook her head. "I was only doing my job. I think they're acting a little silly, don't you?" Taryn straightened in her seat. "No. You saved me. It's like they said. You're a hero. I'll forever be grateful." She smiled up at Riley for the first time and reached across the table to take her hand. "Thank you. Thank you so much!" As soon as the blonde touched her hand, Riley felt a blush spread from the neck up. She smiled back at Taryn. "My pleasure." The waitress interrupted them by setting the soda on the table between them. Riley cleared her throat and tried to think about something besides how much she wanted to hold that hand again. "So..umm...I hope you'll come by the station later to identify that dirt bag who attacked you and press charges." Taryn nodded. "I'll make it over there tomorrow. I have to get home to my boyfriend soon." Riley's heart sank when she heard the word "boyfriend". She stared at her food and got lost in her thoughts for a moment. "Of course she was straight...what were you thinking, Riley?" She mentally beat herself up for how much she liked the woman across from her. Why did it happen like this? The very first woman Riley had real feelings for other than just lust had to be straight!

After Taryn was finally calm enough to drive home, she and Riley said their goodbyes. Riley couldn't wait to get this guy to the station. She got into her car and started it up. The very impatient man inside kicked her seat. "It's about time, you stupid bitch! What kind of cop are you? You left me out here for at least half an hour!" Riley growled under her breath. "I think you need to shut up now. I'm taking you to the station now where they'll treat you a lot worse than I have! And just because you're kicking my seat, I'll make sure you get put into a cell with one of the prison rapists. We'll see how much attitude you have then, won't we?" The man paled and stopped kicking the seat. "Hey, man, I was just kidding!" Riley grinned and continued on her way to the station. About 10 minutes later, they arrived at the police station. Riley jerked the man out of the car and led him inside. She smiled seeing her partner was there. "Hey Ted! Guess who I found?" Ted stood up from his desk and smirked. "Oh, I don't know, Riley..." He rubbed his chin pretending to be in deep thought. "Oh! I know! You found Jimmy Hoffa! Right?" Riley glared at him. "Ha. Ha. You're so funny, Ted." She rolled her eyes and shoved the man forward. "This is the piece of shit who I've been looking for! I caught him today trying to mug a woman in a parking lot. God only knows what he would have done to the poor girl if I hadn't been there!" Riley handed the man off to the guy who takes the mug shots and sat down at her desk. She was feeling pretty proud of herself. Not only for catching that guy, but for saving Taryn.

Taryn was still a little shook up as she got back to her house. She sighed when she saw Rob's car there. She had hoped he wouldn't be home yet. She grabbed the bags of groceries from her car knowing full well that Rob wouldn't help her with them and went inside. As soon as she opened the door, Rob started yelling. "Bitch! Where the hell have you been? Can't you see I'm starving over here? I hope you got some food in those bags!" Taryn sighed and nodded her head. She went to the kitchen and unloaded the bags. She knew better than to make him wait too long to eat, so she made some burgers and fries. Making sure he wasn't looking, she quickly spit on his burger before plating it. She put the food on the table and sat down. Rob quickly joined her at the table and started to eat. "It's about time! I almost starved to death!" Taryn smiled sweetly watching Rob eat his spit burger. "So sorry, Rob. I'll hurry next time." Rob took a swig of beer and belched loudly. "So you still didn't answer my question. Where the hell were you?" Taryn sighed. Why did he think he had to know every move she made? "You know I went to the store, Rob! See the bags of groceries? And..I almost got mugged in the parking lot." Rob raised an eyebrow. "Almost got mugged? What happened, Taryn?" Taryn shrugged. "I don't really know. He just grabbed me out of nowhere. I got lucky though. There was a cop nearby and she saved me. I'm going to the police station tomorrow to press charges against him. It turns out he was someone they had been looking for. I'm lucky he didn't kill me." Rob smiled. "I'm glad you didn't get killed, too! Without you, I'd be shit outta luck, ya know!" Rob finished his beer and tossed the can in the recycle bin nearby. "Get me another beer, bitch!" Taryn stood up and got the beer and slammed it down in front of him. "Asshole!" She yelled before running to her bedroom and slamming the door.

The next day, Riley waited at the station in hopes that Taryn would come in. She usually hated to be stuck at the station doing desk work, but today she volunteered for it. She knew it was a lost cause, and nothing would come of it, but she just had to see that little blonde again. Even if all they could be was friends, Riley wanted this woman in her life. She had to know her. Ted came up to her with a cup of coffee for each of them. "Hey, Riley, I got a cup of coffee for ya. I made the coffee this morning, so it won't taste like dirt." He noticed that his partner's mind was occupied. "Hey, is everything ok, Ri? You look like you're in deep thought." Riley nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine. It's nothing serious. Thanks for the coffee." Ted could tell that Riley wasn't telling him something, but he knew better than to press her about it.

After a few hours, Taryn pulled into the police station parking lot. She grabbed her purse and got out of the car. Looking at the building, she sighed. She was going to have to point this guy out and press charges. If she didn't, he might be released and could hurt someone else, maybe even kill them. She slowly walked into the station. A woman behind a desk greeted her at the door. "May I help you, miss?" Taryn nodded and approached the desk. "My name is Taryn Philips. I'm here to press charges against a man who mugged me yesterday. Officer Knight told me to come by today to do it." The woman behind the desk nodded and hit a button that opened the door to get into the station. "Go on in, sweetie." Taryn smiled politely and walked through the door. She scanned the room looking for Riley. She hoped to see a familiar face in the room.

Riley was still chatting with Ted when Taryn came in. Upon hearing that beautiful voice, Riley jumped to her feet and rushed to greet Taryn. She composed herself and tried to hide her excitement. "Good morning, Taryn. It's good to see you again." Riley was beaming, but did everything she could to hide it.

Seeing the pretty blonde woman, Ted knew exactly what had Riley's panties in such a bunch. He had never seen her act like that around anyone before. He assumed that she must have strong feelings for this blonde woman. Riley was usually all business. She didn't smile or joke around very much. She certainly wasn't what one would describe as friendly or outgoing. Ted knew her better than anyone, and watching her come unglued like this was fairly amusing for him. He felt a little bad for her as well. He decided to get over there before Riley scared the poor woman off. He approached Taryn with a smile. "Good morning, miss. I'm officer Cooper. You can call me Ted if you like." Taryn smiled shyly and shook Ted's hand. "Good morning. I'm Taryn." Riley glared at Ted as if he were interrupting something special. "I've heard a lot about you, Taryn." Ted grinned. He could see exactly why Riley liked this girl so much. She was really cute. "You are a very lucky woman. That man who mugged you is very dangerous. Good thing for you Riley was there." Riley began to blush. Damn Ted for reading her like a book! She turned to Taryn and smiled while trying to hide how embarrassed she was. "Let's take you to go identify that pig, shall we?" Taryn smiled back and nodded. "Yeah, let's get this over with."

Riley led Taryn to the holding room where the criminals were being kept in a line. The walk seemed to last forever for Riley who was fighting the urge to hold the blonde woman's hand. Standing on the other side of the 2 sided mirror, Riley asked Taryn to point out the man who attacked her. The blonde was clearly nervous. She looked up at the dark haired woman next to her. "They can't see us, right?" Riley shook her head. "Nope. They only see a mirror. I promise you they don't see us." Looking right at the man who attacked her, Taryn swallowed and pointed at him. "That's the guy." Riley nodded. "Alright then. We'll book him and start the paperwork to press charges against him. That piece of shit won't see the outside of a jail cell for a long time." Taryn nodded nervously. "You're sure he can't see me?" Riley put her hand on Taryn's shoulder. "Calm down. They can't see us. It's alright. I wouldn't lie to you, Taryn." Taryn felt better. Even though she barely knew Riley, she found comfort in her. "So what happens next?" Taryn asked. This girl was sure adorable when she was nervous, Riley thought. "I'll take you back to sign some papers and then you're done here. Come on. Follow me."

Once the papers were signed and being filed, Taryn stood up from her chair and turned to leave the station. Riley, of course, couldn't take her eyes off the smaller blonde woman. Ted was enjoying the scene all too much. He stood next to Riley with a smirk on his face. When Riley noticed this, she elbowed him in the side. "Asshole!", she muttered. Taryn suddenly stopped walking and turned around. She looked at Riley and opened her mouth to say something, then stopped. After taking a deep breath, the blonde just spit it out. "I really want to thank you for all you've done, Riley. Would you like to come over to my place for dinner tonight?" Riley's face lit up. A grin formed on her face involuntarily. The dark haired woman came back to earth when Ted gently nudged her. "I...I'd love to! I'd love to come over!" Taryn smiled and walked up to Riley. She took a small notepad out of her purse and wrote down her address and phone number on it. "Here's my address and my phone number just in case you get lost on the way. I'll have dinner ready at 7. That should give you time to relax for a bit after work." Riley tried not to appear too eager when she took the piece of paper from Taryn. Relax? She must be joking! Riley was going to be a nervous wreck! "Great!" Riley said as calmly as she could muster. "I can't wait. See you at 7." Taryn smiled and nodded and walked out of the station. Ted nudged Riley again. "Someone has a date tonight!" He said teasingly. Riley's face turned beet red again. "Sometimes I really don't like you, Ted..."

Taryn stopped at the grocery store on her way home from the station. She picked up some ingredients to make dinner, as well as a bottle of wine to go with it. On her way to the checkout line, her neighbor Miss Slayers stopped her. "Oh, Taryn!" Taryn rolled her eyes and turned to see the short chubby woman running toward her. "A very handsome man smiled at me back there! I know he wants me! Too bad Dennis is my soulmate!" Taryn sighed. "Yes, that is too bad. Look, I really have to go. I need to get home and start preparing dinner for tonight. It'll take a little while to cook." The larger woman's eyes lit up. "Dinner, you say? What is it? Can I come over?" Taryn shook her head. "Not this time, sorry. I'm having a guest. Maybe next time though." Miss Slayers smiled politely, though clearly disappointed. "Ok then! I'll make my famous chili! Everyone loves my chili!" Taryn nodded and started walking toward the checkouts again. The blonde had that woman's chili once before. It gave her the runs. It was definitely NOT the best chili in the world!

Once finally back home, Taryn unloaded the groceries and started cooking. Rob, of course, had to be a jerk. He entered the kitchen wearing nothing but his boxer shorts and let out a huge belch while scratching his butt. He had obviously been sleeping most of the day. "Hey, bitch! What's for dinner?" Taryn cringed. "I'm making spaghetti and meatballs. We're having a guest for dinner tonight. I'd really appreciate it if you'd shower and put some clothes on." Rob snorted and walked to the counter to examine the bottle of wine. Taryn noticed and slapped his hand. "No you don't! That's going with dinner tonight!" Rob scowled. "Bitch, you're really pushin me today, you know that?" Rob grabbed a cold beer from the fridge and sat down at the table to watch Taryn cook. The small blonde woman quickly chopped up some fresh herbs and garlic for the sauce and put them in the pot. After about 15 minutes, the sauce was on the stove set to simmer. Taryn turned around and spoke as sweetly as possible. "Rob, please get cleaned up for tonight. This dinner means a lot to me. I promise I will make it up to you if you don't ruin this for me!" Rob grunted and stood up. "Can you at least tell me who's comin over?" Taryn nodded. "Yes, it's the cop who saved my life. I want to thank her. Please be nice!" Rob smirked. "Yeah, sure. I'll get cleaned up, but you owe me, bitch!" Taryn sighed with relief.

While Rob got cleaned up, Taryn put the wine in the fridge to get cold and prepared a salad and some garlic bread to go with dinner. She hoped Riley would like it. Taryn was starting to get a little nervous. She wasn't sure why she was so nervous other than thinking Rob would ruin everything like he usually does. Once everything was prepared, Taryn sat down on the couch to relax. She wanted everything to go perfectly tonight. She hoped that if things went well, she would come out of this night with a new friend. Taryn really missed having friends. Riley seemed like the type of woman not to be scared of Rob. In fact, she could probably kick his ass if she wanted to. For a brief moment, Taryn giggled at the thought of Rob getting his ass beat by a woman.

After getting off work, Riley rushed home to get ready for dinner with Taryn. She wanted so badly to make a good impression. Riley showered and put her bathrobe on while going through her closet. She needed the perfect outfit for tonight. After much debating, Riley settled on a light blue blouse and a pair of black dress pants. Staring at herself in the mirror for what seemed like hours, Riley couldn't decide whether to wear her hair up or down. Once, deciding to wear it down, she grabbed her brush and kept brushing her long dark hair until it was perfect. While still staring into the mirror, Riley heard her phone ringing. She picked up her phone to see it was Ted. Rolling her eyes, Riley answered. "Hello, Ted. What can I do for you?" Ted laughed. "Oh, Riley, can't a friend call a friend just because?" Riley growled. "No. goodbye, Ted!" She hung up the phone without giving him a chance to laugh anymore.

Seven o'clock came quickly for Taryn. After all the work, the finished dinner looked and smelled great. The blonde was thankful that Rob at least put on a T shirt and jeans. Taryn put on a tight green blouse and a short brown skirt. She figured at least one of them should look nice tonight. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. Taryn jumped up and ran to answer it. She quickly fixed her hair for the hundredth time before opening the door. Riley stood on the other side of the door holding a box of cream filled donuts. Upon seeing Taryn, the dark haired policewoman felt her heart begin to pound and her breath caught in her throat. Riley opened her mouth to say hello, but nothing would come out. Taryn noticed this, and giggled. "Welcome, Riley. Are you going to come inside, or what?" Still giggling, the blonde woman stepped aside to let her guest inside. Riley clumsily stumbled inside. Her legs didn't want to work. This was quite embarrassing for a woman who always has her shit together.

Rob stood up from the table to see who their guest was. A wide grin crossed his face when he saw Riley. He liked the looks of her, and could definitely get used to having her around. Taryn quickly ran between the two. "Riley, this is my boyfriend Rob. Rob, this is Riley." The blonde shot Rob a look that told him he'd better mind his manners, or there would be hell to pay. Riley instantly hated Rob. She sized him up and decided she could definitely kick his ass. Putting on a fake smile, Riley gave the dark haired man a firm nod. "Nice to meet you, Rob." Rob rushed over to Riley's side. Taryn hadn't seen him move that fast in years. "The pleasure is mine, Riley. Please, come sit down. Dinner's all ready." When Rob turned around, Riley scowled. Did he really have to be here? She handed Taryn the box of donuts she brought before sitting down at the table. "I brought this box of donuts for you. I thought I should bring something, and you mentioned that the cream filled donuts were your favorite." Taryn smiled and nodded. "Thank you, but you didn't have to do that."

Taryn got Rob and Riley a plate of spaghetti before getting her own. The salad and garlic bread were on the table for whomever wanted them. The blonde poured everyone a glass of wine before sitting down to eat. Dinner was awkward at best. Rob couldn't take his eyes off of Riley. Little did he know that Riley would sooner be celibate the rest of her life than let this guy touch any part of her body. Taryn had to admit that Riley looked very nice tonight. This was the first time she had seen the dark haired woman out of uniform. Riley finally broke the silence. "Taryn, this meal is wonderful! Remind me to save your life more often if this is my reward!" A blush crept up Taryn's face. Rob inhaled his food and let out a belch. "Yeah, it is pretty good. I wish she'd cook like this more often. I also would like to see her bring home more beautiful women!" Rob nudged Taryn and winked. "Hey, you think she'll stay the night? We could have a lot of fun with this one!" Taryn sank in her chair. Riley scowled. This guy sure was a piece of work. She wondered what the hell Taryn could possibly see in him. She had met homeless bums with more manners than this guy! Rob pulled his shirt up and scratched himself. In his own deluded mind, he was some kind of sex god that no woman could resist. He had no idea that the mere sight of his hairy chest and beer gut was nauseating Riley. Turning to Taryn, Rob nudged her side. "Hey Taryn! How come you didn't tell me how hot this girl is? You should invite her over more often!" Taryn was beyond embarrassed at this point. Rob was really starting to piss her off. She wasn't going to let him scare away another friend. Standing up from the table, Taryn's green eyes blazed into Rob. "Rob, you are being really rude. I think you need to apologize to our guest." Rob blinked in surprise. Did Taryn just stand up for herself? He had never seen her do that before. He suddenly began laughing. "You must be kidding me, Taryn! Apologize? To a woman? Yeah, right! I'll do and say whatever the hell I want to in my own home! Fuck her! And fuck you too, bitch! Don't ever tell me what to do again!" Riley had enough of this shit. She stood up from the table and had to really restrain herself. She wanted to kick this guy's ass. She spoke as calmly as she could. "Rob, I have to agree with Taryn. You aren't being very nice here. Taryn worked very hard to make this a nice evening. Can we please just enjoy it?" Rob calmed for a moment while processing what just happened. He had not one, but two women telling him what to do! He wasn't going to stand for this. He was too used to Taryn doing anything and everything he wanted. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became. Rob suddenly saw red and slapped Taryn across the face. "Bitch! This is your fault!" Taryn fell out of her chair from being hit so hard. Her lip started to bleed and she felt tears falling from her eyes. Riley couldn't take this any longer and grabbed Rob by the shirt and pulled him closer to her. She spoke with gritted teeth. "Rob, I don't know if you are aware of what I do for a living, but I'll tell you. I'm a cop. And what you just did to her..I could take you to jail for. I'm going to give you 30 seconds to apologize to the lady, and get your sorry ass out of here. I suggest you get moving before I move you to my car and take you to jail." Rob grunted. "Fuck this! I won't go to jail for that little bitch! She had it comin. She needs a good slap once in a while to keep her in line! If I leave, she'll want me to come back. No one else would have her! She's worthless!" Riley growled and positioned her knee underneath his groin in a way that let him know he'd best shut his mouth. "I don't think you heard me, Rob. Apologize to her...NOW!" Rob rolled his eyes. "Fine. Taryn, I'm sorry you're such a worthless little bitch!" Taryn couldn't stop crying at this point. She managed to choke out a few words. "Just...go....please." Riley smiled at Rob. "You heard the lady. Get the hell out of here before I change my mind and take you to jail. You best know that the only reason I'm not going to haul your ass in is because of this woman over here! I myself would love nothing more than to see you become some large man's prison bitch. If I ever see you hit Taryn again, I won't be so generous." Rob suddenly understood the situation and nodded. Riley let go of him and shoved him out of her face. "Fine. Have a nice life, Taryn!" He grabbed his car keys and slammed the door behind him as he left.

Riley rushed over to Taryn and put her arm around her. "Hey, are you alright?" Taryn couldn't control her tears. Rob had hit her before, but never in front of anyone. And he usually would apologize after doing it. This time, he didn't seem sorry at all. If anything, he was sorry that Riley stuck up for her. Taryn wrapped her arms around Riley and sobbed. "I'm so sorry, Riley! I just wanted to have you over for a nice dinner! I never meant for this to happen! It's all my fault. I made him angry. Please accept my apology. Please don't leave!" Riley couldn't believe her ears. What had this guy done to this poor woman? Wrapping her strong arms around the smaller blonde, Riley tried to comfort her. "It's going to be alright, Taryn. If he comes back here, you call me, ok? I won't let him hurt you anymore. I'm not going anywhere. I won't leave you. I'll stay here as long as you need. You don't have to be afraid anymore." Taryn held on to Riley tightly. "Thank you. I don't know why you're being so nice to me. My friends and family cut ties with me because of Rob. That's why I've stayed with him this long. I don't have anyone else." Riley frowned. It really pissed her off that Taryn stayed with that asshole simply because she felt like she had to. "Well, you're not alone anymore." Riley lifted Taryn's head to meet her blue eyes. "Hey, how about I make you a cup of coffee? I noticed you had some coffee in a pot on the counter. Can I get you a cup?" Taryn couldn't explain why, but somehow just being near Riley was comforting her. The blonde managed a smile and nodded. "Yes, thank you."

Taryn walked to the couch and sat down while Riley got the coffee. She wondered if Riley really meant what she said. It was hard to believe that someone she had known for such a short time could care so much about her. While it felt really good to have someone care for her, she had trouble believing it would last. No one really loved her, or so she thought. While Rob was an asshole to her most of the time, and she was pretty sure he slept with other women, he stuck around. Taryn couldn't bear the thought of being all alone. She didn't really care who Rob slept with since she herself had no interest in sleeping with him. Riley walked to the couch and handed Taryn the cup of coffee. "I hope you like cream and sugar. I just guessed." Taryn nodded and took a sip. "It's perfect. Thank you so much. I can't remember the last time anyone made me a cup." Riley smiled. "Well, I guess it'll be my job to do that for you once in a while." Taryn smiled and put her hand on Riley's knee. "You're too kind to me. I really appreciate it. It feels good to have a friend again." Riley's heart rate increased when she felt the hand on her knee. This girl clearly had no idea what she did to the dark haired cop.

After a while, Taryn started to feel much better. She really didn't want Riley to leave, so she decided to start a conversation. "So Riley, do you have a boyfriend? Hopefully, he's nicer than mine!" Riley laughed. "No, Taryn. I think the last boyfriend I had was back in first grade!" Taryn raised an eyebrow. "You're kidding me! You're so beautiful! Why would you be alone?" Riley gulped as her face turned a deep crimson color. "I'm...I'm uhh..." The dark haired woman stammered to get the words out. "I don't have a boyfriend because I don't want one. I'm alone because I haven't met the right woman. I hope that doesn't freak you out..." It was now Taryn's turn to blush. While Riley was certainly no girly-girl, she didn't really look like a lesbian. Riley had long dark hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a smile that could light up a room. Taryn looked into those eyes and smiled. "No, it doesn't freak me out at all. In fact, after being with Rob for so long, I can definitely see the appeal in dating a woman." Riley sighed with relief. This was a good sign. Taryn wasn't grossed out by her. One of the hardest things about meeting new people for Riley was trying to guess what their reaction would be upon finding out she's gay. While Riley had no expectations for a relationship with Taryn, she really liked her. Taryn suddenly broke the silence. "So, Riley, when did you know you were gay? Is it ok for me to ask that?" Riley smiled and nodded. "Of course. I think I've known it my whole life, but I didn't go public with it until I was grown up. I grew up an army brat. Being gay in the military is frowned upon. In fact, it got me kicked out. I lost, friends, and my career. I started all over again and joined the police academy." Taryn finished her coffee and then hugged Riley. "Oh, Riley! That's so sad! I don't understand why people think being gay is a choice!"

What Taryn didn't say, was that she herself had struggled her entire life with having feelings for women. She had always admired people who had the courage to come out and tell the world that they are gay and that they are proud of who they are. Taryn's family paid little attention to her as it was. The last thing she wanted to do was to give them a reason to ignore her. Rob was Taryn's first real relationship, though it wasn't very much of one. Taryn never really wanted to be with Rob romantically, but it had just happened that way. She couldn't bear the thought of having to tell her friends and family she was gay. She had met Rob in college, and they became very good friends. Rob soon fell in love with Taryn. Even though Taryn didn't feel the same way, she went along with it because she thought it was the right thing to do. She wanted to fit in with the rest of her friends. They all had relationships. Taryn had become tired of her friends constantly asking her why she didn't have a boyfriend. For her, Rob had become kind of a safety net. As long as he was around, no one would start rumors about her being a lesbian. Of course, the relationship was doomed from the start. Taryn made every excuse in the world not to be affectionate or romantic with Rob. Part of the reason she took so much abuse from him was because she felt guilty. Because of her constantly brushing him off every time he tried to kiss her, or go to bed with her, Rob started drinking. The alcohol became Rob's way of coping with the fact that the woman he had loved so much for so long didn't love him back.

Taryn snapped out of her memories and looked into Riley's blue eyes. "I want you to know that you have me. I have never had a friend like you before, and I'll do my best to never screw things up between us. Even though we basically just met, I feel like I've known you for years. I can't explain it. Maybe it's because you saved my life, but I feel like I can trust you with anything." Riley wanted to reply, but she was frozen. She felt so many emotions at the moment. The dark haired woman was usually stoic. Emotions just weren't something she felt, or admitted to feeling. Riley had long given up the possibility of love in her life, yet now, here it was staring her in the face. Riley blinked and shook the thoughts from her head. Smiling back, Riley put her hand over Taryn's. "The same goes for me. I also will do my best never to let you down." This seemed like a good way to end the night. Riley stood up and stretched. "It's getting late. I should be heading home. I've got work in the morning. Are you going to be alright, Taryn?" The smaller blonde nodded her head slowly. "Yeah, I'll be alright. Thanks for staying with me. It means a lot. I have to work tomorrow too." Taryn's face suddenly lit up as she got an idea. "Hey, how about we meet up after work? I think I owe you a good peaceful dinner after what happened here tonight. How about I meet you at that pizza place? Sound good?" Riley smiled and tried desperately not to look as happy as she was. "Yeah, sure. I'll meet you there at 7. Is that good for you?" Taryn nodded. "Yeah. I get off work at 4 tomorrow. It'll give me time to get cleaned up." Taryn stood up and hugged Riley one last time. "Thanks for coming...and everything else. I'll see you tomorrow." Riley smiled and nodded. "Anytime, my friend! See you tomorrow." Riley took a calming breath and walked out the door. Being around Taryn was becoming increasingly difficult. As Riley got into her car, she thought to herself. "God help me if she keeps hugging me like that! One of these days, she's going to feel my heart pounding when she does it. Then she'll never want to see me again! I've got to control myself!"

The next day, Riley woke up to the sound of her alarm clock going off. She sat up in bed and wondered if last night was a dream. After slowly going over the entire night in her head, Riley knew it couldn't have been a dream. If it had been a dream, it would have ended a whole lot better for her. On the bright side, Taryn was a new friend. On the down side, Taryn was straight, or at least she seemed to be. Riley knew from being a cop for so long that Taryn would very likely take Rob back. Growling at the very thought of that asshole, Riley got out of bed and took a shower before getting dressed for work.

Once arriving at work, Ted was waiting at Riley's desk for her to arrive. Riley noticed him and took her time approaching. She poured herself a cup of coffee and saw him still sitting there. Taking a deep sigh, she walked over to her desk. Ted grinned and opened a big box of donuts. Riley scowled at him. She knew he was going to drill her for details of the last night. "Riley! Come have a donut! I made sure to pick up some of your favorites!" Ted picked up a Bavarian cream donut and offered it to Riley. The dark haired woman shook her head knowing she needed to just get this conversation over with. "Alright, Ted. What do you want to know?" Grabbing the donut from Ted, Riley sat down at her desk and took a sip of coffee. Ted picked up a chocolate glazed donut and smiled at Riley. "You know what I want to know, Riley! Everything! Tell me everything! Leave nothing out!" Riley rolled her eyes in annoyance. "You know, Ted, sometimes you're worse than a woman the way you enjoy juicy gossip!" Ted laughed. "Spare me the ridicule and spill it!" Riley sighed and told Ted what he wanted so badly to hear. After hearing the whole story, Ted stopped laughing. "Wait a minute! You're telling me her boyfriend hit her? And you didn't bring him in for it? What's happened to you, Riley? You'd never let that go!" Riley growled. "I WANTED to bring him in, Ted! But it would have been for nothing if Taryn didn't press charges. All I would have done was piss her off. I did give him a warning. If he ever does hits her again, I won't be so nice about it." Ted shook his head. "Wow...just wow. Riley, that little blonde has you wrapped around her cute little finger, doesn't she?" Riley gave Ted an icy glare. "Shut up before you're the one getting hit." Ted put his hands up and laughed. "Ok, ok! Fine. Let's just get to work then, shall we?" Riley nodded and stood up. "Yeah. You know I can't stand being stuck behind this desk for long!"

It was a cold and rainy day. A lot of people have really bad attitudes on days like this. Unfortunately for Taryn, many people took their attitudes out on her. Even trying to say something as simple as "Have a good day" to a customer went badly for Taryn. Angry customers fired back at her well wishes with things like: "How can anyone have a good day when it's so nasty outside?". Other customers just scowled at her and said "Yeah, right!". The blonde had a lot on her mind after the events of the night before. On the bright side, she had finally found a friend that Rob couldn't scare away. On the down side, she had lost Rob. While Taryn certainly didn't love Rob, having him around meant that she didn't have to deal with her feelings for women. Those feelings had been easy for her to keep buried over the years. No one asked her questions anymore since she had a man around. Things were different now, however, since Riley came into the picture. Riley made Taryn feel things she had never felt before. Even though these feelings scared Taryn a lot, they felt good. She didn't want to let them go. Taryn had a lot of emotional issues to deal with. One of them, was her fear of being alone. She knew that she had to decide what to do about her feelings eventually. It was obvious that Riley liked her, but Taryn just couldn't believe that the feelings went beyond friendship. Her self esteem was extremely low after all of the abuse she took from Rob. The last thing Taryn wanted to do was to admit to Riley that she might be in love with her, and then get rejected. Now that Rob was gone, Taryn needed Riley more than ever. She couldn't lose her now. Taryn counted the minutes til 4pm. Once her work day was finally over, the blonde pulled the money from her register and clocked out. The weather had cleared up some. Thankfully, it looked like the worst of it had passed. Taryn got in her car and drove home.

Once arriving back home, Taryn took a look around her house. It was so quiet without Rob. Artemis came running to her when she heard the front door open. Taryn smiled and picked up her cat. "Hey there, girl! You're happy to see me, aren't you? Let me get you some dinner! How does that sound?" Artemis began to purr loudly and meowed upon hearing the word "food". Taryn opened a can of cat food and put it in a bowl on the floor. "There you go, girl! Enjoy your dinner while Mommy gets ready to go out!" The cat rushed to the bowl and started to eat. Taryn smiled and went to take a shower. After the shower, the blonde went through her closet looking for something to wear. She finally settled on something casual. A pretty blue blouse and her favorite pair of jeans. Taryn brushed her hair, put on makeup, and then put on her best perfume. Since she was now single, it didn't hurt to look her best as well as smell her best. After spending an hour looking in the mirror to be certain that she was flawless, Taryn thought to herself. "Why am I even doing this? I'm going to meet a friend! This isn't a date! Riley wouldn't like me that way. I'm sure she would much rather be with someone else!"

Once Riley got off work, she bolted out of the station and to her car. Ted, being his usual self, chased after her. "Hey! Where are you going in such a hurry, hmmm? Anyplace I can come along?" Riley growled back at Ted. "None of your business, and NO you can't come with me!" Ted smirked already having a pretty good idea what Riley was up to. He stood in front of the car door so Riley couldn't leave. "So you're seeing her again, right?" Riley rolled her eyes. "Yeah. We're friends. We are just meeting for dinner. No big deal." Ted grinned at Riley to let her know she wasn't fooling him any. "Sure. No big deal. It would be no big deal if it were say...ME you were meeting for dinner! Meeting a cute little blonde, THAT is a big deal for you!" Riley tried to push Ted out of her way so she could leave. "Ted, seriously, it's not a big deal! Come on! Let me go! Don't make me hurt you." Ted put his hands up and moved away. He knew better than to test Riley's temper. "OK! OK! Look, I get that you think it's no big deal, but it IS a big deal, Riley. You've got it bad for that woman, and she clearly has no idea. Do you even know if she's into chicks? Look, I know it's none of my business, but you're my best friend. I don't want to see you fall even harder for her than you already have if she won't return the feelings. I don't want to see you get hurt." Riley softened and smiled at Ted. "I know. You're right. I don't know if she likes me back, or if she ever will. I know I'm playing with fire here, and could very likely get burned. I understand the risk, I really do. I can't explain why, but I'm just drawn to her. I want to be around her even if it's just as a friend. If being her friend is all I'll ever be to her, then so be it. I appreciate the concern, but please understand." Ted nodded and watched Riley get into her car. Riley started her car and began to pull out of her parking spot. Ted shouted to her. "Just be careful, alright, Riley? Oh, and if you find out she has a sister, get me her number!" Riley's only reply was to stick her arm out of the car window and flip Ted off.

Riley hurried home to shower and change clothes. While she knew this evening wasn't a date, she still made every effort to look her best. After showering, she put on a blue shirt that brought out her eyes and a pair of tight jeans that showed off her ass. She hoped Taryn would notice all of this effort. Riley brushed her hair until it was perfect. Looking in the mirror, she felt there was something missing. While she wasn't fond of wearing makeup, she did wear jewelry on occasion. Opening her jewelry box, Riley took out a gold bracelet and a necklace to match it. To top everything off, she put on a pair of diamond earrings that had belonged to her mother. Once satisfied with her looks, Riley stood up and looked at her clock. It was 6:30. Almost time to meet Taryn. Unable to contain her excitement, Riley decided to just drive to the pizza place early. She would get them a good table and wait for Taryn to arrive. Grabbing her wallet and keys, Riley headed out to her car.

Taryn sat on her couch petting Artemis while staring at the clock. She was really anxious to see Riley again. Unable to stand the wait any longer, she put the cat down and brushed the cat hair off her lap. "This is silly. I should just go. I'll wait for her there." Taryn went to the bathroom again to check her hair and makeup. Realizing how silly she was acting she sighed. "What is wrong with me! Riley isn't going to care how I look!" The blonde grabbed her purse and car keys and left.

Taryn and Riley arrived at the pizza place a few minutes apart. Riley got there first and was checking her hair in the car mirror when she saw Taryn pull up. A wide grin crossed the dark haired woman's face. Was Taryn anxious to see her? This could be a good sign, she thought. Riley got out of her car and stood next to it. As soon as Taryn got out of her car, she spotted Riley there waiting. The blonde's green eyes widened as she looked the dark haired woman over. She looked gorgeous! Taryn took a calming breath and put on a friendly smile as she walked toward Riley.

As Taryn walked toward her, Riley felt that familiar lump in her throat. Her knees began to weaken and she found herself unable to speak coherently. Riley had never seen Taryn so dressed up before. At least, not since their dinner together, but Riley was pretty sure Taryn didn't put makeup on that day. As the blonde got closer, Riley could smell the perfume coming from Taryn. It was intoxicating. Riley knew she had to get a hold of herself before Taryn noticed anything strange. The dark haired woman cleared her throat and smiled. "Hi there, Taryn! I got kinda bored, so I came here to wait for you. I didn't think you'd be early as well. This is a nice surprise." Taryn smiled back and nervously shifted her feet. "Yeah, well, I was home alone, and I thought it would be best to get out of the house. I didn't expect you to be here either. I was going to just go inside and wait for you." Riley nodded. "It sounds like we think alike. Well, shall we go inside?" Taryn nodded and started to walk toward the door. Riley followed closely behind her and opened the door for the blonde.

Taryn blushed seeing that Riley opened the door for her. The two women sat down at a table and looked at the menus. "So..." Riley began, "You wanna split a pizza? Or do you want one to yourself? You can get whatever you want. It's on me." The dark haired woman suddenly realized she was talking as if this was a date. It wasn't a date though, was it? Looking at all the trouble Taryn seemed to go through to make herself look pretty said it was. Taryn smiled. "Oh, you don't have to do that, Riley...but thank you." Riley took a breath and decided to be brave. "Pardon me if it's inappropriate for me to say this, but you look great tonight, Taryn." The blonde blushed heavily. " look nice yourself." Riley clearly didn't expect to hear that. The normally stoic dark haired woman found herself blushing.

The awkward silence was broken when the waitress approached the table. Noticing that both women were blushing, the waitress giggled. "Aawww you two are too cute! Is this your first date? Let me bring you two a pitcher of beer. It's on the house. You look like you could use something to help you relax." Both women started to speak at the same time. "It's not a date..." The waitress just giggled and waved them off as she went to get the beer. Riley cleared her throat. "Taryn, I'm sorry about that. I guess I've come in here all too often, and the people here know that I... Well, they know that I'm gay. I didn't mean for them to assume that you...that we...well, you know." Taryn shook her head and laughed softly. "It's alright, Riley. There's something I haven't told you about myself." Riley's eyes widened a little and she raised an eyebrow. What was this? Where was Taryn going here? Could she be? Was she...? The dark haired woman waited with baited breath to hear what Taryn was about to say. The blonde cleared her throat and coughed. She was stalling now. The waitress suddenly returned with the pitcher of beer and 2 empty glasses. "Here you go, ladies. I brought 2 glasses, but feel free to use just one if y'all want to share one. I'll be back in a bit for your order." The woman grinned and winked as she sauntered off to check on her other tables. Taryn went for the pitcher and poured a glass for herself. After setting the pitcher down, the blonde took a big gulp from her glass. She needed a dose of confidence as well as some guts. Riley didn't touch the pitcher. She was just staring at Taryn waiting to hear what she had to say. The dark haired woman said a silent prayer in her head that the blonde would say what she hoped against all odds she would say. Taryn could see the anticipation on Riley's face. Maybe this would go over well. She should just spit it out. "'re not the only one who's gay." Taryn sighed and looked down at the table. "I don't think I've ever said that out loud." Riley felt her heart stop beating for a moment when she heard those words. A huge smile crossed the dark haired woman's face. "Oh, Taryn, don't be ashamed of who you are. It's ok. I used to feel like it was a curse on me, and it cost me everything...well, that's what I thought at the time anyway." Riley could tell this was a really sensitive subject for the blonde. "Mind if I ask you something? You don't have to answer me if it's too personal, ok?" Taryn nodded. "Why did you stay with Rob for so long? Did you love him?" Taryn sighed. She figured this might come up. "It's kind of a long story, but I'll try to shorten it for you. Rob wasn't always such a jerk. I met him back in college. He was in my group of friends. I knew he had a thing for me, but I didn't want to hurt him, so I didn't respond to his flirting. While I knew I was gay, I didn't have the courage to make it known to anyone. I was too scared of what people would family, my friends... I couldn't risk losing them. My friends started pairing up and would ask me why I never dated anyone. It's stupid, but I decided to give Rob a chance because I wanted everyone to stop asking questions. It was a mistake. While I was pretending, Rob fell in love with me. I pushed him away a lot. We even had separate bedrooms. I think he probably hates me now. I can't say that I blame him."

The conversation was interrupted when the waitress came to get their orders. "Sorry, ladies, I should have stopped by sooner, but y'all looked like you needed a moment alone." Riley smiled. "It's alright. I think we'll take the dinner for two special. Does that work for you, Taryn?" The blonde nodded silently. The waitress sensed that the women could use another moment. She wrote the order down and rushed off to give it to the cook. Riley turned her attention back to Taryn who was clearly upset now. "Hey, it's alright, Taryn. Most of us go through the whole denial thing. I sure did. If it will make you feel better, I'll give you a rundown of my past."

Riley gave Taryn a reassuring smile as if to say that there was nothing on earth she could say to make her think less of her. "I told you some of this before, but here's the whole story. I grew up on several military bases. I was what you'd call an army brat. My mom died when I was young, so my father was my whole life. When I got old enough, I joined the army. I wanted so much to make my father proud of me...and he was." Riley took a sip of beer and continued. "There came a time for me to accept who I was, and once I finally came to terms with it, I had a very hard time hiding it. As you probably know, the military once had a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in place that prevents gays from serving openly. My father is a respected an decorated general. He was none too happy to find out that his only child was a lesbian. He told me to keep it quiet, and I tried to. But one day, I messed up and got caught. I was soon kicked out of the army, and I lost my father's respect. He won't even talk to me anymore. I didn't know what to do outside of the military, so I joined the police academy and became a cop. It seemed like something I'd be good at." Riley cleared her throat. "Anyway, that's my story. I think everyone has a story like that to tell. Most do, anyway."

The waitress showed up with their order. "Here you go, ladies!" She set the pizza on the table as well as the salads and bread sticks. "If y'all need anything else, just holler! I'll check on ya in a bit! Enjoy!" The woman smiled and went back to her other tables. Riley studied Taryn's face. She was definitely lost in her thoughts...and she looked gorgeous. "Hey, are you ok?" Riley smiled and offered Taryn one of the bread sticks. "Try one. They're great. After this, I'll get us some ice cream for dessert if you want." Taryn snapped out of her thoughts and smiled back at Riley. "Sorry. You've given me a lot to think about. Ice cream sounds great, but you don't have to do that." Riley took a bite of pizza and shrugged. "Sure I do. The ice cream here is really good and you should try it at least once. They have every topping imaginable!"

The conversation slowed down a little as the two women ate. Riley tried not to stare at Taryn too much, but she definitely noticed Taryn looking back at her a few times. When their meal was finished, Riley ordered the ice cream. The blonde remained fairly quiet. She seemed to be lost in her thoughts. Riley was curious to know what was going on in that beautiful head of hers. Taryn couldn't stop thinking about what Riley had said. Would it really be so bad to be who she was...openly? It's not like she had any friends or family who still talked to her. What could it really hurt if the blonde decided to finally live her life openly and honestly? Hearing that Riley gave up everything in the name of her own happiness really inspired Taryn. She could do this. She would do this.

Once the ice cream arrived, Taryn perked up. She took a bite of the ice cream and moaned. "You aren't kidding, Riley. This is great!" The blonde quickly finished off the bowl and set it aside. "Thanks for this evening, Riley. I really needed it. It feels really good to be myself for once." Riley ate her ice cream slowly. She really hated brain freezes. A little surprised by what Taryn said, Riley raised an eyebrow. "You should be able to be yourself all the time. I think you're an incredible woman. You're smart, beautiful, funny, and you're an incredible cook! I can't wait to learn more about you to add to the list. I have yet to see a single thing that I think you should have to hide about yourself." Riley blushed once she realized what she just said. "Oh...ummm...sorry. That kinda just came out." Taryn didn't say anything. She just blushed a little and tried to hide it by lowering her head. Riley cleared her throat. "Well, it's ummm it's getting late. I should be getting home." Riley took out her wallet and paid the check and left a tip for the waitress. "Thanks for meeting me here, Taryn. I hope I can see you again sometime." Riley stood up and went outside to her car. Standing outside of her car, she hit herself in the forehead a few times. "Stupid, stupid, stupid! She must think I'm some weirdo now!"

Taryn thought about what just happened and decided to follow Riley. She got up from the table and went outside. After looking around the parking lot, she spotted Riley outside of her car talking to herself. Taryn suppressed a laugh and walked over to the dark haired woman. " left kinda suddenly. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye." Riley turned to see Taryn standing there. Riley cleared her throat. This was embarrassing. She hoped Taryn didn't think she was a fool now. "I...I'm sorry. I just thought I should go. I didn't want you to say you didn't want to see me anymore. I thought if you were upset with me, I could go before words were spoken...and just maybe, you might still want to be my friend." Taryn laughed. "Riley, you didn't do anything wrong. I thought what you said was sweet...and honest." The blonde moved a little closer and looked right into Riley's deep blue eyes. "And for the record, it's you who is beautiful." Before Riley had a chance to reply to that, Taryn kissed her. Riley felt her knees go weak and her heart begin to pound rapidly. After a few moments, Taryn pulled away. She smiled and winked at Riley. "Call me.." The blonde said as she got into her car and started it up. Riley stood there with her mouth hanging open. Did that really just happen? The woman of her dreams just made a move on her? A grin formed on Riley's face. This was the best day of her life!

The next morning, Riley woke up with the biggest grin on her face. She jumped out of bed and went to take a shower. The dark haired woman actually whistled happily in the shower. Riley had never been so happy in her entire life. The strangest part was, she didn't try to hide it at all. Even though she lived alone, Riley usually still kept up her stoic attitude. Though Riley was never one for cooking, she made herself breakfast. She took some frozen pancakes from the freezer and heated them up. She cut them into heart shapes and even put whipped cream on them. The dark haired woman never once stopped to think about how silly she was acting. After all, it was just one kiss! Riley was acting as if Taryn was her girlfriend now. Was she? That was something that would be found out in time. Riley wasn't about to push Taryn into anything she wasn't ready for. The blonde had certainly been through enough already. All through her morning routine, she happily whistled her favorite love songs. Once dressed and ready, Riley drove to work.

The station was bustling with activity. Ted met Riley as she walked in and filled her in. A local woman, a stripper, had been raped and beaten almost to death and left to die in a hotel room. She had been found by the hotel's housekeeping staff. The one responsible was yet unknown. The woman was unconscious in the hospital. They had no suspect in the case, and they likely weren't going to unless the woman woke up and identified him. These kinds of crimes angered Riley to no end. She would work day and night to find the scum responsible for this.

Riley spent most of her day at her desk making phone calls and searching the internet databases for escaped criminals who may be responsible for what happened. Despite the grim situation, Riley couldn't keep that smile off her face. Ted noticed the change in Riley and had to say something. "Hey, Riley, I know you're going to say it's none of my business, but what's got you so happy? I think the only times I've seen you smile is after we bust some scumbag and bring him in here." Riley knew this was coming. Ted knew her better than anyone, and would be the first to notice something was different. Turning to face Ted, Riley kept her smile. "You're right. It's not your business." After a moment, it occurred to Ted what this could be about. "Wait a second...I know what this is! This is about last night! The dinner with that cute little blonde! It must have gone pretty well for you to be so damn happy! That's it, isn't it?" Ted was smiling too now. Riley shook her head. "Oh, no, Ted, I'm not going to kiss and tell here..." Realizing what she just said, the dark haired woman's face turned beet red. Ted, of course, noticed that. "She kissed you, didn't she? Oh, you lucky dog! Tell me how it was! Well, actually, I can see by your face how it was!" Ted patted his friend on the back. "I'm happy for ya, Ri! I'm glad you found someone that you deem worthy of your exclusive company." Riley shot Ted a look. "Thanks...I think." Ted laughed. "So when will you see her again?" Riley shrugged. "I'm not sure. I have to call her." Ted grinned. "Well, if you find out she's got a hot sister who likes men...I would love a double date!" Riley rolled her eyes. "You're such a pig, Ted!" Ted laughed and made oinking noises at Riley.

Taryn woke up feeling pretty good. She showered and got dressed and sat down at her computer. For the first time in years, the blonde was able to write. She was actually inspired to start writing the book she'd been wanting to write. The words came so easily to her. Did last night have something to do with this? The hours seemed to fly by as Taryn wrote page after page of her book. Glancing at the clock, she knew it was about time for Riley to get off work. She wondered if she might call. Taryn decided that if Riley didn't call, she would call her. If Riley was what was inspiring her to write, then she definitely wanted to spend more time with her. Besides the book, Taryn really liked spending time with the dark haired woman anyway. It felt good to be around Riley. All of the blonde's insecurities, fears, and worries seemed to vanish when she was around her. Taryn closed her eyes and prayed that Riley might feel the same way, but she had a pretty good feeling that she did.

Riley had a stressful day at work. They were no closer to finding out who was responsible for raping and beating that woman. They had no leads and no suspects. The dark haired woman needed to unwind and stop thinking about the case. Once she got off work and was walking to her car, she reached for her phone to call Taryn. Was it too soon to call her? Would she seem overly anxious? Taryn had said to call her, so it was ok, right? Riley stood next to her car nervously staring at her phone. Ted noticed her, of course, and walked over to his partner. "Just call her, Ri, she's not gonna bite you through the phone. Although, you might like it if she did..." Riley glared at Ted with her trademark icy stare. "I think you need to go, Ted, before I hurt you." Ted laughed and put his hands up. "Ok! Ok! I'm going to my car right now! Seriously, call her! And then tell me everything later!" Ted ran to his car before Riley could hit him. Still staring at her phone, Riley finally hit the call button underneath Taryn's name. "He's right. This is silly. I'll just call her."

Taryn jumped when she heard her phone ring. She had the phone sitting next to her for most of the day in hopes that Riley might call. A grin crossed the blonde woman's face when she saw who was calling. "Hello?" Taryn said innocently as if she had no idea who was calling. Riley took a breath to calm herself. "Hi, Taryn. It's Riley. How are you?" The blonde kept her voice as calm as possible even though she was excited. "Oh, I'm pretty good. How are you? How was work?" Riley frowned when she thought of work. "Work is work I guess. It was pretty rough today. I wanted to head out to a bar to unwind. Would you want to come along?" Taryn took a moment as if she had to think about her answer. "Well, I'll tell you what...add dinner to that, and I'm in!" Riley's heart soared. "Y-yeah! Of course! Anything you want." The dark haired woman slapped her forehead. "Way to appear anxious, Riley!", She thought. Taryn just giggled. "Alright then. Give me a few to get ready, and come pick me up, ok?" Riley's breath caught in her throat. Was this a date? "Sure!" Riley replied trying to sound cool. "I gotta change out of my uniform and stuff. I'll be over after. See ya then!" Taryn could hear the nervousness in Riley's voice and found it adorable. "Yup. I'll be waiting."

After hanging up the phone, Riley quickly shed her uniform and jumped in the shower. No way she was going to meet Taryn without making sure she smelled nice. Much like that morning, Riley couldn't contain her happiness. Now instead of just whistling, she was belting out her favorite love songs. For someone who normally listened to rock music, she seemed to know the words to a lot of Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey songs.

Once out of the shower, Riley picked out some clothes to wear. She picked out a blue shirt and her favorite jeans. People had told her this particular shirt brought out her eyes. She hoped that was true and that Taryn would notice. Opening her drawer, Riley put on her best cologne and even put some jewelry on. One piece was a gold cross necklace that had belonged to her mother. Another was a diamond tennis bracelet her father gave her a long time ago. Riley brushed her long dark hair until it looked perfect. When she was finally satisfied with her appearance, she grabbed her wallet and keys and headed out.

After Taryn hung up the phone with Riley, she rushed to get cleaned up and ready to go. After showering, the blonde took great care in putting on just the right outfit. She went through everything she owned and finally settled on some brown slacks and a green shirt that was quite revealing. She hoped Riley would like it. Taryn went through her drawers and put her best perfume on. After that, she brushed her hair until it was perfect. Frowning at her reflection in the mirror, Taryn knew there was no way to make her more perfect, though she still thought she needed something more. The blonde shrugged and went to sit on the couch to wait for Riley to arrive. After about 15 minutes, Taryn heard a car outside. She didn't want to appear too anxious, so she stayed seated and waited to hear the knock at the door.

Riley was anxious to get to Taryn's house. She even exceeded the speed limit a bit on the way. As a cop, she knew the local state troopers and could get herself out of a ticket if need be. When she pulled into Taryn's driveway, she was stopped by the woman who lived next door. Miss Slayers rushed over to greet Riley. "Oh! Hello there! I saw you here before! You're Taryn's friend, right? I'm her neighbor! Did she tell you about me? I'm a psychic who is 99 percent accurate! And God talks to me! All men want me! But I have a boyfriend named Dennis! He's in a rock band!" Riley smiled politely as the woman rattled on and on about her precious Dennis. "Look, I've gotta go. Taryn's expecting me." Riley waved to the woman and rushed to Taryn's front door and knocked.

Taryn wondered what was taking Riley so long to come to her door. Once she heard the knock, the blonde looked out her window and saw the reason for the hold up. That nosy Miss Slayers! She must have cornered poor Riley and held her up. Taryn glanced in a nearby window to fix her hair one last time before opening the door. "Hey." The blonde smiled seeing how nice Riley looked. "You wanna come in, or are you ready to go now?" Riley's jaw dropped a little when she saw the outfit Taryn had on. The dark haired woman tried like hell not to stare at the low cut blouse Taryn was wearing. The only other distraction to the shirt, and the breasts that the shirt showed off rather well, was the sweet perfume Taryn had on. Riley realized that Taryn was waiting for an answer. "I...I....uhhh...yeah, you wanna go now? I got us reservations for dinner." Taryn smiled and took Riley's hand while they walked to the car. Riley blushed the whole way. This was a date...wasn't it?

Riley opened the passenger side car door for Taryn. The blonde grinned and got in the car. Smiling up at her, Taryn buckled her seat belt. "Who says chivalry is dead?" Riley blushed again and closed the car door. This was going to be a long night...but enjoyable! Riley quickly got into the car and started it. The CD player kicked on and Celine Dion was heard belting out "Because You Loved Me". Riley cleared her throat and shut it off. How embarrassing. Riley hoped against all odds that Taryn wouldn't figure out that she'd been singing along to that CD the whole drive over. Composing herself despite Taryn's giggles, Riley shrugged. "I forgot that was in there..sorry." Taryn reached for Riley's free hand. "It's cool. I have that CD myself." Riley couldn't control the smile forming on her face as she started to drive to the restaurant.

After about 10 minutes, the two women arrived at the restaurant. It was a Japanese place that Riley liked to go to on special occasions. This was an occasion that definitely fit the criteria. Taryn had never been there before. She looked at Riley and smiled. "What's this place? I've never heard of it." Riley smiled and got out of the car. She went to open Taryn's door for her and held out her hand. "This is a place that I only go to on special occasions. I think you'll like it. They cook the food in front of you." The blonde smiled and took Riley's hand and stood up. Looking up into Riley's blue eyes, Taryn nodded. "Sounds great." As they walked toward the entrance, Riley noticed that Taryn hadn't let go of her hand. This caused a grin to form on the dark haired woman's face. Riley opened the door and let Taryn walk in first before following behind. They were seated quickly. Thankfully, the place wasn't too busy, but Riley made a reservation just in case.

After they were seated, a waitress quickly came over to them and brought them menus and asked for their drink orders. Riley ordered them both a cup of sake as well as sodas. Taryn never had sake before, and Riley insisted she try it. "Just go easy on it. Sake is pretty strong stuff." The blonde nodded and looked over the menu. "Have anything you want, Taryn. I've got it covered. Do you want an appetizer? The sushi here is pretty good, but if you're not into that, I suggest you try the chicken tempura. It's amazing!" Taryn blushed. She wasn't used to anyone being so kind to her. Rob never took her out like this. No one ever had taken her out like this before, actually. "The chicken tempura sounds good. Want to split one with me?" Riley usually scarfed down one of those by herself, but she'd be more than happy to share one with Taryn. "Sure. We can do that. As for the main course, I haven't had anything here that I didn't like. I prefer the steak and chicken meal, or the steak and shrimp one, but it's all up to you and your personal tastes. They all come with veggies and fried rice." As Riley spoke, the waitress brought their drinks to them. The two women gave their orders and the waitress bowed and walked away.

Riley was surprised at how calm she'd managed to remain. Inside, she was leaping for joy. Here she was, on a date with the woman of her dreams. All she could really think about was getting another kiss. Riley hoped that against all odds, the blonde would give her one at some point tonight. Taryn picked up the small cup and took a sip of the sake. "Hey, this isn't bad." Riley smiled. "Yeah, just be careful with that stuff. It's stronger than regular wine or beer. That's why I got us sodas to drink as well. Of course, since I'll be the one driving, you can have another of those if you want." Taryn shook her head. "No. I'm having fun with you, and I want to remember this night in the morning." The blonde smiled at the blushing woman next to her. "And besides, we're going to a bar after dinner, right?" Riley nodded. "Yeah, sure...if you still wanna go." The waitress brought them each a small salad and set it in front of them. Taryn looked at the salad and back to Riley as if to ask if it was good. Riley smiled and grabbed her fork. "The dressing on it is a ginger dressing. It's pretty good if you add a little salt to it. Give it a try." Taryn put a little salt on her salad and mixed it up a bit before trying it. Riley was right. It wasn't bad. The blonde soon polished the whole thing off. A few minutes later, a cup of soup was brought out as well as the appetizer they'd ordered. Riley frowned at the mushroom they put in the soup and picked it out. "I forgot to tell em no fungus!" Taryn tried a bite of the soup and nodded in approval. "This isn't bad at all." Riley nodded in agreement and picked up a piece of chicken. After dipping it in the sauce, she held it up to the blonde's mouth. "Try this next. It's amazing." Taryn took a bite and smiled. "You're right. It's wonderful. All of this is so great, Riley. Thanks for this." The blonde reached under the table and took Riley's hand. The dark haired woman flushed. This night was like one big dream come true.

A few minutes later, the chef came to the table and started cooking their food. Taryn watched with amazement as the chef sliced and diced things as if it was something he did in his sleep.

Once dinner was done, Riley paid the bill and left a tip on the table for the waitress and a bit extra for the chef. Taryn held on to Riley's hand the whole way outside and to the car. It was getting harder to keep the grin off her face, as Riley opened the door for Taryn to get in the car. Before getting in the car, Taryn put her arms around Riley and kissed her. After a few moments, the blonde pulled away with a grin and got in the car. Riley stood there unable to speak or move for a moment. Taryn giggled. "You ok, Riley? I'm pretty sure I didn't hurt you." Riley blinked a few times and regained her senses. "No, no no! Not at all...quite the opposite, really...heh." Riley smiled and rushed to get in the car. "So ummm.." Riley began, "This bar I like to go's's a girl bar...if you know what I mean. Is that ok with you?" Taryn giggled. "Riley, you are too cute! Are you trying to tell me you want to go to a lesbian bar?" Riley nodded. "That's fine with me. I told you before, I'm done hiding myself from the world. I am done pretending...and I have you to thank for that." Riley blinked in surprise. "Me? What did I do?" Taryn reached out her hand and gently caressed Riley's cheek. "Riley, you've shown me that I can be happy...truly happy by just being myself. I have been so miserable for so long. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. When I'm with you, I can just be me. No pressure... You don't understand how good that feels! I really can't thank you enough for it. Since meeting you, I have been able to start writing again. I actually got my book started! I've wanted to do that since I got out of college.. And now, I'm finally inspired to write it." Riley turned a deep red color. "I...I don't know what to say, Taryn." Taryn giggled. "You don't have to say anything, Riley. I just wanted you to know that." Clearing her throat, Riley started the car.

After about 15 minutes, the two women arrived at the bar. The place was called "Sappho's Bar" and was decorated with ancient Greece in mind. There were paintings depicting Greek goddesses and even a couple of statues. One of the statues was next to the entrance. It was Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The other was located on the balcony upstairs. It was Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. On Sundays, the bar had women come and read poetry much like the bards of the ancient times. Riley went to see them on occasion, but wasn't a huge fan. Of course, if Taryn was into that stuff, Riley would be there with bells on. The woman at the door knew who Riley was and didn't bother to check her ID, but she did look at Taryn's. Riley suspected the woman was just being nosy and wanted to know who the new woman was. Up until tonight, Riley always came to the bar alone. The regulars did a little gawking at Taryn, but quickly turned around when Riley glared back at them.

The two women sat down at the bar and ordered drinks. Quite a few women were eying the blonde woman. Some looked at her with curiosity, others looked at her like a fresh piece of meat. Riley tried to ignore them, but it was starting to annoy her. It was getting hard for the dark haired woman to be around Taryn and not hold her hand, or put her arm around her. While they had done things like that before, Taryn had been the one to initiate the contact. Riley was getting to the point where she wanted their relationship to be defined. Were they still just friends, or was it something more now? This didn't seem like the place to talk about it, but sometime soon, Riley did want to address the question. Glancing to the blonde next to her, Riley smiled. She sure was beautiful! "So, what do you think of this place?" Taryn glanced around and nodded approvingly. "I like it. I see by that poster over there that they have poetry readings. I'd love to see one of those sometime." Riley sighed. Of course she would! "I'll take you to one if you want." Riley said with a smile. "I don't get much out of those, but I'd take you. If you want..." Taryn nodded. "Yeah! That would be great! I'd like that a lot!" Riley wondered if the bar had enough alcohol to make her really enjoy one of those poetry readings. Then again, Riley well knew that she'd enjoy anything if she was with Taryn. There was just the question of whether she'd be taking the blonde as a friend, or a girlfriend. Riley had high hopes it would be the latter.

After a while, one of the women who had been staring at Taryn got up and walked over to her. She was a nice looking woman. She was tall with long red hair and blue eyes. The woman sat down next to the blonde and smiled. "Hi there, pretty lady. I haven't seen you in here before. What's your name?" Taryn blushed. Riley narrowed her eyes and glared daggers at the woman. "My name's Taryn." She said shyly. "What's yours?" The woman grinned. "Nice to meet you, Taryn, I'm Rose. Mind if I buy you a drink?" Riley clenched her fists so tightly her knuckles turned white. This would definitely be a step in defining their relationship. Taryn shook her head. "That's very kind of you, Rose, but not necessary. I already have a drink...and I don't think Riley would appreciate it too much." Rose laughed. "Riley? She won't mind. Trust me. She always comes in here alone, and no matter how nice anyone tries to be to her, she always leaves alone." Riley was really starting to see red now. It was better she not say anything and let Taryn handle this, but she really really wanted to tear Rose's hair out and feed it to her through broken teeth. Taryn shook her head once again. "That's not true. Riley brought me here today, and she'll be leaving with me." Rose raised an eyebrow. "Is that so? Well, you must be something pretty special if Riley deems you worthy of her company!" By this point, Riley had enough of this. Giving Rose an icy stare, Riley spoke through clenched teeth. "You heard the lady, Rose. She's not interested." Rose wasn't buying it. She smiled sweetly at Taryn. "Is that true, sweetie? I want to hear it from you. Is Riley really your girlfriend?" Taryn blushed. "That's...not your business, Rose. And no, I'm not interested." Rose put her hands up in defeat. "Ok. I got it. Sorry to bother you." Rose got up to walk away and turned around with a smirk. "But if you change your mind, Taryn...once you see what a cold fish Riley is... I'll be waiting." Riley grunted. "Cold fish..." She growled under her breath. "Big talk coming from a barracuda skank like her!" Taryn could see how annoyed Riley was. The blonde reached out and rubbed her arm. "'s ok Riley. She's gone. You wanna get out of here?" Riley nodded and paid for the drinks while keeping an eye on Rose across the room.

The women stood up to leave, and Taryn grabbed Riley's hand. "Wait." Taryn said while checking to make sure that Rose was still looking. "I want to give her something to think about." The blonde pulled Riley to her level and kissed her the way lovers would kiss each other. It was deep and passionate. The entire bar watched in shock. Taryn slowly pulled away and turned away from a very stunned Riley to glance at an equally stunned Rose. Taking hold of Riley's arm, Taryn spoke loudly so the whole bar would hear her. "To answer all of your questions, especially you, Rose, yes, Riley is my girlfriend! So I'll thank you all to kindly respect that from now on." Riley stood there looking like a deer caught in headlights. First the kiss, and now that bold announcement. The dark haired woman was shocked and happier than ever at the same time. All eyes were on Riley now...including Taryn's. She had to say something, but what? Riley stood up straight and cleared her throat. "Yeah, it's true. So please respect it, or you'll have me to deal with!" Giving her trademark glare around the bar, the women quickly turned around and went back to their own business. For the first time, Riley took Taryn's hand and walked her outside.

Once back to the car, Riley opened the door for Taryn and waited for her to get in before closing the door. Getting into the car, Riley wasn't sure what to say now. Something had to be said after what happened. Turning to Taryn, Riley spoke first. "Hey...did you...did you mean what you said in there? It's ok if you didn't...I...I won't hold you to anything. I don't want you to feel rushed into something you're not ready for." Taryn giggled. "Riley, you're so cute! I haven't done or said anything that I didn't mean tonight. I think my only mistake was not saying anything sooner." Riley's blue eyes filled with tears of happiness. "You mean that?" Taryn put her hand on Riley's cheek and nodded. "Of course I do. I should have asked you first, I know. It was silly to just assume you'd want to be my girlfriend..." Riley's eyes widened and she shook her head. "No! I...I'm more than happy to be with you, Taryn. I just needed to know that this was something YOU wanted. I know you've been through a lot."

Taryn smiled. "Riley, I've been in a horrible, loveless relationship for years. I never loved Rob. I was with him because it was easy to be. He used to adore me, and at first, he was willing to overlook the fact that I wasn't all that into him. I knew as long as I kept him around, I didn't have to come out to anyone. I could live my life without worry of what anyone might say or think of me. You can see how well that turned out for me... Once Rob became abusive, no one wanted to be around anymore. They were surely talking about me, but I'm sure they weren't saying anything good. Still, it was easier than admitting to being gay. I know how stupid that sounds, but it's true." Riley shook her head. "No, isn't stupid. Lots of women go through that exact same thing. We all have our personal steps we take on our path to accepting ourselves for who we really are. For some, it is more difficult than others, but once we hit the point where we can let go of the guilt and shame we might feel about it, life gets good. I don't think there's a better feeling in the world than being able to accept and love yourself as you are. I am really happy to see that you seem to be at that point in your life. You deserve it, Taryn." The blonde blushed. "Riley, you have been so kind to me. I don't understand what it is you see in me, but I'm glad you do. Thank you." Riley blushed and cleared her throat. "You don't need to thank me, Taryn. You're...really special." Not knowing what else to say, Riley started the car and began the drive back to Taryn's house.

After pulling into the driveway, Riley froze. She didn't know if she should get out, or not. Taryn unbuckled her seat belt and looked next to her. "Hey, you wanna come in? I'll make some coffee." Riley wanted more than anything to go inside, but she knew what would happen. She didn't want to move too fast in the relationship. Riley wanted to take things a little slower. She really liked Taryn, and moving too quickly might mess things up between them. "Can I get a rain check on that coffee? I've gotta work in the morning. I should be getting to bed. Tomorrow, perhaps? I've got the weekend off." Taryn was a bit disappointed, but she understood. "Alright then." The blonde leaned in and kissed Riley tenderly. "Thanks for a great evening. Come over tomorrow about 5. I'll make dinner. How's that sound?" Riley barely heard what was just said. Taryn's kisses had such an effect on her that they were almost intoxicating. "What? Come over at 5 you said? Yeah, sure! I'll be there!" Taryn giggled as she got out of the car. It was all too adorable how Riley became so flustered from a little kiss. The blonde happily went into her house. Before closing the door, she turned around and blew Riley a kiss from the doorway. Riley, of course, was still sitting there stunned.

The next morning, Riley once again woke up with that grin on her face. It seemed like everything was going right in her life now. Since leaving the army, Riley thought her life was over. Now, here she was with a job she loved, a best friend, and now...a beautiful blonde girlfriend. The word girlfriend seemed foreign to Riley. She really wasn't the relationship type. There was something about Taryn, however, that made her think differently. Something inside Riley told her that this was right. Everything about her new relationship felt right.

Once arriving at work, Riley made her way to her desk where Ted was waiting. He had his usual smirk on his face as he studied Riley's face. "Sooooo..." He began. "I want details. Judging by the look on your face, I think you had a good night. Spill it!" Riley rolled her eyes. "You know, Ted, sometimes you act just like a woman who wants to gossip with her girl friends in the salon." Ted laughed. "Whatever, Ri. At least tell me something!" Riley sighed. She knew that she'd be hearing this all day long if she didn't give him any information. "Fine. We went to dinner and then to Sappho's Bar." Ted grinned. "And? What happened there? You're not telling me something, Riley!" Ted was Riley's best friend, but there were often times she wanted to kick his ass. This was one of those times. "You know that skank Rose that I've told you about?" Ted nodded while keeping the grin on his face. "Well, she hit on Taryn...and Taryn shot her down. She..she told Rose that I was her girlfriend." Even though that's what happened, it still sounded too good to be true when Riley said it out loud.

Ted grinned and patted his friend on the back. "That's awesome, Riley! I'm happy for ya!" Riley blushed a little and smiled uncomfortably. "Thanks, Ted. You know, it still sounds so strange. I never thought I'd be telling anyone that I had a girlfriend." Ted had to laugh. "That's for sure! You're more the love em' and leave em' type! I've never seen you want anything close to a commitment before." Riley shrugged. "Taryn's special...really special. I don't know what it is about her. She makes me feel...I don't know how to describe it. It's like she is a piece of my heart that's been missing my whole life. I know how corny and stupid that sounds." Ted just grinned. "Riley, my friend, you are in love. I never thought I'd see the day!" Riley blushed and sank into her seat a little. Ted was right. What was Riley going to do now? Would Taryn love her too? Could she? Riley hoped so.

Taryn was happy to have a short shift at work. The blonde's mind was up in the clouds after the previous night. She was do distracted by thoughts of Riley, she constantly dropped things and couldn't concentrate on her work. When the time finally came to leave, Taryn got out of there as quickly as possible and rushed home to cook. The blonde had all she needed for dinner. She was going to bake a chicken and make some rice and veggies to go with it. Taryn seasoned the chicken with the perfect blend of herbs and spices. Once she put the chicken in the oven, the blonde started cooking the rice and vegetables.

The real treat tonight was going to be the dessert. Taryn made an apple pie from scratch and got some ice cream to go with it. The blonde had no idea if Riley would like anything on the menu. She was pretty sure that the dark haired woman would eat cold cereal if she served it, and afterward tell her it was the best thing she'd ever eaten. Taryn really wanted Riley to honestly enjoy the meal, however, and hoped she picked the right meal. Looking at the clock, Taryn cursed. It was already 4! She needed to get ready. The blonde rushed to get a shower and fix herself up.

Riley left work a little early so she'd have time to shower before heading to Taryn's house. She needed to pick the right outfit and make sure her hair looked decent. Now that Taryn was her official girlfriend, she was more nervous than ever about her appearance. After showering and picking out what she wanted to wear, Riley combed her long dark hair until it was flawless. Looking at herself in the mirror, she was happy with the results. Riley wore a collared blue shirt and her favorite jeans that she well knew showed off her figure. Now that she knew the blonde was looking and would notice it, the extra effort seemed more worth it. Glancing at the clock, Riley quickly put her good cologne on and rushed out the door. This was a date she refused to be a second late for.

Pulling into Taryn's driveway, Riley wasn't surprised to find the nosy neighbor woman outside by her mailbox. Did that woman have a life? It seemed as though she didn't. As soon as she spotted Riley's car, Miss Slayers rushed over to greet her. The dark haired woman put on a fake smile and stepped out of her car. "Hello again..." Riley spoke as nicely as humanly possible. As much as this woman annoyed her, she didn't want to cause any trouble for Taryn in the neighborhood. Miss Slayers grinned. "Hello there! Come to see Taryn again? She's cooking, you know! I don't know what she's cooking, but it smells good! Did I tell you that I'm a wonderful cook?" Riley cringed inwardly and shrugged. "To be honest, ma'am, I can't recall, but I'm sure your cooking is wonderful." Miss Slayers moved a little closer to Riley and farted with each step. That did it for Riley, she completely lost her cool, and burst out laughing. Miss Slayers turned beet red. "I...I can't help myself! I have colitis! It's very painful!" Miss Slayers took off running toward her house. Looking back, Miss Slayers shouted back to Riley. "I'm not a piece of trash! I'm a beautiful, beautiful woman! All men want me!" With that, she started running again. The woman was quite large, so the sight of her trying to run was greatly amusing. Riley laughed even harder. It also didn't help that the woman was still farting all the way.

Hearing the laughter outside, Taryn opened her door to find a very amused Riley doubled over with laughter. As soon as Riley spotted Taryn, however, the laughter ceased. The dark haired woman stood up straight and composed herself. " look beautiful!" Riley was now just staring at the blonde woman in front of her with a goofy half smile. Taryn could only giggle at the change in Riley. "I think you might want to come inside, Riley." Snapping out of her lovestruck daze, Riley nodded. "Yeah, of course! Sorry..." Taryn moved out of the doorway to allow Riley to come inside. Riley stepped inside and Taryn closed the door behind her. "Before we eat, I want you to tell me what was so funny out there. I've never seen you laugh before, Riley. I must have a nice laugh, and your face lights up when you do it. You should let yourself laugh more often." Riley's jaw dropped. "I...I'll try...for you..." Taryn shook her head and pulled Riley in for a kiss. "By the way, you're the one who looks beautiful. Now come sit down at the table. I'll get you some food. I really hope you like what I fixed tonight. I wanted it to be special." Riley nodded and followed Taryn to the table and sat down. While she'd never admit to it, Riley would eat anything the blonde fixed for her. Fortunately for Riley, Taryn was an excellent cook, and she never had to lie about enjoying the meal.

Taryn fixed each of them a plate of food and brought it to the table. The blonde poured them each a glass of wine to go with it before sitting down. Riley didn't touch her food until Taryn sat down. The chicken looked and smelled incredible. The rice and veggies looked great too. Picking up her fork, Riley took a bite of everything on her plate before looking up at Taryn with a grin. "Another perfect meal, Taryn! You are an awesome cook, you know that?" The blonde blushed. "I'm glad you like it. I made a special dessert for you, so eat up." Dessert? She made a special dessert? Taryn really went all out tonight. Riley gobbled up her food and enjoyed every bite. Taryn was almost done with her plate when she saw Riley had devoured hers. "Would you like seconds, Riley? There's plenty more." Riley shook her head. "As much as I'd love more, I want to save room for whatever special dessert you made." Taryn smiled and quickly finished her plate. "Alright then. I'll get the dessert." After putting their plates in the sink, the blonde took the still warm pie out of the oven and put it on the counter. She cut them each a slice of pie and took out the ice cream to go with it. Riley raised an eyebrow wondering what Taryn had made. She couldn't quite tell from where she was sitting. Taryn brought the plates to the table and sat them down. "Here you go. Homemade apple pie. I hope it turned out alright. It's still a little warm." Riley's mouth was watering. The pie looked perfect. The dark haired woman quickly ate every last bite. Still chewing, Riley just had to comment on how good it was. "Incredible! You know you can invite me over anytime! I haven't eaten this good in...well...ever!" Which was true. Riley couldn't remember much about her mother to know if she had been a good cook or not.

After finishing dessert, Taryn put the dishes in the sink and led Riley over to the couch. Placing her hand on Riley's leg, Taryn smiled up at her. "Thanks for coming over. It's been so quiet here now that I live alone." Feeling the hand on her leg, Riley smiled. "I've lived alone for years myself. I know that it does get kind of...lonely at times. I just remain focused on my job most of the time so it doesn't bother me. Though lately I've been focused on..." Meeting the blonde's eyes, Riley blushed and looked away. "Well, I've been focused on other things." Taryn may have been blonde, but she had a pretty good idea what Riley had been focused on lately..or rather, whom. Riley seemed much more nervous than usual. Taryn put her hand under Riley's chin and gently moved her head to face her again. "You can relax with me, Riley. I promise not to bite you...unless you'd like me to?" Riley gulped. "It's just I...well, I..." Unable to come up with a single thing to say, Riley finally did something she hadn't done before. Keeping eye contact with Taryn to make sure it was alright, Riley put her arm around the blonde and pulled her closer.

Riley really didn't want to move too fast, or do anything to make Taryn feel uncomfortable. The look on the blonde's face said it all. With a half smile on her face, Riley leaned in and kissed Taryn. She half expected to be pushed away. Even though they had kissed several times before, each one was initiated by Taryn. Riley had feared that Taryn might not be comfortable with her making moves, but so far, there was no resistance. In fact, Taryn responded to the kiss by moving even closer and deepening it. Riley pulled the blonde into her lap and continued to kiss her. After a few moments, Riley pulled away slightly to breathe. Looking to those green eyes, Riley was breathless. "You're so beautiful, Taryn. I could stare into your eyes forever." Taryn responded with another kiss. "Riley...I want to show you something." Riley raised an eyebrow. What would she have to show her at this moment? Taryn eased off Riley's lap and held out her hand. Riley nodded and took a couple calming breaths before taking Taryn's hand and standing up.

Taryn led Riley into her bedroom. The room seemed to be all set up for her. There were candles around the room as well as what looked like rose petals on the top of the bed. Taryn turned on her stereo and soft music started to fill the room. A smile began to cross Riley's face. Did Taryn invite her over for.. This couldn't be true! Could it? Riley looked at Taryn and waited for confirmation on what she was thinking. Taryn smiled seductively and pulled Riley over to the bed. "What do you think, Riley? I hope this is all ok with you. I just...I want to show you how I feel. I don't think telling you is enough anymore." Riley put her arm around Taryn and smiled. "Are you sure about this? I mean, it looks like you are, but I'll feel better knowing for sure. I just..I really care about you, and I don't want you to feel like you have to do anything you're not ready for." Taryn laughed. "Are you kidding me, Riley? I've wanted this since I first laid eyes on you!" Taryn put her hand up to Riley's cheek and gently caressed it. "I thought it was so cute that you came up to me with that story about not knowing what kind of donuts your coworkers liked. I think you already had me then. After you saved me in the parking lot, I knew for sure you were definitely someone special." Riley looked stunned. Taryn giggled. "So how about we save the chatting for later?" Riley nodded. "Oh, and just so you know, Riley, it's been a long time... So forgive me if I do anything wrong." Riley shook her head. "Don't apologize, Taryn, just lie back and let me take care of the rest."

Before Taryn could reply, Riley climbed on top of her and started kissing her. Taryn returned the kiss and started trying to pull Riley's shirt off. Blue eyes met green for a moment as Riley slowly took her shirt off followed by her bra. Seeing the smile on the blonde's face, Riley could tell she was pleased with what she saw. With a smirk, Riley unbuttoned the blouse Taryn had on and was happy to see she was wearing a bra that clasped in front. Riley quickly undid the clasps and leaned down taking one of the blonde's nipples into her mouth. Taryn let out a whimper as Riley's hand made its way down to her center. Riley moved up and kissed the blonde for a few more moments before working on her other breast with her mouth. Taryn was starting to wiggle underneath her. In between moans, Taryn started to whisper. "Please..." Riley knew she was ready now and moved down her body, placing kisses and licks the whole way. At this point, Taryn was ready to burst. She was squirming and moaning and grabbing hold of Riley's head to try and keep it where she wanted it. Riley wasn't going to give her release just yet. She wanted the blonde to build it up a little longer. Once it seemed to Taryn that Riley was going to do nothing but tease her the entire night, Riley gave her what she wanted. Keeping her hands and tongue very busy, Riley gave Taryn the release she had been begging for. Once reaching her climax, Taryn shouted Riley's name several times at the top of her lungs. When the blonde's body finally calmed, Riley eased up on the assault and moved up to kiss her. Taryn grabbed Riley with the last of her strength and kissed her heatedly. Falling back on the bed, Taryn's body was well spent. Riley sat for a few moments just watching and smiling as the blonde continued to calm down after their lovemaking.

Riley gathered Taryn in her arms and kissed her softly. "I take it you enjoyed yourself?" Taryn nodded her head fiercely. "That was....amazing!" Riley grinned. "You are amazing." Taryn was still out of breath, but still tried to talk. Green eyes locked with blue as the blonde began to speak. "No, really...I've never been with a woman before. I've wanted to, of course, but I was too afraid of someone finding out. I'm glad you were my first." Riley gulped hearing that admission. "I hope I lived up to expectations...had I known that, I would have been much more nervous." Taryn giggled. "I know. That's why I didn't tell you. Don't worry so much, Riley. You were amazing!" Riley shrugged. "I'm glad you think so. I haven't had many lovers. What they said about me at the bar was true. I never take women home with me. Those I've had in the past were just sex. I didn't care about them. I didn't think I had it in me..until now." Riley smiled and put her hand on Taryn's cheek. "It's time I told you something, Taryn. Something that I've never said to anyone before. I think you need to know this." Taryn waited with baited breath for what Riley was going to say next. She hoped it was something good. Looking at Riley's face, she had a pretty good idea what was coming next. Riley took a breath and looked into Taryn's eyes. "Taryn, I..." The dark haired woman was finding this more difficult than she anticipated. Riley was going to get the words out. She had to. She had never wanted to say them to anyone before, and now seemed the perfect time. "Taryn, I know we haven't known each other very long, but when I first saw you.. I just had to meet you. I had to know you. You're so special...and...I want you to know I..." Realizing she was rambling, Riley just spit the next words out without thinking about it. "I love you, Taryn. I want you to know that."

Taryn blushed a little and responded by kissing Riley passionately and slowly pulling away. "I think you should know something as well. I love you too, Riley...and I kinda did know how you felt for a while, but I love hearing you say it!" Riley's jaw dropped for a moment, but then formed a smile. "Then I'll make sure to say it to you often. I love you, Taryn!" The blonde giggled. "You're too cute, Riley!" Feeling her strength returning, Taryn climbed on top of Riley and grinned. "My turn to show you just how much I love you." Riley was stunned by the turn of events. She hadn't expected this. She loved this side of Taryn, and hoped to see much more of it in the future.

The blonde wasn't entirely sure how to start. She had many fantasies about what this night would be like, and what she wanted to do, but at that moment, she was clueless. Taryn decided to just close her eyes and let her instincts take over. Using her hands and mouth, Taryn explored the more sensitive parts of Riley's body trying to figure out what she liked. Each moan and whimper was an encouragement to Taryn to keep going. When Riley was very much aroused, Taryn slid a couple fingers inside of her. After a moment, she was met with resistance and she stopped. "Riley...are you...I mean...have you..?" Riley shook her head slowly. "No, Taryn...I told you I haven't been with many people. I never let anyone take me that way. I wanted to save it for someone I loved... You're that someone, Taryn."

Taryn's eyes filled with tears. She really hadn't expected this. Looking at Riley, she was gorgeous, confident, and didn't seem to fear anything. Yet, here she was, completely vulnerable and giving all of herself to Taryn. "Riley, I..." The blonde's words were cut off with a kiss. "Don't talk, just take me, Taryn. Be my first. I love you so much..." After another kiss, Riley leaned back and closed her eyes as Taryn pushed further inside of her body. Riley felt a sharp pain as the thin barrier was broken, but she soon relaxed around the blonde's fingers. Concerned green eyes locked with blue as Taryn continued on. "Are you ok, Riley? I can stop..." Riley grabbed Taryn's arm and shook her head. "Don't you dare stop! Keep going, my love!" Taryn nodded and kept on and on until feeling Riley's body contract around her fingers while going into spasms as the dark haired woman shouted Taryn's name. Feeling Riley's body begin to calm, Taryn slowly removed her fingers which were now well covered in fluid, and wrapped her new lover into her arms.

The two women laid silent for a few minutes just holding each other. Taryn broke the silence after kissing Riley's forehead. "Hey, what are you thinking? Was I alright? I didn't hurt you too much did I?" Riley replied by pulling Taryn in for a gentle kiss. "Taryn, you were perfect, ok? You were amazing, in fact! I look forward to sharing many more firsts with you, my love." Love...that word was becoming increasingly easy for Riley to say after the first time.

Glancing at the clock on the nightstand, Riley saw it was almost daylight. The two women had been at it for several hours. With a smirk, Riley turned back to Taryn. "I guess it's too late to ask if I can sleep over, huh?" The blonde laughed and hit Riley with a pillow. "Don't you have the weekend off?" Riley grinned and nodded slowly. "Good. Then we'll spend the whole weekend doing what we just did...over and over..." Taryn winked. "Unless, of course, you have plans already..." Riley widened her eyes and then just smirked. "Well, I'll have to check my calendar...but I think I'm free. I'll get back to you." Taryn picked the pillow back up and started beating Riley with it as she laughed hysterically.

After a weekend of bliss, the two women knew they had to go back to their jobs. Riley was reluctant to leave, but she knew there was work to do at the station. Taryn knew she needed to get back to her job as well, or she would be short on money for the bills. Riley had to get up early and head back to her apartment to get her uniform for work. Making sure to say goodbye to Taryn first, Riley found herself talked into a shower together as well as breakfast. They didn't exactly make it to breakfast, but they'd both go to work with a smile.

Riley ended up being a little late to work. She explained the reason for it was there was a lot of traffic on the road. The excuse went well up until Ted saw her. At some point, whether it was during the night, or the morning shower, Riley had some visible love bites on her neck. If she had bothered to look at herself in the mirror before leaving, she would have covered them, or tried to at least. A huge grin crossed Ted's face when she sat down at her desk. Riley had managed to keep her stoic mask thus far, but her partner's expression told her she wasn't fooling him. "Alright, Ted! I'll tell you what happened, but later, ok? Let's get some work done."

Taryn went to work with her head in the clouds. She was very much thankful that the store wasn't too busy that day. The blonde couldn't believe how happy she was. It had been so long since she was happy, the feeling was foreign to her. Once her shift was done, Taryn headed to her car. Seeing what was waiting for her, Taryn frowned. Rob stood there leaning against Taryn's car with a grin on his face. "Hey Taryn. Long time no see. Miss me yet?" Taryn rolled her eyes. For the first time in her life, she felt strong and confident. Rob had nothing on her anymore. Approaching her car, Taryn shook her head. "Actually, no. I don't miss you. In fact, I'd like you to come by the house and get the rest of your stuff." This was not the answer Rob had expected to hear. "Are you kidding me, Taryn? This isn't like you! You need me! You can't be alone! Without me, wouldn't people know about your dirty little secret?" Rob really thought he was going to effect Taryn with that, but she just rolled her eyes again. "What secret would that be, Rob? That I'm gay? Yeah, I said it! But you know what? It's not dirty, and it's definitely not a secret anymore. In fact, I'm proud of it. It feels damn good to finally be myself! All those years with you were wasted trying to be someone I wasn't. Without you around to bring me down, I am actually happy. You can't take that away from me, and you can't do anything about it." Rob's face changed. He was becoming more and more pissed off with every word Taryn spoke. The blonde ignored him and got into her car. "Oh, and Rob? I've changed my mind. I will gather your stuff together and put it outside for you. And don't show up unannounced." Taryn started her car and drove away. She had to fight the urge to run over Rob. She talked herself out of it saying that he'd only dent her car and make a big mess to clean.

After work, Riley quickly went out to her car. As soon as she got close, she cursed inwardly seeing a grinning Ted waiting for her. "Oh, I don't think so, Riley. You owe me a little chat!" Riley glared back at him. "I owe you shit! But I did promise to tell you what happened...dammit." Ted leaned against Riley's car and gestured for her to continue. Rolling her eyes, Riley started to talk. "Look, I'm not going to tell you every little thing. I like to think that I have some small amount of privacy left in my life." Seeing that Ted wasn't going to let this go, Riley sighed. "Alright. I spent the weekend with her! It was without a doubt the best weekend of my entire life! I love her more than I've ever loved anyone... When I'm around her, I feel corny as that sounds. The most amazing thing is...she loves me too." Ted straightened up and patted his friend on the back. "Alright, Riley, I think I've tortured you enough. I'm happy for you. I really am. Love suits you, my friend." Riley blushed. "Ummm thanks, Ted. It's all still pretty new to me. For most of my life, I have actively avoided this. I always thought that I'd get hurt...but with her, I don't feel like that. It's like my heart knows she's the one, and I have no choice in the matter." Ted shook his head. "Just enjoy it, Riley. Don't over think it. Now go on..I'm sure she's waiting for you."

Taryn got back to her house and rushed inside. After changing out of her work clothes and taking a shower, the blonde started dinner. Taryn didn't have time to make a huge dinner, but she still wanted to make something good. Though she didn't invite her, she was pretty sure that Riley would show up. At least, Taryn hoped that she would. After the weekend they spent together, Taryn knew without a doubt that she was in love. She wanted to ask Riley to move in with her, but she well knew how much Riley loved her space...and her privacy. The blonde wasn't sure if she should bring it up or not. Shaking the thoughts from her head, she got back to preparing dinner. Taryn decided to make some macaroni and cheese. She shredded the cheese while the macaroni cooked on the stove. Glancing at the clock, she knew Riley was going to be getting off work soon. After about 15 minutes, Taryn had dinner in the oven. She set the timer on the stove and went to her computer to work on her book.

Riley got in her car and drove to the local florist. She bought a dozen red roses and an over priced box of candy. Grinning, she took her purchase to her car and drove to Taryn's house. Knowing she hadn't been invited, Riley got her cell phone out and called the love of her life. Taryn, who was still sitting at the computer, picked up on the second ring after seeing who it was. "Hey babe! What are you doin?" Riley blushed. "Hey, sweetheart. I was hoping I could come over tonight." Taryn pretended to stop and think about the question. "I guess I could set an extra place at the table for you." Riley shook her head at her lover's teasing. "Alright, well I'll be there sooner than you you!" Riley hung the phone up and got out of her car. After grabbing the flowers and candy, she shut the door and turned to walk to the front door.

Riley was quickly intercepted by an excited Miss Slayers. The large woman waddled over to her and grinned. "Oooohh! Are those for ME? Oh! You shouldn't have! I'm taken, you know!" Riley frowned and jerked the flowers out of the shorter woman's reach. Glaring down at the woman with an icy glare, Riley spoke firmly. "I didn't. This is for Taryn." The large woman's face fell. "I see...well, it's for the best. My precious Dennis would be jealous anyway! I'm mad at him though! He's been chatting to some slut on Myspace! I hope he knows that he's MINE!" Riley shook her head. Why would anyone in their right mind want to date this woman? "Look, ma'am...I gotta go. I'll see you some other time I'm sure." Riley turned away from the crazy woman who was now mumbling to herself about jealousy and how she could never have a real friend because of her psychic abilities. After fixing her hair, Riley approached Taryn's front door and knocked.

Hearing the knock at the door, Taryn grinned and ran to the door. The blonde raised an eyebrow seeing that Riley obviously rushed right over after work. "Well, well, officer, it's not every day I get flowers from a cop. If I didn't know better, I might think you were going to try and seduce me.." Riley blushed heavily and cleared her throat. She was so anxious to see Taryn again, that she didn't stop back home and change her clothes first. Gathering her composure, Riley stood up straight and smirked while holding out the flowers and candy to Taryn. "And what if that was my intention with you? Would I have a chance?" Taryn took the flowers and candy and set them on a nearby table. The blonde stood with her arms folded and looked Riley over approvingly. "Hmmm...I don't know. Why don't you get your sexy ass in here and we'll talk about it?" Taryn pulled Riley inside by her shirt and shut the door before giving her a heated kiss. "Hmmm...yeah, I think I will take you to bed with me, officer." Riley stood there in a happy little daze. Taryn grabbed her lover's butt before taking the flowers to put them in some water.

Snapping out of it, Riley walked to the couch and sat down. That little blonde sure had power over her. She seemed to not only be fully aware of it, but the little vixen enjoyed it too! The timer on the stove began to buzz loudly. Taryn finished arranging the flowers in her vase and set them in the center of her table. "Sounds like dinner's ready. Come on over and eat, Riley!" The blonde got the macaroni out of the oven and sat it on the counter to cool for a moment. Taryn poured them both a glass of wine and got a couple plates out as well. "I hope you like macaroni and cheese...I didn't really have time to make anything big." Riley grinned seeing the plate set down in front of her. "Taryn, I think no matter what you decided to make, it would still be way better than anything I could come up with! I can barely even use a microwave, my love! I think the only thing I can manage to make on a stove is ramen noodles...and I can't even get that right!" Riley took a bite of her food and moaned. "I was right! This is incredible!" Taryn giggled. "Riley, you really couldn't be more adorable." Riley blushed and continued to demolish her plate.

After dinner, Riley did the dishes so Taryn could relax for a bit. It seemed right since the blonde did all of the cooking. After spending the weekend together, Riley felt much more comfortable there, and she knew where things were kept. Taryn went back to her computer and worked on her book. Once the dishes were all clean, dried, and put away, Riley walked up behind her lady love and placed a kiss on her head. "Hey there, sweetheart. How's the book coming?" Taryn leaned back into her lover's touch. "It's going great, babe. Since meeting you, I have never been more inspired to write! I think I'm actually going to finish this soon." Riley grinned. "That's great! I knew you could do it! I hope I'll get to be the first to read it?" Turning to face those blue eyes, Taryn grinned. "Of course! How else will I know if it's any good? I sure hope it is... What I wouldn't give to quit that shitty job of mine!" Riley leaned down and kissed the blonde slowly. "It'll be great, babe. I know it will. I'll be there at your book signings to keep all the other women from getting their hands on you." Riley winked teasingly. Taryn giggled. "You're too much, Riley. I love you!" Riley kissed Taryn again and gently lifted her up out of the chair and held her in her arms. "Mind taking a break from the book? I have a much better use for those lovely hands than typing on a keyboard..." Taryn wrapped her arms around Riley's neck and kissed her. "Mmmm I'll bet you do! In fact, I bet it's the same thing I have in mind for your hands!" Riley grinned and carried Taryn into the bedroom and set her down on the bed. Taryn looked her lover over appreciatively and smirked. "Hey Riley..." Riley was half out of her uniform already and looked up. "Yeah, babe?" Taryn grinned mischievously. "I was just you have your handcuffs on you?" Riley raised a dark brow and grinned. "Kinky...I like it!"

After another fulfilling night of earth shattering sex, Taryn woke up wrapped in Riley's arms. She knew she needed to get up, but those strong arms made her feel so safe and protected. The blonde wanted nothing more than to just call in sick. When Taryn started to move around a bit, a blue eye opened and Riley wrapped her arms around her tighter. "Where do you think you're going, hot stuff?" Taryn blushed and giggled. Riley was the first person to ever make her feel attractive and loved. "Riley, I have to take a shower for much as I don't want to go. I could spend the rest of my life in your arms, you know that." Riley tightened her grip on the smaller woman and pressed a kiss to her forehead and then moved down and placed one on her soft lips. "Fine, but I'm coming with you. Showering alone just sucks anymore." Taryn's green eyes sparkled as she grinned. "I have to agree with you on that. C'mon...we have time for one before breakfast."

After breakfast, the two women went off to work. Riley was greeted by a grinning Ted, as usual. "Hey, Ri! I have news for you. We finally got a lead on that rapist piece of shit we've been looking for!" Riley grinned. "Really? Do tell.." Riley sat down at her desk as Ted began to talk. "Yeah, remember that girl he beat the hell out of and left for dead? Well, she finally woke up. She gave us a description of the scumbag and everything! Wanna see the sketch?" Ted teasingly held up a manilla envelope in front of Riley's face. Riley's blue eyes twinkled. This was the part of her job she lived for. "You know I do!" Grabbing the envelope, Riley took the sketch out and gasped. "I know this guy..." Her jaw dropped and she clenched her fists almost tearing the sketch. "Mother fucker! I know this guy!" Putting the sketch down on her desk, Riley grabbed her keys and rushed out to her car. Ted was left in a state of shock since she hadn't bothered to fill him in on anything, as usual.

Ted raced after his partner shouting behind her. "Riley! Wait for me! Riley!" Riley got in her car and started it up. Rolling her eyes, she waited for Ted to get in the car before she peeled out of the parking lot. Ted was still buckling his seat belt when Riley was already racing down the street. "God damn, Riley! Where are we going?" Riley grinned maliciously. "Where else, Ted? We are going to catch a rat!" Ted shook his head and just enjoyed the ride. Riley drove to every bar in town hoping to find the asshole she was looking for. When she came up empty, she went to all of the motels. After spending much of the day doing this, Ted finally spoke up. "Are you sure you know where to find this guy, Ri?" Riley shot her partner a glare. "I'll find him...there's one place left to look, and he'd better pray that I don't find him there." Riley felt an urgency inside of her that she couldn't explain. Something was definitely wrong, and she needed to hurry.

After her shift was over, Taryn headed home. She decided that she was going to ask Riley to move in with her. The thought of spending even one night alone in her bed sounded like torture to the small blonde. Ever since their weekend together, Riley had been sleeping there anyway. So in Taryn's mind, there was no reason she wouldn't say yes. Taryn would happily give her tall, dark and gorgeous girlfriend her space if she needed it. All she had to do now was think of a way to ask Riley.

Taryn pulled into her driveway and got out of the car. She went to unlock her door, but found it was open already. The blonde found that strange, but figured she must have forgotten to lock it in her haste to get to work. She had been almost late the past couple days thanks to Riley. Stepping into her house, Taryn gasped. The place was trashed. Her things were thrown all over the place, and a bunch of her clothes were cut up and ruined. Seeing her cat sleeping on top of her bookshelf, Taryn sighed with relief. At least Artemis wasn't hurt by whatever sick freak did this. Green eyes flashed with fury and she looked around for a clue to who was responsible. Hearing a noise in her bedroom, Taryn charged in without thinking that it might be dangerous to do so.

Upon entering her bedroom, Taryn clenched her fists. "Rob! What the fuck are you doing here? And what did you do to my house, you asshole!?" Dark brown eyes looked Taryn over with interest. Rob was lying in Taryn's bed wearing only his boxer shorts. With a smirk, Rob looked up at Taryn and waved to her. "I came by to get my stuff. Hope you don't mind. I have a key and all, so I didn't break in..." Taryn's face turned bright red. The small blonde was ready to explode with anger. "YOU TRASHED MY HOUSE, YOU SICK FUCKER! GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW BEFORE I CALL THE COPS ON YOUR SORRY ASS! AND LEAVE THE KEY ON THE TABLE. I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU HERE AGAIN!" If such a thing were humanly possible, Taryn would have had steam coming out of her ears. Rob looked at her with amusement. "Oh, Taryn, I didn't just come here to trash your house." Rob smelled Taryn's pillows before getting off the bed. "You think I don't know you've been shacking up with that bitch cop?" Rob's eyes glazed over with lust as he advanced on Taryn. "I'm gonna show you what you missed out on all those years!" Taryn's eyes became wide and she backed away, but Rob grabbed her arms and held her. He leaned in and whispered in her ear. "I always loved you, Taryn... You just couldn't love me back, could you?" Rob tightened his grip on Taryn's arms to the point it started to hurt. "We could have been great together if you ever gave me a chance! I would have been the perfect guy for you. I would have married you, and we would have had big happy family!!" Rob gave her a lecherous grin. It was obvious what he intended to do next. Green eyes widened with fear. What if Rob decided to kill her? Taryn's first thought was Riley. This wasn't fair! Taryn finally found the love of her life...her soul mate...and it was being taken away from her now. She closed her eyes and prayed that Riley might show up.

Rob shoved Taryn down on the bed and jumped on top of her. The blonde struggled to get free, but it was all in vain. Rob was bigger than her, and stronger than her. He held her down and grinned. "Oh, no you don't, bitch! I'm going to show you what you've been missing for so long! I'm gonna fuck you good, and you're gonna like it!" Tears fell from green eyes as she shook her head. "No...please don't do this! I'm sorry, Rob! OK? I'm sorry! Please let me go!" Rob smirked. "It's too late for apologies, Taryn! I loved you for YEARS, and waited for you to finally love me back, but you didn't! You never even cared for me as a friend, did you?" Taryn nodded through her tears. "Yes! At one time, I did consider you a friend! A good friend! Don't do this! Please!" Rob paused for a moment and then shook his head. "No...I've waited a very long time to get inside of you, Taryn, and I'm gonna do it today whether you want me to, or not!" Rob took one of his hands to pull his boxers down. Taryn used her free hand to scratch and claw at Rob's face. She managed to scratch him a couple times. Rob put a hand to his face and felt the blood trickling down his cheek. He looked down at Taryn with a sadistic smirk. "Oh, you'll pay for that!"

As Rob was about to begin his assault on Taryn, a pair of icy blue eyes stared into his back. Rob froze when he heard a gun cock behind him. A deep threatening voice growled behind him. "I think you need to get off of her before I blow your sorry head off, asshole!" Rob turned around to see Riley standing there with her gun pointed at him. Ted stood next to her with his gun out as well. Rob put his hands up and shrugged. " need to use that gun..." Within a split second, Rob grabbed Taryn and held her in front of him like a human shield. Dark brown eyes looked Riley over with hatred and disgust. "You're not takin her! I'll kill her first! Do you hear me? If I can't have her, I sure as hell ain't gonna give her to some fucking dyke!! She's MINE!! Do you hear me, bitch?" Riley's blue eyes widened. She didn't think Rob has this many guts. "Alright, Rob. Just let her go. We'll talk about this. We know about the other women. It's true you raped and beat them, but you haven't killed anyone yet. Do you really want to add murder to the list of charges? Think about this, Rob!" Riley was desperate at this point.

Rob just shrugged. "Fine. I won't kill her then, but this bitch owes me! She owes me for the years I wasted loving her, while she didn't love me back! I bet the few times she was actually with me, she was thinking of some dyke bitch just like you!" Riley watched Rob's movements closely. All she needed was for him to drop his guard just a little bit. Once he did that, she would get Taryn from him, and they'd take this guy down. Riley decided to try another tactic. She spoke in a sultry voice. "Rob...come on now, you don't really want to do this...and who says I'm a dyke? Maybe I go both ways..." Speaking to Rob like this was turning Riley's stomach, but if he would drop his guard for just a second...she'd have him. Rob wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Hearing Riley speak to him like that really affected his better judgment. For a second, Rob relaxed to consider the proposition given to him. Keen blue eyes picked up on that, and in an instant, Riley kicked Rob in the face, grabbed Taryn, and pushed her to Ted where she was out of harm's way. Rob barely realized what happened, when he was pinned down on the floor by Riley. She gazed down at him with a feral grin. "How does it feel, Rob? Tell does it feel to be helpless?" Rob's dark eyes widened with fear. Riley ground her knee into Rob's groin and laughed as he squirmed and groaned in pain. "You know the only reason I don't castrate you, Rob? Because I want you to be pretty for your new cell mate. I will make good on my promise. You'll be sharing a cell with the biggest, meanest prisoners who will love a nice young man like you to have as their bitch!" Ted walked up and put handcuffs on Rob. He put a hand on his partner's shoulder. "You know, if you wanna kick this guy's ass, I won't report it. This piece of shit deserves it all...and more!" Riley nodded and cast a glance to Taryn who was sobbing in the corner of the room. With a heavy sigh, Riley punched Rob square in the nose. She was pretty sure she had broken it. Rob's eyes filled with tears from the pain. Riley stood up off Rob and nodded to her partner. "Take him to the car. I'll be out in a minute." Ted yanked Rob up from the floor and dragged him to the car. Rob gave Taryn a cold glare on his way by. Riley saw him look at Taryn, and she kicked him in the ass on his way by. "Don't even look at her!" She snarled as Ted dragged the angry man off. Riley softened her demeanor and wrapped the small blonde in her arms. "Hey, I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner." Taryn held onto Riley like a vice grip and sobbed. Riley kissed the top of the blonde's head. "It's alright, baby, it's over. I got you...and he will never hurt you again. He's going to be put away for a very long time. I promise. And don't worry about the house. I'll clean it up." Taryn was sobbing uncontrollably, but managed to force out three words to Riley. "" Riley's heart melted and she hugged Taryn tighter. "I love you too, sweetheart. I have to take that dirt bag to the station now." Pleading green eyes looked up at Riley. "I'm not leaving you, babe, you're coming with me, OK? There's not room in the squad car, so I'll have Ted drive Rob and we'll follow in your car, alright? I won't leave you...I'll never leave you."

A short time later, they all arrived at the police station. Rob was taken to jail and Taryn had to fill out papers to press charges against him. Riley knew that with the case against Rob, he would likely be in jail for the rest of his life. Riley was at her desk filling out a report on what happened that day when Ted came up behind her and patted her on the back. "You did great back there, partner! I'm proud of you, and I know Taryn is too." Riley smiled up at her partner.

A couple weeks later, Riley was given a promotion for her work in capturing Rob. Ted was given one as well, so they were still partners. They were given the rank of detective and moved to homicide, which Riley found exciting. This was her chance to bring in even more scumbags, and Riley was up for the challenge. Taryn finished her book and got it published. Thanks to the money from the book, Taryn was able to quit her crappy job. The blonde also finally asked Riley to move in with her, which of course, Riley did...after she passed out. Once Taryn revived her lover, she helped gather her things from her apartment and move them into her house.

A couple months later, Riley was having lunch with Ted. While Riley was a private person most of the time, she sometimes needed advice from Ted. He was, after all, her best friend. Ted was scarfing down his lunch. He finally noticed that Riley had barely touched hers. After taking a drink of his soda, he set the cup down and raised an eyebrow at his friend. "Alright, Ri, what's bothering you? Something's on your mind." Riley fidgeted and pulled something from her pocket. Ted looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "Is that what I think it is?" Riley nodded. Ted grinned. "That's great, Riley! She's gonna love it!" Riley shrugged. "I dunno...I...I hope so!" The tall dark woman was actually sweating out of nervousness. Ted leaned forward and patted his friend on the arm. "'s gonna be alright. Seriously. Taryn loves you. She will love it. Stop worrying." Riley took a calming breath and nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're's just...I don't know. She might not be ready." Ted had to laugh. "Riley, she's ready. Just go for it, alright?" Riley shrugged. "OK...but if you're wrong, I'm coming after you, Ted." Ted laughed. "Fine, but if I'm will find out if she has a sister and set me up!" Riley rolled her eyes. "You are such a pig, Ted!"

Later that day, Riley took Taryn out to dinner. She spared no expense. She ordered them the best wine in the house, and even had a special dessert made. Taryn never felt so special in her entire life. She knew she'd made the right choice when she decided to be with Riley. After the incredible meal, Riley took Taryn home.

Meanwhile, Rob was sitting in a dark and smelly prison cell. Thanks to Riley's connections, he was placed in a cell with a large hairy man called Tiny. Tiny was serving 3 life sentences on various charges and was one of the prison's most notorious rapists. Tiny approached Rob and tapped him on the shoulder with a seductive grin on his face. Rob slapped the larger man's hand away. "Get lost!" Tiny dropped his pants and showed Rob that he was very well endowed. Rob's eyes widened in shock as he braced himself for what he would be dealing with every day for the rest of his life.

Taryn was ready to drag her tall, dark and gorgeous girlfriend to the bedroom when Riley stopped and sat her down on the couch next to her. Taryn looked up at Riley feeling a little confused. "Is something wrong, babe? Why do you have that look on your face?" Riley gulped and placed her hand on top of Taryn's and looked into those beautiful green eyes. "Taryn, I...I need to say something to you." Taryn was entranced by Riley's eyes and had to blink to snap out of it. Riley took a calming breath and continued. "I love you, Taryn. I have loved you since the first time I saw you. We have a connection that is unlike anything I've ever felt before. It feels as if our souls are you're a part of me. I have felt...incomplete my whole life. After being hurt by the person I loved most in the world, my father, the void in my life just got larger. I have tried like hell to shut out other people to make up for it. Somehow...with you...there is no void. The moment I laid eyes on you, the emptiness I've had inside of me vanished." Taryn's eyes filled with tears. She had never heard anything to sweet, honest, and heartfelt in her life. Riley reached into her pocket and pulled out a gold ring. Looking right into those green eyes, Riley took a breath and said what she'd been waiting her whole life to say to the right girl. "Taryn, what I'm trying to say here is...I love you, and I can't imagine a single day without you. Will you make me the happiest woman on the planet and be my wife?" Riley held out the ring hoping to God that Taryn would accept it. Hearing the proposal, Taryn gasped. The blonde began to tremble. Tears fell from her green eyes as she looked into the blue ones across from her.


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