Happy Halloween!
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Full Moon
Kim Pritekel

Arms crossed over my chest, I couldn‚t stop my body from trembling.  How could she do this to me?  To us?  When I said as much, she answered that she had done it for us.  A load of crap, if you ask me.  She did this for her, and for her alone.  Not that that should be a surprise.

„Please don‚t make such big deal out of this, Laura,‰ she said softly, hands coming to rest on my shoulders.  
I wanted to pull away from her, but I didn‚t, continued to stare out the window instead.  „Please.  I didn‚t do it to make you angry.  Honest.‰  Alley turned me so I was looking into concerned brown eyes.  „Please?‰

„How can you think this wouldn‚t make me angry?‰ I asked, incredulous. „You know
my feelings on this.  We‚ve talked about it before.‰  Fighting back tears, I shook her touch away, moving further into the room.  I could feel the sting of tears of betrayal, but was determined to not let them fall.

„I thought,‰ Alley sighed, running a hand through her short, blonde hair. „I thought that maybe this might help things.  
You know, bring some fire back.‰

„Couples buy a dog, have a baby, go on a date,‰ I fired at her, „not invite a strange woman into their bedroom!‰  
It was a stare that neither of us were going to win.

„I‚m sorry,‰ was all she said.  
With that, the doorbell rang, and I felt my stomach tie in knots.  Alley left our bedroom, her silk robe flowing soundlessly behind her.  

Turning back to the window, I felt a tear manage to escape, and I let it fall, chilling my cheek as it did.  
Halloween night.  She had told me a month ago she had a surprise for me, and silly me, figured it was a party, or something.  No.  She dropped this bomb on me about two hours before, and I was stuck.

„Shit,‰ I cursed, quickly wiping at my eyes as I heard the voice of the mystery woman talking with Alley in the living room.  
I listened.

„Look, if it‚s not okay with everyone, I really do understand,‰ she said, her voice rich and smooth. „I have no desire to cause problems between you and your partner.‰
„Let me talk to her again, okay?  
I really hate the thought of you driving over here for nothing.‰  Alley said, her voice a bit closer as she made her way toward the bedroom.

„Wait, Alley,‰ the strange woman stopped her. „why don‚t I just go, okay?  
Joan told me we were all on the same page, but really, it‚s fine.‰

Hearing the woman‚s compassion, which my own partner of five and a half years didn‚t even have, I felt a resolve build in me.  
I stood straighter, hands going to my robe to pull the tie a bit tighter, and I strode toward the living room.

Once there, I saw Alley standing in the middle of the room, her blonde hair picking up the flickering candle light.  
She turned to look at me, as did our guest.

When I saw her, I stopped in my tracks.  
She stood just inside the door, worn, fitted blue jeans with a shredded knee, and a ribbed tank top, white, no bra, candles extending her nipples in shadow.  When my eyes made it up to her eyes, my breath caught.  They were a light color, looking gray in the candle light, though I figured them to be blue.  Above them were two dark, finely shaped eyebrows.  Her long hair was natural, casually finger combed and pushed off her shoulders.  Her hands were tucked into the back pockets of her jeans.

My heart began to race, seeing her casual clothing, almost cocky stance, weight shifted onto one hip.  
The smooth lines of her body, well defined and licked by shadow.  My mouth watered.

„No,‰ I blurted suddenly, surprising not just Alley. „we‚ll go as planned.‰  
Alley walked over to me, gently touching my arm.  I moved slightly away from her, her hand sliding down the satiny arm of my robe.

„Are you sure?‰ she asked quietly, concern in her eyes.  
I wanted to smack her.  Where was that concern earlier?  I knew the score, as I knew my partner well.  She‚d seen my reaction to the other woman, and didn‚t like it.

„Quite,‰ I said, my voice cold.  
Turning back to our guest, who to my blushing pleasure, had been looking me over.  Her gaze met my own.  Having no idea where my boldness was coming from, I extended my hand, which after a hesitant pause, she took.  Her hand was warm, the fingers toughened slightly from calluses.  I wondered what from.

Alley stepped into the procession as we headed to the bedroom, more candles greeted us.  
I couldn‚t bring the courage up to speak, so instead I stopped, a couple feet from the foot of the bed.

She took her hand from mine, running it up my arm, and finally curving around my shoulder, her other hand doing the same on the other side.  
I felt her near, felt her breath tickling the short hairs on the back of my neck.  

„Are you sure?‰ she whispered.  
I nodded, eyes closing.

„Oh, yes,‰
Alley stepped up to my left side, facing me, though her eyes were on our unnamed guest, running her nails up and down her bare arms.
Tilting my head away from her, I closed my eyes, concentrating on what I was feeling, the sensation of another woman‚s hand on me.  
I almost felt sick for a moment, feeling like I was doing something terribly wrong, but then I remembered why I was here, and who had put me here.

Reaching back with my right hand, I felt the soft denim of a favorite pair of jeans, worn so many times that they felt like velvet.  
The hip beneath those jeans was firm, the bones evident without being sharp.  My fingers walked until they felt the edge of a back pocket.  A soft sigh was released against my hair, auburn.  Alley used to say the red in it matched my passion.  That was when she still just wanted me.

Pushing those thoughts out of my head, I wanted to enjoy my Halloween, and let Alley‚s plan come full force to slap her in the face.
The hand that had been on my right shoulder moved up to where my shoulder and neck met, brushing the long strands of my hair aside, giving me the shivers, which were nothing compared to those that broke out when a soft pair of lips touched just the barest tip of my ear, a tongue flicking the gold hoop that was pierced through the cartilage there.  
I sighed right along with her, hand moving down my arm again, nails grazing the maze of veins that was the back of my own hand, hanging limp at my side.  I spread my fingers as she laced ours for a moment, ever restless, hand moving beyond my own, gently nudging mine aside as her hand met my waist, fingers caressing the satin material.

The lips left my ear as I felt the woman‚s face being brought toward Alley.  
The sound of their kiss left little doubt.  I fought the hot razor of jealousy that ripped through me.  My only salvation was the woman‚s hand remained on me.  

Once again the fingers were on the move, sliding up my side, my hand returning to her hip to give her all the room she needed.  
She made her way up my ribs, thumb teasing the side of my right breast before her hand stealthily moved around and slid over the whole thing.  

I gasped as her palm found my nipple, which immediately came to attention at her touch.  
Her body moved closer into mine, her breasts pushed into my back, the nipples hard points, which she rubbed slightly against me.  I pushed my ass back into her, hearing her groan slightly into Alley‚s mouth, though I don‚t know if it was from me or from my partner‚s very talented tongue.  The hand on my breast squeezed, feeling the weight and size, then slid just inside the v-opening, almost burning my flesh with the heat that emanated from the fingertips.

A second hand, Alley‚s, found it‚s way to the belt of my robe, slowly pulling at it until my robe slid open.  
The cool night air hit my skin, again making me gasp.  My nipples became painfully hard as both were covered by two different hands, squeezing, manipulating, twisting.  My head fell back against a strong shoulder, eyes closed, mouth slightly open.

I felt someone standing before me, my heavy lids opening just enough to see Alley.  
She opened her own robe, pushing the ends of mine apart, and stepping into my personal space.  I groaned throatily as her naked skin touched mine, her small breasts pressing into mine, trapping the woman‚s hand between them.  Alley groaned along with me as that hand began to play with her nipple as well.

I leaned forward, catching Alley in a heated kiss. No playing, no softness, just raw hunger.  
She met me, tongue rubbing mine, sucking mine into her mouth almost painfully.  I felt her front teeth digging into my lip as she tried to get as much of my mouth as possible.

I reached behind me, blindly seeking the hem of the stranger‚s tank top, and tugging.  
Getting the idea, she took it off, and suddenly my hand was touching her bare stomach, and the top of her jeans.  Feeling my way, I slightly turned so that I was only three quarters facing Alley, the kiss still very passionate.  I could feel the soft skin of her stomach, the muscles clenching under my touch, her belly button, and the cool stud that pierced it.

Breaking the kiss, I had to see what this magnificent creature looked like.  
Turning to face her, my eyes met hers, and I was almost frightened by their intensity.  Her mouth was slightly open, very white teeth glimmering from between full lips.  I wanted those lips.  My gaze wandering back up to her half-hooded eyes, I took them.

She was so unbelievably soft.  
For some reason, my kiss slowed down as I tasted her mouth, felt the texture of her lips, which moved smoothly against my own, which were still moist from the kiss I‚d shared with Alley.

A soft, breathy whimper escaped me as I tilted my head a bit more, inviting her to deepen the kiss, which she did.  
When her tongue met my own, I felt a jolt of lust course through me.

My hands were wandering now.  
I slid the backs of my nails up her abdomen, feeling her squirm slightly, a smile forming on my lips.  She smiled in return before taking me in a hard kiss.  Turning my hands over, I ran the palms over the smooth skin, so hot, until they felt their way to the rounded undersides of her breasts.

„Yessss,‰ she hissed into my mouth as I cupped her, squeezing slightly, feeling her hard nipples tickly my palms.  
Gently moving those palms, she issued another hiss, hips jerking against me.  Liking the effect that just my hands were having on her breasts, I had to do more.

Breaking the kiss, I bent my head down, hair falling to cascade over her breast as I gently lapped at her nipple.  
She groaned above me, hand coming to cradle my head against her chest.  I licked that nipple like a lolly pop, until finally I took the entire thing into my mouth, moaning at the sensation against my tongue.

I felt my robe being pulled from my shoulders, and released her breast one hand at a time to allow the sleeves to be pulled free, quickly returning to my prize.  
Warm hands were on my ass, gently squeezing and feeling.  Alley always told me she loved my ass.  I felt the tickle of her stubbly pubic hair against it as she pressed our bodies together.  I shivered slightly at the tickling sensation, but kept on with the breast in my mouth.  Using my other hand, I cupped the other breast, taking the nipple between thumb and forefinger, rubbing quickly, the friction driving the woman mad.

With a popping sound, I released her nipple as I felt myself being pulled backwards, toward Alley and the bed.  
Meeting the woman‚s heated gaze again, I tugged her along with me.  The bed hit the back of my knees, and I sat hard on the end.  Alley was behind me, suckling on my neck, and licking and biting down my back.  

Tugging the stranger to me by her jeans, I made quick work of the five button, tugging them free, then shoving the jeans down, revealing a red g-string.  
Sighing in appreciation. I fingered the dental floss that kept the panties up as she used my shoulders to balance herself, and remove her shoes and socks.  Once they were off, she stepped out of the jeans, and stood glorious before me, her body licked by the flames of the candles, shadows forming in valleys made from the curves that made her a woman.  My mouth watered.

A hand placed on my cheek turned my head, and I was suddenly in another hungry kiss with my partner, who slowly pushed me back onto the bed.  
I scooted my body up, so my head rested on a pillow.  Alley followed, laying her body atop mine, pushing my legs open with her knee.  Slowly moving herself between them, we both moaned at the feel of naked flesh making contact, once again the stubbly blonde hairs tickling me, though this time she was tickling the folds of my saturated sex.

Reaching down, I cupped her ass, pressing her into me.  
She knew what I wanted, but teased me instead, raising herself onto her hands, pulling herself up just enough so a breast dangled over my lips, the nipple taunting me.  Snake bite fast, I latched onto it, suckling it hard inside my mouth.  Alley arched into me, my thighs opening wider as her sex pressed into mine.  I moaned as I suckled her, flicking my tongue over her nipple over and over again until her arms began to tremble from the pleasure, and holding her body up.

Lowering herself down again, her mouth replaced her nipple, and she began to move against me, reaching down and opening both of us up.  
Realizing what she was doing, I spread my legs as wide as I could to give her room to maneuver.

Eyes closing as her clit began to rub against mine, I felt a presence beside me, and turned to see the stranger lying next to me.  
As soon as she saw she had my attention, she brought her lips to mine, suckling my tongue, her hand sneaking between Alley and I, palming my nipple.

I was on sensation overload as Alley quickened her pace, our combined wetness making her clit glide across mine fast and slick.  
I was panting into the woman‚s mouth now, one hand on the back of her head, the other on Alley‚s ass.

The bed banged into the wall from each of Alley‚s thrusts.  
She was wild and out of control now as her climax came near.  I closed my eyes, arching my neck back, breaking the kiss as my own rumbled through me.  I spread my legs further, trying to distend my clit up as far as possible for more friction, my mouth opening in a soundless scream as pleasure ripped through me.

Within a few moments, Alley was off me, up on her knees, as was the other woman, and they were sharing one of the most passionate kisses I‚d ever seen.  
I watched, strangely fascinated, head cocked to the side, trying to discern exactly what I felt.  The other woman‚s eyes opened, and they were looking at me as Alley broke the kiss, moving to her neck, nibbling and licking.  The woman‚s head arched back, her gaze never leaving mine.

In that moment I realized that I was indeed feeling jealousy, but it had nothing to do with Alley.
The woman reached for me, and I took her hand, meeting her lips with a fierce hunger to claim her, even as Alley feasted upon her neck, upper chest, then her breasts.  
I hated that Alley was evoking the moans and sighs that were released into my mouth.

Without even thinking, I reached down, past my partner, and cupped the immense heat that was between her legs.  
She gasped against my mouth, then began to pant softly as I entered her with two fingers.  She was so open, so ready, and unbelievably wet.  Claiming her mouth again, I eased out of her, only to ease back in, her juices making slick sounds against the penetration, more gushing out with each retraction.

She bit my lip as I brought my thumb up to rub along her seam with each thrust, moving up to her clit, then sliding back down again, only to repeat the action a moment later.  
Her hips were moving, thighs trembling as she stayed up on her spread knees.  From the way she began to thrust against me, I knew she wanted me to increase my speed, but I kept it slow, though increased the pressure against her clit each time I passed it.  Her mouth opened, her breathing stopped, and her entire body shuddered, fingers gripping my shoulder painfully to hold herself up as she came, filling my hand with her passion.

Blue eyes opening, glazed over with lust, she pushed me down onto the bed, and was on top of me like a tiger.  
Her kisses were rough, bruising.  Lips leaving mine, they worked their way down, briefly suckling my breasts, and then sliding down my stomach, until finally she was nestled between my thighs.  Roughly pushing my knees up, she cupped my hips, tugging me toward her mouth.

She took me so ferociously, no mercy, I was yelling my pleasure, my voice echoing off the walls of our bedroom, my lungs seizing with the amount of air I was sucking in, just trying to catch my breath.
She sucked my clit into her mouth, tonguing like she had my nipple moments before, over and over and over again until I couldn‚t take the pleasure/pain, and I came hard against her, my upper body bucking with the surge.
Suddenly, my sex was abandoned, the cool night air mingling with the unreal amount of fluid between my legs, leaking down onto the sheets below me.  
Still panting, I opened my eyes to see that Alley had her now, kissing her as she fondled her breasts, pushing her down to the bed, a thigh between the woman‚s, who‚s own thigh pushed up against Alley.

I watched in wonder as they moved together, hips thrusting to find that elusive release, the release that my clit still twitched from.  
They were both so wet and so excited that it didn‚t take long for them to find that release.  Both crying out in their own time, Alley collapsed on top of the woman, face buried in her neck, as she tried to get her breathing under control.

My gaze roamed up their bodies, seeing the woman‚s breasts heaving, as she, too tried to get herself under control.  
My gaze locked on hers, which was already on me.

Sighing, I brought my leg up a bit further, readjusting my head on the pillow, I tucked my hand under it, laying half on my side, half on my stomach.  
The most wonderful sensation blazed up my body, brushing my nipples into life as it went.  
My breathing hitched for a moment as sleep began to fade, and the late night entered my brain.

Eyes blinking, I saw Alley‚s blonde head in front of me, turned away from me.  
She lay on her stomach, sheet resting just above her ass.  It didn‚t take long for me to figure out who‚s heat was behind me, and who‚s fingers were stroking my clit.

Sighing in pleasurable contentment, I brought my leg up further still, giving her more access and room.  
She took it, as well as advantage of the fact that I was awake.  Moving her body closer, her breasts brushing against my back, she ran her tongue along the nape of my neck, making me sigh again.  I could feel how wet I was getting, each stroke becoming smoother and smoother as they became more and more lubricated.

„Oh,‰ I sighed, turning slightly, then a little more, trying to make as little movement and sound as possible.  
I didn‚t want to wake Alley.  Just wanted this to be us.

On my back, she continued between my legs, but her lips made a fiery trail up my throat, along my jaw, and finally to my ear, where she took the lobe between her teeth and tongued it.
„You are so beautiful,‰ she whispered, her breath tickling my ear, making me shiver.  
I gasped, which turned into a soft moan, as she entered me, slowly, her long fingers filling me.  „I wanted to fuck you as soon as I saw you,‰ she continued, flicking just behind my ear with her tongue, before moving to my mouth.

I couldn‚t speak, so overwhelmed by the sensations filling my body.  
She took my tongue between her lips, suckling gently as she continued to thrust inside of me.  I could feel the build up, but her pace was just slow enough to keep my release just out of reach.

„Paybacks,‰ she smiled against my lips, then kissed me, long and thorough, her lips a perfect match moving against mine, slow and extremely sensuous.  
God, she was a good kisser.

„Please,‰ I gasped against her lips.  
„Please make me come,‰

„Soon, baby,‰ she breathed, adding a third finger, and pressing my clit with her thumb.  
She kissed me hard to intercept my cry, my entire body shaking, thighs trembling as they tried to stay apart, instinctively wanting to slam shut, trapping her hand between them.  

Easing out of me, she moved her length on top of me, holding herself up on her forearms, breasts pressed into mine, she gently pushed her thigh between my legs, my legs opening once more to accept it, one leg raising, quickly being saturated by her.
She kissed me, that slow, leisurely pace, lips sliding against lips, very little tongue, save for a playful lick here or there, her hips working against mine, slow and leisurely, just like the kisses.
My body was on fire, and I thought I‚d burn alive right there.  
It was almost as if while rocking together, it was more about the pleasure of the movement rather than the climax at the end.  Definitely a journey/destination moment.

Her slow, lazy rhythm soon had us both panting, our over saturation made the movement slick, our clits getting more stimulation against the skin of the other‚s thigh.  
Generally I can‚t come this way, but this woman brought me to such levels of excitement, all my general rules were tossed out the window, right into the bright night, lit by a full Halloween moon.

Again, her mouth found mine as we were both close to coming, our mutual moans muffled.  
Her body became rigid, thrusts stiff and random as she gave into her body‚s needs, and I felt more hot wetness explode onto my thigh.  My body did the same, moments later, convulsing, my fingers claw-like, gripping her back.

Alley moaned softly in her sleep, then turned over onto her side.  
We stilled, hearts beating wildly as we silently prayed she‚d stay asleep.  One heartbeat, two, five, ten- she stayed asleep.  Guilt began to grip my heart, feeling as though I‚d just done something terribly wrong.  

I looked shyly up at the beautiful woman, who raised herself up on her forearms, looking down at me.  
I reached up, sweeping her hair to one side so I could look at her, see her features bathed in the moonlight that spilled in from the window above the bed.

I was wrong.  
Beautiful doesn‚t even begin to describe her.  I think I just had sex with a runaway model, come to a small town in Idaho.  Reaching up, I ran a  finger along a prominent cheek bone, tracing down to her chiseled jaw, over full lips, which kissed my finger as it passed, along the bridge of a straight nose, and along one arched brow.

She lowered herself, full breasts pressing against mine again, and kissed me.  
I ran my hands through her hair as we kissed, long and languid, exploring each other, no hurry to get anywhere, as if we had all the time in the world, and not just until either sunrise, or Alley awoke.  Stealing time.

She reached down, gripping the side of my thigh and pulling my leg up.  
The bottom of my foot slid against the rumpled sheet, coming to rest fully flat.  Her warm touch stayed on my thigh, massaging the skin there, her tongue snaking out to outline my lips, then moving down over my jaw, and to my neck.  A breathy whimper from me and my head arched back further into the pillow.  She ran her tongue along the column of my throat, her hand easing its way along my thigh to my hip.

I could feel new wetness beginning to gather again, from both of us.  
My hands tangled in her hair as she found a breast, lightly taking the nipple into her mouth, flicking it with her tongue, then grazing the tip with her teeth.  I gasped and arched further into her, her hand sliding from my hip to my ass, pushing me up into her thigh, which rested squarely against my very swollen sex.  I tried to rub myself against her as much as possible, my clit aching once again, even as it was already somewhat sore from all the action it had already had.

Moving to the other breast, she took her time, lavishing it with her full attention, meanwhile slowly moving her hips against me.  
Sweet torture.  She slid further down, giving the skin of my abdomen the same attention and loving care she had everything north of that.

She slid her body further down, moving completely between my legs.  
She nuzzled and kissed the insides of my thigh, brushing the darker red hair between with her lips before moving to the other thigh, licking the apex, then coming back to the center again.  I was squirming now, anticipation almost killing me.

Looking down my body, wondering what the hesitation was, I met her eyes, looking up at me.  
The look of pure sensuality she bestowed upon me almost made me come right there.  

Eyes still locked with mine, she lowered her mouth to me, swiping her tongue from my opening up to my clit in one, broad stroke.  
My head fell back into the pillow, lungs filling with air as she‚d taken my breath away.  That tongue came back for another swipe before running back down my seam, and stopping at my opening, pushing itself inside, teasing me, lapping at what it caused.

My hands ran down my body until one was clasped by one of hers, resting on my stomach.  
I clung to her, the other hand finding its way into her hair, feeling the thickness with my fingers, holding on for dear life, in what I later realized, must have been a painful hold.  

As she tongued me, her other hand came up, fingers finding my clit and pressing slightly on it in a slow, torturous circle.  
My head bucked off the pillow with my gasp at that, then slammed back down, moving from side to side, lost in a haze of pleasure.  When I thought I couldn‚t take anymore, she removed her fingers, replacing them with her tongue, and then slowly entered me with two fingers, moving them with the rhythm which she flicked my clit.

I was on system overload, and trying to stay quiet at the same time.  
I felt my emotions building with my climax, all rushing out together, covering her face and hand with my desire, and spilling down my cheeks at the same time.

Covering my eyes with my arm, I tried to get myself under control.  
A warm body wrapped around mine, soft, comforting kisses littering my face, soft words whispered into my ear.  I clung to her, turning toward her and burying my face in her neck.  I felt like a fool, never crying during sex before.  It had all just been too much, too over powering, too intense.

I don‚t know if she understood, but she didn‚t falter in her comforting touch, calming me until finally my breathing had returned to normal, and I allowed  
myself to be cuddled in this strange woman‚s arms, who I didn‚t even know her name.  I didn‚t ask her, fearing it would make the encounter even more personal than it already was.

Eventually we settled into an exhausted sleep, enfolded in each other, her heartbeat against my ear, lulling me into dreamless darkness, like a lullaby.
Somewhere in my muddled brain, I remember a soft kiss on my cheek, and a whispered goodbye.

My eyelids fluttered open, only to squint against the rays of sunlight that filtered in through the large window, bathing me and the bed in warmth.  
I lay on my stomach, arms tucked under the pillow, sheet pulled up to mid-back.  Blinking several times, I looked around the bedroom, realizing that it was empty and I was alone in the queen size bed.

Forehead hitting the pillow, I groaned slightly as I pushed myself up onto my hands and turned over so I was sitting.  
My entire body was sore, and I winced slightly as my sex let me know just what it thought of the abuse.

„My god,‰ I whispered, brushing my hair back from my face and getting a better look around.  
All the candles had been removed, put back in their respective places around the house, I assumed.  My robe was laying across the chair in the corner, Alley‚s hung up on the hook on the back of the bedroom door.

Feeling like I‚d been hit by a truck, I crawled out of bed, realizing that my bladder felt like it was going to burst.  
Doing what I needed to do, then walked over to the bathroom sink, looking at myself in the mirror above it.  My hair was wild all over my head, my eyes red-rimmed and bloodshot.  I not only felt like I‚d been hit by a truck, but I looked like I‚d been hit by a truck.

„Shit,‰ tilting my head, I saw the deep bruise on the side of my neck.  
Alley could never give a good hickey, so I knew it had to be from her.  „Shit,‰ I repeated, bringing my fingers up to it, lightly touching it.  It brought back her touch, her gorgeous body and face.

My skin flushed, and I turned away from my reflection, guilt once again gripping me.  
Suddenly I felt like I needed a very hot shower.

„Hey, sleepyhead,‰ Alley purred as I made my way into the kitchen, hair shower slicked, and lost in an oversized fleece sweatshirt and jeans.  
She walked over to me, kissing me lightly.  As she pulled away, she stopped, brows knitting as she grasped my chin with her cool fingers.  Tilting my head slightly, she studied what I knew she‚d find.  „Hmm,‰ was all she said as she released me. „Want some coffee?‰

„Please.‰ I sat into a kitchen chair, searching through the paper that was already spread across the table.  
„What time is it?‰ I asked, digging until I found the local section.

„After one.‰
„My god,‰ I muttered. „I haven‚t slept that late since high school.‰
She chuckled, setting my coffee before me and reclaiming her chair.  
„Well, somehow I doubt you‚ve been that nocturnally active since high school.‰

My eyes flicked up at her, heart clinching in my throat.  
She was skimming the sports page, and I realized she didn‚t know.  Saying nothing, I tried to find something of interest in my own section of the newspaper.

The next couple days went by in a blur.  
Alley and I never discussed it.  I think both of us were afraid to bring it up for our own reasons.  We made love two nights later, and though I enjoyed it, I felt the heavy burden of guilt once again, as another woman kept coming to mind as Alley touched me.  I couldn‚t help but close my eyes and see her looking up at me from between my legs, or feel her touch, smell her hair in Alley‚s short blonde locks.  

I had no idea where my partner had found this woman, or if it was someone she knew, and as badly as I wanted to know, I figured it was best I didn‚t.  
I needed to let it go, remember it as one of the most, if not the most, amazing experiences of my life, and leave it at that.

„My god, Laura,‰ my friend and fellow professor, Susan, said, staring at my neck.  
I was immediately engulfed in color.  Her blue eyes met mine.  „Wild weekend?‰

„Something like that.‰ I tried to pull my shirt up a little higher, embarrassment almost rendering me paralyzed.  
She looked into my eyes.

„Soooo, I‚m guessing you two are getting along?‰ she sat behind her desk in our shared office.  
I plopped down in one of the two hard, wooden chairs in front of it.  I sighed with a shrug.

„I guess.‰  
Looking down at my fidgeting hands, I opened my mouth, about to spill the beans when there was a knock on the frosted glass in the door.

„Shoot, my
two o‚clock.‰  She jumped up from her chair, hurrying to the door.  I stood, walking over to my own desk, deciding to grade papers as Susan held her office hours.

It wasn‚t long before I started to feel a thin layer of ice covering everything Alley and I touched.  
I didn‚t understand it, but couldn‚t stop it.  Before our encounter Halloween night, we‚d been having problems.  I had started to feel a chasm opening up that I wasn‚t sure how to breach.  

At the time, I had felt that Alley was bored in the relationship, just one of the reasons bringing another woman into our bed had hurt.  
But since then, I felt bored, restless, a malcontent.  I felt like I was roaming through my life in a daze, doing the day to day things, not feeling anything, just doing as I was supposed to do, locking any real feeling away, as it was too painful to look at or reflect upon.

Finally, one day after we‚d come back from Thanksgiving break, Susan and I were yet again in our office, getting things ready for finals, which were coming up in a couple weeks.
Glancing over at my friend, I saw her leaning over a stack of papers, white sheets reflecting in the lenses of her over-sized glasses.
„Susan,‰ I began, my voice quiet, unsure.  
She grunted acknowledgement, licking her thumb as she rifled through the papers.  „You remember the Monday after Halloween, that hickey?‰

She glanced up, looking at me in surprise.  
She nodded, and I sighed.  No going back now.  She saw my hesitation and dropped the pile of papers with a flop back to the desk top.  Walking over to my desk, she perched on the edge.

„What‚s up, Laura?‰ she asked, her voice soft.  
I wasn‚t sure where to begin, so I decided to begin at the beginning.

„You know that Alley and I are having problems,‰ she nodded, „well,‰ I continued, „she thought it would be a good idea to bring a third party into the bedroom, liven things up a bit.‰ I couldn‚t meet her eyes, instead studying my ceramic elephant pencil  
holder.  „She thrust this upon me two hours before this woman was to arrive.‰ I chuckled bitterly.  „I was completely opposed to it until I took one look at her.‰

„Tell me about her,‰ Susan said softly, concern filling her voice.
„God, Susan,‰ I moaned, rolling my eyes heavenward.  
„She was the most amazingly beautiful woman I‚d ever seen.  She captivated me instantly, and I agreed to it, against my better judgment.  She had long, gorgeous dark hair.  I‚m usually not even a fan of long hair, but oh my god.‰  I was completely embarrassed as I felt my clit twitch in response to the recall.

Taking it for embarrassment of the situation, Susan grasped my hand. „It‚s okay, honey.  
I‚m your friend.  I‚m not going to judge you.‰

„Thank you.‰ Clearing my throat, I tried to get back on track. „It was almost as if she and I felt an immediate connection, you know?  
I don‚t know.  Sexual attraction, yes, but,‰ my voice trailed off, not even sure of what I was saying. „I don‚t know.  Anyway, the three of us did our thing, then we all fell asleep, me between them.‰

„Was this intentional?‰
„No,‰ I smiled. „just kind of the position we were in when we all collapsed from exhaustion.‰ My blush returned.  
„Anyway, so I wake up, I have no idea how long after we‚d finally fallen asleep.  She was, well, touching me,‰

„Mystery guest?  
Does this poor woman have a name?‰ she asked, taking her glasses off and polishing them on her shirt, as was her habit.

„No doubt she does, but I don‚t know what it is.  
It was never spoken or asked.  Anyway, Susan, we had the most amazing sex I‚ve ever had.  God,‰ I leaned back in my chair, body suffused with heat as I remembered her touch, her mouth, her body.  „I can‚t begin to tell you how good she is.  It was the most sensual thing I‚ve ever seen, felt, been part of, you name it.  No one has ever made me burn like she did.  Does,‰ I added softly, looking down at my hands.  

„What did Alley think of the
midnight romp?‰

I looked up at her with guilty eyes. „She wasn‚t privy to it.‰
„Oh,‰ she grimaced, and I nodded.
„That hickey wasn‚t from Alley, Susan.‰
Blue eyes widened, magnified behind the lenses.
„I feel us ripping at the seams.  
We were in trouble before, as I said, and yeah, bringing in a third woman did add some pizzazz, but it backfired.  Now whenever Alley touches me, I think of her,‰ the last whispered.  Shame filled me.

Susan hopped off my desk, coming over to me, kneeling before me.  
She rested her hand on my nylon-clad knees.

„Oh, honey.  
What are you going to do?‰  She looked so concerned as she looked up into my misted eyes.  I shook my head, sniffling.

„I don‚t know.  
The thing is, I don‚t know if it‚s this woman, or the idea of her, you know?  It‚s almost like this mirror was put before my eyes that night, and now I can‚t see anything but that reflection.‰

„You English professors are so eloquent,‰ Susan joked.  
I smiled weakly. „What if that woman were to walk through that door right now?‰ she asked, pointing at their closed office door.  I smiled again.

„You‚d know far more about sex between two women than you ever wanted to,‰
Susan chuckled, squeezing my knee.  
Sobering, I shook my head.  

„I honestly don‚t know.  
Hell, maybe I made her greatness up in my head.‰

„I doubt that.  
You‚re far too practical for that.‰

„Susan,‰ I said quietly, the one question that had been burning my brain for the past month. „do you think what I did was wrong?  
Making love to this woman while Alley was asleep, not two feet away?‰

My friend sighed, sitting back on her heels, eyes never leaving mine as she contemplated my question.  
„You know, I really can‚t say, but when Alley invited that woman in, especially without consulting you first, she opened that Pandora‚s box.  This is one reason why this sort of thing is so dangerous.‰

„You know I think Alley felt it, at least to some degree.  
That night she was on me like white on rice.‰

I nodded.
„Did this woman say anything when she left?  
A secret smile or handshake?  Give you a decoder ring?  Anything?‰

I smiled, but it turned sad. „No,‰ I said, very softly. „She was gone when I awoke the next afternoon.‰
„And you haven‚t asked Alley where she met her?‰ I shook my head. „A name?‰ I shook my head again. „Why not?‰
„I don‚t know,‰ I sighed, rolling my tension-riddled shoulders. „I guess I don‚t want to raise her hackles or make her suspicious.‰
„Honey,‰ Susan said, standing and placing a comforting hand on my shoulder. „you can‚t go on this way.  
And I don‚t just mean this woman.  You‚ve been unhappy for awhile now.  I think it‚s pretty damn sad that having a threesome with some strange woman is the first thing to bring light into those pretty green eyes in a long time.  Shit or get off the pot.  I think either you try and find this woman, or forget about her and try and make your relationship work.‰

I looked up at her, staring into her concerned eyes for a long time before I nodded.  
Standing and giving her a quick hug. „You‚re right.  I know.‰

Well, I have to get going.  If you need anything else, you call me, okay?‰

Thanks, Susan.  I mean, for listening to all the sordid details.‰

She grinned, and it tickled me just how lascivious it was.  
„Hey, I may be an old married, straight gal, but I can appreciate good sex when I hear it.‰  Cackling at my blush, she left me alone.

Bursting through the ER doors, I looked around for someone to ask.  
Seeing a woman sitting behind a glass wall with a round hole to speak through, I hurried over to her.

„Can I help you?‰ she asked, her voice a tired monotone.
Uh, my partner was brought in by ambulance,‰ I stuttered, beside myself with worry and grief.

„What‚s her name?‰ slowly, oh so slowly, she tugged on a pair of tortes shell glasses, which dangled precariously off her aquiline nose, her fingers poised above the keyboard, waiting.
„Uh, Alley Nichols,‰ I brought a trembling hand to my forehead, my skin clammy.  
I watched her fingers move across the keys with lightning speed.  She raised her head, looking through the glasses.

„She‚s in surgery right now.  
You‚ll have to wait.‰  She glanced at me, tugging the glasses off, letting them fall around her neck on their chain.  „Over there,‰ she pointed to one of the chairs when I didn‚t move.

„Wait, what are they operating on?  
What happened?‰

„Her doctor can fill you in when they‚re done.‰ With that, she turned her back to me, walking over to a file cabinet across the small room she was in.
Heart sinking, I walked over to one of the thinly padded chairs, in a daze.  
I sat there, freezing in my shorts and tank top.  I had been at the gym at the school when the call had come through, and not even having the presence of mind to change, I‚d grabbed my keys and hurried out into the late January afternoon.  

The television droned on in the corner of the room.  
I didn‚t hear it, didn‚t care.  All I could think of was the way things had ended that morning.  

After two months of cease fire, things had flared up again over the weekend when Alley and I had nitpicked each other for two solid days.  
Nothing the other did was right.  It had finally boiled over into a huge fight over breakfast.  So a broken dish, and two broken hearts later, Alley had driven like a lunatic, as was her style when angry, and had been in an accident.  That was all I knew.

As I sat there, my foot tapping a constant beat in worry and nervousness, I thought back.  
After my confession to Susan, I had thought long and hard about what she‚d said.  Not knowing anything about the woman, or about myself, for that matter, I decided to give Alley and I one last go.  Foolishly I thought we could make it work.  Now I realized that the past couple months had been a smoke screen for much deeper problems.  

I felt a constant underlying current of resentment and anger toward her, and now know that was what happened over the weekend.  
I couldn‚t take it anymore, so any little thing she did, I took as a personal affront, adding to that pile of disappointments and anger from the past five years.

Sighing into my hands, I felt the weight of so many things on my shoulders as I waited.
I felt the presence next to me before I heard it.  
The softness of cotton pants brushed briefly against my bare leg, then a cup of steaming coffee came into my peripheral vision, a couple packets of sugar and powdered cream setting atop the lid.

„You look like you could use this,‰ a soft voice said.  
Running my hands through my hair, I sat up, looking at the savior who offered me something to get rid of my goosebumps.  My eyes widened, mouth falling open as I looked into concerned blue eyes.

„Thank you,‰ I whispered, taking the offered coffee, forgetting for a moment what I was supposed to do with it.  
She nodded, setting her hand on her thigh once I had taken the cup from her.  She glanced over at the TV, and I was able to get a look at her.  Her hair looked wind blown, and she tucked it behind her ear as I watched.  Her profile was perfect, just as beautiful as I remembered, and I thought of it often, though I couldn‚t help but wonder if I made her more fantastic than she actually was.  No.  I was dead on.

My gaze traveled to the dark blue pants she wore, and quilted satin jacket with the EMT patch on the arm.
Feeling my eyes on her, she looked at me, a soft smile curling her lips at my blushing retreat.  
I took the lid off with shaking hands.

„May I?‰ she asked gently, reaching for it.  
I nodded.  She took the cup from me, removing the lid. „I don‚t want you to burn yourself,‰ she explained.  Taking the sugar and cream from me, she raised a brow.

„One of each.‰  
She complied, tapping the contents into the cup, then slowly swishing the liquid. „Forgot a stirrer,‰ she explained sheepishly.
„Thank you,‰ I whispered again, taking the cup for a second time, and holding it to my lips as I blew across the light brown surface.
„I think she‚ll make it,‰ she said softly, dragging my attention from the blissful warmth that filled my body.  
I looked at her, brows knit in grief.

„You brought her in?‰ I asked, voice hoarse.  
She nodded solemnly.   „What happened?‰

„She lost control of her car, took out a sign on the side of the highway before her car rolled off the embankment,‰ she said carefully.
„Was she speeding?‰ I asked, voice cracking.  
She nodded.  I swallowed, nodding in response.  Figured as much.

„Amy, let‚s hit it.‰
We both looked up to see a man, dressed as she was, standing near the tinted sliding doors that led outside.  
She turned back to me, standing.

„I have to go.‰
„Amy,‰ she looked at me.  
„that‚s your name?‰

Giving me a blinding smile, she nodded. „Take care, Laura.  
I‚ll see you around.‰  She and her partner headed outside, Amy giving me a final look before the doors whooshed shut behind them.

I sat there, stunned, my body feeling numb from all sorts of shock.
My brother Patrick was a saint and went back to my house to get me some jeans and a sweat shirt.  
While he was gone, the doctor came out to talk to me.  After seven hours of surgery, he was cautiously optimistic that she‚d make it.  He explained that if she made it through today and tonight, she would more than likely survive.  

Somewhat relieved, I called the school, finding a suitable replacement to take over my classes for the next couple days.  
I hated to admit it, but a sense of guilt and duty kept me at the hospital.  

Alley made it through the night, and was moved into a glassed in cubical in the ICU.  
I felt such a mixture of emotions as I walked into that room, met by all the beeps and little lights attached to the machines attached to her.  I felt sadness and grief for what had happened to her, but I also felt a heavy burden fall upon my shoulders.  

I knew I was stuck for the duration of this, no matter how long it took for Alley to recover.  
There was no way my conscience would allow me to leave her.

Walking over to the bed, I took one of Alley‚s hands in mine.  
It was cold to the touch, and as I took in her bandaged head, tufts of blonde sticking out, her face pale and bruised, various lacerations stitched up one side.  Dark circles hung under her eyes.  I scanned down her body, seeing her right leg in a cast, hanging from a wrack mounted in the ceiling.

„What did you do?‰ I whispered, feeling tears stinging behind my eyes.  
Regardless of our problems, I did love her.  It broke my heart to see the usually strong woman like this.  

Heaving a sigh, I kissed her taped fingers, and left the room.
I wandered around the hospital grounds, half drank cup of coffee in my hand.  
Alley was still in her induced coma, the doctors hoping to get the swelling in her brain down.  I‚d been here off and on every day, taking over a couple of my classes, just to keep my mind busy.

I hadn‚t been up to see her yet today, needing a few moments to myself before I sat with her again, holding her hand while I graded papers, or read a book.  
No change.  Nothing new.  Just heavy sadness in that room.

Stopping near one of the planters, I set the Styrofoam cup down, reached into the inside pocket of my jacket, feeling the smooth, plastic covered pack, and pulled it out.  
Looking at it, I fought an internal battle with myself, the weaker side losing.

Unwrapping the foil, I shook a Camel free, clasping it between my lips.  
Setting the pack aside, I reached back into the pocket, grabbing the lighter I‚d bought for just this occasion.  Clasping my hands around the cigarette, I flicked the flame to life.

A startled yelp escaped me, the cigarette falling to the cement path at my feet.
„Sorry,‰ a soft voice chuckled, walking over to me. „I didn‚t mean to scare you.‰
I looked over to see Amy, hands jammed in the pockets of a fleece-lined denim jacket, the gray hood of a hoodie sticking out the back.
„No, it‚s okay.  
You just saved me from restarting a bad habit,‰ I smiled, picking up the dropped smoke, and shoving it back into the pack, tossing the entire thing in the trash can not far from me.  „I‚ve just been so stressed lately,‰ I offered as a feeble excuse.

„Good to know.‰ She stopped a couple feet away, her breath coming out in soft, white bursts.  
„Uh, not about your stress, but the bad habit thing,‰ she gave me a sheepish grin, that was absolutely adorable.  

„Not working today?‰ I asked, noting the faded jeans and brown hiking boots.  
She shook her head.  

„Visiting a friend this time.‰
Uh, me, too.‰ I felt like a dork as I saw the knowing twinkle in her eyes, which sobered.

„How is she?‰  
The question was so filled with warmth and concern that I wanted to cry.

„She‚s hanging on.  
Still in the coma they put her in.‰

Amy nodded.  
„Fairly typical with that kind of head injury.‰

Shame filled me as I realized my body was becoming suffused with heat, totally not feeling the intense frigidity of the January morning.  
And all just from standing a couple feet away from her, both fully clothed, in the light of day, people wandering around nearby.  I‚m really a bad person.

„Listen, I‚m freezing, so uh,‰ she looked around, not meeting my gaze. „want to go get some coffee, or something to eat?  
Something,‰ her voice trailed off as she met my gaze, her eyes so blue, so utterly, intensely gorgeous.  Even with her chilled, red cheeks, ears and nose, she was stunning.

Against my better judgment, I nodded.  
Tossing my now cold coffee into the trash can, we headed wordlessly toward the main entrance to St. Luke‚s, breezing through the automatic doors, and down the long, sterile hallway to the cafeteria.

A few people said hello to Amy along the way, but other than that, we remained silent, walking in sync.  
We both grabbed one of the breakfast platters and fresh coffee, then found a table near the back.  
The place was almost empty, save for a few staff members, and a table with a family who sat quietly eating and talking.

Amy uncovered the steaming plastic plate, unwrapped her plastic flatware, and mixed the food around until it was as she wanted it.  
I absently took bites of the fairly decent food, mainly because I knew I needed to eat rather than actually being hungry.

I had no idea what to say to this woman who evoked such passion in me.  
Just watching her nibble a piece of toast made me want to touch her.  Was I really a horrible person?  My partner lay half dead in ICU while I sat downstairs in the cafeteria, lusting over another woman.

All these thoughts racing through my mind, I hadn‚t realized I was staring until I saw her eyes boring into mine.  
My breath hitched and heart raced.  I couldn‚t look away.

„God, don‚t look at me that way,‰ I whispered, tearing my eyes away, trying to focus on my breakfast.
„I‚m sorry,‰ she whispered back, clearing her throat. „I can‚t help it.‰  
I met her gaze again, seeing everything I felt reflected back at me.  This time she looked away, absently stirring her coffee.  „So, uh,‰ she cleared her throat again. „how long have you and Alley been together?‰

An odd question considering the circumstances, but I knew Amy was trying to get both our minds back to where they should be.
„Five years,‰ I said quietly.  
„How do  you know her?‰

„I don‚t.  
Well,‰ she blushed, looking away. „didn‚t.  An acquaintance of mine, who apparently knows Alley, told me about Alley‚s interests.‰

„Who was it?‰  
I asked.  This was just one of the questions that had been burning my brain since Halloween.

„Joan Richards.‰
„Ah, should have known,‰ I smiled, thinking back to the sex toy party she‚d invited us to last summer. „Interesting woman.  
She works at the bank with Alley.‰

„She was my loan officer when I bought my house,‰ Amy grinned.  
I smiled, eating a forkful of scrambled eggs. „What do you do?‰

„I‚m an English professor at
Idaho State.‰

That‚s great.‰ She smiled.

After awhile, we found ourselves roaming the quiet halls of the main floor of St. Luke‚s.  
We didn‚t speak much, each lost in her own world.  I couldn‚t help but sneak peaks at her from time to time.  She had removed her layered jackets, carrying them over her arm, revealing the red, ribbed sweater she wore, which clung to every curve.  My eyes kept drifting to her breasts, knowing exactly how they tasted and felt.  Then my eyes wandered up to her lips, full and relaxed.  My skin tingled, remembering how she kissed, how those lips felt against my skin, suckling me.

She glanced at me, catching my gaze, and where it rested.  
My eyes refused to leave hers, and suddenly, though I doubt by accident, we found ourselves in the elevator, a man and woman standing toward the front, holding hands, watching the little lit floor meter above the door.  The car dinged at the third floor, and they stepped out.  As soon as the door slid shut, I was shoved against the stainless steel wall of the car, Amy‚s body pressed against mine.

„I can‚t get you out of my mind,‰ she husked against my mouth, her coat hitting the floor, and her hands on my hips, pulling me into her.  
I wrapped my arms around her neck, pulling her into me.

„Neither can I,‰ I moaned, then took her lips in a hard, needy kiss.  
She whimpered into my mouth, her tongue taking refuge against mine, hips grinding against me.  I gasped as her hand came up, covering my breast, palm pressing against my nipple.

„I know it‚s wrong, but I want you so bad,‰ I whimpered.
„I want you, too, Laura.  
God, I want you,‰ she returned to the kiss, fast and harried, unlike her slow, sensual kisses Halloween night.  We both knew we were on borrowed time, which was about to come to an end.

I broke the kiss off, panting heavily.  
She rested her forehead against mine, hands gently caressing my face and neck.

„We can‚t,‰ I said needlessly, more for me than for her.  
I felt her nod.

„I know.‰
Chancing a glance at her, I saw the pain and frustration in her eyes, no doubt she saw the same in mine.  
Will power beginning to dwindle, I knew I had to get away from her.

The door was about to open to the random floor I‚d pressed.  
I reached up, cupping her cheek, feeling her lean into the touch.  Bringing her head down, I kissed her, just my lips, slow, feeling her slide against me, and making us both breathless.

Without a word, I slipped from the elevator as the doors whooshed open.
As penance to ease my guilty conscience, I sat with Alley an extra hour that day.
„Well, hey there, Laura.  
How are you?‰ Greg asked, standing in his front door.

„Hi, I‚m fine, Greg.  
I‚m sorry to bother you guys, but is Susan around?‰ I asked, feeling like a dork, standing on their doorstep at eight-thirty at night.

Come on in.  Honey!‰ he called out, stepping back to allow me entrance. „How‚s Alley?‰

„About the same,‰ I smiled weakly.
„Well, we‚re pulling for her,‰ he smiled, glancing over his shoulder as his wife joined us.
„Hey, kiddo,‰ Susan‚s brows were knit in concern. „What‚s the matter?  
Oh god,‰ a hand came to her mouth. „Alley,‰

„Is fine.  
I just need to talk to you about something.‰ I assured her, reaching out to touch her hand.

Thank god.‰ Hand to her chest, she led the way back into the kitchen, where she‚d come from.  „Have a seat, hon, I‚ll get us some coffee.‰

„Thanks.‰ I pulsed the scarf from around my neck, then shrugged out of my coat, hanging it on the back of my chair, and sitting.  
Soon my friend joined me, sitting across from me at the small, round table for four.  She said nothing, just looked into my eyes, waiting for me to begin.

I looked down into the steaming mug she‚d put before me, wrapping my red, frozen hands around it, absorbing its heat.
„I met my mystery woman,‰ I said quietly, deciding to get to the heart of the matter.  
I hadn‚t told Susan about meeting her in the ER that day, thinking I‚d never see her again, and why torture myself by having to answer questions I didn‚t know the answers to.

Where?‰ Susan asked, leaning slightly forward, her rather large breasts resting on the table as she gave me her total, undivided attention.

„You are never going to believe this,‰ I muttered, sipping from my mug.  
„I don‚t know.  
The Halloween thing was pretty damn unbelievable.‰

„Oh, this takes the cake, trust me.  
You remember the day of Alley‚s accident?‰

„Well, I got the call while I was in the gym at work, so in shorts and a tank top, I fly over to the hospital, out of my mind with worry, not knowing exactly what‚s happened, or if Alley is even alive.  
So, I‚m waiting, shivering my ass off as the hospital charges fifty bucks for an aspirin so it can keep the air conditioning running at sixty degrees twelve months out of the year.  Some kindly stranger brings me a cup of coffee.‰ I look at her, waiting for her to connect the dots.

I laugh as the light flickers on, her eyes getting even bigger behind her lenses, mouth dropping open.  

It gets better.  Not only is she at the ER, but she‚s the EMT that brought Alley in.‰

„Jesus Christ,‰ she hisses, knowing how  
much Greg hates it when she takes the Lord‚s name in vain.  „What is it with you two?‰

I shrugged, sipping my coffee.  
„She was very sweet.  Said she saw me shivering, so brought me the coffee.  I was a wreck, for a few reasons that day.‰

„No doubt.  
So she‚s a paramedic, huh?  Did you get a name?  A phone number?  Marriage proposal?‰

I laughed, swatting playfully at her.  
„Slow down, Susan.  Her name is Amy.‰

„Amy,‰ Susan tested the name on her tongue. „Oh Amy,‰ she said quietly, staring off into space. „Do it to me, Amy,‰  
she looked at me.  „That could work.‰

„Oh, god!‰ I buried my face in my hands. „Sorry, Greg,‰ I called out weakly.  
„That‚s quite a shade of red,‰ Susan laughed, getting up to refill her cup, bringing the carafe over to top mine off.  
„Anything since?  I mean, that was just over a week ago already.‰  Sitting again, she shook the requisite two bags of Splenda, then tore off the tops of the bags, tapping the contents into her cup.

„Yes,‰ my voice was quiet, shamefully quiet.
„Uh oh,‰ again, using the table as a shelf for her breasts, she leaned forward.
„We met at the hospital today.  
Purely coincidence,‰ I assured her.  She nodded, sipping her coffee, looking at me intently over the rim of the mug.  „We talked a bit, had breakfast in the cafeteria, then we made out in the elevator.  End of story.‰ I rushed, smiled, then grabbed  my cup, taking a long, very drawl.  „Son of a,‰ I sputtered, coffee going everywhere, including dribbling down my chin.

„Oh honey, be careful,‰ Susan was instantly on her feet, a wet dishrag appearing in my hands as she began to clean up the table and floor.
„I‚m sorry,‰ I mumbled, cleaning myself off, including wiping my face.  
„I feel like a damn four year old,‰

Mess cleaned up, Susan took her seat again, staring at me.
„So you talked, had breakfast, then made out in the elevator, huh?‰ she sighed. „How romantic.‰
I was there to see my partner who‚s in a coma!‰ I tossed the dishrag down onto the table, frustration bubbling inside.

„Honey, you and Alley were about to call it quits.  
What happened to her is awful, okay?  It truly is.  But you haven‚t been happy with her for a very long time, and now, because you are such a sweet, compassionate person, you‚re giving up yet more of your life to take care of her.‰

„I‚m not a sweet, compassionate person, Susan,‰ I said, feeling miserable. „I‚m only staying in this out of guilt.‰  
There, I‚d said it out loud.

„Oh, honey,‰ Susan reached across the table, taking my hands in hers.  
Here came the maternal look that I needed.  „Regardless of why you‚re staying, you‚re still staying.  And I don‚t care what you say, you are a sweet, compassionate person.  If she had a cold right now, you‚d be by her side.  You‚ve stayed as long as you have because you‚re loyal, putting her needs before your own.‰

I looked at her, stunned to hear her say this.  
„Susan, I‚ve known you for seven years, two years before Alley and I even met.  Why haven‚t you said any of this to me before?‰

„You wouldn‚t have listened.  
You‚re not a quitter, Laura, and it‚s taken you to finally see what else could be out there for you, what else could make you happy, to decide to call it quits on something that should probably have ended a couple years ago.‰

She was silent as I let what she‚d said soak in, my mind a mess.
„Tell me about your make out session,‰ she said, trying to lighten the mood, and give my mind a break.
A slow smile spread across my lips, my heart beginning to pound and my body began to come alive.
„God, she‚s amazing.  
I don‚t know how it happened, to be honest.  One moment we‚re walking the halls of St. Luke‚s the next we‚re in the elevator waiting for this couple to get off on their floor.  As soon as they did, oh,‰ I breathed, closing my eyes the memory.  Opening my eyes, I looked at my friend. „The heat between us is palpable, Susan.  We could have set that elevator on fire.‰

„So it wasn‚t a fluke that one night,‰ she said with a nod.  
I shook my head.

I have never in my life been so attracted to another human being.  My attraction for her is base, almost animalistic, you know?‰

„Sounds like how I feel about Harrison Ford,‰ Susan whispered, eyeing the doorway of the kitchen to make sure her husband wasn‚t listening.  
I grinned and rolled my eyes.

„Yeah, something like that.‰
„What are you going to do?‰
„Hell if I know.  
Why do you think I‚m here, Susan?  For you to tell me what to do,‰ I leaned forward, pounding the table with my fist, searching her face for a clue.  She slowly sipped her coffee, eyes never leaving mine.  Just as slowly lowering the cup, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, meanwhile I‚m squirming in my chair.  Finally she spoke words of wisdom:

„I‚d go for Indy,‰
No closer to an answer, but armed with a kinky visual of Susan and
Indiana Jones in my head, I decided to avoid Amy for a while.  I needed to think.  Before it was fantasy, not knowing who she was, where she was, if I‚d ever see her again.  Now that I got that part out of my system, I needed to clear my head of naughty thoughts and decide what was best of me, not best for me and my libido.

I still went to the hospital, but was cautious, watching where I was going.  
If I happened to see Amy, which did happen, I quickly sprinted down another hall, or if she happened to see me, I‚d wave and give some lame excuse about classes.

It was tough, as every time I saw her, all I wanted to do was jump her bones, or at the very least be with her, stand next to her, breathe the same air as her.  
Here‚s what started to get me into mental trouble- yes, I was incredible sexually attracted to her, yes my pulse went through the roof when I saw her, and yes, I‚d never been so wet in all my life as when I‚ve been in intimate contact with her.  
Even so, I was truly curious about her as a person.  What kind of woman was she?  In my opinion, she had to be a fairly good one to do what she did for a living.  Also, the way she was so compassionate that night, even when my own partner wasn‚t, about my feelings, what I thought and felt.  Even down to the last minute, when her hands were on me, still her thoughts were of me.

The last five plus years had been with a woman who was sweet and caring, but I‚d found out long ago that lasted when it was convenient for her.  
If it didn‚t, she moved on.  Sometimes I was shocked she was still with me, as I didn‚t serve her purposes as well as I once had.  

Sitting on the couch, TV murmuring quietly in the background, I crossed my legs, balancing a clipboard across my thigh, blank notebook paper clipped to it.  
Turning the clip board lengthwise, I drew a line down the page, cutting the page in two.  Across the top of both halves, I wrote ALLEY on one side, and AMY on the other.  Drawing two more lines, so now I had four parallel columns, I proceeded to write PRO and CON atop each of the new columns I‚d made, so that each woman had two columns of her own, one for pros, one for cons.

When I was a little girl, and I needed to make a decision that I just couldn‚t make by flipping a coin, I‚d put it to paper,  
I was there again.  The thing was, I wasn‚t even really thinking of Amy in an option sort of way.  I added her to try and decide what it was about her that had me stumped, other than great sex and sexual attraction.

Clearing my throat and using the remote to click off the TV, I returned my full attention back to my list.  
Starting with Alley, I jotted down a pro.

ALLEY                                                           AMY
PRO                CON               PRO                CON
Fun                              Selfish             Sexy                ?
Beautiful         Nt. Dpdbl.       Grt. Bod          ?
Grt. Bod          Stubborn         Caring             ?
Nice teeth       Lies                             Gentle                         ?
Nice legs         Stingy              Compassionate  ?
?                                  Bd. Temper    Generous        ?
?                                  Treats my       Noble              ?
                                   friends bad                                          
I stopped, chewing on the tip of my pen as I scanned my list.  
The pen fell out, falling limply to my lap as I saw the results, and I wasn‚t even finished yet.  True, I knew nothing of Amy‚s cons, but still, it really wasn‚t about her per se.  She had shown me more good things in a tiny handful of meetings than Alley had in over five years.

„What am I doing?‰ I whispered, feeling miserable and foolish.  
Tossing the clipboard aside, I stretched out on the couch, staring up at the ceiling, trying to think clearly.  So there it was, in black and white, well blue and white, on paper.  Talking with Alley‚s doctor yesterday told me that they were going to start bringing her out of her coma, the swelling was going down nicely, and he figured she‚d be out of the woods within the week, and moved to a private room.

Though this was good news, there was still no way I could leave her alone during this.  
I‚d stay with her, support her during this, but once she was up and okay, she and I would have a serious talk.  This wasn‚t working for me, and I was tired of living my life for her, and what worked for her.

A slow smile spread across my face, a weight lifted for the first time since the day of her accident.
Bouquet of daisies and balloons in hand, glanced at each door I passed, looking for room number 305.  
Stepping into the doorway, I saw Alley laying in the bed, bandages and cast still in place, though minus the jungle of machines and wires.  She was staring out the window, curtains pulled to the side.

Despite everything, I was thrilled to see her awake.
„Hey,‰ I said, quietly entering the small room.  
She turned, smiling when she saw me.  I set my bounty on the table next to her bed, seeing that her mother had already been to see her, a potted plant with her signature huge, loopy writing on the attached card.

„Hi,‰ she said, her voice hoarse, rough from the disuse.
„How are you feeling?‰  
Standing next to the bed, I took her hand, mindful of the I.V. taped to the top.

„Like I hit a sign post,‰ she said, a weak smile splitting her dry lips.
„Funny that.‰ I reached into my pocket, popping the cap off my Bert‚s Bees lip balm.  
„Hold still,‰ I whispered, gently running the minty wax across her lips.  She closed her eyes, gently rubbing her lips together.

„Thank you.  
That feels much better.‰

„So doctor Patterson says you‚re going to be fine,‰ I smiled, trying to sound as upbeat as possible.  
I couldn‚t help but wonder earlier today if coming in here, seeing her awake and talking, if I‚d feel any different.  I felt horrible because nothing had changed inside me.  My decision remained the same.

„My mom was here earlier,‰ she said, breaking into my thoughts.
I saw.  Nice plant.‰  I grabbed the chair that rested in the corner, dragging it to the bedside and easing myself into it.

„Laura?‰ she said, head laying back against the pillow, looking at me. „I‚m sorry.  
About the fight that morning.  I‚m sorry for driving like an asshole.‰

„Don‚t you worry about that now, Alley,‰ I said, my voice soft.  
„It‚s in the past, and now all we can do is look to the future, and see what happens from there, okay?‰  She nodded, her eyelids getting heavy.  „Listen, why don‚t you get some sleep,‰ standing, I leaned over her, kissing her lightly on the forehead.  By time I‚d stood again, she was asleep, chest rising and falling in even waves.  I stared down at her, thinking back to when we‚d first met.

It had been my cousin‚s wedding.  
What was his name, Mark?  Mike?  I wasn‚t close to him in any way shape or form.  My mother had been insistent since he‚d sent me money when I‚d graduated college with my undergrad.  Turns out Alley had been a friend of the bride.  We‚d been seated at the table next to each other, and ended up chatting most of the reception.  Before Alley was admitted into the hospital, we hadn‚t spent a day apart since.

Sitting on the couch, I flipped through the various photo albums we‚d compiled over the years.  
At one time that used to help me to scratch my mad spot; looking at us during happier times helped to remind my why I‚d fallen in love with Alley in the first place.

Tonight, album in my lap, plastic covered pages crinkling as I turned from one page to the next, nothing.  
All it did was make me feel sad because even memories of trips we‚d taken, or things we‚d done, places we‚d gone, were laced with far too many bad things, too much pain.  I was tired of living with the insecurities that any day she could walk in that door and tell me she‚d had enough, like she‚d done, almost clockwork, at three month intervals for the past two years.  I was tired of not being able to plan anything more than a couple months into the future, because I had no idea if we‚d be together or not.

What kind of relationship was that?  
And what it had done to my self-esteem was horrible.  It made me feel like I wasn‚t worth it for her to give me what she had to give, for her to make up her mind, make a commitment.

My years of crying were over.  
The years of begging for us to buy a house, the years of knowing that once again I wasn‚t listed as her beneficiary at her job, nor did we share a bank account.  If I wanted a glorified roommate, I‚d get myself a fuck buddy and be happy.

Slamming the photo album shut, I gathered them all up, determination in my step as I replaced them in the cabinet in the hall.  
Grabbing my keys off the kitchen table, I headed out to find some boxes.

Wal-Mart at a
eleven o‚clock at night was the perfect time to shop.  That place was nuts at any other time of the day.  I should go here at this time more often.  This was the third store I was visiting, the other two having already bailed their boxes for the day.  Finally I had the guy at the last store call this one, and sure enough, they had a bunch still waiting to be broken down.

This store was quite a bit further from the house, but I didn‚t care.  
I needed those boxes, and while my resolve was still strong, I was going to get started.  Pushing my buggy through the store, I found packing tape, and tossed several rolls into the buggy, then headed back toward the grocery doors where the guy told me to go.

Roaming the aisles of the huge superstore, I eyed various things, cool little trinkets, or snagged a random bag of junk food to keep me going, as I planned to do this throughout the night.  
Heading out of the cereal aisle, I turned, feeling like I was being watched.  
My breath caught when I saw that I had been pinned by a pair of brilliant blue eyes.  Amy stood on the other side of one of the displays put right in the middle of the aisle to get in your way.

I stopped, staring back at her.  
We hadn‚t spoken since that day, the day that ended in the elevator, almost two weeks ago.

She put down the package of tortillas she‚d been looking at, and sauntered over to me, plastic shopping basket held in her hand, swaying next to her denim-clad leg.
„Hi,‰ I said dumbly as she reached me.
How are you?‰ she leaned against the endcap of Pop Tarts, setting the basket at her feet.

„I‚m good.  
You?‰  How was it that this woman could look good at any time of day or night?  Was she born perfect?  My heart was in my nose.

„I‚m doing alright.  
How‚s Alley?‰

„She‚s awake.  
In her own room.‰

„Good deal.‰  
She eyed my buggy, filled with broken down boxes, the packing tape tossed in on top of them.  Looking back at me, she raised a brow.

I lowered my eyes. „We‚ve been having problems for awhile,‰ I said, my voice soft.  
She extended her hand, gently lifting my chin with two fingers.  I looked up into her concerned eyes.

„Want to talk about it?‰ her voice was so soft, so filled with understanding.  
I was going to decline, but then I saw the soft smile that she gave me. „Come on.  I‚ll make you dinner.‰ She held up a hand when I opened my mouth. „Just talking.‰

I followed Amy to a small, but beautiful house, just outside of
Pocatello.  The two story Victorian, with it‚s white columns holding up a second story balcony, which I figured probably was off of Amy‚s bedroom.  I wondered what her bedroom looked like ∑ get those thought out of your head, was beautiful.  

„Wow,‰ I sighed, slamming my car door shut as I looked up at the house.  
Amy smiled proudly.

„Like it?‰ she asked, holding the front gate (she actually had a white picket fence!) open for me.  
I passed through.

„I love it.  
It‚s gorgeous.‰

„Thank you.  
I‚ve slowly working at it over the past few years.  Well, to be completely honest, my brother and I have been.‰  She unlocked and opened the front door, balancing the bag of groceries she‚d just bought in one arm, as she let me pass through.  „I‚ll show you some before shots.  You‚ll be amazed.‰

The inside of the house was even more incredible than the outside.  
The floors were highly polished wood, furniture antique, restored to perfection.  The molding all around the ceiling was painted white, while the walls were painted rich colors, bold, yet very tasteful.  

„Wow,‰ I said again, looking up at the staircase with white banister, to match the woodwork of the house, the ends of which opened up, as if in greeting to whomever may mount the stairs.  
Turning in a circle, I stopped, smiling at the very proud owner. „This is truly incredible, Amy.  I‚m stunned.‰

„Thank you,‰ she said softly, actually blushing.  
I thought it was adorable, and had to stop myself from walking over to her and telling her just how adorable I thought she was.  No, I mentally scolded myself.  This was a perfect opportunity to get to know Amy as a person.  I could reacquaint myself with Amy‚s body late.  Ugh, stop it!

I followed her through the narrow doorways, typical of a late eighteenth century home, down similarly narrow hallways, and finally into the kitchen.
„It must have been a real pain to try and get furniture through these doorways,‰ I commented, looking around the kitchen, painted a cheery yellow, with chocolate brown accents.
„Oh yeah.  
You have no idea,‰ she smiled, unloading her grocery bag, laying everything out on the counter. „A lot of the stuff we just took apart, then reassembled them in the appropriate rooms.‰

„Is your brother a carpenter or something?‰ I asked, climbing up onto one of four wooden barstools that stood just under the butcher block island.  
„Yes, as a matter of fact.‰ She grinned at me. „Want some hot tea?  
I‚m not a huge coffee drinker, so I don‚t have any.  Sorry about that.‰

„No, hot tea‚s fine.‰
„If you open that cabinet above the toaster, you can pick out what kind you want,‰ she said absently as she began to chop up vegetables.  
As I watched her, it dawned on me why she had the calluses I‚d noticed that night.

Shaking those very dangerous memories out of my mind, I did as she bade, finding row upon row of stacked boxes of various kinds of tea.
„I‚m going to take a wild guess here and say you like hot tea,‰ glancing at her over my shoulder, I heard her chuckle.
„You can‚t live in
Idaho winters and not,‰ explained, tossing the chopped peppers into the sizzling frying pan on the stove.

„What kind do you want?‰ I asked, scanning all the names.
„Doesn‚t matter.  
I like them all, so whatever you‚re having.‰

Choosing peppermint, I carefully removed the box, feeling like I was playing Jenga.
„The tea kettle is hanging with the pans.‰
Looking up, I saw the rack of pans hanging high overhead.  
Glancing over at Amy, I knew that even she couldn‚t reach them.

„Uh, Amy?‰
„Yeah?‰ she glanced at me, then where I was staring.  
„Oh.‰  She grinned, sheepishly. „Sorry.‰  Pressing a lever, like a light switch, next to the fridge, the rack slowly lowered with a soft hum.

„Now that is cool!‰ I looked on, watching the smooth movement.
„You like that?‰
That‚s great,‰ snagging the silver tea kettle, I watched in fascination as the entire rack swiftly made its ascent back up toward the twelve foot ceiling.

„Just a little something Jason and I came up with.‰  
She opened the fridge door, bending down to get a few more things.  I took that moment to take a good look at the most perfect ass I‚d ever seen.  So into the show, I failed to notice its owner watching me.  „Tsk, tsk, Laura,‰ she purred, catching my attention.

I‚m sorry,‰ I quickly turned back to the sink and filling the kettle with water, my face and body enflamed.  Why did she have to be so damn beautiful?

It didn‚t take long before we were sitting at the small table in the breakfast nook, munching on wonderful omelets filled with peppers, sausage and sharp cheddar, golden brown hashbrowns on the side.
„So are you from
Pocatello?‰ I asked, sipping my tea, pushing my empty plate away.  She sighed, still chewing, and shook her head.  Once she‚d swallowed, she took a quick drink from her mug.

I‚m from Butte, Montana originally.  I moved to Boise to go to school, and lived there for about nine years.‰ She looked down at her plate for a moment.  „I‚ve only been here these past three years.‰  When her gaze met mine again, it was filled with sorrow.  My brow drew in concern.

„You look so sad,‰ I said softly.  
She smiled, though it was weak.

„It‚s not been easy.  
See, when I was back in Boise, I met a woman while I was going to school.  She was a few years older, but we hit it off.  Moved in together after only three months dating.  I know,‰ she smiled, holding up a hand. „U-Haul lesbians all the way.  I don‚t know,‰ she shrugged. „it just worked.‰

„But, she got sick.‰ Blue eyes met mine, and I felt my heart sink for her.
„I‚m so sorry, Amy.‰  
I reached across the table, taking her hand in mine, entwining our fingers.

„Just one of those things, I suppose.  
I had been an executive with the phone company out there, but after Lisa passed, I just didn‚t want to do it anymore.  I packed up and left.  I drove until I saw a place I liked, and here I am.  I wanted to do something different, so I got training as an EMT, bought this place.  I‚ve kept myself busy fixing it up.  Making a life for myself.‰

„That‚s very brave, Amy.‰
„You have to either go on or die, Laura.  
There‚s no way around it.  Trust me, I contemplated the latter, but realized how stupid that was.  So, I‚ve done the best I can, and now, four years later, can honestly say I‚m happy.‰

„That‚s wonderful.  
Not many people can say that these days.‰ I smiled, realizing I still held her hand when I felt her thumb rubbing across the back.  I tried to pull away, but she held tight.  Looking into her eyes, I saw they had softened.

„Why aren‚t you happy, Laura?‰ she asked gently.  
„What‚s going on?‰

„Oh, where to begin,‰ I blew out, taking a nervous sip of my tea.  
„Well, as I said, Alley and I have been together for five years.  Five and a half, technically.  I‚ve just had enough.  I‚ve stayed in this thing for so long, and I‚m finally realizing that I‚m not happy, and never really have been.  At least not the kind of happy I want for myself, you know?‰

She nodded. „Yeah, I know.‰  
With a squeeze, she let go of my hand, rising from her chair to grab the kettle from the stove.  Filling her cup, she raised the kettle in question, but I shook my head.  

„That stunt she pulled on Halloween night was the final straw for me.‰  
I felt nervous swimming into these waters, but it had to be talked about.  It was part of the problem, and if I was there to be totally honest with Amy, and tell her what was going on, she had to hear it.  To her credit, she said nothing, nor did she react.  „I had no idea that‚s what she had planned.  See, she and I had talked about that sort of thing over the years, and she knew I was opposed to it.  I just don‚t think that kind of thing belongs in a relationship.  At least not my relationship.‰ She nodded in understanding.

„I can see that.‰
„But,‰ I chuckled lightly, looking down into my mostly empty tea cup. „here‚s the thing.  
I went along with it to get back at her.  I saw you standing at the door, and oh my god,‰ I intentionally avoided her eyes, not wanting her to see just how deeply effected I had been, though I think she knew.  My voice became softer. „I saw you, and I knew there was no way I could say no.‰  Risking a glance, I regretted it immediately.  Her eyes were burning into me, bright, alive, filled with the desire I felt.  „God,‰ I looked away, taking a deep breath.

„I‚m sorry, Laura,‰ she said, her voice deeper, rougher. „I can‚t help it,‰
„Neither can I.‰
„I have never in my life been so drawn to someone like I am to you.  
Not even Lisa,‰ Amy swallowed hard at that admission, and my eyes flew up to meet hers.  I was trembling, want and need surging through me.  Amy looked away, taking several deep breaths of her own.  „We can‚t do this,‰ she said, squeezing her eyes shut.  „Continue on.  You and Alley,‰ she whimpered.

„Right,‰ trying to get myself under control, my clit throbbing, panties sticking to me, I cleared my head, focusing on why I was at Amy‚s house in the first place.  
„Anyway, when the smoke cleared, I realized that no matter how many Band-Aids Alley and I try and put on the relationship, it just wasn‚t going to mend.  There had been too many hurts, you know?‰

Amy nodded, sipping from her cup.  
I noticed her hand was shaking.  I studied that hand, those long fingers, remembering how they‚d felt inside me, how gentle they could be one moment, then roughened by uncontrollable passion the next.  Tearing  my eyes away, I swallowed.

„She isn‚t going to change, I know that.  
The morning of her accident, I‚d decided I was going to leave.  We had gotten into a pretty bad fight, and that‚s why she took off like a bat out of hell, deciding to make nice with a street sign.‰

„God, you must have felt awful,‰
„I did,‰ I nodded agreement, „but not anymore.  
It took me awhile to realize that Alley makes her own fate, just like I do.  She makes her own mistakes, and I can no longer take them upon myself, as my mistakes,‰ I patted my own chest. „I‚m tired of it.‰

„Good for you.‰  
She smiled, raising her mug in salute.  I smiled back.

I was stunned to see the sun was beginning to rise, spreading its golden rays across the land.  
„Look at that,‰ I murmured from my place on the couch.  
Amy looked over her shoulder from where she sat, curled up with a huge pillow on the floor.  Standing, she walked over to the huge, floor to ceiling bay window, me following quickly behind.  „I don‚t get to see those too often,‰ I whispered.

„Me, either,‰ she said just as softly.  
I felt a hand on my waist, guiding me to stand in front of her, which I did, allowing myself to fall back into the warmth of her body.  Wrapping her arms around me, we watched the sky turn a multitude of beautiful colors, spreading through the wisps of clouds, and reflecting off the new snow.  „People don‚t stop to take in what nature has to offer very often,‰ she said softly in my ear.  My eyes closed, thumb gently brushing across her forearm.

„Mm,‰ I hummed in agreement, sighing as I felt her nuzzle my neck, warm air blowing across my ear as she breathed.  
My mouth opened slightly as I felt one of her hands twine its fingers with mine, the other spreading out, fingers stretching out as far across my abdomen as possible.  Amy inhaled my scent.

„You smell so good,‰ she whispered, again her tongue finding the gold hoop.  
My head fell to one side, giving her permission as I ignored the screaming voice inside my head.  She moved from my ear, back to my neck, finding the pulse point there, licking it softly, making my heart rate jump through the roof.

„Oh, Amy,‰ I breathed, feeling her hand begin to move, gently massaging the muscles in my stomach, slightly tickling me, then moving on, moving up, teasing a breast, just a ghost of a touch.  
Her mouth opened, leaving a trail of wet kisses, leaning as far forward as she could, licking my jaw line.

I slowly turned in her embrace, arms snaking their way up around her neck, stepping into her space, body against body.  
Both her hands now were behind me, cupping my ass, squeezing, then pulling me further into her as our mouths met.

The kiss was playful, nips, licks, then I felt a fire build within, and I cupped the back of her head, taking her mouth, taking what my body had been begging for now for months.  
She whimpered into my mouth, her need meeting my own.

Suddenly I found myself being pulled to the floor, Amy‚s body atop mine.  
Her mouth was everywhere, tugging at my t-shirt, thigh pressed firmly against me, the pressure, along with the seam of my jeans, making me cry out.

„God, Amy,‰ I panted. „this would be so much easier if you weren‚t such a goddamn nice person,‰
She chuckled against my collar bone, which she was nibbling on, her hips moving against me, hand snaking its way up my shirt, covering a bra-covered breast.  
I arched into her touch, feeling my nipples reaching the bursting point.

„Oh baby,‰ I pleaded. „you feel so good,‰
„I want you so bad,‰ she growled.  
„I can come just from the thought of you.‰  Her other hand reached down, ripping at my button flies, growling in frustration as they proved to be less than cooperative.  Frantically I reached down the back of her jeans, needing to feel her flesh.  She growled again as I made contact with her panties, shimmying my hands past the satin material to her bare ass.

„I need you,‰ she gasped, finding my mouth again, whimpering almost constantly now as she focused on the kiss, her hand still working my jeans.
I was panting as she left my mouth, popping up onto her knees so she could use both hands on the buttons.  
Three of the five popped free.  Her victorious cry of the other two letting loose was cut off by a ringing.

„Shit,‰ I scrambled up, reaching into my back pocket where I pulled out the small phone.  
„my alarm clock,‰

„What?‰ confused, she stood, her chest heaving.
„This is my alarm clock,‰ I said, holding the phone up, which I‚d silenced.  
„It‚s six o‚clock in the morning.‰  I walked over to her, resting my forehead against her shoulder, the alarm bringing me to my senses. „I forgot to turn it off Friday morning,‰ I explained weakly, my legs like Jell-O.

Amy wrapped her arms around me, holding me tightly, her breathing beginning to resume it‚s normal cadence.
„I‚m sorry,‰ I sighed.  
„Don‚t be.  
I promised we‚d just talk.  I‚m the one who‚s sorry.‰  She kissed the top of my head, then rubbed my back in comforting circles.  Never in my life had I understood the term Œblue ball‚ as I did at that moment.  

„I should go.‰  
Stepping out of her embrace, not wanting to be tempted again, I got myself together, running my hands through my hair, and buttoning my jeans back up.  It took me a few moments before I could look at Amy.  When I did, I saw that she had taken a seat on the couch, her hair still a mess from my roaming hands, eyes still blazing.  „Thank you for dinner,‰ I said softly, lamely, grabbing my keys from the coffee table.  She nodded.

„You‚re welcome.‰  
She stood, leading the way to the front door.  Once there, she opened it, leaning against it.  I stopped in front of her, looking into her eyes.

„I can‚t do this with you before I‚ve told her goodbye,‰ I explained softly, shaking my head. „I just can‚t.  
It would make me no better.‰  I studied her face, her eyes, looking for understanding.  She smiled, relief flooding me.

„I understand, and I respect you for it.‰  
Leaning down, she kissed me ever so lightly on the cheek.  I searched her eyes, that relief suddenly blown out of the sky.

„That felt like goodbye‰ I said softly, pleading with my eyes that it wasn‚t.  
She paused for so long that I almost walked out of her house, and out of her life.

It‚s see you later.‰

The smile returning to my eyes, I left her house, the smile still in place as I climbed behind the wheel of my car.  
She waved from the front door, and I waved back, backing out of the drive, and heading home.

My heels clicked on the polished linoleum as I reached room 305.  
The door was partially open, and I knocked lightly, making sure Alley wasn‚t asleep.

„Come in,‰ she called out, her voice sounding much stronger.  
Pushing into the room, I smiled at her, stripping out of my coat.  „Did you come from class?‰ she asked, taking in my skirt and silk blouse.

How are you?‰ I asked, taking the chair next to her bed, and crossing my legs at the knee.

„I‚m good,‰ she looked at me, a strange expression on her face.
„You don‚t kiss me anymore when you come,‰ she said simply, her eyes searching mine.  
I sighed, sitting back in the chair.

„I don‚t think it‚s a good idea for us to have this conversation now, while you‚re still in the hospital.‰ I said, looking back at her with hard eyes.  
I was growing to resent her more and more, no matter how much I tried to hide it.

„Why not?  
Now‚s as good a time as any.‰

„Alley, you‚re sick-„
„I‚m hurt, not sick.  
I‚m a big girl.‰

„Alright, fine.‰ Leaning forward, I rested my elbows on my uncrossed knees.  
„You know how things were before your accident,‰ she nodded. „I don‚t mean to sound harsh or cold, Alley, but just because you were hurt doesn‚t mean things have changed, or magically repaired themselves.‰

She looked away, staring out the window.  
I sighed, getting annoyed.

„Don‚t ask if you don‚t want to know,‰
„No, it‚s not that.‰ She glanced briefly at me, then down at her hands. „I‚ve known this was coming, just a matter of when.  
I know you so well.‰  Her smile was bitter.

„And I know you.  
I know things aren‚t going to change.‰  It was harsh, but true.  I hated that I felt I was kicking her while she was down.

„You want to know when I knew that things were over?‰ she looked at me again, this time her gaze holding.  
I said nothing, waited. „Halloween night.  I saw the two of you, you know.‰

My blood went cold, draining from my face.  
She smirked.

„If my heart hadn‚t been breaking, I would have thought it was pretty fucking hot.  
God, you wanted her,‰ she breathed. „I‚ve never seen you want me like that, look at me like that.‰  She looked angry now.  „And the kicker is, I did it.  I‚m the one who brought Amy to our bed, to our life.‰

„Don‚t blame this on her,‰ I felt my defenses rising.  
„To be honest, after the stunt you pulled Halloween night, regardless of who you would have brought in, that was the beginning of the end.‰

She looked at me, surprised, eyes never wavering from mine for along moment.  
I started to feel fidgety when she finally looked away.

„Fuck,‰ she muttered, looking back out the window. „So that‚s it, then.  
That‚s what you‚re saying?‰

„I‚ve already started moving some of my stuff out,‰ I said quietly, figuring she deserved to know the truth.  
I was shocked to see the tears in her eyes when she turned to look back at me.

„Where are you going to go?‰
I shrugged with a sigh. „Get a small place close to campus, I imagine.‰
She nodded, blowing out a long breath.  
„I‚m sorry, Laura, for everything.‰

I raised a brow. „Wow.  
They must have you doped up on some pretty strong stuff,‰

She rolled her eyes. „Ha ha.‰
Smiling, I stood, stepped up next to the bed.  
For the first time in a long time, I looked down and saw the friend that I missed.  I leaned down, giving her a hug and kissing the top of her head.  I tried to stand, but she didn‚t release me, then with a final squeeze, she did.

Standing, I smiled down at her, though it was laced with sadness.  
It‚s not easy to let go of all you‚ve known for so long.

„Good luck, Laura,‰ she said, squeezing my hand before letting it go.
„Good luck to you, too.‰ I said, truly meaning it.  
„I really hope you can finally find happiness.‰

„You, too.‰ She looked away for a moment, then gave me the saddest smile. „I hope you can find someone who can give you everything you want.  
Someone who has the guts to share a bank account with you.‰  Her smile was self-deprecating.

„Well, we‚ll see.‰  
Grabbing up my coat, I gave her one last smile, then walked out of room 305 for the last time.

I was filled with a combative mixture of relief, fear, sadness and joy as I walked down the hall of St. Luke‚s.  
I‚d never known such freedom before, as I‚d never known just what a prison unhappiness could be.

The lights swam overhead faster and faster as my pace quickened, feeling the need to get out of that hospital as quickly as possible.  
I couldn‚t help but see the irony, my leaving a hospital after being sick for so long- heartsick, that is.  

What can I say?  
A friend of mine once told me that English professors are eloquent.

Three months later
No matter what I did, I couldn‚t keep my foot from tapping out a nervous beat on the step below the one where I sat.  
The late afternoon sun shone down, warming my skin, but still my hands were clammy.

Hearing a motor in the distance, I lifted my sunglasses, scanning the flat lands around me, seeing a speck swimming through a sea of dust.  
The sun glinted off the windshield as the car got closer, and my stomach began to roil.

Putting my sunglasses back into place, I sat back, hands fidgeting in my lap.  
I figure I‚d give myself that one nervous action as I‚d finally gotten my foot to stop.  

The car pulled into the drive, braking to a stop.  
The driver cut the engine, staring at me.  I stared back, but did nothing else.  Finally her seatbelt was released, and the door opened.

„You lost, stranger?‰ Amy asked, gathering a duffle bag from the passenger seat of her car, and tossing the strap over her shoulder.  
The duffle carried the emblem of the ambulance company she worked for.

„No,‰ I answered, my voice soft in the spring day.  
„I know exactly where I am.‰

„Oh?‰ she stopped just shy of the stairs that led to her porch, where I sat.  
I stood, slowly removing my sunglasses as I made my way down the few steps till I hit the bottom one, putting us at eye level.  She studied me, not moving. „And where‚s that?‰

„Exactly where I want to be,‰ I said, hope filling my voice.  
I was taking a huge chance.  I had no idea if Amy was still single, or even interested anymore.  When she said nothing, I took another chance. „I‚ve also been meaning to ask you a question,‰

„What‚s that?‰
„Will you have dinner with me sometime?  
I make a mean pasta, or even mac and cheese.‰  She smirked.  „We can eat out on the balcony that juts out from the living room of my apartment.‰

„You have an apartment?‰ her voice was soft, yet hopeful.  
I nodded.

„I‚ve been there for a few months now.‰ I brought a hand up to silence her questions. „I needed to get on my own two feet first, Amy,‰ I explained. „I wanted to come back to you ready for you, ready for us.‰
„And you‚re sure about this?‰
„I‚ve never been more sure about anything in my entire life,‰
Soundlessly, Amy set her duffel bag on the step next to me, closing the gap between us.  
She pulled me to her in a bone-breaking hug, burying her face in my hair.

„I‚ve missed you,‰ she breathed.  
I couldn‚t speak, eyes squeezed tightly shut as I basked in her scent, warmth, and just, well, her.  Pulling back slightly, she pressed her lips to mine. „I accept,‰

Overcome with relief, I buried my hands in her hair, reveling in the feel of her mouth on mine, lips moving against mine.  
The kiss was slow, allowing the heat to build.  Wrapping my arms around her neck, I deepened the kiss, feeling her tongue slide into my mouth.  I moaned into the kiss, missing her taste.

The kiss came to a natural end, both of us grinning like fools at each other.  
She grabbed the handles of her duffel in one hand, my hand in the other, and led the way up the stairs.  Unlocking the door, she pushed it open, once again allowing me to enter, following me in, and clicking the door into place.  Setting the bag down at the foot of the stairs, she grabbed my hand again, looking at me, then tugged lightly, silently asking me to follow.  I‚d follow her anywhere.

The stairs creaked slightly under our weight, but I didn‚t care.  
We turned left at the foot of the grand staircase, and into Amy‚s bedroom.  I didn‚t even bother to look around, not caring about anything but the woman who held more than my hand.

Stopping beside the massive four poster, she brought me to her again, hands on my hips as once again our lips met.  
I moaned into her mouth as my hands tangled in her hair.  I wanted to devour this woman, but I held my body in check, wanting this to be special, wanting to make love to her, not take her.

As we kissed, banking the fire, Amy‚s hands roamed down my back, fingers feeling the soft cotton of my t-shirt, slowly bunching up the material until her fingers were touching bare skin.
I brought my own hands out of her hair, down to her button up uniform shirt, fingers feeling their way to the top button, slipping it through the eyelet, then moving down to the next, the shirt slowly parting.  
When I couldn‚t reach anymore buttons, the rest hidden in her pants, I gently tugged the shirt out, never breaking our mouths apart, though Amy‚s breathing was beginning to hitch as she air met her exposed skin.

The shirt tails were free, I left Amy‚s mouth, leaving a fiery trail of kisses all over her face, along her jaw, finally down to her neck, my fingers working the last few buttons all the while.
Hands resting flat on Amy‚s stomach, almost burning me with the heat, my fingers worked a trail over the expanse, feeling the soft fabric of her bra, then traipsing over it, feeling her nipple pucker under my touch.
She moaned deep in her throat as I suckled her neck, licking along where her shoulder meets her neck, brushing the shirt aside with my nose.  
One shoulder free, I nuzzled the skin there, the perfect musculature and bone structure, nipping lightly with my teeth.

Finally I brought both hands up, looking into hooded blue eyes as I swept the entire shirt off her shoulders, letting it slide down her arms, and finally to the floor, landing in a puddle at her feet.
I lifted my arms, allowing her to remove my t-shirt, then nibbled her neck as she reached behind me, unhooking my bra, snap by snap, the satin straps falling down my arms, and joining her shirt.  
I closed my eyes, gasping as she cupped my breasts, thumbs rubbing over the hard nipples, making my head fall back as pure sensation traveled straight from my nipples to my clit, making it twitch with anticipation.

I began to fumble with her belt as she played, kissing me again, her palms running slow circles around my nipples, making me whimper into her mouth, long, needy whimpers.
Pants open, I shoved them and her underwear down her long legs in one fluid movement.  
Taking a step back from her, I knelt down, untying first one shoe, then the other.  She used my shoulder to balance herself once again as she stepped out of her shoes and socks, then her pants and panties.  While I was down there, I removed my own shoes, unbuttoning my jeans as I stood, pushing them down over my hips, and down my thighs.  Amy watched, her eyes growing more intense with every inch of flesh revealed to her.

Both completely naked after I removed her bra, I gently pushed her back toward the bed, where she fell back, pulling me with her.  
I growled deep in my throat as we finally lay skin against skin.

„God, it feels like forever since I was able to touch you,‰ she whispered against my lips.
„It has been forever.‰  
Wasting no more time, I left her mouth, suckling and licking her neck, my hand roaming down her body, running my nails over her skin, leaving tiny white trails for my mouth to follow.

Amy gasped, head slamming back when my hand reached her sex, fingers pushing their way through an abundance of wetness, clit already swollen and pulsing.  
Grasping her legs under her thighs, I pulled her legs over my shoulders, kissing and licking the insides of her thighs, her desire hot and powerful, drawing me in.

„Laura,‰ she breathed, hands reaching down to tangle in my hair.  
In response I slid my tongue into her folds, gathering her wetness as I went, humming at her groan, her hips bucking slightly.  I planted both hands on her upper thighs to keep her in place as I drug my tongue through for another pass, licking her from opening to clit, and back down again, tonguing her clit for a moment first.

She was so wet, and her body was already moving all over the place.  
I knew I didn‚t have long to feast, so I dug in.  My tongue entered her, and she cried out, opening her herself even more for me, offering all she had to me.  I took it with relish.  

Reaching up, I found a hard nipple, and knowing how sensitive her breasts were, I rolled it around with my palm, spreading the sensation, and knowing that it would make the sensation even more potent below.  
Moving my tongue away from her opening, I decided to make it as intense for her as I could, and concentrated all my effort on her clit.  
I was merciless as I flicked it with hard, insistent strokes.  Her breathing and panting was nonstop now, so I knew I‚d done good.  

As her breathing changed to short bursts, her body beginning to jerk uncontrollably, I sucked her clit into my mouth, sucking in time with the rhythm of her hips until she exploded against me, yelling out, fingers digging into my scalp.  
I tongued her clit a couple more times, making her convulse again, then she begged me to stop.

Discreetly wiping my face on the comforter below me, I crawled up her body, kissing my way until I lay atop her, her arms pulling me to her, my face buried in her neck as she got her breathing under control, eyes still tightly closed.  
Finally she guided my face to hers, her lips taking mine in a slow, deep kiss.  
„That was amazing,‰ she said against my mouth.  Her eyes finally opening, she brushed some hair back from my face, caught in her desire.  We both smiled as she tucked it behind my ear.  „Can I try something?‰ she asked softly.  I nodded immediately.  I‚d go to the moon and back for this woman.

Gently moving out from under me, she walked, well more like hobbled, over to the closet, pulling the door opened, and reached up for something.  
I watched the muscles in her back work as she moved, wanting so badly to go over there and trace ever one with my tongue.

„I had actually planned to use this Halloween night,‰ she explained, heading back to the bed, a package in her hand. „Had it in the car and everything, but decided not to.‰  
She sat on the edge of the bed, showing me her prize.

„I‚ve never used one of those before,‰ I said, eyes drifting down the long shaft and leather straps, still nestled in their original box.
„Do you mind?‰
„No,‰ I said softly, catching her eyes, then leaning forward, laying a gentle kiss on her lips, then laying back on the bed, raising one knee, silent invitation.  
I had to smile as she managed to get into that thing in record time.  The dildo bobbed from its ring, held snuggly against Amy, as she crawled onto the bed.  I raised my other knee, reaching between my spread legs for her.

Placing her hands on either side of my head, she lowered herself, the long dildo trapped between our bodies.  
Her breasts pressed against mine, making us both sigh.  My hands found her head, pulling her into me, eyes closing as I felt her mouth meet mine, her tongue slowly tracing my lips, coaxing my mouth to open.  She slid inside as she lifted herself just a bit, just to her forearms, moving her smoothly.  I gasped as I felt the full length of the dildo sweeping through my sex, gathering moisture as it went, slicing through easily.

My eyes slid closed as the latex glided against my clit, opening my legs further to give it more to surface area.
„You like that?‰ Amy breathed against my lips, excitement forcing her words out in puffs of air.  
I nodded, feeling warmth spread throughout my sex, my hips beginning to move against the long length running along my seam.

Amy was trembling as she kissed my neck, running her tongue along my throat, dipping her tongue into the hollow before nipping at the tendons she found there.
„I could come just from this,‰ I panted, bringing my hands down to Amy‚s ass, feeling the soft skin there.
„Oh, no you don‚t,‰ she stopped her slow movement, making me whimper at the loss.  
Pushing up to her knees, she took hold of the dildo in one hand, teasing my clit with the tip, making me gasp, my hips buck.  „You want me inside you?‰ she asked, and I nodded frantically.

„Yes, baby.  
God, yes,‰

Leaning over me on one hand, she placed the tip just inside, then put her other hand on the other side of my head, using her hips to slowly slide inside.  
My head arched back as I felt her filling me, her hips touching the insides of my thighs once she was completely inside.

„God, this is incredible,‰ she husked, eyes closed as she allowed both of us to get comfortable with her inside me.  
Slowly she moved her hips again, pulling out, the suction inside of me making me groan, my hands resting on her hips, feeling the leather beneath my fingers.

„Yessss,‰ I hissed as she eased back in, fluid pouring out as she did, tickling the crack of my ass as it overflowed.  
She lowered herself slightly, her breasts just barely brushing mine, nipples tickling my own.  I reached up, cupping her breasts, making her hiss, head shooting up.

Getting her bearings back, she pulled back, easing the entire length, just to the very tip, out, then slowly pushing all of it back in, filling me.  
I could feel a slight burn in my stomach from the length, but god it felt so good.

Keeping my hands on her breasts, I begged her to take me.  
She complied, leaning down, she savaged my mouth, her hips beginning to thrust against me, filling me over and over again, only to leave me empty, then fill me again.

Using her powerful body to her advantage, she began to thrust faster, moving the bed with every thrust, my breasts bouncing like mad as she moved my entire body, my hands digging into the flesh of her back and ass.
She whimpered into my mouth, her body losing control as she came close to coming, taking me along with her.  
She reached back, pulling my thighs up higher on hers, thrusting deeper inside of me, our combined panting filling my ears until all sound faded, sight lost behind my closed eyelids, only touch remaining, the feel of Amy thrusting inside of me, pounding into me.  I was on the edge, breaths coming in short bursts, heart racing, when she reached down, pressing my clit with two of her fingers, frantically rubbing it.

Never had I come so hard in my entire life.  
I yelled, head back, veins standing on end, voice erupting from my throat as pleasure burst from every pore in my body, every bit of blood I had, rushing to my clit, leaving me light headed, feint.

My head was pounding as I realized my face was being caressed and kissed, wrapped up in a strong body.
„Hey, beautiful,‰ Amy whispered, lightly kissing my lips.  
Weakly I tried to kiss her back.  She grinned when I opened my eyes. „Welcome back.‰

„Holy cow,‰ I murmured, all of it coming back to me.  
„How long have I been out?‰

„A few seconds,‰ she said against my brow, leaving a light trail of kisses down to my temple.  
Still feeling pulsing pleasure ripple throughout my body, I snuggled into her, lightly kissing her throat.

„Amy, that was amazing.  
I can‚t even find a word for it,‰

„Yeah, it was,‰ she whispered, pulling me tightly to her as she rolled over onto her back, pulling me on top of her.  
I snuggled in closer, wanting to just curl up inside of her, be surrounded by her.  I had never felt so incredibly close to someone in my entire life, never so content.

„I‚m glad you waited for me,‰ I whispered, my brain becoming hazy as exhaustion began to settle in.
„Me, too,‰ she whispered back, the hand that had been stroking my back becoming sluggish. „Me, too.‰  
And with a final sigh, we drifted off to sleep.

The End.

For all of Kim Pritekel's works, go to www.coloradobardsplace.net <http://www.coloradobardsplace.net/> .