Disclaimers: Mine.

Sex: Okay, we need to have a little chat. Sex. Such a relative term. Well, in this particular story, sex is not just relative here, it's fairly rampant. So, enjoy, but keep some handy wipes, well, handy.

Note: This is just a short, sweet story for Valentine's Day, and the hope of love and acceptance. I hope you enjoy it.

If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com

Come visit me at: www.coloradobardsplace.com or my publisher at: www.pdpublishing.com

Safe Word


Kim Pritekel

Alison sat in the passenger seat. She glanced over at the darkened house- just a single lamp lit in the window- for the fifth time. Her friend sighed. "Do you want to do this or not, Al? If not, tell me now and I'll take you back home."

The blonde swallowed, then looked at the redhead behind the wheel. Shaking her head, she made her decision. "No. I want to do this. I think."

Sharon rolled her eyes, starting to get exasperated. "Alison, I'm not going to force you into anything. You said you wanted to do this, so I brought you with me. Has that changed?"


"Okay. Then come on. I don't want the good ones to be gone." The car was suddenly flooded with light as she opened her door. The blonde squinted against the unexpected deluge, then opened her own door. "You remember the safe word, right?"

Alison nodded, making sure her door was locked before slamming it shut. A dozen cars lined the street and across the street, from the house they were walking up the path to. It was a smallish house, two story. It looked as though it had been built a good sixty, seventy years ago. Alison stood behind her friend as Sharon knocked. Within seconds the door was opened, a tall man smiling in welcome. He and Sharon exchanged a quick hug then the two women were allowed inside.

The further back into the house, the deeper the shadows. Furniture had been pushed to the walls, the floor empty, leaving room for talking, dancing… whatever. A few shadowy figures sat on the couches and chairs, others were standing and chatting, or simply checking out the new arrivals. It was somewhat surreal, as everyone was dressed in black, just as Alison and Sharon were. House rules.

"I feel like I'm at a funeral," the blonde whispered to her friend, never leaving the redhead's side. Sharon chuckled but said nothing. Within a few moments, a tall black man approached them, his eyes on Sharon. The redhead turned to her friend.

"Will you be okay?"

Alison nodded. "Yeah." She watched as her friend was led away, then turned her gaze back to the room before her. Curious eyes met her reluctant gaze. A few men, and a woman, smiled at her, but she ignored them. She knew she needed to do this, needed to finally let go of the damage that Troy had done to her. It had been more than three years, and was about time she relaxed. Sharon had the idea that perhaps a sex party, no strings attached, no messy emotional entanglements, would be the perfect way.

Alison wasn't so sure now, as she felt like a piece of meat in a cattle auction.

She walked a little deeper into the room, trying to see through the shadows and observe a few of the hanging pictures, but her perusal was cut short when she felt the body heat of someone directly behind her. She froze. Large hands took hold of her hips, gently pulling the blonde back into a solid body.

"Do you want this?" a soft whisper asked, brushing across Alison's ear. She swallowed for a moment, trying to decide if, in fact, she did. Deciding that this was why she was there, she nodded, then gasped, feeling those hands leave her hip and slowly make their way up her side until they covered cotton-clad breasts. "Do you know the safe word?" the person whispered. Alison nodded.

Without further ado, the blonde was gently nudged toward the kitchen, where the shadows were even thicker. She couldn't help but feel a small trimmer of fear lance through her, even though she knew she was completely safe. She was surrounded by people, and at the first sound of trouble, she would be fine. Even so, she didn't know this person, and couldn't believe she was allowing a perfect stranger to touch her.

Alison was turned around, finally able to look up at the stranger, not that it did any good. The kitchen was so filled with shadows, all she could make out was a silhouette. She could tell he was tall, and that was it. She felt the stranger's hands leave her body, only to reappear as they cupped her face.

"You're beautiful," the whisper said, just before leaning in and taking Alison's breath away in the deepest, most sensuous kiss she'd ever had, from the softest mouth she'd ever felt. Left somewhat light headed, she realized that somewhere during that kiss she had brought her own hand up, resting it upon a thin shoulder. She gasped when she was grabbed around the waist and picked up, gently set down on what felt to be a tabletop. The stranger put pressure against Alison's knees until she opened her thighs, the person stepping with the ‘v'.

Alison's head fell back as hot breath and soft lips found her neck. Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to absorb the human contact and affection, even if it had to be at the hands of a stranger.

She felt the softness of warm skin as her skirt was pushed up, a soft palm running up her thigh. The soft tendrils of long hair tickled Alison's face as the stranger stood. She felt warm breath against her forehead just before a soft kiss was placed there. Green eyes closed as the blonde fought tears at the tenderness this stranger was showing her.

"I want to be inside you," the stranger said, the whisper now a softly moaned voice. A softly moaned female voice.

Alison's eyes popped open as she gasped, her hands coming up to rest against a flat stomach, about to push. Her hands were caught by those of the woman who still stood between her legs. She felt the soft hair graze her face again as soft lips brushed her ear.

"Shh. Relax. Let yourself experience. Let yourself go."

Alison felt the words clear to the bottom of her soul, echoing inside her head and body. Closing her eyes once more, she let out a shaky breath and nodded. "Okay." She felt the woman's smile against her cheek, one of her hands released as the woman reached down between their bodies, fingers finding Alison's damp panties.

Alison gasped, her legs involuntarily spreading at the contact. Her mouth was enveloped in a heated kiss, her sex stroked through the satin covering. Her hand was grabbed and put upon a denim-clad crotch. She could feel the outline of something long and stiff. She whimpered in confusion before pulling away from the kiss.

"Do you want this?" the woman asked, squeezing Alison's fingers around the length of the dildo. Alison looked at the stranger's crotch, of course not able to see anything, but she could imagine a man's penis, could see it by the feel and length. She surprised herself by reaching up, curling her hand around the back of the woman's neck and pulling her down for another heated kiss.

The sounds of denim being unbuttoned and unzipped filled the air, along with heavy breathing. Alison moaned into the kiss as she felt her panties pushed aside, then the warmed cyberskin of the dildo sliding into her depths. She was gently pushed back onto the tabletop, the stranger's mouth leaving her own and kissing a hot trail down across her throat, nipping at the skin with her teeth. Her blonde was quickly unbuttoned by knowing fingers, bra-clad breasts exposed.

Alison moved her hips with the stranger, head falling to the side as she was filled again and again, the woman's steady, almost lazy rhythm driving her wild. Her head arched back when a nipple was sucked into almost scorching warmth, though the material of the bra.

"Oh god," she breathed, her hand cupping the back of the woman's head. Her mind and all her lingering doubt began to fade as the pleasure took over. She could feel her entire body moving with the increasing thrusts of the woman inside her, the table beneath her creaking in protest. She couldn't believe the amazing things the woman was doing to her body, how gentle she was, yet utterly stimulating at the same time.

Alison wasn't sure what to think when suddenly her legs were lifted, the woman bending down just enough so her knees could fit nicely over her shoulders. The blonde gasped at the increased depth of her penetration, her hands flying down to grip the edge of the table. Though she couldn't see her face, the blonde knew she was being watched. She stared up into the darkness that was the passionate woman's face, for a tiny moment wishing she could see her face. That thought was quickly swept away by propriety, as she knew that would only make the encounter more real.

All thought left the blonde's head again as she felt a slow burn beginning in her gut, quickly unraveling until it scorched her insides, shooting down between her legs. Her partner took hold of her hips, grabbing on tight as she pounded into the blonde, the table hitting the wall with every thrust.

"Oh, fuck," the woman said between clenched teeth. She took Alison's thighs in her hands, removing them from her shoulders and spreading them wide. Alison came hard with the change of position, her back arching off the hard wood, bits of wood scraped off under nails with the intensity of her grip.

Both women stilled, the stranger buried deep inside Alison's core for long moments before she relaxed, gently easing out. The blonde gasped softly as she registered the loss, then suddenly felt extremely vulnerable. As if sensing this, the woman respectfully put her panties back into place, then lowered her skirt. Alison was helped to a sitting position, finding herself engulfed in a warm embrace. The woman rested her chin atop her head for a moment. Alison realized she could smell a soft, subtle perfume on the woman's clothing as she rested her cheek against her upper chest. With a soft kiss and even softer "Thank you," the woman was gone.

Alison tried to regain her sense of balance and time, wondering how long she'd been lying and sitting on that hard table. Her legs were shaky as she gained her feet, grabbing onto the table once more to steady herself. Running a hand through her hair, she took a deep breath. The world began to come back into focus, the barest hint of the buttery light in the other room tinting bodies and walls as she made her way out of the kitchen. She could hear the murmured words of passion as well as not-so-murmured moans and cries of pleasure.

Suddenly wanting very much to feel… right… again, Alison made her way to the front door, deciding to wait for Sharon in the car. Cursing softly when she found it locked, the blonde hopped up onto the hood, bringing her legs up and hugging them to her chest. She tried to clear her mind completely of thought, not wanting to think about what she just did, and with whom she'd done it.

One thing the blonde did know was that the woman's gentle touch, her tenderness, had made her feel safer with sex than she had in three years. This of course brought about thoughts of Troy. Alison mentally shook herself, not wanting to go there, but she couldn't help it. His mental and physical abuse had left her shaken to the core and uncertain of everything about herself- especially about her identity as a sexual being. She shivered as she remembered his cruel words- dislike of her small breasts. She was too short, too thin. She didn't trim her pubic hair the way he wanted her to. She should dye her hair brown so she wouldn't look like such a slut.

Alison brought up a hand, wiping at the single tear that had managed to escape an eye. She had stayed with him for four long years, knowing nothing else. It were almost as if Troy and her father had read out of the same guide to how to treat women. She had watched her mother go through it for years, as well as her oldest sister, Lindy, with her first husband. It had been Alison's baby sister, Robin, who had finally convinced her to get out. Of course, Alison had been in a hospital bed at the time. She had lost her first pregnancy when Troy had beaten her with a frying pan. That night, both crying and hugging, Robin had made the blonde promise that she'd finally leave Troy, do it for real and for good. Unable to see through the tears or the pain, Alison had said yes.

Three years later, Alison sat on the hood of her friend and co-worker's car, staring up into the autumn sky, watching as the moon played peek-a-boo with the clouds, feeling very empty and very alone. She had healed physically in all that time, of course. New town, new job, new sense of independence, but the scars were still there. Very much there. Tonight, her faceless encounter with the woman was the first time she'd had sex since Troy. It had been the first time she'd been touched in anything other than a friendly hug or pat on the arm, none of which she allowed often. The only one who had sole rights to a hug at any time was Robin.

Alison smiled, wondering what her little sister would think of what she'd just done. The little spitfire of a strawberry blonde would either applaud it or roll her hazel eyes.


Alison nearly jumped out of her skin at the touch to her knee. She found Sharon standing next to the car, a bemused expression on her face. "Hi."

"You okay? Been out here long?"

The blonde shook her head. "No. About ten minutes or so. How did things go?"

Sharon sighed with a wide smile, leaning against the fender next to her friend. "Wonderful. That man has got moves…" she licked her lips, making Alison grimace. Sharon chuckled. "What about you? Did you go running into the night, screaming like a banshee?"

Alison shook her head, looking away shyly. "No."

Sharon was shocked. She truly figured that would be exactly what would happen. She moved so she could see her friend's face, meeting twinkling green eyes, yet cheeks that were deeply flushed. "Oh my. Want to tell me about it?"

"No. Not yet. I need to let it all sink in first," Alison quietly explained.

"Okay. I can understand that. Well," she pushed off the car. "Let's go. I'm starving."


Alison sat at her desk, staring blankly at the email she'd just opened. She hadn't read a single word, nor had she heard her boss' call for her three minutes before. Chin resting in hand, she stared off into her own thoughts, marveling at the direction the were going. She couldn't remember the last random sexual thought she'd had. Come to think of it, she wasn't sure she'd ever had a random sexual thought.


Head snapping up to see an irritated Mr. King standing beside her cubical, the blonde blushed deeply, looking away before giving him her most professional, interested expression.

"Yes, sir?"

"I've been calling you for the past five minutes. Didn't you hear me?"

"Oh, uh, no. Sorry, Mr. King. What did you need?"

"I need those statistics on my desk. Now."

"Yes, sir." Alison groaned inwardly, burying her face in her hands. She felt like she'd been caught doing something wrong, or like her boss had been able to read her mind or feel the heat that had started to flush through her body. It had been a week and a half since her encounter- which is what she preferred to think of it as- and she had done what she could to erase it from her mind. Her body wouldn't have it.

"Alison! Now!"

"Crap." Alison hurriedly gathered the information her boss needed and scampered to his office.

Alison looked at herself in the mirror, trying to decide if she was satisfied with the outfit she'd chosen. Stepping back from it, she turned to her right, eyeing herself with hyper-critical eyes. She ran a hand down over a flat stomach, feeling the soft material of her shirt and the flowing skirt that swept away from her body. She felt… attractive. Eyeing her other side and then her behind, Alison decided it was as good as it got, and gathered her coat and keys.

Alison and Sharon were greeted with a warm smile from a woman the blonde didn't recall seeing during her last visit, two weeks ago. Sharon had been working on her for the past week, trying to get Alison to agree to accompany her once more. After agonizing nights of thinking, and trying not to think, Alison had decided to return one more time. Maybe this time she'd just stand to the side and watch.

Alison had to chuckle to herself as she stepped into the house. She and Robin had spoken over the phone earlier, and her little sister had asked what her Friday night plans were. The blonde was less than forthcoming, not wanting to tell Robin that she planned a second appearance at a sex party. Instead, as far as Robin knew, Alison and Sharon were at a movie.

The house was as it had been two weeks ago, people and furniture lining the walls, a few couples already beginning to pair off. Green eyes surreptitiously perused the room, not looking for anything in particular. Or that she'd admit, anyway.

It wasn't long before Sharon had made her way to her company for the night, leaving Alison to lean against a wall, arms crossed over her chest. She had warded off a few would-be admirers, her eyes continuing to scan the room. Something in the corner caught her eye. A dark figure stood near the doorway of the kitchen. Alison couldn't see any details of the person, but the tightening in her stomach told her what her eyes couldn't.

As though not in control of her own actions, Alison pushed away from the wall and walked over to the kitchen, immediately grabbed by the hips and pulled roughly against a lean body. Her mouth was taken, though gone was the tenderness of their previous encounter. The woman was fairly ravenous as she guided Alison backwards into the kitchen, then turned her around, her back against the woman's front.

"I could eat you alive in that skirt," was whispered into her ear. Alison gasped as a hand reached down, sliding up under the garment in question. The woman sighed into her ear when she felt the blonde's wetness and nothing else. "You came ready for me."

Alison could say nothing, feeling as though she had lost total control of the situation. Even so, she couldn't resist, her body not allowing her to push away from the stranger or stop what was happening to her. Before she knew it, she was leaning against a kitchen counter, her skirt being raised and her body entered from behind. She groaned, head arching back at the feel of warm hands squirming up the front of her shirt, her bare breasts covered.

"You have got such a wonderful body," the woman murmured hotly into her ear, her thrusts quick and passionate. Alison couldn't respond, her body overwhelmed from the sensations seeming to come from every nerve ending she had. She reached back, grabbing a leather-clad ass and squeezing, encouraging the woman's touch.

To Alison's astonishment, it didn't take long and she felt her body convulsing, her sex clenching around the dildo. The woman stopped, pressing into Alison, holding still within her. Alison realized, to her mortification, that she was crying, overcome by a tempest of emotions, many of which she could not identify.

"Hey," the woman's soft, soothing voice said. Alison was turned around and gathered into strong arms. "Did I hurt you?" The blonde shook her head, clinging to the woman. She felt a rush of passion, shame and old hurts, all vying for attention at once.

"I'm sorry," Alison tried to pull away but was held close.

"Shh," the woman said, placing a soft kiss to the blonde's temple. "What happened?"

Alison sniffled, feeling stupid. She shook her head. "Just some memories surfacing, I guess. I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Anything I can do? Want to talk about it?"

"No." Alison managed to pull away. She looked up into the stranger's face, barely able to see part of her profile from the wan moonlight shining in the window. "I should go." The woman nodded, leaning forward to place a soft kiss to Alison's lips.


Alison adjusted her skirt and shirt, running a hand through her hair. The woman stayed with her, leaning against another counter, watching. "Bye," the blonde said softly, then headed out. To her surprise, Sharon was waiting for her this time.

"Strike out?" the redhead asked. As her friend got closer, she could see the upset on the blonde's face. "Al? You okay?"

"Yeah. It's stupid."

Sharon stepped forward, a hand resting on her friend's shoulder. She looked into her eyes. "Are you okay? You weren't hurt, were you? I mean, if you were, we can march right back in there and talk to Aaron-"

"No, no. Nothing like that." Alison waved her friend off, not wanting to worry her.

"Okay," the redhead drawled, though by the way she was looking at Alison, the blonde could tell she wasn't completely convinced. "Well, come on. I'm depressed. Didn't even get a damn kiss."


Alison lay in bed, one arm tucked under her head. She stared up at the dark ceiling, sleep yet again elusive.

Rolling over, Alison thought about the past week. She had tried desperately to not think about the second sex party, but could think of nothing else. She had been surprised by her reaction to the woman's passion. Images of Troy and his roughness had come unbidden into her mind, even though she knew damn well the woman would not hurt her, nor was that her game. It was strange, really- she didn't know the woman from Adam, didn't even know her name or what she looked like, but she sensed it. She was safe with her, didn't need a safe word.

The next party was coming up the following Friday, and the blonde had tried to decide if she wanted to go or not. Part of her didn't want to because she knew that if she did, she would undoubtedly seek out her dark lover. Why not? It was the perfect fantasy, wasn't it? A dark, torrid encounter with someone whom you don't know, will never know, and someone who won't hurt you in the end? Emotions didn't have to become involved at all. Clean and neat.

Green eyes closed as Alison rolled back over to her back, her body starting to come alive and open up like the petals of a flower as she thought of the woman's touch. She couldn't believe the way she made her feel. Alison's skin had become sensitized in a way she never knew she could. This, of course, brought her back to thoughts of her ex-husband. Troy's touch had been demanding, rough and sometimes painful. He had been her first, and she figured, only. Never did she think she'd crave someone's touch, or even want to be touched again. Yet here she was, body beginning to tingle, blood on simmer.

Alison sent exploring fingers down between her legs, underneath the waistband of her pajama pants. She could feel the heat immediately without even touching her satin-covered crotch. Instinctively she knew she was wet, and it scared her.

Pulling her hand free, Alison took several deep breaths and decided to try and sleep. All of this was just too much: too much to think about, too much to try and sort. Sleep. She needed a good, deep sleep.


Alison headed toward the kitchen, knowing that her dark stranger would be there. She wasn't disappointed. Stepping out was the familiar shadow. To her surprise, the blonde automatically reached her hands up, encircling the woman's neck and finding her lips taken, though it was a soft, gentle, exploratory kiss. Breathless and with her heart pounding, Alison rested her forehead against the woman's shoulder once the kiss broke.

"Someone beat us to the kitchen," the woman said softly into her ear. "Come with me."

Alison's hand was taken into a larger, warm one, and without question or a word, the blonde followed. She was led through the kitchen, where, sure enough, they heard the passionate moans of another couple. She was led into complete darkness, instructed to not veer off right or left, and she wouldn't run into anything. Alison's heart was pounding, slight fear creeping up her spine as she was led further into the house, and finally down a set of stairs. She had the feeling they were headed into the basement as their footfalls echoed hollowly on wooden stairs. The room temperature cooled a bit, but then warmed as suddenly they went from walking on cement to carpet.

Alison's hand wasn't released, but the woman stopped, the sound of a softly closing door slightly startling the blonde. Then she felt the woman close again, her hand released as both hands were placed on either side of her face.

"Shh, relax. We're just in my room," she explained softly, her voice no longer a whisper. Alison thought she had a lovely voice- smooth and rich. She wondered if the rest of her was as beautiful. That thought was cut short as, once again, her lips were caressed with what Alison knew would be the softest lips she would ever kiss. She returned the kiss, allowing it to deepen as the woman's tongue brushed against her bottom lip. Inviting the woman in, Alison sighed into the kiss, feeling her body being drawn in closer, warm arms wrapping around her until soft, firm breasts were pressed against her own. It made her realize, yet again that she truly was about to have sex with a woman. Again.

The woman broke the kiss, both breathing hard as she rested their foreheads together. "Are you okay?" she asked, slightly out of breath. Alison had the distinct feeling she knew what the woman was asking. She nodded, thinking of last time, feeling foolish.


"I want…," the woman cut herself off as she thought for a moment, her hands never leaving Alison's face. Her thumb gently caressing the side of her neck.

"What? What do you want?" Alison asked, her hands beginning to play in the soft, thickness of the woman's hair.

"I don't know what happened to you, but I want to make you forget. If even for a little while."

Alison's first thought was that she should be angered by the presumptuous ideals of this strange woman, who had no idea what she'd been through. But, somehow, she couldn't. She felt the woman's deep sincerity and was warmed by it.

"I want that, too," she said, never meaning anything so much in all her life. Alison sighed when she felt soft lips exploring her neck, her blonde hair falling down her back in waves as she arched her head back, allowing the woman access to every inch of her neck and throat.

"I want to explore every inch of you tonight," the woman murmured, nipping at the skin just below Alison's left ear. The blonde could feel her heart rate pick up. "I want to touch you, taste you…"

Alison was gently nudged backward, and she went with it. Finally the back of her knees stopped at something. Reaching back, she realized it was a bed. Allowing herself to fall, she sat on the edge, the woman nudging still until she laid back. Alison groaned out loud at the wonderful feel of the woman stretching out on top of her. It felt wonderful. Deft fingers began working the buttons on her shirt, the newly exposed flesh of her upper chest brushed with butterfly kisses. She brought her hands up, burying them in the woman's long hair, closing her eyes as she allowed herself to get lost in sensations.

"You are so beautiful," the woman said, slowly spreading the ends of the shirt open once she had it completely unbuttoned. Alison could feel eyes on her, even though she knew the woman probably couldn't see anymore than she could. The stranger's next words confirmed that. "I wish I could see you like this." She leaned down, her hair brushing Alison's skin, making the blonde gasp slightly, a tremor running through her. It took only a moment for Alison to decide, then she caught the woman by the chin.

"Do it," she breathed, heart pounding, but her curiosity was killing her. "Turn on a light." She felt the woman climb up until she was over the blonde.

"Are you sure? It kind of takes the total anonymity out of it."

Alison could hear the slight teasing in the woman's voice. She smiled despite the situation. She nodded, then realized the woman couldn't see it. "Yes. I'm sure. We'll still be able to cry out, ‘Oh yes, whatever your name is'." She grinned at the outright laughter of the woman above her, and was warmed by the sound. She surprised herself with the comment, but then she was surprised at how comfortable she felt with the stranger.

The bed shifted and suddenly Alison felt very cold as the woman moved off the bed. She heard slight ruffling, then a small light was flicked on. A night light was tucked in the corner of the room, which was thrown into eerie shadow by the small light. Alison noticed a typical bedroom, very plain- bed, dresser and a few scattered boxes, yet to be unpacked. Then her eyes found the woman, who was moving back toward the bed. Her breath was stolen from her, palms beginning to sweat and heart to pound.

Standing next to the bed was the single most beautiful woman she'd ever seen- her long, dark hair hung around her shoulders, wild and disheveled from what they'd already done. Her face was half cast in shadow still, but from what the blonde could see, the features were strong and absolute perfection. Dark brows arched over light-colored eyes, though the dim golden light didn't allow for eye color to really shine through. She was indeed tall, but her body was very well proportioned, lean. She wore black leather pants and a ribbed tank top that clung to her flat stomach and full breasts.

Alison couldn't stop staring, suddenly filled with doubt that such a creature of perfection would want anything to do with her, now that she could see what she perceived to be the simplicity of her own looks.

The woman lowered herself back to the bed, eyes never leaving Alison's face or her body. She stretched out beside the blonde, resting a gentle hand upon her side, trailing it up until she reached the side of her neck. Her gaze met cautious green eyes. The woman smiled, making her beauty almost painful.


Alison felt the declaration to her very soul, almost a balm. Her eyes slipped closed as the woman moved over her again, their mouths meeting. She buried her fingers into silky hair, pulling the brunette closer. She sighed into the kiss as their bodies met once more, the sensitive skin of her exposed upper chest and stomach registering the feel of the woman's tank top. She surprised herself as she realized she wanted the shirt gone, wanted to feel the woman's skin against her own.

Alison reached down, tugging at the hem of the shirt. The woman quickly got the idea. She pushed up to her knees, tugging the shirt off over her head, tossed it aside, then reached behind her, unclasping her bra. Alison watched, fascinated, as the garment slid down the woman's strong arms, then was tossed off into the shadows. She looked up at her gorgeous, full breasts. Sitting up, Alison allowed her own shirt to slide down over her shoulders and arms. She couldn't help but look shyly up at the brunette. Troy had always complained that her breasts were too small. No one else had seen them.

The woman brought her hands up, cupping the soft flesh, green eyes closing in pleasure. After awhile, Troy refused to even touch them, no matter how much she asked him to. Her breasts were incredibly sensitive, and a total erogenous zone on her body. His rejection had made her doubt her own sensuality as a woman.

Alison was pushed back onto the bed, the woman following. The feel of their breasts pressing together made the blonde gasp and a new flood of hot wetness to flow between her legs. She wrapped her arms around the woman as they began to kiss. She allowed her hands to explore, feel the soft, warm planes of her back, thumbs sliding up the woman's spine and then wrapped her hands around the woman's shoulders, bringing her in even closer.

The woman left Alison's mouth, kissing and sucking down her neck and across her shoulders and collar bones. Alison allowed herself to relax, sighing at the exquisite contact. The brunette didn't miss a centimeter of skin in her exploration of the blonde's upper chest. Alison's legs were urged open, and as she spread them, the woman fit herself between them, gently grinding the bulge at her crotch into the blonde's heated sex.

Alison moaned loudly when her left breast was covered by a soft palm, but outright cried out when her right was suckled into a scorching mouth. The woman suckled her, batting at her nipple with her tongue. Alison's body grew restless, her hips squirming, bucking gently up into the woman. She'd never felt anything so wonderful in all her life, and could almost feel herself getting close to orgasm. As though sensing this, the brunette gave her nipple one last flick, then let it go with a resounding pop. Lifting herself to her arms, the woman looked down into hooded green eyes.

Alison met her gaze, staring up into the most beautiful face she could even imagine. Looking into the woman's eyes, she saw a depth to them, a seemingly endless pool of understanding and kindness. Reaching up, she stroked the woman's cheek, light colored eyes closing and leaning into the touch. Suddenly it occurred to Alison- this woman needed her touch as much as the blonde needed the brunette's. The thought scared her in a way, and emboldened her in another.

With a soft kiss, the woman pushed herself off Alison again, scooting further down the bed as she unbuttoned Alison's jeans, gently tugging as the blonde lifted her hips. Shoes and pants gone, the woman made quick work of her socks and panties. Lying naked on a stranger's bed, in a strange house, Alison was surprised she didn't feel more uncomfortable or vulnerable than she did. She just.. the feeling of comfort from earlier rose within her once more. It was a warm, wonderful feeling.

The woman stood from the bed, removing her own boots, then unlacing her leather pants and peeling them down long, muscular legs. Alison was riveted yet again. Her eyes focused on the harness attached to the woman's hips, and the dildo that stood proud and erect. She couldn't take her eyes off of it, knowing that, when wielded by the woman, it could create incredible feelings and pleasure within her body. Yet again, unlike Troy.

The brunette climbed back onto the bed in all her glory. Alison accepted her with open arms, moaning at the feel of the shaft touching her engorged clit. The brunette kissed her deeply, then resumed her exploration of Alison's neck and breasts with her mouth and hands. She slowly worked her way down until she was fitting her shoulders between the blonde's legs.

Alison looked down the length of her own body, meeting twinkling eyes. "What are you doing?" Alison asked, having never had anyone so close to her most private parts before.

The woman laid a hot trail of kisses along her inner thigh before answering. "I'm going to taste you."

An idea forming, but the blonde was still filled with nervous curiosity. She watched as the woman lowered her head, placing a soft kiss on Alison's pubic hair. She sucked in a breath, head falling back to the pillow as a long, wet tongue ran the length of her sex, pushing through the folds to the copious wetness, which continued to flow from Alison's core like lava.

"Oh my god," she whimpered, her toes curling at the exquisite touch, hands reaching down to tangle in thick hair as the woman's head began to bob, her mouth working wonders over the blonde's sex. She couldn't even think straight as she got lost in the haze of pleasure, her body seeming to act of its own accord- hips bucking, back arching, fingers kneading the brunette's scalp and shoulders. Never had she felt so blissfully out of control.

The brunette held on as Alison's body exploded, her voice crying out in the small room. The blonde tried to get her bearings, but the pleasure continued as the woman continued to lap at her, licking up everything she had to offer. Finally the woman began to kiss her way back up the blonde's body, kissing, licking and biting. She paid proper homage to Alison's breasts for long moments before finding the blonde's mouth.

Alison caressed the woman's back, shyly trailing down to her butt, feeling the smooth skin. The brunette raised her head, peering down into a flushed, sated face. "Do you mind if I take this off?" she asked, swiveling her hips. Alison groaned at the feeling, but shook her head. She was curious about what else two women could do without the device.

The woman pushed away, quickly unbuckling herself and tossing the harness and dildo to her night stand. Alison watched, her eyes yet again riveted by the woman's spectacular body. She felt the woman should be gracing a magazine cover somewhere, not having sex with her in a basement bedroom.

The woman laid herself back down atop the blonde, insinuating herself between the blonde's legs again. "I want to feel you against me," she said softly, moving her hips until their sexes were pressed together. Alison moaned at the new sensation. Her hands automatically reached down to press the woman deeper into her. "I want you to spread your legs wide for me, baby," the woman breathed, her voice trembling with her rising excitement. Alison wasn't sure how she'd been able to keep herself under control with everything that she'd done to the blonde. Alison did as asked, eyes slipping closed as her clit was fully exposed, the lips of the other woman's sex teasing and sending a jolt through her.

The brunette reached down between their bodies opening herself up with the widening ‘v' of her fingers. She laid her opened self back down on Alison's sex, both moaning at the contact. Alison felt lightheaded, barely able to breathe as the woman began to slowly, oh so slowly, move her hips, just barely rubbing their clits together. She was impressed with the amount of restraint she had.

The brunette held herself up on her forearms, leaning down to place soft kisses over the blonde's face before finding her lips. The kisses were as soft and gentle as the movement of the brunette's hips. Alison felt herself becoming more and more wet with each stroke, her body filled with a liquid heat that she'd never known before. The tenderness of their coupling was beyond her comprehension and experience.

How could something so beautiful and right feel so scary? Once again she felt her emotions rising, sadness welling up within her. What had she done so wrong that Troy couldn't give her this kind of gentle loving? What had she done to him to deserve the cruelty?

She felt her anger and pleasure merging, leaking out of her eyes and down into her hair.

"Hey…" the woman stopped all movement, bringing up a hand to brush away some of the tears.

"Don't stop. Please, don't stop," Alison begged, needing desperately to feel the life the woman seemed to fill her with. The gentle passion, the touch that almost seemed caring. If Alison didn't know any better, she would think they were making love, that the woman above her was showing her heart through her movements. Wasn't that how it was supposed to be?

The brunette began her movements once more, though had slowed them, almost as though she were caressing Alison's entire body with her own. She brushed the side of the blonde's face with the backs of her fingers before leaning in and kissing her. Alison continued to cry as she returned the kiss, opening her mouth to invite the woman inside.

The kiss soon came to an end, both women breathing too hard. Resting her forehead against Alison's, the brunette increased the rhythm of her hips, her body beginning to tremble with the effort. One, two, three strokes and she cried out, her body stiff, reaching around until she cupped the blonde's ass, holding their bodies together hard and moving into a slow grind. That's all it took and Alison soon followed her over the edge, yet again.

Alison's tears dried up as her body tried to come down from the shock of their encounter. It had been the most incredible thing she'd ever experienced, and hugged the brunette to her in her gratitude. The woman clung to her, both trying to get their bodies and breathing back under control.

After long moments, Alison heard movement above them, the floorboards squeaking as someone walked across. Sighing heavily, she placed one last kiss on the woman's neck. "I should go."

The brunette rolled off her and got to her feet, quickly gathering Alison's clothing for her. They dressed in silence, the blonde unsure of what to say or how to act. She felt a little better once she was dressed, and certainly once the woman was dressed. She could at least curb her desire for her then.

The brunette showed her the way back upstairs so Alison wouldn't crash into anything, then with a soft kiss and a "Thank you," she was gone.


"I'm so glad you're here!" Alison hugged her younger sister tightly, both sisters reveling in the embrace. Since the blonde had left their hometown of Oakland behind, they were only able to see each other once or twice a year. Alison was trying valiantly to talk Robin into moving.

"It's good to be here."

The sisters walked to Alison's car after gathering Robin's luggage, then settled in for the hour drive to her house. Alison managed to make small talk during the drive, but her mind kept going back to what she wanted to talk to Robin about. She hadn't told anyone about her anonymous lover, not even Sharon, though her friend had asked repeatedly who she had been with all three times.

Alison's house was small- a two bedroom with a hallway for a kitchen and a closet-sized laundry room. They got Robin set up in the second bedroom, then the blonde was pulled into a long, tight embrace. She rested her head on her sister's shoulder, feeling the type of comfort that only someone who had been what you had been through could give.

"I've missed you, Al," the strawberry blonde murmured in almost child-like voice.

"I've missed you, too, Robby." She smiled at her younger sister, placing a quick kiss on her cheek. "Come on. Let me make you dinner. I know you don't eat before you fly, though I'll never understand why."

Robin followed her sister through the small house to the kitchen where she plopped down in a chair, watching as Alison quickly threw together a pan of lasagna. She knew the blonde loved to cook, and far be it for her to interrupt the routine. She always wondered how the 25 year old stayed so petit. Cocking her head to the side, Robin drew her brows. "Do you still cook as much, living alone?"

Alison gave her a sheepish grin. "More."

"How is that humanly possible?! You were always trying out new recipes on me and asshole."

"Yeah, well now the people at work get to try them out for me."

"I see." Robin chewed her bottom lip, wondering if now was the time to bring up her real reason for coming. Well, other than to visit her best friend, that is. "Hey, Al?"

"Yeah?" The blonde turned to her sister after placing the square, glass pan into the oven. She plopped down in the chair across from the redhead.

"I have something I need to talk to you about."

"Okay." Alison's brows drew when she noticed her sister refused to meet her gaze. Reaching across the table, she took a small, cool hand in her own. "Hey, what's up?" Finally hazel eyes met green.

"Al," Robin swallowed, lifting her sister's hand to study the simple gold ring she wore on her right pinky. She tugged it off and began to try it on her own fingers. "I've met someone."


"And, well uh," Robin gave Alison a brief glance before returning her attention back to the ring. "Okay, well, her name is Brenda. We've been dating for about six months."

Alison yanked her hand away, struck. Her sister looked up at her with frightened, worried eyes. "You've been dating this girl for six whole months and you never bothered to tell me?!"

"Well, Al, I figured… I… I'm sorry. I was afraid." Robin placed the gold ring on the table, gently nudging it toward its owner with the flick of her finger. She couldn't meet the angry green eyes aimed at her.

"Afraid? Of what? Robby, Jesus Christ, what do you have to be afraid of with me?"

"I know. I'm sorry. Hey," she said, a lopsided grin quirking her lips. "At least I came to tell you in person, right?"

Alison glared, but as it's been since the day her baby sister- two years her junior- was born, she could refuse her nothing, nor could she stay angry with her. "The only thing that saved your butt. Seriously, why would you be afraid? Honey, don't you know by now that you can do nothing that will make me angry or ashamed of you?"

"I know." She met hurt green eyes. "I do know that, Al. Somewhere, deep down, I do know that. I guess I worried that maybe dad's… beliefs would come into play."

Alison blew out a snort. "Hardly." It was her turn to fidget. She grabbed the gold pinky ring and began to play with it.

"Uh oh…" Robin waited, sensing she was about to hear something big. She studied her older sister, waiting.

"I need to tell you something, Robby, but," Alison chuckled, thinking what a hypocrite she was being. Expecting her sister to trust her, yet feeling anxious to tell Robin about the parties. "My friend at work, Sharon, invited me to go to a party with her a couple months ago." She glanced up, seeing that indeed she had her sister's full attention. "I went. Didn't know if I wanted to, but I felt Sharon had some good reasons for me to." Clearing her throat, she went on to explain just what kind of party it was. She'd throw in the punch line a little later. "This party is what's called a sex party. Basically a bunch of strangers bring proof that they're clean, then freely participate in anonymous sex."

Robin sat, mouth hanging open. She tried to close it, but it fell open again. Her sister, so pious and pure growing up, had gone to a, to a… sex party?

"I know," Alison said, not even bother to look up. Her sister's silence said far more than her words ever could. "There's more. I met someone, a stranger, and had the greatest sex of my life. Three times. That is, at three different parties. Well, the same party, but three different Friday nights." This time she did spare a glance, and quickly looked away. Robin's amused, stunned expression was setting her nerves ill at ease. "My anonymous lover was a woman."

Robin flat gave up on trying to keep her jaw hinged. "What?"

Alison winced. "I know. Once married to a preacher. Trust me, I was stunned, too."

"But, wait," Robin leaned forward in her chair, wanting to know all the juicy details. "Did you know it was a woman? I mean, did you see her standing against the wall and ask her for sex or what?"

"No, Robby!"


"She came to me. I had no idea it was a woman. It's always very dark in the house. She had on one of those dildos strapped to her body. I wanted to push her away when I found out it was a she, but she told me to relax and allow myself to experience. So," she shrugged. "I did."

"Three times."

"Yes. Three times."

"And?" Robin was curious about the look on her sister's face. It was part embarrassment, part amusement, and part, she wasn't sure. Almost part awe.

"And, I don't know, Robby." Alison shook her head, still not fully understanding all of it, even a week and a half after that incredible encounter in the brunette's own bed. "Troy was the only man, only person, I'd ever been with. I lost my virginity to him when I was 17. Robby, I thought that was what sex was supposed to be- painful, humiliating and truly awful."

"Oh, Al. I'm so sorry." Robin wanted to cry, knowing what the blonde had been through with that evil man. A man of God, he called himself… the anti-Christ more like it.

"It's okay, Robin." Alison smiled. "I'm out of it. But when I was with this woman, I don't know. It showed me that there is so much more to it. I had no idea just how much pleasure the human body was capable of giving and receiving."

Robin grinned. "I could kiss this woman for what she's done for you."

Alison chucked. "I highly recommend it. She's good at it."

"Okay, don't need to know." Robin rolled her eyes at the lascivious grin on her sister's face.

"So. Tell me about your girlfriend." Alison was almost envious of the way Robin's entire face lit up at the mere mentioned of the unnamed girl.

"Well, Megan and I met during my last year of college. We were friends for a long time, but…" Robin grinned and shrugged. "I don't know. One day I woke up and realized I had fallen for her. I think it's serious, Al. She's in her final year of school, and then uh," shy hazel eyes glanced up at Alison. "How would you feel if you had a couple of dykes for neighbors?"

Green eyes widened, Alison's heart feeling like it would explode out of her chest. Before Robin could even prepare herself, she had a lapful of excited big sister.


Robin was a great distraction for Alison over the next couple days as Friday neared. Sharon had called the night before, wanting to know if the blonde would be going with her or not. Alison had declined, using her little sister's visit as her reason. Truth of it was she was scared.

That night in the woman's bedroom had been incredible, more than Alison could have even dreamed or fantasized about. But when it came down to it, she wasn't comfortable with the idea of becoming too attached to either the situation and circumstances, or the woman, herself. Alison was an extremist- it was all or nothing. She decided to chose the wise road of nothing.

She and Robin sat on the couch, a huge bowl of popcorn between them. They'd been watching a marathon of Mad About You on Lifetime. She loved the simple pleasure of the Buckman's idealic life. She sometimes wondered if she could have been Jamie Buckman, meeting her Paul. Her sister put voice to her internal questions.

"So, if you met someone like Paul Reiser in real life, would you go for him?" The redhead tossed a fat piece of popcorn into her mouth as she glanced over at her sister.

"Hmm," Alison pondered, sipping from her diet Coke. "I don't know. I was just thinking about that. Their life seems fantastic, but not realistic. It just seems to me that no matter how good of a relationship you find yourself in, it's doubtful that it'll be that easy, or that good.""

"I don't know. My relationship with Megan is kind of like that." She shrugged. "There isn't an easy relationship, regardless of what kind it is- sisters, friends, lovers, whatever. But, here's the trick, Al," she turned on the couch so she was facing her sister. "It's all about meeting the right person. If they are right, you're willing to overlook all their crap, just like Jamie and Paul, because you know that their good qualities, the things that tie you to them, are more than worth it."

Alison studied her sister and all her wisdom. The blonde felt very young and inadequate. She looked away, pretending to look for the perfect kernel of popcorn. "I don't know, Robby. I hear what you're saying, but in many ways, it sounds like Greek to me."

"I know, Al." Robin covered her sister's hand with her own. "I have the distinct feeling that you will have the right one someday. You'll get your very own Paul Buckman." The redhead grinned. "Though I think I'd rather have my very own Lisa."

Alison laughed, especially when Ann Ramsay's character waltzed on the screen. They continued to watch, Robin not letting go of Alison's hand. The blonde was glad, as she needed the connection. The strange woman had shown her once again just how wonderful physical affection, or just to be touched, was, and now she craved it, even in its most simplest forms.

Alison tugged her pajama top over her head, lifting her hair from the confines of the collar when the telephone rang. Hurrying over to the night stand to grab it before it woke Robin, she brought it to her ear. "Hello?"

"Hey. I didn't wake you, did I?"

"Hi, Sharon. No. We were up pretty late, so I'm just now getting ready for bed. How did it go tonight?" Alison sat on the edge of her bed, trying to force thoughts of the woman from her mind.

"Well, I certainly missed you, but I did much better this time." The blonde could hear the smile in her friend's voice. "And I have something for you."

"You have something for me? What is it?" Dark blonde brows drew.

"As I was leaving, the most gorgeous woman I've ever seen in my life came up to me at the car. She asked about you."

Alison felt her stomach drop, breath suddenly gone. "I see."

"She gave me a slip of paper with a name and a phone number on it, asked me to give it to you."

"What did she look like?" Alison asked, eyes closed. She knew instinctively who it was, but still needed to know.

"Uh, tall. She had long, dark hair and the most gorgeous fucking eyes I've ever seen. The color of the sky. Do you know her?"

"I… Kind of."

Sharon was silent for a moment. "Alison, is this who you've been seeing here? This woman?"

Alison swallowed. "Yes."

Sharon was silent for a moment, trying to process what she'd just been told. She whistled softly. "Wow. Well, she was looking for you tonight. Do you want me to drop this paper off, or just read it to you?"

Alison thought for a moment, not sure if she even wanted the information or not. There was part of her that screamed for her to ask for it, her eyes already sweeping her room for a pen and paper. She knew if she allowed Sharon to drop it off, her friend would want to stay and talk, no doubt wanting an explanation. "Go ahead and read it to me," she said at length, snatching a pen from her dresser, opening the palm of her hand when she saw no paper handy.

"Okay. Her name is Tarin." Sharon spelled it for her then gave her the seven digit phone number. "I'm going to let you go. I'm exhausted!"

Alison chuckled. "I don't want to know. Thank you for this, though."

"Any time. And, Al?"


"I want details next time I see you."

"Of course you do. Goodnight, pervert." Alison smiled when she heard her friend laugh as she disconnected the call. Staring at her palm, Alison chewed on her bottom lip, her eyes darting to the phone again. Closing her hand into a fist, she took a deep breath.


Alison tried to keep her emotions under control as she watched her sister head toward the security line. The redhead glanced over her shoulder twice, waving with a sad smile both times. Finally it was her turn, and she disappeared into airport security. With a heavy sigh, Alison turned and headed for her car. She missed the days when you could actually walk someone to their gate.

It had been a wonderful visit, and she desperately missed her sister already. She was filled with hope, this time, however, as Robin told her that as soon as she got home, she and Megan would start working on preparations. With any luck, the two women would be back in town with U-Haul in tow, within a couple months.

Alison drove home, not even bothering to turn on the radio. She needed the peace, her mind filled with thoughts and worries and doubts. As usual. As excited as she was, on the other hand, she was afraid to get her hopes too high, worried that they would crumble around her feet. She and Robin were so close, best friends as well as sisters, and Alison would do anything to have that comfort near her. She'd do all she could to help. But what if something went wrong, and her sister wasn't able to move? She had learned in life to expect disappointment, so then if something good actually happened, it was a bonus, and almost like winning the lottery every once in awhile.

The house was quiet, of course, but seemed particularly empty as the blonde walked in, dropping her keys on the table next to the door. Locking herself in, she headed for the kitchen to make herself some lunch when something caught her eye. On the dry erase board was a phone number written in green marker. She studied it for a moment, then without giving herself the chance to think, she grabbed the phone.

One ring. Two. Three. Alison was about to hang up when the phone was picked up. "Hello?"

The man's voice threw her off. Maybe it wasn't the woman. "Uh, hi. Is Tarin there, please?"

"Yeah, hang on."

The blonde's heart began to pound fiercely as she waited. She tugged a stool out from underneath the breakfast bar, sitting heavily upon it.


The blonde knew the voice immediately- smooth and rich. It was her. Clearing her throat, Alison spoke. "Hello. I got your note," she said softly. There was a moment of pause.

"I'm glad you did. I missed you last week."

"I missed you, too." Alison was surprised at just how much she meant that, though certainly hadn't meant to say it. "My sister was in town visiting, so…" She slapped herself on the forehead. She didn't have to explain herself.

"Oh, that's great. I'm glad she came to see you." Tarin paused. Then, "Listen, um, can I ask your name? I figure it's only fair since, not only do you have my name now, but my phone number as well."

The blonde smiled. "True. Alison."

"Alison," Tarin repeated. "It fits you, somehow. Well, Alison, last week I was going to ask you if you'd be interested in getting some coffee or something. With me."

The blonde was surprised at how soft the woman's voice was, almost shy. It made her feel better, like perhaps this situation was just as strange to her. "Oh, uh, okay." Again, Alison smacked her forehead, unsure as to why she'd accepted the invitation.

"Great. I guess we can work out the details a little later. So, Alison, did you and your sister have fun?"

The blonde smiled, thinking of her baby sister. "You know, it's funny- Robin is two years younger than I am, but since the day my parents brought her home, she was my best friend. We're very close."

"I'm the same way with my brother."

Alison toyed with a pen lying on the counter. She was going on a fishing expedition. "So, is that who answered the phone?"

"Yes. Thomas. He owns the house where the, well, parties take place."

"Oh. I see. Thus why you have a bedroom there…"


"Robin told me this visit that she and her girlfriend are planning to move here. I couldn't be more thrilled." Alison pushed off the stool and headed into the kitchen proper,

"What are you doing? I can hear something clinging around over there," Tarin asked, a smile in her voice. Alison returned it.

"I'm making some hot tea. I just filled the teapot and put it on the stove. Do you like hot tea?"

"Nah. I'm a coffee gal. didn't used to be, though. Used to hate the stuff."

"I see. What converted you?"

"The Air Force."

Alison suddenly had an image of Tarin in full uniform. She shook it out of her head. She didn't need any visuals to go with an already strange situation. "I see. So, they're looking for a few good men and coffee drinkers, then?"

"Yes! Precisely. See, when I went into the recruiter's office nine years ago, the first question on the application was if I were a coffee drinker, check yes or no."

Alison laughed. "What happened when you had to check no?" she asked, leaning back against the counter.

"Extra push ups."

"Oh, I see." Alison couldn't help it- she was beyond charmed. She loved their easy banter, and once again felt the comfort with this woman that she had the last night in her bedroom. Suddenly, and to her utter surprise, she wanted to see Tarin. During the day, just as two people sharing the others company, and not two strangers, sharing their bodies in the dark shadows. "What are you doing right now?" She knew the question was sudden, but the brunette's pause made her feel stupid for asking, as though she'd broken some unknown taboo. "I'm sor-"

"Where can I meet you?" came the sudden response. She could hear the nervous excitement in Tarin's voice.

"Do you know Jack's Place?"

The small café was busy, but Alison managed to find a small table toward the door. She wished for the booth at the back, but it was taken by a couple of teenage boys. She tapped nervously at the vinyl-covered table, her cup of hot tea untouched. She glanced out of the large windows every few seconds, looking for the familiar tall figure. It didn't take long.

Alison gasped when she saw Tarin- Sharon was right, the brunette was stunning. She strode with purposeful steps toward the building, long legs dressed in faded jeans ending in brown boots. Her breasts were hugged to perfection by the light yellow material of her shirt. Her hair was free and blew softly around her head as she walked. Dark sunglasses finished off the look.

"My god," the blonde breathed, unable to believe, yet again, that such perfection had deemed her worthy of sharing pleasure with. Alison fought herself not to look down at her own simple jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt. She felt drab and just plain… well, plain, next to Tarin. Swallowing several times, she fought the urge to simply walk out and stayed put.

The glass door of the café opened and Tarin walked in, every head in the place turning to look at her. She didn't see to notice or care as the brunette easily found Alison's table. With a large, inviting smile, she walked over to it.

"Hi," the dark beauty said, slipping into the seat opposite Alison's.

"Hi." Suddenly the blonde felt unbearably shy. When Tarin lifted her sunglasses, sliding them into her hair, Alison was even more ill at ease.

"Are you alright?" Tarin asked, concerned with the blonde's sudden paleness. She saw Alison nod, green eyes barely lifting long enough to meet her own.

"Yes. It's just a little strange, meeting in the light of day," Alison lied, though it wasn't completely untrue. She saw dark brows draw.

"I can go-"

"No!" Of its own accord, Alison's hand reached across the table and rested upon a soft, warm forearm. Realizing what she'd done, she quickly removed it, as though burned. "No. I'm glad you're here. I'm just… trying to adjust."

Tarin nodded. "I understand. You're probably wondering why I even gave your friend my number, aren't you?"

Alison smiled, shy. "A little."

Before Tarin could speak, a waitress had appeared, asking for her order. She was soon sent on her way on a mission for coffee and a cinnamon roll. Striking blue eyes turned back to the blonde, a soft smile of apology on her lips. "I like you, Alison. I know it sounds crazy, considering we don't exactly know each other, and I certainly have no reference, but I do. I don't know," she played nervously with a spoon. Alison watched her fingers with interest. "Maybe I'm crazy, but I felt a connection with you."

Alison met the shy gaze and felt her breath leave her body. Alls he could do was nod. Finally her voice returned. "I felt it, too."

"Good," Tarin blew out, her grin contagious. She smiled sweetly when her order was delivered, then immediately turned her attention back to Alison. She waited until they were alone then continued. "As much as I loved being with you, which was a lot, I want to get to know you outside of the bedroom, Alison. I think you're stunning, and want to get to know you inside, too."

Alison sat there, stunned. She could only look at the woman sitting across from her, studying her face, looking for any hint of a lie or a cruel joke. "I… thank you." She looked down, stirring some sugar into her tea. She had no idea what to say to Tarin's candid request. Again, all she could do was nod. She was amazed at how this woman could simply open her mouth, and with a few words totally steal Alison's abilities to speak or think. She took a sip from her tea, nearly burning her tongue as she forgot to cool the liquid.

"Shit," she muttered, the cup clattering back to the plate. Soft hands touched her fingers, Tarin getting the blonde's attention.

"Relax," she said softly, finally releasing Alison's gaze and helping her clean up the sloshed tea. Alison nodded, feeling like an idiot. She took several deep breaths, trying to calm her racing heart.

"What would you like to know?" she asked at length.

"Okay. How old are you?" Tarin readied her coffee- two sugars, half cup of cream.

"I'm 25. I've hit my mid-20s and I'm not happy about it."

"Why not?" Tarin chuckled, cutting into her treat.

"Because! I can no longer say I'm in my early twenties. Soon it'll be late twenties, and then…"

"And then?" the brunette prodded, fully amused.

"Thirty!" Alison whispered. Her companion threw her head back and laughed.

"Oh, Alison. You are too adorable. I'm two years away from 30, thank you very much. I'm trying to find peace in that fact."

The blonde chuckled, glad to know her own curiosity was neatly answered. "It's just strange, I guess. My sister, the one who left today, is only 23. She thinks I'm crazy."

"She's only two years away from old lady-hood, herself," Tarin teased.

"Yes, thank you ever so much. I appreciate the vote of confidence, and I'm sure Robby would, too."

Tarin chuckled. "So tell me more. What brought you here? To Oregon, that is." The brunette finished off her cinnamon roll and pushed the plate to the edge of the table.

Alison looked down at her tea cup that her hand was wrapped around. She was chewing on her bottom lip, trying to decide what to say, how much to give up. Her attention was grabbed by the soft voice that said her name. She looked up, meeting understanding blue eyes.

"This has something to do with… with your sadness, doesn't it? Why you cry. Hey," Tarin rose from her chair, moving to kneel next to the blonde, who's head hung in shame and embarrassment. Soft fingers lifted her chin until Alison was gently forced to look into caring blue eyes. "Please don't be ashamed, Alison. Your heart is beautiful, so don't try and hide it behind shame."

Alison nodded, taking a deep breath. She raised a flushed face to her companion. She felt she owed Tarin an explanation, considering all of the brunette's kindness, no questions asked. "Can we go for a walk?"

"Of course." Tarin got to her feet, taking her wallet from the table and tossing some bills for the waitress. She waited for Alison to grab her purse, then they headed out into the cool, autumn day.

As they walked through the park, Tarin listened quietly while Alison told her tale. The blonde couldn't look at her companion, shame still burning deep within her at what she allowed Troy to do to her.

Tarin was silent for a long time after Alison had finished her story. Her hands were tucked into her pockets, jaw muscles clenching and unclenching. The blonde glanced over at her, wondering what was going through the brunette's head.

"I honestly can't get my thoughts clear enough to voice what I'm thinking," Tarin said at last. She looked down, then over at her companion. "I want to tell you how sorry I am, but I don't think that even comes close to what I'm thinking. I guess I just wish there was something I could do, could've done, to prevent all of that from happening to you."

Alison was touched by her words and the fierceness behind them. She smiled. "Thank you, Tarin. It's over. I'm living my own life now."

"But at what cost?" The brunette stopped them, looking off into the park before turning back to the blonde. "That night, our second time together, when you cried. I scared you, didn't I?"

Alison could see the pain on the woman's face, and she wanted to take it away. She smiled softly, reaching a hand up to lay a butterfly touch to the brunette's cheek. "I was just dealing with some old baggage, Tarin. You did nothing wrong."

Tarin nodded, though she sighed deeply. "Well, I'd certainly like to give your sister, Robin a great big hug. How did she finally convince you to leave him?"

Alison looked away. Losing that child had been the most painful thing she'd ever been through. She would survive three more childhoods with her father or three more marriages to Troy before she could survive another loss like that.

"Listen, if you don't want…"

"No. I'll tell you. Let's sit." The blonde led them over to a stone bench and sat down, legs together, hands resting in her lap. "During my marriage to Troy, during my entire four year relationship with him, he only did one thing right." She watched some ducks swimming in the pond they sat in front of. It kept her from having to look at her companion- she couldn't handle seeing the kindness she knew she'd see there. It would make her cry. "I was already two months along when I found out." Alison smiled, remembering the day so well. "It was such a happy day for me. I wanted children, always had. Still do," she added softly. "Anyway, at first Troy was happy, too. Said it would make his congregation thrilled to know there would be another little parishioner in the church." She snorted at that. "Well, eventually he got over the novelty of becoming a father, and just didn't' care. That didn't bother me, as personally, I would rather deal with it on my own, anyway. But, then he knew it was something he could use against me, to hurt me. And he did." The last was whispered so softly Tarin had to concentrate to hear it.

The brunette studied Alison's profile, noting the way the sunlight played in her hair, making the gold glow, and how the green around them made her eyes turn emerald. Alison continued.

"I was lying in the hospital, trying to heal from what he'd managed to do with a frying pan, and Robin came to see me. I had nothing left at that point- not my baby, not even my pride. I was pretty much putty in her hands." Alison chuckled at the memory. "It was quite the adventure. She whisked me off, holding my hand the entire time as I filled out the paperwork to press charges against Troy, and then divorce papers."

"Yeah, I will definitely give your sister a great big kiss If I ever happen to meet her."

The blonde smiled. "Well, somehow I don't think she'd mind."

Tarin smirked then sobered. "And what about her sister? Would she mind?"

Alison met the intense blue gaze, her stomach flipping slightly as her body temperature rose a notch. "Would her sister mind if you gave her a huge kiss?"

Tarin chuckled. "That, and would her sister mind getting a huge kiss?"

Alison was struck at just how shy Tarin looked asking. She was so bold and confident in their midnight trysts. She wasn't sure what to do with the almost bashful woman before her now. She was totally enchanted. Shaking her head slowly, she answered. "No. She wouldn't mind getting a huge kiss, and yes, she would mind."

The brunette smiled, bringing up a hand to gently caress the side of Alison's face. "I'm so sorry for what happened to you, Alison. Troy is a fool. Anyone would be to let you go."

Green eyes fell, Alison's chest expanding. Though she felt Tarin's words deeply, there was that part of her, the pessimist from far too much disappointment in her young life, that didn't want to hear it, and certainly didn't want to believe it. How could Tarin mean these things, when they barely knew each other? They knew very little of the other personally, no matter how well they might know the other's body. Even that was limited. Turning to the brunette, she put voice to her doubts.

"How can you say such nice things to me, Tarin? How can you be so nice? You don't even really know me." It wasn't an accusation, just genuine bafflement.

The brunette sat back on the bench, sighing softly as she stared out at the ducks. Shaking her head she looked back at the blonde. "I don't know, to be honest. Trust me, I'm wondering all of these things, too. The funniest part is that night at the party, I had no intention or desire to participate. I was actually heading out to a bar to et some nice, quick release when I saw you walk in. I knew at that moment I had to have you, or at least try. Of course, at that point it was simply an acute physical attraction. Now…" her words trailed off, leaving Alison to fill in the blinks on her own. The brunette continued after a moment. "I don't know what it is about you, Alison, but I feel this deep need to protect you, to be with you. And not just physically, though I have to admit," she grinned rakishly, "I definitely enjoy that part, too."

Alison blushed, grinning down at her fidgeting hands. "Me, too." She sighed. "This all scares me. Badly."

"Alison, if you need me to back off or leave you alone, somehow I think it'll hurt, but I'll do it. Just say the word."

The blonde nodded, appreciating the out. "If you're saying what I think you're saying, you may want to rethink all this, Tarin. I come bearing unbelievable baggage. Sometimes I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of it."

"Let's just take it slow, okay? See where it all leads, what we can do," Tarin said blue eyes hidden behind her sunglasses. Alison wished they were uncovered. She'd love to see how the blue looked out in the light of day. Alison nodded, leaning into the touch as her cheek was cupped. "I'd really like to give you that huge kiss, now." Again the blonde nodded, heart skipping a beat as Tarin leaned in. The kiss was so soft, the blonde almost wasn't able to register the touch.

Eyes opening, the blonde found her own reflection staring back at her. With careful fingers, she lifted Tarin's sunglasses, pushing them into the brunette's hair. The bluest eyes she'd ever seen stared back at her, drowning her in a pool of desire and want. Alison didn't want to look away, but as Tarin leaned in again, her eyes slid closed, the kiss a bit more firm, asking a question that the blonde's lips happily answered as she opened her mouth, inviting the brunette in.

Bringing her hands up, Alison buried them in Tarin's hair, drawing her closer. She felt gentle fingers against her lower back as the brunette stroked her. After long moments the kiss broke. Tarin sighed, resting her forehead against Alison's.

"I think I'm addicted to that."

Alison grinned, pulling back just enough to look up into the brunette's face. "I like that."

Tarin returned the smile. "I want to do this right," she said, brushing a few strands of blonde hair out of Alison's eyes. "Let me take you out. Like, really out."

"Tarin, are you asking me out on a date?"

"That I am."

"I accept."

Tarin's smile widened. "Is tonight too soon?"

The end……..

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