Disclaimer: Although I've taken the girls to a different time and place they still don't

belong to me and I have absolutely no intention of making any monetary profit off of this story. Although Xena and Gabrielle are not mine the story is so please respect that. This disclaimer will apply to all future story chapters as well.

Subtext: Yeah, and it can get quite explicit once it gets going. So if that is not your cup

of tea or if you aren't open-minded enough to read it anyway then you might want to trot off and find something else to read. If you don't heed the warning then don't blame me, I warned ya.

Series Comments: This is just chapter 1 of what is looking to be at least a four chapter

story. I don't know, could be longer it all depends on reader's feedback what strikes me as I am going along. Also, for those of you who have read the first three sections of my other "series" I promise that the next installment has at least been running around in my brain, even if I haven't put it to keyboard yet. Soon, I hope.

Misc: I apologize in advance for the profanity. I tend to swear a bit in life so it is

transferred over to my writing…sorry…If you like it please sent feedback to xfbard@yahoo.com I thrive on positive comments. Enjoy…

Second Chance at Forever

Chapter 2.

Introductions and Embarrassments

Just like the previous day I woke to an empty bed and although I realized that Xena had a "real job" I was still disappointed that we had yet to spend a lazy morning together. 'Well,' I sighed to myself, 'at least it's Friday. Maybe I can convince her to stay here this weekend.' I thought as I padded my way toward the bathroom for a shower.

"Aww, shit." I swore to myself as I stood in the bathroom nude, adjusting the water temperature. "Just what I need." I added, stepping under the warm spray. Due to my seeming obsession with getting Xena to respond to my advances I had conveniently forgotten that my mother had planned a visit for the upcoming weekend. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy my mother's company, we hadn't seen each other in a few months, but this was just not what I had envisioned for my first official weekend with the tall FBI Agent. "Well, that will certainly put the kibosh on any extracurricular activities for the next few days." I was still shaking my head, cursing my forgetfulness when I heard the frosted shower door slide and felt a warm body sidle up behind me.

"Mmmm, much better than work." I heard my lover purr as I spun in her embrace, surprised.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, a bit more harshly than I had intended.

"Do you want me to leave?" She asked, dropping her arms from around my waist.

"NO! No, you just surprised me, sorry. I was lost in my thoughts there for a minute and I didn't hear you come in." I grabbed her hands to prevent her from leaving the steamy shower stall.

"You sure?" She intoned with an arched eyebrow.

"Definitely, I was just thinking before I got in here how much I wished you didn't have to work today." I admitted, pulling her against me and under the shower spray.

"Just your luck, I now officially have the day off." She smiled.

"How did you manage that?" I returned her happy grin.

"Well, I attended morning meeting, determined that there was nothing pressing on the table for today and then much to my A.D.'s surprise I requested a vacation day; he about had a heart attack, I haven't taken a day off since I started at VICAP. I think they were about to make me take a mandatory vacation." She joked.

"That much time banked, huh?" She nodded.


"Maybe we should take a vacation, go somewhere tropical once I finish my book." I suggested as I drizzled a bit of fragrant shower gel into my palm and began to work up a nice lather.

"Hmm, sun, sand and you in a bikini, I don't know..." she pretended to ponder it for a minute.

"Who said anything about a bathing suit?" I teased, arching my own eyebrow in imitation.

"Well, since you are twisting my arm and all…" She agreed and I chuckled.

"Riigghhttt..." I rolled my eyes and ran my hands over her stomach and chest, spreading the slippery soap on her skin. She moaned when I spent some extra attention on her hardened nipples.

"Yeah, much better than work." She sighed.

"Well, I would hope so." I said, sliding my arms around her to soap up her delicious backside, slipping down to tease between her legs.

"Don't tease, Gabrielle." She warned playfully.

"I'm not; I have every intention of following through." I smiled seductively and spun us around so that she was directly under the water. The soap was rinsed away as she tilted her head back to wet her hair. "Do you want me to wash it?" I asked when she opened her eyes to look at me.

"That's ok, I did it this morning." She told me as she reached for the shower gel and began to return the favor. I practically melted when I felt her hands knead my lower back and ass. "Rinse." She commanded after she had worked the two-in-one cleanser into my hair. Obediently I did as told, letting out a surprised squeak when I felt her warm mouth envelop the point of my breast while my head was tilted back. Her tongue was oh so talented, circling and then flicking at the tender bud before she sucked forcefully causing a responding clench in my rapidly warming sex.

"God, Xena." I moaned, tangling my hands in her hair partially to pull her closer and partly to keep me from collapsing into a puddle on my shower floor. "It's settled, you are never leaving this apartment again." I sighed and I heard her chuckle as she switched breasts, moving to lavish attention on my neglected globe repeating her pattern of nips and firm suction.

"That is a nice fantasy." She finally responded as she worked her lips up the column of my throat.

"Isn't it though." I agreed before capturing her wandering mouth in a kiss. She sighed and I took the opportunity to thrust my probing tongue into the warm confines, stroking her own probing muscle and enticing it to come out and play a bit. Apparently she didn't require any coaxing for she was soon in control, stabbing her tongue into my mouth and backing me up against the shower wall, the cool tile against my back making me shudder. 'This is an exciting turn of events.' I thought when she lifted one leg off the floor and wrapped it around her waist, exposing me to the humid air of the bathroom.

"This ok?" She asked, breaking our kiss and pressing her body the full length against mine.

"Oh yeah." I breathed and rested my head back against the almond tile. 'Are you kidding, me of course it's alright. Where was this dominating personality last night?' I thought as we resumed kissing. The warm spray of water surrounding us, combined with the steam filling the small room was making this whole situation very erotic. I suddenly wished I had a video camera so I could tape us and watch it over and over and over.

Xena's hands felt like they were everywhere at once, caressing and fondling my sensitive skin as she mapped my mouth and neck with her tongue and teeth. I had a feeling that I would bear marks of this session for a few days to come. I thought I was as aroused as I could get when I felt her start to slide to her knees before me, resting the leg that was around her waist over her shoulder. Apparently I was wrong, for when I looked down and saw her kneeling, intent on pleasuring me, I felt my support leg go weak for a moment.

"Can you stay like that?" She asked, concerned.

"I think so; the visual just caught me a bit off guard." I admitted, resting my hand on her free shoulder for a bit of extra strength.

"Hang on." She instructed with a hint of a grin before lowering her head to my sex and running her wet tongue over my swollen outer folds.

"XENA!" I cried when she parted my sex with her fingers and began exploring me in earnest. No wonder she was so good at her job, she was very focused and completely thorough with her investigation, hitting every sensitive spot I had, repeatedly. Just as I was about to beg for more she inserted two fingers into my center and began to pump them in and out in time with the flicks of her tongue. Wanting to prolong my pleasure she avoided my erect clit, stroking just to the side and under the demanding bundle of nerves. Practically writhing beneath her touch I tangled my hands in her hair and pulled her harder against my needy flesh.

"Xenahhhhh….make me…I want to come…please." I begged between moans when I felt I could take no more of her torturously exquisite touch. Fortunately for me she complied, immediately adding another finger to her probing and dragging the length of her tongue over my straining clit. Before I knew what was happening I was coming. Screaming out her name I slammed my head back against the tile and I saw twinkling before my closed eyes. The force of my climax caught me by surprise, I was tingling from knees to chest and Xena was still moving her mouth against me, drawing out the pleasure for as long as she could. "Stop, stop…" I sighed when the aftershocks began to subside. Raising from her knees my dark-haired lover pressed herself against me and seized my mouth in a kiss. I groaned when I tasted myself on her tongue. The pressure of her weight was the only thing keeping me standing at that point. Slowly she withdrew her fingers causing another burst of flutters in my sex and maneuvered us under the cooling spray.

"You sure you've only had one lover?" I questioned dreamily as I clung to her, waiting for my strength to return.

"Yeah, why?"

"Because that was amazing, you are soooo good." I hummed and she laughed.

"Well, it's been almost ten years, I've had lots of time to fantasize, especially in the past two weeks." She purred into my ear. "You are very inspirational."

"Xena," I admonished her lightly, "you were thinking about having sex with me from the moment we met?" I was genuinely surprised, especially since our first few days were a bit rough.

"Well, maybe not immediately, but after you kissed me, hell yeah. Despite the way I acted I was still totally enamored with you." She confessed.

"Mmm, I'm glad, cuz I think I kinda like you." I teased and received a light slap on my backside in retaliation.

"Only kinda?" Xena asked in mock indignance.

"Well, maybe more than kinda, a lot more."

"That's more like it." She said and I could hear the smile in her voice. It was hard to believe that we had only known each other for two weeks and already I knew I was hopelessly in love with the blue-eyed woman sharing my shower. Boy, I had it bad, but luckily I knew that she did too.

"Water's getting cold." She commented after a few silent moments.

"Guess we'll have to take this party elsewhere." I replied my head nuzzled in the crook of her neck, my arms around her waist.

"Guess so." She reached behind her and deftly turned off the shower. Releasing her I opened the glass door and stepped onto the bath mat. Quickly I dried myself off and handed Xena a towel so she could do the same. She was about to reach for her discarded clothing when I grabbed her hand and began pulling her out of the bathroom.

"Where we going?" She asked as I walked backwards through the apartment.

"To finish what you started. I don't want to be labeled a tease now, do I?" I winked at her.

"I was wondering about that." She mused.

"Yeah, well I was ambushed in the shower." I smiled.

"I wouldn't say ambushed, per se." She laughed.

"No, it was an ambush, but I liked it. A lot." I yanked harder on her hands, spinning her around and pushing her back onto the bed.

"How much?" She asked, her eyes getting impossibly bluer by the moment.

"Let me show you." I purred as I crawled up her body to capture her lips, intent on hearing her scream my name loudly at least once before lunch.

? ? ?

"So, what do you want to do this weekend?" She asked me over a smoked turkey on wheat a little over an hour later.

"Fuck!" I swore and she looked at me a bit surprised, she had never heard me curse before.

"Well, that is not necessarily the word I would use, but…" I laughed and cut her off.

"No, that's not what I meant, but yes that too. I forgot to tell you what I was thinking about when you so rudely interrupted me in the shower." I teased her. She raised her eyebrow in question as she chewed.

"My mother is coming to town." I rushed out. "I completely forgot until this morning. Her plane comes in tomorrow morning and she is here till Monday night." I ran my hand through my drying bangs in frustration at the situation.

"Oh. Well, I guess I will go back to my apartment then." Xena said, resigned. I scowled at myself when I noticed her start picking at the sprouts on her sandwich.

"No, I mean you don't have to, you can stay. I want you to. Stay that is." Why was it that I suddenly had difficulty speaking? I am a writer; this is so not my style.

"I don't want to intrude on your time with your mom." She didn't meet my gaze.

"Xena, I want you to meet her." I explained, grabbing her hand to prevent her from picking at her food. "Stay here, please." I asked.

"You sure? I mean this is so new and who knows if…" I held up a hand to stop her.

"Ah stop! We talked about this, doesn't matter how new it is. We are building a relationship here and when you are involved with someone you are involved with their life too, that includes family. Besides it's just my mom, it's not as if it's the Spanish Inquisition." I joked, trying to get back our playful mood of a few minutes ago.

"How long has she known you are gay?" Xena asked after a moment.

"Uh, well officially since sophomore year of college, but unofficially she probably suspected a few years before that, why?" I asked a bit surprised at this turn in conversation.

"Was she upset, when you told her, I mean?" I sensed that my answers to her questions would be important when it came time to telling her own family so I was as honest as I could be.

"No, I don't think she was upset. I think she was a little disappointed that she probably wouldn't be getting any grandchildren, but all she really wanted was for me to be happy. When I think about it now, I realize that it was probably quite obvious to her. I mean, during high school I didn't have any boyfriends. I preferred hanging out with my girlfriends and always made excuses as to why I rejected all the boys who asked me out. I didn't figure it all out for myself until my senior year when I developed this huge crush on a girl who was on the ski team with me. God, I was such a nervous wreck whenever she was around."

"Did you ever tell her how you felt?"

"No, I wasn't ready to make that step; that happened in college. I guess it was a safer environment for me, you know away from home, from where anyone could possibly see me out with another woman. It gave me a chance to become comfortable with who I am." I shrugged.

"How many women did you…" she paused for a moment, "date?" She asked and I realized that it wasn't so important how many women I dated as how many of them I had slept with.

"Not many, I wasn't into the whole casual dating thing. I had two long term relationships before I met Emily. And by long term I mean a couple of months, six at the most. Emily was my first lover, though. I just wasn't ready before I met her. Granted I fooled around a little with the others, but nothing serious, kissing and some clothes on groping, that sort of stuff." She nodded.

"What did your dad say when you told him?"

"Well, he was harder to convince. He was never hostile, and at first he kind of played it like it was a phase I was going through, but eventually he came around. He was pretty quiet about the whole thing until he realized that I was serious and that I had a long term girlfriend."

"Then what?"

"Then he just pulled me aside one day asked me the required 'you don't like any men' question and when I said no he admitted that as long as I was happy, he was happy. Mom is still more open about meeting the women in my life, but I guess that is normal since I was closer to her as a child. Dad just takes it all in stride, just goes with the flow; he's more of a don't ask don't tell kind of guy where as mom is a bit too nosy sometimes." I smiled, remembering how nervous I was when I first came out to my mom.

"Was it hard for you, telling them?" She asked, still picking at her lunch.

"God, I was so nervous. I think I almost threw up on my way to meet my mother for lunch that day." I chuckled at the memory, "I asked her to meet me at a restaurant where I knew that she wouldn't make too big of a scene. I had my whole speech planned out, but in the end I just blurted it out totally forgetting what I had originally prepared. I guess, when I think about it, I couldn't have asked for a better reaction."

"I don't know how my parents will react." Xena confessed with a shrug of her shoulders when I had finished speaking. "I guess that is one of the reasons why I have never told them. I wasn't comfortable with myself when Sarah and I split, I felt like I had done something wrong, that I was at fault for her behavior." I was about to refute that statement when she held up a hand and continued speaking. "Now I know better, what she did had nothing to do with me. And over the years I have come to terms with the fact that I am gay, but when I met you was the first time I was happy about it. I want to be with you in every way and I am not ashamed to admit that anymore. I want my parents to know that I have found someone who makes me happier than I have ever been. You are the reason I want to tell them, I want them to know the reason why I called them the other day in such a good mood that my mother didn't even recognize my voice when she answered the phone." I smiled broadly, pleased beyond proportion by her comment.

"Do you talk to them a lot?" I asked, trying to gauge how close my lover was to her parents.

"I talk to my mom every weekend and she usually relays my messages to dad, although sometimes I can hear him in the background."

"So you are close then." I commented and she nodded. "Do you think they might suspect something?"

"Probably, I mean look at me, in my thirties, never been married and I haven't even mentioned seeing anyone to them, ever. And it's not as if they have never asked me if I have met someone, I usually just hedge around the subject. Tell them I am too busy to be dating, or that my job takes me out of town a lot. That sort of stuff."

"Well, then they probably have thought about it." I agreed.

"God, thinking about telling them after all these years makes my stomach clench." She sighed and pushed the remainder of her sandwich away from her.

"I'll go with you if you want, but I would also understand if you wanted to tell them alone." I reached across the table and took her hand.

"I think I should probably tell them alone, but I would like it if you came with me, we could stay at a nice bed and breakfast I know and I could just stop by the house. That way if it goes well you can meet them or if it goes badly I will already have a place to go afterwards…" She trailed off.

"That sounds wonderful. Whenever you want, just say the word and we will go." I reassured her and she smiled gratefully at me. "For now, though, we have my mother to deal with. How do you want to do this? I would like for you to stay and meet her, but if you are really uncomfortable with it you don't have to. I won't force you to do anything you don't want to do." I watched her as she thought it over.

"What time does she arrive?" She asked after a few moments of silence. I waited on the edge of my seat, figuratively, for her to look at me. When she did I immediately felt my anxiety level drop a few notches for she no longer seemed about to bolt.

"About ten tomorrow morning. She takes the shuttle in from the airport. She says it gives her time to calm down from the irritations of flying." I laughed and shrugged at my mother's strange tendencies.

"Oookkaayy." Xena dragged out the word and looked at me strangely.

"Hey, don't ask me, she is strange, what can I say?" We laughed a bit and I guessed that we were back on level ground for the moment; I was sure, however, that as tomorrow came closer I would have to calm the skittish nature of my lover. I was right on track as over dinner Xena asked me again if I wanted her around during Mom's visit. I assured her that I was and decided that I would tell her a little bit about the woman who raised me in attempts to prepare her for the initial meeting.

? ? ?

"Xena, can you get that? It's probably the delivery guy with our breakfast." I asked her as I dried myself off the next morning. After yesterday's activities we had decided to take separate showers so that we would be ready on time for my mother's arrival.

"Yeah sure." I heard her call from the kitchen where she was making coffee. "How much do we owe…" I heard her ask and then fade off as she opened the door.

"You must be Xena." I heard my mother's voice and practically sprinted through the apartment wearing just my towel.

"MOM!" I greeted her, ushering her past my surprised and speechless lover. "You're early; we weren't expecting you for a bit yet." I explained, indicating my wet hair and towel.

"Apparently." She looked at me, her gaze lingering for a moment on the area just below my right collarbone, realizing what she was looking at I felt a blush creeping up my neck. My session with Xena in the shower the previous morning had definitely left it's mark on me. Suddenly I felt like a teenager who had just been caught necking in the basement. "My flight was early, for once." She explained. "Are you going to introduce me or what?" She asked, indicating Xena who had closed the door and was standing behind me wearing just a navy t-shirt and a pair of soccer shorts, her hair was also still a bit damp from the shower. 'At least she is not wearing a towel too.' I said to myself, relieved.

"Yes, sorry. Mom this is Xena. Xena, this is my mother, Carol Channon." I quickly introduced them, still blushing furiously.

"Nice to meet you." Xena said in her melodious voice, just a hint of shyness touching the edges.

"You as well, Gabrielle has told me a bit about you. I am looking forward to learning more." My mother took Xena's hand and shook it, oozing her normal motherly warmth. I saw Xena relax a bit at her friendly nature. 'Thank god!' I too began to relax, well as much as I could standing before my mother in a towel with my new lover in not much more.

"I hope they were good things." Xena joked a bit, showing a little of her true personality.

"Of course, dear." My mother laughed and the ice was broken.

"Well," I started, anxious to go get a little less naked, "there is fresh coffee in the kitchen, Mom. If you don't mind, I think we will go get dressed. You know where the cups and stuff are." I tossed over my shoulder as I led Xena back to the bedroom; my mom was pulled in by the promise of caffeine and made herself at home in my kitchen.

"I am SO sorry!" I apologized once we were safely closed behind my bedroom door. "I didn't expect her so early." I said as I reached for my brush and dropped my towel to the floor.

"You are forgiven." I heard Xena laugh from across the room.

"What?" I asked as she continued to chuckle.

"Anytime you want to apologize you should do it just like that." She lifted her head and indicated my state of dress. I glared at her playfully and put my hands on my bare hips.

"You are so bad." I scolded her and tossed the brush to the bed so that I could get dressed. She wagged her eyebrows at me.

"I think she noticed the hickey." She stated, unconsciously I placed my hand over the purple bruise. "No use in hiding it from me I'm the one who gave it to you." She teased me.

"I remember," I purred, "but I didn't expect her to see it. I don't know why I'm so embarrassed. It's not like I'm a kid or anything." I tried to explain.

"Well has you mother ever walked in when you and one of your previous girlfriends were so scantily clad?" She inquired.

"No, usually I am not so overt."

"That's it then; your mommy just got good honest proof that her little girl has sex." She laughed when I cringed a bit at the truthfulness of her statement.

"Yeah well just remember this, Miss Smarty-pants; she has probably put it together that you gave me this." I indicated my shoulder with my chin and my lover's chuckles died in her throat.

"Uh, I guess I didn't think of it in those terms." She too now began to blush.

"So you can suffer with me." I smiled sweetly and she tossed her t-shirt at me in retaliation.

"So, you told her about me?" She asked, changing the subject.

"Of course." I looked up at her as I buttoned up my jeans.

"What did you say?" She asked, curiously as she too threw on a pair of comfortable jeans and a knit pullover.

"Just that I had met someone and that I was thrilled and that you were great." I reiterated what I had said to my mother one night the previous week.

"Hmm, sounds like you embellished a bit since I know you haven't talked to her in the past few evenings." She laughed and walked over to where I was putting on a pair of black moccasins.

"Naw, you are all of those things, just at the time I told her all this you were hiding in that little office of yours. I knew you'd come around." I smiled and drew her in for a quick kiss.

"Do you think she'll like me?" She asked, her hands dug deep in her pockets, if she had dug her toe into the floor she could have been a five year old. Again with the insecurity, she was so cute.

"I know she will, now come on and be that fabulous person you are when we are alone." I instructed and opened the bedroom door, not giving her time to comment. Off to face mom.

? ? ?

"So, Xena, what is it that you do?" My mother asked as we were waiting for our dinner to arrive later on that night. Ironically we were at the same restaurant, one booth away, from where Xena and I were seated on our first "date."

"I am an FBI Agent." Xena had been kind of quiet throughout the day, answering any questions Mom had thrown at her, but she didn't offer up any extra tidbits about herself as we strolled through the mall. She was definitely still a bit hesitant with people knowing too much about her.

"That is how we met, actually." I explained. "I was doing research for my latest book and Xena was the lead investigator in the case I was looking at." Under the table I found her free hand and threaded my fingers through hers and squeezed gently. I couldn't hold back a small smile when I felt her return gesture.

"What a lucky coincidence for you both I'd say." My mother added as our meal was served.

"Yeah, I thought so. We had our first away from work meeting right here actually."

"How do you do it, Xena?" My mother asked, "I don't even read Gabrielle's books because I am afraid of having nightmares afterwards." The eldest Channon woman shuddered dramatically.

"It was hard at first, but now I mainly develop profiles. I look at crime scene photos, and while they can be graphic it's not the same as actually being at the scene, so it is a bit easier. Mostly I don't have any actual contact with the suspect, victim or the scene. That was really the hardest part, coming face to face with someone who committed such terrible acts of violence and realizing that they took someone else's life just for the pleasure of killing. Sometimes I would get so upset at the absurdity of it all." My mother nodded sympathetically as I just listened. I don't think Xena has spoken that much since I met her. It was clearly obvious that her work was what she was most comfortable talking about.

"That is fascinating." My mother complimented. "So, tell me a little about yourself, Xena. My daughter has been so secretive. I practically had to force her to tell me your name over the phone." I sighed as I watched Xena fidget ever so slightly in the booth. Apparently Mom didn't notice for she was looking at her expectantly.

"Well, I am originally from New York, my parents still live there. I moved to DC after Graduate school to work for VICAP and I've been here ever since, about ten years now." I was pretty much the same condensed version I had received from her on that first night. I could tell that my mom wanted to ask more, but before she had a chance Xena excused herself for a moment.

"She is a bit shy." I explained as my lover headed off to the restroom.

"She is nothing like Emily." At the sound of my ex's name I expected to feel a pang of hurt, I was surprised when none came.

"No, nothing, but I like that about her. She's smart, funny and believe it or not quite capable of chattiness when we're alone." I defended her.

"You don't have to defend her dear; it's obvious that she adores you." I looked at her, surprised.

"Mom, we've only known each other for two weeks." I tried to hide my own feelings, I failed.

"Gabrielle, I am you mother and I know you so don't act as if you don't feel the same way." She chided me gently. "It's been a while and it makes me happy to see you so excited about another person. Even if I had never met Xena I would like her because of the way she makes you feel. Even if you don't realize it you have smiled and laughed more since I arrived this morning than all the other visits I have paid since you and Emily split combined. Besides, after meeting her she seems lovely, a good match for you sweetheart." I couldn't hide my joy at my mother's comment so I didn't even try.

"Thanks." I smiled gratefully.

"I hope it works out for you both." She finished as Xena approached and slid her long frame into booth beside me.

The rest of our meal was pretty quiet, but not the type of quiet where you feel uncomfortable; more the type when everyone is lost in their own thoughts and only makes a comment every now and then. I don't know about the rest of my party, but I was definitely preoccupied. The whole meal I could barely concentrate on eating as I was relishing the feeling of Xena's warm thigh pressed against mine. God she was distracting, I smiled inwardly.

? ? ?

"Look, I'm not asking you to march me into your conference room and take me on the table or anything. I understand that you want to keep your private life away from the office. It's a 'good ole boys' club, I understand that, I really do," I explained as Xena and I settled into bed after bidding my mother goodnight. "I just want us to be able to hold hands while we are at the movies or dinner. I want to be able to touch you so that anyone else who might be looking realizes that you belong to me." I smirked at her and she gave me a small grin. "I mean, you acted like you didn't even want to sit close enough to touch me on the couch earlier. And we were in the privacy of the apartment, only my mother could see us." I said a bit exasperated.

"Your mother…" She tried to explain.

"Knows about us, when she arrived I was only wearing a towel and you didn't have much more than that on. Aside from the fact that I had already told her about you I think she would have figured it out when she saw that the guest room hadn't been used." I took her hand in my own and played with her fingers for a moment.

"I just want to make a good impression; I want her to like me."

"She does, Xena." I assured her.

"How do you know?" She asked, genuinely curious.

"She told me, at dinner, when you were in the bathroom. She is quite impressed I must say." I smiled and she returned the expression before sighing. "What?" I coaxed gently.

"I'm glad she likes me. It's important to me that she does."

"Why? I mean I'm happy that you want her to like you, but I'm the one sleeping with you, why does it matter so much?" I asked as I shifted onto my side, I realized that this conversation might last for a while.

"Before today only two people in the world knew that I am gay, not including myself. And up till now I have never had a good experience with people knowing; and although I don't consider myself to be in the closet I didn't advertise my sexuality either. So now that I am with you I am making an effort to be more 'out.' It's just harder than I imagined, being so open, so susceptible to rejection." She admitted and at that point I did realize how hard she was trying. She had become much more forward with her emotions since that night we had our confrontation in the parking garage. Physically she had come one hundred and eighty degrees; Friday morning's shower session alone was proof of that. And she had held a lengthy conversation at dinner, in a public place no less.

"I know it's hard, I remember when I went through it. Believe it or not I was not always the sexually confident woman you see before you today. I was shy about people knowing, about strangers seeing me out in public with my girlfriend. Eventually, though, I stopped caring. As long as I was happy with my life, work, etceteras I could care less about what others thought of me." I reassured her, knowing what a trying situation she was in.

"Well, I'm not quite at that point yet; I haven't even told my parents and I am almost thirty-five years old." She said dejectedly.

"I know, but look at it this way, you're here, with me and we're building a relationship. That wouldn't be the case if on some level you weren't ready to move on with your life, right?" I questioned.

"True," she drawled in a not quite so sure voice.

"Just think of it this way, when we're out and about imagine that there is no one around, that it is just you and me. Eventually it will get to the point where we could be in a crowd and all that matters is us."

"When did you become so wise?" She asked, smiling.

"Oh, I dunno, somewhere along the way I guess." I sighed dramatically before chuckling.

"I'm so glad I met you." She admitted as she gently ran her fingers through my hair.

"Well, I would hope so, given our current state of undress." I joked, alluding to our nudity beneath my sage colored sheets. Xena playfully lifted the soft cotton and peeked at our entwined bodies before wagging her eyebrows.

"So, what's the plan for tomorrow?" She asked as she let the sheet fall to cover us once again.

"Hmmm," I hummed, "probably more shopping. Mom loves those outlets and she doesn't get out much at home." I explained.

"Oh how I lllooovvveee shopping." She drawled sarcastically.

"Well just think of it this way, while Mom is Christmas shopping you can help me pick out a few things for our little vacation." I smirked as she suddenly became more interested.

"Bathing suits?" She asked with an arched eyebrow.

"Hmmm, I was thinking about making a trip to Victoria's Secret. Think you might want to help me out with that?" I asked and said the store name in a sing-song voice.

"I think I just found a new love of shopping." She smiled.

"I'll bet." I chuckled before attempting to stifle a yawn.


"Yeah, it's all the excitement catching up with me."

"Sleep and I promise that tomorrow you don't have to get up before nine." She instructed as she reached one long arm out to shut off the bedside lamp. Sighing contentedly I snuggled down into her firm body and pulled the warm comforter over us before happily submitting to sleep.

? ? ?

"No, no, no!" I moaned when a light knocking on my bedroom door awakened me far before the nine o'clock hour to which I had been promised. Xena for her part merely chuckled at me.

"Gabrielle, honey, Xena's cell phone is ringing." I heard my mother's voice through the thin veneer. I felt the blankets shifting around me before Xena beckoned my mother in with the obnoxious technology in tow. I just buried my head further into my warm Xena pillow as my lover flipped open her phone and my mother discreetly left the room.

"Demakis." She said by way of greeting. "Hey, Chris…no, no it's ok I'm awake. No, I haven't checked my messages since Friday…Can't it wait?" I felt her body stiffen in annoyance. "Fine, I'll come and pick it up and you can call and let him know he will have it by the end of the day Monday…look, that's is the best I can do, I already have plans for today and now I have to shift them back so that I can run to the office and pick up that info…See you Monday, Chris." She finished and flipped the phone closed with a bit more force than required.

"What's up?" I asked, refusing to let myself become too awake.

"I gotta go to the office for a few minutes." She pouted.

"I gathered." I snuggled deeper into her shoulder in an attempt to persuade her to stay in bed.

"Shit, I really don't want to drive all the way to Quantico this morning. What time were you planning on leaving for the outlets?" She asked, absently stroking my shoulder with her warm hand.

"I dunno, noonish I guess." I hummed in pleasure at the gentle caress.

"Would you really be upset if I bowed out? That way I could stay at the office a while and work on this profile and still be back in time for dinner?" She suggested.

"No, I know your work is important, but you're gonna miss Victoria's Secret." I teased.

"Ohhh, not fair." She groaned before sliding out of bed and pulling on her jeans and grabbing a t-shirt from her duffel in the corner.

"Tell you what," I started, not bothering to pull up the tossed aside sheet, "I'll pick you up a present." I smiled when she nodded vigorously and bounded back into the bed.

"Oh no, no Agent Demakis, you have to go to work." I giggled between kisses.

"One more kiss." She prompted.

"Oh, if I must," I played along, "but remember, don't start something you can't finish."

"I promise to be back by six, the latest." She gave me one more quick kiss before disappearing into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Sighing I realized that my dreams of sleeping in were once again going to be dashed. Tying the sash of my robe I ventured out in search of coffee.

"Looks like it's just you and me today, Mom." I said as I gratefully accepted the warm mug of steaming caffeine she handed to me. Taking a cautionary sip, I placed the mug on the counter and filled Xena's travel mug, fixing the brew just as she likes it. "Xena's gotta go to the office, but she will be back for dinner." I stirred sugar and cream into the black liquid and snapped the lid on the stainless steel cup.

"Oh, ok. I'm sure we will get along fine, I mean it would be nice if she could join us, but I understand duty calls." She smiled when I joined her at my small kitchen table.

Xena breezed into the room minutes later to gather up her coffee.

"Oh, you made it for me." She said, surprised.

"Yeah." I couldn't help, but return the goofy smile she gave me.

"Thank you."

"Yeah." There goes that great writer's vocabulary again.

"Ok, ok girls," my mother's voice broke us out of our little trance, "now Xena, get off to work so you can be back in time for dinner." She gently urged my lover toward the door.

"I'll call you on the cell a bit later." She promised before reluctantly submitting and leaving the apartment.

"How does she ever get out of here to go to work on a weekday?" I heard my mother question as she padded back to the bathroom and turned on the shower. I fought the urge to get my phone off the charger and call those now familiar numbers of Xena's mobile.

? ? ?

"Gabrielle? Are you here?" I heard the front door close and my lover's familiar voice. Smiling, I practically bounded down the hallway to greet her. "Honey, I'm home." She whispered after what easily counted as one of the top five kisses in my entire life.

"Yes you are." I said breathlessly as I leaned in for another, but she pulled back.

"Where's your mother?" She asked, looking around the empty apartment.

"Grocery store, just left, she should be at least an hour." I hummed as I tilted her head to the side and ran the tip of my tongue over the soft skin of her throat. "Hmmm, sixty minutes of privacy. Oh what shall we do Agent Demakis?" I teased. She didn't respond verbally, opting instead to wrap her arms around my waist and deposit me on the countertop. Pleasantly surprised I pulled back and saw a sexy smirk pulling at the corners of her lips. "What are you smiling about?" I inquired as I traced her lips with the tip of my finger. She playfully nipped at the end before replying.

"Oh, nothing, just that I can think of a few things, all of which would be incredibly," she paused, her eyes flashing, "satisfying." I quirked an eyebrow at her.

"Bring it on, Baby." I invited and instantly her lips were sealing with mine, her tongue sliding hotly over my own. I shivered involuntarily when she brushed the tip over the roof of my mouth. Xena wasted little time, her hands leaving my waist to brush over my clothed breasts. Even through my shirt and bra her touch was electric. I moaned loudly when she rubbed her palms over my already hardened nipples. As our kiss ended I opened my eyes to see my lover looking at where her hands were palming my chest. I smiled at her slightly puzzled expression.

"What?" I couldn't help, but smile.

"Something's different." She said.

"Oh really, and are you the expert on my breasts these days?" I couldn't help it; she looked so cute trying to figure out what was strange about my chest.

"No, I mean, well yeah I guess. It's just, they feel a bit different." She tried to explain.

"Well, Ms. Investigator, why don't you dig a little deeper into this mystery." I offered, shrugging I reached to the hem of my t-shirt and yanked it up over my head. Xena let out a low wolf-whistle as I tossed the soft cotton to the kitchen floor.

"That's…" She trailed off as she softly ran her fingers over the upper swells of my breasts. They were more exposed than usual thanks to the black push-up bra I was wearing. The result, tons of cleavage.

"You like?" I asked needlessly, I could tell by the admiration that shone in her eyes that she did.

"Very much, new?" She questioned as her hands once again began massaging my flesh.

"Yeah, one of Victoria's secrets." I groaned as the sensation of smooth satin, warmed by Xena's hands assaulted my pebbled nipples. Enjoying the reaction she was getting, she lightly pinched the turgid tips.

"Are there anymore presents under there?" She asked huskily as one hand abandoned my chest to pluck at the waistband of my jeans.

"Why don't you unwrap me and find out." I suggested with a sigh. Knowing we had precious little time anyway Xena wasted not a second of it. Fortunately I was barefoot, so when she undid the button fly of my pants and began to pull them off she didn't have to waste a moment on shoelaces and socks. My panties were the same material as the bra, but knowing that my lover wouldn't be able to appreciate the full value of my "outfit" while I was sitting on the counter I hopped off.

"Remind me to thank Victoria." She drawled sexily when I grabbed her wrists and placed her hands on the bare skin of my ass. I smiled when she gave a quick peek over my shoulder, her eyebrows wagging at me when she returned. "Easy access, I like it." She commented as her hands flexed against me.

"They are a time saver really." I reasoned.

"Indeed." She agreed.

"Now it's your turn." I informed her as I popped free the two buttons on her shirt.

"Why Gabrielle, are you saying you want me naked too?" She teased, but began pulling her shirt over her head.

"Less talk, more stripping, time's a'wasting Agent." I commanded lightly. Unbuckling her belt I deftly slipped the button free and reached into her pants. Grasping her own highly toned derrière I tsked low in my throat.

"Now now, no thong, Xena?" I mewed with a mock pout.

"Sorry." She mumbled an apology as she deftly released the rear clasp of my bra, freeing my breasts for her attentions.

"Mmmm, you're forgiven." I moaned when she raked her teeth lightly over my nipple before taking the nub into her mouth and sucking firmly. Releasing the satin undergarment to join my shirt on the floor I once again felt her hands on my ass. Alternating between breasts now, I barely noticed when her fingers traced increasingly lower circles until I felt one tapered finger brush softly over my satin covered sex. The dual assault sent a shockwave of arousal through my center that almost made my knees buckle.

"You're so wet." Xena breathed before lifting her head to kiss me again.

"I was thinking about you touching me…ahh…ever since I put this on." I stuttered a bit when I felt her brush aside the thin fabric of my panties and her fingers begin to caress my outer folds. This time my knees did buckle, fortunately she had a free arm and she used it to keep me standing.

"Oooh, it's gonna be a quick one, huh?" She asked, her increased breathing belaying her own heightened arousal despite the calm tone.

"Yeah, sorry." I apologized and she shook her head.

"Don't be. Turn around." She whispered into my ear before giving the lobe a sharp nip. Crying out at the unexpected action I couldn't help, but do as she requested. Taking one of my hands in hers she placed it on the edge of the counter, reflexively my other hand followed suit. "Hang on." She instructed before pulling back.

"Ahh, much better." She purred when her body pressed up against mine a moment later. We both groaned at the sensation of her naked chest rubbing along my back, her tight nipples digging into my shoulder blades.

"Pants?" I breathed heavily when I noticed she hadn't removed them.

"No time, not easy access." She explained in passion roughened voice. I was about to protest when it died in my throat as her hand snaked its way down my abdomen and into the top of my underwear.

"God…yesssss…" I moaned when she began caressing my sex more firmly, her fingers easily sliding through my wetness, dipping deeper to rub against my inner folds, just missing my rapidly expanding clit. Reflexively I began to grind my hips against her most welcome digits.

"That's it…yeah, ride my hand, Baby." She panted into my ear, her warm breath tickling my skin. "You're so hot and wet. I wanna be inside you so badly. Do you want me inside you, Gab-ri-elle?" She drew out my name into a low, sexy purr and I practically came right on the spot.

"Ungh…yes…inside." I managed to respond. "XENA!!! God!" I groaned loudly when I felt two fingers plunge into my depths. Seeking deeper contact I pushed back against her hand.

"GAB-RI-ELLE!" My lover moaned throatily and pressed her own hips harder against me. I moaned again when I felt her most skin against my backside with each thrust.

"Jesus, Xena!" I cursed when I realized what she was doing. Somehow she had managed to drop her pants just enough to press her own heated sex against the firm muscle of my ass. She was seeking out her own pleasure as she expertly fondled me, rapidly pushing me toward release.

"Keep…ahhh…doing that." She encouraged between moans. 'Like I could stop!' Her thumb then joined in the action, rubbing hard against my throbbing clit with each thrust of her fingers inside me.

"Yes…Xena…I'm…close." I panted, shifting my legs just a bit to give her more room. I could feel the orgasm beginning to coil in my belly and I knew it would only take one or two more hard thrusts and I would be there. In my passion induced haze I hoped that Xena was as close as I was. In between our moans I could hear our bodies sliding together and that combined with one hard press against my clit and I shattered.

"Xeeennnaahhh!" I screamed as I felt my inner walls clamp down on her fingers.

"God, Gabrielle…yes…yes…yes…" I heard her groan as she thrusted erratically against me a few more times. I could tell by the way her breathing was catching that she too had come. Surprisingly, my arms held and I was able to prevent myself from smacking my head on the countertop. Closing my eyes I tried to catch my breath, Xena, it seemed was attempting to do the same as she hadn't moved from against me. It wasn't long before the sound of keys jingling in the hallway outside my door pulled me from my post-orgasmic haze.

"Shit!" I cursed when I realized that my mother was just outside the door and here we were standing mostly naked in the kitchen. "My mom's back!" I whispered harshly as I pushed back from the counter and spun around.

"What?" Xena questioned, a look of panic taking over her face when she looked down at our state of dress.

"Bedroom, quick!" I suggested, reaching blindly for the pile of clothing on the floor. Grabbing my lover by the wrist I tugged her back through the hallway as the door opened.

"Gabrielle, I'm back." I heard my mother call over the crinkling of paper bags.

"Be right there." I called, trying to sound as normal as possible before shutting the bedroom door. Sighing with relief I leaned back against it, I couldn't help the chuckle that escaped when I looked at my lover. Xena was topless, her hair all disheveled and she was trying to pull up and fasten her pants. Her gaze met mine and I noticed the panic was fading, being replaced by a look of amusement the longer I laughed.

"What?" She asked, trying to keep a straight face.

"That was close." I shook my head. "We are sooo bad."

"Think she saw us?" Xena asked as she pulled her bra and polo out of the clothing pile.

"I don't know, but I don't think…" I was cut off by a quick knock on the door.

"Gabrielle, dear, I think you might need this." The door opened up a crack and my mother stuck her arm through. Instantly I felt my face heating, hanging from her hand was my bra. 'Uh oh, busted!'

"Uh, thanks." It was the only think I could think of to say and somehow it came out sounding extremely guilty. My mother laughed and re-closed the door.

"Oh, and Xena?" She called out.

"Yeah?" I watched as she cringed in preparation.

"Nice ass, dear." She laughed and I could hear her walking back down the hall toward the kitchen. Well, at least now her complexion matched mine.

? ? ?

After much coaxing and prodding, I finally convinced Xena to leave the bedroom. I reasoned that even though it was quite embarrassing neither one of us was going to die from my mother catching us having sex. And while the two of us spent most of dinner extremely red-faced my mother was having a great time teasing us. And as we stood at her gate the next evening it was apparent that she wasn't through.

"Well girls, I just can't wait to tell Gabrielle's father ALL about my trip to the city." She teased and I felt my face reddening all over.

"Mother, you wouldn't." I protested, well almost pleaded.

"No, no, of course not. I just love to tease you. Really, I had a wonderful time. And Xena, it was lovely meeting you. I hope that you and Gabrielle plan on coming up to New Hampshire for the holidays? I know Gabrielle's father would love to meet you, as well as the rest of the family." She hinted.

"It was nice meeting you too, Carol. And I will try and see to it that we can at least make it up for a few days." Xena promised as she was engulfed in a big hug which she returned only slightly uncomfortably. My mom was nonplussed by Xena's slightly less than enthusiastic reaction. It had taken her at least ten reminders to get my lover to just call her Carol and she pretty much figured that it would take at least one more meeting before Xena was completely comfortable with her.

"I'll call you this weekend, ok." She promised me before pulling me in for a hug. "She's wonderful." She whispered in my ear before giving me a quick kiss on the cheek. I couldn't help, but smile at her compliment. I was inanely glad that she and Xena seemed to be hitting it off.

"Have a safe flight, ok." I told her as they began calling for general boarding. She nodded and gathered up her carry-on bag. Waving to us she handed over her boarding pass to the attendant and headed down the ramp. Smiling I watched as she disappeared down the tunnel. When she was finally out of sight I turned to my lover who wore a small smile of her own.

"What is that all about?" I questioned her.

"Oh, nothing, I just had a good time while she was here. Thank you for sharing that with me." She took my hand and gave it a brief squeeze before letting go.

"You're welcome." I beamed at her, happy about the compliment and the small gesture of affection, in public no less. "Now, let's go home, I hear an empty apartment calling our name." I laughed at her enthusiastic nod and turned to lead her out to the parking garage. Between our rocky beginning and my mother's visit we hadn't had any time to just relish being alone together. I for one was looking forward to it and by the way Xena was practically running through the airport I guessed she was too. I hoped we could make it back to the apartment before things got too steamy. 'Awww, what the hell, you are only in your thirties once right?'

Chapter 3 coming soon

Return to the Academy