A Dream to Build a Life On
Copyright © 2014 by Linda Crist/Texbard
This is a Kennedy & Carson short story, with no specific time frame, other than sometime during the first few years after they got together. It’s the sequel to “A Wish to Build a Dream On,” a story I wrote for the Academy Halloween special in 2007. You can probably enjoy this story as a stand-alone, but some parts may make more sense if you read the other story first.
Geography Note: Ladybird Lake aka Lake Austin (fka Town Lake) is actually a section of the Colorado River, which runs through downtown Austin. Thus it gets referred to at various times as both a lake and a river.
School Tradition Note: At The University of Texas, students and alumni always capitalize the “T” when referring to “The University.”
Not sure if this needs notation, but there are about three and a half pages of Valentine’s Day nookie near the end of this story, so if graphic love scenes aren’t you’re thing, once that starts, you can skip to near the end.
“Hey, Val.” Kennedy rapped lightly on her law partner’s partially open office door.
“Oh, hey.” Valerie looked up from her computer and swung around in her desk chair, then removed her reading glasses. “You headed home?’
“Yeah. I was just checking to see if you’d lock up when you’re done. Everyone else is gone.” Kennedy leaned against the doorframe, as she fished her car keys from her pants pocket.
“Even Kevin?” Valerie laughed lightly. “Did he finally decide what to do for his new boyfriend? I thought I was going to have to slip him a sedative before he finally calmed down enough to concentrate on work this morning.”
“Yeah, after texting half his friends for advice, he chose the safe and traditional route.” Kennedy laughed along with her. “A dozen roses, dinner with wine and cheesecake, and a suite at the Driskill.”
“Wow.” Valerie whistled. “It must be true love. That surely set him back a week’s pay.”
“Eh.” Kennedy made a side-to-side motion with her hand. “He might find a little extra Valentine’s Day bonus in his next paycheck.”
“You see.” Valerie smiled warmly. “This is why we get resumes for positions we don’t have open. Every law student at UT wants to work for you when they graduate. You have a reputation, my friend.”
“Beats my old one.” Kennedy looked down at her feet for a moment, and noted they needed to have the pale blue carpet steam-cleaned. She looked back up and gestured toward a framed picture of Valerie’s partner that sat on her credenza. “How about you? You and Serena going out tonight?”
“Nope. I’m picking up Chinese, a bottle of wine, and a box of chocolates on the way home. We’re going to celebrate on our back deck with candles and music. I sent flowers to her office at The University this morning.” She glanced over at a vase full of red and white roses, mixed with irises and babies breath, which decorated one corner of her desk. “And you see what she sent me.” Valerie grinned. “I think we sent each other the same bouquet from the same florist. Are we an old married couple, or what?”
“You’re living the dream, my friend.” Kennedy smiled at her. “And so am I.”
“True. Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Valerie rocked back and forth in her swivel chair as they talked. She paused long enough to retrieve her shoes from beneath her desk, and slipped them on. “I should probably wrap it up here and get going. What about you and Carson? I know you sent her a dozen red gladiolus. Any other big plans?”
“Yes, but I have no idea what they are.” Kennedy rolled her eyes in amusement. “I was strictly admonished earlier this week, that I was, under no circumstances, to make any plans for tonight. I’m on my way home to find out what Carson has up her sleeve. If you’re religious at all, pray for me.”
“Oh, yeah, right.” Valerie flung a pencil at her, and Kennedy ducked as it sailed past her shoulder and into the hallway. “You’re loving every minute of it, and you know it.”
“I am.” Kennedy nodded in agreement, a huge smile gracing her lips. “Indeed, I am. Okay, I’m out of here. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Serena. I don’t expect anyone to be on time to work tomorrow. See ya.” Kennedy backed out of the doorway.
“Happy V-Day to y’all, too.” Valerie called after her.
Kennedy walked out of the office and as she approached her hybrid Subaru, to her surprise, saw Carson leaning against it, and Carson’s hybrid Silverado parked next to it. “Hey. What are you doing here?” She reached her partner and leaned close, pecking her on the lips. “Not that I’m not glad to see you.”
“I realized it was pointless for you to drive all the way home, when we’d just be turning around and driving all the way back down here once you got there.” Carson smiled and grabbed Kennedy by the collar, kissing her more solidly.
“Here?” Kennedy grinned and wrapped her arms around Carson, nuzzling her ear and inhaling her citrusy clean-smelling cologne. “We just gonna celebrate by making out in my back seat? I can go for that.”
“No, silly.” Carson smacked her on the backside. “Not right here. Here, as in nearby.”
“Oh, well, that works, too.” Kennedy clicked the remote and the Crosstrek beeped as the doors unlocked. She looked down and noticed Carson’s overnight bag sitting next to the tire. “You brought something to change into? I’m not really dressed for dinner, at least not anything fancy.” She glanced down at her khaki’s and button-down shirt. “I have my emergency court suit and shoes in my office. Should I go change?”
“No. I’m not changing. That just has a few toiletries and things we might need.” Carson hooked her fingers through Kennedy’s front belt loops and gave them a tug. “What you’re wearing is fine. It’s just going to be the two of us.” She licked her lips nervously.
“Just the two of us.” Kennedy took in Carson’s nicely fitting jeans and the dove-colored pullover knit top that draped her curves. “And casual. I can’t think of anything more perfect.”
Carson looked at her uncertainly and offered a hesitant smile. “I’m glad. I – I hope you don’t think it’s weird.”
“Sweetheart, I would’ve been fine with making out in my car. I’m not kidding. I’m sure I’ll love it, whatever it is.” Kennedy pecked her on the forehead, then lingered for a moment at her lips. “I promise.”
“Okay, let’s get moving then.” Carson opened the driver’s side door and tossed her bag into the back seat. “You mind if I drive?”
“You’re the one who knows where we’re going. Besides, I love it when you drive, me or my car.” Kennedy winked at her and handed her the keys, then made her way around to the passenger side. She got in and they both adjusted their seats, and fastened their seat belts.
Carson checked her sight in the mirrors and started the engine, then pulled out of the parking lot into rush hour traffic. Kennedy’s Ladybird Lake office was primely located near the heart of Austin’s night life, and the city was even busier than usual, as couples drove into the downtown area to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a plethora of restaurants, clubs, and hotels. As they drove by a riverside embankment near the Hyatt Regency, a few couples could be seen picnicking on blankets, taking advantage of a beautiful February evening.
They finally broke away from the downtown madness, and Carson drove west along Lake Austin Boulevard, following it as it gradually curved northward into one of Austin’s older, wealthier neighborhoods. She made a few turns, and Kennedy lost track of the streets, just happy to be away from the office and with Carson. She placed one hand on Carson’s thigh, giving it a squeeze, then began to lightly stroke the soft, worn denim that covered it. They had the moon roof open, and a pleasant breeze tousled their hair. Overhead, the winter-bare branches of tall, old trees hung across the street, obscuring part of the sky above them.
Carson glanced at Kennedy and smiled. “Is the music too goofy?”
“No.” Kennedy reached over and turned up the volume a little, as music from Carson’s docked iPod filled the SUV’s cabin. “I like it. New playlist?”
“Yeah, a bunch of love songs. Kinda dopey, huh?” She flipped the turn signal switch and veered onto a narrow street lined by stately old mansions with large sloping yards. The houses on one side of the street backed up to the river, sitting atop cliffs with very expensive views.
“Not dopey at all,” Kennedy assured her. She tossed her head back and began singing along with George Strait:
Here she comes a walkin' talkin' true love,
Sayin' I been lookin' for you love,
Surprise, your new love has arrived,
Out of the blue clear sky.
Ain't love a funny thing,
One day you're givin' up the dream,
And the next you're pickin' out a ring,
Out of the blue clear sky.
“Kind of our story, isn’t it?” Kennedy smiled. “I never dreamed when I walked into Cityplace to lead that seminar that day, that I’d meet the love of my life.”
“Hmmm.” Carson frowned. “Me neither.” She slowed the car and turned into a driveway, which wound around and up to a mansion nestled way at the back of the property. Huge live oak and red bud trees dotted the lawn, and magnolia bushes bookended the house, while honeysuckle vines hung thickly over what appeared to be iron porch railing. Though none of the flora was in bloom at the moment, the estate was beautifully peaceful. “Here we are.” She pulled the SUV under a quadruple carport and killed the engine.
“Here?” Kennedy peered out the window and studied the large, two-story house in the dusky twilight. A memory surfaced and she drew in a sharp, silent breath. “Are we visiting someone here? I thought you said it was just going to be the two of us.”
“No, it is. No one lives here.” Carson unlocked the car doors. “One of The University’s professional fraternities owns this house. They rent it out when they aren’t using it. It’s fully furnished and it’s ours for the night. It has a really nice view out back.”
“Which fraternity?” Kennedy asked casually, her tone not matching the suddenly sober expression on her face.
“Phi Delta Phi.” Carson seemed disappointed. “I thought you were in –”
“I was.” Kennedy cut her off. “In Phi Delta Phi. The law student fraternity. I’ve been here before. Just wasn’t sure if they still owned the house, or if they had sold it at some point. It’s – been a long time. It took me a minute, but –” She shook her head. “Lot of memories. Memories clouded by booze and weed, unfortunately.”
“Ah. Okay.” Carson opened her door and got out, then retrieved the overnight bag and stood at the back of the car, waiting for Kennedy to join her.
“Carson.” Kennedy slowly stepped out of the SUV and closed the passenger door. Looking across at her partner, it was obvious Carson was troubled by something.
“Yes?” Carson held out her hand and Kennedy took it, as they picked their way along a flagstone sidewalk that led up to the house’s wrap-around porch.
“Wh –?” Kennedy frowned deeply. “Never mind.” She glanced at Carson and smiled. “Nice evening.” She looked up at the clear sky, where a few stars were just starting to twinkle in the growing darkness, peeking down at them from between the tree branches.
“That it is,” Carson agreed with her. They ascended a steep set of curved brick steps and crossed the wide, creaking porch, reaching the front door. Carson retrieved a set of keys from her pocket and unlocked it, giving a turn to an ornate brass doorknob.
Kennedy followed her inside, and to her surprise, saw that the marble-floored entryway and large dining room next to it, were illuminated by several tall candle tapers, their warm, flickering flames lending a romantic mood to the house. “How - ?”
“I came over here earlier, before I went to your office.” Carson flipped a switch and turned on the dining room light. With a quick twist to the dimmer, she adjusted it so as not to ruin the atmosphere. She’d brought the iPod in from the car, and she re-docked it in a stereo that was sitting on a side table. “Dance with me?” She held out a hand in invitation, and Kennedy took it, pulling Carson close.
“Always.” Kennedy pecked her on the forehead and then rubbed noses with her, before placing a trail of light kisses along the side of Carson’s neck. Carson closed her eyes and laid her head on Kennedy’s shoulder, as they began to move to the music. The clean-smelling fragrance of their laundry detergent that clung to Kennedy’s shirt rose up to her nostrils, mixed with the waxy aroma of the candles. As she burrowed more deeply into their embrace, Carson took in Kennedy’s own musky, spicy scent, and she sighed in utter contentment. They turned in tight circles on the wooden floor next to the dining room table, their bodies pressed close together, while Eric Clapton crooned “Wonderful Tonight.”
Gradually, they swirled and whirled their way from the dining room to the Mexican tile floor of the kitchen. More candles graced a center island, along with a plate of cheese, fruit, and crackers. “Hungry?” Carson asked dreamily, as the song ended.
“For a lot of things,” Kennedy replied, then ducked her head and kissed Carson slowly, sampling her minty sweetness. “But yeah, dinner would probably be a good idea. I didn’t get much lunch today. Kinda famished.” She patted her stomach apologetically. “Is that – um?”
Carson smiled knowingly and reluctantly unwrapped herself from Kennedy’s arms, giving a parting rub to her tummy as she moved over to the island. “This is just appetizers. I have a picnic dinner for us outside, on the terrace.”
“Oh, good.” Kennedy helped herself to a cracker and spread it with a generous helping of Brie before she popped it into her mouth. “Not that cheese and crackers aren’t really good.”
“Aw, honey.” Carson patted her arm and loaded up a cracker of her own. “I wouldn’t serve you just cheese and crackers on Valentine’s Day.”
Kennedy finished off a second cracker, followed by a handful of grapes, then sidled up to Carson and bumped her hip. “What you got outside?”
“You wanna see?” Carson quickly downed the last bite of a peach.
“See. Eat. All good.” Kennedy reached across and wiped a drop of peach juice from Carson’s lower lip, and then sucked it off her fingertip. “Mmmm. Sweet.” She grinned fetchingly and started toward a set of French doors that appeared to lead to a patio off the kitchen.
Carson licked her lips and smiled back at her, their eyes shining at one another as if they were sharing a secret. “Not that terrace. There’s one upstairs. It’s this huge balcony. It overlooks the river.” She indicated a staircase that could be seen through a doorway opposite the dining room entrance. “It has a really nice view.”
“Yeah,” Kennedy replied softly. “I remember that balcony.” She felt suddenly off balance and wiped an unexpectedly sweaty palm on her pants leg, before she offered it to Carson.
“You do?” Carson took her hand.
“Yeah.” Kennedy followed her out of the kitchen and up the stairs. “We had a few fraternity parties here. I used to escape out there. I always liked the booze and the pot at the parties, but I can’t take drunken frat boy party tricks or indoor crowds for very long, not to mention a bunch of vomiting women. I always fared better at beach parties.”
“You still do.” Carson laughed lightly. They reached the top of the stairs and looked down a long hallway that ended in another pair of double doors, which were covered in stained glass panels. “Balcony is—”
“Out there.” Kennedy sighed. “I know.”
“Are you okay?” Carson led her toward the doors.
“I – Carson – I –” Kennedy frowned. “I’m fine. Just. Memories of my younger, wilder self.”
“Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.” Carson hesitated, as they reached the balcony.
“No, it was a really nice idea. Thank you for planning all of this for us. It makes me feel very special.” Kennedy smiled at her and opened the doors, and took a deep breath of fresh, lake-scented air.
“You are very special.” Carson appeared somewhat mollified as she returned the smile, and followed her outside. “I hope you like it. Nothing fancy. I threw together some veggie and humus pita pockets, and –” She drew a tray out of a cooler that sat on a wrought iron table. “Sushi rolls – rainbows and Philadelphias.”
“It’s perfect.” Kennedy joined her at the table. “Beverages?”
“Oh, over there.” Carson indicated another cooler sitting next to the ivy-covered brick wall.
“I’ll get ‘em while you finish setting up your spread.” Kennedy trotted over and opened the cooler lid. “Beer!” She retrieved two bottles and studied the labels. “Fat Tire. One of my favorites.”
“I know.” Carson finished arranging the sandwiches and sushi on the platter, and placed two plates on the table. Next she fished out two pairs of chopsticks, and mixed soy sauce and wasabi together in a small bowl, for dipping the sushi pieces.
“I’m so glad we can get Fat Tire here, now. I used to have to bring it back by the case from Colorado, when I was in law school. I remember –” She trailed off and tilted her head at Carson in an unspoken question, then shook it. “Anyway, thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Carson’s mood was subdued, but she smiled and took a seat, as Kennedy joined her.
Kennedy popped the tops and handed her a cold beer bottle, then held hers up, and they clicked the brown glass necks together. “To very good memories.”
“And dreams come true,” Carson added.
“And us.” Kennedy leaned across the table and kissed her.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, K.” Carson pecked her on the cheek, and then took a sip of beer.
They ate in thoughtful silence, as the moon rose and the sounds of night creatures began to reach their ears. Crickets chirped to one another in a nearby garden, and from the lake below, the low croaking of bullfrogs echoed through the mild evening air. More stars appeared, their light brilliant in the secluded darkness of the large tract of property the house sat on.
Kennedy finished off her meal and sat back, crossing her hands over her full stomach. She drew in a long breath and finally asked the question she’d been stumbling over all evening. “Carson, why here? Why this house?”
“I knew it was a bad idea,” Carson answered mournfully.
“No, I didn’t say that. It’s just –” Kennedy sighed. “It’s a beautiful house. Always was. It’s not that –” She trailed off. “Sorry. Just a lot of mixed up memories.”
“I want to show you something.” Carson stood and held out her hand.
“Okay.” Kennedy took it, glad of the diversion.
“Over here.” Carson drew her over to a dark corner of the balcony. “I thought you might like this.”
“A telescope?” Kennedy looked more closely at the long instrument, mounted on a sturdy tripod, and recognized it. “You brought the one from the house?”
“Yes.” Carson looked up at the sky and then at her partner, her expression melancholy. “I’ve always enjoyed star-gazing with you. I thought – here – it might be nice. I – ” She bent down and peered into the eyepiece, then adjusted a few knobs. “Look.”
She stepped aside, and Kennedy leaned over the telescope, making a few finite adjustments of her own. “Andromeda,” she gasped in wonder, lingering for a long moment to absorb the galaxy’s beauty. Slowly, she looked up, and was quickly lost in Carson’s misty eyes, which shone lovingly at her in the moonlight.
“I went to a Halloween party here, once, when I was a freshman.” Carson’s tone was sad. “I know it was a long time ago. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. I had hoped –” Her voice faltered, and she paused to clear her throat. “I should have known. Sometimes, something can mean everything to one person, and be just an ordinary event to the person standing next to them.”
“I made a wish on that shooting star, that night,” Kennedy replied softly. “It meant everything to me, too, Carson.”
“You – you remember?” Carson’s voice rose in hopeful wonder.
“I never forgot you.” Kennedy moved closer, and held out her arms. Carson flew into them, burying her face into Kennedy’s neck. “It just took a while for me to realize it was you, when we met again.”
“How long have you known?” Carson looked up, searching her eyes.
“Since the night we made love for the first time.” Kennedy reached across, playing with Carson’s pale hair as she spoke. “You had fallen asleep. I was lying there, holding you, and thinking about – everything. How wonderful you felt and how your body seemed to fit perfectly against mine. Remembering Angel, and wondering if it was wrong to think about her right then. All the partying with Heidi and Mikey, and the horrible mess my life had been before I met you. And so glad you didn’t know me during that time. I thought all the way back to that night here at that party, and wishing on that star. There you were, in my arms, and I thought about how long I had waited for that wish to come true. Then it dawned on me – it was you. You were the source of the original wish. I showed you Andromeda in this telescope. You were the girl I met, way back then.”
“What did you wish for, that night we met?” Carson swallowed hard.
“I wished that someday, I would meet a girl exactly like you.” Kennedy pulled Carson close, hugging her so tightly that she could barely breathe.
“How come you never said anything after we met again?” Carson clutched at her, holding on as if to a lifeline. The evening was growing cooler, but wrapped in Kennedy’s arms there was nothing but the warmth of a bone-deep love.
“I thought you didn’t remember.” Kennedy laughed ruefully. “And I didn’t want you to feel badly about it. But –” She looked up and around the balcony, then back into Carson’s eyes. “You obviously did remember.”
“Well.” Carson plucked at the button placket on Kennedy’s shirt. “Keep in mind, you had purple hair that night, and it was dark enough that I never did figure out what color your eyes were. But I never forgot you, K. I never forgot meeting Shea that night. She changed my life. You – changed my life. It took me a long time to accept who I was. To accept being gay, but when I finally did accept it, part of the strength I drew from was your words that night. If it was my path, I needed to take it – if I wanted to be happy, I had to be true to who I am.”
“I remember you said you made a wish, too, that night. Did you really?” Kennedy prodded her.
“I did.” Carson smiled. “When you were showing me the stars in this telescope, you were standing so close to me.” She reverently touched the instrument standing next to them. “I could barely concentrate on the sky. I was so acutely aware of your presence, and I felt you, in every part of me. Your scent. Your warmth. God, that honey-coated voice of yours. I was melting inside. If I ever doubted being gay before that night, I could never doubt it again after I met you. I could try to run from it, but I could never deny it. I wanted you, K, with every fiber of my being.” Carson laughed in memory. “I was much too terrified of my feelings to do anything about them at the time, but you – I was never terrified of you. And so I wished – Ohhhhh –”
Carson buried herself into Kennedy’s embrace once more. “I wished, with all my heart, that when I found the right person, that it would feel even half as wonderful as it felt, being that close to you.”
“So how did you put together my purple-haired punk self with the person you met in that seminar?” Kennedy nuzzled her hair and kissed her on the top of her head.
“It was a few things. But it was that same night, after we first made love. Ironic, huh?” Carson smiled. “I was feeling the same intense emotions I felt that night on this balcony. When you held me and touched me, and, God, the way you looked at me, when you made me come, and we were riding that wave together. I felt you like I did that night here, in every fiber of my body. You turned me inside out, K. It felt so familiar, as if we’d been together long before then. It was the first time I understood why it’s called ‘making love’.”
“Making love with you that first time was the most emotionally intense night of my life, up to that time. But meeting you here on this balcony that night, that was pretty far off the charts, too.” Kennedy tilted Carson’s chin up and kissed her passionately, taking her time, as memories of that younger, unrequited desire swirled around in her head and combined with the deep emotional and physical bond they shared in the present. “Although – this one is shaping up to be pretty mind-blowing.”
“Mmmm.” Carson closed her eyes and swayed a little bit as their lips separated, but only by a few inches. Kennedy’s scent filled her, stirring up those old memories, along with her ardor. “Afterward, I was lying there with your arms around me, and it felt so right. And I thought about that night here. And it all came together – your college friends calling you ‘Shea,’ and I remembered then, that I had met Heidi, and Mikey before as well, at that same party. It was so surreal. And for the same reason as you, I didn’t say anything. I thought you didn’t remember. It seemed so unbelievable that after all that time, you came back around and became, as you said, the fulfillment of the wish I made because of you in the first place.”
“So what made you risk bringing me here now?” Kennedy stroked Carson’s hair. “What would you have done if I didn’t remember?”
“I don’t know. Cried my eyes out in private?” Carson released a shaky laugh. “I couldn’t take it anymore, us always referring to that seminar in Dallas as being the first time we met. It isn’t our truth. The real first time, how magical is that? How many people fall in love in one night, and then don’t see each other again for nine years?”
“Not many, I’d wager,” Kennedy replied quietly. “Did you really fall in love that night?”
“I think a part of me did, yes.” Carson searched her face and then closed her eyes. “And I wanted so badly –” Their lips met again, in a kiss that despite all the ones they’d shared since, was the fulfillment of wishes made so long before.
“I fell in love that night, too.” Kennedy knew it to be true. “I wouldn’t have made that wish, if I hadn’t. There was more that first night after we made love, as well. What I felt for you then, when I tied it back to what I felt that night we met here, it made everything else make sense. The way I felt drawn to you from the moment I saw you in the seminar in Dallas. And how crazy it was that after all those years of avoiding getting close to anyone, I threw caution to the wind and invited you to spend the weekend with me and my friends at the house. Carson, I don’t do things like that. With you – it was as if I had no choice.”
Carson lifted her hand and trailed her fingertips along Kennedy’s jawline. “Our hearts knew each other again instantly, even if it took a while longer for our memories to catch up.”
Carson’s touch was electric, and Kennedy felt a powerful jolt of desire. “That first night we met, I wanted you so badly, too, my love. I was shaking so hard inside. But I knew doing anything about it would be unfair to you.”
“As difficult as it was for me to hold back, wanting you as much as I did, I’m glad you didn’t push me then.” Carson smiled, her eyes full of gratitude. “I’m sure it would have been amazing, but I think I would have woken up the next morning full of regret. I wasn’t ready.”
“I knew you weren’t,” Kennedy replied. “I was a cocky punk, but pushing you into something physical that night would have been a really bastardly thing to do. Even then, the part of me that began to fall in love with you, knew you needed to be protected from the likes of who I was then. I watched you walk away, and figured that wish I made was never going to be anything more than words carried away on the wind.”
“Yet here we are now.” Carson smiled in wonder. “Amazing.”
They both began to laugh, circling around in a dance of sorts as they held on to each other. Gradually, they slowed their movements, and Carson looked up, pushing Kennedy’s hair away from her face. Closing the distance, she kissed Kennedy, cradling her face with one hand and pulling her body close with the other. She felt long arms circle her, felt their bodies coming together, and that desire from so long ago, rising inside. She drew back slightly, her chest heaving as she pressed her forehead against Kennedy’s chest. “God, I want you so much.”
“Does fully-furnished mean there’s a bed somewhere in this house?” Kennedy ran her hands anxiously up and down Carson’s back, lifting the hem of her pullover enough to slide beneath it and gently caress the soft, velvety skin that covered Carson’s smooth back muscles.
“Yes.” Carson nodded, before claiming Kennedy’s lips again in a fierce kiss. She felt Kennedy slip a knee between her legs, and whimpered as a warm thigh pressed solidly upward. “I can’t – I – oh, God.” Kennedy backed her against the wall, grinding into her with a steady, seductive rhythm. “K –”
“Quickie before we go inside?” Kennedy’s hands slid around front to unfasten Carson’s bra, and tease her breasts beneath her top. With one hand, she reached down and unbuttoned Carson’s jeans, then pulled the zipper down and eased her hand inside, replacing her knee. At first contact, Kennedy paused and produced a sexy smile. “You’re all wet.” She began to stroke Carson and pressed her lips against her ear. “I am, too.”
“K—” Carson moaned helplessly, her body pressing back against Kennedy in desperate need. “I can’t – I need you – I –” She groaned in relief, as she felt Kennedy’s touch grow deeper. Her desire was frantic, her lips parted as she panted for air, feeling her feet nearly come off the ground with each thrust.
“I need you too, baby.” Kennedy dropped her free hand down to the small of Carson’s back, and then lower, grasping a denim-covered ass cheek, helping Carson as she sought release. “Just feel me, Carson. Let go and just feel.” She eased her knee back between Carson’s legs, pushing them further apart, until she felt Carson sink down more firmly against her hand.
“K –” Carson shook against her then, the sounds of her pleasure close in Kennedy’s ear, crying out as she crashed over the edge. Gradually, she quit shaking, and she slumped against Kennedy as she fought to catch her breath.
“Shhhh.” Kennedy held her, rocking her back and forth and rubbing her back. “Take your time, sweetheart. That was just the warm-up.”
“You got that right.” Carson found her voice. “Oh, my God, K. Talk about turning me inside out.”
“Let’s go inside.” Kennedy led her toward the door and back into the hallway. “If I recall, there’s a master bedroom—”
“Other end of the hall,” Carson replied feebly.
Kennedy chuckled and wrapped one arm around her partner, guiding her down the long corridor. As they entered the bedroom, her eyes fell on more candles, and the dark wood floor and ivory eyelet comforter on the bed, covered in fragrant rose petals. “Carson – wow. It’s beautiful. Much as I enjoyed what we did out on the balcony, had I known –”
Carson turned and kissed her, working the buttons open on her shirt, before she slipped a hand inside to tease warm, tan skin. “I still want you,” she whispered. “We’re not even close to done.”
Kennedy’s shirt and pants came off, followed by her bra and panties. With a gentle push from Carson, she landed on her back in the middle of the bed, causing rose petals to fly up around them. Carson shucked her own clothing and crawled up after her and grasped her hands, pushing them up over Kennedy’s head, as she bent down to share a languid kiss. She felt Kennedy raise one leg, nudging her knees apart, and Carson groaned with renewed craving for her lover’s touch. “Honey, not just yet. I need to love you, now.”
“But you’re all nice and naked,” Kennedy protested. She managed to free her wrists from Carson’s hands, and quickly located Carson’s backside, kneading firm flesh as she lifted her knee again, this time with much less resistance from her partner. “Ride me,” she begged. Slowly, she lowered her leg and Carson stayed with her.
With a trembling sigh, Carson reached between them for a moment, then settled herself firmly against Kennedy’s thigh and removed her hand. Carson was warm and wet, and Kennedy released a little lust-filled growl, as she was offered a well-coated finger to taste. Carson began gyrating slowly, moaning as Kennedy sucked on her finger for a moment, and squeezed her ass cheeks in time to her movement. “So fucking sexy.” Kennedy’s eyes roamed appreciatively over her lover’s undulating body. “So damned beautiful.”
As Carson’s momentum grew, Kennedy’s hands glided around front and upward, to stroke Carson’s breasts, brushing her thumbs against aching nipples. Carson’s passion rose higher and she fell forward, bracing her weight on her hands on each side of Kennedy, as she struggled for much-needed release. “K, I can’t –” Carson looked at her beseechingly, her features etched in frustration.
“Slide up.” Kennedy grasped Carson’s hips, lifting her off her thigh. Carson whimpered, wanting the contact. “Come on, baby, slide on up.” Kennedy urged her forward.
In almost blind need, Carson complied, inching upward until she felt warm breath between her legs. “Carson, baby. Let me take care of you.” Kennedy took firmer hold of her hips and pulled her downward, touching her intimately with one hand, before drawing her the rest of the way down. At the first sensation of Kennedy’s mouth against her, Carson nearly sobbed in relief. Her legs were shaking, and she grabbed the headboard to take some of the weight off her knees.
Kennedy hummed in pleasure, a low moaning noise in the back of her throat that created sensual vibrations as they reached her lips. Carson’s hips rolled against her in a much more focused movement. Her desire coiled into a tiny place of complete concentration on the sensations her partner was creating, and Kennedy’s touch became her entire world. This was when Carson felt most vulnerable, her contact with Kennedy limited to the most basic physical connection. She couldn’t see Kennedy’s face; she could only feel her, as she used her lips, fingers, and tongue to satisfy Carson’s desire. As her body began to convulse, Carson squeezed the headboard until her knuckles turned white, her pleasure rising from her throat in a high, keening noise.
Spent, she collapsed against the headboard and felt Kennedy pulling her down until she was lying in her lover’s arms. “Kiss me,” Kennedy pleaded. Carson opened her eyes and found two blue ones close enough to drown in. She tilted her head, tasting herself and sharing her own flavor with Kennedy, as they engaged in a deep, soulful kiss. It was, in some ways, more intimate than what they had just done.
Carson smiled against Kennedy’s lips, then moved down, taking a hardened nipple into her mouth. Kennedy groaned, and Carson increased her pace, teasing her mercilessly, and laughing against Kennedy’s skin. She felt Kennedy’s legs part for her in complete surrender, and Carson lowered her hips between them, rolling intimately against Kennedy repeatedly, with slow, steady pressure. “Baby, please.” Kennedy struggled to increase the contact, wrapping her legs firmly around Carson’s body.
Carson moved to the other breast, while reaching down between them. She felt an urgent hand against her head, and laughed again. “Easy, honey. I’m going to take care of you, too.” After much too long in Kennedy’s estimation, Carson released the well-loved nipple and kissed her way down her stomach. She settled between Kennedy’s legs once more, scooting up until her shoulders were pressed against the back of Kennedy’s thighs.
Kennedy eased her legs further apart and reached across, threading long fingers through Carson’s hair, stroking her head in encouragement. Carson looked up for a moment, their eyes locking in mutual desire. Kennedy’s expression was shamelessly wanton, but her eyes were luminous, reflecting the love they shared. She traced Carson’s lips with her thumb and Carson latched onto it, sucking suggestively, as Kennedy gently worked it in and out of her mouth. “Only you can give me what I need,” Kennedy whispered breathlessly.
Carson felt the admission to the depths of her soul. She remembered that first night when they’d made love, and how she’d wanted this, most intimate of contact, more than anything. She still desired Kennedy, more than ever, but with the seasoned knowledge of each other’s bodies they now possessed. And so, she grudgingly released Kennedy’s thumb and gave it a loving kiss. Then with almost painful slowness, she kissed each inner thigh, and then kissed and stroked and licked her way to Kennedy’s center. As she explored every fold, every familiar inch of skin, she allowed her lover’s taste, and her scent, to fill her completely.
Kennedy groaned, tilting her hips up in eager desire for Carson’s touch. There was nothing held back between them anymore, and Carson knew every part of her, every sensitive spot that caused her ardor to multiply tenfold. As they continued their intimate exchange, Kennedy moaned, a rumbling sound from deep in her chest. Carson filled her, and she felt it to her very core, as if Carson had crawled all the way inside her. “Feels so nice, you inside me,” she gasped. She groaned again, hearing Carson’s own sounds of pleasure as she brought Kennedy closer and closer to the edge.
And then she was falling, crashing into Carson hard, her chest heaving as she cried out in pleasure, her breath hitching over and over again. She grabbed Carson’s wrist. “Stay inside me for a minute.” Their eyes met, sharing the closeness, as the remaining sparks of passion spiraled back down to earth. “Just feels so good.” Kennedy licked her lips and smiled. “Sometimes I can’t believe how easy it is to open myself up to you. I’m so thankful, every day, for that.”
Finally, she let go and Carson eased off, and cupped her soothingly, as their lips met in a slow, tender exchange. It seemed new and at the same time, old and familiar, as they shared memories of that first meeting, and their desire once held in check, now given free rein and satisfied.
Carson curled up tightly against her and kissed Kennedy along her jaw until she reached her ear. “I think I’ve loved you my whole life,” Carson whispered. “Before we ever met.”
“Even before then,” Kennedy agreed with her. “I think –” She rose up to one elbow, looking down at Carson. She reached across and idly trailed the backs of her knuckles against Carson’s face. “I think we’ve been together for a very long time, sweetheart, in many other lifetimes. I’ve thought that before, but I believe it now, more than ever.”
“Do you want to go see one of those past life regression people?” Carson frowned, pursing her lips slightly.
“Nah. I’d hate to find out if any of my lives were miserable.” Kennedy traced the puckered lips and Carson nipped her finger. “I mean, what if we found out we were slaves in some medieval kingdom, and spent all day cleaning up moldy reeds from the castle floor, with our only meal being a stale crust of bread, and then we had to sleep in the pigsty at night?”
Carson’s whole body shook with laughter. “Does anyone ever find out anything like that? Everyone I’ve ever known, who explored past lives, always learns they were Cleopatra or some other well-off person. Although I guess things didn’t end so well for old Cleo, come to think of it.”
“No, I really love the life I have now.” Kennedy leaned over and kissed her gently. “Before we found each other again, I would never have dreamed I would one day say that.”
“I think no matter what, we would have found each other again, one way or another.” Carson lifted Kennedy’s hand to her lips and kissed it, then pressed it against her chest, holding onto it. “I think we were destined to be together.”
“Whether destiny, or a miracle, or if there really was some magic in that shooting star that night, I sure am glad to be sharing my life with you, Carson.” Kennedy lay back down and pulled Carson against her, spooning her from behind, with one long arm draped around her. “I sure am.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, K.” Carson signed in contentment and reached down to pull the covers over them. She turned just enough to share one more kiss, and smiled. “I love you more than anything.”
“Love you too, sweetheart. That goes both ways.” Kennedy snuggled up tightly against her and closed her eyes, as sleep claimed them.
Outside, a shooting star sailed across the sky, and the moon smiled down through the window next to them, flooding two long-acquainted souls in magical light.
Certainly Not The End