Julia ran up the walk to the front door of her house, hands trembling as she inserted the key into the lock. She heard Jessy's car screech into the night as the door finally opened. She sniffled as she made her way into the dark, quiet house. As she headed for the stairs leading up to her room, she glanced to the kitchen, and the doorway she knew led downstairs, and to Caison. With another sob, she ran up the stairs, hurrying into the sanctuary or her own bedroom.

Caison glanced up at the ceiling, hearing feet scamper across her ceiling. Julia was home. The brunette knew she'd been out with Jessy, and it made her sick to think about what they had probably done.

Turning to her side, she tucked her hands under her cheek, unable to get the scowl off her face.

"Asshole," she muttered. She could feel her anger building, making her feel itchy and restless. Tossing onto her back, she sighed heavily. She listened, the house was quiet again. Julia was up on the second floor.

Growling in frustration, Caison climbed off her bed, unable to stay still. Pacing, hands curling into fists, she began to mutter to herself. Glancing up at her ceiling again, she made a quick decision.

Throwing her door open, she hurried blindly through the basement, knowing every single obstacle, nook and cranny, before hitting the stairs, two at a time. She was careful and quiet once she hit the main floor. Listening as she padded across the wood floor with socked feet, cursing as she slipped. Her butt hit the floor, hard. Cursing again as she got up, she hurried up the second set of stairs, avoiding every creaky spot. She stopped at the landing, peering through the darkness, listening. Hearing nothing, she headed to Julia's room, across from her dad and Lori's.

She pressed her hands and ear to the door, listening. Hearing soft crying on the other side, she silently let herself into the room, startling the blonde.

Julia looked up with wet eyes, the green glowing like jade from the upset, wide at the sight of Caison clicking her bedroom door shut behind her.

All of the brunette's anger and frustration seeped out of her ears as she saw the younger girl crying.

"What happened?" she whispered. Julia shook her head, ashamed to tell the brunette. Caison stepped away from the door, freezing with a wince as the floor creaked loudly. Moving again, she reached the bed, sitting beside the girl, who was obviously really upset. Dark brows drew. "You're obviously bothered by something, Julia. What is it?"

Julia sniffled, swiping at her eyes and nose with the back of her hand. Caison stretched her long body to reach the night stand on the other side of the bed, grabbing a Kleenex from the box there, then handed it to the blonde. Julia took it, drying her face. With a heavy sigh, she glanced at the brunette.

"Have you ever done something that you're really ashamed of?" her voice was a whisper. Caison's instinctual reaction was to bristle at the blonde's question, automatically thinking she meant what they had done. Julia sensed Caison's retreat, and stopped her with a hand to her arm. She looked up at the older girl, eyes pleading.

Calming herself, Caison decided to answer the question. She nodded, looking at her hands that were tangled in her lap. She met the other girl's eyes again. "Definitely." She looked at the blonde. "What did you do, Julia?"

Julia sighed heavily, trying to decide if she should tell Caison or not. She looked up at her, into concerned blue eyes. She grimaced at the memory.

"I let Jessy do something that I really regret."

Caison felt her stomach fall, along with her shoulders. She tried to not let it show, but was having a hard time when all she could see was an image of that dumbass on top of the blonde. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to see Julia's legs wrapped around his hairy ass. She didn't want to think about Jessy being honored to see Julia's glorious body, or feel what it was like to feel it against his … well, … not so glorious body.

Julia looked at her friend's face, and could almost read her thoughts. Caison was only half wrong.

"I didn't … sleep … with him, Caison." Her voice was soft, but shaky. Blue eyes looked into her own. Green eyes began to fill, falling. "But I did do something I'm ashamed of." Her shoulders began to shake as she began to cry again.

Shaking herself out of her own selfish thoughts, Caison wrapped Julia in her arms. Hand on the back of the girl's head, she gently pressed the blonde to her shoulder.

"Shh. Don't cry, Julia," she whispered, running her fingers through the long hair. "Did he hurt you?" She was relieved when she felt Julia shake her head. "Good. Then I don't have to kill him." She smiled when she heard the soft chuckle as the girl's tears began to slow then falter.

Julia felt Caison gently push her away, the girl's hands cupping her face, thumbs rubbing away her tears. She looked up into the most beautiful eyes she would ever see in her life.

Caison stared into the eyes that had haunted her for months. They closed as she leaned in, kissing each wet lid. They remained closed as Julia felt Caison's breath on her lips, then the feel of the brunette leaning in.

She sighed into the kiss, bringing her arms up around Caison's neck, feeling herself being pulled closer to the brunette's warm, inviting body. She was able to push thoughts and images of Jessy out of her mind as she felt herself slowly falling back against the bed, pulling Caison with her.
Caison left the blonde's mouth as she gently moved on top of her, Julia sighing as the brunette's lips and tongue found her neck.

"Oh, Caison," Julia sighed, her hands running up under the brunette's t-shirt, feeling the soft, warm skin of her back. She whimpered as teeth nipped at her neck, followed by the quick, hot lapping of a tongue.

Caison brought her hand down, inching Julia's skirt up her thighs as the blonde's legs spread, allowing the brunette's hips to slip between them. She cupped the back of Julia's upper thigh, just under her ass cheek, bringing the girl's leg up further.

Julia gasped, feeling Caison's hips push into her, the taller girl's own sex radiating heat through her boxers, burning the blonde's own center, which was quickly becoming slick.

Caison groaned into Julia's neck as she felt pressure on her sex. Quickly reaching down, she shoved at her boxers, needing to feel Julia's slick skin against her own. The blonde caught on, working her own panties down. It took some maneuvering, but both undergarments gone, Caison laid back down between the blonde's legs, both moaning at the feel of total contact.

Julia spread her legs further, increasing the contact between her and Caison. Her own hips began to move as she felt the brunette's moving, their clits making contact, both girls gasping. Julia grasped the taller girl's cotton-covered shoulders, digging her blunt fingernails into the flesh beneath.

Caison's eyes closed, her mouth finding Julia's as she raised herself to her hands, shoulders hunched, blades jutting like a crouching tiger, ready to pounce. She moved her body in tandem with the blonde beneath her, feeling the soft insides of Julia's thighs against her hips.

She spread her own legs a bit, giving even more contact for her clit against Julia's, the added sensation making her eyes close, and her lips open as she lifted her head from the blonde's.

Julia's head arched back, her hands finding their way to Caison's naked ass as it moved between her legs. The bed squeaked softly at the brunette's movements.

Caison opened her eyes, looking down at the gorgeous blonde beneath her who met her gaze, green eyes hooded as soft breaths left opened, pink lips.

Julia could feel her orgasm beginning, burning in her lower belly, whips of fire reaching out, down her thighs, up into her chest. Her breaths got shallower, hips working harder as her eyes closed, brows furrowing in concentration.

Caison lowered herself to her forearms, her breasts pressing into Julia's as she used the power of her hips to grind against the blonde, their joined wetness making her movements slick. She held Julia against her, the blonde's cries muffled in her shoulder as Caison's own scream was muffled by the bedding beneath Julia.

Clit twitching and body convulsing, Julia felt Caison pull her into her arms, kissing her face and hair. She murmured words of passion and comfort to her. Julia held her tight, wrapping her legs around Caison's waist to pull her as tightly against her as possible.

A slight squeak outside the door was their only indication that someone was about to enter the room.

Caison pushed herself up off Julia's upper body, about to jump from the bed altogether when the door swung open.

"That boy better not-" Lori's words died on her lips as her eyes widened in shock. She blinked several times, unsure if she was actually seeing what she saw.

"What the hell is going on here?" Doug boomed behind the stunned woman. Caison had climbed off Julia's body, snagging her boxers from the floor and holding them before her, like the proverbial fig leaf.

Lori, unable to look anymore, turned to her boyfriend, burying her face in his chest. Doug met his daughter's gaze before the girl's eyes fell to the floor.


Doug could feel the muscles in his jaw twitching with every beat of his heart. His breathing was heavy, coming out his nose as he tried to get it under control. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Caison sitting in one of the armchairs in her living space, head bowed, legs together, hands in her lap.

Finally he found his voice. He stopped his pacing, standing in front of his daughter.

"How could you do this, Caison?" The vein at the center of his forehead stood out, his face red. "What the hell were you thinking?"

"I'm sorry, dad." Caison was torn for the first time in her life. Typically if she screwed up, she either felt really bad, or really didn't care. This time she had no regrets about what she and Julia had done, but would forever regret the pain and humiliation and just plain, well, fury, she saw in her father's face.

"Sorry? Sorry?!" he roared, suddenly feeling faint as all of his blood raced to his face. Ignoring the feeling, he continued. "Why did you do this? What the hell was going through that goddamn brain of yours? Julia is sixteen goddamn years old! And," he railed, "almost your step-sister, for Christ's sake!"

Caison nodded, beginning to feel about six inches tall. Nothing in life bothered her more than disappointing her dad.

Doug ran his hands through his sleep-mussed hair, at a loss for words. The crushing wave of disappointment was slumping his shoulders. Head dropping, his hands went to his hips.

"How could you do this, Caison. Huh?" The pleading in his voice nearly broke his daughter's heart. Caison was surprised to feel the sting of tears behind her eyes. She shrugged, at a loss for any sort of defense. Suddenly nothing she could say could possibly be right.

"I'm sorry, dad," she whispered, head falling even lower. "Really sorry."


Caison rested her elbow along the top of her door, the wind blowing through her hair as she steered the convertible away from the airport.
She hadn't thought of those days in years, and was overwhelmed with the rush of memories as she drove toward the town she'd spent the first eighteen years of her life in.

Julia had been sent to live with her dad, finishing out the rest of her high school career at a high school in another town, with another group of friends. The final two months of Caison's own high school days were tense, and miserable. The fabric of the happy Broderick household began to rip and tear apart at the seams, eventually ending in Lori moving out, into a small apartment downtown.

Caison had heard that Julia and her mother didn't talk for a few years after the whole fiasco. The brunette and her father certainly were on the rocks. For the first time in her life she felt an ocean apart from him, both their trust in each other broken to a point of almost no possible reconciliation.

She thought back to that night, nearly a decade ago:

Caison heard a soft knocking on her bedroom door. Tossing the stack of folded t-shirts she had been about to pack to the bed, she walked through the two rooms to the door. Opening it, she stared up at her father.

Smiling with uncertainty, he cleared his throat. "So tomorrow's the big day, huh?"

Caison nodded. "Yeah. Guess so." Barely able to meet his eyes, she quickly looked away.

"Caison, I," he stopped himself, breathing heavily as he tried to think of what he was wanting to say. Caison looked at her dad, surprised by his lack of verbal grace. Usually he was quite eloquent with what was on his mind. She was even more surprised when he met her eyes, tears in his. Without a word, he grabbed her, holding her close to him, resting his cheek against his daughter's newly cut hair.

Caison's eyes immediately closed, her arms wrapped around his broad back. They held each other for long moments, silent tears streaming down their cheeks. Tears of regret, relief, and uncertainty.

Finally getting himself under control, Doug cleared his throat again, gently releasing the most important person in his world. He smiled at his daughter's tears, glad to see he wasn't the only sap in the house.

"I can't believe my baby's going to leave me." His voice was soft, somewhat hoarse from his emotions. Caison smiled, nodding.

"Yeah. Me, neither."

Doug swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing. Reaching his hand out, he straightened out a few strands of the dark, boyishly short hair. He wasn't sure what he thought of the new do, but said nothing. He knew his daughter had to find her own way.

"If you ever need anything," he said, lifting her chin so she'd meet his gaze. "anything at all, don't you hesitate. Kay?" She nodded, gaze falling again before she was able to smile and look him in the eye. Standing a little straighter, a little taller. This was officially her last night of being a kid. Tomorrow, car packed with all her worldly belongings, she would head out to her destiny. She'd even sold her motorcycle to make it all happen. "I'm still your dad, no matter what. And you're still my little girl." Caison was surprised at how his voice cracked on that last word.

"Yeah. I know."

"Okay." A quick kiss to the top of her head again, Doug turned, shoulders slumped as he walked away from her door.

"Dad?" she called after him. He stopped, turning halfway to look at her. "I love you."

Doug smiled, dimples winking. "I love you, too, Caison."

The brunette smiled at the memory. She had been so grateful that he'd been braver than she, able to swallow his pride and say goodbye properly. That night silent amends had been made, each realizing that no matter what, blood was thicker than water, and they were all the other had at the end of the day.

Five years later Doug and Lori had met up again. Wounds had healed, all parties involved growing up. They had coffee to talk and catch up, then two days later they had dinner. No wedding plans had yet been announced, but Caison waited for the invite any day. She'd seen Lori a few times over the past years, and though things weren't the same as they'd once been, they had slowly been working on a new relationship as two adult women who loved the same man. They were finding the respect they'd once had for the other, though this time it was of a grown up kind, both on equal footing.

Then there was Julia. Caison hadn't seen her since that night in the blonde's bedroom so long ago. Now, both in their late twenties, Julia was getting married.

Caison had gotten the call from her father three months ago. Julia wanted her to be there, and so did he. Alright, so she would go. Doug asked her to come early so she could spend some time with him, as well as get reacquainted with Julia. Bygones were bygones, and what happened in the past had passed. Part of Caison was curious to see what the blonde looked like now, a full fledged woman, and no longer a confused girl of sixteen. Caison, herself had come a long way since that fateful night.

Caison had left Gibson, Kansas without looking back. She had gone to Kansas City, staying for a couple years as she'd gained some work experience, getting a job at a video store. She found that she had a knack for leadership, and soon moved up to a shift leader, then shift manager, and on up until at twenty-five, she had her own store. The company moved her to Connecticut a year ago to take over as Regional Manager for the northeastern division.

A nice house, filled with all that she could have wanted, Caison could say she was happy. For the most part. There were a few things missing from her life, but she didn't like to think about those. She was dedicated to her job, which required a lot of travel. She was okay with that. A steady, solid relationship would have to wait.

So said Amber, the brunette's last girlfriend. Amber had stayed around longer than most- nine months. Tired of living with someone with doctor's hours and dedication to their career, she was fed up. Caison came home one day, after a two week trip west for manager meetings and conventions to find her house devoid of anything Amber.

With a heavy sigh, the brunette had sat on the leather couch, head in her hands. Again.

Now, the fresh Kansas air blowing through her hair, and two weeks of no work to look forward to, Caison smiled. It felt good to be home. It felt good to be around that blood that was thicker than Amber- colored water.

The old house on Mulberry Street came into view, making the brunette's smile grow even more. It looked basically the same, though Doug had painted the old blue color white a few years back. The yard was immaculate as ever. She chuckled when she saw her dad's covered "hawg" parked on the cement pad that had been poured next to the driveway, where rocks had once been. It was parked behind the fifth-wheel he and Lori used when they went camping in the Colorado Rockies.

Parking at the curb, she cut the engine, trying to make some semblance of sense with her hair in the rearview mirror before she got out. Finally deciding to pull it back into a ponytail, she got out of the rented convertible, and popped open the trunk.


Glancing up, she grinned as Doug raced across the front yard, arms opened wide. She happily lost herself in his massive hug, the life nearly squeezed out of her. Certainly her breath.

"Hey, dad." She grinned at the hearty kiss she got to the forehead. Her father stepped away, looking her up and down. The gray that had begun to streak his dark hair made him look even more handsome, sophisticated.

"You look great!" he announced. Caison laughed.

"I was just thinking the same thing about you. Come on, old man. Feed me!"


Lori had taken Caison by the hand, showing her everything new that had been done to the house, including turning the brunette's old living space into a workshop for her father.

"You know, he always threatened to do this someday," she grinned. The older woman chuckled.

"He was afraid you'd be angry with him." Lori tucked short, blonde hair behind her triple-pierced ear. Caison also laughed.

"Nah. I'll just make him let me take a ride on his Harley."

"Oh," Lori rolled her eyes. "Please, take that thing with you!" She smiled, and so did the brunette.

Caison had gotten settled in the bedroom upstairs, the one Julia had used during her short stay at the Broderick house. The room was totally different- different color, different bed, but the same memories. The brunette had stood in the center of the small room, looking around, a soft smile on her lips. All that seemed like a lifetime ago. In many ways, it was.

Dinner consisted of Doug's Kansas famous steaks, grilled to perfection on a barbequer that would put most restaurant stoves to shame. Thick, juicy steaks were served with an assortment of sides, including homemade steak fries, and salad.

Caison felt a small wave of nervousness breeze through her as the doorbell rang. Lori almost ran to the door, leaving the brunette to help her dad set the table out back. The pool was blue and inviting. She knew she'd definitely be taking a dip this trip.

Happy chatter could be heard through the house as Lori led her guests to the back French doors. Caison, about to take a swig of her Sam Adams, glanced over the glass bottle to see Julia and her fiancé step out onto the back patio.

Lowering the bottle, she swallowed the cold brew as she took in the blonde and man at her side. Julia's hair was short, the strands brushing dark blonde brows, the color much lighter blonde than it had been when the girl had been, well, a girl. She was dressed casually, her legs not the rigidly muscular legs of a high school swimmer, but still beautiful and toned, and tanned. Her sun kissed arms were richly toned also, visible in the tank top that gently hugged beautiful breasts, tapering down to a flat stomach.

She walked over to Doug, giving him a big hug and kiss to the cheek. Caison's father smiled big, nodding toward the brunette with his eyes. When Caison saw Julia turn toward her, a soft smile on her lips, the brunette nearly dropped her beer.

The blonde's eyes were filled with a confidence they had lacked as a teenager. She handled herself with certainty and sureness, a woman who knew who she was.

"Caison," she said, her voice soft. "It's wonderful to see you. Thank you so much for coming." She took the mute brunette in a warm hug, squeezing briefly before she released her. "Honey, I'd like you to meet Doug's daughter, Caison. Caison, this is Drew."

"Nice to meet you." Drew was handsome, sandy blonde hair and deep set blue eyes, lightly lined to show he was a bit older than his wife to be. His handshake was firm, his smile genuine.

"Nice to meet you, too, Drew," Caison finally said, pulled from her stupor. She smiled at Julia. "It's great to see you again, Julia. You look wonderful." Caison was surprised to see the barest hint of a nervous smile at her compliment.

"Thank you. So do you." Green eyes looked her over, taking in cut off shorts and a Brewer's t-shirt. Her appraisal complete, a smile of approval spread across the blonde's lips. Tearing her gaze from Caison, she turned to her mother and Doug. "I hope it's ready, Doug. It smells wonderful, and I'm starving!"

Caison didn't want to admit it to herself, but she really liked Drew. He had a biting wit, which she met at every turn. At some points in the dinner conversation, they were the only two swapping bantering barbs, the other three watching, amused. She saw a soft smile of contentment on her father's face, and she winked at him, getting one in return.

Doug and Drew insisted they do the dishes while the "ladies sit this one out". That was all and good, but Lori stayed to make sure the ‘boys' didn't ruin her kitchen. That left Julia and Caison alone outside on the back patio. They sat at the wrought iron lawn set, the striped umbrella shading them from the harsh, mid-summer sun.

"It's really beautiful out," Julia said, her voice soft. "It's a nice change, to say the least."

"Yeah, no kidding. I never thought I'd say this, but I actually miss the dry heat of summer here." Caison's grin was reflected back at her through the mirrored lenses of Julia's sunglasses. The blonde laughed quietly.

"Sorry, my friend. You're alone in that one."

Caison smiled, looking out over the yard, meticulously manicured, as always.

"Doug really keeps this place beautiful."

Caison glanced over at her comment. She nodded in agreement. Looking at her as she looked at the yard, the brunette realized she knew nothing about her anymore. Her gaze drifted down to the blonde's hands, which dangled lazily off the arms of her chair. Blue eyes immediately found the gold and diamond engagement band that glittered. It was a nice ring, slightly large, but definitely not ostentatious. It spoke subtly of a man who made a decent wage.

"So what do you do, anyway?" Caison asked, deciding to use the direct approach. Julia looked at her, tucking her sunglasses to the top of her head. She chuckled slightly, sipping from her iced tea. As she set her glass down, a finger caught an errant drop of condensation.

"Right now I'm not doing anything. We just moved to Florida for Drew's job. When I am working, I teach high school social studies. You know, history, government, a class or two of psychology."

"That's wonderful." Caison smiled to show she really thought so. "And Drew? What does he do?"

"He inspects power plants. Basically he's an environmental specialist, making sure they're within regulations. That kind of thing."

Caison nodded, looking back out to the yard.

"And you, Caison? What do you do?"

Julia's voice was so soft, so gentle. It made the brunette want to listen to her read the phone book.

"I'm a Regional Manager with Videos, Etc. I cover the eastern region, headquartered in Hartford."

"Good for you." Julia's smile was large and warm. "Connecticut?" At Caison's nod, Julia shook her head. "Guess we both left the heartland, huh?"

"Oh, yeah."

They fell silent for a moment. It wasn't exactly uncomfortable, just … strange. Caison couldn't get the images out of her mind from the last time she'd seen the blonde. She wondered if Julia was thinking the same thing as she gazed out over the pool, cheek resting on her knuckles.

Caison cleared her throat, sipping from her beer. Julia glanced over at her. "So how did you and Drew meet? How long have you guys been together?" She smiled; for some reason, she didn't want the blonde to think there was anything behind the question. "You guys look great together."

"Thank you." Julia smiled as well. "Well," she sighed, looking back out over the pool. "we met about three years ago. Drew's then-stepson, Michael, was in my Freshman geography class. Mike was having problems in school, as his mom and Drew were going through a divorce. A fourteen year old kid is going to feel the heat, and react. I called his parents in for a conference to try and head the problem off before it really got started." She shrugged. "Drew was the only one who showed."

Caison smiled. "Sounds like a good guy."

"He is."

"I'm happy for you, Julia."

"Thank you, Caison. I appreciate that." The blonde's mouth opened as she was about to ask her own question when she was unintentionally interrupted.

"You girls up for a trip to Dairy Queen?" Doug asked, eyes wide and bright. He had his family home. What could be better?


Caison wandered around the small room, thinking it more than ironic that she was up using Julia's old room, and the blonde and her fiancé were set up downstairs in Caison's old stomping grounds, on a queen-sized inflatable mattress. She figured the soon-to-be-newlyweds would want the privacy of their own room, instead of bunking down on the floor of dad's workshop. But then it occurred to the brunette that Lori and Doug were trying to give the couple privacy by separation from the rest of the nocturnal household.

She sighed, running her hands through her hair before turning away from the window, where she'd been staring out of. About to turn toward her suitcase when she stopped. Looking down at the backyard, a lone figure caught her eye. It stood just out of the ring of lights that surrounded the pool, which was also lit. Something was tossed over the back of a lawn chair, then a Speedo-clad Julia stepped into the ring of lights, then dove into the deep end of the pool.

Caison sat on the window seat, leaning her shoulder against the cool glass. As she watched, the blonde's beautiful figure coasted half the length of the pool before breaking the surface, shaking the water from her eyes and slicking her short hair back from her face. By her movements, graceful and sure, Caison could tell Julia had kept up her swimming. It would also account for the blonde's still very beautiful body.

"Damn," she whispered, forehead thumping against the window. Julia swam a few laps, then climbed out of the pool, grabbing what Caison now realized was a terrycloth robe, from the back of the chair. She disappeared into the shadows. Caison could faintly hear the sound of the back door opening, then closing, and bare feet padding along the wood floor. Soon the house was quiet again.

With a sigh, Caison finished unpacking, then settled in the full-sized bed, book in hand.


Julia scurried down the stairs, not wanting to drip on anything. The basement was quite different than it had been ten years ago. Walls had been put up, splitting the large basement into several rooms, rather than the few it had once been.

Making her way through the maze, she found the bathroom, enlarged, a Jacuzzi tub joining the small shower that had been there when it had been Caison's bathroom.

Letting the robe drop from her shoulders, she peeled the bathing suit from her chilled body, using the toilet before stepping into the small cubicle shower. The warm spray immediately made her skin sigh with relief. Eyes closed, the spray rinsed the chlorine from her hair and body, aided by the body soap and sponge, gently easing over her muscles and skin, which burned pleasantly from the exercise.

As she finished rinsing the rest of the shampoo from her hair, the blonde opened her eyes.

It had been a busy week. Back in Florida, Drew had worked until the morning of the day they flew out. He'd arrived home in just enough time to load the car, and drive to Orlando International Airport. Julia had been plied with the task of getting them ready, packing everything for a week in Kansas, including casual and wedding clothes, then on to Spain for two weeks for their honeymoon.

It was no small task, as she had to do laundry constantly to keep up with the day to day clothes wearing. Drew had been home little, unable to help with any of the planning. The blonde had been so grateful to her mother, who had offered to handle all the details in Gibson.

The wedding was to be a small, intimate affair. Only a handful of people would be attending, including Drew's cousin Richard, who was his only living relative, and who would also stand up for him. Julia's best friend from college, Lorraine, would be the fourth, and final member of the wedding party. She was due to arrive the morning before Saturday's wedding.

This was actually the first day the blonde had been able to rest, instead of running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Sighing into the warm, steam-filled cubicle, Julia rotated her shoulders then turned the water off. She was exhausted, but her body was buzzing from the wonderful swim, and from all the excitement that had been surrounding her for the past half a year.

As Julia combed out her short hair, she studied her reflection in the mirror above the vanity. She hadn't been in the house for a long time, about four years. She certainly hadn't been in the house with Caison. Not since that night, anyway. That's how she had come to think of what had happened - that night. It had been humiliating, to say the least. Her mother had been furious with the young blonde, immediately calling up her father to make living arrangements.

For a long time Julia had held it against Caison, not taking responsibility for her part in the events of that night. It had taken a couple years, and miles of growing up to see it for what it had been - two young girls, drawn together for some reason to try out new things, daring explorations, on each other.

She had forgiven Caison, and herself, years ago. Now, seeing the brunette, who had gotten even more beautiful over the years, was strange, yes, but also a nice way to close a chapter on her life. She wanted to get to know Caison, who despite knowing the brunette's body, had known little else of the girl's heart and mind. It seemed in those days, physical attraction and exploration was the only thing they shared.

As Julia had gone to college in Missouri, she had abstained from dating altogether, deciding she needed to decide who she was as a person before exploring anything with anyone else. Though never forging a physical relationship with another female, the blonde would go so far as to tell the deepest parts of herself that she may be bi-sexual. There had been other women she'd been attracted to over the years but nothing that she couldn't walk away from. There had never been another attraction like there had been to Caison. Never.

Applying some moisturizing cream to her face, she watched her hand working the cream into her chlorine-dried skin.

During the next days before the wedding, Julia decided she'd try and get to know the woman the girl had become. She hoped they could become friends.


The sun was up, shining brightly through Caison's window. She wondered how on earth Julia had ever managed to sleep in. Pulling the covers up, tucking them neatly around the mattress, she put the finishing touches on the bed, which consisted of the millions of decorative toss pillows Lori had on the bed. Stepping back to survey her handiwork, she cocked her head, trying to remember if the colors and designs were as they had been when she'd thrown them all to the floor the night before.

"Mom always was into her pillows."

Caison whirled to see Julia standing in the open doorway, shoulder resting against the doorframe. The brunette chuckled lightly, turning back to the bed.

"Each to their own, I guess." She turned back to the blonde, who was looking around the room with roving eyes. Caison grinned. "Come on in."

Julia stepped over the threshold of her old room, hands tucked into the back pockets of her shorts. The room didn't look at all like the one she used to sleep in, do homework in, dream in and hide in. Images of her last night sleeping there crept into her mind's eye.

She saw flashes of Caison's face, lost in ecstasy, followed closely by her mother at the height of rage.

Shaking herself from a place that was both amazing and terrifying, she smiled at the tall brunette.

Caison had been watching Julia, curious as to what was going through the blonde's mind as she looked around, taking in the new bedroom set and mint-painted walls, instead of the cream of her youth. Julia's eyes were unreadable.

"Doug wanted me to grab you for breakfast," she explained softly. "He says he's trying some new waffle recipe, so I think we should be frightened," she finished in a whisper, getting a chuckle from the brunette.


To put it plainly, Caison was bored. She was used to running nonstop for her job, or with friends, or any other of a million scenarios. She hadn't realized how difficult it would be to keep herself occupied and entertained back in Gibson. Truth be told, she wished the damn wedding were tomorrow so she could head back to Connecticut. At least there she wouldn't have to watch Drew and Julia, him with his hand on some part of her body at all times. You'd think he couldn't handle things himself without the physical reminder that she was there.

Rolling blue eyes behind her sunglasses, Caison pushed up from her pool lounger, grabbing her empty Sam Adams bottle, and heading inside.

Once inside the cool confines of the house, she tossed her bottle into the recycle bin next to the dishwasher, then turned to heard toward the front door.

"Are you alright?"

She stopped, hearing Julia's voice behind her. Turning, she saw the blonde snagging a bottle of water out of the fridge, eyes on the brunette as she twisted off the cap.

"Yeah." Caison plastered a smile on her face. "Just heading out for a walk."

"Really? Mind if I join you?" the blonde took a step toward her, stopping midway across the kitchen. Caison thought about his for a moment, then gave her a genuine smile.

"Not at all."

The two women were silent as they headed out the front door, Julia having shouted her intentions to Drew, who was still sunning in the backyard. The walked down the drive in companionable silence, turning left at the sidewalk.

Julia chewed on her lip, rolling a question around in her brain before she finally decided to ask it. Glancing at the brunette, she blew out a breath, then kept her voice even, conversational. "So what about you, Caison? Anyone special in your life? Mom didn't mention anyone coming with you, so,"

Caison smiled, then shook her head. "No. I managed to blow that one. Again."

"Uh, oh. Sounds like there's a story there."

"There is. Boring, but a story all the same." Julia said nothing, waiting for the taller woman to continue. They walked under the shade of overhanging trees, enjoying the brief respite from the July heat before being plunged back into the sun's intense rays. "Amber left me in April."

Julia nodded, not entirely surprised that it was a woman Caison had been involved with. She remained silent. When there didn't seem to be anything forthcoming, she asked questions. "What happened?"

Caison sighed, long and heavy. Did she really want to go into this with Julia? Sure, why not. Maybe they could actually be friends this go round.

"Well, basically I'm a workaholic." Caison grinned, the blonde wincing in understanding. "I guess she didn't like being with someone who worked doctor's hours, her words, by the way, without the benefit of a doctor's salary and status." Caison chuckled at her own joke. Julia smiled.

"That's tough. I deal with that quite a bit now." The blonde sighed, gasping as the sprinkler on the lawn of the house they walked by decided to spit cold water at the sidewalk at that moment. Since Julia was walking on the inside, she got it the worst. Caison laughed heartily, looking down at the blonde's water freckled shirt and shorts.

"Nice shower, there?" Caison laughed more as the blonde glared up at her. Getting serious again, she returned to the subject at hand. "Do you plan on going back to work? Maybe help alleviate some of the time alone."

"I really want to. I miss the kids, you know?" Julia saw her companion nod. "We just bought a new house, so I'm working on fixing it up, getting it the way we want it."

"That's a lot of work for one person."

"Yes, it is." Julia chuckled, though there was little humor in it. "And then for the past six months, all I've been doing is working on wedding stuff. God, how on earth do people do it two and three times? It's exhausting!"

It was Caison's turn to chuckle. "I wouldn't know." She smiled down at the blonde, who returned it. That brought Julia back to her original question.

"So how long were you and Amber together?"

"Just shy of ten months. A brand new record for me, might I add."

"Oh, Caison, that's bad," Julia laughed, the lilting sound utterly pleasing to her walking mate.

"Yes, I know. Trust me, I know."

"Why do you work so much?" Julia was surprised at the long stretch of silence that followed her question. "Listen, I'm sorry, I'm not trying to pry-"

"No, no," Caison hastened to add. "I'm trying to figure out exactly why I do work so much. Hmm."

The brunette tossed this question around in her head over and over again. She tended to put in ten to thirteen hour days, five days a week, often making random stops into various stores in her territory on the weekends, checking things out, surprising the Store Managers with her sudden appearance. It was a good way to make sure things ran tightly and smoothly, and also a good way to weed out slacker management.

Even still, when had that started? She hadn't always been like that. She had gained quite the reputation over the past couple years as a hard ass, that she knew. Why? When she'd first gotten into management, she'd loved it, loved the responsibility, loved the interaction with her team and co-workers. She had loved being the rock that everyone leaned against. When had the fun fallen to the wayside? When had she gotten so hard?

"I really don't know," she finally said, her brows furrowed in troubled thought. Julia glanced up at the brunette, sensing that something important was going on inside her head.

"Maybe it's something to think about," Julia offered, her voice soft, filled with sympathy. She met the reflective gaze of the brunette, seeing a small nod. Deciding that perhaps a change of subject was necessary, and kicking herself for bringing up an obviously touchy subject with Caison, she smiled. "Remember when that house used to be painted Easter egg pink?" she asked, pointing to the yellow house on the corner. Caison chuckled.

"God, yes. It was pretty awful. Though where you say Easter egg pink, I say it was dipped in a vat of Pepto."

As they walked on, the silence stretched, but it wasn't uncomfortable. Caison, for her part, was truly glad to be in the warm presence of the blonde. She glanced down at her from time to time, noting the way the sun shone in her blonde hair, the way a wisp of hair would be absently brushed out of the blonde's eyes. The image would be shattered when the sun would reflect off the diamond or gold of the woman's ring on her left hand.

Caison turned away, not wanting to see that ring again.

"When did you come out?" Julia asked, the question shocking the hell out of them both. The blonde decided not to recant. She truly did want to know.

"Well. You get right down to it, don't you?" Caison grinned, shaking her head. At least the blonde had the decency to flash a sheepish look her way. "Tell ya what," she got them turned toward Bingham Road. "Let's get some coffee at Ruby's."

The small café, turned coffee shop, sat snugly in a small strip mall, filled with a nail salon and used furniture store. They sat at a small, round table tucked into a back corner. Caison sipped her mocha breve, setting the ceramic mug down. Expectant green eyes watched her carefully.

"You want to know when I came out, huh," she said, a statement. At the blonde's nod, she began her story. "Well, I guess it's only fair that I explain that to you, considering you're the one who booted me out of the closet in the first place." Caison smiled at Julia's blush, the blonde looking down at her cup of chai. Sitting back in her chair, she glanced out the large windows that looked out on the busy sidewalk of the small shopping structure. "To be perfectly honest, Julia, I always sort of had an idea, you know?"

The blonde met her gaze, truly interested to hear this story. She rested her cheek against her fist, nodding in understanding. "How old were you?"

"When I got a first clue?" At the blonde's nod, Caison continued with a chuckle. "Well, I think that would have to be back when I was about six. I had my first, discernable sexual crush on a woman- Brooke Shields, to be exact. Man, seeing her in next to nothing, long hair covering her breasts in The Blue Lagoon," Caison smacked her lips in appreciation. She laughed as the blonde rolled her eyes.


"My mouth to God's ear." Caison raised two fingers in the Boy Scout salute. "I didn't have a word for it, didn't understand it, but it was always there. And then you had the gumption to move in." She grinned, eyes twinkling. Yet again Julia blushed, though she was smiling, too.

"Yes, and lost all reason." She pointed an accusing finger at the brunette. "Thanks to you."

"Hey, can I help it if I was irresistible?"

Julia looked at her companion, the totally fake apologetic look on the beautiful face. She sobered for a moment, finally able to say something she'd wanted to say for ten years.

"I'm really sorry, Caison."

Immediately the brunette sat up in her chair, eyes growing intense as she shook her head. "Don't you dare apologize. I'm the one who's sorry-"

"No. Because of me, you and Doug's relationship was almost ripped to shreds."

"No, because of me you ended up at your dad's house. Please, Julia, I never should have done any of that, never should have drug you into my mess."

"Wait," Julia said, holding her hands up. She was tremendously amused that both were jumping out of their skin, gushing apologies, both trying to take responsibility for something they were both equally guilty of. She shook her head. "We're not getting anywhere. Let me just say that I'm sorry for my part in it. Okay?" Caison met her look with a soft one of her own. The brunette nodded.

"Okay. And I'm sorry for my part."

"Fair enough." Julia sipped from her fragrant tea.

"Needless to say, there wasn't any question about my sexuality after that, and I was able to come out to me and to my dad all in one fell swoop." Caison smiled gently, wrapping her hands around her own mug. "And since you're about to marry Drew, I'm assuming it didn't take."

Julia was about to get miffed when she saw the twinkle in those blue, blue eyes. She smiled, looking down into her cup. Her voice was so quiet, the brunette almost didn't hear it. "I've had my doubts over the years, but when it came down to it, Drew was the one who showed up in my life when I was ready to fall in love." She met that intense gaze with one equally strong. Caison nodded in acceptance and respect.

"And he's a very lucky guy. I'm really happy for you, Julia."

The blonde was touched the genuine caring in Caison's eyes. The woman who sat across from her was definitely much different then the devil may care teenager she had once known. Though, in truth, she could still see that little rebel in there.

They walked around the used furniture store, pointing and laughing at some of the most hideous pieces of furniture ever made. The plaids and paisley prints.

"My god!" Julia howled. "This looks like the muumuu-type dresses my grandmother used to wear."

Caison joined in her laughter, plopping down on the couch, only to bounce back up when it sounded like one of the springs had just snapped. Giggling like children, they scurried out of the living room showroom, and into the big room with a wide variety of kitchen sets.

"Oh my god," the blonde gasped as she walked toward a set, tabletop red and white Formica with little gold speckles. The square table was edged with ribbed aluminum. "Mom and I had a set just like this at our old place, before we moved in with you and Doug." She walked over to it.

"Yeah, so did every 1950s sitcom family," Caison snickered.

"Hush, you. See?" she tapped her finger on a small burn mark at one of the corners. "I did that when I was fourteen. Mom was at work, and I found one of her cigarettes, got a little curious." She laughed at the memory. "Dropped the damn thing when I heard mom pull up." Falling to her knees, she looked under the table.

Caison heard a hoot of victory, squatting to see the blonde sitting under the table, head cocked to the side. She met a raised brunette brow. "See?" She pointed to a smudged, nearly illegible signature. "I did that when I was seven."

"Damn, you were a little monster," Caison muttered, looking closely at the mark. Caison banged her head on the underside of the table when she heard a throat clear above them. "Son of a," holding a hand to the crown of her head, she looked up, seeing a less than thrilled sales clerk looking down at them.

Julia helped the brunette to her feet, trying not to laugh at the situation.

"Can I help you ladies with something?" the old woman asked, gray eyes taking them both in, arms crossed over her breasts, which nearly reached her navel.

"No. We're fine. Thank you." Julia took Caison by the arm, leading her toward the door of the store. They both broke out into a symphony of giggles as they hit the sidewalk.

"Damn, that hurt," the brunette laughed, rubbing her head.

"Poor baby."

"Yeah, damn." As they headed down the walk, barely avoiding being trampled by a small army of children on the loose, Caison turned to the blonde. "How did your table get in there?" She hitched a thumb over her shoulder.

"I'm not sure. We sold it in the garage sale we had before moving in with you guys." She shrugged. "Guess whoever bought it decided they didn't want it, either."

Caison chuckled. "Poor table. Must feel so unwanted."

"No doubt."

It was nearly dark by time they reached Doug and Lori's house. Three pairs of curious, and somewhat worried eyes met their return.

"Thought you girls had been abducted or something." Doug smiled, glancing at the duo over the back of the couch where he sat. Drew stood from his place in an armchair. Lori glanced at them, brow slightly raised in curiosity.

"Sorry about that." Julia met Drew's hug, wrapping an arm around his waist.

"We were about to send out a search party," he teased, kissing the top of her head.

"We just bummed around the old neighborhood. Reliving some memories, you know."

"Lorraine called for you, honey," Drew said, leading his fiancé back into the living room with an arm around her shoulders.

Caison turned away, heading up to her room, mumbling something about needing to check on something for work.


Caison sat on her bed, leaning against the headboard. Her laptop sat upon her thighs, though the screen remained on her desktop background. She was staring at the mint-colored wall, lost in thought. She really had no idea what exactly her thoughts were about, but no doubt were centered around something, or someone, rather, that they shouldn't be.

She saw Drew putting his arm around the blonde's shoulders again. The easiness between them, the familiarity, the affection. Caison was not a very affectionate person with friends, or even family, for that matter. Except her father. She missed it terribly. She hadn't realized how much just a simple hug from Amber had meant. Until it was gone. The older she got, the more she felt the absence, and the emptier it made her feel.

Sighing, she turned back to her computer screen, realizing she hadn't even logged on to her company's website yet. Clearing her head, long fingers whirred on the small keyboard. She hit ENTER, and waited. Wireless internet connection had to be one of the most beautiful inventions of the past twenty years.

Caison glanced up at the soft knock on her bedroom door. "Come in."

A blonde head peaked around the slowly opening door.

"Hey. What's up?" the brunette asked, typing in her username and password. Julia didn't say anything as she entered, shutting the door behind her. She walked over to the bed, perching on the edge. Caison glanced at her before turning back to her computer.

"I," Julia began, then stopped, chewing on her bottom lip. This caught the brunette's attention. Caison set the laptop aside, giving the blonde her full attention. "I need to ask you a huge favor."

Caison removed her computer glasses, resting them in her lap. "Okay."

"Lorraine, my best friend from my days back in college, well, she called while we were out. I just talked to her, and her father had a heart attack, so she's on a plane to Missouri right now." The blonde sighed, feeling bad for her what she was about to ask. She didn't want Caison to feel like she was being used. "Caison, would you be willing to stand up for me Saturday?"

Caison studied the women sitting before her for a moment, seeing the silent pleading in her green eyes, the worry wrinkle between her brows. She conjured up the biggest, brightest smile she could. Placing a hand on the blonde's knee for a brief touch, she nodded.

"I'd be happy to."

"Thank you," Julia breathed, throwing herself into Caison's arms. She squeezed her tightly, resting her head on the taller woman's shoulder for a moment before pulling away, though she kept the brunette's hands in hers. "I won't make you wear a dress," she promised with a smile. Caison returned it.

"I'd do it for you, if you wanted me to. Really."

"Really?" her brows shot up in surprise. Caison chuckled.

"Julia, I have to wear them on occasion for work. Trust me, I'm not allergic."

The blonde gave her a sheepish grin. "Guess I was thinking of the seventeen year old you."

"Yeah, well she didn't have any fashion sense, anyway."

"Alright. But I insist I pay for it." Julia's stern look left no room for argument. Caison nodded.


Julia hugged her once more. Caison inhaled the fresh scent of the blonde's hair and skin, absorbing the feel of a warm embrace. She missed it so much.


Caison closed her dad and Lori's bedroom door softly behind her, Julia already making her way toward her mom's closet. The brunette stood next to the king-sized bed, watching as Julia slowly opened the door, then reverently bringing out a light pink garment bag. Folding it over her arm, she turned to Caison with a smile.

Laying the bag on the bed, she slowly unzipped it, peeling the sides of the bag aside to reveal a beautiful, simple, yet very elegant dress. Julia glanced up at the brunette to see what she thought.

Caison's eyes were wide, a slow breath easing out between her lips.

"Do you like it?" Julia asked, her voice almost a whisper. She watched the tall woman nod. The blonde smiled, mischief in her eyes. "Want to see it on?" Again, Caison nodded.

Giddy, Julia grabbed the dress from the bag, lovingly laying it out on the bedspread. She glanced up at the brunette.

"Turn around."

With a smirk, Caison dutifully turned away. She heard the rustling of clothing, zippers being lowered, and shoes hitting the floor with a thud. After a moment of silence, Julia's soft voice filled the room.

"I need your help, Caison."

The brunette turned, but was frozen in her steps. Julia stood in front of Lori's full-length, oval standalone mirror. The dress, ivory matte satin, was unzipped. Even still, the dress pooled at the blonde's feet, the skirt flowing while the bodice hugged her breasts, the thick straps caressing muscular shoulders. The dress was fitted through the waist. Green eyes looked at her through the reflection in the mirror.

"Caison?" she said, her soft voice pulling the brunette from her daze. Shaking her head, Caison walked over to her.

"Sorry if my fingers are a bit cold," she murmured, holding the zippered sides together with one hand while gently pulling the zipper up. She looked down at the back of the dress, backless, with a drape that fell from the straps to her lower back.

"What do you think?" Julia asked, again, pinning blue eyes with her green. Caison met her gaze full on, her fingers lingering at the zipper, her fingertips grazing the back of the dress, the warmth from the soft skin of the blonde's back caressing her fingertips.

"I think you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," Caison whispered, unable to take her eyes from Julia's. The blonde gasped lightly, her lips parting, but nothing coming out.

A knock at the door broke the shared reverie.

"Honey?" Lori said, peeking her head into the room. Caison quickly took a step aside, smiling at the older blonde. "Oh, Julie," Lori breathed, slowly stepping inside, closing the door behind her as she leaned against it. Her hand went to her mouth, tears filling her eyes.

"You like it, Mom?" Julia asked, turning to face her. Lori, at a loss for words, walked over to her daughter, eyes scanning over the dress, her fingers reaching out to feel the material.

"You look so beautiful, baby."

Julia smiled, eyes ducking the onslaught of compliments. "Thank you." When she looked up again, she met Caison's gaze over her mother's shoulder. "So this is the dress, Caison." Green eyes turned to Lori. "I wanted to show her so we can go get her a dress that will be appropriate." Julia felt the need to explain, as though she'd done something wrong. Or maybe she just thought it.

"Oh, wonderful." Lori smiled at both women, oblivious. Caison smiled weakly.

Left alone in the bedroom to change back into her shorts, her movements slowed until they stopped altogether. Dress hanging from her shoulders, she glanced into the mirror, her cleavage visible. She looked at that cleavage for a moment, before taking in the rest of her body.

As she stared at her own reflection, her body warmed, Caison's words once again washing over her. I think you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Again, she gasped, eyes closing as she heard the emotion behind those words.

Taking a shaky breath, she finished taking the dress off, carefully replacing it in it's garment bag, and hanging it in the closet. She ran a hand down the smooth, textured surface of the bag, looking through the bag, through the dress. For the first time, she had doubts.


"Well, Drew's accent color is wine. So, I'm thinking maybe we can find you something in the same color. What do you think?"

"It's your wedding," Caison grinned, glancing over at her passenger. They drove on in silence, the wind blowing their hair around, Caison constantly brushing it out of her face.

When they finally reached Candice's Bridal Shop, Caison pulled the convertible into a spot out front. Locking the car up, they headed inside.



Caison turned in the small cubicle, the three dresses that she and Julia had chosen hanging on a brass hook on the wall. Glancing at her reflection in the full-length wall mirror, she quickly turned away, tugging her shirt over her head, cursing as she bumped her elbow against the wall, then slid her shorts down her legs. She looked at the strapless bra the bridal shop lady had provided her with, trying to figure out how the thing worked.

Julia browsed through the shop, fingering various dresses, wrinkling her nose at most. Some were so gaudy and ostentatious. Seeing a beautiful chiffon strapless gown, she walked over to it, running her hand down the fine material.

Caison pulled the dress up her body, the cool fabric giving her a slight chill down her spine. Moving it into place, she adjusted the strapless dress, trying to make it fit right with her breasts. Reaching as far back as she could, she finally managed to get the dress zipped, and only with a small grunt.

Looking herself up and down, then turning to the side, the full skirt whooshing against two sides of the dressing room. It wasn't her. About to take it off, she heard Julia's voice from the other side of the flimsy door.

"You got one of those things on yet or what?" came the impatient question.

Julia stepped back from the dressing room door as it was opening, swinging out. There, in the narrow doorway, stood a very fluffy Caison. Green eyes ran down the length of the gown, then back up, meeting blue eyes. Without a word, they both shook their heads.

The brunette was grateful that Julia agreed with her as she stuffed herself back into the small cubicle. Getting out of the dress, she re-hung it, and held it aloft out the door, trying to shield her mostly naked self as best as she could. When she felt the dress being taken from her hand, she closed the door and turned to the next one.

Running her hands down the smooth material, Caison's eyes were treated to a beautiful sight. Her head ducked under the halter-style strap, lifting her hair free from its confines. She tried to reach behind her to zip the dress, but it just wasn't going to happen.

"Julia?" she called, her eyes all the while roaming up and down the dress, form-fitting, yet with a slightly billowy skirt.

"Need help?" was called just outside.


The door creaked open, and the blonde squeezed inside the dressing room. As she shut the door behind her, she knew what Caison had gone through at the house, when she'd tried her wedding dress on.

Staring over the brunette's shoulder at Caison's reflection, Julia was struck dumb. As her eyes feasted, her fingers pulled the zipper into place, tugging the dress tightly around the brunette's spectacular body.

Raising her hands, she ran cool fingers over the smooth, warm skin of Caison's shoulders, so beautiful and defined, fingertips tracing lightly down developed biceps, tickling the tiny hairs along the brunette's forearms, making Caison shiver.

Caison met the blonde's eyes in the mirror, her heart beating rapidly in her chest, breath catching. She saw green eyes leave hers and travel down, taking in the v-cut of the dress, the gentle tease of cleavage, so soft and beautiful, inviting. The brunette could feel Julia's hot breath against her shoulder and side of her neck.

Julia couldn't take her eyes off Caison's reflection, her fingers trailing their way back up the taller woman's arms, her breath coming a little faster. She hadn't even realized she'd moved, her tank top-clad breasts coming into brushing contact with Caison's bare back, the brunette's body falling slightly back into her.

Caison watched through hooded eyes as Julia's own eyes closed, her face turning in, breath running hot against the brunette's skin, behind her ear, down to where her shoulder met her neck. The brunette felt soft hands run up over her bare shoulders, then down the backs of her arms, nails leaving goosebumps in their wake.

Caison's head fell back and slightly to the side, feeling the hot breath turn moist as it got closer, almost burning her skin. Her hands felt the soft cotton of the blonde's shorts, then the warm skin of the sides of her thighs. She leaned completely back into Julia, their bodies pressed together, back to front.

Julia hadn't even realized the breathy whimper she heard, quiet and soft, was hers. She nuzzled her face into the side of Caison's neck, inhaling the taller woman's scent, warm and salty, the barest remnants of her soap.

"Julia?" Caison breathed, her fingers spreading out over the blonde's hips.

"Yes?" was breathed into her ear.

"We can't do this." Caison's brows drew in harsh reality. She felt another hot breath in her ear, then sudden cold as it was removed. The blonde's forehead pressed against the back of her shoulder.

"God," Julia breathed, taking several deep breaths to try and gather herself control. "I know. I'm sorry. So sorry. What the hell is wrong with me?" she whispered. With trembling fingers, she unzipped the dress, quickly turning away. Before she slipped out the door, she tossed over her shoulder, "This dress gets my vote."

Taking several deep breaths, Caison finally managed to get out of the dress, letting it slide down her body like a lover's caress, pooling at her feet. After a moment, she stepped out of it.

With trembling fingers, she managed to get her clothes back on, and the dress re-hung.


"Oh, I have got to get me one of these!" Caison took a step back, helmet tucked under her arm. She could still feel the vibration from the powerful machine between her legs as she ran a hand over the slick, black and rich, dark red gas tank.

Doug chuckled, removing his own helmet as he balanced the bike on its kickstand. "If you've got an extra eighteen grand laying around, I highly recommend it."

Caison grinned, walking all around the bike. "What is this?"

"Harley-Davidson, Heritage Softail Classic. Rolled off the lot last year."

"Nice." She graced her fingers over the rich texture of the leather saddlebag, then rested on the back of the low sissy bar, which her back had been pressed to not five minutes before.

Doug smiled with pride, perching on top of a picnic table near the path he'd parked on. Malinus Park was a busy place this Thursday afternoon. Kids ran and played further on the grass, running around the trees, playing their childish games while parents sat around talking to each other and eating burgers and ice cream.

Doug watched his daughter, brows drawn lightly. She looked over the bike, but he could sense that something was wrong. Over the past couple days, the brunette had stayed to herself, lugging that laptop all over the house and outside, her nose buried so far into it that no one dared bother her.

Bringing up a hand, he rubbed his fingers over the days growth of beard, scratchy under thick fingers.

"What?" Caison glanced at her dad, seeing him deep in thought, his blue eyes locked on her. Her nervous smile slowly slid off her lips as he continued to stare, rubbing his chin, always a sign something was on his mind.

"Hmm?" Drawn from his own head by the sound of his daughter's voice, Doug shook himself out of his thoughts, deciding to give voice. Clearing his throat, he studied his little girl, all grown up into a beautiful woman, just like her mother. "Honey," he began, patting the tabletop next to him. Caison obediently sat beside her father.

"What's on your mind, dad?" she asked, her voice soft as she set her helmet aside, pulling her hair back into a ponytail.

"I was going to ask you the same thing." He grinned, nudging her with his shoulder. He expected a nudge back, but instead Caison's head fell, her ponytail falling over her shoulder to tickle her neck.

"Just stressed, I guess," she finally said, taking a deep breath.

"Stressed about what? Is everything alright back home? You're on that computer all the time, is it something with your job?"

Caison raised her head, shaking it slightly. "No. The job's fine. Besides, it's always stressful."

Doug chuckled in understanding. He blew out a breath, looking out over the beautiful day, eyes squinting from the bright, overhead sun. With a tinted visor on his helmet, he often forgot to bring sunglasses.

"You know, it's kind of funny. And," he said with a shrug, "it may be all the stress around the wedding and stuff. But, somehow I get the feeling there's a bit of tension in the house. I mean, heck," he chuckled, "last night at dinner, looking between you and Julia, I felt like you girls were sixteen again, glaring at each other across the table." He looked at his daughter, wide smile on his lips. As he looked at her, seeing the brief flick of her eyes, her smile faded. I felt like you girls were sixteen again ….

Caison saw the look on her father's face before he turned away from her, sliding off the table.

"Dad? Dad, what are you thinking?" she asked, voice guarded. He reached into the inside pocket of his jacket, tugging out a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. Smacking the pack against his hand, he shook a cigarette free, tucking it between his lips.

The brunette hopped down from the table, walking over to him. Quietly she asked for a smoke. Doug handed her one, not looking her in the eye.

"What are you thinking?" she asked again, bending to touch the tip of the white stick to the flame he held for her. They both took in a deep drag, Doug's words coming out in puffs of smoke.

"I thought this was over, Caison. I thought that was in the past." He spared a glance at her, squinting against the sun that shone behind her.

"Nothing has happened, Dad. Nothing, I swear." She felt the heat from the cigarette against her fingers as she looked at him, square in the eyes. He studied her for a moment, sizing her words with the truth in her blue eyes. Nodding, he took another drag from his Marlboro.

"What's going on, honey?" he asked, voice soft, ready to listen. He knew that chances were good he wasn't going to like what he was going to hear, but his daughter deserved to be heard. He wasn't going to handle this as he had the first time. He'd almost lost his daughter. Nothing was going to make that happen again. "Talk to me." He blew out a lungful of smoke.

"Nothing, Dad." Caison smiled, but it was painfully obvious it was forced.

"Unh uh. I don't buy that. Talk to me." Taking another drag, he placed his hand on her lower back, urging her forward. "Come on. Let's walk."

Being led toward Malinus Lake, Caison sighed, feeling the calming effect of the nicotine in her lungs. She rarely smoked, but sometimes, like a good curse word, it was the only thing that would do the trick.

They walked in companionable silence for a few moments, both enjoying the day, each other, and the treat of a good smoke.

"You know," Caison began, her voice soft, almost wistful. "for the last decade, I've gotten to the point where I was able to forget about everything that happened between Julia and me. Young kids, stupid kids."

Doug nodded, understanding that one just fine. He almost smiled at the recollection of that very behavior being what had brought Caison into the world.

"I moved on, chalking it up to what it was. Julia was a beautiful girl who was there when a young, inexperienced lesbian was figuring out who she was, and what she wanted. Nothing more. Truth be told, I haven't really thought her in years."

"Then I had to call." Doug smiled, glancing at his daughter, who chuckled.

"Thanks a lot." She winked at him, taking one last drag before smashing it against a tree and dropping it in a wire trash can they passed. The moment of levity was gone as quickly as it had come. "I'm so damn drawn to her."

Doug could hear the frustration in his daughter's voice. He stopped her with a hand to her arm. Turning her to face him, he sighed. "Honey, she's going to be a married woman day after tomorrow."

"I know." Caison nodded. "And I'm glad. After this, I can head home, and never have to deal with this shit again." She sighed, feeling tired.

"So, this tension, these past couple days," Doug looked at the girl, then glanced away, embarrassed. "Is it, uh, of a sexual kind?"

Caison smiled, slowly shaking her head. "No, Dad. Everything's fine." No need to make Julia look bad, too. "I'll get over it. Everything will be just fine." She gave her dad a quick squeeze. They began to walk when Doug stopped again, brows drawn.

"By the way, when did you start smoking?" he asked.

"When did you?"

Doug paused, then a wide smile spread across his face, eyes bright. "Wanna drive home?"


Julia stood at the altar with Drew, listening to what the minister was telling her, trying her best to ignore the commotion of set up. Two men were easing the white, lattice arch in place, which would then be strewn with white roses.

"Okay. Then, from there, Drew, you'll kiss the bride, then you'll both turn and face your well wishers." Dennis Stanton, minister of the local Presbyterian church explained with a smile, looking from the bride to the groom.

"Thanks Dennis." Drew shook his hand, then turned to his cousin, who would act as his best man. Julia turned, walking away from the small area where the nuptials would take place, in Doug and Lori's backyard. The reception would follow, allowing the few guests and wedding party to swim, or just enjoy the catered dinner.

Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm her wildly beating heart. She figured by this point she'd be fine, ready to do it and be done with it. Now, she felt more nervous than the day after Drew had proposed, when the actual situation had finally hit home. She'd felt nauseous, and was glad Drew had worked a long day. Eventually the nerves were replaced by the action of putting everything together.

Now they were back.

"You okay, honey?" Lori asked, resting her hand on her daughter's shoulder. The younger blonde looked absolutely white as a ghost. Julia nodded, head feeling like a bobble head on her shoulders. "Doug!"


Green eyes fluttered open, hushed voices overhead. She started when she felt something cold on her forehead.

"She's coming around," someone whispered.

Blinking several times, things began to come into focus. The blonde realized she was laying down, looking up into a crown of concerned faces.

"Can you hear me, honey?" Lori asked, her brows drawn, forehead wrinkled with worry.

"Yeah," Julia tried to sit up, but a gentle hand on her shoulder sent her back to the lounger she'd been carried to.

"She's been under so much stress," Drew said, thumb rubbing the back of the soft hand he held.

"Getting married is a very stressful thing," Doug conceded. He glanced up, meeting Caison's gaze, looking deeply into her eyes. She stood not five feet away. She met his gaze for a long moment before turned and walked into the house.


Caison stood at the French doors, head leaning against the wall next to them, checkerboard moonlight across her face. She brought her hand up, sipping from the glass of wine she held. Not much for wine, either, but her visit home seemed to be bringing out all her vices.

Swallowing, she absently licked off a stray drop from her bottom lip.


Surprised to hear the soft voice, she turned to see Julia walking across the kitchen, stepping into patches of shadow and light before she reached the brunette.

"Hey yourself. How are you feeling?"

Julia nodded, leaning against the wall on the other side of the doors, the two doors between them. "I'm alright. Guess I just got a little overwhelmed." Green eyes, made gray by the moonlight, flickered to the glass in Caison's hand. "Got any more of that?"

Smirking, Caison pushed off the wall, heading over to the island, reaching up to grab a glass from the overhead glass and wine rack. Pouring a half a glass, she set the bottle down, leaning back against the wall after handing the glass to the blonde.


They were both silent as they sipped their wine, looking out into the late night.



"Do you," Julia cut herself off, trying to decide what she was wanting to say. Her eyes met Caison's. "Do you think I'm doing the right thing?"

"Whoa, Julia. I can't answer that. Don't ask me that question."

"I know. I'm sorry." Julia sighed, sipping from her glass. The thing was, she wasn't sure if these questions were coming to play because they were real concerns, or if the blonde was simply reacting to seeing how things could have been, how they were ten years ago. It was crazy, and she knew it. Proven love and security from her fiancé, and boyfriend of three years, or proven lust from a seventeen year old kid.

"Julia?" The blonde met her gaze. "What's in your heart?" Caison held up a hand as the blonde's mouth opened. "No, don't tell me. It's something you need to discuss with your own heart. I can't help you with this. Nor can your mom. Nor can Drew."

Caison's voice was so soft and soothing, it made Julia want to cry. The brunette set her glass down on the nearby counter. She reached over, taking Julia's as well. "Come here." She opened her arms, willing to be a friend to this woman who so obviously needed one.

Julia happily went into her embrace, allowing herself to be curled up in a warm cocoon. As Caison rested her cheek against the soft blonde hair, she sighed, looking out over the decorated backyard. Everything was all set, ready to go. Come ten o'clock the following morning, the yard would be abuzz with wedding excitement.

She felt empty and cold. For the first time, holding Julia so snugly against her, she realized that her melancholy wasn't just about being lonely, seeing how the other half lived. No, this was getting personal, and she couldn't allow that. It was insane, considering she hadn't seen Julia in ten years, and they'd never shared anything more than their bodies. She had to think that perhaps Julia was just filling a space that the brunette wished were filled.

Then why did that explanation ring hollow?

"Why do I have so many doubts?" Julia whispered against Caison's neck.

"It's a big step you're taking, Julia. It's a scary thing to do. I think I'd be terrified if I were in your position." Caison chuckled softly to emphasize her own cowardice. Julia smiled, her arms tightening a bit around the brunette's waist. She felt so warm, so safe. Her eyes closed as she felt the slight pressure atop her head, a kiss.

A devil and an angel sat upon Caison's shoulder. One side whispering in her ear to tell Julia to listen to those doubts and to be afraid. By now she should be certain of her destiny. The other side, the one that cared about the blonde more than she realized, whispered to tell Julia to follow her heart, and give happiness with Drew a chance. Maybe, just maybe she was overstressed, and emotions were colliding within her to create turmoil and doubt.

With a sigh, she kept her mouth shut.


Drew had been whisked off to a motel early in the morning by Richard, allowing the bride to get ready, unseen by the groom. This left the house to be abuzz with excited estrogen.

A few of the guests had arrived early to help everyone get ready, and make sure the wedding went off on time, and without a hitch. No pun intended.

Caison ran her hands down either side of her newly returned dress, a local seamstress working in record time to get the fit just right. Lonnie, a friend of Lori's stood behind the statuesque brunette, zipping her into the deep wine dress.

"You look lovely," the older woman said, smiling in the reflection of the door mirror. Caison smiled.

"Thank you."

"Do you need anymore help, dear?" Lonnie was anxious to get back to Julia, and see how much more beautiful she'd become since she'd seen her last, seven minutes ago.

"No, Lonnie. Thank you. I'm fine."

"Alright. If you need anything, please holler." Lonnie called over her shoulder as she left the upstairs bedroom.

Hair and makeup had been done before she'd slipped into her dress. Now, Caison stepped back to take in the whole picture. The dress fit the lines of her body perfectly, hugging her slim waist and flat stomach. It even made her butt look good, which the brunette swore was as big as Texas.

Blue eyes traveled up to take in softly heaving cleavage, tactful, yet sexy all the same. Strong shoulders, a long neck, hair done up in a chignon, interwoven with baby's breath. Small, diamond earrings dangled from her ears and sparkled at her throat. Soft, subtle makeup made her blue eyes pop, looking like beautiful sapphires to join the diamonds.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the bedroom door, mindful of the long dress and three inch heels as she made her way down the stairs, where more excitement was rumbling through the house. The bakers were bringing the two tiered cake in, arranging it on a wheeled cart, just inside the kitchen. The cake would be wheeled out to the patio at the appropriate time, so it wouldn't melt under the warm, July sun.

She moved out of the way of incoming caterers, guests, and those helping Julia to get ready downstairs. Caison was surprised to see Lori tearing up the stairs, followed closely by Lonnie.

"Caison! Honey, please go down and help Julia finish. I just got a call that the flower truck was in an accident!" Flustered, the older blonde hurried past her in a wave of Vanilla Lace in her wake.

Confused by the chaos, but doing as asked, she took the stairs as fast as she dare. She hurried back toward her old bedroom were Lori's framed, standalone mirror had been brought down for the bride-to-be.

"Julia?" she called out, letting the blonde know someone was coming. She met green eyes as she entered the room. The brunette had to consciously ignore how gorgeous Julia looked in her dress, body-fitting, long and elegant, sensual. Small rubies dangled from her ears, and hung from her wrist. Her hair was brushed back to a shine, the style simple. A crown of white roses and baby's breath topped her head.

Julia's smile was soft as her gaze took in the stunning beauty before her. She, too, kept her calm by thoughts of what she needed to do.

"Help me?" she asked, her voice soft. She held up a long, velvet box. It creaked slightly as Caison opened it, seeing the beautiful ruby necklace inside.

"Turn around." Caison set the box down, watching her movements in the mirror as she brought the necklace to the blonde's throat, laying the cool gold and stones against the heated skin. "You look so beautiful, Julia," she said softly, clasping the lobster clasp at the nape of the blonde's neck.

"Thank you. So do you." The necklace securely in place, the blonde turned, looking up into the most beautiful face she'd ever seen. She was left nearly speechless by what stood before her. "Wow," she breathed. Caison's eyes ducked, slight color rising in her face. When she raised her eyes again, she looked into understanding, soft, beautiful eyes. Was there something else in those eyes?

Clearing her throat, Caison spoke her heart. "I wish you all the happiness in the world, Julia. I wish you undying love and devotion." Her voice was a whisper by the end of her well wishes. "May you never question your heart again."

The blonde sucked in a breath, so touched by Caison's unexpected words. At a loss, the brunette made it easy for her to not have to speak. Green eyes closed as Caison leaned in, the softest touch at the corner of her mouth, lingering for just a moment, then it was gone.

"Good luck."

When Julia opened her eyes, she was treated to the sight of Caison's retreating back.


Julia was being led over to another group of people, forcing the smile to her face. Her new husband held her hand securely in his much larger one. He was on cloud nine, that much was clear. The blonde listened, joining in conversations as etiquette dictated, but truth be told, she was a million miles away. She was so very tired, and just wanted to be at home, buried under her down comforter.

Still, she forged on.

Caison set her second glass of champagne down on a passing waiter's tray with a small smile. She watched as the lights were beginning to snap on all around the yard, casting monstrous shadows to everything static or moving.

She looked around the yard once more, glad to have been able to ditch her dress hours ago. Now, wandering around in a pair of khaki shorts and tank top, she headed inside, and up the stairs. Her bags were waiting for her next to the neatly made bed. Looking over them, she sighed with a nod. It was the right thing to do.

"Are you sure, honey?" Doug asked, brows knit in discontent. He hated to see his little girl leave. Caison nodded.

"Yeah, Dad. I really need to be getting back." She took him in a tight hug, kissing his smoothly shaven cheek.

"Okay." Doug looked sad, his daughter even sadder, though he could tell she was trying to hide it. "Be careful, okay? I love you."

"I love you, too. Now," she said poking him in the chest. "it's you and Lori's turn. Got me?"

Doug chuckled. "Point taken."


Julia leaned her head against the oval window, staring down over the ocean as they made their way to Spain. Drew was asleep next to her. Glancing over at him, she studied him- strong lines, sharp jaw and permanent triple set of lines in his forehead, even when he was in repose.

Turning back to the window, she sighed as heavily as her heart felt.


The cold, February air rushed Caison in through the door with a shiver. She slammed the door shut, shaking the snow off her jacket before hanging it in the closet. Walking into the living room, she flicked the switch, fire whooshing to life in the gas fireplace.

It had been such a long day, and she was more than ready for the long weekend. Valentine's weekend. She took time off to enjoy the holiday by taking some time for herself. She planned to do nothing over the next three days but relax, get in some good reading, make a few gourmet dishes for her taste buds to enjoy. She even bought some chocolate as a special treat.

Flicking the coffee maker on, she headed for the stairs, very much looking forward to getting out of her monkey suit, and start her weekend. She'd slowly been backing off of the long hours and ridiculous shifts. Her New Year's resolution was to make more time for herself.

Grumbling to herself, she turned toward the front door at the sound of the doorbell. Unlocking it, she readied herself for the rush she knew would follow, she pulled the door open.

Surprised to see a young kid standing there with a bouquet of flowers, her brows drew.

"Sign here, please," the kid said, tapping his clipboard. Caison scribbled a quick signature before taking the beautiful arrangement from him, holding the vase from her body to take it all in. Closing the door, she took the flowers to the kitchen table, snagging the card from its clear, plastic pitchfork.

Look outside your front door.

Brows drawing further, the brunette glanced over her shoulder, looking down the hall toward the beveled glass front door. Card in hand, her heels clicked on the dark wood, polished floor. Glancing at the card again, she pulled the door open.

Across the street was parked an SUV. Leaning against the driver's side door, arms crossed over her chest, one ankle crossed over the other, stood Julia. When the blonde saw she had Caison's attention, she raised a hand in greeting. Caison was struck dumb, hand resting on her door. Breath carefully caught in her throat, she took a step outside, the harsh wind immediately whipping at her clothes and hair.

As she moved, so did Julia. At the curb, Julia looked up at the brunette, tucking strands of medium length hair behind her ears, only to have them flare out to whip her jaw again.

"Hi," Caison said, her voice breathy in surprise and confusion.

"Hi." Julia gave her a ghost of a smile. The brunette could see the nervous tremor in the blonde's stance.

"What are you doing here?" Caison couldn't even feel the cold anymore, her heart pounding, blood racing through her in a nervous patter.

"I got a job about ten miles north of here, teaching high school history," she explained, voice soft. "Somehow, I felt something was trying to tell me something as Concord High was the highest bidder for me."

Caison said nothing, could only stare, barely able to breathe. Julia continued.

"You told me that you wished for me to never question my heart again," Julia swallowed nervously, staring up into blue eyes. "Well, I decided to take your advice. My heart was telling me that I didn't belong there, with Drew. I left him, Caison. My heart wasn't there," she said, shaking her head for emphasis. "My heart has always led me to you. I don't understand it, can't explain it, but it's true."

Caison felt her heart pounding even harder, barely able to comprehend what she was being told. Clearing her throat, she smiled. "Come inside with me?"

Julia broke out into a watery, relieved smile, nodding. She felt her trembling hand being taken from the pocket of her pea coat, and placed inside the warm one of Caison. She wasn't sure what she was shivering from more- the cold, the fear of what was to come, or the beautiful brunette who led her up the walk to a beautiful, two-story house.

"Oh, Caison," Julia whispered as she stepped inside the warm house. Her eyes looked over everything. "This is beautiful."

"Thank you." Caison's voice was soft. She had no idea what to think, all of this hitting her like a brick wall. They walked to the living room, the fire warming things up nicely. Caison led the blonde over to the fire. "Let's get you warmed up."

Julia nodded, allowing her pea coat to be removed, and tossed to the back of a chair. She stood in front of the beautiful stone fireplace, eyes closing as the heat seeped through the chill. She smiled sheepishly.

"I've been waiting for you half the day. You weren't kidding when you said you work long hours."

Caison smiled, rubbing the back of her neck nervously. "Yes, well." She walked over to the blonde, who turned to her. With silent agreement, Julia went into the open arms of the brunette. Caison sighed, holding the blonde close, resting her cheek against the top of a golden head. "You know, it's funny," she whispered, eyes closed at the amazing feeling of holding Julia in her arms. She still wasn't sure that she was dreaming. "In all the years I've known you, I just manage to forget about you when you pop up again."

Worried, Julia tried to life her head, but Caison held her fast. "Do you want me to go, Caison?"

"No. No, no, no." The brunette held her tight, sighing into the soft hair. "Don't you dare."

"I was so nervous coming over here. Your dad told me you weren't seeing anyone, as well as where you lived." She smiled, some of her nerves leaving. "But even still, I was worried you wouldn't want me here. Wouldn't want to see me." This time she did raise her head, looking deeply into the blue eyes she loved to look inside. "Why didn't you say goodbye?" She brought a hand up, fingers tentatively touching the soft skin of Caison's cheek.

"It hurt too much," Caison said honestly, leaning into the touch. She shook her head at the memory. "It killed me to watch you marry Drew, Julia. I don't know how it happened, but over that week, feelings that I thought were long dead, sprang to life."

Julia smiled, nodding. "Me, too."

"What do you want from me?" Caison whispered, feeling her body beginning to tremble again, fear and Julia the cause. Her eyes closed. She could feel warm breath on her neck, raising to brush against her chin.

"I want a chance, Caison. I'm not a confused kid anymore, and neither are you." She looked into blue eyes, made bright by unshed fear. She smiled softly, caressing Caison's jaw with her thumb. "I've spent the past six months thinking about you, trying to put my finger on what exactly it was that kept drawing me back to your face. I never realized it, Caison, but since I was sixteen, and we got caught in my room, I've been searching. I've been searching for that feeling again, for someone, anyone to make me feel like you did. Do."

"Oh, Julia," Caison whispered, bringing her own hand up to cover that of the blonde.

"I thought maybe Drew could make me forget, or make me happy enough to stop searching." She chuckled ruefully, shaking her head. "Then I meet you again, and not only did I feel the same physical pull to you, but you had to turn out to be such a wonderful person on top of it." She smiled at the shy smile that received. Julia continued, on a roll of everything she'd had to bury so deeply inside for so long. "I don't understand it, cause I'm sorry, in the real world it just doesn't happen this way, but over that week at mom and Doug's," she paused, staring deeply into blue eyes. "I started to fell in love with you, Caison. I can't let it go. I can't let you go."

Caison was openly crying now, silent tears sliding down her cheeks. She was overwhelmed by the emotions coursing through her.

"So if you'll have me, I want to see where things can go. I want to try and find happiness with you," Julia continued. "Or tell me to go, and I'll never bother you again." Julia looked up into Caison's face, brushing tears away with her thumbs. She had laid it all on the line, bared her soul for the brunette. Now she watched and waited in fearful silence for Caison's answer.

Taking several deep breaths, Caison closed her eyes, then opened them again. Gentle green eyes looked back at her, though she could see the fear in them. And the love. Finally she found her voice.

"I don't know how it happened, either, Julia, but I love you."

The blonde blew out a nervous breath, leaning her forehead against Caison's shoulder. It wasn't long before Caison felt the blonde's shoulders shaking with her own release of emotion.

"This is crazy, isn't it?" Caison whispered, unable to get the smile off her face. She felt Julia nod.

"Positively nuts." Julia chuckled, more tension leaving her body. She felt her face being raised by two fingers under her chin. Looking up into smiling eyes, she smiled in response. That smile faltered then fell altogether as she felt her heart begin to race. The intent in Caison's eyes was plain to see. Her eyes closed as she felt the soft touch of even softer lips.

Caison sighed into the touch, her hand moving from fingers on a chin to cupping the blonde's face as the kiss was returned. Their lips moved against each other tentatively, reacquainting, learning the terrain once more.

Julia's arms made their way up around Caison's neck, her hands finding their way into thick, dark hair, gently tugging the brunette closer, opening her lips to invite Caison in. Her invitation was immediately taken, both sighing as the brunette's tongue caressed the blonde's.

It had been so long, so many years of waiting and wanting. Caison pulled Julia closer, her hands caressing her back, the soft material of the blonde's shirt making sensitive fingers itch with pure desire to touch what lay beneath.

She felt that hand sliding down the blonde's back until her fingers came into contact with the rough material of Julia's jeans. As her body made the decision for her, Caison's kiss changed. No long that of one exploring, but instead all out seduction.

Julia felt a wave of desire rush through her as Caison's tongue licked at her own, white teeth gently tugging on her bottom lip. She moaned softly at the feel of her shirt being slowly pulled from the confines of her jeans, a warm touch against the skin of her lower back. She began to run her hands down over Caison's shoulders and arms, following those arms until she felt where the brunette's hands rested against her back. She covered them, bringing them around her sides, and up under the front of her shirt, placing them over her breasts. Both moaned at the touch.

Leaving Caison's hands, Julia's own found their way to the brunette's blouse, fingers beginning to work the buttons as her lips left Caison's mouth, finding instead the warm skin of the brunette's neck.

Caison sighed, head arching as she felt the wet, hot kisses sliding down her throat, then to the exposed skin of her upper chest as her blouse was completely opened. She quickly slid her hands out from under Julia's shirt, finding the hem and tugging the shirt up. The blonde raised her arms, letting the shirt pass, then quickly went back to the soft skin of Caison's collarbones and upper chest.

Caison ran her hands down the soft strength of Julia's back, fingers stumbling over her bra strap. The made quick work of the garment, the silky fabric sliding down strong shoulders, Julia letting it slip down her arms to the floor. The blonde quickly pushed Caison's own bra up over the brunette's breasts, pushing the ends of her blouse open as she stepped inside the billowy material, their breasts and warm skin of their stomachs meeting for the first time in over a decade.

Julia's moan was quickly eaten by Caison's hungry mouth, large hands covering her butt, pushing the blonde further into the taller woman. Caison had never known desire like what washed through her. She brought the blonde down to the large rug in front of the fireplace with her, the blonde laying back. Caison was pulled down on top of her, her mouth consumed with Julia's demanding kiss.

Caison struggled to get out of her blouse, hands reaching behind her to unhook her bra until she was naked from the waist up. Trying to get her bearings, she pushed herself to her knees, looking down at the panting blonde. Her eyes traveled over flushed features, hooded green eyes, then down to a heaving chest and beautiful breasts. Reaching down, her fingers grazed the sides of those breast before cupping them, feeling hard nipples press into her palms.

"So beautiful," she breathed. Julia met her gaze. Caison's hands roamed over ribs, a flat stomach, finding the buttons to Julia's jeans. She tugs, unsnapping one at a time until all five buttons are released, revealing the pink of the blonde's panties beneath. Moving down her legs, Caison unlaces the blonde's hiking boots, tugging them off one at a time, sending them to the floor with a thud. Julia lifted her hips, allowing the denim to be tugged over her hips, and down her legs until finally she was revealed, only wearing her panties.

Caison's eyes took in the bounty before her, wetness gathering in waves between her legs. She stood, unbuttoning and zipping her slacks, letting them slide down her legs, before being kicked aside, with her shoes. She slid her own panties down long legs, they, too joining the scattered clothing. Falling to her knees, she tugged Julia's panties off, running her hands up strong thighs, reveling in how soft, yet firm, they were.

"You always had the most beautiful body," she murmured, her eyes devouring Julia.

"Come here," the blonde softly requested, reaching for the brunette, who gladly laid her body atop her own. Julia moaned, eyes closing. She'd forgotten just how wonderful a woman's body felt- how wonderful Caison's body felt.

"You're so wet," Caison marveled, feeling Julia's slickness against her thigh as she slid it between the blonde's legs.

"I want you so badly," Julia said in explanation. She sighed loudly, eyes closing as Caison's mouth began to travel, finding the sensitive parts of her neck, nipping at the tendons. Her hands wandered down the blonde's sides, leaving a prickling trail in their wake. She moaned in contentment as her tongue flicked over a rigid nipple before sucking it into her watering mouth. She felt Julia's hands in her hair, pressing her into her breast.

Julia's mind was exploding with the overwhelming sensations coursing through her body. She was trying desperately to press Caison's thigh against her pulsing sex, needing any sort of purchase to help release the tension coiling between her legs.

Caison could feel Julia's need building. She laved the other breast with equal attention before working her way further down the blonde's body, moving her body between her thighs. Julia groaned at the loss of the brunette's thigh against her, then gasped as she felt something rubbing against her clit. Looking down the length of her body, she saw Caison, her own breast in hand, running a hard nipple through the blonde's folds, then teasing her clit once more.

Julia's head hit the rug beneath her as her legs spread, silently offering all she had to the brunette, who's body was on the move again.

Caison inhaled the smell of Julia's need before lowering her mouth to it.

Julia let out a gasp as she felt the brunette's tongue swipe through her wetness. Her hands flew down to Caison's head, hips rising to meet the hungry mouth. Julia's body was ready to explode as she felt Caison's tongue enter her. Her heart was racing, blood pounding through her, headed south. She began to feel light headed as her orgasm ripped through her, leaving her limp and overwhelmed.

Caison was shocked at how quickly Julia had climaxed. She kissed her way up the blonde's body, stopping to pay homage to her breasts again. Julia pulled the brunette's mouth to her own, tasting herself on Caison's lips.

"I want to do that to you," she whispered against her mouth. "I never got to."

Caison raised herself to her forearms, looking down at Julia's flushed face. She ran the backs of her fingers over a soft cheek, and nodded, leaning down to lay a soft kiss on full lips.

The brunette allowed herself to be pushed to her back, Julia quickly following to cover her body with her own. She looked down into hooded blue eyes.

"I love you, Caison," she whispered, amazed at just how much truth there was to those words. The brunette smiled.

"I love you, too."

Julia ran her hands over Caison's body, amazed all over again at how soft she was, and how smooth the skin was. The body beneath her was so much like her own, yet so radically different. She allowed her mouth to explore, tasting Caison's flesh, sucking on her nipples, licking her breasts, and running her tongue down the center line of her torso. She felt the tiny hairs that tickled her tongue and lips, the way Caison smelled and texture of her skin.

As she moved her way further down the brunette's body, the musky, hot smell of Caison's desire made her close her eyes, inhaling what she did to the brunette. The first touch of her tongue to that tender flesh, and Julia knew where she belonged.

Caison drew in a deep breath, feeling the gentle tension and tugging as Julia fed off her. She allowed the blonde to work from instinct and just plain guessing. Everything the blonde did was incredible because it was Julia who was doing it. That thought alone started her orgasm, burning deep in her belly, spreading to her hips and between her legs. She tried to hold her orgasm at bay, needing to feel Julia as long as possible.

Perhaps history was her enemy. Thoughts of this being the last time she was ever allowed to make love with the blonde plagued her mind, and made her determined to make it everything it could never be when they were young.

Soon the pleasure and pressure were too much for her to dam. Sensation mounting, Caison's hands pressed down on Julia's head, begging her to not stop- so close, so close.

Julia was surprised by the cry that rent the room, Caison's hips thrusting against her, hot wetness pulsing against her face.


Caison held Julia against her, the blonde's head resting on her shoulder, Caison's on a pillow that had been pulled down from the couch. She caressed Julia's back and side, reveling in the way their bodies fit together, legs entangled.

She looked over at the fire, dancing happily in its stone prison.

"Ten miles away, you said?" she asked, her voice quiet, hushed in a cocoon of contentment. She heard a soft chuckle at her neck.


"We can work with that." Caison smiled as she felt the blonde's arms hug her tighter.



"Happy Valentine's Day."

The End.