Convert this page to Pilot DOC FormatCopyright December 4, 1998 - January 27, 1999 by JLPeterson (Ruth2Naomi@aol.com)
Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
My heartfelt thanks to my beta readers M, N and S.
Incidental Tourist - Part II
Incidental Tourist, Part Two:
Mickey, Mary and Moonlight
Jay arrived early Wednesday morning. Today they were headed for Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, the self-proclaimed "First Theme Park in America".
"... So what did you do in What Cheer for entertainment?" Jay asked Dee in between a sip of her coffee and a bite of toast.
The day promised to be sunny and hot so they dressed in T-shirts, shorts and walking shoes. Dee's white shirt announced boldly in dark blue that "I'd rather push a Chevy than drive a Ford" (a gift from an Aunt back home) while Jay's shirt advertised Terry Moore's "Strangers In Paradise" comic book.
"Well, " Dee said as she maneuvered her fork between the hash browns and scrambled eggs, creating a little valley between the two foods, "I read, play guitar, write poems, songs, surf the Internet, and, lately, look forward to the day I move to Ottumwa and start college."
She scooped a large helping of potato and ketchup up onto her fork and adeptly into her mouth.
"Hey, chipmunk cheeks," the local smiled as Dee's faced bulged, "do you like Sandra Scoppettone?"
Dee almost swallowed too soon. She gestured "just a moment" with her hand.
The tourist gulped and blushed. "Yeah." Why's she asking me that anyway?
"I saw one of her books in your room," Jay answered the unasked question. "What kind of music do you play?"
"Mostly folk stuff," the young woman replied, "I've never taken lessons, so it's all real simple kind of country, you know, all around just three chords." Dee's already rosy cheeks darkened. I hope she doesn't ask about my songs.
Jay, aware of Dee's nervousness, decided not to ask about the poems and songs - yet.
The older woman picked the check up off the table, "You ready?"
* * *
The freeway that the tourist and her guide were now on was the number 5, the major north-south route through the state, called the Golden State Freeway (although it is in fact an interstate and runs right up into Oregon and Washington). They were on the 5 south nearing the first public home of Mickey Mouse. To put it more accurately, they were trying to get near Disneyland but instead were at a dead stop.
Jay started tapping the steering wheel.
"What's the problem?" the tourist asked, as if Jay would know.
"Don't know," she responded," but maybe it has to do with all the construction going on around Anaheim. They're building the area up and reconstructing the freeway."
They managed to creep a few miles forward.
The tourist pointed at a sign posted on the right shoulder. "Look there's a radio station you can tune in for road info."
Jay let Dee find the station as they once again were sitting still on the pavement.
The radio blared, "Disneyland employees," Jay twisted the volume knob down, "take the Katella Avenue exit... If you need a tow-truck please call the Anaheim Police Department and we will be happy to help you..." The driver turned the radio off.
"Thought as much, " Jay said, turning to Dee with what could only be described as a pissed-off crooked little grin.
The BMW moved only car-lengths at a time but at least it was now going again.
"Get a load of that!" the tourist barely suppressed a yell, while she gestured to a spot on the road where a couple Caltrans (California Transit) trucks were stopped along with a van and a passenger car. People were milling about them.
Jay followed the Dee's direction to a large heavy dented sign that had dropped off the back of a Caltrans truck and was now leaning upright against its rear bumper. It was school bus yellow and had this message boldly printed in large black letters: "THANK YOU FOR DRIVING SAFELY."
The traffic moved very quickly once they passed that spot and they exited the freeway almost immediately. It happened so fast that the tourist didn't know when the freeway offramp stopped and the multi-laned entrance to Disneyland started.
They parked the car in "Goofy" and walked to the nearby tramstop.
While putt putting to the tram's recorded greeting, "Welcome to Disneyland, the happiest place on earth! ..." Jay related a story to the tourist.
"I heard about a dying woman who told her minister," Jay began, "that after she died she wanted to be cremated."
Dee looked at the storyteller seriously, trying to put on an expression appropriate for such a solemn subject.
"Anyway," Jay resumed, "the dying woman said she had one last wish."
The tourist's eyebrows rose in question.
After a pause, the older woman continued, "And that wish, that wish, was that her cremated remains be scattered"
At sea, right? Dee figured most people spoke of scattering their remains at sea and, as a result, she was second-guessing the narrator of this tale.
"That her remains be scattered," Jay repeated for affect, "at the happiest place on earth."
"What?" The surprised and disbelieving young woman asked, "at Disneyland? You mean you can actually do that?"
"Yes, at Disneyland," Jay replied, "and no, it's not legal to do it."
And so she continued, "So, wanting to grant the deceased her last wish, the minister came up with a plan."
"And?" Dee asked anxiously as the tram was approaching the park's entrance.
"And the minister and a friend took an old handbag," Jay spoke as Dee listened intently, "cut a hole in one corner, and proceeded to sprinkle the ashes in the park's flowerbeds."
"That's what I heard," Jay affirmed, and as she stepped off the tram she added, "Now don't go looking in every flowerbed for evidence."
Without a second thought, the taller one reached her hand back to Dee and continued to hold her hand while they walked to the ticket windows.
Jay released the smaller hand as Dee reached into her oversized shoulder bag for her Travelers Checks. Because the young woman was such a young woman she didn't have any credit cards and used Travelers Checks and cash for everything. Dee insisted in paying her own way and reimbursing Jay for the gas but occasionally the local would sneak in a small treat like this morning's breakfast.
As Dee signed on two of her twenty-dollar checks she said, to no one in particular, "Wow, it's expensive." The young woman's funds were disappearing faster that she'd expected. On the other hand, she was enjoying herself more than she'd ever dreamt she could. Well worth the price of admission, she mused.
After passing through the turnstile, Jay extended her hand to Dee again. The tourist looked down at the offering, smiled up at her friend and wrapped her fingers around the long soft hand.
...(You are about to enter http://disney.go.com/Disneyland/)...
It's just as well I don't have much money or credit cards, Dee sighed as they wove their way in and out of the shops along Disneyland's Main Street.
"Fantasyland?" Jay asked as they stood in the circle of road that offered paths to the destinations of Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland as well.
The fairy tale castle beckoned them and they crossed the bridge to walk under the arched gate.
"I saw you look in the flower bed," Jay chided.
"It's your fault," Dee retorted.
Two parades, seven rides and countless shops later the two women left the happy place and stood waiting for the tram. Jay figured they had another two hours of daylight remaining and hoped the drive up to Knott's would give their feet adequate rest.
As the local regarded the shorter woman from behind she was tempted to move up to her and drape her arms around and across Dee's chest to pull her close. I shouldn't be thinking these things. No matter how hard Jay tried to regret meeting the tourist, no matter how often she thought to stop it, she couldn't. Her heart had jumped onto a runaway train to places unknown.
"I'm sorry we couldn't stay to see 'Fantasmic' tonight," Jay sighed. She imagined holding the young woman to her for warmth against the cool of night, her action going unnoticed by the tightly packed crowd. You are going to have to do something about this Jay.
Dee turned to her, "Me too." The tourist continued, "There's so much to do here. I need more than two weeks." Two weeks. I've been here less than a week and just look at what's happened.
They boarded the tram and rode through the parking lot in silence, each lost in her own thought.
The young woman from Iowa was so thankful for this Godsend named Jay and yet she was already feeling sad that they would be parting soon. Her life in a Midwestern rural town of less than eight hundred was like a dream, and a boring one at that. This place was real and teeming with energy. This woman, her new friend, was smiling into her eyes right now. How can I keep this moment forever?
* * *
As Dee fingered a wooden Christmas tree ornament of Mickey, her chauffeur drove them to Knott's Berry Farm - the birthplace, so to speak, of the boysenberry.
Jay parked the BMW in a parking lot adjacent to the full-scale replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. After a quick wander through the building to view a copy of the Liberty Bell (complete with its characteristic crack in the casting) they crossed the street to the shops and theme park.
Before reaching the ticket windows and entrance to the park, they had to pass by numerous stores and a family restaurant. Jay had been told they served the best chicken dinners around.
"Time to eat," the tour-guide announced as they stood by the line of people waiting to be seated.
"Sounds like an excellent idea me," Dee licked her lips in anticipation.
It took as long for them to be seated as it had taken them to get on any ride at Disneyland. They both ordered the famous chicken dinner.
...(While they chow down, care to check out Knott's? http://www.knotts.com/)...
"So, " the local started as she witnessed Dee remove all but the finish from her plate, "What do you think?"
"I've had better in Iowa," the tourist arrogantly replied.
"Uh huh," Jay frowned. "Well I bet they don't have better boysenberry pies!"
And with that she tried to get the waitress' attention for their dessert order.
* * *
"Had enough of amusement parks?" Jay asked Dee as they sat in the still quiet car parked on the street near Denise's. It was approaching 11 o'clock and time for Jay to go to work.
"For today," the young woman grinned back at her.
Jay resisted the urge to lean over and kiss her. Dee gave in to her desire to be kissed. But nothing happened. A silent gap of unmet need grew between them. Jay stepped out of her car, walked around to the passenger side and opened the door for Dee. At first this habit of Jay's threw the tourist off, but then she relaxed at the local's small display of chivalry that Jay attributed to her upbringing.
Before the tall dark one had fully realized what she'd said, it was out there. "I have tomorrow night off so how about I fix us dinner?"
Dee stared at her, surprised and momentarily speechless. By God, she's courting me!
"Great," Jay turned and then said over her shoulder, "I'll be by in the morning at 10, alright?"
The tourist nodded yes to the disappearing form.
* * *
"...that @#$%ing sonabitch Hyde, hes gonna kill the action as soon as it gets in committee," Pam fumed as she strutted across the floor to the wetbar and picked up her cocktail glass from its marble counter.
Ingrid sat in one of the two high-back overstuffed chairs in the room and focused her attention on the legislator while pondering her words. Pam was venting. She didnt want conversation, she just wanted an intelligent person to listen to her thoughts and be aware of her feelings.
"...and the non-voters - well, screw them! I mean thats the attitude so many of these 'war-lords', for lack of a crueler name, have." Pam, drink in hand, continued to rant and pace about the room.
"...There are some that are just there hanging on, trying to keep alive by feeding the electorate promises with no hope of fulfilling them..." Pam's steps slowed along with the beat of her words. "...Trying not to be a target for one who perceives profit in striking you down."
She approached Ingrid, sat gracefully in the other overstuffed chair, and placing her empty glass on the small round table between them, she sighed, "Im done."
Ingrid stood up and walked over to her. Pam had removed the jacket to her skirt-suit earlier in the night and now sat back in the chair as the tall woman loomed before her. Ingrid wore a black suit with white pinstripes and a crisp white cotton shirt with a narrow deep forest green tie. The sharply creased slacks fell to the tops of shiny black leather shoes. The attire charged her already electric blue eyes and caused her dark brown hair to appear shades lighter. The long tresses were neatly brushed and hung loose down her back.
She knelt before the seated woman, arms to her sides, and looked at Pam. The object of her gaze leant forward and barely rested her hand on the soft silken head. When the hand passed lightly down her forehead, eyebrows and lashes, Ingrid closed her eyes. Behind the dropped lids, Jay saw Dee. The expression of the young woman was not one of familiar mirth or awe. Rather, Dee's hazel eyes were dark with desire. Her lips were parted a mere fraction, daring Jay to touch and enter there.
Pam's fingertip ran the length of Ingrid's nose and then rested a moment on her closed mouth. Applying minute pressure the bottom lip separated from the upper. The finger ducked inside long enough to gather and pull the wetness across her full lower lip. The touch proceeded down the chin and neck to the top of the shirt collar. Pam loosened and removed the necktie, slid her hands under the jacket to the shoulders and let it drop to the floor. Ingrid's eyes remained closed as Jay dreamt of Dee unbuttoning her shirt.
* * *
Several miles away and an hour earlier, Dee walked into Denise's apartment to find her cousin seated in the recliner, candy bar in one hand and the TV's remote in the other.
Denise pressed the 'mute' button. "Your boyfriend John called while you were out - He wants you to call him back."
The younger one grimaced inwardly. John was the last person she had on her mind.
"I'll have to call back tomorrow," Dee replied to Denise, who had already clicked in the volume back up, "It's too late now."
"I told him about your new friend," Denise added as her cousin opened the door to her room.
Dee froze a moment and then turned back to face the living room, " What did you tell him?"
"Chill, Dee. I just told him that you made a friend here. A tall dark blue-eyed gorgeous woman, that, God only knows why, decided to take you under her wing -so to speak- and show you the sights."
Chomp. One more bite would finish off the candy bar.
"And?" Dee prepared herself for more.
"And what?" Her cousin replied, took the last bite and licked the chocolate from her fingers.
"You didn't tell him more?"
"No," Denise clicked off the TV and stood, "But, I want to know something."
"Yes?" The younger one responded eyeing Denise suspiciously.
"Why does she hang around you?" Before Dee could answer her older cousin continued, "What is she after?"
Dee was at a loss for words. She groped for anything to reply, "She isn't after anything. She just likes my company." While she knew this to be true it sounded like such a lame a reason for this exciting woman-of-the-world to be with her.
"I'll tell you what I think," Denise went on.
"I don't care what you think!" the younger said with barely suppressed anger. Why do I feel compelled to defend her?
The older cousin was determined to proceed. "I think that she's trying to recruit you."
Dee's jaw dropped and her eyes opened as wide as they could. "WHAT?"
"You heard me. And please lower your voice."
"Just what is it she's supposed to be recruiting me for, anyway?" Dee quietly asked although she unwillingly suspected what her cousin was implying.
"Prostitution," Denise answered with feigned nonchalance.
The younger woman walked to the couch, sat and put her face in her hands.
Her question was muffled, "Are you done?"
Denise walked over to Dee and put a hand on her shoulder. "Be careful sweetie. Please."
* * *
It was black inside and out. "The darkest hour is just before dawn." This line from an old Mama Cass song crept into Dee's semi-awake consciousness as she got up from her makeshift bed and turned on a small desk-lamp. Next to the lamp's base was her wristwatch. The thin hands of its face told her it was about 5:00 in the morning. She could call John back before he left for work.
"John." The very awake and deep male voice announced.
"It's Dee, John," the young woman croaked.
"Dee!" John's excited response rose an octave.
She cleared her throat. "I'm not coherent yet but I thought this'd be the best time to call."
"Oh it's so good to hear you," her boyfriend cooed, "I've been missing you so much."
"Hey John - I haven't even been gone a week yet!"
"But I love you so Dee, " he continued softly, "each day without you feels like a week."
She gave a slight chuckle, "I didn't know you were so poetic."
"I've got a surprise for you when you get back," John baited her.
"Ah, like what?"
"Dee, I can't tell you now."
"Not even a little hint?" she beseeched him.
"You'll just have to hurry back," he replied and then changed course, "Denise told me you've met someone... tall, dark and good-looking..."
"Uh, yeah, " Dee waited for John to finish his sentence.
"...Not a guy."
"No, John, you're the only man in my life," she assured him.
"Well it sounds like this woman has sure taken to you."
Just the thought of Jay swept over her like the flow of a warm gentle wave.
They became aware of the silence between them.
"Take care of yourself, okay? I want you back safe and sound."
"I'll be careful." Have I been?
"I'll be there to pick you up at the airport," John reminded her, "and have a great time sweetheart." He didn't even ask what I've been doing. She frowned.
"Thanks, J," Dee started and thought immediately of Jay, "...I will."
"Bye, D - I love you."
"Love you too, " she said without thinking, the response had become automatic.
After hanging up the phone, she took a peek through the window's curtains at the approaching day and settled back on the couch to sleep.
* * *
Jay had the top down on the roadster and her hair was bound in one long braid that was drawn through the back of a light blue baseball cap. The hat was an almost perfect match to her eyes.
She flashed a huge bright smile to Dee as the tourist pulled her hair into an elastic band.
For a moment the tourist thought of how they must look, two young women wearing dark sunglasses cruising down the highway in a convertible. Like Thelma and Louise. Well...kind of like Thelma and Louise.
The tour-guide took Pacific Coast Highway down to Long Beach. They did a slow drive by the Queen Mary and Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.
... (For the Official view of the Queen Mary visit http://www.queenmary.com/ , for a tourist's perspective try http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/9649/ )...
They detoured off PCH and stopped for brunch at a local institution called Hamburger Henry's at the south end of Long Beach in a fashionable little area called Belmont Shore.
"Thes'm buns'm are delish'sus," Dee complemented the place through a mouth full of burger.
"Ah, yeah," Jay was still getting accustomed to this voracious eater. Was she starving in Iowa?
They were quickly back on Pacific Coast Highway rolling through cities with no physical boundaries except the small signs that read "Naples", "Sunset Beach", "Huntington Beach" and "Newport Beach". Now back in Iowa you knew when you'd left one town and entered another. These places are packed together like sardines in a tin. God, I can't be hungry again already, can I? Dee and Jay drove along in relative silence, the wind whipping around their faces made conversation difficult and the young tourist was fully absorbed in sights and thoughts.
They left the highway in Newport Beach to drive out along the Balboa Peninsula towards something called the jetty and a once popular, and dangerous, surfing spot called "The Wedge". Afterwards they crossed the harbor on one of two three-car ferries that had carried cars and people back and forth between the peninsula and Balboa Island since at least the 1950's.
As the ferry slowly moved to the Island gate, the two women got out of the car and observed the boats and expensive waterfront homes. Jay recalled riding this ferry as a child. At that time she thought the entire world looked liked this. She found herself staring at the young woman from the Midwest wondering about her childhood world.
... (What does Newport Beach look like? See http://www.nbonline.com/)...
"Penny for your thoughts," Dee interrupted Jay's trip down memory lane.
"A penny?" the local looked back in shock, "a penny won't buy you squat anymore! It'll cost you a quarter at least."
"Hey, I'll go for a whole dollar's worth then, " the young woman laughed back.
"I was just remembering when I was a kid. Grew up 'round here," the local responded, "I used to fish off the docks with a drop line and sinker - even though I couldn't stand fish back then and, uck! Cleaning them - forget it."
"So you'd throw them back or what?"
"Nah. My brothers, Mom and the cats would eat them." Jay went on to relate a specific memory about fishing. "I remember the first time I caught a flounder. With both its eyes, fins and scales being all on just ONE side of its body - well I thought God made a big mistake."
"Sounds like a butt-ugly fish to me," the tourist remarked.
"Hey, they be ugly but they be tasty! Ever had halibut?"
When Dee shook her head no Jay said, "Well, you simply must try it."
When the ferry gate lifted, the car clanked up a ramp and onto the island.
"I think we'd better get you a cap and some sunblock," Jay told Dee as she searched for a parking space on the island's main street. Between the chapping wind and the strong overhead sun, the tourist's cheeks and nose had a shiny red glow to them.
"And I'll treat you to an original frozen banana while we're here."
Dee found out that a frozen banana was in fact a frozen banana on a stick that was dipped in chocolate syrup and rolled in chopped nuts or sugar candies.
A lovely old bridge linked Balboa Island to the mainland and with quick stint up the hill they were back on the coast highway heading for Laguna Beach.
For a brief span the homes, hotels, shopping centers and restaurants disappeared. Low brown grassy hills flanked one side of the highway and, to the west, a bluff unrolled to provide them with an unobstructed view of the ocean and its lazy surf. All too soon the vista transformed back again but this time the highway dipped down to almost touch the beach as they entered downtown Laguna. The traffic came to a halt simply because it was summer and the locals from inland sought the cool water and breezes. The BMW inched its way up the opposite hill while its passengers prayed for parking. Heaven smiled and found them a space.
"You must be good luck," Jay commented as she hopped out and around the car to Dee's side.
They put the top back up on the car and started strolling back down the slope toward the beach's boardwalk. It took a long time to get there as the tourist decided she had to check out every art gallery, book store and gift shop on the way.
...(You can see Laguna Beach at http://www.laguna-beach.ca.us/. A popular spot for gays, so if youre interested check out http://www.boomboomroom.com/laguna.htm)...
It was approaching sunset when they returned to the car.
"Dee," the older woman turned to the other as they settled themselves back into the car.
"I know I said I'd fix you dinner, but it's going to be way too late by the time we'd get back," the local looked for understanding from Dee, "May I take you out to dinner tonight and fix dinner for you another time?"
"Of course," the young woman grinned back as she pulled off her cap.
Jay drove up to the valet parking at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point.
Dee was oblivious to her open mouth and repeated sighs as they walked down the expansive opulent hallway. Directly ahead was a wide entrance to a library-like room full of huge dark wooden bookcases with plush chairs and tables. The room bisected the long sunken lobby with its tall windows through which they could now witness the sun's splendor as it descended timelessly behind the blue of the Pacific.
Once the tourist gathered her wits about her again, she felt incredibly underdressed for a dinner at this place. In fact, she had nothing in her entire wardrobe -except maybe her prom dress- that she would consider appropriate.
"Jay, this place is fantastic - but," she spread her arms out and looked down her tank top to her shorts and sneakers.
"You're right," Jay, who was similarly clad, agreed. "We're much too informal for the dining room, but let's have a drink here in the lounge and watch the last of the daylight fade away."
The two found a soft comfortable couch with a large decorative coffee table. Dee watched Jay in quiet awe as the tall beauty ordered their drinks. From the first words she'd heard Jay speak to Bill (the bartender back in Venice), the woman's body posture and tone exemplified complete confidence in herself. Dee half expected waves to part before her should she so desire.
As they finished off their Pina Coladas, the tourist's tummy grumbled.
"So where to for dinner?" she asked.
"Our room," Jay replied straight-faced.
Dee choked on her surprise, "What? What on earth?"
"It's simple," Jay granted the young woman a small crooked grin, "we can wear whatever we like."
"It will cost a fortune, Jay... You know I can't afford anything like this." Maybe not even in my dreams.
Jay became very serious, moved closer to Dee and, pouring her incredibly blue eyes into the young woman's hazel ones, she spoke in almost a whisper.
"Dee. I know you think it's fanciful and too extravagant but this is important to me. We have known each other only days but I feel like you are a part of me somehow. You have done so much to fill an emptiness in me - I can't even begin to explain it."
The young tourist's eyebrows furrowed in concentration but her eyes softened in understanding.
Suddenly Dee's face registered fear. A room? She wants to spend the night with me? Oh my...
"Why are you afraid?" Jay asked seeing her discomfort.
"I'm a... um..." Okay Dee, get a grip on yourself here. Why are you afraid? You think she's going to do something to you? Something you don't want? Maybe you're afraid you'll like it.
"Promise not to bite you," Jay tried to calm her insecurity. Not unless you want me to.
"Very funny," the tourist found her voice again, "It's just that this is too much - it's overwhelming this hick from America's heartland. I've never even stayed in a motel before!" Sad but true, I've only ever stayed with relatives or close friends of my family.
"Then you definitely must do this," the local spoke as if the decision were already made, "...However, it may spoil you for life." Jay then gave the tourist her most imploring look.
Dee debated with herself. Let me think about this logically. When will I ever, ever in a million years be able to do sometime like this if I don't do it now? Never, right?
"Okay." Dee murmured. I'm not going to think about the cost of this night.
* * *
"Are you alright?" the older woman asked Dee as she helped her back up to her feet. "I think you should sit on the sofa with your head down between your knees for a minute."
The tourist had flat out fainted when Jay opened the double doors to their suite. While it was one of the least expensive available with an ocean front balcony, it was twice the size of Denise's apartment. With the exquisite furnishings Dee felt like she was trespassing.
Her color returned and she looked into Jay's concerned face.
"Sorry, I'm, umm, speechless..." the young one managed to say.
"I know how to make you feel better," the local replied as she brought a large thick folder with her to the sofa and sat down beside Dee. "Dinner."
Jay placed their order and suggested they clean up before the meal arrived.
She volunteered to shower first and left the tourist to explore the suite.
Besides marveling at every objet d'art and trying to immerse herself in the sheer luxury of it all, Dee's mind would sneak in doubts and questions. She wanted to believe all of this was a gift from Jay, no strings attached -no hidden agenda-, yet her cousin's suspicion about Jay haunted her. The thought of this magnificent and generous woman possibly being a 'madam' gave her a chill. The young woman decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, at least that was until Jay reappeared from the bath wearing only a plush white terry robe and a towel round her hair.
"What's wrong now?" Jay queried into the astonished woman's face.
"Where did you get that robe?" the young woman asked, only now seeing the embroidered Ritz-Carlton emblem on its front.
"There's one for you too." Jay commented, realizing she didn't have to answer Dee's question.
Dee convinced herself it was okay to be with the robe-clad woman, that it didn't have any consequence beyond that, and she closed the bathroom door behind her. Jay heard her through the door saying "wow" a couple of times while she towel-dried her long dark hair.
Jay was accustomed to hotel suites like this one but tonight it became something new. She was the one who was paying the bill, but the money didn't matter. For a fleeting moment she imagined herself in the position of one of her clients and it made her shudder. Jay wanted to keep that part of her life far from Dee yet here she was surrounded by what could be her place of work. The tourist couldn't tell but Jay was scared. Jay realized during this week that she wanted Dee in her life, somehow, as a permanent part, ... a big part. There was nothing Jay could think of to make it happen and she was sure, positive as can be, that the young tourist would slam the door in her face if she knew her secret. While she thought up ways to keep Dee ignorant about that part of her, their dinner arrived.
"My God!" the tourist softly exclaimed as she beheld the dining table, and the serving tray and silver pedestal bucket beside it. Before her eyes was a bounty of culinary delights the likes of which she'd never seen in real life. Oh, it smells so good and looks so beautiful.
"I almost hate to eat it," she said to Jay who was grinning at her like the cat that ate the canary.
"It won't keep," Jay answered back as she walked over to the table and pulled out a chair for Dee. Then Jay put the provided cloth over the bottle's cork and began to loosen it.
"Wait!" The tourist's sudden outburst froze Jay's action. "If it's champagne can we pop the cork off the balcony?"
Jay gave her a lopsided smirk and raised an eyebrow, "Well, hell, why not."
Dee got up and followed the taller one over to the sliding glass door. It was about two hours after sunset but still the sky was light. A warm breeze wrapped around them as they stepped outside. Jay felt the young woman's hands on hers as she held the bottle.
"What's it say?" Dee asked as she moved the cloth further down to reveal the label.
"Dom Perignon." Jay said as she felt Dee's warmth through her fingers, knuckles and the back of her hands.
"Fine. I can't pronounce it." The shorter woman moved closer to Jay. "Let's open it together."
They aimed for the horizon and Dee screamed with glee after the loud pop sent the cork flying and foam bubbled up out of the bottle. She licked the bubbly off her hands as Jay lead her back to the table. "This must be ambrosia!" She giggled.
"I'm glad you're hungry," Jay said as she poured the champagne and sat down.
She lifted her glass and Dee followed suit.
"Dee," she started, looking into her companion's brown and green eyes with as much sincerity and love as she could, "May this night be one of the best night's in your life... I know it is for me."
The young woman was surprised by Jay's toast and smiled back shyly. She brought the crystal to her lips. It already is, Jay. I think I've fallen in love.
Rather than ordering two dinners, they decided to sample as much of the menu as they thought they could handle. Considering Dee's appetite, that was quite a lot. They agreed to split everything and started on the cold Maine Lobster, Artichoke and Tomato salad. After several sounds of delight they moved onto the Bisque of Roasted Butternut Squash, interrupted only by the tourist's snatches of cheese from the variety plate on the tableside-serving tray.
When Jay refilled the champagne glasses she dropped a fresh strawberry into each and smiled broadly when Dee laughed at the resulting fizz.
"This is great stuff," the young woman said as she stared at the bubbles clinging to the strawberry's seeds, "... but it makes my nose tickle."
She touched a fork to the wild mushroom and foie gras crust of the turbot. "This is the ugly fish that tastes good?"
Jay nodded yes and added, "You tell me."
Dee must have sucked every bit of juice out of that bite before she chewed and swallowed it.
"Damn right," she smiled, "are you sure this is fish?"
The new flatfish eater quickly ate up half the dish and swapped her fork for a spoon. After another laughing sip of champagne she reached for the fava bean and scallop soup.
Jay was delighted beyond words at the joy this meal brought to Dee. She herself ate only sparingly, taking her time and thinking about how she could keep young woman close to her.
What is it about this person that pulls me like to her like a siren song. She's beautiful, sweet and naïve. She reminds me a little of myself at her age. I was so gullible. Jay made a small snort at that, which Dee, still enthralled by the food, didn't notice.
Perhaps I see in her the person I might have been, had I been given a choice. She is like the part of me that was lost when I was nineteen and now I have found myself in her.
"There won't be anything left for you!" Dee took a break from her feasting to warn Jay.
"There's plenty plus we haven't touched the dessert yet."
"Then what was this?" the tourist asked, tapping an empty small stemmed glass with her fork.
"Sorbet," Jay replied and then affected an English accent, "to clean your palate between foods."
"Oh, " the young woman mimicked her, "shall we proceed to the dessert then?"
"But of course," the older one spoke as she reached over to lift a covered silver dish from the side table and placed it on the dining table. She got up, retrieved the menu and read as she lifted the lid, "Manjari Chocolate Mirror with Frangelico Sauce."
She put the cover and menu down, "My dear."
Dee grinned back and lifted her spoon to the elegant dessert. She found herself looking at Jay unawares while her host also started on the dish.
The young woman liked to watch Jay unnoticed. She would steal glances and stare openly when she thought she could escape the trance of the woman's startling blue eyes. She is so sexy and it's like she doesn't even know it. She's smart, god she is so intelligent, and so refined. I wish I were her - no, no I don't. If I were I couldn't enjoy her. Now, me I'm just a-
Jay caught Dee with her eyes and immediately the young woman's brain short-circuited.
Smile. Smile back.
Another bite. Another stolen look.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. She's so beautiful. Now, me I'm just a plain country bumpkin. Been nowhere until now. I don't think I could ever be like her...but I sure want to be with her.
Dee sighed. Jay raised her eyebrows.
"That was a heavy sigh," she remarked. "You can't possibly be getting full now, could you?"
"Actually," the tourist drew the word out to fill a whole sentence.
Then she continued, "Actually, yes." She put down her utensil and used her palms on the table to help herself up from the seat.
"That was... Incredibly... Delicious." Dee picked up her third glass of champagne and walked to the balcony.
Warmed by the alcohol, the thick soft robe and her thoughts of Jay, Dee looked out over the Pacific. The moon had risen and lit a widening path on the water's surface from the edge of the ocean to where it gently swept the shore. My dream. She closed her eyes and could see Jay rising up from the sea and approaching her. Naked. Glistening. Breathtaking.
A slight pressure on her shoulder felt like a match flame, burning a moment before going out. Jay dropped another fingertip to the young woman's right shoulder and Dee felt another match ignite and die. She tried to relax to the touch but it had brought her back to the here and now and that frightened her. The taller woman allowed her hands to fully cover Dee's shoulders and stepped in close behind her. I've dreamed of this, they thought.
"It touches your soul, doesn't it?" Jay spoke in a reverent whisper.
It was the moment, the view, Jay, the champagne, Dee, the desire - whatever it was, Dee turned to Jay and Jay kissed her.
* * *
Poets and writers, how do they describe it? "Burning with Passion?" "Electric?" "Wildfire?" No, these are cool and lukewarm. How about "Spontaneous combustion"? We will surely be reduced to ashes if we continue any longer...
Whatever their thoughts had been, they knew they were once separate and now one. As they pressed their bodies into each other, it felt as if their hearts passed physical barriers to wrap and twist together. This unified being squeezed with such intensity that flames shot north and south as high as the Heavens and as deep as Hades.
Then it was over.
Jay pulled herself gently from Dee's tight embrace. Looking into the young woman's very core she said, "I love you."
Dee almost dropped the empty champagne glass that was only loosely clinging to her fingers.
Staring back into the taller woman's soul she realized she had whispered back "I love you too." Her words reverberated in her mind and each repetition etched the emotion deeper.
Jay freed the champagne glass from Dee's hand, set it down and wrapped her arms around the woman she loved. Dee fell into the warm shelter of the hug, rested her head against Jay's chest and clasped her hands together in the small of Jay's back. The tall woman dropped her cheek to the top of the sandy-haired-head. This feels so right, surely it can't be wrong.
It seemed they stood like that for hours. They felt each other's warmth, love and cherished the sweet connection between them.
"My feet are starting to go numb," the older spoke, acknowledging a damp cold that had invaded their nest.
Hand-in-hand they returned to the comparative brightness of the living room. Jay led them over to the light switches and she dimmed the glow. Dee pulled her head down for another kiss.
I only had three glasses, but my head is swimming...and my knees are so weak. With this intrusive thought, the young woman backed away a step.
"You're not going to faint again, are you?" Jay slipped her hands from Dee's back to her shoulders.
* * *
"Feeling better?" the taller one asked, leaning over the tourist as she lay on top of the bedcovers.
"UmHmm." Dee tried to bring her eyes into focus. "You look like a Cyclops from here."
Jay pulled away from Dee's face.
"That's better," the young woman continued, "but I feel so sleepy." Her words struggled to reach the surface of her awareness enough for her to make sounds.
This time Dee was out for the count.
Jay looked down on the woman she loved and gave her head a small slow shake.
She decided Dee would be embarrassed if she disrobed her so she rolled Dee from one side to the other to scoot the covers up and over her. Then she loaded up the serving table with the dirty dishes and wheeled it into the outside hall.
When she turned off the lights, she dropped her forehead to the wall. I love you Dee. Somehow I have to find a way to make this work for us.
Jay removed the bedspread and, with her robe on as well, gently got into the bed and wrapped herself around the quietly sleeping young woman.
"Goodnight, love," she whispered, brushing her lips against the golden strands.
END of Incidental Tourist Part Two.
CONTINUED in Incidental Tourist Part Three.
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