I Found My Heart in San Francisco

Book 9: Intentions

By S X Meagher

Part Five

Late Thursday night, or early Friday morning, depending on one's perspective, Mia glanced at her watch and suppressed a yawn when she saw that it was four a.m. As usual, she and Jordan had eaten dinner with Ryan and Jamie, then had taken a long walk around the neighborhood. For the past two hours they had been sitting in the living room, talking about everything that was important to either of them. Mia found herself opening up to Jordan about topics that she had never spoken about to another soul, and she found the tall woman to be a fantastic listener. Jordan let her talk, sometimes lightly touching her knee for a little support, but otherwise just listening, her blue eyes intent and focused.

For her part, Jordan seemed remarkably open, almost without barriers when it came to revealing her emotional self. After all of their lengthy chats Mia knew more about Jordan than she did about Jamie, with whom she'd been friends for seven years.

The only topic that didn't come up was Jordan's sexual history. Mia was quite forthcoming about her own, but Jordan clammed up and changed the subject whenever Mia even hinted around about it.

It had been two weeks-not that long a time, but given the amount of time they had spent together, it seemed like eons to Mia. Every night the routine was the same. Talking until near dawn, then a yawned comment about the rising sun. Jordan would lean in for a good-bye kiss, and the floodgates would open, leaving them plastered against each other until Ryan or Jamie interrupted them, usually just a few minutes after they started.

As much as she enjoyed the time, Mia could tell that things were not going to go further unless she pushed them-so she decided to do so that very night. Basing her plan on their normal script, she decided to press the issue by suggesting that Jordan leave at four, rather than six, hoping that would give them two more hours to make a little progress.

She yawned pointedly, and Jordan took the hint. "You look tired, Mia. Maybe I should go."

"Yeah," she yawned again. "I think all of these late nights are catching up to me." Jordan leaned in for a kiss and Mia put as much of her sensual charm as she could muster into the embrace, causing Jordan to immediately return for more. As usual, the tender kisses turned passionate, but this time, both of their usual chaperones were snug in their bed, leaving no one to interrupt them.

Within minutes, Mia was throbbing from head to toe, her desire for the enigmatic woman nearly at the bursting point. Jordan was panting softly, appearing on the verge of losing control-just where Mia wanted her.

Trying to maneuver on the small loveseat was no easy task, but Mia finally twitched around until she was nearly on her back, then she pulled Jordan down on top of her. Now their bodies got into the game, with Jordan's lush, full breasts mashed against Mia's, causing the smaller woman's heart to beat so wildly that she felt faint. This was the most contact their bodies had yet experienced, and Mia could just feel some of the careful reserve leave the taller woman's body as her lips hungrily sought Mia's.

Every part of her was beginning to cramp from the extremely awkward position, so Mia pushed Jordan up, then stood and extended her hand. Jordan looked up at her with stark confusion, but did as she was asked. Mia grasped her hand tightly and started to lead her towards the stairs, but Jordan's feet did not move. Her eyes trailed up the stairs, giving the impression of a condemned woman gazing at the path to the death chamber. Immediately realizing that they weren't getting anywhere, Mia yanked the cushions from the love seat and dropped to one, still holding on to Jordan's clammy hand.

"Come here," she said firmly, her eyes locked onto Jordan's frightened gaze. "Jordan," she said softly, as she would to a panicky kitten, "come sit by me."

Swallowing visibly, Jordan pursed her lips and allowed her body to fold itself onto the cushion, looking at her with eyes as wide as a terrified child's. "It's okay," the smaller woman said softly, stroking her from her shoulder to her hand. "It's okay, Jordan, I just wanted to get comfortable." She leaned close and rested her head on Jordan's chest, the rapidly beating heart thrumming against her ear. "Are you comfortable?" she asked softly, moving slowly so as not to frighten her any further.


"Good. Can I have another good-night kiss?" Her voice was low and gentle, and she almost laughed when Jordan gave her a quick peck, obviously testing to see how far Mia would push her. Mia was still stroking her, trying to reassure her before moving forward. "That was nice. How about another?"

This time, when Jordan leaned down, Mia ran her tongue all over Jordan's lips, teasing, seeking entrance. Jordan was lost as soon as Mia's tongue entered her mouth, and within minutes they were completely horizontal, Jordan's long body covering Mia's as they sensually rubbed against each other. "Oohhhh, this is nice," Mia moaned, seeking Jordan's flushed ear and beginning to nibble on it.

As many times as they had kissed, Mia had focused exclusively on Jordan's mouth, leaving a world of unexplored territory that she was determined to claim. As she nibbled and sucked, Jordan began to shake, her entire body shivering as the delicious sensations washed over her. Mia kept right on her path, breathing softly into the pink ear, letting her tongue trail over every bit of skin, nipping and licking her way down past the ear and onto Jordan's elegant neck. "Mmm…you taste so good," Mia hummed, drawing an even stronger reaction from her prey.

Jordan was shaking so hard that Mia could hardly hold on, so she flipped her over, pinning the taller woman onto her back. Her mouth returned to Jordan's, kissing her with a fervent intensity that made the blood in their heads pound loudly. As her tongue thrust softly, Mia's right hand slid up across Jordan's shoulder and grasped her breast, giving it a gentle but determined squeeze.

Jordan's hand immediately covered Mia's, her mind torn between pulling the smaller hand away or forcing it to grab her breast again and give it another squeeze. Her indecision was starkly evident on her face, which had abruptly pulled away from Mia's mouth.

Mia felt her heart clench when she saw the look of panic on the other woman's face. Even though a part of her knew that she could push Jordan past her fears, she didn't want it to be like that between them. Shifting her other hand up to Jordan's face, she brushed the disordered hair from her eyes and asked, "Does this make you uncomfortable?" she asked softly, her hand barely compressing the pliable flesh. "I'll stop if you don't like it."

Jordan looked down, seemingly wanting to consult her breast to get its opinion. The look on her face was adorably indecisive, and Mia was finally hit with the reality of the situation. "Jordan?" she whispered, still stroking her to calm her, "have you ever made love with a woman before?"

She blanched. "N…n…no," she said, her head shaking rapidly. "No one. I've never made love to anyone."

She was blushing furiously, and Mia tried to hide her shock as she said, "That's all right, Sweetie. Really. Everyone has to start somewhere."

Jordan gave her a ghost of a smile, her body still shaking.

"Do you want to make love with me?" Mia asked, letting her hand twitch once again, smiling to herself when Jordan's eyes closed in pleasure.

"Ye…yes," the tall woman rasped when she had collected herself. "I want to. I really, really want to," she breathed, some of her suppressed desire showing in her darkening blue eyes. "But not tonight," she added immediately.

Mia laughed gently, bending to kiss her softly. "We'll make love when you're ready, Jordan-and not one minute before."

The sigh of relief was so enormous that Mia had to laugh again. "You don't mind letting me get comfortable?" Jordan questioned shyly.

"Of course not. I really enjoy what we've done so far. I love kissing you," she said, placing another sweet kiss on her lips. "It feels wonderful," she whispered, moving against her languidly.

"I love it too," Jordan gasped out, her eyes blinking slowly. She cleared her throat and swallowed before she mumbled, "I…I dream about it."

"Oooh, that's so sweet," Mia said, giving her another kiss for being so adorable. "Did you like it when I kissed your neck and ears?"

"Uh-huh. It felt…wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, Mia."

"How about this?" Mia asked softly, giving her breast another tender squeeze. "Do you like it when I touch your breast?"

Jordan's entire body shivered as Mia's hand twitched upon her flesh. "Y…yeah. I like it…a lot."

"Where do you feel it?" she asked, her voice a deep, sexy purr. "Tell me, Jordan."

Smacking her suddenly dry lips together, Jordan blinked slowly and revealed, "Everywhere. I feel it everywhere."

"Show me," Mia insisted, taking Jordan's shaking hand in hers. "Show me where you feel the sensation."

With her eyes widening even more, Jordan complied, gently touching her own breast, then sliding her hand slowly down her body, her eyes locked onto Mia's glittering brown orbs. Her body shuddered as she tentatively slipped her hand between her legs and whispered, "Here. Here's where I feel it."

"That's just where you should feel it," Mia assured her. "How about now?" she asked as her hand gave up possession of the left breast and applied the same kneading pressure to the right.

The blonde head nodded furiously, the painfully aroused woman unable to keep her eyes open for another moment. "Yes," she gasped, her index finger rubbing along the seam of her jeans. "Right there."

Mia knew that she was pushing, and she knew that one more tiny push and Jordan would be hers. But she didn't want the fragile woman to wake up in her bed and have even a glimmer of regret. She dipped her head and kissed her for a few more minutes, enjoying the soft warmth of the blonde's mouth, the sweet, shy innocence of the kisses they shared.

Pulling back she opened her eyes and gazed at Jordan for a moment, letting her make the next move.

The crystal blue eye looked up at her with childlike innocence as she said, "That's enough for tonight, okay? I'm about to pass out."

Smiling warmly, Mia removed her hand and bent her head to place a whisper-soft kiss right on the painfully hard nipple. "We'll wait until you're ready for more, Jordan. Trust me."

"I…I do trust you, Mia. I really do." She grasped the smaller woman in a fierce hug and squeezed her until her ribs ached. "Thanks for putting up with me," she added softly. "I know I'm a handful."

Casting a pointed gaze at Jordan's full breast, Mia raised an eyebrow and said, "You're a delightful handful, and I can't wait to have my hands full of you again."

Blanching noticeably, Jordan rolled onto her side and squeaked out, "I've gotta go!"

"But it's still dark out," Mia reasoned. "Let me drive you."

"No, no, I've gotta go…now," Jordan said, grabbing her gym bag and running out of the house at full speed.

Mia stared at the open door, rubbing at her face with her open hands. My God, what have I gotten myself into!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Ryan's internal motion detector alerted her to the presence of another person in the room seconds before she received a sharp slap on her ass. She flew up into a sitting position, tearing away the sheet that covered her naked body, ready to leap to her feet to defend herself against her attacker. "What in the fuck…?" She blinked rapidly, focusing in on the obviously furious woman who was looming over her.

"You knew! You knew she was a virgin, and you didn't tell me! I swear I'll…I'll kick your ass, O'Flaherty! Get up and fight like a woman!"

Jamie's response to this invasion was, as usual, slow and muddled. "Ryan's not a virgin," she muttered. "I've seen to that myself."

Patting her gently, Ryan snugged the sheet up to her chin and whispered, "Go back to sleep, Love." She kissed her cheek and slipped out of bed accompanied by her lover's unhappy grunt, grabbing the clothes she had worn the night before. She pointed at the door and Mia marched out, followed by the taller woman, who hopped into her sweat pants as they walked towards Mia's room.

"I'd prefer not to fight you, Mia, but if you wake me up in the middle of the night by slapping my ass again, you're gonna get all you can handle!"

"You just make me so damn mad!" the smaller woman cried. "You knew damn well that Jordan was a virgin, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did. She's very sensitive about it, and I would never tell someone else her secrets. Just like I wouldn't tell yours, Mia. I don't care how mad you get, I'm not going to start doing something that I think is wrong."

"You're so fucking logical! I hate it!"

Ryan was dressed now, and she sat down on the bed and asked, "Tell me why it bothers you so much that she's a virgin."

"Because I really like her! I really want to have sex with her, but I just know she's going to freak out and not want to. God, Ryan, she's like trying to tame a wild mustang!"

Ryan laughed, running a hand through her tangled hair. "That sounds like her," she admitted. "Look, Mia, Jordan's pretty complex, and she can drive you nuts, but I like her a lot. I don't want either of you to get hurt, so if this seems like too big of a problem to overcome, let her down gently-don't lead her on."

"Shit, Ryan, I really like her. I don't want to stop." She sighed heavily and lay across the bed next to Ryan. "She's really sweet…and so fragile. It's like being with a kid in some ways, but in other ways she's really mature and sensitive. She's so good to talk to-better than anybody else I know."

"That doesn't sound so bad," Ryan said, running her fingers through Mia's hair to calm her down a little.

"No," she said as she rolled onto her side, "it's not bad. I just don't want to have this be a deal breaker."

"It doesn't have to be," Ryan said, the head rub relaxing her as much as it was Mia. "Take it slow and see how it goes. Talk about it before it gets to be too much of an issue, okay?"

"We did that tonight. She said she wants to have sex with me eventually, but she almost passed out when I touched her breast." She laughed wryly as she said, "I'm not used to a reaction quite that dramatic."

"Maybe you're really good," Ryan chuckled lazily.

"Well, yeah, I am, but still…" She snuggled closer, letting Ryan's soothing touch reach the back of her head.

"It'll be okay, Mia," Ryan said, already half-asleep. "Just be patient."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Where the heck is she? Jamie wondered lazily when she woke just an hour later. The bathroom was empty and Ryan's book bag was still lying next to her desk, so she obviously had not left for her trip to Los Angeles. A quick trip downstairs didn't shed any light on her whereabouts either, and she was about to give up when she saw Mia's door open. Poking her head inside she saw her partner lying crosswise on the bed, with Mia curled up against her side, her curly brown hair tumbling across Ryan's chest.

She shook her head, rolling her eyes as she walked over to wake the slumbering pair. I've got to start getting up earlier, she thought. There' s obviously a lot happening around here between midnight and six a.m.!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Ryan was more than a little groggy, but she tried her best to focus while she packed for the trip to Los Angeles. They had discussed the trip several times, and each time Jamie tried to find a way that she could accompany Ryan.

The issue was raised one final time as Ryan zipped up her gym bag. "I really want to go to L.A.," Jamie insisted. "I want to meet Bryant, Ryan. It won't kill me to miss class."

"That's not what you said the last time we talked about this. You've had to miss so much for golf already, and you have to miss next week, too."

"I know," she muttered as she flopped down on the bed. "Does he ever come to San Francisco?"

"Mmm, he hasn't been back in a while," Ryan said. "After Michael died he stayed in the city for about a year, but then he moved back to L.A. He said he just couldn't stand to watch his friends die one by one."

"Your Aunt Maeve talks about him so fondly," Jamie mused. "He sounds like a really special guy."

"He is," Ryan agreed. "I want you to meet him at some point, because he's on my short list of sperm donors."

Now Jamie sat up and gave her full attention. "I didn't know that! I didn't know you even had a list!"

"Oh, sure," she said easily. "I've been thinking about my list for years now. Now that we're together it's kind of moot, but Bryant would be an excellent father."

"Moot? Why is your list moot because we're together?"

"Well, because we'll make our decisions together. Over time we'll come up with a list that appeals to both of us."

"Okay," Jamie said slowly. "But I really want to meet this fellow, Ryan. If he's good enough to be on your list, I can't imagine I won't like him. How do you think he'd feel about it?"

"Hard to say, but I don't think he wants to move back here. I've always thought that I wanted the donor to be involved with the baby, so his distance would be a problem."

"Do you still feel that you want the donor to be involved, Babe?"

"Mmm…I'm not sure, Jamie. No matter how we do it, there are ramifications for the child. It's a very, very big decision."

"One that we have a lot of time to consider," Jamie reminded her. "I am very disappointed that I won't be able to meet Bryant, though. You must really care for him."

"He's a very cool guy, Jamie. Michael loved him totally, and he didn't give his heart away to just anyone." She smiled over at Jamie as she admitted wryly, "His body was another story."

Jamie blushed as she recalled, "His diary told me all I needed to know, Ryan. Don't remind me!" She looked at Ryan with a puzzled, concerned look and asked, "What about AIDS, Honey? Is Bryant…okay?"

"Yeah, he is," Ryan said. "He must have a hell of an immune system, or maybe they didn't have high-risk sex, but he's HIV-negative."

Jamie blinked and said, "I'm glad."

"Me too. It would have killed Aunt Maeve to lose him, too." She shook her head to dispel the morose thought and said, "I know you want to come on the trip, but at least it's only two nights. We'll have Sunday afternoon together." Once she said it she realized that didn't sound like much time at all.

"Oh shit! I forgot I had to leave for Portland on Sunday! Can't you come home on Saturday night?" She was nearly pleading, and Ryan found her whining tone to be totally cute, especially since she didn't hear it very often.

"We never know how late our game will go, so it's a lot safer to make the reservation for the morning. Besides, it would be so late that it wouldn't be worth it."

"It's not worth it to sleep with me?" Jamie asked, just a little hurt.

"It's worth anything to sleep with you, Love. That's not how I meant it," Ryan insisted

"How did you mean it?" she asked, obviously unwilling to let this one go.

"Umm, hey! Look at that big spider on the wall!"

Jamie's head flew around to find the dreaded arachnid. "Hey," she complained as she slowly turned around, "you're just messing with my mind, aren't you?"

"Me? Never," Ryan promised, jumping onto the bed face first and squeezing her partner into a firm hug. "I love sleeping with you more than anything," Ryan vowed. "I just don't want to put more pressure on myself this weekend. These are really big games for us, Baby, and I'm trying to relax as much as possible. If I have to worry about getting out of L.A. on time for the last plane, it will just be one more thing on my mind."

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to add to your burden."

"You're never a burden. You make everything easier." She had to be at the gym in 20 minutes, but every time she tried to get up, Jamie pulled her back down. She had her entire body wrapped around Ryan's back and thought she was doing a pretty good job of holding her captive until Ryan said, "You've got to let me go, Hon. I can't be late."

"No!" she pouted. "I'm keeping you."

"Actually it's the other way around," Ryan said as she easily scooted to the end of the bed and stood up, with Jamie hanging off her back like a horizontal chimp.

"Put me down," she cried, tightening her hold to stop herself from falling to the ground.

"I thought you wanted to keep me." Ryan sat down and let her partner release her grip.

"Sometimes it's absolutely infuriating to have such a strong girlfriend," Jamie pouted. "I can never win a fight."

"You win every one that doesn't involve brute strength," Ryan teased as she slapped her butt rather hard.

"Ooh, you are a brute," she muttered, rubbing her stinging seat. "But I kinda liked that," she added with a leer.

Ryan just rolled her eyes and hefted her bag onto her shoulder. She was dressed in her navy blue Cal warm-up suit and high-top basketball shoes and, from Jamie's perspective, looked good enough to eat. "I guess I'm driving myself?"

"I'm taking you, silly. Are we ready?"

"Well, one of us is stark naked," Ryan said pointedly.

"Yikes! Give me two minutes," she begged as she threw on her golf clothes.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Once the athletes were settled into the amazingly small coach-class seats, Jordan leaned her chair back the full three inches and sighed heavily. "Well, I think I managed to scare Mia off last night," she said, a weary, defeated tone to her voice.

"Odd," Ryan mused. "I wonder why she went out of her way this morning to tell me that she really likes you? She must be trying to mess with my mind," she said, narrowing her eyes in thought.

Jordan gave her a wary glance and asked, "Did she really say that?"

"Look, I don't normally repeat things that people tell me, but I don't think Mia would mind in this instance. Yes, she said that she really likes you."

"What else?" the blonde asked, looking at Ryan with the beginnings of a bright smile.

"Hey, I'm not the scribe here. It wasn't a big deal. Just a comment."

Jordan shook her head, a little grin poking out even though she was trying to stop it. "She must be a glutton for punishment. I don't think I'd have the patience to hang in there with me."

"Will you stop cutting yourself down?" Ryan asked, amazed that her friend was so insecure about this topic. "Why do you think you're such a loser?"

"I don't," she said a little defensively as a frown settled onto her face. "Well, not about most things. I just feel so out of my element about sex. It's like I missed my window of opportunity, you know? Everybody else started having sex in high school, and they were all probably kinda weirded out about it then. You didn't stick out so much if you were inept, you know?"

Ryan chuckled deep in her throat. "I can't tell you how many times I got the dreaded tap on the shoulder. That 'don't bother-I'm never going to come, so you can stop now' tap." She shivered in memory as she added, "It's something everybody goes through, Jordan."

"But I'm going through it at 21, Ryan! God, I acted like such a loser last night! Mia touched my breast, and I honestly almost passed out. If I was a guy, I would have come in my pants!"

"I've done that," Ryan said, trying to get Jordan to lighten up on the self-criticism. "On MUNI," she added, entirely serious.

Jordan slapped her on the leg and gave her a smile. "You don't have to try to make me feel better. I know the only way to get over my anxiety is to just jump in and do it. I'm just worried that Mia isn't the right one."

"Why? I would think she'd be the perfect one. She has lots of experience, she's very playful and fun loving, she's amazingly easygoing, and she doesn't seem to be very clingy. Sounds perfect to me."

"I uh…I guess I worry because she seems so gentle and understanding. I…I don't want to hurt her, Ryan. Volleyball is my focus, and I have to stay on that path."

"Has she given you any indication that she wants a commitment from you?" Ryan asked.

"No, no, of course not," Jordan said dismissively. "We haven't even really had a date, Ryan. We just kiss."

"What's your agenda, Jordan? I mean, you've done without for 21 years. Why start trying to get close to someone now?"

"It wasn't planned, Ryan. I don't think I would have even gone to the White Horse that night with her if I had known she was into women. I've gone out of my way to avoid the temptation-you know?"

"Yeah, I do know," Ryan said, having heard a similar story from several of her friends through the years.

"I just feel like I'm on a train and I don't know how to get off. I really like Mia, and I really want to be close to her, but I'm as scared as I am turned on!"

"Is it worth it to you, Jordan? If you go farther, I can guarantee that you will feel even more out of control than you do now. I mean, it's possible that you'll fall in love with her, you know."

The blonde dropped her head back against her seat, letting out a deep breath. "I don't feel like I have a choice. I think I let the genie out of the bottle, Ryan. I don't think I can get it back in." Jordan stared at the ceiling for a few minutes and finally said, "I feel like I'm at the top of a steep hill, and that I've started to descend. I'm gathering speed, Ryan, and I think I have to just let it roll."

Ryan patted her thigh, thinking, I hope you don't crash, pal. Landings can be awfully rough.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jamie ran home after her morning classes hoping to find Mia at home. Her friend was sitting in her room watching cartoons and eating a big bowl of Froot Loops when Jamie knocked on the door. "Do you ever go to class?" Jamie asked in amazement.

"Yeah, when absolutely necessary. Why, what would you rather I do this afternoon?"

"How do you know I want you to do something?"

"You've just got the look. It's hard to describe, but you've got it now."

"How would you like to have a date with a hot woman tonight?" Jamie asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Hmm, let's see. How often do I turn down a hot date? Umm…I'd say never!" Her face grew pensive as she shook her head briskly and said, "Not this time, though. I uh…I think I'll stick with Jordan and see how that plays out. Who am I turning down, anyway?"

Jamie smiled enigmatically and said, "Jordan."

"But she's in L.A. with tall, dark, and never home," she protested.

"I know. But if the hot dates won't come to us…"

"Cool! I'd love to go. But I'm almost overdrawn…"

"My treat," Jamie declared. "An all-expenses-paid weekend for the volleyball groupies."

"You have the best damned ideas, girlfriend."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Mia had a late afternoon class that she had to attend, so they couldn't leave until five. Breaking every speed law, they made it to the airport just in time for the seven o'clock flight. They carried their bags aboard and breathed a sigh of relief as the massive doors closed right behind them. "Oooh, first class," Mia purred, sliding into the roomy leather seat.

"Coach was sold out," Jamie conceded. "Not that you're not worth first class treatment in any case."

They finally took off just as the game was scheduled to begin. "Are you sure I'm not going to scare poor Jordan to death?" Mia asked. "She hasn't even bought me a cup of coffee, and here I am trailing after her like a stalker."

"Nah…you're with me," Jamie assured her. "It wouldn't be any fun to do this alone, Mia. I think Jordan will understand."

"Boy, she's quite the little mystery," Mia sighed. "I can't for the life of me figure out what's got her so freaked about sex. Do you think she was molested or something?"

"I have no idea," Jamie said. "But speaking as someone who was also freaked out, I can assure you that you don't have to be sexually traumatized to have issues."

"No, but it helps," Mia mused. "She just acts so frightened, James. You didn't see the look in her eyes."

"Have you asked her, Mia?"

"No. She's really close-mouthed about her sexual experiences. I guess that leads me to think that something happened to her, too. I guess I have to ask her."

"Yeah, you should know, especially if you're going to go forward with this. You don't want to do anything that freaks her out even worse."

Mia sighed and gave Jamie a small smile. "I feel really protective of her," she said softly. "I want to make sure she doesn't get hurt…you know?"

"Sure I know," Jamie agreed. "I feel that way about Ryan. It hurts me when she's hurt."

Mia chuckled softly. "I'm not that bad, James. I just feel protective of her…it's weird," she said. "I've never felt like that about anyone."

"Not anyone?"

"Huh-uh. I was usually with guys who wanted to protect me, you know?"

"What about women? You've been with a few."

"Yeah, but except for Melissa in high school, they were all pretty experienced women who picked me up. There wasn't a whole lot of nurturing going on there, James," she chuckled.

"How does it feel to be in this role, Mia? Is it weird?"

The curly-haired woman gave Jamie a shy smile and said, "I kinda love it."

"Really? Why?"

"I don't know. It just makes me feel tender and sweet towards her. It doesn't just feel like sex, James…it feels like…I don't know…like more than sex."

"More than sex can feel nice, Mia. I have more than sex with Ryan."

She had a dreamy, faraway look in her eyes, and Mia patted her softly on the leg. "I'd love to have what you and Ryan have some day, James. You set a nice goal to aspire to."

"The sex part isn't bad either, Mia," Jamie said with a chuckle.

"From what I can hear from my room, you two are doing aaaaaall right!" she agreed, grinning impishly.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The flight was short, only 50 minutes, and they touched down right at 8:30. Jamie had called ahead to reserve a car, and they trotted over to the black-suited man who held aloft the cardboard sign that read 'Evans.' Jamie ran up to the driver and said, "We're the Evans party."

"U.C.L.A?" he inquired, looking at his dispatch sheet.

"Yep. We need to get there on the double."

"Follow me," he said agreeably. Friday night traffic was slow, as usual, but the driver did his very best to get them there as quickly as possible. Luckily he knew where Pauley Pavilion was, and as he pulled up to the circular drive right behind the auditorium, Jamie hopped out to see if the game was still in progress. She ran up to the door and asked the attendant, "Volleyball match still going?"

"Yes. It's the fifth game."

She ran back down the stairs and signaled Mia to hop out. After giving the driver a very generous tip, they grabbed their bags and ran back up the stairs to the gate. Since the match was almost over, the gentleman at the door allowed them to enter without tickets. Jamie flopped down on the bench as Mia said, "I'm going for nachos. Want anything?"

"Jeez, Mia, let me catch my breath!" She looked up at the scoreboard and saw that the fifth game was knotted at ten, but her rumbling tummy got her attention and she handed her friend a $20 as she said, "Hold the jalapeños."

By the time Mia returned, Cal was up 14-13 and Jordan was set to serve. Mia had not yet attended an entire game, but she got so excited when she saw the blonde woman standing at the service line that she yelled out "Go Jordan!" at near ear-piercing volume. The entire team looked up into the stands, and both Ryan and Jordan's mouths dropped open when they saw their appreciative audience. Jamie, of course, was blushing to the roots of her hair, but she quickly got over her embarrassment when Jordan got down to business and aced her serve for the win.

Mia hopped up and screamed again and as the players congratulated each other, Ryan made eye contact one more time, her little wink punctuated by a sweet blown kiss that got Jamie an elbow in the ribs. "Ohh, she loves you," Mia teased.

"Eat your nachos," Jamie chided as she grinned and blew one right back.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The team was streaming out of the locker room much sooner than Jamie thought possible. When Ryan and Jordan came out it was obvious why. "You didn't take showers?"

"Uh-uh," Ryan said as she gave her love a fond kiss. "We wanted to see our groupies!"

Mia was standing next to Jordan, looking a little unsettled as the tall woman fussed with her gym bag. She was finally set, and she gave Mia a wide smile saying, "It was a very nice surprise to see you in the stands. I think it helped me concentrate."

Mia beamed up at her, maintaining a respectful distance. "Maybe I'll be your good-luck charm."

"Do you have a car?" Ryan asked.

"Uhh, no." She held up her carry-on as she added, "We took a limo, but I let him go. That was stupid, wasn't it?"

"We can take the bus with the team if you want to go to the hotel," Ryan suggested.

"Well, I don't think this is the easiest place to get a cab, so I guess we'll have to."

They hopped on the bus and greeted all of the other players. No one knew Mia, but that didn't stop her from saying, "Good game," to everyone that looked in her direction.

The bus eventually turned onto the 405 freeway and Jamie looked up to ask, "Where are we going, anyway?"

"Down to USC. Our hotel is within walking distance of campus."

"But there's nothing to do down there," Jamie complained.

Ryan cocked her head and asked, "Why do you think they put us there?"

"Ooh…good point. Coach is pretty smart, isn't he?" Jamie asked.

When they pulled up to the Radisson on Figueroa, the student manager hopped off and went to the front desk to sign them in. Jamie got in line behind her and asked the clerk for two rooms, trying to secure one for Mia if Jordan didn't want to sleep with her.

"Sorry, Ma'am, we're booked solid."

"You are?" she gaped, never having considered that possibility.

"Yes, Ma'am. There's a big convention in town and everything is sold out. You'll have to go out to the West Side to find a room-if there are any."

Walking over to her companions she said, "I think I screwed up again. They don't have any more rooms."

"We can get a cab and go to another hotel," Ryan offered.

"He says everything around here is booked. Big convention in town."

"Let me call my dad," Jordan offered. "He's got a lot of space. We'd have to rent a car, but we could probably do that here."

"It won't kill us to sleep together," Ryan suggested. "I'm sure we'll have two queen beds. I just want a snack and sleep anyway."

"Mmm…I think it would be nice if we could have separate rooms," Mia said, shooting a look at Jordan, who appeared to be very uncomfortable.

The tall woman gave her a grateful glance and took Jamie's proffered cell phone. She had to pull her organizer out of her bag to find the number, which Ryan found odd, but she found what she was looking for and dialed.

Picking up after a few rings, Jorgen Ericsson answered, "Hello?"

"Hi, Dad, it's Jordan."

"Well, hello, Jordan, how are things?"

"Good. Look, Dad, we're in town for the game, and we need a place to crash. Could you put us up?"

"Game?" he asked. "The UCLA/USC games aren't this weekend, are they?"

"Yeah, Dad. We beat UCLA tonight."

"Damn! I wanted to come to that game. Why didn't you remind me, Jordan? I specifically told you…"

She cleared her throat and said, "I did, Dad. I left a message with your secretary a month ago, and I called to remind her last week. She said she'd put it on your calendar."

It was obvious that he was checking his calendar at that moment as she heard pages flipping and his muted mumbling. "I swear that she didn't…oh…well, I guess I blew this one, didn't I?"

"It's okay, Dad," she responded, trying not to sound disappointed.

"No, I feel terrible, Jordan. I swore I would get to one of your games, and here I just couldn't get it done."

"You could come to the 'SC game tomorrow," she suggested with a timidly hopeful expression. Ryan's heart nearly broke when she saw the look on her friend's face, then heard her say, "No, don't worry about it. It's not a problem, Dad. You saw me play a few times in high school. It's the same game." Ryan couldn't bear to hear any more, so she went over to some chairs in the lobby and pulled Jamie with her.

"Well, Jordan," her father said, "I'm happy to have you come by tomorrow. Candy and I are leaving for Europe in the morning, so you can have the place to yourselves. How's that?"

Her heart fell to her feet, but she bit her lip and accepted. "That's fine, Dad. Can you leave a key under the mat?"

"Oh, no need. I have a new security system. Just key in Candy's birthday."

"Um, I don't know Candy's birthday, Dad."

"It's 11-15-78. Make sure you mark that down, Honey."

"I will, Dad. Thanks for the use of your house."

"Anytime, dear. That's what fathers are for," he said, pleased that he could accommodate his daughter.

Jordan gave Mia a sad smile as she offered, "That was the easy one. Now I'll try my mother."

"No, Jordan. You really don't have to," she insisted. "We can just stay here."

"No, it's okay, Mia. It can't hurt to ask. She's got a five-bedroom house."

Now Mia couldn't bear to watch. Jordan had just revealed more about her family than Mia could stand to think about, and she didn't have the heart to listen to this conversation. She gave her a gentle hug and trotted over to join her friends on the chairs. "God! Remind me to call my parents when I get home and thank them for caring about me!"

Ryan shook her head slowly and asked, "Who's she calling now?"

"Her mom. Her dad said we could come tomorrow, but not tonight."

They all watched her out of the corners of their eyes. Jordan looked very pained, but she didn't say much, merely nodding and occasionally rolling her eyes. Letting out an exasperated sigh, she finally came over to the group and flopped down in a chair, still listening. Occasionally she would say "uh-huh," but that was all until she said, "I know how hard it is to live on so little, Mom. Yes, I understand that he lives a very nice life, but…"

She closed her eyes and nodded for another few minutes, and when she could get another word in she said, "I've got to go, Mom. I'm on a cell phone and minutes are expensive." She nodded again and said, "It's okay, Mom. It's really not important that you come to the game tomorrow. I'll see you the next time I'm down here. No, really, I wouldn't want you to miss your aromatherapy appointment. I'm sure they're very hard to get." After another long silence she said, "I've really got to go." Then, "Umm, I'm not sure. I think I have to stay in Berkeley for Thanksgiving. We have a game the next day." Another pause, then, "Yeah, probably Christmas too. Yeah, this is my last year. Yeah. Time does go fast." She pursed her lips tightly together and blinked slowly as she said, "I love you too, Mom. Bye."

Clicking the off button she handed the phone back to Jamie with a terse, "No go."

Mia stood and twitched her head towards an empty area of the lobby. "Can I talk to you, Jordan?" she asked.

The tall woman got to her feet and followed Mia to a pair of chairs. Sitting down, Mia looked over at her friend and felt her heart ache when she saw the sadness that had settled in her blue eyes. She looked at her with compassion and asked, "What would you like to do? I would never have come if I knew that we'd be forced into sharing a room, Jordan. I know you're not ready to sleep together yet, and if you're uncomfortable we'll get on the phone and find a room, even if we have to go to Orange County!"

"I'm exhausted, Mia," she admitted softly. "I'm just not up to the stress of running all over town trying to find a place. We'd have to rent a car, and Coach would probably not be real happy about us getting stuck somewhere. If you don't mind sleeping with me, I'd rather just stay here."

"I'd love to sleep with you, Jordan. I bet you're really cuddly," she teased, giving her a tender smile.

Jordan looked at her for a moment and shook her head as she gave her a grateful grin and agreed. "Let's stay here."

When the pair informed Jamie and Ryan of their decision, they accepted it placidly. Jamie knew that she could get on the phone and find a hotel somewhere that would take them, but she didn't want to make a big deal out of the issue since Jordan obviously felt bad enough already. "I'm happy to stay anywhere as long as I get to sleep with my Tiger," she said happily.

That did more to perk Jordan up than all the reassurances they could jointly muster. "Tiger?" she asked with a luminous grin.

"Don't start," Ryan moaned. "Don't even start!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The room service menu was sadly lacking, but Ryan eventually settled for cereal and toast. The others decided to order a pizza, and as they waited for delivery Jordan said, "I really need a shower. Okay if I go?"

"Sure. I'll wait until you're finished," Ryan said.

"If you're a good girl, I'll wash behind your ears," Jamie teased.

"I'm a very good girl," Ryan smiled, "and you're a very good girl for coming all this way just to be with us."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jamie had lived with Ryan long enough to know that one little two-ounce box of cereal would not hold her, so she had also ordered a fruit salad. Ryan polished off everything but wasn't tempted by the pizza that looked like little more than cardboard with ketchup and processed cheese-food slathered onto it.

Jamie was not really used to the vagaries of economy-class travel, and she had to admit that the pizza was one of the worst things she had ever had in her mouth-topping by a hair the goat's head stew she had been served in Sierra Leone.

When Jordan exited the bathroom, Ryan went in to run the water for a bath. She was staring at the complimentary lilac-scented bubble bath when Jamie came in.

"No, no, no," she said, taking the bottle from Ryan's hand "I've got something that you'll like much better." She returned a minute later with a new bottle of shower gel called Spring Rain. "This has almost no scent. It's hypo-allergenic, too."

Ryan shrugged and squirted a dollop into the running water, pleased that it created only a gentle lather. "Nice," she smiled at Jamie as the faint scent wafted up.

"I thought we'd find a place with a nice, big tub…maybe a Jacuzzi," Jamie grumbled. "This wasn't what I had in mind," she said softly, snuggling up against Ryan and giving her a gentle hug.

Ryan smiled down at her and ran her fingers through her blonde locks. "It's a hell of a lot better than I was expecting. I thought I'd have old Jordan crawling in with me, hogging the bed. You are a decided improvement."

Jamie hadn't expected to need any pajamas, so she was wearing just her panties and one of Ryan's big T-shirts. "I just couldn't stand the thought of you down here all weekend when I knew I could be with you. Are you glad we came?"

"Couldn't you see my smile when I looked up and saw you? The highlight of every day is when I get to lie in bed with your warm body next to mine. It doesn't matter how big the bed is or who's in the room with us. It only matters that we're together." She dipped her head and placed a few lazy kisses around Jamie's tender lips, then slowly made contact with her target. As usual, Jamie was more than responsive, and the meandering kisses slowly became more focused and intense. "Maybe we had better cool it," Ryan said softly as she rested her cheek against Jamie's. "I don't think this is the ideal place to make love."

Jamie sighed and started unzipping Ryan's warm-up jacket. She undressed her quickly, not taking her time as she usually did. Ryan climbed into the warm tub and let out a soft groan. "Oooh, this feels nice. I don't know why I avoided tubs for all of these years. I'm a convert."

"Have we ever bathed together?" Jamie asked, cocking her head as she tried to remember.

"Just showers," Ryan said. "I don't think we've been in the tub together. Are we going to correct that omission tonight?" Jamie was stripping out of her T-shirt, giving a fairly clear answer.

"Why the heck not?" she asked. "We won't get to do anything else fun tonight." She surveyed the standard-sized tub, which was already full of her long, lean lover. "I think I'll get in behind you," she decided, not wanting the faucet to jab her in the back.

"Why not sit on my lap?" Ryan asked.

Surveying the geometry, Jamie shook her head. "No, that won't work. If I'm in back, you can keep your knees bent. You're too long for me to sit on your legs if they're extended. I think this is the only way."

"Let's give it a try," Ryan agreed, scooting forward to allow her partner as much room as possible to maneuver. Jamie climbed in and slowly lowered herself. The only way Ryan could lean back was if Jamie's legs were wrapped around her, draping over her flexed legs. It was an intricate little puzzle, but it proved to be rather comfortable. Ryan leaned back against her chest and let out another sigh when Jamie started to cup her hands full of the warm water and splash it over Ryan's chest. "Once again, your ideas are top-notch, Jamers. I'm gonna lie here and soak every bit of stress out of my poor tired body."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jordan and Mia were sitting on the small upholstered chairs that flanked the round table near the television. The chairs were not particularly comfortable, but Mia was afraid to make the move to the bed just yet.

"Are you really okay with me being here, Jordan? I would never have come if I'd known we'd have to share a bed. I mean, I know you're not ready for that yet."

"Yeah. I'm glad that you're here, Mia. I hated to leave after last night…I hated the thought of not being able to speak to you for three days." She batted her cool blue eyes at Mia and said, "I'm really sorry for running out on you. That was so lame."

"Hey," Mia soothed, "don't worry about it. It didn't bother me."

"Come on, Mia," she scoffed. "How could it not?"

Mia smiled and leaned forward and reached out to grasp Jordan's hand. "Let's just call it payback for one of the times I left a guy in a car with…shall we say…a pain in his lap? God, I would get guys so turned on and then decide that I didn't want to go any farther. They must have been cursing my name!"

Jordan looked at her seriously, a question in her eyes then forming on her lips. "Is that what happened to you last night? Were you really turned on?"

Mia tapped at Jordan's forehead with her fingertip. "Hello? Earth to Jordan…Of course I was turned on. Weren't you?"

"Well, yeah," she blushed. "I just thought it wouldn't be as big a deal for you…You've done so much more."

Mia tossed her feet up onto the bed and gazed at Jordan for a full minute. Finally, she asked the question that had been bugging her since Jamie brought it up. "Can I ask you a really, really personal question?"

"Uhh…sure…I think."

"Have you been sexually molested, Jordan?" She asked the question with as much empathy as she could muster. Still, she didn't want to make it sound like Jordan being abused was the most horrible thing in the world, so she tried to sound a little more casual than her rapidly beating heart showed.

Jordan got up from her chair and crossed over to Mia's, folding her long legs to sit on the floor. She looked up and said, "No. No, I haven't." Her head dropped and she stared at the floor for a few seconds before she asked, "I act like I have been, don't I?"

Mia began to stroke the silky blonde hair, saying softly, "Yes, you do. You act really frightened, Jordan. What's frightened you so much?"

The tall woman rubbed at her eyes with both fists, looking very frustrated. "It's…it's not really fear, Mia." She shook her head a bit as she corrected herself, "Well, that's not true. In a way, it is fear, but not fear of sex."

"Go on," Mia urged, not having gained any insight thus far.

"I've had a decent number of guys touch me, Mia, and it's never been a big deal. I've never had actual sex with a guy, but I've done everything but with a couple of them."

"Did you like it?" Mia asked, a little surprised that Jordan had gone as far as she claimed, given her response to having her breast touched.

"Yeah," she shrugged. "It was okay. I didn't really get what the big deal was, so I kept trying to fool around with different guys, thinking maybe they were the problem."

"But they weren't, huh?" Mia asked quietly.

"No. It wasn't them," Jordan admitted. "I didn't have any spark with any of them, Mia. It felt okay, but not great, you know? Nothing like it felt when those women kissed me…that was…that was great."

"So…you do have sexual desire? Um…do you uhh…" she looked down pointedly, letting her gaze linger on the area between Jordan's legs.

The blonde flushed as she nodded. "Yeah, I know myself pretty well," she admitted. "I've known myself an awful lot…lately." She shrugged, adding, "It's those dreams I keep having."

"Tell me about your dreams," Mia urged, still running her fingers through Jordan's hair.

"Um…sometimes they're not actual dreams," she said softly. "Sometimes they're daydreams. I um…lie in bed and think about how it feels when you kiss me, and before I know it, I'm um…knowing myself," she said, an adorably embarrassed expression on her face.

"Tell me how it feels when I kiss you," Mia asked, leaning over to place a gentle kiss on Jordan's exposed neck.

Turning around and entwining her fingers through Mia's hair, Jordan pulled her down a little and placed a tender kiss on her lips. Her mouth was curled into a sly grin as she released Mia, and she whispered, "It's better than my dreams. It feels like magic." She locked eyes with Mia and said, "It's not the sex that frightens me. It's how I feel inside. It feels so powerful, Mia. Like I can't control it."

Continuing to stroke Jordan's hair, Mia murmured, "I understand, Jordan. I really do. Sometimes it does feel like it's more than you can handle." Smiling down at the lovely woman who was now leaning against her leg, Mia promised, "The good news is that now you have me to talk to when it feels like too much."

"Thanks," Jordan whispered, slowly rubbing her head against Mia's warmth. "That helps…a lot."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The bath buddies could hear the muted ringing of a phone, but neither paid much attention until Mia knocked and said, "Ryan, Bryant's calling on your cell."

"Do you mind bringing it in?" Ryan asked. "We'll never get out of here."

Mia's curly head popped in, and she giggled as she took in the scene. "Nice position," she said to Jamie, then handed Ryan the phone.

"It's the only way it works, with her long legs," Jamie whispered, surprisingly calm about Mia seeing them in such an intimate clutch.

Ryan was chatting with Bryant, obviously making arrangements for their meeting. "Hey, Jamie?" she said as she hit the mute button. "Would you like to have Bryant meet you at the game tomorrow?"

"Sure. That would be fun. I'll save him a seat."

Ryan finished her conversation, then handed the phone back to Mia. "Thanks," she said. "It would have taken us ten minutes to get out of here."

"No problem. I hope to be able to use your solution to the 'bathing with a long-legged lover' dilemma one day."

"Hey, would you mind letting some water out and adding a little more hot?" Ryan asked. "If I lean forward that much it will upset our balance."

Mia smiled and did so, looking up when Jordan popped her head in. "Come on in," Ryan said, deciding it was too late to be modest now. "Wanna join us?"

"Now that would be interesting," Jordan smirked. "You two don't have room for a bar of soap in there, much less me."

"You doing all right?" Ryan asked her tall friend.

"Yeah. Fine. What's the agenda for the rest of the weekend?"

"Have a seat," Jamie offered magnanimously.

Ryan turned as much as she could and shared a smile with her partner, pleased that she seemed so much more comfortable with her body than she used to be.

Jordan sat on the floor, scooting up against the wall. Mia sat in front of her until Jordan tapped her on the shoulder and indicated that she could lean back. Mia did so, sighing with pleasure as she felt the long arms and legs wrap around her body. "Ooh, Jamie, you got the raw end of the deal," she groaned. "These big girls are very nice pillows."

"Maybe," Jamie agreed, "but I've got a very nice view." She held her wet hand up and dripped a few drops onto Ryan's breasts, immediately causing the nipples to firm up.

"Hey," Ryan said, covering her breasts with her hands. "We don't have to show everybody my rapid response time, do we?"

"Oh, my little prude," Jamie teased, kissing Ryan's ear.

A panoply of events from her past ran through Ryan's mind, any one of them enough to make Jamie's eyes pop out of her head at her lack of modesty. But she kept her musings to herself, liking this more open, playful side of her lover and deciding to let her feel that she was scandalizing Ryan a little bit. She also thought that being around a relaxed lesbian couple was good for Jordan, potentially normalizing a difficult situation. "Yeah, you're hiding back there, tough girl. I'm the only one on display here," Ryan reminded her.

"Uh-huh," Jamie scoffed. "If you had a nickel for every woman who saw you naked, you'd have more money than I do."

Ryan started to tell her she was wrong, but did a quick check of the math first, just to be accurate.

"So, what's up for tomorrow?" Jordan asked. "We've got our pre-game meal at two, a walk-through at three, and then we have to be there at 5:30 for the game, so our afternoon is shot. What do you two want to do?"

Jamie replied, "We'll go find a rental car, maybe go to one of the museums down here. Don't worry about us. We'll be there to pick you up after the game, and we can go to your dad's house then, okay?"

"Sounds good," Jordan agreed. "He lives about halfway up Malibu. It's about an hour's drive from here."

"You sure that's what you want, Jordan?" Mia asked.

"Yeah. It's a nice place and we can relax a little. Seems like a shame to waste a day at the beach, doesn't it?"

"I'm up for it," Ryan agreed. "Will you call and see if we can change our tickets, Jordan?"

"Okay. Last flight back okay with everyone?"

Jamie shook her head and said, "Don't include me. I've got to fly to Portland Sunday evening. I've already made my arrangements."

"Two-sport family," Jordan said, shaking her head. "Bummer."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

After another refill of the hot water, Jordan and Mia left the bathroom, with Jamie calling after them, "Hey, why don't you guys turn on the radio or the TV…loud."

"Gee, Jamie, why would we want to do that?" Mia asked, intentionally obtuse.

Jordan yanked her out of the room, and seconds later the sounds of MTV reached the bathroom. "Good girl," Jamie said, pleased to have her commands obeyed.

"Got something in mind?" Ryan asked softly, her deep voice echoing off the walls.

"You're starting to prune," Jamie said, holding up one of Ryan's hands for inspection, ignoring her partner's question.

"It's not permanent," Ryan murmured, very pleased with their position and the temperature of the water.

"This is nice, isn't it?" Jamie asked, dipping her head to capture a damp earlobe. "I like being able to cuddle you like this."

"I like being cuddled this way," Ryan said. "It's nice…makes me feel small. I don't feel that way often."

"Why don't you sit up just a bit, Love, and let me wash your back."

"Okay," Ryan sighed, not in the mood to argue about anything at the moment.

As she leaned forward, Jamie spent a moment just running the tips of her index fingers over the firm muscles in front of her. She didn't see Ryan from this position very often, and she found that she was crazy for the view. Ryan's upper body was draped over her bent legs, her broad back sweeping up in a neat V from her trim waist. Her skin was perfectly smooth, not one visible imperfection marring the view.

"God, I love your back," Jamie sighed, cupping her hands and dipping them into the water. She let the water trail down the sculpted surface, watching as it made dozens of independent tributaries, skimming off in many directions at once.

"Thank you," Ryan murmured. "We aim to please."

"Oh, you please, all right. If I was any more pleased, I'd burst."

Ryan chuckled mildly, her back muscles moving from the effort.

"Lean back now," Jamie said as Ryan detected the nice, light scent of the gel.

She leaned back and smiled as she felt a pair of soapy breasts start to glide against her back. "Like the soap delivery system?" Jamie asked, her taut nipples skimming across the slick surface.

"Mmm-hmm," Ryan murmured. "Feels great."

Jamie lathered up her hands and started to work on Ryan's breasts, and

the larger woman sighed softly. "You know," she murmured, "I'm very grateful for the new appreciation you've given me for my breasts."

"Pardon?" Jamie's hands stilled even though she kept them right where they were, gently cupping the firm flesh.

Ryan laughed softly and repeated herself. "I didn't get that much pleasure from them before," she admitted. "I liked 'em, and I liked having them touched, but they weren't a prime pleasure zone for me. You've changed that," she said simply.

"But how…?"

"You get such pleasure out of touching me," Ryan said, reaching up to place her hands over Jamie's and squeeze gently. "Your pleasure is contagious."

"Really?" Jamie asked, delighted that she could unintentionally perform this feat.

"Really. I see how your eyes sparkle when you touch me, and it makes me throb a little." Ryan started to stroke her partner from her elbows to her hands, musing, "Sometimes I'll be lying back, and you'll have one of my breasts in your mouth and your hand on the other one, and you look so indescribably content that I can feel my pulse pick up. Every once in a while you'll look up at me, and you honestly look like a kid caught with her hands in the cookie jar." She chuckled softly and said, "It's so adorable, Jamie. It makes me see the little kid that hides just under your typically mature self. I love that little kid," she mused, shaking her head slowly.

Jamie laughed, the sound floating past Ryan's ear and sending tingles down her body. "Sometimes I feel like I've been caught doing something naughty," she admitted. "Not so much if I'm just concentrating-only if you look at me while I'm doing it. I get so much pleasure out of touching you…I guess it feels like it must be kinda wrong."

"Does that inhibit your enjoyment?" Ryan asked.

"No, actually it enhances it a little," Jamie admitted. "You've taught me how to enjoy guilty pleasures, Babe. That's been your gift to me."

"Those are pretty good gifts," Ryan decided, giving Jamie's hands another squeeze. "The gifts that keep on giving."

"Uh-huh, and I'm gonna give generously tonight. Fasten your seat belt." Her breath was hot where it caressed Ryan's skin, and the taller woman could feel her partner's heartbeat begin to thrum a little more rapidly against her back.

Jamie's hands began to knead Ryan's breasts, letting the firm tissue slide through her hands as the gel created millions of tiny bubbles. Ryan could feel her partner's hips begin to twitch, her body expressing its needs. Soon the sensations overtook the taller woman, and she began to moan softly, in time to the stroking. "Ohhh, Jamie, this feels too good," she gasped. The delicious sensation of her partner's breasts rubbing against her back as her own were played with was making her feel out of control, and she tried to scale back so their friends didn't hear them.

"Let it feel good, Baby. Don't fight it." Jamie had scooted down as low as she could in order to be able to nibble on Ryan's neck, and she could feel her partner's hips start to sway under the warm water.

"We can't, Honey," she moaned. "This will never work."

"Sure it will," Jamie soothed, assuming that she was referring to being overheard. "Just relax and enjoy my touch."

Ryan's head started to shake but Jamie's hand slid under the water, distracting her thoroughly as it parted her flesh and began to tease her most sensitive place. "Unghh," Ryan grunted as the gentle fingers began to stroke her. "No, really," she moaned, pulling Jamie's hand away. "It doesn't feel good under water."

"What? Why?" Jamie asked, never having attempted the act herself.

"Washes away the lubrication," Ryan insisted. "Water just doesn't work. Trust me. I've tried…numerous times."

The blonde's mind raced, unwilling to halt the intimate contact. "Maybe you just haven't been using the right lubrication," Jamie said, her eyes dancing.

Ryan decided to relax and let Jamie experiment. "I'm game for whatever you've got cookin'. You've rarely had a bad idea."

"I'm not going to let a little water stop me from loving you, Ryan. It'll take a bigger obstacle that that!"

Jamie took the shower gel and squirted it from Ryan's neck down to mid-thigh-as far as she could reach. Wetting her hands, she started to massage every part of Ryan's body, her hands gliding over soft flesh made softer still by the slick gel.

"Oooh, your muscles feel all tense," Jamie murmured. "You worked hard tonight, didn't you?"

"Yeah, I guess I did," Ryan admitted. "This feels so good. I feel so pampered and cared for."

"You are cared for," Jamie assured her. "I care for every little cell in your luscious body. You're my life, Ryan."

"God, it's such a short time to feel so completely and thoroughly known," she said in wonder. "I feel like you know me nearly as well as I know myself."

Jamie gently corrected her. "No, that's not true. I've got a long way to go before I know you as well as I want to. Luckily, we've got years to explore each other."

"Our whole lives," Ryan said, smiling softly as she watched Jamie's hands probe each of her stiff muscles. "Oooh, that's a sore one," she said when the searching hands began to work on a muscle high up on her inner thigh. "Wow…feels great." Ryan moaned softly as Jamie's fingers probed a little higher, trying to keep her sounds of pleasure to a minimum.

"Relax, they can't hear us. Don't give them another thought. They're probably wrestling around on the bed already."

"Good point," Ryan gasped, surprised by a very impudent touch. She finally tossed one long leg over the side of the tub to allow for better access.

Jamie's fingers slid between her legs and started a very erotic massage of her most hidden flesh. A lavish application of the shower gel had Ryan moaning in tandem with the pressure, letting her head drop back against her partner's shoulder. There was something extremely sensual about being enveloped in Jamie's warm, wet embrace while determined fingers stroked her body into a frenzy. The slick touch was deliciously maddening, and she knew she needed some release as soon as possible. "Come inside, Jamie," she whispered. "Let me feel you come inside me. Oooohhhhh," she moaned as her partner's other hand slipped under a muscular thigh to satisfy her request. Her hips began to pump, sloshing some of the water up the sides of the tub. "Aaaah… aaaaah….ahhhh! Yes!!" she cried as Jamie gently pushed her over the edge, the smaller woman delighting as goose bumps broke out from the tip of Ryan's toes to the top of her head. She shivered violently, but Jamie was sure it was not from the cold.

"Relax, Love, just lie back against me. I've got you," Jamie murmured, rocking Ryan in her arms until the last bits of stress left her muscles.

"Oooh," Ryan groaned softly. "That was such a good idea. I can feel every bit of stress leaving my body-going right down that drain." She was still shaking, but she managed to sit up and turn the hot water on full-force. Settling back against Jamie's chest again, she asked, "How do you always know what I need, even when I don't?"

"I love you, silly. I know you intimately."

"That's true," Ryan sighed. "Guess what I want now?" she asked lazily.

"I know the answer to that too, Buffy, but you're not going to sleep in here!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The pair emerged from the bath nearly a half-hour later, to the amused gazes of their roommates. "Night," Ryan mumbled, falling into bed with a thud.

"G'night, Ryan," Jordan said, and Mia echoed her.

"Good night, you two," Jamie said, unable to suppress a big yawn. "Stay up as long as you like. It won't bother us."

Mia had an impish look on her face, and as Jamie got under the covers she said, "I would remind you to say your prayers, but you apparently did that already."

"Huh?" Jamie mumbled sleepily, snuggling up against her lover.

"Why else have you been crying, 'Oh God, Oh God, Oh Sweet Jesus'?" Mia asked innocently.

The extra pillow from their bed was hurled so quickly that Mia didn't get a chance to duck. Luckily, Jordan's quick reflexes saved the smaller woman, preventing full-scale warfare from erupting between the feisty roommates.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Both Jordan and Mia were weary of sitting on the uncomfortable chairs, but there was only one other option. Mia finally brought up the topic. "I'm gonna go put on something to sleep in, okay?"

"Sure. Good idea," Jordan said, looking fairly composed.

Mia decided to put on a pair of sweat pants, but since it was warm she decided on just a T-shirt as a top. Jordan shot a quick look at her outfit, then went into the bath and emerged in a matching ensemble. Mia climbed in first, trying to stay fairly close to the edge to give Jordan some physical and emotional space. They lay facing each other, speaking very softly so as not to wake Ryan; Mia had explained to Jordan that it would take more than soft speech to wake Jamie.

"Are you sure that you can put up with me while I get comfortable with this, Mia? I know this must seem like kindergarten to you."

"Hey, don't put yourself down like that," Mia chided. "Yes, we're going slower than I'm used to, but that's not a bad thing. Having to wait for something you want is sometimes very rewarding." Brushing her fingers along Jordan's cheek she said, "I think it's going to be worth the wait. You had me throbbing soooooo hard last night. You are quite the little kisser, you know," she said, placing several soft ones on Jordan's lips, just to remind her of her talents. "And your breasts are really a turn-on for me. Every time we're together, I just want to get my hands on them and give them a good squeeze."

Jordan batted her big blue eyes at Mia and whispered, "Wanna squeeze 'em now? If I faint, I'm already lying down."

Mia considered the offer, letting her gaze slowly wander down the long body. When her eyes lifted, Jordan was staring at her intently, giving her a hopeful, desire-filled look. She knew it wasn't wise to start playing with each other too intimately since Jordan was stressed enough with just her in the room, never mind Jamie and Ryan. But she didn't want to dissuade her attempts at intimacy, so she decided to play a bit, keeping it low-key. "I don't want our roomies to hear us," she whispered, "but that's not the kind of offer I'm willing to pass up." She smiled broadly at the blonde, noticing Jordan's body start to grow tense as she waited for the touch.

"Have you dreamed about me touching you this way?" she asked softly as her hand reached out to cup the weight of Jordan's full breast.

"Uh-huh." Jordan's voice was strained with tension, but her breathing was normal and her heart wasn't beating wildly like it had been the night before. "Even before you touched them. I just knew how your hands would feel," she murmured, with her eyes closed to allow her body to feel the touch without visual interference. "I was right."

Mia wasn't trying to excite the other woman so much as get her used to the sensation. She kept her touch light and delicate, just holding the flesh in her hand and hefting it a little to give her some gentle stimulation. Biting back a smile she remembered the first boy who had ever touched her breasts-feeling at the time like he was trying to knead some suppleness into a stiff piece of clay. She was determined that Jordan would never feel like a collection of body parts when she touched her, and she gentled her touch even more, just running the tips of her fingers across the flesh through the T-shirt.

The experiment was proving to be a success, with Jordan actually relaxing into her caress. She rolled onto her back and sighed as Mia's hand moved from one firm breast to the other, maintaining her relaxed pace and tender touch.

"Good God, this feels nice," Jordan moaned as Mia's blunt nails scraped across a puckered nipple. She reached up and pressed the small hand flat against her, increasing the pressure substantially as her breath caught in her throat. Mia could feel the blonde's heart begin to beat wildly, and she regretfully pulled her hand away from Jordan's firm grasp.

"We'd better stop, Jordan," she whispered, finding that her own voice was a little breathy. "I don't want to lose control tonight."

"It just sounded like a good idea at the time," the larger woman giggled. She was blushing gently, and Mia patted her cheek and returned her smile.

Her smile slowly faded as Mia looked longingly at the swells of flesh. "Can I have a rain check? They really look scrumptious, and there's all sorts of things I'd like to do to them."

"Sure," she agreed. Even though she knew she wasn't ready, she wanted Mia to know one of her secret desires, so she screwed up her courage and said, "I'd really like to touch yours one of these days, too." She paused a beat and added shyly, "I've dreamt about them, too."

Mia clasped her hands behind Jordan's neck and snuggled close, letting their breasts rub against each other through the soft, thin fabric of their T-shirts. "Anytime your little heart desires, Jordan. They're looking forward to it."

Jordan gave her such an adorably shy smile that Mia had to stop herself from pinching her cheeks, realizing that might actually offend the taller woman. Their faces were just inches apart, and as much as Mia was enjoying the view, she could see the fatigue on her friend's face. "You really look beat," she said. "Wanna break tradition and actually go to sleep?"

"Yeah," Jordan smiled, fighting a yawn. "Travel wears me out. I really should get some rest." She lifted her hand and delicately traced Mia's features, as if trying to memorize them. "I don't know if I can sleep with you so close to me," she whispered. "I've never slept with anyone before."

"No one?" Mia asked softly, rubbing her back.

"Just Ryan," the blonde chuckled to Mia's wide-eyed look. "I had a horrible nightmare when we were at volleyball camp, and she held me to put me to sleep. It didn't feel like this, though." Jordan nuzzled her face into Mia's neck and said, "I've never slept with anyone that I wanted to…have sex with. I never trusted anyone enough." Her head lifted as her clear blue eyes locked on Mia's. "I trust you."

"I'm glad," Mia sighed. "I promise that I'll never try to push you too far, Jordan. I'll be gentle with you." She brought her hand to Jordan's face and stroked it tenderly. "You're very precious, you know."

The blonde head shook slightly in wonder as she said, "I've never felt precious before. The people I've been close to have made me feel like they wanted me for my body or for their own pleasure. It didn't feel like I mattered-you know?"

"You do matter," Mia whispered. "Very much."

"I dated a guy last year that I almost slept with," Jordan revealed. "I liked him, and he seemed to like me." She chuckled a little as she recalled, "He was taller than I am, and blonde. He used to say that we had to procreate to keep tall, blue-eyed blondes on the planet."

Mia laughed as well and commented, "There aren't a lot of your species around. He might have been on to something."

"There's plenty of blondes in Sweden," she scoffed. "California sun isn't hospitable to my coloring. Besides, that didn't seem like the best reason in the world to be in a relationship with someone."

"So, what happened between you two? Why'd you break up?"

"It was a fight we had over sleeping together," she revealed. "Not having sex-sleeping together." She sighed and said, "Three separate times I told him he could stay over, and each time I got up and slept on the couch. I just couldn't relax when he was in my bed." Shaking her head, she rolled her eyes and said, "I think he was a little insulted. He'd get up in the morning and find my legs hanging over the end of the couch, my head jammed against the wooden arm. Telling him that I was more comfortable in that ridiculous position really pissed him off."

"Ouch," Mia grimaced. "That would sting."

"Yeah. I don't blame him at all. I just couldn't do it."

"Well, I hope you can relax tonight, but if not, please wake me up and tell me so. I'll really be upset if I find you on the floor in the morning."

"Deal," the blonde agreed. "We can flip a coin for the bed if I can't sleep."

"No need. I'll fit in the bathtub just fine," Mia smiled. "One advantage of being short." She tightened her hold on the long body and placed a few soft, tender kisses on Jordan's lips. "Ready for sleep now?"

"Um…yeah. How should we do this?"

"Well, how do you normally sleep? Back, side, stomach?"

The taller woman thought for a moment. "I usually start off on my right side. All bets are off after that, though. I thrash around a lot-fair warning."

"I sleep on my side, too, and I don't thrash around. This should work fine. Turn around now, and lay like you usually do."

Jordan started to do so, but turned back and gave Mia a few very gentle but emotion-filled kisses. "You've been great, Mia. I really appreciate how patient you've been with me."

Smiling softly, Jordan turned over and tried to get comfortable, digging her shoulder into the overly-firm mattress. Mia waited until she was settled, then snuggled up close behind her, placing her hand lightly upon Jordan's waist. "How's that?" she asked.

"Divine," the warm voice replied. "Just divine." She twitched her hips, pushing against Mia's lap. "You feel so good pressed against me like this."

"I love to sleep together," Mia said. "Aside from sex, being in bed with someone is a wonderful sensation."

"If it's someone you really like," Jordan corrected her.

"Yeah," Mia said fondly, pushing the hair from Jordan's neck and giving her a kiss there. "It's much nicer with someone you really like."

She slipped her arm around the trim waist, snuggling tighter against Jordan's body. In a matter of seconds the tension began to leave the tall woman's muscles, and a moment later she collapsed against Mia, sound asleep. "Sleep tight, Sweetheart," Mia whispered, knowing that her words would not be heard.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Continued in Part Six

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