Moondancers' Delight

Copyright 2002 by Texbard


Violence: None

Sex: Yes. Rated R. This story depicts two women who are very much in love.

Setting: This is a Kennedy and Carson short story. Kennedy Nocona is an attorney and Carson Garret is a paralegal. Carson moved from Dallas to Austin to live with Kennedy, after they met and fell in love. This story can be read as a stand-alone, but it takes place immediately after the novel-length story, The Bluest Eyes in Texas.


The gentle rocking of the boat slowly drew Carson from pleasant dreams. With eyes still closed, she inhaled deeply, aware of smooth soft skin under her cheek and the curve of a hip under her right hand. The smell of sea air mixed with Kennedy's own musky sweet scent tickled at her nose, and she sighed contentedly, nuzzling her lover's neck. Life was good.

Carefully, she sat partway up, leaning on one forearm to get a better look at the woman she now shared her life with. Kennedy looked so young and vulnerable when she was asleep. Her black hair spilled across the pillow, and her face was relaxed, a tiny smile playing at full pouty lips. Most of the long lean body was covered with a light top sheet, but two broad muscular shoulders were exposed for her enjoyment. She's so beautiful.

Carson couldn't help but reach out to touch the bronze skin, trailing her fingertips along a high cheekbone before tracing Kennedy's lips. She laughed with surprise when the lips suddenly engulfed two of her fingers, and white teeth bit down playfully, nipping at the wandering digits. The brunette flashed her a broad grin and released her fingers. "Hey gorgeous," Kennedy rasped, as her blue eyes fluttered open, long black lashes blinking sleepily.

"Hey yourself." Carson smiled, as Kennedy took her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist.

"How'd you sleep?" The brunette rolled to her side, reaching out and stroking Carson's short blonde hair. She loved the sensation of the fine silky waves as they sifted through her fingers. She cocked her head to one side, watching Carson's gray eyes sparkle in the early morning light.

"Mmmmm. Just like I always do with you." Carson stretched out, arching her back like a cat. "Like a baby." She scooted closer, draping one leg across Kennedy's, drawing her in with a gentle tug at the crook of her knees.

"You're my baby." Kennedy pulled the younger woman into her arms and ducked her head, gently brushing her lips against her lover's. God it feels good to hold her like this. It was a guilty pleasure she couldn't get enough of.

The blonde licked her lips and smiled. "I can't think of a nicer way to wake up."

"Me neither." Kennedy kissed her again and waggled her eyebrows. "I'd love to stay here all morning."

"Can't. I'm hungry." Carson patted her stomach. "The beast must be fed." She sat up, the sheet slipping down and pooling around her naked body.

Kennedy smiled, a sweep of her eyes taking in her lover's soft curves and firm muscles. "You're making me hungry for something besides food." She inched across, resting her head on Carson's thigh. With a mischievous glint in her eye, she turned her face and nibbled at the creamy skin, eliciting a giggle from her lover. She grinned and looked up, batting her eyelashes charmingly at Carson. "You'd make a nice little appetizer."

"Tcchhh. Poor baby." The blonde riffled her fingers through the dark locks and then patted her lover's rock-hard butt. "I fell asleep on you last night, didn't I?"

"You were out like a light as soon as your head hit the pillow." Kennedy sat up and they both swung their feet over the side of the bunk, their legs and shoulders brushing against one another. "After hiking all over Tulum and snorkeling afterward, I think you deserved to turn in early. You can make it up to me tonight."

Pale gray eyes regarded Kennedy, and the brunette winked back at her. "We'll see who's out like a light tonight." Carson playfully bumped her shoulder. "You …" She tweaked Kennedy's nose. "… have your first blue water dive today."

"Can't wait." The brunette looked dreamily off into space for a moment. "After the murky depths of Lake Travis, I'm really looking forward to actually seeing further than five feet in front of my face. And observing sea life bigger than a perch."

"It's like being on another planet." Carson stood and padded over to the open porthole, drawing in a deep breath of fresh air. "God I love the smell of the ocean. I think I was a fish in another life."

"Well little fishy." Kennedy moved in behind her, wrapping her arms around Carson's waist. "Let's get showered and go grab some chow before they run out up there."

"Good plan. I'm usually starving after a dive, and starting out with a full tank will help."

After a quick shower, the two women found themselves topside, seated at a long wooden table eating a hearty breakfast al fresco with the other passengers. Kennedy studied the tall masts of the sailboat, familiarizing herself with the layout of the deck. Her sailor's eyes took in the neatly coiled ropes, the shining metal hooks and winches, and the polished wooden fixtures. She smiled in appreciation. Whoever the captain is, they run a tight ship.

It was their first chance to see the boat in daylight, having arrived well after dark the night before, following a long day of sight-seeing and a romantic outdoor candlelight dinner. The vacation had been a very good idea. Both women had dealt with more than their share of stress in the weeks prior to the trip, and they agreed that an escape to almost anywhere remote and beautiful was just what they needed. They booked a week in Mexico, three nights at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, followed by three nights on a live-aboard sailboat that catered exclusively to scuba divers, taking them to the choicest dive spots of Cozumel. After hearing Carson's description of what it was like to be deep underwater, Kennedy bit the bullet and went through an accelerated weeklong diver's certification course that she took through a dive shop near Lake Travis, the Austin, Texas lake where they lived. She was a natural athlete, and quickly adapted to the strange equipment and the graceful movements the sport required. She loved the scientific and technical aspects as well, and spent long hours studying the dive tables to make sure she was absolutely familiar with them. Unfortunately Lake Travis was cold and visibility was greatly lacking. She couldn't wait to fully immerse herself in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

She had tested them already by snorkeling and swimming. In Cancun their beachfront resort gave them their fill of sand and water sports, along with parasailing, and mopeding. She had a picture tucked into her wallet of Carson, sitting on her moped wearing a hot pink helmet that was provided as part of the rental package. She'd been so pleased with the shot that she rushed to a photo shop with her digital camera, and used her fluent Spanish to have the picture developed right there on the spot.

The anchor day between the land portion of the package and the sea portion consisted of a bus tour from Cancun to Tulum, an ancient Aztec ruin site that rested right on the ocean near Cozumel. The day before they had spent hours hiking around the ruins and climbing the steep steps to the top of the tall pyramid that was the central focus. From the ruins, the bus took them to a snorkeling spot where a fresh water river mingled with the salt water of the sea. Both women enjoyed a long stretch of peaceful solitude, lying together in the sun atop a large bolder that overlooked the ocean. The view of turquoise water was outstanding.

The nights had been pretty spectacular as well. She smiled at some of her memories, and subtlety brushed Carson's leg under the table with her own, keeping a poker face and looking directly at her plate. The smile grew wider as she felt her lover's leg press firmly back against her.

"What?" The blonde studied the bronzed features in profile, pleased to see the impish smile on Kennedy's face.

"Just thinking about our first night in Cancun." She turned, watching a rosy blush creep up Carson's neck. "And the second one." She leaned in until her lips brushed against the hair hanging over Carson's ear. "And tonight." She kissed a very pink cheek.

Carson smiled and the blush deepened. She looked down, slightly embarrassed at the public display. A warm hand touched her thigh, and long fingers gently massaged her skin.

"It's okay, Carson. Look around." The fingers moved higher, tilting Carson's chin up. "We're not alone here."

"We're not?" Gray eyes cautiously surveyed the table. "Oh."

A careful appraisal revealed at least three other obviously same-sex couples among the group of thirty women divers. Kennedy booked the trip during a women-only week that was offered by the tour company. While not strictly a lesbian cruise, such trips by their very nature tended to draw lesbians, along with straight women who were simply independent and open-minded and wanted to travel with a group that made them feel safe.

"Nope." Kennedy kissed the top of her head. "We don't have to hide anything here, sweetheart."

Carson smiled up at her. "I don't think I can hide my feelings for you, no matter where we are."

"That feeling is mutual." The brunette's warm eyes twinkled back at her.

After the leisurely breakfast, the captain came out and briefly explained the day's plan. The morning would consist of two dives, the first one a deep dive and the second a shallower one. A dive boat would rendezvous with the sailboat and transport them to the first dive site. The afternoon would offer options for more diving, or an excursion ashore for those who wanted to explore Cozumel more fully.

The two women decided to play it by ear, and see how they felt after the first two dives. Soon, they found themselves climbing from the sailboat to the dive boat. Cabana boys took their equipment and hooked up each diver's regulator and buoyancy compensator, more commonly known as a "BC," to air tanks. Carson had learned to dive at a shop that taught her to trust herself first and foremost, and she double-checked both her equipment and Kennedy's to make sure everything was indeed hooked up properly, and that air was flowing from their tanks to their regulators.

Meanwhile, Kennedy tugged on a Lycra dive skin. Carson finished her inspection, turned, and smiled appreciatively. The dive skin had long sleeves and legs, and was black with red stripes up both sides. It would provide protection from scrapes and jellyfish stings, but not from the water temperature. It complemented the brunette's sleek form perfectly. "You look good enough to eat."

Kennedy chuckled at the innocent comment, and engulfed her in a hug, pressing her lips against Carson's ear. "Hold that thought until tonight." The ear turned bright pink. "You look pretty scrumptious yourself."

A very embarrassed blonde looked down at her own attire. "Really?" She wore a short-sleeved "shorty," a lightweight neoprene wetsuit that was designed to keep her body warm, while allowing her legs and arms unrestricted movement. The suit, along with all of Carson's dive gear, was black with lime green trim. "It's mostly just to keep me warm. I get cold below about forty feet, even here where it's warm." Uncertain gray eyes peered up shyly.

"Trust me." Kennedy kissed her. "You look great."

"Thank you." The younger woman beamed up at her. "Guess we better get the rest of our stuff on."

They donned their remaining gear, and waited for the boat to reach the dive site. The first stop was Palancar Gardens. Kennedy listened intently to the dive master's instructions. She felt a giddy anxiousness, and her senses were on hyper-alert. During her dive class, she discovered that scuba diving came very naturally to her, and she was quite comfortable with the whole process. Still, everyone in the class talked about blue water diving -- diving in clear blue water -- and she couldn't help but be a little nervous about the new experience.

Finally, the boat stopped, and they got in line to get in the water. "You ready?" Carson fussed with her own gear, giving a last-minute check to her dive computer, while using Kennedy's shoulder as an anchor on the slightly-rolling deck.

"Can't wait." Kennedy smiled and scooted up in line, careful not to upset the blonde's balance as she moved.

"See you at sixty feet." Carson smiled at her and pulled her mask over her face. She sidestepped to the edge of the platform, assisted by two more smiling cabana boys.

The brunette watched her partner make her giant stride into the water and adjusted her own mask. She checked to make sure her octopus was secured, grasped her power inflator, placed her other hand over her mask, and made her own giant stride. Due to the strong surface current they had been instructed to completely deflate their BC's and begin their descent as soon as they hit the water.

Wow. The water closed over her, and she slowly dropped, her senses temporarily overloaded. The color was incredible, and she could see clearly all the way to the ocean floor, some seventy feet below her. She watched the tiny bubbles floating up in front of her and became aware of the sound of her own breathing. She knew she was a little bit nervous, as she could tell she was breathing faster than normal. She made a conscious effort to calm herself, listening to her heartbeat as it slowed to match the adjusted rise and fall of her lungs.

She spotted Carson way down below, looking up at her. The lime green trim appeared to be yellow under the water, and she remembered that the deeper you go, the more colors of the spectrum disappear underwater. She continued her descent, watching her depth gauge and giving her lover a big "okay" sign as she reached her. The regulators made smiling a bit difficult, but she was one giant smile inside. Carson was right. She felt like she had left Earth for some warm wet, colorful planet far away.

They began to follow the rest of the group, allowing the natural underwater current of Cozumel to do much of the work for them. The ocean floor was covered in coral and other sea flora. Small colorful fish swam in schools, and the sun way up above played across the entire scene, making the colors more vibrant where it touched down.

They were headed toward a drop-off, where they would descend down to ninety feet. She felt a tap to her shoulder, and turned. Carson held up a small white plastic board. Kennedy's eyes spoke for her. The blonde had drawn a large smiley face on the board. Kennedy reached out, and they held hands as they reached the drop site.

Kennedy felt tiny butterflies in her stomach. She peered over the wall into oblivion. She could see the dive master and some of the rest of the group already down some thirty feet below. She gave Carson another "okay" sign, and both of them began the slow drop to join the rest of the group. As they descended, she noticed the wall next to them. It was covered in every kind of coral imaginable, and so many different fish she could never count them all.

They reached their destination and leveled off. She watched Carson and smiled internally. The blonde was a natural, and looked completely at home. So graceful. Smooth even kicks punctuated Carson's movements, her powerful leg muscles clearly visible even at ninety feet. She was floating in a completely relaxed position, and was lazily observing all the sea life along the wall.

Kennedy surged forward, until she was next to her, assuming a similar position. She felt her body relax, and forgot about everything except the environment around her. She became keenly aware of a steady crackling noise, and realized it was the fish feeding on the coral. This is so awesome.

The water temperature was much cooler where they were, and she was glad her lover was in the wetsuit. Carson was much more sensitive than her to variables in hot and cold, and Kennedy remembered that her dive instructor had stressed that it was important to stay warm while diving. Cold divers had to work harder to breathe, and used more air than comfortably warm ones. A diver with hypothermia risked running out of air sooner, and also risked making fatal mistakes due to exhaustion.

She peered to her left and shuddered. While she was hovering at ninety feet, the ocean floor continued to drop away from the wall into utter darkness. She imagined what might lurk there. Sharks? Whales? Creatures that had never been discovered? Sunken ships? She allowed her mind to follow that trail for a few minutes, almost drawn to the mysterious depths. Wonder if I have a little bit of nitrogen narcosis? Nah. The great unknown was compelling, but she would never actually venture there.

She felt another tap to her shoulder and turned. Carson made an "okay" sign to her, this time a question. Kennedy answered her affirmatively, and took the blonde's hand. They continued their leisurely exploration of the wall, and the brunette felt herself relax further, becoming one with the environment around her. The warm hand in hers squeezed her, and she squeezed back.

It felt like coming home, as if she had been scuba diving her whole life. The cool current carried her along effortlessly, and the kaleidoscope of color along the wall intrigued her to no end. It was better than any of the drugs she had done in her youth. It was like … Nirvana.

She became aware of a large grouper, which swam along beside her for the rest of the dive. The fish eyed her and she eyed the fish. The grouper slowly drew closer, and fell in only a few feet away. When she slowed, it slowed. She couldn't help but smile, her teeth and lips gripping her regulator firmly lest it escape from her mouth. Her attention was drawn back to the wall on the right, but every time she looked to the left, her new friend was still right there.

Much too soon, it was time to make their slow ascent back to the surface. After a brief decompression stop, they both floated up, popping above the waves. It was a shock to her system after the peaceful paradise just below her. They began swimming toward the dive boat, neither one speaking due to still having their regulators in their mouths.

Carson removed her fins and climbed up the ladder first, turning, taking Kennedy's fins from her. "How was it?" The blonde smiled, wrapping an arm around the taller woman and guiding her over to the inner bench that was bolted to the railing of the boat on three sides. They took careful steps on the rather unsteady deck, plopping down quite ungracefully when they reached their seats.

"That … was … wow!" The blue eyes sparkled with giddy happiness. "We get to go again this morning, right?"

Carson chuckled, pleased at the child-like expression on her lover's face. "Yes. The next one is a nice little relaxing dive, more shallow than this one was. It's called Tormentos Reef. Lots of fish, if I recall."

"That was just so cool. I can't even describe how it felt. Like I was having an out-of-body experience." Kennedy peeled down the sleeves of the Lycra suit, enjoying the sensation of the sun on her skin.

"I always describe it as Nirvana," Carson grinned. She watched Kennedy's eyes grow wide. "What?"

"Strange. That's exactly what I thought when I was down there. Nirvana." She draped an arm around her lover, and gave her a brief kiss, enjoying the salty seawater taste that lingered there.

"By the way," the blonde patted her on the leg. "You got the ultimate fish compliment down there."

"Huh?" Black brows rose in question.

"That grouper. Fish don't stick with you like that unless they're not afraid. Means they've accepted you as one of them. Part of their school."

"Really?" Kennedy was obviously pleased with herself. "Well I can't wait to be one with the fishies again." She thought about their conversation back in their cabin, and Carson's remark that she thought she was a fish in another life. And I really can't wait to be one with that fishy, she mused silently.

The second dive was even more spectacular than the first one, and Kennedy emerged from the water emotionally exhausted but thoroughly contented. They opted out of the afternoon dive, since they would be diving for the next three days, and decided to go check out the island. After a brief shower and a quick lunch aboard the sailboat, they rented a couple of mopeds from one of the nearby hotels, and were soon cruising along the winding streets, careful to avoid the cabs and other cars that vied for position in the narrow lanes.

The town of San Miguel was full of shops, restaurants, and many other open-air stalls. The main street, which wound along the harbor area, was one large tourist trap, and they chose instead to cruise down some smaller side routes, taking in the more colorful local side of the town. Carson watched her partner, the strong body leaning with the bike as they rounded a corner. Kennedy pulled to a stop and parked the moped, and the blonde pulled in beside her.

"Wanna walk for a while?" The taller woman took off her helmet, shaking out her long dark hair. She held out her hand and gave her lover a sexy little smile, her white teeth flashing in the intense sunlight.

"Sure." Carson took the proffered hand, and they meandered from shop to shop, looking at almost everything and buying nothing. The prices were lower on the less-traveled side streets, and Carson noticed that the merchants made no effort to speak English as they did in the more crowded tourist areas. It didn't matter to her, since Kennedy was fluent, and could translate for her as needed.

They found themselves in a small curio shop, that was full of various nautical items and knickknacks, shells, colorful maps, and all things related to the sea. The women separated, both of them wandering along the aisles, picking up various pieces and studying them. They each had strong ties to the water. Kennedy had both a sailboat and a ski boat back in Austin, and Carson's father had taken her out on boats since before she could walk.

Kennedy reached the end of her aisle, turning and stopping. Her heart skipped a beat as her eyes fell on a large watercolor painting. Oh my God. "Carson." She drew closer to the painting. "Carson, com'ere." Her voice was uneven, and slightly higher than usual.

"What is it?" The blonde came up behind her. Kennedy moved out of her way, pulling her close and giving her a full view. "Oh." An involuntary shiver ran down the entire length of Carson's spine. "How …" She shivered again. "Kennedy, I don't understand."

She stared at a painting of two pirates, females, one a tall brunette and one a short blonde. The brunette had a wicked saber strapped to her side, and wore a long-sleeved white blouse and form-fitting black pants, that were tucked into knee-high black boots with shiny silver buckles. Her hair was long and flowed wildly around her head. One booted foot rested on a treasure chest. She had an arm draped protectively around the shoulders of the blonde, who wore a cropped sleeveless white top and pants and boots similar to the brunette pirate.

"They could be us," Carson whispered, almost reverently.

"Yeah." Kennedy moved forward, taking Carson with her, until they were a few feet from the mysterious piece of artwork. "Amazing." The brunette pirate had intense blue eyes, while the blonde's were greenish-gray. She reached out, tracing the wooden frame with her fingertip.

"Kennedy, they're not just similar. I mean it. They could be us." Her fingers indicated the painting, pointing first to a mole on the blonde pirate's torso, and then to a small scar that peeked out from the brunette pirate's shirt placket, just above her right breast. She stepped back, almost afraid of the painting.

"I know." Kennedy's voice belied her pounding heartbeat. We've got markings just like those. Her own fingers unconsciously trailed across her chest where she had her own scar, before she reached back and held out her hand. "It's okay, Carson, it's just a painting." She felt the smaller hand grasp hers, and drew her lover back in next to her. She looked at Carson uncertainly. "Isn't it?"

"Dios mio!" The shop owner spied the two women, his eyes darting back and forth between them and the painting. He spoke several more sentences, and Kennedy patiently translated for Carson.

"He said it's uncanny. He's had the painting in his shop for many years. It's like the painting just came to life and walked into his shop." She asked him a few questions and waited, shaking her head gravely, and smiling in other places.

"What?" Carson tugged at her t-shirt hem. "What did he say?"

"Hold on a second." Kennedy squeezed her shoulder reassuringly, and continued her dialogue. After a rather lengthy conversation, Kennedy bought the painting, instructing the shop owner to deliver it to the boat. As they were leaving, the large man impulsively hugged each woman and kissed them on the cheek.

"What was that all about?" The blonde followed Kennedy out of the shop.

"I … um …" The brunette was trembling slightly.

"Hey." Carson rubbed her on the arm. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I just need to sit down." She looked around, spotting a small café on the corner. "Let's go get a coke."

They took two seats outside, sitting across a small table from each other. A waiter came and to Carson's surprise, Kennedy ordered a Mexican beer. The brunette rarely ever drank, and she never drank when she was going to be driving. The mopeds weren't exactly cars, but still … "Are you sure you're okay?" Carson also ordered a beer.

Kennedy reached across the table and took one of her hands, running her thumb back and forth across the soft skin, looking at the metal table surface as she spoke. "Those pirates, he said the brunette was known as Isalba Cortez and the blonde was named Meg O'Brien. Isalba, she was the most ruthless female pirate on the seas, cutting a path of terror from South America all the way to Florida. She plundered every ship and settlement between the two, and took no prisoners, murdering anyone who stood in her path, until she kidnapped Meg from her family in Florida. Meg was the only prisoner she ever took."

Carson sat, mesmerized, hardly noticing when their beers were delivered. She idly squeezed a lime into the long cool neck of the bottle and took a large gulp. "Go on."

Kennedy followed suit, washing the cold foamy beverage around her mouth before swallowing and continuing. "Legend says that Isalba and Meg became lovers." The brunette smiled at the shock on Carson's face. "They were two very different people. Isalba, the cold-blooded killer, and Meg, a peaceful poet. For several years Isalba's reign continued, and she dragged Meg along with her, but her exploits became fewer and further between."

"What happened?" The blonde anxiously sipped her beer, hanging on every word.

"Meg happened. Isalba saw her peaceful and loving ways, and finally one day, it broke her heart. She couldn't go on killing people and stealing from them. She realized it wasn't right." Kennedy hesitated, and her voice grew gentle. "Meg changed her life." Just like you changed mine, she added silently. "The shop owner said the story goes on to say that they settled together in Tejas -- Texas. A gypsy told Isalba and Meg that they were soulmates, that they had been together in prior lives, and that they were destined to be re-born over and over again, and that their souls would always be together."

"And?!" Carson's blonde brows rose into her hairline.

"And that's it. No one knows how their lives ended, only that they were supposedly reincarnated many times since then, and that they're together somewhere, to this very day." The brunette bit her lower lip, slowly lifting her eyes to meet her lover's gaze. "Carson?" The blonde's slightly sunburned features had grown quite pale. "Carson, say something."

"Do you think …?" The blonde trailed off, afraid to finish her own sentence.

"Don't know." Long fingers reached out, softly stroking Carson's face. Kennedy breathed a sigh of relief as the color returned to her partner's cheeks. "It's kind of romantic to think about, though."

"Yeah." Carson smiled. "I'd like to look them up in the university library, when we get back to Austin."

"Good idea." The brunette peered up at the sun and then at her watch. "You wanna go back to the boat? They'll be serving dinner in another couple of hours. I'd like to pack up our scuba stuff for tomorrow morning before then, so we can enjoy the entertainment after dinner. The brochure said tonight they're having some live music top deck."

"Sounds like fun."

The two women motored their way back to the port area, turning in the mopeds and walking hand-in-hand the rest of the way back to the boat. Both women were warm from the constant blazing sun, and the slightly salty spray from the water felt good on their parched skin. Carson could smell the wood of the dock, drifting up in the intense heat, along with the coconut scent of the sunscreen Kennedy had slathered on prior to their outing. She paused when they reached the boat, studying the large letters stenciled across the back. "Moondancer. I like it."

"It's got some history," Kennedy offered her lover a hand across the railing and onto the boat. "It belonged to the British royal family back during World War II. Later it was given as a gift to a U.S. ambassador. From there it went to Florida where it was used as a regular cruise boat. Only a few years ago did the tour company get the bright idea to combine a sailing trip with a diving trip."

"Has it always been called 'Moondancer'?" Carson followed the taller woman across the deck and down a narrow passageway to their cabin.

"No. The tour company named it that, because they're famous for the moonlight dancing that takes place on the boat after dinner on many evenings." Kennedy unlocked their cabin door, pushing the door open and stepping aside to allow Carson to enter first.

"Are you going to dance with me tonight?" The blonde nudged her partner playfully.

Kennedy closed the door and wrapped her arms around her. "Oh, Darlin'. Tonight, and any other night you want to dance, I hope you'll pick me to be your partner."

They held onto each other in companionable silence for several minutes, absorbing the comforting sensation of simply being together. After a while, they reluctantly broke apart and set about packing their dive bags and tidying up their cabin. While they were milling about, the painting was delivered.

Kennedy carefully unwrapped it, and they propped it up against the wall. She sat down on the bunk, and Carson joined her, as they studied it together. Kennedy finally spoke, breaking the silence. "Do you remember when we first danced together?"

"Yeah." The blonde smiled. "It was like poetry."

"Did it feel … I mean … was it …" Kennedy stopped, collecting her thoughts. "I remember when I took you in my arms, it felt like … it was familiar. Does that make sense?"

"It was comfortable." Carson looked up at her, trying to follow the brunette's train of thought. "I remember that it seemed like our bodies fit together perfectly."

"Like we were meant to be together?" Kennedy licked her lips, something that Carson had come to recognize as a nervous gesture.

"Yes." Gray eyes gazed intently at blue. "Almost like we had danced together before."

They stared at the painting again and then at each other.

"Kennedy," the blonde frowned. "When I came around the corner and saw the painting, I got some heavy-duty chills. It was surreal. I really did feel like I was seeing us. How did you feel?"

"It took my breath away," Kennedy whispered. "Just like you do." She captured Carson's lips, gently exploring them for several minutes. They surfaced for air, pressing their foreheads together as they struggled to regain their equilibrium.

"Have you ever made love on a boat, Carson?" The brunette kissed her again, slipping one hand inside Carson's t-shirt, and resting the flat of her hand against the younger woman's muscular stomach.

"No." The blonde closed her eyes, getting lost in the delicious shivers elicited by the wandering hand. Soft lips nibbled at her neck, and she felt a jolt of pure sensation in her middle.

"Tonight …" Kennedy nipped at her earlobe. "… after dinner …" She kissed her lover again. "… can't wait to bring you back in here. There's something about the rocking of the boat …"

"Kennedy, honey." Carson pressed both hands against her lover's chest. "If we don't stop, we're going to miss dinner."

"So?" The brunette gave her a lascivious grin.

"So …" She ran her fingertips lightly up and down Kennedy's arms, feeling goose bumps in her wake. "… I'd like to have a romantic dinner up top, and dance with you, and gaze at the stars." Gray eyes sparkled, taking the brunette's breath away all over again. "It's so beautiful here, Kennedy. You're so beautiful. I want to take it nice and slow tonight, and enjoy every minute I have with you. I've dreamed of being with you, here, on this boat, ever since we started planning the trip. Make it special, Kennedy. I want to remember it for the rest of my life."

"I think that plan can be arranged." Kennedy kissed her gently, and slowly lowered her to the mattress. "Let's just snuggle here until they ring the dinner bell, okay?"

"Okay." Carson curled against the longer body, sighing with contentment. Her breathing slowed, and the last thing she felt before she fell asleep were two lips pressed against her forehead.

A few hours later, the romantic dinner over, they danced together under the moonlight. The other couples on the boat were also dancing, enjoying the music of a local mariachi band. Several other passengers milled about the top deck, simply taking in the pleasant evening. The sky was totally clear and a million stars twinkled overhead, along with the large full moon that made artificial lighting unnecessary. The water lapped quietly at the sides of the boat, and the ever-present scent of the clean ocean breeze perfumed the night air.

The band finished a fast-paced tune, and slowed down, playing a smooth sensual number that made Kennedy's blood race. She wrapped her arms around Carson, pulling the smaller woman against her until there was no space between them. She rested her cheek against the fair hair, so that she could talk quietly to her lover while they danced.

"I love dancing with you, Carson." She ran one hand lightly up and down the younger woman's back. The blonde was wearing a light sundress in a complimentary shade of pale blue. It had spaghetti straps that left a good portion of her bare back exposed.

Kennedy sighed almost imperceptibly, enjoying the soft skin under her fingertips. Her hand wandered higher, stroking fine blonde hair. "Your hair is so soft. It's so pretty in the moonlight, like silver." She kissed the fair head and allowed her lips to trail down, along Carson's jaw line until their lips met.

Carson opened her mouth, inviting Kennedy to explore. She whimpered slightly, as the brunette accepted, kissing her with a fierce intensity that left her knees weak. Just as she thought she might collapse, the brunette's hold on her tightened, and she felt a powerful thigh slip between her legs. "Tell me, Kennedy." She breathed against the reddish-brown skin. "Tell me what you want to do to me."

Kennedy groaned softly. "Let me show you." She ground her leg upward, as one hand dropped down to Carson's hip, increasing the contact. "Oh, God." She groaned again, as she realized her lover wasn't wearing any underwear. "Please, baby." Her breathing was ragged, and she kissed Carson again, conveying in no uncertain terms exactly what she desired. "I want you so much."

The brunette was tempted to take her lover right there, while they were dancing. It was dark where they were, and no one was paying any attention to them. The other dancing couples were engaged in similar activities, and she realized that most of the other passengers had disappeared when the slow dancing began. In reality, Carson's skirt was long enough that it draped Kennedy's leg, and a person would have to look very closely to comprehend what they were doing.

As they continued to sway to the music, she held onto her lover tightly, feeling their hearts pounding against one another. She dropped her other hand and engulfed Carson's behind, pulling her against her leg and intensifying the contact even more. It would be so easy, but she was certain her less-experienced lover would be mortified at making love in public, albeit a very small dark public.

"Feels so good." Carson nipped at the hollow of her throat, and then buried her face into Kennedy's chest. "So close."

Blue eyes opened wide in surprise. "I love you Carson." She pressed her lips against the blonde's ear. "I'd never do anything to embarrass you. I'll stop if you want me to." She eased up the pressure, and heard a soft moan.

"Can we …" Carson was breathing so hard she could barely speak. "Can we go to our cabin?"

A gentle kiss was her answer. Kennedy backed away a few steps, taking Carson's hand and leading her across the deck and down the stairs to their room. She opened the door and they stepped inside, closing it firmly and locking it with a resounding click. The brunette took several deep breaths and grasped both of Carson's hands, kissing each knuckle one by one.

"Sorry." Gray eyes blinked shyly in the darkness.

"Don't be sorry." Kennedy pulled her into her arms. "I love you Carson. We've got a lifetime to explore each other. I'd never want you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. Truthfully, I was getting a little carried away up there. Public sex isn't generally my style."

"You've never?" The blonde tilted her head in question.

"I didn't say that." Kennedy grinned at her. "But I didn't love the person I did it with. It was just sex. I'm so in love with you. I never thought I'd feel this way about anyone. I'm not sure I want to share what we do with other people. It's too personal, too special. It belongs to us. Besides, we can still hear the music down here. No reason we can't start up right where we left off."

Carson smiled and picked up the rhythm of the music, as it drifted in through the open porthole. She hissed with pleasure as she felt Kennedy's leg press between hers again. "This is even better." Her hands wandered up, and she cupped her lover's breasts. "I wouldn't have been brave enough to do this up there.

"Mmmm." Kennedy pulled down one of the spaghetti straps and nibbled a path across Carson's bare shoulder. Her hands slipped down and under the dress, trailing up until they reached Carson's bare ass. "And I'd never have done this."

They swayed together, turning in slow circles as Kennedy once again ground her thigh against Carson, using her hands to guide her lover as the blonde moved sensually up and down her highly-sensitized skin. Carson moaned quietly, her body responding rapidly to the contact, and she held on tightly to the taller woman, pressing her face between two soft breasts, gasping for breath.

"Do you have any idea turned on I am right now?" Kennedy nipped at her earlobe. "Let go for me, baby." Her lips trailed down, and she lowered her head, planting warm wet kisses across the top swells of Carson's breasts. "Show me how good it feels." She felt strong hands clutch at her back, Carson's silent shudders against her the only sign of her release.

"Shhh." Kennedy kissed her. "I've got you." She bent down and lifted Carson up, hoisting her and tossing her gently on the bed. The brunette quickly shed her own clothing, shorts, underwear, and t-shirt piled together in a heap on the floor, and then climbed up on the mattress, lying down on her side. Long fingers plucked at the tiny buttons that ran the length of Carson's dress from her cleavage down to the hemline. The brunette grinned. "I wanna get you naked and start all over again."

Carson reached up, wrapping a hand around the back of Kennedy's neck, and drawing her down for a long slow kiss. The brunette continued to unbutton the dress, never breaking the contact as she rolled over, hovering above her lover, resting her weight on her forearms. "Thank you , baby." Her lips brushed across Carson's. "That was about the sexiest thing I've ever done."

"Really?" Gray eyes questioned her.

"There's something about making love standing up, while you both still have most of your clothes on …" She slid down, teasing Carson's breasts with her lips. "Of course there's something about being completely naked, laying down with you on this boat, that's pretty appealing too."

Carson giggled. "Kennedy, maybe you're just horny."

"With you." A black eyebrow waggled suggestively. "Twenty-four seven, baby. Twenty-four seven."

The giggles quickly turned to quiet gasps, as Kennedy gave thorough attention to two firm breasts. "I've been dreaming of this since we woke up this morning." She moved lower, nudging Carson's legs apart, and settling between them, giving her lover several very intimate kisses. "Dreamed of tasting you, feeling you moving against me, while the boat rocks us." She deepened the contact, and Carson cried out, her hands flying down and threading through Kennedy's hair.

"Kennedy …" Carson's voice was a quiet whisper. The soft lips that were teasing her were quickly taking her to a place where nothing else existed, except her and her lover, and the delicious sensations that drove her desire to a level that would not be denied, a desire that only Kennedy could satisfy. "So good."

Unable to speak, the brunette continued with the intimate contact, slipping one hand around a muscular thigh, teasing the sensitive skin just behind Carson's knee, scratching it lightly with her fingernails. She heard a series of soft cries, and felt the blonde convulsing against her. She drew out her lover's pleasure, and then crawled back up the compact body, taking Carson and cradling her in her arms, rocking her gently and whispering in her ear. "I love you, Carson. You're so beautiful. Just want to make you feel good. Wanna make you happy. That's all I ever want. For you to be happy."

They shared several slow kisses, until Carson's breathing returned to normal. She smiled against Kennedy's lips and turned the heat up, her hands wandering everywhere over the smooth reddish-brown skin. "I think I like making love on a boat." She took a hardened nipple into her mouth, drawing a guttural sound from Kennedy's throat. "You like it too, huh?"

"Oh, Darlin'," the brunette gasped. "'Like' doesn't even begin to describe what I'm feeling right now."

Carson laughed softly, and switched breasts. She slipped one hand between them, dancing down Kennedy's torso and across the top of her leg. The fingers wandered down, brushing against her inner thighs, pushing them apart until she reached her goal.

"Oh, God." Kennedy spread her legs wider, giving her lover free access. "Please." Her eyes softened, the pleasure evident on her face. "Inside. Please." She felt her lover comply, and she moaned, willing her eyes to stay open, locking with the gray ones that studied her at close range.

"So beautiful." Carson closed the distance, kissing her with reckless abandon, swallowing Kennedy's cries as she found her release.

The brunette clutched feebly at her, as the long body slowly relaxed into a sated heap. She pulled Carson down, tucking the blonde head against her shoulder. Carson idly ran her hand up and down the flat stomach, enjoying the sensation of the steely muscles just under the soft surface. It was something the blonde always did after they made love, a comforting gesture that Kennedy found endearing. She kissed her lover's head and wrapped her arms loosely around Carson, giving her a quick squeeze. "Busy day, huh?"

"I'll say." Gray eyes blinked in the darkness. "Your first blue water dive."

"That was just so awesome," Kennedy agreed with her. "And your first time to make love on a boat."

"Equally awesome." Carson kissed a convenient collarbone.

"Glad it met with your approval." The brunette playfully patted her lover's bare behind.

"I don't know." Carson rose partway up. "We might have to do it again tomorrow night, just to make sure."

"No arguments here." Kennedy nipped at her nose. Her eyes fell on the painting, which still rested against the far wall. She rolled to her side, pulling Carson around until they were spooning. She draped a protective arm around her lover's waist, and planted several kisses at the nape of her neck.

"Where are we going to hang that?" Carson spoke quietly, enjoying the snuggling.

"Maybe in the guest bedroom?" The brunette lightly scratched Carson's back.

"Wonder if it would freak out any guests?"

"Maybe they'd just think we posed for a portrait in costume." The scratches briefly turned to tickles, before she rubbed the muscular back in comforting circles.

"Maybe." Carson studied the painting, which was bathed in full moonlight that streamed through the porthole. "Wonder what kind of adventures they had?"

"Don't know, but I'd love to read about them." Kennedy pursed her lips and then laughed. "Maybe … if we are somehow related to them, maybe that explains why we both love the water so much."

"Could be." Carson turned, cuddling up to Kennedy, sighing as their legs and arms tangled together. She kissed a bare shoulder. "I love you, Kennedy."

"Love you too, baby." The brunette listened, hearing Carson's breathing even out and slow, until she knew her lover was asleep. She smiled as Carson's hand subconsciously curled around one of her breasts.

A day full of firsts, she reflected. Her attention was drawn once again to the painting. Something in the two figures called to her, and when she closed her eyes, it was as if a part of her could remember, back to a time before she was born, when she knew Carson in another time, and another place. Am I insane?

She felt the body in her arms, smelled her lover's sweet scent, and heard the quiet breathing that sent tiny chills across her skin under Carson's face. It grounded her in a way nothing else ever had. Carson completed her. It was almost a primal need, to hold her lover and protect her, and it reached deep down inside, touching places she would only let Carson see.

Somehow, she studied Isalba's face and wild hair. Somehow, I don't think tonight was the first time we made love on a boat. As she drifted off to sleep, she could swear the pirate winked at her.



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