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NEW DIMENSIONS - Cont'd
Xena had slowed to a walk by the time she approached the hut. The aroma of food was wafting from the dwelling. She really did hope that there was some left. She entered to find Liz awake and sitting. She still looked pretty bad. Gabrielle was sitting near her and both were still eating. Hippocrates was right. Gabrielle had found someone with an appetite as robust as her own. It was an amazing sight.
The bard barely stopped chewing to speak. "Uhmmm...Xena...look who’s awake. Isn’t that great? Liz would you like some more nutbread? "
Liz stopped eating. Blue eyes met blue eyes. "Ah...no thank you, Gabrielle. I actually think I’ve had enough for now. Better save some for Xena."
Xena actually smiled. "Thanks for saving a crumb or two for me." She filled her plate and dragged a chair next to Gabrielle. "How are you feeling, Liz?"
"I’m sore as hell, especially my ribs, but I’ll survive." She decided to wave the truce flag first. "Xena, I want to thank you for saving my butt last night. I’m afraid I wasn’t very appreciative. I’m sorry."
Gabrielle stopped munching and watched the exchange. She looked at Xena. "What’s she talking about? You two didn’t get into it, did you?"
Liz gave Xena a silent shake of her head. The warrior looked Gabrielle straight in the face and bent the truth. "No...no... we were just a little pressed for time, that’s all." She returned Liz’s request with a wink. The truce had been made. She needed to talk to both of these women about a serious matter. Well, no time like the present. "Look, we, the three of us, need to talk. We have some decisions to make."
Gabrielle wasn’t following this too close. "What decisions? Oh, you mean how long Liz is going to visit?" She directed the question Liz’s way. "Yeah, just how long can you stay. I think you should at least give your ribs a chance to heal some. I mean I certainly don’t know anything about time travel, but it’s got to be hard on one."
Liz looked at Xena with the ‘shall I tell her, or do you want to’ looks. Liz decided to do the deed. She put her plate aside and took Gabrielle’s hand. Xena didn’t object. "Gabrielle...I...er...well...I won’t be going home. I can’t...the way was sealed. I’m sorta stuck here for the duration of my life. And if Grackus has his way, it won’t be long."
The bard stopped eating... her jaw open. She swallowed hard. "What do you mean you can’t go home? You came here knowing you would be stuck? What kind of plan was that? " She was visibly irritated.
Liz defended her decision. "It was the only plan available. I just have to live with it. I’m sorry."
Gabrielle was shaking her head to and fro. "Oh, no, I’m the one’s who’s sorry. If it weren’t for me, none of this would have happened. Xena, isn’t there something we can do?"
Xena took the bard’s free hand. "Gabrielle, Liz is all grown up. She knew the risk and odds. We can’t do anything about all that now. But we can come up with a way for her to live in this time."
A spark appeared in the bard’s eyes. "She can travel with us, Xena. I mean after she’s healed of course. It’d be nice to have company for those times when you don’t want to talk, which is a lot. What do you think, Liz? We could be three wandering righters of wrongs. It’d be great!"
Liz shook her head. "No, it wouldn’t be great. You don’t understand. Just because I can’t go home doesn’t mean it’s safe here for me. In fact, it’s very dangerous. Every interaction I have alters my world’s future slightly. It will be totally irresponsible for me to continue doing so. I have no control over staying here, but I can control my interactions while I’m here. I have to find a place that is remote and secluded. In other words, I have to disappear in this time. There is no other way."
Gabrielle wasn’t the least bit happy. "No! There has to be another way. Xena, talk to her. We just can’t abandon her. For the love of Zeus, she saved my life!"
Xena tried to calm her lover. "She’s right, Gabrielle. I saw the corridor seal itself. This is the only responsible thing for her to do. If you care about her as your friend, respect her wishes."
She had a tear in those green eyes. "Liz, where will you go?"
"I was hoping you could give me an idea or two. I’m not real familiar with the territory. And AAA hasn’t been invented yet."
Gabrielle knew to let anything that sounded weird slide. From the hearth, Amoria spoke to the group.
"Take her to the Amazons. All will be made final there."
The three of them looked her way. Her eyes were half-closed and she was in a trance of sorts. Gabrielle looked at Xena "Why the Amazons? I thought she needed to stay away from people. Believe me, that village isn’t the place for solitude. You know how Eponin and Ephiny are. They will be all over her...and in more ways than one." She cast a glance toward Liz. In spite of her battered face, she was quite handsome. The fact that she had saved the Amazon’s Queen would place her in high standing. The complications and competition for her attention would be fierce. Gabrielle could just picture it all now. Liz would have to have a guard. It was an amusing thought.
Xena cut into her head drama for a reality check. She was speaking to Gabrielle and Liz. "I think we need to do what Amoria says. We have the wagon so you won’t have to ride on Argo, Liz. And we’ll ask Hippocrates to go with us in case one of you has a relapse. I think he would like to see this thing to the end. Now this sounds like a plan. We can leave in a few days. I think your ribs need the extra rest. Are we agreed then? "The three raised their goblets and toasted. Liz exclaimed. "One for all, and all for one."
Gabrielle liked the sound of that. "Mind if I use that sometime?" Liz laughed. "Sure, go ahead. Catchy, isn’t it?"
The phone in Randi’s quarters rang. She rolled over to look at the clock. It was three in the morning. Sleepily she answered. "Hello, this is Dr.James."
"Randi, excuse the late hour, this is Ruth. I have news. We need to talk."
She sat up and turned on the bedside lamp. She was trying to clear her head. She grabbed a tablet and her glasses. "Ok, what’s up?"
"I’ve been in communication with the ‘other’ and all is proceeding as planned. It will all be in place in two days. Will you be ready?"
"Yes, I have a few things to set up at the site, but it will be ready. Have you talked to Roger and Sam yet?"
"I just got off the phone with Roger. He and Sam will be here with me. All we have to do is wait for the motion to start there. Keep her in your love, Randi, for it will be our love that will save her, if she indeed wants saving."
Randi was a little caught off guard by this last part. "What do you mean ‘if she wants saving?’ Is there a chance she will choose to stay there? How will we know?"
"We will have to wait for Liz to make that decision, Randi. And we should be prepared to accept that possibility. It’s out of our hands. We’ll only be a small part of the process, Liz has the final say. Just be ready for anything. I’ll be in touch. Good-bye, Randi."
She was stunned and words failed her. She barely said ‘bubye.’ The line went silent. Randi lay on her back and stared at the ceiling. She spoke to her friend across the void. "Liz, honey, I love you...we all do. Do what you must...but I miss you. Please, come home to us." A tear formed and rolled from her eye, finally stopping in her ear.
Liz stirred in her sleep. Warmth washed over her, like a mother’s hand. She thought she was dreaming. She heard Randi’s voice telling her she loved her. Liz loved and missed her friend...all her friends. Sleep overtook her mind.
Amoria opened one eye and cast it her way. "Yes, love will save you, traveler, if that’s what you want."
Later in the day, Liz wanted to get up and move about. She was aware that moving was the key to avoid serious lung problems. It wouldn’t do to get pneumonia here. Gabrielle helped her off the pallet and after a few tours of the hut she ventured outside. Daedalius was exactly as she remembered. ‘What a simple life’, she thought. ‘No traffic jams, noise pollution, and only the occasional road bandit. This is so uncomplicated.’
"Whatcha’ thinking about?" Gabrielle asked.
"Oh, not much, really." Liz really didn’t want to get into a deep discussion right now. The implications of all this was just too overwhelming. She shifted the focus. "So, how far is the Amazon village from here?"
"Well, the beginning of the territory is about a day’s ride and the actual village another day. I think you’ll find it...ah...interesting."
Liz smiled, her eyes squinting in the bright sun. " Oh, I’m sure I will. Do you think Ephiny will allow an ‘outsider’ to stay in the village?"
"I’m sure she won’t have an objection. I do have some pull, you remember...being the Queen and all." She winked at Liz.
"Oooh...that’s right. How could I have forgotten that. Forgive me, your highness." Liz attempted to bow, but the pain in her side curtailed that motion. "Ow! Guess I’m not quite ready for subjugation just yet." The ensuing laughter was a painful endeavor.
Xena rounded the corner and spied the ‘children.’ It was good to see Gabrielle back to normal. She was reluctant to admit it, but Liz was growing on her. "What are you two up to? Mischief, I’m sure. How’s it going, Liz? Feel like taking a walk to the tavern with me?"
She looked at the warrior and then to Gabrielle. The bard wasn’t invited. Gabrielle cleared her throat and made an excuse to help Amoria. "Well, you two obviously have some business to conduct. I think I’ll help Amoria with the evening preparations. Xena, try to keep Liz out of trouble, ok?" She gave Xena a quick kiss and went inside.
The two warriors watched Gabrielle walk away. Liz was just a little nervous being left alone with Xena. She was, after all, the biggest damn woman with a sword she’d ever seen. Come to think of it, she was the only woman armed in such a manner she’d ever seen. The fact that she was drop dead beautiful was intimidating on its own. "What’s this about, Xena?"
"I think we just need to talk...you know...clear some things up. How ‘bout it? We’ll get a drink at the tavern and have some ‘girl talk.’ " She was waiting for agreement.
Liz arched an eyebrow and looked at Xena suspiciously. "Girl talk? You don’t strike me as the kind who would engage in that activity. But, I agree we need to have a chat. Lead on, then."
The two of them strolled toward the inn, side by side. They entered the tavern and took a table in the back, away from most of the noise and activity.
"What will it be for you, Liz?"
Doubting they could make a decent margarita, she opted for whatever Xena was having. The warrior waved two fingers to the barkeep. He delivered two mugs of port to the table and went back to his other customers.
"Well, here’s to adventure." Xena raised her mug.
Liz lifted hers. "And to good friends."
They tapped the mugs and each took a big swig. Xena was watching Liz over the top of her mug. Liz swallowed the warm brew and closed her eyes tight in a squinting motion. She shook her head and peered into the half empty mug. "Whew! What is this stuff?" She took another sip "Hmmm... not bad." She drained the cup. It was Xena’s turn. She turned up the mug and finished it. Liz raised two fingers to the barkeep. She was sure this stuff was deadly, but what the hell. How many people can say they sat and got shit-faced with The Warrior Princess? She smirked and thought, ‘Xenites, eat your hearts out.’
Wisely, Liz decided not to match Xena mug for mug. She conceded the warrior’s superiority in this arena. They settled into a conversational mode. Xena started. "I need to know something. Back at Amoria’s, why didn’t you tell Gabrielle what really happened? I was pretty ugly to you."
"Well, I wasn’t exactly congenial either. You were worried about Gabrielle and I was worried about failing both of you... not to mention the serious rearrangement of my face going on. It just wouldn’t have served a purpose to whine and finger point like two children. We both acted like asses. I don’t intend on discussing this with Gabrielle. What you decide, is your business." She took a sip from the mug. "You know, this stuff kinda grows on you."
"Well, I’d take it easy, if I were you. It has a way of sneaking up on you. By the way, how is your nose doing?"
"You know, I actually think I can breathe better. Kurris may have solved my sinus problem." They both laughed. The thought of Grackus and company, however, had a sobering effect on her. "You think those guys will try to even the score?"
"I wouldn’t worry too much, they’re always trying to screw with someone. I think having a second round with you will encourage them to seek an easier target. You handled yourself pretty good in spite of your injuries. Where did you learn to fly a whip like that?"
Liz thought of Roger and smiled. "Oh, from a queen I know."
Xena had a puzzled look on her face. "You know a Queen other than Gabrielle?"
"Xena, I come from a place filled with them. Here’s to queens." She held the mug aloft and toasted with Xena. Together, they downed the nasty brew. An alliance had been formed.
Gabrielle found them laughing and telling stories in the back of the tavern. "I wondered what happened to you two. Amoria sent me to gather you two for dinner. Anyone hungry?" Xena and Liz looked at each other and nodded in unison. They stood and Liz led the way out of the tavern. She only veered into one table... not too bad, considering. Gabrielle took Xena by the arm and questioned her. "Ok, what’s been going on here? What have you two been talking about all afternoon? "
Xena smiled. "Let’s just say we’ve cleared the air about a few things. She’s all right, Gabrielle."
For Xena to admit something like this was just short of amazing. Gabrielle couldn’t help herself. "I knew once you got to know her, you’d like her. I was right wasn’t I?"
The warrior bent near her ear. "Gabrielle, don’t push it, ok? We’ll talk about this later."
The bard exercised her right of having the last word. She spoke under her breath. "I was right...yep...I was right. I love it when I’m right."
They entered the hut to find Liz already chowing down. She had found her appetite fully now. Gabrielle joined in the fray. Xena, Amoria and Hippocrates grabbed what was left and sat near the hearth. The conversation turned to the next day’s journey. Xena addressed the healer. Liz and Gabrielle paused to catch the exchange.
"Amoria, I need to know what you meant by everything being made final at the Amazon village. What’s going to happen there?"
"A decision, Xena, one Liz will have to make." All eyes were aimed in her direction. The eating ceased. Gabrielle wanted clarification. "What kind of decision? Whether to stay with the Amazons, go live in the woods, what? "
Liz tried to calm the bard. "Gabrielle, calm down. I think I know what she’s talking about."
"Well, I’m glad somebody knows what’s going on, cause I sure don’t! I like a riddle as well as the next girl, but I’m tired of this one. Tell me!"
Liz looked into Amoria’s eyes as she spoke. "I think I’ll be asked to choose between staying here and going home."
Gabrielle was totally confused. "Wait a minute...I thought you couldn’t go home. Is anyone else as lost as I am?"
Xena was even a little lost. "How is that possible? I saw your path cut off."
"Apparently there is another way. Right, Amoria?"
The seer nodded. "There is another way, but only if you desire it strong enough. You will have to make that decision soon. And, traveler, it will be final. So make your choice wisely."
Liz’s appetite was gone. She got up and walked from the room. She needed to think. Gabrielle started after her, but was restrained by Xena. "Give her some time, Gabrielle." The bard sat back in the chair. The meal continued in relative silence.
Liz walked away from the hut. She just needed some breathing room. She turned into the livery and went to Argo’s stall. The mare recognized her and gently nodded her head. Liz found the grooming brush and stroked the war-horse in long fluid motions. In situations like this, she usually talked to Brie and RG. Argo would have to sub for them. Besides, the mare was enjoying all the extra grooming.
"What do I decide girl? I was afraid I couldn’t go home and now I’m afraid I can. Doesn’t make any sense, does it? I miss my friends...my home...the way my life was. But I’ll miss Gabrielle and Xena as much. This is like that dream, you know." She stopped brushing and looked into the mare’s soft brown eyes. "Argo, in the dream I got to where I didn’t want to wake up. Now I don’t think I want to go home. And I feel guilty about that. Why can’t the gods just leave me alone? All I want is serenity."
Hippocrates made his second appearance in the stable in as many days. It was getting to be a habit for him. "The gods aren’t much for leaving mortals alone, Liz... not in this time or yours. And as for serenity, well, that is within you. Only you control that." He walked closer to her. "I hope I’m not intruding but thought you might need a neutral ear."
She turned to face the physician. "No, not at all, I could use the sound of a rational voice. I’m afraid I’m not operating from a very sane place right now." She put the brush on its hook and sat on a hay bale. "I don’t know what to do, Hippocrates. I am so torn. It was easier when I thought I had no choice. Why is this so hard? I don’t understand." She was near tears from frustration and anxiety. "It’s not like I don’t miss my friends, I do, but I’ve formed a real attachment for Gabrielle and even that warrior of hers."
He put his arm around her shoulder like a father consoling a child. "You will do what’s right, Liz. Just let it come to you. Now, c’mon, Gabrielle has a surprise for you." He walked her back to the hut. She entered the structure and found it filled with candlelight. It was beautiful. Near her pallet was a large tub filled with warm scented water. There was a note. "Liz, I know how you enjoy a long soak. Take your time. Xena and I will stay at the inn tonight. Sleep well. Gabrielle"
What a treat. She was filthy and the idea of soaking her sore body was beyond rapture. Hippocrates excused himself and Amoria helped her out of her clothes and bandages and then joined him outside. Liz took an inventory of her body before stepping into the tub. She peered at her side, pulling her breast out of the way with her right hand. "Now that’s attractive, in a brutish sort of way." She was seeing the ugly bruise from the boot of Grackus. It was quite a little beauty, running the breath of her entire left side. Gravity had drawn the extravasation to her hip and butt. She let out a low whistle. "Jeez...no wonder I hurt like hell. My medical plan is really going to take a hit from this." Shaking her head, she slipped into the tub, and could only imagine what was going on at the inn.
There was a trail of clothes from the door to the pallet. A gauntlet here...a short skirt there...leather armor...boots...green thingee...shifts thrown across chairs and on the floor.
Xena was devouring Gabrielle from head to foot. The bard was returning tit for tat. It was like they had been apart forever. A fever pitch was building. It was a struggle...a race...yes...no...not yet...hurry...slow down.
"Xena...yes, please...umm...oh...there...right there. Do you...think...she knows..?"
"Uh-huh... now be quiet or I’ll stop."
Gabrielle grabbed a handful of the warrior’s raven hair, pulling her close. "Don’t even think about it." She closed her mouth over Xena’s, her tongue darting over the warrior’s. Xena’s hands were exploring her warm flesh, fingers dancing along the outline of her full breast, teasing the nipple to attention.
Liz let her head rest on the edge of the tub... her body strangely buoyant and light. She thought about the lovers across the way and began touching herself. Slowly, her hand circled her breast, teasing the nipple lightly with an open palm. In her mind, she saw Xena doing the same to Gabrielle. She watched as the bard moved her body under the warrior, her nipples becoming erect.
Liz caught the erect tip between thumb and finger, applying pressure, gently at first, then harder. It’s sister came erect out of empathy. She roughly massaged the flesh while pinching the nipple harder. A direct sensory connection was made to her core. Breathing became deep and focused.
Xena pushed her thigh between Gabrielle’s legs. The bard offered no resistance. She applied pressure to her lover’s leg, rubbing against it. Her wetness bathed the warrior’s, releasing a flood of juices, mixing with Gabrielle’s. "Xena...what do you...oh, gods, yes...ah...I...forgot what I was...uhmmm...going to say..." She closed her eyes and arched her back, slightly.
"Gabrielle, shut up...I’m...warning...oh,gods...you..."
Xena caught the bard’s nipple between her teeth, alternating biting and sucking. Her hands were beneath Gabrielle’s butt. She could feel her cheeks clinching in a very rhythmic pattern. There was wetness pouring from her, covering Xena’s fingers.
"Oh...gods...Gabrielle...you’re so...wet. "
Gabrielle took one of Xena’s hands and put it to her mouth. She began taking each finger into her mouth, sucking her own juice off them. Xena just watched her with a desire she’d not felt before. She claimed the bard’s mouth and tasted that sweetness.
"Oh...sweet...Athena...you’re driving me crazy..."
She felt the wave of desire settle between her legs. She pictured Xena’s mouth on Gabrielle’s breast, sucking, tonguing and biting. A jolt of electricity coursed through her body. Her hand ran over the tight abdomen to the mass of dark curly hair. She massaged the area just above her aching desire. She began teasing the outer folds and moving lightly over the center. She felt the slickness of her own arousal. Holding the outer folds open, Liz began rubbing the erect nub, her back arched and butt tightened. A sharp intake of air hurt her side. It didn’t matter. The energy was being channeled elsewhere.
She saw Xena’s fingers moving on Gabrielle in sync with her own. As Gabrielle responded to the heightened desire, Liz’s own hand moved in kind. She so wanted to come with her. She saw Xena go down on her.
"Where...did...you...oooh...learn that? Never mind...I don’t want to know...oh, please, Gabrielle..."
"Please...come...on me...gods...you’re beautiful...I love you so..."
Gabrielle looked into the face of her destiny. It was Xena she loved beyond all else, she and no one else, of this she was certain. She took the warrior’s head in her hands, pushing her lower on her body. She closed her eyes and half-commanded Xena.
"Put your mouth on me...please..."
Without hesitation, Xena moved between her legs, the bard opening wide. She kissed the outline of the damp curls. Gabrielle was too far gone for this, she directed Xena’s head to the source, spreading the folds for her. Xena ran her tongue over the swollen flesh, tasting the nectar of her beloved. Gabrielle let out a gasp, her hands gripped either side of Xena’s head. She wanted it now.
Liz was nearing that point of no return. The features of the room blurred... the sounds, faint echoes. She was waiting for Gabrielle to explode in Xena’s mouth. "Oh...please...now..."
Xena felt tenseness in the bard’s body, the seat of her desire became incredibly large. She thought it would literally explode. Her tongue worked to and fro, the dance was nearly complete. The wave started deep within her. She was one massive sensory nerve ending. Her back arched burying Xena’s face in her juices. The warrior could feel the rhythmic pulses on her lips.
"Oh...god...yessss..." Liz exploded with Gabrielle.
"Xeeeenahhh...!!!" The bard was beyond reach, in a place of pure energy and infinity. Xena held tightly, drinking Gabrielle’s desire. It was minutes before she dared move. Gabrielle’s legs were still clamped around her like a vise. Slowly she relaxed and released her lover. Xena ran her tongue across the damp hair, up her hard belly, between her breasts and finally to her lips. They embraced in a deep kiss, Gabrielle tasting herself again. They lay exhausted. Their lives were again in sync.
Liz opened her eyes, the room coming into focus again. She was crying. It happened sometime after a very emotional climax. This had certainly been one. She didn’t want to make this decision. And she finally realized why this was so hard. That night, she cried herself to sleep.
A hand was gently rocking her. In her half-asleep state, Liz thought she was in her own bed, and the girls wanted breakfast. She didn’t remember them having hands though. She rolled on her back and opened an eye. Amoria’s face greeted her.
"Morning, traveler, how are you feeling?"
"Like I’ve been in a mosh pit all night." She chuckled and held her side. "But it could be worse. At least I’m still breathing to complain about it." Liz shifted into a sitting position. She had slipped into bed nude after her climax and bath. Amoria was totally unfazed. "Guess I should have wrapped my ribs after my bath, but I was just so tired."
The healer was busy gathering clean bandages for the task. Liz had swung her legs off the pallet and was sitting partially covered when Gabrielle entered. She made no attempt to cover herself. What would be the point. The bard had already seen her naked and in a most compromising position. She felt no need to be modest with her. Gabrielle looked directly at Liz and just as quickly diverted her gaze. She appeared very uncomfortable. Liz broke the silence.
"Thanks for the bath, Gabrielle, it was very sweet of you. I sure needed it. You and Xena sleep well?" She knew full well what they had been doing. The idea of teasing her was just too tempting to pass up. "Where’s Xena? Sleeping in?"
Gabrielle had her back to her, pretending to check on breakfast. "Uh...no...she is...er...checking on Argo. You know getting things together to leave. You...uh sleep ok ?"
This was ridiculous. If Gabrielle wanted to play this silly game, Liz was more than willing to oblige. And she was much better at it than the bard ever thought about being...one of the perks of living in the twentieth century. Amoria was about to up the ante.
"Gabrielle, I need your help in redoing this bandage. Do you mind?"
Liz could see Gabrielle stiffen. This was going to be good. She turned and walked toward the pallet. Liz was amazed that the bard couldn’t look at her. She finally closed the distance and was standing within Liz’s reach. Amoria instructed her to put some balm on a laceration just below Liz’s left breast. It was the site of the initial impact and the sorest spot. It was the first time she had seen the real damage of the attack. Her eyes went wide and some of the stiffness ebbed. There was a real concern in her voice.
"Oh, Liz, this looks awful. I didn’t realize."
Liz took up some of the slack. "That a bruise could be so attractive?" There was a twinkle in her eyes. Gabrielle was inspecting her side, her lips were inches from Liz’s breast. The mere thought of that caused her nipple to go erect. Gabrielle’s eye didn’t miss the event. She blushed and backed up a bit... her eyes still focused on that puppy. She gingerly applied the balm, making Liz flinch.
"Oooh...I’m sorry, did I hurt you?"
Silently, Liz thought, ‘In more ways than one, my love.’ Her spoken word was different. "It’s not too bad, just kinda sensitive."
Liz held her arms over her head and Amoria and Gabrielle wrapped her ribs. Amoria starting on one side and passing the roll to Gabrielle. On every pass, some part of the bard brushed Liz’s skin... a hand, her forearm, even her hair on one pass. It was sublime torture for Liz. She would take whatever contact she could. This was so pathetic. They were finishing when Xena came in. She cast a glance at Gabrielle and raised that eyebrow. The look wasn’t wasted on Liz. "Good morning, Xena. Sleep ok, I hope?"
The warrior was uncomfortable. She replied aloofly, "Yeah, I guess. I prefer the outside though, sleeping under the open sky."
"Well, I prefer the comfort of a real bed. I’m not much for camping." Liz couldn’t imagine not wanting to sleep with Gabrielle in a soft bed. Her mind recalled doing just that and involuntary goosebumps covered her body. Gabrielle knew exactly what she was thinking and a knowing smile crept across her face. Liz thought, ‘At least she hasn’t totally forgotten.’ Game momentarily suspended.
Score...Liz one...Gabrielle...zero...Xena...on deck.
Xena went about filling a burlap sack with various provisions. The trip would only take a few days, but the two eating machines would demand more sustenance than the wild hare or berries. She was almost ready. Liz threw off the blanket covering her lower body. Her only ‘clothing’ was the bandage around her chest. She was nonchalantly looking for her togs...and in no great hurry apparently. Out of the corner of her eye, Xena caught Gabrielle staring at her.
"Gabrielle! Come over here and make sure we have everything. " It was a very thinly disguised request...more like a command. The bard thought, ‘Since when does Xena need me to check on her?’ She stole one more look at Liz before complying. "Yeah, right, I’ll be right there."
Liz finally had cover for most of her body. She wished she had something other than leather to wear. It wasn’t the best choice given her injuries, but it would have to do. She longed for jeans and a tee-shirt. ‘How did Roger wear this stuff in a hot, sweaty, leather bar? Guess it’s a boy thing.’ Hippocrates entering the hut interrupted her thought process.
" Morning, all. I hope everyone had a good nights rest." A palatable silence fell over the room. Was it something he said? Gabrielle has a guilty as Hades look about her, Xena was trying to be busy and Liz...well, she was smiling. Three points for Liz. "I had a very restful night, thank you." Of course, she lied, but she was better at it than the other two.
He briefly inspected his patient. "Your color looks better today, how’s the chest?"
"Not too bad, still sore, but I’ll live. You still going with us?"
"Well, that’s what I need to ask you. I’m really needed back at the compound. The Amazons have an excellent healer, Saras, and I think you are past the danger zone." He turned and gestured toward Gabrielle. "I believe she is fully recovered." The bard had a mouthful of leftover nutbread and just mumbled "I’m..hmmuph...fine...really."
"So I guess it’s up to you. If you would feel better having me go with you, I certainly will. Your call."
Liz thought about it. She was feeling much better. And as long as she didn’t have to fight anyone, it would be all right. Besides, the caravan had Xena at the lead. No bandit in his right mind would interfere with their journey. "I think it will be ok. Thank you for all your help."
Hippocrates immediately prepared to leave. He bade good-bye to Amoria, Xena and Gabrielle. He saved Liz for last. He gave her a fatherly hug, being mindful of her ribs. He looked in her eyes and asked, " Will I see you again?" It was a simple request but the answer wasn’t.
"I’m not sure...not yet anyway."
"Well, you will make the right decision, Liz. Do what is best for you this time." Another hug and he was out the door. That left just the girls. The final leg was about to be underway. Outside, Xena mounted Argo. Gabrielle and Liz piled the provisions and sleeping gear in the wagon.
Amoria approached the side where Liz sat. She placed her hand on her arm. Her statement was direct. "Listen to your heart. When the time comes, the greatest love will call you. Do not hesitate." She retreated as the group pulled away. Even Amoria didn’t know what would happen. It was in the hands of FATE for sure.
Xena rode ahead of the wagon, leaving Liz and Gabrielle to fill the silence. There was the occasional comment on the scenery or passing wildlife. For the most part, Gabrielle sat quiet, staring intently on the road in front of the wagon. Liz was lost in private thought. She wanted to talk about these resurfacing feelings for Gabrielle. She must have started a dozen times throughout the day to start, but couldn’t find the words. Funny, she’d never been lost for words before.
It was Gabrielle who finally broke the quiet. "This is absurd. We’re adults. We should be able to talk, right? I mean it’s not like we’re strangers or anything. Oh, sure, the last time Aphrodite was involved, and well, you know how that turned out. Then there’s been this whole dream thing with you being there and then Xena was there and then I couldn’t remember anything...and you showed up...and at first you can’t go home...then you can...now you aren’t sure..." Once she started, it just poured out of her. Liz finally put a hand up.
"Gabrielle...stop a minute...ok?" The bard was cutoff in mid-ramble. Liz siezed the opening. "First, I know this has been, well, less than comfortable for all of us. The circumstances have been really weird. Come to think of it, all of this has been weird. But there is something I need to tell you. I wasn’t sure about it before, but last night I had an Epiphany in the form of an orgasm. Gabrielle’s jaw dropped and a bright red hue spread over her face and neck. She was no longer looking at the road.
"You and Ephiny had an orgasm?" Liz let out a howl and immediately paid for it. She was trying to quell the pain and explain at the same time. "Not Ephiny...an Epiphany...a vision of sorts. You are too much... you know that? Gabrielle, I know what you and Xena were doing last night. I was there...in my mind. I’m still very connected to you...your emotions. I had an orgasm with you. Didn’t you feel it? "
Gabrielle couldn’t think of the right words. Blushing, she started letting it flow. "Liz...I don’t know what to say. I mean, yeah, I felt...you know...but it wasn’t with you...it was with Xena. I was thinking of Xena. It has always been her...you know that. Before the healing, I was confused...and I admit I thought about you in the strangest ways...but that’s gone now. You sealed those shattered emotions and thoughts when you came back. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart, always, but I’m in love with Xena. She is the very light of my life. I could never give her up. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?"
Score...Liz...three...Gabrielle...one...Xena...get out of jail free card.
Liz was trying to salvage her pride and protect her heart from further hurt. It was hard. There were tears in her eyes. She couldn’t keep Gabrielle from seeing them. "I guess, I’ve always known. It’s just when I realized I could still ‘feel’ you I thought you might...you know..." She let the sentence go unfinished.
The bard placed her hand on Liz’s arm. "I know you thought I felt the same way. It’s ok. I do love you, as my friend, if that counts."
Liz forced a smile. The dreaded ‘I-love-you-as-a-friend’ phrase. She attempted to conceal her disappointment. "Of course, it counts. I’m sorry...I didn’t mean to..."
It was Gabrielle who interrupted this time. "You did nothing wrong. Let’s just get past this... I don’t want our time to be spent in discomfort. It’s like Aristotle said, ‘Nature does nothing uselessly.’ There’s a reason for all of this."
Liz squeezed her hand. "You’re right. Let’s talk about something else."
The late afternoon began to fade. The girls traded stories and recipes. Gabrielle was in the midst of rattling off her secret of wild hare stew when Xena decided to camp for the night. She had been conspicuously absent all day. Always just out of earshot but within reach in case of trouble. The warrior had her moments.
Score...Liz...three...Gabrielle...two...Xena...one with a bullet.
Setting up camp was an easy affair. Xena settled Argo, Gabrielle and Liz prepared a campfire and got the meal going. It was a spectacular night. The moon was full and illuminated the sky. The air was clear and crisp. It reminded Liz of the first time she saw Gabrielle. It was on a night very much like this. All things had come full circle. Watching Xena and Gabrielle together, it was obvious how well-suited they were for each other. They truly were destined for the stars. Liz wandered back to the wagon and settled in for the night. The Lovers made an entrance late in the evening. Liz watched them slowly arc across the sky. Her heart ached. Just before she fell into sleep, Amoria’s words caressed her..."the greatest love will call you."
The next morning began quietly, Xena readying Argo and Gabrielle packing the camp. Liz just stayed out of the way. She was very tired even though her sleep had been uninterrupted. There was just a slight shift in her energy. ‘Nothing to worry about’, she thought. It was, however, going to be something to worry about very soon.
Xena neared the wagon where Liz was resting. "You feeling all right?’ She meant the question sincerely. "You look a little pale." Gabrielle was carrying an armload of blankets toward the back of the wagon. She threw them in the back with a resounding ‘thuumph’. She came around to the front and put a foot on the edge of the frame. Finally settling in the seat, she looked over at Liz. She did seem different, but couldn’t put her finger on it. "Hey, you feeling ok?"
Liz just wanted the attention directed elsewhere. "I’m fine, really. Just a little tired, that’s all. I think I need a vacation." The last part was meant to lighten the mood. Xena just shrugged her shoulders and began to instruct Liz on the day’s journey. "We will be in Amazon territory very soon. If we stop, do not go wandering off by yourself. Believe me, you don’t want to meet the rear guard by accident. They shoot first and ask questions later. I think you have enough scars for one trip, don’t you?" She arched her eyebrow and waited for a confirming nod.
"I’ve got it, don’t worry, I won’t be taking a stroll without you guys. Not even a potty break. How long till we get to the village?"
"We will be there by nightfall." With that, Xena mounted Argo, and took the lead. Gabrielle clucked her team into movement. The inertia moved them forward. The bard was in a chatty mood this morning. Liz was a captive audience. As the prattle started, Xena looked over her shoulder at Liz. She gave her one of those ‘I’m glad it’s you and not me’ looks, smiled and proceeded on. Liz just took a deep breath and turned her attention to Gabrielle’s ramblings. There might be a test, and she’d at least like to have the general gist of the conversation.
"I bet you’ll be glad to get home, huh? You have friends waiting for you there?"
No inquiry was simple these days. "I guess."
"You guess? You guess you’ll be happy to get home or you guess you have friends waiting?" This was going to be a very long day.
"I guess I’ll relieved to get home. I’m torn, actually, about all of it." She answered the next question before Gabrielle could pose it. And, no, I don’t know why I’m torn. I’m not sure I want to go back to all that confusion in my world. This seems so much simpler." She was looking at the scenery, the trees, quietness of the road. This was so much better than sitting in traffic cursing the driver in front of her. The bard pressed on.
"There has to be things that you miss though. What do you do for fun?"
"Fun? I haven’t thought about ‘fun’ in a while. I like playing golf...it’s a ga..." She didn’t even get it out before Gabrielle jumped in.
"I don’t know that instrument. Is it like a lyre?"
Liz smiled. "No, it’s a game, for some.The way I play, it’s exquisite torture."
Gabrielle’s interest was peaked. She loved learning about new cultures and customs. "Ooh, I love games." She leaned over and whispered, "But I don’t get to play them very much. The warrior isn’t much for games, if you know what I mean. Tell me all about it. Oh, wait." She pulled the team to a halt. "You feel up to leading the team. It’s not hard. They practically do it themselves. I want to write this down." Liz nodded and they changed places. Xena wasn’t even aware they had stopped. Liz made a movement with the reins on the horses’ rears and they lurched forward. In a few strides, they were moving smoothly. Gabrielle had gathered her satchel and had parchment and quill ready. "Ok, now tell me everything about this game."
Liz had played golf for years. It was the sport of choice for retired lesbian softball players. It was a much more civilized game...riding in a cart...sipping cold beer...occasionally advancing the ball. But she had never been called upon to actually describe the intricacies of the game. Maybe a brief synopsis would satisfy the bard. She should have known better.
"Well, it’s played outside. The object is to get a small sphere...oh about this size.." She made a circle with her thumb and forefinger about an inch in diameter. "..from point A...the tee...to point B...the hole. You can only touch it with a club...that’s a stick about this long.." She held her hands apart indicating the length of a medium iron. "...with a crook at the end to strike the sphere with." She paused as Gabrielle was writing furiously and drawing the likeness of the club and ball.
"So this is a hitting game. Xena would probably like this. Is that it? Sounds pretty simple if you want my opinion." She started to put her quill away but stopped as Liz snickered.
"Oh, honey, I wish it were that simple. No...no...there’s more...a lot more. Wanna hear it?"
"Oh, yes, tell me everything." She was wide-eyed with anticipation. "So you can’t touch the sphere with anything but the stick?"
"Not exactly. The game is divided into ‘holes’. There are eighteen of them...that’s called a ‘round’...played on a ‘course.’ Every ‘hole’ has a ‘green.’ That’s where the ‘hole’ actually resides. It’s called ‘the cup.’ Once the sphere gets to the ‘green’ you get to pick it up once before you ‘putt.’ " Gabrielle was writing as fast as she could, but was lost already. "Wait a minute, there are eighteen ‘holes’ but the real ‘holes’ are on the ‘greens.’ What kind of greens? Like lettuce? Why would you put a hole in perfectly good lettuce? And what’s a ‘putt?’ "
Oh this was getting deep, fast. It never occurred to her how complicated the game was. Trying to explain it to someone with no frame of reference was refreshing. She might even make something up. It didn’t matter. Golf wouldn’t be invented for centuries yet. What harm could come from a little embellishing? Her imagination took off like an errant shank.
"The ‘greens’ are very short compact grass. It’s that way so the sphere...’ball’ can roll. The object is to tap...’putt’...the ‘ball’ into ‘the cup.’ But before you ‘putt’ you have to remove the ‘flag stick’ out of ‘the cup.’ Once you do that, you count the number of times you struck the ‘ball’ from the ‘tee’ to ‘the cup.’ Those are called ‘strokes.’ At the end of the eighteen ‘holes’, the one with the fewest total number of ‘strokes’ wins."
"Uh-huh...’putt’ the ‘ball’ into ‘the cup...take out the ‘flag stick’...Tell me what the ’flag stick’ is for?"
Liz took this in stride. "Oh, it’s just decoration. Every ‘hole’ has one."
Gabrielle continued,"... and count the ‘strokes’...I think I’ve got that. So now, that’s it, right?"
Liz shook her head to Gabrielle’s dismay. "Oh, no, we’re just getting started. There are the ‘hazards’..."
The bard snapped her head up. "Hazards? What hazards? I thought this was a game. What sort of hazards, bandits? "
This was too funny. The idea of bandits on the course hadn’t crossed her mind. The only ones she had seen were riding in carts selling five-dollar beer to hot players. I suppose they could qualify as bandits. "Oh, yes, bandits. You have to be careful. At any given moment they can come swooping out of the woods and just ruin your...er...’stroke.’ But there’s more. There are ‘traps’..."
"Traps? Bandits and traps? Is that why you carry a stick? What kind of traps? Leg holds...nooses...pits..?"
"Oh, mostly just sand." Liz was barely containing uncontrollable hysterics.
Gabrielle’s mouth dropped open. She made a quantum leap. "Quicksand traps? This game of yours sure is dangerous. How many friends have you lost to this ‘golf?’ "
Liz thought about some of her friends whose partners didn’t play. There had been major fights over a round of golf. So her answer wasn’t exactly a lie. "Oh, quite a few. But they knew what they were doing. Now where was I?"
Gabrielle was horrified. "Wait a minute! How can you sound so cold about losing your friends to this ‘game?’ That’s just so not right."
"Relax, Gabrielle, they didn’t die. They just lost their minds. Ok, where were we? Oh, yeah...after ‘traps’ there’s the water you have to contend with."
"What happens with the water? Do you have to swim?"
"Guess you could if you wanted, but I don’t recommend it. Some of the water has crocs in it. Very dangerous."
Gabrielle’s eyes were huge as saucers
Liz continued, "No, sometimes the ‘ball’ will plunk into the water then you have to be penalized."
"Oooh...I don’t like the sound of that. What kind of penalizing are we talking about here? Xena won’t like this part, at all. But then again, it could be fun to penalize the warrior. Gods know she’s always making me pay for something. Hmmm...penalties are good."
"Well, guess you could just make yourself take an extra ‘stroke’ instead. No sense getting hurt."
"That sounds sensible." She was mumbling as she wrote. " Penalty...extra ‘stroke’...except for Xena...two extra ‘strokes.’ " She was chuckling and becoming a true golfer...already fibbing.
Liz expounded further about ‘out of bounds.’ Gabrielle took this to mean ‘running out of things to bind with.’ Then there was the ‘unplayable lie’, ‘foot wedgie’, the ‘gimme’, an explanation of the ‘19th’ hole, and Gabrielle’s personal favorite, ‘taking relief.’ In one afternoon, Liz had set the game of golf back into the Stone Age. They were still chatting when Xena stopped in front of them. Gabrielle turned her attention to the tall trees around them. Liz started to speak, but Gabrielle put her hand on her lips. "Shhh...quiet, Liz." There was a cooing birdcall coming from somewhere up high. Gabrielle stood and returned the call.
Silently, figures descended on ropes around them... six incredibly awesome Amazons. They were on the ground and next to the wagon in a flash, weapons drawn, all directed at Liz. What did they think she was going to do? Threaten them with a golf story? Gabrielle looked at the leader, a woman of obvious strength. Her body was taut, arms well developed, her gaze never left Liz. She had short reddish/brown hair and an angular face. Liz couldn’t quite see her eyes.
The bard spoke. "It’s ok, she’s with us. You can put you weapons away."
It was only then did the leader take her gaze from Liz and see her Queen. Realizing her mistake, she dropped to one knee. "Queen Gabrielle, forgive me. "
Gabrielle had never gotten used to the formality of her title. "Please rise, and it’s just me...Gabrielle. This is my friend Liz. She needs the Amazon’s help. The seer, Amoria, sent us here. What is your name?"
The warrior looked at her queen. "My name is Debo, captain of the rear guard. I am at your service Quee...uh...Gabrielle. Allow us to escort you to the village. It is our sworn duty."
Even though they were safe, Gabrielle knew it would be more trouble than it was worth to argue. Xena even acquiesced. The guard formed around the wagon, Debo taking a position slightly behind Liz’s line of sight. As they started, Liz felt the Amazon warrior’s eyes on her. It was not totally uncomfortable.
By early evening they approached the south gate of the village where they were met by Eponin. Xena dismounted Argo and exchanged the traditional arm grasp with her friend. "Good to see you, Ep. Staying out of trouble?"
Eponin smiled and looked past Xena to eye Liz. "Who’s the woman? And what happened to her?" Liz’s black eye was apparent even at this distance.
Xena shook her head and arched an eyebrow. "Really, I’m fine, nice of you to ask." Xena cast a glance toward the wagon and the gathering crowd. "Our friend there had a little misunderstanding with Grackus. He lost." Xena completely omitted the part where she had rescued Liz. She smiled at her Amazon sister. "Always looking, huh, Ep? Don’t get any ideas. She’s not staying. Where’s Ephiny?"
Eponin hadn’t taken her eye from the stranger. "Oh, she in chambers right now, village business. She said she’d see us at the evening meal." Her reply was rather distracted. She continued pressing for information. "She’s an Amazon then?"
Xena was mildly amused by Ep’s reaction. "No...at least not in this lifetime. She’s, well, not from around here. She has been instrumental in helping Gabrielle through this crisis."
Ep nodded, "Yes, we had heard that Gabrielle was in trouble. And now this woman is in trouble, right? That’s why you are here?"
" Yes, we were sent here by Amoria. I don’t know why just yet."
Eyeing the battered Liz, Ep commented. "She sure looks like one of our sisters. Too bad she can’t stay."
Xena laughed, "Well, she may not be a true Amazon, but she does share something with Gabrielle. You’d better tell cook that the Queen has a match in the appetite department." She jerked her head toward the wagon.
For the first time, Eponin looked at the warrior. "You mean...."
Xena nodded, "Yep, better warn her."
Eponin snapped her fingers and gave quick commands to the runners. They eyed Liz and then scurried toward the food tent. Cook had barely recovered from the visit of Gabrielle’s mother and sister. She was not going to be happy. Eponin and Xena turned and made their way to the wagon.
Liz was completely enthralled by the sight of all these women. Some were tall, like Xena, some of medium build, like the captain. What an exotic woman she was. She wanted to have a better look at this creature. Gabrielle had climbed down from the wagon and was walking around to Liz’s side. The captain positioned herself within easy reach of Liz, just in case. Her hand resting on the hilt of her sword. Gabrielle made the formal introductions. "Ep, this is Liz. She made an extraordinary journey to help me...no, that’s not right...to save me. She needs our help to go home." Gabrielle scrunched her lips and thought for a moment. "I don’t know exactly how we’re going to do that, but I have faith in the gods that the answer is here. She is my friend."
Eponin approached. Never taking her eyes off Liz, she held a hand out for the greeting. "A friend of the Queen’s, is a friend of mine. Welcome, Liz." Their hands touched. The grip was strong on both sides.
‘Finally’, Liz thought, ‘ A woman not afraid to demonstrate a firm handshake.’ "Thank you, Eponin. I am overwhelmed to be here." And she meant that sincerely. This was a lesbian’s dream. Sooo many beautiful women. She was in a daze.
"Liz! Hey, over here! " Gabrielle was clapping her hands in front of her face to break the trance. She chided the visitor. "Just take a deep breath, you’ll get used to it."
Liz was slightly embarrassed. "Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to act like a tourist. But this is so amazing." She was in the process of climbing out of the wagon. A slight dizziness swept over her and she steadied herself against the side of the wagon. The captain was at her side immediately, supporting her elbow. Gabrielle and Eponin just watched as this unfolded.
"Liz! Are you all right?" Gabrielle was moving toward her to offer another hand.
The captain had her by the waist. "It’s ok, my Queen, I’ve got her." Liz was in the arms of this warrior. She didn’t know which was making her weak the most, the swimming in her head or the trembling in her knees. Both had the same effect, she couldn’t stand. Struggling, Liz forced herself upright. The dizziness passed. She was surrounded by Amazons and if she hadn’t been so scared, this would have been a great fantasy.
Reluctantly, she extricated herself from Debo’s grasp. "It’s ok, I’m just a little tired and probably hungry. "
Gabrielle knew something was terribly wrong, but didn’t want to speculate about it in public. "Well, that settles it. First, let’s get Saras to have a look at you. Then we can eat and try to figure this out." She turned to Eponin. "I would like to assign an escort for Liz, if that’s all right with you? "
Ep wanted that job for herself, but it wouldn’t be appropriate. She turned to Debo. "I am giving you this privilege, Debo. Take care of our guest. "
The captain beamed. "I am honored, Eponin. It will be my personal pleasure to escort the Queen’s friend. "
The group made it’s way to the sleeping quarters. Gabrielle and Xena occupied the Queen’s chamber, of course. Liz was led to a room several doors away. Debo pushed the heavy door open and went in first. She surveyed the room and pronounced it safe to enter. Liz walked in behind her. It was a comfortable space. A large pallet was the focal point of the room. It was very inviting and all she wanted to do was to lie down. The short walk from the wagon had worn her. She sat on the edge of the pallet and let out an audible sigh.
"God, I’m tired." She was speaking to no one in particular. Debo turned and faced her. The warrior had incredibly fierce eyes. They were shimmering brown with flecks of emerald. They held each other’s gaze for what seemed like eternity. The attraction was immediate and mutual. ‘This is nuts’, thought Liz. ‘But she is one exciting woman.’ She couldn’t believe what she was contemplating. She wanted to kiss this Amazon. The consequences never crossed her mind. What the hell, if she didn’t like it, guess she would run her through. Communication was non-verbal. Liz held her hand out to the warrior. Debo inched near the pallet, and kneeled in front of Liz. She was so close. The warrior’s breath blew across the hairs on her arms. She went over the Amazon’s face first with her eyes. She watched the pulse of the warrior pound in her neck. It was so seductive. Liz ran a finger down the side of her face, causing Debo to close her eyes. The tips of her hand traced the outline of her strong jaw and soft lips. They were slightly parted. She had her head cradled in both hands now, thumbs playing with the corners of her mouth. She teased her lips wider with a finger. The captain took it into her waiting mouth. Debo was resting her hands on Liz’s thighs for support, her own thumbs inches from her aching crotch. Liz felt a tongue exploring her finger, teeth raking slightly across the knuckle. There was a sucking sensation on the digit and a pulling one in her pants. Her own heart was pounding, a light sweat forming on her. Slowly, she withdrew her finger, to the unspoken protest of the warrior. Debo opened her eyes and seared Liz’s soul with her gaze. She reached up and took Liz’s wrist just as her finger cleared her mouth. Lightly she kissed each finger and ran a tongue across her palm, sending a shiver through her. The Amazon reached up and gently ran her palm over Liz’s features. She was surprisingly gentle, being mindful of her bruised lip. It was as if she admired the battle scar. Debo pulled Liz’s face near hers. She placed light kisses on her forehead and on her now closed eyelids. Her lips were so soft and touch light as a butterfly dancing across an open petal. She brushed over Liz’s lips, stopping for just a teasingly few seconds.
A groan of anticipation escaped Liz’s lips. "Oh...god...you’re driving me crazy..."
The Amazon continued her silent attack. She tilted Liz’s head back and assaulted her neck, lips burning flesh. Liz had both hands on her shoulders for support. Lips wandered to the sensitive area just below her ear. A wave of gooseflesh manifested itself on her body. A tongue traced the lobe and teeth gently nibbled. Liz felt the advance of her lips toward her own. A light touch at the corner of her mouth announced the arrival. She returned the attention, seductively running a tongue over the soldier’s upper lip. As they stared into each other’s eyes, Liz bit the Amazon’s lip, holding it in her teeth. She could see her own passion and fire reflected in her eyes. The warrior ran a hand over Liz’s breast and caught an erect nipple between her thumb and finger. She applied pressure until Liz released her lip in a gasp. Debo closed her mouth over her captive, her tongue parting waiting lips. The kiss was long and deep, passion welling in both women. Liz hardly noticed the pain or blackness that washed over her.
Ruth awoke in the middle of the night. It was starting. Calmly she picked up the phone and called Roger. He picked up on the second ring. She heard the receiver being dragged across the nightstand. Finally, a sleepy voice spoke. "Yes...hello ."
Ruth knew this was going to freak him, so she tried to be a calm as possible. "Roger, honey, this is Ruth. Sorry to wake you so early, but I need for you and Sam to come on over here. It’s beginning, Roger, and we have to be ready on this side."
Roger sat up, heart racing, adrenaline flowing. He was definitely awake now. "Oh, Christ, now? I’ll get Sam and we’ll be right there." There was a sound of panic in his voice.
"Roger, listen to me. Try to stay calm. We have a few hours yet, but I have additional preparations and I need both of you here for that. Just try not to have a wreck, ok?"
"Ok, I’m on my way." He disconnected the call and dialed Liz’s number.
Sam picked up before the first ring died. "Roger? It’s time, isn’t it?"
"Yes, girl, get dressed. I’m on my way. Liz is coming home." In frenzy, Sam threw the covers and cats off the bed. "Oh, sorry, babies but we have bring your momma home." Brie and RG sat up and let out joint "yeeooooows.." She hastily pulled on her clothes.
The phone rang in Randi’s quarters. It was seven in the morning in Greece. "Hello...Ruth...s that you?"
"Yes, it’s almost time, Randi. Is everything ready there?"
"Everything’s ready on this end. I just have to go to the site. You know how to reach me. I’ll be waiting." She hung the phone up and jumped out of bed. Gathering her cell phone, portable battery pack and small velvet sack from the dresser, she hit the door, heading for the dig. The sun was sneaking out of the blue-green water. "Oh, Liz, this has just got to work. I’ll never forgive you if you die on me." She disappeared into the site.
Amoria sat silently rocking to and fro. Her energy building and becoming focused. "Yes, traveler, that’s it. Listen to your heart."
Chapters 18 - Conclusion