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 firstname.lastname@example.org
"Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It maybe that you will not meet again in this life."- Jean Paul Richter
"Hey." Dusty tried to say casually, she was all too glad to be home again. Home?
Alex looked up. "Hey. Randy give you anymore trouble?"
"Nothing I couldn't handle." Dusty mumbled. Then clearer, she said, "I put the paint in the pantry. Read over the labels too. All of them say it's too cold to paint now."
Alex sighed and shut off the computer monitor. "I kinda figured."
"So, what now?" What excuse do I have to stay? Dusty slid down onto the edge of Alex's bed.
"Dinner?" Alex stood and stretched, cracking and popping her spine back into place. "Damn, I'm getting old." She groaned.
Dusty just smirked, taking the rare opportunity to study the young woman's lithe form as she shuffled papers and put away pens.
Light golden hair fell to strong shoulders and Dusty wanted nothing more then to touch the silky smooth strands. To run them through her fingers, breath deep Alex's scent of lilac's and hay...
"Dusty?" Alex waved her hand in front of fixed blue eyes.
"Ah hmm?" Dusty blinked and looked into familiar greens eyes that were on level with her own.
"Dinner?" You up for some?" Alex asked with a gentle smile. She wanted to reach out a hand and touch Dusty's cheek. And her hand was halfway there before she realized it. She turned abruptly, startling dust bunnies, and headed to the kitchen.
Alex was quiet all through dinner and Dusty was worried that somehow she'd done something wrong, offended Alex in some way.
Between bites of sphagetti she glanced over, occasionally bumping eyes with Alex. She would turn quickly away, trying to hide the blush that heated her face each time Dusty caught her staring.
Neither could come up with something brilliant or clever to lighten the mood. Clean up was the clanking of china, pots and pans, till Dusty asked Alex if she'd like help. Alex politely declined the offer of help. Washing dishes was something people had to be close together to do and she didn't think she could resist the urge to touch Dusty any more.
So Dusty retired to her room.
A short time later Alex wondered the halls, wishing Dusty's door wasn't closed, and they were sharing hot cocoa and laughter by the fire, or watching TV together on the couch.
She stepped into the cold darkness of the front porch, once again brushing off that uneasy feeling, and trudged through the snow to the wood pile. Alex gathered a large bundle and headed to Dusty's room.
Tentatively she knocked on the door.
Dusty's deep, warm voice made her knees turn to jello. Alex juggled the pile of wood around until she had a hand free to unlatch the door. Then unceremoniously she turned and thumped the door open with her butt.
Dusty rose gracefully on her long legs and took most of the wood form Alex's arms. Their fingers brushed, but beneath the beat of a small radio the electricity couldn't be heard.
Alex couldn't help but notice that Dusty's legs were bare beneath flannel boxers, and that she looked unbelievably cute in an oversized NAVY sweatshirt.
A warmth spread through her belly and down her thighs, and hastily she tore her eyes away.
"Thanks for the firewood. Thought I'd have to put on some long johns to stay warm." Dusty grinned, revealing perfectly white teeth.
Mmmm. "We wouldn't want you running around in long johns, now would we?" Alex nearly choked. Am I flirting with her?
"Bet you've already got on a pair." Dusty winked, settling onto the edge of the bed.
Is she flirting back? Alex began to blush before she realized this was exactly what she wanted. What she'd come to enjoy. This casual, light hearted flirtation. "Anyway I hope I didn't interrupt anything?" She waved to the stack of papers on the narrow table, glancing around the room as she did so. The room looked completely different now with the bed, bench, table and chair. It felt warmer, lived in. Alex regretted the day it would be empty and Dusty would be gone.
Unexpected tears gathered at the corners of her eyes, threatening to fall and humiliate her. Alex quickly lost her smile.
"Hey," Dusty stood, startled at the drastic change. "Are you alright?"
"I- I don't want you to leave." Alex stuttered. Oh god... She turned abruptly to leave but a strong, warm hand grasped her shoulder. She shivered at the contact but didn't break away.
Dusty turned the young woman to face her and gently cupped Alex's chin in one hand. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." Alex didn't move as Dusty's thumb unconsciously caressed her cheek.
Dusty realized what she was doing and began to withdraw her hand, but Alex reached out and covered Dusty's hand with her own, leaving it's warmth against her cheek.
"Kiss me?" Alex whispered, heart beating rapidly.
Dusty's eyebrows rocketed up under her bangs. Her lips parted around a startled gasp. "Alex," she breathed, "do you realize what you're asking?"
"I- I- " Alex stammered, "I don't want you to leave me."
"And you want me to kiss you?" Dusty asked, not sure she could trust this unexpected turn of events.
"I thought that if we... um... you wouldn't want to leave." Alex looked, shamefaced, at the floor.
"Do you want to do something that could forever ruin our friendship?"
"No." Alex whispered. "It wouldn't ruin our friendship. Don't you feel it?" Alex wondered.
"T- t- there... something's happened.." Alex looked into Dusty's eyes, seeing the past, the present and the future all summed up in one word. Soulmates.
Dusty refused to look, to see the truth, even though she knew it in her heart. "Just because you miss your husband, and I haven't had... ah, shit... doesn't mean we should-" Dusty choked on those hasty words as Alex's face flushed red with anger. Shit, now I've done it.
"I am not lonely!" The young woman yelled. "And I am not desperate. I thought you were feeling the same things I was, but obviously I was wrong." Those last bitter words said she stormed out of the room and down the hall.
"Wait! Alex!" Dusty cried, jogging after her. "Let's talk about this."
"No." Alex stomped into her boots and shrugged on her coat. "No talking. If you want to leave, I'll understand." She didn't look back as she ran off the porch and across the snow covered ground.
"I don't want to leave." Dusty murmured, sadly. "Gods above. What have I done?"
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