~ My West Coast Love ~
by Heruda

Disclaimers: Don't know if I need any. This is my first try at a story from an idea, which popped into my head. The characters are mine although a certain beloved duo was in mind, but that seems to be about it. Just in case though, I don't own Xena: Warrior Princess nor anything to do with the show and its stars.

Sex: There is a loving relationship between members of the same sex. As to it being explicit, I don't think it will be but let's see what the characters decide. PG-18

Violence: None that I can perceive.

Dedication: To Vi for her unwavering belief in me, as well as her constant input. I love you sweetheart. J

Thanks: To Kazia who read this at its very rough and gave her feedback which helped me to re-think the beginning. To Julie and Mel whose suggestions helped iron out some rough spots. I love you guys. J

Comments: Constructive criticism always welcomed at Heruda77@hotmail.com

Chapter I

Hi, my name is Jo, short for Joanna. The truck I received, as a graduation gift from my parents, is all packed and ready to take me in search of whatever has been calling to me. Brenda just HAD to tag-a-long. She said to keep me out of trouble, but who's gonna keep US out of trouble. Brenda has been my best friend since we were in diapers. She's also the only one who knows about my preferences and I about hers.

Let me tell you a bit about Brenda. She's about 5'8", shoulder length light brown hair and has a well toned body. A very loyal friend and if you cross her...whoowee, get out of her way. A pair of grey eyes, a cheerful disposition and a dimple on the left side of her mouth which I love to tease her about and then high tail my rear end out of her way. That's Brenda, my friend, my confidant, my sister.

"Which way Bren?" I ask.

"Let's go west," she answered, "I've always wanted to see the Pacific."

So west we headed. Money was not a problem. Brenda comes from a rich family and my parents had set up a savings account for me when I was born. Although I didn't need to work, I worked where ever someone needed an extra hand and the money I earned had been saved and invested with my pa's help. My family is not poor by any means I just needed to know I had earned that money...call it pride.

We took our time getting to our destination, especially since we didn't have one and we dutifully called our parents every night. We stopped at many places along the way which caught our attention; amusement parks, scenic tours, the Grand Canyon, The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. The place that impressed me the most was Old Tucson in Arizona. It is definitely geared for tourists and allows your imagination to see yourself back in the 1800's old west. You see women dressed in the simple dresses of that era and men in their boots, hats and holstered guns on hips. There were some people attired as Native Americans as well. We also had our picture taken dressed as gamblers, dandy hats and all. We didn't pass up the opportunity to visit the local saloon and see if there were any saloon girls?there were. The girls in their low cut dance hall outfits were very friendly and provided conversation to the patrons and some innocent flirtations.

Leaving the saloon after a couple of beers, Brenda and I walked to one end of town where an old homestead had been built. There were people all around and you could see some coming out of the cabin. As we got closer, the vision before me changed. What I saw was beyond my comprehension. There are Indians riding fast towards the homestead attacking. The war cries are deafening and scary as arrows start to fly and shots are fired. I see the front door open and a woman with blonde hair stepping just inside the threshold, aiming and shooting a rifle. She's looking and yelling at something, someone whom I can not as yet see. I hear running footsteps to my left and turn my head to see what it is. The figure with shooting rifle in hand is running towards the house. It is a woman in brown corduroy pants, white shirt and long dark hair. As she gets closer to me, I can feel the shock rush through my body. The woman is ME! Movement out of the corner of my eye causes me to turn away from her and what I see makes my blood chill. An Indian is riding fast towards the dark woman arrow being released. As the arrow reaches and penetrates her back, I feel the pain. We are shoulder to shoulder as we fall to our knees, the pain unbearable. The last thing I remember is the blonde woman running towards us tears upon her cheeks and green eyes full of love.

"Jo? Jo," Brenda's frantic voice calls, "wake up Jo you're scaring me."

"Hey Bren."

"What the hell happened to you?"

I try to get up but the pain at the middle of my back is still there and I fall back to the ground. I lay still. After a few minutes it seems to recede and attempt to sit with success.

"Jo, what happened?"

"I don't know is you're gonna believe me and will probably want to institutionalize me."

"Ok. Tell me anyway."

I relate the events to Brenda as I watch her face closely for any sign of reaction. There is none.

"Wow my friend. That was a whopper of a dream?vision?"

"Yes, yes it was."

What I didn't tell her was that I would never forget those green eyes, which had captured my soul.

Chapter II

Once we got to California, we first went to San Diego to visit Sea World and their famous zoo. Then made our way up to Anaheim and Disneyland. We kept on going north and ended up visiting San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge for about two weeks. We ate at the Wharf, rode the trolley cars, walked over to Lombard street--the truck being too big to drive down the crookedest street in the world. We also got brave and went to a couple of the gay bars. We enjoyed ourselves and met a few people, but nothing to write home about.

"Well we've seen San Francisco," I stated, "which way now?"

"I don't remember who," Brenda began, "but someone mentioned Monterrey was real beautiful."

I looked at my friend, eyebrow raised up in question. She slyly looked back at me.

"Well, do you have somewhere in mind?" she asked.

"Nope, not a one," I replied, a grin on my face.

We headed back south on highway 101 towards San Jose and Salinas. We then took the turnoff at highway 88 towards the beach and I'll admit it, I fell in love. The day was perfect. No clouds, a slight breeze, the ocean was blue and full of sails from boats full of people enjoying the weather. We stopped on the side of the road and admired the view, it was breathless.

We decided to check into one of the motel's and just enjoy. We visited the wharf, where we discovered a salt-water taffy store and other knick-knack stores geared for tourists. We also discovered a diving bell and had a little visit with the fish at the bottom of the ocean, which incidentally, I also left my stomach. You see, the ride down is nice and slow but once you're going up, whoops, you're at the top. We also took a ride in a glass-bottom boat, it was incredible. The different marine life within the waters, the different shades of color as the sun shone upon a fish or a rock. The gentle sway of the boat and the colorful display before me were like a balm to my whirling mind.

As time went by we also visited Seaside, Pebble Beach, Carmel and Big Sur. One week turned into a month and by then we decided to see if we coud find a place of our own. We wanted something not too far away from the beach but yet close enough to the forest. Yes, there is a nice forest and managed to see a couple of deer. We were told it was a common occurrence to see deer in your neighbor's and your own back yard. Brenda and I knew we had to stay, Monterey just seemed to suit us.

Call it fate, kismet or luck. We found a nice three upstairs bedrooms, one and a half bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room, a big backyard and a porch house, which we immediately took custody of. There's a Coast Guard base located here in Monterey, so houses are hard to come by since they are in big demand. We settled in, started our new lives and I was still searching for what has been calling to me.

Chapter III

Brenda and I still call our parents on a regular basis to let them know we're fine and making sure they're fine as well. We've also gone to visit them a few times. We went home for Christmas that first year and it was also the time I told my parents I was gay. I didn't know how they were going to react but I figured they needed to know. That evening after supper we sat in the living room enjoying each other's company.

"Ma, pa, there's something I need to tell you," I stated fidgeting.

They faced me, giving me their undivided attention.

"I'm gay," I blurted out.

Minutes ticked by without a sound. I couldn't see any type of reaction on their faces.

"Have you found someone?" pa finally asked.

I was floored with the question and my mouth opened and closed like a fish.

"No," I was finally able to get out.

"Well, when you do," ma interjected, "we'd like to meet her."

"We love you Jo," she continued, "and nothing will ever change that."

It has now been three years since we came to Monterrey.

After a few months of just enjoying life by the beach, I decided to find a job. My restless nature only allowed a certain amount of life's enjoyment. So, job hunting I went. I put applications everywhere around town. Almost two months after I started job hunting the local bank called me in for an interview. I must have given a good impression because I was hired. I was trained for a month and then given my own little booth to work at. I've been there ever since.

I'm still waiting but not really looking for that which calls to me. I'm of the belief "when you least expect it, it'll smack you right in the face."

Chapter lV

It was a Monday and I had just finished with a customer. Putting some money away, I lifted my head to see the most beautiful set of sparkling green eyes. I felt like the wind had been knocked completely out of my body. It was her! Those green eyes were engrained in my soul. The spot in the middle of my back where the arrow had pierced made itself known.

"How may I help you?" I squeaked, hoping my smile looked self-assured, cause I sure didn't feel like it.

"Yes, I'd like this check cashed please," she states with a sing-song voice. Well, it sounded sing-song to me.

"Yes m'am," I respond, my confidence restoring itself, "may I see some identification?"

I cash the check and hand the identification back.

"Anything else I can help you with, Miss Cochran?" I ask her. She looks up at me, with those eyes I could so easily just stay glued to and a smirk on her lips.

"No, not today, thank you Jo," is her response.

My whole body turns to jello and have to force myself not to slide off my chair. The way she said my name just threw me for a loop. Wait a minute, how did she know my name? It took me a few minutes but I finally realize, duh, your name tag dufus. Nothing and no one could take the smile off my face.

"What's got you smiling so much Jo?" Brenda asks me after work. Yes, she works at the bank too.

"I saw the most beautiful vision today," I dreamily answer.

"Hmmm, well let's get home so you can tell me all about it," she says, both eyebrows high on her forehead.

The drive home was a blur; I couldn't seem to shake the vision of one beautiful angel from my mind.

"So tell me about this vision of yours," Brenda asks during dinner.

"You should have seen her, Bren" I tell her, "she stood there looking so beautiful."

After a few minutes of silence, Brenda explodes, "Well?tell me more!" "Don't just leave me hanging," she states exasperatedly.

I look at my frustrated friend and explode in laughter. She joins in the laughter and after a few minutes we settle down.

"Ok, Ok, I'm sorry," I sheepishly say, "she's 5'5", light blonde hair, gorgeous body and her name is Cheryl Cochran."

"How did you come about all that information?" inquires Brenda.

"Umm, I looked at her driver's license while I cashed her check," I sheepishly answer.

"Oh you sneaky devil you," is stated with a smirk.

"Brenda, she's the one from my dream, vision, whatever you want to call it."

"How do you know?"

"Those eyes, are the same ones."

Chapter V

The rest of the week went by pretty fast but my vision never re-appeared. Friday night found Brenda and I going on our weekly bike ride and stopping at our favorite pizza parlor for some pizza and beer. The workers knew us, since it was a weekly ritual, and would flirt and tease us with familiarity. It was starting to get busy but I didn't bother to look around. Brenda and I started to discuss what we wanted to do over the weekend, when from behind I heard, "Hi Jo." I closed my eyes and took a moment to enjoy the feelings coursing through my body. I would know that voice anywhere, even if I had only heard it once. I slowly turned around and just as slowly, lifted my head until my eyes met amused green eyes. Standing up I say, "Miss Cochran, it's nice to see you again, how are you?"

To which she replies, "I'm fine and I can see you are as well," her eyes seeming to travel slowly down and up my body. I felt my face heat up and hoped that my blush wouldn't be noticed.

"Please, won't you join us?" I offer.

"We wouldn't want to intrude," she retorts.

"You wouldn't be," Brenda chirps in, "please join us."

She looks at her companion who just shrugs her shoulders. We all sit down, Cheryl in the seat next to mine and for a moment the silence is awkward.

"Hi, I'm Brenda and you already know my friend Jo."

"I'm Cheryl and this is my friend Audrey."

We all shake hands and when Cheryl's hand slips into mine, I feel a bolt of
warmth speed it's way to the core of my soul.

Once the ice has been broken by the introductions, conversation is not a problem. We talk a little about things plaguing our world, about ourselves but we mainly talk about our jobs. Cheryl and Audrey are in the Coast Guard and stationed here, I also find out Cheryl is only eight months away from getting discharged. Eight more months and she would be going home. Home to the East coast.

I'm not going to dwell on that informaion. If I'm lucky enough to spend time with her, I'm going to make the most of that time.

"What are you guys going to do over the weekend?" Cheryl asks.

"We haven't decided between scuba diving, sailing, a trip to Big Sur or a trip to San Francisco," I answer.
"How about you guys?" I ask in return.

"We haven't decided either," responds Audrey, my eyes locked with Cheryl's.

"Hey, why don't we get together tomorrow," Brenda suggests, "and between us, we could probably come up with something fun to do."

"Sounds like a plan to me, what do you say?" I ask Cheryl and Audrey.

"Sounds great!!" Audry answers, Cheryl nods her head enthusiastically, big smile on her face.

"Great, why don't we meet at our house," suggests Brenda.

I see Cheryl's smile disappear with the statement.

"You guys live together?" she asks.

I just had to bring that smile back to her face.

"Brenda and I have been best friends since we were in diapers," I inform, "she's the sister I never had."

I see relief and a big smile light up her face. I am extremely happy to be able to do that. We decide on a time to meet the next morning, give them directions to the house and after a small argument between Cheryl and I, I pay the bill and leave the building.

"Where's your car?" Audrey asks.

"No car," answers Brenda, "we always come on our bikes after our ten mile ride."

"But, that is rather a long ride back?the sky is starting to get dark and?"

Before Cheryl could finish, I add? "We'll be fine," noticing the skeptical look on both faces, "we do this every Friday."

"Just the same," Cheryl pipes in, "for our own peace of mind, we'll follow you home."

Before my mind realizes my mouth is moving, I hear, "Can we keep you then?"

Shock and amusement registers on all faces, especially mine.

"Umm....umm...," I mumble, my face feeling like a five alarm blaze.

"Come on mouth," Brenda says tugging on my arm, "we need to get you home."

Cheryl and Audry follow us home, say goodnight and head back to the

"So, Cheryl is the vision from the bank," states Brenda.

"Yes, she is," I reply.

"She seems very nice," she continues, "good luck, my friend."


With that, we retire to our rooms.

Chapter VI

Next morning, at eight o'clock on the dot, the doorbell rings.

"Good morning," I greet as I open the door, "come on in and make yourselves at home."

"Good morning," Cheryl and Audrey reply in unison.

"Mmmm...it smells delicious in here," comments Cheryl.

"Brenda's making breakfast," I inform them, "I hope you like ham, eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes and coffee."

"Oh yeah," Audrey chimes in, "my type of breakfast."

I lead them to the kitchen where Audrey offers to help.

"Oh no, but thank you, I just need to know how you like your eggs," Brenda answers.

Once Brenda is done cooking the eggs, I wash the remaining pan, which leaves only the dishes we are eating from. We sit at the table and eat our meal discussing places and things we would like to do the rest of the day.

"Why don't you all go to the living room," I state, "and relax while I clean up in here,"

"I'll help, if you don't mind," Cheryl offers.

"Sure," I reply. Yeah right, like I was going to say no to having her close by.

After we clear the table and have the dishes at the sink, I ask, "You wanna wash or rinse?"

"I'll wash," she responds.

After a few moments of silence I hear, "So?you seeing anyone?"

"It all depends on what you mean by seeing," I retort.

"You know, do you have a boyfriend?or maybe a girlfriend?" She asks mumbling the last part.

"Oh?um?no," I began, "I've dated some but no, no steady?girlfriend."

"How about you, anyone special in your life?possibly someone waiting for you back home?" I ask in return needing to know.

"There was someone back home but she found someone else during the first year I was gone," she answers.

"We had been together since high school but I guess we grew up," she continues, "you want to know the funny thing about it all?"

"What's that?"

"I wasn't too heartbroken over the break up even though I thought she was the one."

"She was a fool?if you ask me."


"For letting someone as wonderful and beautiful as you slip away."

Her smile at my words warms my heart and I shyly smile back.

"I've dated some since then but no?there's no one special in my life?yet"

The rest of the dishes are done in silence.

"Thank you," I tell her once we're done, "I very much appreciated your help."

"You're welcome," she replys.

We are so close to each other and I can't hold myself back any longer. I slowly lower my head and graze her lips with mine. I pull back a little and meet her eyes. I feel her hand glide up my arm, to my shoulder and finally settling on the nape of my neck. She gently pulls me forward until our lips meet for a second time. My tongue requests entrance which is instantly granted. I hear both our moans as our tongues duel for control. I lead her tongue back into my mouth and start sucking on it as if it was a lollipop. I hear Cheryl's moan at the same moment her arms tightened around my shoulders, bringing her body closer to mine. My arms are wrapped around her body like a spider hanging on to it's prey. Lack of breath forces us to end the kiss but the embrace is not broken. With her head on my chest I can't stop feeling that this is so right. That Cheryl is right where she belongs and so am I.

After a few minutes we relax the embrace but do not let go. Cheryl looks up at me and I notice tears running down her face.

"Cheryl," I start, "I'm sorry if I assumed that..." two fingers placed on my lips stop any further words.

"No, no," she states with a smile.

She places the palm of her hand on my cheek and continues, "the feelings inside of me were so intense," she pauses, "I've never felt this way before."

She wraps her arms around me tightly once again.

"I've always believed that feelings like these were only for stories or movies," she explains.

"I just never thought that I would feel like you just made me feel," I feel a shrug as she finishes her explanation.

We stand in each others embrace a bit longer and then hear Brenda's voice asking, "Aren't you guys finished yet?"

"We'll be right in," I answer.

I place my hands on either side of Cheryl's face.

"I've never felt this way either," I say, "but one thing I know for certain, I want to see and be with you for as long as you allow me to."

"I'd like that as well," she replys, a smile brightening her face.

With a last small kiss, we leave the kitchen and join Brenda and Audrey in the living room.

I didn't care where we went, with Cheryl by my side, I would thoroughly enjoy the day and the weekend.

Chapter VlII

Cheryl and I spend as much time together as her job will allow. My favorite times being walking hand-in-hand on the beach just enjoying each other's company. On occasion she's gone for a weekend, sometimes a week or two. I anguish over that time she's away, knowing it's taking time away from my being with her. I try hard not to think about the short time we have left. We haven't talked about a long-term or permanent relationship. As far as I know, she's still going home back east. I know what you're thinking, why don't you follow her or ask her to stay? I would, in an instant, but there's a small problem...I haven't been asked and as for asking her to stay, she hasn't given me a clue as to wanting to stay. Maybe these are the reasons keeping us from taking our relationship to the physical level. Whatever the reasons, it's getting harder and harder to abstain.

Today is our five month anniversary and I've planned a candlelit dinner for two at the house. Audrey has taken Brenda out to celebrate their own anniversary, yes, that's right, they clicked too. I made Cheryl's favorite meal; salad, Chicken Alfredo, White Chocolate Mousse for dessert and a bottle of wine to go with the dinner. A single red rose in the middle of the coffee table, big fluffy pillows surrounding the table, soft background music and a fire in the fireplace completes the romantic atmosphere. It's my first time doing this, so I really hope she likes it.

As I finish lighting the candles, the doorbell rings. I rush to open the door and try to ease my nerves as I pull on the doorknob. She walks in, places her hands on my face and pulls me towards her lips for a tender kiss. We make the kiss short knowing we've got plenty of time to endulge ourselves throught out the evening.

She takes her coat off and hands it to me. My heart does a little tap dance, she looks so beautiful. She's wearing tan slacks, that hug her in all the right places and a silk short-sleeved green blouse unbuttoned to the second button, that brings out the color of her eyes.

"You look beautiful," I finally manage to say.

"Thank you." she replies, a smile gracing her face. I hang the coat in the hall closet and walk towards the living room to join her. She's standing at the entrance and I wrap my arms around her waist.

"Oh, Jo, it's beautiful," she exclaims.

"I take it you like?" I whisper in her ear. Her body leans into mine and my arms tighten more around her.

"Yes I do," she turns to face me, "very much so." She seals her statement with a mind boggling kiss.

"I hope you're hungry?" I ask a little breathless as the kiss comes to an end.

With her head tucked perfectly under my chin, Cheryl huskily replies, "Yes, I am."

I lead her to one end of the coffee table and assist her as she sits on the pillows. I return to the kitchen and bring out the plates of food, which I had prepared beforehand and place in front of Cheryl and where I am to sit. The dinner is filled with small talk, lingering looks, small touches and music in the background.

After dinner, we wash the few dishes and return to the living room. Sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, we sip our wine in comfortable silence.

"Thank you for dinner, it was wonderful."

"I'm glad that you enjoyed it."

More snuggling in silence is enjoyed.



"You know I have less than three months left on my enlistment?"

"Yes, I know,"

"You also know that I've been planning on going back east?"

"Yeah," comes out as a sigh, my head going down awaiting her next words.

'Do we have to talk about this tonight,' my mind asks but does not slip past my lips.

Feeling sorry for myself at the possibility her next words are her farewell speech, I almost miss what she does say. My head snaps up, my mouth asking,

"Could you repeat what you just said?"

Completely facing me and giving me a mock angry look, she asks, "Which part?"

"All of it!!" I exclaim.

Giving me an indulgent look and a smirk, she repeats, "I was asking your opnion, " she pauses, "on my staying here in Monterey after my enlistment is up." "You know," she continues, "instead of going back east?" "Maybe I can find a house here and possibly even a roommate, what do you think?" she concludes.

I lift my jaw off my lap and ask in return, "You mean you want to stay and live here...in Monterey?"

"Yep," she replies, "that's what I mean."

"Yes!!!!" I shout, "yes, yes, yes!!!! "I think that's a wonderful idea," I gleefully respond, tightly embracing her to me. "Are you sure about this?" I have to ask.

"Very sure," she responds giving me a soft kiss.

"And if you'll have me," I start, "I very much would like to be your roommate."

Giving me another kiss, she whispers, "I would like that, actually hoping for that...very much."

Our kisses are becoming more passionate and our hands are freely roaming our bodies. Before we go any further and as if by mutual consent, the intensity of our kisses and embrace lessens. Our gasping breaths and erratic heartbeats come back to normal as we sit in front of the fireplace.

"I love you, Cheryl," I confess.

Lifting her eyes to meet mine and placing a palm over my cheek, she states, "And I love you."

Placing my hand over the one on my cheek, I turn my head and place a kiss upon her palm. My eyes never leaving hers, I continue, "I want to be with you for the rest of my life." "I know it's not legal...yet," I state with a smirk, "but will you marry me and grow old with me?"

Tears streaming down her face, Cheryl throws herself at me, covering my face with kisses.

"Yes, yes, yes, yes," spills out of her mouth resoundedly. Stopping her barrage of kisses upon my face, she looks into my eyes softly repeating "yes" and gives me the sweetest, most loving kiss yet.

The kiss ends and giving a last brush to her lips, I tell her, "Stay right where you are, don't move."

I stand up, rush up the stairs and into my room. Opening my top dresser drawer, I take hold of the box I have hidden in there. It holds the ring I had bought on a whim, hoping beyond hope that this day would come and would be able to give to Cheryl. Returning to the living room, I kneel in front of Cheryl and hold my hand with the box out to her.

"I bought it a few months ago," I tell her, "I've known since the first day I saw you, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to tell you something. I haven't mentioned it before because I thought you would think me crazy." I look into her eyes and they encourage me to go on. "As I said, I knew from the start that you were the one for me. When Brenda and I first started our journey to the West, we stopped by Tombstone Arizona and had a wonderful time pretending to be old west cowboys." We both chuckle at that. "Go on," she says. "Well, the day before we continued on our journey, we went to visit an old homestead that is now a museum. As we got closer to the house, the scenery started changing. The house was there but the buildings that are now there, weren't. The house was surrounded by desert and Indians were attacking. I heard running footsteps behind me and when I turned around I saw a woman running towards the house shooting at the Indians. She didn't see the Indians coming from behind and was shot with an arrow to her back. She fell to the ground mortally wounded. I heard another set of footsteps running from my right and I saw another woman running, tears streaking her face, to the fallen one. That's all I remember?except?that the fallen woman was me and the other woman was you. I could never forget those eyes, those eyes filled with so much love?as they are now."

The tears once again start running down her face as she opens the box.

"Oh Jo," she whispers, "it's beautiful."

I take the ring out of the box and hold it as she raises her hand so I can slip it on her finger. It's a perfect fit.

"I love you" we mutually say as we lean towards each other for a searing kiss.

We lay down on the floor and just hold each other. As the emotional turmoil of the evening winds down, Morpheus is allowed to take over and send us on our way to a blissful sleep.

Chapter IX

I can see the sun has risen by the light filtering through my eyelids and the heat caused upon my face. My mind wonders why my bed is so hard and what could be laying on me. Slowly, the spider webs start lifting from my mind and last night's events start to take shape.

"She said yes," my mind whispers.

"She said yes," said a bit louder.

"She said YES!" it finally screams as my grin turns to a full-blown smile.

I open my eyes to slits and the first thing they see is blonde hair sporadically laying upon my chest. Although my body feels the appendages placed upon it, I tilt my head just a fraction to the left and verify their positions. Cheryl's right arm is under my shirt and around my middle while her right leg is holding both my legs prisoner. I can feel her left arm and leg cradled along my right side. My right arm is over her shoulders holding her close. Being careful so as not to wake her I lift my left arm to rest against her waist and wrap both arms more tightly around her. She stirs a bit tightening her grip about my waist but does not awaken. I am content just to lay here and hold her like this for the rest of our lives.

I must have dozed off in this complacent feeling for the next time I awakened the first thing I see are the beautiful green eyes that captured me heart and soul. Cheryl slides her body along mine until her head is even with mine. The only words spoken are between our eyes, which have been locked, in a loving gaze since opening to the new day. Slowly, her head lowers and her lips capture mine in a tender embrace to communicate the love being felt and of promises made. Our lips part and as we gaze at each other soft smiles form upon our faces.

"Good morning," I break the silence.

"Mm, yes it is, isn't it?" She purrs.

"Very much so." I agree.

Cheryl slides back down and lays her head back on my chest, a soft sigh escaping her lips. I tightened my hold around her placing a soft kiss on the crown of her head and just enjoy the feeling of contentment.

"So?when do you want to do it?" Cheryl asks after a while.

"Do what?" I cautiously ask.

"Look for a place for us to live," a pause, "and get married."

"Well, if it was up to me?I'd marry you today and as for the place to live, whenever you're ready."

"How about Brenda?"

"There is no way Brenda is marrying you?I saw you first," I state adamantly, "she has Audrey anyway." Cheryl's surprised laughter is contagious.

"My silly love," Cheryl says after we settle from our sudden mirth, "I was just wondering about your living arrangement with her."

"I know love," I reply, "I was just teasing you but I'll talk to Bren and see what she says?how's that?"

"That sounds good." She gently squeezes my middle and silence ensues.

Chapter X

The sound of a car coming up the driveway, its doors being slammed, footsteps on the porch, the front door opening and closing and finally footsteps coming towards the den do not cause a single stir from us.

"Well, isn't that a beautiful picture?" Brenda teases.

"A perfect Kodak moment," agrees Audrey.
My eyes, the only thing that stir, turn towards our friends. A smirk slowly starts to form on my face yet I refrain from speaking. The only sound heard is a sigh from Cheryl and my eyes return to their previous position. A few minutes pass without sound or movement.

"Ok, what's going on here?" Brenda finally blurts out, the silence too much for her.

"Mmmm?" comes from Cheryl.

"Argh?" Brenda exclaims waving her hands about her. Audrey chuckles.

As if rehearsed, Cheryl and I stretch and raise our bodies off the floor. We turn to face our friends as Cheryl re-wraps herself around me and asks, "Hey guys, how was your evening?"

They just stare at us and give us the once over trying to figure out what kind of event happened over night. Audrey's gaze reaches our faces while Brenda's is still glued to something that caught her attention.

"You did it, didn't you?" she asks in whispered awe, "you finally did it." Her gaze lifts and locks with my eyes. She sees the answer within them. The dazzling smile, running around the couch and embracing both of us in her arms lets me know she is happy with the events. Tears of joy are running down our three faces.

"Will someone tell me what the heck is going on around here?" Audrey asks in a frustrated voice.

"They're engaged!" Brenda enthusiastically announces.

"What? Who's engaged?" she asks unbelieving.

"Cheryl and Jo, silly," she replies with a chuckle.


Cheryl, a radiant smile on her face, sticks her left hand out for Audrey to see the ring.

"Well I'll be?," says Audrey as she leaps over the couch and embraces my girl then me. "Congratulations!" "When's the big day?"

"We haven't discussed the details yet but I'm hoping?soon," I reply as I turn to Cheryl with a hopeful look.

"Yes Jo, very, very soon," she husks sliding back into my arms.

"I think these news deserve a celebration, I'll buy breakfast."

"We'll buy breakfast."

"That sounds like a good deal what do you say sweetheart?"

"That I never pass up a free meal just let me make myself a bit presentable."

We all start laughing at the statement and go get ready for our outing. We then head out to breakfast and whatever other whims come into our minds. The day turns out great. We rented a sloop and sailed around the bay enjoying the wonderful weather and each other's company. The sunset found us sitting on the beach awed by the wonderful panorama it set before us. It was a grand ending to a day, which had begun full of love and promises.

Later that evening Brenda and I are sitting in the den, Cheryl and Audrey having gone back to the base.

"I'm really happy for you."

"Thanks, I'm pretty happy for me too."

"There's something I'd like to talk to you about."


"I didn't bring it up earlier because I didn't want to ruin the day with triviality."

"Uh huh."

"Well, Audrey has found an apartment and she asked me to move in with her."
"And you want my permission?"

"No, but with you and Cheryl getting hitched and all you guys might want to live here instead."

"Hmm, sounds like a good idea, I'll talk it over with Cheryl and see what she thinks. I hope the apartment isn't too far from here, you know I'd miss you like crazy."

"It's only about ten minutes away, that's where we spent the night. Audrey surprised me with it and the invitation to live together. Besides, we'll still see each other at work."

"That's true, man I feel like I'm on cloud nine. I never thought I would find what it was that was calling to me but once I met Cheryl and I feel I don't know full, content, at peace?"


"Yeah, like I've come to my final destination and this is where I hang my hat. I know it sounds silly like a fool's dream but that's the way I feel."

"I don't think it's silly or a fool's dream. Come on my friend let's go to bed so you can dream about your damsel and you her knight in shining armor come and take her away from her dreary world."

We walk up the steps and when we reach my door I hug my lifelong friend expressing all the love I feel for her.

"Goodnight Bren sleep well."

"Goodnight Jo you sleep well also."

Chapter XI

Brenda and Audrey moved in together three weeks after I proposed to Cheryl, one week before Audrey's discharge. The house is very quite. Cheryl is away for the week on some job or other. The days and weeks seem to crawl by as the long awaited day comes to pass. Ninety-seven more days and Cheryl and I become one in front of our friends and family. The ceremony will be held seven days after her discharge. There was no sense in stirring up a hornet's nest, now was there. We finally sat down one day last month and planned our future. We were sitting on the bench in the back yard enjoying the rain. It was a cool afternoon and Cheryl was cuddled within my arms.


"Yes, love."

"I'd like for us to set a date for our commitment ceremony."

"Ok, just pick a day, time and place?let me know and I'll be there."

"You're on, how about seven days after the day of my discharge which happens to be a Saturday. Let's say at one in the afternoon and the place would be here in the backyard. How does that sound?"

"It sounds wonderful. You know that now that we have set a date, I'm going to be all itchy for it to get here."

"Speaking of itching. I know we should have probably talked about this at the beginning. We did talk about dating but we never talked about having gone to bed with someone. It's not important and doesn't matter but I'd like to know how many women you have bedded."

"The truth?" She nods. "None, zero, zilch. No one I dated interested me enough to want to go to bed with. I know it's old-fashioned thinking but I believe that you should make love to someone you truly love. I cared for the women I dated but I didn't love them."

"Thank you for being honest with me. I've never been with anyone either."

"But?what about your girlfriend back east?"

"There was a lot of kissing and heavy petting but it never went further than that. I guess that's why she found someone else almost as soon as I left. She wanted to take me to bed and figured that after three years of dating, she had earned the right. I didn't agree, especially since I knew she had been seeing other girls while we were together."

"I had thought I really loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I joined the service hoping that she would follow me and try to change. But I'm really truly grateful that she didn't and do you know why?"


"Because she never once made me feel the way that you do. From the very first time I saw you, I felt drawn to you and wanted to get to know you better."

"The day we met."



"No, the very first time I saw you was at the beach. You were walking barefoot, your shoes in your hand. You had your hair loose and the breeze was blowing it away from your face. I thought you were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and yet you looked so lonely and lost. I felt like just walking up to you, take you in my arms and take that lost, lonely look away from you."

"I wish you had."

"The second time?"

"There was a second time?"

"Yes, the second time was at the bank, a few days later. You never left my mind. I was trying to think of a way to find out about you or how to find you again and then, there you were. I was hoping you would be my teller but it was not to be."

"The third time, was the day we finally met. I couldn't wait for Monday to get here. I swear Audrey wanted to kill me that weekend. Then I finally see you face to face and I just knew. Our meeting at the pizza parlor was fated," she finishes with a chuckle.

"Why do you say that?"

"That was maybe the third time that Audrey and I had been there in the two years we have been stationed here."

"Well then I thank the Fates for that small miracle."

With the date set, all that was left for me to do was wait.

Chapter XII

Two more weeks and Cheryl will be mine. It seems as though the Coast Guard is giving her more and more out of town trips as her discharge day gets closer. She was gone a week again and came back late last night. We didn't see each other but we did talk on the phone. I'm going to the base and surprise her; I can't wait to hold her in my arms. I get to the parking area and look for a place to park. As I'm looking around my heart suddenly starts to break at the scene before me. Towards the back of the lot there are two figures kissing and one of them is Cheryl. Her hands are holding on to the redhead's biceps while her face is being held in the woman's hands. It is too much for me to handle. I turn down the next aisle and drive away. The tears running down my face make it difficult to drive. I don't know which way I'm headed, I just know I need to keep driving?to get away?to think.

Two hours later I'm standing at the wharf in San Francisco inside a phone booth calling Brenda.


"Hi Bren, it's me,"

"Hey Jo, where are you? Cheryl's been looking for you buddy."

Hearing those words brings back the scene and the tears.

"I just wanted to let you know I was OK and I saw Cheryl earlier today,"

"Jo? Jo what's wrong? Where are you?"

"I'll talk to you soon," I can hear Brenda yelling at me not to hang up.

I drive around for a while and end up at The End Up, a gay and lesbian bar on 6th street. Walking to the bar I notice the place is still fairly deserted.

"What'll you have?" the pretty bartender asks.

"Whatever you've got on tap please,"

She brings me my beer and I finish it in three swallows. I ask for another. I take my time drinking the second one. My mind is swirling with the morning events. I can't quite come to grips with the scene of seeing Cheryl kissing any one else. Many 'maybes and what ifs' come rushing in. Maybe I shouldn't have driven away. Maybe it wasn't Cheryl, I just thought it was. What if I had confronted them? What if Cheryl has been playing with my feelings all this time? What if I go back now and she tells me it's over. Maybe I should go back and get it over with? What am I going to do without her? That last question breaks my heart a little more. A few hours and a dozen beers later I call it a night. I decide to stay at the Ramada it being a couple of blocks away on 7th street.

Well it's morning again. I tossed and turned all night questions still plaguing me. Why would she consent to marry me? Maybe she met someone else during this trip? What if? A thought suddenly struck?what if her ex girlfriend came?decided to finally follow Cheryl and try to make a go of their relationship again? What if Cheryl has agreed? The tears start falling again. I know I should go talk to Cheryl but getting the courage to face the possibility of her leaving me is something that hasn't come yet. Not leaving my room I instead wallow in the self-pity party I have created for myself.

On the fourth day of my self-exile, I wake up refreshed and determined. The dreams I experienced during the night helped me to remember why I needed to go back and fight for Cheryl and our love. Especially the last dream. An arrow piercing my back and green eyes full of tears and love running towards my dying form. I take a shower, put on my crumpled, dirty clothes, check out of the hotel, get in my car and drive back home with only one thought in my mind. Fight for my love and happiness.

Chapter XIII

I arrive home before noon and it seems the house is deserted. I get out of the car and with determined steps enter. Walking towards the steps to go upstairs and freshen up, the figure I most and least want to see steps in front of me. We both just stand there looking into each other's eyes, asking and wanting answers to all our questions. Cheryl looks very tired. Her usually bright and clear eyes have dark circles beneath them and seem dull but I can see anger and relief as well. The hard slap was unexpected yet in some ironic way expected.

"I'll go clean up."

I walk up the stairs to my room, grab some clean clothes and go take a shower. The hot water streams down my body, it feels wonderful and the tense muscles relax a bit. I take my time. Although I am determined to fight for my love, I don't want to hasten the possible ending should I lose. I finally leave the bathroom dressed and ready for what may come. I walk slowly down the stairs and see Cheryl sitting in the den on the sofa. I stroll in and go stand in front of the fireplace.

"Where have you been?"

"San Francisco."

"You have been in San Francisco for four days and you wouldn't bother calling and letting us know? I've been here out of my mind wondering if you were OK. I believe I had a right to know where you were. Why Jo? What's going on?"

"I had some things to think about and work out."

"And did you work them out?"

"Yes, I determined that I am in love with you and want to spend the rest of my life with you."

"I'm very happy to hear that because that's the same way that I feel."

"Is it?"

"What do you mean by that?" she asks as she jumps off the sofa and storms over to stand before me, "I've been in love with you since the first time I saw you, I told you that. Jo, what's going on?"

"I went to surprise you at the base the day after you got back."

"I didn't see you. Where were you?"

"I know you didn't. You were busy kissing the redhead in the parking lot."

Cheryl's face pales at my remark.

"That's why you left," almost a whisper.

"I couldn't sit there and watch my soul being ripped from me. I had to go somewhere and work out the possibility of losing you. I love you with all my heart and soul but I would never hold you to your promise if you wanted to leave. The only thing that is important to me is that you're happy and if you find that happiness with someone else then?"

"You're a fool, you know that? A loving wonderful fool who apparently didn't stay long enough to see what happened once the kiss was broken."

"I couldn't."

"Come here, let's sit down."

Grabbing my hand she leads me to the sofa and we sit facing each other.

"If you had waited a bit longer you would've seen Becky dumped on her rear. As soon as I was able to loosen her grip I punched her in the face. I got a surprise all right unfortunately it wasn't the good one?you. Becky showed up at the base wanting to talk to me, I told her we had nothing to talk about. She insisted and instead of causing a raucous I agreed. We went out to the parking lot where she told me she loved me and wanted us to get back together again. I was stunned at the proposal and started to laugh. Once I calmed from my outburst I told her there was no way that would ever happen. I told her about you and our upcoming marriage. She insisted that I still loved her and before I knew it, she took my face in her hands and started kissing me. Guess that's when you drove up and saw us."

"The thought of that woman being your ex did cross my mind. Did you really punch her?"

"Yes I did and it felt great. I love you Jo. You own me heart and soul and in ten days you will own my body."

"I love you too."

The kiss that followed was not one of passion but one of reaffirmation and reconnection of our love. Now, if only I can hold on for ten more days.

Chapter XIV

Wow, the day is finally here.

Both our parents arrived the week before to attend the small ceremony for Cheryl's separation from the service and for our joining. My parents and Cheryl got along wonderfully as soon as they met. It took me a little longer to get Cheryl's parents to warm up to me but it seems once they saw how much I loved their daughter whatever indecisions they had vanished.

We are now standing in front of all our friends and family facing the minister. Cheryl is so beautiful. Her dress is a white, chiffon midi length dress with a cowl at the neckline. The sleeves are made from a see through material and buttoned at her wrists. In her short blonde hair she wears tiny blue wildflowers gathered early that morning from our backyard. I know the minister is speaking but my attention is solely on Cheryl.


"No one is getting married!"

The surroundings are so quiet that you could hear a pin drop?on the grass.

The surprise and incredibility of the shouted statement is on our faces as we turn and look at each other. My mind can not believe what my ears have just heard. Who would dare say Cheryl and I can not get married? We both turn to face the intruder and ready ourselves to wage a battle. Just as my body is ready to pounce on the idiot, who dared to disturb our perfect day, Cheryl jumps down from the small platform we were standing upon and runs with abandon into the intruder's arms.


Roger? Who the hell is Roger? My astounded mind asks.

I quietly walk to Cheryl's side and wait for the opportunity to defend our love.

"What are you doing here? I thought you couldn't make it?"

"I really couldn't let you get married?without me being here?now could I." This Roger person says with a big grin, " I wanted to surprise you, so here I am?SURPRISE!"

After another big hug Cheryl holds out her hand to me.

"Jo, this is my I-see-once-a-year brother Roger."

Brother? Her brother, of course it's her brother. My mind smirks.

"Welcome, I'm so glad you could make it after all."

"Thank you, I'm really glad you invited me and was able to attend."

"Wow sis, your descriptions fall short on what a looker you hooked and reeled in for yourself."

"Well, I didn't want you getting any ideas about coming down here and trying to snag her for yourself," this said with a smirk.

"Thanks," was all I could say and hoping the blush would go unnoticed, as well as the ground opening up and swallowing me. It was not meant to be though.

"Are we ready to get this show on the road now?" I ask.

"Yep, we sure are, you both have my blessings." Cheryl and I both roll our eyes and everyone starts laughing as the tension dissuades.

The festivities are in full swing now that the ceremony has finally been completed. Everyone looks happy and seems it will continue for some time. Roger apologized for the melodramatic entrance but it was a very nice gift for my bride, so I have forgiven him. I'm sure I'll get a chance for a payback sometime in the future. He seems like a very nice person and we are getting along great. It is almost midnight before Cheryl and I start our good-byes. We feel we have waited long enough and the honeymoon should begin. We shall be using Brenda's and Audrey's apartment tonight and tomorrow afternoon we head for a week's stay in Arizona. I'd like to show Cheryl the place where I first saw her eyes.

Chapter XV

Carrying her over the threshold at the apartment, after our trip back I'll carry her over our threshold at the house and closing the door our lips meet in a searing kiss that ignites the fire that has been smoldering for months. My legs are becoming weaker as the kiss continues but I manage to get into the bedroom and sit on the edge of the bed. Cheryl takes advantage of my sitting position and straddles my legs. Due to oxygen depravation the kiss ends.

With our gazes locked, I tenderly run my fingers across her forehead down her temples to her cheeks and caress the sweet full lips that on so many occasions have called me to them. They move down her neck sliding down her arms until they come to her hands. Holding her hands in mine I lift them to my lips kissing each knuckle then turning them over to kiss each palm and place them over my shoulders. My hands slide back up her arms and continue the trek down the sides of her body to her hips. I gently pull her more closely to me. Our lips meet in a fiery kiss. We moan as a connection is made as my hands have traveled to her buttocks and pushed her even closer.
Our hands are moving all around our backs bringing us closer. Cheryl's hands are up on my shoulders once again and they start to go down my chest until they rest upon my breasts. I release a moan at the feelings this instills within me. I reciprocate the favor and hear her moan as well. My fingers are eager to feel her skin and start to unbutton her blouse. One by one they start to open and my hungry eyes are watching every piece of skin that becomes visible. Once the task is done my hands engulf her lace-covered flesh and lovingly squeeze. It is not enough and my fingers open the clasp at the front. My eyes take in the perfection that they hold. "Beautiful." I once again take possession of her breasts and feel them molding to my palms. Cheryl moans her pleasure my hands are causing.

My fingers travel to her nipples and squeeze them as I gently pull them towards my eager mouth. Suckling them one at a time Cheryl's moan's get louder as her hips have begun to move against me. I move my hands to the outside of her breasts and move them towards each other and take both nipples in suckling both at the same time. Cheryl's hip movements have grown faster and I stop my activities. "No, please don't stop."

"I'm not ready to release you?yet." She emits a sound of frustration at this.

As we once again kiss Cheryl's hands become busy unbuttoning my shirt which shortly disappears along with my bra. As one our hands go to unfasten our pants and we shortly find ourselves divested of the rest of our clothes.

"You are so beautiful."

"So are you."

I pull her into my embrace for a kiss and the skin on skin is electrifying. Lying on the bed we allow our hands full rein upon our bodies. The kiss ends and my mouth waters for another taste of her breasts. My right hand glides southward until it reaches the apex of her womanhood. I feel moisture there. Cheryl's legs have opened inviting me in and it's an invitation I gladly accept. It goes lower and my middle finger separates her lips and discovers a hidden pool.

"For me?"

"All of it."

"I'd like for us to do it together."

"I'd like that too."

Cheryl's hand moves to my center and discovers her own hidden pool.

"Mm?all for me?"

"Every single drop."

Our movements are slow as this being our first time we do not want to hurt each other. Our fingers mirror each movement. We tease our entrances and rub our love nubs until we are ready to explode. As our climaxes engulf us, our fingers enter and break the barrier we had saved for one another. The continuous pumping of our fingers re-ignites the arousal and our next climax is stronger and longer than the first. Pulling out we allow our breathes and hearts to return to normal. However, feeling her naked body lying upon mine brings back the feelings of just moments before. It seems to do the same thing to her and our lovemaking restarts. We don't get much sleep this night but we have many nights to come to make up for the lack of rest.

"I love you Jo?forever."

"I love you too Cheryl?forever."

The End

The Athenaeum's Scroll Archive