Disclaimers: The characters in this story are mine. This is a 'uber' story, set in today's timeline, and some of the characters may bear more than a slight resemblance to certain other characters we all know, but which are not owned by me. Any similarity to real people is unintentional and purely coincidental. The location is Orlando, Florida. This story is character driven. As in my previous story, there once again is no plot. There is no violence, nobody is trying to kill anybody else, nobody is chasing anybody else, etc., etc. There may be some minor angst here, but nothing too traumatic. The backdrop is a law firm, and from first hand experience, law firms can be rather routine places to work. This story continues the tale of two people set in that environment whose lives are anything but routine.

Subtext Disclaimer: There is subtext, or maintext as the case may be, here. This story deals with the deep, profound love and devotion between two people who happen to be of the same gender. Although there are some scenes depicting the physical expression of that love, there are no graphic scenes here. If that is what you are looking for, you might want to read something else.

Continuing Story Disclaimer: This is the sequel to my first story "Undeniable" and picks up about one week after its conclusion. You may want to read the previous story prior to reading this one, otherwise it will probably not make much sense to you.

Feedback: This is my second attempt at fan fiction. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. Please feel free to let me know if there is something you especially liked or didn't like. I can be reached at kmmoon@prodigy.net.





Written by KM

Part 10 (Conclusion)


He stepped off the elevator without a sound, surreptitiously checking the lobby area for signs of life as he did so. Continuing on without notice, he stealthily made his way down the long corridor, past the glass-paneled library doors and toward the small kitchen. It was a dangerous game and he knew it, but it was nonetheless necessary to his ends. Upon reaching his destination, he ever so cautiously poked his head inside the doorway. Empty. He relaxed somewhat. So far, so good. Aside from his throbbing headache, things were going better than he had expected. He'd gotten inside undetected. Whew!

Now, to get on with it and get what he came for, then get out. He surveyed his surroundings for a long moment, finally fixing his eyes on his prize. The sight beckoned him forward for a closer inspection, presenting a dilemma he hadn't contemplated. It was clear now that he'd have to make an important decision. Pensively, he wrestled with his options, his eyes darting back and forth several times as he considered the course of action he was about to take. His plan hadn't allowed for such complexities, but it was too late to back out now. He glanced toward the area just outside the doorway. Still clear. His decision was made. Now was the time to act.

He set his briefcase down and hesitated briefly, more out of nervousness than caution, finally gathering together his courage. Then, in a bold and most unexpected move, he swiftly bypassed the carafe marked "Hazelnut" and poured himself instead a cup of the Colombian. He took a long deliberate sniff of the aroma, and his headache seemed to recede immediately. Good decision. Satisfied with the success of his mission, he reached down and grabbed his briefcase, then hastily made his way out the kitchen doorway. And that, he would later admit, was his prime mistake, as he nearly ran head-on into a very startled blonde haired green-eyed young associate.

"Whoa." Robin swerved, neatly avoiding having coffee splashed onto her new pale blue linen suit. "Gosh, Paul, slow down a bit."

The senior associate stood there guiltily. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you." He frowned as he realized that his plan to sneak into the office unnoticed was now officially ruined.

"It's okay." A blonde eyebrow arched as the younger associate took in Paul's slightly disheveled appearance. "Just getting in?" It was now nearly ten thirty in the morning, well into the typical workday.

Paul rubbed his forehead. His headache had returned in full force, likely a remnant of his late night binge the previous evening. "Well, I had some matters to attend to this morning."

I bet. Robin slipped past him and poured herself a cup of the hazelnut coffee without commenting further.

Hangovers were not an especially common occurrence with Paul, but upon hearing news of the Management Committee's decision filtering through the office grapevine, the realization that he had absolutely no chance whatsoever with Robin had hit him particularly hard during the preceding weekend. And it was fair to say that he was a little bit bitter about that, as well. He'd always thought that Robin would eventually come around to him. As an added incentive, he'd even offered to be there for her if things got too rough during that whole committee hearing mess. What else was a guy supposed to do? He grimaced visibly. Nothing's fair. He looked over at Robin, his curiosity getting the better of him. "Can I ask you something?"

The younger associate turned toward him as she stirred cream and sugar into her coffee, her internal radar sensing that something was definitely up with him. She responded carefully. "All right."

The now present ring on Robin's finger caught Paul's eye and brought his bitterness even closer to the surface. There was a hard look to his eyes. "What does she do for you? I mean, all she's brought you is sorrow and grief, investigations and hearings, gossip and disapproval. It can't be worth it to you to be so miserable." It sounded bitter and he knew it, but he didn't care. It was the truth.

Robin was absolutely incredulous. Here was a guy who wouldn't know true emotional connection if it bit him, and he was standing there piously judging her relationship with Jess. "I simply can't discuss this with you, Paul." She turned and made a brisk move to leave.

His face softened slightly. "Look." He gently stopped her progress. "I'm just trying to understand."

Robin responded with an undeniable truth, one that applied not only to Paul, but likely to many others, as well. "I don't know that you will ever be able to understand." She looked at him directly. "I will tell you one thing, though. It's what I choose."

Well, that made absolutely no sense. "You choose to be miserable?"

"Who says I'm miserable? I have everything I want."

"Do you?" He rubbed his forehead once again, his throbbing headache growing more and more prominent by the minute. He knew this was a lost cause, but something nevertheless made him persist. "What I see is someone who's been through months of misery, something that didn't have to happen. If Jessica cared for you as much as you think she does, she wouldn't have put you through all of that. You couldn't have wanted what happened to happen."

"That's enough." Robin quickly shut him down. "Like I said, I really can't discuss this with you. I'd appreciate it if you didn't bring it up again." She swiftly made her way toward the doorway, making one last comment on her way out. "I'd say the only misery going on here, Paul, seems to be with you."

Silently, the senior associate watched her leave. Well, that was unfair. He ventured out into the hallway just as several secretaries heading for their morning coffee break were approaching. Having no interest in their gossip for today, he found himself now lost in a totally unrelated train of thought. Maybe Sandy will go out with me.

Poor Paul.

But, was there perhaps the tiniest grain of truth in some of what he'd said?


What a morning! Jess rushed into the lobby and headed for her office much later than she'd originally anticipated, her early morning meeting with a client lasting almost until noon. Damn. She had so much work to catch up on from being gone that it would take nearly an eternity just to make even a small dent. It was now clear that she'd be having many late nights for the foreseeable future. She rounded the corner and proceeded down the long corridor toward her office, stopping briefly at her secretary's desk. "Hi Angie. Anything happen this morning?"

Angie looked up from her magazine, then closed it quickly. "A few messages, none urgent." She handed them to Jess.

"Okay." The junior partner took the messages and watched as her secretary hastily slid the magazine underneath some papers on her desk. I think it's time we had a chat. Angie had been her secretary since the early days, a lifetime ago it seemed, when Jess had first started out as a fresh new associate with the law firm. It was true that Angie was an excellent legal secretary as far as secretaries go, always on top of things and aware of all of the appropriate and often obscure legal procedures, but her idleness and frequent gossiping had really gotten out of hand lately. I can't afford to be undermined. However, now was not the time to have that chat. It would have to wait, Jess concluded, at least until sanity returned to her workload and things were more manageable. And I definitely can't afford any staffing problems right now. "Here's a tape. On it, I've dictated a summary of my meeting with Anderson Rayburn this morning. Please have it ready for me to review before the end of the day." With that, Jess strode into her office and set her briefcase down on her desk.

"I'd like to speak with you, if you have a moment." A voice abruptly sounded from the open doorway.

What the hell? Without looking up, Jess recognized the voice instantly, turning her harried mood now decidedly bad. Tim West. This guy was the absolute last person she wanted to see, and the expression on her face gave no doubt to that sentiment. "Actually, no, I don't have a moment. I have a lot of work to catch up on." She was brisk about it, wanting no part of whatever it was he felt compelled to say.

The member of the Management Committee, however, remained undeterred. "This won't take long." He took a few steps inside the office and closed the door behind him. "I just want to set a few things straight." It was an unfortunate choice of words.

"Look, if you want to rehash things, I'm not in the mood, nor do I have the time. I have a great deal of work ahead of me today." Which I wouldn't have if you hadn't been such a damned jerk about things. Jess conveniently ignored the fact that one could legitimately argue it was her own actions and poor decision-making which had, in actuality, led to her previous suspension.

He continued on despite her objection. "I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I disagreed with the Committee's decision. Nevertheless, the Committee made its decision and so be it. I will tell you one thing, though." He leaned forward slightly and placed his hands on top of the chair nearest the door. "You may have won the battle, but you haven't won the war. What you did and how you did it cannot be allowed to remain as some kind of precedent around here. Standards have to apply, and no one is immune from them."

Jess almost rose to his bait. She stood there for a moment, considered her response, then spoke plainly and evenly. "As you said, the Committee made its decision and so be it. Now, I have to get back to my work." To press her point, she opened her briefcase and pulled out some paperwork.

"Fine." He straightened up. "But I'm not letting this go. I'm giving you fair warning on that. The situation you put this firm in is unworkable. We will all suffer because of it. As a partner with an interest in this firm's well-being, I will continue to fight it."

Well, it was clear this guy had made this issue his personal mission in life. Jess couldn't hold back her retort any longer. "Listen, the Committee made its decision. That's the end of it. You didn't prevail. Deal with it. And I would further caution you not to interfere with my practice of law."

"Or what? You'll go to Harry? You've been protected here by him all these years. What happens when he finally decides he's had enough of this place and retires? Who will cover for you then? He won't be here to make all kinds of excuses for you. He won't be here to supposedly supervise you as a way to bail you out of your messes. He won't be here to run interference for you with Gordon. And he certainly won't be here to promote your way up the ladder."

Ah. Now, I see what this is about. There were, Jess had to admit, those in the firm who intensely resented her quick rise to partnership status. And that was the real issue. Perceived favoritism. It was ironic. What had concerned her all along about her own working relationship with Robin had itself much deeper roots. Was it true? Jess wondered internally. Had favoritism played a role in her own status with the firm? No. Harry had supported her because she was a damn good attorney and he knew it. That was the way it was. Despite the internal warring within herself, Jess dismissed Tim West's implied point outright. "You're way off-base. If you have a problem with what Harry does or does not do, go talk to him about it. I've got work to do here."

The Management Committee member turned to leave. "This is not over. Mark my words on that." He exited the office and briskly shut the door behind him.

Jess glared at the empty space where he'd stood. Idiot. She shook her head and sank into her leather chair, collecting a few more papers from her briefcase as she did so. She wouldn't readily admit it to herself, but the whole conversation had hit a bit too close to home. Perhaps it was true that she'd overcompensated with Robin because of her own experiences with Harry. Had she done that, though? No. The situation with Robin was entirely different. Entirely. There were absolutely no parallels involved. None whatsoever. It was as different as night and day. Completely.

While Jess sat contemplating the finer points of the matter, there was a light knock at the door. Damn it. I'm busy. "Not now, please." She called toward the closed door, then reached for the button on the intercom to make it clear to Angie that she wasn't to be disturbed for the rest of the day. Before she could do so, however, the door cracked open a tiny bit. "I said, not……"

"Hi." Robin cautiously poked her head inside the office, then closed the door discreetly behind her. "Bad day?"

An exasperated sigh. "I'll live."

"If this isn't a good time, I can come back."

"No, stay." The junior partner motioned for Robin to have a seat. "I'm going to need your help."

"Actually, that's one of the reasons I stopped by. I'm here to offer you my services."

A brief pause, then a dark eyebrow edged up as blue eyes twinkled mischievously. "Is that so?"

Robin blushed slightly. "You're incorrigible." She settled into the chair closest to the large window. "You know what I meant."

Feeling a bit better, Jess smiled. "Yep." She handed the young associate a pen and notepad. "Here's what I need you to do. On the Bronson Construction case, review the contract. I know there's a 'paid when paid' clause in there which they're relying on, but I also know the law states that those clauses are largely unenforceable. Research the issue and get me some case law on point. Second, if our client, as the owner of the project, paid Bronson but Bronson didn't pay its subcontractors, where did all of that money go? It was only after Bronson defaulted on the contract that our client stopped payments. What happened to the millions of dollars already paid to them, especially since they didn't put it into the construction work?"

"Did the subcontractors lien the project?"

"You got it. We've got a lien fest going on, so snoop around a bit. What did Bronson do with the money our client paid them? If they used it to finance their work on other projects, it's illegal under the statute and there are criminal ramifications in addition to potential civil liability."

"I'm on it."

Long fingers idly tapped the desktop. "And go ahead and trace the claims of lien back to the Notice of Commencement and the Notices to Owner served by the subcontractors. See if everything was done timely. If not, those claims are invalid. That might knock out a few of them." The idle tapping continued. "Also, check out the Payment and Performance Bond. There may be a bond claim there, as well."

"Right. Anything else?" The younger attorney looked up from her writing.

"No, that'll do it for now." A look of intense concentration persisted for a moment, then the junior partner shook her head. "You know, something's fishy about this case, but I just can't put my finger on it." Follow the money. "Maybe if you get in there and dig into it a bit, you'll find something."

"Maybe. I'll see what I can do." A pause. "You okay today?"

The older woman's expression visibly softened. "Yeah. I just had a surprise visit from Tim West. He got under my skin."

"Oh no. What did he want?"

"He's apparently not going quietly. He's made it his pet mission to cause me trouble and insinuated that when Harry decides to retire, I'm basically screwed."

"Harry won't let that happen." Robin took a step toward the cherry wood desk. "You're too valuable to him."

Too valuable. There were absolutely no parallels, Jess kept telling herself. None whatsoever. The situations were as different as night and day. "Yeah, maybe." She promptly changed the subject. "How's your morning been?"

Green eyes rolled upward. "Fine until I ran into Paul in the kitchen. He questioned me about my relationship with you. Can you believe that?"

"Really? What did you tell him?"

"The only thing I said was that it was what I wanted and I really didn't want to discuss it with him further."

"But……?" Jess sensed there was more.

"Well, it was just a bit unsettling, that's all. I know he's harmless, but his interest in my life really creeps me out."

Hmmmm. "You know, it is a bit odd. You'd think he'd have gotten the message long ago." But had he gotten the message? Good question. Perhaps a little reinforcement wouldn't hurt. "Maybe I should speak with him. He's a decent guy, a bit self-absorbed, but he doesn't strike me as malicious."

"Well, if it gets him to back off, I'm all for it."

"Okay, let me think about it. I have an appeal brief I need from him later today. I'll see how he is with me, and if there's a problem, I'll deal with it." The older woman wouldn't admit it out loud, but her hackles were up. Her instincts told her that a spurned man could spell trouble in the long run.

"You're the boss." Robin stood up, her stomach choosing that precise moment to rumble. "I suppose you don't have time for lunch, do you?" It was for all intents and purposes a rhetorical question.

"Afraid not, kiddo. Bring me back something, though?" Hopeful blue eyes begged.

"Done." A wide smile now appeared. "Hey, Jess?"


"I'm really glad to be back working with you."

"Tell me that again at nine o'clock tonight when we're both still here working like dogs." A blue eye winked.

Rats. "You sure know how to show a girl a good time." Robin winked back.

"Just one of my many skills." Jess deadpanned.

A tiny chuckle. "Okay, see you later. I'll bring you back some lunch."

As the young associate opened the door to leave, Todd, one of the mail room clerks, appeared carrying several boxes, with several more of the same neatly stacked up out in the hallway. He stepped just inside the doorway, and upon seeing Robin, he hesitated briefly, then tentatively spoke up. "Uh……Ms. Harrison? Mr. Roberts asked that I bring these to you."

Robin peeked beneath the lid of the top box and surveyed its contents, then glanced over at Jess still sitting at her desk. "Your files."

Goody. My day is complete. The junior partner took a deep breath, resigned to her fate for the remainder of the day, then motioned to Todd. "Thanks. Just put them over there against the bookcase."

Robin simply grinned and quietly left the office as Todd went about his business. Once he'd finally gone, Jess groaned audibly. This is turning out to be a very long day.

And it wasn't even noon yet.


"Ooooh. God, Jess, this feels so good."

"I'm glad you think so." The older woman diligently went about her task, making sure she performed all the right moves.

"I think this is the best idea you've had all day."

"Well, occasionally I do have a brilliant thought." Twinkling blue eyes looked up only to be greeted with a playful splash of foamy heated water. The soothing Jacuzzi jets had hit their mark, and Jess eagerly settled herself back into the large oval Roman tub. "Champagne?" Having now successfully completed her task of uncorking the bottle, she carefully poured the chilled bubbling wine into two glasses, handing one over to Robin.

"Thanks." Petite legs stretched out across the opposite end of the marble tub as the water jets continued to work their magic. "Even though it's late and I'm really, really tired, this was exactly what I needed. I can feel myself relaxing already."

"Just wait until after you've had a few glasses of champagne." Jess quipped.

"It's all your fault, you know."

A shocked expression. "Moi?"

"Yes. You kept me at the office working my you know what off tonight, Miss big-time partner."

Another shocked expression. "I seem to recall how one very lovely young associate came to me earlier today and generously offered me her services."

Robin stifled a giggle, then sipped her champagne, the tiny bubbles tickling the back of her throat. "That was before I knew what you had in mind for me." The soft light of the wild berry scented candles flickered gently nearby, casting a warm glow about the spacious bathroom.

It was an opening Jess couldn't resist. She inched over closer to Robin. "I definitely have plenty in mind for you."

Oh. The seductive voice resonated deep within the younger woman causing her to swallow reflexively. "I'll just bet you do."

A slightly raised eyebrow was her only reply. "Here, let me get you a little more champagne." Jess reached over and expertly refilled Robin's glass, then her own.

A tiny chuckle. "Trying to get me drunk, I see."

"I have no comment."

"Right." A long, contented sigh followed. "You know, Jess, this is undeniably one of the most decadent pleasures I can think of. Whoever invented the Jacuzzi deserves a medal."

"I can't argue with that. Whoever invented champagne deserves a medal, too." Long fingers grasped the slender stem of the fluted champagne glass and toasted an imaginary inventor.

"And these gourmet chocolate truffles." Robin popped one into her mouth. "That person gets two medals."

"Who needs anything else? A Jacuzzi, champagne, chocolate, and you." A warm smile conveyed still unspoken thoughts, ones they both instinctively knew well though neither had ever voiced, a sense of something indescribable between them. Mesmerized by the flickering shadows on the tile walls, they sat in companionable silence, sipping their champagne and relaxing in the luxuriously warm swirling water. "What a day, though. I think at this rate I'll finally be caught up by the end of the week."

"Did anything fall through the cracks in your absence?"

"Miraculously, no. I think Harry stayed on top of things, thankfully." Jess reached for a truffle. "I did meet with Paul today."

"Oh? And how did it go?"

"I told him I was going to need to rely on him in a limited way to help me with a few of my cases, and if he had a problem with that, then he should tell me now. Paul may have his faults, but he's not an idiot. He knows he's on track to make partner soon and it wouldn't be in his best interests to refuse work at this time. He is ambitious, after all, in spite of his personal feelings, so he assured me in no uncertain terms that he'd have no problem working on my cases."

A thought had occurred to Robin earlier that day, and she momentarily questioned whether or not to mention it. Might as well get it out in the open. "Listen, Jess. I'm working with you on your cases, which is great and what I want to do. If you do need Paul's assistance on some matters, that's fine, but I'm really going to find it uncomfortable to be around him on those cases if he hasn't accepted the situation between you and me."

Jess could have kicked herself. Now, how did that get past her? She'd been so mentally absorbed in her own working relationship issues that she hadn't even considered the possibility that Robin would have some misgivings. Damn. Way to go, Jess. "I intend on using Paul's assistance mainly on appeal and bankruptcy matters because he's one of the few experienced lawyers in the firm in those particular areas." She looked directly at Robin. "You and I will be working on everything else. I promise you, if it becomes necessary for you to work on a matter that Paul is handling, I will personally assess the situation before asking you to do so. I won't put you in any situation that makes you uncomfortable. Is that fair?"

The younger woman breathed a sigh of relief. "Yes. Thanks."

"Good." A gentle smile. "Okay, enough shop talk for one day." The sparkling wine was beginning to have some effect on both of them, along with the soothing warm water loosening up their tired muscles, so much so that Robin's eyes had closed just a bit. Jess's larger form drew closer to her smaller companion. "Now, don't fall asleep."

The low vibration of the older woman's voice caused the sea green eyes to open slightly. "I'm not falling asleep. I'm just relaxing."

Relaxing. "I see." Jess made a few little idle splashing sounds in the water beside her, then attempted to capture several tiny swirling bubbles rising to the surface of the water, all of which, one could argue, indicated that she was perhaps not quite as relaxed as her Jacuzzi partner seemed to be. Actually, relaxed wasn't exactly the word she would have chosen at all right at that moment. "Want another truffle?" She reached over and grasped one of the chocolate morsels from its gold foiled resting place. "There's one more here with your name on it."

Now that sounded enticing. "I'd love another one." No sooner had the blonde woman said the words when long fingers brought the gourmet confection up to her mouth for sampling. Both verdant eyes were still half-lidded as she took a bite, noting that Jess then proceeded to finish off the remaining half of the treat. Instantly, and before she could entertain another thought, chocolate coated lips covered her own, and she melted literally into their delicious softness. As the warm lips gently pulled away, Robin sighed in utter contentment. "Now, that was the best truffle I've ever tasted."

A deep chuckle. "I aim to please."

"And you do very well, indeed." The younger woman let her eyelids fall closed once again, savoring the lingering sweetness of the candy, and at the same time, the intense sweetness of the moment, itself. Suddenly, she felt a gentle tug first upon one knee, then the other. "Um……Jess? Did you drop the soap?"

Warm, moist breath tickled a petite pink earlobe as the low voice resonated into it. "Soap? Who said anything, Robin, about soap?"

Green eyes popped open, gazing squarely into darkening blue. Oh boy. As the steam rose from the heated water and the mirrors lightly fogged, all further cohesive thought from that moment on was quickly forgotten.


Jess heard the familiar rattling of keys against the door as she stood in the kitchen contemplating dinner options from the sparse offerings the refrigerator held. Having arrived home herself only a few minutes earlier, she'd managed to change from her business suit into more comfortable clothes and was just beginning to hunt down something for herself and Robin to eat for dinner. Even though they'd both left the office at the same time, the younger woman had been slightly delayed on her way home, taking a short diversion to pick up the week's dry cleaning. A dark head poked around the refrigerator door to greet the harried commuter. "You're home."

"Whew!" Robin made her way into the large kitchen and set the dry cleaning down across the glass tabletop. "Traffic's horrible today. The interstate is all backed up which caused the expressway to back up which caused everybody else in this entire city to take the exact same road I was taking home." She stopped to grab a bottle of water from the opened refrigerator. "I vote for a move out to the country."

A sympathetic smile. "I'll keep that in mind, kiddo." Who needs to cook tonight, anyway? "Hey, how about we order a pizza for dinner?"

"You read my mind." The smaller woman made an astute observation as she closed the refrigerator door. "We have to go grocery shopping, don't we?"

"Only if we want to eat." Came the predictable retort.

That earned Jess a gentle slap on the forearm. "You're hopeless." Robin turned and gathered up the dry cleaning. "This weekend, Jess. You do remember how to go grocery shopping, don't you?"

"Well, what I remember, Robin, is that grocery shopping requires a certain amount of hands-on experience, at least that's what I've been told." One azure eye winked suggestively.

The younger woman played along. "Yes, and you've made considerable progress in that department, I must say. Of course…..." She put on her best serious expression. "You could do with a little more tutoring."

Tutoring? "Is that so?" Jess took a step closer and whispered into an adorable pink ear. "Well, then I'll definitely look forward to that."

A quick intake of breath. I can't believe she still does this to me. "Okay, then."

A slender finger traced a path along the petite jawline. "Okay, then." Very soft lips then proceeded to caress those of the younger woman to further punctuate the point. "Tutoring it is."

Breathe. "Um……right." The blonde woman shook her conscious mind back to reality. "Let me……um……get changed, and you can order the pizza. Deal?"

Hiding a satisfied grin, Jess reached for the phone. "Deal." I've still got it. She set about her task of dialing the number to the pizza parlor, successfully placing their order without too much difficulty and requesting their usual toppings of sausage, mushrooms, ham, and of course, extra cheese. As soon as she'd set down the receiver, she recalled something which had slipped her mind from earlier, before her playful conversation with Robin had, in all frankness, distracted her. She walked down the long hallway toward the converted bedroom and gently tapped on the partially opened door.

"Come in." Robin had already donned more casual clothing and was in the process of hanging up her own portion of the dry cleaning. "Did you get the pizza ordered okay, or do you need my expert advice?" She chuckled lightly and tossed Jess an impish glance. "I know we don't have any shrimp in the house to put on the pizza, so I guess you're out of luck tonight, honey."

The face that greeted her was now more serious. "I forgot to mention something to you." Blue eyes captured green, then held them steadily. "I checked the answering machine when I got home, and there was another message on it from your mother."

There was a brief and rather disquieting silence, then the smaller woman hurriedly retrieved the remainder of the dry cleaning still resting on the daybed and resumed her previous task. "You know, I think I'm starting to get really hungry. Let me know when the pizza……" Before she knew it, she was enfolded by long, caring, comforting arms. Still, she said nothing.

Jess held on for a very long moment, then slowly broke away, trying to read what was going on behind those guarded eyes. She led Robin over to the daybed, sitting them both down and grasping the petite hands within her own. "I know it's difficult for you, but this is the fifth time your mother has called since……" She was at a temporary loss for words, finally settling upon the obvious. "Since everything that happened with your father."

Now, less guarded eyes revealed unspoken anguish, as Robin remained very still, the raw emotions plainly visible.

Jess sighed internally. Okay, so she'd finally said it. It was true, she and Robin hadn't talked much about the incident since it happened. In fact, they'd mostly avoided it, but how could they avoid it forever? The incident. Jess's jaw tightened reflexively at the memory of that hurtful night when Thomas Wilson paid a visit to his daughter on the eve of the Management Committee hearing and wounded her so completely. The incident. Everything about that night made Jess's blood boil. Even so, she reasoned to herself, she also knew that Robin's estrangement from her parents was exacting a very heavy toll on her. And in spite of everything, and as much as Jess hated that man for what he'd done and the complicity of Robin's mother in the accumulated pain, she hated even more seeing Robin hurt by it all.

By now, anger had replaced the anguish present just moments before, and the blonde woman struck a defiant tone. "It doesn't matter." It was a thinly veiled lie, and both of them knew it.

Jess proceeded cautiously. "Listen, sweetheart, maybe it would be a good idea just to call her back and see what she wants." How could it hurt?

Uncharacteristically, Robin responded harshly. "I couldn't care less, Jess, how many times she calls. I'm not going to talk to her."


"No. I'm not speaking with her, and that's final. Let it go."

Jess flinched, taken by surprise at the extreme reaction. Granted, she didn't particularly care for the way Robin's mother had treated her own daughter, to put it mildly, but after all, Robin's mother was Robin's mother, and no matter what anyone says, there's a bond there. Maybe it couldn't be salvaged in this case, but it has to be worth one last try, doesn't it? Besides, what if her mother wants to make amends? "Listen to me, Robin." It was a firm, yet gentle request. "She's your mother. Wouldn't it be better to at least find out what wants?" It seemed like a logical argument. Of course, understandably, Jess's perspective was colored by the very supportive relationship she had with her own mother.

The younger woman shook her head in complete disbelief. "How can you defend her? She betrayed me……us. Have you forgotten?" Robin couldn't for the life of her understand Jess's apparent sympathy for the woman after what her mother had done, how her mother had conspired against her, how she had kept the truth from her while her father proceeded to Florida to blackmail Jess into leaving her, and most of all, how it had almost worked. "How can you take her side after everything we've gone through because of her……because of them? I don't understand."

"I'm not taking her side. I'm just saying that maybe she wants to try to mend fences with you. You won't know unless you talk with her."

"I……" The blonde head turned angrily away. Several seconds passed, then both petite shoulders slumped and the smaller body began to tremble slightly. The voice was now very small as anguish once again replaced the dissipating anger. "I just can't."

"Honey, please." Long fingers reached around and gently grasped the smaller woman's face, guiding it back to meet a very concerned gaze. The tears were present, clouding those green eyes, just as Jess knew they would be. "I know it hurts." A thumb wiped away a falling teardrop. "Talk to me, sweetheart. Tell me why you can't speak with her."

Why don't you know? The wounds were deep, compounding the already pervasive wound left by David's death, something Robin knew that Jess, as much as she tried, would never fully understand. Glistening eyes pleaded for recognition of the truth. "Because they destroy everything I love."

Crystal blue eyes searched the saddened green eyes just inches away. That isn't true. "No, honey, they haven't destroyed everything. They haven't destroyed our love. See?" Jess showed Robin her ring. "We're forever."

If only it were that simple. The blonde head shook slowly in resignation, the ultimate reality all too apparent and all too inevitable. "Don't you see? When I let them in, they destroy what I love."

The older woman felt helpless. Didn't Robin know that nothing in heaven or on earth could ever destroy their love for each other? Jess repeated over again in her mind the words Robin had spoken. When I let them in, they destroy what I love. They were simple enough words, but taken together in the current instance, they just didn't make sense. Hadn't she and Robin won? They'd prevailed at the hearing. They'd beaten them all despite her parents' best efforts. So, what could she mean? Then, the answer came to Jess, and it felt as if the air had been literally knocked from her lungs. David. The predictable jealously rose. Damn it. But he's gone and I'm here. I'm here. "No, Robin." She said it again. "They haven't destroyed everything."

Misty green eyes glistened once again. "I won't lose you, Jess. I promise you, I won't let them take you from me. I won't let them in again." It made perfect sense to Robin. The trouble was, it wasn't an entirely rational sense.

What? Then, comprehension slowly dawned and concerned blue eyes now turned misty, themselves. Jess understood. In Robin's mind, having her parents in her life meant that the things she loved ultimately were destroyed. Long fingers brushed back a stray lock of blonde hair from the younger woman's forehead as Jess spoke in a very soothing tone of voice. "Now, you listen to me." She made deliberate eye contact. "You and I are forever. That's a fact. Nothing, including speaking with your parents, will ever change that."

It was having absolutely no effect. The fear had crept far too deep within for anyone to reach, at least at this time. "I can't call them, Jess. I can't let them in. I won't let them destroy you."

The dark head nodded sadly. "Just like David."

She understands. "Yes." Robin released a relieved breath. "Just like David."

Oh, honey. Strong arms gathered the smaller woman up into a loving embrace. It was clear that Robin needed some professional help with this. "Sweetheart, can I ask you something?"

A faint sniffle sounded. "Yes."

"I haven't wanted to pry too much into your sessions with Dr. Richmond because I know that they're very personal, but will you tell me how they're going?"

"Um……" The younger woman sat up a bit straighter. "I've been told that there are layers of issues which have to be resolved one at a time and that this process will take a while to accomplish."

Okay. "Have you discussed the incident with your father and the trouble we had at the firm because of the things he'd done?"

"Well, we've discussed his attempted blackmail and his overall manipulation of the situation because he didn't like it."

Okay. There was no reason to hold back now. Jess delicately continued. "Have you discussed his involvement in what happened with David and how you feel your parents destroy the things you love?"

Blonde eyelashes blinked several times, the response slow in coming. "No, not yet."

Okay. Two slender fingers reached over and gently raised the petite chin just a bit. "Will you do a little favor for me?"

"What kind of favor?"

"Will you tell Dr. Richmond what you told me today and see if she can help you?"

There was no immediate answer. Instead, Robin stood up and stepped over toward the window overlooking a far corner of the shimmering swimming pool. The late day sun was now setting, its light casting long, streaming deep orange paths through the open venetian blinds creating contrasting patterns along the carpeted floor. It was very quiet in the room except for the din of the wakening crickets just outside the window and the faint hum of the air conditioning unit pumping cooled air throughout the house. Robin could feel the slight breeze of the chilled air brush across the back of her neck as she stood in front of the glass window pane, a heightened awareness present as the silence now grew in length. Would she talk with Dr. Richmond about it? Why was that question so difficult to answer? Could it be that lending voice to the fear made it seem all the more real? Her heart, she knew, wasn't ready to hear the answer just yet.


The colors of the sunset really were beautiful, so many pinks and oranges and reds, deep gold and even a slight hint of purple. It was fascinating how the light reflected just perfectly off the rippling water in the pool and the swaying palm branches cast gently moving shadows across the lush green of the freshly mown lawn. It was amidst the tranquility of this peaceful sight that long arms silently found their way around the smaller woman's waist from behind and a familiar chin rested upon the blonde hair glowing softly in the quickly fading sunlight. That perfect peace, all at once, magically transcended the deeply troubled soul, as if the mere joining of two complementary beings could alter cosmic karma and form a more certain destiny.

The long, protective arms tightened their hold, and a soothing, low voice whispered the words that would now begin to heal. "Robin, the love we share is eternal, like the sands of the desert or the waves of the sea, indestructible even to the most mighty, ancient yet still not born."

I know those words. The perfect peace now settled where fear once presided. Indestructible. Robin turned to face the taller woman. "Yes."


"Yes, I'll speak with Dr. Richmond about the things we talked about today."

A warm smile graced the older woman's lips. "Good." There was nothing more to say. Progress was progress, one small step at a time.

Robin returned the smile, her heart now feeling considerably lighter. "You know, I never knew you were prone to poetic prose." A blonde eyebrow lifted as she proceeded toward the open doorway. "Keep it up, and you could earn big bucks for your efforts."

"Is that so?" Jess really had no earthly idea where the words she'd spoken had come from. They were certainly not her style, and yet, they felt eerily familiar, as if she'd heard them told to her sometime before. "Maybe I missed my calling." She joked. Then again, maybe not. She followed Robin out into the hallway. "You ready for some pizza? It should be here any minute now."

"Great. I'm starving."

"Why am I not surprised?" An ebony eyebrow raised in mock query, the question purely rhetorical in nature.

"Are you sure you can manage without your beloved shrimp tonight?"

Well, there was absolutely no way Jess could pass this one up. She grinned, winked rather conspicuously, then offered an entirely typical retort. "Why?" A pause for effect. "Are you planning on going somewhere, Robin?"

Ooooh. Sea green eyes focused squarely on their target, then narrowed considerably. "You are in so much trouble."

Uh-oh. Long legs took off like lightning down the hallway toward the kitchen, a very determined petite body trailing not far behind. The only question was, what would happen when the chaser finally caught the chasee?

That, of course, was anybody's guess.


The smaller form stirred, then gravitated toward its larger companion in sleep, casting a petite arm around the familiar waist and snuggling into the long, dark hair haphazardly draped across the nearby pillow. A silent breath was taken, and within a heartbeat, a contented smile appeared, slowly easing across the petite owner's face as another deeper breath confirmed the earlier impression. Even through the haziness of slumber, the perceived fragrance imparted a particular comfort, its distinctive blend of sweetness and woody hints conjuring up subconscious images reminiscent of forests and rugged wilderness.

The taller body seemed to acknowledge the contact and nestled back further into the warm presence behind it. As a small hand made its way underneath a Calvin shirt to rest upon the smooth stomach hidden there, a silent sigh escaped from the recipient of the touch. The sense was overpowering in nature, even in subconscious dreamland, and the feeling of visceral completeness registered in a most profound way. It was oddly familiar, arms encircling tightly from behind, laughter echoing as two figures galloped easily through the wind toward places uncertain.

But these sensations were fleeting, and the mind's images faded as quickly as they had appeared. Instead, an azure eye half opened as consciousness slowly asserted its dominance. The dawn was just breaking, dim gray tendrils of the morning's first light peeking faintly around the edges of the venetian blinds in the windows. Resisting the bid to shake off the dwindling vestiges of sleep, the drowsy blue eye closed once again in a valiant attempt to recapture the previous dream. The conscious mind, however, was not to be so easily ignored, and instead persisted in an insistent attempt to waken its dozing host with a cacophony of internal commotion.

Gooooood mooooorning, sleeeeeeepy heaaaaaaad!

It was a nightmare straight from the movie, "Good Morning, Vietnam", the alternate internal voice groggily reasoned. 'Shhhh. I'm sleeping, here.'

No you're not. You're awake and you know it.

An internal sigh. 'I was having a perfectly lovely dream which you managed to rudely interrupt, thank you very much.'

Sorry to disturb your beauty rest, but there are some things we need to discuss.

'Let me correct you.' The alternate internal voice was anxious to end this little chat and recapture the previous dream……something about galloping on the wind…... 'There's nothing that you and I need to discuss. I'm fine, Robin's fine, you and I are fine, everybody's fine. No problems, zippo, nada, nothing. Got it?'

You are difficult, aren't you? I see you've chosen to bury your head in the sand and ignore everything that has happened over the past few weeks.

'What's that supposed to mean?' The alternate internal voice responded angrily.

Just what it sounds like. Your cozy little snuggle this morning notwithstanding, you haven't dealt with the issues that lead to a healthy relationship with Robin.

'Oh please! Are we back to that again? I thought that was all settled.'

If it was, you wouldn't be talking to me, would you?

'Well, that's just great.' The alternate internal voice conceded the point. 'Here I am telling Robin to go talk to the therapist and I'm the one who needs the shrink.'

I have absolutely no comment.

'Cute. Listen, I have to get back to my dream, so let's get on with this. What's the problem, now?'

First, congratulations are in order.

'Thank you.' A pause. 'What for?'

You skillfully negotiated out of your predicament at the firm and managed to retain your job and your working relationship with Robin in the process. Bravo!

The alternate internal voice accepted the rare compliment. Thanks, I……'

And you magnificently managed all of your cases so that nothing fell through the cracks while you were, shall we say, away from the office.

Pleased, the alternate internal voice continued to receive the praise. 'Well, yes, I am very thorough.'

And let's not forget your splendid handling of Robin's emotional trauma regarding her mother's recent phone calls. Your insight into that situation was absolutely brilliant. A tremendously stunning achievement.

Detecting the tiniest hint of sarcasm, the alternate internal voice became annoyed. 'You have a problem with what I did?'

Can you see a pattern developing? The only reason you retained your job and your working relationship with Robin was because Harry and Robin both bailed you out. The only reason your cases didn't fall through the cracks while you were suspended was because Harry and the people he assigned to your cases in your absence kept on top of things for you. And the only reason Robin agreed to talk to the therapist about her situation with her parents was not because she was ready to do so, but because she wanted to please you. Is the pattern clear now?

A bored tone. 'Since you seem to have all the answers, why don't you enlighten me.'

Fine. Listen carefully. It's everyone else who has to do things for you, bail you out, manage your cases, try to please you. Any credit you give yourself for those things actually belongs to others.

'But ……'

But nothing. The sooner you recognize your own culpability in the things that have happened, the sooner you and Robin can get past them.

'That's just gibberish.' The alternate internal voice retorted. 'I've recognized everything that's happened and taken full responsibility for things that were of my doing.'

If you say so.

'I say so.'

Denial never did serve you well.

'You forgot the house.' The alternate internal voice was quick to raised point. 'Don't I even get credit for the deed thing?'

Okay, if it's credit you seek, then it's credit you get.

Totally oblivious to the sarcasm, the alternate internal voice smugly replied. 'Thanks.'

But before you get all full of yourself, you must understand that you have some outstanding issues to deal with, a prime example being your continued jealousy over you know who.

A dismissive tone. 'I'm dealing with that. Besides, it's not my fault he keeps showing up every five minutes.'

Oh, that pesky acknowledgement of responsibility thing again. Nothing's ever your fault.

'It's not.' The alternative internal voice insisted. 'I'm not the one who keeps him alive.'

Aren't you? You feel threatened even when his name isn't mentioned.

'I do not. Besides, he's gone, I'm here. End of story.' It was not a very convincing argument.

See? We haven't once mentioned his name and you've become defensive.

The alternate internal voice considered the statement. 'Well, what, in your all-knowing opinion, am I supposed to do, then?'

Realize other people's perspectives and accept responsibility for your own actions, feelings, and jealousies, and then deal with the consequences that arise from them. Letting things fester only makes them worse.

'That's a bit preachy.'

Say what you will, but it's the truth. And at the risk of sounding even more preachy, there are still issues that Robin hasn't dealt with either, such as her acceptance of what happened to you know who, her coming to terms with her parents' behavior toward him and then more recently, toward you, and her feelings about blaming God for all or part of what happened and what she fears might happen again.

'Yes, I know all that. It's why she's been seeing the therapist.' An internal thought. 'Maybe it's just because she blames herself that she's so hard on her parents and God.' Another internal thought. 'And maybe she's afraid of blaming herself again.'


'Of course, she has every right to be hard on her parents.' The alternate internal voice countered. 'After all, they've been manipulative and unsupportive, not to mention completely unjustified in what they've done.'

Depends upon whose perspective you're looking at.

Realization started to hit home. 'That perspective thing.'

Exactly. Now, you're catching on.

'It still doesn't excuse their behavior in any way, shape, matter, or form.' The alternate internal voice wasn't quite ready to give in on the issue.

Maybe not, but despite everything, they're still Robin's parents, and she may very well need them in her life, whether she realizes it now or not.

Silent contemplation.

So, as you can see, there are issues that remain for both of you to deal with sooner or later. You don't have to like them, you just have to deal with them.

'Great.' An internal frown. 'You know, you really have a way of putting a damper on things. And I was having such a lovely dream, too……'

The truth hurts sometimes, but don't be too hard on yourself. You've made some progress.

'You think so?'

Of course. Just don't think the ballgame's over. It's barely halftime, and you've got to keep the other side from scoring.

'Right. If they don't score, I win.' The alternate internal voice astutely concluded.

Correct. If they don't score you win.

'Got it. Now, if you don't mind, I have a dream to get back to. In my dream, I was……' Internal pondering. 'I was……' More internal pondering. 'Damn. I can't remember now.'

From the next pillow, a soft voice rough with sleep broke the silence, jarring the disappointed dreamer into a fuller cognizance. "Did you say something, Jess?"

Must've been mumbling. Long fingers reached down and covered the warm hand resting upon an already warm stomach, the low voice whispering gently. "No, sweetheart. Go back to sleep. It's still early."

In response, the smaller body snuggled more tightly up against its larger companion as the dream of racing freely along desolate shorelines and wooded landscape merged with the rustic scents of sweet pine and oak to once again embrace the slumbering subconscious minds of two inseparable beings.


Some time later, the mid-morning sun beat slivered paths across the queen-sized waterbed, the golden rays filtering inside the room through the tiny slits in the venetian blinds leaving thinly striped patterns glowing in their wake. It was an unusually lazy weekend morning, nearly ten o'clock in fact, as one sleeping figure, then the other, finally stirred to welcome the warm springtime day.

Jess spared a quick look at the clock on the nightstand. Is it that late? She let her eyes adjust to the shaded light in the room, then stretched out her long form, feeling the muscles beneath her skin tense and relax in sequence. Noting the slight movement beside her, she turned to face her smaller companion. "Hi."

"Mmmmpf." A blonde head snuggled deeper into the older woman's shoulder.

An affectionate grin. "How's my beloved shrimp this morning?"

One unamused green eye cracked open. "You must have a death wish. You remember what happened the last time you called me that, don't you?"

"Um……" The grin now widened. "Why don't you refresh my memory?"

"You ran for your life until I caught you, that's what happened." Point made, the green eye closed once again.

Oh, I'd say you definitely caught me. "Yes, you're very quick on your feet, Robin." Her hair smells like springtime. And rain.

"And do you remember what happened after I caught you?"

"Let me see……" A look of intense concentration. "I believe your exact words were that I was, quote, your slave for life."

"Yes. And don't you forget it."

A low chuckle. "Oh, I wouldn't dare."

"Good." Robin stifled a yawn, then squinted considerably as her sleepy eyes gradually adapted to the subdued daylight in the room. "You were talking in your sleep, you know."

Dark eyebrows shot up. "Was I? What did I say?"

"Couldn't really tell. Sounded almost like you were talking to someone."

Oh. Right. I was in the middle of a dream, and then I was interrupted by……nevermind. A quick change of subject was in order. "So, what do you want to do today, kiddo?"

Robin, now fully awake, propped herself up on one elbow. "It's the weekend, Jess. Did you forget what we're supposed to do this weekend?"

Slightly mischievous blue eyes gazed into sea green. "Well, If I remember correctly, it has something to do with grocery shopping." A beat. "And tutoring."

That brought the expected blush. "You have a very good memory."

"It does come in handy sometimes." Long fingertips brushed lightly against the sleep tousled wispy blonde bangs. "So…...exactly what tutoring do I need for this grocery shopping?"

Pale eyelashes fluttered closed in response to the gentle touch. That feels nice. "Let's see……" A petite finger tapped softly on the bed. "I think we should start with the basics."

"The basics?"

"Yes." A serious expression. "There are some important things to remember, and this is where hands-on experience can be very beneficial."

The older woman was listening intently. "Is that so?"

"Yes. Now, first, if you're looking for produce, say tomatoes, and you want to tell if they're ripe, you should try squeezing them. The ripe ones are always more soft."

"Are they, now." Jess moved a little closer. "Tell me more."

"Well, next, if you want something from the bakery department, they usually have a person standing there with little samples of things like cakes and pies and muffins…..."


"Yes." Robin continued her explanation. "So, if you're not sure whether you'd like what they're offering, you could simply try a sample."

"I see." The voice was low and seductive. "So, you're saying that if I was perhaps…...interested, I could always sample the muffins."

"Of course." A pause. Oh, she is so busted. "However, Jess……" The smaller woman smiled very, very sweetly. "I'm sure that you'd find certain particular muffins far, far more appealing than others." A pointed look. "Wouldn't you?"

Uh-oh. "Um…...yes, Robin, that's absolutely true."

"Good. I'm glad you agree." The petite body slowly crept on top of the larger form, its weight settling firmly to trap its prey. "So, then……" The voice was but a whisper. "Perhaps we should review, just to make sure you're perfectly clear on the finer points of grocery shopping."

"Uh……" Slightly unfocused blue eyes looked up into smoky green, the tables having been effectively turned. "Okay."

"Grocery shopping……" Small fingers slipped underneath the Calvin shirt. "Requires a certain amount of hands-on experience."

Jess suddenly lost her concentration. "Um……right."

"And if you're looking for, say tomatoes……" Robin kissed a chiseled jaw, then let the fingers beneath the Calvin shirt wander in circular motions, teasing the soft flesh as they made their journey upward. "You should squeeze them in order to make sure they're sufficiently ripe." The fingers proceeded to punctuate that particular point rather nicely.

"Um……" It was impossible to think.

"And if you're passing by the bakery department, and you're interested in sampling the muffins……" The younger woman kissed a path from one tender earlobe down to the base of a very enticing neck. "Remember that certain particular muffins…...preferably of the more familiar variety……are much, much more appealing than others." She slid the length of the long body and lifted the hem of the Calvin shirt to fully expose a smooth, flat stomach, pressing soft, delicate kisses into the flesh around the navel and further downward along the elastic waistband of the matching Calvin boxers.

That did it for Jess. She drew Robin up to her as smoldering deep blue eyes locked firmly onto verdant green, the sensual energy palpable, sucking nearly all of the oxygen out of the room as both women labored to breathe. She kissed the younger woman deeply, while long, slender fingers threaded their way into the soft blonde hair. "Oh, I definitely plan on sticking with the more familiar muffins, Robin." The kisses, now more insistent, were returned in kind, an electric current passing between the entwined bodies. Jess's voice became low and raspy, and her heart seemed to race at least ten times faster as both women ran their hands over every inch of the other's body, unable to get close enough and feeling an all-consuming passion surprising to each in its strength and intensity.

It was both thrilling and scary at the same time, this force seemingly primeval in nature, and Robin, unable to resist its draw, simply let it overtake her. She couldn't help but sense that the connection she and Jess shared was increasing in some extraordinary way, a recognition of a bond far more powerful than either one of them had ever contemplated. She focused steadily on the darkened azure eyes in front of her as a spark of energy ignited a fire beneath her skin like none she'd ever known before. "Good."

It was clear. Something had changed. Something, somehow, had been awakened. And now that a new dimension of awareness and primal sensitivity had been discovered, there was absolutely no going back.


Black Point Wildlife Drive. It sounded like an interesting day trip, a drive over to Merritt Island on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, its wetland environment hosting the National Wildlife Refuge situated in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center and its towering Vehicle Assembly Building. The sun was bright today, hidden periodically by a few puffy clouds drifting lazily eastward, and the air was pleasantly warm with just a slight sea breeze. The true hot weather would come soon enough, though, with its scorching temperatures and sweltering humidity which could prove to be very unpleasant for any period of time longer than ten seconds. But today was delightful, and a good day for an outing, especially after all the horrible stress of the previous several weeks.

The silver Mercedes entered the small town of Titusville less than an hour after departing the Orlando suburbs, the glittering waves of the intracoastal waterway easily visible upon approach. After the lazy Saturday morning the day before, and the extended grocery shopping excursion which subsequently followed, Robin and Jess arose relatively early this Sunday and decided that some outdoor recreation was definitely in order. They packed together a picnic lunch and headed off to enjoy the sunshine and the unspoiled natural habitats that the barrier island had to offer.

The car traveled across the long bridge over the intracoastal waterway, actually a portion of the Indian River Lagoon, toward a small park and picnic area fronting the edge of the wildlife refuge. There were several picnic tables, barbecue grills, covered eating pavilions, ironically complete with electrical outlets, and a couple of boat ramps situated throughout the park area. Many picnickers were already busily cooking their typical barbecue fare, while fishermen of all ages lined up along the small beachfront and boardwalk pier trying their luck at today's catch. Deciding to forego the gathering crowds, Jess and Robin instead headed further on up the road a bit until they came upon an isolated grassy area near what appeared to be a small fishing beach surrounded by low palm trees, a few flatwood pines, and a hedge of mangroves. It was perfect. Relative privacy and enough shade to keep comfortable.

Jess parked the Mercedes on the well-worn sandy grass path and stepped out of the car, careful to avoid a small rut made by previous vehicles to the site. The brilliant sunlight reflected off of her silver mirrored sunglasses as she adjusted them and made her way back to the trunk of the car to retrieve their picnic supplies. "Go ahead and get the picnic blanket and basket, and I'll carry the cooler." She called as Robin approached. "We have some beach chairs here if you'd rather use them."

"No, the blanket's fine." The smaller woman grabbed her assigned items. "Need any help with the cooler?"

"Nope." Blue eyes twinkled unseen beneath the mirrored sunglasses. "Although you did pack a lot of food."

An slight smirk. "I'm always prepared."

"Prepared for what?" Jess set the cooler down under the shade of a tree in their selected location. "To feed an army?"

Shaking her head, Robin bent down and spread out the blanket, her playful green eyes deliberately peeking above her dark sunglasses. "Someone, who shall remain nameless, insisted that we bring along certain items which I hadn't counted on bringing."

The taller form settled comfortably on the blanket. "Everybody knows, Robin, that you can't have a picnic without the appropriate picnic food."

That drew a light chuckle. "I'd hardly consider fried shrimp sandwiches exactly picnic food, but whatever floats your boat."

"My boat's not only floating, Robin, but it's winning the race."

The blonde woman knelt down on the blanket next to her companion and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "You're very competitive, you know that?" And absolutely endearing.

"That's because I intend to win." If they don't score, I win.

"You've already won, and don't you forget it." Another quick peck on the cheek for emphasis, then Robin began unpacking the picnic basket and cooler. "Now, let's see, fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad for me, fried shrimp sandwiches for you."

"I'll have the fried chicken, please."

Blonde eyebrows lifted. "I thought you wanted the sandwiches."

"You've shown me the error of my ways, Robin. I'll have the chicken."


"Didn't you bring enough?" A quick peek inside the cooler. "Seems like there's enough here."

"You really want the chicken?"

"Yes. I love chicken."

Hmmmm. "Fine." Robin removed the chicken from the cooler, then sat back, crossing her legs in front of her. "You know what, Jess?" She placed a piece of fried chicken onto a sturdy paper plate. "I think this whole shrimp fetish thing with you is just a cry for attention."

An incredulous look. That was preposterous. Absolutely ridiculous. "Number one, Robin, just because I have a particular fondness for certain seafood-related items does not mean it's a fetish."

Robin popped the top of a can of soda and took a sip.

"Number two, even if I did have such a supposed fetish, which I don't, I certainly wouldn't need to use it to gain attention."

The blonde head nodded very seriously.

"And number three, I can attract attention, if I want to, completely on my own merits, thank you very much."

"Right." Petite fingers grasped one of the aforementioned sandwiches and placed it on a paper plate. "Here you go, honey."

Damn. She knows me too well. "Thanks."


They sat eating their lunch and enjoying easy conversation. It was like that with them, so familiar and comfortable that sometimes, they didn't even have to say a word. Just being together was enough. Robin stared out at the small lagoon near their picnic site watching the tiny waves lap lightly at the edges of the shoreline. A few sea gulls flew by, occasionally dipping down to the water's surface in search of schooling greenback minnows, while a few birdsongs could be heard far off in the distance, carried on the light breeze though the branches of the surrounding tall trees. A young brown pelican stood stationary on a partially submerged piling not too far away, awaiting the receding tide and the arrival of his next meal.

Robin silently reflected on the course of the previous several weeks and the path their lives had taken. It had been on her mind now for a while, this sense of……what? It was a confounding intangible something, hard to explain and even harder to put a name to. She and Jess were definitely growing closer, but that was to be expected the longer they spent together. And yet, there was something else. Something even stronger, something which inspired feelings in her that she'd never felt before, something more……visceral.

Green eyes hidden beneath the dark sunglasses silently observed the taller woman now stretched out on the blanket casually sipping her apricot iced tea, her back resting against the base of a nearby palm tree and her slender legs extending to neatly cross at the ankles. Those same green eyes noted with interest how the shadows of the swaying palm branches danced in random fashion across the statuesque form, the result of a game of hide and seek with the sun's rays which only further served to enhance the captivating presence. She's beautiful. One long leg now hitched itself up at the knee, while tendrils of long dark hair blew gently in the breeze, finally settling down to once again frame the chiseled planes of the angular face. It was a compelling scene, striking for its physical appearance, and one of which Robin had more than once taken appreciable notice. Was it that, then? Was it just the considerable physical appeal? Was this the overwhelming feeling she'd been having, one that caused every nerve in her being to become super-sensitized even at the slightest glance? Or was it something else entirely?

The surroundings were pleasantly peaceful and relaxed, nature's ageless treasures laid out before them to admire for their lasting endurance throughout time and progress. Jess, herself, seemed just as lost in thought, perhaps, as Robin now wondered, pondering similar notions. If so, then maybe those concealed azure eyes were privy to an enlightenment which had so far hopelessly escaped the younger woman. The silver mirrored sunglasses kept steadily fixed on a point somewhere amidst the mangrove trees nestled along the opposite shore of the shallow lagoon. Maybe so. At last, Robin decided to raise the subject. The problem was, she didn't exactly know just what to say. "You're looking pensive."

The dark head turned slightly. "Just thinking." A silly grin appeared.

That prompted a slight chuckle from Robin. "That's what I said." Should I bring it up? Actually, there was no real harm in doing so, was there? "Hey Jess? I was thinking….."


A smile. "Yes." Pale eyebrows slowly knit together as words became more elusive. "I was thinking about……well, actually, lately I've felt that……"

Jess sat up a bit straighter, now sensing a more serious discussion. "What is it?" Did I do something?

"It's just that I've been feeling that we…...you and I…..." What are the words? This was turning out to be very difficult. "I've always thought that things between us were really great, but lately, I've been feeling……"

What did I do? Jess fought the urge to panic. She removed her sunglasses but was otherwise silent.

"Well, I've sensed that things have…... " Robin played with her fingers nervously, then smoothed an imaginary crease in her pale yellow Capri pants. "What I'm trying to say is that I think that lately things seem to have gotten somewhat stronger between us. I mean, sometimes, when I look at you or when we're together, it just seems like it's……" There was simply no accurate word for it. "More."


"Yes. More." Robin hadn't yet made eye contact, keeping her dark sunglasses firmly in place. "It's hard to explain, but it just seems that these feelings are……" She again struggled for the right word.

"More." Jess finished.

A relieved smile. "Right." Petite fingers lowered the dark sunglasses and quickly folded them as now unmasked green eyes firmly locked onto crystal blue. "I don't know if you know what I mean, or maybe if you……might feel it, too?"

A large hand reached over and gently enfolded a nearby smaller hand. "Robin, I have thought for a very long time that when I'm with you, things seem to be more intense. Colors and sounds and the smell of everything……it all seems more alive to me." That was certainly the truth. "I've never felt more with anyone else before."

There was a moment's hesitation. "And lately……?" The younger woman was almost afraid to ask, afraid that she'd imagined it all.

Lately? In truth, Jess had avoided thinking about that too hard, although she knew something was subtly different. She took a moment to compose her thoughts, then tried her best to explain. "Well, lately I have sensed something……something I really can't put my finger on. To me, it's almost as though I want……have to be as close to you as I can." I'm making no sense. She took a deep breath, searching her mind for a more rational explanation. "Maybe it's just that the longer we know each other, the more in synch we are with each other, and so the feelings we have are just……"

"More." It was Robin's turn to finish.

"Right." An affectionate smile. "More."

"Yeah." The blonde head nodded. "That's what I thought." At least I'm not crazy. "I'm glad we got that settled."

Jess gave the hand she held a light squeeze. "You bet." She stood up, feeling the joints in her knees pop slightly before dusting off her faded blue jeans and slipping her sunglasses back into place. "Are you ready to roll?"

"All set. Let's just get this stuff packed up." Robin reached for the picnic basket, casting her older companion a deliberate glance. "You're in charge of the cooler."

"Amazing how light it is now." A nearly inaudible voice playfully quipped.

Petite ears perked. "I heard that."

Chuckling lightly, Robin and Jess gathered together their picnic items and stowed them securely in the car, then headed off down the main road toward the center of the wildlife refuge area. Soon, they came upon a visitor's center and made a brief stop inside to obtain some pamphlets and reading material on the local wildlife habitats and view several of the informational exhibits. Behind the small modern building was a pond with an adjacent nature walk through terrain made up mainly of palm trees, slash pines, scrub oaks, low lying palmettos, and other palm brush set in the middle of a natural wetland. A boardwalk provided a walking trail that led through the wooded area.

Jess stepped outside the back door of the visitor's center, peering down into the shallow pond as three giant goldfish swam by. "You want to take a little walk?"

"I'd love it." Robin surveyed the rustic scenery. "It looks so peaceful here."

"Yeah, this is the original Florida. You can almost picture how the natives lived."

"Native, like you?" A hidden grin.

One slender eyebrow arched conspicuously above silver mirrored sunglasses. "I'm not quite that native, Robin."

They took a few steps inside the entrance to the nature trail and were immediately surrounded by a dense shade with only small hints of sunlight visible through the foliage of the trees. An array of crooked slender oak branches darted haphazardly up above, their bark liberally covered with hanging Spanish moss, some of which had fallen to the ground below in silent camouflage. "This is so cool, Jess." The boardwalk meandered back into the secluded woods. All that could be heard were the calls of various species of birds and the rustle of leaves as small creatures scampered hurriedly beneath the thick underbrush. "There's a red cardinal sitting over there." A petite finger pointed in its direction. "And listen. Do you hear the gray catbirds calling?"

A hushed tone. "Is that what that is?"

"Yeah. They almost sound like cats, don't they?"

"I've never really listened much to bird calls." Jess stood still among the isolated tranquility. It was amazing, all the different sounds echoing throughout the woods, some faint and some close by, things she'd never really heard before. It was……More. Yeah, that was definitely the word she'd use to describe her experience with Robin. Everything was more. "Hey, you ready to take that wildlife drive now?"

The smaller woman offered an impish grin as they approached the end of the nature trail. "Lead on, O native one."


The Black Point Wildlife Drive was a seven-mile long journey with several stopping points along the way to view the refuge's wildlife, mostly waterfowl and migratory birds, in preserved habitats of estuaries, salt marshes, sandy mud flats, palm and oak hammocks, and an occasional mangrove-rimmed pond. The refuge itself was supplied with both fresh water from the St. Johns River and salt water from the sea, creating a brackish water environment carefully monitored by refuge personnel for its salinity levels. A five-mile loop foot trail was also accessible, providing a close-up view of the marsh for those inclined to engage in more avid bird-watching activity. For a higher perspective, a raised observation platform enabled panorama viewing of the marshlands and their inhabitants from a distance. It was, of course, a fascinating glimpse of wildlife in its natural environment and offered an appreciation of the joint efforts by NASA and the National Park Service in protecting the refuge area from the ever-encroaching development along Florida's Space Coast.

The silver Mercedes made its way slowly through the drive route, initially coming across a large marshland filled with a myriad of waterfowl. Stopping by the roadside, Jess and Robin stepped out of their car in order to gain a closer look. Not far away, a large blue heron stood poised in the grassy area near the edge of a pond, as did several snowy egrets further on down the shoreline, their wispy long feathers fluttering delicately in the light breeze. Behind the tall reeds, a lone white ibis, distinctive for its crooked beak, hunted single-mindedly for food in the sand beneath the shallow water. Across the road, mud flats in the distance provided feeding grounds for gathering shorebirds continuously poking their beaks beneath the moist blanket of sand in search of hidden prey, while terns and ring-billed gulls circled overhead ready to swoop down and capture their targets from up above. A large flock of mallard ducks flew in unison overhead, finally settling down gracefully on a distant marsh, their light quacking sounds echoing faintly across the quiet sanctuary.

From this vantage point, varied and diverse habitats could be seen, ranging from the marshlands and sandy mud flats, to the tops of the tall pine trees situated slightly northward, home to ospreys and the American bald eagles. A large bird flew in the direction of the tall pines, and Robin couldn't tell whether it was an osprey or a bald eagle, both similar in appearance from a distance, although Jess was absolutely sure it was indeed an eagle. Both species were said to be protected, with the bald eagle particularly endangered with only ten active bald eagle nests populating the refuge. A type of binocular scope called a Nest Finder assisted wildlife seekers in locating some of the nearby eagles nests.

There were several other wildlife stops along the route, each providing glimpses of the neighboring habitats and some of the species occupying them. Further down the drive trail, remnants of a pine forest ravaged by fire could be seen, the result of a decade-long drought and fire suppression policy that allowed the underbrush to accumulate, causing intense wildfires when struck by lightning. According to one of the brochures, controlled burns were now conducted on a rotating basis in the refuge in order to manage and benefit the wildlife populations. Close by, a yellow-rump warbler's lilting song could be heard seconds before the tiny bird flew from its perch in a mangrove tree on the far side of the road and headed directly for those same charred pine woodlands.

Just as the Mercedes approached the end of the wildlife drive, a slow-moving armadillo crawled its way through the thin grass on one side of the trail, while a barely visible brown cottontail rabbit, ears twitching inquisitively, foraged around in the nearby brush. Alligators had been known to roam the mosquito control ditches on either side of the roadway, selecting suitable locations on the hard mud surface to sun themselves, but none of the crusty reptiles could be seen adorning those side ditches today. The car made its way out of the refuge area and traveled back toward the bridge spanning the Indian River Lagoon just as the sun in was beginning to set for the day.

"Hey, Jess…..." Robin took notice of the tops of the tall street light poles as the car passed each one in succession, craning her neck slightly in order to gain a clearer view. "Those look like bird's nests up there."

"Yeah, they do."

Just then, a round head poked itself out from one of the large twig and seaweed nests situated on the platform top of a light pole in front of them. "It's an osprey." Robin was fascinated. "These are osprey nests."

"I never realized they made their nests up there." Jess smiled as a now familiar thought occurred to her. More. It was official. Being with Robin was definitely more. "Pretty interesting, huh?"

"Yeah." The blonde head turned toward the car's driver, a contented sigh escaping. "That was a really great day."

"And we even have some food left." Jess quipped.

A purposeful glance. "I'll ignore that comment." The smaller woman surveyed their surroundings more closely. "Hey, isn't this the road that leads to that place where we went fishing that day?"


Hmmmm. "And doesn't it also lead to that particular beach you told me about back there?"

Beach? "Well, there's the Cape Canaveral National Seashore and……" The light suddenly dawned. Oh. Jess tried hard to suppress a grin. "You mean the one where clothing is……" There was a ghost of a wink. "Not required?"

A faint blush crept up Robin's face. "Yes." A slight pause. "I was just asking."

A nod. "Right."

The passenger's green eyes focused intently on the road. "Right."


It was going to be a relaxing evening, one well anticipated and definitely well earned. Although it was merely the beginning of the week, work had been exceptionally hectic lately, and things were starting to become backlogged. Of course, that's what happens when you take the entire weekend off. Robin nestled herself into the far corner of the living room's plush sofa and put her feet up on the coffee table, flexing her toes back and forth to enjoy their freedom from the confining shoes she'd worn that day. Why can't they make comfortable dress shoes for women? It didn't seem like a hard question. After all, they could smash atoms into subatomic particles called quarks, manufacture powerful telescopes that could see to the beginning of the universe, and map the entire human DNA sequence, but yet, women's dress shoes remained the most uncomfortable creation known to mankind. It's a conspiracy. That conclusion had a lot of merit, she decided, and the business world was the prime conspirator, taking out its revenge against the ranks of professional women attacking its hallowed good ol' boy domain.

It hadn't been a hard day at work, just more running around than usual, trying to file several motions late in the day before the courthouse closed its doors for the night. That, itself, wouldn't have been so bad, but for a few last minute rearrangements of exhibits and the unavailability of any paralegals or runners, which, unfortunately, required that the young associate carry the pleadings to the Federal Building personally, undergoing searches and x-ray screenings before racing into the clerk's office to deposit the documents into the filing bin just as the marshal was locking the doors. Whew!

But now, it was good to be at home, the tensions of the day left solidly behind. Dinner had finished a short while ago, with Jess generously offering to wash the dishes and clean up after their quick meal of Chinese take-out. The junior partner had subsequently secluded herself into her home office to prepare a brief which was due the following day, leaving Robin time to relax and unwind. It was working. She was actually starting to catch her second wind as she wiggled her toes and enjoyed the feel of the soft comfortable sofa beneath her. Switching the stereo on to one of her favorite jazz stations, Robin sank further into the sofa and began to idly flip through a magazine she'd found resting on the end table next to her.

It was hard to tell exactly how much time had elapsed before Jess slipped into the living room nearly unnoticed, bearing gifts. "Hi."

Green eyes looked up from the magazine. "Hi."

"I thought you might like these." The older woman stepped over and placed two very fuzzy oversized bunny slippers onto Robin's feet.

"Um……yeah." It was a pleasant surprise. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." Then, just as quickly as she had appeared, Jess vanished down the long hallway, presumably to return to her legal brief.

A few short minutes passed, then quite unexpectedly, the tall form reappeared in the living room bearing another gift. "Hi again."

Blonde eyebrows knit together quizzically. "Hi."

"I thought you might like this." Jess handed Robin a book that the smaller woman had begun reading but hadn't yet finished.

"Um……" A petite hand slowly grasped the book. "Yeah. Great. Thank you."

A quick nod, then just as before, the older woman retreated from the room without another word.

Hmmmm. Wonder what that was all about. Robin returned the magazine to its place on the end table and opened the book, locating the page that she had previously marked. Just as she was settling in to begin her reading, a bit of rattling emanated from the direction of the kitchen, startling her slightly. What's going on in there? The younger woman was curious, but not particularly inclined to get up and investigate, so she opted instead to resume her reading.

Exactly one minute later, Jess emerged from the kitchen bearing yet another gift. "Hi."

Cautious green eyes peered over the top of the book, carefully observing the taller woman. "Hi."

"I thought you might like something to drink." Jess set the glass of mango flavored iced tea down on the coffee table in front of Robin, smiled briefly, then turned once again to leave the room.

Okay, that's it! The book closed quickly. "Hold it."

Innocent blue eyes looked at Robin. "What?"

"You know what. What's going on?"

"Going on?" Those same blue eyes blinked several times. "I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about."

She's up to something. "Yes, you do. I'm on to you, Jess."

A shake of the head. "Robin, whatever do you mean?" It was not a very believable protest.

"Don't play innocent with me. First you do the dishes, which was very sweet of you, thank you. Then, you bring me my slippers. Then, you bring me my book. Then, you bring me something to drink, all without me asking. It's not Christmas, and I know it's not my birthday, so what are you doing?"

"Doing?" Jess had to think quickly. "I'm your slave for life, remember? I'm just fulfilling my role."

"Right." Suspicious green eyes narrowed significantly. "Okay, spill it, Jess. I know you want something."

"There's nothing, Robin, I promise."

A frank look. "Just spill it."

"There's nothing……"

Another frank look. "Spill it."

The taller woman slowly approached the sofa, her dark eyebrows now raised almost comically. "Well……now that you mention it…..." She knelt down on the floor at the edge of the sofa in front of Robin. "Perhaps, there might be one tiny little thing."

"I knew it!" A satisfied smirk. "Okay, tell me Jess, what is it?"

"I was just wondering……"

"Yes?" Robin was curious.

"Later on, after you've finished reading, if I went into the bedroom and you were to maybe come with me……"


A long, slender finger made tiny circles on the top of Robin's knee. "And if I were to turn down the lights and maybe put on some soft music……"


The finger slowly traveled along the length of a petite thigh. "And if I were to maybe lie down on the bed and take my shirt off ……"

"Yes?" This was starting to sound interesting.

The finger continued its path upward, drawing idle shapes along the way. "And if you were to perhaps get onto the bed with me, then maybe you could take your hands and……"


Twinkling blue eyes glanced up. "Give me a backrub."

Robin tried to stifle a giggle. "A backrub?" She gave Jess an amused look. "You want a backrub."

"Yes." A hopeful expression.

"I see." The blonde head nodded after some considerable thought. "Well, I'm pretty sure something could be arranged."

A pleased grin. "Thanks."

"But tell me one thing, Jess. If you're my slave for life and, of course, you're fulfilling your role, why am I the one giving you the backrub?"

Good question. "Um……I'll get back to you on that."

Robin smiled, then leaned forward and gave the kneeling woman a quick kiss. "How about this? You rub my back, and I'll rub yours."

That was easy. "Deal."

"Perfect." Robin reached for her book and opened it once again to the place where she'd left off. "And then after that you can get started on my neck rub, shoulder rub, and foot rub."

A blank stare. "I can?"

"Yes." A playful pat on the older woman's arm. "I know how desperately you want to fulfill your role."

Um…… Jess contemplated that statement as her eyes traveled from the front cover of the opened book now positioned prominently in her field of vision, down to the fuzzy oversized bunny slippers moving happily from side to side, and then upward to the glass of mango flavored iced tea resting casually in Robin's hand, ice cubes clinking softly in the background. Damn. She got me. A tiny smile emerged. And I used to be so good at bribery, too.


The room had been quiet for quite some time before Robin finally turned over in bed and faced Jess, whispering. "You still awake?"

"Yeah." The moon was bright that night, casting its sharp glow between the small spaces in the venetian blinds. "You can't get to sleep?"

"I suppose I just have some stuff on my mind." A long pause. "Thanks for the backrub earlier."

"You're welcome. Thanks for my backrub, too. After sitting in that chair all night working on that brief, it sure felt good." Silver blue eyes focused on nearby gray green eyes in the dark. "So, tell me, what's on your mind?"

How should I answer that? "I was just thinking about what we discussed the other day……you know, when we were talking about feeling more for each other." The small body snuggled against the older woman. "I don't know what inspires that in me."

A small grin appeared. "I have to say that your grocery shopping lesson the other morning was particularly inspired."

Oh boy. The blonde head burrowed further into Jess's shoulder.

"Hey there." The voice was soft and gentle. "Sweetheart, there's no reason to be embarrassed. It's just me."

"I know." Robin relaxed a little. "Sometimes, I feel a little like I'm almost going to lose control. It's just a bit scary."

Jess sobered. "Come here." Long arms wrapped securely around the smaller body. "Honey, remember what we said? If either of us isn't comfortable with something, we won't do it. I promise you, just holding you is enough for me."

Robin felt safe. "Me too, but I also want more." The contradictory feelings were difficult to explain.

Jess lightly stroked her fingers through the short blonde bangs, trying to soothe away any lingering embarrassment. "Can I tell you a secret?"

The younger woman peered up into silver blue eyes barely visible in the reflected moonlight. "Okay."

"Sometimes, I almost lose control, too." It was an honest admission.


"Yeah, really. You have that effect on me."

The vibrations of the low voice were comforting. A petite hand reached up to caress the older woman's cheek. "How do you know just the right things to say to me?"

"It's easy when it's all true." Jess brushed her lips across Robin's forehead to reinforce that point more fully.

Contented, Robin nestled the top of her head underneath Jess's chin, then chuckled softly. "We're a pair, aren't we?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way, kiddo."

A slight pause. "Like slippers."

"Slippers?" It seemed a slightly strange analogy. "How so?"

"Well, slippers are warm and soft and cozy and comfortable."

All that was true, but…… An ebony eyebrow slowly edged up. "Are you saying that I somehow resemble your bunny slippers?" There was a definite teasing quality to the question.

"No, what I'm saying is that my Buggs Bunny slippers for me and your Tasmanian Devil slippers for you are cozy and soft and warm and comfortable."

Jess decided to play a little. "And my Tweety Bird slippers aren't?"

"No, Jess, not those big yellow silly looking things." An exaggerated shudder. "They don't fit you."

"But they're the right size for me." The older woman protested.

Robin thought she'd explained all of this before. "That's true, but they don't fit you as a person."

"And the other ones do?"

"Yes." How much clearer could Robin make it? "My Buggs Bunny slippers and your Tasmanian Devil slippers fit us."

"I see." I'm sure there's a point, here. Somewhere.

"Right. They fit well."

Jess was trying desperately to follow the logic. "Our slippers are warm and soft and cozy and comfortable, and they fit well."

"Yes. Just like us." Robin smiled. "See, what I'm saying, Jess? We're like a pair of slippers." A petite hand came to rest on the older woman's stomach. "We fit well."

Dark eyelashes fluttered closed at the familiar touch. Of course. For some reason, it all made perfect sense. "We fit well."

Exactly. Just like a pair of warm, soft, cozy, comfortable slippers. There was nothing better in the world.

The End.


Please look for the next sequel featuring Jess and Robin coming very soon.

Author's Acknowledgment: Many, many thanks to my beta reader, Lois, whose help and input was invaluable to me during the writing of this story. Thanks also to everyone who provided feedback and encouragement. It was appreciated more than you know.

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