For Disclaimers see part I

© Sept 2003 by Ken Rogers


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Second Thoughts

Inevitable Destiny Ė Part 2

Second Thoughts

By Ken Rogers

The late night silence on the winding mountain road Ė broken only by the friendly background sounds of indigenous insects, animals, and a pleasant breeze Ė slowly gave way to a faint sound that rapidly grew until a single lonely light appeared around a distant curve. The sound continued to grow into a throaty rumble as the light moved rapidly along the road. The light grew in brilliance preceding a single dark, almost invisible motorcycle the chrome highlighted by the machineís own lights. Two riders, the smaller pressed against the taller like a limpet. The machine flashed by in a throaty roar and just as rapidly moved into the gloomy distance, the sound dwindling and fading away with the diminishing red taillight.

Aboard the nearly invisible black motorcycle the tall slender figure, also in black, diligently watched the road as she expertly controlled the big machine, the smaller, lighter figure, dressed in lighter colors, that appeared as shades of gray, was snugged up to her the taller riders back.

The watchful diligence of the woman controlling the machine was not diminished by the chaotic thoughts bombarding her, concerning very recent events.

Why in hell did you let her on this bike? Whatís wrong with you? How could you let her talk you into taking her along? Talk hell, all she had to do is tell you to wait and you did! Are you out of your mind? Youíre acting like your brain went south for the summer, damn it! You know there is no room in your life for this? Itís too dangerous for herÖ and for you. She doesnít deserve this? You have to let her go. Drop her somewhere and just ride on. Sheís just a kid. You canít let her do this and you canít do this to yourself. She doesnít know what sheís doing. Hell, you have no clue what youíre doing. Drop her. Get rid of her before something happens. Before itís too late.

She knew what she had to do, but deep inside she really didnít want to. Somehow a bond, strengthening by the hour with the smaller womanís gentle touch, was growing in her; a bond that seemed linked to her very soul. She could not for the life of her figure out how a complete stranger could affect her so profoundly. How being with her, even for this short time, could feel so good, soÖ right. Donít be stupid, she has to go.

Something seemed to wilt inside her, but she struggled not to give in, determined to end this before it was too late. Maybe if I make things hard for her sheíll leave. That would be the best thing. You have to think of her, not yourself. You have to push her away, make her forget you, evenÖ hate you. The thought of the little blonde hating her unexpectedly brought a profound sense of loss and a momentary terror that took her breath away.

The fight continued inside her as the heavy machine sped through the darkness on the lonesome road, the occasional lights of an approaching vehicle registering only on the alert part of her mind keeping them safe on the motorcycle.

MaybeÖ She sighed in frustration. Maybe hell! Do it. Just take her to a bus station and tell her to get lost! She knew she should, and she promised herself she would at the first opportunity, but in the meantime it would be so much easier if she wanted to go, so much easier on her young rider.

Okay, we dump her, but first we try to get her to leave on her own. It will be easier on the kid, easier for her to forget this hair-brained scheme. Yeah, thatíll work. Sorry, Samantha, but it has to be.

She liked the name and thinking it returned her to their meeting, when the little blonde had brazenly talked the local sheriff out of locking her up. A smile touched her lips and a comfortable tingling warmth grew in the pit of her stomach then enveloped her heart. She couldnít remember the last time someone had done something nice for her, and the blonde didnít even know her. How strange was that? Anger at her errant thoughts flared. Damn it, stop that! You canít afford to think of her like that. Itís not fair to her. She has to go. Sheíll be better off. She firmed up her resolution though her heart felt like it was tearing apart. She would do it for Samantha. It was best.

With that thought, and at the sight of the sign for a public campground, she again firmed her resolution. Best to start causing the break immediately. She began to slow down, looking for the turn off. Time to put her plan into action. The sooner she got rid of the kid, the easier it would be on both of them. She felt the blondeís arms tighten around her waist as she left the pavement and started along the narrow dirt road. It felt so good, soÖ. Stop it!


Samantha was comfortably snuggled up to the slender powerful body in front of her, her arms around the womanís waist. The constant rumble of the motorcycle was annoying at first, but it got into her blood and soon it seemed to sooth and lull her in a very pleasant way. Still, though her body was relaxed, and the feel of the strong back and slender waist was somehow oddly familiar and very comforting, her mind was in turmoil.

She had known the woman in front of her for less than three hours, yet she felt as though she had come home. How could that be? The feel of the strong body before her, the smell of the leather, even the scent of her, all seemed so comforting, soÖ familiar, that it puzzled her. It wasnít possible. She felt as though she had known this woman forever, but she knew without doubt that she had never seen her before. There was an attraction there so strong that she was certain she would have felt it before, even if she had seen the woman at a distance. She felt almost as if she had found a piece of herself that had been missing all her life. How was that possible?

Sam, youíve lost your mind. You know youíve never met her before. How can you feel so like youíve known her forever? My god, you forced yourself on her, made her take you along. What the hellís up with that? Phil was right, she could be some sort of mass murderer or something. She thought it, but she didnít for an instant believe it. You donít know anything about her, except you had some kind of weird animal reaction to her. Thatís it. It has to be. Youíve flipped. Sheís a woman for godís sakes. A drop dead gorgeous woman, who can have any man she wants. Hell if she really knew how you felt sheíd probably beat the shit out of you, and rightly so. And what the hellís up with this anyway? Youíve never been attracted to women. In fact when that tramp, uhmÖ what the heck was her name? High school, gym class shower, oh, Francie, yeah; when she cornered you and kissed you, you threw up on her. You arenítÖ gay. Damn, you dated whatÖ nine guys before David? Well, okay ten, if you stretch it and include that octopus, Darrel. Okay, so you only let them get to first base, well, except for Marty and then David, but the point is you are exceedingly hetro, right? Right. So whatís up with this hot pants routine over some total stranger whose plumbing is the same as yours? Youíve definitely gone off the deep end, girl. What you should do, the very instant this total stranger stops in any sort of civilization, is get off this machine, say thanks for the ride, and run like hell. Maybe check yourself into a nut farm for a while. Well, uhm; letís not get carried away. Letís just say a polite goodbye and get back into your life. Get a bus to Cal, get on your knees at Philís door and beg her to forgive you for running out on her like that. Jesus, she came all the way back home to do you a favor and the first time she stops you run off with some biker chick. Where the hell is your brain, Sammy? You had a good plan, girl. Another year, plus the bar and youíve got a life of your own. You donít need this. David was screw up enough.

What the hell? She automatically tightened her grip as the bike left the highway and started down the bumpy dirt road. Oh, crap, Phil was right, she is some kind of mass murderer! Again she thought it, but she felt no fear. Instead she felt calm and confident that this was just a pit stop or something.


Angel idled the motorcycle slowly along the rutted dirt road, swerving a little recklessly around the biggest ruts or into them a few times, to unsettle her passenger. The campground was mostly deserted, not surprising since these little campsites were mainly used for cookouts and day camping. She had expected a few overnight campers, but the place seemed mostly deserted. Ahead and to her left she caught the faintest of sounds indicating rushing water in a small mountain stream, through the slow idle of the motorcycle. She smiled. That should help. The water in these little mountain streams was usually ice-cold. Little miss city chick wasnít going to like this adventure much.

Angel found a nice secluded campsite, shortly after passing a dilapidated car and pop-up camp trailer, with a small bubble tent close to the camper. She pulled in, stopping on a hard-packed turnout near the edge of the drop-off to the stream. The place was well hidden by lush foliage and thick trees with the obligatory metal firebox on a pedestal, complete with grate, and a weatherworn picnic table. This should do nicely. She dropped the kickstand, making sure the hard, well-worn parking space would hold the bike, then shut down the engine. The rumble of the bike was suddenly replaced by the sound of water rushing over rocks. She felt the small hands retreat from her waist, as her passenger sat up and looked around, feeling a sudden sense of loss. She forced her stoic mask into place, already hating herself for what she had to do.

Slowly Samantha climbed off the motorcycle; her entire body protesting the new tortures the ride had placed on her. She stretched cramped muscles and looked around as Angel got off the bike.

Angel opened one of her saddlebags and got out her thermal blankets, tossing one to Sam.

"Whatís this for?" Sam asked, looking curiously at the tightly packed little package.

"Itís a blanket. You sleep on it," Angel replied as she moved some distance away to a nice grassy spot and spread out her other blanket.

"Oh." Sleep? Here? I donít think so. She watched the tall brunette lay out the blanket then sit down and pull her boots off. Next she removed her vest and folded it neatly before placing it on the boots.

"Uhm, youíre really going to sleep here?" Samantha asked doubtfully.

The brunette looked up at her as she unbuttoned her shirt. Sam shivered at the thought of taking her blouse off. She was already chilly.

"Yeah. Itís been a long day. I donít drive if Iím tired." She neatly folded the shirt and set it on the vest then lay down and pulled half the blanket over her, covering her head as well as her body.

Sam stood there confused. What the hell was that? Sheís about as friendly as a tiger with a sore paw.

Slowly she moved over onto the grass a short distance away from Angel and spread out her blanket.

"I donít suppose thereís a restroom nearby," she muttered.

"Back up the road a quarter mile," was the clipped answer.

"Oh." She sighed and sat down. "Guess Iíll wait." No way was she leaving to walk around in the dark. No telling what was out there. Besides, she could get lost, orÖ a finger of doubt tickled herÖ Angel could leave while she was gone.

"Use the bushes."

Sam looked around, seeing all sorts of shadowy ominous forms nearby.

"Thatís okay." It had been about an hour since their quick stop for gas so she didnít have to go very badly yet. She could wait a while. She lay down fully clothed and huddled into the blanket, her imagination running rampant. A loud snap nearby startled her. Then she began to hear noises. She heard a splash and huddled deeper into herself. Another snap, farther away, then the rustling of leaves in a nearby bush. A loud chirping nearby startled her, but she identified it as a cricket and relaxed a little. Other crickets joined the first one then she heard a deep croaking sound and then a yipping sound a little farther away. The hair stood up on her arms and icy fingers raced along her spine.

Come on, Sammy. Itís just your imagination. Angel wouldnít be sleeping if there were anything out here to hurt you. Get a grip and get some sleep.

She pulled the blanket over her head and tried to sleep, mildly surprised at the pleasant warmth of the thin space-age blanket, but the strange sounds and the rocky ground conspired to keep her awake.


Sam gasped, shivering. What the hell was that? It sounded like it was behind her.


Jesus! The sound seemed closer, louder. Samantha could feel her skin crawling and she shivered uncontrollably.


"Aaah! Angel," she whispered urgently, shivering.


"Angel!" she shouted.

"Muh?" Angel answered muzzily. "What?"

"What is that noise?"

"What noise?"

"That woo sound?"


"No, woo. You know, wooooo," she said, trying to imitate the sound, just before the real thing was repeated.

Angel groaned. "Jesus. You woke me out of a sound sleep for a freaking owl?" she growled. "Go to sleep!"

Sam felt like sheíd been slapped in the face at the abrupt answer and the cold tone. She curled back into her blanket, the owl forgotten. She had a new worry. She was surprised at how much the angry tone had hurt and even more surprised at the tear that slid down her face.

Angel lay quiet, wide-awake. She was sure that her tone would hurt the girl and help drive her away. Good, she needed to get back to her life. She knew it was the right thing to do, but if it was so right, why did she feel like crap for doing it. She lay there trying to justify her actions to herself but no matter how much she argued that she was doing the right thing, she felt miserable. It was a long time before she finally drifted off into a troubled sleep.


Sam woke to the slamming of a car door some distance away. The sound startled her from a dark dream to the darker reality of hard ground and a chill the blanket helped but didnít conquer. She listened but heard no nearby sounds. In a panic she whipped the blanket off, then sighed in relief at the sight of the motorcycle nearby. She lay her head back staring up through the thick foliage above her. The sun was up, bright daylight filtering into their little camp, but she could not see the sky above her. The trees were too thick here. Her dry mouth tasted nasty and her body felt stiff and sore in many places surprising her a little, since she had thought she was in pretty good shape. She groaned as she moved, her stiffness making her stiff muscles scream in protest. Oh boy, this is going to be fun.

Slowly she sat up and looked around, her bladder painfully full. Angel was nowhere to be seen. She managed to stand, feeling like she was old and creaky.

"Angel?" she called hesitantly, then again louder. There was no answer.

She did a quick search of the nearby area, even down by the stream, without actually going down there, continually calling for the brunette. Well at least she hasnít left me; she temporized, glancing again at the motorcycle. First things first. Her bladder wouldnít wait much longer. She walked out to the dirt road and looked back the way they had come the night before. The road wasnít straight and she could see maybe a hundred feet. She sighed and hurried along the well-worn dirt road, passing a busy campsite. One of the two kids waved at her, the father grinned and the wife scowled. She hurried on by. If she didnít get to a bathroom soon she would be washing her clothes out when she got back to their camp. The trip seemed to take an eternity, her painful bladder threatening to release all the way there.

A dingy gray building came into sight, a small cinderblock thing with wooden latticework for air just under the roof and an ell shaped modesty fence in front of the door. When she got there, the sign read Ďmení and she nearly went in anyway, but hurried around to the other side. The other side of the building had a broken sign on the outer wall, hanging by a half exposed nail, that read, ĎWome,í the Ďní broken off, along with a bit of the ell shaped wooden privacy fence, and long gone. She hurried to enter, finding the door missing. The splash and her soaked feet belatedly told her of the flooded floor, almost two inches deep in dirty water. To her right, in her peripheral vision she saw the sink lying shattered on the floor. To her left the first stall had a broken toilet, its porcelain bowl shattered, the door hanging open by a single twisted hinge. The only other stall had no door, no paper, and no seat, but it was functional and she had her pants to her knees before she turned around, the urgent need to go overshadowing the condition of the facility.

Relieving herself was almost sensual, even though she was in the most disgusting bathroom she had ever used, dirty water covered her shoes and was creeping up her pants-legs, there was no paper, and she had to hover. None of that mattered as the excruciating pain of her bladder was relieved.

She heard several sudden splashes and four children, two girls and two boys, were standing in front of her, pointing and giggling. There was nothing she could do except turn beet-red. Once she started there was no stopping. She shouted for them to leave but that only made them laugh and point harder. She had never been so mortified in her life. The kids didnít leave until she stood, pulling her pants up, then they ran out still laughing at her expense.


Angel had the camp cleared up by the time Samantha returned. From seclusion she watched the little blonde storm down the road towards her, the legs of her jeans dark almost to her knees. Angel had gone to the restroom earlier but after seeing itís condition she had walked the short distance to another one, which was in much better shape. Evidently the little blonde hadnít been able to wait that long, or hadnít seen the other one. Good. Hopefully her plan was working. The kids had been a stroke of genius. She felt satisfied with the way things were going andÖ sad. That surprised her and irked her, her plans were set, her mind made up. She turned away and seated herself on the picnic table, staring idly out over the rushing little stream, before the blonde could catch her watching. Come on, Ang, itís for the best. Yeah.

Samantha stormed into camp to find Angel sitting on the picnic table, her elbows resting on her knees, chewing on some grass, and looking out over the ravine at the sparkling little stream. That the brunette didnít turn at her arrival surprised andÖ hurt her.

"You Ďbout ready?" Angel asked without so much as glancing her way.

Sam stopped near the table, put her hands on her hips, and scowled. "Do I look ready?" she growled.

Angel cocked her head slightly, glancing at her out of the corner of her eye. A graceful dark eyebrow lifted. She shifted the grass to the corner of her mouth and lifted a finger to point at the water. "You better wash up. Youíre a mess."

Anger flared visibly in the little blondeís features. "Well thank you so very much for that keen observation." She turned towards the embankment.

Angel watched her, trying to ignore her path, but she found she couldnít. She sighed in disgust at herself.


The blonde kept walking.

She raised her voice slightly. "Samantha."

Samantha whirled around, her face set and hard. "What?"

Angel pointed off to the left. "Pathís over there."

"Thanks," she snapped, turning back around and ignoring the information.

Angelís eyes rolled skyward. She should just let her go, but the next instant she was trying again. "Suit yourself, but thatís Poison Ivy youíre about to step into."

Without a word the blonde turned abruptly left and sought out the path. Angel watched her out of sight then dropped her head into her hands. She hated what she was doing. She waited expectantly, the yell and the splash coming about when she knew it would. An instant later there was a screech as the thoroughly drenched blonde made it to the surface and the icy water registered. Angel slid off the table and walked slowly down the path to find the woman sloshing around in the little pool, in the small stream.

Samantha saw Angel saunter casually down the trail, stopping a short distance away. She was still up to her thighs in the icy flow. With the icy chill came icy clarity.

"Need a hand?"

Samantha bit back a caustic reply and smiled brittlely. "If you donít mind."

Angel came forward and held out her hand. "You should really be more carefuÖyaa!"

Samantha had grabbed her hand and tugged for all she was worth, her petite little body containing more strength than the brunette expected. She pulled Angel off her feet and into the deep pool watching the brunette sink into the water with some satisfaction. She didnít wait for her to surface but turned and made her way out of the water then headed up the path as the brunette surfaced sputtering.

Angel stood shivering in the water, watching the blonde storm up the path. That went well. An intense shiver brought her back to the reality of her situation and she climbed out of the water then started up the path.

When Angel sloshed her way into their camp, Samantha was down to her underwear rummaging in her bag. She ignored the dripping brunette, found some dry underwear, and quickly changed, keeping her back to Angel. She slipped into a dry shirt and a different pair of pants then packed her wet clothes in a plastic bag before shoving it into her small bag. She turned to the brunette as she sat down with some dry white socks in her hand and began pulling them on then reluctantly putting her soaked shoes back on.

She spoke without looking up, "Now that the showís over, you staying in those wet things or are you changing? Either way donít you think itís time to find some breakfast?"

Her voice was controlled but Angel could hear the suppressed angerÖ and the hurt. She blushed, hoping it didnít show, oddly embarrassed, more because she had caused the anger in the blondes words and the pain in her voice, than by her present Ďdrowned ratí condition. She had in fact been staring at the blondeís shapely body. The woman was beautiful, her figure striking. She wondered briefly at just what instant she had lost the momentum, but the blonde was clearly on the high ground here. Probably while she was still in the air, on her way to her impromptu bath.

"Come on, stretch, Iím starved. Move your ass," Samantha demanded.

Angel silently went about getting out some dry clothes and changing, knowing that the blonde was leaning against the table and blatantly watching her, just as she had watched the blonde. Samantha remained quiet but kept her eyes pointedly on the brunette. Angel could feel a blush covering her as she changed. That surprised her. She wasnít prone to being embarrassed. In fact she couldnít remember the last time she had been embarrassed and already twice, in just a few short minutes, she had felt a deep flush. What was up with that?

She finished dressing, replacing her soggy boots with a pair of deck shoes she carried then she gathered her wet clothes into a bundle. When she turned to the table, Samantha wasnít there. Instead she was standing next to the bike, obviously waiting, her little bag already slung on her back.

"Letís go stretch. Youíre buying."

"Whyís that?" she asked, her eyes boring hard into the green eyes of the little blonde. It was time she took control back.

Samanthaís gaze didnít falter. "Payback for the shit youíve been handing me."

"What are you talking about?" she growled, knowing exactly what she was talking about.

The implied denial seemed to be the last straw for the blonde, her green eyes darkening with her anger her whole demeanor changing as her angry voice rose. "Iím talking about the nasty attitude youíve been pulling since last night. Iím talking about the disgusting bathroom you were conveniently not around to warn me about. Tell me, just how long did it take you to round up those little brats, and what did it cost you to have them embarrass me like that? Iím talking about the convenient little dunking and the continued attitude." With each point Samantha had gotten closer and closer until they were just inches apart. "Took me a while, stretch. At first I thought you were just showing your true colors, that you really were the bitch from hell. You nearly got away with it, but the Poison Ivy thing was what gave you away and the sudden dunk in the stream from your cleverly set little trap helped shock my confused little mind into getting to work and figuring it out.

"I donít know whatÖ"

The slap was like the crack of a shot and Angelís head rocked from the stinging blow. She just stared into the angry green eyes dumb struck.

"Donít you ever pull that crap again, you bitch! If youíve got a problem with me, spill it! If you ever try that again Iíll beat the shit out of you! Now get on that fucking bike and take me to breakfast!"

Angel just stood there totally stunned, the fire from the green eyes like a physical blast.

Samís arm came up and she pointed to the bike. "Now!"

Angelís eyes dropped and without a word she climbed onto the bike. She felt Samantha settled in behind her as she started the machine. Small hands gripped her waist firmly but the soft body did not lean into her, as she had done the night before. Still numb to the core, at the tongue-lashing, she started down the dirt road to the highway.

Angelís head was awhirl again. The tongue-lashing had cut her to the core. It really hurt, so much that her eyes were watering a little as they rode. The slap had hurt worse. Not the insignificant physical pain of the slap, but the other pain the anger and hurt on the blonde's face caused deep inside her. She had driven the little blonde to that anger and she felt terrible about it. She had caused that, hurting the little blonde so much that she had struck back in fury. She felt awfulÖ miserable. It dawned on her that she had just stood there; just let the blonde hit her. No one had succeeded in hitting her in a long time, though a few had tried. How had this little stranger gotten through her defenses? Was she that distracted? She went over the memories again, the hurt of the blondeís anger hurting again, so much that a single tear started down her face, the wind pushing it back into her ear. No, she had known that the blonde was going to strike her. She saw it in her body language. And she hadnít reacted; she had just let her do it. What the hellís wrong with you? You donít even know the woman! What do you care for her feelings? Youíre trying to get her to leave, stupid! The realization was like a physical blow to her gut. She had probably succeeded. How could she think of staying with such a bitch? Oh, Sam, Iím so sorry, but itís for the best. She knew it, but the realization that she had probably succeeded in driving the woman away only made her more miserable. Resolutely she tried to push her feelings into a corner. It was for the best, she couldnít let her stay.

As Angel gained the highway and set off at a good clip, her young rider was still in a fury, but at the same time large tears flooded from her eyes and streamed back into her hair. She held to the brunette loosely, not leaning into her like she had the night before. The rumble of the motorcycle and the feel of the wind in her hair helped calm her. Foremost in her mind was the shocking thought that she had actually physically struck out at the woman in front of her. Hadnít she just come from an abusive relationship? How could she let herself become so angry that she would strike out like that? Oh, she knew she hadnít really hurt the big lug, in fact, now that she thought about it, she was amazed that the blow had landed at all, or that the woman hadnít promptly smashed her into the dirt. She had vivid recollections of just what Angel could do when provoked. So just what had happened? It was obvious to her now that Angel had been trying to get rid of her, was in fact trying to convince her that this was not the life for her. Well, she had to admit she was less than thrilled about communing with nature quite as much as she had the night before and again early this morning. She hadnít really ever thought about it. Being a city girl, she had always assumed that she would always have a home, and a husband, with several little children running around. David had ruined that for her. She felt a pain, and an awful emptiness, when she realized that because of him she might never have the chance for children. She had to admit that she had just sort of figured, in the deep recesses of her mind that she would someday meet someone else to raise children with. She wanted children, right? She had always wanted childrenÖ right? So what was this chasing after a stranger that was also a woman? True, she was a drop dead gorgeous woman, but there was no getting around the fact that if she stayed with her there was no way she would have a child, unless she adopted, or went to one of those sperm bank places. She shuddered at the thought then snorted and shook her head. Gods, what was she thinking! She had just met her; just had a fight and bitch slapped her, and here she was thinking about kids and her in the same thought. Well, sheíd obviously lost her mind.

Unconsciously, as they traveled and her thoughts wandered, she had once again snuggled up to the strong body in front of her.

Okay, to get back to the present. Sheís trying to chase me away. I mean Iím pretty dense sometimes, but I did manage to figure that part out. Why? Because youíre a stranger interfering with her life, idiot. She doesnít know you from any other stray cat. Well, I did do her a favor. Oh, right, and for that she should be eternally grateful and cart your citified ass all around the country, right? She knew what she had to do. Iím so sorry, Angel. I donít know what came over me. Youíre right, and Iím a fool. She bowed her head against the strong back and let the tears flow.

Angel had subconsciously been enjoying the feeling of the woman snuggled up to her back. Now she felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as the small town came into view. She slowed well before the city limits and the thirty-five mile an hour speed sign, not surprised to see the local law backed in behind some shrubs. She was doing thirty when she passed him and a moment later she pulled into the pancake house parking lot and parked her bike near the door, in an unmarked area too small for a car. The lot was pretty full and she remembered it was a Saturday. She sighed, not liking crowds, and hating lines, but they were here. She really didnít feel like hunting for another place, which would probably also be full.

Samantha quickly got off the bike, turning away from Angel, wiping at her face to dry the last of her tears. She had hurriedly wiped the tears away as Angel slowed the bike, before turning into the parking lot, and now she made sure her face was dry, but she knew that her eyes would be puffy and red, giving her away. She really couldnít face that right now.

"Get a table, Angel. Iíll meet you inside," she said calmly then she headed towards the door. Angel watched her enter the restaurant, her shoulders slightly drooping. It was obvious to her, from her voice and her walk that the little blonde was far from happy and she felt even worse, knowing she had caused it. She fiddled with the bike, taking her time, before entering the restaurant after her.

The restaurant was large and pleasantly decorated, a light wallpaper sporting tiny flowers decorating the few little sections of wall. Windows, set in a dark stained wood, partially covered in bright curtains, let the morning light in on three sides. Comfortable leather booths lined the walls and small wooden tables, with padded wooden chairs around them, filled in the center of the room. To her surprise only six people were waiting to be seated. An officious looking young man with balding brown hair came warily towards her.

"Good morningÖ maíam. Would you like a single table?" he asked hesitantly, the tall brunetteís intense eyes making him nervous.

"Iíd prefer a booth for two, away from the door," she responded.

"Smoking, or non?" he continued.

"Doesnít matter, unless Iím required to smoke," she replied.

"NoÖ ah, oh," he said and hesitantly smiled as he figured out she was probably joking. "Right this way, please." He grabbed two menus and hurried away, glancing over his shoulder to make sure she was following and jumped slightly at the closeness of those intense blue eyes.

The booth he stopped at was in the very back of the restaurant against the wall. He placed the menus and quickly stepped back as she slid into the booth, her back against the wall.

"Your server will be here shortly, maíam," he said and hurried away.

Angel glanced around the room; not surprised to see quite a few of the patrons looking her way. They hurriedly looked away when her intense eyes locked onto theirs. Most of the looks were just curious, a few were admiring, but a couple were hungry, and several more were down right hostile. Most of those, not surprisingly, were from women that were with their staring husbands. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Sam come from the back, on the far side of the room and she dropped her eyes to the menu, not wanting Sam to think that she was watching for her.

Samantha slid into the booth and picked up the menu. Angel was disconcerted to feel her heart pounding. She stared intently at the menu but wasnít really seeing it, waiting for Samís tirade.

A perky little blonde waitress, maybe eighteen, bounced over to their table, a big smile spread on her face and lighting her deep blue eyes.

"Hi, ladies. My name is Amber, and Iíll be your server today," she said brightly as she placed two glasses of ice water on the table.

"Hi, Amber," Sam replied, her voice friendly and with no sign of her earlier upset.

"Hi. What can I bring you?" Her smile faded as she caught a little of the tension between her two customers.

"Letís wait for miss studious over there," Sam replied and Angel realized with a start that was her, as the waitress turned expectantly to her.

She dropped the menu, a brief smile flickering on her face as she turned to the teen. "Uhm," she hesitated and cleared her throat. "Coffee," she mumbled, catching the raised eyebrow from Samantha. Her unsettled stomach roiled at the thought of food. "AndÖ toast, wheat toast."

"Iíll have the same," Samantha said.

"Okay, Iíll have that for you in just a few minutes."

Neither of them noticed the girl leave.

Hesitantly Angel looked across the table to find Samantha looking back at her. The silence between them became almost painful but neither looked away. Samantha was first to speak.

"Well. I should apologize for slapping you."

"No, donít," Angel answered softly. "IÖ deserved it." She finally had to look down, the pain in those emerald eyes too much for her, increasing the pain in her heart.

"Maybe. ButÖ Iím sorry anyway," she answered.

Another awkward silence was building but the waitress bustled over, placing their toast and coffee cups in front of them, pouring them each some coffee, and leaving the carafe of coffee on the edge of the table. She had started to speak but recognized the tension was even stronger between the two women, and after setting out their order, she quietly left them alone.

Samantha lifted her coffee mug and took a sip, having to hold it with both hands she was shaking so badly. The strong bitter coffee suited her mood perfectly. Her eyes lifted to the dark haired woman across from her again. Angel was staring at her coffee mug without really seeing it, her beautiful face showing more of her emotions than she realized. She looked confused and sad to Samantha.

"Angel," Samantha said in a soft almost reverent whisper. Stunning blue eyes, reflecting the womanís emotions, lifted to her. Samantha took a deep breath. "IímÖ IÖ." She didnít want to say it and a heaviness seemed to press into her chest, making it hard to breathe. Her throat developed a lump she was having trouble talking around. "Iíve always been impetuous. I donít know what got into me. IÖ uhm, Iím sorry I intruded into your life," she finished, her last words barely audible and tears running freely down her face.

Angel just sat there feeling miserable, hating herself and hating what she was doing.

The faint hope died from her eyes and Samantha looked away, then back up, then away again. The walls were closing in on her. She rummaged in her purse and pulled out a five, placing it on the table as she slid out of the booth and hurried for the door. She didnít see the tears that sprang from Angelís eyes and tracked across her face as she watched the blonde leave. Goodbye Sam. Iím so sorry.

"Maíam, are you all right?"

Angel was startled to find the waitress looking down at her, very concerned. She gave the girl a quick smile as she lifted the napkin from under her silver, the silver clattering together. "Yeah, Iím okay." She quickly wiped the tears from her face. "IÖ could I have the check, please?"

"Sure," she answered taking a stack of checks from her apron and sorting through them. She placed it on the table, started to say something, thought better of it, and turned away.

Angel collected her tattered dignity and shattered emotions, glanced at the check then the money that Samantha had left. She took a shuddering breath, picked up the check but left the five-dollar bill on the table, reluctant to touch it because Samantha had. After paying the cashier she stepped into the bright morning sunshine, sunshine that now seemed somehow dimmed. She shivered, the day strangely cooler. She was in time to see Samantha come out of the office of the motel across the way through the tears streaming freely down her face.

She hurried along the motelís sidewalk to the very last room in the main wing, her vision distorted by her tears. After fumbling with the key she managed to get the door open. She entered and closed the door firmly, dropping her bag and then leaning against the door while she turned the bolt. A shuddering sob racked her petite body. Somehow she made it to the window and pulled the drapes, throwing the room into a thick gloom. She stumbled against a chair banging her knee but hardly noticing as she made her way to the huge bed and crawled up into the middle of it, curling into a fetal position. She was sobbing uncontrollably, but she was also waiting. Waiting with dread in her heart.

It came, a distant rumble that seemed to stop her breath, and freeze her heart. Each throb of the tuned exhausts seemed to cut into her very soul. The engine revved, and then she could tell it was moving slowly out of the parking lot. The big machine idled for a moment then the rumble increased in volume and then rapidly faded away into the distance.

"No!" Samantha screamed in her mind, but only a moaning sob escaped her lips. Something deep inside her seemed to shatter and her mind drifted into darkness.

In the distance thunder rumbled.


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