Triptych Sex by Anima
You can contact Anima at
ianima@att.net

DISCLAIMER: I borrowed two characters from MCA/UNIVERSAL with no intent to profit from them. The rest is mine POOF it�s been copyrighted.

SEX WARNINIG: Danger ahead! Though not X-rated, all three scenes contain a good amount of sex, sex, sex� so, if the idea of two women sowing some wild oats together offends you, golly gee, seems you�ve stumbled across the wrong story.

IT�S A CONCEPT WARNING: Okay, the triptych idea came to me when I was listening to the Liz Phair song "BABY GOT GOING." Wish I could include a wav file because this hungry song originally inspired the mood and rhythm of all three pieces. I guess including the lyrics will have to do. Unless, of course, you happen to own Liz�s latest cd "whitechocolatespaceegg." Then, my dear, I bow to your most excellent taste.

JUST TO RECAP WARNING! <g> This isn�t a story in the classic sense but three compositions tied together by a common source of inspiration (the hinge, sweetie), thus the title triptych. Have I scared you yet? No? Then read on. If you�re a little scared, breathe between parts and have a sip of tea. If you�re still too terrified then I�ve lost you darlin� and I promise to write a "real" story next time.

A couple of notes on these stories:

To Kiss a Stranger (WWII Uber) was a response to how Xena always seems to me in episodes before she met Gabrielle. Much more traditionally masculine (a little like an adolescent boy�just look at her in the flashback parts of AITST) than feminine. I think it�s an interesting idea that through Gabrielle she rediscovers her feminine (balancing her nature), her heart, and various other body parts. So that notion is explored here.

Destination Unknown (Classic XWP) is a meditation on the alchemy of X&G.

And finally, Drowning (Gabrielle�s perspective here) is my modern day Uber musing on what type of barriers these two vastly different young women might have to overcome if they were to be together today. And maybe Uber Gab learns a thing or two
.

Comment and feedback are welcome (no Liz bashing, please!): ianima@att.net

BABY GOT GOING
By Liz Phair

Baby got goin� on a southern train, you know
Fired up pistons drivin� below
And the whole vibration, seat upholstery
Silky underwear, oh conductor let�s roll!
Baby got goin� but I can�t complain, you know
It knocks me out when she acts so strange, it�s like a
Big Mac truck cut across three lanes in my soul, conductor
Let�s throw some metal down, roll!
Squeeze her knees underneath a book, you know
A real good shakin� is all it took
Cause my baby�s hooked on me, and as you can see
I�m wild about her!
She gets mad when it goes to slow, so I�m beggin� you man
Keep a shovelin� that coal and let�s roll!
Dinah, blow your horn!


I.

To Kiss a Stranger

In the darkness the train stops. Billowy smoke as passengers board. Fancy hats. Paris in springtime. Hitler marching just up the road. The passengers don�t seem to sense the danger so near. Perhaps it is better that way, the soldier muses. The compartment she sits in is dark and hollow with no one on the plush seats next to the soldier, or across. The window half down allows in the sound of foot fall and muttered farewells, the kind people whisper fearfully into the night, afraid their god will hear them and perhaps be tempted to call their loved ones home.

The soldier slouches in the seat, her warm blue eyes half closed. She will not give up any space when the women enter with their purses and hat boxes; the men with their heavy steps and pointed elbows. And come they do, though the soldier refuses to acknowledge them. They sit to the side of her. Sweetly smelling perfume, an old woman�s handkerchief near her thigh. Across from her is the smell of a decent cigar being lit, making her mouth water for the taste of it. Grudgingly she sneaks a peek upward and sees a young man nod to her in a companionable way before he continues to chat with a woman, pinched and severe looking, not at all happy with their accommodations as they squeeze in next to the old woman at the soldier�s side.

Another woman appears, this one much younger, and the soldier�s eyes widen just the tiniest bit, scrutinizing the blonde woman. She seems to hesitate before fully entering the compartment. Her eyes scan the room, and in an apparent decision to enter, lightly, like a cat, moves across to the seat near the window and across from the soldier.

The cabin settles down as the train lurches forward. It is past midnight and travelers like this need sleep, so the older man puts out his cigar and pushes his hat down over his eyes. The young couple lean against each other as the old woman begins a snore in the soldier�s ear.

Leaning carefully away, so the old woman doesn�t fall over on her, the soldier looks out the window enjoying the peace and quiet when she notices the blonde across from her is not asleep, but looking out the window as well.

Strangers on a train. Etiquette is shaky in such a situation. If it was the middle of the day, the sun filling the cabin, they might have an amiable chat. But in the middle of the night? With other passengers asleep around them?

They smile shyly and nod before each looks away again. When the soldier knows she isn�t looking, she studies the blonde. A sweet face, but not innocent. She has seen things and things have not always been easy for her. She wears her clothes in the style of the day, tailored and kept nicely, but she is not rich. On her ring finger there is nothing but soft white skin. In the dark it is hard to tell the color of her eyes but the soldier imagines them to be green or blue. She seems to be in thought because her forehead crinkles just above her nose. The expression on the blonde�s face makes the soldier feel an intimacy toward her that cannot be possible�as if she�s known this blonde an eternity.

The blonde looks the soldier�s way causing her eyes to dart back to the window as dark hills pass by. She feels the blonde studying her and an irritating blush crawls up the soldier�s cheeks. Fighting it downward, she turns to see the blonde regarding her frankly, amusement in her eyes.

The soldier folds her arms and turns further away from the blonde, as a fear travels from her stomach to her throat. She knows. She knows. She wonders what the blonde will do now. How did she discover the soldier out so quickly? When so many others would not even notice in the unforgiving light of day?

She reaches out to touch the soldier�s face. The soldier grabs it roughly, dangerously, a warning in her eye. The blonde smiles at her like a beast she has the capacity to tame. And somehow, she does, because the soldier lets the hand go and the blonde caresses her cheek. Soft, and without a man�s stubble, the blonde raises her eyebrow before leaning back in her seat and smiling triumphantly.

Now the soldier must decide what to do. She can leave the compartment, run to the end of the train. If she follows, the soldier can jump and will still survive the fall. The soldier narrows her eyes at the blonde, wanting the woman to fear her the way most people do. A grunt and a look, and most people walk a large, wise circle around her.

But the blonde laughs quietly instead, amused by the soldier. Now, torn by her anger, the soldier is paralyzed. What will happen? Will she tell? The soldier wonders. But the smile that never leaves the blonde�s face is somehow safe. She is amused by the soldier, not outraged as so many would be. And what is that now in her eyes? On her face? No longer a smile there. Now it is she who seems to hide as she turns her face to the side and lowers her eyes. The soldier watches her chest rise and drop dramatically. And that�s when she realizes, the blonde is attracted to her. But if that is true, then it is not he that she is attracted to.

Maybe an hour goes by with many surreptitious glances between them. Then the blonde looks up again, her eyes darker than before. She moves the hem of her dress up, almost imperceptibly. The soldier wonders if she hasn�t simply imagined it. But her legs inch ever so slightly apart. Can this be happening? Doe she know what the soldier truly is? Can it be true that this beautiful woman (a bourgeois, no doubt, upstanding member of her community) is sitting on a train in the middle of the night and offering herself to a stranger? A soldier she has never met before? Whom she may never see again? A soldier she knows is not the man everyone else sees him as being?

Why? reverberates through the soldier�s mind, but is abruptly halted by the sight of silk panties between soft pale thighs. Her throat catches as she looks up into the blonde�s face and sees plainly what she is offering the soldier.

Noticing all the other occupants of the compartment sleeping soundly, the soldier drops to her knees and parts the soft thighs before her. But before she can kiss the ashen flesh, the blonde reaches inside the soldier�s uniform, hand sliding past shirt buttons, under (though this is more difficult) the wrapping across the soldier�s chest, to caress the full breast that has been compressed there. The soldier suppresses a moan when she sees desire well up in, what she can now see, are green eyes.

"I knew it," the blonde whispers into the soldier�s ear. The only words that will be spoken between them.

The soldier wraps her arms around the small woman�s waist, bringing her mouth to rest on the blonde�s parted lips. For a torturously long moment they simply breathe into each other�s mouth. As though giving resuscitation. The woman looks within her so deeply; the soldier is humbled by the intimacy there. She knows her own reply will assure the Blonde. There is too much to be known. Would there be enough time to hand it over?

The soldier moves her hands from the blonde�s waist, moving deliberately, feeling the smooth material under her fingers as she passes over a thin waist to full hips, then with a firmer grip squeezes her hands under the rounded ass, abruptly pulling the blonde to her, center against abdomen. Finally provoking a silent moan from the blonde; their lips meet, the kiss urgent; as they both understand there will never be this chance again; to kiss this stranger.

Then parted thighs and wet silky panties. Slick darkness and stifled moans. Thwarted cries. The old man stirs and the soldier swears she feels the woman buck harder against her hand in response, which now holds her so intimately that it makes her feel a very part of the sweet smelling blonde. Decorum to hell, she takes the woman into her mouth and feasts, the soldier trying desperately to keep pace with the grinding and pumping as the blonde directs the scene, playing it harder, deeper, faster, all the while remaining as silent as the night around them.

The soldier wonders if it�s possible to want someone as much as she wants this blonde stranger. A chance meeting and the soldier�s heart is being stolen from her chest and placed inside the woman with every thrust. The soft dark place seeming the safest place on earth. Was it possible to enter through this most volatile route and still leave behind one�s most fragile belonging? No army can enter her and take my heart, she thinks.

And so, the soldier makes the decision to leave her heart behind, buried deep within this woman. No one will ever find it, ever break it, ever steal it. She will leave it with this beautiful stranger. Thoughts are pushed from her head as the woman nears her climax, pushing the soldier beyond what she ever thought she could give to another person. Then the blonde pulls the soldier�s mouth to her own and fills it with a soft warm tongue.

The soldier whimpers and cries for the feel of it. She tries to take off the soldier�s hat, but it is a lost cause, as the soldier will not give it up. She unzips the pants and searches until she finds her reward, which causes the soldier to straddle the blonde�s hip and stifle a cry into blonde wavy hair. She smells the faint scent of perfume and musky sex as the blonde enters her and works her way, quite knowledgeably, around the inside of the soldier�s pants. Within minutes, skilled hands have her poised on a precipice, the fall seeming too great to survive, as she clings to the woman under her as though her life depends on it.

The soldier stays next to her, an arm draped protectively around her shoulder. The blonde snuggles against her, the place there so perfect for her that it is as if she were cut from the soldier�s body. All one. All the same. The soldier feigns sleep, as she sure the blonde does, when the morning sun spills through their window, the train pulling into its stop, and awakens the other occupants. The soldier senses the others staring at them, aghast looks and much clearing of throats fill the compartment, as the train empties its passengers in the early morning dawn.

The blonde holds the soldier�s hand briefly before deciding the best thing to do is leave quickly. The sun exposes the beauty of the woman as the soldier sees her for the first time, from this distance, in this light, and she wonders if she has gone mad? Is she making this blonde up to give her heart to? For fear of what lies ahead of her? The blonde looks back, one last time, before leaving the compartment and taking with her the soldier�s heart. And then she is gone. And there is no more thud. No more pounding in her chest. There is only silence.

It is not the soldier�s stop and she wonders what to do. She has sworn her duty to another cause. Made a difficult choice, as it is. From out the small rectangular window, she sees the blonde walking through a light crowd and away from the train. The soldier leaps to her feet and runs down the long thin corridor, jumps off of the train in the direction of the blonde. She scans the slight crowd, trying to find the love of her life, whom she has only known for a scant moment. Running down streets and through corridors, she finds the figure she seeks just entering a short tunnel. Catching up to her, she turns the blonde to her, the sunlight in her hair. The blonde smiles widely, shaky and relieved, as she places a finger on the soldier�s lips before she can speak. She reaches up and takes off the soldier�s hat, this time without a fight. And with only minor difficulties, releases long black hair which falls over uniformed shoulders.

"Not with me," she says. "You�re a woman. The most beautiful woman I�ve ever seen."

The soldier lets the blonde strip the uniform off of her�a piece at a time�the hat, then the jacket. Small hands unbutton the soldier�s shirt in a deserted street of some pre-dawn city that has no name. She frees the breasts that have been bound too long, the blonde suckles them back to life and the soldier swears to whichever god will listen that she will never let this woman go.

How did this happen? A stranger on a train strips her of her secret. A woman she knows for half of a night on a midnight train is in possession of her heart. A train with a destination is derailed. Where is she now? Where is she going? Where is the soldier now?

 


 II.

Destination Unknown

 

"Xena!" The messenger bent over to catch his breath, hands steadied by his knees. "Princess Diana has sent me � there�s been more attempts on her life. She sends for you." The royal guard, still huffing and puffing, straightened to look at both warrior and bard. His face turned crimson.

The warrior emerged nude but covered in mud, hands on hips, a look thrown back over her shoulder at the bard still covered up to her neck in mud. "Tell her I�ll be there as soon as I can."

The guard stood motionless, his face showing obvious puzzlement and curiosity. The warrior raised an amused eyebrow. "Is there anything else?"

"N-no." The guard stared down at his feet.

"Better be on your way." The warrior stated the obvious.

"Right." The soldier backed up and then ran off in the direction he came from.

"You and your brilliant ideas. This will be all around the kingdom by the time we arrive. �Eccentric warrior likes to walk around in the nude covered with mud.�" Xena rolled her eyes and headed toward the lake to clean up.

With a slurp, Gabrielle tried to extricate herself from the mud, her feet continually slipping out from under her. "Uh, Xena? A little help?"

A nicely curved brown figure made its way down the path toward the lake.

"Xena?" The bard cried out as she fell face first into the mud. She could hear the faint sound of a whistle in the distance.

The warrior was nearly through with her bath when a dark brown blob with green eyes glared at her from the side of the lake. "Gee Gabrielle, you�re taking this mud bathing a little seriously." She barely hid a smile under the saccharin tone.

"Oh, you�re funny." She made her way into the water, stiff-legged and awkward, the mud having started to dry on the walk over. She lowered herself into the water, but before dunking her mud-covered head, swam up to Xena. "Come on, gimme a kiss. Just one little peck." She made a kissy face.

Xena seductively purred, lowering her head. Gabrielle�s eyes widened in surprise. Was she really going to kiss her muddy lips? Perhaps Xena was a romantic was her last thought before being dunked down into the icy lake.

"Oh!" Gabrielle sputtered. "You�re going to pay!" She jumped onto the retreating back of one warrior princess and dunked her underwater.

But her victory was short lived, as the warrior burst up out of the water and captured Gabrielle in her arms. This time the kiss was real, and deep and as wet as the lake. "Mmm," Gabrielle murmured, "Do we have to leave right this minute?"

"She wouldn�t have sent someone so urgently if it weren�t serious. Do you want an unnecessary death on your conscious?" A sly smile followed.

"You!" Gabrielle shook her head, having been caught in her own web. Xena was in rare form today.

Xena extracted herself from the indignant bard and made her way to shore. The mischievous smile never fully leaving her face.

"Arrgh!" Gabrielle hit the water in frustration before following Xena out of the lake. She moseyed up to the warrior who was still wet but now fully clad in her leathers. "You really think you�ve gotten me today." She pressed her hands onto Xena�s chest, and close, very close, her lips came to the warrior�s until she could sense the woman�s heartbeat pick up, her lips parting to welcome, then the bard pulled back, making a copy of the warrior�s earlier smirk. "We�ll see who gets what they want."

Xena made a mock look of fear. But inside she balked at the threat. She knew the small bard had more power than either of them would admit.

*****

They must push the golden horse much faster than they normally would. Though not as fast as the warrior would if she were by herself. If they continued at this pace they would make Princess Diana�s kingdom by nightfall. They could see to the trouble and even get a warm bed for the night. Perhaps that would make it up to the woman, holding on to her waist, for the warrior�s earlier pranks.

Because when all was said and done, making the blonde happy was really all she thought of anymore. To please the woman who was running her hands up and down her thighs. An attempt to distract the rider from her purpose. She knew that Gabrielle didn�t want to put Diana�s life in danger. That was not the purpose of the distraction. The purpose of the distraction was to win. To get her way. To show them both what, in fact, was already known. A delight they both partook in. The only battle the warrior had lost and enjoyed losing.

Still, there must be a front. Must be a fight. Neither of them would believe in the truth of the victory otherwise. And truth be told, Xena Warrior Princess was not easily conquered. The battle would be fair, even if they both suspected the outcome.

The bard knew there was time enough to love the woman in front of her. Always time. That�s what she told herself. But when? Tonight she would be busy protecting a princess and her kingdom. Maybe they would get to spend the evening in bed, and maybe not, depending on what needed to be done. Gabrielle knew this, did not begrudge it, in fact honored this above all else. Why else would she and the warrior put themselves second so often? It was silently agreed upon that this life quest they had both embarked on (the warrior prompted by redemption, her by nature) would always come before their own needs. It didn�t make their love less important, rather it exemplified it. This duty was the offspring of their love.

Gabrielle knew this, though she was hard pressed to explain it, and had therefore never attempted to speak of it much less write about it. Maybe one day � but now there was the matter at hand. She felt the urge come up from that dark hidden place that usually only children remembered, where impulses and wishes and hopes were not these things, but rather concrete, non-thinking actions. Judgement was pushed aside in favor of playfulness and the promise of bliss.

A small hand worked its way up the warrior�s thigh and disappeared under the leather skirt. Xena leaned back. "We don�t have time for this, Gabrielle. We have to get there before nightfall."

The bard slipped a finger beneath the thin undergarment near the warrior�s hip and slowly edged her way to the middle. "Don�t stop then."

"Gabrielle."

"You owe me."

"I�ll make it up to you once were there."

"But that�s not what I want."

"And what do you want?" Xena caught her breath as the finger found its resting spot on soft curly hair.

"What do I want? Hmmm," Gabrielle�s voice lowered. "I want to have you now. Are you going to let me?"

She was answered when Xena�s hand found the bard�s and pressed it firmly against her. Grinding a little, the warrior felt herself getting wetter by the second. The movement of the horse beneath them only made it that much more palpable. The bard�s fingers teased her, gently tickling, until Xena pressed hard against them again, burying the bard�s hand in her middle.

Gabrielle wrapped her other arm around the warrior�s waist and removed the interfering, dominant hand. She continued to play with the warrior, idly roaming, twirling the hair, then lightly pinching which brought a surprised gasp from the woman now gently leaning back against her. Xena's hips were now moving of their own accord. But the bard wasn�t ready yet to give in and brought her other hand into service, but both hands wouldn�t fit under the close fitting undergarment. Realizing this, an aroused and frustrated warrior grabbed the thin material and with one firm tug, ripped them in two. In the next beat, she brought the bard�s other hand against her. Gabrielle�s heart thudded harder and she used both hands. One after the other, ran up the warrior from bottom to top, feeling her completely, spreading her open, spreading the wetness until both hands moved slickly across the warm smooth outer skin. Xena leaned back further onto the bard and Gabrielle watched her hands move, explore, give pleasure, and her own wetness increased.

Xena could take it no more. It felt as if Gabrielle�s hands were smoothing her, petting her, owning her, and the thought drove her wild. The idea of the little bard owning her in this way was as ludicrous as it was intoxicating. But now she would give anything in the world if the bard would just take her and finish the job. Just as the warrior in her was growing, becoming more demanding, Gabrielle entered her. Xena pumped her hips forward and tried to deepen the contact. Gabrielle picked up the speed but not before adding more fingers, causing the warrior to feel very full. That, combined with the bard�s other hand working the nub that she had been so carefully avoiding and the movement of the horse beneath her, all brought the warrior to the edge faster than she imagined was possible. Gabrielle nuzzling and sucking her neck was the last thing she remembered. "I love you � I love you so much," whispered into black hair.

As the waves receded the bard whispered huskily into her ear. "I want to be in front." Though nervous on the large mare, she wanted this too much. Her heart pounded wildly at what she was about to do. She wrapped her leg around the front of the warrior�s waist. Xena reached out, snagging Gabrielle about the waist, and swung her easily around to the front of the saddle. While doing so, she slowed Argo�s pace so that they were now only at a gallop. Once the bard was facing Xena, both women held their breath, recognizing their need for this contact. The bard wrapped her legs around the warrior�s torso, making it more comfortable for both riders and exhaled raggedly before burying herself in Xena�s mouth, taking up residence and claiming it as her own. The warrior�s hand (the other one still on the reins) found ample flesh before her and kneaded it mercilessly. Sliding under clothing and pinching hard nipples that caused the bard to moan into her mouth and rub up against her.

Gabrielle was aware of strong hands on her warm skin and the blurry ground moving beneath her. One wrong move and she would fall, but the hand that held the reins also pressed firmly against her back, and so she felt safe and allowed their lovemaking to progress. Xena found the spot that was wetting her saddle and with another firm tug, ripped the offending material. The bard knew she should be angry and practical about such unnecessary behavior�clothing cost dinars�but the action, instead, excited her.

"Gods, Xena � please."

"What?" The warrior pressed. Her fingers teasing the bard in the same relentless way that she had been teased.

"Be inside me," the bard whispered back, her voice carrying so much need that the warrior moaned into the bard�s ear.

And there was no time for waiting. On the quickening horse, her lover�s legs wrapped around her as she entered her, their pace naturally keeping time with the galloping rhythm beneath them. Xena thought Gabrielle the most magnificent creature alive, her head thrown back in ecstasy as her hips moved in time to the warrior�s hand. The thudding of the horse�s hooves against the ground. The mare pushed mercilessly forward, as the bard�s breathing became heavier. The very air was a blur as Gabrielle mumbled incoherently. The bits and pieces Xena could catch were scattered phrases, "So good � harder � mmm, yes � gods � now!"

*****

The bard woke up later, her arms and legs still around Xena, her face pressed against the warm flesh of neck. A protective arm encircled her waist. Gabrielle realized the horse�s pace had slowed, which probably accounted for her waking.

The warrior could see the edge of the kingdom and smiled down at the disheveled bard. Gabrielle looked up at her shyly and then, as if remembering she was the conqueror, covered the shyness with a cocky smile.

"So who got what they wanted? Guess I showed you."

"Oh yeah," Xena said with a sarcastic smirk, "you showed me."

Gabrielle hit her playfully. But it didn�t matter because they both knew she had won. That she always would. The bard knew the warrior would see to it. Just as she knew she would never let the warrior down by doing her best to conquer her each and every time.

The warrior cleared her throat and nodded at the approaching kingdom. "Duty calls."

The bard looked over her shoulder and saw the approaching castle walls. "Ah, yes." She turned back around and gave the warrior a secret look, one that only they shared. It could not be explained or talked about, even by them. "Duty."

Xena smiled and captured Gabrielle�s eyes one last time in a joined, understood moment, before she helped the bard swing back behind her. The blonde wrapped her arms around the dark one�s waist. And from a distance, an observer would have only seen two determined riders, expressions intent, dashing head long toward some unknown destiny.

 


 III.

Drowning

I don�t know what I was thinking. I needed to get her out of here while I still had my stereo, my money � my life. One night was one thing, but this letting one day melt into the other, this letting my folly take over my life, was another all together.

The padding of bare feet on hardwood floors, though she walked like a spirit, as though her body were as supple as the wind. I tensed because I knew the moment I looked up from the keyboard, the white lettering on the computer screen; I would be forced to deal with it once again.

Slowly, I allowed my gaze to wander over brown feet, toes planted firmly as if they could be a part of the earth herself. Such fine dark skin, so different from mine. The tribal tattoo on the ankle also different from my unmarred skin, nothing more than the standard earrings having ever decorated my body. I�m pure white Americana, middle class, coming from the last in a line of nuclear families that used to so heavily populate McCarthy Era America. Sent to college by parents who expected nothing less from me than a degree and a husband, not necessarily in that order.

And her, with her brown rooted feet and tribal tattoos, who is she? My eyes wandered up to firm calves and muscular thighs. As I studied these fine, fine specimens like they were a science project, she crossed the kitchen floor and pulled out a chair from the table. Turning it, she swung a long leg over, straddled it, arms resting along the back of the chair. Her fingers gripped and then released the vinyl. The secret of her strength, I had determined, was hidden in her hands. I have sat and studied them for hours, wishing I could draw so I could sketch them until I found the answer. I have often thought a woman�s hands tell the story of the woman. Hers were brutish even in their long elegance, a dichotomy of the senses with her callused fingers and baby soft skin.

She was always so able to keep her tongue. Much better than I. My nervousness caused me to go on and on. She never seemed to mind but I always thought it gave her an advantage. And that may well be something I cannot afford anymore.

Her smooth muscled arms and broad shoulders also hold a gentle grace that couldn�t be hidden, even under the tattoo that moved up her right arm, from the biceps upward, curving over her shoulder. A detailed, well-drawn piece of art. It was still something I have always considered crude�this covering of skin with permanent ink. The rabid, indiscriminant markings and piercings that seemed epidemic these days. But from the moment I saw her in the club, tattoos and all, I was mesmerized, as though I had never seen the likes of her before. As though the dark-haired woman was an exotic creature from lands I could only begin to imagine.

Drinks. Dancing. A dangerous car ride that almost ended with us wrapped around a light pole. Strewn clothing. The floor. The bed. The shower. And for three days since, any and everywhere we could, as often as we could.

But now I needed to end it. After all, I was white Americana, she nothing more than damaged street goods. What could we ever have in common? This stranger in my house. This potentially dangerous stranger.

I looked up at her face, which always seemed to be my biggest mistake, and saw the hooded eyes and the icy blue underneath and I lost my words, my plans. I took her in from head to toe. Completely naked, long legs on either side of a chair that covered her torso, naked shoulders with only the top of her breasts showing, which was more intoxicating than if she had been revealed completely. I swallowed and prayed to whatever divine spirit existed to give me the strength I needed to end this before I ended up looted or dead.

She smiled then, because she always seemed to know exactly when to smile. Not a dangerous smile, like the one that had originally seduced me, but a warm smile, unguarded and genuine. Not what I was counting on. I turned completely away from the computer, swiveled in my chair, and faced her.

"Will you be long?" She asked.

"I�m a writer. Sooner or later I have to get back to work," I told her. Suddenly not so sure I wanted her to take a hint and leave.

She raised an eyebrow, slowly. "Then you want me to go?"

I was not expecting this, and because of this rapid turn of events, I felt panicked.

"No!" I rose to my feet and swiftly moved across the floor to throw my arms around her, drowning her in a deep kiss. Immersing myself in her again and not caring if I lost everything in the process.

She pulled me onto her lap and her voice rumbled through me. "Then come back to bed."

"But my writing."

She set me on the chair and walked back to the doorway, one look backward before heading down the hall to the bedroom. I looked at the computer screen. I hesitated. I did hesitate a good heartbeat before my feet found their way back to her.

The bedroom was in disarray, bedding everywhere, as well as clothing and plates of old food and sodas half drank. Only the white bottom sheet remained on the bed. Its partner, the top sheet, was twisted off to the side. She sat there, back against the wall, her brown body against the white sheet like a siren call. I stood at the foot of the bed, her switchblade near my foot.

"Take off your clothes."

I removed the shorts and T-shirt I was wearing, my heart thudding in my chest. I wore nothing underneath, underwear seeming unnecessary when one was having that much sex. I stood there while she looked me over. I could feel my pulse quicken as she eyed me.

"Take your right middle finger and touch yourself."

I obeyed, letting my fingers dip and trail through my blonde curls.

"Lightly," she commanded.

That only made me want to press harder against myself, but I did as she asked.

"Taste," she demanded.

I brought the thick liquid to my lips and took my fingers into my mouth in a way that I knew would excite her. She narrowed her eyes and I knew I had her.

"That�s me," she said. "I�m that juice between your legs. I know that you�ve been thinking about how to get rid of me. You don�t have to do that. I�m not garbage to be put out on the curb."

I pulled my finger from my mouth and stared at her dumbfounded.

"I�ll go," she said, her long legs easing her clean departure from the bed to the bathroom. She tugged on her Levis, pulled the loose fitting tank top over her head, before I could even manage a word. I watched her walk past me into the living room where her boots were. I followed helplessly.

She slipped on the dark boots, next the hip length leather jacket, and all I could think was it was ninety degrees outside and she would be too hot. My mind was numb. I couldn�t make my mouth work to stop what was happening. But my body was smarter than I was, as it landed me between her and the door. She now fully dressed; my naked ass pressed against the cold wood of the door that would take her from me. Somehow, that cold wood on my ass made my mouth work.

"Don�t go."

"We don�t want the garbage stinking up the nice, clean apartment." She spoke in a low menacing tone. But behind it I could sense the hurt. She reached for the doorknob and I grabbed her hand and placed it in my wetness, pressing her against me. I held onto her, moved her still hand against me. Rocked and pushed against her. My other hand clawed at her leather jacket until I could feel the tough skin giving away under my nails.

"Please," I begged. I begged and I begged. Into her hair, against her ear, into her mouth. Until I felt her warm tongue meet mine and her hand move against me of its own free will. And I clung to her like a drowning woman, coming against her like the battering storm that was pulling me under and making me fear for my life.

She sat me down and wiped away the tears I didn�t even realize were running down my face. She petted my cheek with callused fingers, speaking tenderly, saying, �I won�t. I won�t.� It was then that I realized I had never stopped babbling, �Don�t go.� She took me back to bed and made me breakfast. She fed me by hand and later bathed me.

*****

On our first trip out of the apartment she tried hard to be less like her self, to be more what she thought I would like her to be. She made sure to keep the appropriate distance from me in crowds, to be unobtrusive, unremarkable, unspectacular.

When I realized what she was up to, I was heartbroken. We stood on the corner of a busy street, her hands sunk too deep into her pockets. I untucked her hands. She questioned me with an eyebrow and I wrapped my arms inside her leather jacket, pulling her down to me for a deep, soft kiss. Her mouth questioned me. My lips reassured her.

From the moment the dam on my will broke�watching her nearly leave my life�and flooded my small world, I knew who the better person was. Who the good one was. And I knew it was she who would help me find my way out of the darkness.

 THE END 

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