Content: Two girls, one life, one love. If that’s illegal where you are or you’re under age or you’re a bigot, move along.

Author’s Note: I stole this title from one of the Bard Challenges, but didn’t enter the contest. Who the hell has time to write during basketball season?!

This story is dedicated to those left behind on Sept. 11, 2001. As you might expect, this registers pretty high on the angst meter.

Positive comments and corrective criticism will reach me at


Dress Blues




It had been the day from hell. Another one. She had put this task off for a blur of months and finally surrendered to the inevitable. It was time to pack. She had begun earlier in the week, gathering a collection of abandoned items in every room. When two lives join, it ceases to be about two individual paths and at some unnoticed point just becomes one life. Who knew that one person’s life could become so totally intertwined with another’s? Every time she thought she had begun to gain control of the piles, another closet, another box, another cove of hidden treasure would reveal itself and the decisions had to start all over again. What should she keep? What should she let go? Who could benefit by receiving them? What could she not live without?

Each item was torturous, from the sentimental to the ridiculous. She had bravely sorted the softball equipment to be distributed among remaining teammates, but had been reduced to tears over that stupid chewed up pen cap found wedged under the tray of the printer. Everything had a story, a history, a memory. And every time she placed something in a pile it was like she was deciding which memory to keep and which memory to let go. That was, of course, absurd. Like time could erase even one moment of their life together from her mind… From her heart… After all, she had gone to work that clear September morning and had not returned, but she was still here.

It started Sunday when Sarah was rummaging through the coat closet. Against the wall, carefully covered with a dry cleaner’s bag was the coat

It had been like pulling teeth to get her to agree to go to the opera.

"Babe, really", the tall brunette pleaded, "if it’s a romantic Valentine’s Day you want, I can do romantic! I’ll plan an evening so romantic you’ll never want it to end!"

The petite blonde grinned evilly and flashed innocent green eyes up at her lover. She leaned in painfully close, placed her hands on the flat expanse of chest above two perfect breasts and whispered breathlessly, "But honey, I’ve already planned a Valentine’s Day so romantic I won’t ever want it to end. And La Boheme is at the heart of it. The night just wouldn’t be the same without it." With that she turned and flitted down the hallway to the bedroom, confident that there would be pursuit.

"Are you telling me that this Punchy guy will be able to get you in the mood better than I can?" Kelly asked indignantly.

"No, of course not! But let me ask you a question: If you’re in trouble, are you going to try to get back in my good graces using candle light or fast food?"

"That depends on how hungry you are." The icy glare that followed prompted the correct response and the decision to help make the bed. "Candles. Lots of candles. They would set a warm and intimate mood so we could talk and (waggling perfectly arched eyebrows) make up."

"Well then, think of La Boheme as the equivalent of a thousand candles. And it’s Puccini dear, not Punchy," Sarah added, rolling her eyes and laughing. "Besides, I already have the tickets. I bought them months ago."

"Months! And you’re just now telling me?"

"Uh huh. I didn’t want to hear you whine endless about having to do something that I thought would be fun."

That was it. The dominant figure rocked back as if she were physically struck. Was she really that selfish and childish about doing things that didn’t interest her? That would never do. Not when it was at the expense of the love of her life. And from that moment on, not another word was said on the subject until the evening of the 14th.

"Why is your cell phone not on?" Sarah raged into the handset. "I cannot believe you’re doing this! I already called your office and know you’re not there… If you think for one moment that I won’t load up and go without you, you’re wrong. But don’t expect me in your bed tonight! As a matter of fact, just don’t expect me!" With that she hit the off button and threw the phone viciously into the cushions on the sofa. Hands still shaking, she stalked over to the sliding glass door that led out to the balcony and stared out at the city lights. Their illumination revealed a beautiful emerald evening dress, floor length, with a daringly open back and a plunging neckline. All this and 4 inch stiletto heels… Talk about all dressed up and no place to go! Oh, she had tickets, but what was the point of sitting in the dark listening to Puccini and sniffling into Kleenex if she didn’t have Kelly’s hand to hold?

Dismay overwhelmed her to the point of distraction. It wasn’t until a throat cleared behind her that Sarah realized she wasn’t alone. She was only startled for a moment and then drew a healthy breath that would support the beginnings of a nice long ass chewing when she heard, "Turn around." It was more a turn to fight than one of compliance, but there was to be no yelling after all.

Standing in front of her was the most elegantly dressed, breathtakingly beautiful woman in the city. The dress was strapless and black. Black sequins. The bodice was completely form fitting, leaving nothing to the imagination as it clung greedily to the perfect body all the way to the hips, where it was left to plummet to the floor. The jewels at the throat were brilliant even in the dimness of an unlit room. Still, they paled in comparison to the luminous blue eyes gazing hungrily at her. Those eyes held Sarah riveted in place as the black dress slinked toward her, stopping just short of contact.

"I’m sorry I’m late honey. I even left work early." The exasperated words drained off of Sarah like rain from an umbrella, leaving no impression at all. "I got here as fast as I could, but the cross town traffic was horrible. I should have known it would be bad on Valentine’s Day, but I wanted to surprise you with this. And I would have called, but I left my phone at the shop." It was about then that she noticed the blonde’s mouth was slightly agape. "I’ll take that look to mean that you approve of my choices…" The brunette suppressed a smile as her lover nodded wordlessly. Finally unable to stop a chuckle from escaping, she tenderly prompted her, "Honey, you need to breathe."

"Oh… My… God…"

"So you approve."

"Approve? I don’t know what to say! Kelly, you are…" Words failed her again as she shook her head slightly, studying in awe the vision before her. "Did you do this by yourself?"

"Weellll, it was my idea. I went down and asked your girl Hilda to help me. I thought she was going to faint! After all the times you’ve dragged me down to that shop and I sat listening to the Yankees’ game, trying to pretend I was anywhere else, I’m sure she never thought she’d have to find something for me to wear. Especially nothing like this." She rolled her eyes as she added, "I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable, but the girls at the shop all seemed to like it and since I’m not the one with all the money they don’t have any reason to suck up to me."

"If it were necessary, they would suck up to you because they know who loves you, but sweetheart, they had absolutely no reason to lie here. You are unbelievably gorgeous…" This brought an uncomfortable smile from the usually cocky woman until the completely taken blonde added, "As a matter of fact, you look so good…" Sarah reached up and caressed the side of Kelly’s face, then wove her fingers through dark, shiny tresses, "that we may never get out of the house tonight."

With that the blonde was firmly moved to arms length. "Uh-uh. No way. I did not get all dressed up in this getup to stay home. Hilda even helped me borrow this necklace that costs more than I’ll make in a decade! You owe me a very expensive dinner, great seats at the opera, and I’ll be expecting wine and lots of roses before the night is over."

Well, who could say no to that? Her dream date just beginning, Sarah’s small hand reached for long fingers to lace between hers as they headed to the door. "Will you help me with this?"

"Of course." A matching emerald green opera cloak was draped over Sarah’s shoulders. "Will you help me with mine?"

"My pleasure. Where is it?"

"On the coat tree in the entryway."

So the blonde turned and walked toward the door. The closer she got, the worse it got.

"Babe?" Closing her eyes she chanted to herself, don’t be it, don’t be it, don’t be it. "Is this it?"

Joining her by the door, her clearly triumphant partner grinned from ear to ear. "Yeah, isn’t it cool?"

The truth was that the coat she had chosen was the most unimaginably ugly thing she’d ever seen. "Did Hilda help you pick this out?" Surely not.

"Nope, I picked that out all by myself someplace else."

"I didn’t think I’d seen it at the shop." Hilda would never touch a coat like this.

It looked more like a sailor’s coat than a dress coat. Its collar was thick and bulky and the buttons were huge cloth-covered things that overwhelmed the front of the coat. It wasn’t long enough for someone Kelly’s height, therefore, when she slipped it on, the sleeves and the length were entirely too short. In a word, it was a disaster. And as the blonde tenderly kissed her lover before taking her hand and escorting her downstairs to the limo, she couldn’t have been more proud.

That evening was like something out of an old Audry Hepburn movie. It even included a dance under a canopy of sparkling white lights draped through the trees in the park. Everyone should have an evening like that…

The ugliest coat known to mankind was carefully packed in a box now stacked in the spare bedroom.


Monday had been trophy day. Marksmanship plaques from work had been carefully wrapped, along with a picture of the mayor presenting her second commendation for bravery in the line of duty. And then there was the gaudy, shiny plastic stalagmite collection. It went along with having a partner that was not just good, but great at any sport she tried. Basketball, flag football, field hockey… And softball. There were lots and lots of softball trophies.

Most of their weekends from early spring to late fall every year had been spent at least in part on one softball diamond or another. Frequently she got calls from people that had seen her play and needed an extra player, but most of the time is was the crew from work. It had been explained that she was a "utility player" which meant that she could play any position proficiently. Her tall, athletic frame and muscular legs and shoulders, along with a fiercely competitive spirit made her the ideal teammate.

At first it had been boring watching the games from the stands since Sarah didn’t know the rules. It wasn’t long though and the petite blonde was a full fledged "bleacher bitch", chiding umpires and harassing offending players from the other team along with the rest of the team’s wives and girlfriends. About halfway through the first season she found out the team had officially given her a nickname.

"Hey, you played a great game tonight," Tony complimented as he left the dugout.

"Thanks," Kelly replied without looking up from her Nike bag where her gear was being methodically stowed.

"See you later ‘Trophy’!" he added as he walked by her waiting girlfriend. Three balls and a cleat crashed to the dugout floor as blue eyes shot a look that should have killed her departing teammate. Realizing his slip, he sped toward the parking lot without looking back.

"Um, excuse me… Did he just call me ‘Trophy’?"

Awkward, garbled non-words leaked from her throat as she searched for an answer. As her lover’s hands planted themselves on deliciously curvaceous hips, she new she was busted and might as well ‘fess up. "Uh, yeah."


"Well, Babe, that’s kinda what the team calls you…" The brunette grimaced as she waited for the outburst that was sure to follow.

"And why would they call me that – Dear?"

Yep, she was pissed. "Well, they keep telling me that I’m always competing with the guys."


"That I have to win at everything I do."

"So what does that have to do with me?"

"I think they mean it as a compliment."

"Mean what as a compliment?"

"By calling you ‘Trophy’ they’re admitting that you’re more beautiful than any of their wives or girlfriends. Benny started it. He mouthed off the second or third game you attended that they could ‘Leave it to me to catch a Trophy Wife.’ It stuck."

"Oh…" Falling silent, she waited for her date to finish gathering up her gear.

It was not the compliment that had caused a blush to creep up her cheeks, but use of the word "wife". They had only been dating a few months and were not living together yet, but she had admitted to herself that she was falling hard for the blue-eyed beauty. "Wife" – she had liked the way that sounded. She still did.

What the hell was she going to do with all those trophies?


Sarah spent Tuesday going through all the odd drawers and little boxes in the house. She should have remembered that the little blue box was there, but she hadn’t, so it caught her by surprise. How amazing it is that a night could bring back such horrible memories, and such wonderful ones…

It was February and the weather outside was freezing; a winter storm had blown up suddenly, catching even veteran Northerners by surprise. She knew as soon as the phone rang that something was wrong; she could feel it. It was entirely too late for a social call, which left only the kind of call that delivered bad news.


"Sarah, this is Daddy. Kevin has been in a car accident."

"How bad is it?"

"The doctors are in with him now."

"Dad, how bad is it?"

"We’re at Saints; you should hurry." She didn’t say goodbye before hanging up the phone. Racing to the bedroom, she grabbed a pair of jeans and a sweater from the closet, threw them on the bed and turned to the dresser for a bra and some socks. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she crossed her left foot on her right knee to slip on a sock when suddenly a tremendous fear gripped her chest. Gasping for air quickly became sobs. Squeezing her eyes closed tightly to keep the tears from falling only made them spill out faster.

Control… Control… This was not going to help anything. Sarah resumed getting dressed, found her keys, coat, and purse, and charged out the door to the elevator.

The night had dragged on endlessly. Her twin brother, Kevin, had lost control of his vehicle after he hit an ice patch on a bridge. The storm had come in so suddenly that the road crews hadn’t had time to cover all the bridges with sand. It was a one-car accident and he had laid in the cold for over an hour before a passing car saw the taillights of his Lincoln Navigator off the side of the road.

She had reached the hospital just in time to get a preliminary report from the doctor. In addition to several broken ribs and a crushed cheekbone, Kevin had a subdural hematoma; the pressure on his brain had caused him to slip into a coma. They were going to operate to try and relieve some of the pressure. If he survived the surgery, it would be wait and see.

Sarah was not known for her patience. She was very much a "take charge and fix things" kind of woman. But she couldn’t fix this. One by one, an entourage of her parent’s business associates seeking brownie points showed up uttering empty words of concern. But they didn’t leave. They took their coats off and sat down, taking turns retrieving coffee out of the vending machine. It seems the real brownie points were only to be earned by staying.

Time dragged by. Eventually the crowd made the room so stuffy that she couldn’t breath. There was not enough room to pace effectively. Finally, the waiting room became too much for her. She told her father she was going downstairs and made a hasty exit.

As the elevator doors opened on the ground floor she began scanning the signs for an exit door. Realizing that she was well into a panic attack, Sarah frantically followed the signs and actually began running as she rounded the last corner to the twin sets of double doors. Once outside, the tension had space to move away from her and the tightness in her chest eased with every deep breath. The cold night air clarified each separate emotion: fear, frustration, grief, anger. Powerful individually, they were almost overwhelming together. But there was nothing to do but deal with them as they surfaced. Although she had forgotten her coat upstairs, the alternative was to go back to the crowd, so she stayed as long as she could in the frigid night air. Finally, when she could no longer feel her feet or hands, she gave up.

Sarah turned back to the doors, marched up to within an arms length of them and… nothing. They didn’t open. To the left of the door was a sign reading, "After 10:00 p.m., please use the emergency room doors for entry into the hospital." The emergency room was completely on the other side of the hospital.

"Un – fucking – believable!" Now she had to walk all the way around the building just to get back inside. This entrance had at least been blocked from the fierce winter wind. Left with no alternative, she plunged around the corner into the teeth of it. Confusingly, her numb feet were painful to walk on. The wind stung her face and drove tears from her eyes. Her entire body shivered uncontrollably.

Fighting the wind and the combination of walking with her head down, her body convulsing from the cold, and the tears streaming from her stinging eyes played havoc with her balance. She lurched from one step to the other, trying to hurry and at the same time, trying not to fall flat. About halfway around the long, windy side of the building she heard a voice in the wind. Without breaking stride, she turned partially to see where the voice had come from but so saw no one. She turned back to the front just in time to hit a metal No Parking pole sign squarely with the middle of her forehead.

The next thing she knew Sarah was laying on a gurney in the emergency room hallway with the bluest eyes she had ever seen hovering over her. They were kind and concerned and for a moment she thought the warmth she was feeling must have come from those eyes. Somehow, it was a peaceful and comfortable feeling, knowing they were watching over her. And then her headache registered with the force of a hammer, causing her to grimace.

"Yep, you’re gonna have a doozy of a headache," she heard a voice say. "You whacked the hell out of yourself on that pole."

"You think?" Sarah replied sarcastically. The hallway began to spin, prompting her to close her eyes again. An ice bag was gently placed over the knot on her forehead.

"No, I know. I was trying to get you to slow down so I could catch up and walk you safely around the building, but I couldn’t get your attention."

"Did you call to me? I thought I heard something and that’s why I turned around."

"Well then, I owe you an apology. I was worried you might get hurt walking around the building alone and then in a way I caused it to happen."

That line of thinking was logical and in her impaired state an irrational anger began to well up inside her. But when she opened her eyes again and looked up into the genuine concern that stared down at her, it just evaporated. Maybe if I just lay here all night she’ll stay here with me. That thought made Sarah gasp.

"What’s wrong?"

"What time is it?" Sarah demanded.

"About a quarter of three, why?"

"Oh my God!" The hurried attempt to sit up made the hallway spin again.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down there, Gorgeous! What’s your hurry?" Two strong hands carefully helped lay her shoulders back down.

"My brother had an accident tonight; he’s in surgery upstairs. I’ve got to get back up there!" Tears burned their way out of the corners of her eyes, streaking toward her ears.

"You’re not going to do him any good if you rush back up there with a concussion. Please, just lay back down until they read the x-rays. Once they know you’re all right I’ll walk you up there myself, okay?"

"I had x-rays?"


"How long will it take to get them back?"

"If you promise to wait here and not get up, I’ll go ask the nurse."

Releasing a sigh of resignation, Sarah nodded slightly and the blue eyes walked away from the gurney. Did she call me Gorgeous?

A few minutes later the blue eyes returned accompanied by a young intern. He briefly examined her head, checked her retina response to light and then ordered her to sit up slowly. She heard him say that she didn’t have a concussion, but that she probably shouldn’t drive for several hours. Yes, she nodded, she had some Tylenol in her purse, then asked if she could go upstairs. No, she didn’t want a wheelchair; she would be fine.

His objections were interrupted with, "I’ll walk her up to make sure she gets there okay. Thanks again doctor." As the intern walked away Sarah noticed for the first time that the woman with the blue eyes was wearing a police uniform. She was tall and had an athletic build with long, dark hair that hung down the back of her coat in a ponytail. As bad as Sarah’s head hurt, she couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the woman before her was. The officer smiled a devastating smile and continued, "After all, I did promise."

"Yes, you did." The desire to stay and flirt was thwarted by the pressing need to get back up to her family. "Do you think you could help me down? I have a feeling I may be a little shaky."

"Gladly." With that the officer laid her cap on the gurney and placed both hands on the blonde’s waist. Sliding Sarah off the gurney brought their bodies impossibly close. Once her feet were on the ground she swayed slightly to the right; the hands at her waist reflexively slid to her back to increase their support. Sarah wasn’t sure whether it was the adjusted blood flow or the close proximity of the woman holding her that made her face flush.

Instead of pulling away from what closely resembled an embrace, Sarah slid her hands up the officer’s arms and gazed up at her.

"I…" Whatever she was going to say evaporated. Instead she uttered the first thing that came to mind. "God you’re beautiful." That was followed immediately by a gasp as she realized she had offered that observation out loud.

Graciously, the officer smiled gently and whispered, "Thank you." Then, stepping away from Sarah just slightly, she picked up her cap and offered her other arm for Sarah to steady herself with. It was a chivalrous gesture and Sarah found it irresistible. She tightly clutched the arm without hesitation and they began to walk toward the elevators.

The ride upstairs was entirely too short. As they stepped off the elevator Sarah’s escort stopped and faced her. "Listen, I know this has been a horrible night and you need to take care of yourself and concentrate on your brother right now, so this may be entirely inappropriate. But I would really like the chance to talk to you, to get to know you. I was wondering if…"

"Me too," Sarah interrupted. "Can you give me your number so I can call you when all this calms down?"

That electric smile appeared again as the officer slid her hand in her pocket. "I was hoping you’d say that." With that she produced a dollar bill, cleverly folded into a ring with a "1" displayed where a stone would have been. Her phone number was written on the back of the band. "I was afraid if I just wrote it on a piece of paper you’d lose it." Then the intensity of those blue eyes magnified as she looked deeply into Sarah’s green eyes and added, "And I definitely don’t want you to lose it."

Sarah could only gulp and nod in agreement. With that the officer turned back to the elevator doors and pushed the down button. When they opened she stepped in and turned to face her future date.

"Oh, wait!" Sarah exclaimed as the bell sounded to signal the closing of the doors. "What’s your name?"

She heard "Kelly Harris" just before the doors shut completely.

She had worn the ring without fail until her brother emerged from his coma two days later. She called Kelly that night.

That seems like a lifetime ago. Then it hit her that it was. Fighting returning tears, she took the ring out of its box, slid it on the middle finger of her right hand and placed the little blue box on her nightstand to be packed with the rest of the jewelry.


Two days later the petite blond was cleaning out her lover’s closet. She had risen, run three miles on the treadmill, eaten a light breakfast, and then spent 30 minutes in the shower steeling herself for the task. When she was sure she had psyched herself up she marched to the double doors of the walk-in closet, grabbed both handles, and swung the doors open bravely. The scent of her partner crashed out upon her like the incoming tide. She staggered back several steps, gasping for air between sobs, and crumbled in a heap on the floor. It had not been a good start.

By noon the drawers had been emptied and the sweaters lovingly folded in several boxes. (Some people collect trinkets or memorabilia; her girl collected sweaters…) The shelves along the top were nearly bare; only a few shoeboxes remained. Climbing on a step ladder she stacked several in her left arm, steadying the top box with her chin, grabbed one extra with her right hand, and began to step down to the floor. As she reached for the carpet with her foot she lost her balance and one of the boxes from her stack tumbled to the floor. Cursing under her breath, she managed to step over the spilled box, carrying the others into the bedroom to place upon the bed. Returning to the closet, she stooped to retrieve the dropped box. The lid had fallen off and its contents were scattered all over the floor.

Ticket stubs. Dozens, no hundreds of ticket stubs. Pairs of ticket stubs, paper clipped together. What has she done?

Sinking to her knees, Sarah picked a pair up and read the face of the top ticket. It was from the Subway Series, when the Yankees played the Mets in the World Series. She had surprised her avid Yankees fan with tickets behind the dugout.

Setting them aside, she picked up another pair. Shakespeare in Love… Definitely a chick flick; her beloved cop had fallen asleep right after the opening credits.

My God, these are our tickets. All of them. Every show, every game, every movie we’ve attended from the very… And there they were. Their appearance made her gasp. Having been the first in the box, they now rested right on top of the upside down heap.

The Silence of the Lambs… Not exactly the greatest date movie in the history of cinema. Although she could never get her to admit it, Sarah always suspected that the then newly promoted sergeant had suggested it so she would have an excuse to hold the beautiful green-eyed investment banker’s hand. In the end she had held more than that.

"Thank you for staying while I checked the apartment. I know it’s silly, but that movie…"

"I know. Let me apologize again. I had no idea it was going to be that gory. I just knew it had Jodie Foster in it and looked from the advertisements like it would be pretty good. If I had known, I would never have suggested we see it."

"It’s not your fault. I thought the same thing. I was going to suggest it if you didn’t." Okay, no I wasn’t, but she doesn’t need to know that.

"Well, okay then. I guess I’d better go…"

"No!" That sounded a little desperate. "I mean, would you like a drink or some coffee?"

Kelly gave a slightly awkward laugh and admitted, "Truth is, I hate coffee. I know that puts me in the minority among New Yorkers, but I just can’t seem to acquire a taste for the stuff. I love the smell of it though, so if you want some go right ahead."

"A drink then? Maybe a beer?"

"No, really. I try not to drink during the workweek."

"I have some bottled water in the fridge."

That last statement of desperation made those impossibly blue eyes sparkle. Kelly crossed the room and wrapped her arms around the obviously frightened woman. It was the first time they had engaged in an extended embrace, but somehow it was completely natural; almost second nature to them both. "You really are afraid aren’t you?"

Sheepishly, green eyes dropped away from those knowing blue eyes, only to find they were staring directly down Kelly’s wonderful cleavage. Doubly embarrassed now, Sarah turned her head away. A gentle hand brought her back to face the conversation, forcing eye contact. "Aren’t you?"

"I know it’s ridiculous. I just don’t usually see things that violent. You must think I’m pathetic."

"What I think is that I’m glad you’re not exposed to things like that. I see too much violence on the job. Things I would never want you to see. If anything it should make me a little worried that it didn’t bother me more." With that, Sarah sighed deeply and melted into her protector’s arms. She rested her head on a broad shoulder and listened to a strong, steady heartbeat. They stood like that for several minutes and then Kelly offered what she hoped would be a reasonable, if not too presumptuous solution. "I have a suggestion. What if I stay the night?" She felt the small body in her arms tense slightly. "On the couch, of course. I didn’t mean… I mean I wasn’t assuming…"

"I would like that very much." The smile that reached up to her was both genuine and grateful.


"Yes, but I think it would be okay if we slept in the same bed. I have a queen sized mattress; I think we’ll both have plenty of room."

As it turned out though, it might as well have been a twin mattress. They stayed up talking until they were both so sleepy they couldn’t think straight. As soon as the lights were out Kelly rolled onto her back and stretched. Before she finished the stretch a small blond head was nestled comfortably on her left shoulder. Not that she complained. Kelly woke the next morning to find herself tangled up with an extra set of legs. The blond head had moved to the valley between her breasts and there was the palm of a hand buried between each shoulder blade and the bed. Had the alarm clock not intruded, she might have been inclined to stay just like that all day.

I was so embarrassed when I woke up on top of her. But I certainly didn’t have nightmares that night…

Closing her green eyes to hold the tears at bay, Sarah inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly. There was too much in this box to relive today. If she did she would never get finished. Tipping the box over on its side, she began to bulldoze the ticket stub pairs back inside. With most of them back in the box, she set it back on its bottom and began collecting the strays. Although she tried not to read the titles, the final pair to be picked up might as well have been lit up like a neon sign. Cats.

Like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, the dam broke again and she was flooded with tears. It might as well have been yesterday…

It had been a long week for both of them at work and they hadn’t spent a lot of time together. After the show they had passed on clubbing with friends and headed back to her Manhattan apartment to cuddle on the couch. Before long the tall brunette was prone on the cushions with a very content blonde lying on top of her. That was a very comfortable position; too comfortable actually. It wasn’t until their conversation hit a lull that the banker figured out something else was going on.

"Babe, why is your heart beating so fast?" Innocent green eyes peered up out of concern to search for an answer in those blue eyes she had become so enamored with.

"Is it?"

"Yes, it’s pounding. Are you okay?"

"I’m fine," Kelly lied.

"Maybe I should sit up and let you breath." She started to sit up, but long arms held her firmly in place.

"You’re fine right where you are. Don’t move."

Propping up on her elbows she carefully observed her date. "Kelly, you’re flushed and you’re breathing funny. Something is wrong and if you don’t know what it is, I’m going to call an ambulance."

Closing her eyes in frustration, she clenched her teeth and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "Sarah, nothing’s wrong. It’s just…" Words failed her.

"Just what?"

Blue eyes searched the attractive face before her. Emotions shadowed through them that ranged from desperation to surrender to… That was it. She couldn’t wait anymore. She raised her head and reached out for the full lips she longed for and kissed them tenderly. The hunger raged in her wanting more, but she held back for fear of losing herself in the desire. Falling away from the kiss, Kelly closed her eyes again, resting her head back on the sofa’s arm. Her chest labored heavily, rising up and down trying to gain enough oxygen to slow her pounding heart. "Sarah, I think I’d better go home."

And then Sarah understood. Gently, her fingers traced the outline of Kelly’s face, dragging her thumb across the softness of her lips, then the rise of her cheek. A warm smile played across her lips. "Actually, I think in your condition maybe you should stay."

Trembling hands slid along Sarah’s back, pulling her closer in the embrace. Hopeful blue eyes slowly opened to search for confirmation in the smiling green eyes above her. "I… Sarah, I…" Kelly’s breathlessness and loss of words provided Sarah with the opportunity she needed to make sure that the night would unfold exactly as she had imagined that it would. Softly, she leaned in to kiss the suffering lips beneath her. It was barely a kiss, but was meant to be reassuring as she pushed up away from the embrace to stand beside the couch.

"Wait here. I’ll just be a minute." With that she turned to go to the bedroom, leaving a very confused Kelly lying on the couch trying to regain control of her senses. After a few minutes, she returned. It was more accurate to say that she made an entrance.

Sarah had changed, shedding her clothing for a negligee. Kelly, who was now standing beside the end of the couch, stared in wonder. The silk fabric plunged from spaghetti straps to lie loosely over perfect breasts; the sides were open to the bottom of her rib cage. The hem of the silk stopped just below the tops of her legs. The silk shimmered a dark copper that contrasted the green of her eyes and complimented her short, blond hair. It was a rich, luxurious color and, Kelly was sure, hid a treasure beyond her wildest dreams.

Having paused for effect, Sarah crossed to stand in front of Kelly. "I’ve been saving this for you." Mirthful green eyes stared up into her girlfriend’s face as she added, "What do you think?"

Kelly was having trouble remembering to breathe. Sarah’s feet were bare and her toenails were painted a coordinating color to the copper. Her firm legs had that shine that skin gets when it’s just had lotion applied to it. The negligee hung gracefully over Sarah’s hips and complimented the perfectly flat stomach that lay between those hips and two voluptuous breasts. "Kelly?" Sarah’s nipples had hardened from either their recent exposure to air or in anticipation of things to come. Kelly noticed that Sarah’s respiration had also increased as she stood under her appreciative inspection. Sarah’s neck revealed pulse points that had begun to pound and reached up to a jaw line that begged to be nibbled. "Babe?" Her lips were full and slightly parted; Sarah unconsciously licked them, a sign that she might be more nervous than she let on. And those eyes… Those impossibly green eyes… "Say something."

"You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen."

Sarah flattened her palms against Kelly’s chest, leading with her fingertips as she let her hands track up to find a soft nest of hair at the nape of Kelly’s neck. Gently she pulled Kelly down to her, reaching up for those incredibly soft lips. It wasn’t a hurried kiss. Instead it was gentle and relaxed, almost tentative. Several minutes later Sarah realized that Kelly still had not touched her; her hands still hung at her sides. Creating a little space between their faces, Sarah looked up slightly confused and asked, "Honey, is there something wrong? I mean, do you not want to…?"

Kelly interrupted her question, silently berating herself for acting in a manner that would make Sarah doubt herself. "No Sarah, nothing’s wrong. And I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anyone. It’s just that my whole life I’ve followed my head and this time…" Kelly shook her head slightly as if trying to get her thoughts to come out in a way that would make sense. "I just can’t believe you want me. You’re wealthy, you’re beautiful, and you’re extremely well educated. I’m just a beat cop. I don’t have anything to offer you… but my heart. Why would you…?"

It was Sarah’s turn to interrupt. "Do I have that?" Tenderly she slid her right palm to the top of Kelly’s left breast. "Do I have your heart?"

"Sarah, I’ve never been in love before. But you’ve had my heart since the moment you opened those green eyes and stared up at me from that gurney in the hospital. You hadn’t spoken one word to me and I knew you had stolen my heart."

"Well then we’re even, because I lost mine the second I looked up into those impossibly blue eyes of yours. In my entire life, I had never felt that safe or that cared for. And I just knew we were going to be together. Kelly, I want you. More than I’ve ever wanted anyone in my whole life."

With that Sarah grabbed the bottom of Kelly’s sweater and pulled it over her head, followed by the plain t-shirt she wore beneath it. Leaving her bra, Sarah slowly kneeled in front of Kelly, unbuckling her belt and then the button on her black jeans. Pausing, she leaned in to kiss the flat expanse of stomach that quivered before her. A dozen small kisses later she began to work the zipper down.

Gently she pushed Kelly back toward the arm of the sofa behind her. Once she was sitting, Sarah began to remove her boots and socks. Setting them aside she glanced up innocently and breathed, "Stand up please." As Kelly stood, Sarah hooked her hands in the top of the pants and slowly began to pull them down long, muscular legs. Once they reached the floor Kelly carefully stepped out of them, pushing them to the left with her foot. Sarah, meanwhile, was kissing her way up Kelly’s right leg, out to the hipbone, then across to her belly button. As she maneuvered to stand, she dragged the tip of her tongue up Kelly’s stomach to her bra line. Skipping over her bra, Sarah placed soft, unhurried kisses along her chest to the pulse point on her neck. Fingertips whispering down the center of Kelly’s back caused her entire body to shudder.

Just before reaching her ear Sarah diverted her kisses across Kelly’s cheek. She stopped short of kissing Kelly’s lips, clasping her hand instead and stepping away toward the bedroom instead. Kelly followed without question.

Reaching the side of the bed, Sarah turned to face her soon to be lover. Taking both of Kelly’s hands, she placed them on her shoulders and then dragged them down toward her breasts. The silk was cool and smooth; it was the perfect contrast to the heat that Sarah’s skin radiated. Left to do their own thinking as Sarah placed her hands on Kelly’s hips, both hands continued downward. At some point they moved to her arms, the light tracking of short fingernails down to her wrists and back up to her shoulders made Sarah shiver. Hungrily following their downward movement with her eyes, this time the outside of Kelly’s fingers caressed the outer edges of Sarah’s breasts. Rolling her palms toward Sarah, Kelly gently dragged them across her nipples. Watching them with fascination, Sarah realized that Kelly’s hands were trembling. "Are you cold?"

"Not hardly," Kelly answered with a smirk.

"Then why are you trembling?"

"I… I guess I’m nervous."

"Nervous? Why Baby?"

"This just feels so much bigger than anything I’ve ever felt. I’ve had sex, but this is so much more than just sex." Embarrassed by her admission, Kelly broke away from Sarah’s gaze, only to have Sarah’s hand gently draw her face back to her own.

My big, tough cop… "Kelly, make love to me." With that she laid back on the bed, gently guiding her lover down on top of her.

For the two women it had proven to be a night unlike any other, full of laughter and tears and sighs and gasps, sprinkled with caresses and kisses and whispers. What a beautiful gift; our whole life in a shoebox… This was one box that would not be packed. This one wasn’t leaving her sight.


Finally, there was just one thing left in Kelly’s closet. The clothes bag hung on the left by the door. Almost reverently Sarah removed the bag and laid it across the bed. Uncertain hands pulled the zipper down the front revealing dark blue cloth, shiny buttons, and impressive medals. God she was sexy in this suit.

The first time Sarah saw her in her dress blues Kelly was serving as "best man" at her partner’s wedding. Tony was a good man and according to Kelly he was a good cop. Together they were obnoxious and incorrigible, devastatingly good-looking, and equally relentless in their work. They were everything you would imagine a New York cop would be.

Kelly had been sequestered in the spare bedroom for the better part of an hour getting ready for the wedding. Sarah noted that this was extremely unusual behavior and wondered momentarily if perhaps her lover was having second thoughts about standing up with Tony at the ceremony.

"Honey, are you almost ready?" she called from the bedroom as she put in her diamond earrings. "We need to be there by four and we’ll never make it if we don’t leave in the next ten minutes or so." Walking into the living room to exchange the contents of her daily purse to an evening bag she heard the other bedroom door open behind her. "And you’re always teasing me about being slow! What on earth was taking you…?" As she turned to finish her question, the sight before her literally made her knees weak.

Handsome is not a word typically used for a woman, especially one as beautiful as Kelly, but no other word quite fit. Her hair was pinned up, revealing a long, slender neck. Her makeup was soft and understated. The navy blue of the crisply starched uniform made Kelly’s eyes gleam like the world’s finest jewelry. Every shining button, every proud service medal, every straight crease was absolutely perfect. Brilliant white gloves rested carefully in one hand, her "cover" or "lid"(uniform talk for dress cap) tucked securely under one arm. Impossibly, Kelly seemed even taller as she stood ramrod straight under Sarah’s breathless inspection. It was all Sarah could do to keep from attacking her right there on the spot.

"How do I look?"

No response.


"Amazing. You look absolutely amazing."

On an unusually cool April evening Tony and Angela were married in a huge Italian wedding. The statuesque "best man" had caused more than a few raised eyebrows. Angela, however, had agreed that since Tony trusted Kelly with his life every day on the job that there was no one more fitting to stand up with him.

At the reception following the ceremony, Kelly’s big moment had finally arrived. Tony had strictly instructed her that she was not to "bust his chops" in front of everyone at his own wedding. Knowing this was not a chore to be taken lightly, she had been working on the toast for weeks and although she had never asked for help, Sarah knew she had struggled to find just the right words. As she stood, Kelly raised her glass and offered, "To Tony and Angela… May you have a life together full of laughter and joy and beautiful children."

She worked for weeks on that? Inexplicably, that simple toast brought a huge round of cheers and a chorus of crystal tones as the crowd saluted the couple.

As Kelly sat down, Angela leaned across Tony, looked pointedly at her and queried bluntly, "What I want to know is, now that Tony’s made an honest woman out of me, when are you gonna make an honest woman out of Sarah?"

Kelly’s jaw dropped wide open, Sarah blushed beautifully, and Tony groaned, "Aw, geez, Ang…" Standing suddenly, Tony grabbed his bride’s hand and pleaded, "Come on, let’s dance."

He was clearly trying to get his partner off the hook, but his bride, who loved both women dearly, was not so easily dissuaded. As she was being dragged toward the dance floor she called back over her shoulder, "Well, are you two coming or not?"

Kelly had warned Sarah that they would need to be very conservative in their actions toward one another at the very traditional wedding. That warning having been obviously negated by the bride, Kelly stood and held her hand out to her lover. The two couples had danced joyously late into the night.

Hours later, on the way home, Kelly seemed quiet and pensive. It had been a wonderful evening, which left Sarah confused about her lover’s mood. About half way home Kelly dialed a number into her cell phone, listened for the call to be picked up and then punched two additional keys.

"Honey, is everything okay?"

"Sure, why?"

"You just seem… quiet."

"It’s just been a long day."

Reaching across to hold Kelly’s hand, Sarah nodded in acknowledgement.

When they returned to the apartment complex Kelly stopped to say something privately to Bennie, the doorman. Thanking him as she walked away, she caught up to Sarah at the elevator. "Kelly, what are you up to?"

"Oh, ‘bout 6 foot."

"Very funny. Now what are you up to?"

"You’ll just have to wait and see," Kelly replied cryptically as they stepped into the elevator.

The doors of the elevator re-opened to reveal a trail of rose petals leading to their door. Sarah stared in wonder as Kelly wordlessly took her hand and started toward their door.

As Kelly nervously fumbled with the door keys, Sarah closed the distance between them. Reaching up to caress Kelly’s cheek with a trembling hand, Sarah allowed herself to fall into those bottomless pools of blue. This woman is mine. How is that possible?

Kelly smiled nervously as she pushed the door open wide to reveal a continuing trail of rose petals and a room bathed in candlelight. Her breath catching in her throat, Sarah reflexively grasped Kelly’s hand. She stood momentarily unable to move, completely captivated by the sight before her. Gently she was urged forward as Kelly lead her to a rose petal covered blanket that was spread out on the floor in front of an already burning fireplace. A bottle of champagne on ice and two crystal flutes waited to the side.

Sarah followed until Kelly gestured for her to sit on the floor. Kelly then returned to the door and locked it, then turned nervously to face her lover. Self-consciously rubbing her hands on the front of her uniform coat, she crossed the room and knelt in front of Sarah.

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

"Okay Love; you know you can talk to me about anything."

"Well, this isn’t as easy as it usually is." Kelly looked as if she might throw up at any moment. Clearly nervous, her lover was perplexed as to what on earth could be bothering her.

"Is there anything I can do to make it easier?"

"No, well, yes. Just wait to talk until I finish, okay?"


"Sarah, you know I love you, right?" Noting that Sarah was taking her request to heart she added, "It’s okay to nod." Smiling generously, Sarah replied with a nod.

"And I hope you know how unbelievably happy I’ve been with our life together." Sarah again nodded affirmatively. Uncomfortably, Kelly rose to her feet, breaking the eye contact she had held with Sarah and began pacing around the edges of the blanket. "What I don’t think you know is that it’s come to the point in my life where what we have isn’t enough anymore. I want more. I need more."

Now it was Sarah’s turn to battle nausea. Suddenly her throat tightened and she found herself struggling for air. Tears welled up in her eyes, soon to spill down her cheeks uncontrollably.

Oblivious to Sarah’s interpretation of her comments, Kelly continued. "The problem is that my whole life, I’ve wanted to be a cop. I love the law. I love the ideals behind the law, because at its purest form, the law is supposed to be the great equalizer and not money or power or poverty or weakness will allow you to escape its judgment. I know that’s a pretty simplistic and naïve view of the system, but it’s one I’ve held fast to for most of my life."

The impassioned civics lesson was completely lost on Sarah, who was wondering what the hell that all had to do with Kelly’s lack of fulfillment.

"But since I’ve been with you, I’ve come to resent the law because as it is now, the law not only excludes us, but discriminates against us." Suddenly turning back to face Sarah she noticed, for the first time, the tears streaming down her face. Quickly moving to kneel in front of the woman that held her heart, Kelly gently wiped away the tears and then took both of Sarah’s hands gently in her own.

"Sarah, I love you. And I don’t want you to be my partner or my roommate or my life mate or whatever clever phrase they’re using this month. I want you to be my wife. Today, tomorrow, for the rest of my life, I want to be married to you. And I don’t give a damn what the law says, I know this is right and just and so," Kelly paused to rise to one knee, pulling a small blue box out of her uniform coat pocket, "Sarah, I don’t even remember my life without you in it. You complete me and challenge me and encourage me like no other. You make me better than I am, better than I ever dreamed I could be." She took a deep breath before continuing, taking a moment to survey the emotions flooding her lover’s eyes. "I love you like the stars love the night, because without you, I would still be here, but my life only shines with you here."

Kelly briefly broke eye contact to look down as she opened the small box and presented the ring inside it to Sarah. "Will you please share the rest of my life with me as my wife?"

Sarah didn’t know whether to hug her for her words or hit her for scaring her so badly. She decided she’d hit her later, flinging herself into Kelly’s arms as she exclaimed, "Yes!"

Kelly didn’t wear her dress blues as they stood on that beach in Hawaii six months later, but she had proudly, and somewhat defiantly worn them when they had their wedding portraits taken upon their return. Those pictures were safely packed. But there would be no packing safe enough for her dress blues. They would travel with Sarah.



She had promised herself that she wouldn’t look back, that once she was ready to walk out the door she would just go. Her resolve wasn’t holding. While this had been their home, it was littered with memories that tore at the open wounds of her heart at every turn. She had to go. It was hard to leave, but it had proven much harder to stay. So today was the day. The boxes had been packed and loaded. All that was left was the leaving.

Standing in the middle of their empty bedroom Kelly’s shadows seemed to be everywhere. "I guess you know I’ll always love you," Sarah whispered. "And that you’ll always be with me. I could never leave you; I just have to leave us."

Walking to their balcony one last time, she gazed out at the still irregular New York skyline. "I bought that cabin by the lake; the one we always talked about. My father is convinced I’ve lost my mind. Why else would I quit my job, sell this amazing apartment, and move to the shores of a lake to write the great American novel?" She paused for a moment to wonder if Kelly was listening; then somehow she knew that she was. "I told him I hadn’t lost my mind, just my heart."

Angela lost her heart that day too. Where else would the two of them have been, if not at the center of all the action? Little Tony, Sarah’s Godson, was born four months later. At least she has a part of Tony that will live on with her…

"I know I won’t find you there on the shores of that lake, that there’s no fairy tale ending waiting for me there. But I think I might find me again. I’ll be different. But then, isn’t everything different now?" How could it not be?

"You always said I had the heart of a writer. I think it’s time I find out. Since it was your idea, maybe you should look in on me from time to time; you could be my muse. We could walk along the shore and… " Interrupting herself, Sarah drew a ragged breath knowing that day wasn’t going to come. "God I miss you…" Turning away from the view she walked to the living room where she loaded her arms with a purse, an overnight bag, a hanging clothes bag, and a shoebox. On her way out she made one last detour through the kitchen to snag the post it note from the refrigerator door.


I love you more every day.

I’ll be home early tonight.

Always, Kelly

The End

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