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Disclaimer: This is my story, my characters, mine, mine, mine!! They will, however, look a little familiar to a couple of women that we all love. I hope that you enjoy this Uber tale. Break out the cookies, this is a long one..........

Love/Sex Warning: Oh yeah, a little lovin' never hurt anyone. But, if you don't appreciate the love between two women, you may choose to read something else. If you are underage, please press the "save" key until a later date.

Violence: Nope

A Fresh Start

By DS Bauden


The sun was beating down on the car transporting young Alexandra to her new surroundings. The ride was a long one from the airport to her aunt's ranch. It took her a long time to make the decision of leaving her home after her parents had passed away, but her aunt had offered and she took her up on it. Her Aunt Edna was a very loving woman in her own right. She had been a second mother to Alex, as she preferred to be called, since she could remember. Most of all, Edna was her friend.

Alex received the news of her parents car accident six weeks ago. The loss left her entirely empty and unknowing what to do with the rest of her life. She was a young nineteen and had just finished her first year of college. Her entire life was never filled with such pain as she felt now. A new start was in order, and hopefully, that life, would begin with her aunt on her ranch. She raked her hand through her long blonde hair, and felt completely numb as the car pulled into the main house driveway.

'Here we go.' She thought out loud to herself as the car came to a stop.

Alex saw her aunt racing down the drive to meet her niece with open arms.

"Alex!! Alex!! You made it!!" She howled as she grabbed her niece in to a warm and full embrace. "I'm so glad you came."

"Hi Eddi!! I am so glad to see you too!! I have missed you terribly." She held on as the tears came to her eyes and flowed freely down her cheeks.

"Let me look at you, darlin." She focused on the frail body in front of her. "Alexandra, starving yourself won't bring them back." She whispered into her niece's ear as she held the small woman in her arms again.

"I know Eddi, I just don't have much of an appetite these days. Looks to me like you are doing well though." She poked her plump aunt in her belly and smiled a brilliant smile, while wiping her tears away.

"There's the girl I love. Let's see if we can keep her around for awhile, shall we?"

"I'll do my best. Where is Jack, I haven't seen him in ages."

"Oh honey, he isn't here right now. He had some meeting to attend to in Phoenix. He should be here in a week or so. Don't you worry, he's excited to see you too."

"Well good. We used to see each other all the time when he was working around Chicago, but since he moved out here with you, I think it has been four or five years since I have seen him."

"Let's get you settled in honey, and I'll put on some tea. We can talk more in the kitchen ok?"

"Alright. I have my whole life in these bags, God, I just can't believe this happened."

"I know sweetie, I know..." She draped her arm around Alex as they walked towards the main house.

The main house was an old country house. The front door had an old brass knocker on the front and a thumb latch door handle. Alex loved this house. She spent many summers here with her aunt, uncle, and cousin. Her Uncle John died a few years ago from a heart attack. He was training one of the horses and collapsed one afternoon. Edna was out in the back when she saw him go down. She ran to him, but he was already gone by the time she got there.

"God that seems like a long time ago."

"I know Eddi, I miss Uncle John so much. You two were my second pair of parents. Now it's just you and me." She said as she grabbed onto her aunts hand as they shared a mug of tea.

"I swore that I would do anything to prevent that from happening again. I even hired a stable hand. Pretty nutty eh?"

"What? That is not nutty Eddi, you just want to be careful. I don't blame you at all. You can never be too careful, believe me. I don't think that I have felt so unnerved as I was the first time I drove somewhere after the accident."

"God knows, honey, we have extra sets of eyes watching over us now."

"Yeah we do. I can feel mom every once in awhile. I bet you can too."

"Oh yes honey, my sister and I had a very close bond. I feel her around me almost every day. A part of me died that day....." Her voice trailed off as she felt emotions run through her body.

Alex sensing the distress in her aunt, leaned over and hugged her. The two women hung onto each other until their sobs ceased.

"Enough of this mushy stuff. You came here to be free of this sadness, and what do I do? I'm sorry hon."

"Eddi, I came here to start over, I will never be free of that sorrow. It will just take some time to lessen that pain. I'm just going to take things day by day. That's all I can do right now."

"You are right dear. Now, let's get you unpacked."

"Ok, do I get my old room?"

"Actually dear, I had to give you the guest room. Syd is staying in your old room. I didn't think that I would ever get you here on a permanent basis, so I gave it away when I hired Syd."

"Who is Syd Eddi?"

"Syd is my stable hand. I will introduce you two later on. Right now, let's turn that old guest room into something to your liking. I started making it more homey than it used to be, but I am sure that you can put your own touches on it."

"It'll be great Eddi, thank you for everything."

"Aww, honey, I would walk through fire for you, you know that."

"I love you too."

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

The two continued unpacking Alex's room and before long it looked quite comfortable and the two just looked at each other and smiled.

The color on the walls was a soft emerald, like Alex's eyes, and had many old pictures on the walls. Some of which her aunt had painted of landscapes and whatnot. There were framed photographs along the window sills showing the history of Alex's life. Many were of her with her parents. Her favorite was the one of her with her mom and Eddi. They were sitting along the edge of the Grand Canyon. They both looked at that picture with such wonderful memories. The room was as done as Alex wanted it to be for the time. She would dig into the rest of the boxes later. She wanted to see her horse, Polka, before it got too dark.

"Eddi, I am going out to see Polka, I'll be in later ok?"

"Ok hon, she will be happy to see you again. I know she loves you to ride her. Syd will be out there to help if you need any."

"Alright Eddi, I'll see you later."

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

The stable was as she remembered it. Two stalls for the horses and a loft that she and Jack used to play in when they were younger. She saw an older man tending to field with Matty, Edna's other horse.

"That must be Syd. I'll go say hi after I find Polka. I can't wait to ride her. Maybe it will take away some of this depression." She said to herself.

She walked out into the corral where she expected to find Polka, but what she saw was nothing short of awesome.

There she was, long black hair flowing through the wind as she rode Polka across the field. She was amazing. Alex's eyes could not break from the sight in front of her. The woman was wearing black jeans with a white shirt and black vest. Her body was slim and quite flexible as Alex was noticing as she flawlessly lead Polka through a number of jumps and a couple tricks in the saddle. She seemed a million miles away and as happy as one could be.

Her focus finally cleared and her heart skipped a beat as this mystery woman approached closer to her.

"Alexandra I presume."

'God I never thought I would hear my name sound so incredible.' She thought to herself about the woman's accent.

"Hello? Anyone home?"

"Um, I'm sorry, yes I am Alex. I see that I don't need to worry about Polka getting exercise while I'm away."

"Nope. She is a great ride. Edna tells me she is yours. She is beautiful."

"Yes she is. I miss her when I am away, but I guess that won't be a problem anymore."

"I guess not."

"Do you mind if I ride her? I haven't ridden her in ages."

"Of course not. Just take it easy on her, we just did some drills and she may be a little tired. This heat doesn't help much either." She said as she wiped her forehead with her forearm. Alex couldn't help but to stare. This woman had the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.

"Are you alright?"

"Ye....yeah I am fine. Sorry."

The woman slid almost seductively down from the horse and rose to her full height next to Alex's smaller frame. She stood about 6 feet tall and was all but angelic to Alex. She felt very safe standing next to this woman and felt a closeness that she didn't quite understand.

"She's all yours."

Alex mounted Polka and noticed that the stirrups needed to be adjusted before she found herself on the ground.

"Could you give me a hand?"

"Sure.." She reached under Alex's boot to raise the stirrup on the left side, then walked around to the other side. She raised the other stirrup and held Alex's calf as she led her foot into the stirrup. Alex felt a jolt of energy course through her body. She sat and waited for the surge to end and when she realized that it was over she turned to thank the woman, but she was gone.

'Who are you? I didn't even get her name. My God she is gorgeous.'

She shook her head of the thoughts raging through her mind and urged Polka into the field.

Alex rode Polka and a part of her childhood returned to her. She felt more comfortable and secure at this moment than she had in the last two months. She still remembered that phone call the day her parents were killed. She was still at the University of Illinois. She had only one week left for finals when her Aunt Edna called. It wasn't unusual for her to call, but the circumstances were more than she was ready to bear.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

"Hi Eddi! God I can't even tell you how crazed I am right now with finals. I have four tests in the next week. I have just about exhausted myself entirely. Thank God this will be over in a few days....." On the other end she could hear her aunt breathing heavy and knew then that there was something wrong.

"Eddi what's wrong?" She could hear sobs at this point and just waited to hear her aunt's voice.


"Eddi, what is it?"

"Alex....I don't know how to tell you this....."

"Just tell me, whatever it is, I can take it." 'I hope' She thought to herself.

"Honey, it's your mom and dad....." Was all that Alex heard. A wave of emotion crashed through her as her aunt told her that her parents were killed by a drunk driver the previous night. They were coming home from dinner, when a red Cadillac swerved into their lane causing them to drive over the median and into oncoming traffic. There was no hope for survival when the paramedics arrived.

"Wait......slow down Aunt Edna....please....." She sobbed. "Are you telling me....that my parents.......are dead?" All Alex could hear was her aunt crying on the other end of the phone. She knew then, that it was true.

"Alex, I am so sorry. There are no words that I can say that can lessen this pain any. I will be in Chicago in a couple of days to take care of..... arrangements for my sister and her husband..... I don't want you to have to worry about....... anything. Oh Alex......I am so sorry."

"Eddi, I don't think I could handle this coming from anyone else.......I will finish with finals........ and I'll be home." Her mask of strength was showing now. She had to be strong now......for someone.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

The sobs wracking through Alex's body were almost as strong as the ones she had at her parents funeral. It was too difficult to try and understand why her parents were taken so horribly. She just needed to let it out and try to make the best of her life, her new life now, with her aunt.

"Polka, I just can't believe that they are gone. They were taken way too soon." She nuzzled her horse and it seemed as though she knew what her owner was going through. She nuzzled her back and they shared a moment of solace.

The sun was setting and Alex hadn't realized how long she had been outside. She walked Polka back into her stall and gave her a couple carrots. She said good-bye and made her way to the main house.

"Eddi? I'm back." She called to her aunt.

"In here dear. I was just about to send a search party out for you. You are just in time for dinner. Have a seat."

"Let me go wash up, and I'll be right back."

"Alright darlin'."

Alex came back from washing up and took her place next to her aunt.

"Mm, dinner smells wonderful."

"I can always count on you to compliment a meal, honey."

"Hey it's not my fault. I came by it honestly. I believe it was one of your traits that I developed."

"Yes your mother and I were both cursed with healthy appetites. It is a good thing that you didn't develop the tummy that I have though." She said with a chuckle.

"Don't think it won't happen. If I didn't work out, I would be right there with you. Besides, I like the way you look."

"Dig in honey, it won't be that great if it gets cold."

"I will, I just need to grab a glass of milk."

"Don't get up hon, Syd is in the kitchen."

Directing her request to the kitchen, "Hey Syd? Could you bring a glass of milk with you dear?" She saw a glimpse of an OK sign coming from the kitchen.

Alex took a bite of her food as her glass was placed in front of her. Not looking up she said, "Thank you Syd."

"You're welcome Alexandra." Came the sultry response.

Alex almost spit out what was in her mouth. "You're Syd?"

"Yes, who were you expecting, Medusa?"

"I'm sorry, I guess I was just expecting a man....sorry. I know that name can go both ways, I just assumed. Please excuse my lame stereotyping."

"You are forgiven." She smiled at the eagerness of her housemates apologies.

Alex could hardly eat the rest of her food. She could not believe the woman she saw earlier was the same woman her aunt referred to as her stable hand. 'My God!! I can't even untie my tongue to ask for some salt!'

"Do you not like my cooking Alexandra?"

" I umm.. it's very good. You cooked this?"

"Mhhmmm, I have many skills."

'Oh I can see that.' She thought to herself.

"So, how long have you been working for Eddi?"

"Well, I came aboard I think it was about 2 years ago. I came to the states about 6 years ago from Australia. My family had a sheep herding station there. My parents both passed away, and I sold the station to my older brother."

"Why did you come to the states? Australia is a beautiful place."

"Yes it is. I went to school there for a year and ended up in a relationship that brought me here. When that didn't work out, I heard from some friends that your aunt here was looking for some help. It wasn't sheep, but I knew alot about horses and stable work. I wanted to see what life might be like in the states, so I decided to stay. I love the work here, and Edna is wonderful lady."

She ended her story just like that. When it appeared that no more of the story was going to be offered Alex chimed in.

"Well it seems as though Eddi appreciates your work here. This ranch must seem pretty homey to you. Do you miss home?"

"Sometimes, but like I said I like it here. Edna has been wonderful."

Alex just studied the woman as she ate. She couldn't be much older than she, maybe 25 or so. Alex's appetite finally came back and she continued to eat everything on her plate, and what her aunt didn't eat.

"I see it is a family trait." Syd chuckled.

"You betcha!" Edna said with pride. "Anyone for some apple pie?"

"None for me thanks" Syd replied.

"Count me in Eddi. Do you have........?"

"Whipped cream is coming too, don't you worry." She smiled at her niece and walked back into the kitchen.

"So, umm, Syd. Is that short for Sydney?"

"Yes, that is where I was born. I guess my parents liked the name."

"It suits you."

"Do you think so Alexandra?" She smiled a very sexy smile at Alex.

"You can call me Alex."

"I don't think so. I rather like Alexandra. It......suits you." She smiled at Alex.

"Well I have never really been fond of my full name. It always meant that I was in trouble or something."

"Well we will just have to fix that now, won't we Alexandra?"

Alex sat there with her mouth slightly open. She just didn't know what to think about Syd. There was something about her that she just couldn't let go of. There was a silent mystery that was building. She wanted to find out everything there was to know about her....but why?

"Thank you for dinner Sydney, it was very good." Two can play at this game. Syd smiled at the younger girl's use of her full name. 'Do you know what kind of game that is being played here Alexandra? I wonder...' Syd's thoughts rolled through her mind as Edna walked in with two plates of apple pie.

Syd couldn't hold back a laugh at Alex's child-like expression as the dessert was placed in front of her.

"Oooooo, Eddi this looks fabulous."

"Dig in child."

The rest of the meal was silent as Eddi and Alex ate their pie. Watching them eat this dessert was like watching Michelangelo paint the Vatican. Food, Syd was learning, was art to them. Never before had she seen two people 'oooh' and 'aaah' so much in her life. It made her smile in spite of it.

"If you two ladies, will excuse me. I have to get the horses ready for the night."

"Sure Syd, and thanks again for a wonderful meal."

"You're welcome Edna. See you later Alexandra."

"Being that we live under the same roof, you can count on it."

Syd beamed a large grin and left the room, leaving Alex just staring in her absence.

"Alex? Is there something wrong?"

"Eddi, God, why didn't you warn me about Syd? She is nothing that I imagined. I really thought that "Syd" was the older gentleman outside in the fields."

"Why would I warn you about Syd, she is nothing to be afraid of Alex. I really like her. She has done a great job, and she is really good company. Quite a head turner too. I guess it would have saved you some embarrassment though eh?"

"Exactly! She is very beautiful indeed. You would think that she would be doing something other than stable work though. Not that there is anything wrong with taking care of horses."

"Alexandra my goodness, since when do you have to be ugly to work in a stable?"

"God Eddi, I didn't mean it like that. I mean Syd isn't just pretty, she is drop dead gorgeous! She could be a model or an actor, you know? I didn't mean anything by that."

"I know you didn't child, hell you are quite the head turner yourself, and as I recall, we were just talking about how much you resemble my younger self. So no offense is taken dear." She nudged her niece as smiled.

"I'm gonna head outside and breathe in this air that I have missed so much. Montana is a far cry from the Windy City. It is so peaceful and clean here. I'll see if I can help Syd with anything. That is, if she will accept any help from a city mouse like me."

"I'm sure she will dear, go on now. I'll clean up here, don't you worry."

"OK, Eddi, thanks for the pie, it was wonderful....and Eddi, thanks for bringing me here. I think I am going to love being here."

"Bye now." Edna smiled at her niece. 'I do believe that something or someone, will make sure of that.' She mused to herself.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

"Need any help?"

Alex crept up on Syd and unknowingly started her out of deep thought.

"Oh, I'm sorry Syd, I can come back."

"No, that's alright Alexandra. I just didn't expect anyone to come out here. This is the part of the day that I love. Take a listen."

Alex looked into the night's sky and listened, but didn't hear anything.

"What are we listening for? I don't hear anything."

"Exactly, all you hear are crickets, the wind, but that's about it. It is so quiet this time of night. Sometimes I just sit out here or up in the loft and overlook the field. This place does remind me of home. Well, minus the sheep of course."

Alex sat and listened to Sydney speak. She felt intoxicated from her voice. It was so soothing but yet powerful all in the same tones. She didn't really notice that the taller woman had stopped talking, she just kept watch of her expressions.

"I seem to keep pulling you from your own thoughts, do I make you uncomfortable?" Syd inquired.

"No, I'm sorry, I just have a lot on my mind. I don't mean to be rude, I should just leave you alone."

"Alexandra, wait..." Syd slowly held Alex's arm. The force of that touch was felt by both women.

"Edna told me what happened to your parents. I am truly sorry. No one should lose anyone they love to an accident like that."

Alex felt the tears brimming her eyes. "Thank you. I guess you may know what it's like to lose your parents."

"Yes, but mine died of natural causes, and I didn't lose them both at once. You on the other hand, have been dealt a whole lot more than I."

The two women just sat and studied each other in silence. Both feeling a strange closeness to the other, but neither willing to admit that.

"So, um." Alex started while wiping her tears away, when she felt Syd's touch wipe a tear from her cheek. "Is there, um, anything that I can help you with out here?"

"That is sweet of you, but no, the horses have been watered and they are all set until 5 am."

"My God that is early!"

"Well that's what your aunt pays me to do."

"Do you like it here? I mean you are all alone."

"I like it very much. Alexandra, I am not alone here. I have Edna, and now, I have you." She winked at Alex and started back to the house.

Alex didn't quite know what to make of that last comment, but she was willing to bet, she meant that she had someone else under her roof now.

"Sydney?" Alex called to her.

"Yes Alexandra?"

"Thanks for listening, I mean letting me listen to nothing, I mean......."

"You are welcome Alexandra. Shall we go in and see what kind of mischief your aunt is getting into?"

"Sure." They smiled at each other and walked back up to the house.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

"Excellent, thanks Bill. I'll see you in a couple days. Bye."

Edna hung up the phone as the two women walked into the family room. They plopped themselves onto the couch and waited for her to speak.

"Well ladies, I'll be leaving tomorrow."

"What? Where are you going Eddi? I just got here."

"Oh honey I will only be gone a week or so. There is some new equipment for the stables that my friend Bill told me about. They are holding an auction in Indiana. If I want to update any of my old equipment I have to get there no later than tomorrow night. I got to get my name in the hat."

"Ahh, I see."

"Come up and help me pack?"

Alex's face lit up and then she looked over to Syd. "You coming?"

"No, I think I'll just head up to my room and read before bed."

"Are you sure? You can probably get Eddi to tell one of her famous stories about my childhood. She loves to embarrass me."

"How can I turn that down?"

"Good, come on." She smiled and unconsciously grabbed Syd's hand and lead her to the stairs. She let go of it at the bottom of the staircase, both feeling the loss of contact, quietly preceded up the stairs to Edna's room.

Syd and Alex sat on Edna's bed and watched her rifle through her clothes to find the right ones to pack.

"Mustn't look too trendy. Ranch owners should look rustic, don't you think?"

Alex and Syd looked at each other and giggled.

"Eddi just wear whatever you damn well want. Who cares what other people think. Life is too short. You gotta live life......."

"Well, when did you become so philosophical?"

"About six weeks ago......" Her voice trailed off and she dropped her head down.

Realizing what she said, Edna walked to the edge of the bed and put her hand on Alex's shoulder. "You'll make it through this little one. I will do whatever I can to make it easier for you."

"I'm sorry Eddi, I didn't mean for that to sound like that. I know you didn't mean anything by that. I guess it's going to be a sore spot for a while."

"It will Alexandra, but that only means how much your parents meant to you. That is not a bad thing. If it is of any comfort, whenever you need to talk, I'll be here for you."

"Thanks Syd, that means alot to me."

"Sure, anytime."

"So Syd, do you wanna hear about when Alex broke her leg falling out of the upstairs window?" Edna asked as she wiggled her eyebrows.

"What?? I don't think I would miss this for anything."

Alex quietly grumbled about the story that was about to start. Looking back now she can laugh about it, but at the time there was nothing funny about it.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

"Jack hurry up! We are going to get caught!"

"Alex just keep quiet, mom is gonna hear you. Do you want to get out tonight or not?"

"Yeah, but damn, can't we speed up the process?"

"Well, "Miss-I-can-do-things-faster-than-anyone" if you would help me instead of yap at me, we could be finished already."

Edna stared at the air vent leading up to her son's room. She heard voices that she assumed were Jack and her niece Alex. They were conspiring about something, but she was unsure what it was. She thought it would be a good idea to find out why they were still awake when it was past midnight.

"There, I think it will hold." Jack said proudly of his handiwork.

"It had better, otherwise you'll have to explain to Aunt Eddi what happened to me."

"Ssshhh, tie this around you and I will lower you down."

"Ok, but I am more than a little nervous about this."

Jack had taken the liberty of taking all the linen off of his bed and tied the sheets together. The "rope" would get them out of the house and back into the house without waking anyone. Jack had some buddies that were going to meet up with him and Alex. Summer was the time to hang out and drink with your friends, and Alex being 13 , needed to learn just how cool summer could be. Her older cousin Jack, now 16, was just the guy that would teach her too.

"OK, Alex, just sit on the edge of the window and I will start to lower you down."

"Are you sure you can hold me, Jack?"

"Come on Alex, you are just wasting time. We gotta go, now come on!"

"Ok, Ok."

Alex sat on her knees in the window sill, she lowered herself so that she was holding herself up with just her hands. She felt the rope tighten around her and her body was slowly being lowered to the ground. She grabbed onto the rope and closed her eyes.

Jack was easily lowering his cousin to the ground when I knock came to his door.

Trying to sound sleepy he replied, "Who is it?"

"It's your mother, who else do you think it is? Can I come in? I can't find Alex, is she in with you?"

Sweat began to pour off of Jack as he decided what to do with the other end of his rope.

"She's not in here mom."

Edna opened the door and like a deer in the headlights, Jack froze in his place, except for one thing. He had let go of the rope causing Alex to fall the rest of the way down to the ground and breaking her leg.

"Well I said she wasn't in here." Jack coyly smiled at his mother who in turn pointed her finger at him and ran outside to tend to her niece.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

"It took over two months for my leg to heal." Alex remembering the pain, but laughing is spite of the memory.

All the women were holding their bellies as the laughter ripped through them.

"Oh I will never forget the look on Jack's face when I walked in! He never expected me to enter. Haha!!! Oh my...I will never forget that as long as I live."

"Me either..." Alex managed to get out through the laughter. The tears were rolling off of her face and she was grateful these tears were happy ones.

"Oh my goodness Alexandra, you were a little spitfire weren't you? My folks would have beat my ass if I had tried to break curfew like that." Syd chimed in.

"She is still the same spitfire, so watch out Sydney!" Edna gave her a knowing look and Syd just smiled back at her.

"Well I see a whole lot of packing NOT getting done here, so I guess I should concentrate on the task at hand."

"My pride thanks you." Alex walked over to her aunt and kissed her cheek. "I think I am going to turn in. It's been a long day."

"Welcome home Alex. Sleep well little one." Her aunt said.

"Thanks Eddi, good night Syd."

"Good night Alexandra. Good night Edna." She said as she made her way down the hall and towards her room. She looked to the room next to hers and saw the light still on. She walked over to the doorway and peered in seeing Alex on her bed staring at a photo of her parents.

"Knock knock. Do you mind if I come in?"

"No, not at all. Please." She patted the bed next to her.

Syd took a seat next to Alex. She looked over the younger woman's shoulder to look at the photograph.

"You have your mother's eyes."

Stifling a sob, "She was beautiful. God I can't believe that she is gone."

"She isn't gone Alexandra. She is with you everyday. With every breath you take, she is there watching over you. They both are. I truly believe that." Syd consoled her new friend as she rubbed her back.

Wiping her nose with a Kleenex, "I know it just hurts."

"I know it does, but believe me, you are doing exactly what you need to do to let that hurt calm. If you didn't cry, and left it all inside, it would eat you up into nothing. Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way."

"If you don't mind me asking, how old were you when your parents passed away?"

"I was thirteen when my dad passed away, and I was just about seventeen when my mom died. They left me the sheep station and I ran that until my brother showed an interest in buying it from me. I sold it to him and came here after schooling for a year."

"How did you handle their deaths at such a young age?"

"Well lets just say I became a very angry young girl. I got into a lot of trouble, hung out with the wrong people, the usual rebellion."

"What snapped you out of it? When did you decide that you needed to change?"

"I think it happened when I decided to come to the states. I was in a relationship and it suffered because of me. I knew once I had started hurting people, then it was time for me to start dealing with my own hurt."

"I'm sorry. Were you in love?"

"Let's just say what I thought was love at the time, turned into something very hateful and hurtful. I won't ever let myself feel for someone again. The loss is just too much."

"You can't mean that. To deprive yourself of love just because of one incident when you were younger? That is silly!!"

"I can't go through that again. Giving yourself wholly to one person is just making yourself too vulnerable. To let someone know every kink in what makes you you, gives them that much more to use against you."

"Sydney, that is not love. Love is something so much more than that."

"Are you an expert at such a young age?"

"I'm not an expert, but I do know from watching my parents what love is. They loved each other so much, and anyone could see that, if they just watched them for a short period of time. And just a little FYI, I will be twenty next month." Alex said bitterly, more than expected.

"Excuse me, you appear younger. I'm sorry to have been presumptuous. I believe you when you spoke of your parents' love. I can tell by your passionate description of them, that it must be true."

"It is, well, it was. I'm sorry to have jumped into the defensive mode there."

"It is completely understandable." Watching Alex yawn, she spoke up, "I guess I should let you rest."

"I'm not really tired, but you have to get up early."

"Will you be alright?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine. I mean its not my usual room, but I should be ok. Thanks for talking with me. It is nice to talk with someone that actually has an idea of what I am feeling."

"You are welcome Alexandra. Anytime you need to talk, let me know. I'll be here for you."

"Thanks Sydney. G'night mate." She teased in her best Australian accent.

Sydney turned and chuckled, "G'night mate."

Alex turned down her bedding and jumped inside the blankets. Tucking herself in she said a quiet prayer to her parents thanking them for giving her a home with Edna, and for Sydney. She closed her eyes and settled into a restless sleep.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Syd awoke to a new noise in the house. She checked her clock and it shined 2:37. 'Must have been something outside.' She thought to herself.

She lay back down and tried to settle herself back into sleep.

She heard the same noise again and decided that she wouldn't get any sleep without figuring out what the noise was. She put on a shirt and some shorts and made her way towards the hall. She opened the door to the hallway and heard the sound louder, this time she could place it. Alex was crying. She approached her door and quietly listened. Alex was having nightmares. She quietly knocked on the door to see if she would answer. No response happened except for the continuing sound of crying.

Syd opened the door to find her suspicions were accurate. Alex was in her bed tossing and turning as she cried small sobs.

"" Alex cried in her sleep.

Syd made her way to the bed and slowly started to stroke Alex's hair. The small cries ceased and her new friend appeared to be sleeping more peaceful than before. She moved off the bed and into the hallway. With another glance at the sleeping form, she closed the door and returned to her room.

She stripped off her clothes and jumped back into bed. She welcomed sleep now that she knew that everything was alright.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Syd stirred in her sleep to smell a familiar yet foreign scent under her nose. She slowly opened her eyes to find a sleeping Alex in her arms. The clock shined 3:45, Alex must have walked in her sleep into the room she was familiar with. Syd enjoyed the feel of a warm body next to hers. It had been awhile since she shared a bed with anyone. Especially one as beautiful as Alexandra.

'I won't wake her, she needs sleep. Hopefully she won't be too embarrassed in the morning. If she knew that she spent the night in the arms of a naked woman, she might feel a little self conscious.' Syd smiled as she thought to herself. She relished the feel of Alex in her arms, so yes, tomorrow indeed could wait. She closed her eyes and waited for the daylight to wake her.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex stretched out in her sleepy haze and yawned. She felt rested for the first time in several weeks. She slowly opened her eyes and to her surprise she found herself in her old room.

"Oh my God! How did I get in here? Great, just great. I can't believe you Alex. This is the stupidest thing you have done in a long time. Stupid...stupid..." She trailed off as she tripped her way out of Syd's room and back into her own.

"Shit. Now how am I going to explain this one? I wonder if Eddi knows. Time to face the embarrassing music....After a shower, I look like hell." She said as she looked into the mirror above her dresser.

Alex bounded down the stairs to find her aunt reading the newspaper at the kitchen table.

"Mornin' Eddi."

"Almost good afternoon child. I was hoping to say good-bye before I left."

"When is your flight?"

"I have to leave in a half hour. I left the name and number of the hotel I'll be staying at in Indy by the phone in the family room, if you need anything. You two girls should be fine. I bought plenty of food and Syd can take care of the animals."

"Alright Eddi. Is there anything I can do for you before you go?"

"Promise me that you will behave yourself while I am gone."

'She knows!!' Her thoughts raced through her head while she thought of a reply.

"Who me?" Alex choked out while smiling a nervous grin.

"Ha! I know you better than you know yourself, just remember that. Just behave." She chuckled at her niece's remark. 'Boy do I know you better than you know yourself. We'll just see what happens while I'm gone.'

"Is that bacon I smell?"

"That's my girl. We'll fill you out yet."

"I think you are right. With all of this homecooking, I don't have a chance."

"Come on child, eat up. I'm gonna go out to see if Syd needs anything before I leave."

"Like a doorlock?" Alex whispered to herself as she prepared a sandwich.

"What hon?" Edna asked.

"Nothing Eddi, I am just hungry. I'll meet you outside."

"Alright hon. See you."

"Bye." Alex said as she took a mouthful of her bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Finding Syd in the field with Polka, Edna signaled for her to come in. Syd saw the signal and made her way towards the stable.

"Hey there Edna, what can I do for you?"

"It's what I can do for you Syd."

"Hmm?" She shook her head at Edna not understanding what she meant.

"I just came out here to see if there was anything that you wanted before I left on my trip."

"Oh, thanks, but I think that I have everything that I want."

"I'm sure you do. OK then I will be back in about a week. As I told Alex, I left the number to the hotel next to the phone in the family room, should you girls need anything."

"I think we will be fine, but thanks again for asking. Have a safe trip Edna."

"Syd there is one thing I would like you to do for me."

"Name it."

"Please keep an eye on Alex. I thought I heard her crying last night."

"I will Edna, I promise. She will be in good hands while you are away."

"Thank you, I'm sure she will be." Edna gave her a devilish smile and walked towards the main house.

"Now what did she mean by that?" Syd questioned.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Back inside Alex was washing off her plate as her aunt walked into the house.

"Well it looks as if everything is in order here. I am off to Indiana. Take care my dear. I will be home in about a week."

"Don't worry about me Eddi, I'll be fine." Alex replied in earnest.

"I know dear, just try to get yourself situated and make this your home."

"You have made that very simple Eddi, thank you. I think I will tackle the rest of my boxes today. Have a safe trip okay?"

"Will do, honey. Come here."

Edna pulled Alex in close for a hug. Alex needed to know that she was loved and that she would be missed.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Syd was in the stable tending to Matty and Polka when Alex walked in.

"Hey there Syd." Trying to smile away her nervousness.

"So the little sleepwalker awakens."

'Oh shit.' Alex thought. "Never one to pull a punch, eh Sydney?"

"Not when pride is on the line. Besides, no harm, no foul. Don't worry about it. It was kind of nice to share a bed again. Maybe it has been too long since I shared myself with someone."

"Well good, glad I could help....I think."

"Your talk with me last night got me thinking. Maybe I was too young when all of my emotions were playing with me." Syd stopped what she was doing to look into Alex's eyes. "Maybe I should try and give my heart to someone. Maybe...I still don't know."

"Well just make sure that they are deserving of it. Don't waste your time otherwise. If someone was to hurt you, I can't promise that I wouldn't do some damage to them."

"Oh Alexandra, I didn't know you cared." She drawled out sarcastically.

"You made me care Syd. You showed me enough of yourself in the last day or so, to know that your heart is gold. I just couldn't stand to see someone walk over it without feeling."

"Thanks Alexandra that means alot to me."

"You're welcome Sydney." She really liked the way that name dripped off her lips.

"What do you have planned for today?"

"I think I am going to tackle the rest of my boxes this afternoon. The sooner I get settled in, the sooner I will feel more at home. I hate living out of my suitcases."

"That sounds like a good idea. Shall I leave Polka out of the stalls for you?"

"Yes, please. I would love a ride later on. Maybe you could ride Matty and come with me."

"I'd like that. I'll see you later."

"Alright Syd, see you."

Alex turned to walk towards the house and felt Syd's eyes on her back. She turned around to see if her curiosity had been right and found the warmest set of eyes looking right back at her. She felt her stomach creep into her throat and managed a smile back towards Sydney. She returned the smile and went back to her work.

Alex went back into the house and started up the stairs. She walked past Sydney's room and a blush crept up her neck as the memories of where she woke up came back to her. She shook off those feelings and went to the task at hand.

There were four boxes staring at her. She stared right back at them and finally gave in.

"Alright, let's get this over with." She said to the inanimate objects.

An hour passed by and Alex sat staring at her last box as her boom box blared out some old Prince tunes.

'The beautiful ones you always seem to lose.'

"Isn't that the truth." She said to the CD Player.

'Do you want him, or do you want me? Cuz I want you! I said I want you!!'

Alex started screeching out the lustfilled lyrics as Sydney just watched and smiled to herself.

"Baby baby baby, I want you! Yes I do!!!" Alex was totally getting into the ending of the song when she felt eyes on her once again.

She turned around to see Sydney just giggling in the doorway.

"OH MY GOD!!! Don't do that!"

"I'm sorry Alexandra, I didn't mean to frighten you. I just didn't want to interrupt. I figured this was better than singing along with you and really freaking you out." Syd tried to explain between her laughing fits.

"It's ok. I just need to breathe. Let me turn this down." Alex turned down the volume and made her way to the doorway.

"Well are you going to lurk in my doorway all day or do you want to come in?"

"Well actually, I was going to see what you wanted for dinner."

"Dinner? Is it that late already?"

"No, it's not, but I need to prepare for it."

"Wow, Syd, you don't need to cook for me. I can just whip something up."

"That scares me. You whipping something up, that is."

"I can cook, I'll have you know."

"Well that may be true, but tonight I was planning some spaghetti if you are game."

"Ooohh that sounds great. Do you need help?"

"Yes, you can show up at the table at around six. I put Polka and Matty back in for now. Maybe we can get that ride after dinner. So, I'll see you in about two hours. Cool?"

"Cool. Thanks. And Syd?"


"I am sorry about coming into your room last night. I must have just gone there out of habit."

"Don't worry about it Alex. It was nice. See you later."

"Ok, see you."

'Nice? Wow, definitely not the answer I thought she would give. Maybe she way. The way she looks, she could have anyone she wanted. Why would she look twice at me. Way too much baggage.' Alex argued to herself.

Alex finished putting away the last of her things as she checked the clock, it showed 5:30.

"Good, I have a half hour to clean up and head downstairs for chow." Alex said as she made her way into the bathroom.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

The stove was eliciting smells that were wafting up the stairs. Alex's nose discovered the smells instantly. Her stomach chimed in soon after and she made her way down the stairs to see if there was anything she could do to help with dinner.

The sight she found took her breath away. The table was dressed with candles ready to be ignited and the fresh flowers in the vase were a really nice touch she thought. 'Boy it is almost like a "date".' She giggled to herself.

The wine was being chilled off to the side of the dishes and her maitre d' was still standing at the stove watching the sauce simmer.


"Oh Alexandra, I didn't hear you come in. You startled me."

"Yeah well, paybacks are a bitch. And believe me, I still owe you after the singing thing."

"Ooh I love a challenge. Sit down, dinner is just about ready."

Alex smiled and took her seat at the table watching Syd's form in the kitchen taking ladles full of the sauce into a bowl and setting it down on the table. She watched Syd walk back into the kitchen and opened the oven and took out what appeared to be garlic bread. She grabbed the baking sheet and accidentally touched a part of it without her potholders.

"Shit! Ow!! I can't believe I did that."

Alex was out of her chair and immediately ran cold water from the faucet. She took hold of Sydney's finger and let the cold water run over her burned skin.

"Thanks." Syd said as she looked into loving eyes.

"You're welcome." Alex replied as she took Syd's finger and began to blow onto the injured digit.

Syd just watched this woman do what came so naturally to her. 'God, would you take care of me like this forever?' She thought to herself. Alex looked into her eyes as she was blowing on Syd's finger and a jolt of desire washed over her. She seemed to hear the question floating through Syd's mind. The bond that was forming was something that both women were accepting with open arms. The closeness that they felt was so natural that trying to fight it, was useless, and extremely futile.

"Better?" Alex asked sincerely.

"Much, thank you. You have such a warm touch. Very nurturing, thank you."

"Thanks, one of the many traits my mom passed down to me."

"Remind me to say a prayer of thanks to her."

"You just did."

"I guess so. They say when the living think of the dead, the dead can hear their thoughts. Maybe they are right."

"I think so. Are you well enough to eat?"

"Absolutely, have a seat. The pasta and sauce are on the table. I'll get the bread, and I'll be right in."

"Oh no, I see what happens to you when you handle bread. I'll get it. You go sit down. You've done all the cooking, the least I can do is bring in the bread."

"You win, I'll go sit."

Alex put the bread into the basket that Syd had prepared, and made her way to the table.

"Syd, this is so nice of you. The table looks wonderful. If I didn't know better, I would think that you were trying to wine and dine me."

"Heaven forbid." She smiled innocently. "Glad you like it. I just wanted it to feel cozy for you. You know, like home."

"Thanks Syd, that is sweet."

The two ate in relative silence. The only sounds were coming from the stereo in the other room. Pachelbel's Canon and other baroque music was coming from the speakers. Alex's ears picked up the music and she complimented Syd's choice of dining music.

"I really love this music. Great choice."

"Thanks, I have always loved Baroque music. I am glad that you agree."

"I love Pachelbel, especially the music from the Rhapsody on a Theme from Paganini. I absolutely love that piece. You know they used that in the movie 'Somewhere in Time'?"

"Yes, I love that movie!! God, I can't tell you how many times I have seen that film. It is about soulmates finding each other after a lifetime. God it breaks my heart and heals it all in the same motion. I'm just glad the ending was the way it was, I don't think I would have liked it otherwise."

"I totally agree!! I still watch it when I am feeling down."

"Why? Doesn't it add to your depression?"

"Not really, because the way I look at it, as bad as things are, God, I couldn't imagine the other half of my soul coming into my life, and then having to watch them disappear into nothing. They had it much worse than me, so I guess it makes me look at my problems from a different viewpoint. It's just not that bad, you know? You can't take things so seriously."

"Wow, that is something to think about."

"I wonder if Eddi has that film. I would love to watch it with someone that loved it as much as I do."

"Well if she does, count me in. I'm a sucker for that film."

"Note to self: Find 'Somewhere in Time'." Alex said as she winked at Sydney.

They giggled as they finished their dinner and the entire bottle of wine. Soft conversation mixed with the wine and dinner was a perfect mixture for a perfect meal.

"Thanks Sydney, this was wonderful."

"My pleasure. I enjoyed your company. I like you Alexandra, I am glad that you came here to stay."

"I like you too Sydney. I had the best meal and conversation I have had in a very long time. Thank you."

Syd smiled and started to clear the table. Alex stood and began helping with the chore.

"How about you dry while I wash?" Alex said to Sydney.

"Sure, thanks."

Alex handed dishes to Syd who was just watching Alex's hands in the soapy water. Her mind filled with desirable thoughts involving Alex and a hot tub. She mentally kicked herself as she dropped one of the plates handed to her.

"Hello?? Earth to Sydney? Where were you?"

"That might be a better question for later." She said with a devilish smile.

"Uh oh, I smell trouble."

"Nothing but the best, coming from me." Syd said as she cracked the towel against Alex's butt.

"Hey!!!!! You better cut that out or you'll be in for a fight you won't win!!"

"Oooooohh, I sense another challenge. Come and get me Alexandra, if you can catch me!" She said as she cracked the towel and landing it with a 'thwack' against Alex's thigh.

"You are a dead woman!! You had better run, cuz when I catch up with you, you are gonna wish you didn't start this!!" Alex yelled at the retreating form. She picked up the pieces of the broken dish, thankfully it broke cleanly into two parts. She grabbed a towel and dipped it into the water. 'She is gonna be sorry she waged war with me.' She smiled evilly to herself as her body became alert to the hunt that was on.

"Come out, come out wherever you are!" She teased.

"Alexandraaaaa, come and get meeeeee." Syd taunted back at her.

"She is toast." Alex laughed as she looked behind the door leading to the living room. She slowly walked over to the stereo and turned off the music. Syd smiled inwardly at Alex's attempt to track her.

Syd tried to move quietly from room to room following Alex at a safe distance behind the younger woman. She decided that play time was about to begin. She quickened her pace so she was just a few feet away from Alex, when she was surprised by Alex turning suddenly and lashing the towel at her. Unfortunately for Syd it landed squarely on her upper thigh towards her behind.


"I told you, I will not lose this fight! I grew up with Jack in this house, and we spent a good majority of our childhood doing just this." Alex laughed out.

"Oh yeah? I had an older brother too, missy."

Syd whipped her towel only to have Alex grab it in mid air.

"Ha! I told you. You may be older, but I have more experience with this type of warfare. Do you give or do I need to teach you another lesson?"

"More experience huh? How much experience? I bet Jack didn't teach you this..." Syd said as she grabbed Alex's body and playfully tossed her to the floor pinning her arms above her head.

Alex just looked into Syd's eyes and found the home she had been looking for all of her life. She just continued to stare as Sydney's expression changed from playfulness to something more fervent. Alex wanted this badly, but Sydney overwhelmed with emotion, let her go and retreated into the other room without another word.

"Sydney?" Alex's voice chased after her. She got up and went after Sydney.

"Hey. Are you alright?" Alex said as she gently touched Sydney's arm.

"Please don't." Was all Syd could muster.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No Alexandra, it is nothing you did. I think I need to go outside for awhile. Please excuse me." Syd said as if asking permission. Alex stepped aside and let her go. She watched as the door closed and wondered what had happened that she missed. 'Did she pick up on my feelings? Great, maybe she isn't attracted to me. Maybe she doesn't like me like that. Damn I would have bet money after the dinner she prepared. God, I can't believe that I am having these feelings. I have never looked at another woman this way, and now that I have, it has gotten me into trouble. Shit!! God what she must think of me!' She scolded herself for not thinking about Syd's feelings. She contemplated going after her, but resisted the temptation.

"If she wanted you out there, she would have invited you to come initially. Stay put missy." Smiling at the name she used on herself. "Nope can't do that." She fought with herself and lost. Before she knew it she was outside looking for Sydney.

Alex walked into the stable only to find Matty and Polka looking at her in wonder.

"Hi girls, you seen a tall beautiful brunette in here tonight?" She asked the horses only to get no reply. Well, she got some chewing of carrots that she fed them, but that was all. "Great, if I was out here and not wanting to be found, where would I go?" Alex looked around and decided that the loft would be a sure shot. It was rather dark up there so she walked back to the house and found an old lantern.

She took the lantern and headed back towards the stable. She lit the lantern and slowly crept up the ladder to the loft. Sitting with her legs draped over the edge of the window was her runaway.

"Do I need a secret handshake or can anyone play up here?" Alex said trying to lighten the mood.

"Sure come on over. Look at this sky, it is just remarkable." Alex walked over to the window and watched the remainder of color leave the sky.

"Wow, I forgot how beautiful things were up here. I don't get colors like that in Chicago. There is alot, actually, that I didn't get in Chicago." Alex thought that Sydney might catch the subtle hint thrown in her direction.

"Alexandra, I am sorry for earlier, I don't know what came over me."

"What do you mean? We were just having some fun. No harm, no foul, to quote a friend of mine." Alex said as she nudged Syd hoping to make her smile.

"You really amaze me Alexandra." Alex took in the woman's words with a questioning stare.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean most women that I have encountered would have just let me sit out here and dwell on about what almost happened tonight."

"So I wasn't wrong about those feelings, you feel them too." It was more of a statement then a question.

"Yes I do. I just don't know what to do about them. Alex did you know that I was attracted to women?"

"No I didn't. I just felt an overwhelming attraction to you and a familiarity that was only getting stronger. Syd I know we just met, but I swear that I have known you all of my life."

"Alexandra, I will not deny my attraction to you, but I also told you how afraid I am of giving myself to anyone. I know its something that I need to do, I just don't know if I can do it yet. Please forgive me."

"There is nothing to forgive Sydney. I am sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable in any way. Friends?" Alex said as she held out her hand to be shaken.

Syd looked up at Alex's gesture and stood. She gently pulled the smaller woman into her arms. Alex graciously went into them like a moth to a flame. 'Home, I am definitely home.' Was all that was going through the minds of both women. The embrace was so warm and so gentle that neither woman wanted to be the one the end the contact. The caresses and the closeness came to an end when Alex felt Syd's body stiffen.

"What's wrong Sydney? Talk to me."

"I need to know something."

"Anything." Alex felt Syd's stare down to her core. Whatever she needed to know, Alex knew that the truth would be the only way to answer that question.

"I....need to know........." Sydney's voice trailed off as Alex watched her face come closer and closer until all she could feel was Sydney's breath against her mouth.

"Ask me Sydney........." Alex almost pleaded with her taller companion.

"Kiss me....Alexandra......please.....I need to know.."

Sydney almost didn't finish her statement as she felt the softest lips touch hers for the first time. The kiss was so gentle and soft she could have stayed there forever. Alex never felt the kiss of another woman. She never expected the softness she received from Sydney. It was incredible. The two women sunk deeper into the kiss, and only when Sydney pulled away did it end.

"I'm sorry Alexandra, I don't mean to tease you like this. It isn't fair of me. I just needed to know. I couldn't go through the thinking and the not knowing what your lips felt like on mine."

Feeling a little hurt by her admission, "And what did I feel like? Did I fulfill your curiosity? Is that all that was? A need for knowledge? Well know this. I will not be played with, either you want this or you don't. I don't think I can handle any mind games right now, okay?"

"I'm sorry Alexandra, I didn't mean to hurt you."

"That's always the case isn't it? Good night Sydney." Alex spun on her heel, climbed down the ladder, and headed back to the house. Syd just sat there feeling horrible and stared into the night sky.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex didn't realize what time it was, she just ran into her room and slammed the door and locked it. It was only around 9:00. She wasn't tired she just needed to get away from Sydney. She laid on her bed with her face pressed into her pillow and just cried. She cried for what could have been, she cried for the loss of her parents, but most of all she cried for the friendship that would suffer the biggest blow.

"Why...why do I feel so much for her? I just met her for God sake. God why does this always have to be so friggin' difficult?" She trailed off as the sobs turned to weeping. The weeping soon ended and her emotionally exhausted body finally let sleep claim her.

Alex awoke to find her lights on as well as her clothing. Sleep clouded her sight momentarily then she rubbed her eyes to try and focus on her room. "The guest room. She even has my room." She scanned her room looking at the progress she had made earlier, and only then did she notice a small piece of paper sticking from under her door.

She crept off her bed to examine the note. It was from Sydney.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Dearest Alexandra,

How can I fully apologize for putting you through what I did this evening? I mean how could you not pick up on my attraction to you. I mean, look at the dinner we shared. It could have easily been a date. You hit the nail on the head when you suggested that I was trying to wine and dine you. Alexandra, I don't know if I can remember having such a wonderful time as I did with you tonight. You are a beautiful woman and if you let me get to know you better, my fears may leave me. I know I don't deserve such a chance, but I am asking you as humbly as I can to please find it in your heart to forgive me.

It's been so long since I have known the warmth of affection, that I guess I freaked out. What I guess I am trying to say, is that I am sorry. I'm sorry for using you, essentially that is what I did. I did nothing less than that. I feel awful for the fact that you trusted me and I completely let you down. I tried to have my cake and eat it too, I guess. I shouldn't have played with your emotions like I did. You admitted your feelings to me and that couldn't have been an easy thing for you. I mean, I don't know much about your past, but I am willing to bet that you have never kissed a woman before. I probably scared that notion from your head as well, and for that, again, I am sorry.

I would love to try and start over, if there is the slightest chance that this may happen I will accept any punishment you deem fit for my behavior. I was wrong for treating you like that and I am sorry. It's no wonder that I haven't been with anyone for so long, it's probably a good thing for them.

Anyway, I just wanted to say how sorry I am for what I did. If you want to talk about it later, just come in my room, I'm sure I will be up.

With much regret,


~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

'Well what do you know?' She thought to herself, 'Maybe we can salvage a friendship after all.'

Alex unlocked her door and made her way towards the light coming from her old room. She peeked in the doorway and saw such a heartwarming sight. Sydney had fallen asleep with her arms around a stuffed panda. Her eyes had salt marks on them, telling Alex that she cried herself to sleep. Alex's heart once again reached out towards the older woman. She walked in to pull the covers over her friend when Sydney stirred slightly and whispered, "Thank you." And gave Alex's arm a warm caress.

"We'll talk tomorrow. Sleep now." Alex said as she kissed the top of Syd's head and shut out her light. She slowly turned to close the door and the blue eyes of Sydney watching her with disbelief caught her own eyes.

"What is it Syd?"

"Your kindness, you just amaze me is all. Even after what I did, you still came and tucked me in. I don't deserve you."

"No one knows what I deserve, except for me. Try and get some sleep and we'll talk in the morning. Jack should be home tomorrow, at least I think that is what his message said."

"Alright Alexandra, thank you. G'night mate."

Chuckling at their little inside joke she replied in her best Aussie accent, "G'night mate." She whispered back and quietly closed the door after receiving a wink and smile from Sydney.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex woke up around 10 o'clock and in her own bed. She was very thankful that her subconscious didn't betray her. She made her way to the bathroom and grabbed her toothbrush and jumped into the shower.

'The beautiful ones you always seem to lose' Prince chimed through her head again and reminded her of the conversation ahead.

"God why does everything need to be so goddamned complicated? All I ask is that I get a good friend out of this. Syd seems like she is a good person. I don't get any bad vibes from her. Well other than she likes to tease me mercilessly. I could see myself getting quite attached really. I just need to channel my desire for her into our friendship, I can do that. I have no choice......." She said to her mirrored reflection.

Alex opened the bathroom door only to have her nostrils flare with hunger at the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.

'God does she always cook like this?' Alex mused to herself.

She went into her room and put on some clothes. She raked a comb through her long locks and headed downstairs. Much to her surprise Syd was nowhere to be found, instead she found Jack seated at the table with one of his friends.

"Jack!! You made it!"

"Hey Squirt! Wow look at you, you have grown up beautifully Alex." Jack said as she dove in for a hug. "I guess the squirt thing still applies though, huh?" She jabbed him in the gut at his dig at her height.

"I'm not a squirt, I am vertically challenged. I'm sorry, you must think we are terribly rude, I am Alexandra, Alex for short." She said as she turned her head to notice the handsome face smiling at her.

Standing to his full height, Peter outstretched his hand. "Hi, I'm Peter, Pete for short."

"Short? I think not." Alex said as she noticed his tall muscular build in front of her.

"Yeah, I get that alot. Once I reached six foot two, my dad said he would disown me if I didn't play basketball."


"I sucked at basketball and he forgave me."

"Mighty nice of him. Who is responsible for the incredible aromas wafting through this house? It can't be Jack, I have never seen him pick up anything close to resembling a pan." Jack raised his brow at his cousin and she immediately was taken off guard, "No way! You can cook now too? It has been a long time."

"Yes it has Squirt, what has it been like 4 years?"

"Yeah something crazy like that. How have you been cous'? I was so sad to hear about Aunt Donna and Uncle Tom. I was in the Orient when I got the news, I'm sorry I didn't make it to the funeral."

"It's alright Jack, I totally understand. It was so unexpected, but I know you were here in spirit, and I did receive your flowers and card. Thank you by the way. It helped more than you know."

"Sure Squirt, I just wish there was something more that I could have done."

"You did plenty thanks for caring."

"I would do just about anything for you Alex, you were the sister I never had."

"Right back atcha Jack. I never knew how lonely life was until the only family I knew, was taken away from me. I sometimes wonder if it would have been different if I had any siblings, you know? Would I be the person that I am now, that kind of stuff. Oh my... listen to me ramble on. Pete, I am so sorry."

"Please don't apologize, you had something horrible happen in your life, far be it for me to tell you not to talk about it in my presence."

"Jack, have I told you that you have great taste in friends?" Alex looked directly at Pete as she finished her statement of fact.

"Yeah, at least this time you didn't have to break your leg to meet them."

"What?" Pete asked not getting the joke.

"Long story, ask my mom when she gets back." Jack laughed at Peter.

"Make sure that I am far away when she tells that story again. I already had to sit through it as she told it in front of Syd."

"Oh so you've met Syd, what do you think of her? I think she is great. What a looker she is too."

"Christ Jack, you sound so much like your mother."

"And that's a bad thing, why?"

"No, not at all, just making an observation."

"Ah, so are you hungry squirt, I think I made a little too much breakfast. You think you can help me out?"

"You do remember who you are talking to right?" She gave him an evil stare and grabbed a plate from the table and ran into the kitchen for some grub.

Alex loaded her plate with eggs and bacon and bagels with jelly. She grabbed a glass of orange juice for good measure and made her way back to the table. Peter just watched in awe as this tiny woman packed a meal fit for an army into her small frame.

"Where do you put it?"

"In here." She laughed as she patted her full tummy.

"Would have fooled me. You look like you eat like a bird."

"See looks can be deceiving. Don't always trust your eyes, you might see things that aren't there."

"I'll try and remember that." Peter responded with a hint of a grin.

"Good, so how long are you here for?" She asked while staring at his deep brown eyes.

"Only till the end of the week. Jack and I are partners, and we both have to head back to Phoenix to finish up our latest deal. They gave us a week to play while they made up their minds about our offer."

"You tycoons, what will I do with the lot of you?"

Jack and Peter just shrugged and chuckled as they made their way to the stable. Syd was out there brushing down Matty when she spotted the trio coming towards her.

"Morning Alexandra." Sydney greeted.

"Mornin' Sydney. Jack is home. Have you met Peter, Jack's partner?"

"Yes, Peter has been here before. We chatted awhile when you were asleep."

"Ah, sorry."

"No worries. How did you sleep?"

"Like a baby. I didn't seem to wander last night either, so it was a bonus when I woke up in my own bed this morning."

"I can imagine it was quite a relief." She smiled despite the disappointment she felt. She was almost hoping that she would have stumbled back into her room again. It would have been nice to have held her as she slept.

"Well, I would have hated interrupting your sleep again." Syd nodded at her reply and continued brushing down Matty.

"So how did you sleep? Were you able to fall asleep after I left?" She was genuinely concerned.

"Yes, I did finally. It gave me a chance to really think about what happened last night. I figured out......." She was cut off by Jack jumping into their conversation.

"So what's up girls? Hey Alex, Pete wants a lesson. You think you can give him some fine points on riding?"

"Um, sure Jack. I would love to." She smiled at Jack's retreating form. Turning back to Sydney, "We will finish our conversation later. I promise." She stroked Syd's arm and took Matty's bridle and lead her into the stable.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex walked into the stable as Pete was marveling the size of Polka.

"Alright Pete, here is your first lesson, ready?" She smiled.

"You know, I have never stood next to a horse before, damn they are a big animal."

"How else could they hold us silly boy?" She teased.

"Yeah well, I was just saying. It's just weird seeing them so close."

"Alright, put your foot in the stirrup and climb aboard Matty. She is very gentle, so don't worry." She reassured him.

Peter did as instructed and found the other stirrup and put his foot into it.

"Ok, step one hold the reigns at all times. If you want to turn left, pull slightly towards the left and she will turn. Same as for the right." She instructed as she climbed onto Polka.

"Ok, now what about walking, running, and whatnot?"

"Ok, to get her moving, just squeeze your legs around her belly. Like this..." She demonstrated the action with Polka. He did as she said and they were slowly making their way out to the fields.

"Ok, now if you want to speed things up, just squeeze your legs a couple times and she will start to quicken her pace." She showed him her movements as she nudged her legs against Polka a few times until they were off into a slow canter. Pete did the same and caught up to Alex.

"Ok, my biggest question. How do you stop?"

Giggling, "Just pull on the reigns, but not too hard, you don't want to hurt her neck. Let's go out there for awhile, there is a beautiful pond down there I haven't seen since I was a kid. I will lead the way so don't worry."

"Lead on!" He nudged his legs against Matty and they were off.

Sydney just watched as the two figures disappeared from sight.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Jack crept up on Syd and spooked her.

"Hey there!! Anything I can help you with?"

"Jesus Jack!! You scared the shit out of me!!"

Laughing, "I'm sorry Syd, you just looked kind of out there. Are you alright?"

"Yes, I am fine. You want to help you say?"

"Sure, I need to do something. Pete and Alex won't be back for a bit and I'm sure you could use the help."

"Well, since you were kind enough to scare me to death, you could help me shovel out the stalls." She smiled evilly as she handed him a shovel.

"Me and my big mouth."

"You said it, not me."

The two headed back into the stalls and began their glamorous chore.

"Man, I haven't seen Alex in so long, by God she has grown up nicely. She is beautiful."

"Yes she is." Syd said not wanting to elaborate on the incredible lithe body that Alex had, or the intoxicating fragrance her body elicited, or the way her eyes made her heart melt, or especially the feel of her lips.......

"Syd? Syd?" Jack said snapping his fingers in front of her face.

"Wh...what? Did you say something?"

"Yeah, I asked you how Alex had seemed to you. Is she doing alright?"

"Oh, sorry. Well, her first night here she did some crying in her sleep but I think with a little help from her family and friends, she will be fine. I have to say considering the cards she has been dealt, she is doing incredibly well. I don't think I would be as together as she is. She is an incredible young woman."

"Yes, she is. I think Pete thinks so too. I couldn't shut him up in the stables. God it's like school again, him asking me to ask her for a riding lesson. Jeez, how old are we?" He chuckled to himself, Syd was not amused.

"So, how long are you home for?" Wanting to end Pete's stay here.

"Well it depends on the firm we are waiting on. We have an offer on the table, and as soon as they make a decision, we have to go back to Phoenix to either pick up the pieces, or sign contracts and such."

"Oh, I see. Well let's just hope that it works out for everybody." Including herself into that equation.

"Yes, let's." He replied.

Syd watched as Jack cleaned most of the stalls and headed back towards the corral. They looked out into the fields and saw Alex and Peter walking their horses back from their ride. They seemed very relaxed and were laughing and talking as they entered the corral.

"Hi kids!" Pete shouted to them.

"Hey there." Jack replied. "How was your ride?"

"It was gorgeous! Alex took us down to the old pond behind those trees, you been there Jack?" Pete said as he was pointing towards the direction of the pond.

"Of course I have dumbass, I lived here, remember? I think I got laid for the first time down there. Hey Alex, remember we went down there with some of my friends and just drank ourselves into oblivion."

"Ah, the good old days." She said rolling her eyes, remembering the lecture she got from her aunt and uncle about responsibility.

"Seems to me you brought me there to play spin the bottle with your buds cuz one of them made a bet with you that he would kiss me."

"Haha that's right! Steve I think it was. Man, that was a lifetime ago. Any bottles down there today Alex?? Hmmm?" He said while wiggling his eyebrows.

"God Jack!" She said as she felt a blush creeping up her neck as she peeked over at Peter's smiling face.

"Well if that's not a guilty smile I don't know what is." Jack replied.

"For your information there were NO bottles where we were!!" She defended hoping to clean the grimace off of Sydney's face.

When she couldn't handle the frustration anymore Syd made excuses to leave and walked towards the tool shed. Alex eyed her closely to see if she was angry. She couldn't pin point the emotion tugging on Syd's face.

'Is she jealous?' She thought to herself. The thought of Sydney jealous of Peter made her smile inwardly. 'This boy doesn't hold a candle to you, my blue eyed Aussie.' She looked up at Jack and Peter who were still talking about Jack's good ole days at the pond. She rolled her eyes at them and they finally realized that maybe this should be talked about in different company.

"Men." She said almost in disgust. "Don't you think about anything else?"

When no answer was offered she shook her head and just glared at them. "Well? I am waiting for an answer."

The two guys just looked at each other and just smiled at Alex.

"Oh nevermind." She laughed with them.

"Hey Jack we should probably check our email to see what's going on in Phoenix." Pete chimed in.

"Yeah , I guess you're right. We'll be back later." Jack said.

"Ok boys, see you later on. Don't work too hard." Alex teased.

"Hey Alex, thanks for the lesson, I had a wonderful time. Perhaps we can do that again before I leave."

"Sure Pete, anytime."

Pete leaned over and kissed her cheek. She smiled a shy smile and turned to go find Syd when her eyes locked with the raven haired woman. Alex smiled at her. When she got no response she approached her.


"Hey yourself."

"What's wrong? Is there something bothering you?"

"No, not at all? Is Romeo staying for dinner?" She asked sarcastically.

"Romeo? Oh you mean Peter? Sydney, my God, are you jealous?"

"And what if I am?"

"Then I think you need to rethink our relationship. I thought you said that you couldn't have this yet. Which means that I am free to do as I please."

"Well if you like that sort of thing, by all means, have at it." Syd said bitterly as she walked off in a huff back into the shed. Alex wasn't going to have this conversation end like that so she followed her into the shed. As she walked in Syd was holding her side in pain.

"Syd? What is it? You look like someone stabbed you or something."

"I jabbed my ribs earlier when I was fixing the front gate. I must have bruised them. I guess shoveling out the stalls wasn't the smartest of chores to do today."

"Let me see." Alex said sincerely.

"Oh sure, now you want to see me naked." She laughed as the pain shot up her side.

"I'm serious Sydney! Come on, lift up your shirt." She commanded gently.

Alex let out a startled gasp. "Oh my God Sydney. We should have you looked at."

"You are looking at it right now." She teased back.

Alex gently touched the bruised area and felt Sydney flinch at her touch. She watched as the muscles contracted down Sydney's strong abdomen.

"I'm sorry did that hurt?" She felt horrible.

"No, it didn't, you tickled me. Come on doc, just kiss it and make it better. It's not that bad." She joked.

Alex not wanting to disappoint her patient, thought she would see how far she could take this. She gently touched the area again and felt her body moving closer to Sydney's. She closed her eyes and gently kissed the bruise under Sydney's ribcage. Sydney's eyes widened with surprise. A tingling sensation ran through her body.

"Oh Alexandra, please. You don't know what you are doing to me."

Alex kissed her again and let her tongue slowly circle the injured area. She wanted to devour every inch of this incredible woman. She needed her so badly. Her heart was screaming inside, beating so fast and so full. She felt Syd's body reacting to the stimulation.

"Oh...please......Alexandra......please..." Alex not hearing her pleas, wandered with her kisses and started blazing a trail over her stomach. Sydney grabbed Alex's head and pulled her into a heated, passionate kiss. Alex felt her soul grasping at her other half. Their tongues entwined in a powerful dance of desire. Unquenchable passion was surging through them when Sydney's defenses came back to haunt her again.

Sydney pulled away holding Alex's head in her hands. "I..I can't do this. I'm so sorry Alexandra." She whispered her name as the tears raced down her face. She tugged her shirt back down and ran out of the shed leaving Alex alone with her head shaking from side to side not understanding what just happened.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex found Jack and Pete in the family room talking between themselves when she entered the house. They noticed her entrance and smiled.

"Well Squirt, it looks like we have fly out tonight. There seems to be a mix-up in our contacts that we have to clear up. So unfortunately our visit will be cut short." Jack sadly.

"Oh no Jack. I'm so sorry that you have to leave. What time is your flight?"

"We gotta head out in about an hour or so to leave for the airport. I will be back in a couple weeks though, I promise. Mom would have my head if I didn't come and spend some time with her as well. I know she was getting pretty lonely out here, but when Syd came along, I think she really came out of her funk. I am so glad that you will be here for her too. I know she was really excited that you took her up on her offer."

"You know Jack, after mom and dad died, I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground. When Eddi talked to me at their funeral and let me know where my home could be, I knew I had someplace special to go. I wouldn't leave her now for anything. Although, it would be nice to actually spend time with her now that I am here." She said sarcastically.

"When is she getting back?"

"She said in a week or so, so I shouldn't be alone long, don't worry."

"I'm not worried Alex, you have Syd here, and you seem to like her so....."

"Yeah, I do, she is very nice. I like her alot. I'm glad Eddi found her." She said while wondering where Syd had run off to.

"Alright you, Pete and I have some stuff we have to take care of before we go, so if you'll excuse us, we have to become boring again." He said ruffling her hair.

"Alright, hey did you guys see Syd? I thought she came in here." She tried to be nonchalant with her question.

"Umm..I think I saw her go upstairs a little while ago." Pete chimed in.

"Ok, thanks guys. I'll see you before you head out."

"Alright Squirt." Jack smiled at his cousin.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex walked up the stairs and headed towards her room. She noticed Syd's door closed and decided to keep walking. She just didn't get her. 'Why would she come on to me like that if she didn't feel something? I will not play these games anymore, it's just too damn confusing. Next time, if there is a next time, I will wait for her to make the first move.' She said as she walked into her room and jumped on her bed.

She cleaned up her clothes that were on the floor and made her bed. She tried to keep herself busy so she wouldn't think about Syd in the next room. Thoughts flooded to her mind from this afternoon. The softness of the kiss they shared. The power in the lips she was being kissed by. The desire that was building in her center was overwhelming. She shook her head of those thoughts, well, at least she tried to.

Alex decided that there was no more cleaning that could be done at the moment and wandered over to Syd's room. She hesitated, then knocked on the door.

"Syd?" She waited patiently for a reply..........Nothing.

She knocked again and slowly opened the door. She looked in to find Syd asleep with the same panda tucked under her arms. The sight made Alex's heart swell, but she knew this time to keep her distance. She quietly turned around and closed her door. 'I'm still mad at you Sydney. I may have pushed a little too much today, but I don't think I deserved that.' Alex walked down the stairs to see if Jack and Pete needed a ride to the airport.

"That's ok Squirt, I called a cab. They should be here any minute."

Pete walked up to Alex and held out his hand. "It was a pleasure meeting you Alex. I hope to see you again sometime."

"Aw thanks Pete, I hope so too. Maybe we can get that encore lesson the next time you come up." She reached up and hugged Peter around his neck and he kissed her cheek as she pulled away. "Such the gentleman." She smiled.

"Who? Him? I think we need to talk Alex." Jack said as Pete elbowed him in the gut. The cab driver announced his arrival with a honk of his horn.

"Hey!! You are ruining my rep with your cousin here man!" Pete joked.

"Don't worry, your reputation will be left unscathed, I promise." She reassured her departing guest. "Call me when you get to Phoenix, so I know you made it safe and sound, Ok?"

"Of course Squirt, I promise." Jack said as he knew the depth of her request. He leaned down and hugged Alex as they said their good-byes.

"Bye!!" Alex shouted at them as the car drove away. She waved her last good-bye and closed the front door.

It was close to dinner time and Syd still hadn't come down. "I guess I'll take a look at the horses to make sure they are fed and watered."

She walked outside and took to her chores without hesitation. It looked like it may storm tonight, so she made sure everyone was inside for the night. It was kind of nice taking care of Matty and Polka. It reminded her of her childhood summers spent here with her family. Her aunt and uncle taught her how to care for the horses and she loved every minute she had with them, especially Polka.

Alex's stomach reminded her that she still needed to eat dinner. She double checked the windows and doors in case of a storm, and headed back to the house. 'I'm sure Syd is awake by now. I'll see what she wants to do for dinner.' She thought to herself.

She walked into the house to find it still quiet. She checked the family room and Syd was no where to be found. She poked her head into the kitchen and noticed that nothing had moved in there either. That could only mean that Syd was still asleep.

"I guess I'll see if she wants dinner at all." She said as she walked up the stairs. As she reached the top of the stairs she heard the shower running.

"Well at least she is awake now. I'll just wait for her to come out and see if she wants to eat. That is if she even wants to see me. Hell I should be the one that is angry, she walked away AGAIN, and here I am. God, I must be stupid.......or whipped, one of the two." She spoke softly. 'My money is on the latter.' Her mind chimed in. "Thanks alot, you're a big help." She walked into her room, turned on her CD Player, and waited for Syd to return from her shower.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Syd awoke from her nap more refreshed than she expected. Her ribs were hurting less than before, so for that, she was grateful. Her mind wandered back to the tool shed where she experienced the most incredible feeling she had ever felt. Her body ached for that contact again. She could feel the moisture building between her legs. Her eyes welled with tears longing to love Alex the way she wanted to be loved. Something kept her at a distance and she didn't know what. She knew her other half was outside right at this moment, but fear of hurt, rejection, and commitment, stopped her from finding her. She wiped the tears from her eyes and cursed the throbbing in her core. Her body knew what she needed, but she was too stubborn to accept it.

'There's more than one way to skin a cat.' She mused as she headed off to the shower.

The water beat down on her body as she let her emotions leave one by one. The tears returned and she welcomed the cleansing. Maybe this way, she would clear herself of whatever it was that was keeping her from her destiny. The tears slowed and she became more aware of her desire for Alex. Their kiss this afternoon was incredible. The feel of this woman's lips and tongue on her torso was orgasmic. The loss that she felt without her touch, was continual. As she reminisced about their meeting this afternoon, she found her hand roaming down her soapy body to fulfill a need that was overwhelming. Small, slow circles turned into fast, hard exploration. She braced her body against the wall of the shower as she released her frustration and longing in a matter of moments. Her thoughts of Alex were endless. How it was her that she wanted to feel loving her body. As her breathing came back to normal, she rinsed her shampooed hair, and washed the soapy water down the drain.

She stepped out of the shower to hear the faint sound of music. She felt her heartrate increase as she knew that Alex was only a room away. 'God, I wonder if she heard me. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now. If she knows, she knows.' She looked at her reflection through the steam on the mirror. "You can do this Sydney. You know this is right. Just let it go. Be happy for once in your life." She reprimanded herself. She continued to dry off and geared up for another encounter with Alex. Being that they lived under the same roof, she knew if was inevitable.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex heard the shower turn off and a smile crept to the corners of her mouth. She knew that Syd would have to talk to her, and maybe after her shower, she would like to do it over dinner. This time, no physical contact.

The bathroom door opened and Syd walked out in her robe and long wet hair dangling off to one side. Alex walked out into the hall and gasped an audible gulp as she saw the sight in front of her. 'My God she is beautiful.' Was all she could think.

"Hello Alexandra." She managed to get out.

"Hi Syd. Um, I know you probably don't want to see me right now, but I was wondering if you wanted to do anything for dinner. I mean its no big deal, but if you wanted, I could cook something, or we could order something out." She rambled through her nervousness.

"Well, actually I am kind of hungry. I do have to go out and tend to my duties, since I kind of abandoned my job this afternoon."

"Oh, don't worry about that. I took care of it for you." She said proudly.

"You did?" She said in almost a whisper. She couldn't believe this woman in front of her. 'I am a fool.' She decided in her mind. "Thank you Alexandra. That was very nice of you. And very unexpected, you didn't have to do that."

"I know, I just figured, well..... It was kind of my fault what happened today, and I do feel kinda bad for what I did."

'Now she is APOLOGIZING for what I DID.' Her eyebrows rose into her forehead as she listened to Alex take her blame from her.

"Wait a minute Alexandra. What happened today was NOT your fault. Know that right now."

"Syd....." Alex tried to get a word usual.

"No Alexandra, I shouldn't have responded the way I did. Ok, maybe you coaxed me a little, but I shouldn't have run out on you again. It was very childish of me and I am sorry." The words came out faster than she could stop them.

"It's understandable. I know your position on this, and I pushed, so for that, I too am sorry."

The two seemed to come to an understanding, but that still left dinner plans up in the air. Syd told Alex to wait for her in the family room. She would get dressed and come down shortly. Alex agreed and made her way down the stairs. Syd closed the door to her room and leaned against the door while exhaling a sigh.

"She is too much. I have to do something before I lose this one for good. Take a deep breath Sydney, you will be just fine." She coached herself.

She grabbed a pair of jeans and a baby blue polo shirt. Her eyes locked with the ones in her mirror and she decided that tonight she would make the biggest decision of her life. That scared the shit out of her, but it was now or never. She knew Alex wouldn't wait forever. She took a deep breath, and made her way down to the family room, to meet with her dinner guest.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Alex waited patiently on the sofa for Syd to return. She was nervously chewing the inside of her cheek. She didn't know what to expect from this woman. 'On one hand she was incredibly beautiful, sexy, an amazing kisser, and oozed sensuality. On the other hand, she is the most frustrating woman that I have ever met. I don't think that I have ever been as sexually crazed as I have been in the last two days.' She mused to herself.

Shaking her head clear of her thoughts, she noticed that Syd was making her way down the stairs. She was smiling at Alex as she entered the family room.

"Hey there." She greeted.

"Hey yourself." She retorted.

"Have you decided anything for dinner? Or did you want some input?"

"Well, I really was waiting for you, before I made a final decision."

"Well, I had a thought. Are you game enough to trust me?" She asked through a raised eyebrow.

"Well given our track record, I 'm not sure I feel comfortable answering that question."

"Alexandra, I know that I have given you no reason to trust me in any way, but I truly think that you will enjoy my idea."

"And if I don't?"

"Then you can tar and feather me if you like." She oozed with sarcasm.

"Well, how can I pass up an offer like that?"

"Good, give me a few minutes to prepare something, and I'll meet you in the stable."

"In the stable? Syd it looks like its going to storm."

"All the better Alexandra. I will show you what living in the country is all about, my little city mouse."

"Your little city mouse? Are we getting a little possessive 'my little country mouse'?"

"Well, let's just say that I have gotten used to having you around." She nudged Alex as she walked into the kitchen.

"Alright Sydney, I'll meet you there, but if I hate whatever you have planned, don't think that I won't keep you to your word."

"Ha!! I don't doubt that!!!!!" She yelled from the kitchen.

Alex smiled and wondered what she was up to. She turned and went outside to meet Syd at the stable. "I don't like this one bit. Just look at this sky, we are going to get soaked. She had better not be jerking me around this time. I swear to everything Holy that I will kick her" Alex paused to gasp in surprise at Sydney's arrival.

Syd was carrying a large picnic basket and a blanket in her arms.

"Are you game? I thought it would be nice to ride out to that pond that has everyone oooing and ahhing and have our dinner out there. What do you think?"

"I think we are going to get drenched." She crossed her arms and started tapping her foot on the ground.

"Alexandra, I have seen you eat. We won't be out there long enough for the rain to even think about hitting us. Come on, it will be fun. We can take Matty and Polka. If it does rain there is plenty of canopy out there under those trees. Will you have dinner with me Alexandra?" She asked showing Alex her puppy dog baby blues.

"Oh my God, you are SO not fair. Let's go Miss 'I-Can-Get-Anything-I-Want-With-A-Bat-Of-My-Eye'." Syd laughed at her as she walked towards the stalls .

Syd climbed on Matty and took the basket from Alex. She in turn gave the blanket to Alex and then coaxed the horses out towards the field. The ride was quiet as both women contemplated conversation. They wanted to talk about the feelings that they had for each other, but were unsure where that would lead. Settling for a quiet ride worked for them both.

Alex lead Syd to the pond and Syd couldn't believe that she had never made it down here before.

"This is absolutely beautiful Alexandra. I can't believe I never found this place. I could have filled so many nights here. You can get lost by looking at this landscape. I can see why you spent time here." Syd said in awe.

"Mm I know. I spent alot of my summer nights here. I would just sit at the edge of the water and just think. I would write sometimes or just veg out. I love it here. Over there, by that large rock, is where the "infamous" game of spin the bottle happened."

Syd smiled at her memory and wondered what Alex was like when she was a teenager.

"I bet you had a ton of boyfriends when you were in high school, no?"

"Actually, no. I was kind of a loner in high school. A geek for lack of a better word. I had a few close friends, but I pretty much kept to myself. I would cut loose when I came out here though. I guess I felt much more comfortable here than with the people in my school. People are really hard in Chicago. They aren't the nicest of people. It's really hard to admit that too, since I have lived there pretty much my whole life. People are really hard hearted so to speak. I just see such a difference in people out here. Much more willing to help out others, and that kind of thing. God, I am rambling, I am sorry." She apologized.

"Oh please don't apologize. I love listening to you talk. I bet you tell a great story. You have such a cute accent."

"I have an accent? You are the one from 'down unda'!" She kidded her Aussie friend.

"Yeah well, to me you have as much of an accent as I have to you."

"Well I guess looking at it like that, it's true. This is great Syd. You are right, this was a good idea. Thank you."

"It's the least I can do Alexandra. I feel really bad about this afternoon. I shouldn't have left you like that. I am sorry."

"Syd, that is in the past now. Let's just start over and enjoy what we have now, ok?"

"Alright. Let's eat. I didn't really have to much to work with, so I got some sandwiches together and some salad. I thought the wine would be a nice touch as well."

"You thought right. This is really great."

"I'm glad you like it."

The two ate in comfortable silence, occasionally looking into each other's eyes and smiling. Syd's mind was racing, time was running out as the sky turned darker with the storm's approach. They ate on the blanket covered ground and laid back watching the cloud movement with wine glasses in hand.

"Do you ever wonder what comes after life Syd? I mean, what do you think happens to us after we die?"

"I think about it every once in awhile actually. If there wasn't life after death, don't you think that this would all be a waste? I really believe that in living this life, we learn, our souls learn that is. We take all of that knowledge with us through our lives. After we die, our soul takes on another form and we start a new life, but with the same soul. Have you ever heard of people referring to others as being an old soul?"

"Yeah, I have. Is that what they are meaning by that. Someone that has had a few lives with the same soul?"

"Well, I personally think that is what they mean by that. I mean there is such a huge world out here. We couldn't possibly cover it all in one lifetime. I think we are given a chance to explore it all, but not necessarily as the same physical presence. Now, don't laugh at me, cuz I really believe this."

"Ok, I promise not to laugh."

"I really think that you and I were lovers in a past life."


"I mean it Alexandra. I have only known you a few days, literally. But I also feel closer to you than I have anyone in my life, well outside of my family. I don't understand it, but I don't want to fight it anymore either. Alexandra, after my childish tantrum this afternoon, I finally decided to stop being immature about my feelings. I need to look at the person who is willing to give me her heart, and know that she won't take mine and break it. That person is you Alexandra, I want to give you my heart. I know I have no right to ask that of you, but I want you to have it, that is, if you still want it."

Alex's mouth went dry, she couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her heart wanted to believe what Syd was saying, but her mind kept thinking it was too good to be true. She downed the last of the wine, dropped her glass in the basket, and turned to leave. She ran to Polka and mounted her ride back to the stable. With a last look at Syd's dumbfounded face, she urged Polka back to the house. Syd grabbed the picnic items, jumped onto Matty, and chased after her heart. She chased Alex back to the stables and saw her heading back towards the house. She lead Matty into the stable and ran after Alex. Alex turned around when she heard urgent footsteps behind her. She saw Sydney running towards her and decided to face her fears once and for all.

"Sydney, I really want to believe you, but I just can't play these games anymore. I have tried twice, unsuccessfully I might add, to show you I could love you, but you ran. Who is to say that you won't do that to me again? I have way too much going on in my life right now. I just can't handle anymore heartache. I'm sorry, I just can't set myself up for that again." She said as the tears started to well in her eyes. She started to walk away as the rain started to fall.

Syd reached out in desperation to stop Alex from walking away from her. She leaned forward catching Alex's arm. Alex turned around and fell to one knee.

"Alexandra, please......."

Crying, she pleaded, "Dammit, Sydney, I can't do this. Please, just let me go."

"I'm sorry Alexandra, I can't do that." She pulled herself closer to Alex and held her face in her hands. She wiped away the raindrops that were falling against her cheeks as she leaned forward to meet the lips she so desperately wanted to feel again.

Alex's mind was racing with confusion. Her body, feeling the heat that was building inside, released a moan as the contact deepened. Syd gently sucked on Alex's bottom lip and felt soft hands stroking her face. Alex was crying, but her tears were filled with an extreme happiness that consumed her entire being. The kiss was very tender and was filled with gentle strokes of their exploring tongues, tasting every ounce that they were willing to share. Unwilling to break the contact, Syd gently lay Alex down on the wet grass and continued their passionate baptism. The rain started coming down harder, but Syd and Alex were oblivious to it all. Syd moved her kisses down Alex's neck and shoulder. Nipping and biting as she made her way down her soon-to-be lover's body, Syd heard Alex's sounds of desire and want.

"What do you want Alexandra?" She purred into Alex's ear causing a shockwave of electricity to shoot between her legs.

"You, Sydney, I want you, please. I need you to touch me, feel me, taste me, you inside of me, I want it all."

"And you will have it Alexandra, I promise." She swore, "I will give you everything that I am and more."

The two women lay on the wet ground ignoring the weather and relishing the feel of the other's body. Slowly Syd raised Alex's shirt over her head and gently removed her bra. She knelt in front of Alex and pulled off her own shirt to reveal herself to her new lover. Alex just watched in awe as this woman continued to prove once again that she was absolutely beautiful in every way.

Their bodies slowly moved with the rhythm of their breathing. Syd kneaded the round, fullness of Alex's breasts, gently rubbing her thumbs over the nipples. Alex's back arched in response and knew that she needed more. Syd lowered her head to capture one of the nipples in her mouth. Slowly circling her nipple with her tongue, Syd made sure that Alex knew the depths of her desires. Syd brought Alex's breast almost completely into her mouth and felt Alex's hand pulling her head closer.

"God, Sydney, you feel so incredible. Uhngh" Alex moaned as her head slowly rocked from side to side.

The rain slowly poured on their almost naked forms, as the rest of their clothing was tossed to the side. Alex grabbed Sydney's butt and slowly massaged the muscles moving above her. Syd's body was grinding into Alex's center and the passion that was building, was almost blinding. The feel of Alex's naked skin against hers was the most amazing thing Syd had ever experienced. Alex's body responded to Syd's every touch, every kiss, every breath exhaled against it. She wanted Alex more than she wanted anything in her life before. She gently moved her hand down to Alex's lower abdomen and kissed the skin beneath her fingers. Alex and Syd locked eyes knowing the act that was about to play out.

Sydney adjusted her body between Alex's legs and took a deep breath. She inhaled the sensual scent coming from Alex and wanted nothing more than to lose herself there. Alex grabbed handfuls of grass as Syd's tongue gently touched her clitoris. A surge of desire poured out of her and into Sydney with one touch of Syd's tongue.

"Oh my God Alex, you taste so good." She whispered to Alex as she briefly looked up into the electric stare of her partner.

Syd moved her tongue in small gentle circles against the tender flesh beneath her. She held onto Alex's hips as she felt them begin to grind against her mouth. Her mission was clear now. She wanted to make Alex become nothing less than a weak, breathless, beautifully satisfied woman.

Alex's couldn't keep her eyes open long enough to catch more than small glimpses of the woman bringing her to ecstasy. Her body was alive with every stroke of Syd's tongue against her. She felt her thoughts going numb as the pressure building inside of her was almost too much for her to bear.

Syd's tongue moved faster as she felt the closeness of Alex's orgasm. She braced herself against Alex's body and felt the beginning of Alex's release.

"Oh my......Godddd....Sydney...yessss " Alex moaned.

Thrusting her hips faster and faster, Alex felt her body fall slave to the intense touch of her lover. As her release left her body, Alex felt a wholeness she had never known before to exist. Sydney rode wave after wave of unbidden passion and desire. The feeling that she had inside of her, proved to be one that she could get used to very easily. Alex's body slowly recovered from her climax and her breathing once again became normal. Syd climbed up the spent form of Alex and gently lay on top of her with both elbows resting on either side of Alex's head. Looking up into loving blue eyes, Alex spoke to her in almost a whisper.

"Oh my God. Sydney, that was incredible. I have never known such pleasure in my life."

"Good, I'm glad that I could make you feel like that. I hope that you will give me an opportunity to do that more often." She said as she caressed one side of Alex's face.

"Just try and watch me stop you. Not gonna happen." She smiled and kissed Sydney tenderly on her lips.

It was still pouring on them, and Sydney felt a shiver run through Alex's body.

"It's time we went in an got you into a hot shower before you catch your death out here."

"Only if you join me." She said raising an eyebrow on Sydney's face.

"Well, how can I refuse such an offer?"

"You can't, it's not an offer, it's a demand. I will not take no for an answer either, missy." Syd laughed at the mischievous face shown by Alex and knew that this night was only just beginning.

With Jack, Pete, and Edna away, the two loved the privacy they were given to explore their newfound love. They collected their clothing from the piles strewn on the lawn, and made a quick run into the house. The brisk air from the air conditioning made their skin crawl with goosebumps.

"Damn, it's cold in here. I'll race you to the shower." Sydney taunted.

"Well I don't know, your legs are so much longer than........." Alex stopped as she raced up the stairs knowing full well that retribution would be in order for her cheating.

"You are so dead, do you hear me Alexandra? You are mine." She yelled as she reached the top of the steps. She looked around the bathroom only to have Alex jump from behind her.

"Yah!!" Alex surprised.

"Ahhh!" Sydney screamed.

"Gotcha!" Alex smiled in victory.

"That's what you think. I'll show you whose got who." She said as she picked up Alex and through her into the shower. Alex put up a fight and kicked and screamed the whole way, laughing in between gasps of air limited to her. Sydney turned on the water and watched as Alex's eyes became huge as the cold water slowly changed to a warmer temperature.

"Come here my little Aussie. I'd like to show you something." She said as she wiggled her eyebrows at Sydney.

"Coming my dear." She smiled back as she entered the shower and drew the curtain closed.

Alex wasted no time as she grabbed Sydney's head and pulled her into a deep passionate kiss. The water gently cascaded down both very aroused women. Alex broke the kiss and whispered into Syd's ear.

"Show me what to do. I have never done this before."

"Alright Alexandra, we will make this lesson one that you'll remember for a long time." She purred back into Alex's ear, causing a stream of goosebumps down her body.

Sydney reached up and took one of Alex's hands and gently placed it on one of her breasts. She held onto Alex's hand as they tenderly rubbed against the nipple with their fingers. Sydney's body reacted to the stimuli of their shared movements. She exhaled a deep sigh as the desire built between her legs once again. Alex's movements became more confident as she rolled the nipple with her thumb and forefinger. Syd welcomed the feel she was receiving and let out a small moan. She felt Alex's mouth move lower to take her full breast into her mouth. Her tongue circled over the nipple causing Syd's breath to become more and more ragged.

"Yeah, I think you've got it, oooh right there. God that feels good." Syd gasped out.

"Mmm. I like this." Alex purred.

Alex took her newfound courage and slowly moved her hand between Sydney's legs. The wetness she found increased her desire to explore this woman pressed against her. The water was beating down on Alex's head almost stroking her to take the next step. She slowly moved her fingers around until she found a very sensitive spot on Sydney. Her body shuddered as she felt the touch of her novice lover. Alex pushed Sydney against the wall as she increased the speed of her finger's movements. Under the spray of the shower head, Sydney felt her body begin to quiver as her release started to build inside of her.

"Oh Alexandra, God, you have no idea what you are doing to me."

"Oh yes I do, Sydney, yes I do." She smiled inwardly knowing that she was the cause of her lover's shivering.

"You are very good at this."

"Yeah, well, I am self taught if you know what I mean."

Sydney smiled at Alex knowing exactly what she meant thinking back to a few hours earlier in this same shower.

Alex quickened her movements as Sydney's breath became labored and her body stiffened with excitement. The feel of Syd's tender flesh was swollen and slippery with arousal. Alex couldn't believe that she was making love to woman, let alone a woman like Sydney. Her body was completely on fire with every sound that Sydney made. Her sultry, deep voice humming into her ear was music Pachelbel himself would have been proud of. Sydney reached down to touch Alex's passion, when she felt herself go over the edge.

"Oh Alexandra! My God.......that's it right....oh....there....uunnngh" Syd cried as her orgasm raced through her core.

Alex pressed Sydney harder against the wall as she felt herself crest with her lover. Their legs slowly gave out and they melted down the shower walls and into to the base of the tub. Sydney wrapped her arms around the smaller framed woman as their spasms slowly left their bodies. As their breathing reached its normal pace, they found themselves increasing their holds on each other. The sound of their heartbeats under the running water was all that could be heard.

"Alexandra, that was beautiful. I have never experienced such an overwhelming moment in my life. I can't believe that I was willing to throw all of this away because of my fears. Can you forgive me for being such a child?"

"Sydney, you don't have to apologize, this is all that I need to know that you are for real. Just don't get up and run this time." She said as she tightened her hold on Sydney.

"I promise, I will never leave you again." Sydney said as she kissed Alex pledging her love.

With that admission, Alex knew that Sydney would be there for her forever.

The next few days were spent getting to know each other in between their marathon love making sessions. The days were spent talking and laughing about their lives and people in their past. They took many walks and rode tandem on Polka to ensure snuggle time. Their nights were filled with passion and unspoken love. Sydney was teaching Alex everything she wanted to know and more about what makes a woman scream for more. Alex showed Syd a few things too. Their hearts had found their home and weren't moving anytime soon.

~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~

Edna walked in the door after five days spent with dirty old farmers and ranch owners. She was relieved to be home. She was even more relieved when she let her eyes roam over the two sleeping forms cuddled up on the couch. Alex had her body nestled against Syd's longer frame and rested her head against her strong shoulder. Syd's arms were wrapped around her young love as she held her close before falling asleep against her will.

Edna quietly crept up the stairs and placed her luggage in her room. She passed Syd's room and noticed her room was completely clean and her bed was neatly made. She scratched her head as she walked further into Alex's room, when her lips turned upwards into a large smile. The sheets on the bed were strewn all over the place. Two sizes of clothing were found in various places around the room, leaving a trail back to the bed. Her heart raced with excitement for she knew that her niece would be well loved and taken care of. She picked up the picture from the Grand Canyon and smiled as she looked into the sky.

"She's going to be just fine Donna, I promise. She has someone to watch over her now, while you look down from up there. She misses you Donna, but don't you worry. Between Syd and me, she is going to be loved and cared for until the day she leaves this place. And when that day comes, she'll have you, with your arms wide open for her to be cradled in once more. She's gonna be just fine." She said with tear filled eyes as she held the photograph close to her heart.

She placed the picture back on the window sill and smiled to herself. She turned around to head back downstairs. With dinner approaching, she needed to get into the kitchen. With the looks of this place, she was going to have a couple of starving women on her hands. And that was just fine with her.


The End


My heart goes out to all of you that have lost a parent or two. It is the hardest thing that one can go through. Hopefully your hearts can be filled with love and happiness once again.

This is dedicated to my mom, the most wonderful woman I have ever known.

I miss you, and wherever you are, know that I think of you every day.

I love you.

Feedback is the ruler of all bards.

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