Disclaimer: Uber Star Trek Voyager, JAG and X-files. No infringement intended since this is an original story. Among other things it is about same gender love between consenting adult women and if that is illegal where you are or offensive to you in any way - please hit your back button! 
Rating: Chapters vary between G - NC-17
Revised May 2, 2001

Credit to Pol, you know why, my dear.

Back to "Finding Shelter From The Storm" - part 4


Finding Shelter From The Storm

© GB

 

Part 5

It was still dark.

The blonde stirred, shifted a little and opened her eyes.

Sunny let her hands draw lazy circles on Laura’s back, under the blankets, pulling her closer at the same time, the older woman’s head tucked in beneath her chin.

“Are you cold?” she asked Laura who shivered slightly against her.

“No, not really,” she answered, her voice muted against Sunny’s neck.

“You are trembling.”

Laura gave a short chuckle.  “No kidding? I am?“

”Yes,” Sunny insisted, decidedly concerned now.

“Well, I guess I must be, then.”

Sunny got up on her elbow and regarded Laura intently.  “What’s wrong, Laura?” she asked uncertainly.

Laura peeked up at her through tousled tresses of hair.

“Well,” she drawled, her lopsided smile in place, “I’m not sure how to tell you this …”

“What?”

“I think it’s your fault that I tremble.”

“Mine? But I …” Sunny began before realising what Laura was hinting at and why she was smiling in that impish way.

“Oh.”

“Oh, indeed,” Laura agreed.

“Uh … you … you’re okay, then?”

Laura pulled the blonde’s face closer and kissed her gently on her full lips.

“I’m fine. All I needed was some sleep,” she said softly and then her grin returned. “Anything I can do for you, Ms Stewart?”

Sunny’s eyes narrowed and she bit her lower lip trying to judge what mood Laura was in.

This side of her, she thought, is not one she displays very often. There’s a smile in her eyes, but also something almost dangerous. I know, because it makes me nervous.

“What do you mean, Laura?” she asked tentatively. “I’m fine, I wasn’t hurt when we were attacked.”

Laura traced the length of her left arm, from her wrist to her elbow, using her fingers. This made Sunny tremble too and she inhaled audibly, getting goosebumps all over.

“You’re sure there isn’t a bump or a bruise somewhere that needs my attention?” the older woman inquired.

Aha, Sunny thought, this is a game, I wasn’t aware of that. Well, two can play, Laura.

“Oh,” she said, looking very serious, “there is the matter of my injured shoulder. It really aches, you know.”

Laura’s face lost its mischievous expression as she became concerned.

“It hurts? Let me take a look,” she ordered and started pulling at the blonde’s sweatshirt. She carefully stuck her hand inside it and let a hand follow Sunny’s side and trace her sore shoulder.

It was sore, Sunny thought, but not as bad as Laura probably thought. She regretted teasing the other woman, who now looked utterly concerned and touched her so tenderly.

“Really, it’s nothing,” she tried but was simply ignored.

“What if I press here?” Laura asked and applied pressure to the joint.

It didn’t hurt, well not much, Sunny thought, but there were some pain still.

“Just a little,” she said. “Really Laura, it’s nothing … “

Oh, why did I start this, I should have known that I’d be either outsmarted or that she’d believe me too well, Sunny sighed inwardly. Now, what do I do?

She mulled over that for a while as Laura examined her shoulder with great care. Then she noticed that she was shivering herself, not unlike Laura had earlier. I need her touch, she decided, but it is unlikely that she will touch me the way I want her to. Unless …

Sunny took Laura’s arm and pulled the hand from her shoulder. When it was halfway out her sweatshirt, she redirected it to her chest and didn’t stop until Laura’s palm was cupping one of her luscious breasts. She was wearing a sports bra but the touch was like fire anyway.

Laura had stopped breathing and was now staring at the sweatshirt where it covered her hand.

“Sunny …” she whispered. “What are you doing?”

“I’m sorry, Laura, but I need your touch so much. I don’t mean to take advantage of you.”

Laura’s eyes darted up to Sunny’s honest gaze, looking like she was searching for something.

“I don’t think you could take advantage of me, ever,” she said in that throaty voice that made the blonde shudder. “You might involuntarily hurt me, but you would never knowingly take advantage of me.”

“I wouldn’t want to.”

Laura’s hand started moving and the older woman groaned softly as she began a tentative exploration of the abundant breast. Sunny sighed and sank down next to her; small shivers surging through her body.

“Oh, Laura, “ she sighed, “it feels so good.”

“You like this, do you?” Laura growled softly in the back of her throat.

“I do. I have never felt anything like this,” the blonde admitted.

“You haven’t? But surely, there have been lovers …”

Sunny stiffened and shook her head.

“No.”

“No? You mean you have never been with a woman …”

“No. I mean, no lovers.”

The hand stopped moving.

“No lovers?” Laura sounded incredulous.

Sunny shrunk inside. This was what she had been afraid of. She knew her inexperience was nothing to be ashamed of, but she was also well aware of that she was not even close to being in Laura’s league, in this respect … in any respect.

I never should have said that, she thought unhappily. I should have played the … No, how could I have? How could I have played along in a game I know hardly anything about? She would know anyway, sooner or later, that I’m not an adequate lover.

“I’m sorry,” Sunny whispered, mortified. “I should have told you. You must think I’m pathetic.”

She looked up at Laura who regarded her with an unreadable expression in her eyes.

“I think nothing of the kind,” the older woman answered.

*****

Laura looked down at the distraught young woman in her arms. Her hand still cupped the pliant breast and she was unwilling to let it go.

She is so damn beautiful, she thought angrily. And now she thinks she’s not good enough, or something.

“You’re not pathetic and you have nothing to be ashamed of,” Laura stated firmly and let her hand resume its caresses. This made the blonde’s eyes go wide and her tongue darted out to lick her lips.

Not really thinking about the consequences, Laura bent down and kissed her. Not a fiery kiss like the one they had shared in the car, but a slow, lingering, almost soothing kiss, meant to reassure as well as entice.

“You are lovely and I am honoured that you are letting me get this close to you; that you are allowing me to hold you like this. I think it’s important that we take this slow. Very slow. But make no mistake; I want you, Sunny. I have wanted you since I woke up and found you hovering above me at your motel. You are wonderful.”

The blonde gave a watery smile and pulled her down for another kiss and now Laura let her hand move in beneath the sports bra, relishing in the feeling of that satin skin. Sunny jerked and arched against the tough, making little delicious noises into Laura’s mouth, as her body experienced this particular sensation for the first time.

“Laura,” she breathed against the older woman’s lips. “Oh, god, it’s you who are wonderful.”

She calls me wonderful and she is the one who is perfect, Laura thought feverishly. I want this gorgeous creature naked underneath me but it won’t happen. Not now, perhaps never. But to touch her like this, to fondle her breast like this, making those full lips open up …

She bent down and kissed Sunny again. Her blonde hair was loose, her cheeks were flushed and her crystal blue eyes were half closed, simmering with passion.

Just a little longer, Laura thought to herself. Just a few more kisses and a little more cuddling. I need this more than I need to breath.

The nipple prodding her palm made her lower her mouth outside the sweatshirt and nip at it with her teeth. Sunny stiffened and her breath became shallow.

“Oh …oh, yes, Laura …”

She arched her back trying so obviously to get closer, but Laura backed off a little, not allowing for them to take this further.

“No, darling,” she smiled regretfully. “Let’s not do something we can’t handle later. Our situation has changed and not for the better. They know we’re here somewhere and that we’re together. We’re safe for now, but we can’t stay here forever.”

Sunny nodded, looking very unhappy.  “I know,” she said. “But at least we are together, Laura.    I’m not leaving you.”

Laura flinched.  Oh, but you might be doing just that, she thought unhappily.

*****

“You’re having diet coke with your breakfast?”

The elegant redhead looked at her partner with amused disgust.

Joan, pouring herself a second glass of her favourite beverage, grinned at her.

“Yes, I am, I need the caffeine.”

“What’s wrong with coffee?”

Joan grinned mischievously again,  “Too much caffeine. You wouldn’t want to know me if I had that much energy.”

Dawn rolled her eyes but a warm smile formed on her lips as she admired how absolutely adorable Joan looked sitting there in her black outfit looking all tough and independent. Was it only yesterday that I held her … when she almost kissed me? Dawn mused.

Joan chewed on yet another killer sub that she had persuaded Miriam to make for her, instead of the ordinary toast they served for breakfast.

“Did you get the photos of Sunshine Stewart?” she asked.

Dawn nodded.  “Yes. Look, here they are. This is our mystery blonde.”

She handed the brunette two photos and Joan put the sub down to study them.

“Holy sh- … Damn, she’s beautiful. No wonder Farlow is bringing her brought her along. And look at that dog. That’s no dog, that’s a horse!”

“Do you think she …I mean, that she is …”  Dawn stuttered as she embarrassingly began to blush.

“That Farlow is attracted to her? Yes, I would say that’s a strong possibility,” replied Joan.   I thought about this last night when I couldn’t sleep. She might even be in love because this is so out of character.”

“You couldn’t sleep?” Dawn asked cautiously.  

Looking like she only now realised what she just said, it was Joan’s turn to blush.

“Uh … well, yes, I was a bit restless. I had a lot to think about. So I figured that if Farlow decided to bring this young girl along, she must be special to her.”

Dawn frowned.

“Restless? Were you upset?”

“What? No, not at all. I just … I needed to think about what we said … did.” The brunette grabbed her glass and sipped her coke. “I have a confession to make.”

“You have?”

Oh, no. She regrets the whole thing and now she is going to tell me it was a spur of the moment thing … something that can never be … Dawns thoughts raced through her mind, causing havoc.

“I held you while you slept. You threw your arm over me and I … I held you.”

Dawn blinked and then covered her mouth, her eyes glazing over as she stared at the flustered woman on the opposite side of the table. The voices of the other guests were all of a sudden reduced to a muffled sound.

“Oh, Joan,” she sighed.

“I … I’m sorry,” the brunette said, starting to smooth out tiny wrinkles on the white tablecloth with an odd little gesture.

Before realising what she intended to do, Dawn’s hand free hand shot out and grabbed it. Holding it gently, her thumb rubbing it soothingly, all she could do was lower her other hand and allow her smile to show.

“You held me?”

“Yes.”

“Then I should be just as truthful, Joanie,” Dawn whispered huskily. “When we stayed at Malachai’s … that night, you moved onto my shoulder and I … held you. Now we’re even.”

Joan’s eyes grew big and she held on tightly to Dawn’s hand.

“Was that why you were up so early? I remember being surprised that you had even made your side of the bed and everything.”

Dawn nodded, smiling wryly.

“I panicked.” And I won’t tell you how intimate the touching was, Dawn thought.

The brunette smiled warmly, flashing her white teeth at her.

“You? The Dawn Morrison I know never panics. She’s as tough as nails.”

“Not when it comes to …”

“… matters of the heart?” Joan suggested.

Dawn raised an eyebrow and the other woman blushed faintly.

“Yes,” the redhead relented, “I tend to panic when it comes to matters of the heart.”

“There’s no need, you know.”

“I’m not so sure, but I promise I’ll try not to … run.”

“Then what will you do the next time I roll onto you shoulder or suggest … well, things like kisses, for instance?”

“Don’t push your luck, Joan.”

Joan grinned.  

“Oh, but I’m so curious.”

Dawn sighed exasperatedly.

“You say I’m stubborn? You are relentless”

Joan just kept looking at her.

“Okay, okay. I won’t run, at least. I will, be susceptible to suggestions. Satisfied?”

“Not yet, but something tells me I will be if I play my cards right.”

Dawn groaned.

*****

They were going to head south.

They had talked to Miriam’s nephew Vincent and the young man had been quite informative.

“Sunny was very protective towards the woman,” he had told them.

“The lady looked like she’d been hurt. Sunny packed the car and kept insisting that the lady just sit and wait but she wouldn’t listen.  She kept moving around.  She really was on edge.  It was like she was expecting someone to jump out from the shadow, you know?”

He had also overheard the two women talking about taking the safest safest route out of there.

“The lady said something about needing options.  I’m not sure what she meant, but the way she looked at our Sunny … I mean, it was as if she was a lion, ya know? There was something there …” He had looked thoroughly bewildered but his statements only confirmed Dawn’s thoughts.

“I think she might want a way out if things go wrong,” she now told Joan as they got into the car and drove off. “If she is attracted to this girl and cares about her like Vincent thinks, she’s going to want to have an option for Sunny’s safety.”

“Malachai.”

Dawn nodded.

Joan regarded the redhead who was driving. She had her rich hair in a loose ponytail, small tresses had escaped it and framed her cheeks, making her look more vulnerable and softer than usual.

She looked like she was going to pass out during breakfast, the brunette thought. When I told her I held her, oh god, she almost ran. But she is tough and her strange sense of honour made her feel it was only fair to tell me that she had done the same the other night.

Thoughts of being held by Dawn while she slept sent a shudder down Joan’s spine.  Oh, she is really getting to me, she thought wryly. I can’t stop thinking about how she moved in on me last night, how she let her finger …

Chastising herself for letting her mind wonder again, she shifted in her seat and tried to think of their current dilemma.

“Tell me again what Monroe had to say?”

“Well, I told him that the cell phone is broken and that we’ll be back once we have paid that old aunt of yours a visit.”

Joan blinked.

“My aunt? What aunt?”

“You now have an old aunt called Bertha. She is not really your aunt, but you spent a lot of time at her house when you were growing up, on weekends and so on. She is not getting any younger and since he told me they have cracked the case, I told Monroe that we were taking some time off. Of course he doesn’t know we know he’s lying, so he couldn’t very well deny us. Not with the all the hours we’ve put into this.

Joan laughed out loud.

“Oh, Dawn, you’re brilliant! But did you have to call her Bertha?”

Dawn grinned.  “I think it’s a fine name. Anyway, we are now on an extended leave of absence. Aren’t you glad it was my car and not the Bureau’s that we left at Malachai’s?”

“Yes, that makes this a whole lot easier. I guess we should be thankful for small graces.”

“And I told him that we’d call in when we were coming back. He wanted to know.”

“Do you think he believed you?”

“Not sure. Perhaps.”

“So, we still have to be careful.”

“If you cover my back, I’ll cover yours.”

Joan grinned again.

“Oh, I can’t wait.”

Dawn shot her a look.

“Is this going to be the way all our conversation go from now on?”

“No, of course not.”

“Good.”

“Only sometimes, like now, when you are obviously being ambiguous.”

Dawn groaned.

* - * - * - * - *

The van had become cold inside and they couldn’t start it no matter how Laura tried.

At first Laura couldn’t find anything wrong, the van simply would not turn over. A more thorough check under the hood revealed a cracked generator case. Last night’s impact had not damaged it enough to prevent Sunny from driving away however the damage generator most likely had prevented the battery from being charged.   Their use of it last night had not helped either.  It was dead and there was no way to recharge it.

“Grab your back pack. We have to walk out of here,” Laura said grimly.

Sunny just nodded.  She knew it was useless talking to the older woman when she had that brooding, solemn look on her face.

Laura disappeared into the van and came back out again after a while, her lips pressed together. She had found two baseball caps and now she put hers on and handed one to Sunny.

“Here. Put this on.”

They walked back along the narrow road with Hubert trotting ten yards ahead of them.  Sunny could have sworn he was scouting the area.

She glanced at Laura, trying to determine if she was in pain. Laura had changed the bandage herself this morning. Sunny only hoped the wound was not becoming infected

 Laura had been insistent on  doing things for herself all morning.  Obviously her dependency yesterday had gotten to her but there was something else brewing and Sunny desperately wanted to know what that something was.

They reached the main road and started walking southward. Hubert was now walking close to them, his eyes darting around as if he expected somebody to jump out of the forest anytime.

“He is a fine dog,” Laura suddenly broke the silence.

“Yes, he is,” Sunny replied tentatively but with apparent relief.

Laura glanced at her.

“Are you all right?”

“Me? Oh, yes, I’m fine. Why?”

“You looked sad there for a moment.”

“No, no, it’s nothing.”

Laura sighed and rubbed her forehead.

“I can be such a bitch, can’t I? I’m sorry, Sunny.”

Sunny tried to smile but couldn’t.

The older woman reached out and took her hand.

“Darling, I could blame it on having been on my own for far to long … but I won’t. I’m really sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Sunny said, knowing how heavy Laura’s burden weighed on her.

“No, it’s not.”  Laura stopped and looked at Sunny. “ Let me tell you why we are heading south.”

 Laura began her explanation as they started to walk again.   “I think Malachai might be able to help us.  He’s helped me before.  If we can manage to reach him without alerting who ever sold me out, he might be able to do something for us.”

Sunny listened and nodded. She was sure this was not the whole truth, but she also knew that pressing Laura for details would be to no avail.

“All right,” she smiled, “so now we just walk?”

“That’s it,” the other woman grinned. “Until we find a car we can get our hands on.”

“You mean steal?”

“Yes. Does that shock you?”

“No. But it will be my first car theft.”

“I should hope so.”

Sunny laughed, Laura’s dry humour often made her smile and now she needed an outlet for her frayed nerves.

When Laura heard her laughter she smiled that slow, wonderful smile that made all sorts of feelings permeate Sunny, spreading through her veins to every corner of her body. Spontaneously she bent down and kissed those smiling lips, letting her tongue grace Laura’s lower lip before entering her half open mouth, making the older woman gasp in surprise.

The kiss was delicious. They moved in closer and their hands grabbed at shoulders, trying to draw the other woman in even more.

I love this; I love being kissed by her, Sunny though dazedly. She is so incredibly sexy and the sounds she makes when she’s aroused … they make me dizzy.

Laura was making those sounds now. She purred deep in her throat as their tongues danced together.

A loud honk from a passing truck sent them scattering. When they noticed the truck slowing down and stopping, they looked at each other and then started running towards it. Hubert was way ahead of them, standing at the door of the large eighteen-wheeler.

Laura reached up and opened the door and a young man looked down at them, smiling from ear to ear.

“You looked like you could use a lift,” he said merrily.

“Thank you, we do. Where are you going?”

“Just to the next town,” he answered, the huge grin still on his face, his eyes moving up and down the two women.

“We’ll be happy to join you,” Laura said. “Just don’t expect at private show.”

The smile died.

“No, ma’am,” he replied and averted his eyes.

They climbed in and Hubert took his place at their feet, the dog sending warning glances to the young man at the wheel.

“Laura, don’t be so hard on him. We were kissing on a public road,” Sunny muttered in the older woman’s ear.

“Well, that’s true, but I didn’t like the way he was staring at you.”

Sunny raised her left eyebrow.

“Staring at me? He didn’t notice me much.  He was talking to you. However, I was … staring at you.”

“What?!”

Laura had raised her voice, making the young man jump a little and Sunny giggle.

“Well, I was behind you. Beneath you,” she whispered when the other woman frowned. “You really can’t blame me; I had a good view.”

“A good view? Oh, for god’s sake, Sunny,” Laura groaned.

“I’m Mark,” the man introduced himself. “Where are you two headed?”

“I’m Cathy and this is my friend Susanne and her dog Killer,” Laura answered sweetly.  

Sunny could only stare at her.

She lies so easily, without even a second’s hesitation, she thought.

‘Killer’ glared at the man and he swallowed nervously.

“Killer, huh?” he said. “He looks like one of those trained attack dogs.”

“He’s won several medals, actually,” Laura said pleasantly. “He just needs one word.”

“Nice dog,” Mark said weakly and kept his eyes on the road.

“Laura!” Sunny hissed. “You’re scaring him.”

“No, he’s fine.”

“He is not! He is sweating all over the place. He’s just an innocent boy.”

“Who will only remember the killer dog, hopefully, and not what we look like.”

Sunny rolled her eyes and pinched the older woman’s thigh, startling her.

Oh, you’re so smooth, Laura Carter, the blonde thought and clenched her teeth lies come so easily to you.   Tell me, how many lies have you told me? Is it possible that everything you told me was a lie? Or … am I really that special to you? Even if I asked you up front, how could I trust your answer?

Sunny knew before finishing the thought and smiled gently.

I would know by the way your eyes grow big and moist, in the way your breath catches when I touch you.  How you bite your lip and your eyes darken to that deep blue when I am standing half naked in front of you. You may be lying through your teeth about details, twisting all the facts, but your body’s reactions betray you when I get too close.

Sunny reached between them on the seat and carefully took Laura’s hand in hers, making sure it was well out of Mark’s view. The other woman flinched again, but held on firmly to the blonde’s hand.

As long as Mark’s truck was moving, they were safe.

*****

Laura glanced surreptitiously at the blonde at her side.

Sunny was dozing off, leaning her head on the neck rest. Her full lips were slightly separated and the urge to kiss her was almost overpowering.

Good grief, she is more alluring than any other person has ever been to me, Laura thought. Every little detail in her face, her body seem to call out to me. The next time she makes one of her innocent passes at me in private; she’d better be prepared to run if she changes her mind.

She felt a warm weight on her knee and for a moment she thought it was Mark, the driver, who dared to touch her and a growl were preparing to launch from her throat.

Looking down at her leg she almost laughed out loud. Hubert had placed his heavy head there looking up at her with adoration in his eyes.

You like me, huh, dog? You think I’m good for your mom, do you? You are way off, mister, but I’ m glad you tagged along. If it had not been for you, Sunny might have …

She shivered and as if he sensed her distress, Hubert scooted closer and licked her hand.

“Good dog,” she whispered and his tail started wagging, just a little, to show he’d heard her.

Then the truck started to slow down and Mark pulled into a parking lot next to a large supermarket.

“This is as far as I go today, ladies,” he said, definitely sounding a bit relieved. “I hope you will find a new ride. You might try the bus stop a bit further down the road, it’s just across from the church.”

“Thank you, Mark,” Laura said, trying to sound nice. “It was kind of you to give us a lift. Killer, Susanne, looks like this is our stop.” She leaned past Sunny, who was wide-awake again, and opened the door.

The dog apparently realised that he was supposed to be Killer and barked once, almost scaring the living daylights out of Mark, before jumping over their feet and landing on the ground outside. Sunny climbed down and Laura handed her their backpacks before doing the same.

Pulling her baseball cap down over her eyes, Laura waved at Mark and slammed the door shut.

“Looks like we can get a ride right here,” she smiled at Sunny.

“You mean, steal a car?” Sunny whispered with wide eyes.

Laura chuckled.

“That’s it, darling.”

Sunny looked around and a low red sports car caught her eyes.

Laura chuckled again.

“I don’t think so. The key words are inconspicuous and hotwiring. That’s a great car but it has car alarm written all over it. Over there is the perfect car, though.”

The older woman pointed at an extremely inconspicuous Toyota that had seen better days. One look at Sunny made her burst into laughter.

“Oh, you have seen far too many police films haven’t you? You look disappointed, my dear.”

“No, no … I get it. But, I think it’s the ugliest car I have ever seen. And the dirtiest.”

“Well, we can’t be picky here. We need to keep going, come on.”

She started to walk towards the car and Sunny followed her, muttering something inaudible, making Laura laugh again.

It took Laura less than twenty seconds to pick the lock and hotwire the car. Sunny threw their stuff in the backseat and let Hubert in.

When they pulled out of the parking lot, Laura kept her eyes out for the truck, but saw it parked next to the delivery ramp in back of the supermarket. She drove away, smiling at Sunny who still looked disappointed over her choice of car.

*****

They were staring at Vincent’s wrecked car.

It was demolished from behind and its’ front wheels were in a ditch.

“Well, at least they were on their feet when they got out of the car,” Joan deducted, looking at the muddy ground where several footprints were noticeable even if the rain had erased some of them.

“Two sets boots prints on this side and paw prints.”  It look like there may have been a struggle,” Dawn remarked.  “There are signs of wrestling.   God, do you think that dog is trained for this kind of thing? He looked huge in that picture of Stewart’s.”

“Miriam said that Stewart got him from the dog pound after she was attacked. Who knows where he lived and what he was trained to do before that? He looked a bit intimidating, didn’t he? He would have protected his owner viscously, I would imagine.”

Walking slowly around the car Joan noted additional signs.  “I have two sets of boot prints on this side as well.”   

Joan opened the door on the left and peeked inside. “Hey, bloodstains on the driver’s seat,” she called to her partner. “Not much, but I think the wound Miriam talked about is still bleeding. Farlow could be in big trouble here.”

Dawn walked over to join her partner.  “Let me a take a look.  It doesn’t appear like she’s lost too much blood.  The location of the stain matches the details we have.  Let’s sweep the area and see what else we find.” 

The two agents began to widen their search pattern from the vehicle.  

“Dawn”

“What do you have?”

“Tire tracks.”

Dawn crossed to see what Joan had discovered.

“By the width it looks like a utility vehicle…. a truck, may be a van.”

Dawn nodded in agreement, turned and walked towards the road.

On the road there were several sets of skid marks and some debris from the accident.

After several minutes she returned to her partner.

“What are you thinking?” Joan asked.

Dawn stared at the tire tracks for a moment and motioned  Joan to join her.

 “It appears that they were forced off the road intentionally. By the looks of the skid marks they were going pretty fast.  They’re lucky to be alive. The vehicle that did this was likely...”

“A truck or a van,” Joan added.

The two partners began to walk back towards the damaged car.  

“They made it out alive but they had to deal with at least two assailants. From the prints I’d say they were men.”  

“Do you think they got them?” Joan asked,  

“It’s hard to tell.

“Dawn don’t you find it’s kind of strange? We’re dealing with professionals here and yet they were sloppy.  There’s evidence everywhere.   They didn’t remove the car … Wait. They would have unless they were in a hurry, wouldn’t they? The fact that the car is still here could mean that Farlow pulled one of her stunts and turned the tables on them. She’s done that before, you know.”

Dawn made a face, remembering from the file how the brilliant scientist had outsmarted her predecessor and driven off in his car, right under his nose.

“Let’s hope so. I don’t want to be the one who has to tell Sunshine Stewart’s extended family at River Meadow she’s dead.”

“You think they would go so far as to kill her?” asked Joan.

“I don’t see why not? She‘s of absolutely no importance to them if they have Farlow. Farlow may be ruthless but these people are lethal.”

Joan pursed her lips.  “But for now, we should work from the hypothesis that they escaped?”

“Yes. Until we have proof, that’s what we do. If Farlow has a trained dog to help her a couple of goons, no matter how efficient, wouldn’t be a match for her. They might be well paid and motivated but she is fighting to stay alive and if she loves this girl … Damn, I’m not sure I want to find them. She would be deadly.”

“Dawn, what are going to do about the scene?”

Dawn pinched the base of her nose.  “Do?  We’re gong to do nothing.  We’re off visiting your aunt.  If we call this in we tip our hand.  We can’t take the risk.

Joan regarded her cautiously. Dawn looked so pale.

“Do you have a headache?” she asked carefully, not wanting to tick the redhead off by being overly protective.

Dawn shot her a surprised but not unfriendly look.

“Yes, I have. It’s not bad, actually, just annoying.”

Oh, you are not fooling me, Joan thought. If you have a headache and I notice it, it’s a bad one.

“Come here,” she said and held out her arms.

When Dawn just glared at her and frowned, she smiled angelically.

“Oh, come now, a hug won’t kill you.”

The doctor relented and walked into Joan’s arms.

“Here, lean against me. Just breath slowly and don’t think.”

“Don’t think?” Dawn laughed quietly and then groaned.

“Yes, don’t think. You have too much working up a storm in that pretty little head of yours. Just let it go for ten minutes and feel the crisp, fresh autumn air. At least it’s not raining.”

Dawn sighed and let her head fall onto the brunette’s shoulder. Joan wrapped her arms around the smaller woman, softly rocking her a little.

“Pretty little head huh?  Do you think I’m pretty?” Dawn asked in a low voice.

Joan looked surprised, then smiled. “Yes, I do,” she answered casually. “Beautiful, gorgeous …”

“I get it, I get it,” Dawn protested and buried her face into the black trench coat. “I think you are beautiful too..”

Joan forgot how to breath. She inhaled and then … nothing. Joan’s knees almost buckled and it wasn’t until Dawn gently shook her that she managed to exhale.

“You would think nobody ever said that to you before,” Dawn muttered and wrapped her arms around the brunette’s waist.

“Truthfully? Not many have. Mom and Dad, but they don’t count.”

“Sure they do, unless they have gone blind since last time I saw them.”

Joan chuckled.

“But they are partial.”

“Still counts. My dad never said anything like that to me.”

Joan went still.

“Your dad never told you you’re beautiful?” she whispered looking down at the shiny red hair of the woman in her arms. “You’re serious?”

Dawn raised her head and regarded her partner with even blue eyes.

“Very serious. My father didn’t bother with anyone’s appearance; it was of little consequence to him. He believed in telling me I was smart and to use my head the best way I possibly could ”

The brunette frowned and bit her lip.

“That’s being a little categorical, couldn’t he do both?”

“I suppose not.” Dawn sank back into the embrace.

“But you have probably heard it more times than you can count later in life?”

The redhead snickered.

“The Bureau Bitch getting compliments ... You must be kidding?”

Joan cringed.  “Bitch or not,” she said casually, “you are very beautiful. But then again … I’m partial too.”

Dawn froze at Joan’s last words.

“Partial?  What do you mean, partial?” she asked with her heart beating painfully in her throat.

The brunette chuckled hoarsely.

“I am partial because ... You are beautiful but even more so because I … care.”

Dawn hugged the other woman harder, trying to show her appreciation without words.

“How is your head?” Joan asked gently.

“A little better,” the redhead answered

She reluctantly took a step back and regarded her partner.

“I guess we should take one more look at the car and then move on,” she suggested, not quite able to look into Joan’s eyes, instead focusing on her chin.

The brunette put a hand under Dawn’s chin and tipped her head back, forcing her to meet her intense brown eyes.

“Dawn?”

“Yes,” the doctor whispered, her breath a little ragged.

“Am I making you uncomfortable?” Joan asked, looking worried.

“No, no, not at all. I just … you know me. Talking about feelings. It’s hard.”

“So you’re not reluctant to be in my arms then?”

Oh, god, she is blunt, Dawn thought.

“No, I’m not,” she confessed.

“Would you mind if … we tried something else?  Don’t look so scared,” Joan smiled. “I’m not going to suggest that we make out in the car or anything.”

“No? I guess I should be grateful”, the doctor said wryly.

Joan slowly leaned into her partner and dipped her head a little, just enough to brush her lips against the stunned agent’s half open mouth. The soft, yielding lips merely touched hers for a couple of seconds but Dawn became dizzy and fell into the embrace and was caught in the strong arms of her partner.

“My, my, I see I haven’t lost my touch,” Joan chuckled gently. “Or are you ill?” she added worriedly.

“No, I’m fine. I just wasn’t … prepared,” Dawn said, blushing a fierce crimson and hiding her face.

“I see,” the brunette said. “Well, next time I will give you plenty of warning.”

Next time? Oh dear Lord, she will be the end of me.  I think I’m having a heart attack, Dawn thought. Her lips were even softer, even more wonderful …

She didn’t dare to ponder over what a real, long kiss would do to her senses but pulled away again and started walking to the car wreck.

“Back to business,” she said over her shoulder, still feeling flustered.

“Same old, same old,” Joan said. “We will continue this some other time?”

Oh you can bet on it, my dear, Dawn thought determinedly, you can’t give me such a delicious sample and then think I won’t want more where that came from.

“Sure,” she said out loud. “But now, we need to …”

“… move on. I know. But I’ll hold you to this, Dawnie.”

Dawn groaned.

*****

Laura had been driving for six hours and it was dark out when the tire blew.

The car skidded back and forth across the desolate road before she managed to control it and pull over.

“I can’t believe this,” she muttered through clenched teeth as she turned the engine off.

Sunny had held on with both hands, vividly remembering the crash the day before.

“Let’s hope who ever owns this car also owns a spare,” the older woman sighed.

After opening the trunk and examining the compartment below it, she could only curse the inconsiderate owner.

“I suppose this is not a good time to point out that the red little sports car would most likely have had a spare tire?” Sunny asked calmly, leaning with hip against the side of the car, her arms folded across her chest.

“I’d say you were right. It would not be a good time,” Laura growled.

“Then I won’t say it.”

“Good.”

Laura rubbed her forehead and then looked around.

“We need to find somewhere to stay,” she said. “But first we have to roll this thing off the road and hide it.”

Sunny nodded and after putting the gear shift in neutral the women pushed the car as far in among the trees as they could. They covered it with fallen leaves and branches that, together with the fact that the grey car was extremely dirty, camouflaged it well.

They grabbed their backpacks and with Hubert at their side they started walking again.

“Sorry you came yet?” Laura asked after a while.

“No. Are you sorry I came?” Sunny asked casually, not sure if she should ask unless she was prepared to hear a negative answer.

“No.”

Oh, she is so careful, Sunny thought. But she needs me, I know she does. She’s been brooding over something she won’t share with me and I don’t know how to ask her about it. But I will have to, soon. She is not going to spring a surprise on me, I have to make her understand that.

“I hope we find some place soon,” Sunny said. “It feels like it’s going to be a cold night.”

Laura nodded and kept walking.

“Laura?”

“Yes?”

“Are you angry with me?”

The older woman stopped so suddenly that Hubert, who was trotting behind her, bounced of her thighs as he walked right into them, almost sending her flying.

“No! No, I’m not. I’m doing it again, aren’t I?” Laura sighed and threw her arms around the blonde. “You are the most important person to me and I keep doing …this …”

“Don’t say you’re sorry again,” Sunny mumbled. “I don’t want to hear it. I only want to hear that you’re not … having any regrets. I never realised that I might make this more dangerous for you just by being here.”

“You’re not. Well, that’s not entirely true. But if you had stayed home, it would have driven me crazy just thinking about how they would have gotten to you. Here, at least I get to keep an eye on you. And then there are other bonuses …”

Sunny smiled faintly, raising her left eyebrow to the other woman.

“Oh?”

Laura flashed her a wicked grin.

“I get to kiss you, that’s a big plus.”

How is it that she can make me blush by using that throaty voice like that, Sunny asked herself. She purrs the words like a content cat and I lose cohesion in my knees.

She pursed her lips and cocked her head, trying to regard Laura with a calm she didn’t feel.

“I take it you like my kisses, then?”

“Very much so.”

“But now is not a good time, Laura, I’m cold,” Sunny teased the older woman.

Laura sighed.

“I hate to admit it, but you’re right.”

They started walking again but now hand in hand.

 

The little house was located about two hundred yards into the forest from the road. There was a light on and since they were both shivering from the cold, Laura decided that they had to risk it. They needed to get indoors soon and they couldn’t afford to wait and try to find an empty house.

After putting a leash on Hubert they walked up the few steps to the front door and knocked.

There were some muffled voices and then one of them, a man, was heard clearly through the door.

“Yes? Who is it?”

“Good evening, sir, my name is Rhonda and my friend Sylvie and we missed our ride. May we please come in and warm ourselves? We’d be forever grateful?”

Sunny rolled her eyes at her friend, mouthing the names.

“Wait just a minute,” the man said and after a moment the porch light was switched on and the door was carefully opened.

An older man, perhaps in his seventies, was standing there with a baseball bat in his right hand.

“Ah, two lovely ladies,” he said, looking both happy and relieved. “Mom, put the kettle on, we’re having guests!” he called over his shoulder. “Come in, come in, the two of you. You look like you’re freezing to death. Oh goodness, that’s one huge dog you have there.”

Laura felt an uncharacteristic giggle coming on and quickly got her face under control. Glancing at Sunny she could see that the blonde was smiling brightly at their new host.

“Thank you, sir, this is so nice of you,” the younger woman said. “His name is … Bear.”

Laura was chuckling now but managed to turn it into a cough.

“Bear, huh? He sure lives up to his name. Let’s se if mom doesn’t have a little something for him too. We used to have a dog, a poodle.”

This was the last straw for Laura. She had to lean against the door as she closed it behind them, laughing so hard she couldn’t breath.

“Don’t mind her, sir,” she heard Sunny calmly explain. “She is really tired and so happy to be indoors.”  

“I see,” the man said uncertainly, clearly demonstrating the opposite. “Well, dear,” he continued, patting Laura on the shoulder, “we’ll get you warmed up in no time.”

They followed the man into the kitchen where a woman was on her knees cuddling ‘Bear’, showing absolutely no fear towards the enormous dog.

“This is Emma, my wife,” the man introduced them. “I’m John and these young ladies are … what did you say your names were again?”

“Rhonda and Sylvie,” Sunny said after glaring at the still struggling Laura.

“Hi there, what on earth are nice girls like the two of you doing outdoors when it’s freezing?”

Emma asked and got up from the floor. “You look like you need a cup of coffee, or do you want hot chocolate?”

“Coffee would be lovely, thank you. This is very kind of you,” Sunny replied and pinched Laura’s arm. “You don’t happen to know of a place where we can rent a room for the night?”

Laura sobered when their predicament was being handled this efficiently all of a sudden.

“You’ll stay here of course!” John blurted out. “We have a spare room that we use when the children come home with their families.”

“Thank you,” Laura said and smiled. “You must allow us to pay for it.”

“I won’t hear of anything of the sort,” Emma huffed and then grinned. “We don’t get that many visitors here and I was so relieved that you turned out to be two girls. You never can be too careful these days.”

That remark almost sent Laura into another fit of laughter but she bit her lip, realising that fatigue and hunger were displaying themselves.

“Thank you very much, then,” she said. “You are very kind.”

“Nonsense, we all need help sooner or later,” John said merrily.

It didn’t take long for Emma to convince them to eat something as well. She swiftly reheated the stew she and John had eaten for dinner earlier.

 The smell of food made Hubert forget his watchdog routine.  He only had eyes for this new friend.

They ate in silence, only exchanging enough words to praise the food. The late dinner made Laura drowsy and she wasn’t surprised when Sunny rose from the table and thanked their hosts.

“I think my friend is about to fall asleep sitting up,” the blonde excused them politely. “I am sure you also would like to retire for today.”

“I’ll show you the room,” Emma agreed, looking worriedly at Laura. “Your friend is a bit pale, Sylvie. Will she be all right?”

“She only needs a good night’s sleep. She’ll be fine,” Sunny assured her.

The room was small and boasted two narrow beds with home made quilt covers.

“There is a bathroom behind that door,” Emma pointed out. “You will find everything you need in there.”

“Thank you,” Sunny said. “Again; this is most kind of you.”

“Oh, don’t mention it. I’ll see you at breakfast tomorrow. Sleep well.”

“You too.”

The woman nodded friendly at them and closed the door behind her.

Hubert found a comfortable spot on a thick rug beneath the electric heater and curled up, falling asleep instantly.

Sunny turned to Laura and pried her fingers off the handles of her backpack.

“You can let go of this now,” the blonde said gently. “We need to get you out of your clothes now. Why did you keep your jacket on indoors?    I’ll never … Oh.”

Laura flinched at the expression in Sunny’s eyes when she saw the gun harness, now with a gun attached to it. The fact that she had another one in her belt on her back as well two more in the backpack, stolen from the van, would not sit well with the younger woman, she suspected.

“You have a new gun.”

“Yes. I’m sorry, but we need it.”

“I wish we didn’t.”

“Believe me, so do I.”

Sunny helped Laura out of her jacket, the older woman biting her lip from the pain in her side.

“Sunny, I really can manage …”

“I know, but since you don’t have to … please allow me to help you. I can see you are about to topple over from fatigue. Please.”

Laura glanced at the younger woman and relented.

“All right. I’m tired.”

Sunny circled her and then gasped again.

“Another one?”

She carefully pulled the gun out and held it in front of Laura between her thumb and index finger. Laura took it, double-checked the safety and put it under one of the pillows.

She must think I have the strangest habits, she thought dryly.

Sunny merely pursed her lips and continued undressing the older woman. When she was only dressed in panties and a bra, Sunny pulled her close and hugged her.

“This is how I prefer to hold you,” she mumbled. “Nothing lethal between us, just your softness.”

Laura chuckled.

“But you are fully dressed, my dear,” she said teasingly. “Isn’t this a little unfair on me?”

Sunny considered this.

“I guess. But since I got to undress you, I though I’d just grab the opportunity to hold you when it presented itself.”

Oh, you are bolder than I thought, Laura mused.

“But we need to go to bed now,” she said reluctantly.

Sunny nodded and stepped out of their embrace. Quickly divesting herself of her clothes down to her underwear and neatly folding them before placing them on a chair, she turned towards the beds and then stopped in her tracks.

“Hubert!” she exclaimed.

“Now what?” Laura asked and peaked around the blonde. “Not again,” she groaned.

The dog had stealthily moved and taken one of the beds for himself and was now doing his drooling and snoring routine all over the pillow.

“He is impossible,” Laura muttered, secretly pleased that she might be having her arms full of one gorgeous blonde this night as well. “I will tell Emma that you slept in that bed. There is no way I’m taking responsibility for messing up the pillow like that.”

Sunny sighed and closed her eyes briefly.

“Do you mind sharing a bed again, Laura?” she asked.

Mind? Is she serious, Laura thought? Way to go, Hubert.

“No, I think we can manage,” she grinned.

They both used the bathroom and then Laura climbed into bed and held the quilt and sheet up for Sunny to get in. The blonde hesitated for a second and then followed her. Snuggling close together, Sunny’s back against Laura’s chest, they settled in.

“Are you comfortable?” the auburn haired woman asked huskily.

“Yes, I’m fine? And you?”

“Couldn’t be better.”

She wormed one arm under Sunny’s neck, the other one circling the younger woman’s waist.

There was a startled silence and then Sunny inhaled audibly.

“Laura?”

“Yes.”

“You’re making me shiver again.”

“So I feel, darling.”

“I’m not usually this … unrestrained.”

“Just with me, huh?”

“Mm.”

Laura’s hand moved in little circles on the blonde’s stomach, the soft skin delicious against her palm. Then, like of it’s own volition, it move upwards, finding a soft swell with a very taut nipple aching to be touched.

“Oh, Laura …” Sunny breathed, arching into the touch. “Yes …”

The older woman cautiously pushed the sports bra up, uncovering her goal. She pinched the nipple a little and when this made the younger woman moan she began a seductive fondling of the pliant globe.

“Oh, please, Laura … don’t stop … it’s wonderful,” Sunny whispered in the darkness.

She was shivering against the touch, making Laura’s mouth go dry with desire.

Good grief, she is driving me crazy and I am not the one on the receiving end of this, she thought. I want her so much, how on earth am I going to be able to stop now?  

She shifted a little, making Sunny roll over on her back and leaned in, catching the teased nipple between her lips, making the younger woman cry out softly.

Drawing it in deeply into her mouth, she suckled it with abandon, thirsty for the sensation and now finding it’s twin with her fingers.

“Laura … oh, god …”

Sunny was incoherent and moved restlessly under the passionate attack.

“I’m here darling, I’m here,” Laura mumbled against the damp skin. “Shh … don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

She let her hand move down over Sunny’s flat stomach. Carefully remaining on the outside of the very damp cotton panties, she began to caress the young woman softly, making her gasp and undulate against the elegant hand that was touching her.

It didn’t take long. Sunny was lost in a passionate haze and it only took a minute at the most for her to cry out and Laura caught the delicious sound into her own mouth, kissing her soothingly as the blonde came in several, almost violent, shudders.

Several large tears ran down the Sunny’s alabaster cheeks as she shifted clumsily to hug the older woman close, seeking comfort to survive her private storm.

“Laura …”

“Yes, darling … I told you, you’d be fine.”

“It was more than fine. And scary.”

“It can be, sweetheart,” Laura smiled and pressed her lips on the blonde head under her chin.

“What about you? I am not … sure …”

The embarrassed stutter went straight for Laura’s heart.

“You know what? I’ll take a rain check, I think. I am way too tired,” she lied. “And this was just a preview, you know. I’m not sorry I was all over you all of a sudden, but when we really make love, it should be under less … stressful circumstances. Don’t you agree?”

Sunny hesitated but then nodded against Laura’s neck.

If you only knew how hard that was to say, Laura sighed inwardly. You turn me on so much and I’d give anything to have you touch me like I touched you, and more, but not tonight. Perhaps never.

Shoving that depressive thought to a remote corner of her mind she settled down   hugging the young woman close.

“We should get some sleep.”

“Yes, you’re exhausted,” Sunny agreed.

“If that dog of yours doesn’t stop snoring, I’ll throw a pillow at him. Belay that, he’d just drool on that one too.”

Sunny laughed softly.

“He loves comfort, what can I say?”

“He is a spoiled brat.”

“He is a gentle soul. You’d know that if you’d talk to him.”

Laura groaned.  

“Are we there again? I will not make conversation to a dog.”

“He is as smart as we are.”

“So you keep telling me. I don’t think so.”

“He managed to get your bed, didn’t he? Again.”

“But …”

“I rest my case.”

*****
Continued in part 6
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