All or Nothing



Disclaimers: Please be gentle with me as this is my first posted work. All the characters belong to me and me alone. Copyright 1997, 1999. Love/Sex/Language: This is an uber alternative fiction story. It depicts a loving relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under the age of 18 or live in an ignorant state wherein this may in any manner be illegal, please move on. There is bad language that may offend some, but given what is on tv/cable these days, it's probably tame. There's also drinking of alcohol and a tad bit of angst. Feed The Bard: Please let me know if you like my work!

Alex and Stacy settled into a peaceful, but uncommunicative routine over the next couple of weeks. Despite the time they spent with each other, neither ventured past the here and now. Alex was living life on a daily basis, while Stacy continued to assume that Alex's feelings toward her reciprocated her own, with neither articulating their true thoughts and emotions.

They also expanded their exploration of each other's lives and bodies. Stacy began to introduce Alex to many of her friends, expanding their base of socializing from Ginny and Izzy, although they still spent a great deal of time with

them as well. The time they spent together also usually culminated in love making. They continued to discover how to please one another, experimenting

with each other's body as they learned what brought gasps of pleasure and fueled the fires of passion.

As the date of Alex's promotional review grew closer, Stacy noticed Alex's apprehension increase. Sensing that no words could allay Alex's fears, Stacy tried to do things for her to keep her mind off of what Alex had designated as "D-Day". Alex told Stacy that "D" was for either doom or delight.

Unbeknownst to Alex, Ginny had conned Stacy into helping her arrange a surprise party for Alex on the Friday she was to receive "the news". At first hesitant, Stacy finally relented after Ginny swore on her mother's grave that the promotion was clinched and Alex deserved a celebration for her hard earned accomplishment. Unfortunately, Stacy did not know Ginny's mother was alive and well and living in a plush condo on the fairways in Palm Springs.

Meeting over lunches, the two completed a guest list and agreed upon an overall plan. Stacy was to tell Alex that she had a surprise for her. They were going to go to Alex's favorite restaurant and then meet Ginny and Izzy at Flicker's

for a congratulatory drink. However, Ginny had rented a private room in the bar where forty of their friends would be waiting to surprise and congratulate Alex. As the day grew nearer, Alex remained unaware of their plans.

The night before "D-Day", Alex was an emotional mess. Although she knew that they couldn't deny her, she believed in Murphy's Law and that if she had any luck at all, it was bad. She appreciated Stacy's patience with her and thought of how she could somehow reward Stacy once the day had passed. When she arrived at Stacy's that evening, there was a bottle of Moet Chandon waiting for her, along with pate and crackers. Stacy told her the treats were for a good luck preview of what the next day would hold.

Throughout dinner Alex was unusually quiet, responding to questions as briefly as she could. After dinner, they snuggled on the couch, watching television. Stacy noticed Alex was fidgety and had a short attention span.

"Hey, are you okay?" Stacy asked with concern.

"I can't get tomorrow off of my mind. I know that I'll get it, but part of me is assuming the worst and I'm obsessing on it." She answered, sitting up out of Stacy's embrace.

"Anything I can do to help?" she asked mischievously, gently squeezing Alex's thigh, causing Alex to smile.

"No, Hon. I don't think even that will help . . . I'm not much company tonight. I think that I need to be by myself. There's no use subjecting you to my miserable mood."

Stacy was hurt and disappointed, but didn't want Alex to know how she felt. "Are you sure? I understand your apprehension and can tolerate your mood. I'd like to be here for you. I could give a killer back rub to help relax you."

Alex stood and took Stacy's hand, pulling her up off the couch. "I know, and I really appreciate the champagne and dinner. But I think I should just be by myself. I will take a raincheck on that back rub though," Alex said, embracing her and gently kissing her on the lips.

"I'm here if you need me or if you just want to talk."

"I know. Thanks."

"We're still on for tomorrow, aren't we? Either way I still want to be there for you and with you."

"Yep. I'm going to call you as soon as I hear anything, I promise." Alex smiled, giving Stacy another kiss. They stood for a few minutes as they kissed tenderly, holding on to one another as if they'd never see each other again, until Alex pushed Stacy back gently while she kept her arms around her.

"As good as this feels, I think I better get going before it goes much further." Alex gave Stacy a quick peck on the forehead and pulled away, picking up her purse and coat. She walked to the front door with Stacy following her, stopping to turn toward Stacy after she opened it.

"I'm sorry I ruined the evening. It was perfect and you were awfully sweet. I promise I'll call as soon as I hear anything."

"Okay. Be careful driving home."

"I will. See you tomorrow." Alex turned and walked out the door to her car. Stacy stood at the doorway watching her. Hearing Alex's car door close and the engine turn over, she closed the door and walked into the kitchen, getting a beer from the refrigerator. Walking back to the couch she tried to understand Alex's sudden escape but was unable to.

* * *

Alex drove home also having difficulty understanding her sudden departure. All she knew was that she had started feeling claustrophobic for the last week and just needed some time to herself. After all, she thought silently to herself, it had only been within the last six weeks that she had begun spending time with someone else instead of being on her own. That, in addition to her meeting the next day, was more than she could handle. She shrugged off her feelings of being surrounded, assuming they would pass once her job related conflict was resolved.

* * *

The next day Alex was on pins and needles. Her meeting with her superiors wasn't set until 1:30. She used what little extra energy she had to focus on her required tasks. At 1:25 she left her office to go upstairs to the Executive Suite. She didn't return until over an hour later.

* * *

"Ginny McDougall," Ginny answered as she picked up the phone.

"Yo," Alex responded.

"Alex! Have you heard yet?"

"That's Ms. Senior vice-president to you, peon!" Alex laughed. "Don't tell Stacy, but I had to call you as soon as I got back from the meeting."

"That's wonderful! We'll have to paint the town red," Ginny said, both happy for her friend and with herself for keeping the party a secret.

"I'll call you later about that. I have to call Stacy and tell her the good news."

* * *

Alex dialed Stacy's number as soon as she hung up with Ginny. Deciding to take the rest of the afternoon off, they agreed to meet at Alex's at 3:30 to start their celebration.

After Stacy hung up the phone, she finished the chapter she had been editing and dashed home to get her clothes for the evening and the present she had bought for Alex. As she drove home she momentarily thought back to the evening before and Alex's ill mood, and optimistically assumed the storm had passed.

* * *

Stacy arrived at Alex's, presenting her with a bottle of champagne and a sterling silver name plaque reading, "Alexandra Barton, Sr. Vice-president," engraved on it. They drank the bottle of champagne and went to an expensive French restaurant for dinner, where they had another bottle, of which Alex drank the majority. By the time Stacy drove them to Flickers, Alex was feeling little, if any pain.

As part of the rouse for the party, Ginny and Izzy were sitting at the bar when Alex and Ginny walked in promptly at 9:00 as agreed. Her two friends gave Alex congratulatory hugs and kisses and bought a round of shooters and beers. After they toasted Alex's promotion and drank the shots, they walked to the back of the bar to where the party was to be held. As they walked, Alex noticed a tall, attractive woman staring at her. Their eyes locked upon one another's, not wanting to release the other. The woman stood in the corridor off the dance floor, her blue-gray eyes hypnotizing and penetrating Alex from across the room. Not giving it a second thought, Alex shook her head and blinked and continued to follow Ginny and Izzy.

Ginny opened the door to the room and Alex heard thirty people singing "Congratulations to you" to the tune of "Happy Birthday". Alex was both extremely shocked and pleased. When the chorus ended, she turned and hugged Stacy, who pointed to Ginny as the mastermind. Ginny, in turn, received a hug and a thank you as well. Alex walked around the room speaking to each person briefly and received congratulatory hugs from all. When she finished her beer, there was another one waiting for her, which went on through the rest of the night. Stacy contentedly watched Alex mingling with the guests as she stood talking to her own friends. She was surprised that Alex was still standing after her heavy alcohol consumption. She herself was starting to feel very tipsy.

After Alex had thanked and greeted her friends, she found Stacy, grabbed her hand and led her out of the room to the dance floor, where a slow song was playing. Alex put her arms around Stacy's neck and gave her a long, hard kiss as they slowly swayed to the music. Pulling her mouth away, she whispered "thank you" in Stacy's ear and rested her head on Stacy's shoulder.

"You're welcome. It was Ginny's doing, I'm just a co-conspirator. You having a good time?"

"Yep. How about you?"

"Wonderful. How are you feeling?"

"Drunk as all hell, but I'm enjoying every minute of it! I haven't let loose like this in a long time."

"Good. You deserve it," Stacy responded, kissing Alex's temple.

By 11:00 many women at the party had left, leaving Alex, Stacy, Ginny and Izzy and a handful of others. With other patrons steadily filling the bar, they abandoned the separate room to stake their spaces and stood against a mirrored wall across from the bar on the edge of the dance floor.

While Stacy danced with Izzy, Alex stood next to Ginny sipping her beer and watching the people around her. As she looked around, she saw the woman whom she noticed earlier, again staring at her with her mesmerizing eyes. The woman had light brown hair which fell just past her shoulder and was wearing designer jeans and a white blouse. She nodded to the woman in acknowledgment. In return, the woman lifted her drink. Becoming a little unsettled, she turned her back to the woman and faced Ginny.

"Don't look, but there's a woman standing across the bar staring at me," Alex whispered anxiously.

"How am I supposed to see her if you tell me not to look?" Ginny laughed. "What is she wearing?"

"Jeans and a white blouse. Be inconspicuous about it."

Ginny glanced over and saw the woman, who was still looking over at Alex. "My, My . . . aren't we popular tonight? What do you plan on doing about this interesting glare down?"

Alex swallowed what was left in her beer bottle on placed it down on the ledge behind Ginny. "Nothing, absolutely nothing. You want another shot?"

"Sure, I'll go get them," Ginny offered walking over to the bar, leaving Alex standing by herself. Alex looked toward the dance floor where Stacy and Izzy were dancing. As the music stopped, she saw the two of them walking toward her with Izzy guiding Stacy, who was slightly intoxicated.

"I think we may have our first casualty," Izzy teased when they reached Alex. Alex put her arms around Stacy, who leaned up against the wall.

"How are you feeling?" Alex asked.

"Fine. I'm really tired and do not even want to look at another drink unless it's a glass of water."

Izzy offered to go get her one and rushed up to where Ginny was standing at the bar placing their drink order.

"Do you want to go home?" asked Alex.

"Do you?"

"If you're not up to it, we should go."

"No, it's your night. You should stay if you want to. I'll see if Izzy and Ginny will drive you home."

Izzy and Ginny walked up carrying their drinks. "I hear one of you soldiers is failing fast," Ginny teased. "Izzy and I discussed it and if Alex wants to stay, Izzy can drive Stacy home, if she wants and if she trusts us with her car."

"Yeh, I've had a long day and Ms. Thing here promised she would take care of Alex and stop drinking if you wanted to go now," Izzy offered.

"I think I'll take you up on it. Is that okay with you? I'm really wiped, but I still want you to have a good time." Stacy asked Alex.

"If you don't mind."

"That's fine. Are you going to be okay Ginny?" Stacy asked handing her car keys over to Izzy.

"Yep. I promised Izzy I'd switch to coffee. I promise I'll take care of Alex," Ginny swore with a cross my heart motion over her chest.

The four exchanged goodbyes, with Alex promising to call Stacy first thing in the morning when she woke up. After the two women left, Alex and Ginny raised their shot glasses toasting each other and drank them down, following the shot with a beer chaser.

"So now what?" Ginny asked. "What kind of mischief can we two old farts get into?"

"I don't know, but I have to pee something awful. I'll be right back." Alex walked around the bar area to the bathroom so she wouldn't have to walk past the staring woman. As she walked out of the bathroom, the woman was standing next to the door waiting for her.

"Excuse me," the woman said as Alex walked by, causing her to stop and turn around. "I don't mean this to sound as a come on, but you and your friends looked like you were having a good time. I didn't mean to stare, but you're very attractive. I'm sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable."

Alex was taken aback not only by this woman approaching her, but her apparent sincerity as well. "That's okay."

"My name is Chris," the woman introduced herself, holding out her hand.

"Alex," she responded, taking the woman's hand to shake. Despite, or maybe because of, her level of intoxication, Alex felt flattered and scared. Chris' eyes and smile both mesmerized and attracted her. She felt remotely guilty for feeling attracted to this woman, but the alcohol dulled any remorse she felt. After all, she thought, she wasn't married, was she?

"Looks like you and your friends were celebrating something."

"Yeh, I got a promotion today."

"Congratulations! Can I buy you a drink?"

"Sure. A beer's fine. Listen, I've got to get back to my friend before she gets worried. She was left to baby-sit me. You can come join us if you'd like."

"Thanks. I'll be over with your drink."

Alex walked back over to Ginny, who had begun to wonder where her friend had gone off to. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw Alex walking toward her with a mischievous smile on her face. "What happened to you? I was starting to get worried." Ginny quizzed. Alex related her encounter outside of the bathroom.

"What about Stacy?" Ginny asked seriously. "You are seeing her, remember?"

"I haven't done anything, Gin. I'm just talking to the woman. Anyway, even if I did, I'm not married. I've told you that and I've told Stacy that." Alex saw Chris approaching, "Shh, here she comes. Just be nice."

Chris walked up with three bottles of beer, handing one each to Ginny and Alex. "Hi, I'm Chris. I didn't know what you were drinking, but I thought I'd take a chance," she said introducing herself to Ginny.

Ginny was surprised by Chris' aggressiveness much as Alex had been minutes before. "This is fine, thank you. I'm Ginny." She thanked Chris as she shook her hand. "Having a good time tonight?" she asked trying to make conversation.

"Yeh, not as much as your group seemed be having. This is my first time here by myself, so I don't really know anyone."

"Are you from out of town?" Alex asked.

"No, I'm from San Diego," Chris hesitated. "I. . .ah . . . I've just recently made some changes in my life and come out more often now."

"Really? A break up?" Ginny asked, looking at Alex who had raised her eyebrows at the mysterious statement.

"Yes, you could say that. Do you guys come here a lot?" Chris asked trying to change the subject.

"Not really," Alex responded, "Used to come a lot when it first opened, but not so much lately."

The trio engaged in idle conversation, watching women come and go past them as they stood against the wall. Chris told them she sold business communications systems for a national company, not saying which one. Every question they would ask Chris was met by an evasive response. Alex and Ginny were both perplexed and amused by Chris' vagueness, each trying to guess what secret their companion was trying to hide. After a while, a friend of Ginny's approached and dragged her off to the dance floor, leaving Chris and Alex alone.

Waves of apprehension swept through Alex. She was afraid of being left alone with this curious new woman. Chris excited her in a manner unlike Stacy. There was something new and daring about the woman. Her apparent sincerity made Alex feel at ease in an odd sort of way, although she still felt uncomfortable with both the situation in general and being the object of such blatant attention.

"So, Chris, what brought you out tonight?" Alex asked trying to diminish her anxiety.

"I got tired of sitting at home and felt brave enough to venture out by myself. I've been here a couple of times with my friend Michelle and her girl friend, but they had other plans tonight. Maybe you know them, Michelle Caruso and Diane Banks?"

"No, sorry, the names don't sound familiar."

"They've been really nice to me. They've brought me here and to a couple of the mens bars to expose me to 'the life' as they call it. Would you like another beer?" Chris asked noticing Alex's empty bottle.

"Sure," Alex slurred. Chris walked the few steps to the bar and returned moments later with two fresh beers. "Thanks. I probably need this like a hole in the head," Alex said taking the beer from Chris.

"Been partying hearty huh?"

"Yep. I gave up counting awhile ago. Oh well."

"You're not driving are you?" Chris asked concerned.

"Hell no! My date drove, but she left awhile ago with Ginny's lover. It's just Ginny and I and a couple of others now. Ginny's supposed to drive us home." With her liquid intake, Alex excused herself to again run to the bathroom. When she returned, Chris was standing next to Ginny and her friend. Seeing Alex, Ginny walked to intercept her.

"Yo, Al. I was just telling Chris that I'm ready to hit the road and she graciously offered to drive you home if you wanted to stay. I briefly questioned her motives and she swears they're honorable. What do you want to do?"

"I don't know Gin. How do you know she's not a murderer or something?" Alex teased.

"I don't think so. She's passed the McDougall safety test so far, so I think your safe Maybe you should go, you have had quite a few, but it's up to you."

"I would like to stay and maybe dance off some of this alcohol . . . Hell, I'll only live once. I'll stay," Alex decided as they walked up to Chris.

"Ginny told me she was leaving and I offered to drive you home if you wanted to stay. I live in North County, so it's really not out of my way. I promise I'll just drive you home and that's it," Chris promised holding two fingers up in Scout's honor.

"I'd appreciate it, if it's not an inconvenience."

"No problem," Chris said reaching into her right front pocket, pulling out a dollar bill which she handed to Ginny, "Here you go," she said smiling.

Alex watched this transaction wondering what was going on. "What's that for?"

"I had to get a security deposit on you, you know. Can't just trust anyone," Ginny answered with a deadpan face.

"Ginny! How could you? Let alone for only a dollar!" Alex blushed from embarrassment. This can't be happening, she thought, this can only happen in books, not real life!

Ginny hugged Alex and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Congrats again sweetie. Be safe. Give me a call in the morning and let me know that you're ok. Love ya." Ginny turned and walked away with her friend before Alex could say anything. Alex stood watching her in drunken amazement.

"I'm really sorry. You didn't have to do that . . . God, I'm so embarrassed. That's not the way things are done, and only for a dollar?! I feel so cheap," she added burying her face in her hands.

Chris laughed. "Don't. It was my idea. You don't know me from squat, and I don't think she really trusted me. Honest, my intentions are honorable. You seemed to be having a good time and I just wanted you to have an alternative. I suggested more, but she came up with the amount thinking it would be fair."

The situation was so farfetched that Alex finally had to laugh. "Well, I guess that since I'm paid for, what would you like to do?" she asked smiling.

"How about a dance? There's a good song playing." Chris took Alex's hand and led her onto the dance floor. The two closed the bar, spending their time talking and dancing, with Alex continuing her alcoholic binge. When they arrived at Alex's house, Chris pulled into the driveway and left the motor running. Both drawn to and appreciative of Chris, Alex invited her in for a drink.

Alex showed her into the living room and went into the kitchen returning with two sodas, handing one to Chris. "Do you like country music?" Alex asked moving toward the stereo. Hearing Chris respond in the affirmative, she scanned her CDs and pulled out a Mary Chapin Carpenter CD, placing it into the CD player. As the music began to drift through the speakers, Alex sat next to Chris on the couch.

"Thank you for driving me home. I really appreciate it."

"Like I said, no problem. I really like your house," Chris complimented, glancing around the room.

"Come on, I'll give you a tour," Alex said taking Chris by the hand and holding it as they walked through each room.

"It's a great house. You've decorated it well," Chris again complimented as she sat back on the couch after the brief tour.

"Thanks." Both women took gulps of their drinks, suddenly not knowing what to say to one another. The sexual tension between them was deafening, causing each to be silent.

"Alex, I know I promised to be totally harmless, but I'd really like to kiss you, " Chris said breaking the silence. Alex leaned over and gently put her lips on Chris'. They slowly opened their mouths, letting their tongues touch while embracing each other. As their excitement increased, their kisses became harder and more passionate.

Alex finally pulled away, picking her soda up off the coffee table. She sat back, looking at Chris and admired her natural beauty.

"That was nice. You're a great kisser," Chris said softly as she leaned over and quickly kissed Alex's neck.

"So are you."

"I have to be honest with you. I saw you when you first walked in with your date and thought you were extremely attractive and sexy. It took me forever to get the courage to come up to talk to you later on. I can't believe I actually did it."

"I noticed you too," Alex said softly. Chris again leaned over and began to kiss Alex, who stretched her arm to place the can back onto the table. After they sat there for a few minutes, Chris laid Alex down onto the couch and lay on top of her, with Alex's arms around Chris' back. They laid kissing on the couch, until Alex finally pushed herself up and looked at the clock.

"Jesus! It's almost 4:00 a.m.," Alex exclaimed sitting up.

"Time flies when you're having fun," Chris smiled.

"Listen, you can stay and sleep in the guest bedroom if you want."

"Thanks, but I guess I better get going. I made a promise to your friend, remember? I've already broken it."

"I'm still embarrassed about that. Listen, I have to be honest with you now. My 'date' is a little more than just a casual 'date'. We've been seeing each other for over a month."

"I sort of figured. Are you two dating exclusively or are you seeing other people too?"

"We've never discussed it. I've told her from day one that I don't want to get married and that I'm just taking one day at a time. Nothing more and nothing less. I don't think I'm ready for a more committed relationship."

"I'm not looking to settle down either. I'm just experiencing things and enjoying them. I don't want to get in between you and your friend though. I'd understand if you don't want to see me again."

"That's not it at all," Alex smiled.

Chris stood up, taking Alex's hand and lifting her up off of the couch. "I guess I better be going. Can I have your number and call you later on?"

"Sure, let me give it to you." Alex walked across the room to the phone stand and jotted her number down on a piece of paper. She handed it to Chris as she followed her to the door, where she quickly kissed her goodnight. Closing the door behind Chris, Alex walked to her bedroom, threw her clothes off and laid down under the covers, immediately falling into a deep, drunken sleep.

Continued in Chapter 6

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