Standard Disclaimer: The character of Xena and Argo do not belong to me, never have never will. They belong to Renaissance Pictures/MCA.

Violence: None.

Sex/Language: Yep some of both. There are explicit, graphic descriptions of a sexual nature in this story. The ladies finally do the nasty. There are a few less than ladylike utterances that spew from their mouths as well. If you object to two women in love who act upon their feelings, I am sorry, don't read my stories. If you are not 21, move along don't read this story. If you live in a state or province where this sort of material is illegal don't read this story.

Hurt/Comfort: I thought there would be some rough spots by now, but so far the muse hasn't struck me that way. Still their lives are not all peaches and cream so be alerted.

This is the next installment of the 'Real Dreams' series. It began with 'Daydreams' parts I & II Then moves onto 'FromDreams to Reality', then 'Soul Mates? Maybe So'. So if you don't read these stories, this one won't make a lot of sense. It's sorta like coming in at the middle of a movie. I hate that. Anyway, let me know what you think. My new addy is As always your constructive suggestions are truly welcomed.

High Lonesome



November 11, 2000

Chapter 1: Total Truth

I found the dogs at the foot of the stairs leading up to De's apartment. The two Australian Shephards lifted their heads and wagged their stubbed tails. Huck whimpered lightly, and Finn stood and stretched welcoming me home. I sat down on the lower step petting the dogs until I felt eyes watching me, so I looked up to see De standing above me on the landing.

"Are you coming up or are you gonna sleep down there with the dogs?"

"I don't know. Am I gonna get a better offer tonight?"

"Depends, what's in it for me?"

I stood and slowly began climbing the stairs, never breaking the connection between hazel and azure pools. When I reached the top stair I faced De, making sure our bodies rubbed sensuously in all the right places. I tangled my fingers in black inky tresses, massaging the nap of De's neck with my fingertips. A low murmur from my mate gave me the insentive to continue. I put enough pressure on the back of her head to bring her lips in contact with mine. I stuck my tongue out and gently rubbed De's ruby lips asking for entrance to her warm sweet tasting mouth. Entrance was freely given, as De allowed me to explore to my heart's content. I began a long sucking motion with my mouth rubbing De's tongue tantalizingly with my own. A strangled whimper issued forth from my lover's mouth. Gotcha I thought. The kiss became more demanding as I ground my hips into my lover's. The mounting need was becoming too hard to ignore, and I realized I was playing with fire, but I didn't care. I wanted and needed this mysteriously frightening woman far too much to stop. Suddenly I found myself slammed against the wall of the appartment, a strong muscular body pinning me against the wall while two large hands ripped open my shirt sending buttons flying. A warm mouth descended on my breast sucking and biting the sensitive flesh there. At first I was too shocked to react, but in rather short order, I was forcing by breast harder into the loving mouth. De's strong thigh forced my legs apart and began thrusting her firm well-muscled thigh hard into my aching center. But just as quickly as it started the sexual encounter was over a strangled cry was torn from my lover and she wrenched herself free me and whirled out of my arms.

"No, dammit no! Not like this! God not like this, please." My lover was leaning heavily on the railing, but soon, her legs seemed to crumple under her and she slid bonelessly to the deck. I stood there in stunned silence, not really sure what just transpired. Slowly, cautiously I advanced toward my love. Quietly I called to her.

"De?" When I got no response, I knelt down beside her, placing my hand on her shoulder. At first she shrank away from my touch, but persistently I pressed on. "De, please baby talk to me, tell me what just happened here? Did I do something to make you not want..." Suddenly my arms were filled with a crying, shaking woman. Finally, De spoke.

"Oh no my love, you did nothing wrong. Don't you see? It's me. I want you so much, I need you, but...I...oh God...I don't...all I know is taking. I don't know how to love someone like you. Someone kind and caring and loving. I don't deserve to love you. I have no right to...before I was only interested in satisfying my bloodlust. I know nothing about love. I wouldn't blame you if you left me and never came back." I continued to hold the precious form in my arms.

"Shh, baby don't say those things. Of course you deserve love. And you are capable of loving. I see it in everything you do." De snorted derisively. "Stop that! It's true! The way you work with the horses, these two mutts love and trust you. Your paintings are full of love and beauty. De you are a beautiful, loving, nurturing person." Another snort. "All right maybe the nurturing part is a bit over the top, but you'll get there, I know it. Because I know you love me as much as I love you. Do you hear me, I love you! You did only what I asked for. I wanted you hot and bothered. I wanted you aroused and needy. I had no idea you would react this way or I would never have done this. I was teasing you, leading you on. I wanted you to take me and make mad passionate love to me, I still do. I'm sorry I caused you this pain, believe me I didn't..." Warm soft lips captured mine in a gently loving kiss. I smiled through the kiss, and then began to giggle, and then finally laughed right out loud, along with my love.

"I did it again didn't I. Just kept going on and on. Then you had to shut me up the only way you could."

"Yeah. If I didn't know better, you'd have me thinking you were doing this on purpose just so I'd kiss you."

"What, lil' ol' me? Why Dena Alexsis Lassiter whatever would give you such an idea?" I batted my eyelashes and added a feigned Scarlet O'Hara pout. De reached out and tapped my nose with a long slender finger.

"You know exactly where I got that idea."


"Yes from a certain brunette with golden hazel eyes. You don't happen to know someone who would fit that discription do you?"

"Nope, can't say that I do."

"Hmmm, well she's sneaky, and I'll have to keep an eye on her."

"That sounds like a wise plan. Ya can't be too careful ya know."

We sat there for a few minutes, the tension still tight between us. I didn't know what to say or do. I loved De, but I had to break through the walls, tear down the barriers between us before it tore us apart. What did Unc used to say? Oh yeah, "...don't let fear stop ya."

"De tell me what to do? How can I help you, help us? I want you so much. I want to love you, to touch you, taste you, feel you. I want you to do those things to me too. How do we get there from here? Maybe if you need to see someone...I...I'd go..."

"A shrink? I don't know maybe so. It's just I've done so many terrible things, I can never wash the blood from my hands, and I'm afraid the blood will spill onto you too. Would you just hold me?" I nodded.

"Of course, but not out here. C'mon let's go to bed." I extended my hand and De grasp it life a drowning man grabs a lifeline thrown to him. In no time, we had finished with out hygiene duties and were entangled in each other's arms in De's huge bed.

"See itsn't this much better than that hard cold old deck?" A raven head nodded against my chest.

"Cody, I'm so sorry. I should never have...I'm so...oh God..." I held De close to my chest stroking her back, her shoulders, any place I could touch and soothe.

"De tell me what were you feeling...I mean...what did you want?" I felt De's body shudder against me. "Please telk to me, tell me."

"I wanted you, I still do. I wanted to fuck you. I wanted to thrust my fingers deep inside you while I humped my cunt on your ass."

"Why didn't you? I offered myself to you. Why didn't you just take what you wanted?"

"Oh God Cody...I...I couldn't...not you...not that way...I love you....God help me I couldn't hurt you that way."

"I know baby. I love you too, and you see this just proves I'm right. The old De is dead. That De doesn't exist any more."

"No Cody you're wrong. She is alive and living very close to the surface, so close it scares me. What if I..."

"De you won't, I trust you. I admit that your past scares me, who you used to be frightens me."

"Then run Cody. Run away as far as you can. Get away from me before I do something terrible..."

"Nope can't do that. We Flemings don't run, well at least not very far. Whatever you were, whatever you've done can't be erased. There are things about the old De that make you who you are: your strength, decisiveness, courage. Those aren't bad qualities. They helped you survive through horrible situations that most of us never would have. As for the rest, between the two of us, we'll see that De stays buried. My darling I won't run away from my feelings, not any more. Besides, I have no where left to run De."

"I don't understand, what do you mean?"

"You're not the only one who is afraid of their past, the mistakes made, regrets, guilt, baggage. I'm packing around some of mine own too De. You've been totally honest and open with me, and I've betrayed that by not telling you everything about me. Our relationship has to be based on trust, and I've...well Unc says if I can't be totally honest with you, then there will be no hope for us. He's right; I'm tired De. Tired of all the lies the deception...I'm not going to do that any longer." De propped herself up against the pillows and held me close to her.

"Well, I'm listening, I'm not going anywhere either. If I run anywhere, I guess I'd better run to you. I've just learned something in the last few minutes; I'm safe with you, and by the Gods, I want you to feel safe with me too. I know I have to earn that trust, but please believe me I'll never betray your trust in me, I promise."

"I do trust you De, it's me I sometimes have a tough time with. Okay, here goes. I'm not as pure as you think. As a matter of fact, really the only difference between you and me is I didn't spend time in jail to pay for my crimes. It started about eight years ago. I had just taken a position at Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle. I began as an OR nurse, but eventually, I worked my way up until I was the OR Nursing Services Director. I scrubbed in on all the tough cases, otherwise, my time was pretty much spent overseeing the comings and goings of the nursing staff in the OR department. It wasn't long before I had earned a reputation as a hard nosed pain in the ass where the surgeons were concerned. I was on the Patient Advocacy Board, and made damn sure the patients rights, confidentiality, and most importantly their dignity was ensured above everything else, even before the doctors egos, which in some cases, was pretty huge. The Chief of Staff Dr. Luis Hernandez was my mentor, but he was also a practical man. He made damn sure his position was never put in jeopardy, even though he went to bat for me on several occassions, when push came to shove, he caved, and fired me for insubordination. But that was the last straw, a lot happened before I was actually dismissed." I shuddered at the memories which began to come flooding back. Nightmares actually that I thought were dead and buried. I guess that's what I get for doing my own thinking. My tremors didn't go unnoticed by my lover.

"Baby, if you can't do this, I'll understand. You don't have to tell me anything you don't want." Isn't it just like her? She spills her guts, and then when I can't she says it's okay. Well it's not okay, not any more.

"No honey, it's time. I need to get rid of this shit. I met someone. She was a consultant for McGill-Hawthorne. They provided medical supplies and surgical instrumentation for the hospital. She was based in the Seattle area and we became friends. Her name was Gretchen Fowler. She was my first real lesbian long term lover. I had experiemented a few times, but I never found 'Miss Right'. I thought Gretchen was that person; I didn't realize until much later how wrong I was. Gretchen was just using me to keep her foot in the door at the hospital. Don't get me wrong, I would never, nor did I ever comprimise patient safety, but my recommendations kept our account with McGill-Hawthorne on going. Gretchen and I were reasonably happy, but something was missing. Since I met you, I know now what that was. There was no connection on a higher level. We had sex, albeit great sex, but that was about it. I soon learned Gretchen was game for just about anything. She especially liked to someone else. She got herself off while someone else fucked my brains out. Then, she'd fuck my brains our while the other person took her in the ass. You seeing a pattern developing here?"

"Oh babe, I could never do that to you. The thought of someone else touching me crazy. Obvioisly she diden't care anything about you."

"Listen De, I wasn't a babe in the woods here. I liked it as much as she did. We had some real orgies. But after a while I knew this wrong; it wasn't right for me. Evidently Gretchen felt the same way cause when I got home one morning after a 36 hour stretch in the OR, I found her in bed bonking one of my OR nurses. I wasn't all that upset with the fact she was with someone else, but I was upset because she was with someone else without me! How screwed up is that? I threw them both out, made sure Sheila was transferred to ICU, and I went on a binge of women and alcohol. I never let the alcohol interfere with my job, but just about every weekend I was out to the gay bars. I picked up anybody who wanted a good fuck. But there were no strings, so entanglements, just '...slam bang thank you ma'am.' and I was on my way. That was my one rule. I should have stuck to it, then maybe the next year wouldn't have happened."

"What happened baby?"

"I met a young girl at a local bar called the "Gay Nineties" in Tacoma. Believe me, it was a real gay bar. This girl, her name was Amanda, was being hit on by some biker chick. The biker was as tall as you, but not nearly in as good a shape. I hated when people tried to take advantage of others. That was one thing Dad and Unc always taught me. Do let people take advantage of you, and don't let them do it to others either. I thought about just ignoring the situation, I just wanted to get laid, not babysit some yokel who got themselves in trouble. But I just hate loud, rude people."

"Like Dan Haskel?" De asked as she kissed my head.

"Yeah, no doubt. Anyway, I jot up from my stool and went over to the table where the young girl was sitting. I ignored the tall woman and asked Amanda if she'd like to dance. She saw the opportunity to get away from a bad situation, but if she'd have realized it, she was jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The tall biker chick laid her hand on me to try to stop us from leaving. Bad move. I may be short, but I knew how to take care of myself. So fast she never knew what hit her, I jabbed my thumb into her throat, and then smashed the heel of my hand into her nose, breaking it, sending blood flying everywhere. She dropped like a rock, out like a light. I grabbed Amanda's hand and took off out the back where my jeep was parked. I took Amanda home, and thought that would be the end of it. Except we ended up in bed. I found out that night she was a virgin, but that didn't stop me, just the opposite, it was a real turn-on. Remember when you said earlier, about what you wanted to do to me tonight? That's exactly what I did to Amanda that night. I took her virginity, and I didn't particularly care if she got any pleasure from it or not." I couldn't stop the slient tears from tracking slowly down my cheeks.

"Shh baby, I know better than anybody how you feel. I been there. You feel no better than an animal addicted to lust. You need satisfaction, you crave it, the beast in you breaks free, and there isn't enough sex in the world to satisfy that need. You don't care who or how many people suffer, as long as the beast is fed. I know." De rocked me slowly while I cried. For me, for De, for Amanda. My God Amanda I'm so sorry. "Where's Amanda now?"

"She's...aaahhh...Oh God De...she's...dea...she died. She killed herself...beca...because. Oh dammit, it was my fault."

"Oh honey, not you too? If I could save you from anything, I'd save you from that kind of guilt. Can you tell me what happened?"

"Against my better judgement, we began seeing each other, although I continued to see other people. I kept going to the bars, feeding the beast inside me. I told her that was how it was going to be, it's all I could give her. If that wasn't enough, that was too bad, that was just the way if was going to be. One night I picked up this chick at a local bar on Pudget Sound. I took her back to my place, and well you know what happened next. Anyway, Amanda came home and found us. What goes around comes around right? Now I was in Gretchen's place. I scrambled out of bed grabbed some clothes and went out into the living room after her. I'll never forget the sound of her screaming "...why, why, why. God no not you too?" I asked her what she was so upset about, that I told her from the get go this might happen. She said, "yeah, but not with my sister!" Then she slapped me and left. That was the last time I ever saw her. A week later her body was found floating under a pier. She's killed herself that same night. I was in bed with some whore I'd picked up and she brought me some coffee and the morning paper. That's how I found out. I tried to see her sister, but she'd taken Amanda back home to New Mexico to be buried; I never saw her again either. From then on things went from bad to worse. My attitude at work got worse, I was more abusive, and more driven to keep the surgeons on the straight and narrow. The last straw came when I told Dr. David Bartlet he was an asshole, and I got fired. Later Lu found out Bartlet had a deal going with..."

"Don't tell me."

"You guessed it; Gretchen Fowler. Only this time, it was a lot more than just a recommendation, he was taking both sexual favors and kickbacks for using new drugs they were pushing on his patients. A couple of them actually died from allergic reactions. Needless to say, he was fired, and is on trial for murder. Gretchen is in trouble too, up to her pretty little ass. Anyway, Lu wanted me to come back to work, but I told him what he could do with his job, and came home. So you see, we're really not so very different after all. God we're co-dependent! How ironic is that?"

"I could think of a lot worse people to be co-dependent with."

"Thank you, I think."

"Really, I mean I need you, I love you. And now I understand how it is that you could really feel what I was going through, because you've been there. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that, but, and I'm being very selfish here, I'm glad if what happened to you brought you here."

"Me too, I love you very much. Unc was right. Truth and love can conquer anything. And you know what else?" De kissed my temple and snuggled us both deeper into the bed.

"No what?"

"I'm very tired, and I want to go to sleep. And you know what else?"

"No baby what else?"

"I haven't had any nightmares since you and I have been sleeping together."

"Me either."

"What do you s'pose that means?"

"It means if we want to have sweet dreams, we have to sleep together from now on, forever." De tried to stiffle a yawn, but was unsuccessful.

"Forever's good. I can do forever. I love you De, g'night."

"I love you too Cody, sweet dreams."

Chapter 2: A New Day

I awoke the next morning with a new sense of purpose. I felt as though an incrediably heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I realized a midnight confession wasn't the cure all for all our problems, but it was a beginning. I decided while we were alone together these next two days, I would approach De about seeing a counselor to help us deal with the anger and guilt each of us was still carrying around. I had disentangled myself from my lover and gazed down at her peaceful childlike sleeping countenence. I gently brushed a lock of long raven hair from De's face and kissed her cheek. She mumbled something unintelligable, and grabbed the pillow I until recently had my head resting upon. She smiled dreamily, and I chuckled to myself and padded to the bathroom. I took a shower, letting the hot water streak down my naked form washing away the tension and pain. When the hot water didn't totally clear my foggy brain, I knew a good dose of hot, black coffee would do the trick. I hoped De had something in the apartment to make coffee at least.

De's kitchen was just as up to date as the one in her cabin, but looked just as unused. Well here goes nothing. I rummaged around in the cupboards until I found what I was looking for. I put the coffe on and then looked around in the fridge. Aha! Success! Butter, eggs, cheese, milk, not sour by the way, mushrooms, and sausage. Now if only I had some potatoes, I would be all set. I opened the freezer and found some frozen tater tots. Well not exactly Idaho Famous, but they would have to do. I found a loaf of bread in the freezer as well. I'm glad I'm not the only one who keeps bread in the freezer. Now a little strawberry jam, and we're all set. I found a couple of plates and silverware and set them out on the divider between the dinning area and the kitchen. Two tall swivel chairs would provide is with a place to sit. I was mixing the eggs, butter and milk together for the omelets when I felt a warm presence behind me and two strong arms encircle my waist. A strong chin rested in my shoulder while warm soft lips nuzzled my neck and ear, teasing me to distraction.

"Hey babe, what'cha doing?"

"I'm trying to fix us some breakfast, but I'm being distracted by a tall, gorgeous Amazon." I turned in the circle of my lover's arms and brought her head down to my level and kissed her passionately. "Hmm I like the way you taste in the morning. I'd like another please." De took my mouth with hers, infiltrating my oral cavern with her delicious tongue. She thrust said muscle in and out of my mouth sending jolts of pleasure to places much further south. We broke the kiss for the sake of breath, and with an obvious smug expression on her face De asked.

"How's that?"

"Very good. But don't get too cocky, or you won't get any breakfast."


"That's right, cause I'm the boss."

"Think so huh," De growled towering over my much shorter frame. Bravado oftentimes works in much tougher situations than this.

"That's exactly right 'Miz Thing', so if you don't want to go hungry, ya better not hurt the cook!" The expression on De's face became deadly serious.

"I'd never hurt the cook, now or ever."

"I know you wouldn't." A tender, soulful kiss followed, each set of lips gently marking and claiming the other as a possession for no one else but us. When we broke the kiss I continued. "But the cook needs to get to work, otherwise you won't get any food, and it will be a long time before lunch."

"Aaahhh, but you forget my cache."

"Oh ha, granola bars have nothing on my famous cheese, sausage, and mushroom omelets, so just pour us some coffee, sit your butt down, and get ready to taste the best breakfast you've ever eaten!" De did as she was bade, and I finished up the omelets, complete with spuds, toast and jam, and sat them before her. She looked a bit dubious.

"What's that red stuff on top?"

"It's strawberry jam silly."

"I know that, what's on the eggs?"

"Oh it's paprika, a Greek spice. Try it." De still looked a little unsure. "Oh go on; it won't kill you!" De took a tentative bite and moved it around in her mouth. A happy expression lit up her face as she chewed and swallowed the omelet.

"Hey this is really good."

"Ha tol' ya. I have many skills."

"Wow gorgeous and she cooks too."

"Uh, well not exactly. I can do breakfast and barbecue, but that's about it. I do a mean chilli, stew, and ham and beans, but other than that I'm afraid my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired. I ate out a lot, or in the hospital cafeteria. What about you? This kitchen looks like it's hardly used."

"Yeah well, I do a mean salad, and other than that I can cook corn flakes." Oh boy, this is not good.

"Honey, you don't cook corn flakes."

"Well there ya are. I told you I was no cook."

"I guess there's nothing for it, we'll just continue to contribute to the local economy and eat out a lot. Between that and mooching off Unc and Maggie, we should survive quite nicely. What'dya think?"

"Sounds like a plan to me," De laughed. God I loved to hear her laugh. It's a sound I want to hear for the rest of my life. That and her screaming my name in ecstacy when she cums for me. Oh yeah. "Hey Cody, Cody! Cody!!!."

"What? Oh I'm sorry did you say something?"

"I said, we need to get a move on, it's almost 5:30am."

"Right, I'll get the dishes cleaned up and you get our gear downstairs. I'll get dressed and be down directly to help you get the horses saddled and Jake packed up." De kissed me quickly and disappeared.

"I'm all over it. See you downstairs in a bit."

"'Kay." God I gotta get a grip or I gotta get laid or both.

I joined De downstairs to find Unc and Hank had already helped De get the horses tacked up and Jake's pack already arranged. De had just slid the rifle Unc had given her into the scabbard on her saddle. God I hated guns almost as much as Maggie did. Working in the OR, I'd seen what damaage a gun could do the human body, and it wasn't pretty. I knew De had prbably used a gun before, but I really wasn't ready, at this point, to know the how, why, and when.

"Well if it isn't sleeping beauty come to join the rest of the waking world," Unc teased.

"Hey, knock it off! I'll have you know I was up long before 'Miz Thing' here, fixed breakfast and everything!" De wrapped her arms around my shoulder from behind and hugged me fiercely, then kissed the crown of my head.

"That's right you did babe, and it was very good. You take really good care of me, and I appreciate it very much."

"Uh huh," Unc snickered to Hank, "See there, now it starts. The two of them were insufferaqble before, now they'll be impossible!"

"Yep Doan," Hank deadpanned, "love causes otherwise sane people to become utter and complete fools. God save me from that ever happening to me!" I looked at Unc knowingly.

"Now Hank, you best come with me, we need ta have a little talk." Hank stopped dead in his tracks.

"Now hold on there Doan, I already that talk with my pa years ago, and I'm too damned old to start all that foolishness again." Unc just shook his head.

"No sir Hank, a wise woman once told me you're never to old for love. C'mon now and I'll tell ya a few things and let these two be on their way. See ya in a couple days girls."

"What in the hell was all that about?" De asked. I chuckled as I mounted my Appaloosa gelding Dandy.

"C'mon, let's get going, I'll tell you on the way. C'mon Jake let's move." De mounted Elan with a curious expression on her face wondering what Unc and I had been discussing, and if it had anything to do with her.

"C'mon you dogs, let's go, the boss is ready to go. If we ain't careful, we'll be eating her dust all day," De chuckled.

"What'dya mean 'boss', I ain't no boss. Just forget what I said in the kitchen. No sir, not me. I don't want to be making anymore decisions like that any more. You can be the boss."

"Nope, I don't want to be the boss either. I'm sure as hell not too keen on having other people do what I tell 'em to any more either," De argued.

"Well now that could present a problem. If you don't wanna be boss and I don't wanna be the boss, who's gonna get the job. You know what Unc said, we have to figure out how to get along, for the sake of the ranch's success. There are people depending on us ya know."

"Yeah I can see the problem. Why don't we be co-bosses." De suggested

"Co-bosses?" I asked

"Yeah, hell if we're co-dependent, we might as well be co-bosses too."

"Ya know what I think?"

"No what?"

"I think you're nuts, that's what I think."

"Yeah, but you love me anyway." De grinned. I stopped my horse as De pulled up alongside me. I leaned over in the saddle, and kissed her tenderly.

"Yes, baby I do, very much."

We rode out through the north pasture, out by the lake, and on up into the foothills which would eventually lead us to the high mountain pastures. During the first part of the ride through the open meadows, we could ride side by side. Later on because of the narrow trails, we would ride single file. Out in the open, we decided De would lead Jake to let Elan get used to ponying another horse. This was a valuable task a horse needed to learn especially on a ranch. But later, when we reached the narrow trails, I would take over the job because Dandy was much more experienced at the job particularly in the mountains. Dandy was one of the best ranch horses we had. He was an all round good hand, adept at handling a rope, especially when there was a cantankerous old heifer on the other end wantin' to take out half the fences on the place, and stompin' every ranch hand within a hundred miles. He could cut out and hold any cow you chose away from the herd for as long as needed. He was strong and dependable in every way. Yes sir, he was better than most two-legged so-called intelligent animal I ever met, present company excepted. The smile on my face at the last thought caught De's attention.

"So whatcha thinking about now, or should I ask?"

"Oh nothin' much. Just how much I missed all this. I guess it's really true, you have to almost lose something before you realize how much it means to you."

"Wrong, I'll never have to lose you to know how much you mean to me, how much I love you."

"Hmmm, you're right. I stand corrected."

Chapter 3: Rocky Mountain High

The terrain gradually became more steep and rugged. The vast pairie gave way to the forested trails and hillsides of the Rockie Mountain foothills. We had called a halt a mile back, and I took over the job of leading Jake up into the mountains. Jake's pack had begun getting lighter as we dropped salt blocks at various locations to draw the cattle up into the higher pastures and different water holes. So far everything looked good: the fences were in good repair and except for a minor patch job here and there, there was no major breaks in the fence lines. If we were losing cattle, it wasn't because they were wandering off. We had ridden some twenty miles when De looked up at the sun almost directly overhead. We had just crossed Balzer Creek for the first time. There would be three or four more crossings before we would reach the first of the lower mountain pastures.

"Noon time," she said. So what's your point. I looked at my watch; yep straight up. God I hate that.

"Yep," I said noncommittally.

"Didn't need no watch either." I grunted.

"Hell De, even I can tell when it's noon, anybody could." Just then my stomach growled loudly. De let out a loud horselaugh. Oh shit!

"Yeah, but I looked at the sun, I don't have to depend on my gut."

"Hardy har har! I meant because the sun's straight overhead, everybody knows when the sun is straight up it's noon. That's easy. Let's see, you let me know when it's exactly 2:00pm, then we'll see how damn smart ya are? Deal."

"Heck yeah, that's a piece of cake. What do I get when I win." Okay little miss smarty pants, I'll take some of this action.

"Pretty damned sure of yourself aren't ya?"

"Yep. So what do I get?"

"If I win, you get to do all the chores. You know gather the firewood, set up camp. If you win, I'll unsaddle your horse and take care of the cooking and fetch water. How's that?"

"Throw in a couple back rubs and ya got a deal." Gotcha little girl, De thought. "Hold up here a minute." De fished around in her saddle bags and pulled out a couple of granola bars and a package of Oreos for each of us. "We won't have to stop, this should tide us over until we get the the first pastures." Yeah this will work.

"Hmm I love these things. Too bad we don't have any milk to go with the cookies." De fished around in the other side of her insulated bag and pulled out two cartons of milk.

"Ask and you shall receive. Here ya go m'lady."

"Oh you are too good to me sweetheart."

"S'okay, think nothin' of it."

We rode along in companionable silence for some time. The beauty of nature surrounded us, and I got the same feeling I always did when I was up here during my youth. I imagined what it must have been like here 150 years ago when the land belong to the Indians and there were very few white men in these mountains. The land had changed very little in all those years, except that the white man had stolen the Indians land and deplenished the animal population without so much as a by your leave or thank you kindly. Slowly, gradually things had improved thanks in large measure to forward thinking people like my father and Uncle. If it were up to people like Dan Haskel, these mountains would be raped of their treasures, and left devoid of all life, including man. Well people like my uncle were dying of old age, so it was up to the next generation, people like Dale Half Moon, De and I, who still held some reverence for the land, to do their part and protect it from the Dan Haskels of the world. It wouldn't be easy, but it was a fight worth waging, and I would die trying to do the right thing, for once.

"Cody," De whispered, "hold up, look."

There in front of us less than fifty yards away was the biggest bull elk I had seen in years, maybe ever. His rack was huge, it had to be at least eight points on a side. It was amazing; riding horseback a person could get very close to these wild creatures, much closer than a man on foot. Dad explained it was an optical illusion to the elk or deer. They could smell the horse, and were unafraid, the scent of the animal was not threatening to the elk. The odor of the humna was sort of masked my the smell of the horse. The fact we were sitting on top of the horse made little difference to the elk. Evidently the strange apparition was just a part of the horse as far as the elk was concerned.

"My God he is so beautiful," I whispered back. Huck and Finn were sitting on their haunches their senses alert to the huge animal's movements. A high pitched grunt issued forth from the elk in front of us, and Huck responded with a low throated growl.

"Stay Huck," De warned, "he'd have you for lunch."

We watched the elk for some time before he slowly turned to us and then sauntered off over the side of the trail and down into the steep ravine to the left. The dense forest virtually swallowed him up, only the sound of the breaking brush gave any indication he was around.

"Wow that is so cool. Don't you think De?"

"Yeah. Ya know four of those big boys would feed the entire Blackfoot tribe for the whole winter. Yustus told me they used everything: hoof, hide, bones, and meat, nothing went to waste."

"That's true, not like the white man who simply goes for the trophy and leaves the rest to rot. Why do we have to be so stupid and arrogant?" I shook my head sadly. "I'll never understand it."

"I know," De replied, "me either."

The steep, rocky terrain had leveled out some, as we reached the first lover bench where a small five acre meadow stretched out before us. A good sized stream ran through the medow, a branch of Blazer Creek.

"This would be a good place to stop and stretch our legs and give the horses a break. Maggie put some roast beef sandwiches in the saddle bags for us. There some homemade apple pie too. There's even a couple of Kokanees Unc threw in."

"What! How come I didn't know anything about this? You been holding out on me? What else ya got stashed in them bags?"

"Now, now calm yourself. Maggie gave the food to me cause she figured it'd have a better chance to last until lunch that way," De chuckled. I climbed down from Dandy, and swatted De playfully in the belly.

"You're really askin' for it ya know."

"Ooooo, I'm really scared."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you just wait. Sometime when you least expect it you'll get it. Mark my words. Don't say I didn't warn ya."

"Humm ummm. Why don't you see if you can set lunch out, and I'll take care of the horses, okay?"

"Yeah, okay." De loosened the horses saddles and Jake's pack, then led them down to the creek to get some water. She's hobbled the three of them and let them graze while we ate lunch. By the time she returned I had our lunch laid out on a blanket under a tree by the creek.

"Oh by the way," she smirked, "it's two o'clock." What? I looked at my watch and sure enough, it was straight up 2:00pm.

"All right, how did you do that?"

"It's simple, from where we stopped at noon time, it takes exactly two hours to get up here."

"What wait a minute, I've been sandbagged. Did you look at the sun or did you just guess?"

"I did neither, I just knew."

"Then the bet's off. You cheated!"

"I did not, the bet was I would tell you when it was two o'clock, and I did that. You didn't specify how, just that I had to tell you. I did, so I win. It's that simple." De puffed her chest out proudly, I stuck my lower lip out in a pout. Again my lip was seized a soft mouth and a warm tongue carressed my lips soothingly. I could do nothing but whimper softly and give myself over to my lover's gentle ministrations. "I love you," De said softly, our forheads touching. "You do know how to give a good backrub don't you?" My hand swing out intending to swat a tight, firm ass, but all I connected with was air as the tall lithe creature darted away from me.

"You bitch," I laughed. "I'll get you."

"Aaahhh potty mouth, it's not nice to swear. I may have to turn you over my knee and give you a good spanking." Hmmm, that sounds kinky.

"Okay, okay, I can see I'm not going to win this, so I give up. A bet's a bet, and you win. You don't win fairly, but you win." My stomach let it's presence be known and De smirked, her eyes laughing as well. "Don't say a word, let's just eat."

We finished our meal, and decided to rest for awhile. I sat on the blanket unnder the tree, De was lying there with her hed in my lap, her raven tresses covering my thighs and spilling over onto the blanket. I ran my fingers through the inky thick tresses, massaging the sensitive scalp as well. De's eyes were closed, and a contented smile turned up the corners of her mouth.

"That feels nice. I could stay like this forever."

"Me too." I leaned my upper body over her face and kissed her lips gently. "I love you so much De. I always will."

"I love you too baby for always. And as much as I'd like to stay here forever, we'd better get moving. We still have a lot of ground to cover before we can set up camp for the night."

"Oohh all right, but I'm moving only under protest."

It wasn't long before we were on our way again, traveling at a slightly quicker pace because of the more level ground. We made careful notation of how much grass was up and growing and water supply in the creeks. There was still quite a bit of snow melt that would take place before the highest pastures could be used, but these lower pastures were in good shape and the cattle were in good shape, the young calves were growing well. I took out my tally book, and compared the number of cattle written in and the numbers we had counted throughout the day. Unfortunately the numbers didn't match up. In this country, it was pretty easy to miss a head or two, maybe even more. That's one of the reasons why we placed salt and mineral blocks near the water wholes. The salt drew the cattle in so it was easier to count the herds. Still I was concerned. So far, we weren't just losing a few head, we could be missing fifty, seventy-five, or even one hundred, maybe more. I was hoping the others would turn up before we headed home. If the count was accurate, it was more than a big cat getting the stock, a varmint much worse than a cougar was probably to blame: a damn cattle theif, and that meant man. I thought about telling De what I suspected, but I knew I didn't have to, she probably already knew.

"Don't look good does it Cody? We're missing a lot of stock."

"Well yeah, but let's not jump to any conclusions. There's still the higher pastures near the herder's cabin we haven't check yet, and we can't do that until tomorrow, so let's just wait and see."

"I suppose you're right. Let's keep moving. Will camp up near Dragon Lake. We should be gettin' there well before dark, but it's still another seven miles." I nodded, and followed De's lead up out of the little valley toward the lake.

After about a couple more hours in the saddle, we reached Dragon Lake. The lake had gotten it's name from the unusual shape. From the air, the lake actually looked like a dragon. Indian legend said the lake was haunted by the spirit of a warrior who died here while searchiong for his wife. The legend said an evil spirit carried her away to it's lair high on the mountain above. The spirit was able to assume the shape of anything he wanted. The warrior tracked the spirit to this location, and there on the mountain top was his wife being held prisoner by the dragon. The warrior climbed the mountain and a tremendous fight ensued. The warrior rode on the dragon's back as he streaked across the sky. The warrior plunged his knife into the dragon's heart, and both the warrior and the dragon plunged to their deaths in the valley below. It is said the impact of the dragon, when it hit the earth, caused it's impression to be left in the ground. The lake was formed from the tears of the warrior's wife as she mourned the loss of her husband. Still, the sad legend notwithstanding, the lake and surrounding area was absolutely breathtaking. The water was so blue and clear you could see to the bottom. The towering peaks rising high over the lake were snow covered year round. The dense forest which bordered the lakeshore were home to every kind of animal the Rockie Mountain environment would support. There was one particularly good camp site neat the south end of the lake. Behind us, a large meadow fanned out allowing both our cattle and the deer, moose, and elk to forage for graze. It was not unusual to see several hundred head of animals on the meadow, bovine mixed with the wild foragers. If these animals could co-exist together, there had to be a way for man to co-exist as well.

"God it's so quiet and peaceful here De. I should never have left."

"Yeah I know. Cody look there." I followed De's arm with my eyes to see what had caught her eye. A bald eagle swooped down over the lake and snagged a large trout, then soared effortlessly skyward with the fish secured tightly in its talons.

"Wow, this is so cool! De how could people destroy this just for the sake of the almighty dollar? It's so wrong."

"They're just stupid narrowminded, short-sighted people Cody, they don't have any idea what they're doing. Hey let's get camp set up, and then do some fishing. The trout that eagle caught looked mighty tastey to me. What'dya say?"

"I say let's get to it!"

We had the camp set up in no time. Both of us working in tandem as though we had been doing so all of our lives. I made the firepit, and got the fire going and a pot of hot water for coffee set to boil. We laid out our bedrolled, eschewing a tent altogether, choosing insteand to lay our sleeping bags on a canvas ground cover to ward off the damp chill in the morning. We were quite successful in our endeavor to catch our dinner, and the fish De prepared was seasoned with just the right amount of herbs and spices. We had some of Maggie's leftover apple pie for desert, and the hot, strong camp coffee really hit the spot. I thought back to the bizzare dreams I had been having just before I moved back to the ranch, and I decided to chare my thoughts with my love. We were stretched out under the covers near the fire relaxing in the chilly high mountain air. I was curled up in my now favortie spot on top of De's strong, firm well-muscled body.



"Do you believe in past lives?"

"Honey, I'm just getting used to living my new life with you, let alone one I might have lived previously. Why do you ask?" I told De all about my dream, going back in time and my love for the beautiful Indian maiden, who looked very much like De.

"So what'dya think it means?"

"I think you have to be very careful of what you eat just before you go to bed."

"Oh very funny." I propped myself up on my lover's chest, and kissed the swell of her breast, so conveniently exposed for my lips. "Honey, I'm serious. Tyena looked just like you, and I had never set eyes on you before I came here a month ago."

"Babe I don't know what to tell you? I just have no frame of reference for this sort ot thing. Like I said before I met you, I never had any reason to dream. Maybe I'll dream more now that I have you. I love you ya know. Which reminds me, I still haven't gotten my backrub. C'mon pay up."

"Okay, I said I'd pay, so I will. Turn over and take off your shirt." A dark eyebrow arched and disappeared into her hairline. "Oh c'mon, I can't very well rub oil into your skin with your shirt on. I promise I won't bite."

De sat up and grasped the hem of her shirt and lifted the garment up and over her head. I couldn't help the low gasp that escaped my throat at the vision before me. Golden tanned skin glowed brightly in the firelight. Round firm, gorgeous globes capped with large dark brown areoles and twin peaks which hardened instantly stood at attention in the chilly air. Try as I might, I couldn't get words to form for a few seconds. Then finally, mercifully, I managed to squeak out.

"Turn over and I'll give you the massage you wanted."

I straddled my lover's firm ass, hoping my wet center didn't give away my desire. The skimpy thong my love wore, left very little to the imagination. The broad sculpted back and shoulder muscles were simply magnifcent. I moved the long thick raven hair away from De's back, exposing her luscious neck. I leaned down and kissed the tender sensitive flesh there and whispered in her ear.

"You are so beautiful. Your skin is so soft and smooth, the muscles underneath so firm and strong."

I poured some of the spicy scented oil in my palms and rubbed them together to warm the thick liquid. I began at my loves shoulders and began a slow sensual massage. I worked the tensed muscles thoroughly until all the knots were gone. I moved slowly downward until I reached my love's beautiful tight ass. I massaged the firm globes with just the right amount of pressure. I could no longer deny myself the pleasures that awaited me in this glorious body laid out for the taking. I ran my tongue from my lover's neck, down the length of her spine until I reached the crack of her ass. I drew my tongue along the division of the two globes, and found the thong in my way. Unceremoniously, I tore the flimsy peice of material in two and gave my tongue free rein to roam where it would. I dipped and lapped at my lover' slit, pausing along the way to tease the puckered opening of De's ass. Deep throated moans and groans issued forth from my raven haired beauty's lips. She thrust her hips ups to meet my questing tongue begging for more contact. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I nipped and sucked on De's ass as my fingers explored her sopping wet cunt. Her labia was puffy and swollen, her coral vulva was spasming begging for more contact. I lifted my lover's hips, asking her to spread her legs for me.

"C'mon baby, open up for me, please, I need you now. Let me love you." My lover groaned her approval, lowering her head, resting her upper body on her arms, causing her ass to rise up to meet my searching tongue. I licked my lover's slit from anus to clit, thrusting twso fingers deep into her straining pussy. She screamed her pleasure into the pillow.

"Yes, baby yes, take me! Oh it feels so good. Hmmm yeah lick me baby suck my clit."

I plunged my face into my lover's thick patch of coarse black hair. I nipped and sucked at her turgid bundle of nerves, driving her wild with desire.

"Yes baby umm that feels so good. Oh baby yeah. Deeper my darling. I want to feel you deeper inside. Harder, faster. Please." I could refuse my new lover nothing, and I thrust two more fingers deep into my love's tunnel and set about bringing on the most powerful orgasm she had in her life.

"God De you're so wet, so warm. Mmmm, baby I love you. Feel me deep inside you. This is me fucking you like this. Tell me how good it feels."

"So good, God babe I'm gonna cum. Cum with me darling please."

I leaned over my love's back, separating my cunt lips to expose my own hard throbbing clit. I began to hump my lover's ass scraping my clit up and down her firm tight flesh. I knew I was going to fall over the edge and I wanted my love to fall with me. I redoubled my efforts, thrusting my fingers in and out of my love's sex harder and faster. I changed the angle of my thrusting to gain even deeper penetration and was rewarded with a deep keening sound coming from De's throat. Her pussy muscle clamped down on my fingers trapping them deep inside her love tunnel. I used my thumb to stimulate the already engorged bundle of nerves. De's climax hit her hard causing her to tremble and convulse with the power of it. Her orgasm caused mine to hit me full force, beginning at my center and working its way out until my entire body felt like it was on fire. With one frinal thrust we both screamed our passion to the night and then collapesed onto the bedroll, our sweaty bodies entangled together.

"Sweet Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I have never had an orgasm that powerful before in my life," I managed to croak out. "Baby are you all right?"

"Yes darling, more than all right. That was so incredibly intense. I've never felt like that before. I think it's because I never loved the other people I was with. I guess if truth be told, I've never made love before in my life until now."

"Me either. I love you so much De."

"I love you too baby."

"De, I want you to make love to me, now. I want to give myself totally to you, and I'll take whatever you can give me, but please. I need you so much. Please love me."

"Oh Cody, I love you so much, but I've never...what if I can't please you. I've never worried about my partner's pleasure before, I'm not sure I know how."

"Yes you do. Slow baby, I want it slow. Make it last." I sat up and grasped the edges of my night shirt and pulled it up over my head and tossed it to the ground. I cupped my full firm breasts, one in each hand and offered them to my love.

"These are yours my love take them, taste them, bite them, lick them, suck them deeply into your warm sweet mouth. Look at me my love. My body is yours to do with as you want. I'm yours believe me, now and forever. I love you De, so much."

The cerulean pools were mere slits, hooded with need, her desire evident. Slowly, De lowered her mouth to my hard aching nipples. She latched on to one turgid nub while the finger and thumb of her other hand rubbed, twisted, and pinched the other firmly.

"Oh yes baby that's it. Mmmm that feels so good. Mmmm yeah suck me baby. Ooohhh yeah so good." I took a handful of raven hair in each hand forcing De's mouth harder onto by breasts. For her part, De gladly allowed me to control her head movement. I began to massage my lover's scalp gently running my fingers in genlte circles, reveling in the feeling of the thick tresses running through my fingers. "Yeah baby more, please. Suck me harder baby." De was losing control, the scent of my arousal inflaming her passion beyond all reason. I could feel her touch become harsher faster. I continued to stroke her hair in an effort to calm her. "Easy baby, slow, remember I want it slow." Instantly her ministrations slowed drawing out my pleasure. But it was time. I wanted her kisses in the most intimate of ways. "Lower baby go lower. I want to feel you inside of me. Love me with your tongue baby, lick me, suck my clit. Use your tongue to make me cum. Please baby." Now De was really into this. Slowly she bathed me with her tongue drawing the torturous pleasure out to almost unbearable proportions.

"I can smell you my love. Your scent is driving me wild. I want to taste you, drink from you, love you."

"Yes De, God yes!"

De's lips fastened over my center creating a wonderful suction. Her tongue delved deep into my core, gently thrusting in and out. Her pleasureful moans filling the night air. Her fingers were tenderly combing through my curly brown patch, and periodically she massaged my aching clit with her thumb and forefinger. This was absolute bliss. I had never been with anyone this caring, this tender with me before. I could feel my climax building, and she sensed my imprending orgasm. She began to thrust her tongue more forcefully in and out of my center. producing more of my love juices to pour forth, her fingers scrubbed my clit harder as well. I couldn't hold out any longer, and I screamed De's name to the heavens.

"Yessss De! I cumming! Baby I love you so much!" My body shook with the force of the spasms that wracked my body. My head churned from side to side on the pillow. I hips thust up into my lover's face, but she refused to let go until the last of the tremors died away, and I lay still. The only sounds were that of our ragged breathing as we tried to regain our breath.

"My God Cody! I've never had an orgasm before brought on by the force of anyone else's orgasm. This is truly amazing! I've never felt like this before." When I didn't answer immediately, my concerned lover crawled up my body to check on my well being. "Baby are you okay, God I didn't hurt you did I?"

"No honey, I'm very fine. Just very tired. Will you hold me while I sleep?" All of a sudden my feelings for this wonderful woman simply overwhelmed me and I cried. But they were tears of joy.

"Baby why are you crying? Please don't cry."

"De my love, don't worry . My tears happy tears because I love you so much, and I know I'm loved in return."

"Yes Cody, I do love you, and I'll hold you for as long as you want, forever even. Sweet dreams my darling."

"G'night love. Sweet dreams my love," I whispered.

"They will be if I dream of you," De sighed.

What would come tomorrow, I didn't know, but tomorrow would take care of itself. For now, sleep took us to the land of dreams, a place where lovers have everything to live for and nothing to fear.

This is the end of High Lonesome Part I. What do you think? Yes, no, more, stop what? Give me a holler.

Continued in Part 2.

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