This story features consensual relationship between adult women with graphic descriptions. If this bothers you, is illegal in the State, Province or Country you live or if you are under the age of 18, close this page immediately and find something more appropriate to read.
Expletives are used.
Yep, right for the get go.
There is definitely some hurt/emotional discomfort with some brief scenes of angst and heartache to be dealt with by the characters.
Author's Note and Acknowledgment:
Back in the year 2000 I wrote a story that has lain on the shelf waiting for more work. I enlisted Erin to collaborate with me in finishing the story. This is the result of our work together. I hope you enjoy our tale.
The original idea for this story was given to JM Dragon by her original beta reader in 1999, a 3 page synopsis dealing with 'fictitious' characters and a story outline. The original story manuscript, was around 51 pages long and submitted for publication; it was duly rejected.
All characters are fictitious; any resemblance to any person living or dead is coincidental. JM & EO We would like to take this opportunity to thank Carmen for not only being a fabulous cook, but a wonderful friend.
To Go Or To Stay
As life was draining from their bodies, Kate and Lena's spirits drifted above them and joined together until they were one. They were ecstatic that they would spend all of eternity together. As the happiness, love and joy surrounded them sadness began creeping in.
They heard the police officers discussing the circumstances of the shooting while the paramedics tended to their rapidly dying bodies.
"Not many clues here." Officer Nelson said as he looked around the room.
"Maybe the crime team will be able to come up with something." Karen Dixon said watching the paramedics feverishly trying to stabilize the victims. "Wonder who Cruella is?"
The spirits, wanting to spend eternity together, knew that if they left now, Cornelia Cambridge would go unpunished and continue her questionable veterinary practices.
Soon, the spirit, spiraling downward towards the bodies, split before entering them...determined to live. Each spirit, now back in its own body, carried with it a portion of the other. For all time they would be together in spirit, regardless of the outcome of the physical, broken bodies.
* * * * *
Rushing into the hospital, Carl and Belinda Lawrence looked around for the information desk. They received the news at the airport, just as they were preparing to board a California bound plane. Immediately they changed their plans, and within a half-hour were on a plane to New Orleans.
"May I help you?" the volunteer asked.
"Yes, our daughter, Katherine Lawrence, was brought here earlier this morning, we need to find her." Carl's usually commanding voice was filled with fear.
"Just a minute." The woman searched her computer for Kate's whereabouts. Noting the anxious looks on the faces before her, she was filled with compassion. "Do you have some sort of identification, Mr. Lawrence?"
"Identification? What the hell are you talking about?" Carl was irritated with this waste of time.
"Sir, it's a new law just passed about patient confidentiality. Please, if you will just show me a drivers license I can give you the information and you can be on your way."
Pulling out his wallet he threw the required document on the desk. "Here, now where is my daughter?" He demanded.
"Thank you, Mr. Lawrence, your daughter is in surgery. I will notify the operating room you are here. The doctor will come and talk to you as soon as he can. The waiting room is on the second floor." The woman pointed to the elevators. "You can take that bank of elevators."
Carl snatched up his license and headed to find his daughter only to stop when he realized his wife wasn't with him. Turning, he saw her still standing at the information desk speaking with the woman. Walking a few steps back he said, "Come on, Be!"
Belinda looked up at her husband with tears in her eyes. "We need to know about Selena." She told him as she turned back to the woman. "Yes, I understand, thank you."
The volunteer, looking at Belinda, could see the fear and sorrow in her eyes and decided to do the right thing. "Mrs. Lawrence, what was the name again?"
"Selena Corkill, her name is Selena Corkill." Belinda said with hope.
"She's out of surgery and in recovery right now. That is all I can tell you."
Belinda felt a wave of relief. "Thank you." Then she rushed off with Carl to find their daughter and her partner.
* * * * *
After two hours of waiting they were escorted into a small consultation room to wait for the doctor. Carl and Belinda felt their hearts sink when they saw the serious look on the doctor's face.
"Mr. And Mrs. Lawrence, I'm Rachel Snyder, your daughter's surgeon."
With tears in her eyes, Belinda asked. "Is she alive?"
Dr. Snyder sighed, "For now. I won't kid you, her condition is very critical."
"What happened?" Carl asked as he put his arm around his wife and pulled her closer.
"The first bullet passed through the other woman, who apparently was shielding your daughter, and lodged in her spleen. The second bullet did far more damage as it tore a hole in her bowel. Right now she is in a coma," The doctor saw Belinda gasp and patted her hand. "It is a good thing...it aids in healing." Smiling gently at the distraught mother she continued. "We repaired the bowel. Unfortunately, peritonitis is unavoidable so she's on a massive antibiotic therapy."
"What's the outlook...will she recover?" Carl said shakily.
"There's no way to tell right now. I've seen some survive. She is very sick; time will tell...the first twenty-four hours will be critical. She is young and in good health...that is a strong point for her. Right now she is in recovery then she will be moved to intensive care. Someone will let you know when that happens and you can see her then." Looking at her watch, the surgeon asked. "Is there anything else I can tell you?"
"The woman with her...do you know anything about her?" Belinda asked tentatively.
"Are you related?"
Carl, his voice firm, spoke. "She is our daughter's partner...our daughter-in-law."
Shaking her head the surgeon said. "I see. Legally I can't tell you about a non-relative's condition or treatment...she was shot in the back with the bullet passing through her lungs and carotid artery. That has been repaired, but like your daughter, she's in a coma. The bottom line, they're both in critical condition and shouldn't be alive, but are." Looking at her watch once again, she said. "I need to go now. If you have any questions or concerns, ask one of the nurses or aides to page me." Then she patted Belinda's arm. "We will do everything we can to pull them through."
No sooner had the couple returned to the waiting area then a well-dressed man approached them.
"Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence, I'm Detective Hardy from the New Orleans police department. I know this is a difficult time for you, but I do have a few questions, if you don't mind."
"Certainly, but I'm not sure how we can help, we've only just arrived." Carl said. "I would like to know exactly what happened."
"Of course." The detective took a deep breath. "Apparently your daughter was in bed with a woman..." he searched their faces for surprise. "An intruder came into their room after killing a man in the hallway..." he saw the look of horror on their faces. "From the best that we can determine, the other woman," he looked down at his notebook, "a Selena Corkill, apparently saw the person and attempted to shield your daughter. After the perpetrator left, the Corkill woman called for help."
Belinda's eyes fixed on the detective. "The Corkill woman, as you call her, is our daughter's partner. Thank God she was there to try and save Kate."
Carl patted his wife's hand. "Do you have any idea of who did this, detective?"
"My initial thought was a hate crime, but apparently Ms. Corkill knew the person."
"She did? Who was it? Have you arrested them?" Carl and Belinda asked over each other.
"There's very little physical evidence other than the recovered bullets and a name. Cruella. Do you know who that is?"
Belinda gasped as she heard the name. "Cornelia Cambridge, Lena called her Cruella."
"I will need all the information you have about this person." Detective Hardy said as he sat down.
An hour later, Anna and Seymour Corkill arrived and went immediately to the intensive care unit. They were allowed to visit Lena for a few minutes.
"She is so pale, Seymour, with so many wires and tubes." Anna said as she clung to her husband's hand.
"I know, sweetheart, but she is a fighter and if anyone can beat this, our girl can." Seymour squeezed his wife's hand. "We need to go and find Kate's parents and see how she's doing."
Slowly leaving her daughter's room, Anna looked once again at her very still child. "You know, if she could hear that beeping it would drive her crazy." She said with a small laugh. "I need to make a call and get a prayer chain going."
"Come with me, Anna, we will find Carl and Belinda then the chapel."
Finding the two other distraught parents, they hugged and sobbed as they clung to each other for solace. Sitting in the waiting room of the Tulane University Hospital, they began their long vigil.
* * * * *
By having a part of each other's spirit, Lena and Kate drifted in and out of each other. Each feeling the other's pain and fear. Lena could feel the anguish of her partner as Kate struggled to fight the infection and pain.
"Kate, let me fight for you. Go into my body and rest and I will stay here. Together we will conquer what Cruella did to you; then we will find her and have our vengeance."
"Lena, I'm so tired...I want to go back and spend eternity with you."
"I know you do, baby, and one day we will, but right now we need to live and right the wrong she did. Now go and rest, I will be here fighting to keep you alive."
Gratefully, Kate left her body and entered the warm loving body of her partner's. There she would renew her strength then return to her own body where she would fight again to live.
Not until Kate won her battle would Lena open her eyes or leave her partner's side. Together they would fight and live, secure in the knowledge, that for all time, they would be one.
It was two weeks before they opened their eyes. The doctors were amazed they both came out of their comas at the same time. More startling was Kate's rapid recovery.
"I just don't understand, Mr. Lawrence." Dr. Snyder said. "A ruptured bowel is a horrible illness that usually results in death or at least three to four months of intense therapy. Yet, Kate appears to be completely recovered."
Kate, whom they thought was sleeping, opened her eyes. "I had help." She whispered. "Lena was there for me."
Dr. Snyder cocked her head as she looked at Kate. "How could she help you...she was in a coma too?"
Slowly, Kate closed her eyes as a look of peace came across her face. "I know." She said before falling back into a restful sleep.
Once Lena confirmed that Cornelia was indeed responsible for the shooting, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Unfortunately, she seemed to have disappeared from her usual haunts.
* * * * *
Home At Last
As the limo drove down the dusty road to Merridoc, Kate and Lena's hearts soared upon seeing their beloved home. After their release from the hospital, they had spent five weeks in California in the Lawrence's second home. Slowly they regained their strength while basking in the sun and in the glow of their love.
Reaching over, Lena took Kate's hand. "Home at last. Sure looks wonderful, doesn't it?"
Kate's green eyes fixed on her partner. "Wonderful is a good description of anywhere you are."
Lena laughed. "You are such a flatterer, my love."
As the car pulled up in front of their house, Carmen came flying towards the car. Opening the door, she clasped her hands over her heart. "Thank God" was all she could manage to say as she helped Kate out of the car before engulfing her in a hug.
Lena came around the car and stood by the two crying women. "Hey, Carmen, what am I, chopped liver?"
Releasing Kate, she turned and looked Lena over. "You are so thin." She said before wrapping her arms around the taller woman.
As they walked into the house Carmen chattered. "Your room is all ready for you and I have made all your favorites. Now that I have you two, I will make sure you are taken care of properly. What have you been eating? Nothing obviously...I will take care of that."
Both Kate and Lena laughed as they each put an arm around the amazing woman. Without speaking they told each other...it's great to be home.
Later that afternoon, the two women walked casually to the stables. The staff had followed Lena's training schedules and worked overtime to make sure everything was accomplished. The results of winning the races earlier were the addition of new horses, sent by their owners to Merridoc, for training.
Resting against the fence, Kate watched as her stallion romped around the corral. He was a magnificent horse; there was no doubt about it. Her eye caught a glimpse of a slender grey mare that was the object of the stallion's eye. "Lena, that horse over there, the grey, that isn't the pathetic one from the auction, is it?"
Lena laughed as her arm went around Kate's waist. "Yep, she sure is. Cleaned up nice, didn't she?"
"Cleaned up...it's more than that...she has such presence, look how she stands there so proud and noble." Turning to Lena she smiled broadly. "You're a wonderful judge of horse flesh...sorry I questioned you."
"Long gone and forgotten, love. It's time for the meeting with the crew, are you ready?"
Taking her lover's hand, Kate led them towards the main stable.
All the Merridoc employees were assembled, most waiting for their first glimpse of the owners since the wedding. A collective gasp went through the crowd as they saw them enter the barn. The last time they had seen the women, they were healthy and strong. Now, they were noticeably thinner and not as vigorous as they remembered.
A resounding cheer went up around the stable as someone yelled out. "We're glad you're back."
Broad smiles crossed the women's faces while they shook several hands before stopping in the center of the barn.
Kate was the first to speak. "I want to thank you all for coming today...I know, for some of you, it is your day off. We want you all to know how much we appreciate your support and prayers for us over the last two months." Turning, she smiled at Lena. "I don't think Merridoc would have survived if it hadn't been for everyone's loyalty and the willingness to go that extra mile. Thank you, everybody."
Smiling, Lena held her hand up. "Thank you, for the warm welcome. We've had quite a time, but as Kate said, we couldn't have done it without everyone here. As you know, Merridoc is now a hot commodity with everyone wanting our services and expertise. We will be searching for another trainer or two and I would prefer to fill that position from within. Let me know if you are interested in working towards your trainer's license." Lena smiled as the voice of Kate filled her mind. Get on with it, I want to take you to bed. Shaking her head and winking at Kate, she continued speaking. "Before I let you all go, I want to announce the first annual Merridoc Family picnic, to be held here on the seventh. You are all invited along with your families and significant others to be our guests. There will be food and all kinds of surprises including a fireworks show. Thank you all again, we are so very proud to have you on our team."
Taking Kate's hand, Lena turned and started for the house only to be surrounded by their happy employees.
Kate gave her soul mate an internal shake of the head. Why was it whenever she wanted her woman alone there was always someone or something in the way?
Smiling graciously into the happy throng of well wishers, a shiver went down Kate's back as she recalled the ease in which a violent, vicious person had violated their lives. In a split second they could have been robbed of everything, even the connection they now thought of as natural.
It was a comfort to know that all the pain had been cushioned in such a marvelous way...sharing inner thoughts and reactions to situations as one. When nightmares flared from time to time, as one would expect, the other would stand right there in the spiritual world holding on tight until they subsided. The richness of the bond created a cocoon for them for all time. All the difficulties life might possibly throw at them would always be shared until their physical bodies died naturally. Then they could be one in eternity, just as they had experienced for a brief time.
Kate glanced at the friends and employees, not to mention the horses, all around them and smiled. Lena had been right, they could afford to play their part here until the end because they had the luxury of knowing something that so few did; they would be together in the next life and what a glorious prospect that was.
Lena frowned for a second when she picked up the initial negative thoughts, which cleared immediately, from her lover. As she felt fear depart, the happiness and rightness of living kicked out any trace of the gloomy feelings up and over an inner mountain range, to be buried forever in a dark place never to be seen again...without a chaperone, and she was that personification always.
Clasping Kate's hand in hers as tight as possible without causing pain, she felt the responding squeeze back. Yep, they were still on a quest, but one that could only end up going from strength to strength ending in a dazzling conclusion, together forever! Who could ask for more than that? She certainly couldn't and wouldn't.
* * * * *
The next two weeks were a blur as preparations for the big picnic were made. The area near the river around the oaks was transformed into a picnic park. A dock was built and canoes and paddleboats were brought in for rides on the river. Six booths were set up for games, complete with prizes for winners. To one side were booths for ice cream, hotdogs, fries, cotton candy and popcorn. In the middle of the area, a large stage was erected for live music and dancing. Caterers came to set up their tents for the wide variety of food to be served. In another tent, tables and chairs, along with a buffet table, were arranged. In one corner of the field, builders built a corral for pony rides.
Waking and stretching, Lena kept her eyes closed as she mentally prepared herself for the upcoming day. She and Kate would direct the final touch to their big party, the banner placement over the entrance to the picnic park. Smiling when she heard Kate enter her mind, she rolled over and hugged the smaller woman to her. "Good morning, beautiful."
"Hmm, good morning to you too my wonderful lover." Kate snuggled closer. "What time is it?"
Lifting herself up, Lena peered at the clock. "Eight. What time were we meeting the guys?"
Kate closed her eyes. "Eight thirty. Think we can call them and make it later?"
Lena bent in and kissed Kate's cheek. "What did you have in mind?" She asked as she began kissing the tempting neck.
"Me, you, shower." Came Kate's response as her fingers lightly touched Lena's body.
"Ah, my very own Jane sounds good to me. After all, we don't want to be dirty for our big picnic." Her lips worked their way up to waiting lips.
The kisses grew deeper as the women relaxed into the love they felt for each other. Since the shooting, their lovemaking had taken on the new dimension of actually feeling each other's passion and need.
The ringing of the phone had them breaking their kiss when Kate answered.
"Hey, boss, we're here. Want us to start putting the banner up?"
Gathering her wits, Kate spoke. "No, no Tom, we will be there in about fifteen minutes. We want to be there."
Hanging up the phone, Kate smiled, and then kissed Lena. "Guess we will have to hold that thought. Why don't you jump in the shower and I will have Carmen bring us coffee and toast."
One more kiss and Lena jumped out of bed and headed for the bathroom. Kate watched the naked body walk away and shook her head in frustration as she thought about making love to her partner. Out of the bathroom she heard Lena say, "I heard that!" then laugh.
Sitting on their horses, the women watched as the picnic banner, in the farm's colors, was raised.
1st Annual Family Picnic
* * * * *
Their guests began arriving as Kate, on her new stallion, and Lena, on her grey, rode up to the picnic park. Releasing the horses in the fenced field, they began greeting their guests. Off in the distance, the delighted squeals of children could be heard.
Flopping down on a chair Lena sighed. The day, along with weeks of preparations, began to take their toll on her still healing body. Looking through the crowd she spotted Kate and noticed the worn, tired look on her face. I'm over here, love, come join me. Her mind called out. Kate turned and her green eyes glowed with love. Excusing herself she made her way to her love, her salvation.
"Hi there, beautiful." Lena said as Kate sat down next to her. "You look tired, are you okay?"
Kate's fingers caressed Lena's cheek. "I'm fine, this is such a special day. Look at all our friends having such a good time. I'm glad we did this."
Lena's hand captured Kate's and brought it down to her lips and kissed it. "I'm glad too, it's nice to give back. What do you say I take you for a canoe ride?"
Laughing Kate stood up. "Only if you promise not to splash me."
"Oh, I can't promise that, but I will make every effort to keep you dry...for now." The glint in Lena's eye let Kate know she was in trouble.
Stepping carefully into the wobbly canoe, Kate eyed Lena who was steadying the vessel. "Thank you, love, now it's your turn." Kate said as she held onto the dock to steady the canoe.
Once in, Lena handed Kate a paddle then took one too. As they maneuvered out to the middle of the river, Kate let out a yell as a paddle, full of water, hit her back. "Oh, sorry, I can't seem to get the hang of this thing." Lena said as she tried to hold back a laugh."
Kate looked back over her shoulder. "Yeah, right, and you can't ride a horse either." She said as her paddle hit the water and a stream of water hit Lena. "Oh, sorry, I can't seem to get the hang of this thing." Kate said as she began laughing with Lena.
"Okay, truce. We will just have a leisurely ride down the river to the buoys then back again." Lena said with the glint still in her eyes.
As they neared the buoys Lena asked. "Are you having a good time?"
"Of course I am! After all you are doing all the paddling giving me a chance to work on my tan." Kate's thoughts traveled to a visit she had taken to England when she'd had a year at Oxford as an exchange student. Reminding her of beautiful summer days and punting on the river. Then she had been with friends and spent much of the time with a nose in her books. Now, she'd much rather she had a nose...whoa, there, girl. A sensual smile crossed her lips as she watched her lover. Her thoughts were sure to be captured by Lena...and sure enough, the next action proved her right in an unexpected way.
"Glad you are enjoying yourself. I'm getting hot...think I will go for a swim." With that she stood up causing the canoe to rock severely.
"Lena, what are you doing? Sit down before we tip over!"
The glint was in full force as stood on the seat then jumped in the water while the canoe began tipping over. Soon they were both in the river splashing each other with abandon.
Swimming over to her partner, Kate grabbed her around the waist. "You will pay for this, you know?" Then she kissed her soundly before swimming for shore and the crowd of onlookers.
After their concerned friends left, Kate stretched out in the soft grass next to Lena. "This has been one great day, thank you."
"For what?" Lena said as she lifted her head to look into the green eyes.
"For all sorts of reasons, but mostly for being you."
Bending down to meet the waiting lips, Lena kissed her partner. "The day isn't over yet, you know...we have dancing to do."
"Mmm, holding you close. Now that sounds like something worth waiting for."
* * * * *
As darkness fell, Kate and Lena stood side by side leaning on the pony corral fence. Soon the fireworks would start as a final tribute to the friends and families of Merridoc.
Lena kissed Kate's cheek. "How about I go get us a beer then we can watch the fireworks?"
"Sounds good to me." Kate replied as she gave out a sigh of happiness. "Hurry back, I'll keep your spot warm."
"In that case, I'll run."
Kate began to climb the fence so she could sit on top of it when she suddenly felt something cold against her neck. Turning, she gazed into the deranged eyes of Cornelia Cambridge who held a gun in her hand.
"Surprise, slut, it's me!" She exclaimed. "Now get down from there." She ordered.
"You won't get away with this...there are hundreds of people here."
"We'll just see about that." Cornelia spat out, shoving the gun into Kate's neck.
Lena was half way back with the beers when she felt Kate enter her mind. Fear and panic filled her making her drop the bottles and run to the corral. She slowed down when she saw Kate standing where she had left her. Puzzled by the intense feelings of hate and fear she felt coming off her lover, she cautiously approached.
"Kate? Are you okay?" Lena asked as she neared her partner.
A strange expression crossed Kate's face when she tried to smile. The feeling of foreboding became overwhelming to Lena as she looked around the area. She scanned every possible direction for any reason for the upset to her and Kate's equilibrium, there was nothing!
"Why not come with me and sit with my parents, they have a really good view." In her mind Kate was screaming to her...Run, Lena, Run.
Just then a figure appeared from behind Kate. "She's not going anywhere with you, bitch...you are both coming with me. Now get over here with your slut!" Cornelia hissed.
Lena felt the jolt of surprise and horror as their nemesis appeared from out of nowhere. A feeling of deja vu overcame her for a moment, but how? Speeding towards Kate's side, "I'm the one you want, take me and let her go." Lena pleaded.
"Shut up, bitch and start walking that way." Indicating the pasture area where it was totally dark.
Once in the darkness, Cornelia grabbed Kate by the waist and pointed the gun towards Lena.
"You won't get away with this. As soon as they hear the gunshot you will be surrounded." Lena reasoned.
"You pathetic, fucking bitch. Don't you know your little gathering here is the perfect place? Once those fireworks start, no one will hear my gunshot."
Lena entered Kate's mind. When I say duck, I want you to fall to the ground and I will jump her.
Kate answered back. Like hell you will. When I say go, I will stomp on her foot then fall to the ground. That will give you more time.
That's why I love you...you think quickly on your feet. I'm ready when you are.
Kate looked at Lena and winked. "Go." She shouted as she dug her boot heel into Cornelia's foot.
Cornelia let go of Kate in reaction to the pain, letting Kate fell to the ground. Lena propelled herself through the air grabbing the hand with the gun, both crashing on the hard earth. Just then, the fireworks started filling the sky above them with color and light.
Cornelia struggled to get Lena off her while Lena continually banged the gunned hand against the dirt, her strength waning as she did so. Before the shooting, she would have flung this piece of shit across the pasture with ease, now, however, she was drained by the effort. With her free hand Cornelia punched Lena hard in the chest causing her to gasp in pain, but didn't let go of the gun hand.
Kate crawled over to the struggling women and pried the gun out of Cornelia's hand just as the deranged woman managed to push Lena off her. The vet then took hold of the hand holding the gun and punched Kate in the lower abdomen. The pain was overwhelming causing the blonde woman to see stars.
Quickly standing up, Cornelia pointed the gun at the women. "Get up!" She screamed. "Get up now or you'll die where you are!"
Struggling to her feet, Lena helped Kate, noting the pain her partner suffered from the bitch's punch. Breathing heavily, Lena once again tried to plead with the crazy vet. "Let her go, Cornelia. She has nothing to do with this; it's me you want. Let her go."
"That is where you are wrong, bitch. I want her too. You both humiliated me and need to pay." A mad laugh ensued. "But first, a little entertainment." She then began shooting at their feet insanely laughing as they "danced" for her.
The fireworks were booming one after another synchronically with the bullets hitting the ground. Suddenly, out of nowhere, came a thundering set of hooves. Kate's Pride, extremely agitated by all the noise, reared up in front of them. Targeting one source of noise, his hooves came crashing down knocking Cornelia over.
At first, Kate and Lena stood there as if in a trance. The chestnut stallion was whinnying loudly as his hooves landed once again on the vet. Coming out of her daze, Lena started waving her arms and shouting at the horse. Kate joined in until the stallion turned away from the vet. It was at that time the fireworks ended and quiet once again filled the air.
Lena walked over to the still nervous horse and spoke softly to him. Kate went over to Cornelia whose body lay on the ground with hands over her head and legs tucked in. Kicking the gun away, she knelt down and touched the body. A hand grabbed hers, holding on tight before letting go.
Standing up, Kate went to Lena who had calmed the horse down. "Guess he was paying her back for all the horses she put down. She's dead." Then, taking Lena's hand, they walked back to the celebration for help.
With Cornelia dead, life had an appeal that vied with the incredible security of knowing that even in death they would still journey on a quest ridden on behalf of love!