Chapter Three
by WhymZ
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Please see CHAPTER One for all disclaimers.


Chapter 3


The club pulsed with energy. People unwilling to let the weekend go were out in full force. Khrys glided through the crowd with typical grace. She did a quick sweep of the floor with her eyes. Noting that Skyler's bar was empty she felt a flash of disappointment. Then out of the corner of her eye she saw the blonde coming downstairs from the DJ booth. Khrys felt her heart start pounding, anticipating the greeting she would receive. Standing where she had stopped, she waited for Skyler to look around as she always did. Brown eyes scanned the area looking for her tall dream. Finally they came to rest on flashing green eyes set in a perfectly sculpted face. Her smile spread wide at the sight of Khrys standing in the shadows. Their eyes locked and they slowly made their way towards each other. Two hearts beating out an impossible rhythm, smiles graced both faces. Skyler stopped just shy of touching Khrys.

"Hi." She breathed, badly wanting , to take this woman in her arms.

"Hi yourself." Khrys looked down at her and stepped a little closer. "I've been thinking about you all day." The music pounded around them and people pushed past them.

"Me too. I mean, I've been thinking about you too." She flushed thinking about the boxers against her body.

The slightly seductive tone in Khrys' voice caressed the bartender as if she were physically touched.

Khrys found that her hands were reaching for Skyler of their own volition and much to her surprise. They wound their way behind the smaller womans head and pulled her into a warm kiss. Skyler melted at the contact, having thought about little else all day. She let her hands slide around Khrys' tall form as their lips searched out each others secrets. For a moment they almost forgot where they were. Skyler reluctantly broke their kiss.

"Thank you. I was hoping you would do that. I didn't think I was going to be able to stop myself." She leaned her forehead against Khrys' chest.

"I knew I wouldn't be able to stop myself. I just wasn't sure how not to get you in trouble." Khrys said with a hint of mischief in her voice. "Did you get the package I sent you?"

Skyler stepped back and reached down into her jeans and snapped the waistband of the boxers she was wearing. "I sure did. I loved it. I couldn't believe you did that. Are these really yours?" She asked quietly.

"Yup, just like these..." she repeated Skyler's demonstration. "are yours." She laughed at the look on Skyler's face.

Skyler buried her face into the purple shirt and moaned, "Is it time to go home yet?" She inhaled deeply then released her lover.

They headed towards Skyler's bar and Khrys took her usual seat. Glad that the crowd had mostly hidden their exchange. Skyler fell into her usual rhythm and regulars started coming by. Khrys was enjoying the underlying sensation of excitement that had enveloped her. Watching Skyler she smiled to herself. She's so beautiful and she's wearing them, how cool is that? She's so sexy.

A good song came on and Khrys found herself standing and catching Skyler's eye.

"Are you going to dance?" The blonde smiled at the dark haired shadow.

"Are you going to watch?" Khrys felt the shiver.

"Oh, you bet I am." Skyler couldn't help herself she leaned over the bar and grabbed Khrys planting a kiss on her full lips. She smiled into green eyes as she pulled away. "Now, go dance for me." She touched her cheek and watched her go.

Khrys made her way through the crowd easily as usual. Finding that the thrill Skyler caused in her stomach was distracting. The song pounded out and she began to dance...the music overwhelmed her but did not take her away like it used to. She realized that her reality was far sweeter than where her fantasy ever took her. When she looked into Skyler's eyes, she let herself get lost in their depths. Skyler's eyes never left the dark form in the center of the floor. The seduction that they played against each other was electric. Vibes were flying across the room at record speed. Anyone with eyes could see the connection between the two women.

The look on Skyler's face could not be denied.

"So, I didn't know you liked girls." Stacy the hooch drawled, from beside her. "She's a hottie, I'd do her."

Skyler watched as the waitress' eyes roamed over Khrys' lithe body. She wanted to smack the skank but knew she would get in huge trouble. She also knew that it wouldn't be worth explaining. So she chose the high rode. "You wish! Stacy get over yourself will ya?" Skyler handed her the beers she was waiting for and rolled her eyes.

"Well, I guess she's spoken for then. Damn she's hot though." Stacy shook her head and watched Sky's face for some sort of reaction. She didn't get one so she sauntered off into a group of young guys. Skyler laughed to herself. Pathetic, I'm amazed that she can still stand as many times as she's been on her back with how many different people? That really is just pathetic. She almost felt sorry for the scrawny woman. Knowing she would probably never experience what Skyler herself was experiencing. Too bad, so sad.


Khrys made her way back to the bar a light sheen of sweat against her brow. Skyler readied a Diet Coke and handed her a clean towel from behind the counter.

"Thanks, it's hot tonight." Khrys smiled at the bartender. "What's up with Stac, was she bothering you?" She lifted her chin in the direction of the small cluster she was the center of.

"Actually, she was surprised to learn that I like women. She had her eye on you and was disappointed to learn that you were spoken for." She watched the silent tint of color cross her lover's face.

"Spoken for huh? Were you defending my honor then, Skyler Blue?" She smiled even considering the prospect.

"Well she said that you were a hottie and that she would do you, and I said 'You wish' and to get over herself, so maybe, yeah I guess I was." Skyler locked eyes with her companion. "Was that a bad thing? I mean, I have no right..." She was silenced by piercing green eyes narrowing.

"You have every right Skyler, feel free to defend my honor anytime. It's a very nice feeling, being spoken for and all." She blushed at the admission, glad of the dim lights hiding her in shadows.

"Great! Well, now that I know, can I put up my flag and claim my territory? Or should I just pee on your leg?" They both laughed at that, the comparison to the way dogs leave their scent no matter where in the world they are claiming, "THIS IS MINE" enjoying the laugh at how like dogs, men were. They had a great belly laugh with some of the other women that had gathered and continued in that vein for the next couple of hours.

The conversation had rapidly plummeted straight downhill after a few comments. It was turning into a regular male bashing, hunt em down and kill em all sort of party. Khrys and Skyler sharing the odd raised eyebrow at how quickly women would give up their men in exchange for, what amounted to a simple matter of tenderness. It made them laugh to themselves at how fickle life really was. Many of the women stated they got more from their girlfriends than from their men. Women know women. Besides, there were toys. The list of toys grew and Khrys found herself blushing at many of the implications. Yikes! Khrys thought, I think I want out of this conversation. She slid down to the other end of the bar, where Skyler joined her.

"Wow, those women are a little angry huh?" The bartender asked as she wiped down her counter.

"Yeah, good grief why would you stay with someone who didn't make you completely happy and fulfill every dream you've ever had? Why do people settle like that? I..." She realized that she might be saying more than she intended. Her mind recovering she continued, "I mean, what's the point, especially if he doesn't give a damn about you?" Her fingers were absently clenching the glass of Diet Coke in her hands.

"You are so right Khrys. You should never settle." Their eyes locked as the words fell between them. "Oh yeah! Time for me to leave. Let me cash out and we can get out of here." Skyler's excitement was contagious and Khrys readily agreed.

"Thank God." Khrys breathed a sigh of relief, as the raucous women began forming some sort of lynch mob.


They decided to drive Skyler's car back to her apartment and then go to Khrys' from there. They had agreed that since Skyler's class wasn't until the afternoon tomorrow they would prepare for the meeting with Jen. They also had some plans for the chocolate that was waiting upstairs.

Skyler opened her apartment door and let Khrys in behind her. She checked her messages and was surprised to hear one from Rachel. "Hey Sky, it's me. I wanted to call and apologize for the way I acted on Saturday. Something hit me wrong and seeing how happy you are with her, well, I'm just sorry. It was really nice seeing you again. Maybe we can have dinner before I leave huh? Let me know what your plans are. Talk to you soon I hope. Bye."

"Well that was odd. I wonder what she's up to." Skyler spoke to herself as she wandered her apartment.

"Why does she have to be up to anything? She sounded genuine." Khrys asked curiously.

"Maybe you are right. Where did I put that skirt? Hey Khrys is there anything specific I should wear tomorrow?" Skyler didn't really want to discuss Rachel right now.

They took some time picking out an outfit. After some convincing, Khrys got her to settle on a nice slacks outfit with a jacket.

"I really think you should wear what you're comfortable in. Jen wants to meet with you to get a feel about who you are." She smiled into trusting brown eyes. "Don't worry you'll be fine." She watched Skyler debate with herself. "Ok, stop fidgeting, what do you usually wear when you write?" Khrys asked innocently enough.

"Um, not much of anything." Skyler blushed. "I am usually in my pajamas and a hat." She watched Khrys' face.

"Ok, I don't think that's the best way to make an impression, at least not the kind you want to make." She added tweaking the girls cheek. "Let's go with this one, just to get you through ok?" She picked up Skyler's bag and headed for the door.

"Wait we don't want to forget this." Skyler grabbed the basket and smiled.

"No, let's not forget the chocolate." Khrys lifted her eyebrows wickedly.


The morning found them sprawled in Khrys' bed. Having enjoyed a night in each other's company, they collapsed into bed exhausted. Khrys had set up a lunch meeting with Jen. Wanting Skyler to be as comfortable as possible, she chose a casual but semi upscale restaurant that wasn't too far away. Jen had agreed, anxious to meet the young author. Skyler was nervous but excited.

"Let's get moving sleepyhead." Khrys nudged the body splayed across her chest. Indulging herself in a few moments of just feeling her lover's breathing. It was time to get up and she was reluctant to move herself.

Skyler burrowed closer into Khrys' chest. She kissed her way across the strong collarbone and the hollow of her throat, finally settling on smiling lips. "Mmm, good morning Sunshine." She wrapped her arms tighter around the long form beneath her.

"Sunshine huh? I sure don't feel like shining. I just want to stay here with you all day." Khrys planted tender kisses on soft lips enjoying the morning so much more now that she had someone to share it with.

"All day huh? Well, you'll be with me most of the day anyways; so, let's get going." She kissed the dark woman one more time before peeling herself off of her body. With a sigh she padded into the bathroom and began to shower.

Khrys lay prone on the bed, her mind swimming with the emotions her young lover had wrung so easily from her soul. What is going on with me? Is this what love feels like? I can't believe it feels this good to love someone else, without fear or rejection. She loves me too. Her eyes are so open and so trusting. Am I really worthy of so much? I hope so. She smiled and sent a silent thank you to a God that she wasn't sure approved of her or not. Still, she couldn't keep the gentle spark of hope from igniting in her heart and lighting her from inside. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the bit of peace that was granted to her.

Skyler had just emerged from the shower, wrapped in one of the blue towels, her hair dripping down her back. She had another towel that she was using to dry her unruly tresses. She glanced at the bed and noticed Khrys lying on her back her arms crossed under her head. She was surprised by how peaceful her lover looked and watched her a couple of seconds before piercing green eyes opened to meet hers.

"You're done? Great, I gotta get in there and get dressed too. Lunch isn't until one so we've got some time before we have to actually go." She stretched and the sheet she was under slid down and revealed a long trim body. A body that Skyler was magnetically drawn to. She walked over to the bed and ran her hands down the length of Khrys' body. Trailing a tingling burn in it's path, Khrys watched transfixed as Skyler was lost in the sensation. She seemed unable to get enough of the body on the bed. Her hands searched slowly, peaks and valleys and strong muscles that shifted at her feather touch. Finally her eyes met Khrys' and she sucked in a breath at the desire that she found there. Khrys pushed herself to her elbows, her eyes burning into Skyler's.

"Come here." She growled, pulling Skyler down into her lap. Skyler willingly fell onto the body before her. Her towel having slipped away easily. Hands found warm skin, as she devoured her dark lover with her hands. Bare skin warmed with the contact from the other body. Khrys felt a shiver of anticipation as Skyler slowly, teased her way across her sensitized skin. She cupped the blondes face and brought their lips together with insatiable passion. Skyler moaned against the feeling and tangled her legs with Khrys'.

The morning always brought renewed love for each other, a renewed sense of need. Khrys threw her head back as the relentless attack on her body threatened to send her spiraling out of control. Skyler had lost herself in the task of fulfilling her desire. She listened closely to the body she was taking advantage of. She listened to the soft sounds guiding her in her discovery. The subtle movement of muscle that shifted and tensed under her touch. She forced herself to slow her desire and enjoy her lover thoroughly.

Khrys was lost in the shivers that chased themselves around her body and centered on wherever Skyler had her hands. She watched as Skyler seemed to get lost in her body enjoying the ripples of her stomach and the soft outline of her breasts. She let her own hands trail down strong arms and a warm back. The sun was just beginning to shine through the windows of her bedroom. The light painted a lazy pattern across their naked bodies. The tempo had picked up considerably as Skyler roamed the length of her body. Khrys let herself go with the desire that engulfed both of them. Skyler had teased her to the limits of her control. With the fire that threatened to destroy them, they gave themselves to each other willingly.


Khrys had finally gotten her shower and was getting dressed when Skyler peeked her head into the bedroom.

"I whipped up some breakfast whenever you're ready." She smiled at Khrys who was standing in her bare feet trying to pick out a pair of shoes.

"Great! I'll be right there." She smiled as she pulled out a pair of black pumps to go with the black skirt and suit jacket she had chosen. She wore a silk, royal blue shirt that she tucked into the skirt. Checking her reflection in the mirror one last time. Satisfied, she made her way out to the dining room where Skyler had prepared a light breakfast.

Skyler looked up from her task of getting plates on the table, "Ooh don't you look nice. I love that color on you." She gazed appreciatively at Khrys.

"Thanks, you don't look half bad yourself." She winked and took her seat at the table. "Thanks for breakfast, you didn't have to do this." She smiled at the blonde, who touched her shoulder.

"I wanted to do this for you." She leaned down and placed a tender kiss on full lips. "I just made myself at home and took over your kitchen."

"Feel free, anytime to make yourself at home and have anything that you like. What's mine is yours."

Skyler settled into her chair as they ate quietly in each others' company.


"Nate, I swear she is so gone on this woman. Her name is Khrys and Skyler looks really happy. It's perfect." Rachel spoke into the phone as she lit another cigarette. She listened to the voice on the other end before she spoke again. "Well, I left her a message the other day to try and meet her for dinner again. I haven't heard from her yet. Oh yeah, she's also getting a book published. Can you believe it?"

She looked out the window of her hotel as the sun came up and painted the beach with colors of morning. On the other end of the phone she listened as Nate filled her in on the goings on where he was. "Ok, well I'll let you know what happens. Let's just wait and see. I still think I might be able to win her over. You know she did run a foot up my leg the other night. I can see it in her eyes when she looks at me. I could have her if I wanted her. Too bad I don't want her anymore, I just want to hurt her." The viciousness in her voice even surprised her. "Yeah ok, Nate talk to you then." She hung up the phone and made some notes in her book. What are you going to do then Skyler? You'll sure wish that we had never met.

Skyler and Khrys pulled up to the restaurant and up to the valet. Handing her keys to the young man he smiled and took the Durango away. She walked to Skyler's side and looked down into nervous brown eyes.

"Hey, don't be nervous just be yourself and you'll be fine. Jen is really nice but she's got a weird sense of humor. Ok? Are you all right?" She leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on her companion.

Skyler tilted her head to meet wonderful green eyes, "Yeah I'm fine now." She smiled as they were ushered inside.

Jen was seated in the back of the restaurant at a table that over looked the intercoastal. She was working on a glass of white Zin and noticed Khrys and Skyler approaching. She stood to greet them.

She extended her hand to the tall shadow hovering next to Skyler, "Glad you made it, Khrys." And pulled her in for a kiss on the cheek. "This must be Skyler Blue." She turned to the blonde and took her hand. "It's nice to finally meet you. Please have a seat." She gestured for them to sit.

"It's nice to meet you too, Ms. Lind." She looked at the woman across from her. Khrys sat next to her trying to be unobtrusive.

Skyler noted the slender form sitting across the table. Jen was about the same height as she was, she had a strong body visible through the tight outfit she had chosen. Her long brown hair was styled nicely framing her face. She had sharp blue eyes that danced in the sunlight. Obviously she was a bit eccentric, from what Khrys had told her. Jen had inherited quite a bit of money to make herself comfortable and pursue her joy of alternative novels. Known for publishing unique and different books, she was a bit of an enigma.

Hence the name Unique books. She was pretty and there was something behind her eyes that Skyler couldn't put her finger on.

"So, tell me Skyler, has Khrys filled you in on all the wonderful things we've got planned for you?" She leaned forward to look at Skyler and judge her affect on the young writer. Jen was a player and liked to test her the limits of her appeal. She was quite used to getting what she wanted.

"Yes she sure did. I am terribly excited. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. I still can't believe it." Skyler shifted, smiling at Jen. Her blue eyes searching Skyler's face.

"Well, your book has merit Skyler. Khrys here, highly recommended it. So, I had to read it because she never highly recommends anything. So when she sent it over to me, I wasn't surprised at how good it was. Khrys is brilliant and she knows quality when she sees it." Jen smiled at Khrys who was trying desperately not to blush.

"Well, than thank you very much for the vote of confidence." Skyler smiled at Khrys knowing how she felt about praise.

Khrys tried to hide behind her Diet Coke. She knew Skyler's work was good but she didn't know that Jen had thought that highly of her as well. She breathed a sigh of relief and was content to sit back and watch the two women discuss plans for publication and the actual book run. She could tell that Jen liked Skyler. Skyler's eyes lit up as Jen told her about their plans for the book signing. It was obvious that she was overwhelmed by the whole thing. Khrys was amused by the way Skyler's face changed with each passing minute. One moment her eyes were full of wonder and the next she looked scared to death. It took all of her resolve not to reach across the table and take her hand reassuringly.

Their food arrived and as they ate, Jen excitedly told them how she thought the book would make the bestseller list and that there could be a movie or mini-series in the works. She said she'd already sent it to a couple of execs at the top agencies. She was pleased with the pre-print hype and looked forward to the ride they would take together. She had even mentioned Skyler's poetry as possible gift books.

When they finished their meal Jen took a check out of her purse and handed it to Skyler. "This is your advance. I know the book will do well so have fun, buy yourself some nice things. It was very nice meeting you. I hope to see you again soon." She stood after paying the bill and took Skyler's hand and leaned in for the very European kiss on either cheek. Skyler felt a faint shiver at the tone in Jen's voice. She looked over at Khrys.

"You ready to go?" Khrys stood and waited for Skyler to join her.

"Yeah, let's go. There's a lot for me to think about." She hadn't even looked at her check.

"Aren't you even going to look at how much your advance is?" Khrys asked.

"What's the point? It's probably just enough to pay for some of my books this semester." She opened the envelope and missed the grin that was plastered across Khrys face. Her mouth fell open at exactly how much of an advance this truly was. "Oh my gosh! Khrys? Khrys is this right?" She handed the check to Khrys and tried to catch her breath.

"Yup that's right Sky. No mistake." Khrys laughed out loud now as Skyler just stood there in shock.

"Khrys... I think I'm going to..." and she promptly fainted but never hit the ground.

"Oh shit!" Khrys practically dove to catch the stunned bartender. She caught Skyler just before she hit the ground. She pulled her over to one of the benches as the valet pulled the Durango up for them.

"Is she ok?" The valet had come rushing to her side as she sat on the bench with Skyler.

"Yeah she'll be fine, she just had a little shock." Khrys tried to stifle a smirk. She tapped Skyler's face, "C'mon baby, wake up." She smiled as some patrons gathered around. Oh don't make me do this in front of all these people Sky. I will, I will do it if I have to. Just wake up like a good little girl. C'mon. Khrys tried for a few more minutes to wake her fainted friend. With a sigh she did the only thing she could think of to wake her up. With the eyes of several patrons on her, she felt the butterflies manifest themselves. Here we go. She took a breath and with all of her resolve she bent and kissed her lover soundly. Sounds receded and she heard the faint murmurs that surrounded them. Choosing to ignore the people around her she waited.

Skyler's eyes fluttered open and groaning she tried to sit up. "Wha...what happened?" she looked at Khrys who was holding her in her lap. "Khrys, honey why am I in your lap?" she looked around "In front of this restaurant?"

Khrys gently brushed a few strands of hair out of her face. "You fainted sweetie. After you saw the check for your advance?" she looked into confused brown eyes. "Do you remember?"

"Advance? Oh for the book! Oh my gosh! Khrys did I read that right? $75,000? Khrys do you know I can pay off all of my bills and get out of my apartment?" She wrapped her arms around Khrys in a fierce hug. She ignored the people that had gathered and laughed out loud.

"Yup. You read it right. Jen believes in that book. She's got serious plans for you Skyler Blue." Khrys looked down at the woman in her lap. "Let's get out of here ok?"

They got into the Durango and headed back to Khrys.

Skyler had decided on the way home that she was going to skip class. It wasn't one of her more difficult classes and missing one wouldn't put her too far behind. Her grades were above average anyway. Khrys had decided that if they didn't have to worry about getting her to class on time, they should do something fun before she had to go to work.

"So, what do you feel like doing?" Skyler asked as she turned in her seat to face Khrys.

"You'll see, but we've got to go home and change first. You did bring something casual to wear right? Shorts?" she smiled at Skyler.

"Yeah sure. I always bring more than I think I'm going to need just in case."

"Good planning, were you a girl scout?"

"No, but I've learned it's better to be prepared. So, what's the plan?"

"You'll see."

They arrived at Khrys and changed into more suitable clothing. Skyler wasn't sure what the plan was but she liked the excitement of not knowing. Khrys had changed into a pair of pressed tan shorts and a navy t-shirt. She pulled on a goofy baseball cap that Skyler smiled at. It added an air of adolescence to her tall friend that she enjoyed. Skyler pulled out her black shorts and a white t-shirt with huge bold letters across the front in black that said, "1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor!" Khrys laughed when she read it.

"That sounds like something you would say Sky." She winked and nodded with approval at their outfits. "We are ready to go."

They got back in the Durango and headed south on 95. They sat in the car listening to the radio feeling really good about the way the day was turning out. They bopped along to some of the songs and even sang to a few. One song came on and they looked at each other and laughed. It was an old song from the 80's and it sure did bring back memories. They both began to sing on the chorus.

"...and I ran, I ran so far away....I just ran...I ran all night and day. I couldn't get away."

"Who sings this song?" Skyler asked.

"Oh, those guys, they had that white hair and it was spiked up into those weird shapes....what was their name...Gaggle of Geese of something.. Oh! Flock of Seagulls!!!" They both laughed.

"What is this 80's café or something?" Skyler asked looking at the radio. It was tuned to 94.9 Zeta.

"I like Kimba during lunch, she's so cool." Khrys said.

They pulled into a huge parking lot that Skyler hadn't even noticed.

"We're here." Khrys announced.

Skyler was sitting there laughing. "Oh my gosh I have been wanting to come here for the longest time. I could never get anyone to come with me." She looked at Khrys and smiled.

Khrys was pleased with herself. She loved this side of Sky, the side that let them have fun together as if living a childhood that was lost long ago. They climbed out of the truck and headed across the giant parking lot. Heading towards the gray building with a gigantic face on the front. A huge nose and mustache and two eyes of some man that looked like Mario from the Mario Bros. video game looked down at them. they opened the doors and were overwhelmed by the loud, obnoxious sounds that greeted them. Slot machines, video games, crane games all rang out for attention. The smell of popcorn and cotton candy, the sound of screaming kids. It was great.

They made their way through the throng of people to the front counter. Khrys watched as Skyler looked around like a little kid in a candy shop.

"Hey Sky, what do you feel like doing? Playing mini golf? Riding the Go Karts, Batting cages, or wandering around playing video games to collect tickets for prizes?" she watched as Skyler looked around again.

"Um...can we...I mean can't we do it all?" She looked at Khrys sheepishly.

"Well, then decide what you want to do first." Khrys laughed at her indecision and waited.


Skyler had decided to play a round of mini golf before she wore herself out in the game room. They went to get their clubs and golf balls. The guy at the outside counter looked at them rather oddly when they requested specifically colored balls. Sky wanted green and Khrys wanted yellow. He shook his head and complied. As they left him standing their to choose their course, Skyler noticed the waterfalls and the manmade pond. She looked over the railing and got all excited again.

"Khrys look at the size of those goldfish!" She pointed into the water.

"Hey look at this, we can feed them." Khrys walked to a sort of vending machine for fish food and put a quarter in. "C'mere Sky, put your hand under here. C'mon." Khrys waited for her, then turned the knob and lifted the little hatch. Little brown pellets fell into Skyler hand.

"Hey cool!" She jumped up and went back to the railing.

Khrys watched as she dropped pellets into the water and talked to the fish.

"Hey! don't be a pig, let that little one...oh hey don't push there is plenty more. Geez Khrys these guys are pigs. They are bullies." She laughed and threw some pellets farther out to the little fish beyond. Once she had thrown all her pellets she turned around to face Khrys.

"Eww, now my hands smell like fish pellets." She held up a hand to Khrys' nose.

"Hey, that's gross. I don't want to smell that. Quick run inside and wash your hands the bathroom is right through that door. I'll wait here and plan how badly I want to beat you at golf." She took the club from Skyler's hand and watched as she bounced off inside. Shaking her head, she sighed at the kid in her that wanted to come out and play. I bet Skyler would have been a great playmate.

"Ok, I'm ready! Let's play!" Skyler bounced up behind her and tickled her ribs.

"Whoa! I'll get you for that." Khrys said as they headed for course #5, with the Egyptian theme.


They were glad to be inside after the torturous game of golf they had just played. At one pointed Khrys was about to chuck her ball into the recesses of the pseudo Nile river. It had gotten so hot out and she was getting irritable. Skyler convinced her to finish the game by promising something 'special' tonight. Khrys packed her frown into her back pocket and finished the course with gusto. Beating Skyler by a good 20 points. They had chosen the distract and putt method of golf. Sky would prepare to putt and Khrys would sneak up behind her and poke her elbow or something. Skyler would try to get her back but Khrys was just too fast and too good. It was a lot of fun.

Once inside, Khrys had produced two twenty dollar bills. She handed one to Skyler. "This will get you 100 tokens. You can use them however you want, but once it's gone it's gone ok?"

Skyler shook her head in understanding. "Yes, mom." She patted Khrys arm. "I think I get it." She took the money and headed for the token machine.

Khrys changed her twenty in for tokens as well. They wandered around the game room for a while just getting a feel for what they wanted to do. They had stopped and jumped into the Grand Prix video racing game enjoying a competitive driving competition. Then they found themselves indulging in a game of pinball. Khrys picked the Addams Family pinball machine. She kicked Skyler's butt getting revenge for the whooping she got at the racing game. They played quite a few different games and ended up playing Skeeball and winning tickets. After all the tokens were gone they headed for the ticket exchange to see how many tickets they had.

Khrys ran hers through first to show Skyler how the machines worked. "You feed the tickets in here, and it counts them for you automatically then prints a receipt for you here." She reached up and pulled out her receipt. "See? 1534 is how many tickets I have credit for. Now do yours." She helped Skyler line up the tickets and run them through.

"Wow, 2245? Cool! What can I get huh?" She looked at Khrys and smiled.

"Over here." They headed towards the prize booth. Huge stuffed animals, and toys of ever conceivable type and you could even get a CD boom box if you had enough tickets. A 12 speed mountain bike for 30,000 tickets. It was ridiculous. Skyler walked around the booth several different times figuring out in her head what she wanted to get. There were little mugs of Grover and Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Her eyes stopped on a ceramic Disney picture frame, Goofy was jumping in the air across one corner and Pluto sat at the bottom looking up at him. She had to have it, it was 2000 tickets. She chose that and then picked out a couple of other things she wanted to save for later, her mind clicking away as she smiled to herself.

Khrys had decided on a Rosita doll from Sesame Street. It was 1500 tickets but she was so cute. Fuzzy aqua hair and aqua body she had a frazzled, wild look about her. It just made her smile. She got that and then got a couple of little things for her last 34.

They played for hours, and had the best time. It was close to 8pm when they finally left. The sun was down and it was getting dark. Skyler had to be at work by 9pm so they hightailed it back to Khrys.

Once they arrived back home they got out of the car and Skyler walked over to Khrys. She threw her arms around the taller woman and hugged her.

"What was that for?" Khrys looked down at the top of Skyler's head.

"Just thanks, for making today such a fantastic day. I'm so happy. I just wanted to hug you. Is that ok?" She looked up into green eyes.

"Yeah, it's perfect." Khrys hugged her back and they made their way upstairs.

Skyler carefully put her picture frame away and tucked the other stuff in her bag to save for later. She watched as Khrys put her small treasures away as well and wondered if she had the same thoughts. It would be sort of funny.

Skyler had convinced Khrys before they left, to take pictures with her in one of those photo booths. In the booth they decided what each picture would be before they put the money in. The first one would be serious, the second goofy, the third sexy, and the fourth they decided to leave spontaneous.

Khrys put the bills in and waited for the flash. When they got to the fourth picture they looked at each other and before Khrys could think they kissed. Skyler pulled away and smiled into Khrys' startled green eyes. She ran a gentle hand down her reddened cheek and whispered, "Thank you."

Khrys smiled back at her and blushed deeper, "Anytime. Anything for you Skyler." She said barely above a whisper. Their eyes locked for several moments before they left the booth.

Skyler heard the words and her heart jumped at the intensity of emotion those words evoked. Anything. She really means that. I can see it in her eyes. She would do anything for me. anytime. She had to force herself to start breathing again. A few simple words that Skyler viewed as a gift, spoken softly from a tender heart. She knew the depth of feelings they shared with each other. Khrys constantly amazed her though, just putting her heart on the line when you least expected it.


"Khrys, do you think I should have dinner with Rachel before she leaves?" Skyler slipped on her jeans and tucked in her shirt.

"Well, do you want to have dinner with her Sky?" Khrys said as she sat on the edge of her bed.

"Honestly? No, I just don't feel right around her. I mean, something is up and I just can't put my finger on it."

"Then don't have dinner with her, at least call her though and say goodbye. If something is up it would be nice to give her the chance to talk to you."

"Yeah, I guess you're right." Skyler picked up the phone and called Rachel's hotel. She left a message for her explaining why she couldn't have dinner and that she could call if she wanted to.

"See? That wasn't so hard was it?" Khrys stood and wrapped her arms around the bartender.

"No, I guess not." Skyler looked into the green eyes above her. The roiling in her guts wouldn't go away. She ran things through her mind, trying to come up with some sort of explanation for what she was feeling. Nothing was clear at the moment so she pushed it aside for later.

"You ready to go?" Khrys asked.

"Yeah, I'm ready." She felt a warm hand in her own and smiled at the silent reassurance.


As Khrys sat at the back bar, her mind began churning. She was thinking about when she first starting coming here.

It was one of those nights. She was restless, and needed to get out of her house. She had remembered someone telling her about the club so she decided to check it out.

She remembered walking in the first time, how smokey and dark it was. It was the first time that she had gone to a club by herself since Shayne. Looking around she noticed all types of people. No one really noticed her. It felt different amongst all these people she was nobody. It had felt really good. She remembered the first time she saw Skyler. It hit her in the gut immediately. She pulled up a stool at the blonde's bar and asked for a Diet Coke. Skyler had cocked her head to one side.

"A Diet Coke huh?" She filled a glass and placed it in front of the stranger. "Here ya go. That'll be 2 dollars."

Khrys handed her a 20 and left the change on the bar. Thus began the ritual.

She sat and watched the young bartender for a while. Enjoying the interaction between her and the patrons. She was flirty and witty. She served drinks and shared a joke or two.. Khrys was intrigued with the blonde. She had a ready smile, bright carmel eyes, and was intoxicatingly beautiful. She found that she was staring.


"Um, I'm sorry...sure." Khrys stammered and just about kicked herself.

She could hear the music in the background. 'You wear guilt like shackles on your feet. Like a halo in reverse. I can feel the discomfort in your seat. And in your head it's worse...' Depeche Mode.

Skyler looked at her and smiled noting the energy that flowed off of the woman.. "Are you going to dance, or just sit here all night drowning in your Coke?" she teased the dark stranger.

"Depends, are you going to watch?" Khrys teased back.

"I might." Skyler said as she walked back to the other side of the bar.

It started then, their ritual of flirting and getting to know each other. Neither one really knowing the affect they had on the other.

"Hey Khrys?" Skyler leaned over the bar and tapped on her shoulder. "Hey, where'd you go?"

Green eyes met brown. "I was just thinking about the first time I came here. I guess I just floated away, sorry."

"You know, I remember that night. I thought you were the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. It was so hard for me to work with you sitting right here every night. I got in so much trouble." Skyler laughed thinking about it.

"Did you really get in trouble? I'm sorry." Khrys asked surprised.

"Well, Stacy complained because I was always preoccupied with watching you dance or something. It was no big deal. I'm still here aren't I?" She touched Khrys' hand.

"I can't believe we ended up like this." Khrys smiled into brown eyes. "I'm glad I wandered out here a month ago."

"Me too." She stood up and looked around the bar. "Are you going to dance? I think they're playing our song."

"Our song? We have a song?" Khrys looked perplexed. She watched as Skyler looked up at Skip and nodded her head.

"Yeah our song. C'mon." Skyler came around the bar and took Khrys hand. "This isn't going to weird you out is it?" She looked at Khrys whose eyes were wide with curiosity.

"Um, no I don't think so. I get to dance with you right?" She looked around uncertainly.

They walked down to the pit as the music changed. The club wasn't that crowded but there were a few people on the floor dancing. Skyler listened as the music shifted and slowed. She turned to face Khrys.

"You remember this song don't you?" Skyler smiled, taking her hand and touching Khrys cheek. "Dance with me."

You wear guilt like shackles on your feet.

Like a halo in reverse.

I can feel the discomfort in your seat.

And in your head it's worse.

Two souls danced together eyes locked in an inescapable embrace. Khrys looked into rich brown eyes. "How did you know? This was the song that was playing..." she trailed off as they moved together.

"...the very first night you came in here. I remember everything about that Khrys. What you were wearing. How you smelled. Everything." She moved closer to her lover. Her arms sliding around the tall, lean form moving with her.

There's a pain, a famine in your heart.

An aching to be free.

Can't you see, all love's luxuries

are here for you and me...

And when our worlds they fall apart

When the walls come tumbling in

Though we may deserve it.

It will be worth it.

"Oh this is so worth it." Khrys whispered as she let herself just fall into their dance. She didn't even care if there were people around them. All that mattered was each other. Khrys felt the joy in her heart that Sky had remembered this song. She let the words wash over her and let her hands slide down Skyler's sides.

Bring your chains

Your lips of tragedy.

And fall into my arms.

And when our worlds they fall apart

When the walls come tumbling in.

Though we may deserve it.

It will be worth it.

"Yeah Khrys, this is worth it. This is very worth it." She touched Khrys cheek. "You are so beautiful and I am so lucky that you are a part of my life. I don't want you to ever forget what this feels like. Right here, right now." She looked into green eyes that glistened with unshed tears. "This is what love feels like Khrys. Do you feel that? That's me and you."

Khrys nodded slowly as the chorus faded around them and people crowded back onto the dance floor. Surrounding them as they stood in each others arms.

"Khrys, I just wanted you to know how much you mean to me." she touched her strong jaw. "Now, everyone knows how I feel about you." She held out her arms and looked around.

Khrys bent her head low and pressed her lips to Skyler's. Her hands cupping the soft face before her. As their kiss broke she whispered, "Now they know how I feel." She smiled and Skyler's expression. "Come on, let's go back to the bar before we start making a real scene."

As they made their way back to the bar, Skyler noticed the looks of appreciation she was getting from her co-workers. A raised eyebrow, a thumbs up. She found it funny. I guess everyone was wondering where my boyfriend was. Ha! How do you like my girlfriend? Khrys claimed her stool again as Skyler walked back behind the bar. "Sky?"


"Thank you." Khrys looked down at the Diet Coke in front of her and realized that her hands were shaking.

" I mean, for everything, for making this so easy, for being so wonderful..."

Skyler pressed her fingers to Khrys mouth. "Anytime. Anything for you Khrys, anything." She smiled and wiped down the bar.

Anything? Khrys smiled to herself. Some thing inside clicked, home.


Outside, Khrys and Skyler walked towards the Durango. Breezes swirled around them and Khrys changed directions.

"Where are you going?" Skyler looked up at her friend.

"You'll see." Khrys smiled down and took the bartenders hand in hers. "C'mon."

They headed past the club and the brewery. People were still milling about, at 2 in the morning. Skyler smiled as Khrys kept a hold of her hand. She felt the gentle stirrings of pride tug at her heart. As the people gathered on the sidewalks outside the brewery, glances turned into stares.

Skyler wrapped a protective arm around Khrys' right arm as their fingers interlaced. She ignored the stares figuring they were simply jealous of the beauty at her side.

"Do you have any idea how stunning you are?" Skyler asked, quietly gazing up at the beautiful profile.

Khrys stopped abruptly, turned and faced her. "Stunning? Me?" She looked shocked by the acknowledgment.

A gentle hand caressed her furrowed brow. "Yes, my love. YOU." Skyler raised her eyebrows at her.

Khrys tugged on her hand. "Let's go I want you to see this."

They made their way through the rest of the stragglers hanging around. Skyler realized suddenly that this was the path they had taken when Khrys ran out of the club and they first kissed. She could smell the salty air from the intercoastal just beyond the sea wall. She could feel the anticipation overwhelm her as the memory of that night flooded her mind.

"There." Khrys pointed across the water.

Skyler followed her gaze and the extended arm before her. She wasn't sure what she was looking at. The skyline was filled with buildings and billboards... her eyes, stopped on a billboard in fascination. She barely heard Khrys as she spoke.

"When we came out here that night, I was so terrified. I was sure that it would be the end of me." She shifted a little. Skyler kept her eyes on the bill board. "Um, I was surprised that you followed me, glad that you did, but terrified, absolutely terrified. Then as I listened to your words and the truth that was in them you eased my heart. My fear and my doubts." She gently turned Skyler to look at her. "That night I questioned everything I believed in, everything Sky." Her green eyes trying to convey just how serious what she believed in was. "I know this sounds kind of corny, but when you sat with me in your arms, I glanced up and saw that sign." She nodded her head towards it. "I knew right then...and even then it scared me. To feel, to let go, and to hold on to something that I wanted." She looked down hoping that Skyler would understand what she was trying to say. She felt warm hands in her own and looked into patient brown eyes.

Apprehension gave way to the totality of the emotions between them. Skyler reached up and gently kissed her lover. She brushed the backs of her fingers down Khrys cheek and simply whispered, "Let's go home. We've got some stuff to talk about." And in that moment she decided to tell Khrys the whole truth about her past. This relationship was fast becoming an essential part of her being. They walked slowly back to the Durango feeling, lighter and closer than they did before. Khrys turned around once more to look at the huge black sign with white letters and nodded her agreement.

"Love Never Fails." –God.



The ride back to Khrys' house was quiet with reflection. An occasional glance to her right and Khrys could see Skyler wringing her hands. She wondered what was bothering her.

"Sky? Hey...are you ok?" She asked as she maneuvered her way through traffic.

"Yeah, I'm ok. I just have some stuff on my mind and I'm not sure....well, I don't know." She looked out the window watching as the street blurred by. She felt the tears come unbidden.

Khrys reached over and took her hand. Trying to find the words that would make the fear that was in those brown eyes go away. "Skyler, I don't know what's bothering you, I won't even try to guess. But please know that whatever it is, we will get through it together. Ok?" She felt an unexplained fear grip her heart, as Skyler merely nodded and gazed uncertain out the window.

Once at the condo they changed into their pajamas. Khrys tried to ease the tight knot in her stomach as she thought about what Skyler might be thinking. She didn't want to assume the worst as it very well could be something that didn't concern her. Skyler padded into the bedroom.

"Hey, their showing that stupid info-mmercial on TV for one of those vacuum sealer, dehydrators. You want one? I've got my credit card handy." She said with a smile glancing at Khrys who seemed wound tighter than a coil. "Hey baby, what's up you seem so tense?"

"Well, I was reacting to you. You seemed so distant on the way home. Want to tell me what's going on?" she looked at Skyler hopefully.

"Oh, I'm sorry sweetie, I was just thinking of how I was going to..." she stuttered and tried to get her mind to work. "Khrys, I need to tell you the whole story about Rachel and Nate. It might clear up some of the stuff I've been sort of paranoid about.

Khrys sat a little stunned. She'd thought she'd heard the whole story of Rachel and wasn't prepared for one about Nate. "Um...ok." Khrys sat down on the bed.

"Now, don't get all wizzare on me." That got a quizzical look from Khrys. "It's weird it's bizarre, it's wizarre?" Skyler said, trying to ease some of the tension.

"Oh!" Khrys smiled then.

"Ok, let me see where I should start..." She wracked her brain for this twisted commentary.

"How bout start with Nate. Who was he? What happened with him?" Khrys offered.

They settled in against the back of the bed, side by side. Skyler turned slightly to face Khrys.

"Nate was the Captain of the football team." She saw Khrys' eyes widen. "Yeah I know cliché, cliché. He was the son of one of my dad's friends from law school. It was to be the ultimate alliance. The two law firms would combine to create the biggest firm in the city. They would keep it in the family by means of their children." Skyler took a breathe and shifted a little closer to Khrys.

She continued, "They truly thought that Nate and I would get along as a couple on our own. We went to school together and he was very popular. He was cute enough and was raised with some manners. I, of course was trying to win the acceptance of my family. Trying to make them proud and fight what I knew I couldn't change about myself." She looked at Khrys.

"You knew back then didn't you?" Khrys asked.

"Yeah I knew, but I was trying to fit the mold." A knowing look passed between them, an understanding they alone could share.

"Nate would take me to all the jock parties, he was all too willing to do as his father wished. I played the part for a while and hid my relationship with Rachel as well." Skyler was wringing her hands nervously.

Khrys reached out gently and took one into her own in silent communion.

"It was one of those parties, just before the end of our senior year in high school. I had just broken it off with Rachel and I was trying to drown myself in the alcohol that flowed so freely around me. I was hurting and I knew I had hurt Rachel. I felt so awful I just wanted the pain to go away. Nate was unusually attentive that night. Mostly I was an ornament, a prize to him. It was what his father wanted him to do, so he did. Otherwise he would've lost the cool car and the money. He had been off to the side talking with some of his friends, when he made his way back to me. He had an odd look on his face. It made me a little nervous now that I think about it." Unconsciously she flexed the fingers that Khrys had a hold of. Khrys merely held onto her trying to anchor her with just her presence. The knot in Khrys stomach had grown and was threatening her composure. She knew what was coming.

"I guess the alcohol made me fuzzy around the edges. The next thing I remember, I was in one of the beds upstairs and Nate was pushing inside me. I was in a haze. He was growling obscenities about how he knew I liked how he felt and he bet Rachel couldn't do this for me. It was then that the panic set in, but my reflexes were compromised. His breath was hot on my face and I hovered somewhere outside of myself with no strength to fight him off. He continued mumbling how he wasn't going to let some 'black whore girl' touch his woman and get away with it. The words barely made sense to me."

Skyler stopped and wiped a stray tear off her face. Khrys' presence was reassuring but she could feel the barely contained anger rolling off of her lover. She lifted their linked hands and kissed the knuckles gently. Taking a breath she picked up the story.

"He went through the motions and I could only just wait until he was done or passed out. Finally it was over, he passed out and I found my clothes and stumbled home, through the dark.

He didn't remember what happened the next week at school. I stayed clear of him the rest of the year. Graduation came and went and I was preparing for college. Just before I was supposed to visit the campus, I found out I was pregnant."

The gentle gasp of sadness that escaped Khrys throat startled her. She squeezed her hand gently, trying to put on a brave face.

" I was in shock, I couldn't have a baby. I had to go to school and how was I supposed to take care of a child? I was so young. My father would've forced me to marry Nate and well, I couldn't do that either. I went to Nate, told him the story and expected him to go along with my decision. Much to my surprise he wanted me to keep the baby and was furious that I wanted an abortion. We fought, and I tried to get him to understand my point of view. I decided I just needed to get away from him."

Khrys was at a loss, she wasn't sure what to say or what to do. Her stomach was in knots as she listened to Skyler's tale. She had warring emotions and opinions and beliefs and couldn't get her mind around the abortion. So, she waited as Skyler bravely continued.

"On my own, I went to a clinic and had it done. Before Nate could get to my dad to change my mind. It was the most awful, scary thing I've ever had to do. It hurt inside and out, my heart was broken and it nearly destroyed me. I didn't think I would ever recover." She twitched nervously at the thoughts she was sure, must be going through Khrys mind. She searched green eyes, for the telltale signs of disgust, and condemnation. She saw only compassion and understanding.

Khrys sat still as stone absorbing the information and wanting to comfort her lover. The knowledge of what she had gone through was battering her very soul.

Skyler sighed, "Nate had gotten to my father and told him what I'd done. When I got home, it was like the inquisition. They were all seated in my living room. Nate, his parents and my parents. I was in no mood to argue or even talk. I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep or die whichever came first.

That didn't happen, they sat me down and proceeded to interrogate me. Nate obviously hadn't told them how it happened. How spiteful and angry he was when it happened. His pride was hurt because of my relationship with Rachel. Even though I had called off my relationship with him before graduation. I told them I made my decision, just like I'd made my decision to come to Florida. I needed out of their closed minds and narrow views. When I was accepted to Nova I jumped at the chance to get out of that house. My father was disappointed and upset and my mother was afraid for me. I had gotten a full scholarship from a contest I had entered for an essay. So, I left as soon as I could. And here I am."

She finally breathed and waited for Khrys' reaction. She was scared and worried that Khrys would react badly. She wasn't sure what to expect.

A silent tear fell from Khrys' eyes. she held Skyler's hand not wanting to let go.

"Khrys? Are you ok? I really needed to let you know what the story was. It was the hardest thing for me to do. It sucked because I was alone. No one understood what I was dealing with. My family didn't know what to do so they let me go."

"Skyler." Khrys took a breath to get her thoughts together. " I'm so sorry that happened to you. Sorrier still that you went through all of that alone. It's a terrible feeling when no one understands you. It must have been so hard for you. I'm sorry." Khrys pulled her into her arms and held her. Her emotions screaming in horror at the injustice and the lack of compassion that her young friend received.

"I was so worried that you would hate me for having to terminate my pregnancy. I mean, knowing how you were raised and all." She looked into soft green eyes.

"Skyler, I was raised believing that it was wrong and not what God intended. If I condemned you for that, I would have to condemn myself, because technically I wasn't what God intended either. I don't have to agree with something to accept it. What you went through, I never had to go through. Seems like we've both been through our own hells."

She touched Skyler's cheek allowing the love between them to heal the wounds that never seemed to go away. Skyler snuggled into their embrace, feeling the warmth that Khrys shared with her. Her confession wasn't something she had an easy time of and she was pleasantly relieved that Khrys hadn't judged her. She sighed in relief. "Hey, maybe we'll finally catch a break together huh?" She spoke against Khrys shoulder.

"Yeah, maybe." Khrys wrapped her arms tightly around the blonde, sending a silent prayer into the heavens. Maybe this time. Maybe. She felt a timid hand on her stomach.

"I love you Khrys." Skyler breathed into the night as she buried her head against a strong shoulder.

"I love you too Skyler." and they drifted into sleep safe in each others arms.


Wednesday morning brought a new sun and a new day. Skyler hadn't slept all that much. Her emotions battling with her happiness. Khrys had been supportive but Skyler's insecurities had kept her awake the whole night. She looked out the window, as the ocean crashed to the shore over and over again. She let herself get lost in the reliable monotony.

"Mmm..." Khrys snuggled closer to Sky. "Did you sleep at all?" Green eyes blinked open to see the set jaw looking pensively out the window.

"No, not really, I was up all night thinking." She tucked a tuft of dark hair behind Khrys' ear.

"I'm sorry, anything I can do to help?" Khrys asked hopefully, as she nipped her way across a tense shoulder.

Skyler breathed out slowly. "Ooh, if you keep doing that..., what was I saying?" She arched her back into the gentle assault.

"Well, then I guess there is something I can do." Khrys shifted her position, and kissed her way across Skyler's jaw and found full, waiting lips.

"What is it about you that makes me forget my name?" Skyler leaned into the gentle caress and slipped a hand beneath Khrys' shirt. Finding warm skin, she felt Khrys gasp.

"Wow! Your hands are cold." She laughed as her own hands discovered warm skin beneath Skyler's shirt.

Green eyes met honey brown in an intense desire. Khrys' hands trailed a gently insistent path down Skyler's body. Strong muscles contracted against the contact. She leaned down and kissed across ribs with agonizing laziness. Running her hand along Skyler's abdomen.

"Have you ever thought about piercing your bellybutton?" She asked the blonde.

Skyler looked down her body and met Khrys' green eyes. "I'll do mine if you do yours." She said mischievously. She watched as Khrys raised her eyebrows in surprise.

"Me? I don't...I can't..." she stammered as Skyler rolled them over and straddled Khrys' thighs.

"Oh yeah, I think that is so sexy." Skyler breathed as her eyes, possessed Khrys' body. She ran her hands down her chest and the muscles in Khrys' stomach contracted at the touch. Skyler kissed her dark haired lover soundly. "Oh yes, you can do it." Skyler pressed her hands flat against Khrys' tight stomach. "You've got the perfect stomach for it." Her brown eyes laughing into fiery green.

Khrys inhaled, trying to catch her breath as Skyler continued to devour her skin. "Um..." Skyler kissed a rib, her hands searching out secrets. "...I guess... we could go get it..." she felt a warm tongue circle her now quite exposed bellybutton. "...Oh my!" Khrys jumped.

Skyler teased the area playfully. "Now imagine a ring here for me to play with." She kissed the spot again, and watched the silent shiver pass through the strong body.

"Ok, you win, let's get it done." Khrys gasped as she felt the fire in her burst into an uncontrollable flame.

"Yeah, let's do it." Skyler crawled up her prone lover and captured Khrys' mouth in her own. Nibbling a pouty bottom lip. Glad to let last nights words wash away with the morning tide.


Skyler sat in class trying to resist the urge to scratch her stomach. She smiled to herself that they had even done it. She pulled back the loose fitting shorts and glanced down at her flat belly. Smiling at seeing the gold hoop with the tiny gold ball. I can't believe we did it this morning. She shook her head in disbelief.

Khrys' enthusiasm was contagious. They had hopped out of bed and headed to Tat Taylor's. Skyler felt a nervous tingle in her hands. Khrys walked around the place eyes scouring the various designs that covered the walls. She laughed and motioned for Skyler to come over.

"Look at this, who would want this on their body?" She asked a little surprised at the raunchy drawings. "Don't they realize that's permanent?"

Skyler muffled a grin. "I guess they don't, that's sort of ridiculous."

A young man with long dark hair pulled back into a neat ponytail approached them. His eyebrows were pierced as well as his ears and his lip. Taking off latex gloves, he tossed them in the trash and smiled. "So, ladies what can I do for you today? Piercing? Tattoo?"

Skyler and Khrys looked at each other and spoke at the same time. "Bellybutton." They laughed and he grinned as well.

"Ok, first things first. My name's Johnny, and I'll be doing the piercing. You'll need to purchase the needle and the actual jewelry. There are a couple of different things you can get once it's healed but I would recommend starting with the basic hoop first."

Khrys and Sky smiled and shook their heads in agreement.

"Ok, so who's first?" He asked looking at the two of them, his eyes taking them in appreciatively. Oh am I a lucky, lucky guy.

Skyler spoke up quickly. "I'll go first, if I don't I will never get it done." She looked at Khrys and shrugged.

Khrys merely shook her head and motioned her forward. Now, I will HAVE to do this. She's getting it done just because I asked. I can't chicken out now.


Skyler laid down on what amounted to a workout bench. Johnny had her stand so he could decided where to place the hole and get the clamp on. She laid back down laughing at the tongs that were attached to her stomach. She glanced at Khrys and winked. "No sweat." She smiled.

Johnny spoke again, "Ok, I'm just going to rub some antiseptic on here..."

Skyler felt the cool of the cotton as he wiped the area around her bellybutton.

" I'm going to just push this through..." she heard something that sounded curiously like a crunching snap and the quick burn of pain as the needle was pressed through her skin.

"...ok that's good you didn't even flinch." He patted her thigh exposed beneath her loose fitting shorts. "Now the hoop and we close it up. You're all done." He smiled at her and helped her stand. "Here you go take a look."

Skyler stood and glanced down at her belly in the mirror. "Cool. It didn't even hurt that much." She looked at Khrys who was nervously watching. "Your turn."

Khrys walked over and assumed the position as Skyler looked on. "Sky, does it hurt? Come on you gotta tell me." She looked at her lover.

"Khrys, you were watching me, did I cry? It's not that bad really it's like a tight pressure and then a pinch like when you get your ears pierced sort of. Actually the sound as it's happening is worse." She smiled at Khrys widening eyes. "Don't worry. You'll be fine."

"Ok, Khrys are you ready?" Johnny smiled at the green eyed beauty before him. "You know you are really beautiful." He whispered out of Skyler's earshot.

"Uh...thanks." She stammered a little nervous that his hands were in a very sensitive area.

"Ok, same process, I'm going to rub on some antiseptic...and then just...." His voice receded as Khrys searched for Skyler's eyes.

She found honey brown locked with her own and didn't even feel the pressure as Johnny slid the needle through the tongs and looped the hoop through the hole. Skyler's eyes never left hers and when a smile broke her face, Khrys knew she was done.

"There you go. All done." Johnny snapped off the latex gloves and moved behind the counter for their payment.

Skyler and Khrys stood there together looking down at their recently pierced stomachs. Johnny was talking about how to take care of them, clean 3 times a day, turn, twist, something about 6 to 10 weeks. The two women were lost in each other. Only when Johnny spoke up, did they break their eye contact.

"So, you're all set. It was nice meeting both of you, take care of those." He handed them each one of his cards and winked when he handed one to Khrys. She turned it over and looked on the back. Johnny had written his name and his phone number, 'Give me a call' it said.

Khrys stopped in her spot and turned Skyler to face her. Cupping the blonde's face gently she bent low and soundly kissed the surprised bartender. Kissing her back enthusiastically, Skyler grinned and pulled back, her eyes questioning. Khrys showed her the card, and then placed it back on the counter.

Skyler looked up at her in awe. Wow, that was awesome. She took Khrys hand and turned to wink at the astonished Johnny. He bowed dramatically in defeat with a huge grin on his face. Yeah that's right little boy, this one's all mine. Eat your heart out. Smugly Skyler growled in possession. "Mine."

Khrys looked down in surprise, an eyebrow raised. "Are you going to pee on my leg now?"

They both laughed out loud and headed back home.

Skyler was rushed back into reality as one of her term papers was returned to her. "Good job Ms. Blue, very well written and articulate." Mrs. Greenstein told her. "I just need you to stay with us when we're in discussion." She teased the blonde student acknowledging her daydreaming.

"Thanks, yeah sorry..." Skyler said and looked at her paper. Her mind was definitely elsewhere.

Khrys was whistling as she checked her mail. More stories and the mailing list she was on had a thread going about Flamers and the first amendment. She shook her head and cleared out most of her mailbox. She decided she'd better read some of her brothers messages. She opened them one by one her eyes raising in surprise. "Damn, I should've read these earlier. He never frickin calls either." She shoved away from her desk in disgust heading for her phone book and her brothers number. Damn, damn, I can't believe he's coming down!



Skyler had called when she got home from class. Khrys was in a tizzy. Once Skyler could get her to calm down and find out what happened she understood.

"Ok, Khrys, let's think about this. I mean, how bad could it be?"

"Sky, it's frickin bad. Ok? I can't handle this right now. I can't deal with him. I'm not ready." Khrys sounded frustrated and Skyler wasn't sure what to do.

"Look, I've got to work tonight. Are you going to come? I don't have class tomorrow, I'll come over after work and we'll figure out a plan." Skyler spoke into the phone hopefully. "Please?" She could hear Khrys forcibly calming herself.

"Ok, I will meet you at the club tonight. I'm sorry if I snapped at you, I'm just so stressed about this." She sighed, feeling really badly at having come down on Skyler like that.

"No problem, don't worry about it. No harm no foul right?" Skyler smiled into the phone. "How's your tummy? I couldn't stop touching mine all day."

Khrys grinned unable to help herself. "Me too. It's a little itchy though, I think that might be a problem. I'm afraid to tear it off or something."

Skyler felt a little cheeky, "Will you wear one of your belly shirts tonight and one of your low, hip hugging skirts? Please, please, please."

How could she say no? "We'll see." Khrys said.

"Tease!" Skyler knew that Khrys wouldn't disappoint. "Don't worry everything will be fine."

"Thanks Sky, I'll see you tonight." She breathed deeply.

"See you tonight. Bye babe." Skyler said.

"Bye." Khrys hung up the phone and stared at her hands. What am I going to do? I can't tell Sam that she's my lover. He will blow a gasket. Ok, so I can introduce her as a friend and hope we can keep our hands off each other right? Her mind raced trying to think of something to get her through the weekend that her brother would be here.

She knew Skyler would go along with whatever she chose. She wasn't sure that she wanted to hide what they felt for each other. Wasn't sure that she could hide it. She finally felt complete and wanted her brother to know it.

She thought about it for a little while longer and decided that she would just see how things went with her brother first. She wanted to make sure that she was strong enough to get through it if she had to. If she thought she couldn't she would just fake like everything was ok and that she was 'normal'. She hated doing that to Skyler, but she didn't feel like she had much of a choice.

Her brother was a firm believer in the sin theory. His time as a pastor had only confirmed and reaffirmed his belief in what was right and what was wrong. It was black and white, there was no gray with him. He also believed that God was not shades of gray either. It was black and white, right and wrong no in between.

Khrys flinched as her own thoughts gave way to her faith that had faded by the wayside. It reached out and tapped her on the shoulder. 'Hello old friend. Remember me? Guilt?' She felt her stomach rebel and barely made it to the bathroom.


It was almost 11:30pm and still no Khrys. Skyler was beginning to worry. She had tried Khrys' house earlier and there was no answer. She'd left a message. "Khrys it's me Skyler, I am getting worried about you. If you changed your mind about coming out tonight just give me a call and let me know. Otherwise I'm going to have to come searching for you." She hung up feeling a terrible knot in her stomach. Her mind raced thinking of what could possibly be going on.

She was anxious to leave work and barely stood still as they cashed her out. She ran out of the club and hopped in her car and headed for Khrys'. She got to the guard gate.

"Hi Henry, I'm going to check on Khrys, she didn't show up where she was supposed to be tonight and she's not answering her phone. I want to make sure she's ok."

Henry held up his hand and shook his head. "Sorry Skyler, Ms. Meadows called down earlier and said she was not to be disturbed and she wasn't taking visitors."

"What?" Skyler asked astounded. "Henry, please, you've got to let me up there, something is wrong." Tears began and Skyler wiped angrily at her eyes. Her mind racing as she tried to think of something to get in there.

"Henry, can't you just act like you didn't get that message before I showed up? Come on, I've been here everyday for a week and a half. Please, Henry this is so important."

"I'm sorry Ms. Blue." He nodded his head solemnly.

"DAMN!" Skyler shouted and threw her car into reverse and sped away from the building.

She pulled into the shopping center across the street and processed the information she had. Ok Sky, let's get it together here. You need to get to her somehow. Something is really wrong. Skyler went over everything that had happened that day. The only point of trouble was when Khrys mentioned her brother coming down. That had to be it. Her brother coming here had scared her into hiding and she was pushing Skyler away.

Determined not to let this go so easily Skyler devised a plan to get her inside that building.


Khrys rubbed her head, and pulled the covers of her bed tighter around her body. The racing chills had subsided, and her stomach had finally stopped. She was curled up on her side as silent tears tracked down her face. Her eyes fell on the Rosita doll she had won the other day. The ache as she thought of Skyler, bringing fresh tears to her eyes. I bet she hates me. I wouldn't blame her. I'm so messed up. I can't even stand up for what I want.


Khrys chastised herself and beat herself up at her lack of courage or resolve. She had heard Skyler's messages and knew that the bartender was worried. I should call her. She didn't call though. She just burrowed further into her bed. She let the familiar guilt and shame wash over her. She turned on her stereo to drown out the voices and wallow in her guilt.

Hold out your heart and on it let the sun shine down.

Open your mind and through it let the wisdom pour.

Give me your word and I will give you all my trust.

Give me a sign and I will give you all my love.

(hold out your heart)

There's dirt in my mouth from kissing who I should not dare.

There's mud coming out with every rip and every tear.

This thing beneath my ribs will beat me to the ground

I've got to hold out my heart, on it let the sun shine down.

(got to hold out my heart)

The sun shine down.

My guilty skin like gasoline, is burning out a hole in me.

My guilty heart lies here in ruin, in ruin.

Nobody knows me, no one will ever see.

The distance between what is and what will never be.

A bird will break his wings

Like a heart will cut her strings

And there isn't anything to comfort me. (hold out your heart)

My guilty skin like gasoline is burning out a hole in me

My guilty heart lies here in ruin, in ruin.

A bird will break his wings

Like a heart will cut her strings

And there isn't anything to comfort me. (hold out your heart)


Little did she know that one tenacious blonde was working her way up a rarely used staircase in order to get to her. Had called in a favor from one of her father's friends to get in under a security guise. Skyler, like a modern day cat-burglar was stealthily making her way to the 11th floor with all intentions of getting to her lover. What a story this would make. I can see the headlines. "CONCERNED LOVER GOES TO EXTREMES" Skyler laughed and shook her head. I can't believe I am doing this.


The knock on the door was unexpected and Khrys rolled over in frustration. "I thought I told them I didn't want anyone to bother me."

She hit the floor and stomped to the front door. Grumbling as she peered through the peep hole. Her breath and her curses caught in her throat at the sight of Skyler standing in the hallway. Her hand started shaking as she undid the locks and pulled the door open.

"What are you doing did you..." she was cut off by Skyler pushing past her into the condo. Khrys shut the door behind her and locked it again.

Skyler had walked to the phone and picked it up. "Yeah this is working. Khrys what is up with you? Why didn't you answer my phone calls? Why did you tell Henry not to let me up?" Skyler was barely containing her anger. She looked at Khrys with furious eyes. It took everything in her power not to grab the taller woman and shake her.

Her anger subsided at the look of utter defeat in Khrys' eyes. She looked broken and beat up. Skyler wanted to hold her, but was stopped by a raised hand.

"No, don't." Khrys whispered. "I don't deserve you, I don't deserve anything good." Khrys looked at her feet. Her shoulders slumped in sadness.

Skyler stepped towards her, "Khrys," the hand remained. "Khrys, please let me hold you." Skyler cautiously moved closer. "Please, Khrys, don't do this to yourself. Don't do this to us." Skyler held her arms out. "Please, c'mere." Her voice a controlled whisper. She watch Khrys fighting with herself and watched as the tears, streamed down her face. "C'mon."

"Sky..." Khrys swallowed convulsively. "Sky, I...I can't, it's wrong. I'm evil, and twisted...I can't..." She breathed barely a whisper now. Khrys felt the guilt wash over her but Skyler stayed where she was, arms outstretched. Her need for Skyler slowly became greater than the guilt that threatened her. She stepped towards Skyler. Sobs wracking her body she felt strong arms encircle her.

Skyler gathered her into her arms and sank to the floor. "Ssh, honey...ssh...I'm here, it's ok. I love you." Skyler smoothed dark hair as Khrys collapsed into the safety of Skyler's embrace.

Khrys curled up in Skyler's lap needing the contact. Needing the reassurance of their love. Wanting to believe in the power of the bond that they shared. Her tears came hot and furiously. Her arms flexed and tightened their hold on the smaller blonde. How could she explain what had tortured her so long? Her need to be accepted by her family warring with her need to be loved this way.

"Khrys, I'm so sorry. I wish I knew what to say, what to do. How to take away your fear. You are not evil, not twisted." Skyler spoke into the silence that enveloped them.

"No, Skyler, I'm sorry. My past sneaks up on me and I've got no control over it. I'm so sorry. I didn't ever want to hurt you Skyler. Ever." She hugged the body she was wrapped around just a little tighter.

"Khrys, I told you I was in for the long haul. I don't want you thinking that I will let this go so easily. You can't just run and hide from me. There are two of us involved. When you do stuff like this, it hurts me."

Khrys simply nodded. "You're right, I'm sorry."

"No, don't apologize, just talk to me and let me know what's going on with you. I want to be here for you when your happy and when your frightened. I won't let go of your hand Khrys. I need you to talk to me though. Keep this line open. You and me? We're the only ones that matter in this whole mess." Skyler spoke to the broken woman in her arms. Smoothing back dark hair that fell into green eyes. "I love you." she whispered gently and felt the quiet response against her chest. "We'll get through this, but we've got to do it together."

The silence brought even breathing and a steadying resolve to cling to what they knew, each other. Khrys allowed the strength that seemed to possess the young blonde calm her. Gently soothing hands on her back kept up a constant motion and Khrys knew that she could fight as long as they were together. As long as Skyler didn't give up on them. I need her.Oh God, I need her. She breathed and clung to the strong body wrapped around her own, the one thing that anchored her to this life.

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