The Aftermath of Betrayal

by Wolfie

Disclaimers: Characters: Mine. However they are based on characters from Xena: Warrior Princess who do not belong to me no matter how much I wish they did.

Location: The towns and state are real. However I made up all the information regarding the towns and their surroundings and California is real no matter what other people say.

Love: This is an alt story based on two women in love. If this offends you please do not go any further.

My thanks to Zoe who helped me with the editing.

I do want to hear from you so please send all comments to Thanks.

She stood at the railing of the beach house, gazing out into the ocean, watching the storm as it approached. The clouds rolled in; the wind picked up; with a flash of lighting and a clap of thunder, the rain started. She stood there watching...waiting. With each flash of lighting another brick is laid in the wall that is quickly forming around her heart. She swears that she will never allow herself to be hurt again. The storm comes closer as the tears that were shed earlier dry. Never again will she suffer from the pain of betrayal. Just as the first drops of rain hit, she turned and headed into the house.

She had been away on business for three weeks, having to travel first to New York and then to Texas and then finally coming home to San Diego. She had been eager to get home, thinking that they could go away for a week or two. The two important deals that she had been working on for several weeks had finally closed and now all that was left to do was to celebrate. As soon as she pulled into the driveway she knew something was wrong.

Leaving the Ford Expedition in the driveway she walked up to the front door. Heart in her throat, she unlocked and pushed it. She then walked into the entryway and turned off the alarm. After the alarm was off, she turned around and discovered that she had come home to a completely empty house. All that was left was the couch, her clothing, any family pictures she had kept, her computer, which she had set to erase the hard drive if the correct password was not entered, and a letter.

The letter was from her lover, detailing all that she had done. By taking everything in the house, she had cleaned out several million dollars of paintings and other antiques. She had also cleaned out the "loose change" bank account. That account had held hard cash that did not need to be converted over from stocks, bonds, and CD's. All in all she had been taken for around $20 million dollars. After reporting it to the police, she was contacted by the FBI who informed her that she was not the first person this had happened to. There seemed to be a ring of thieves that were operating in the U.S. and Great Britain, taking millionaires for as much as they could, without totally destroying them. After several weeks of questioning by the FBI, they were finally satisfied that she had given them all the information she could. They informed her that she probably would never see her money again. Even if they did catch the thieves, they had probably already either spent the money or distributed it elsewhere. After promising to let her know of any breakthroughs, the FBI had gone on their way.

That had been five years ago. After the shock and denial had worn off, she had closed her heart to the world and she was able to concentrate on her work. Since that time she had replaced the $20 million her ex-lover had taken from her, and added another $45 million to that. She had also gained the reputation of being a cold, heartless bitch. If any one stood in her way of closing a deal then they were taken care of by either being bought out or ruined financially.

Last year the FBI and England's Secret Service had finally captured one of the thieves. Interrogation revealed there were over 150 people working in the thieving ring, and that they had taken and processed over $150 billion dollars in 7 years. And, like the FBI had warned her, the money couldn't be found. 75 of the people were extradited to Great Britain and 75 had stayed in U.S. to serve out the 300-year prison term.

And for the first time in five years she was putting herself in the position to be hurt again. She had grown tired of being alone. She had found a story on the Internet one day while playing around. That story lead to thousands more stories and to a mailing list, which in turn lead to another mailing list and a very close friend. A friend who did not judge her and stuck by her no matter what she said or did. A friend who had the potential to become so much more than a friend. But she was scared. She remembered the pain all too well. She still had nightmares about what had happened and knew that she could not live through that again. But she also could not live without love. Her friend had shown her that. But her friend had her problems as well. Maybe together they could help each other learn to love, and to trust. Maybe they could find out what the world had to offer.

"I don't care John that deal was supposed to be closed last week. It's now Wednesday and you have until Friday to close it or you can look for another job." That said Kelley slammed the phone down and dropped her head into her hands. The deal, once closed, would bring in close to $15 million dollars. However, the other party was making things difficult and if the deal didn't go through then she would be forced to turn matters over to her lawyers and they always got the results she wanted.

Being a corporate shark, Kelley looked for companies that were about to go under but still had the potential to make lots of money. After finding a company, she would offer the owners/stockholders about one quarter below what the company was worth. After going in and fixing the problem she would hold on to it for about a year or a year and a half at the most. By that time the company would be returning a healthy profit and she would sell it for 20% more than what it was worth. Kelley had built a reputation that screamed success. Because of that reputation people would line up at the doors when they found out she was planning on selling one of her companies and within five years of being bought, the company would have more than paid for itself.

The company in question was a fifth generation family owned business. The grandfather was currently the owner and was a technophobe to boot. He left his son and grandson to run the business but any changes had to be approved by him. Since he wouldn't allow his son to bring them into the 21st century, he had forced his customers to go elsewhere. Since the company had to do everything by hand it took six to eight weeks for the customers to get their products.

The grandfather couldn't understand why they couldn't do business the way they did back in his father's day. What he didn't understand was that if he got computers he would have a jump on his competitors because of the way they did business. But he would also increase the profits by 20%.

Once the company was upgraded all Kelley would have to do is rebuild the customer base. With the majority of management and office staff already computer literate, she would just have to bring in a trainer for those who weren't and train those who were on the new system. As she continued to look over the company information, Kelly found that the son and grandson were well liked by their remaining customers. Kelley knew that if she decided to keep the company she would offer them the chance to run it. By talking with the son she had really come to like the man. He had a lot of ideas that could cause the company to grow. The company even had the potential to go international. However, the grandfather was the sticking point. If they couldn't get him to sell then it could get ugly.

Looking at the clock, Kelley decided to make an early night of it and head home. She had been working 12-hour days, 7 days a week for the last two weeks, now it was time to take an early night and get some rest before she killed someone.

Arriving home just after sunset Kelley decided to go for a run. Quickly shedding her clothing she looked at herself in the mirror. Looking at her reflection Kelley was pleased with what she saw. "Damn, hard to believe I just turned thirty," she mused. Kelley stayed in shape by running, doing pushups and sit-ups and if time permitted she would also add some weight training into her exercise routine. However, with the long hours she has recently put in she didn't have the time to go to the gym. After changing into her running clothes Kelley walked to where the sand and the surf met and began her 10-mile run. She would run 3 miles to the north then the 3 miles back. After which she would do a set of both pushups and sit-ups and then finish the routine by running two miles south and then the two miles back. The exercise left her feeling refreshed and with a lot of energy.

After taking a shower she went into her office and logged on to the Internet. She first checked several on-line fan fiction stories she was currently reading, before checking for new ones. After that was done she took a deep breath and checked her email. She almost cried when she saw the three returned messages she had sent to her friend Kat. It had been two months since she last heard from her and she was way past worried. Kat's real name was Kathleen, but when she got no protest from her, she shortened it to Kat.

When she and Kat had first became email pals she had told her about her hectic work schedule and that unless she put emergency or 911 in the subject line she wouldn't be able to respond right away. When Kat had said that she didn't mind, she just endeared herself more to Kelley. Kelley brushed the tears from her eyes as she realized just how much she missed her near daily emails from Kat. Logging on to AIM she saw several people who were friends of them both, but like her, they hadn't heard anything in over two months. Depressed, she logged off and shut down her computer at 8. She had a busy week ahead of her and wanted to get some sleep. Tomorrow would come all too quickly with its share of problems.

Kathleen looked up from unpacking her apartment. She had just moved here from Central Falls, RI. Being from a small town on the East Coast and ending up in a big town on the West Coast was a bigger shock than she expected. The last time she had been home was not a pleasant one and was the reason she was here.

She had never been close to anyone in her family except for her grandmother. She had been at college when she got the call from her mother telling her she had to come home right away. Her grandmother was very sick and was not expected to make it very much longer. Within five hours she was home. Her grandmother woke up long enough to tell her that she didn't have to worry about anything because she would be taken care of. Not knowing what she was talking about, Kathleen kissed her grandmother goodbye and watched her pass on to the next life. Kathleen entered a state of shock and the next thing she knew a week had passed and her grandmother's will was being read. Except for the lawyer and herself, everyone seemed to be eager to see what they got.

If it hadn't been so serious it would have been funny. All her cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, and her parents had gotten was one hundred dollars. Her grandmother had requested that all of her things, including her house, be sold. The rest of the money would go into a trust fund for her favorite granddaughter Kathleen. Based on where she chose to live, a monthly allowance would be put in her bank account. If there was an emergency and she needed more she would be able to contact the lawyer and request more. To say her family had been angry was a gross understatement. They even went as far as taking it to court to try to get more money. All they got were Kathleen's legal bills, and after the court battle her family made it clear that they wanted nothing to do with her.

So, all alone, Kathleen quit school and left for California. She now lived in La Mesa and had decided to once again take up painting. While she was in high school she found out she had a talent for nature scenes. On one hand her family had told her that it was a waste of time, and on the other her grandmother had encouraged her. Because she had to live with them it was easier to give into to her parents and quit painting. After the court battle and losing everything important to her, she decided she needed to start over and live her life the way she wanted. She no longer had to put up with people telling her how to live her life, so now all she had to do was decide how she wanted to live her life.

Kathleen came out of her memories and noticed it was a quarter after 9. She went over to the computer and logged into AIM looking for her friend Shark. When she had moved into her apartment she asked the cable company about internet service and found out that she lived in an area that could get cable modems. So she did and was very glad she had. After going through her mail she noticed she didn't have anything from Shark and she wasn't on AIM. Neither were any of their friends. This was nothing new. She would sometimes go for a week without hearing from her, but she really needed to talk to her. It had been almost two months since she last had a chance to say hi, and truth be known, she had always liked Shark. She a was a good friend who was not afraid to tell her she just needed to get her "shit together" or knew when she was down and what to say to get her spirits back up. She started thinking about it and realized she never sent out her new email address. Gods, her friends were going to kill her. After sending a short note with her new email address she decided to go to bed. It was almost ten and she still had a lot of unpacking to do tomorrow.

Two days later Kat stood in her living room and looked around in shock. She had worked through the last two days, only taking breaks to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. She smiled to herself, glad to finally be done with that chore. She walked over to the computer and turned it on. She had a two-bedroom apartment with washer and dryer hookup. She rented the washer and dryer from the complex, deciding it was easier than going to the laundry room and not wanting to buy them herself.

She checked her email and was surprised at the amount of mail. In her personal mailbox there were over 50 emails from her friends. She went through them all and smiled. They ranged from her friends yelling at her for worrying them to asking if she was ok. She sent out a mass email to all of them, except for Shark, telling the 90-second version of what she had been through the last two months. After sending she felt better. She had been a little worried that her friends wouldn't understand. She was so glad that was not the case. Before responding to Shark, she decided she to check AIM to see if she was on. She was.

Kat: Hey!!

Shark: Hey! Where in the hell have you been?

Kat: L I'm sorry. Things haven't been going good. You remember my Grandmother?

Shark: <worried voice> Yeah I remember, hon, what happened??

Kat: She died…and had all her stuff sold and left me the money. I don't even know how much it is…she left everyone else 100 bucks…so they took me to court…but grandma made sure they couldn't get her money and so they disowned me. By the time it was all over I decided I needed to move on with my life. I mean I don't have anyone so I can pretty much do what I want. So I left school and came out to California.

Shark: Please tell me you're kidding??

Kat: No I'm not kidding. Are you going to be on tomorrow???

Shark: Kiddo, I will be here when you need me. Just give me a time!!!

Kat: Thanks, Shark. You really don't know how much that means to me. What time is good for you??

Shark: Anytime, hon, you need me I'm here. Gods…I can't believe you went through that…how can parents do that to their children??? Are you ok?? If you want we could meet. It wouldn't take much to fly to where you are.

Kathleen sat there stunned. Every time she had suggested they meet, when Shark was going to be in town for business, she had politely said no. What had changed? Was it because she had been through hell lately or was it something else?

Kat: Shark, I would love nothing better than to meet you, but I can't right now. Everything is still too fresh. I hope you understand.

Shark: Of course I understand. Why wouldn't I? I will try to be on all day tomorrow since it is Saturday. I want you to promise me something though!!

Kat: <gratefully> Anything. You know that.

Shark: Get some rest; you sound like you need it. Don't worry about getting on here first thing in the morning. Please…for me?

Kat: Ok I promise. What is your work schedule like for next week?

Shark: I have to leave out of town on Monday to try to salvage a deal that my idiot employee may have lost. It's a great company and I would love nothing more than to do this the easy way. However, the owner doesn't want to do it the easy way. It's a big mess. But I will make sure I check my email nightly, so if you need to get something off your chest please do so.

Kat: Ok. I'll take you up on that. Listen, hon, I gotta get going. I just finished unpacking, which is what I have been doing for the last two days. Right now I'm sore and exhausted. I'm going to go soak in the bathtub and then head for bed.

Shark: Good girl. Now take care of yourself. I will talk with you more tomorrow. Bye.

Kat: Ok see you tomorrow. Bye.

Kelley sat there, after Kat left, stunned. She knew her friend had never gotten along with her parents or with anyone else in her family for that matter. Except for her grandmother, whom Kat had said she adored, and who Kelley suspected had adored Kat. Tonight something in their relationship had changed. As far as she was concerned it now went beyond friendship. Kelley couldn't believe it when she had offered to meet Kat. She had always said no in the past, she didn't want to move beyond this on-line friendship. However, tonight if Kat had asked she would have been on the first plane to…?

Gods, she lives in California. I gotta remember to ask her tomorrow where she lives. I can't believe I did this. Meet her? What happened to the vow never to let anyone back in, hmm? What am I going to do? Tonight I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and never let go. I still do. These thoughts and others were racing through Kelley's head. The only thing she knew for sure was that her friend was hurting and she didn't like it. With those thoughts she fell asleep, and into troubled dreams.

Over the weekend the two women talked long into the night. The change in their relationship started to show in the way they talked to each other, and by Sunday they both realized that they were coming to depend on each other.

Kelley had just finished packing when she decided to see if Kathleen was on. They had spent most of their time on-line with each other this weekend and Kelley wanted to talk to her friend one last time before she left town. She logged onto Aim and was disappointed that Kathleen wasn't on. She looked at the time and saw that it was 8:00 and decided to wait a bit so she checked her email. She saw she had one from Kathleen that came in at 7:55.

Dear Shark, (you know you really need to tell me your first name.)

These last two days have been very special to me. After the way I was treated by my family I have been nervous about committing to any type of relationship because I didn't want to be betrayed. I'm so glad I took a chance with you.

Ok now to the point of this email. I have noticed that we have been growing closer and I wanted to tell you something before we got too close. I know I told you I was dating a guy while in college. The truth of the matter is that the only reason I was seeing him was to please my parents. See, in high school I only had a couple of dates. My parents were worried that I was gay, which I am, and took me to a shrink. That was a joke. Like I would admit to being gay. The shrink basically told me that being gay was evil and all that stuff. While in college my first roommate opened my eyes to the world of how two women love each other. We both knew we were gay but hadn't had any experience, so we taught each other.

At the end of that year she graduated and I knew I wouldn't be able to tell my parents because they would freak out. The next year the youngest son of my parent's friend got into the same college that I was at and because of pressure from my parents it was easier to date him than remain single. He wasn't a woman and therefore didn't have the touch to please me and I ended up being miserable. After grandma died I figured that I needed to be true to myself and live a happy life. My family disowning me helped that and I no longer felt the need to please them. When I went to get my stuff at school, I told him I was gay and that I never wanted to see him again. At first he took it hard and kept trying to change my mind but eventually decided to leave me alone.

I don't know if I should tell you this but I need to be truthful. I can't let anything be between us. You never told me if you're into men or women. In the time that I have known you haven't said anything about dating. You make it very hard to figure you out. So I decided to bite the bullet and take a chance. I also hope that if you don't feel the same way you won't hate me. But here goes nothing.

I have fallen for you, hard. For a while now you have dominated my dreams at night. The way you make me feel as we make love is so real. It's really weird. I will wake up completely satisfied. I need you in my life and I hope you feel the same way. If not I will understand and I hope you can forgive me. I also hope that I didn't ruin a good friendship.

Still your friend (I hope),


Kelley sat there stunned. She had been wondering how Kat felt about her but hadn't had the guts to ask. She had thought Kat was straight but now knew better. The reality of the situation all of a sudden set in. She had the ability to destroy Kat if she wanted to, not that she did. She loved Kat and had been having very erotic dreams about the two of them. She had to word her reply carefully. She wanted to talk to Kat but she had a feeling that she wouldn't be on AIM until Kat found out how she felt. With all this in mind, Kelley sat down and composed her reply.

Kat had just hit the send button when she realized what she had done. Ohmygod, what did I just do? She had been unable to keep how she felt out of what she said when they talked. It was showing through and she realized last night that she didn't want to keep it from showing through during their talks. Like last night, when they had said good night. Kat had told Shark that she wished she was with her and not here by herself. After much soul searching she decided that she had to tell Shark that she was gay and how she felt about her. Although she thought it was a good idea a few moments ago, she was now having second and even third thoughts. Like she told Shark moments before, she needed the woman in her life. Even if all they could ever be are friends.

Right now all she felt like doing was curling up in a ball and crying. She hoped that she did not just destroy the most important friendship in her life. She was pretty much a loner in high school. She came from an upper-middle class family and the school she went to was populated with mostly students who came from upper-middle to upper class families. Feeling that grades were more important, she didn't have time to play the "I'm better than you because my father makes more" games. Even though she met other friends on the Internet, Shark was her best friend. And now she might have lost her. Kat was just winding down from beating herself up when Shark's email came though. Nervously she clicked on the button and began to read.

My Dearest Kathleen,

You don't know how happy I am to have received your email. I can say you are far braver than I, because I can tell you that I wouldn't have said anything until you did. Since the first time I exchanged emails with you, I realized that you were a bright spot in my otherwise dark life. With your help I have begun to open myself up to others again.

Lately I have also noticed the change in our relationship. At first I will be honest and tell you that it terrified me. Not because you are a woman, but because I was once in a relationship that went very bad. I thought I had found the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with, only to come home, after being gone for three weeks, to a completely empty house and an empty bank account. It was then that I swore I would never let anyone back into my life. I kept to myself and became known as a "cold hearted bitch". I used to do whatever it took to get the job done and didn't care what people thought of me, because it didn't matter.

However, I have quickly learned that "never" doesn't last as long as it used to. Because you have become a vital part of my life. When you told me what had happened between you and your parents all I wanted to do was take you into my arms and hold you tight.

After I get back from this business trip I would love to get together with you. I would really love to find out what you like and don't like. I guess what I am trying to say is, I want to get to know you better, Kat. You have awoken a part of me that I thought was dead. And for that, I thank you. If nothing else I will always remain your friend because I can't and don't want to imagine life without you in it. I would also love to get a chance to exchange dreams. I can tell you right now that you have been part of some wonderful dreams yourself.

Unfortunately it is now late and I need to get some sleep as I have a 6 a.m. flight out. I will check my email tomorrow night and I hope to hear from you. In case you haven't figured it out yet know this, you have not lost a friend and I am hoping you gain a lover. Because I do love you, it's so hard not to. Now wipe your tears and go take a bubble bath. Afterwards I want you to go to bed and dream of me.

Loving you always,


Kat sat there and smiled. After re-reading the email several times she moved it to her saved file. Shutting down the computer, Kat wiped away her remaining tears and went to take a bubble bath. She smiled again as she realized that Shark, no make that Kelley, knew her better than she thought. It was amazing how she was able to tell the way she would react to the email. After the water started getting cold she got out of the tub and went to bed. But she couldn't sleep.

She kept thinking about Kelley. Images of past dreams started flashing through her mind. She saw Kelley kissing her way down her body, stopping at her breast and then moving on. She saw herself between Kelley's legs, feasting on her sweet nectar. She couldn't take any more, she needed release and she needed it now. She quickly took off her nightshirt and threw it on the floor. She then cupped each breast and started rubbing the nipples between two fingers. She closed her eyes and imagined Kelley was there, kissing and sucking on her breasts. Slowly she moved a hand down her body to her curls. After playing with them she moved lower and slid a finger into her wet sex. Quickly she moved her finger in and out and played with her nipples. It didn't take long before her body stiffened and she cried out Kelley's name. Minutes later Kathleen was sound asleep and across town another woman was dreaming of her lover crying out her name in passion.

Kelley exited the plane and walked down the passageway into the airport terminal. Even though it was only May the heat in Phoenix, Arizona was incredible. Living on the coast in San Diego was great. The temperatures during the summer didn't really get that high unless there was a major heat wave. Even then that's what air conditioning was for. However, because of John's mess up, she had to be here, away from home and away from Kat.

The dream she had last night of watching Kat pleasure herself still sent shivers up and down her body. The dream was so real she felt like she could reach out and touch her. She woke up, about an hour after she had gone to bed, in the middle of an orgasm. In the dream, after watching Kat climax, she had reached her peak as well and it had woken her up. She found that afterwards she was able to get to sleep with no problem.

Kelley looked up as she heard her name being called. She felt her mind shift gears as she saw John. "Hello, John. You had better hope that I can still close this deal. Because if I can't, and I find out it's your fault, then I will make sure the only job you can get is flipping burgers at Burger King." Kelley smirked as she watched the color drain from John's face. She quickly walked to the baggage claim area and grabbed her bags.

When Ms. Shiver had first told him that she would be coming out to close the deal, John was ecstatic. He would be able to learn from the best in the business. He had also hoped she would be grateful for the work he had done and give him a "bonus" for a job well done. He, however, didn't realize how badly he had screwed things up. At least until she had told him he may have to be flipping burgers. He knew on Wednesday she had said to get the deal closed but hadn't really thought anything about it. He knew the deal was a little behind schedule but that had happened before and had never been a problem. Now he was starting to get scared. If Ms. Shiver said a person would never be able to get a job again then that is what would happen. He had seen it happen too many of his colleagues. He just hoped that he was not next on a long list of people she had done that to.

Thinking that maybe if he explained she wouldn't be that hard on him, he made a fatal error. He talked. "Ms. Shiver, if you would let me explain…"

Kelley stopped right in front of the limo the hotel had sent to pick her up and spoke in a calm voice that belied her anger. "Mr. Lewis let me make something clear. If you had read the briefing you had been given for this company, you would have found that it has the potential of making me a great deal of money, so much in fact that I am considering keeping it. I made sure you had everything you needed in order to close this deal without my help. I have been speaking with Jason Desoto in regards to your behavior. From what he's told me, I find it hard to believe you even read the briefing. I shouldn't have had to come here. Now I am here and if I lose this company because of your stupidity then I will have your head on a silver platter. Now, get back to your hotel room and make sure you send me everything you have done so far. If anything is left out you will be wishing you were never born. Then I suggest you go home because I don't want you anywhere near the boardroom where these meetings will take place. Have I made myself clear?"

John stood there trying not to have a heart attack. She was right, he hadn't read the briefing, and he had figured it was just a routine take over and that there wouldn't be any problems. He had done several such takeovers in the past and had grown lazy. John did the only thing he could think of in this situation. He knew he was wrong and admitted defeat. In the past when this had happened to one of his colleagues he had laughed at them, thinking that they were stupid for messing up. Now he knew better. He didn't want to keep her waiting any long and answered her. "Yes, Ms. Shiver, I understand perfectly. I screwed up and I hope I didn't cause you to lose the account. I will send everything over right away and be on the first available flight home. I hope you have a pleasant stay." John watched as the woman got into the limo and was whisked off to her hotel.

He quickly returned to his hotel, sent the requested material to Ms. Shiver and was on his way home in an hour. He just hoped he still had a job to go back to.

Kelley threw the material down in disgust. No wonder Mr. Desoto hadn't wanted to sell. John had treated the business like a take over, which she had said not to do in the briefing, and had told everyone that they would be replaced. Kelley plugged her laptop into the hotel's ISDN line and accessed her email. After she had taken care of business she checked the folder where Kat's email went. Sure enough there was one.

Dearest Kelley, (BTW I really love your name. It's so much better than calling you Shark.)

Gods, you don't know how happy I am right now. I really want to get together when you get back. We started out as strangers when I was in college, exchanging a few emails here and there. After a while it got to the point when the first thing I would do was check for an email from you. Even if you weren't going to be able to send one and if there wasn't one there, then I would send you one.

Then we found AIM. That was wonderful because then I didn't have to wait for a response and we opened up to each other more. You helped me through some bad times and I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't for you, with some of the stuff my parents put me through. You have become an indispensable part of my life. When you return I would really like to meet you and possibly discuss where we are headed. I know we both have ghosts in our closets and I would love to be able to get rid of them with you.

I hope this is not moving too fast for you and if it is I'm sorry. I have never felt this way about someone. All I know is that I love you and want to be with you.

I'm going to start painting again this week and hopefully this weekend will have some pictures to sell at the beach. I would really like it if you could be there with me.

I love you,

Your Kat.

Kelley sat there stunned. She hadn't really known what to expect when she read Kat's email, she certainly hadn't expected Kat to lay her heart out like that. But when she thought more about it she realized that that's just the way Kat was.

Kelley got up and got ready for bed. Between the plane flight, the multiple problems with the account and the emotional overload she was going through, she was suddenly very tired. However, sleep didn't come easy. It normally never did because she still had nightmares from her lover's betrayal. Tonight part of a line from Kat's email kept running through her thoughts. "…possibly discuss where we are headed."

When she thought about what she wanted from Kat, parts of erotic dreams entered her head. She had been dreaming about the two of them in bed since the day she admitted to herself that she looked forward to Kat's emails. She knew she loved Kat, but did she want a life with her or was it just sex? She was surprised to feel the sharp pain in her chest when she thought of it possibly being just sex. No it was more. It was love. It was waking up next to the person you knew you could tell anything to and not be judged. It was wanting that person to be home when you came home. She wanted Kathleen and she wanted her in a way that if she said no then it would destroy her. She knew that this was her last change at love. If it failed, then there would be no more changes. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that in her life there was no "third times a charm" thing. She thought she knew what love was before. But she was wrong. Now she had a glimpse of it and she hoped for the first time she would get to see what it was head on. After some heavy thinking, she closed her eyes and fell asleep. It didn't take long for Kat to appear.

She reached out and took the woman into her arms. "I love you Kat."

"I know, Kelley. I have never doubted that. The question is whether or not you will let me love you?" Kat replied as she kissed the woman she loved more than anything else. Kat quickly undressed Kelley, running her hands over her body as she did so. Kat took a step back and looked Kelley in the eye. "Will you? Will you let me love you, Kelley? Will you trust me not to hurt you?"

"I'm scared," was the soft reply.

Kat took off her clothes and led Kelley to the bed that had suddenly appeared. As she lay down, she pulled Kelley on top of her. Kissing her gently and holding her tight she answered. "I know. And when you're ready, I will be here for you. For now, my love, just sleep."

Kelley tensed up as Kat held her tightly. "But the nightmares? I don't want them here while you're here."

"I'll keep them away. Now rest, love. While I'm here they won't bother you."

Kelley relaxed and slept better than she had in a long time.

Meanwhile back in California a woman dreamt that she held and protected her lover from the evils of the night. The next morning she awoke exhausted and feeling like she had been fighting something all night and in a few minutes she realized that her other pillow was on top of her and she had been holding it very tightly.

The next morning Kelley woke up feeling better than she had in a long time. As she got ready and left for the meeting with the Desoto family, she realized that the nightmares that had plagued her since she came home to an empty house all those years ago hadn't made an appearance. She then remembered her dream about Kat and grinned as she realized why. And that was how the Desoto family found her when they walked into the boardroom.

"Good morning, Mr. Desoto. I understand you have some concerns about how your company will be treated if you sell it to us. My name is Ms. Shiver, and as president and owner of Shiver Industries, I will be able to address those concerns. Shall we begin?"

Sighing, Kat shut down her computer after she sent the email to Kelley. It was early Monday morning and she had a long, slow week ahead of her. Even though it had been less than a day, she already missed her. Deciding to get going, she grabbed her camera gear and headed to the beach. After a while she found a cliff that gave her a view for miles. It was breath taking. She could see nothing but water and if she turned to her right she could see several dozen sailboats. After snapping a few photos of the water, she turned to look at all the sailboats. She shook her head, wondering why everyone wasn't at work and then took several pictures of the colorful boats.

Seeing a tree she sat down and thought about Kelley and how she felt about her. Kathleen had decided that she wanted to get everything straight in her mind so that when Kelley returned from her trip they would know where she stood and how she felt about everything. As Kat sat there she wondered if Kelley looked anything like her dream lover. Even though she knew in her heart that it didn't matter if she did or not, she still couldn't help but wonder.

She knew she loved Kelley, but the question that remained was how much? What was she looking for? Did she want an occasional lover, or just a cyber lover? Or did she want more? Kat sat and thought about these questions. She knew she had to tell Kelley how she felt; it wouldn't be fair to her otherwise.

After a few hours of running the questions through her mind Kat knew what she wanted. There was no question here. She wanted someone she could share her life with. She wanted someone she could love. It didn't matter that Kelley was a woman, or that she left town for business a lot. Those things just didn't matter. What did matter was that Kelley came back to her and that she was waiting for Kelley when she came back.

With that final thought she looked up and realized that it was now close to sunset. With the clouds in the sky she realized that it would be a beautiful one too. Looking around she saw a path that led down to the beach. Following the path, she arrived at the beach and with a quick look around she saw a beautiful house.

The sun started to sink and she got several shots of the clouds in different shades of red, orange, purple, and yellow. Looking back at the house she saw the different colors reflected off the white coat of painting. She took pictures of that, as well, and decided to walk around the house. After seeing the layout of the house and getting different shots of it she walked back up the path and went home.

The next morning Kat woke up hugging her pillow. She thought back to the dream she had with Kelley in it. All of her dreams so far had been erotic. In this last one she comforted Kelley and reassured her. She wondered if Kelley had been having the same kind of dreams or if they were one sided. She thought back to a talk she had with her grandmother when she was about 17. No one had asked her to the prom and her mother blamed her for it. Said that she was cheating her out of being able to do the mother and daughter type things that are associated with the prom. She had left her house crying and went to the only source of comfort available to her, her grandmother.

"Ah child, what brings you here in such a state?" Gram had asked kindly as she pulled Kathleen in to her arms.

"Gram…she…she said I was…that I was a freak and…that…that I couldn't get a date if one…if one bit me…" Kathleen said through her tears.

Struggling to get her anger under control Gram led Kathleen into the kitchen and gave her a glass of cold water. After getting some tea Gram sat down at the table across from her granddaughter. Looking at her granddaughter Gram decided she needed to bite the bullet and have the talk she suspected she would be having eventually. "Honey, I don't think it is anything you did. Tell me, dear, if you had gone to the prom would you have been happy?"

Kathleen sat there and thought about what Gram had asked. The fact that they were in the kitchen talking at the table, something that only happened when it was a serious conversation, Kathleen knew she needed to be truthful to both herself and her grandmother. "No Gram, I don't think I would have been."

Gram nodded slightly to herself as if in agreement. "Kat, dear, are there any boys at school that you like?"

Kat thought for a moment and answered, "No. Not really."

"I see." Getting up from the table Gram got them both some tea. Looking at Kathleen over her glass she dropped the bombshell, "What about girls, are there any girls you like?" This last was asked as calmly as one would ask about the weather.

Kat had been taking a drink of tea when her grandmother asked and she ended up swallowing the wrong way. After getting herself under control, Kat looked at her grandmother like she had suddenly grown another head. "WHAT!?!?!?!? Gram, what would possess you to ask a question about that?"

"Now calm down, Kat. I think it is a valid question."

"As do I."

Kat turned and looked at her grandmother's best friend. Casey was a tall woman in her early 50's. Her thick hair had once been black and was now a beautiful silver. With startling blue eyes, Casey looked older than she actually was. In truth she looked 10 years older than her grandmother, when in fact she was 10 years younger. Kat watch in fascination as Casey walked up to Gram and kissed her tenderly on the lips. Within seconds, the kiss deepened. Kat looked on as Gram and Casey pulled back and looked deeply into each other's eyes. Kat thought she saw Gram's eyes tear up but after taking a second look she couldn't be sure. Casey looked up at Kat and smiled as she placed a hand on Gram's shoulder. Gram then covered her hand and smiled. "You see, dear, it is a perfectly reasonable question."

Kat looked at her grandmother and saw the fear in her eyes. Looking down at her hands she answered, "Her name is Sandy and she's in my science class." With that sentence Kat's life had changed. She had finally admitted to herself and her family what she knew all along. Six months later Kat found out what the tears had been for. Casey had been dying. Everyone had thought that it had been great that Gram had such a close friend. Only Kat knew just how close they had been.

Kat remembered that her grandmother had told her to take her time in finding someone; because once you did find that person you discover that you don't want to live without her. Her grandmother had lived six more years before she had died and Kat was happy that her two grandmothers were together again.

Kathleen dropped the film off later that day while she was shopping. A few hours later she returned and looked through the pictures. They were all beautiful pictures of the sunset. All except the last one, which in her opinion was the best one she had ever taken. In that picture, she had turned around and taken a picture of the house that had been behind her like a silent sentry. It was a single story large, white beach house. The house had a deck along the back that wrapped around both sides of the house. However, it was the sunset that had bathed the house in reds and oranges that made it special.

She left the store and returned home. After selecting some canvas she started to paint what she had taken pictures of. She put the picture of the house bathed by the sunset in the center of the picture and then surrounded it with cliffs, sand and the ocean. She then added some clouds and was very pleased with the end result. Over the remaining week she painted several pictures of different sizes and scenes.

On Saturday she decided to go to the beach and see if she could sell any of the pictures. After getting the proper permission, she found a spot on the boardwalk and set up her pictures. It was half way through the day and the only picture she had yet to sell was the one of the house. She decided to leave it out as she was packing up to see if there would be any last minute buyers. She had just finished putting way the other stands when a deep husky voice startled her, "So you're the one who decided to use my beach." Kat turned around and gasped, staring at the person in front of her.

Kelly sighed as she sat back in her seat. The deal had gone though, but she had had a really hard time convincing Mr. Desoto to sell. However, she had and now on Monday she could get her team in there and do a complete analysis of the company to see what would need to be done in order to bring them into the 21st century.

Kelley looked at her watch and figured it would be about 11:30 p.m. before she got home and Friday before she would be able to talk to Kat. She closed her eyes and thought about what she would do when she next talked to Kat. She was surprised at how much she had missed her during the last few days and the more she thought about it, she finally realized that she needed Kat in her life to help balance who she was and who she needed to be when dealing with her business. She was smiling when the Captain came on and said that they where making their final approach into San Diego.

Friday evening Kelley went for a run. Earlier, when she had walked around to the back of her house noticed footprints. The prints went down to the tide line and then back up the path on the cliff. She decided to go up the cliff for a quick look around to see if anyone had once again taken her "private property, no trespassing" sign. After seeing the sign once again gone she went into her garage and grabbed a new one. She decided to put it at the end of the path to see if it stayed around longer. After a quick look around she figured that nothing but the sand had been disturbed.

Kelley stretched for about 20 minutes before pushing herself to the point of wanting to collapse. She was disappointed that she hadn't been able to get a hold of Kat. She really missed her and had wanted to talk to her friend. As she ran, she started think about all the things that could have happened in the week she had been gone. She shook her head as she came back to the house. Nothing had happened to Kat. She would be able to tell if anything had. Wouldn't she? After taking a shower she decided to make up for some lost sleep and went to bed around 8 p.m. A couple of hours later she was joined in her dreamscape by Kat.

Kelley opened her eyes and was greeted by the smiling face of her beloved. Kelley smiled and held out her arms and wrapped them around Kat as she walked into them. Kat looked up at Kelley and smiled.

"I missed you, Kelley."

"I know, love. But I'm home now."

"Yes we are home, aren't we?"

Kelley smiled as she led Kat over to the couch that appeared. She sat down and rested her head against Kat's stomach. Kat wrapped her arms around her lover and held her close. After a few minutes Kat pushed Kelley back and straddled her legs, sitting on her lap. "I really missed you, Kelley," she said. She leaned forward and brushed her lips against Kelley's.

Kelley smiled and wrapped her hand around the back of Kat's head. Looking into her eyes, she saw the love Kat had for her. Tears formed in the corners of her eyes as she responded, "I've missed you too, Kat. Please let me show you how much." Kelley pulled Kat in for a deep passionate kiss and a low moan escaped as Kat brought Kelley's other hand to her breast.

"Yes." Neither woman knew who said it, but then it didn't matter.

On separate sides of town two women smiled and slipped deeper into sleep.

Then next morning Kelley woke up feeling refreshed and decided to head down to the boardwalk to do some people watching. She enjoyed trying to figure people out and the boardwalk was the perfect place to do it. Plus, people watching was a great way to learn how to read people in the boardrooms and it was a skill she had perfected over the years.

After a while Kelley started seeing people with beautiful pictures. There were all kinds of different scenes and sizes. She started hearing a few people talk about a new artist and decided to check it out. She still had not replaced all the stuff that had been stolen and still needed a few pictures. It hadn't taken long to find the artist. She had gotten there shortly after the artist had set up and watched her all day, from across the boardwalk, in the patio of a small cafe. As she watched her, for reasons unknown she found herself drawn to her. Sure the woman was good looking, but there was something about her that didn't want to let go. The artist was about 5'4", petite but muscular, and had blond hair with reddish highlights. There was something about her that made Kelley want to walk up to her and wrap her arms tightly around her.

Kelley had been surprised to see her house in one of the pictures. She had to admit that the artist was very good. She left around one to go and get some lunch and came back about an hour later. She was happy to find all but her picture had been sold. That thought stopped her and she started wondering why she thought of the picture has hers. She decided it must have been because it was her house. As she watched the artist cleaning up and preparing to leave for the day, she decided that she wanted the picture. The artist turned around and Kelley gasped as something deep within her stirred. She wasn't sure what it was or what had happened but she knew without a doubt that there was something about the woman in front of her. Deciding that she at least wanted to talk to her, she walked up to the woman as the artist turned her back to her. "So your the one who decided to use my beach."

Kat jumped slightly as a deep husky voice came out of nowhere. She quickly turned around and saw the most beautiful woman standing in front of her. The woman was easily 6 feet tall and had long dark hair, but what drew Kat to her most were her startling blue eyes. It took Kat a few minutes but she finally realized she was staring when an eyebrow raised and a smirk appeared on the woman's face. "I'm sorry. What did you say?"

Kelley gestured toward the picture. "I came home yesterday and saw foot prints leading down to the beach and returning. With it being a private beach, I was wondering who had been there."

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was a private beach. I didn't see a sign so I assumed it was ok." Kat had started to regain her composure but couldn't look the woman in the eye. "If you want, you can have the picture."

Kelley stood there and was please with the smaller woman's reaction to her. For some reason she couldn't explain she was please that she was speechless. "That's kind of you. However, I insist on paying for it. How much do you want for it?"

Kat stood there and thought for a moment. "How about you take it and later I can use your beach to collect more pictures to paint?"

Kelley smiled at the artist's spunk. She would go along with it but had decided not to let the woman know. "Hmm... how about if I take the painting and you come over for dinner tomorrow and we can discuss the terms of payment?"

"Excuse me? Just what did you mean by terms of payment?" Kat had been propositioned several times and was a little perturbed at the fact that people thought every artist would sleep with someone just to sell a painting.

Kelley quickly ran her words through her mind and blushed as she realized the artist thought she wanted her to sleep with her for payment. "Ummm...that's not what I meant. I just wanted to know if you wanted to have dinner with me and we would discuss the terms of using the beach."

Kat looked a little sheepish as she responded. "Sorry. I have had 3 guys and 2 women ask if I wanted to sleep with them. The women were not my type and the men were the wrong gender. I just thought..." Kat took a few seconds to gather her thoughts. "I just thought you wanted that too. I'm sorry."

"Listen that's ok. My name is..."

"Excuse me, Miss. Oh Miss..."

Both women looked up and saw an elderly lady standing off to the side, waving Kat over. "How about we meet here tomorrow and then we can figure out where to go from there, ok?"

"That would be fine. Meet here at about 4?"

Kat looked over at the woman as she called for her again. "Four sounds good. See you then."

"Okay, bye." Kelley took the painting and walked back to her car. It wasn't until she was halfway home before realizing that she didn't even know the young artist's name. After she got home she checked for a signature but only found some initials.

Walking into the living room, Kelley hung the picture over the fireplace. She then stepped back and decided it was perfect. She went into her office to see if Kat was online. When she booted up her computer, she noticed only two of the three lights were on the modem. She walked into the living room and turned on the TV and found out the cable was out. After calling the cable company, she found out that a backhoe broke through some cables and it would be late tomorrow or even Monday before it would be fixed. Letting out a sigh, Kelley walked back into her office and tried to get some work done.

Kat walked back into her apartment and threw her keys on the table. She was on autopilot as she walked into the living room and logged into her computer. I can't believe I agreed to meet that woman. I don't even know her. And what about Kelley? That thought stopped her cold. Kat searched for Kelley, but when she realized she wasn't online she decided to take a bubble bath. Kat went into the bathroom and started the bath. When she was sure she would have plenty of bubbles she went into the bedroom and removed her clothes. It wasn't until she was settled in the bath that she gave her thoughts permission to continue. I know I want Kelley, but damn it, I haven't talked to a person standing in front of me since Gram's death. Why do I feel guilty? It's not like I'm going to sleep with her or anything. Gods, I'm so confused. Kat got out of the tub and dried off. She walked into the bedroom and crawled into bed. When she finally fell asleep, her dreams turned erotic but, instead of the ghostly presence she had come to associate with Kelley, she dreamed of the woman she was to meet tomorrow.

The next morning Kat woke up feeling the way she normally did after dreaming of Kelley: very content. However, she couldn't remember her dreams and that was very strange. Anytime she had dreamed of Kelley she always was able to remember what they did in those dreams. She shrugged it off when she noticed the time. She had wanted to get several things done before she went to meet the mystery woman. Kat got up, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast and was out the door in an hour. She had to go buy supplies and that would take a few hours. She also wanted to go grocery shopping. She was late getting back and had to hurry. She had wanted to be there early, hoping that she would be able to see the woman she was going to meet and convince herself that she didn't need to feel guilty.

Kelley was more nervous about this meeting than she had been last night, before she went to bed, before her dreams had a chance to betray her. She knew she loved Kat and wanted to be with her more than anything else in this world. Or so she thought. Last night instead of Kat being in her dreams it was this young artist. She didn't know what was going on but she did know that she was decidedly uncomfortable with this meeting. She had been hoping the artist wouldn't show up when she caught sight of her. Sighing Kelley put on a smile and rose to meet her.

Kat had finally found parking and walked to the small cafe. It didn't take long for her to see the woman she was supposed to meet. The closer she got to her the slower she went as she watched the older woman's face and the range of emotions on it. One minute she was smiling and the next she was frowning. Kat could tell that she had to force the grin on her face when she caught sight of her. Kat stood there for a few seconds until she realized the woman was walking toward her. Steeling herself she walked to meet the taller woman.

Kelley walked up to Kat and held out her hand. "Glad you could make it." She surprised herself when she realized it was true. There was just something about this young woman that put her at ease.

Kat shook her hand and wondered about the change in attitude of the older woman. "Are you sure? You're not having second thoughts are you? If you are, it's okay, we could do this another time."

Kelley sighed as she figured out that the artist must have been watching her for some time. "Why don't we go back to my place and I'll explain it." Kelley wanted to slap herself upside the head as she said that. Gods, that sounds like a lame come-on line. "I mean that is if you want to." Why don't we just shut-up now and hope she doesn't think we are too big of a fool, huh?

Kat tried very hard not to laugh as she watched the obviously nervous woman try not to dig a bigger hole. "That's fine. My name's Kathleen. I know we really didn't have time to exchange names yesterday."

"I'm Kelley. remember how to get to my house?" Kelley was suddenly nervous and something was tickling the back of her mind. However, no matter how hard she tried to pull it forward, it wouldn't come.

"Sure, I will just meet you there, ok?"

"Yeah, that sounds fine. Umm...see you there." Kelley fled as quickly as she could, wondering what was wrong with her. She could face down angry CEOs but one little blond haired artist left her so far off balance she would need a map to get back.

Kat shook her head as she watched the woman leave. Not for the first time since seeing the older woman, she wondered if this meeting was such a good idea.

It didn't take long for the women to get to the beach house. Kat was stunned at how big the house was inside. There was a lot of space, but looking at the house from the outside you wouldn't think that there was. There was the master bedroom, two guest rooms, an office and three bathrooms counting the master bath. The kitchen was huge and well used; next to the kitchen was a formal dining room. There was also a large living room with a sliding glass door that led to the beach.

Kelley led Kat into the living room and then went to make coffee. Kat, hearing a crash from the kitchen, got up to see if she could help. She found Kelley staring down at a cup that had fallen into the kitchen sink. Movement caught her eye and she saw that Kelley's hands were shaking. She walked up to the shaking woman and placed her hand on the shaking ones.

Kelley walked into the kitchen and started the coffee. Her hands had been wet when she got one of the coffee cups and she dropped it into the sink, breaking it. Staring down at it, she realized how hard this was for her. This was the first time since she had been betrayed that she had let anyone other than repair people into her home. She was nervous and scared at the same time. She jumped when a small hand placed itself on hers. She looked down into jade green eyes and for a few minutes lost herself in them. Tears started to run down the sides of her face and the hand that had been on hers in support reached up to catch them.

It broke Kat's heart when the seemingly strong woman started to cry. She led Kelley back into the living room and settled her on the couch. She settled down next to her and took her hand, letting her know that she was there.

Kelley slowly started to open up to this complete stranger. She told her how she had been betrayed and how it was hard for her to trust anyone. The fact that she was in the position she was in now was scaring her more than anything else in this world. Finally she told her about Kat and how she felt about the young woman who had captured her heart and how she felt she betrayed her in her dreams. Worn out by the confession and her emotions she fell asleep with Kat holding her hand.

Kat had been surprised when the woman started talking about her past. The surprise quickly turned to anger as she listened to how she had been betrayed, and the anger turned back into surprise and joy as she realized that this woman was her Kelley, the woman she loved more than anything else in this world. She started to tell Kelley who she was when she realized that she was asleep. Getting up from the couch she found a blanket and put it over the sleeping woman.

Kat walked into the kitchen and got a cup of coffee. She walked back into the living room and went out onto the deck. She was angry about what had happened to Kelley but she didn't dwell on that. She concentrated more on the fact that she had met the woman of her dreams. She smiled as she replayed the part of the confession where Kelley thought she had betrayed her. She found it cute that even though they hadn't met she felt that she was Kat's woman. She then realized that was the reason for the frown she saw earlier. Kelley had been fighting with herself on meeting her and the feeling of betraying Kat. Kat all of a sudden realized that she had been sitting out here for a couple of hours and that it was time for a late dinner. She got up and smiled when she saw that Kelley was still sleeping. She walked into the kitchen and looked to see what she could make for dinner.

Kelley woke to the smell of dinner cooking. She moaned as the confession of the early evening came crashing back down on her. She looked at the clock and saw that it was 8 p.m. I can't believe I did that. Guess it's time to face the music. Hope she understands. She got up and went into the kitchen. Her jaw dropped at what she saw. Kat was dancing back and forth between pots to a song on the small radio she had in the kitchen. She coughed to get Kat's attention and smiled as she watched the blush form on the smaller woman's face.

Kat had been busy dancing to the music and concentrating on not burning dinner when she heard the cough. She stopped and then turned around and even though she felt herself blushing she couldn't help but answer the smile with one of her own. "Hi. I hope you don't mind that I helped myself to your kitchen. I got hungry and thought we could both use a meal."

Kelley decided to put away her talk for after dinner. "That's fine. Is there anything I could help you with?"

"How about you set the table?"

"Okay, I think I can handle that."

The two women ate the meal talking about little stuff. Kat kept it toned down, as she didn't want to scare Kelley anymore than she already was. However, Kelley didn't have the same idea. "Where did you learn to cook like that? That was wonderful."

Kat smiled and decided to bite the bullet. "Thank you. I believe I told you my grandmother taught me how to cook." With that she got up and started clearing the table.

Kelley sat there for a few minutes before the comment registered. Getting up she grabbed the rest of the plates and took them into the kitchen. She was about to speak when Kat placed two fingers on her lips stopping her. "Let's get the kitchen cleaned up and then go out onto the deck. I will answer all your questions then."

Kelley nodded and the two women quickly cleaned up the kitchen. While cleaning the kitchen, Kelley had made a fresh pot of coffee and the two women took the pot and went out onto the deck. She watched as Kathleen leaned against the railing. OH GODS!! Kathleen is Kat.

Kat smiled as she watched realization flash across Kelley's face. She nodded her head in answer to the silent question. Kelley walked up to Kat. Smiling she reached out and caressed her face. "I can't believe it's you."

Kat leaned into the caress as she answered. "I know. I didn't believe it either until you told me about how you felt you betrayed me. I'm so sorry about what happened."

"I'm not." Seeing Kat's puzzled looked she explained. "Kat, if it hadn't happened I couldn't guarantee that we would have met." As she said this, she lowered her head to kiss the woman who she had given her heart to. "And I wouldn't trade that for anything."

Kat watched as Kelley bent down to kiss her. Her legs almost gave out as she felt her lips touch hers. She traced Kelley's lips with her tongue seeking entrance to her mouth. A moan escaped her as she was granted entrance. After what felt like an eternity they came up for air and Kelley wrapped Kat in her arms.

"I love you, Kat."

"I love you too, Kelley."

The women stayed wrapped in each other's arms for a while, just savoring the moment. Kelley pulled back and looked down at the smaller woman. Upon seeing the sleepy look on her face she quickly made a decision. "Kat, it's late. Why don't you spend the night and tomorrow we can talk as I can work for a few hours here in the office."

Kelley watched as the pulse point in Kat's neck picked up and saw the panicked expression on her face. She could have kicked herself as she realized that Kat thought she wanted her to sleep with her, not that she didn't, but she agreed with the look on Kat's face, that it was too soon. "I mean for you to use one of the spare bedrooms. It's too soon for us to sleep in the same bed."

Kat wasn't sure she should be relieved or insulted with the last statement and decided to settle for relieved. "Okay. I think I can handle that."

Both women walked back into the house and Kelley got Kat a shirt she could use as a nightshirt. She let Kat pick her bedroom and almost commented on her choice when she saw that Kat had picked the room right next to hers. She handed Kat the shirt and awkwardly said good night.

Kat however had other plans. She stopped Kelley and pulled the taller woman to her. She pressed her lips against Kelley's and kissed her hard. Just as Kelley had gotten over her shock and started to respond she stopped and back away. "Good night, Kelley." With that she walked back into the bedroom and closed the door.

Kelley leaned against the wall trying to process what had just happened. Shaking her head, she walked down the hall to her bedroom. She went in and got ready for bed and went to sleep. Shortly after she was asleep she started to dream. In her dream, instead of going to sleep she tossed and turned a few times before she admitting that she was extremely aroused, and after a few minutes of debate she decided to do something about it.

Kat, having the same problem, opened the door and went into the kitchen to get a drink of water. She heard a moan come from Kelley's bedroom and was about to go and see if she was ok when she heard Kelley softly call out her name. She blushed as she realized that she was hearing Kelley pleasure herself. Knowing she should go back into her room she couldn't help but creep closer to her room. She felt her juices start flowing as she heard Kelley moan again. She peeked around the doorjamb and gave herself away as she saw Kelley lying in the middle of the bed with one hand using a dildo between her legs and the other hand teasing her nipples.

Kelley looked up and smiled as she watched the younger woman. She knew she should stop but she was way too horny to. She started sliding the dildo in and out of her center faster as her eyes locked with Kat's. Her desire deepened as she watched Kat come into the room and sit down on the bed. She almost came as Kat placed her hand on the dildo and started sliding it in and out of her. Kelley came hard when Kat started massaging her clit. She reached down and grabbed Kat's hand, leaving the dildo in her, but pulling Kat up to her.

The two women kissed and Kat lost her nightclothes. Kelley broke the kiss and asked Kat if she trusted her. Seeing Kat nod yes, Kelley removed the dildo from her center, and moved so she was sitting up against the headboard of the bed. Kat smiled as Kelley motioned her to sit between her legs with her back against Kelley's chest. Once Kat was sitting against Kelley's chest, Kelley set the dildo down on the bed in between Kat's legs. She brought her hands to Kat's breasts and started teasing the nipples. Kat moan and started to bring her hand to her center when Kelley stopped her. Kelley nipped at the back of her neck as she slid her hand down to Kat's center. She moaned as she felt how wet her lover was. She slowly slipped in two fingers and held Kat still when the woman tried to thrust her hips against her lover. Kat groaned when Kelley took her fingers out but then gasped when she felt the dildo brush up against her wet lips. Kelley, as to not hurt her friend, slowly pushed the dildo into Kat. Despite the hold Kelley had on Kat, she was able to thrust her hips and take the dildo completely into her. Kat, close to her climax, started thrusting her hips quickly. Kelley closed her eyes and let her Kat take the lead. She had wanted to take it slow but Kat wouldn't let her. She bit down on Kat's neck and felt Kat start to tremble. Within seconds Kat came hard, screaming out Kelley's name.

Kat collapsed against Kelley as she recovered. Kelley smiled and held her lover tightly. After a few minutes she took the dildo and, after deciding on cleaning it in the morning, she put it on the nightstand. She maneuvered Kat down and laid next to her, pulling her into her arms. Kat smiled as she felt Kelley's arms wrap around her, leaving her feeling safe and loved.

The next morning both women woke in their respective beds feeling completely relaxed. Kelley had already been up and had gotten her work done by the time Kat dragged herself out of bed. Kelley smiled a good morning as Kat walked into the kitchen. Kat poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table. Deciding to see if Kelley had the same dreams she did, Kat decided to ask. "So, do you have one?"

Kelley had just taken a drink of coffee and sprayed it all over the kitchen when she heard Kat speak. Deciding to see if Kat was talking about what she thought Kat was talking about, she played dumb. "Have what?"

Sighing, Kat shook her head as walked up to Kelley. "You know damn well what I'm talking about. Don't tell me you didn't have the same dream as I did. So do you have one?" While she had been talking, Kat had drawn closer to Kelley and was close to kissing her.

Kelley moved the remaining distant and answered right before she claimed Kat's lips. "Yes," was all she said. It was all that needed to be said as both women realized that it was more than just love that claimed them. It was the smell of burnt toast that brought them out of the kiss. Kelley broke eye contact to make sure the toaster wasn't on fire before she spoke next. "Yes, I do have one. I have other things as well."

Kat just nodded and went back to the table, feeling weak-kneed. There was still much to talk about and a lot to learn. But she was prepared to take the rest of her life to do so.

After breakfast, both women went out to the deck to watch the waves crash upon the shore and talk. Kat was the first to break the silence. "Kel, where do we go from here? I mean I know what I want, but do you?"

Turning to face the woman she loved she took Kat's hand before she spoke. "I spent this last week trying to figure out just what it was that I wanted." Kelley looked back over the ocean. "I have been living in a cold dark place these last five years, Kat. As far as I could tell there was no light at the end of the tunnel. But then you came into my life and changed it. You're the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing before I go to sleep. I know what I want. I want you. I want to wake up in the morning and see you next to me. I want to come home from a long day at work and know you're there. I want to be able to smile as the plane lands after a business trip away from home because I know that you will be there waiting for me. I want to share the rest of my life with you." Looking back at Kat, she smiled as she reached up and wiped her tears away. "I guess what I'm trying to say is will you marry me?"

Kat threw her arms around Kelley and started to cry heavily. She had been scared, not knowing exactly what Kelley wanted from her. And now she wanted to be her wife. She wouldn't be alone any more and she knew that this is what she wanted. Pulling back she looked up into the concerned face of her future wife. "Yes. Yes I will be there after a long day. Yes I will be there to welcome you home after a trip. Yes I will share the rest of our lives with you. Yes I will marry you."

Kelley felt the last wall around her heart crumble into dust at Kat's answer. She pulled Kat into her lap and kissed her softly. She felt Kat shift and wrap her arms around her neck and her legs around her waist. Breaking the kiss, Kelley rested her forehead against Kat's. "I love you, Kathleen."

Kat smiled and rubbed her upper body gently against Kelley's. "I love you too, Kelley."


Six months later, Kat and Kelley where married by a friend of Kat's grandmother. He had been in the area and looked her up.

Kat continued her work as an artist and within a year had her work in several galleries and was making a small fortune doing something she loved.

Kelley kept the company and after five years decided that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with her wife. She gave the company back to the son and grandson as a going away gift and sold Shiver Industries for a little less than $100 billion.

When Kat reached thirty, both women decided that they wanted children. With Kelley being thirty-nine, they decided that Kat would bear the children. Nine months later, twins, a boy and a girl, were born to the couple. They named them Nicholas Matthew Shiver and Amy Katlin Shiver.

Life for the small family was wonderful and things continued well for several years. However, six months before Nicholas and Amy's twenty-first birthday, tragedy struck as Kat was diagnosed with an advance stage of cancer, the same kind that took her beloved grandmother. One week before their 21st birthday, the children went to wake their parents up and found that they had both died in their sleep wrapped around each other.

The End!

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