Disclaimers: This is yet another uber tale of my making. Technically the characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal, but since it's not REALLY X&G here... well anyway, these uber characters belong to me, me memememe....so, copyright 1999 Tragedy88 and all that.
Violence/language: Um, some violence, some bad language... maybe a pg-13 so far?
Subtext: You betcha! Oh, if it's illegal where you live or love between members of the same sex offends you please read elsewhere.
And last but not least: How, you ask, can so many of my characters exist within the same timeline? Easy, I write what I know. In this case I know farms, horses, and the hardships of being alone. In anycase it's a divergence from my usual cops, gangs, lusty/evil uber Callistos' etc., etc. etc... :)
Feedback is very welcome at email@example.com
"Laughter mends the soul."- Source Unknown
Dusty burped appreciatively as she settled sideways in the booth.
"Pig." Alex admonished with a grin, as she let out her own burp, louder and longer.
"Nice." Dusty drawled, raising one dark, sarcastic eyebrow.
"Thank you." An easy, relaxed grin and the two women felt a soothing peace that was able to endure over dishes clattering, harried waitress's and squalling babies.
"What now?" Dusty asked absently, content for the moment to enjoy her full belly, the warm diner and the pleasant company.
"Guess I'll give Joe a ring. He'll be happy to pick up the truck.. He's been telling me for two years he'd take it off my hands for parts." Alex opened one lazy eye to glance, unseen, at Dusty's profile. "Then I thought, if you want to, we could catch the movie playing-"
"Good morning, Alex."
Ah, shit. "Morning, Howard." Alex returned evenly, glancing at Dusty and seeing the same epithet briefly before the dark woman masked her face. Alex had to stifle the sudden urge to giggle.
"Randy sent me over to pick up some lunch." Randy, owner of the Emporium, was his oldest brother. "You never called me back yesterday, Alex. Didn't you get my message?" He cast an accusing eye at Dusty.
She refused to show any emotion.
Cold hearted bitch, he seethed, probably one of those big city dykes. I'd better keep an eye on Alex, protect her innocence. Atleast from her, his grin turned outwardly and now he focused it on Alex. "Would you care to go to the movies with me this evening?"
"Oh, Howard, I'm sorry. There are just so many things to do at the Ranch today." She batted long, sandy lashes at him. "I've decided to fix the place up and take on some tenants."
"How nice. Would you like a ride home?" Howard's eyes traveled over Alex's body.
Both women noticed, one ignoring it instantly, the other willing him to do something more obvious so that a broken arm would be warranted.
"No, thank you." Just take a hint and leave.
"How will you get home?" He asked.
"Well, Howard, I came to town in Dusty's Jeep, I'm expecting I'll leave in it." Alex watched his face pale and eyes widen. Maybe I shouldn't have said that.
Howard's cheeks turned a bright red. "I don't want you in that woman's car."
"Don't tell me what I can and cannot do." Alex replied through gritted teeth, hands clenching into angry fists under the table.
"I don't want you hanging around this- this- queer!"
If he's trying to shock me, he's not. If he's trying to anger me, then I'm way past angry. Alex burst from the booth, surprising both Dusty and Howard.
"Listen closely, you bastard." Anger dripped from every word. Dusty silently stood as well. "I left NY to get away from bigoted idiots like you. I will not tolerate you calling my friend a queer. If she is a lesbian or not then it's none of your goddamned business. Is that understood?"
Howard stood slack jawed, starring at this little woman he'd thought easy to bed. Right now she was a fiery little bitch that was making a nasty little scene.
"Is? That? Understood?"
"Yeah." Agree now, take care of this later, Howard promised.
"Good. Now apologize."
"Apologize?" He sputtered.
"That's not necessary, Alex." Dusty said gently as she carefully searched Alex's face. So much anger there, what have you been through? "Alex?"
Hesitantly a wild set of sea green eyes met Dusty's calm ice blue's. The wild eyes grabbed onto the strength of the calm blue. "I'm sorry, Howard." That was as calm as she was willing to get and she walked out of the diner without a backwards glance, cursing out small town prejudices and stupid farm 'boys.'
"Alex? Alex!" Dusty jogged to catch up, reaching out automatically to grab Alex's coat sleeve. Alex spun angrily, her face instantly softening when she saw it was Dusty.
"Been better." Was all Alex said, not trusting her voice.
"Why don't we just head back to the Ranch?" Dusty's hand lingered on Alex's coat. "We can work out our frustrations cleaning the house."
Embarrassed by her actions Alex pulled away from Dusty and headed back to the Jeep.
It wasn't until the Jeep was out of town that Alex finally spoke. "I always dreamed of having a bed and breakfast. Mark, my husband, and I were going to get away from it all. Aunt Julie left me the ranch eight years ago and Mark decided about three years ago he'd had enough. We were planning to come out here, tried to save up some money, because the place needs a new roof..." She trailed off when she finally realized she was rambling. "Anyway, I need to make some money and I'd considered renting out a few rooms." She paused again. "And I'd like your help, if you're still offering it."
"I'll help. Maybe stay on a few more weeks. Ya know, help get it up and running?" I can't believe I just said that. I like her and it's been a long time since I've had someone to call a friend. But I thought you were moving on, a little voice reminded her. "I'll still pay for the room, of course."
Alex nodded and silently regarded the woman sitting next to her. Dusty's eyes, emotional and bright, spoke against her stoic face. Her eyes said everything Dusty's body could or would not say.
And she wants to stay? Alex couldn't form the words to say thanks. They stuck in her throat, curled around her tongue and she was speechless.
"What the hell is this?" Dusty poised the question. They were rummaging through the downstairs storage room after getting a review of what was in the upstairs rooms. Dusty was holding up a dust covered object.
"Damned if I know," Alex replied, "Aunt Julie kept everything, as did my ancestors apparently." She sneezed through the dust, wiping her nose on her sleeve, and bent back to the box she was rummaging through.
The whole house needed new paint, but they'd decided to wait till tomorrow to tackled that issue and were intent on simply exploring the contents of the rooms.
For a moment Alex sat dumbfounded, staring at the object in her hands. What the hell? With a gasp she dropped it back in the box, breaking something.
"Are you alright? Dusty raced over, alarmed.
"It's a-a..." Alex pointed to the offensive object in question. With two fingers Dusty picked it up and held it at arm's length as if it had fangs.
"It is." Dusty suddenly let out a low chuckle. It was an old fashioned vibrator, a little broken maybe, but still in one piece.
"God, I hope that monstrosity wasn't my aunt's." Alex laughed.
"Actually, it's more your grandmother's generation."
That brought out fresh peels of laughter from Alex, and suddenly she was laughing so hard she snorted. Which started Dusty laughing as well, and soon they were rolling on the floor, hysterical tears of laughter running down Alex's cheeks.
"Oh... damn... this... hurts. Stop laughing, Dusty."
"Why? It's funny. You're funny, making that snorting pig like noise."
"I do not sound like a pig!"
"Yes, you do."
"Do not." Suddenly Alex pounced on the heap of a dirty, tired body on the floor. She straddled the dark woman's chest and pinned her arms to the floor. "Take it back."
"Nope. You sound like a pig." Dusty grinned and squirmed, settling Alex into a position where she wouldn't be crushed.
Alex struggled briefly to hold down Dusty's powerful arms, all the while grinning like an idiot. This is too easy, she realized suddenly. Oops.
Dusty raised her arms and sent Alex flying backward onto the floor.
"Owww." Alex complained cheerfully, scurrying back to avoid the other woman's advance. But she backed into a crate and her destiny was sealed. Suddenly she was flung to the floor and before she could blink her arms were pinned to the cold hardwood.
"Give up yet?" Dusty leered down at her unsuspecting victim.
"Never." Alex struggled vainly, then lay still, exhausted. "Grrr, alright, get off me." She huffed.
"Nope. Not until you admit you snort like a pig."
"I do not." ALex glowered into smokey blue eyes.
"Do too." Dusty secured Alex's arms above her head with one hand and reached down to lightly tickle Alex's ribs.
"Stop!" Alex gasped through the laughter, and promptly snorted.
"Aha! Pig!" Dusty proclaimed in triumph.
Alex happily squealed like a pig as she struggled under Dusty, who began to laugh as well. Then Dusty snorted.
"Pig!" Alex cried.
"Am not." Dusty pouted, sounding hurt, then began to laugh all over again. They collapsed side by side on the floor, laughter finally spent.
"Ah, that felt good." Alex admitted, a little breathless. "What's the saying? 'Laughter mends the heart?'"
"Something like that."
For a long time they lay on the floor, oblivious to the cold and growing dark, arms and thighs touching lightly.
"I should go feed Jack."
"Yeah, I could go make something for dinner."
Neither moved. Another few minutes passed and Dusty sat up with a groan. She stretched and stood, reaching down a hand for Alex.
"Come on, pig." She pulled Alex to her feet.
"I'm not a pig." Alex's haunty reply followed Dusty down the hall.
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