~ Extension 147 ~
by Jynaki
September 2006

General Disclaimer: See Part 1
Feedback: Comments can be sent to the bard at Jynaki@aol.com


Dressed in her USC tee shirt, Cloe sat at the small table and chairs in the corner of the room coloring another picture for her tall human friend Pax. Cloe sensed something was wrong with her human given that she did not want to play or color with her. She looked just like old Esther did when she lost her newborn. All Esther wanted to do was stare off into nothing and rock back and forth just like her human was doing now. Cloe wanted to make her laugh.

Cloe emitted a soft screech until her human's dull blue eyes turned to look at her. Cloe then gave her the biggest smile she could gather. Cheeks pulled wide showing her human all of her yellow teeth and pink gums. Then she performed a series of back flips and bounces. Grabbing the book in which she was coloring, Cloe ran to her human and hopped into her lap. Softly she chattered and held the gift out to the dark one.

Pax looked at the picture and hugged her furry friend. Kissing Cloe on the head, she ripped the all blue page from the book. Pax placed her hand over Cleo's. The blue crayon that was still lodged in the chimps other hand and wrote Cloe's name in big letters across the top.

"Thank you my friend. I will put this one with the others. Ok?"

Seeming to understand, Cloe let out a peep, took her book and jumped down. Pax chuckled as her friend settled herself back into her chair at the small table. Pax stood and went to the large bulletin board across the room. She smiled at the other six pictures that Cloe had colored and decided they were worthy to give to her for display. Three, now four were in blue, one was red, and one was green. Pax laughed to herself wondering if she could teach Cloe to stay inside the lines.

Pax noticed the slow creeping movement out the corner of her eye. She had a feeling what Cloe was up to. Pax wondered how long it would be before she tried sneaking one of the juicy red fruits out of the basket on her desk. Knowing that Cloe liked apples, she made sure to always keep some of the fresh delicacies there just for her.

Hands on her hips, Pax turned and caught the chimp. Cloe froze in mid-reach for the apples. Unable to keep the stern look up her face, Pax couldn't help laughing at the hilarious look of being caught upon the chimp's face.

"Being a little scamp are we?" Cloe gave her that all teeth and gums smile again and snatched the apple clutching the precious item to her chest. "And what to do you say?" Cloe chattered. "Cloe," Pax warned.

Reluctantly, Cloe removed one hand from around the apple, made a fist and placed it against her right cheek. She made the sign for apple. Pax gave her praised and clapped her hands.

"You can have it." In thanks, Cloe took a huge bite out of the apple and returned to her work. Pax shook her head in amazement at the little chimp. She had learned that sign so quickly, that Pax wondered if she could teach her others.

"Come in," she called to the knock on her door from behind her desk.

The door opened and there stood Teela. Pax's heart melted at the sight of the small blonde. Pax commanded her legs not to move to take her across the room and into the arms she yearned to feel around her. To Pax, Teela looked thinner. But that could not be. It had only two days since she'd seen her.

"Hi." Pax shifted from foot to foot.

"Hi. Can I come in?"

"Yeah. Sure."

Closing the door, Teela took a few steps into the room. It was then she noticed the movement in the corner. Pax watched Cloe with interest as she quietly got down from her chair and walked over to Teela. Pax had got the smallest tee shirt available for the chimp, but it still dragged the floor slightly. Pax was amazed as Cloe extended her arms out to Teela asking her to pick her up. Uncertain, Teela looked at Pax who smiled and nodded. Teela bent down letting the chimp wrap her furry little arms around her neck. Cloe quickly settled into her chest, laying her head upon Teela's shoulder.

"I have never seen her do that to anyone before but me." Cloe may be onto something. Certainly she must sense the compassion and calm spirit within the small blonde that did.

"Hi there," Teela snickered looking into large shiny eyes. "What's your name?"


"Well hi Cloe. My name is Teela." Cloe turned her brown eyes upon Pax and sighed." Did you attend USC Cloe?" Teela asked looking at Pax who just shrugged.

Chuckling, she invited Teela to have a seat before she fell over from Cloe's weight. After several minutes of sucking up to the little blonde, Cloe jumped down snatching an apple on her way and ran back to her table. She looked at Pax and hmmphed before returning to the orange crayon in her grasp.

Needing to sit down before her legs gave way as well, Pax settled her tall frame into the office chair and waited. Seeing Teela face to face she had no more resistance.

"How are you?" Teela began.

"Fine. And you?" Shitty, she said behind the stoic facade she donned in Teela's presence. My life is falling apart; I was slammed back into the past to relive a near rape orchestrated by my own bigoted blood and I find out that I am only one in a string of lovers my supposed girlfriend has. Oh I am just PEACHY!

"Miserable," she admitted without shame.

"Any particular reason?" Pax began moving papers around her desk. She had done this same activity dozens of times over the last few hours She was no closer to any semblance of organization now than she had been when she made the first attempt.

"You and me."

Pax stopped her needless shuffling. "There isn't a you and me, Teela. There is a you and Bess."

Teela jerked slightly at Pax's stinging remark. I deserve that one. "I'm sorry that I hurt you. I never meant to, please believe me" What she had rehearsed to say to this woman when they finally met, left her head and would not pass her lips now that they were together. The wounded blues across the desk were peering at her waiting, expecting something. "I...was wrong. It was a mistake not telling you about Bess. But it's not really how it sounded the other night. I was caught off guard. I said the wrong things," she stammered.

"Bess is not your girlfriend like Tanesha said?"

"Yes...No...She was?"

"Well which is it Teela?" Frustration caused Pax's hand to slam upon the desk and a corresponding startled jump from Teela. "Is that who you were with all those times when you couldn't see me or was it Tanesha?"

"I was with Bess, but I can explain."

"I'm sure you could and I'm sure the explanation would be more of the 'honesty' you 'value so highly'."

My god, what have I done to her? I pray that I can make this right. I should have listened to Jo long ago. What a mess! She could not help it, the tear escaped down her cheek. "I can understand that you are angry with me..."

"That is an understatement."

"Pax please. This is hard for both of us..."

Her features transformed instantly into a snarl of fury. You expect this to be a walk in the park! Her chest heaved from the expanding muscled organ caged behind her lungs.

Just as quickly, her face softened, her shoulders slumped.

That same pounding organ slowly crumbled. Broken chunks tumbled downward into the pit of her stomach. Her hand lifted slightly on it's way to clutch her breast to ease the shattering. In grave defeat she said quietly, "Facing a crushed heart is never easy Teela."

Teela had to make a decision about her hands. In the fleeting of the moment she chose to let her hands covered her mouth to stop the cry from escaping leaving to flow a stream of tears. Only the light scratching of Cloe's crayon upon the paper could be heard for some time.

"Can we get together to talk?"

"About what? Everything that needed to be said was said by Tanesha."

"That is not true. Pax, please. At least give me the chance to explain things."

"Go ahead. What do I care?"

"You do care." I hope. "You know it as well as I do. We both feel it." She paused searching the face that had haunted her so. She needed to make her understand the truth, the real truth and not Tanesha's poisonous version of it. "Can you tell me that you do not feel something when we are together?" Teela charged.

Finding something to read upon her desk, Pax muttered. "It's a moot point." I refuse to be the other woman. I've been on the other end plenty of times and I know what that's like. The waiting, snippets of time here and there. I want more.

"It doesn't have to be that way. That's what I am telling you." Teela was exasperated, she tried again,

"Will you come for dinner, and give me the chance. I swear I will tell you everything." She paused. "Afterwards, if you never want to see me again. I will accept it."

Wanting to cave in and wrap the social worker in her arms, Pax fought desperately to keep her face void of any hint of her true emotions and to stay in the chair. "What about Bess? She may have something to say about us having dinner."

"That won't be a problem," she whispered. "Will you come?"

Teela instantly blushed at the implication of what she said. The memory of Pax writhing beneath her danced vividly behind her eyes as did the sound of her cries echoing in her ears. Pax saw the coloring paint the blonde's face immediately and knew what she was experiencing. Teela had asked her that once.

It was just before Teela's mouth and tongue devoured the nerve bundle between her trembling legs. A new river flowed from her now, and Pax felt the pressure the seams of her pants made against the pulsing organ. Pax shifted slightly in her chair forbidding herself to groan.

"Does six o'clock sound okay?"

Not trusting herself, she nodded instead. She returned the small smile from Teela and watched her stand to leave. When she had reached the door, Cloe stopped her and held out the coloring book. Teela looked at it and then to Pax.

Her heart melted. She wanted this woman in her life, no matter what. She would listen to Felicia's advice and fight for her. "Cloe wants you to have her picture."

Smiling, a tear came to her eyes. "Really?"

"Yeah." Pax stood shakily from her chair and bent down in front of Cloe. She gently took the book, tore the orange colored drawing from the binder and handed it to Teela.

Teela bent down and pulled Cloe into a hug. "Thank you Cloe. I'll go right out and get a frame for it."

Snickering, "Yeah, It could be worth a fortune someday."

"Could be." She got to her feet standing very closely to Pax. She could smell the musk Pax always wore and it made those flutters take flight in her stomach. She could reach out and touch her. She wanted so desperately to feel those soft lips upon her own, but she was afraid of being rejected. I refuse to give up on us Pax, she thought.

"Until six then." She swallowed audibly.

Struggling not to throw all reason out of her mind and take this woman here and now. Pax's body continued sits betrayal and inhaled the clean lavender scent that was Teela, always Teela. The nights had been torture for her; she couldn't help snuggling to the pillow Teela had used when she was there. She wanted to bask in that scent this minute. Instead, she shoved her hands deep into her pockets and stepped away, her chest raising and falling as she fought for control. "Until six."

Teela left them watching her walk down the concrete corridor. Pax sighed heavily and took some time to adjust her slacks which were now rubbing between her legs. The friction was murderous. She looked down at her furry companion who had also been gawking at Teela.

"You like her too huh?" The chimp chattered cheerfully and did a back flip. She then snatched her book from Pax's fingers and ran back to her table. "Well what do you know, a lesbian chimp!"


Teela looked around the room. Everything looked to be in its place. If she was going to do this she needed to stop thinking of the house as "their" home, her home with Bess. When she returned that afternoon, she took a good look at her surroundings. They screamed Bess Harper and Teela Pheamster. The couple had put their mark on every inch of the structure. I have left this place a shrine. But we're no longer a couple. This is no longer Bess' home.

After leaving Pax, Teela stopped and purchased the storage bins that were now in the center of the hall. When she grabbed one of the bins, the tears began to flow, but she had to do this. It needed to be done. The procrastination had lasted for three years and nearly cost her the one good thing that happened to her in that time. Saying it and doing it made it real. I can move on. Now she had something to help guide her through. She had never wanted to face such finality alone.

Teela went through each room, removing things that reminded her of Bess, the pictures, the trinkets, her shoes that still lay by the back door. She went upstairs into the bathroom. Into the bin went Bess' combs, hair ties, toothbrush and paste, the little hand-held games she liked to play while doing her chores or bathing. Teela threw the half-empty prescription bottles into the bin, and the little make-up Bess would wear on those extremely special occasions. What was I keeping this stuff for?

When Teela removed the gray flannel robe from behind the bathroom door, a moan of loss escaped her lips. So many times, Bess had wrapped her in this cloth and held her. She pressed it to her face and rubbed the worn flannel across her cheek. Those times Teela had an exceptionally trying day, Bess lovingly nurtured her emotional health. Teela would come home literally dragging herself in through the door and Bess knew. Without a word, Bess would lead her up the stairs, and fill the tub with Teela's favored bubble bath. She would then undress Teela and lower her lover into the tub. Bess would leave returning shortly with a fresh cup of coffee and a single shot of Jagermeister, knowing what would jump start Teela's healing, and enable her to forget temporarily the perilous side of nursing home life. Bess always knew.

Moving into what had been their bedroom, she packed away the clothes that remained on hangers in the closets, jackets, suits, pants, wiping the tears from her eyes as she went along. She wanted to sure she'd gotten everything, so she took a final look around what was not now her bedroom and she smiled at the large teddy bear sitting upright on the bed. She grinned recalling Pax's face when she bamboozled her and won it for herself.

"My bedroom now," Teela whispered. "Maybe some new paint is in order."

Lighter and emotionally brighter than she had felt in some time, she carried the heavy bins filled with her life with Bess into the basement. She would decide what to do with them later. Back in the kitchen, she pulled out a bottle of iced green tea. She was parched, but she nearly spit the tea across the floor because she hadn't realized the time until then. Pax would be there in an hour. She bolted for the upstairs.


The door bell chimed and Thumper let Teela know someone was at their door by sounding her traditional three barks. She sat there patiently waiting for Teela to come and see who was invading her territory. Her nub wiggled frantically as Teela descended the stairs into the foyer. She drew a deep breath to settle her nerves and opened the door.

Teela inhaled deeply at the sight of Pax standing on her door step. She was dressed in a loose button-down white oxford tucked into tight faded blue jeans, her hair loose and flowing across her shoulders and back. Teela shivered from the twitching in her lower half.

Pax was thankful that she had decided to leave the dark sunglasses on. Her eyes immediately went to the tight black v-neck Teela wore. The tops of her breasts were very visible and inspired the onlooker to imagine what lay beneath. The walking shorts that she wore hugged every luscious curve of the slender hips.

"Hi," Teela managed

"Hi yourself."

Pax had to clear her throat to let Teela know she was staring "I'm sorry come on in."

Pax stepped into the foyer immediately greeting Thumper and giving her the raw hide she had in her back pocket. Thumper licked her hand and then snatched the treat and ran to the living room.

Laughing Teela said, "You know that she is going to expect a treat every time you come over now."

Pax's stomach flipped at the implication. "That's okay, if it will keep her from chewing on me."

"Are you hungry?" She turned leading the way into the kitchen.

"Just a little."

Pax entered the kitchen and noticed right away the romantically set table. The lights were turned moderately low for ambiance. The burgundy tablecloth, added warmth to the setting as the long taper candles softly flickered. A wine bottle chilled in the small metal bucket on the corner of the table. She saw the place settings filled with food and ready to eat. Pax smiled to herself; all that seemed to be lacking was the jazz music.

"This looks wonderful Teela."

"Thank you. I wanted tonight to be comfortable and special."

"I see, And romantic."

"That too."

She hesitated telling her body not to respond. "Teela, I don't think..."

"No expectations Pax. I just wanted..." She looked into the blue eyes and wanted to fall into those strong arm that had held and caressed her not too long ago. "Let's just take tonight as it comes. Okay?"


Dinner was fabulous and Pax remarked so several times in between bites of the delicacies she remembered from her childhood. She wondered how Teela learned to make such Greek cuisine. Caramella, Teela's mother, spoke the truth that day. Teela was an excellent cook. Pax closed her eyes and savored each bite with a moan that resonated throughout Teela, striking every fiber within her. Pax's groans caused the southern river to flow between Teela's legs and she wanted to feel the vibration of that groan against her skin. She yearned for it.

"How did you do this? This is fantastic?" Pax praised her.

"Do you like it? Really like it?"

"It is just like Mother used to make actually. Your mother was right. You are a good cook."

"Why thank you. I will have to give the chefs at Partheonos your compliments."

"Parthenonos? That place out on Bellview?" Pax asked.

"Yes. I just called and asked them to send their top selections with all the trimmings."

"You did? Why?"

"Because you said that you loved it and I wanted it to be special for you. My mother's confidence in my cooking foreign cuisine is misguided. I do have a few dishes that I do really well though. Just not these."

No one had ever done something like this before, and her heart thundered louder than it should have when she looked into those green meadows gazing back at her. She could see the love within them and wondered if they would be able to share what they had again, what she thought they'd been nurturing between them. "Thank you. That was very kind of you."

"No problem." Teela smiled behind her wine glass.

"May I ask you a question?"


"Out of curiosity, do you know what you ordered?"

"Actually no. The guy rattled off some stuff and it sounded exotic and good, so I said okay."

Pax chuckled. "Do you like it?"

"Yes. A little."

Sipping her wine behind a grin, Pax leaned forward and pointed to the meat dish. "That is called

Octopodi Krasato. The rice is a wonderful touch. And those," she said pointing to the green

vegetable looking items. "Those are called Aginares. And that is a desert, Kolokothopita."

"The Aginares is very good. I like that a lot. What is the meat one again?" Teela asked slicing another bit and eating.

Pax smiled. "Octopodi Krasato. Octopus in wine."

Teela stopped mid chew and looked green for a flash. "Octopus." Teela quickly chewed and forced herself to swallow. She then took a rather large gulp of wine to wash it down.

Chuckling Pax poured them more wine. "What you really liked were the artichokes, but you haven't tasted the Zucchini Pie yet. That is total heaven."

"I see. Well, maybe next time I will ask more about what I am ordering."

Laughing. "You might."

The laughter died down and Teela looked seriously at Pax. "Will there be a next time Pax?"

Tasting her wine she responded, "I don't know. That depends."

"Can we go into the living room?"

"Sure." She stood.

"Grab the wine," Teela requested.

They sat on the couch at opposite ends facing one another. Teela observed Pax to gauge where she should begin. She sipped her wine and tried to ignore the arousal stirring within.

"Bess and I have..." Teela paused briefly closing her eyes, I have to remember not to do that. We are not us anymore, "...had been together for eight years. Technically."

"Had been technically? Teela..."

"This is kind of difficult to explain really. I...want you to know...Well. Three years ago, Bess and I were on the verge of breaking up. She was unfaithful to me in our home, in this house, with a friend."

"How awful." Pax had been the other woman so many times in her past. She never once thought about the partner of the person she was dating at the time.

"We separated for a while and then started talking about getting back together. I think I wanted to be with her because I was comfortable with her. Maybe I was torn, scared and didn't want to make a change. Besides, I didn't think anyone else would want me. She told me so many times that I guess I had started to believe it." She studied her hands. "Jo and Boney knew some of the things that Bess had said to me and they knew about her and Rhonda."

How could you possibly believe what Bess said? You are beautiful. "They seem to be very supportive of you."

"And over protective, but they are the best. Boney is a little touched," she chuckled, "but she means well. Bess and I had planned a trip together to get things sorted out and started again." She paused swallowing more wine.

Teela breathed deeply as she bared her life before Pax, the uncertainty and wanting to try and make things work with Bess. Bess had sworn that she would not be unfaithful again, but then Teela had accidentally seen Bess kissing someone else just days before they were to leave on their trip. That just added more to her indecision and fear. Teela confronted Bess about what she witnessed. Bess went into a rage and they argued bitterly, hurling names towards one another just to hurt and be spiteful, each wishing the other had called it quits longs ago.

Bess finally stormed out of the house and took off in her car. It was hours before she heard from Bess. And when she did, it was the Michigan State Police standing on her doorstep telling her Bess was being sent to the hospital. "They had found my name as the emergency contact in her wallet," Teela continued quietly.

"Jo and Boney drove to the hospital and waited until Bess had come through surgery. She coded once and they brought her back." Teela relived at the moment in the waiting room when the doctor approached them in the wee hours of the morning. Bess has suffered a major stroke. Her CAT scan showed smaller, older infarcts, meaning, she was having Trans Ischemic Attacks or mini strokes for some time and that led up to this big one. Bess was gone that night. The woman she knew, her lover, was lost to her forever.

The tears forgotten upon her cheeks, she went on. "For the past three years, Bess has been living at the Pine Ridge Adult Foster Care Home. I couldn't bring her home and take care of her. She needs so much."

Pax moved across the couch and took Teela in her arms. She kissed her forehead lightly comforting her in her embrace. "That must have been so awful for you."

Pax understood how a monumental event like that could devastate a person. She went through that kind of trauma with Jen. She knew. Death in any form reeked havoc upon those left behind. That is what she went through after Jen. The flashbacks had been frequent, almost nightly until the social worker became embedded in her heart.

"I have her Power of Attorney and have been taking care of her for the past three years, even though she doesn't know who I am. That is where I spend most of my non-work time."

"She doesn't know you?"

"No, she doesn't. She hasn't for really in a long time. I wonder though, one of the nurses the other day told me she used to cry sometimes when I left."


"In my other patients I believed they were having a lucid moment. One split second of clarity and they recognized the world and understood their losses."

When she recognized you, Teela. Pax lowered her head pinching her eyes closed. Bess is still there, will always be there. Can I do this?

"Right now she is recovering from pneumonia. It is slow progress." Teela leaned back and looked into the blue eyes bearing down upon her. "I am her only family. I have to take care of her. I cannot abandon her." She searched those blues for understanding. "I loved loved her once and she loved me. Can you understand that?"

"Yes. I do understand, but why didn't you tell me before, Teela.? Why let Tanesha blurt it out like that, use it against you, against us?" Pax's emotional meter was beginning to waver upward towards the red zone. "What about Tanesha anyway? Were you in love with her too?"

"No. I liked Tanesha; that's all. Love was never apart of our equation." She felt the panic begin at the chill in Pax's voice.

"But you were seeing the both of us and Bess?"

"Bess was not in the same sense technically..."

"DON'T SPLIT HAIRS TEELA!" Pax jumped to her feet and started to pace. Thumper raised her head from the rawhide and closely watched the tall woman stalking across the carpet.

"Pax, I'm sorry. That's not what I meant." Teela inhaled. Oh god, she is so angry. " With Tanesha...I...she was...there, available, willing...I'm not sure of what to say." She threw her hands into the air. "We started dating but it never really...I never felt for her the way I feel for you."

Don't say that. I am trying to understand this and you are making it hard for me to remain angry and protect myself from you. If I you believe, if I trust you..."But you were together. A couple."

"No." Teela's head shook vigorously. "We saw each other, yes. We agreed that there would be no expectations. Unfortunately, she took things a little further." Please, you have to believe me.

"No expectations?" Pax nearly tripped she had stopped so fast and whirled on Teela. "She took it further? What the hell does that mean?"

"It means..." What? What can I tell her that it means when I encouraged Tanesha's attention. My thoughts are so twisted right now I can't even decipher them and I want her to understand and forgive me? Yeah fat chance. She closed her eyes tight and started again. "It means that our seeing each other was not supposed to have any emotional involvement."

Pax glared at Teela, "Well I think it backfired." She started to pace again.

"I supposed it did." Teela was perched waiting for Pax's response.

"How could you seriously think no emotions could be involved?" The same way you expected your conquests in California to remain "casual." her conscious reminded. And what did you do when one didn't play by the rules Pax? Huh? Is Teela so different? Maybe Tanesha didn't play by the rules.

"Because it's how we agreed it should be. I harbored no emotional ties to her. Especially after what she did to you that night."

"Tanesha thought otherwise."

"This I now know. I was never serious about her. I never thought of Tanesha as anything more than.. She was just..."

"A fuck buddy."

Teela cringed at the unabridged description of her relationship with Tanesha. "I suppose so."

"You led her on Teela and she is pissed." She stopped and turned facing the small social worker on the couch. "Is that what you are doing to me?"

"No I am not!" Teela got to her feet and marched up to the zoologist. She held the uncertain blue eyes within her own and saw the creeping fear within them. "There is no comparison between what I felt for Tanesha and what I feel for you. I have made some bad judgment calls, yes. Through all of this, I didn't know what I felt Pax, how feel. I know now. Pax, Bess and I never resolved our relationship. Last word was we were still partners. I believed I needed to be her lover as I had always been." She paused. "I felt as if I still belonged to her. You see? I hadn't come to terms with anything on this level until the other day, when I thought I had lost you."

"And now?"

"Now, I have realized that Bess is no longer Bess. Our relationship really ended the day I found her in bed with Rhonda. I was clinging to an idea of love that I thought Bess' warped ideal had defined for me. I have learned that she can be in my life, but does not have to be my life. Not anymore."

Pax's heart ached for all that Teela had been through. She could understand her loyalty to a partner that really did not deserve it. That was just a part of Teela. Teela had sacrificed her happiness for three years or more before they'd even met. Pax had already gleaned the most important fact. Bess was a past lover and no longer a hindrance. Teela had forgiven herself and released her feeling of guilt. With that knowledge came the sensations awakening within herself, her feelings for Pax, and the possibility of being with Pax.

"Until I realized that fact, I couldn't let myself think about getting close to anyone or letting anyone close to me. It felt too much like I was betraying Bess. I was afraid. Jo was right, I ended up using Bess as an excuse to not allow myself to trust someone, anyone."

"Why now?"

Teela leaned closed, hands moving up the sides of Pax neck feeling the pulse beat beneath her fingers. "Because I don't want to take the chance of not knowing you, of having you in my life."

Her heart jumped with glee overriding all reason. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Can you forgive me for not telling you about Bess or Tanesha?" She searched for the hint of truth within the oceanic blue eyes. Desire shown through but she could not tell what lay beyond that. "Is it possible that we can start again?"

Pax hesitated to answer. Ignoring her body's need for the small social worker, for once her mind showed a bit of reasoning. It wasn't as though Teela and Bess had been lovers in the true sense of the word for some time. Even before the stroke, Bess treated Teela abominably. Unfaithful, abusive...she turned away from Teela. How could she throw away so much woman?

"Will you hurt me, again?"

Teela cupped the soft cheek and gazed into a wounded soul. "I will do my very best not to."

Their lips came together softly at first then the pressure increased with hunger and yearning. When they broke for air, Teela continued to shower small kisses along Pax's eyes, cheek, and jaw before dining upon her neck.

"Pax, I am sure that I have ached with the thought of hurting you so badly, that when I could not talk to you or see you, it drove me crazy with want. I am sure that...if you do not...take me upstairs...to my bedroom...within the next minute...that I will shred your clothes...right here...in front of Thumper," Teela panted between kisses.

Teela stood and took Pax by the hand and led her quickly up the stairs into her bedroom. Nearing the bed, Teela turned Pax to face her. She kissed her again slowly, deeply, devouring her. Pax suckled the smaller woman's tongue. Each stroke fed the craving inside until they could hardly stand the anticipation. Teela began to unbutton Pax's oxford shirt, opening it as quickly as she could to move her hand move across the soft smooth skin underneath. Pax moaned softly, eyes drifting shut in delight at the touch. Trails of smoldering fire were left behind by Teela's needy fingers.

Teela snatched the shirt from Pax body tossing it somewhere across the room. If the arousal hadn't been so acute, she would almost have thought Teela's animalistic behavior was humorous. She never would have guessed that the social worker could be so aggressive.

Without warning, Teela unsnapped Pax's bra expertly with one hand, and that too went sailing across the room. Teela groaned at the sight of the nipples hardening before her eyes. The coolness of the room served a wonderful purpose she thought.

"You are so beautiful Pax," Teela whispered running her finger along Pax's sides, delighting in the goose flesh that arose from her touch. Her hands caressed every inch of skin in marvel, making a perfect memory that she could relive anytime she chose.

Hands cupped the jutting breasts; Pax let a loud gasp and held onto Teela's shoulder for balance. Teela looked into the aroused face of Pax and her passion rose for the gorgeous woman she held literally in her hands. Teela closed her eyes inviting all of her senses to come alive as she caressed the bare skin before her.

Teela slowly brought her hands back to Pax's breasts and kneaded them. Teela smiled in amusement, for once being thankful for her short stature. Pax's breasts were in direct line with her mouth, and on this she was intent on taking advantage.

Each nipple had its own servant administering to it. Teela let her finger roll the hardened pebbles between her fingers in the same direction, then reverse and then made them go in opposite. Pax whimpered and her hips jerked meeting Teela's thigh. She knew Pax wanted more, but this was too good to rush through. She had missed her terribly. She wanted this woman to never leave her that wanting again. This she would make sure the zoologist understood.

"You like that, I see," Teela toyed. Pax's breath was coming in great bursts trying to take more oxygen in before the next touch forced her to expel it all. "They are so hard. I don't know what you want, lover. You may have to guide me."

Pax could not speak. Her mouth was ajar, but the only sound coming out from the parched orifice was not intelligible. Teela bent her head and nipped one of the erect protrusions. Pax's head dropped back and she arch her chest fully into Teela's face, willing Teela to take more of her, to stop her tease and take her to the end. Teela pinched the right nipple as she suckled the breast given to her. Pax's knees dipped adding a little more pressure upon each breast.

Suddenly, Teela stepped away. Pax's hands remained on her shoulders for fear of falling to her knees should she let go. Teela's grin turned wicked. She let one hand trace down Pax's taut stomach and around to her buttocks. She gripped the firm gems in her hand delighting in the unmistakable growl of need Pax sent to the otherwise silent room.

Fingers remained fastened upon a nipple, moving, and rolling it to keep it aching and awake. The other, hand ceased rubbing Pax's southern cheeks and came around to tickle the ribbed stomach making the flesh jump once again. Teela leaned forward and took the neglected nipple into her mouth. Letting her hand drift over Pax's jean-covered mound and rubbing in small circles, Teela moaned feeling the wetness begin to soak the heavy barrier. Teela used her finger to lightly stroke and coax Pax's center into consciousness. She wanted to feel Pax pulsing through the material and into her hands.

"God Teela. I need you to touch me."

Teela paused long enough in her ministrations to switch sides. There was a whole other breast that she had not tasted yet this evening. She couldn't have that. She couldn't leave an inch of this woman explored, untouched, unsatisfied. She encouraged the nipple between her lips to come to her, to let her suckle and taste the sweetness of its owner. While she latched on, Teela used both hands to quickly unfasten Pax's jeans. The sound of the zipper lowering mingled sensually with the wanton resonance coming through Pax. She let her hands play across the waist band of the boxers, elated that Pax was beginning to shake and tremble where she stood.

"Teela, I can't hold on much longer. Please touch me," she panted.

"You can, and you will," Teela calmly replied surprising herself. She rather liked the control she had over Pax's body and desire.

Teela reached up and pulled Pax head down to her and placed a searing, commanding kiss upon her lips. Pax's arms pulled her closely wanting her to see the urgency and the need that she was creating within her own body.

Teela broke the kiss to place descending touches across Pax's exposed flesh as she stood there in the middle of the bedroom. Teel loved feeling the taut abdomen tremble, responding to her kisses. She paused to suckle the spot just above the waistband and felt Pax's hand come to her head. Teela willed herself to be patient. She smelled Pax's arousal. It filtered into the room and through her nasal passages. Teela felt herself shudder and own southern region began to pound with the force of a hurricane driving wind and rain against the shore. She licked her lips anticipating the taste that was Pax.

Teela pushed Pax's jeans to the floor. Dull finger nails trailed their way back up the long legs loving the little earth quakes that she was causing. She was so near to Pax and Teela inhaled deeply. Teela could feel the bundle between her own legs enlarging in response. She felt the pressure against the damn break through and flow down her own legs. Teela squeezed her muscles desperately trying to ignore the pulsing of her own core. It only served to heighten her longing even more.

She let her tongue trace the outer leg of the sport boxers and heard Pax groan as her hips jerked with the first contact. Teela tasted the salty mixture of sweat and arousal that had seeped to the side. She moved her lips lightly across the front of Pax's mound, brushing the curls that lay beneath the black cotton material. Pax's hand came to rest upon Teela's head to guide her teasing lover. Teela smiled and resisted Pax's attempt to push her further down between her legs. Pax was getting more insistent, more desperate. Teela thought this was good, but instead repeated her movement down the other left side of the boxer. Pax's hips jerked forward wanting to increase the contact.

Pax released a frustrating growl and tangled her hands further in the blonde hair below her. "You are making it very difficult to stand."

Teela looked up into the darkened blue sky and smiled. Keeping her eyes locked upon her Teela stuck out her tongue and touched the engorged nub between Pax legs. Pax bucked throwing her head back and pulled Teela completely into her. Teela licked her again and Pax shook fiercely.

"Do that again baby...and I will come for you".

Teela grinned evilly and lowered Pax's boxers to meet the jeans around her ankles. "Oh, you are going to come for me alright."

Teela helped Pax waddle over the bed taking care that she did not fall. She sat Pax upon the edge of the mattress, and quickly removed the shoes tossing them to the side. Next followed the jeans and dampened boxers. Teela pushed Pax onto her back with her weight, kissing her deeply. Teela slowly made love to Pax's mouth, tongue darting in and out to gather every once of the sweet flavor that resided there.

Teela trailed her hands down the naked torso of her lover, then moved to plant kissed along the same trail her hands had followed. She lingered to suckle at the apex of each hip where her mound connected to her leg. Pax's hips moved in their own rhythm and Teela only needed to follow. Getting an idea, she decided to raise Pax's legs causing her knees to reach her chest.

"Hold them there for me." Teela told her.

Teela kneeled beside the bed and looked on at the marvel of Pax. She was there laid open for her eyes to see and her tongue to feast upon no barriers. She snaked her tongue out to taste the round buttocks that was up and displayed for her. She leaned forward and placed soft kisses along the exposed flesh. Pax's foot shook at the contact and Teela softly giggled. She never had felt so commanding and in control before. She was reveling in it.

She flattened her tongue and drew it upwards along Pax's nether lips. A mix between a groan and a sigh escaped from Pax. Teela brushed her tongue again and groaned herself at the taste of the river flowing from her lover. Her lips were swollen and wanting to be stroke, so Teela stroked them again with her tongue.

Pax's hips began their rhythm again. Pax pressed against her self made confines. She was doing as she was told to do. Her own hands were latched to the back of her thighs keeping them in mid aid. Her grip loosened as Teela thrust her tongue deep between her folds and into center siphoning all the nectar being released for her. Just for her.

"Oh Teela. Take me baby. Now Please I am begging you. Take me."

Teela placed her left hand upon Pax's thigh. Pax was so wide open for her and past being ready to be taken. Teela couldn't stand her own teasing anymore. Squeezing own her muscles had brought her to the edge long ago. Teela rested her head for a moment upon one of Pax's raised thighs. She coated the fingers of her right hand in Pax's cream.

Pax's chest heaved in anticipation what was coming. She wanted to be filled. She wanted the social worker inside of her deeply. She needed her.

"Finish me baby. Fuck me please," Pax panted.

Teela smiled looking up between the hanging jeans to her lover's face. "Is that what you want?" She took one finger and pressed against Pax's opening. She wiggled it slightly.

"Yes. God yes, Teela! Hurry!"

Teela flicked the point of her tongue across the hardened bundle of nerve and Pax's hips twitched savagely. Teela's own hips bucked against the side of the mattress and she groaned from the sensation it caused.

"Teela...Oh God...Teeelllaaaa..."

Teela slowly pushed two fingers deep into her lover at the same time her mouth took Pax's oversensitive nub between her lips. She felt the muscles in Pax's legs tense and stiffen . Her legs were spread as wide as the constraining clothing at her ankles would allow. Teela slowly retrieved her fingers and thrust again deeply in a slow grinding rhythm into her lover while she gently nipped her center. Pax was moaning continuously now and her hip grinding up and down, back and forth, increasing the much awaiting friction she coveted.

Teela pulled out of her lover and hesitated at her entrance. Still suckling the swollen bud, Teela then thrust three fingers into her lover plunging her over the edge and causing her to bellow out her name. Pax managed to keep one hand clasped behind her thigh as told but the other one was on Teela's head keeping her in place. Teela flattened her tongue letting Pax smear her as she willed.

"Harder baby, harder please."

Wanting to please this woman and make Pax hers, Teela increased her power into each thrust. Teela couldn't stop her own hips from Pressing against the bed with each push into Pax.

"Oh baaabbyyy!"

Pax screamed and her legs went rigid with the intensity coursing through her body. Her cry carried throughout the room. Teela shared Pax's orgasm as her own spilled forth and she continued push against the mattress. Only her orgasmic scream muffled as she had refused to let go of the grip she had on Pax.

Thumper lifted her head at the loud noises filtering throughout the house. She was not pleased with whatever it was that was disrupting her love affair in the living room with the half-eaten rawhide. She growled menacingly and debated whether to go and investigate or return to her bone.

Before Pax's hips could relax upon the bed, she was thrown into another powerful orgasm with her legs locked into the air. Teela groaned feeling herself reaching the apex again as well. Teela held on until Pax was finally released from the multiple orgasm. Teela gently released her hold upon Pax's thigh and let them down to rest. As soon as they were lower, Pax yelped in pain and gritted her teeth.

"Ow ow ow!" Her hand shot to her right hip.

"Pax what's wrong, did I hurt you? Oh god I'm sorry." Teela was immediately beside her lover looking down with worry.

"No...no," she panted. "I got a cramp," she said and then chuckled. "I got a cramp. That has never happened before."

"Are you sure you are okay?" she asked, not completely convinced.

"Yeah I'm sure. Just give me a minute to get it to relax," she said reaching out for the social worker.

"Oh, and then what?"

"Then we will see if I can't give you one."

"We can do that," she said helping Pax out of the rest of her clothes.


Pax drifted to slumber after making love with the tigress known as Teela. She hadn't been asleep for very long when something nagged at her to open her eyes. She obeyed and didn't notice anything threatening right away, that is until she turned her head and came face to face with dark brown eyes glaring at her.

She started slightly and her heart pounded from the scare. It took her a minute to calm her nerves, Pax wondered what the dog wanted. Thumper didn't indicate anything, but just looked at her. Then she just huffed, spraying Pax arms lightly with the wetness from her nose, turned and walked quietly out of the room.

"God," she whispered and raked her fingers through her hair.

She inhaled and blew the breath out slowly. It was then she realized the other cause for her to awaken. The pounding between her legs told her she was not down and out for the night. Her arousal flared and let her know it was waiting. It wanted more. It demanded that she be touched again and again and again. Now that she had found the little blonde, her libido demanded not to be left alone ever again.

She kissed the blonde's head which lay upon her chest and began stroking her arms and rubbing small circles upon her back. She needed this woman in the worst way. She wanted to take her, to possess her. Pax was finding out that her sexual hunger could be a commanding little creature where Teela was concerned.

Gently she turned Teela over onto her back making her give up the shoulder pillow. She began to kiss her neck and her hands automatically went around the plush breast. Teela stirred in her sleep, her hand coming to rest upon the head suckling at her breast. Pax let her hand track down to Teela's thighs gently touching and they parted by themselves.

Teela's back arched lightly and she gasped when Pax entered her. Pax chastised herself in being remiss and not taking all that Teela offered her earlier. Teela was wet and waiting. Her hips gyrated and pumped against Pax's hands. She pulled the head from her breast needing to taste Pax's lips. Each moaned tasting the mixture of themselves, spurning their arousal and their rhythm into sync.

"I can't help it. I want you again." Pax broke the kiss to suck deeply upon Teela's neck.



"I want you in me."

"I am baby." To demonstrate, Pax drove deeper causing Teela's hips to undulate wildly.

Teela whispered to her lover, "No, to be apart of me." Pax stilled, pulled back and looked into her eyes.

"I don't have..."

"I have a new friend in the nightstand," Teela whispered.

She gently pulled out of Teela. She looked at her lover and then her coated fingers. Eyes locked upon Teela, Pax used her tongue to slowly clean each finger one by one, moaning at their deliciousness. Teela groaned. She could feel that tongue lapping at her center.

From the drawer, Pax pulled out the harness and the attachment. She grinned and felt her pulse quicken in her nether lips. She looked back at Teela and shivered.

"There is something else in there as well," Teela said.

Puzzled, Pax reached back inside the drawer and brought out a long, handled massager. The round smooth head was the size of a racquetball. Pax's right eyebrow raised in question wondering what Teela had in mind.

"I'll show you later," she said reaching underneath the bed and finding the extension chord. She plugged it in. The device lay by her head next to the pillow.

Teela helped Pax into the harness making sure of the fit. Once secure, she pulled Pax on top of her and began kissing her deeply. Teela lifted herself to make contact with Pax. Their bodies ground against each other swimming in the connection of flesh making their spreading their scent into the air. Soon, it became too much for Teela to wait any longer and she pushed at Pax's shoulders.

Pax sat on her haunches and watched as Teela quickly turned around and placed her buttocks against Pax. This she could definitely do. Teela pressed her backside rubbing it into Pax's lap. Pax's hands reached around to cup the breast gently swaying from Teela's movements. Pax felt her wetness flow a new stream from what Teela was doing. She leaned forward to nip the back before her.

Both moaned their need and desire, as Pax dragged blunted nails down Teela's back. Pax could feel Teela's wetness. The dildo was moving sensuously between them. The more Teela moved, the more the smaller one stimulated Pax inside.

She leaned Teela forward and she took her place between Teela's legs. She used Teela's own abundant wetness to coat the toy that would soon be giving them both unspeakable pleasure.

"Guide me," she heard Pax's husky whisper, anticipating the first thrust inside her.

She was almost ready to explode at this very moment. Her eyes drifted closed drinking in the sensation. She let her hands caress the smooth and shapely behind turned upward for her to take and conquer. Just as she had earlier tonight, Teela was again completely opening herself in a most pleasurable offering.

Teela's hand went between her legs from the front and placed the head of the dildo at her opening. She removed her hand and bent downward allowing a better angle for the deepest penetration. Slowly Pax entered her becoming apart of every shudder Teela's body made.

Pax remained still allowing Teela to set the pace. And she did. Teela began rocking back onto Pax's lap wildly, forcibly at first as the initial fullness was painfully sweet. Then Teela slowed. Pax held onto Teela's hips guiding her lover back onto her and then off, but never fully leaving. She held on letting Teela show her what she needed and how. Teela's head flopped back and such a deep moan reverberated through her making Pax shiver and edged closer to her own release.

Pax's hips began to come up and meet Teela's. Lost in their sensual grind nothing else existed but their togetherness, the mixing of their bodies. The scent in the room was powerful and driving their desires beyond reason and control. It was the consummate feeling to be moving as one.

"Oh baby, that's it. Fuck me. Hmmm. Oh Pax."

"Teela..." was all she could say. Eyes closed, Pax could see their movements were generating colors behind her lids. She gave in to the slow sensual rhythm, lost in the sensation and the wonderment it provided.

"I need to come baby," Teela begged.

"Come for me Teela. Let me hear you. I want to know that I am pleasing you baby."

"Oh god...get ready to catch me baby."

Pax heard the click and then the soft buzzing. It was the massager. The vibration was coming through from where Teela placed it on her engorged mound. Pax felt the pulse travel through Teela and into her body. She heard Teela scream and every muscle in her body locked in place, tightening around her nearly trapping Pax inside. Teela's body quaked. She could barely hold herself in their position with her one arm while the other moved the massager upon her engorged nub.

What started as a low rumble traveled through Teela's diaphragm, up the lungs, and came out of her mouth with a piercing vengeance. Pax held onto slender hips and continued to thrust sensually into her lover helping her orgasm to crest.

"Oh my goddd, Paaaxaxx," Teela crested again and again.

Pax felt the clenching of her own muscles, and her own explosion ignited. Flying on a wave of internal tremors, shocks and spasms together they soared in their mutual climax. Their movements stayed in sync each causing the other to climb again and again. They sang in unison the song of lovers in the night.

That was it. Thumper growled and barked once in warning to whatever it was making that noise and disrupting her. She walked to the bottom of the stairs and looked up. Again she debated if she should go up and investigated what the disturbance was. Looking back towards the living room, she sneezed and went back to the pair of shorts she had stolen from the bedroom floor.

In one fell motion, Teela removed the massager flinging it across the bed and collapsed forward. Pax followed landing softly atop of her. Fearing that she was too heavy, she pulled herself to the side of Teela and lay there panting, arm and leg thrown across Teela.

"My god, Teela, that was amazing. They were so beautiful. I saw them," She marveled. "I saw the colors, the blues, the reds. There was a flash of brilliant white. MY god what was that?"

Teela gently turned on her side to face Pax. She brushed her cheek and kissed her deeply. She can never get enough of this mouth. Teela snuggled back into her place on her human pillow.

"So did I, love. So did I."



The alarm clock blared jarring Teela awake. She reached out and slapped at the annoying device several times before it finally shut up. She mumbled and snuggled deeper onto the strong shoulder pillow.

The body beneath her began to stir and a hand rubbed her shoulders. "Good morning," Pax hummed and kissed her lover's blonde head.

"No it's not," Teela mumbled petulantly.

Chuckling Pax responded, "Yes it is."

"Don't want to," Teela whined and tightened her grip around Pax's waist. Her touch and the scent of their love making in the air stirred her desire again. Teela rocked her hips slightly against Pax's thigh.

"I don't want to either, but we do have to go to work ya know."

"Hmmmm. I don't."

"Lucky you have the day off. I don't. My weekend doesn't start until five this afternoon."

"Don't have the day off. Got suspended."

She shifted to see her better. "Suspended? For what?"

"Long story and I really don't want to talk about it right now. Let's just say my supervisor overstepped her bounds and things will be better by next week."

Still concerned Pax asked, "Is this serious?"

"I'm not worried about it and neither should you be." She snuggled back down into her spot. "What time do you have to leave?"

Pax glanced at the neon red numbers. "In a couple of hours."

"Really?" Teela's hips began to move.

"My my, we are the little nymphomaniac aren't we?"

"Not my fault," Teela she said raising up on an elbow and squeezing the waiting nipple. "It's yours." She quickly took it into her mouth.

"Urgghh," Pax gasped her body responding on its own to Teela.


An hour later, Pax entered the kitchen and gave Teela a hug. She squeezed the woman tightly wishing they could return to bed. The thought of what they did last night pounded in her southern half. It wanted a repeat performance and now.

Teela handed her a cup of coffee and told her to go sit down. Last time they were together in the kitchen, food seemed to burn if they were standing next to one another. Teela didn't want that to happen again. The smell would hang forever in the room.

"I just don't understand where my shorts and socks went to," Pax puzzled sipping her coffee. "I thought you ripped everything off in the bedroom?" Pax was puzzled. She had returned to the bedroom after her shower and discovered half of her clothing was missing.

"I don't know either." Teela shrugged. At that moment, Thumper walked in carrying the cloth between her jaws. Teela gasped, "Thumper. What did you do?"

The dog dropped the cloth and sat proudly by the item. Teela reached down and picked up what is left of Pax's boxer shorts. Both butt cheeks had been chewed. She tried desperately not to giggle.

"Teela?" Pax whines looking at the pants. "Those were my favorite. Oh come on." She looked at the dog. "What the hell did I ever do to you."

"I am so sorry sweetheart. I'll buy you another pair." Teela kissed her atop of her head and turned to the dog. "That was a bad Thumper." She shook her finger. The dog just sat there and raised it's eyebrows at her.

Pax remained at the kitchen table sipping a cup of coffee and nervously watching the massive eight-five pounds of animal known as Thumper who was watching her in turn. Something was wrong with the dog. She sat there at attention glaring at her from her mother's side. Since they had gotten out of bed and came downstairs, the dog has only left Teela's side to go do her business outside. Then she came right back and attached herself to Teela's hip. Pax thought she had won the dog over, obviously not.

She shook the image from her mind and focused on the legs peaking beneath the short emerald robe across the room. Teela was waiting for the bagels to pop up and then join her at the table. Each movement would make the hem of the robe sway and remind Pax of what was underneath. She couldn't seem to get enough of this woman. She liked the believe that Teela couldn't get enough of her either considering they had a total of maybe two hours worth of sleep the entire night.

But what did it mean for them now?

They talked about Bess and Teela's finally letting go of the obligation she felt for the woman that was no more, but they never talked about them. Was there a them? An Us? Pax knew what she wanted the answer to be. She had known from the first time they made love when Teela returned from her trip. She wanted to ask her then to be hers and only hers. Pax didn't feel she had a right to back then. Is this any different now that Teela is truly single? What if she wanted to explore. To see if there was someone out there that could offer her more than she could. What if?

"What are you so deep in thought about?" Teela pulled her out of her reverie kissing her forehead.

"I was just thinking about things," she stammered.

"Oh. What kinds of things?" She pushed the bagel and canister of cream cheese towards her lover.

"Just things."

"Are you having regrets?" She returned the bagel to her plate. The sense of trepidation poisoned her appetite.

"No!" Pax answered quickly. "Never regrets about making love with you. Don't even think it."

"Okay." She studied her and then the plate before her. "Thinking about us?"

"Is there an us?" she shyly replied.

Teela stood and moved around the table to where Pax sat. Thumper followed and sat eyes cautiously watching again. Teela motioned for Pax to shift her chair back from the table. When she had done so, Teela easily straddled Pax's lap. The smell of her arousal wafted to Pax senses and she felt herself begin to swell again and push against her jeans. It took all her strength not to move her hands inside the outstretched legs of this woman.

Teela studied the blue eyes and recognized the uncertainty. She bent to take the lips gently to her own, tongues dancing in their familiar way. When they parted, their chests were heaving. Pax loved how their movements were always in rhythm.

"I think that is something worth looking into. Don't you?"

"Oh yeah. I do," Pax panted and capture those soft lips again. Her hands crept along Teela's thighs and around to cup her buttocks pulling her into her stomach. Teela's hips began their own dance against the taut muscles and Pax's lips found that spot she cherished on Teela's neck.

"God, do you have to go?"

"Hmmm. I do."

"Call in sick." She ground further into Pax's shirt leaving her mark visible.

"You feel so good. I want you again," she groaned guiding Teela's hips against her stomach. She held her for a moment longer and then reluctantly stopped the insistent hips from moving. Laying her forehead upon Teela's shoulder she whined. "I gotta go."

Unwillingly, Teela removed herself from Pax's lap. She snickered at the large wet spot above the navel of Pax's shirt. Pax looked down touching the warm spot and shivered. Her body baulked at the interruption.

She looked up at her lover and smiled. "I definitely need another shower and change now." She pulled her into her arms and kissed her deeply again. "This is going to be a long day."

"You started it."

"I did?" She stopped in surprise. "You came to my side of the table." She kissed her on the cheek.

"Come walk me to the door."

Pax took her by the hand leading her out while Thumper followed. They got to the door and Teela pulled Pax into a tight hug once again. She did not want to let her walk out. She wanted her to stay with her all day every day.


"Hmm?" she said squeezing and inhaling their scent upon Teela's skin. Trying desperately to think of a way to blow off the meeting for today. She was leading it. She couldn't.

"Would you like to go camping with me?"

"I'd go anywhere you want."

"How about this weekend?"

She loosened her embrace and stared down at her new lover. "This weekend?"

"Yeah. We could leave after you get out tonight or first thing in the morning. Jo and Boney have a fifth wheel at Nettles Campground. I use it from time to time. I'm sure they are not using it this weekend. I thought maybe you would like to go."

Pax considered the offer. She had nothing planned for the weekend, and it would be a perfect time to get to know Teela better as well. "You sure that it would be alright?"


"Then yes. Let's go." Teela jumped into Pax's embrace with excitement.

"You are going to love it. It's an all women's campground."

"All women?" Her eyebrow raised in question.

Teela slapped her arm. "Don't go getting any ideas."

Pax looked into green sparkling eyes. "After the night you gave me, I am ruined for anyone else."

Teela looked into baby blues. She pulled Pax's head down to meet her lips and thoroughly thanked her for the compliment.

"Ooh boy, anymore of those and I won't make it out of here."

Smiling Teela responded, "That's the goal."

"Will you call me with what I need to bring?"

"Don't worry about it. I'll have things all ready for when you get out."

Pax couldn't help herself she had to taste those lips again.


Pax made it back to her house. She quickly showered and dressed. She had less than thirty-five minutes before the meeting was to begin. She was heading for the door when her telephone rang. She walked back into the living room and picked up the receiver. It was her boss telling her that one of the Board members scheduled to attend the meeting would be delayed for two hours at the Chicago airport. As a result, their meeting would be delayed. Pax told him that she would see him then.

She silently swore. That meant she might have a delay in leaving for the afternoon to go camping with Teela. Her groin flinched at the thought of the little blonde. Her heart skipped and the flutters invaded her stomach; her pants immediately became uncomfortable between her legs.

She checked her watch . There was not enough enough time to see Teela. No that was something she never wants to rush. She shrugged her shoulder and left the house anyway. She would go see mom.


Jo and Teela sat in the deli eating their subs for lunch. Teela was in luck that Jo seemed to have a light schedule for the day and could meet her for an early lunch.

"So Teela, have you heard from your boss yet?"

"Supervisor, no. I did speak with Frank again this morning though. He said that he called Nica at home and talked to her. She confirmed all that I had told him, so I am really not too worried about it. He was a little upset about my being involved with Pax, but when I told him that Pax's mother was transferred to Nica, he seemed a little more relaxed. Just a little."

"Aren't you afraid of what Erin will do when Frank returns?"

"A little, but he has known for some time that she oversteps her authority with Nica and me as well as other people's employees. I figure she is on a tight rope and doesn't even know it yet."

"She has gotten away with a lot of stuff hasn't she?"

"Oh yeah. Not anymore. She has irritated so many people it's not funny. She has even approached the head of laundry about changing the detergents she uses for washing the clothes. They do not look bright enough for her and the resident's should always look their best. Can you believe it?"

"She has got some set of lips on her."

"That she does. I tell you what she reminds me of Jo."

"Oh no," she chuckled.

"Remember that movie that Boney dragged us to a while back?"

"Which one? She is always picking funky movies to make me watch."

Giggling Teela continued, "The animated one about the superhero family, the dad was this big fat guy..."

"Oh yeah, yeah. The Incredibles or something like that."

"Yeah. That's the one. There was the character that made all the superhero costumes. The short little lady with the pageboy hair cut and big round glasses." Teela waited for Jo to get the image. "Picture that and the way she walked. You have a spitting image of Erin Borden."

Jo paused thinking for a moment. She closed her eyes to conjure up the image and then burst out laughing hysterically. The other patrons in the deli turned their way wondering at the two cackling women making so much noise in the corner.

"Oh, Teela, that is soooo bad."

"But true. I swear. They must have used Erin as a template. Swing by sometime when I get back. I will introduce you."

"Teela that is terrible."

"So I will wait and see what Frank does when he returns from vacation. He told me to take the

suspension. It would serve as documentation against her, but it will be edited from my employee jacket."

"That's good. Can you trust him to keep his word?"

"I think so."

"So you are going up to Nettles this weekend? Are you still running Teela?"

"No I am not running away this time." Smiling broadly she said, "I want to take Pax there."

"Pax? I wondered why you were all bouncy and smiling. You two finally talked?"

The blush coloring her skin instantly, Jo knew and smiled with her friend. "That and then some."

"So what happened? Things are ok?"

Taking a drink of her tea, Teela paused and then continued, "They are more than okay Jo. I went to her office yesterday to see her. I think that since Cloe liked me, that may have helped with getting her to agree to come over for dinner."

Stopping in mid chew. "Who the hell is Cloe?"

"Cloe is Pax's friend."

"She has another girlfriend?"

"I hope not. Otherwise Pax is into bestiality and that is something I am definitely not into."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Jo asked thoroughly confused.

Teela laughed at her friend. She loved teasing her. "Cloe is the chimpanzee that Pax lets stay in her office. She colored a picture and gave it to me."

"Pax did?"

"No Cloe."

Her frustration peaked. "Will you stop that and tell me straight out what happened before I hurt you."

Teela laughed and then told her friend what her evening was like with Pax. Of course she kept a few details private. Teela told her that Pax seemed to accept the news about Bess rather well and forgave her for not telling her about ex-lover.

"And things progressed from there."

"I see."

"You always say that."

"Because I know it always gets to you."

"Well stop it."

"No. Don't wanna," Jo bantered back. Don't wanna believe that after three years all of a sudden Bess is no longer first with you either.


"So what now?"

"I know how I feel. I want to be with her. I want there to be something more. I felt that we were on our way until that night. I think she wants it too. I'm surprised I had the brain capacity to ask her after how she kissed me in the kitchen this morning."

"Eeewww!" Jo hissed. "I hoped you used some bleach water afterwards or I am never eating at your kitchen table again."

"It wasn't like that Jo. It was close," she admitted, as her friend shivered. "Oh come on. how many times have you and Boney practically consumed one another in front of me? Huh?"

"Yeah that little hillbilly of mine can be a spit fire of erotica when she sets her mind to it."

"More like a swarm of locusts in a corn field."

They laughed uproariously.

"Oooh girl, you have been hanging around hillbilly took long. That was good. True but good."

Their laughter died down after a while and they ate in silent thought.

"I thought that a weekend away where we can be free from distractions would give us a chance to talk and explore what we feel or want. I think Nettles is the perfect setting, not to mention a chance to get her on the beach under the moonlight."

"You do realized that you are going to take your new love, who happens to be tall, dark, and sexy to a campground full of lesbians?"

"Hmmmm." She frowned. "You're right. What was I thinking?"

"Like you said, you had no brain capacity this morning. Sex in the morning will do that to you. On top of that, it happens to be a singles weekend up there."

"Oh God," Teela groaned. "I didn't even look at the events calendar before I asked her."

"Yeppers. You better pee all around that tall tree of yours and make sure she is well marked." Jo laughed.

"Bite me."

Pointing at her friend's neck she said, "Looks like Pax already did that." Jo watched as Teela turned bright red again and roared. Her side splitting she wiped a stray tear from her eye.

"You are not being very helpful here Johanna," Teela gritted through her teeth. She ducked her head as the other patrons continued to stare their way.

"Sure I am. I am very happy that things seem to be moving in your life. My laughter is the relief of so much worry and anxiety for you."

"Oh you are good."

"Thank you, but really. I am glad that Pax seems to make you happy. Boney and I really do like her."


"Have you asked her about who Jen is?"

"No. I thought we could approach that this weekend."

"What about the upcoming Thriller in Manilla?"

Confused Teela asked, "The what?"

"The fight between her and Tanesha?"

"I had forgotten about?"

"Has she?"

Teela shrugged her shoulders. "Has Tanesha?"

"Do you think she would? She has spoken to me once since then and that was to ask about you."

"I don't want them to fight Jo. You didn't see the evil look on her face that day at her school. It was as if Tanesha wasn't there but something else was inside of her. She was ruthless. I'm afraid of what they would do to one another if they fought."

"What are you going to do?"

"Talk to Pax. Maybe I can talk some sense into her and let her know that she doesn't have to fight. Especially not over me."

"Think you can?"

"Have to Jo. Her last professional fight damn near killed her. She was in the ring with a man who was much bigger a more formidable opponent from a different style she told me, but her pride would not let her back down. She had to see if she could hold her own."

"Oh my."

"Jo, she suffered a closed head injury. That is why she stopped fighting. She wouldn't tell me, but I know Tanesha hurt her when they fought. I could see it in her eyes."

"Then you have got to talk her out of fighting Tanesha."

"I will. I have to."


Pax sat with her mother in the dayroom. She was holding her hand and talking to her softly. Pax told her about some of the animals with whom she worked, including the humans.

Pax looked into the blue eyes that matched her own, only these were lifeless. Once they were filled with fiery passion for life and her family. Now they were dull and vacant. A mind sharp and could recall family birthdays of cousins, aunts and uncles, was no more. Her mother, Maureen Baldwin continued to exist in her mind. She remembered how she used to be. It was too devastating to accept the shell she had become.

Pax stroked the gray hair and tried to smooth the salt and pepper mane. She followed her mother in looks, but her father in height. The dark raven hair was carbon copy of her mother's. Pax assumed, she too would gray at the temples first and her hair would become salt and pepper throughout, as her mother's was now.

Was Bess like this? Teela must feel something close to what I do for mother, taking the unfortunate opportunity to love and care for someone who did not love and care for you. Mother had Zander and Damian to look out for her. There was only Teela for Bess. No wonder Teela felt so obligated.

When Pax arrived, her mother had finished breakfast in her room and the staff were about to start getting her dressed and ready for the day. Pax requested that she remain in the room to watch. She wanted to understand what her mother and the CENAs went through. When the two CENAs had her mother washed, diapered, and dressed in her wheelchair, Pax dried the tears in her eyes and hugged each one of them. It took a special person to do such work with people on a daily basis, the lifting, bending, accepting abuse from the patient sometimes. Pax knew these women and men truly had a calling.

Lost in her thoughts, she did not hear Nica approaching her.

"How are things Pax?"

Smiling she responded, "They are good Nica. Real good."

"Any questions or concerns about mom?"

"No. You are taking wonderful care of her. Thank you. My sister-in-law cannot say enough good things about all of you here. I agree with her."

"Good. I'm glad to hear that." She looked around quickly making sure no one can hear them. "How is Teela?"

Pax tried to fight the blush crossing her face without success. "She is doing okay, but she has not told me why she was suspended."

"Aah...Well...It has been coming for a while. Eerie has been looking for something and Celeste Caywood seemed to have given her the ammunition that she was looking for."

"Celeste Caywood?" She felt her temper rise. "What does she have to do with Teela's suspension." Celeste was still making trouble. She would have to have a talk with her.

"Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned anything." Nica tried to back peddle seeing the dark cloud covering Pax's faced quickly. "I'm sorry. Don't tell Teela I said anything. Okay?"

Pausing she considered this. She didn't want to make any trouble for Teela. "No problem Nica."

Relief spread across her face now, but she still felt obligated to warn Pax just in case. "Listen Pax. I think I should warn you that Erin knows that Teela's a lesbian and she really doesn't like it, if you get my drift? She may be hunting for something to use as additional leverage for the suspension against Teela.

The day Teela left, she was asking me if I ever saw her acting inappropriately with any female family members or staff. Since you are in the building, I thought you should know in case you run into Erin and she wants to talk."

"Thanks Nica. You area a good friend to Teela."

Nica left them alone. When Pax turned back to her mother, she was met by an identical blue piercing gaze. The corners of her mother's mouth were turned down into a frown. Pax wondered if she understood anything she had just heard. Before her musing could go any further, a voice called out her name. When she turned, she saw Erin Borden standing at the door.

"Ms. Baldwin. I am so glad that you are here. May I speak with you for a moment?"

Sighing, she pasted the false grin upon her face. "Of course." She stood and placed a kiss on her mother's temple. "I'll see you later mom." She turned and looked at the much shorter woman. The smirk came to her lips as she thought, Ok Teela would understand if I have just a little fun with this person. She may even give me a reward. Her libido did a flip at the thought. Pax stood stretching to her full height and walked over to the door where Erin waited. Her chin nearly touched her chest as she lowered her head to look down at the woman.

"Can we speak in my office, please. It's just around the corner."

"Lead on." She extended her hand. Pax felt like a giraffe standing next to a sloth.

Pax followed behind Erin watching her stop two or three sets of CENAs ambulating their charges in the hall. Pax thought how unlike her Teela this cretin was. She was harsh, and unfeeling where her Teela was kind and compassionate. They entered the office that had Teela Pheamster upon the door. Pax raised her eyebrow and wondered why she was using her lover's office. Did she not have one of her own. Pax looked around at the clutter that had gathered since her last visit. She stood waiting.

"Please have a seat and excuse the mess. My social worker is off on a family emergency and I am covering for her. She kind of left me in a lurch."

Pax silenced the growl that wanted to escape her lips. "Oh. I hope everything is alright with Teela?"

"Yes I believe things are. Ms. Baldwin. This is a little awkward for me to have to speak with you about this, but it is very important that I do so."

"I see. Well what is that you want to speak with me about?"

"Actually, it is about Ms. Pheamster."

"What about her?" Pax's heart pounded.

"Well, As I said before, this is a little awkward, but Ms. Baldwin, while Ms. Pheamster was your mother's social Worker, did she say or do anything with you that you might consider, improper?"

Pax knitted her brow and turned to Erin curiously. "I don't think so. May I ask why?"

"Well, it's just that it was reported to me that someone may have witnessed her acting improperly towards you."

"I see. "Pax studied the woman before her. "I am happy to say that Ms. Pheamster has always acted in an exemplary fashion towards me and all the members of my family. Why it was her compassion that brought me and my brothers closer together in the care of our mother."

"That's good to hear." Pax heard the disappointment through the false compliment.

"Tell me; I'm curious. Have there been other complaints lodged against Ms. Pheamster in this manner?"

"I am sorry to say yes. Just a few days ago."

"Really. Amazing." Pax was definitely going to have to have a talk with Celeste. "Since I am a part of the compliant, I was wondering, can you tell me who else has made complaints about Ms. Pheamster's conduct?"

"I'm sorry, but I cannot. I assure you though, I will speak with the woman who witnessed the incident."

"I see. Well I would appreciate it if you would. It would be terrible to have that kind of thing spread about such a nice person."

"I couldn't agree with you more." Standing she extended her hand towards Pax. "I want to thank you for your time helping me to clear this matter."

"My pleasure. Good day."

Pax turned and walked out of Teela's office. She stopped and calmed her raging fury. She compelled herself not to turn around and tell that creature off. She wanted to do so desperately, but knew it would hurt Teela in the end. She bent over the water fountain to wet her parched throat.

"Well hello, Pax. Fancy running into you here?" the voice purred behind her.

Pax's back bristled. She wondered how a good day could turn so bad so quickly. By five o'clock she would welcome leaving the city to be with her love. She turned around and wiped the excess water from her lips curling them into a smile "Hello Celeste. How are you?" Oh goodie, Celeste. Perfect timing.

She lowered her voice so that only Pax could hear her. "Lonely sweetie. I've missed you."

Smiling her most seductive grin. "Is that right?"

Eagerly nodding Celeste replied, "So right."

Pax checks her watch. "I've got some time right now." Take the bait you bitch.

Celeste's eyes widened and she seductively licked her lips. "I can visit grandmother some other time. Let's go."

Celeste quickly turned on the thin black heels she wore and sashayed away from Pax never looking back over her shoulder. Pax would follow her. It was only a matter of time before your interest in that mundane little blonde waned. I am the type of woman you need, Pax and I am going to reminder you of that fact. When she was done, then the little blonde could have her.

Pax followed behind Celeste willing her hatred to not be evident upon her face for all who passed by to see, biding her time until they were alone. Just another minute or two and they would be outside.

They reached Celeste's car which just happened to be parked next to Pax's truck. Celeste stood between the two vehicles and raked her eyes up and down Pax undressing her there and then.

"Your place or mine lover?" Celeste squirmed.

"Neither," Pax hissed and pushed Celeste against her own car door.

"Playing it a little rough aren't you sweetheart?"

"Don't call me that. I am not your sweetheart." Pax came within inches of Celeste's face. "I don't know what game you are playing with Teela, but I'm warning you to knock it off."

"Teela? That sniveling little blonde? I don't have a clue as to what you are talking about."

"I am warning you Celeste." Pax tightened her grip on the thin arm. "I know you gave her supervisor a line of shit. They don't know what a manipulative and conniving bitch you really are. If you cause Teela to lose her job or respectability, I will make sure she sues you for everything that you've got. Got me!" She released her grasp and Celeste fell back against the door. "I'm going to say this just once. Leave Teela and me alone."

Pax stalked around to the other side of her truck and climbed into the cab. She watched Celeste rubbing the arm she had gripped so tightly before she pulled away. She raked her hands through her hair; she needed to calm down. The animal within wanted out. It wanted to shred Celeste's and Erin's throats.

As she drove, her anger turned to apprehension. Should I tell Teela what is going on? She does have a right to know. Pax did not want her past circling around to hurt Teela. That was what this was partially about. Her past, Celeste, would do anything to have her back. Her past always seemed to circle around and rear its ugly head.

The cell phones tune broke into the air. Thinking it could be Teela, she fumbles in a hurry to answer it.


"You always answer your phone so sternly?"

Smiling responded, "Hi Felicia. No I was in deep thought."

"That's nice to know."

"Hey I've seen just mother. She looks good today. Awake and watchful. It's almost scary sometimes. Like she understands what you're saying."

"I know. I get that feeling too sometimes. I was there a couple of days ago and she looked groggy."

"Must be the company," she chuckled.

"Yeah, yeah. Listen I just called to see how you were. I tried calling you last night but there was no answer on either phone. Is everything alright?"

"Felicia. Things couldn't be better."

"Do I detect that you and Teela made up."

"Again and again and again."

"Oookaaay," she drawled. "Is that a good thing?"

"It is a very good thing. We are going away this weekend. Camping."

"Sounds like fun. The kids are going to a friend's for the weekend so that Zander and I can get together and talk as well."

The cheeriness faded from her voice. "How is he Felicia?"

"Besides the broken nose, he's an emotional wreck. He said he has thought about you and him and that he was wrong for doing and saying those things."

Pax saw the gas station pulled into the lot and put the truck in park. "Do you believe him?"

"I think he is sincere, but only time will tell. It is not I who has to believe in what he says. It's you Sis."

"Yeah, I know."

"Do you think you can?"

"I don't know. I have spent so many years hating him for what he did not knowing why he did it. I still don't know that." She wiped the errant tear from her cheek and sighed heavily. The anger had dissipated after that night in her brother's kitchen. There was only a dull ache. This day has really gone to shit. "It's not something that is going to go away so quickly. I think if his apology is for real, maybe we could work on the rest. Maybe."

"That is what I was thinking. He was very apologetic to me when we spoke. I also think that he is worried about losing me and the boys."

"As right he should be."

"Yeah, but I love him Pax." They each contemplate their own thoughts in the silence between them. "Listen Sis. I just wanted you to know the latest. I want you and Teela to have a wonderful weekend."

"Hey I want the same for you too."

"Yeah. Thanks. I love you."

"Love you too. Later."

She closed the telephone and sat with the engine idling. The tears began to flow freely. It was a beginning.



"Pax," Teela cooed softly.

"Hmmm?" She stirred from where she was napping in the front seat.

"Wake up. We're here."

"Really? We just left."

Chuckling Teela replied, "Honey we left about two and a half hours ago."

Pax looked out the window at the large road sign "Nettles Campground. Private membership only."

"How long has this place been here."

"Don't know. I would guess about twenty years or so."

Pax watched out the window as they passed down a two lane road filled with tall trees lining both sides. As far as she could she looked skyward and into the canopy of trees filtering the sun through here and there. Soon, Teela pulled through the large wood gates and up to the first building. She unbuckled her seatbelt, stepped out of the car and stretched languidly. Pax stood on the other side watching her every movement.

"Don't do that," Pax warned.

"Do what?" Teela was confused.

"Stretch like that."

Smiling coyly and walking around the car Teela asked, "And why is that?"


"That is not a reason." She pressed both her hands on Pax's hips and felt the rush of breath move through her short blond hair.

"It's all I can think of to say politely at the moment."

"Aahh." Teela stood on her tip toes and placed a light kiss upon the soft pink lips. "Are you ready?"

Swallowing hard, she croaked. "For?"

Teela was beginning to love the effect she was having on Pax. That was why she has been doing it so often.

"To Register silly." She turned and walked away laughing.

"You are so in trouble later."

"Yeah. Yeah." She waved at her over her shoulder.

Within three strides Pax had caught her around the waist and pulled her roughly back into her. Arms wrapped around the small body, Pax whispered in her ears, "Big trouble when it's my turn." Her tongue sneaked out capturing Teela's earlobe. She heard her gasp and felt her grow slack in her arms. Pax suddenly let her go, stepped around her and walked into the building. Teela grinned and shook herself clear of the daze.

Inside, Pax was already registering for a guest pass for the weekend. The woman at the counter never let her gaze leave Pax's face all the while she was completing the registration form. She ignored Teela standing next to Pax. Teela could feel her face begin to heat noting her ire stirred very easily when it came to Pax. She stepped a little bit closer to her.

"Well, Pax Baldwin, that's an unusual name." Seductively smiling at Pax and raising her eye brow. Pax noticed the flirtation immediately and returned her own meek smile. "Welcome to Nettles."


"You picked a great time to visit Nettles. It is Singles' Weekend and there are lots of 'Getting To Know You' activities planned." the woman offered.

"Singles' Weekend, really? I did not know that." She glanced down at Teela. Pax smiled at her little tiger who was starting to stretch her claws out. Given the way she was glaring at the woman behind the counter, Teela was ripping the woman to shreds. "Did you hear that sweetheart?" Pax asked looping her arm around Teela's waist.

Not flinching, the woman stated "You need to pick out a site so we will know where you are staying." Her smile widened. "Do you have a camper or a tent?"

Hearing the soft warning growl from the little tiger, Pax spoke up quickly. "My wife knows the site number. Honey, what is the number?"

Teela's heart thundered. She called me her wife. Keeping her outward calm she played along. "Sixty-three sweetie."

"Why don't you finish getting us registered, and I'll see to the baby." She kissed her temple and left the building quickly."

Teela sneered at the woman. "Now where were we?"

Teela finished their registration and returned to the car grumbling to herself. Not knowing what to say, Pax waited. It made Pax's heart feel good that Teela was feeling protective of her. She took it as an okay to do the same for anyone who tried to hit on her lover this weekend as well.

"Should have listened to Jo. I should always listen to Jo," she grumbled getting into the drivers seat.

"What? What about Jo?"

"Oh nothing," she sighed with exasperation.

Reached out and gently stopped Teela front putting the car into gear. "Let's start the weekend off right shall we? Hmmm?" She smiled at her lover. "Now did Jo say something about me that was a warning to you?" She needed to know. She really did. Now knowing why her best friends were so protective of her, she needed to make them see that she really cared for Teela. She had to know what their fears were.

"It's silly."

"No it's not if it has you so upset. Now what is it?"

"She said that this weekend you were a tall tree and that I should pee all around you to mark you."

Pax's laughter was contagious and Teela found herself laughing along with a bark from Thumper.

"Oh, honey, she said that huh?"

"Yeah. Well, that girl in there got to me," Teela defended herself. "She was so forward when she saw us drive up together. How roguish can someone be?"

Pax cupped her chin and looked into the deep green pools. "Let them. I only see you. Only you. Got it?"

Teela nodded. Pax brought her lips to Teela's and let her feel the sincerity of those words through her kiss. When they parted, Teela smiled at her lover. "Better now?" She nodded again. "Good." Teela put the car in gear and began the trek to the camper. "I only request that you not pee around me though. It's going to be a hot weekend. How about a sign around my neck instead?"

"I just might do that."

"Good that's settled." She reached over and took Teela's hand in her own.

Teela pulled down the short lane where Jo and Boney's camper sat. It was a busy weekend. Being a Friday early evening, women were milling around, greeting one another, and setting up camp. Teela has always been grateful to not have to set up anymore. She luxuriated in the knowledge that all she had to do was bring food and bedding for a weekend in the woods. She loved the fact that on rainy days, they could sit upright in a dry warm area and watch TV or play cards, not hunched over sitting on milk crates inside of the tent that she used to have.

"This is great!" Pax exclaimed stepping out of the car and turning around. She could hear at least three different styles of music playing but not blaring to obnoxious levels. She inhaled the scent of the campfires burning elsewhere. She pictured women enjoying their private space together without the interruption of disgusted looks or someone's unruly children as one sometimes finds in county campgrounds and parks. Only occasional bursts of laughter echoed across the soft breeze.

"I'm glad that you like it so far. We have been coming here for about eight years now. It can be a pretty terrific place to spend the weekend."

"That I can tell already."

"I'll show you around later after we get settled if you want."


Pax turned around and looked at where they would be staying for the next couple of days. The fifth wheel, Pax guessed to be a twenty-eight foot Denali with expandable sides. She smiled at the thought, Camping in comfort. The deck was not expansive but had provided more support for stairs than the ordinary metal ones.The gas grill was covered and chained to the side of the small rubberized shed and wood rack.

Grinning she helped Teela with Thumper. "Damn, you girls camp in style don't you?"

"You could say that. Boney has to have her toys, and as long as she is good, then Jo lets her have them."

"Is that right?"

"Yep, but don't say anything. Boney likes to think it was all her idea. No strings."

Laughing Pax agreed, "Okay."

Teela opened the door to the trailer while Pax held Thumper. She looked down and smiled at the canine. She did not smile back.

"What did I do to you? " Pax asked the dog.

"Do to whom? Whom are you talking to?" Teela asked.

"Thumper. She has been giving me the evil eye since this morning. I woke up last night and she was staring at me."

Teela giggled and took the canine's lead away from Pax. "Well you see, you may have been sleeping in her spot."

"Her spot?"

Smiling she looked up trying to see the blue eyes she adored so much. "She kind of got used to sleeping with me. It got lonely some times you know..." She looked down at her baby and Thumper shamefully wagged the nub she had for a tail. "She can be a great snuggler. Can't you girl?" Thumper barked once for her response.

"I think that was why she ate your socks and shorts." Teela turned away unable to face Pax.

"Teela," she whined.

"She won't do it again. Honey." She said turning to the dog, "Will you Thumper?" She did not respond.

Teela checked the chest harness making sure it was secured around the massive body. She attached the chain hook to the loop upon her back. Thumper croaked a half bark, more like a grumble, Pax thought. Thumper barked once more letting her owner know that she was not pleased with the chain idea.

"You know that you have to be on that when you are here. Don't you T-Dog?"

Teela put her hands on her hips looking down at the dog. T-Dog croaked a half barked once again. "Don't talk back. You'll spend time inside." She pointed to the trailer. "If you don't behave."

Behind Teela's back, Pax pointed at the dog and chuckled silently. The dog glanced her way then back to her mommy. Teela harrumph and turned walking back towards Pax. She pretended that she did not hear the grumbling again from her dog. Pax heard it, though.

"Smart assed dog. Come on."

She grabbed two of the duffle bags out of the trunk and Teela grabbed the other one. She led her into the trailer. Pax's jaw fell ajar at the state of the fifth wheel. It was amazing, the living room with its floral couch and dinette and small table. The walnut cabinetry was shiny as if brand new.

"Boney has great taste in toys."

"As far as this yes. Come on. We'll take the master bedroom." Teela turned to the right and step through the very short hallway leading to the bedroom at the front of the trailer. "Watch your head." Pax immediately ducked. "With you being so tall, that may be a hazard for you."

She grinned. "Might be. You may have to give me massages since I'll be bent over all weekend."

Teela grinned mischievously back at her. "You bent over all weekend, now that is a thought."

Pax dropped the bags and climbed across the unmade mattress. She stretched her arms out beckoning for Teela to fill them. She did not have to wait for too long. Teela dropped her bags as well and climbed onto of her lover. Pax sunk her lips onto the neck she had thought about all day. She held Teela closely, feeling her breasts pressed against her own. Her legs parted perceptibly allowing Teela to shift to fit her position. Before they knew, the familiar dance rhythm began when their hips gravitated toward one another. Teela was the first to stop them and pull away.

"You are bad, she breathed moving off the bed and out of Pax reach.

"No I am not. I am waiting to be marked."

"Oh you."

She jumped back onto the bed and attempted to tickle Pax. They were laughing, loving the freedom they felt with one another, how easy it was to be around each other Her hands were easily captured in larger ones and pinned above her head. Pax looked down into the angelic face and felt her heart melt to the core and churn deep within. She felt those green eyes absorb her energy and fill her with a light she'd never known, and when their lips met Pax felt that light ignite the churning below and explode in a burst of colors behind her lids. It stole her breath way. She jerked like someone had placed a defibrillator paddle on her chest and sent pure electric volts through her system and the kiss broke.

Stunned eyes locked upon one another searching for some explanation as to what just happened. By the look of awe on Teela's face she felt it too; it was not just her imagination.

"I ahh..." She licked her tingling lips. "I better go get the rest of the things from the car."

Moving aside so that Teela could get up. "I'll come help."

"No," she said too quickly. "There are only the few groceries. I can get those. "

"Alright. You sure?"

"Yeah." She stood on uncertain limbs and left the trailer.

Pax let out a heavy sigh and wondered what connected them just then. She was sure that Teela felt what she did. Being together seemed so right, like it was meant to be. And that shock. Where did the hell that come from? Pax shuddered. Then she smiled broadly. She gave a firm nod and knew she had made the right decision.

Pax helped get the trailer completely opened including letting out the awning, opening the sides and windows. They had decided to go into town tomorrow, have breakfast and shop for the rest of the things that they would need. The immediate necessity of coffee was already in stock.

Darkness was fast approaching and Pax started a fire in the pit, marveling again at how Jo and Boney made the place feel like a home. The fire pit was lined with a deep metal ring just big enough to have a good sized fire, but not large enough to make the flames touch the trees. Pax did not like fires that were so large that it took away the coziness of the darkness of your campsite, and those surrounding it as well.

Teela was away walking T-Dog. Pax sat staring into the fire pit, letting herself think completely about everything that has happened since she had returned to home. She had a chance to reunite with her family, something generally pleased her. She was even going to get the chance to see her new nephews grow up. This was good despite her brother Zander. If his apology was sincere, she would make every effort to forgive him, if not for his sake, at least for his family.

Then there was Teela, the center piece of her thoughts and the air that she breathed. After Jen she never wanted to give her heart to anyone again. Somehow that little blonde walked right in and claimed it for her own. She would have to tell Teela about Jen. After all, she told Teela they should start the weekend off right. And starting over again.

Teela returned placed T-Dog inside the trailer. Thumper hated wearing coats and with such short hair, her large frame would be shaking with cold in a matter minutes. Teela heard the familiar grumble and ignored her as she closed the screen door. At least she could see out.

Teela walked to Pax sitting on the chaise and asked if she could join her. Pax slipped back and made room for Teela to sit in front of her. Teela handed her the beer and snuggled in close to Pax's warm body. Pax did not have a sweatshirt or jacket on. Teela chilled easily. She had her thick Pride colored sweatshirt on. After a time, Pax asked her if she was okay and Teela readily agreed. She took another swallow of her beer and decided now was the time. She wanted to get it over with so they could spend the rest of the weekend getting to know one another with baggage cleared.

"Teela?" Pax began nervously.


"I think..." She stopped. "I think there are some things that I should tell you about me. I mean things that happened in Berkley."


"Well, it's about Jen." Pax paused trying to summon the words to explain. "I loved Jennifer. We were together for five years before she died. She was the only thing that I knew. She was my whole world. You know what I mean?"

"I do."

"She was very kind, loving, and passionate. She cared about people, and their struggles. We met at a rally one night in Berkley. I had just arrived a few weeks prior. I was angry at my parents, pissed that they forced me from the family. You know? But she did not see that. She saw me as someone that needed a special kind of love. And that is what she gave me."

"It sounds as though you were very lucky to meet her."

Smiling she said, "I was. By the time we met, I was already a first dan in karate. She taught me how to channel most of that anger further into my martial arts studies. It was mostly because of her that I became world champion."

"That sounds wonderful Pax."

"She was wonderful, Teela."

Pax paused willing herself to open those locked doors of her mind. The locks had been rusted shut as she had vowed never to open them. Now she needed to. Her shoulders already started to feel lighter by just the little she has shared. She wanted to let it completely be known. She wanted more of the slight euphoric feeling that was floating through her right now.

"Things were going pretty well and I had become a defending world karate champion. I was due to retire for good when this promoter called and talked about my doing one more fight. This would have been something that I had not done before. I had never fought against a Muay Thai fighter."

"That's elbow and shin strikes right?"

"Yeah." Pax smiled and kissed her temple.

"I remember."

"The house needed some repairs but we just did not have the money. So I thought I would use the prize money to make them. I used it as another reason to agree to the fight. Jen knew all about Muay Thai. Her father was a fighter in that style and she did not want me to do it. I did want to listen. I can be stubborn sometimes."

"Really?" Teela chuckled.

"Just a little," Pax snorted then sobered. "The night of the fight while I was in the ring, an electrical fire started in our attic. It quickly tore through the house. The best the officials could figure was that Jen got disoriented in the smoke and lost her way." Pausing, she swallowed as the visions replayed in her mind. "They found Jen at the bottom of the stairs in the basement. If it was just the broken neck, she would have survived, but by the time they had found her, she had inhaled too much smoke. It was too late." She let the tears bathe her face.

"Oh Pax how awful." Teela reached and took their beers and set them in the grass. She reached back, pulling Pax's arms around her. She provided Pax with as much comfort as they provided herself.

"If I had listened to her, she would not have been home. We would not have been home when the fire broke out."

"How do you know that?"

"The gallery opening...She liked to go to gallery openings. We were supposed to go that night, until I agreed to the fight. She chose neither to go to the opening nor to my fight."

"Pax how awful."

"I was in the hospital, like I told you, for three days before I knew anything had happened to Jen. She was lying in that..." Her throat closed, "cold box for three days. Three days before I was released from the hospital to claim her body, and when I said goodbye, she couldn't hear me. My mouth was wired shut and I could barely see. So..." She hugged Teela tighter. "After that I just drifted from person to person really." After a long pause she continued, "I just thought you should know. There may be some times when I go quiet because something reminds me of Jen. I hope it doesn't offend you. I'm hoping that part lessens over time."

"I hope it does too, for your peace of mind."

"Thanks. Sometimes I have, flashbacks I guess you would call them. Just like the night of the fight with Tanesha. I thought you were she. I saw her again asking me not to fight. That's when Tanesha really unleashed on me."

Should I take the lead and ask her to forget about the fight next weekend? But it would sound too much like Jen. "I had wondered what was wrong."

"Yeah. Well now you know."

"Now I know because you were honest with me. You always have been. Thank you for that."

They watched the flames dance low above the metal ring. The interplay of blue, red, and yellow instantly reminded them of the colorful explosion that had occurred between the earlier. Pax wanted to ask her about it, but somehow she thought that after all she said, that it might not be the right time. They had all weekend to talk about it really. Didn't they?



"This was a great idea."

"Hmmm. It was wasn't it?"

She snuggled deeper basking in the warm on her face and by the arms securely around her.


It was noon when Teela and Pax returned form town getting the few things that they would need for the day. They decided it was too hot to do anything else but relax upon the beach. Teela changed quickly and took Thumper for a walk. When she returned, Pax was dressed in her light cotton pants and a t-shirt. She was at the picnic table waiting for Teela with their goodie bag all packed with the necessary supplies: sunscreen, water bottles, book and towels.

As they walked to the beach the dark-headed beauty was oblivious to the heads she caused to turn or to the whispers emitted from the shadows. From behind her sunglasses Teela kept a watchful eye on her lover and walked very closely at her side. She vowed that the women of the campground would know that Pax was off-limits.

They got to the beach area and it was nearly filled with sunning women. Most were lying out relaxing. Some engaged in volley ball game; some were cooling off in the blue green water sparkling beneath the sun. Teela selected a spot upon the sand and quickly laid their towels down. She stripped off her top and Pax gasped in marvel. She saw the bikini top stretched to its limits from the firmness of Teela's breasts. The nipples stood erect at the slight exposure beckoning Pax to come and claim them. The flat abs that where the cut off jeans hugged her sloping waist.

Pax watched as the short blonde hair shifted in the wind. Teela captured her chin in her hands.

"You make me one lucky woman. You are so beautiful." Pax leaned closer and pulled the soft lips against her own. Now she realized the benefits of Nettles. You could be yourself and touch openly anytime the mood so moved you. "My god what did I do to deserve you?"

"I should be saying the same thing about you." Their lips met again for all upon the beach to see. Teela chuckled to herself. "If this is not marking, I don't know what is."

They settled upon their towels. Teela read while Pax looked around her, still marveling in the feeling of being in a women-only space. It had been along time; they had several of these places in California, but after Jen, she never had to need to return to one, not until Teela.

"Teela? Is that you?"

Shading her eyes over her sunglasses. "Rebecca?"

"Yes." She laughed. Teela stood and hugged the woman standing before her. "How are you? Gosh I haven't seen you in ages."

"I'm fine Rebecca how are you?"

"Giving shit as ever."

"As ever." Teela laughed. "And Karen?"

"Good, good. She will be along any minutes. So tell me. How is Bess these days?"

Pax felt her stomach clenched. She thought about it happening and had somewhat prepared for it. Teela was bound to run into people that knew her as the other half to Bess. She just didn't know that it would bother her, but it did. I'll deal with it. After all, I asked Teela to deal with my past and flashbacks.

Looking quickly at Pax who remained passive looking out over the water Teela answered, "Bess she is well. Rebecca, I would like you to meet someone." She touched Pax's shoulder gently. "This is Pax."

Taking her cue, Pax turned around and stood. She extended her hand. "Nice to meet you Rebecca."

"Same here." She stared up at Pax taking in the black raven hair flowing in the breeze, and the sharp line of her features. "Have you two been together long?"

Teela stepped next to Pax saying, "No, not long at all."

"Oohhh, newly weds." Rebecca gave her a wide crooked grin.

Smiling, Teela blushed. "Well not exactly."

She waved as if shooing a fly away. "Same difference." She heard her name being called and turned around to see her partner running towards her.

"Hey babe, whatcha doing?" Her partner Karen ran to up to her.

"Talking to Teela and her girlfriend Pax."

"Hi Pax," Karen waved. "Hey Teela. How are you doing?"

"Good Karen. You?"

"Can't complain none. Becky here is still putting up with me."

She rolled her eyes. "That's for sure."

"Listen honey, I am going to go kayaking with a couple of the girls." She pointed at the three girl standing at the edge of the beach holding their kayaks.

"Sure. Be careful."

"Hey, Pax, want to come with?"

"Well, I'm not sure." She looked at Teela.

"Go on. Have some fun. Nothing to be afraid of."

"I'm more worried if I will fit." They laughed. "Are you sure?"

"Go." She kissed her quickly.

Pax nodded to Karen. She quickly removed her t-shirt to reveal the white bikini top iridescent against her tanned skin. Teela eyes were riveted to the strong broad shoulders and the firm breast standing proudly. Many eyes at that moment watched Pax's muscles flexed when removing the tee shirt truly a work of perfection. Teela smiled when she touched the rippled abs and felt the flicker beneath her fingertips.

Pax gave her that toothy smile before turning to walk down the small beach with her new friend Karen. The lightweight balloon-like pants billowed in the wind, draw string tightly outlining the slender hips and long sculpted legs and thighs.

Rebecca turned to her friend. "What kind of fishing lure did you use to hook that?"

Teela laughed and turned to her friend. She watched as other woman turned their heads and followed her Pax's every movement. "I don't know. And if I did, I most certainly am not telling."

Rebecca's laughed with her. "I always knew you were stingy."


A short time later, Teela watched Pax paddling back into shore. She was soaking wet, her hair slicked to her head, but she was smiling and enjoying herself. Behind the sunglasses, Teela panted, waiting to see Pax rise out of the little plastic boat. She was not disappointed and neither were the other women remaining on the beach.

Thank god that Pax had her bikini bottoms on, for when she raised up out of the boat, the thin cotton pants she wore were soaked though and plastered to her like sheeting. Every curve outlined and muscled cut in her body was reveled in the bright sunlight. She shook her hair and Teela thought she heard a collective gasp as Pax passed by all to get to her, head held high and eyes focused only on her blonde target.

She approached Teela and smiled that sensual way that caused Teela to feel it down to her southern region. Worse yet, Pax knew that certain smile's effects upon her lover. She counted on it.

She made it to Teela and dropped to her knees before her heart's key. She removed the sunglasses from her lover eyes and then removed her own. She smiled mouthed silently 'I have missed you' and kissed her letting her know just how much. Not able to wait any longer, Teela stood and collected their things. She had to get Pax back to the trailer and fast.


Dinner was simple. Together they prepared chicken breast, pasta, and a salad. This and fresh fruit were gathered from their earlier run to the grocery store in town. The concert in the campground valley began at eight with a dance to follow around ten.

Thumper took Pax for a walk while her mommy showered and changed clothes. She led the human, who caused her mother to make loud funny noises, along the doggy path and into the doggy run area. Thumper wagged her nub and gave one of her trade mark half barks telling the human to unclip the leash so that she could run like Mommy let her.

"Oh no, Teela said that you are to remain on the lead at all times up here."

Thumper gave another half bark and sat erect at Pax's feet. After looking into the sad hazel eyes, Pax whined and stomped her foot. She looked around in every direction several times then back down at T-Dog. She knelt down to be on eye level and held the massive head between her hands.

"Look, you've got two minutes to run your little tail off or whatever is left of it, and then back on the leash you go. Understand?" Thumper confirmed with a clear bark. Pax surveyed the area once more and then released the clip that kept the dog harnessed to the retractable lead.

Thumper tore across the field, mouth open, and jaws flapping. She spotted a stick, picked it up in her crushing jaws and tossed it into the air. She played like this for more than the allotted two minutes.

Thumper flopped onto her side, and rolled onto her back, legs bent into the air. The dog began to wiggle back and forth scratching itself in the grass. Pax continued to scan the field all around for other people and their pets arriving.

Finally, she whistled strongly for the dog to come back from across other side of the field. T-Dog immediate went to all fours and stared at her. Pax kept watch on the dog and wondered why she didn't return. She was sure that this was how Teela called her back from the yard that day.

"Come on Thumper," she called playfully, slapping her hands on her knees.

Thumper remained in her stance. She truly was a beautiful Staffordshire. Her muzzle outlined in white on a caramel face and red nose, shiny caramel coat and the white lightening streak down the back of the head onto the top of the neck. Teela said she had never been to obedience school. She had trained Thumper herself watching some dog show on cable, but Thumper stood frozen in her proud show stance. Stubborn and not moving.

"Come on girl," Pax called again. Nothing.

Pax lightly jogged towards the dog. Thumper lowered her head slightly and seemed to lick her lips. Her muscles twitched and the dog began running full force directly in line to Pax. At first Pax was clapping and calling the dog. Then she realized the straight path Thumper was taking. Ears laid back and speed increasing. Pax swore the dog was grinning with steam coming out of her nostrils. Pax turned suddenly, and despite all of her training she began to trot away from the dog.

Thumper never stopped. Pax swore she could hear the panting right behind her. That was just before she felt Thumper bang into the back of her leg and found herself upended flying into the air. Pax came crashing to the ground on her back with a resound OOMPH! All air was knocked out of her as she lay there watching the little yellow and white stars dancing once again before her baby blues. Thumper easily cantered back. Standing above the spread eagled woman upon the ground, Thumper glared at the face her mommy liked so much. Pax turned to look at the dog, pain shooting through her lower back. Thumper sat docilely by her and sneezed spraying Pax.

Before Thumper knew it, Pax flipped over onto her hands and knees, clipped the lead onto the harness' metal ring and glared at the dog. Thumper could hear the strange growl coming from the human's heaving chest. She watched the white long finger pointing at her, gesturing with animosity.

"Look, you and I are going to get something straight right now. I didn't know that was your spot on the bed, but I am not going to give it back!" Pax huffed. "You might as well get used to it and find another spot to inhabit. I'm in; you're out. Got it! Good!" She jumped to her feet a little too quickly and felt the stab of pain where she laded on her tail bone. "Damn dog," she groused and limped backed to the trailer.

Teela was waiting for them at the picnic table when they returned. Her smile faded when she saw how severely Pax was limping, and the smudges of grass stains on her knees.

"What on earth happened?"

"T-Dog and I started playing and ahhh it got a little out of hand. Right?" She looked at Thumper for confirmation. Thumper never looked her way but walked over to her mommy's side.

"Did you and Pax have a good time girl? Huh?" Teela bent to vigorously rub the short coat praising her baby. She did not see the sneer Pax was giving the canine.

They had arrived and spread their blanket in a decent spot among the three hundred or so women that had arrived for the weekend. The bands were not fantastic, but they were entertaining nonetheless. Her tailbone still tender, Pax lay with her head in Teela's lap, listening to the sounds of woman created music and feeling the soothing stroke of small fingers combing through her scalp.

Teela had a way of hypnotizing Pax with just about anything that she did, stroking her hair, the touching Pax across her cheek, the look and feel of her eyes caressing her body. Nothing in her years of existence had prepared her for this woman. She was in awe of such serene beauty and compassion. She was captivated and her heart imprisoned in such a short of a time. Pax knew she wanted to make it for always.

Pax turned away from facing the stage to look up directly into the angelic face silhouetted by the fast rising half moon. Thrilled and scared at the same time, she drank in the beauty and watched the green eyes do the same to her. She felt the warmth flow from Teela into every pore of her body. She knew that she could not loose this woman. She wanted to have in her life. She never wanted to let her go. I can say all of this to myself, but why can't I tell you these things. When I try sometimes ?I feel so tongue tied.

Keeping her eyes locked upon the little blonde, Pax came to her knees, leaned in and kissed her with sweet passion and yearning. Her tongue traced Teela's lips not to enter, but to feel, to make an imprint that would last her for days to come.

"Come with me," Pax whispered into Teela's ear feeling the light shudder.

Teela folded their blanket, grabbed Pax's hand and followed the weaving pattern through chairs and bodies until they reached the outer edge of the valley and the trail leading back to the campsite. Instead of turning left at the fork, they turned right. The area would have been pitch black if not for the slight glow perched in the sky. They soon came upon the beach where Pax laid out their blanket and placed her love upon it.

Pax took the social worker in her arms and kissed her tenderly once again, letting the flow of love come though her lips and into Teela's skin tissues and organs, wanting Teela to feel what she has finally admitted to her self, that she wants to be with her.

Teela could not fathom her body ever responding to another person as she had with Pax. She just fell into the blue pools each time they looked at her. She had not let herself be as vulnerable with anyone as she had with Pax. She wanted to surrender everything. She had missed the feeling of being apart of someone for so long. She had almost given up hope of every finding it again. That is until she looked across the lawn and saw Pax.

The woman that held her gaze and her desire, the sensitivity, her love of family, her sincerity. These were more than physical things. She liked her sense of humor, the way she pouted. How often does one meet a woman that has a chimp for a best friend? Really.

"Teela I...I want to tell...you something," Pax stammered, the bead of sweat began across the bridge of her nose. She couldn't continue. Her voice had been kidnapped by the sudden thought of Teela turning her down. What then?

"I'm listening."

"Teela, I want you to know that..." she cleared her throat, "for a long time I have felt as though something was missing, that I was lacking something. I always thought it was you know...material, but what was the problem. I was thinking." She took Teela's hand in her own and pressed on. "It wasn't a feeling. It was meeting you that taught me that. You were the thing that was missing all these years. I want to be with you Teela, not just in a sexual way, but with all that makes up who you are. I think about you all the time. I see your smile glowing at me I hear your laughter and even your light snoring."

Stunned Teela declared, "I do not snore."

Smiling and laughing Pax continued, "Just a wee bit, but I don't care because it is apart of you and it is you that...I love..."

Teela was silent for so long that Pax was afraid she had read everything all wrong. She heard a small sob and saw the glistening tears in her lover's eyes. Teela reached out and touched her cheek. Pax leaned into the touch, eyes never leaving Teela's.

"I love you too," she said.

Teela pulled her love close. The lips meeting hers were simmering, soft, melding into her own. The kiss quickly mounted into fiery passion, Pax falling onto her back bringing the small blonde on top of her. She needed to have all of her with her, on her at that very moment. Her own skin yelled for her to consummate; the sense of oneness her heart was demanding the rest of her body to join. When it came to the small blonde, her body would never want for anything or anyone else.

Needing to breathe, they parted for air and held onto one another as the fireworks display of colors slowly fizzled into oblivion. They lay there for some time. The concert was still going on back up the trail a little ways. All they cared about was being with one another, wrapped safely in knowing that love had come to claim two souls that night.

Reaching into the leg pocket of her khakis, Pax sat up and brings out a small object. Pulling Teela upright she gave her a kiss upon the cheek. Inhaling deeply, she quietly asks. "I love you Teela, can I be apart of you, your life?"

Tears streaming down her eyes Teela threw herself at Pax and wrapped her arms around her neck. The force of their coming together caused Pax to fall on her back once again. Half of Pax's brain rejoiced in what she believed to be Teela's answer of yes. The other half tried bravely to ignore her screaming tailbone and the curses hurled at the dog. Damn dog had to put her in pain tonight of all nights. It's as if she had known. Damn dog.

When Pax was able to sit upright, she removed the carved golden band and placed it upon Teela's ring finger. She kissed it and every one on that hand.

Pax looked upon her lover and smiled. "Now I've peed all around you." They laughed, breaking the seriousness of the moment.

"Ah and now I can start your training just like Boney."

Pax sobered and remembered Jo and Boney during the golf outing. "I don't think training was part of the deal."

"Aah." Teela smiled. "Yes it was. You should have read the teeny tiny fine print."

"I don't remember seeing any fine print upon your lips."

"Now ya see." Teela rose to stand and look down upon Pax. "Rule number one. Never argue with the girlfriend." She lightly tapped the back of Pax head and started to run.

Pax jumped to her feet and took off after a laughing Teela. She easily caught the short legged blonde "I do not think so." She scooped her up and threw Teela over her shoulders, making her squeal.

Giggling Teela said, "Pax I was just kidding."

"Uh huh." She bounced purposefully as she headed towards the water.

"Come on Pax really. I love you."

"Ooh you would use that to get out of trouble. Wouldn't you?"

"Never my darling. Never."

Pax goosed her and bounced again. "Sure."

"Not the water Pax. Really. It's cold."

Pax kept walking until she was thigh deep. She goosed her love again and then unceremoniously dumped her into the warm lake. Teela let out a loud squeal and then submerged. She surfaced and latched onto Pax with her lips and her legs around her waist holding on. Pax instantly cupped Teela's behind holding her firmly against her.

"I do so love you Teela," she breathed into her ear.

Before Teela could respond, they were bathed in a bright spot light, both started and shielded their eyes against the white glare.

"Camp Patrol ladies. There is no water play after dark!" The spot light bellowed.

Teela and Pax turned to one another and chuckled.

"Okay," Pax called back. "Can you aim that down though?" The light quickly lowered. "See what you did?" Pax grumbled holding onto Teela's hand as they made for the shore.



Teela bolted upright, her face covered in sweat, chest heaving. Something was wrong she knew it. She could feel it. She looked around the room gathering her bearings. She heard the faint wheeze coming from beside her and looked down with bleary eyes.

"Bess?" Pax moaned and rolled over, her feet comically hanging slightly over the bed.

Teela wiped at her eyes vigorously, and then jumped when something hard ran across her lids. She looked down and felt the round metal object on her finger. Then it came back to her. This was not Bess lying beside her. It was Pax. Tonight she had committed herself to Pax.

"Oh my god, I did." She reached out and stroked the raven hair tenderly and smiled at the beam of the moon light that flickered off the ring. Teela smiled lovingly. "Marked I am."

She quietly made her way out of the bed grabbing her sweats. The door to the bathroom at the foot of the three steps served as a wonderful door to block out the rest of the trailer. She eased it open and then put on her clothing in the dark.

Teela grabbed a bottle of green tea from the fridge and sat on the couch in the dark. Her thought wondered to Bess. It was she who woke her up. All weekend, Teela had successfully kept the memories of the time she and Bess had in this very trailer, in that very bed. All weekend, while Pax touched her, she fought to keep the past from bleeding into the present.

They had shared four good years in this trailer on this very site, with and without Jo and Boney. After all, it was their trailer in the beginning. After Bess took ill, Teela didn't see the use of having it. She didn't want to the memories anymore, but she had them anyway. Each time she visited the trailer, the past came flooding back to life in colorful 3-D images.

Teela felt the tears swell but forbid them to come. She remembered the first time Bess held her in the valley and they had listened to the bands playing, the way that they would make love in the valley beneath blankets after the campground was asleep, the Mardi Gras weekend and their trailer decorated in colorful beads and their masks, Halloween in August, when the four of them dressed in costumes resembling a breakfast platter.

Thumper came to her mommy and jumped into the seat next to her. She turned once, twice and then settled upon the couch with her head in Teela's lap. She chuckled as the tears flowed. She remembered seeing a blindfolded and inebriated Bess trying to hit the naked woman piņata swinging from the tree. Of course it was more difficult to hit when the obscenely large and thick dildo they were using for a stick kept flopping limply in her hand.

Teela wept softly. She was burying her past this weekend. Today began a new life with Pax. She looked towards the closed door. She said it. She claimed it. She would make it happen. She firmly believed. It seemed to be in contradiction since it was thoughts of Bess that awoke her on the night of her new life.

She couldn't help but wonder if Bess was trying to tell her something somehow. Stranger things had happened. It could. Could be a what? An Omen? What else would it be when one woke up thinking of their ex while lying with the new lover?

Teela remained in the darkness stroking the head of her baby. She and Thumper would honor her former love, their respective losses, and rejoice in their new beginning this night, just as the two of them had done three years ago.



Boney drove the baseline, tongue hanging out of her mouth waggling in the wind. She had gotten around Pax and took the ball in for a lay up. Jo clapped and yelled for her honey to pulverize the tall woman playing against her. Teela gave her friend a playful shove and cheered her honey to smack the ball down Boney's throat next time. She and Jo were the porch cheerleaders as they watched their lovers play basketball in Jo and Boney's drive way.

"She looks good." Jo eyed her friend. "You look good. I take it the camping weekend went well."

Beaming Teela said, "Better than I could have imagined."

"Did you disinfect the mattress when you were done?"

"No we left the stains there as a keepsake."

"You're sick," Jo commented.

Laughing, "You're sicker."

They watched Pax dribbling the ball with her back to a frantic Boney reaching around her trying to steal the ball. Teela heard Pax's laughter as Boney's short arms came no where near the ball. It was only because Boney began tickling Pax that she could steal steal the ball, turn around and make another lay up.

"Hey that's cheating!" Teela cried out. "You need to teach your wife how to play by the rules."

"Naw, then she wouldn't be as daring and charismatic as she is now."

"Yeah, right. She needs more training if you ask me."

"When is Pax's training going to begin?"

Smiling dreamily twisting the band around her finger. "It's not. I like her wild."

Jo guffawed, "I bet."

"She's wonderful Jo. So different than Bess"

"I see she gave you a ring. Record time girlfriend."

"It was unexpected Jo. On the beach beneath the moon she asked me to let her be apart of me. You can't get more romantic than that."

"No you can't." She studied her. "What now?"

"Don't know. We'll start to get to know one another as a couple I suppose."

"And Bess?"

"Will always be there. Pax understands that I am her Power of Attorney, that I still need to be involved with Bess, that I still love her in a way." Teela studied her hands.

"Are you moving in together?"

"God no. Both of us have baggage but we are not ready to put them in the attic together. Not yet. Neither of us wants to rush things."

"That's wise." Giving her friend a hug she said, "I am so very happy for you. Boney and I both are. Boney even more than me. Now she has a new playmate." She chuckled.

Looking out at their lovers playing in the short distance Teela said, "I heard them talking about going fishing this weekend."

"She finally got the motor fixed and she wants to go to Kingsinton Park. She has never stopped talking about the eight pound bass that snapped her line. I think it's a tale myself. That woman of mine has never caught anything over two pounds a day in her life."

They laughed. Boney always came back from her fishing outings with a tale of the one that got away. That time she was exceptionally perturbed as the "big monster" took her new eight dollar lure. Jo didn't like fishing. She thought it too boring. Teela knowing the real reason because Jo was a foo-foo and didn't like to bait her own hook or touch the fish. More than once Boney landed in the dog house for putting her container of worms on the refrigerator shelf.

"Have you talked to her about this weekend?" Teela looked at Jo questioning. "Tanesha?"

"No I haven't."

"How do you feel about that?"

"I don't want her to do it."

"Have you told her?"

"No. I can't."

"Why on earth not? They could really hurt each other Teela."

"I know. It's especially dangerous for Pax. It's just...well..."

"What? Do you want to see them beat the hell out of each other? You know that is what's going to happen."

"Jo look, Pax's lover did the same thing and she did it anyway."

"And landed in the hospital," Jo reminded her.

"If she wouldn't listen to her lover of five years what makes you think she is going to listen to me?"

"Because she loves you."

"Pax loved Jen too."

She hugged her friend again and sighed. "Just ask her. Tell her how you feel about it. You may be surprised."

"I won't hold my breath."

They looked up to see their spouses headed for them grinning and whispering. "Eeewww! Look like they need a hosing down. Outside." She and Teela chuckled.

Both women cringed when the sweaty dirty faces and sparkling eyes drew closer. Their clothes were soaked at the armpits and across the shoulders, hair plastered to their scalps. The pair stopped directly in front of their women and greeted them by pulling them out of their chairs and into bear hugs.


Pax stood by Teela helping her do the dishes. Teela had cooked a fantastic meal, but she was silent and distant. Her mind was filled with the trials of returning to work after being gone for so long. Frank Seeley had called her and asked her to return to work ASAP. Erin was now on suspension, without pay of course, for usurping authority and misguided leadership.

Teela had unlocked the door to her office to find all kinds of surprises waiting for her. Her inter-office mail was piled ten envelopes deep, there were three new Medicare admissions, and at least a half dozen outstanding MDS Assessments to complete. It was not surprising to hear from Nica that Erin did not do any paperwork in her absence. Not to mention the two sets of dentures, one partial and two hearing aides that rested upon her desk waiting for their owners to be located.

First day back was a real bitch.

Pax sensed that something was wrong with her lover, but could not decipher what it could be. Things were going great between them. They had spent every night together since returning from the camping trip sometimes making love sometimes talking and watching TV. It was a routine with which both became comfortable.

But tonight, Pax knew felt different. She watched Teela out the corner of her eye. She is so far away. I miss her. Pax thought. All through dinner Teela had given vague, single word responses. More surprisingly, she picked at her food and did not inhale it. Pax began to wonder if she did something stupid that she was not aware of to make Teela act this way.

Rinsing the last of the Dishes, Pax decided to go for it. "Honey, is there something wrong?"


"If I say that I don't believe you will you hurt me?" She offered a smile.

Looking into those concerned blue eyes. "No."

"Ok. I don't believe you."

"The nurse at Pine Ridge called and Bess is still fighting with her pneumonia. Her blood pressure is slightly elevated too."

Pax stifled the pang of jealously and made herself be supportive. "Did you go to see her?"

Sighing, "No. She said it was not an emergency situation."

"But you are still worried."

"Yeah." She looked at her seeing the hint of fear in her face. "Does that bother you?"

She paused. Thinking that Teela valued honesty. "Just a little, but I'll get over it. I know how much she means to you."

"Thank you for understanding."

"Is that all that's bothering you?"

Teela thought for a moment. She was worried how to tell Pax that sometime the stress of the eight hours at the ARCC left her emotionally drained and empty. How could she tell her she felt this way often? Some days were exceptionally hard with which to deal with.

"It's just that sometimes work gets to me. Ya know? I mean I came back and there is so much stuff that needs to be done I felt overwhelmed thirty minutes after I unlocked my office door." She twisted the dish rag and went to kitchen table. "I mean, I get this man admitted to my unit today. He is eighty-nine years old, has Congestive Heart Failure, has three liters of oxygen flowing into him per minute. Right? He has metastic colon cancer and he wants to die. He repeatedly says he wants to. To me, the doctors, the nurses, his family. I spent an hour with is wife and two daughters trying to get them to agree on hospice care, to let him go because that's what he wants. Right now he is able to say what he wants and I want to help him. Do you know what those selfish bastards said to me?" She turned and began wiping the table.

"No sweetie. What did they say?"

"They are not ready for him to die. Is that not selfish or what?"

Pax saw the tears begin to swell within her lovers eyes and knew she was feeling the distress of her patient. She was so compassionate and caring. "That is selfish. I agree with you."

"The case managers in the hospital wrote that they talked to them three days ago while he was still there. They wouldn't budge. That poor man coded, Pax, and the family wanted him intubated. He has no quality of life Pax. None, and those damn fuckers can't see that. They put a feeding tube in him for god's sake.

"Oh honey. Come here."

She opened her arms inviting her lover in. She enveloped Teela snugly within her arms and held her. She whispered into her ear providing love and comfort to the swirling emotions within the social worker.

"They called me back down to his room because his wife was yelling at him to be quiet. When I walked in, he said he was telling his wife about the insurance policies and the money and things, that she got a little excited is all. God, Pax, some days I wish I was a garbage collector instead."

Pax chuckled clutching her tighter. "What can I do to help?" Before she could answer, Thumper started barking in the other room. Someone must be at the door. "I'll finish up here. Ok?"


She turned to go. Pax pulled her back for a chaste kiss. "I love you."

"Back atcha babe."

Teela walked into the living room towards her front door. Thumper is there standing guard ready to see who was visiting them as well. When Teela opened the door, she instantly wished that she hadn't.

"Tanesha? What are you doing here?" she glances back over her shoulder.

"I wanted to see you." Tanesha's hand was hidden behind her back.

"Tanesha, I told you three times today when you called that I didn't want to see you. We have nothing to talk about."

"Come on, Teela," she pleaded. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I didn't mean all those things I said the other day. Honest. It's just that when I think of someone else touching you it used to drives me crazy. I'm over that now and all I want is a second chance." She pulled a bouquet of lavender roses from behind her back.

Crossing her arms over her chest, Teela said, "It won't work Tanesha. WE ARE THROUGH!"

"Teela," Tanesha smirked, "come on, I made one mistake..."

"I don't want to talk to you or see you. I don't want your flowers or anything else from you. If you don't stop I'll call the police and get a restraining order."

"The police? A restraining order? Teela..."

"Teela? Are you okay?"

Pax came to stand behind Teela. Seeing Tanesha, she unconsciously curled her hands into fists. The two women sneered at one another. Ice blue chips clashed with blackening hazel. Teela shivered from the tension that instantly smothered all three of them. Thumper had returned to her rawhide in the living room.

"Still gimping around I see," Tanesha chided.

"At least I am around," Pax smirked.

"I thought you would have quit by now like you seem to do everything else."

Pax tried to step around Teela who instantly placed her left hand upon Pax's chest stopping her progress. Tanesha's eyes were riveted to the band resting upon Teela's ring finger. Her nostrils flared. Teela swore she would have shot flames if she was able to. When Tanesha's gaze returned to her lover, Teela prayed that the war would not happen on her front door step.

Glancing at the fear within her lover's eyes, Pax tried to reign in her anger for the time being. "I want a change in venue from Metropolitan Park to Briar Park."

Tanesha thought for a moment. She knew the park was in a remote location and seldom used since the trails became overgrown and the small lake had dried up. "Don't want people to see me kick your ass huh? Ok, I'll allow a change."

"How big of you," Pax sneered. I don't want to fight where I work you asshole! Pax had been thinking about that for the past several days. It was one thing to gamble with her fighting prowess and her health. It was another to put her job on the line by brawling on the property where she worked.

"You quit eight months before I got my shot. I had to fight that farce of a replacement the circuit crowned after you left, so I tell you what gimpy." Teela's hand pressed harder on Pax chest. She felt the low menacing growl travel beneath her finger tips.

"Tanesha, please leave. NOW!"

Grinning at Pax. "Bring your belt Saturday and I'll bring mine. Let's make it an unofficial title fight. Hmmm?"

"You got it." Through clenched teeth Pax pointed a severe finger at Tanesha.

"Hmmm. No. You'll get it."

Teela suddenly found the lavender beauties thrown at her feet. Tanesha began backing away and gave them an evil laugh. She did not turn her back once again until she was a safe distance away from Pax.

"Smart move, you bitch!" The vibration beneath Teela's fingers hissed.

This time she did manage to step around Teela. She picked up the flowers and hurled them as far as she could towards Tanesha. Tanesha heard the soft landing behind her but never broke her stride.

"Pax, please. Come inside."

Pax remained where she stood on the lawn making sure that Tanesha got in her car and drove away. She turned squarely on her heels and marched back into the house. Thumper looked from one woman to the other trying to figure out what was going on. Everything was fine until that human came to the door. She picked up the rest of her rawhide and went to the far corner of the living room. She did not want to get stepped on by the angrily pacing tall woman.

Fists clenched into white knuckles Pax said, "I'm...gonna...rip...out...her...FUCKING HEART! and feed it to the tigers at the zoo. BITCH!"

Teela was afraid. She had never seen this side of her normally passionate lover before, the rage, the animalistic movements as she stalked about in her living room. She watched as Pax's eyes turned an almost eerie ghost like quality and she seemed in a trance thinking about the torture to bestow upon her enemy. Teela hears her mention the word title in her ramblings.

"I'll gimp her ass alright."

Teela then realized that Jo was right. They just might kill one another.

"Pax?" She spoke gently, then more forcefully, "Pax!"

"WHAT!" she barked.

"Hey I did not do anything here. DO NOT BARK AT ME!" Thumper head snapped up and she heard a menacing growl. Teela looked at her baby and cooed. "It's alright girl. It's okay."

Pax eyed the dog wearily now. "I'm sorry. I did not mean to bark at you too."

"It's okay. She pushed your buttons and you're angry."

"Oh ho I am more than angry Teela. She has never in her life fought anyone like me." Teela shrank from the insane pair of ice looking through her. She had no idea what she is dealing with. "When I put her head on a platter, I will nail it to the counter of her own fucking dojo. Oh yeah. Won't she look pretty then?"

"Pax! I m surprised at you. That is so uncalled for."

"I think that's mild compared to what I will actually do to her. You heard what that tripe said to me. No one. I mean no one says that to me Teela."

"You can't fight her."

Pax stopped suddenly in her pacing and ramblings to face Teela, her mouth ajar. "What did you say?"

Teela closed her eyes against the tears she knew would eventually come. She had to tell Pax. "I said, I don't want you to fight her."

"You're kidding right? If not you should be."

"I am serious Pax. I don't want you to fight her. You could get hurt."

"She did that already. Now it's my turn."

"Pax, there is nothing for you to prove. You have your titles and your legacy is intact. What else is there?"

"Now you sound like Felicia. You both don't understand."

"No I don't damn it! No, I don't." She paused, drawing in a breath and exhaling slowly. She knew they both needed to calm down. "Pax, I Love you. I don't want to see you get hurt or hurt someone else needlessly. Pax please."

"This is different," she ground out.

"How? What is it that you think you have to prove by doing this?"

"My honor."

"It's a fucked up sense of honor!" Teela shouted.

She whirled around, rage directed to the only target in the room. "Do not question my honor!"

Teela felt her own anger rise to the surface. "Honor my ass. You're doing this out of pride and nothing else."

"SHUT UP JEN! You don't understand anything about honor, about tournament fighting. You never did."

Pax saw the horror on Teela's face and realized what she had done. Her mouth hung ajar as she watch the flow of tears cascading down her lovers paled face. All the anger and the rage instantly faded into that void she had felt not long ago. She looked at her lover failing desperately to contain her sobs.

"God, Teela, I am so sorry. Please forgive me." She took a step towards her and Teela took an equal one back. Then ran from the room. "Fuck!"

Pax dropped herself onto the couch. Head in her hands, the tears dropped silently onto the plush carpet.

To Be Concluded in Part 8

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