"Happy anniversary, babe." My reply echoed with her much sweeter sounding voice just like it had every year for the last fifteen. I looked into her eyes and hoped she was feeling the effects of our years together the same as I.
Good gods, what the woman could do to my body with just a look, the hint of a smile, or the sound of my name as it gently rolled off her lips. Even today, years after I had totally fallen in love with her, I find my heart still skipping beats when she looks my way. I remember the first time as though it were yesterday.
After making her way across the dew laden grass of the outfield, Jenn Morris stomped her feet a time or two, knocking the clinging droplets from her shoes before tossing her equipment bag next to the bench.
"Fuck!" Jenn looked up to see a weary set of brown eyes.
"I didn't think you were the kind of dyke that did mornings." Sarcasm dripped from the woman seated on the bench.
Jenn gave a deadly glare before dropping down next to her. "I wasn't talking to you, Gus."
"Thank God, cause you're not my type." Gus kept her gaze on the list of names in her hand.
"Bite me." Jenn stuck out her tongue then quickly retracted it behind pearly white teeth.
"Aren't we in a good mood."
"How can I be in a good mood when my favorite TV show is being cancelled?"
"The world will live without the warrior princess," Gus was quick to reply. "I never knew what all you Xena freaks saw in it anyway."
Stunned blue eyes captured the woman's glance.
"Gus, tell me you didn't say that."
"Say what?" The older woman puzzled over the question for a few seconds before throwing her hands up in the air. "Okay, okay. I'll grant you that the Amazons had nice legs and tits, but that's all."
"So, you did watch it." The corners of Jenn's mouth tugged up into a crafty smile.
"Yes." Gus cleared her throat. "I had to see what all you young studs were talking about." Aged brown eyes reverted back to the paper in her hand. "I still think Cagney and Lacy were better looking. What a pair of ass cheeks in those pants," Gus sighed. "Now they were hot." A sultry smile settled on her lips. "And they didn't need swords, sticks, or chakrams to get the bad guys."
"Chakrams, huh?" The younger woman smiled openly as she picked up her bag and rummaged through it. "And how many times did you watch Xena to know about chakrams?" She said cheekily, pulling out her cleats and socks.
"A time or two." Brown eyes shifted over to Jenn laying ground for her defensive posturing. "Want to make something of it?" More than willing to live up to her butch reputation, Gus puffed out her chest and waited for a reply. Her only answer was the lackadaisical shrug of Jenn's shoulders. "Didn't think so," Gus said under her breath, turning her attention back to the list of names in her hand. "Do you know someone by the name of Kelly? Sue Kelly to be exact."
"Doesn't ring a bell to me." Jenn put on her sock and pulled it over her well-muscled calf. "Should I?"
"I figured you knew all the women hanging out at the bar. I mean, I used to."
"Gus, you were a flirt and you know it. All the women knew you," Jenn snickered, "or of you."
"I had my day," the older woman reminisced for a few seconds before coming to a stern resolve. "But I'm the coach now and fraternizing with the players on the team ain't how I run things."
"So now it's my job?" Jenn couldn't contain her laughter.
"Well, I just figured that maybe you knew her."
"Nope." Jenn tugged a shoe onto her foot, then set about tightening the laces. "Any other names on that list you want to ask me about?"
"Nah," Gus grimaced. "That's the only name I can't put a face to. All the rest I know."
A smirk came to Jenn's face. "Then the stranger in our midst will be none other than this Kelly kid."
"Guess so." Gus grumbled as she adjusted the baseball cap covering her gray locks.
A comfortable silence passed between them as Jenn set about digging her other shoe from the bag.
"Don't look now but I think the kid is walking toward us."
The combination of Gus' nudge and low sounding whistle made Jenn's head snap up. The petite but shapely sight before her nearly sent her reeling.
"I'll say," Gus muttered. "She's a keeper even if she can't play a lick."
Their eyes never wavered from the woman as she came around the end of the fence and crossed the infield toward them. For Jenn, time stood still as she waited for a better look at what was being hidden by the bright red baseball cap pulled down low on the woman's brow.
"Take off the hat," Jenn whispered as reverently as any prayer she'd ever said in her life.
A moment later her wish was granted. Blonde tresses fell like angel dust and loosely draped over the woman's shoulders. Now with the brim of the cap gone, Jenn could see not only a hesitant smile but also the green of the outfield reflected in warm, inviting eyes.
"Yes!" The word lingered in a hiss. If Jenn hadn't known better, she would've sworn a thousand racehorses were dashing for the finish line in her chest. Panting to catch her breath, the young woman wiped the budding perspiration from her forehead.
"So I guess you're not going to help me coach again this year," Gus sighed.
"Same rules as always?" Jenn gave the coach a sidelong glance.
"Of course. When did you ever know me to change my mind?"
Jenn smiled. "Not in a million years." She tried to bolster her composure as the blonde drew nearer. "Thanks for asking me but you might have better luck next year, Gus. I think that no fraternization clause would get me kicked completely off the team." Jenn took in a cleansing breath. "But you know . . ." she felt her heart skipping beats, "I'm always available for private tutoring."
"Private tutoring," the older woman said with a snide smile, "my ass."
"Morning ladies." The blonde's words cut through the air like a robin's warble heralding the first moment of Spring. The woman gave a little wave of her hat as she approached the bench. "I'm glad to see I'm not the first one. My name is Sue. . .Sue Kelly," she offered energetically.
Hearing the sweet sound of the woman's voice, the corners of Jenn's mouth tugged into a grin. She stood there mesmerized as the blonde came closer.
"Howdy! I'm the coach. Everybody calls me Gus." The older woman nodded her head then glanced over to the silent form next to her. "This here is our shortstop," she nudged her player.
I remember that it was all I could do to say my name. The quiet beauty of the woman standing before me held me spellbound.
The mirage faded and beguiling eyes came into my view. The same green color as the outfield grass held my attention as it had so many years ago.
Hearing an echo, I pull myself away from the memories and into the present. Again, I'm in awe of the beauty of my wife.
"Jenn, what are you thinking about?"
The question rises out of devilish green eyes that appear to be taunting me. "Don't even tell me it's another girl. Not on our anniversary."
The soft touch of her fingers on my skin told me her words were only said in jest.
"No, dear. You're the only woman my mind tends to wonder about." I can't help but smile at the radiant glow of her face. She doesn't even have to say it and I know she loves me. I look into her eyes and I'm lost like a newborn lamb in a Spring meadow. Oh, how familiar that feeling can be once you've experienced it and again the memories come flooding back.
"I don't understand what I'm doing wrong." Blonde hair cascaded across petite shoulders trying to keep up with the shaking of Sue's head. "How do you want me to work the steal versus the double play?"
Gus took in a deep breath as she gathered her thoughts. "With the steal, they can dive into the base head first or lay it out and slip in feet first. All you have to do is tag them before they hit the bag. On the double play, you just need to tag the base and throw the ball to first." Seeing the perplexed look on the young woman's face, the coach threw her hands up in the air. "Jenn," she bellowed the name much like a bull moose calls out to its mate. "Show Kelly what I'm talking about."
"The steal first." Gus dictated the play.
The shortstop moved into position at second base while the others stood ready at their own positions. Taking a throw from the pitcher, Jenn swung her gloved covered hand holding the ball to tag the out stretched hands of the runner sliding into second attempting the steal.
"Good try but I got ya'." Jenn smiled as she glanced briefly over to the blonde, then to the coach before tossing the ball back to the pitcher. "Okay, double play this time," she yelled loud enough for her teammates to hear.
Confident in their experience of playing together, Jenn reacted to the ground ball rolling her way. Fielding it with her gloved hand, she stepped on the bag at second and rifled the ball to the first baseman, ahead of the batter running down the first base line.
"Double play!" Gus yelled out, her balled right hand extending over her head in triumph before turning to address Sue. "Do you see what I'm talking about now?"
"I think so," the woman replied meekly.
"Now you try it." Gus nodded eagerly before turning back to the field of players. "Okay, let's run it again, only this time with Kelly at second."
The players went into their positions and waited for Gus to give her signal.
"Take your time and think. You'll know what to do," Jenn stage whispered. Pounding her fist into her glove a time or two, she settled into her stance between second and third. She glanced over to see the blonde's head nod. In the blink of an eye, the base runner was in motion and the shortstop's body began to react. "Steal," Jenn shouted alerting her team, then slipped in behind the second baseman anticipating the play.
The quick actions of the pitcher sent the ball in Sue's direction as the base runner's rapid footsteps grew louder the closer she came. Capturing the ball in her glove, the young woman stepped on the base in a most triumphant manner.
"NO!" The chorus of horrified voices mimicked a group of adolescent boys, their voices ranging from one octave to the next in a single syllable.
"No, no, no, no, no." The coach's gravelly voice barked out. "Do it again," Gus ordered her team, frustration sounding in her voice.
"Next time tag the runner," Jenn spoke in a flat even tone as she walked past the second baseman. She watched as the blonde nodded. Settling into her anticipatory stance, the shortstop awaited the next pitch.
The dull sound of wood striking ball set the team in motion. Keeping her eye on the ground ball, Jenn gathered it up in her glove and scooped it over toward second base.
"Double play." Jenn froze as she watched Kelly catch the ball, then turn to face the runner sliding into second.
Sue clutched the ball tightly in her mitt, extending it toward the incoming player. Amid dust clouds and the sound of cleats impacting the bag, a groan arose from the rest of the team.
"No! No! No!" Gus stomped across the infield tearing the cap from off her head, then slapped it against her denim-clad leg. "You don't tag out on a double play."
"But I. . .I. . ." Exasperated green eyes quickly glanced over to Jenn then back to Gus. "I'm sorry." Her words were soft, reflecting her remorseful mood.
"It's my fault, Gus. I told her to tag the runner." The shortstop came to the blonde's defense.
"You what?" The coach grimaced as she wrung her hat in her hands.
"If you're going to be mad at anyone, it should be me."
The coach glared at the seasoned player. "Alright then, lets do it again."
"Jeez, Gus!" The small woman stood up, dusting off her soiled pants. "I've only got so many slides in me. You want me to use them all up today?"
Angered brown eyes met the protest then softened. "No, I suppose I don't. Jenn!" Gus barked out the name, then smiled. "You take her place. If you're lucky, maybe this time Kelly will get it right." Pausing for only a second to register the shortstop's action, the coach returned the snide smile that was given her. "Alright, let's do it again." Gus spun around and headed back to the sideline. "Maybe she just needs a larger target."
"I heard that," Jenn said tossing her glove onto the bench before heading to first base.
"Figured you did." Gus mumbled before turning her attention to the other players. "Okay, let's play ball." She waited until Jenn had taken a step off first base before going through a myriad of hand motions. Sure that her base runner and batter knew what to do, the coach gave the nod to her pitcher, then waited.
"Crack!" Like a shot from a cannon, the ball careened through the infield dropping short before the third baseman.
Jenn tightened her fists as she raced down the baseline. Catching sight of the ball in her peripheral vision, the woman calculated the distance and started her slide. A second later her foot caught the bag and out of nowhere she felt a jarring impact along the length of her body.
"Oomph!" The air rushed out of Jenn's lungs and her eyes snapped open. Blonde hair filled her view. Before she could say a word, startled green eyes met hers and full lips descended upon hers.
The touch of soft, moist lips set off an array of fireworks in Jenn's mind. Gold melting into red as the sensations in her body came to life. Reaching up, her hand came to embrace the weight holding her down.
"Where's my double play?"
Gus' voice filtered through the sound of her blood coursing wildly about her body.
"Double play?" Jenn whispered, still remembering the touch of Sue's lips upon her own when they parted. "I've only gotten to first base."
"Pleasant thoughts, dear?" Blonde eyelashes flirted with me.
I couldn't help but smile seeing the pools of green directly in front of me. I could feel the blush starting up my neck and into my checks as I cleared my throat. "Sort of," I said nonchalantly.
My wife peered deeply into my eyes. "Anyone I know?" She pressed her body against mine.
Immediately I felt my heart start racing and found it difficult to keep a full-blown smile from my lips. "Only the best second basemen I've ever had the pleasure of playing with. A lovely young woman by the name of Sue."
"Hmm. . ." a delicate finger tapped lightly against a puckered pair of lips in contemplation. "Sue, huh?"
I watch a self-satisfied smile settle on my wife's face.
"My name is Sue."
My smile grows, as does the peak of her nipples straining against the soft material of her tank top. She leans in and I feel her warm breath on my neck.
"Remembering how to get to first base again, huh?"
I nod. "That and making double plays."
"Oh, is that all?"
The sound of her ladylike laughter rings in my ears. Before I know it I can feel her lips dropping soft butterfly kisses along the length of my neck. A shiver runs down my spine sending a jolt to my innermost core. I inhale deeply, trying to steady myself. Her scent fills my mind with long days and seemingly endless nights spent satisfying our needs and celebrating our love with acts of wanton pleasure.
"No." The word purrs out of my mouth in a husky tone. I fight not to mentally go down that path.
"Good," she sighs touching her lips to mine as she gives me a hug. "Because the part I like best is coming up."
"Making it to third base?" I query teasingly, pulling back to see the look on her face.
"No, silly." Sue lays her hand on my shoulder and slowly trails it down my chest.
"Triple plays?" I tease her more, watching as she shakes her head.
"Not my style."
My lower lip goes into an exaggerated pout.
"Or yours either," her voice turns stern, then just as quickly softens as a sultry smile slides into place. "I'm talking about. . ."
"Hitting a homerun?" I offer with an air of cocky confidence. I watch as the thought registers in her head and her eyes twinkle in a most mischievous manner.
Actually. . .my personal favorite is sliding into home." Her sultry smile resurfaces as she glances over to the nightstand, then her gaze meets my own.
It only takes me a second or two to know where she's coming from. A sexy smile of my own slips into place as I remember the first time I slid into her home.
"Well, thanks for helping me out." Sue sighed. "I guess I'll see you at the next game."
"You're not going to stop by the bar?" Jenn tried to hide her disappointment. "Won't you be awfully dry by then?"
"I've got loads of water at home." She held up her water bottle and drank from it. "I'm not much of a bar rat." The blonde shrugged. "I guess I never needed that kind of socialization. I'm more of a homebody."
"Hmm. . ." Jenn stared out into the outfield and thought for a moment. Her time was running out and she had to make her move. "Would you?" She glanced over at the blonde, then quickly looked away. "Would you mind if I call you sometime?" Her courage surfaced and she honed in on her idea. "I mean. . .maybe we could eat or something."
Sue cocked her head to one side and studied the woman. "Are you asking me out?"
Shocked by the words ringing in her ears, Jenn sat dumbfounded on the bench.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to presume." Sue shook her head. She quickly gathered up her bag and bottle and started to walk toward her car.
"No!" Terror sounded in Jenn's voice. Seeing the puzzled look on Sue's face as she turned in response, Jenn blurted out her mind. "YES!" She gasped jumping up from her seat. "I am." Hopeful eyes searched the blonde's face for any indication of acceptance. "Asking you out. Damn! I'm screwing this up." Jenn clenched her fists and kicked at the dirt.
"No, you're not." Sue's softly spoken words tried to soothe her teammate. "I think it's sweet."
"Sweet?" An arched eyebrow met the blonde's gaze. "I'm butch. I'm not sweet," Jenn said indignantly.
Pale pink lips parted into a smile. "I know. That's one of the things that I find most attractive about you."
"You find me attractive?" Jenn's gaze settled on Sue.
"That's why I joined the softball team in the first place." Sue finally admitted. "I saw you in the bar and knew that it was my only chance at meeting you."
"So you think I'm pretty butch, huh?" Jenn's cocky smile transverse the distance before her feet carried her over to the blonde. "I knew you liked me."
"Careful there. You're a little too cocky for your own good."
The smile on Jenn's face blossomed. "I have a thing for. . .cocky."
"Maybe you could show me sometime." Blonde eyelashes batted in a flirtatious manner.
"Your place or mine?" Jenn extended her arm, leaning into the fence Sue was standing by.
Their gazes met and held like super glue. Long seconds ticked by as each one studied the other's intent. Convinced that the time was right to make her move, Jenn leaned in until lips charged and ready melted into softer, more inviting ones. Immediately, Jenn knew she was in trouble as she rounded first and headed toward second. A moment later, lips parted, and a fast moving tongue darted upward, eager to explore. The next thing the shortstop knew, she was stifling a moan as she reached out to palm a supple breast. Leisurely, the kiss ended and a flurry of more chaste, delicate ones began.
"You're playing catch-up, Jenn." Sue whispered in the woman's ear. "The momentum is already carrying the play to third." The blonde leaned back into the fence to get a better look at the shortstop's face.
Through half-lidded eyes Jenn savored the view of two heart-shaped lips and without a doubt, she knew she had just rounded third and was going head long into a slide for home. Slowly her lips descended on pale pink and the fire within her flared. "You never did tell me," Jenn whispered close to Sue's ear. "Your place or mine?" She watched as the blonde's eyelashes fluttered in response to the question.
"Mine." Sue finally uttered.
The breathy reply nearly brought Jenn to her knees. Thank you. She closed her eyes and took in a breath.
"You're not having second thoughts, are you?" There was a note of trepidation in the blonde's voice.
"No." Jenn smiled. "But then again, I never was one to bank on having a home field advantage." With her words still hanging in the air, Jenn took the blonde's hand in hers and winked. "Don't worry, I've got everything I need right here." She gave Sue's hand a squeeze. "Well, almost everything." The shortstop glanced over to her equipment bag on the bench, then turned her attention back to the blonde. "The rest is in the bag."
There was never any doubt to the truth of Jenn's statement in either woman's mind. Later that night at Sue's apartment the sports bag was opened and a favorite leather harness was strapped on. Displaying her adept skills with the same fluid motion she used on the field, the shortstop readied her trophy with a true blue condom and lots of lube. In the midst of pounding hearts and words spoken with only love, Jenn finally knew that she had slid into home.
A warm feeling washes over me as our first night of passionate embraces and loving touches replay in my mind like scenes from my favorite movie. Little did I know they would hold me for the rest of our lives and all of eternity.
Slowly the haze of my earlier life with Sue lifted and once again I was living in the present. My lovely blonde partner is rummaging amidst sports bags, balls, bats, and game books piled next to our front door.
"Looking for something?" I tease her while admiring her still shapely figure.
"Nope. I know right where everything is."
I watch as she stops what she is doing and returns my gaze. The arch of my raised eyebrow obviously taunts her to continue.
"I'm not looking for that, Jenn." She smiles sexily at me. "It's right where we left it last night in the stand next to the bed. Besides, we don't have time for it now. We've got to get all this stuff and the girls. . ."
"Yes," I sigh, remembering my promise. "The girls."
I ponder the thought, the words haunting my mind like a bad "B" movie. What a player I'd been before I met Sue. How many nights had I spent wrapped around nameless shapes and succulent flesh only to feel so totally alone come the light of day? I shake it off to practice while waiting for the right one to come along.
My eyes fill with Sue's beauty and I wonder what attracted her to me. Surely she knew of my exploits and my lone wolf reputation. There was a time when I was the talk of the town or at least the lesbian community in the area. A bittersweet smile masks my chagrin for years spent wasted. I'm still the talk of the town, but in a different light now. The blonde before me took care of that. Everything I am today, I owe directly to her.
A catch comes to my breathing as another's face crosses my mind.
"Gus." The whispered name brings a smile to my face. If only the woman knew what her years of coaching had helped me to become. If I'm lucky, maybe she'll be looking down on me today. A warm feeling spreads throughout my chest as I gaze over to the hallstand and the battered cap that waits for me. I can still see it perched on her dusty gray head the day she announced her retirement. Already I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I haven't even put it on.
"Your ready, Jenn?"
The words circle around me and slowly redirect my train of thought.
"Yeah, I'm ready." With a tentative hand I secure the cap, rubbing my fingers over the fuzzy texture of the word emblazoned across the front. Slowly I place it on my head then adjust it to a better position with a tug at the bill. I glance into the mirror on the vestibule wall, then look to Sue for approval. "How's it look?"
"Hmm. . ."
I watch as Sue taps her finger to her lower lip, scrutinizing my new chapeau. A moment later she reaches upward on tiptoes and places a chaste kiss upon my cheek.
"I love it." She pecks my cheek again. "I love you."
Green eyes drove the meaning home before she leaned to a side. "Hey kids." Her small hand found mine and gave it a squeeze. "It's time to leave. Come take a look at your older mother and tell her how good she looks."
"Sue!" My rage at being called older flares but only for a second before my mouth curls up into a smile. The woman's impish smile quells my temper. A flash of her gaze and my attention is directed to the gangly adolescents bounding down the stairs.
"Nice hat, Mom." The younger of the two dangles her glove by a finger over her shoulder in an attempt to be cool. "Do we get to wear one just like it?"
"No way!" Her sibling quickly protests. "This is a kids' league. We don't wear things that are older then we are."
"You don't, huh?" Sue hides her smile and glances to me.
I throw a mock glare at them before turning toward Sue. "It's all your fault, you know, referring to me as their older mother." I watch the twinkle come into those green eyes that I love so much and in a split second I already know what she's going to say. I raise my hand and stop her before the words cross her lips. "I know, two months, four days, and seventeen hours."
"Thirty-seven minutes," Sue muttered teasingly under her breath.
God, I love it when she's right.
"Yes," I smile, "and thirty-seven minutes."
"Geez, Mom!" My youngest daughter rolls her eyes and places a hand on her hip. The miniature version of the woman who had brought me to this place and time now holds my attention. "How could you forget a little detail like that? I've only heard the story a thousand times and I can remember it."
Two sets of green eyes bore into me as they await my answer.
The tug on my hand drew my attention more than the words. I looked down on an enthusiastic face with blue eyes shining brightly.
"Don't worry about it, Mom. It's a team statistic. We all know how you are about statistics. You remember them all."
I slowly nodded in agreement. What a novel thought, team statistics. In my book my eldest daughter had just scored a save for her old mom.
"You're right, shortcakes. I sure do." My heart fills with pride as I gaze from one member of my family to the other. For a moment, I'm choked up and speechless. I close my eyes to regroup and glimpses of days gone by jar my memory bringing a satisfied smile to my face. My eyes open to see the expectant looks peering out from under the baseball caps on Sue and our children, waiting for me to speak. At a loss for anything prolific to say, I nervously tug at the bill of my cap and look to my mate for help.
Sue gives me a warm, knowing smile and gathers the children to her. "What do you say we all go play some ball?"
Their shouts of glee set my heart a flutter. I watch as Sue gently guides them out the door.
"Get into the car. You're mom and I will be right there." Sue turns back to me and winks. "God knows we can't do anything without the rest of our team." She crosses over to where I stand and plants a tender kiss on my quivering lips. "Isn't that right coach?"
I gulp, trying to keep my innermost urges from stealing this woman away to our bedroom. I would you know, if it wouldn't disappoint our children. After all, who would take them to the game or coach them for that matter? Tightening my resolve, I know what I must do.
The playful side of me surfaces as I wrap my arms around Sue's waist, gathering her into me. "I'm ready if you are?" I whisper in her ear, then draw back to see its affect. I hike one brow up in a rather roguish manner, making my intentions obvious.
The coy smile surfacing on her face lets me know we are on the same wavelength.
"We don't want to disappoint the girls do we?"
A deep throated laugh rumbles out of my mouth. "I never do."
"You're so bad," Sue purrs, then leans in closer until I can feel her warm breath on my ear. "And you know what a good game of softball can do to my libido."
"Oh yeah!" My head spins with snippets of hot, torrid sex shared with this woman after games won or lost. I drop a chaste kiss on her lips and hurry her out the door. For the first time in my life I know what happiness really is. It's teamwork.