The Further Adventures of Janice and Mel - The Grecian Affair

by ArdenTly

General Disclaimer: The characters of Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas belong to Universal Studios, MCA and Renaissance Pictures. Infringement of their rights is not intended. The author only has the girls for a short time, just She promises to put them back, sated but well rested.

Sexuality Disclaimer: This is an alternative fan fiction piece and so, is intended for those over the age of 18. Do not proceed if you are under age. It contains scenes of sexuality, some rather graphic. Alright! All of them are graphic! The author has written the story with the premise that these two women folk are madly, deeply, lustfully in love. Like most red blooded people in love, they tend to want to act on these feelings. Repeatedly, and with as much ardour as possible. So, if lesbian sex is against the law or if the idea of two passionate people who fall madly in love with each other and are totally committed to each other offends you, then, hey, this is NOT where you wanna be.

Language/Sexual Violence Alert: Yup, there is both. Hey, after all, we are talking Mad Dog Covington, right? She didn't grow up in a convent, ya know. And Xena's decendant is, well, Xena's decendant! There is a scene of sexual violence concerning our heroines. Bad guys get their butts kicked, though. If you've ever watched "The Thin Man " series, circa 1940s, just try and think of Melinda in the Myrna Loy role.

Historical Disclaimer: I've taken a few liberties with the time line here. I've tried to be historically accurate but blunders do occur.

Chapter One

City of Argos, Greece, 1942.

Janice Covington staggered back to her dingy room at the local flop house. Hey, what did she care: it was just a place to hang her hat and catch some sleep. It wasn't as if she'd be 'entertaining' anyone up there, she mused. Sex just wasn't right up there on the top of her list these days. Too many one night stands were beginning to take their toll.

She weaved her way past the beggars and street urchins, all with grubby hands held out for dinars. Most of the time Janice complied with their requests. Tonight, or was it tomorrow already?, she was just past caring.

The archaeologist stumbled into her room and sat heavily on the side of the bed. The half light the moon afforded did nothing to hide the depressing squalor that was Janice's life. She lived out of her duffle bag, cared little for the soiled clothing littering the dirty floor, and as long as the empty Scotch bottles kept out of the way they were left in peace.

She flopped back heavily onto the unkept bed. The room seemed to be spinning. Janice tried hard to focus on anything to keep her mind off the flip-flops her stomach was doing. Her eyesight centered on the ceiling fan. Whirring noisily overhead, it reminded her of something. Just on the tip of her tongue. She scrunched her eyes closed, trying to bring forth the slippery memory.

It had to do with a bar. Somewhere in Istanbul, early 1941. With a friend who wanted to be more. A friend by the name of Professor Henry Jones, Jr.

She sat at a table with her friend, drinking tepid local gut rot out of grubby glasses. Both people had their fedoras tipped back, barely keeping contact with the back of their heads; positively defying gravity. Janice wore her usual beat-up brown leather jacket. The one her Dad had given her many years ago. It had been a present for a job well done on a dig in Greece. She found herself smiling as she remembered how the attention had made her blush. It had only been her fourth dig and she was getting more confident in her skills as a budding archaelogist. Mind you, she certainly had the best teacher. He had insisted on many occasions that the love of history was in her genes.

"So, Indy. Whatcha up to these days? Heard ya had some trouble with a religious artifact, some cup or something?"

Indiana Jones, archaeologist cum adventurer, rubbed a hand over his face. He puffed his lips out, expelling a stale mouthful of toxic fumes. They had been drinking since lunch that day, hoping that the intake of alcohol would get them past the awkward stage their friendship was going through. So far, it wasn't working.

"Yup. Can't really talk about it, though. Very hush-hush. You know them G Man types. Have their ears to the goddamn walls." He smirked and threw her a knowing look . Janice guffawed and leaned back in her chair, letting it tilt crazily, daring gravity to exert its hold on her.

Janice knew the type. Most of the campus back at New York University had run-ins with these Government Agents at one time or another. There was always something to march against. With the war just recently starting in Europe, there seemed more than enough fodder to fuel petty jealousies regarding race and religion. The National Guard had been called in on more than one occasion.

A few 'undercover' G Men had tried to look inconspicuous, trying to pass as seniors in an effort to quell the riots that seemed to happen on campus more often all the time. It amazed Janice that these idiots thought they could pull the wool over anyone's eyes. Their type always stood out. Like a damned sore thumb.

"Come on, Jones. Spill it." Janice brought her chair's front legs down with a crash and jabbed her friend in the ribs. She moved her chair closer, peered suspiciously around the bar and went on. "You find some secret weapon, or something? Hey, you know me - won't tell a soul. Scout's honour."

Professor Jones' hand shot up, indicating more libation was required at their table. A rather unsavory young man shuffled over to the table with another bottle of cheap Scotch. Neither Janice nor Indy seemed to register his presence. The man thumped the bottle down, sneered, and went back to cleaning glasses behind the bar. If you could call wiping a dirty cloth around an equally dirty glass, using spit as a cleaning agent, "cleaning", that is.

Indy had talked and talked about being chased through Venice, being shot at, stuff like that. He tried to make light of the trail that lead from his father's kidnapping to a hidden cave where, well, he didn't elaborate but Janice knew that whatever had happened, it seemed like a religious experience.

Janice smirked at the memory and carefully opened one eye, hoping the room would have ceased its orbit around her head. Nope. No such luck. She quickly shut it again and found herself back in the bar in Istanbul.

The man had hinted that everything he'd ever believed about the Crusades had all been just so much bunk. It had been hard for him to admit that his Dad had been right. And after all their work, his Dad's selfless dedication over the years, and neither one could even publish their findings. A whole bunch of G Men had filled numerous boxes of stuff from his Dad's place and had carted it away, without so much as a by your leave or a howdya do.

Janice knew all about the Government types. She was sure that damned Edgar Hoover was behind the smear campaign against her father. It seemed the more powerful Hitler got in Europe, the crazier things were getting elsewhere in the world. There seemed to a facist under every bed and paranoia in every head.

Personally, Janice could hardly wait to get into the war. She was a perfect candidate, too. No family to speak of, no one waiting for her with a light in the window and she was certainly in the best shape, despite her wanton nature and penchant for liquor. Besides, she had a great attitude: she wanted to kick some nazi ass - all the way to Berlin, if that's what it took.

The war was finally heating up to a boiling point while the rest of the world watched and waited as The Battle of France had ended badly. The French army, 101 divisions strong, were up against ten German Panzer divisions which were only held at bay by the Maginot Line.

The French army was a piecemeal collection of divisions and units, good, indifferent and just plain bad. The German airborne units had begun landing near The Hague and Leyden in Holland. The Dutch army suffered heavy losses as the German armourerd spearheads reached out to join hands with the German 22nd Airborne Division. The wholesale slaughter of Rotterdam effectively ended any Dutch resistance.

It seemed that the collective breath held by the rest of the world had been shockingly torn out from its chest. No one was under any further delusions as to just how far the funny guy with the mustache was willing to go.

Janice and Indiana had both talked at length about how things were going. Neither was surprised when Rotterdam fell, but with rumours leaking about concentration camps and the mass graves filled with innocent women and children, both knew that it was just a matter of time before they were either thrown out of the country or drafted as special agents.

Both Indy and Janice had found themselves working on a privately funded dig in the latter months of 1940. They were both happy to sign up. Istanbul was no Mediterranean tourist attraction but it sure beat sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They had met at the Archaeological Conference in Brussels and found they had a lot in common. Jones's father had been speaking on a subject near and dear to his heart: Christ's chalice.

They had both hit it off almost immediately, although Jones had wanted more than just friendship. Janice found herself being wooed by Indy and felt rather helpless to stop it. Hell, part of her revelled in the attention.

Now, months later, Indy was finally making his move and Janice found herself in this dingy bar, getting blind drunk, with a man she knew was going to take her to bed. Never having doubted the outcome in the first place, she was somewhat curious. A small niggling voice tried to warn her. Perhaps it was the booze. Perhaps it was simply the need to feel "something", anything. Whatever it was caused Janice to jam that voice deeply into the back of her mind.

Janice and Indy had made their way into his darkened room, stumbling over a chair, before finding themselves on the bed. Before Janice knew what was happening, he was kissing her, unbuttoning her shirt.

Her first impulse had been to knee him in the groin. Part of her was repulsed by his drunken fumblings.. Another part was rather ambivalent, unsure of what she really wanted. She'd just gotten over an affair with a class mate back at college. It had ended badly. The woman had wanted, needed far more than Janice was willing to give her at that point in her life. All she had really wanted was The Xena Scrolls. Any of her previous encounters had left her feeling hollow and frustrated, as if she were at a lovely banquet but unable to taste the food before her.

Janice positively cringed, remembering the next morning. Neither one of them had been able to look the other in the eye. Janice had felt....nothing. She hadn't hated the experience but he hadn't been able to bring her to orgasm either.

He was a considerate lover. Even persistant. She'd had to forcefully roll away from him after he'd finished, feeling nothing but empty after the whole experience. Their blossoming friendship had suffered because of it: something Janice had always regretted.

A strange partial memory of another similar encounter tried to bob up to the surface. Whatever it was had made Janice very nauseous and anxious so she had flung the memory away. Her sudden melancholia had seemed to sober them both up.

Indy had tried to hold her close, speaking soothing words of comfort. While it may have made him feel better, Janice only wanted to completely erase the whole incident from her mind.

The constantly moving ceiling fan wobbled, bringing her back to the present. The room was spinning even faster as the feelings of self loathing washed over her. The memory of his hands, his mouth...on her.. ..made her stomach heave.

Janice had time to quickly lean over the side of the bed and grab the waste basket before the contents of her stomach emptied. Her hands shook as she wiped off her mouth and chin with her sleeve. The room was still rocking crazily back and forth, as if she were on board a ship. She moaned and grabbed the basket again.

Feeling a wee bit better, she lay back down on her back, placing the pillow over her face. It was that one drink of Ouzo after all the scotch that must have done it! She liked the Greek liquor but it sure hated her!

Chapter Two

It was well past noon when Janice dragged herself into the Greek Museum of Antiquities. Her complexion was pasty and her hair looked like she'd just dragged her fingers through it. No shower, no breakfast, just some tepid coffee. She hadn't even tried to light up one of her cheroots. The inside of her mouth felt like a camel had bathed in it and then shat copiously, just for good measure.

Professor Gertrude Ingersol came from behind her desk and gave the woman the once over. She tsked, her brows knitted in disapproval. The statuesque Swede pursed her lips.

"Dr. Covington! You are late, young lady. As the Curator of this museum , I must insist on punctuality. Just what the devil you've been up to, I won't bother to ask." She harrumphed. "You have a visitor. She's been here for over one hour. Won't go away. Says it is something to do with her father, a Dr. Melvin Pappas."

Janice rubbed a hand roughly over her face.

"Coffee. I need coffee." she groaned.

Professor Ingersol buzzed the secretary who breezed in with the utmost efficiency.

Miss Judith Carmichael was a woman of medium height, mediuim build, a rather horsey face and British through and through. She was a no nonsense kind of woman who was never seen in the company of anyone but Professor Ingersol. The rumours alone helped keep Janice from being the total subject of everyone's conversation at the rumour mill.

Miss Carmichael placed a hot cup of java on the professors desk and arched an eyebrow at the miserable state Dr. Covington was in. The woman pursed her lips and gave Janice a very undignified glare.

"I say, Professor, just look what the cat dragged in. Really! Do clean yourself up, dear. Why, you wouldn't want your visitor to think you....common, now would you, Dr. Covington?" Janice could tell that Miss Carmichael was just getting warmed up.

"Okay, okay. You can call off the goon squad, Trudie. I get the picture. Is did say she? the waiting room or in my office?" Janice paused only long enough to give Miss Carmichael one of her more willful glares.

The professor took Janice by the elbow and led her back into the front hall. She pointed the woman in the direction of her own office and gave her behind a push. Janice arched an eyebrow at the woman but continued on, stopping by the water fountain and splashed cold water into her face. She slicked the hair off her face, steadied her shoulders and walked into her office.

A tall woman stood by the window, seemingly lost in thought. Janice blinked her eyes and noted a few things about her visitor. The woman must be nearly 6 foot, she thought. Broad shoulders, slim waist, dark straight hair pulled severely off her face. She cleared her throat, making the other woman jump in surprise.

Melinda Pappas quickly turned around, her hand over her mouth, trying to quell a surprised squeak. Janice noted the horn rimmed glasses and the rather matronly hair style. Nice taste in clothing, I suppose, she thought. Rather bookish looking. Probably a stuffy old maid ,she thought, uncharitably.

"What can I do ya for?", said Janice as she tried to look busy, shuffling papers around her desk.

"Ah, are you Dr. Covington? Dr. Janice Covington?" the woman drawled in a southern accent.

Boy, thought Janice, looking up as she took a seat, this morning just gets better and better. What the hell does she want? Doesn't look like a bill collector. Clothes are too nice for that.

"Yeah, I'm her. What's it to ya? Hey, whatever you heard, I wasn't there, I don't know nothin and the cheque's in the mail. Pick your choice."

Melinda looked at the archaeologist. Surely this couldn't possibly be the one her Daddy had mentioned in his journal. This boorish woman? Why, she was a Yankie without any manners at all! Even though she hadn't even been offered a chair, Melinda dragged one away from the wall and priggishly sat down.

Janice went over to her desk and plopped herself in the chair behind it. She shrugged off her leather jacket and let it slide over the back of the chair. She reached over and opened a drawer. After sticking one of her foul smelling cheroots into her mouth, she lit a match.

Melinda harrumphed in her direction, hoping the woman would take the hint and not smoke in her presence. Why, it was just too much! She'd never met anyone as uncouth as this Janice Covington was. Ever! And she'd gone to the University of North Carolina, too! There had been all sorts of unsavory characters there but none like this....this woman! Why, she didn't act like any woman she'd ever seen.

Janice began puffing on her cigar, filling the room with acrid smoke. Her eyes twinkled as she dared the other woman to say one word. Just one. She'd put the uppity broad in her place right off the bat. This was her office, goddamn it! If she wanted to smoke, then she'd damned well smoke!

Melinda's face began to take on a decidedly greenish hue. She flapped her hands in front of her face in an effort to wave the offensive smoke away. It was a lost cause. She quickly stood up, causing her chair to fall backwards, crashing to the floor. She wobbled, one hand reaching out for something to hang onto. Finding nothing, she began to fall forward, her eyes rolling into the back of her head.

Janice found herself racing around the desk and catching the fainting woman just before her face hit the wooden object before her. She slowly lowered the woman to the floor. Mighty solid, she thought, for such a slim package. She noted the soft perfume and sweet scent of shampoo wafting up from the woman below her. She brushed a wisp of hair off the woman's face and began fanning her with her open hand.

Geez, she thought. Keeled right over. Not that hot in here. Musta been my damned cigar. Where before she had felt superior to this strange prim woman, now she felt guilty and somewhat protective of her.

Slowly, Melinda Pappas opened her eyes. She blinked slowly a couple of times and shook her head. She noted the close proximity of the other woman, the concern plainly on her face. My, she isn't at all what I thought. She's worried 'bout me. Strangely, this comforted the southern belle. She'd always been able to rely on the kindness of strangers. And none were stranger than this Janice Covington.

Melinda's subconscious was busy gathering information, storing it up for later inspection. The woman was short, yes, but not abnormally so. Her hair was the colour of light honey, falling straight past her shoulders. Her sea green eyes, although concerned, were soft and little laugh lines were making their presence known at the corners. And while the archaeologist wore rather mannish clothing, there was a feminine side to her. All in all, a complicated puzzle, thought Melinda.

Janice helped her up into a semi sitting position, patting her hand. She looked so comfortable, squatting there, perched on her heels. Melinda glanced at the muscles that were taut under Dr. Covington's slacks. For some reason, all of this input was making her feel rather hot. She supposed she was feeling the after effects of the long plane trip, not to mention the smoke inhalation.

She shook her head again to clear it and sat up.

"My word. I'm sorry, Dr. Covington, I don't know why I did that."

Janice looked sheepishly over at the remains of her cheroot, lying in the corner where she'd thrown it. She went over and opened a window. After stubbing the cigar out, she tossed it through the window. She turned and took a deep breath.

"Um, gee, I guess we kinda started off on the wrong foot, huh?" She stuck out her hand and helped the southerner to her feet. She picked up the fallen chair and helped Melinda settle herself in it. She held out her hand, "Hi. I'm Janice Covington. And you are....?"

"Why, I'm Melinda Pappas. I thought I'd already introduced myself. How very rude of me. I do apologize. My Daddy knew yours. They were both working together on some scrolls. Had been for a few years." She paused, a small tear running down her cheek.

She cleared her throat and continued. "He, ah, died in an auto accident on the island of Cyprus last month. Right out of the blue. Died instantly, thank the Lord. Didn't suffer any."

Janice bent over and took the woman's hand back into her own. She noticed how warm and soft it was.

"Hey, I'm sorry. Geez, I'm such a jerk sometimes. My condolences. My Dad died just recently, too. Heart attack. I really miss him, so I know how ya must feel." Hadn't Harry died on the island of Cyprus, too?

"Well, Dr. Covington. That's one of the reasons I'm here" she drawled. "I was goin through some of Daddy's papers and came upon this unopened package. It was sittin rather forlornly in the back of his desk."

Melinda reached into her purse and pulled out a beaten up package about the size of a book. Without another word, she pressed it into Janice's hand. She looked worried. Janice noted this and wondered why.

The archaeologist sat down on the corner of her desk and peeled the brown paper off the partially opened package. It was from Dr. M. Pappas, dated nearly two months ago, originating from Polis, Cyprus.

Her eyes opened wide. She snorted and looked up into Melinda's eyes. A small smile formed on her lips. Then it grew bigger and seemed to encompass her whole face. Even her eyes sparkled.

"Goddamn! You know what this is? It's his journal. I mean, their journal! Hey, lookit this. The last entry says they found part of a scroll. Neither one could decipher it. Hmm. Wonder where..." She jumped up, knocking Melinda to the floor.

There, inside the back of the journal, was an ancient looking piece of shrivelled up papyrus, wrapped in a shroud of muslin.

Melinda found herself, once again, on the floor in front of Dr. Covington.

"Why, I never!" she stammered.

Janice, nose deep into the journal, spouted off her usual retort without thinking.

"Yeah, well, I could tell. You should do it more often. Repeatedly. Does wonders for the skin."

Melinda's face grew very hot and flushed as it turned a glowing colour of red. She began sputtering, trying to think of something searing, something cutting, to say to this, this, damned Yankie!

Janice noticed a funny noise and gazed up from the journal, and then down to the floor.

"What're ya doin down there? Didn't faint again, didja? Pretty frail, huh? Maybe you'd better go back home and leave this with me. I'll handle it just fine." She reached down again and tried to untangle the woman's legs from the chair. The more she tried, the more flustered Melinda became. She tried to brush Janice's hands away from her legs and pull down her rapidly rising skirt at the same time. To any onlooker, it was a toss up as to whether they were both trying to pull the skirt up or down.

Dr. Ingersol chose that moment to come into the office. One eyebrow arched up, a smirk played on her lips.

"Um, Janice. I'm not interrupting I?"

Chapter Three

Janice jumped back off the woman sprawled on the floor as if her hands were on fire. Her face and upper chest were beet red. She rubbed her hands together and put them guiltily behind her back.

"Um. Um. No. No, of course not. No. I was, um, just helping Miss Pappas off the floor. She, ah, fainted. Didn't you?"

Melinda Pappas took in the scene in front of her. She wasn't sure if she should be embarrassed, shocked or angry. Why, she thought, would this woman look so guilty. Almost like a child caught doin somethin bad. Or wicked. She brushed herself off and stumbled to her feet.

"Why yes. I'm afraid the plane ride was a bit...arduous. I find it awfully close in here, what with the cigar smoke and all."

"You didn't smoke one of your smelly cigar things, did you Jan? I mean, really! No wonder the woman fainted dead away." She tsked a few times and shook her head.

Janice tipped her chin down, arching one expressive eyebrow. "You wanted something, Trudie?"

Gertrude Ingersol chuckled softly and took Janice by the elbow.

"Why, my dear. What would I possibly *want* from you?" She paused, giving Janice enough time to try and fill in the blanks. Really, thought Trudie. Janice Covington was truly the most dense but loveable fool that ever walked the earth. She had been sending signals her way for months now. She had even started to flirt shamelessly with the woman. Never a peep out of her. She seemed totally oblivious to Trudie's overtures.

Ah well, thought Trudie. The hunt is half the fun, is it not? She chuckled again. Some rather graphic images were starting to invade her thoughts at that very moment. She pushed them away, deciding to peruse them later, in the privacy of her bedroom. With Judith. She smiled as she envisioned the long night ahead of her.

"Actually, dear, I am here to see what I can do for *you*. You two have been in here for almost one hour. It is getting on to the lunch hour. I have dismissed Mrs. Carmichael from her duties this afternoon. It is really much too hot to continue, don't you agree."

Melinda noticed that Dr. Ingersol couldn't seem to refrain from touching Janice. A hand placed here, a finger tip touching there. It was very disturbing. She found herself getting rather upset with the woman. Now why, she mused, would I be feelin that way?

Melinda was a rather naive woman, cloistered by her father at home and then at boarding school and university. Her mother had left she and her father to their own devices, preferring to live in the family home in Winston-Salem. Traipsing all over the world on 'digs' had rapidly gotten tiresome for the woman. She was a proper southern lady of good standing so, of course, divorce had been quite out of the question.

Melinda had only gotten a brief letter of condolence from her mother. She had not even bothered to attend the man's funeral.

However, all that been said, she could see 'something' was going on here. She wasn't sure, but she believed something of a 'sexual' nature was being bandied about. Why, the woman was almost throwing herself at Dr. Covington! The shameless hussy!

Janice wasn't totally oblivious to Trudie's arduous overtures. She was, after all, a woman of the world. She'd seen and done pretty much everything. Her rather shallow encounters with other women had been, well, pretty basic. Simply unadulterated sexual release.

She was becoming more aware of being the type who preferred the company of other women inclusively. She certainly wasn't addle-minded enough to be bothered about it. A few of her friends at University had been 'that way', after all so she had had ample opportunity to revel in her own difference and come to an understanding with herself. She felt very comfortable with who and what she was. To her way of thinking, her passionate nature was a plus not a negative. That no one had been able to fill the empty void that was in her heart only made her sad. She had always believed the Greek myth of everyone having another half of their soul. She just hadn't found hers.

Her studies were becoming much more interesting, taking up all of her time and energy, and she had begun to think she'd never find her other half.

Janice chose to ignore these advances, preferring to keep their working relationship just that. It wasn't that she found the willowy blonde unattractive. She just wasn't her type. Brashness aside, Janice was woefully uneducated in matters of the heart. She knew how to sweet-talk the ladies but maintaining a seemed beyond her ken.

Her Dad had brought her up as a tomboy, preferring to hide the girl's feminine side, lest she become an object of desire on his numerous digs. A dig, after all, was usually populated by the great unwashed. A rougher bunch existed nowhere else on earth. Janice had always had an easy side to her nature; always made friends quickly. She couldn't remember when that had changed.

"Would you ladies like to join me for some lunch? I know of a lovely restaurant, just around the corner. We could all go together, yes?"

Melinda wasn't sure just why, but she had no intention of being trapped at a table with this predatory woman. The way she hungrily looked at Janice was positively scandalous!

"Uh, Dr. Covington? I thought we had decided we had some things to talk over? I mean, we do have some papers to discuss, do we not?" She arched one eyebrow at Janice, hoping the woman would take the hint.

Janice, ever quick on body language, picked up on it easily.

"Why, sure. That's right. Sorry, Trudie, we got some business to go over. Maybe another time, huh?"

And with that, Janice took Melinda's elbow and they hurridly left her office, leaving a rather disgruntled, sexually frustrated Swede behind.

Trudie tapped her foot thoughtfully. She would bide her time. She wasn't sure why Judith had made the bet, but she was sure up to the task. Her mind was already plotting out the many scenarios she might require to get the petite blonde into her bed. Both arms folded over her breasts, she stalked back to her own office, all thoughts of lunch abandoned. Maybe Judith hadn't gone for the day....

Chapter Four

"Well, that went well. Ah geez! I forgot to get the journal! Fer cryin out..."

Melinda put both hands on Janice's shoulders and moved her over to a bench. She pushed the woman into it and smoothed her own cloths.

"Now, Dr. Covington. I shall go back and retrieve the journal. After all, I was the one that forgot it. Besides, you don't want that...woman...gettin her hooks back into you, do ya?" Janice looked a little panic striken. "No, I didn't think so. My word. What is that woman's problem? You'd think she's never been turned down or somethin."

"Actually," Janice smirked, "she does have a reputation for getting anything and anyone she wants."

"Well." Melinda paused, her hands fidgetting. "Do know...want her that way? I mean, if I'm in the way, please just say....." Janice waved her hands frantically.

"Nope. No way. Do not wanna go there. She's nice, sure. Even pretty. Well, beautiful, actually. But no, she is just not my type."

"Oh. So you've..." She looked away. Somehow, the whole idea of Janice Covington being sexually attractive to other women made her...well, both excited and...jealous. Now where the samhill did that come from, she wondered?

"I just don't like pushy broads, okay? Why, I've been called an ice princess more times that I can count. Lets just change the subject, shall we? This is getting down right strange. Even for me."

Melinda patted the woman's shoulder and turned on her heel, heading back the way they had come. She pushed her horn rims back onto her nose, dusted off her two piece suit and prepared to do battle. Just let that hussy try something with me, she thought! Why, I'll knock her into next Tuesday!

She said these two sentences over and over again as she tried to work her courage up. She snuck down the hall and was almost passed Dr. Ingersol's office when she heard two women talking.

"Now Judith. Please. We can't call this off now." A funny rustling could be heard. "A bet is a bet, after all. And I do intend on winning it. That Janice Covington will be mine, and by the end of the week. You mark my words." A low moan rumbled from someone's throat. "My trouble has been that I haven't pressed the issue enough. I've been too easy on her. I don't know what her connection to that rather large amazon woman is, but it shall not deter me. Now that I have seen the way she looks at that Miss Pappas, well, it is just a matter of time."

Melinda stood stock still, face becoming crimson. My word! What did she call me? Amazon woman!? I've got a mind to tear some of that blonde hair right out by the roots! How dare she!? She stopped breathing as her mind registered the last statement. As she was preparing to enter Dr. Ingersol's office, she heard some rather strange noises.

She peeked around the door frame just in time to see the good Dr. Ingersol french kissing Miss Carmichael. The woman's right breast was exposed and was being...fondled! She gulped rather audibly and quickly retreated down the way she had come.

"Um, Janice? I mean, Dr. Covington? I, well, I can't go back in there. She was, I mean, they were, um, well....". she stammered.

"What? Spit it out, woman. What did you see? Geez, you gonna faint again?" She walked over to the southerner and peered into her face. The woman was decidedly flush and a little white around the gills. Must have been something! Wonder what she saw, fer cryin out loud?

"Well. How do I put this delicately? She was...well...kissing that secretary of hers. Miss Carmichael. On the mouth. Hard. With her tongue. I believe they call it french kissin. And I think she was....well....caressin her secretary's bare breast! My word. I never.."

"Oh. Is that all. Hmff. And I thought you saw somethin exciting." It was her turn to push the woman into the bench. "You stay here and I'll go around back, climb in through the window and get the package. Okay?"

Melinda nodded mutely. What ever did she mean, "somethin exciting"? Just how much more excitin did she want things to be? After all, I almost swooned as it was. She began fanning her face with her hand, reaching into her purse and digging for a hankie. She dabbed at her nose, trying to hold the images of what the two women had been doing at bay. The more she tried, the harder it became. She found the soft silky feel of her nylons to be torture at that particular moment. She tried to cross her gams, then uncross them in an effort to ease the contact from between her legs.

She moved the hankie down to her breasts and absently wiped the light sheen of sweat away. Her nipples felt extra sensitive against her silk blouse. She could feel them hardening. She was ever so grateful that she had decided to wear her suit jacket. My word, she thought. How terribly embarrassing! What the samhill was going on? She had never felt these feelings before. Whether it was from the sight of two women kissing so passionately or the idea that Janice might want her in...that way...she wasn't sure. The whole episode had sent tingles down...there. She felt very confused. She fanned herself harder.

Once Janice was out of sight, she leaned against the brick wall and ran a shakey hand over her face. My God! she thought. Was that woman trying to kill her!?! Her hand found its way down into the front of her pants. Yup. She was aroused, all right. Having such a visual picture painted of two women making out by someone Janice was finding extremely attractive, made clear thought a thing of the past.

She could feel the heat on her hand, the moisture soaking her underwear. This was neither the time or the place! Come on, Covington! Get a grip! Go in there, get the damned journal and try to keep your hands to yourself! Fer cryin out loud! What makes you think that she even has any feelings for you? Ya just met her! She probably thinks those two women where disgusting perverts.

Janice had been very sure her whole life of the things she did not want. She was also sure of the things she did want. Finding that special person to spend the rest of her life with was getting so...damned frustrating! Why was she feeling this way now? And with her? She hadn't felt any passion for a long time. Curiosity, yes. She'd always found members of the opposite sex to be too hard to figure out. It seemed all they had on their mind was sex. No romance. She inwardly slapped her own forehead, recognizing the same foible in herself. When had she actively stopped looking, anyway?

She rubbed her hand on the back of her pants and shook her head, freeing it from some very realistic visuals. She then proceeded to climb into the museum.

After a few minutes Janice sauntered over to the bench, brushing dirt and leaves off her jacket. She now sported her fedora. Looking every inch the dashing adventurer, she held out a hand to Melinda Pappas and they made their way off the museum grounds.

Melinda found herself glancing intermittenly out of the corner of her eye at her new acquaintance. She cleared her throat all the way through lunch, keeping her hand over the top of her bossom.

Janice thought the woman looked a bit peaked. She ordered a large lunch, hoping it might perk the woman up.

"My goodness, Dr. Covington! How do you ever manage to keep your figure? Why, I swear. I'd be as big as a house if I ate all that you do."

"You know, I'd appreciate it if ya called me Janice. Or even Jan. Okay? My Dad was Dr. Covington, not me. And yeah, I guess I do have a healthy appetite, don't I?" Janice wore a rather satisfied look on her face, as if her gargantuan appetite were something to boast about.

"Well, I should say so! I'll call ya Janice if you'll call me Mel. I don't really like Melinda very much. My mother used to call me that whenever she was upset with me. Which was usually all the time. Gives me goose flesh just thinkin 'bout it." She shivered visibly.

An easy companionship was developing between the two women. Both could feel it. They found themselves smiling more, feeling more at ease.

Lunch was soon over and Janice brought out the journal. She handed it across to Melinda. It was more hers, she thought, it had been her father's. Janice had known that her Dad had been on a couple of digs with Dr. Pappas, sure. Had known they both had a kean interest in the Xena Scrolls. She hadn't, however, known that they had been working together just recently. She wondered why the men had felt the need to keep it secret.

Melinda took the journal from Janice's hand. She held it reverantly on her lap. A single tear dropped from her eye and her chin quivered. She pressed her lips tightly together, determined not to cry. She saw her new friend as being someone embarrassed by leaky eyes. She squared her shoulders and took a deep shuddering breath.

"My Daddy was workin in Greece and Cyprus with your father, Janice. I've read the journal and it seems to me that they were becoming good friends. Most of the entries are full of excitement for the things they had found. As far as I can tell, Janice, well, it seems to me..." The southerner found it hard to engage her friends' eyes. Not knowing the woman made her hesitant about what she was going to say.

"Hey. Melinda, just spill it, okay? What, you found out they were drug smugglers or something?" Melinda saw it for what it was: an attempt at humour in an effort to ease the woman. Well, she thought, thinking about her rather staid father being a smuggler of any kind, it was working. She found the corner of her mouth lifting in a half grin.

Janice wasn't quite sure why, but just seeing the look on Melinda's face right now made her feel a sense of deja vu. How could that be? They had never met before today. Although, thinking back, she was certain she'd heard her Dad talk about Pappas' daughter on one occasion or another. Her left eyebrow rose, thinking about destiny, of all things. She wasn't sure why she felt so comfortable around the tall southerner, but she did. Almost as if they'd known each other before. Or forever.

That easiness didn't happen very often. In fact, Janice had stopped having a lot of friends when she was a teenager, preferring to hide in books or emmerse herself totally in the dig at hand. It made for a very lonely existance. She told herself that it didn't matter. It did. She could only fool herself for so long. Meaningless sex could only take you so far.

She snapped back to the present and wondered how long Melinda had been talking. The woman was a veritable chatter box! Strangely, she found this affectation endearing rather than bothersome.

"....surprising they both died in Cyprus, don't you think? You don't think there's a connection with their deaths, do ya?" she drawled fearfully.

Janice reached over and took the woman's hands in her own. Melinda had been clutching the journal so hard that her knuckles were white.

Another tear fell from Melinda's eye. With one look, Janice could see that it was taking a momentous amount of courage for the woman to keep it all together. So many emotions swirled up from the depths of Janice's soul. She wanted nothing more than to comfort this poor woman. To ease her suffering and make the pain go away. Her face suddenly felt hot. Her ears burned a bright red.

Suddenly, images of her holding the woman and kissing all of her tears away appeared, unbidden, to Janice's mind. Her hands shook and she cleared her throat. She dropped the woman's hands and sat back heavily in her chair. She blinked a few times and tried to steady her breathing. What the hell?! flashed through her mind in great big letters.

Getting the attentions of a beautiful woman had never been one of her problems. She knew by instinct which ones were receptive. This one was coming across as being very receptive, but.....she wasn't too sure the beauty across from her was certain of her own...needs.

Coming onto straight women was never an option for Janice. Setting yourself up for bad feelings not to mention bad press got to be too time consuming. She didn't need the aggravation. If anyone was going to make the first move, it was going to have to be the woman across from her.

Melinda was feeling something as well. The mere contact of the woman's hands on her own made her feel quite heady. She could hear the blood rushing through her ears, her skin feeling extra sensitive. There was something there, she thought. She could still feel the positive energy flowing from where Janice had touched her. Her eyes grew wide and it seemed as if her heart just completely stopped beating.

Both women sat in silence, finding interesting things about the table cloth. Or their shoes. Anything that allowed them to hide the fact that they were becoming very attracted to each other.

The bill came and Janice snatched it up quickly, jumping to her feet. She fumbled around in her pants' pocket, then threw some crumpled bills on the table and waited until Melinda got the hint and rose to meet her at the entrance. Janice stood aside and beckoned the woman through. Melinda didn't know why but she felt rather giddy at the chivalrous behavior. She felt herself blushing again.

Chapter Five

The wind was starting to pick up as they made their way into town. Janice was trying hard to avoid Melinda's queries regarding her lodgings. She had never been bothered before; had never cared where she lay her head. Somehow, now it mattered.

They wandered into the bazzar and soon found themselves surrounded by mobs of merchants, all vying for their undivided attention. Each seller felt the need to push forward, to stick his face directly in the path of the rapidly retreating foreigners.

Janice, who had been in Argos for at least a month, was used to the pushy behavior they were now experiencing. Melinda Pappas, however, was still suffering from her bumpy plane ride. She found her head was positively swimming. She tried to fan herself as the smells from the bazzar began to assault her senses. She felt her knees begin to buckle and then Janice had put her two strong arms around her waist and was yelling in Greek.

The crowd slowly parted in front of them, startled faces looking in wonder at the foreign blonde woman who spoke perfect Greek.

Janice dragged and half carried her friend over to a cafe that didn't look like a fumigator needed to visit. She noted the fine bone structure and the play of muscles, both hidden under the woman's two piece suit. She found herself wondering what the woman would look like with her hair down. Long, dark tresses flowing down the middle of her back. Blowing behind her in the wind. Her body moving sensuously beneath her.

She blinked twice. In her daze, she had cradled the woman's head against her breast while softly caressing her hand.

Melinda felt safe. She felt secure. She felt loved. She wanted to stay just where she was - forever. She had closed her eyes and was subconsciously licking her lower lip. Her heart beat had risen and her breath was coming in shallow and quick.

She looked up from her inclined position into the most amazingly soft green eyes. They held her spellbound; she felt herself falling into their depths. She moved her face closer, wanting to taste the lips before her, to drown herself in their softness.

Janice felt her world begin to narrow until only the vision of this beautiful dark haired woman was before her. She saw the stunning colour of blue staring deeply at her. She noted the wetting of her lower lip. The half lidded eyes beckoned to her. When Melinda parted her lips and moved closer, Janice thought she would simply die. Oh, how she wanted to taste the proffered lips! To drink in their sweet nectar.

A loud bang brought the two women to their senses, both jumping in alarm. A black town car careemed around the corner, narrowly missing a food stand. This caused a crowd of irate merchants to hurl food as it went by. Janice grabbed Medlina and they jumped out of the way. Melinda took a hand up as they gazed after the Desota.

Janice and Melinda found themselves laughing, watching the antics of the driver as he tried to peer over the steering wheel. The man must have been all of five foot in height, judging by the amount of head seen over the wheel. His eyes were wide, his mouth pulled back into a toothy grimace. Then Melinda caught sight of the man sitting in the back seat. Why was his face so familiar? Hadn't she seen him on the plane? She vaguely remembered him asking a lot of questions. She couldn't remember what, though. She absent-mindedly put it out of her mind.

Janice hailed a ped taxi and they both jumped in. She sat back and went over in her mind just what had happened in the bazaar.

"Ah, Melinda, maybe we should get you to your hotel? Where ya stayin?" Neither woman tried to remove their hands which were tightly clutched together.

Melinda looked at the woman. She felt rather embarrassed to be caught off guard like this, but she had neglected to secure a hotel suite before leaving Jacksonville, South Carolina. How could she explain to her new friend that she had simply jumped on the next available flight going to Greece, not really knowing why.

It amazed Melinda when she stopped to think about it. As soon as she had found the journal, she had felt an overwhelming urge to She hadn't known, not really, that Dr. Covington would be here. That Janice would be here, she corrected herself. The truth flashed into her brain at that moment. She *had* known the woman would be here. Somehow, she just knew they would meet.

"I don't, well....I neglected to get myself a room, Janice. I know it's rather rude of me to impose, but could we go to your hotel?"

"! I'm getting the place fumigated. Yeah, not fit for human habitation." Janice noted the sheen of perspiration on Melinda's forehead and made a hasty decision. She hoped she wouldn't regret it. They had almost kissed. She could still feel the woman's breath on her cheek. She'd take her to a nice hotel and...well, see what happened next. She hoped the woman knew the type of signals she was giving her and wouldn't hold it against her if she was wrong. Having this woman look at her with eyes of pity or shame would surely kill her.

The ped taxi began to slow down and Janice noticed that Mel had fallen asleep. Just as she was moving to get out, Melinda's head fell onto her shoulder and the woman naturally nestled close, trying to get comfortable. The hair pins had fallen out, letting the ebony tresses flow down around the woman's shoulders. Janice removed the glasses and slid them into Mel's breast pocket. She fought the overwhelming urge to kiss the woman - hard and deeply.

Janice gently shook the woman awake and helped her into the hotel.

After fighting briefly with the hotel manager about the 'no luggagae, no room' policy, Jan thrust her fist into the man's face. It had the desired effect and Janice grabbed the key, wiping her forehead. The woman was almost dead weight because of her fatigue.

As they made their way down the darkened hallway, Janice was very aware of the other woman's close proximity. Of her vulnerability. Of her own desires. She quickly put the key in the door and helped the woman to the bed. Melinda stretched languidly and lay back on the bed. She smiled gratefully.

"I'm sorry, Janice. I just can't keep my eyes open. Will I see you tomorrow?"

"Oh. Yeah. Sure thing, Mel. You rest up and come by my office for a late breakfast. Okay? And Mel? You look alot more...attractive...with your hair down. Now you lock this door behind me. If it's not my voice, don't open it, right?" Janice clicked her tongue and gently closed the door. She waiting until she heard the bolt being thrown.

As she walked back down to the street, she was never more aware of just how lonely her life had become. She decided that a nice long walk back to her hovel would both refresh her and clear her mind from its whirling thoughts.

Chapter Six

Janice Covington looked up from her desk as Miss Carmichael ushered Melinda into her office. She walked up to the southerner and took her hand.

"Well, Melinda, you look far more rested this morning. I hope you slept well." She offered the woman a chair and pushed the buzzer, asking for some coffee.

"Why, thank ya kindly, Janice. Yes, I did. I came straight here on one of those...what did ya call it?...ped taxi? Yes. I haven't had time to have anything to eat. I know I'm a tad early, but, well, I got hungry. Coffee would be nice, as long as it's not that..that Greek stuff."

Janice found it hard not to smile at Melinda's pronounciations. The word Greek came our Grik. And the word tad seemed to grow extra vowels when it came out of the woman's mouth.

Melinda prattled on, unaware of Janice's wandering eye. Janice couldn't help but notice the little things the woman had done to herself, making herself more presentable. For instance, the casual remark she'd made about Mel's hair, how she would look more attractive with it down, seemed to have done the trick for the woman wore it straight down the middle of her back.

Melinda stopped mid sentence when she noticed Janice staring at her. Well, acatually, she was staring at her...breast area. Mel's face grew red and hot. Her hand snaked its way up over her suddenly heaving bossom.

Janice, having been caught red handed, merely arched an eyebrow and gave the woman a quirky grin.

"You can't blame me for looking, Mel. You are a very desirous woman, after all."

Melinda opened her mouth and then closed it again with a snap. She felt decidely flustered. She withdrew her hanky and blotted her temples.

"My. Is it gettin hot in here? Wouldja open that winda, Janice? I can't...can't seem to...breath"

Covington jumped up, knocking her hat off the desk as she went to open the window.

"You aren't gonna...swoon again, are ya? I guess we'd better get some food into you. Right now."

She bend down to retrieve her hat at the same time Mel did, narrowly missing each other but allowing eyes to lock and breath to intermingle. Janice rose slowly, dusting her fedora off, her eyes never leaving those of Mel's.

Feeling a little more bold, she leaned in, watching closely for any adverse reaction. Melinda held her breath and then slowly released it. Janice leaned in a bit more and...

The door opened and in walked a rather surly looking Judith Carmichael. Well, Judith thought, so the rumours were true. This woman could put the moves on someone faster than the speed of sound. At this rate, she'd be into the southerners panties by nightfall. She'd have to get Alan to do something about that little prospect.

Her brother hadn't been able to locate the damned journal on the airplane and he and that assinine driver had lost them last night as they took off in a ped taxi. The fool! Couldn't they do anything right?!

She cautiously moved towards the desk under the guise of putting the coffee down. She checked every inch, trying to locate the journal. Her hand moved down to open one of the drawers as both women seemed oblivious to her movements.

"Janice, I was wonde....Judith. Miss Carmichael? Is there something..."

Professor Ingersol walked through the open door and glanced suspiciously at her secretary's strange movements behind Dr. Covington's desk.

Janice's head shot up and she caught Judith's malevolent look before she could turn away and get things under control.

"I was looking for...that document I sent in this morning for you to sign, Dr. Covington. Did you...manage to get it signed?" A slight tone of sarcasm could be heard under her otherwise innocuous words.

Janice set her jaw, her mind working on what was really going on. Judith knew the document had been signed as she herself had put it into the woman's hands just an hour ago. And the look on Trudy's face...indicated they 'knew' each other on a more personal level. She filed away that interesting piece of information along with some of the other mismatched pieces of the puzzle.

Janice merely smiled at the woman and helped Melinda to her feet.

She turned, hat in hand, and beckoned Mel to precede here through the door.

"I'm taking the day off, okay? I'm going Miss Pappas here the..sights. Can't have her get the wrong impression about Greek hospitality, can we? Especially after almost getting run down in the bazaar yesterday, hmm?" She directed the last comment Judith's way, giving her an open challenge to contradict her.

Heaven help this stupid woman if she's behind that...'accident', Janice mused, hands clenched into fists. She smiled tightly to Trudy and they both left.

"Come on, Mel. We're going to my place for a minute. I've got to pick up something and then we can get a bite to eat. Okay?"

Melinda was quiet as she fell into step with the archaeologist. She wasn't too sure what had gone on in Janice's office, but she couldn't ignore the tension that was in the air. Confident that Janice would fill her in as to exactly what was going on, she merely nodded.

Both women blinked rapidly as they exited the cool somewhat darkened interior of the museum into the full glare and heat of the sun.

Janice took Mel's hand as she lead her away from the museum, down through the bazaar once again, towards her room. Melinda felt the warmth and smoothness of the woman's hand. Funny how they felt somehow familiar and gentle, irrespective of the callused palms and fingers.

"Come on, Mel. It's this way." She slowly began removing her hand from the southerners and noticed that Mel was somewhat reluctant do release her hand. A look passed between the women and Melinda smiled.

Janice winked and grabbed her hand once again. Mel felt a giddiness overtake her. Every other passionate moment in her life, whether it was a kiss or a beau's errant hand wandering over her breast, paled in comparison to what she was feeling, right now with Janice.

She'd spent the wee early hours of the morning trying to sort out her feelings for the woman. What had seemed rather boorish at first, began to take on a different light when looked at from another angle.

She knew what Janice was feeling. She recognised the look of lust in the woman's eyes. She'd had to be honest with herself regarding her own feelings about this...matter. Everytime Janice looked at her, touched her, spoke her name, Melinda felt a chord plucked within her. She could no longer deny the mounting attraction she was feeling for the woman.

She had decided that, although she didn't know *why* it felt natural, she was going to go with this feeling. She had found her dreams invaded with images of the two of them together. She had been wearing a black dress made of leather and Janice had been in some sort of skimpy outfit, looking very alluring. They had kissed, had caressed each other to such heights of passion and then had made slow wonderous love on the leafy floor of some unnamed forest.

Mel had awakened after a brief six hours of sleep totally refreshed and at ease with her burgeoning feelings.

As Janice led her friend to where she had rooms, Melinda was struck with the squalor and the overpowering stench. There seemed to be some sort of animal paddock at the rear of the building. How Janice could stand it was an indication of her stalwart personality.

They stumbled up some rickety stairs and made their way to a battered door.

Jance placed a well aimed kick at her door and it popped open. She held it for Melinda and closed it securely behind them, placing the back of a chair under the knob.

"Keys don't work. Um, I usually just jam a chair under the door knob on the this side. Works like a charm." she said sheepishly.

Janice slowly made her way across the darkened minefield that had been her home for a lonely month until she reached the other side of the room. She felt along the wall until she located the window and pulled back the dreary curtains. Not much more than rags, really, simply nailed to the top of the window. Funny how Janice had never noticed that before.

Melinda wasn't really aware of anything other than how the light was filtering through Janice's hair. It was only 11:00 in the morning but already a breeze was starting to blow. The stale air from the room began to dissipate, albeit much too slowly for the southerner.

Janice turned to say something off handed to her friend. Whatever it had been died on her lips as she found her eyes locked onto those of Melinda Pappas.

"You were gonna...I mean, in your office....weren't you?" Melinda stuttered.

"Yeah, I guess I was. Gonna. You know, kiss ya." Both women inched closer to each other, slowly being trapped in the orbit of a stronger force.

"Well, are ya? Still gonna, I mean. Kiss me?" Melinda almost gasped at herself. How totally brazen of her! She could barely conrol the raging lust that coursed through her veins.

Janice slowly eased her jacket off, letting it drop to the floor. Her hat soon followed. When Melinda was right before her, Janice placed one hand on the woman's cheek and withdrew Melinda's glasses with the other. She looked up into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The glasses seemed to find their way into a jacket pocket.

Melinda bent over and gently placed her lips over Janice's. The kiss was sweet and so very nice. They kissed again, finding this one full of promise, full of passion. Janice reached up and pulled her fingers through the woman's thick dark hair, letting it cascade down over her shoulders. Never once did their lips part for more than a quick breath of much needed air.

Janice felt a funny sensation which reminded her of how she'd woken up that morning. The room as spinning and she felt Very disoriented but suddenly very happy.

With much reluctance, they broke their kiss but still held each other's embrace. Janice's hands were softly placed around Melinda's waist and they caressed her, ever so softly, trying to memorize every curve she could feel.

Melinda's hands were caught up in the golden hair before her. They caressed the tangles away and gently moved from neck to shoulder and back again.

Janice moved in once more and captured the southerner's lips, smothering them with her own. She sucked in the woman's lower lip, pulling back before claiming them again. A ragged moan emitted from Melinda's throat. She had never experienced such bliss! It was all encompassing! It all felt so right! It also began to feel so hot!

She pulled herself away from the sensuous lips just as Janice was beginning to let her questing tongue seek entrance into Melinda's mouth.

"Uh. My. Goodness. I, ah. Well. That was....lovely. I mean, yes...lovely." She leaned in and hungrily kissed the lips before her. Before Janice knew what was happening, it was her mouth that was being invaded, being probed, being ravished. Her hands moved up and gently cupped Melinda's breasts. Her fingers moved under the jacket and began squeezing the hardening nipples.

"Oh my God!" cried Melinda as she shrugged out of her jacket. Her neck was immediately covered in wet kisses and nips as Janice made her way down to the base of her throat.

Melinda's eyes were wild. Her breath was coming in gasps. Her hands tightening around Janice's shoulders and she forcefully pushed the woman away. She drew in a deep breath.

"Oh my, Janice. We'd better....stop. I don't want this...."

"Oh fuck." she said, removing her hands. "What am I...I'm, I'm sorry. What the hell am I doing? Of course you don't want this. I'm such a.." Melinda looked at her friends reddened face and finished off what she was trying to say.

"No! No, Janice. That is not what I was gonna say, now. I want you. My word. I do. I can feel it in my bones. Janice Covington, you are positively addictive! Even with that longshoreman's mouth!"

" Yeah, I know. I have some pretty colourful language." Janice took Melinda's hands in her own and pressed them to her lips.

"Why did you stop? If you want this as much as I do, why?" Janice began moving into Melinda's arms once again, trying to pick up where they had left off.

"Janice! Please? Stop. I don't want our first time to be rushed. Shabby. Awkward. I have so many complicated feelings washing over me right now. None of which has anything to do with how I feel about I just don't wanna rush this. Okay?"

Janice didn't say anything. She didn't move a muscle. Her brain, however, was working overtime. Sure, she thought, this was no place to make love. With the cruddy scotch bottles all over the floor. The smell of sweat and urine wafting through the hallway. She glanced over at her bed. It lay rumpled and sad looking. Hardly a place she wanted this beautiful woman to lay her head down on.

"Coming on too fast, huh? A bit overpowering, right? Gee. I'm really sorry, Melinda. I never thought. I mean, I did think but then...well, yeah, yer right. I guess maybe I got my signals wrong. Maybe if I get cleaned up abit...and not here in this hole, that's for sure." She dropped her hands and slowly twisted her own shirttails. She snorted rather self-depreciatively and backed up a step. And then another.

Janice's mind positively screamed! How could she have possibly misinterpreted Mel's body language? It had felt so..right!

Janice had never felt more ashamed of herself in her whole life. A half-formed image of someone, a teenage, tried to poke its way to the front of her mind. Strong emotions of self loathing and unworthiness washed over Janice and she began to look quite panic-stricken.

Melinda Pappas, southern belle from a high class family, a family with money and position suddenly felt lower than a snake's belly. She threw her hand up over her mouth and gasped. Tears began running down her face as she slowly advanced on the rapidly retreating woman before her.

"Oh, no! Janice, please. I didn't mean it...that way! I...I." she stammered, trying to find the right words to fix things.

"I'm not gonna say I wouldn't notice the..condition this room is in. I'm not gonna say I wouldn't be offended by the horrid smells. I am saying that I want you, yes want you badly, Janice Covington, but I want you to be surrounded by all the beauty I think you deserve. I want to surround you with softness and light. I want to with you. But in a soft, clean, *large* bed." Melinda finished her plea with a gentle smile playing on her lips.

Melinda hardly recognized her own voice. She sounded so...brazen, erotic! Her hands trembled and she willed them down to her sides.

Janice blinked once and then once again. She pushed the strange image from her mind. This beautiful woman wanted her! Making love all night long. Oh, she could and would do better than that! And all the beauty 'she' deserved?! Hell, Janice didn't think she deserved the beauty in front of her let alone a big, clean beautiful bed, to boot.

In one bright shining moment, Janice saw her discomfort for what it was: a silly matter of pride. That it might possibly cost her the love of this fine woman struck her to the very core. She saw clearly that Melinda meant no disrespect to her. She only disliked the surroundings. And as Janice herself had pointed out, she hadn't picked this room out because she liked it. Hell, she even kept the lights out so she wouldn't have to look at it! She wasn't happy about her surroundings. She never cared a lick before today. Well, suddenly it mattered. A whole hell of a lot.

She swallowed her hurt pride and slowly bent over and picked up Melinda's disgarded jacket. She dusted it off and placed it around the woman's shoulders. She smiled and stroked Melinda's cheek. She pulled the woman's hand towards the door and bent over, snatching up her own coat as they left the dingy room.

They made their way through the busy market square, managing to avoid even the most persistant hawker. Just as Janice was making a bee line for a reputable hotel, she noticed a familiar face. She couldn't quite place the man. Certain that it would come to her sooner or later, she put it out of her mind. She did, after all, have other 'pressing' things on her mind.

Speaking in rapid Greek, she ordered a tall cold drink for Melinda and chose a demitasse for herself. She solicitously wiped off the proffered chair for her lady friend and they both settled down in a comfortable silence.

Funny how she now thought of Melinda Pappas. It was almost as if she were now courting her. Well, hell. That is exactly what she was doing. This was going to take some strategy, she thought. Being on the other end of some pretty smooth talkers, Janice had managed to pick up some slick moves. Her eyebrow arched unnoticed as she thought of all the posibilities.

"Why, Janice. What in the world would make you drink such an awfully distasteful thing? It must be at least 100 degrees in the shade, after all!" Melinda tried to fan herself by fluffing her jacket a little. She blew an errant hair out of her face. Now she wished her hair were back up in the bun she usually wore.

Janice removed her fedora and fanned the air around her friend's face. Watching Melinda's blouse moving back and forth, showing tantilizing pieces of glorious flesh, was driving her insane! She took a deep pull of her Greek coffee and jumped in surprise.

"Yeoww!" She quickly placed the small cup down on the table and pushed herself away.

"Jeez! I just burned my goddamned lip! Fer crying out loud!" A string of expletives came rushing out of Janice's mouth. They were quickly silenced as soft fingers were placed over them. Melinda leaned over and stroked the scalded lips before her.

"Oh, no. We can't have those...luscious...lips of yours damaged now, can we?" Melinda's pupils were very large and her cheeks flushed.

Janice's tongue snaked out from between her lips and slowly sucked Melinda's two digits into her hot mouth. The world seemed to stop spinning at that moment. The movement of air ceased and everyone, everything around them, faded away.

Melinda's face lost all colour and she looked ready to fall face first into the table. Janice quickly removed the woman's fingers and began slapping the back of Melinda's hand.

"Mel. Melinda, honey? Come on back to me, Melinda. Come on, can't have you fainting right here now, can we?"

Melinda realized she hadn't been breathing and took a deep gasp. She shook her head and blinked rapidly. The only coherent thought she had was that she liked it when Janice called her Melinda.

"My goodness, Janice! I do believe I'm gonna leave a puddle behind me when I can get off this chair! I never...I mean, just...take my...breath...away." She trailed off mindlessly. Various images of Janice kissing her, probing her mouth with that tongue! came to mind.

The surroundings spun dizzily once more. Melinda slowly expelled her breath and looked across at the person who was becoming the most important thing in her life. She had never, ever felt like this. This was what the poets talked about. This

Janice stood up, bring her friend up with her.

"Come on. Lets get out of here. I know this great place out by the lake. We can check out...the journal. The view is really breathtaking. I think you'll like it."

"I'm sure to, Janice." She dug her shakey hands back into her purse and brought out the journal. Funny how its importance seemed to have dwindled, just within the past thirty-six hours.

"Look Melinda. I guess you know how I feel. I want you so bad I can taste it. I know you wanna wait...for the right time. I need to be alone with you, alright? I won't...well, try anything you don't want. Okay?"

She clenched the muscles in her jaw tightly. "If you knew how hard it was for me NOT to kiss you right now...."

"I do know how ya feel, Janice. I guess I need some cuddlin, too. Can we walk to this place or what? I'm just about done in. That plane trip yesterday just about killed me, Janice. I don't even know what time it is, let alone what day. I didn't get as much sleep as I'd have liked to last night, Janice. I was up thinking...about"

Janice mentally kicked her can as hard as she could. She slapped her forehead and a stream of expletives came rushing out.

"Son of a bitch,goddamn,stupid,fuckin,hardass,dumb,unfeeling, moron!" And with that, she hailed a foot taxi and gently settled a very startled Melinda Pappas into it before joining her. Janice tugged her hat down hard on her head and fumed. Her hands clenched and unclenched. She positively seethed! Melinda valiantly tried not to stare at this surprising outburse but only managed to pick up her jaw and snap it closed.

Finally, after about ten minutes, Janice tried to apologize. After a few attempts, she just looked at Melinda with such sorrowful eyes that Melinda did the only thing she could think of. She kissed her. Passionately. Deeply.

Neither one was aware that they were being followed out of town. They only had eyes for each other.

Chapter Seven

Janice Covington yelled for the runner to stop. She helped Melinda out of the buggy and both women dusted themselves off. As Janice was digging deeply in her pants pockets for some change, Melinda opened her purse and took out an American twenty dollar bill.

"I hope this is alright? I don't have any...what do ya call them? Anyway, I hope it's enough." She thrust the crumpled bill into the man's hand and smiled.

The man smiled at both women, showing a decidedly sad collection of neglected teeth. He babbled almost incoherently in Greek and bowed several times.

Janice wore a frown as she watched the ped taxi slowly disappear down the dusty road.

"I coulda paid him, Melinda. You didn't have to do that." She pursed her lips together and avoided Melinda's eyes.

"I'm, I'm sorry, Janice. I didn't think you'd mind." she said, as Janice turned away from her.

She walked over and placed her hands on Janice's upper back. Janice didn't turn around, not trusting her temper. She could take care of herself! No one had to pay her way! She could have come up with something to give that guy.

True, she had almost exhausted her supply of dinars paying for lunch. She didn't want Melinda to know she was almost living hand to mouth. All of her salary from the Museum went into archaeological tools. And information about possible sites dealing with scrolls.

She had become almost obsessed with finding the Xena Scrolls. Her Dad had talked endlessly about them ever since Janice could remember. Other than cigars and booze, Janice didn't have much need for anything else.

She knew the others at the Museum looked upon her as something of a joke. While part of her cared deeply about how she was being perceived, the rest of her knew they could all shove it: she had a genuine nose for finding productive digs. They could laugh all they wanted to, but when the shinola hit the fan, she was the one that always came through. She supposed she was being taken advantage of, not being paid the salary she deserved. She might do something about it, now that had someone she wanted to spend her money on.

Janice placed one of her hands over her shoulder and waited until it was taken up by Melinda. She sighed and turned to face her beautiful companion.

"I'm sorry. I guess I've been something of an inconsiderate asshole today, huh? I know that flight took alot out of ya. It'll probably be at least another day before you start to feel normal again. Hell, you've almost passed out once already. Dragging you all over the place! Geez. I don't know what I was thinking, Melinda. Forgive me?" She brought the woman's hand up to her lips and began placing soft little kisses on it.

Melinda cupped the woman's face and smiled. There was so much to say. Where should she begin?

"I'm the one who should be sorry, Janice. I'm just a silly old weak pampered South Carolinan who thought she could handle some adventure in her life. I've been foolish to think I could. My Daddy always had me surrounded by the best of everything. I went to the best boarding schools, then the best prep school and finally the best finishing school. I never ever had to do anything by myself. On my own. Never had to test how strong I could be. The only thing I ever excelled at was the triathelon. I didn't even have to try hard at that either. It just came natural to me.

I guess I'm just a selfish woman, Janice. I can't help it if I come from a wealthy family. Please let me DO things for ya. I want to help you any way I can. I don't want to live a miserable and worthless life anymore. Can ya understand?"

She looked pleadingly into the eyes of the woman she loved. Yes, loved. With all of her heart and soul. She didn't know why or how it had come about. She had looked for her Knight in Shining Armour all of her life, feeling the need to fulfill the wishes others had for her.

That a knight had actually come into her life was deeply appreciated. When the knight's visor had been lifted and Joan of Arc had peered out at her, it had shaken Melinda to the core. Everything she had ever perceived about herself had to be thrown out the window. She had no form of reference. Nothing in her past had prepared her for how she was feeling right now.

"I...I love you, Janice Covington. I know it's sudden. I also know I can't live without you. I want you the way a man wants a woman. I want to feel you, to smell you, to touch you. All I know for certain, Janice, is that I love you and I'll die if you don't feel the same way." A tear slowly fell from her eye.

Janice felt a lump form in her throat. Everything Melinda had said was a mirror for everything she herself had been feeling. It was almost too good to be true! This woman felt love for her and wanted her. Janice's heart was filled to almost bursting.

"Oh, God but I love you, too! I love you. I love you." She pulled Melinda to her and they both began kissing, mumbling words of love and devotion in amongst short breaths of air.

Neither one noticed the faint sound of a car's motor. Or the door slamming. They did notice the click of a revolver. And Janice certainly noticed it when Melinda's hair was yanked back and the woman was shoved to her knees in the dirt. Yes, she noticed that, alright.

A short, beady-eyed man leaned against the car and snickered. He was a swarthy man of mediteranean heritage and both women recognized him as the maniacal driver they'd seen in the market place at lunch.

The man who held the revolver had eyes of grey steel. He stood almost 6 feet tall, had light brown hair, medium build and moved with the grace of a predator. His jaw was clenched tightly and he seemed to positively ooze venom.

He pulled Melinda's hair back so that she was looking up at him. He darted his gaze over towards Janice and sneered. In a clipped proper British accent, he goaded both women, knowing he held the upper hand.

"I never picked you for being one of those, Miss Pappas. Rather had ideas about you for myself." He poked her cleavage with the barrel of the gun. He ran the revolver down between Melinda's breasts and then trailed it up under her chin. He drew her mouth open with the gun and placed the barrel inside.

Melinda shook with fear and tried very hard not to cry. Tears began falling anyway. Janice looked ready to spring at the man and tear his throat out with her bare hands.

"You have your hands on these, did you? You like this sweet mouth, huh? I've got plans for both of them. Might let you watch, though. Then it'll be your turn. You want to fuck like a man, you've gotta take it like a man. I'm sure that between the two of us men, we can teach you, huh, Dimetrios? You like that?"

He backhanded Melinda with one hand and leveled the gun at Janice with the other. Dimetrios laughed evilly and cupped his genitals through his filthy pants. He opened his mouth and stuck out what was left of a tongue. Janice cringed at the horrible sight.

"Make you want to vomit, doesn't he? Lost his tongue working for the Germans. Guess he talked too much." He laughed and spared the driver a dirty look.

"Now he works for me. I'll have to punish him today. Didn't drive very well at the market place. Did you, Dimetrios? No, you missed them with the fucking car! You worthless piece of shit! Get over here!"

The poor driver shuffled over to where his master stood and looked down at Melinda, cowering in the sand, blood dripping from her cut lip. He fondled himself and made some whimpering sounds, deep in his throat.

"No, no, no. Not yet, my....friend. We'll see about later. Give me your hand!" Before Dimetrios could even form a coherent thought, his hand was being crushed in one of the man's iron fists. He brought the driver's hand before the gun and shot it. The driver screamed piteously, clutching his bleeding hand to his chest.

Janice's eyes went wide with fear. She realized at that moment that she was dealing with one man who was insane and another who was both insane and a ruthless killer. There was no sign, no hint of sanity that Janice could see when she looked into his eyes. Nothing but rage. An all consuming rage that made the veins in his forehead pulse and throb. She knew that unless she did something within the next few minutes, both she and Melinda would be raped and that they would be begging for death long before this man was through with them.

She launched herself at the man, knocking the driver onto Melinda. Melinda grabbed him and pushed his face into the hot sand. She began beating him on the back of the head and shoulders, trying not to cry and scream at the same time. She finally removed one of her shoes and hit him over the head. Hard. He lay still but Melinda continued her assault.

Suddenly noticing the blood on her hands and high heel, Mel dropped her shoe and sat looking dazed.

Janice had her hands full, trying to keep the gun out of her face and the man's other hand out of her eyes. They rolled around, scrapping like two tom cats spitting and clawing at each other. The man's superior strength and size finally came into play and he was soon straddling Janice's stomach, revolver pointing into her face.

"So, you like it rough, eh? I'm gonna make you beg, bitch!" He wiped one hand over his face and it came away with blood. He smirked and wiped it off on the front of Janice's shirt. He then ripped her shirt open and tore at the brassiere before him.

Janice just lay there, biding her time. She slowly got her breathing under control and felt her second wind coming on. She was in great shape and she knew it. All she needed was an opening.

She shot Mel a sideways glance, checking to see she was alright. Mel shook her head to clear it and looked into Janice's eyes. The woman instinctively knew to go along with whatever the archaeologist had in mind.

"Yeah, you're a big man, huh? Make you feel good to beat on two women?" She tried to make him lose control of his temper and make a mistake.

"Oh, don't you worry. Beating on women never made any difference to me. Doesn't make me hot, if that's what you mean. Just a means to an end, bitch. Now, where is that journal?! I'm getting alot of boodle for that and I aim to have it. One way or another. So, make it easy on yourself and cough it up."

Melinda tried to pretend she was unconscious. She stuck the journal under the body of the driver and pushed it deep into the sand. She had to get that horrible man's attention off of Janice. She harboured no illusions as to what their fate would be. She had a wonderful imagination, thank you very much!

She began moaning, holding her head. She peeked through her fingers with one eye and began moaning louder.

"Wakey, wakey, Miss Pappas! If you know what's good for your friend, you'll get her to tell me where that damned journal is. Now!"

When an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, he pistol wiped Janice and stood up. Thinking he'd knocked the woman out, he turned his back on Janice and slowly made his way over to where Melinda lay. He kicked her with his boot. He reached down and began pawing at her breasts. Getting no reaction, he snarled and slapped her hard across the face.

He was just pulling his foot back to administer another painful blow when he has jumped from behind. The air was knocked out of his lungs and he dropped the gun. Janice was filled with a rage that made her vision cloud over with red. Watching him manhandle her sweet Melinda made something snap in Janice.

It was as if she could see herself at one end of a very long, dark tunnel. The noise of pure rage roared in her ears. Suddenly, she was surrounded with a bright light and watched in horror as she saw a young teenager trying to fend off the amorous advances of a dig member. She wanted to shout, to pummel the man, to save this small and defenseless girl but her feet were rooted to the ground. She was helpless herself.

A moan escaped her lips as she saw the leer on the man's face as he forced the girl down in the dirt. She didn't want to watch! Tried to turn her head away! She wasn't sure how she knew, but somehow she had seen it all before. How? When?

Silent tears streamed down her face as she watched the girl being forced to perform oral sex on the monster before her. She wanted to wail at the world! Punish them for allowing this despicable man to perpetrate such horrors upon one so innocent.

Finally, as the man finished raping the young girl, he pushed himself off and Janice noticed the blood and the look on her face. The look of self loathing, and broken spirit seemed to rend the archaeologists heart! Why was she seeing this? Why was she delegated to being a bystander when she could help?! It wasn't fair! She should have stopped him! Should have been strong enough to push him away and call out for help!

Janice saw the scene before her change. It was after the incident. The girl hadn't told anyone, had just kept it to herself, hoping to heal quickly without notice. Her attitude changed and she became more aggressive but withdrawn with her feelings. She adapted a swagger and began building body muscle. No one would ever take advantage of her again.

Janice was glad that the girl had become a survivor but she was saddened by the change in the girls outlook on life. So many dreams lost. She had built a solid wall, brick by brick, to keep every emotion in and everything else out.

Suddenly, the air around her was charged with electricity and her vision cleared. She saw him attacking someone else! Saw him pawing at another defenseless woman! She was determined NOT to let it happen again! She wouldn't let it!

She roared into his face as her hands found purchase around his throat. He frantically tried to beat the woman off, raining blow after blow on Janice's face and chest. Janice's shirt and brassiere lay in tatters around her elbows as she lay over him. To a casual observer, it was almost like the embrace of a lover. One glance at the man's purpling face would negate that idea immediately.

The man reached up and tried to force her head to the side. She countered with a well placed knee to the groin. He gasped in pain and surprise. Janice never once relinquished her hold on his throat. She raised her knee again and felt all of the strength leave the body beneath her.

She didn't hear Melinda come beside her. Didn't feel the woman's hands take hold of her shoulders and try to wrench her away from her prey. She had only one thing on her mind and that was to slowly choke out the life of the man who would have raped and tortured her Melinda! She settled her mind on doing just that.

Melinda saw the look of pure hate on Janice's face. It scared her to see the woman's face twisted with hatred and malice. She knew what Janice wanted to do. She knew she had to stop it. Somehow. She had to make Janice hear her, know that she understood and wouldn't judge her.

Janice was suddently aware of a voice, far away, speaking directly into her ear. It was a soft voice, full of love and understanding. It tickled her ear. It held a promise of forgiveness. She felt the strength slowly leaving her shoulders, her forearms and finally her hands. She became aware of someone draping themselves over her, holding her close. Her vision began to clear and a weak moan escaped her lips.

Melinda positioned herself to the side of Janice and began kissing her cheek and neck. She rubbed the woman's shoulders and pushed Janice's sweaty hair out of her face. All the while, she was crooning soft words of love and comfort.

Melinda slowly brought her hands down around those of Janice's and carefully pried them off the bruised and bleeding throat of their assailant.

"Come on now, Janice. It's over. It's all over, now. You've won. You've saved us. Come back to me, Janice. I need you so much. Don't leave me now."

Janice looked over at her friend as if just waking from a dream. She looked down at her hands, tightly interwoven with those of Melinda's. She looked at the man beneath her in horror. As if watching the whole episode at a theatre, Janice saw what she had almost done. That she was capable of such violence wasn't a surprise. That she could kill someone in cold blood in front of someone she loved was.

The images of the girl she'd seen being brutalized and raped came rushing back into her consciousness. It hit her like a ten ton load! The was something familiar about that girl. She'd looked like... .like ME!!

Janice swayed and grabbed onto Melinda as the truth hit her - hard. She couldn't hide from it anymore. It had ruined every relationship she had ever tried to have. She would have to get over it if she wanted a life with Melinda Pappas. And right now, that was the most important thing in her life.

She stood up shakily, sweat pouring off her in rivers. She absently pulled the remains of her clothing off and let them fall to the ground. Melinda placed her two hands on the woman's waist and slowly stood up beside her. She took Janice in a full, warm embrace, hugging her until it hurt.

Soon both women were holding each other and sobbing uncontrollably. Heavy sobs wracked Janice's body, the enormity of their whole situation falling squarely on her broad, but non-the-less very human shoulders. She wept hot angry tears. Tears of humilation and of an innocence lost.

"Melinda, I gotta tell you something. Its not...gonna be easy. I....just need..." Janice sobbed uncontrollably and clutched Melinda closer to her.

Melinda's heart broke. What could have reduced this strong and vibrant woman to this kind of misery? What ever it was, they'd get through it, they'd weather the storms together.

"Janice, please, you're scarin me. What's wrong? Come on, love. You know you can tell me anything. Right? Come on, sugar. It can't be as bad as all that, now, can it?" She tipped Janice's chin up and gave it a little chuck. She smiled reassuringly and gave the woman a little hug.

Janice sat heavily in the dirt. She ran a filthy hand through her hair and scrubbed her face once, and then once again. Where to start?

"When I was fifteen, my Dad and I were working on a dig in China. There were quite a few problems with the diggers understanding any English. Dad, well, he tried to get me to mingle with them, get the Chinese workers to feel more comfortable around us foreigners. I was always a quick study when it came to picking up languages. I thought it was a good idea, too." She paused and then went on.

"Well, I guess some of the workers we brought from the good ole US of A didn't like the idea of a young white girl mixin with the yellow heathens. There was this one guy, I don't even remember his name, he was, well, really persistant in telling me what devils those workers were. He kept at me, tried to turn my mind against what I knew was right. He tried to get some of em thrown off the dig. He was tryin to isolate me, Mel, get me to depend on him for my very thoughts.

I was a real impressionable teenager, okay? My Dad was always busy, always putting a dig before me. I knew he loved me, I could see it every time he looked into my eyes." She wiped her hand across her runny nose and angrily smeared the tears off her face.

"One night the guy told me he had proof that the Chinese workers were committin terrible crimes. They were having human sacrifices and wanted me to be next. Part of me didn't believe a word of it, Mel. Another part wanted to believe that this guy, this man who was my own father's age, wouldn't lie to me. That he was telling the truth.

I went with him behind one of the temples, him all excited about what he'd found." She laughed depreciatingly. "Yeah, what he found was a stupid young girl and he raped her. He raped me! He made things, Mel. He hit me, he put my mouth! He made me wanna die! He took my very soul, Mel! He made me hate myself. Made me doubt myself. My relationship with my Dad...was never quite the same. If this man had lied to me, wouldn't my Dad do the same thing? Could I trust anyone ever again?

Hot tears ran down both womens' faces and Melinda hugged her friend tightly. She felt her heart breaking. Why couldn't she have been there? She went on some digs with her own Daddy. Why hadn't their paths crossed before? It just wasn't fair!!

"I became so hard and unemotional - not trusting anyone, least of all myself. I threw myself into work. Didn't care where I lived, whether I ate well or not. Shit, I..took anyone to bed. I wanted to know if I could feel anything. If someone could really love me. What a laugh! They tried, they honestly did. But I didn't find what I wanted. It was just mindless sex. That's all it was, Mel. Fucking. I felt nothing. I felt....hollow.

Janice angrily wiped at her tears and pushed Melinda away from her. She looked deeply in the woman's eyes, as if the answers to her torment could be found there.

"After starting every day off with a blistering hangover, things just seemed to gather steam. My life was just getting out of control, like some mindless beast, taking me deeper and deeper into an alcoholic haze. I didn't mean to snap at you when we first met. I..I could feel something between us even then."

Mel nodded with understanding. She'd felt it, too.

"Being somewhat of a control freak, I found it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that my life was out of control. Literally. I didn't like the feeling. Not at all. Then I met you. You...saved me, Melinda. You...loved me. ME! Someone who couldn't even love herself."

She barked a mean laugh, leaning her elbows on her crossed knees. She hung her head low and sniffed. The sand beneath her was wet with tears.

She looked hesitantly up into Melinda's tear-stained face and saw with amazement, the look of total acceptance, of love. How could she be so lucky to have this woman in her life?

Melinda's face was wreathed in smiles. She was crying and laughing at the same time. She slowly brought her lips down on those of her friend for a reassuring kiss and gently began massaging Janice's back and shoulders.

"Janice. I'm so sorry that had to happen to you. I wish I could make it all disappear - to never have happened at all. I can't. All I can say is I love you, Janice. I love the you you have become. If it took some animal to make you the strong imposing woman I see before me, then in a way, I'd like to thank him. He gave you strength, Janice. He made you the person you are today. And I happen to love that person. With all of her warts!"

Janice laughed and wiped her face again.

"Gee. I never looked at it like that before. I guess...I have done a lot of things anybody else wouldn't have even tried. I've always my work, in my life. I never thought much about what I had gained, only what I'd lost. But I can get over this, Melinda. I finally admitted the whole thing to myself when I saw that bastard attacking you. I wanted him! To make him pay for hurting me, for hurting you! He became the same guy who raped me. I wanted to fight him and win, Mel, like I couldn't do before."

"I saw the look on your face. I knew what you wanted to do to I couldn't let you, don't you see? I'd have lost you for sure, Janice. I just know it! You'd never have come back to me whole. I was so scared!" She sniffed and brought her sleeve up to her nose.

"I'm a mess! Just look at me! My blouse is ruined, my skirt is ripped, my nylons! Well, they are just in tatters!" The enormity of what just about happened to them hit her and she broke down and cried. Janice held her close and hugged her tight. Melinda's hands went around her friend and rubbed her back. The fact that her friend had no brassiere straps suddenly dawned on Melinda and her face went crimson. She suddenly noticed that her hands were sticky with drying blood. A strangled look came over her face and she thought she would pass out.

Janice saw the look on the woman's face. She carefully lowered her to the ground and went looking for her hat. The driver began moaning, trying to regain consciousness. Janice slowly sauntered over to where the man lay and grabbed him by the hair. She then administered a lovely right cross to the man's temple. He was out cold. Good thing as she was losing whatever patience she had with the two of them.

She dragged him over to where the other man lay. She found some rope in their car and proceeded to tie both men securely.

On her way back to the car, she noticed part of the journal sticking out of the sand. She retreived it and began looking for her hat.

She finally located her fedora and quickly made her way back to her friend. She began fanning the woman, brushing her hair from her face. She decided to loosen some of Melinda's clothing. The swell of the woman's breasts made her hands tremble. Then she noticed Melinda's bloody hands. She searched for the woman's hanky and ran down to the edge of the water.

After she had cleaned the woman up Melinda's eyes fluttered open and she smiled weakly up at her heroine. She slowly captured one of Janice's hands and brought it to her lips.

"You do that well, you know? Kiss, I mean. Those lips were just made for kissing." Janice leaned over and proceeded to take advantage of another private demonstration in the art of kissing.

"Can you get up, Mel? Look, there is a lean-to near the lake. It's just a bit further. Come on, now. You can do it. Upsie daisie!" She hauled her friend up and wrapped her arm around Melinda's waist. The southerner walked crookedly until she lost her other high heel. Things seemed to go a bit better from then on.

Soon they were greeted by a nice cool breeze. Janice lowered Melinda down onto the scrub grass under the lean to and headed towards the water. She dipped her hat into it and brought it back. One look at the water and Melinda had her hands grabbing for the hat. She splashed the contents onto her hot and sweaty face and chest, sighing with relief. Janice went back twice more before the colour began to come back into Melinda's face.

Janice arched an eyebrow and smirked at her reclining friend. She looks magnificent when she's wet, she thought. A strange feeling of deja vu washed over her.

"Why Janice Covington! You look like a goose just walked over your grave. Whatever are you gawkin at?"

Janice shook off the strange feeling. "Ah, well, see, its like this. You're soaked. Um, your blouse is...well, I can see"

"And that is cause for smirkin, is it? I wouldn't be smirkin too much, Janice Covington. After all, I am wearing a blouse whereas you, well, you aren't wearing anything above your waist." Melinda sat primly, trying to pull her clothes neatly around her.

Janice threw herself down in the grass beside Melinda and started to laugh. It started slowly but soon was almost on the verge of hysterics. Melinda knew it for the stress release mechanism it was. She was glad. It had been quite a scary sight: seeing Janice strangling the life out of some worthless snake. My, she thought, just thinkin 'bout him makes me wish I'd have laid my hands on him, too! Put his hands on my Janice!? I don't think so!

Janice noticed the haughty look come into Melinda's face and drew her head back. What had she done? Did Melinda think she was laughing at her?

"Melinda, I'm not laughing at you. I would never do that. Never. I wouldn't hurt you for...anything."

Melinda noticed an insecure expression come into Janice's face. Her mind also registered that Janice's nipples were getting....hard. She tried hard not to stare, really she did. She gulped once and found absolutely no saliva was to be found in her mouth. She tried again and succeeded in swallowing a bit of the lump that was forming in the back of her throat.

Janice's forehead scrunched at the sight. Did she have a spider on her, or something? She brought her hand up and brushed absently at her chest. This made Melinda's eyes open even wider! Then it dawned on Janice: she was being ogled by Melinda. The look she was misinterpretting was desire!

"You like my breasts, Melinda? I like yours, too. It's okay. I don't mind if you want to look at them. Hell, the last person who'd even seen my breasts, let alone touch them, was the guy I told you about. Went by the name of Indiana Jones. Nice guy, terrible lay. I mean, I guess he was an okay lover. Hey, what do I know? He didn't make me, you know, have an orgasm."

She paused, and then feeling rather bold, took Melinda's hand and placed it on one of her breasts.

"Don't you dare faint on me, Mel! I have alot planned for tonight and I will not be doing it alone! So, pack it up already. Right?"

Melinda smiled weakly and wiped her forehead with her other hand. She eased herself closer to Janice and silently asked permission to peruse the flesh before her.

"Sure! Go ahead. I'm not goin anywhere. But just remember, I get my turn, too."

Melinda's hand stroked every piece of bared flesh before her, noticing how Janice's breathing changed when she applied some pressure to the tips of her nipples.

"I don't know what I'm doing, Janice. I feel...strange. But I feel good, too. I..I think I'm a little bit scared."

"I'm gonna kiss you, Mel. You're driving"

Melinda found her mouth smothered by her soon -to -be lover's. Her hands seemed to move all by themselves, bringing a moan from both women. Janice reached up slowly and pulled down Melinda's brassiere straps. Her blouse soon followed. Although Melinda was loathed to stop her handywork, she quickly saw the benefits in doing so.

"I'm not going to make're not ready for, Mel. I won't ask for anything you aren't willing to give me. Ever. I love you." Mel just slowly nodded and she smiled.

Janice eased the catch off at the back of the brassiere and soon Melinda's beautiful breasts were freed from their confinement. Covington had never felt anything so soft, so inviting. She didn't want to scare Melinda off, but she had to touch the inviting flesh before her. After bringing her shaking hands up a couple of times, she found them covered by Melinda's as she placed them both on her own breasts.

"If your gonna touch them, Janice, touch them. But don't tease me. I don't think I could stand it right now, in the state I'm in." She elicited another moan from Janice as she drew in the woman's lower lip. Melinda captured the woman's tongue and slowly sucked it into her mouth.

Janice slowly lowered Melinda down onto the grass and began thrusting her tongue in and out of the woman's wanton mouth. She then trailed soft kisses from her mouth down to the swell of her breasts. She paused once, and seeing Melinda's head thrown back in passion's embrace, pressed her lips to one nipple, glorifying in its shape and texture.

"I don't know what your're doing, Janice but I am lovin every minute of it! Oh, my! It feels so good."

Janice slowly pulled at the woman's nipple, drawing it deeply into her hot mouth and then releasing it, only to begin again. Melinda felt a pulling at her very core, causing her hips to slowly rock.

She wove her fingers through the blond tresses and arched into Janice's hot mouth.

"Oh God!" she said, as she felt a hot tongue caressing her nipple. Her pleasure increased as she felt fingers starting to pull at her other nipple. They massaged and kneaded her willing flesh as Janice made love to her breasts.

Janice was laying fully on top of her lover and was subconsciously thrusting her hips into Melinda's pelvis. One leg naturally came between Melinda's and the contact felt wonderful. Melinda saw lights in front of her eyes. She grabbed Janice's buttocks and pulled the woman's knee hard against her pubic bone.

Melinda immersed herself in the emotions that washed over her. The two moved in tandem, both panting with exertion.

"Oh God, oh God, ooooh God!" Melinda moaned as she felt the earth fall out from beneath her. Wave after wave of ecstasy washed over her as she clutched Janice's face to her. She kissed her long and hard, trying to show Janice just how much she loved her, how happy she had just made her.

"I never so....intense!" She punctuated each other word with a deep kiss.

Janice looked lovingly into Melinda's face. "I love you so much. I hope you are as happy as I am, Mel, because right now, I am fuckin ecstatic!"

She rolled over onto her back, bringing a very surprised southerner with her. Melinda placed one hand on her lover's breast, enjoying the effect it was having on the woman.

"Can I...I mean, do you mind...if I......?" Melinda trailed off, looking rather embarrassed.

Janice held one of her breasts up, offering it to Melinda. "Touch me, Mel. Put your mouth on me. I need to feel you."

Without further ado, Melinda Pappas, prim and proper upper class southerner, swooped down and lavished her full attention on the breasts before her.

Janice arched her back in response, moaning and grabbing handfuls of the grass beneath them. Her breath came in raggedly. She needed to feel Melinda moving within her and she needed it NOW! She dragged one of her lover's hands down under the waistband of her pants and into her underwear.

Melinda gasped as her hand was enveloped in a hot, wet furnace. She stopped sucking on Janice's nipples and looked into her lover's eyes. Melinda's eyes were wide with wonder. It all felt so right, so perfectly right. Even in her most vivid fantasies she had never dared to hope that their first time would feel so wonderful.

Janice began pressing Melinda's hand against her clitoris. Her legs fell open and she held her breath. She let it out as a low moan as she felt a finger push its way threw the outer folds of her sex.

Melinda unzipped her lover's pants and tried to pull the pants down to the woman's knees. She was in a quandary: she was NOT going to remove her one hand from Janice but she needed both hands to get the woman's pants down.

Just when her frustration level had risen alarmingly, Janice swore and yanked her own pants down. She lay back, propping herself up with her elbows. She began thrusting her pelvis forward, silently urging Melinda on with her exploration.

Melinda couldn't find the words to describe what she was feeling. Never had she felt such softness, such liquid fire. Soon her finger was slick and she watched with wonder as it eased in and out of Janice's vagina.

She slowly inserted another finger and Janice's hips rose off the ground. Jan grunted and threw her head back as Melinda increased her thrusts.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah. Oooh, faster....harder....yeah, like that...." Janice moaned.

Melinda didn't know why but she suddenly had an urge to taste Janice. To put her mouth...down there.

Janice's eyes flew open as she felt the hot mouth envelop her clitoris. She looked down and their eyes locked. They both felt an overwhelming sense of coming home. A strong sense of deja vu washed over them both and they embraced the feelings totally.

Janice felt as if she were flying. She had never felt so good, so happy than right now. She had to re-evaluate that feeling as the muscles in her abdomen began to shudder and the walls of her vagina started to contract.

She threw her head back and bellowed out her release. Melinda, not knowing when to stop, kept pumping, kept sucking and licking for all she was worth.

Another wave of ecstasy washed over Janice, making her see stars. Her throat was dry and hoarse from her first orgasm but she still managed a scream as she came again.

As she collapsed onto the grass, she made a feeble attempt at making her lover stop. Melinda was enjoying her new found skills too much for that. She withdrew her fingers and plunged her tongue deep into Janice. She pushed her lover's knees up and positioned her hands over the woman's breasts, kneading them, pulling at the nipples.

Janice was breathless. She needed...oxygen! She wanted Melinda to stop....don't stop! Don't stop!! her mind screamed at her as yet another wave of orgasm began building.

Just as she was reaching its pinnacle and falling down the other side, Janice's world fell away and her eyes rolled up into her head.

As Janice fainted, Melinda looked up in surprise. She sat up and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. My, she thought. Did I do that? And I was the one who was gonna swoon!

She caressed Janice's cheek and made herself comfortable beside her in the shade. She brought her clothing to the water and rinsed it as best she could, then hung them on branches to dry.

She noticed the journal and began reading it from cover to cover. There were entries she'd missed, sentences that started to make more sense, the second time around. A smile began playing at the corners of her lips and soon she was grinning with new insight as to who was behind it all.

Chapter Eight

It was early evening when Janice rolled over and opened her eyes. She looked up and tried to focus on the olive tree above her. Her vision cleared as Melinda's beautiful face leaned over her and smiled.

"Well, sleepy head. You done takin your nap? Musta worn you out, huh?"

"What? No, no. I guess I was a little tired, that's all." Janice started feeling quite defensive as the truth of what had really happened struck her like a two-by-four. It all came rushing back to her. They had made love! Glorious love! She had brought the woman she loved to absolute ecstasy. She swallowed deeply. Melinda had brought her to orgasm...three times? THREE FUCKIN TIMES!!!

"Melinda! made me pass out? From making love to me?!'re wonderful!!" She sat up and hugged the woman to her. Melinda's eyes went wide with shock.

"Yes, I guess I did. I may have more skills than I thought I did." She paused and tipped Janice's chin up.

"Why are you laughin and cryin at the same time? Did I hurt you in some way? Was I too forceful in my lovin? Did I...." Her words were cut off as Janice kissed her hard.

"No, no! You did everything right! Don't you see? I'm not an unfeeling bitch! I CAN feel! I've never had an orgasm with anyone else and you made me have THREE?! My God, woman! I'm so happy I could just bust!"

"Oookaay. Then I guess I did something good, huh? Why Janice, I knew ya weren't an ice princess. I knew there was just so much passion locked away in ya. Any fool could see that if "he'd" have looked. I think you were right about this Illinois man. He was a lousy lover, not even givin ya what ya needed. Hmmm. I guess that means I'm better than him, huh? Can't say I've ever been better than a man at anything. Gee, I kinda like this new feeling. Makes me feel strong and....kinda invincible."

"Hey, don't let it go straight to your head. I mean, I still get a rematch, right?" She began unbuttoning some of Melinda's blouse again, giving the woman a knowing smirk. "And his name was Indiana." She leaned over for a kiss but Melinda's hand stopped her.

"Now Janice. Please. Can't you control your passion for just a little minute or two? Now, stop! Please. While you were....sleepin, I took the opportunity to look over the journal again. I think I know who is behind this attack. At least, I think so."

"Geez! Hey, wait here while I go check on those two guys, will ya? Be right back!" Before Melinda could say a word, her companion was off and running. She smiled knowingly. Janice was in for a surpise. Yessiree!

Janice hurried over to where she had tied the men up. They were gone! She spun in circles, trying to locate some evidence of their escape. She found some torn grass and disturbed sand and dirt and followed it over to their car.

There they were, safely ensconced in the back seat, sitting cheek to jowl. How had...Only one answer came to Janice's mind. She tried hard to fathom how one little girl from South Carolina could have dragged around not one but two guys, weighing at least 160 lbs each. Try as she might, she just couldn't do it.

She checked their restraints and after a satisfying yank, peered under the eye lids of both men. Yup, they were still out cold. She then checked the car for any other information and found another revolver and some papers, all wrapped up in some cloth under the dash.

She sat at the wheel and tried to get a handle on where the owners would have hidden anything else.

She checked every nook and cranny and came up with a British passport for one Alan Carmichael. Well, now that part of the puzzle made some sense. An evelope full of US money was also hidden under the front bench seat. She poked it into her back pocket.

"Lets see. Hmmm. Where would I hide a set of keys?"

She jumped as Melinda peered at her from the passenger side.

"Ya all right, sugar? I started to worry after ya didn't come right back. You like my surprise?" A coy smile was Janice's response.

"Just how did you manhandle these two palookas into this car by yerself, Mel? I mean, you're in good shape but, gee, didn't know my girlfriend was an Amazon!"

Melinda blushed deeply, not minding the comparison at all, since it was coming from such gorgeous mouth.

"Amazon, huh? Well, I told ya I was on the triathlon team, didn't I? Well, I WAS supposed to be in the Olympics. Woulda been, too, if it weren't for that nasty Hitler fella. He ruined everything. Mind you, I still like to keep in shape. Keep up my skills, ya know?"

"Oh yeah. And what skills they are! Come here, you!"

She beckoned her into the Desota and greeted her with a very passionate kiss. Melinda reached into the back seat and brought out an old shirt.

"Um, Janice? I don't mind you runnin around without a shirt on but, well, those men are gonna be comin around soon and I really don't like the idea of them ogling you. I wanted to rip that man's eyes out when he was pawin ya like that! Why the unmitigated nerve of the man! Has he no shame? No manners whatsoever? Why, I never!"

Janice reached over and they began smooching. "Now, Melinda, you can't very well say that anymore, can you? I mean, yes you have and believe me, we will again." She snickered and kissed Melinda again. "I've always wanted to 'do it' in a car! Mind you, the back seat would be more comfortable, doncha think?"

Melinda plopped herself closer on the front seat and giggled, somewhat reminiscent of her days at high school. Actually, she felt like she was going on her first date. That part of her life had been woefully neglected and she was determined to make up for lost time. All sorts of risque images played around in her mind, augmenting her fertile imagination. Her pulse quickened just trying to sort through which one to try first.

Janice gave her companion a quizzical look and ran her fingers down Melinda's cheek to her full lips. "Whatcha thinkin 'bout? You regret anything...we did?"

"Why Janice Covington! The only thing I regret is not doin it sooner. Plus the fact that we've got some unwanted chaperones with us. My goodness, woman. I have all sorts of plans for us. For the very near future, in fact."

"You kinda had this weird look on yer face, so I sort a..." She was silenced with a kiss.

Melinda pulled out her father's journal and read a few passages.

"Now look here, Jan. Ya don't mind me calling you that, do you? Good. Well, this here entry talks about some sort of run in with someone at the Museum here in Greece. Someone with the initials "J.C.". Do ya have...."

She was interrupted with a gasp from Janice. Her hands gripped the steering wheel and her knuckles turned white.

She grabbed the shirt Melinda had given her and hastily put it on.

"Come on, sweetie. We've got an appointment. And we're just about too late as it is."

She rummaged around under the dash, behind the stuff in the glove compartment and then finally, she checked under the visor. Yup, the keys were there.

The car started right off the bat and the two women sped back to the city of Argos as Janice explained her suspicions to her partner.

Janice dragged 'Alan' along the side of the building, using his own revolver as an incentive to be a good boy. She had bound and gagged both men even tighter before they could wake up. She pushed the driver into the trunk of the Desota and locked the car up.

She had no delusions as to what this 'Alan' would do to them, should he break free. They quietly made their way to the museum, pausing just outside the curator's door. It sounded like the good Professor Ingersol was 'entertaining'. Both women smirked at the muffled sounds.

Alan Carmichael cursed the day he'd ever gotten into business with his sister. He'd wanted to get out long before this. He figured all he had to do was knock off two old fellows, steal a journal and he'd be rolling in the money they'd get from selling some scrolls. It amazed him just what fools would pay good money for. Dumb scrolls!

And these two damned women! He couldn't get over it. Overpowered by two undermuscled females! And perverts at that! It had made his stomach turn when he first came upon them...kissing. One was fondling the other. That should have been me doing that, he thought. That short bitch had no right to put her hands anywhere near Miss Pappas. After all, he had spent the whole long trip cultivating her, pumping her for information and priming her for some fun afterwards. It just wasn't fair!

Janice twisted the man's arm when he stopped and glared at her. She poked him hard with the barrel. His cold dead eyes made her wish she'd gotten rid of him for good and buried the body down by the river. Mel wouldn't have understood that, though. She was much too tenderhearted for that. Janice knew they both had differing viewpoints on letting the punishment fit the crime.

Covington kicked open the door and dragged her captive in behind her. Melinda brought up the rear. She wouldn't touch the other gun so Janice had it tucked into the back of her pants.

All three sets of eyes took in the scene before them. The two women were naked. Trudie Ingersoll was lying on her back while Judith pumped into her with something she had strapped to her waist. Their tongues were intertwined and both sets of hands were very busy. They both looked up in surprise, Trudie letting out a yelp when she recognized who it was.

"Why, Janice. Ah, are you doing here at this time of night?" She tried to blazen her way out of her current predicament, trying to salvage whatever dignity she had left. It was a losing cause, given the fact that Judith had continued her thrusting, never breaking rhythm for a moment.

Janice threw Alan down onto a nearby chair and positioned Melinda behind him. She brought the revolver up and scratched the end of her chin with the barrel.

"Ya know, Trudie? I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I think I've been putting way too much overtime in at work. Don't you? Mind you, my time has been spent productively and for the museum, while your overtime has been, working over a hot secretary, shall we say?"

She motioned with the revolver and an audible squishing noise was heard as Judith withdrew from her lover. She glared over at Janice and then pierced her brother's eyes with a deadly look.

"I see you can't do anything right, Alan." She removed the strap-on. "A simple 'accident' was supposed to happen to these two. You managed to fuck that up nicely, didn't you. Let two flimsy women get the better of you? Well, you know what they say: never send a man in to do a job when a woman can do it better."

Alan's face went beet red and he struggled with his restraints. Melinda pushed down on his shoulders and gripped them hard. The man winced with pain and stopped struggling.

"You are gonna tell me what the hell's going on right now, lady. I use the term lightly in your case, by the way. We have the journal so don't bother trying to lie about killing my father and Dr. Pappas. We know you were stealing artifacts from their sites. Who was the fence? You'd better answer me or you're gonna find I am nobody to fuck with." Janice's face contorted into an evil sneer. It gave Melinda goose bumps just watching her lover in action.

Janice picked up the phone and rang up the local police station. Having spent quite a few nights in jail sleeping off a bender, she was well acquainted with the Captain.

She kept the revolver pointed at Judith Carmichael and threw the women their clothes.

As she hung up the phone, she casually mentioned they'd be entertaining some more guests any time now.

Judith's eyes never left those of her brother's. She was starting to look quite unbalanced.

Professor Ingersol watched the whole horrid mess unfold before her with absolute shock. She'd been used! She had trusted this woman, had shared intimacies and words of love. Was it all a lie?!

After she got dressed she turned to her secretary with a hard look in her eye.

"You made that bet with me over Janice just to get her out of the way. Didn't you? Answer me!"

Trudie slapped the woman, hard.

"How could you? Why? I thought you...loved me. Did you lie about that, too?!"

Judith hung her head with shame. Her brother looked on with disgust.

"I'm sorry, Trudie. I meant every word of the things I said to you. I do love you. I'm sorry I used you. I suspect I love wealth and power more. I would have said goodbye before leaving you. Really. We were supposed to have this little job all wrapped up by the end of the month. I tried not to hurt you. No one would have been the wiser and I would have been a very rich woman."

Trudie slapped the woman again and ran into the bathroom crying.

Melinda felt very badly for the Curator. After all, she had given her heart to someone and had it stomped on by an uncaring and devious woman. Betrayal was something Melinda Pappas could just not abide.

She gave Janice a look and followed Trudie into the bathroom.

Janice motioned for the secretary to grab a seat. She wasn't going anywhere until the police arrived.

Alan had finally pushed the gag from his mouth and was screaming abuse at his sister. The louder and more descriptive his assault became, the quieter Judith got.

"I am no pervert, Alan! I can't help the way I feel anymore than you can help being a total asshole! Now do shut up!"

Alan lurched to his feet and launched himself at the woman. Janice was so surprised at their outbursts that she was taken totally off guard.

She ducked her gun as Alan tried to wriggle out of the ropes around his wrists. The two combatants clawed and snapped at each other, neither one managing to get a firm hold on the neck of the other.

Just as Alan managed to free one hand, Judith snaked her hand down to her garter belt and withdrew a stiletto. She plunged it deep in the man's side several times.

As he lay limp on top of her, she pushed her way up and took a few menacing steps towards Janice.

"You don't want to do that, Judith. Trust me. You don't want to get me mad. Just take a look at the neck on your brother. I did that and I wasn't even carrying at the time. So don'!"

Judith Carmichael decided she had nothing to lose. She knew what the Greek government did to people who stole their priceless artifacts. And she'd done such a good job of it, too. She had amassed quite a fortune. Too bad she'd had to secret it under the upholstery of her car. She loved her Desota and had had it shipped from her home in Chicago as soon as she had put enough money away. Now all that meant nothing if she couldn't get past the little bitch before her. Being almost six feet in height and weighing in at 160, she was sure she could take her easily, gun or no gun. She was determined to try.

Just as Judith was getting that look to her eye and Janice was bringing up the barrel of her gun, both were startled as a figure streaked by them.

Melinda had caught only the last part of Janice's comment and had watched in horror as such rage had played across the face of Judith. She was in motion before she was even aware of her own intent.

Judith was knocked backwards and both she and Melinda fought for any sort of leverage. Melinda had removed her jacket while in the bathroom with Trudie and had rolled her sleeves up because of the heat.

Her nice silk blouse was now ripped at the seams and her skirt was slit up the side as Judith tried in vain to use her stiletto any way she could.

Janice felt so helpless. She couldn't get off a clear shot without hitting Mel. She wiped her forehead and threw her fedora down in disgust as sweat ran into her eyes. Just one little opening. Just one!

As she watched in horror, Judith flipped the southerner over and pressed her lower body between Melinda's legs. Both women had their hands wrapped around the knife and were grunting with the effort.

Janice watched with fascination as Melinda's biceps bulged and split what was left of her silk shirt. Melinda's eyes had gone a frosty cerulean blue. The woman pulsed with strength and power.

My God, thought Janice. The woman was a veritable Goddess!

Judith laughed as she inched the blade ever closer to Melinda's right eye. The veins stood out in her neck and her face was beginning to purple with the strain.

Just as Judith was leaning over her blade, Melinda let one arm go and held both of the woman's wrists above her face. She smiled and Judith felt in her very bones that this was one very deceptively dangerous person. She gulped and tried harder to free one of her hands.

With the strength she didn't know she possessed, Melinda pushed the woman forward into a kneeling position and sat up. Never once did her eyes leave those of Judith's.

Janice's mouth was as open as it could ever be. The revolver dangled in her hand by her side, all but forgotten. Melinda was...magnificent!

"Now, see here, Judith. You are not gonna win. Don't show me any more disrespect and I might not thrash the livin daylights out of ya."

All the strength in Judith's body simply up and left her at that moment. Seeing her supposed prey so calm and icy was very unnerving. Making this woman NOT MAD was paramount in her mind at that very moment.

Melinda quietly and expertly disarmed the woman and dragged them both to their feet. She picked the stiletto up by the blade and threw it at the door just as two uniformed policemen came through the entrance.

A strangled cry emitted from Judith's throat and she fell to her knees and sobbed. Janice went over to her friend and explained to him what had been going on. Apparently, he was running a case on stolen antiquities and was sure they had the ring leaders in that very room.

Melinda waited until Janice was through with her briefing. She caught the woman's eye and motioned to the bathroom. Trudie stood by the door, a broken woman. Both women could see that the Curator was still deeply in love with Judith Carmichael. Tears streamed down the woman's face and she slowly made her way over to where Judith crouched. Trudie lifted the woman's face and they fell into each others arms. For them, nothing would ever be the same again. Perhaps they would make their way back to each other. Trudie was determined to try.

Janice looked at Melinda and they both prepared themselves for a lengthy stay at police headquarters, filling out their statements.

It had been along day and was looking like an even longer night awaited them. Janice fetched Melinda's jacket and they both watched as the two women were taken away. Neither spared Alan Carmichael's body a second glance.

"Oh, geez! Hey Charalambous! I've got another one for ya. He's tied up in the back of my car. Hey, catch! Just remember to give the keys back, okay?"

She turned and went back to join Melinda at the museum's entrance. Melinda's eyes had lost their strange intense blue colour. She looked tired and Janice decided on the spot to some how fanegle their way out of their 'debriefing' at police headquarters.

She reached up and gave her lover a quick kiss. "Be right back, love."

Some rather colourful Greek phrases were bandied about, turning the surrounding air quite blue. None of the other policemen had ever heard such language coming from their Captain. It seemed the woman could bring out the 'best' in anyone.

Just as Janice was sure she was gonna get her lights punched out, Melinda joined them at the car.

"Um, Captain, sir? I'm just a little ole gal from South Carolina and I've been without sleep for over 48 hours now. My goodness, I haven't even got a hotel room! I've been in such a hurry to help Dr. Covington here with her plan to catch these nasty artifact thieves, that, well, I just don't know......" Her complexion went very pale and her eyes began rolling up into her head. Janice quickly lowered her to the grass and wrapped the woman's jacket around her.

"Ah, geez! Look you asshole! This poor woman has fainted at least four times now! She's been almost run over by a car, attacked by two lunatics who threatened her with rape and torture and now this!?! You know she has connections with the US Consulate? One phone call from her and boy, are you guys in for it!"

Melinda peeked through her long eyelashes as she watched Janice blazen her way through things. My, that woman can sure tell a fib, she thought. I'll have to watch out for that.

Finally the Captain gave in and Janice helped poor Miss Pappas into the car. Just as Janice was getting behind the wheel, Charalambous reached over and shoved a piece of paper into her hand. She nodded curtly and they drove off.

They were a few minutes down the road when Janice opened the note. Inside was the address of a good hotel in the better part of the city. As she poked the paper into her back pocket, Janice felt the wad of money and grinned.

Janice whooped and hollared, scaring a few donkeys that were grazing at the side of the road.

"What is it, Janice? Did they find the other man who was in cahoots with them?"

"No, no. Actually, you remember something about a bed? A big, beautiful, clean bed in particular? Well, sweetie, you got it. That performance shoulda got you nominated for an Academy Award! You were fuckin fantastic, woman!!" She reached over and kissed Melinda passionately, almost driving into the ditch.

"Oh, Janice! You are a hopeless romantic. You've gotta let me get a bite to eat first. And a nice long bath. I feel like a camel ran over me!"

"Nah. Camels leave bumps and broken bones. Here, see this scar on my right shoulder? Hey, can I help it if some guy pushed me in front of a herd of the beasties? Now that is story worth telling, believe you me!"

Melinda just looked at Janice, not knowing whether to believe her or not. She was beginning to understand that anyone who underestimated this vibtrant woman, did so at their own peril.

Chapter Nine

It was way past midnight when they got to the other side of Argos - the resort side. The night was clear and the moon was full. After taking the night clerk aside and flashing some money, both women slowly ascended the stairs to their room. Janice opened the door and groaned.

There were two double beds in the room. A nice bath in the corner, but two beds. She turned around to go back down for a different room when Melinda stopped her.

"Never mind, darlin. I don't care. We'll only be using the one bed anyway. And that nice big bath really makes up for it, don't ya think? Come on. You draw the bath while I see about gettin us somethin from the kitchen."

She turned on her bare feet and strode purposefully out of the room. Janice sighed and plunked herself down on the bed closest to the bath. This wasn't supposed to happen! Can't they get one break? She got up wearily and turned on both taps. Steam rose from the bath and it was all she could do not to just lie back and go to sleep.

Well, maybe she could just lie back for a moment. She looked across at the other bed, wishing it would somehow attach itself to the one she was on.

Janice sat up quickly. "That's it! Fer crying out loud, Covington! Get with it before she gets back!"

Melinda made it to the top stair and made her way to the door of their room. She bumped it with her elbow.

"Janice? It's me, honey. Come on now, open the door, will ya? This tray is gettin heavy."

The door was slowly opened and Melinda was greeted with the site of a lovely full hot bath and the most enormous bed she had ever seen. She put the tray down at the table and turned to ask how Janice had done it. Her mouth fell open as Janice closed the door and came towards her.

She was naked. Just as naked as the day she was born! A blush rose in Melinda's face and she covered her mouth with both hands.

"Oh my. Oh my goodness!"

"Goodness had nothing to do with it." Janice drawled in her great imitation of Mae West. "Why doncha come up and see me some time? Rraar!"

She did a bump and grind as she made her way towards Melinda and for once, the southerner was left speechless. What could she say?

Janice drew her face down for a deep kiss, pressing her body against Melinda's and thrusting her pelvis forward.

Melinda moaned and wrapped her arms around her vivacious friend. As the kisses deepened, both women were aware that if they didn't stop now, they weren't going to eat or wash off the days' grime.

They broke apart reluctantly and went hand in hand towards the huge bed. Janice proceeded to help her lover off with her clothes, which in turn was cause for more kissing and fondling. Soon, Melinda was naked. She stood rather self-consciously before Janice, trying not to blush and failing miserably.

"My God! Your a...goddam Goddess, Mel! Look at you! No wonder you were picked to be in the Olympics. Look at those biceps! Geez, remind me not to get you mad! Wow!!"

She grabbed Melinda by the elbow and turned the woman a couple of times, checking every inch of bared flesh.

"And not one nick on you. How'd you take that knife away from Carmichael? And you threw it with such prescision, too." She shook her head in wonder.

Melinda just responded with a little shy smile. The phrase 'I have many skills' planted itself in her mind.

She let Janice lead her to the bath and they both sank into its warm embrace. Janice hopped up and retrieved the tray of food and set in on the floor beside the old fashioned clawed bathtub.

"Hey, now we can get both out of the way, right?"

"My word, Janice. You are...incorrigible!"

"Hey, don't forget insatiable, too." She waggled her eyebrows and leered at Melinda.

"Uh huh. And that's why you passed out this afternoon?" Melinda chuckled but gasped as two fingers pressed into her sides.

"Arrgh! Stop it, Janice! Please! I'm...I'm ticklish! Oh please, Janice. I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

"Hey, when you're right, you're right! But, and I do mean but, it aint over til the fat lady sings. And I have it on good authority that she aint singing any time soon. I got a rematch comin to me and then, look out!" And with that, Melinda's mouth was forced open as food was shoveled in.

"I think you're gonna need all of the strength you can muster, woman. I intend on having my way with you - repeatedly. So you'd better eat up."

Neither woman knew just how fast a whole plate could disappear so quickly, but neither complained. They each took turns washing the others' body and hair. When they were finally done, they both rose together and padded over to the fresh towels. Janice bent to her task of drying every inch, every nook and cranny, of Melinda's skin. This prompted more kissing and caressing. By the time it was Janice's turn, both women were in such a fevered state that the bed linen should have caught fire.

Melinda placed her fingers on Janice's hips and gently pushed her down in the middle of the very large, soft bed. Then she turned and shut off the lights. She found two safety candles and lit them, placing them on the night stand. The room was bathed in soft light and shadows.

As Melinda walked towards the bed, Janice watched the play of muscles beneath the olive skin. She propped herself up on her elbows and watched as a predatory look came over her lover's usually demure contenance. A shiver ran up her spine and she held her breath in anticipation.

Melinda voiced a low growl from the back of her throat and crept upon the bed on her hands and knees. She swept her hair back onto her shoulders and a mischievious smile turned up the corners of her mouth.

"I am goin to make you mine, Janice Covington. You will belong to me, body and soul. And I am going to make you scream my name so many times, you will have lost count."

Melinda said this so seriously, so calmly that for a second, Janice felt a tinge of fear. She had seen something like this look when Mel had locked eyes with Judith Carmichael. It was scary. Janice swallowed a few times and cleared her throat.

"Um, Melinda? Ah..."

Her ankles were grabbed and she was pulled down towards a very randy-looking southerner. The smile on Melinda's face changed and she purred, "Gotcha, caughtcha, now I'm gonna eatcha!"

Janice reached down and pulled the woman to her. Their lips met and as the kiss deepened, both women moaned as Melinda lay fully on top of her lover.

"Why do I have the sudden urge to flop around like a fish?" Janice made a funny fish face and her lips were once again smothered by those of Melinda's.

Melinda had never felt charge. She felt strong and capable of carrying the whole sorry world on her shoulders without even breaking a sweat. Janice just seemed to bring out some previously hidden machismo in her. She mentally chuckled at the thought.

She had never considered herself to be anything but a shy and demure woman of fine breeding. Many had held all these attributes against her, for one reason or another. Melinda had never felt at ease within the confines of what others had wanted her to be.

Her mother would forever see her the eternal debutante; a genteel southerner who came from the best South Carolinian stock. It was a hard image to live up to.

Her father, God rest his soul, had seen more in his daughter and had encouraged her to be both physically as well as academically sound. He had always told her that physical prowess was in her genes. She had often queried this but the man had been rather recalcitrant- always telling her that the truth might stunt her growth.

Now she pondered his true meaning. Perhaps the strength and power she was feeling now would have made her egotistical and too proud had she felt it before. She could feel the energy and control flowing through her veins even now, as she looked down at her bard.

Now where the samhill had that come from? And what was a bard?

"Janice," her lips being captured again,"what's", Janice's tongue coming in to play, "a bard?"

Janice removed her tongue from Melinda's sea shell-like ear. "HUH? What's a...what? And why are you asking me this NOW! Could we talk about this later?"

"Oh, Janice. I'm sorry. Forget I asked ya." A funny look passed over Melinda's eyes and then she lowered her mouth to one of Janice's luscious nipples.

Janice ran her fingers through her lover's ebony hair and lost herself in the moment. She was surprised that Melinda was taking the initiative in their love making. She, herself, had always thought she'd be the go getter, the one in charge. Funny how she had no problem giving up control over her body to this magnificent woman. It just felt right. She supposed it was because she trusted Melinda. Completely. Without any reservations.

Melinda began lavishing the same attention on the other nipple and was surprised when Janice flipped them over and gazed down into her eyes.

"I think there was some talk earlier of a rematch?" She chuckled quietly and gave Melinda an evil looking grin.

She forced both her hips between Melinda's legs and, pressing both their bellies together, seductively tongued the woman's two hardening nipples.

Melinda wrapped her legs around Jan's hips and placed her hands on the woman's firm buttocks. She raised her head and looked down at Janice. The sight made her groin clench and she felt her inner thighs slicken.

Janice pressed her lower abdomen firmly against Melinda's pelvis and began rhythmically moving her hips. She threw her head back, getting her hair out of her face, and captured Melinda's lower lip, pulling it into her mouth. She then dragged her own lower lip slowly and seductively up the side of Melinda's face and placed kisses on both of the woman's eyelids.

"I love you, Melinda Pappas. And you have already made me yours, heart, body and soul. Will you entrust me with the same?"

"Oh Lord, Janice. I love you so much! You had all that and more the first time I saw ya. I just didn't know it. I think I was too busy faintin." Melinda stiffled a lazy grin and batted her eyes at her lover.

Janice increased her thrusts and was pleased when Melinda's eyes closed once again and her lover was lost in the throws of passion.

Covington reached down and slowly inserted a finger into the opening of Melinda's vagina. A deep moan greeted her actions.

"Have you ever...been...penetrated before, Mel? I don't want to hurt you."

Melinda opened her eyes and said rather sheepishly, "Uh, well, my hymen was broken during the Olympic trials. I, uh, tripped going over a hurdle. It was kinda painful for a few days, but that's all. So, no I haven't been but I think it'll be alright. Pain-wise, I mean. And Janice? I really wantcha to, so please, penetrate me. I need to feel you...there."

"Why do you always say 'down there'? I mean, didn't your Mom have any pet name for your vagina? She didn't just refer to it as genitals, did she?"

"Um, Janice? Can we talk about this later? I'd really like ya to...."

"Oh yeah. Sorry. Hmm. No pet names, huh? Okay, where was I?"

Melinda grabbed Janice's finger and pressed it deeply within her.

"Ohh, right about there, I think." Mel moaned and felt a slight burning sensation.

Melinda began rocking her hips against both Janice's taut stomach and her probing finger.

"Oh, my. Oh, Lord. Ohhh, Janice! Couldja, couldja, maybe put in another...finger?"

Janice granted the request and moved her thumb over Melinda's clitoris, making small circles.

Both women increased their thrusts and, at times, Janice totally withdrew her fingers before plunging them deeply inside. Janice increased the pressure on Melinda's clit and felt the woman's hands dig into her shoulders.

Looking at Melinda's face lost in passion, Janice quickly brought their mouths together again and probed the woman's mouth with her tongue. She thrust the questing muscle in and out and began pinching one of Melinda's nipples.

Too many sensations assaulted Melinda and she felt overwhelmed by them all. Her hips banged against Janice's hand and her buttocks clenched spasmodically.

Janice felt the woman's stomach muscles ripple and then her fingers were held in a strong grip as wave after wave of orgasm fell on the southerner.

Melinda uttered a strangled cry, her breath caught in her throat. Her body went rigid as her arms pushed Janice away and her legs pulled the woman in.

Janice felt like a rag doll, seeing and feeling Melinda's superior strength in all of its glory.

The tendons stood out in relief on the southerner's neck, her jaw clenched tightly. As the spasms began to lessen, she lowered her buttocks back down onto the bed.

Janice scooted down so that her shoulders were between Melinda's legs. She draped the woman's legs over her shoulders and began to feast on Melinda's nether regions.

She wanted to know all of Melinda - inside and out. She found the scent of her lover definitely to her liking. It was both pungent and sweet. A faint scent of lilacs was noted as Janice licked at the woman's slick inner thighs.

Melinda groaned with the contact, her breath still rapid as she felt the last of her orgasm leave her. The hard tip of her clitoris became ultra sensitive as Janice rubbed it with the flat of her tongue.

Janice slowly licked the full length of her outer lips and then quickly darted her tongue into her opening. She placed her hand under the woman's buttocks and tipped her pelvis up.

As she bent to her task, Janice felt her own core throb and pulse as if filled with molten lava. Moisture slowly dripped down between her legs and she tried to find something hard to rock against. She snaked one of her hands down and rubbed her clitoris.

Suddenly, she felt herself being drawn up and lifted as Melinda reversed her so that she could have access to Janice's vagina. Both women set about ravishing the flesh before them.

Janice took handfuls of the woman's lovely firm globes. She gasped in surprise and delight as Melinda ran her tongue over her anus. Noting the response, Melinda began a rhythmic licking, from clitoris back to anus.

The woman's buttocks bobbed up and down and Janice was finding it difficult to concentrate on her task. She thrust two fingers back into Melinda's sopping vagina and focused her attention on the woman's clit.

Melinda couldn't believe it as another, stronger orgasm began to build within her. She threw her head back and groaned out Janice's name. She wrapped her arms around Janice's middle and held on as wave after wave of impending orgasm gathered speed.

And still Janice would not stop her ministrations. She removed her fingers and lay them against the woman's anus. The puckered flesh throbbed in response and Janice slowly pushed one finger just past the ring of muscle.

"Ah, ah, ah, oh God! Janice, Jaaaaniiiiccceeee!" Melinda's body thrust forward, bringing both of them right off the bed. Her knees locked as her back arched up. Her second orgasm increased in intensity and totally overwhelmed the woman.

And then, suddenly, it was over; Melinda collapsed back down on the bed, her eyes rolling back into her head, arms laying useless by her side.

Janice moved to face her lover and saw that she had indeed fainted. After what Melinda had been through that day, it came as no surprise. Janice gathered the woman into her arms and pulled a sheet over them both.

Covington propped herself up with a cushion and nestled Melinda's head into the crook of her arm. A thought came to mind. What was a bard? Is that what Melinda had asked? She frowned as a memory tried to surface. Something her father had told her. About the Xena Scrolls. Something about a companion.

She reached over to the night stand and brought over the journal, careful not to awaken her lover.

The candles had burned low and a soft glow bathed Janice's profile as she started to read the journal. Her lips moved every so often and she snorted every now and again as she read.

Melinda mumbled incoherantly and then lay still. Janice caressed the woman's cheek, wondering how someone so special could find her as equally engaging.

One of the entries went into some detail and Janice ran her finger down the page. There, right there. In the very strong penmanship Melvin Pappas had written Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle: Bard from Potedeia. Bard. She skimmed down to the end of the page and then saw the descriptions of both women, in detail.

Her eyes widened as she read of the most beautiful blue eyes and hair of the darkest ebony. The physical attributes were listed and they might as well have put a picture of Melinda beside the description.

The bard, this Gabrielle, was described as being of small stature, with blue-green eyes reminiscent of the sea. She had hair the colour of Minoan honey. Although the warrior was described as being very skilled in the ways of battle, the bard was assessed as being a great orator and one who was very practiced in the ways of the staff. Apparently, she'd been something of a moderator with a gift of the gab.

Janice snorted. Well, so we know Melinda is probably one of Xena's ancestors. But me? I don't think so. It kinda sounded like she might be related to the 'orator'. Kinda made her sound rather mouthy. Kinda irritating.

She settled down closer to Melinda's very inviting body and set the journal aside. Lying there in the woman's arms, it felt like home. Everything felt so right. Like their meeting had been preordained somehow. This last thought buzzed around her brain fleetingly as she drifted off to sleep.

Some time during the night, Melinda woke up and found herself being used as a human pillow. She ran her fingers up and down Janice's back and was rewarded with a nuzzle and then a deep kiss. They made slow passionate love until dawn and fell back into an easy sleep, locked in each others' arms.


Greece - 1943

Melinda took a genteel sip of her demitasse and looked over across the table at the woman who had become everything to her. She hooked a finger into the top crease of the newspaper and slowly drew it down until Janice's face was visible.

"Hon, it's just about 8:00 and we're gonna be late if we don't get a move on soon."

Janice mumbled her response and stuck a cheroot between her teeth. The sun beat down on both of them as they sat on the patio of their new home. Just one of the many perks of being the new Curator of the Greek Museum of Antiquities. She'd wanted the job of Director but the head office in Athens had its own ideas on who should fill that spot.

Poor Gertrude Ingersol had been sent home in shame for her part in what was being called "The Grecian Affair". Jan felt badly for the woman as she had only followed her heart. She snorted. Yup, love is certainly blind. Deaf and dumb, too, if Mel and she were any indication.

Judith Carmichael was looking at a hefty stay in one of Greece's better prisons. That is, until she could get herself extradicted back to the States. Janice didn't hold out much hope for that as Judith and her brother Alan had virtually stripped some of the lesser known digs of their treasures and had them all sold on the black market. Heaven only knew where they would end up now. Janice only prayed that none of them were part of the illusive Xena Scroll collection.

It had only taken the prison warden three days to get further information on where their warehouse was and who had been the fence.

No information was ever found as to what she did with the money. Janice had always wondered why the woman had felt the need to have her take care of the Desota. She made that very clear. She was never to sell it and could use it to her heart's desire. She was to keep up its prestine condition and keep it in good running order until Judith was available to pick it up herself. The chances of that were anywhere between slim and none. Short of a prison break, Janice knew that Miss Carmichael was in for the long haul.

She grabbed her fedora and dropped the paper on the table. She was just about to light up her cigar when a warning eyebrow shot up from her partner.

Janice sighed. Giving up her cigars full time was proving a very real challenge. While Melinda knew breaking her of the habit was probably too much to ask for, at least Janice could limit the where's and the how much's. Besides, Melinda rather liked the combination of cigar tobacco and leather that just seemed to be...Janice. As long as she didn't light the damned things up.

My word! thought Melinda. I'm starting to curse just like Janice. Mind you, Jan was also picking up things from Melinda. Like table manners and common courtesies. Melinda had smoothed quite a few feathers when she had accepted the roll of Curator's Assistant. After Jan's co-workers got past her gruff anti-social exterior, they were rewarded with a fun-loving and personable Janice Covington.

Janice was becoming somewhat of a celebrity these days what with the new find on the Island of Cyprus. The scroll their fathers' had been working on produced further information on some rather prodigous digs. One of which had ceded up three magnificent scrolls that could be attributed to Xena and her bard, Gabrielle.

After they were authenticated, Janice began some deep research on the bard's background. She was slowly getting a better picture of who the woman had really been. She had a team of geniologists putting together a family tree of the two ancients.

Melinda took Janice's hand as they made their way down the cobbled driveway to the Desoto. It's black paint job positively gleemed in the sunlight. Melinda thought it looked like a large and dangerous beetle. Janice laughed at the description but also secretly admitted it sometimes gave her the creeps.

Janice gleefully rubbed her hands together with anticipation. She had received her notification to report for duty in the European Theater. Mel wasn't too pleased about it but she also knew that it was something that Jan just had to do. She was just sorry that she wouldn't be able to follow her. It had been quite embarrasing to be told she had flat feet!

Today was the day the new Director was coming in from the States and Jan wanted everything to be in place and running smoothly before she had to leave for basic training. At least it was still a month away.

The new Director was an American woman by the name of Hudson Callisto. Strange first name, Janice mused. She just hoped this one could rein in her libido.

She'd heard the woman was something of a task master. Well, she could deal with that: sounded like the type of woman Janice was. She was blonde, too, but stood closer to Melinda's height than her own.

Funny how she and Melinda turned out to be descendants of Xena and Gabrielle. Janice wondered just how many others were out there.

She knew she was just barely scratching the top of the iceberg when it came to how many scrolls were still hidden, waiting patiently to be found. What other mysteries were to be found made Janice's mouth water.

There had been some talk of a new dig being found. All as a result of the last Xena Scroll. Janice took pride in her abilities to locate decent finds/digs. She was finally starting to bring some respectability to the name Covington. She was determined to clear her father's name. She and Melinda had dedicated the new wing of the museum in their honour. It was to be known as Pappas-Covington Research Wing for the Further Studies of the Xena Scrolls. Rather a mouthful but both women could see no way around it. And since it was Melinda's money that funded it, she pretty much had total say in it.

Janice looked across at the woman sitting beside her in the car. Melinda gazed lovingly back at her. They both leaned in and kissed tenderly. Herdsmen and their donkeys yowled their displeasure as the Desota narrowly missed them.

"Just like old times, Jan. Maybe I should get my licence and drive us in to work?"

"Hey, I like to drive. Besides, gotta make myself useful around here, don't I?"

"Oh, I'm sure I can find a lot of uses for ya, sugar. About tonight......I thought we'd......" Melinda whispered some very naughty ideas into her very receptive partner's ear as the car weaved from one side of the road to the other.

Laughter could be heard as they sped off down the road to a bright future. One that was sure to be filled with its share of adventure and love.

The End

Any and all constructive criticisms can be directed to me at

Back To Main Page