Laguna Nights

by Carole Giorgio

Chapter 12

Alex stretched to get the kinks out of her back and legs. I'm getting too old to be sleeping on the floor -- I need to remember to end up in bed the next time , she reminded herself as she stood and stretched again. She decided to let Sam sleep for a few more minutes while she started the tea and went to the bathroom.

Today's agenda included hiring someone to do a thorough check of the entire warehouse in search of signs of vandalism. All the equipment required going over with a fine-tooth comb and the climbing wall especially needed an extensive examination. She hated the extra time it was going to take to accomplish that task but it was unavoidable after last night's little fiasco. At this point she really didn't care what happened to Jake and his little group as long as they stayed out of her warehouse and away from her.

The phone rang just as she reached the kitchen area, and she got it on the second ring, hoping the bedroom ringer was still on low.

"Hello," she quietly answered the phone.

"Hi, Honey," the familiar voice of her mother came over the line. "I thought this would be the best time to catch you still in the apartment. We haven't talked in close to a week and Kelley was asking me how the clinic was coming along."

"The clinic should be ready for open house next Friday, Mom. All the necessary stuff's here and in place so we'll be sending out the invitations probably today."

"Did you say 'We', Alex?" her mother questioned.

"Yes. I said 'We'," the response was immediate.

"So? . . ." Aurora wanted to know.

"Remember the person I told you about . . . the one you suggested I take to the Sawdust Festival?"


"Well, I took her to San Francisco with me instead." With baited breath Alex waited for the response from her mother.

"You What? You mean that girl you said might be straight?" The anxiety in Aurora's voice was almost laughable.

"Calm down, Mom. She's not straight, Not any more . And I know this sounds ridiculous coming from me, but I think I've found my soulmate." There she said it.

Silence on the other end of the line.

"Did you hear me, Mom?"

"Yes, Alex. I heard you. You've found your soulmate."

"And . . .?" Alex wanted to know.

"And what? I guess I should say congratulations."

"Well that might be a start,"

Aurora flinched at the sarcasm stinging through the line from Laguna. "Don't get snippy, little lady. The proofs 'in the pudding', remember? When do we get to meet this new person?"

"At the open house next Friday. You're going to fall in love with her Mom -- and Kelley will like her, too, I'm sure of it." It started out as a statement but ended up almost as a question. When it came to Alex, no one was ever good enough in Kelley's eyes; she spoiled her daughter from the inception and always seemed to find some fault in anyone Alex brought home. I just know Kelley will like Samantha. What's not to like? Damn, why do I always feel like such a Kid when it comes to affairs of the heart and my parents" Alex, get a grip!

"So," her mother continued, "I guess we'll be meeting this story telling, beach and sunset loving, 5'4" fairy-haired, cute blonde with just the right built, green eyes and an imagination -- before the Pageant of the Masters then." Aurora laughed, "Didn't think I'd remember that description, did ya?"

Alex laughed back at her Mom. "No, as a matter of fact I didn't. But, I should've known better. Bet you wrote it all down the minute I got off the phone the other night so you could quote it back to me verbatim." She smiled to herself knowing her mother's little tricks to remembering everything she was told so she would always have a comeback.

"Well . . ."

"Samantha is very excited to meet you, Mom. We were up in San Francisco with Sonny and Ray when you got tiptoed into the conversation by your number one guy fan in the world. He just couldn't wait to tell Samantha all about you."

"He's such a sweetheart," Aurora confirmed. "Will they be down for the open house?"

"Try to keep them away!" Her daughter replied. "You wouldn't believe the way Sonny and Samantha hit it off -- like they'd known each other for years! It was a marvelous trip, Mom, the most fun I've had in a very long time."

"Alex, it sounds like this Samantha is making you very happy. I surely hope it continues to grow. You deserve some joy in your life after that last . . ."

"Mom -- let's not talk about her right now, okay" This is a pleasant conversation." A small frown took the place of the smile that had been on Alex's face since the beginning of the call.

"Okay, honey." Aurora agreed that conversations should be kept on as positive a note as possible and talking about Nikki was never a positive subject. "I'll let you go and get ready for work and I'll inform Kelley that next Friday -- that's a week from this Friday, right?"

"Right," her daughter confirmed.

"Next Friday is the open house. So -- will we have somewhere to sleep or should I make reservations elsewhere?" her mother wanted to know.

"I'll make sure your rooms are finished before Friday. I already promised Sam to get them done ASAP. So, if you want to come on up Thursday night we can all have dinner together and you can get to meet Samantha before I have a warehouse full of people to deal with as well." That seemed to be the best way to handle the situation and she was hoping that her parents would decide to come early.

"What about Sonny and Ray? Are you putting them up as well?"

"Yes, we'll be furnishing the second bedroom this week. Damn, Mom, when I think about it we really have a lot to do before next Friday. I thought things would slow down a little, but they just seem to be getting more complicated." Alex hadn't thought about having to go shopping since the talk with Sam about having her parents come and stay while they were in town. She had totally forgotten that they needed to furnish a bedroom that looked like Samantha.

Aurora sincerely congratulated Alex on her new girlfriend and told her she was anxious to meet her. "Did she know who I was when Sonny let my name out of the bag?"

"Actually, Mom she does have some of your tapes and books. But I don't think you'll be uncomfortable with her -- she has a lot of energy and gets excited easily," she answered with a smile in her voice.

"Oh -- she's a lot like you?" Aurora answered sarcastically.

"Right," came the curt answer.

"Please tell me she's not a groupie!"

"No, Mom, it will be an easy introduction, I'm sure of it. She just likes to talk a lot . . . but so do you!" Alex laughed and told her mother that she really needed to get down to the clinic. She decided not to mention the little bit of excitement that happened last night. No need in getting her mother all upset over something she was unable to control.

"Okay, Alex. I'll talk to you before we come up. You take care of yourself, now, you hear me?"

"Yes, Mom -- I try. Give my love to Kelley."

"I will, honey. We love you. Bye." With that the line to La Jolla was disconnected as Aurora hung up the phone.

Alex sighed, happy to have the conversation about her and Sam out of the way with her mom. Now the anticipation of their meeting was lightened slightly. She knew in her heart that introducing Samantha to Kelley would be easier than any introduction she had given before, because she was convinced that Kelley would like her new love.

The tea was brewed and Alex decided it was time to awaken the sleepyhead in the other room and start this soon to be busy day. Just as she was ready to leave the kitchen with two cups of tea in hand the phone rang, again.

Who could be calling here at this hour? "Hello."

A soft, "Hi" came from the other end of the receiver. "Is Samantha Riley there?"

"May I ask who's calling?" Alex questioned, wondering who in the world had her private number.

"This is Suzanne McClane. I'm a close friend of Samantha's and she left this number for me to call. Is it too early? I could call back." The voice on the other end began to have a nervous twinge to it.

"No, no," Alex reassured, "Samantha's here. It's just that she's sleeping right now. Could I have her give you a call back as soon as she gets up."

"Y-e-a-h, that would be just fine. Thanks. Just tell her to call Suz, please. Bye."

The phone went dead in her hand and Alex stood looking at the receiver with a puzzled expression on her face.

Okay, weird friend. I think that's the redhead. Sounded like a redhead. Alex laughed inwardly, put the phone down and picked the teas back up.

She walked over to where the small blonde lay cuddling one of the large pillows and put the teas on the table. Furniture for this room is going to be top priority, she told herself, with an extremely comfortable couch!

"Wake up, Samantha. We have a lot to do today." Kneeling down she kissed her lover gently on the cheek, ran her fingers down the contour of the sleeping woman's small frame, and then shook her a little to awaken her.

"Oh, it's too early to think of getting up," came the response from the body on the floor.

"No, it's not. It's just the right time to get up. You've got a lot to accomplish today." Alex started to take the pillow from Samantha's grasp.

"Don't -- that's my comfort pillow -- give it back," the groggy woman on the floor whined.

"Your comfort pillow?"

"Yeah, when you left I guess I grabbed it; it smells like you so I get the security that you're still around." Samantha opened her eyes to slits and looked up. "By the Gods, you're beautiful -- even in the morning." She stared at the naked figure before her and memories of last night came flooding into her half-awake mind.

"Oh, yeah! Now I know you're still asleep." Alex reached down and grabbed Samantha's hands pulling the smaller woman up as she herself stood.

"I'm not as asleep as you think." Samantha grabbed the teacup from the table and took a drink, swirling the warm liquid around in her mouth, to get rid of her morning mouth and taste. She turned back around to face Alex, hands caressing the soft skin on the body touching hers.

"Do we have time for a reenactment of last night, or is the boss in a big hurry to get down to business?" Samantha continued running her hands along Alex's body, her own body tingling to the tactile encounter. "Damn, you feel good." She took one of the breasts that were practically mouth height into her mouth and gently sucked on it. "It's always good to start the morning off with a protein breakfast," came a mumbled statement as one of her hands found it's way to the already moistened area between her lover's legs.

"My knees are buckling!" Alex laughed, holding the smaller woman close. "Do you actually expect me to stand here without moving while you are doing that?"

"No, I say the last one to the bed gets to be on the bottom." Samantha smiled, giving herself a head start on the way to the bedroom.

"Did you forget how much longer my legs are than yours?" Alex questioned as she landed on the bed seconds before the small blonde. She laid on her back, smiling and pulled Samantha down on top of her. Then holding onto her lover switched positions and ended up on top.

"There you go again . . . this was my idea . . ." Try as she would Samantha could not get Alex to roll over. The dark-haired beauty simply smiled at all the energy expended by the small woman under her.

"Tell you what . . ." Alex started.

"What?" Samantha huffed back.

"Never mind -- you'll see."

"What do you mean, I'll see?" Samantha looked questioningly up into glimmering sapphire eyes. She started to speak again when Alex leaned over and passionately began kissing her. "Samantha, hush."

Samantha hushed.

As the fondling and kissing continued Alex allowed herself to be rolled over and ended up landing on the bottom. Samantha thought to herself that the move was all too easily accomplished but she really didn't care. Alex was on the bottom and that's where she wanted her.

The experience that followed was unsurpassed by anything Samantha ever experienced before. As she started to move her body down on Alex's she was held by two strong hands that moved her around, positioning her differently. Instead of ending up between Alex's legs, looking like an extension of the taller woman, she was being placed beside Alex but in the opposite direction.

Okay she thought to herself, this is really unusual, but I can play her game. She got up on her knees, her head facing Alex's feet and began tracing circles with her fingers around the flat stomach, lingering on the curly mound and then extending her hands down the tight muscular thighs of her lover. She took her hands and placed one on either thigh as she bent her head down and kissed the soft curls below Alex's abdomen. Alex picked up Samantha's left foot with her left hand and repositioned it on the other side of her own body, causing the smaller woman to straddle her.

"Alex what are you . . ."

"Hush, Samantha."

Samantha hushed.

Sam felt a little strange with the positioning, but her adrenaline was already flowing and the warm body beneath her was more than she could bear. She again positioned herself on her knees and bent down, leisurely tracing her tongue over the entire abdomen before her, her hands finding moistness in between the folds of her lover's lips. But she wanted to taste Alex, not only feel her, so she continued moving her face down toward the beckoning portion of her lover's body.

As she was doing so she felt Alex's hands. They came from underneath, gently squeezing her breasts, rolling the hard nipples between her fingers. She could feel Alex kissing her legs as she pulled Samantha up closer to her face. Hands were all over her, on her stomach, on her buttocks, on her legs . . . By the Gods . . . she's inside me. Fingers found their way slowly in an out of the moist area in front of Alex's face.

Samantha continued attempting to focus on what it was she wanted, as she used her tongue to make love to Alex, trying her best not to lose concentration. All the while, Alex was exploring Samantha's body, kissing her butt, moving her hands from one area to another. Samantha was totally engulfed in bringing her lover to climax, when she suddenly felt a warm, soft tongue open the folds of her nether lips and begin matching the movements of her own tongue.

The inexperienced blonde could not believe the depth of the ecstasy running through her body. What do I do now? She questioned herself while trying to keep her mind on what she was already doing. She didn't know whether to continue trying to please her lover or give way to the sensations of her own body as Alex sucked, licked, and touched her seemingly everywhere at once. The movements of Alex's tongue increased in speed and hardness; Samantha became more excited. The two lovers were in total sync with each other. Joined bodies glistened in the morning sun that was beginning to filter through the windows, their muscles tightened, and their breathing became labored.

Letting out a small scream, Samantha reached the pinnacle of sexual pleasure. It seemed that Alex simultaneously was similarly fulfilled.

"Oh, Alex . . ." the novice murmured. "I've never . . ."

Samantha was beginning to relax -- reveling in the moment as Alex turned her over and straddled the fair-skinned maiden. "I really need to finish what I started," the blue-eyed hero stated, coming face to face with her beloved. She tenderly slid her hand down Samantha's body, parted the folds beneath the curly mound and entered her lover, slowly and methodically.

"I love making love to you Samantha," she whispered in her lover's ear as their bodies continued to move in a rhythm generated by desire. "Come again for me. Let me feel you pulsate deep inside. Tell me you want me, my Destiny. Tell me." She purposely slowed her movements with the last statement, waiting for an answer.

"Oh, Alex could there be any doubt? Please Alex, don't stop . . . I want you Alex . . . yes . . . please . . ."

Alex sped up the rhythm and increased the thrust. Samantha had no trouble satisfying her lover's request. In minutes she was pulsating inside and digging nails into Alex's back as she once again reached a sexual height she only before merely dreamed of.

Alex flopped down beside her lover, gently brushing back her hair and kissing her softly on the cheek. "So, was that a satisfying reenactment of last night?"

"Reenactment -- that was anything but a reenactment! I've never ever done anything minimally close to that." Green eyes stared lovingly into blue as she smiled at Alex and kissed her.

"Well now, Samantha," the taller woman grinned at her lover, "you can honestly say you've been "around the world. So . . . how was your trip?"


Samantha giggled as she turned towards Alex. "I suppose that now you want me to get up and go to work?"

"But of course -- we just ate breakfast so we should be good to go for at least four hours." Alex smiled, kissed Sam on the cheek again and rolled off the bed.

"I'm going to shower -- want to join me?"

"Yeah, but just for a shower -- you promise to behave?"

"Oh, yes. I promise."

Between showering and dressing Alex told Sam about the phone call from Suzanne and the call she made to Aurora, as well as giving her new "assistant" a run down of what they needed to accomplish before the end of the day. The list was quite long but they figured if they did everything right the first time, they would be done at a decent enough hour to maybe go for a swim before the sun went down.

Sam threw a couple bagels in the toaster oven and they continued to talk over bagels and juice.

It was decided that Samantha would take the invitations to the post office and get them mailed, since the envelopes were already stuffed, sealed and stamped. She mentioned that while she was out she might as well have lunch with Suzanne, if her friend could meet her, and fill Suz in on the changes that had occurred in her life in the past week. After lunch she would come back and start calling the subcontractors and staff people who had already been hired.

Alex said she would check with the supervisors on the status of the clinic, put someone in charge of completing the parental suite, and figure out who to use for the necessary warehouse inspection. She told Sam that she understood about telling Suzanne and then decided to tease the blonde a little.

"That's okay, Samantha, I'll eat lunch alone." The tall, dark-haired beauty put on her best pout and looked over at the smaller woman with pitiful eyes.

The smile on Samantha's face immediately turned off at the thought of hurting Alex's feelings. An apology swiftly began to form on the young woman's lips. "Oh, Alex, I didn't . . ."

"Whoa, Samantha . . .I'm only kidding . . . see my smile?" She pointed with both index fingers as her pout changed quickly to a grin.


"Honest -- I was only teasing you." Alex leaned over and kissed Samantha on the cheek.

"Time to switch topics . . . listen, I'll be sending a guy up with the stuff from your car, so we need to figure out where you want it all to go."

"But, Alex -- I don't know where to put it. We haven't talked about that, in fact I haven't even seen all of the upstairs yet."

There was panic in her voice so Alex immediately calmed her down. "Let's do that right now, Honey, before I go downstairs, then you can call your little friend and set up your lunch date."

"Come on," she said getting up and waiting for Samantha to follow. They walked out into the hall and for the first time Samantha really took a look at the layout of the top floor. There was one hall running parallel to all the rooms she had been in with doors on either side of it. Halfway down the first hall was a second, which ran perpendicular to first, leading east.

Alex talked as they walked, explaining that the parental suite was on the northeast corner of the building. It was situated so as to have a view of Laguna as well as a view of the ocean. On the way to the suite she opened two of the doors on either side of the hall, displaying large empty rooms that could be used for just about anything.

"Why don't you pick one of these to use as a bedroom, Samantha. They're both large and spacious, the bathroom is right here in the hall. The location's great, and they're far enough away from the suite that your parents wouldn't know if you were in the room or not." She lovingly smiled at Samantha, pulling the small-framed woman close and giving her a peck on the cheek. Alex pointed the way and they entered the huge empty room.

"This is a gorgeous room, Alex. I love the skylight. There's so much that can be done with this."

"Well, it's all yours to decorate! Get it all set up to look like you, so your family will think you really use it. If it's all furnished we can use it as a guest room and after your parents leave we can move your personal stuff out and into the main apartment." Alex looked at Samantha for her final approval of the room.

"I think this will do just fine." Samantha slowly spun around taking in the entire room. "What if I just put enough in here to make it look like I live in it and use one of the other rooms closer to our living quarters to store all the other stuff?"

"Whatever you want -- it's all your decision. You will have to pick a color for the paint or get paper if you want and then we have to go furniture shopping." Alex twisted her face into a slight grimace as the final word came out.

"I take it shopping is not one of your favorite pastimes?" Samantha replied noticing the change in her lover's face.

"No. It's not something I relish doing, but it is a necessary evil. Let's go take a look at the suite." Alex pointed further down the hall.

"But Alex, maybe you didn't like shopping before because you didn't have anyone else to share with. It'll be fun furnishing the rest of the apartment together, don't you think?"

"I guess I never looked at it that way -- sure -- we'll have a good time fixing the rest of the place up together." Alex smiled at Samantha as she opened the first door to the suite.

Samantha's exuberance over the projects of decorating and furnishing the suite as well as the extra bedroom soon rubbed off on Alex. She found herself getting caught up in her lover's excitement as they walked from room to room and Samantha described what she could see in her mind's eye. A splash of blue here, a dab of pink there and of course lavender, there was always a place for lavender, in Samantha's opinion. All together there were two baths, two bedrooms and a kitchen/living room combination. There was quite a bit of finalizing to be done in the next nine days to have the suite ready by the open house. All of the structural work was already completed. Alex put in an off-white Berber carpet throughout the suite with ceramic tile in the kitchen area. All the appliances were in place, so really what was needed was the final touches of making it look like a home-away-from-home. A good deal of tonight and perhaps tomorrow would be spent on picking out furniture, bedspreads, draperies, a few new light fixtures, and of course kitchen equipment. What would have been boring chores to the executive now seemed much less so with an partner around who was thrilled about being able to help.

Two decisions had already been cast. Samantha was determined that "her bedroom" would be a pale lavender color and she could accessorize later. She knew her mother would have no trouble at all believing that a lavender room was the abode of her elder daughter. She also decided that the carpet would be Berber, like the suite. Alex promised to order the paint and carpeting today, have a painter from the crew assigned to paint the room in the morning, and have the carpet installed by Thursday.

The morning was beginning to get away from them so they decided to part company, and Alex started down to check on the clinic.

"I hate having to leave you, even for a little while." Alex gazed down into green gems as she pulled her lover close. "You make doing even the dull stuff, fun!" She bent down and kissed Samantha gently on the lips and smiled as it brought back memories of this morning's "global" experience.

"I feel the same way, but if we don't part company for a little while, we'll never get anything we need to do accomplished. I'm going to get the invitations like we talked about and call Suzanne. I should probably be back around two o'clock if all goes well. Are you really okay about lunch?" The solemn inquisition in the green eyes made Alex want to smile.

"Yes, honey." Alex took both Samantha's hands in hers and kissed them. "I think it's nice you want to have lunch with Suzanne so you can tell her in person about us. Besides, we've played around most of the morning, so I 'm sure to have a lot to catch up on downstairs. You go have fun with your friend." She gave Samantha another quick peck on the cheek as they reached the elevator. Almost with regret, she stepped inside and hit the button to take her down to the clinic and away from the one person she could go forever without being separated from.

Samantha went back into the kitchen area to call Suzanne and see if an 11:30 lunch sounded good to her. It was really difficult not to discuss anything of substance over the phone with her gabby friend, but she managed to just get her to meet at the pizza place and told her she would fill her in on her "lost weekend, plus" when they met.

Next on her list was to straighten up the kitchen and put the bedroom and living room back in order. With all that accomplished she picked up the bag with the invitations and left the apartment.

The restaurant was already beginning to get crowded when Samantha arrived. But she got there before Suzanne and was lucky enough to get a table off in a corner. She knew her friend would eat a veggie pizza with her so she went ahead and ordered, getting them each a salad as well. Suzanne didn't keep her waiting long.

"Sam," the redhead exclaimed, as she rushed up to Samantha and gave her a hug. "Where have you been? What are you doing?"

"Well, hi to you, too," Samantha retorted, hugging the woman back. "Sit down and I'll tell you."

"When I first started calling last week, I thought maybe you were just down at the beach. But, Sammie, I called and called and called and you were never there. I knew you didn't know anyone else in town so I began to worry."

Samantha looked at her friend and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Suzanne. Everything happened so quickly -- I guess I really didn't think about anything except what I was doing and where I was going. I don't know how to begin . . ."

"Just start -- it's easy!" The waitress came by with their salads and Suzanne ordered a beer.

"I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco for a couple days. I originally thought I would only be gone two, but the trip extended into the weekend. I didn't think about telling anyone where I was and that was very inconsiderate of me. I'm extremely sorry."

"Okay," Suzanne said looking strangely at her friend, "I'll bite --- who did you go with and why? And because you're back and in good condition, you're forgiven. Actually you look better than I've seen you look in weeks. What gives?"

"Suz," Samantha slowly began, "I'm in love!"

"You're in What?"

"Yeah, you heard me right -- I'm in love! For the first time in my life and I feel marvelous. I'm head over heels, totally enraptured, silly as a loon -- anything you want to say -- that's me." Samantha confessed.

"So . . . don't keep me in the dark! With who?"

Samantha looked her best friend directly in the eyes and figured the best way to say it was to just come out and say it. "I'm in love with Alexis Dorian." There she said it and just waited for the ball to drop.

"You know, I've heard rumors about her for quite some time." She was having a difficult time formulating a response and the first thing she could come up with sounded totally off track, but it went through her mind and out her mouth. "They say she has the deepest blue eyes anyone has ever seen . . ."

"Oh, They are right about that . . ."

"But, Samantha," an overwhelmed Suzanne continued, "I didn't think you were a lesbian."

"I didn't know I was a lesbian either, Suz. I don't know how to explain it to anyone so it would make any real sense. It just happened, and it was all so natural to me. I really love her."

Samantha went on to explain about the first night she and Alex met and continued with what happened the next night on the climbing wall. It felt so good to be able to tell someone how happy she was and how much she loved Alex. She was talking so much she actually let her lunch get cold. Between bites of pizza and gulps of beer, she finally finished telling her friend all about San Francisco, Sonny and Ray, and how great Alex was. Talking for such an extended period of time left her exhausted but full of glee to have someone to share with.

"Well, when you open up you really open up, girl!" Suzanne smiled at her beaming friend. "I'm glad I'm not the prejudice type, but I do have to admit that the original statement took me back a little." She patted her friend on the hand. "Samantha, I'm truly happy for you. You know someone made a snide comment this morning about Ms. Dorian calling the office on Monday. Something about compensating for taking you away from the company. I thought they were full of shit, but . . ."

"Alex called the office?" Samantha looked astonished. "Why . . ."

"Hey, slow down. I didn't mean to cause trouble in paradise. Didn't you know she called." Suzanne questioned her blonde friend.

"No!" came the adamant response. "She was suppose to let me handle the situation by myself. I thought it went too easily!" Samantha's face took on a slight blush.

"Hey, slow down, Irish. You ought to be happy that someone cares enough about you to take the brunt of the situation. It sounds like she's only trying to take care of you."

"I'm not mad," Samantha confessed, "I just thought she gave me a little more credit than that, like maybe some confidence in the fact that I could have handled the situation on my own."

"Listen, Sam, I'm sure she has confidence in you, she was just stacking the deck for you a little. She sounds like a helluva lady! So, when do we meet?"

Samantha looked back at her friend and smiled. "Well, you and Danny are definitely invited to the open house at the clinic next Friday. If we can swing a time before then when we all can get together we will. I just know you'll adore her!" Samantha beamed at Suzanne, "I think I must be one of the happiest people in the world.

"You certainly look that way," Suzanne agreed. "If you need any help getting your room set up or help with painting or anything like that, I'm available."

"Thank you, Suz. Maybe you could come over one day this week and have lunch with us and meet Alex. How about we set up for lunch on Thursday?" the blonde asked her friend.

"That's sounds great!" her friend replied. "It's been kinda a slow week, so lunch will be easy to fit in. I can't wait to meet this perfect person." Suzanne grinned at her friend who was smiling back at her. "You really are all smiles, my friend."

"I'm just so lucky. I can't believe I have finally found my niche in life!"

Suzanne looked down at her watch and told Samantha she needed to get back to work. There wasn't a lot but what there was needed to be finished. She promised to call before Thursday and set a time to meet. The two friends hugged each other and parted company.

After paying the tab, Samantha was off to the post office and then back to the clinic to make some calls. On the way back to the car she did a little window shopping which is almost impossible not to do on the streets of Laguna and spotted a mother of pearl/abalone yin/yang paperweight in one of the store fronts. It was a must for Alex's desk so of course she bought it and had it wrapped.

She was turning the corner to where she parked her car when she got the odd sensation that someone was staring at her. Looking across and down the street she could barely make out a slim figure dressed in black leather. A tall blonde seemed to be intently staring in her direction. Damn, that face seems familiar. It looks like the woman from the bar up in San Francisco. She reached in her pocketbook for her sunglasses, thinking she might get a better look. When she looked back up the woman was gone. Well, now you are being ridiculous, Samantha Riley. She was probably just looking at something in the window you were standing in front of. She brushed off the feeling and continued to the car.

"So, how was lunch?" Alex greeted Samantha by the receptionist's desk, grabbed her hand and practically pulled her toward her office.

"Lunch was great," Samantha started to answer as she was being led.

They got inside and Alex closed the door. "Come here, you." She drew the smaller woman into her arms and gave her a hug, and then with her hands on either side of Samantha's face she bent down and kissed her. "The Goddess knows I've missed you in the short period of time you've been gone! I feel empty when you're not around." She kissed Samantha again and ran her hands through the fine, silken hair. "Welcome home."

"I missed you, too, Alex. But you know, I think I have a bone to pick with you."

"Why?" Blue eyes took on a look of contrition, "What did I do?"

"You have to give me credit for being able to handle Some of my own problems, Alex."

"Samantha, I don't understand." The raven-haired beauty stood before her lover with confusion written all over her face.

"You called Flying Fingers before I got a chance to, didn't you?" Samantha accused.

"Who told you that?"

"You know how I found out -- what I want to know is why? Why didn't you trust me enough to let me do it all by myself like I asked. I told you I would have you butt in if it went poorly. Why, Alex?"

"I'm sorry, Samantha. I just didn't want her upsetting you and I knew I could handle the situation much easier. Forgive me? Next time, if we decide it's all in your corner, so be it! I promise!" Alex pleaded with her lover to let this one pass and, of course, Samantha agreed.

"It was great talking to Suz about you." Samantha smiled a wicked smile up at her lover.

"Oh, should I be worried as to exactly what was discussed?" Alex wanted to know.

"Well, she is my best friend and up to now I've never kept a secret from her." Samantha giggled and put her face into Alex's chest. "I just went on and on about how marvelous you are so you'll have a real show to put on when you meet her on Thursday for lunch."

"Thursday for lunch, no asking me -- just telling, huh?" Alex feigned indignation.

"I knew you wouldn't mind, and I'll be doing the making." Samantha gazed up into blue pools that showed nothing but affection for the small blonde they beheld.

"You'll do no such thing," Alex chuckled at her lover. "If I'm to be put on display then we will either go to a very elegant restaurant or have it catered here."

Samantha started to disapprove and was given a quick negative shake of raven hair and a stern stare that stopped her objection in its tracks.

"You can have your choice of which it will be, but it will be one or the other. If I'm to be made a spectacle of then so be it!" Alex beamed as she looked at Samantha's face. "I love you, Samantha. It will be fun."

"Let's do the catering thing then -- that way Suzanne will be able to see the beautiful view we have from here. No restaurant around can beat our view!" Samantha gleefully agreed to the venture.

Our view, Alex joyously thought to herself, Samantha said, 'our view.'

"Catered it will be then. Now, what do you have in mind to do for the rest of the afternoon?"

Samantha went on to discuss with Alex the subcontractors who needed to be called.

Alex told Sam what she had done in her absence. She filled her in with information that the police called and she seemed more than a little concerned that Jake insisted that he would love to be able take the blame for breaking in and messing up the VW but that he wasn't responsible for the damage. He would not confess to the vandalism and sneered at the police, telling them that she must be on someone else's shit list as well. The police said he seemed to get a grim satisfaction in the fact that someone else hated her as much as he did.

Alex gave Samantha the list of contacts she needed to make and told her she could either stay in the office or go on up to the apartment to do the calling. Sam opted for the apartment and the gals kissed and went their separate ways.

Samantha had finalized the last of the subcontractors and was quite content with the outcome of the calls. All but one of the instructors was ready to start and the one that wasn't could easily be replaced with an alternative discipline. She smiled at her accomplishment and decided to surprise Alex with dinner when she finally got done working. It had been quite a fulfilling day and making dinner was a nice way to top it off. She loved to cook and even though they hadn't been shopping yet she scrounged around and found the makings of a pretty good meal.

She found a nice bottle of Merlot and opened it to let it breathe a little before being served. Dinner would entail a nice salad, baked potato, broccoli and she found a piece of frozen tuna steak that would more than work for the two of them after she marinated and grilled it.

She set the table and decorated it with candles then went through a stack of Alex's CD's, getting the player all ready to go. After showering she changed into a midi top and bike shorts. She put the CD player on, poured some wine and sat on a couple pillows in front of the window to wait for Alex. Looking over at microwave clock she saw it was about 6:00. Her day had been quite busy, what with informing her friend about her new life style and talking to all those new people. The music was soothing and she found herself relaxing to the point of nodding off.

When Alex came through the door at 6:30 she heard the soft sounds of one of her favorite jazz artists. She quietly closed the door and went in search of Samantha. All day long she wore the guise of boss. She needed to be strong, opinionated and right, especially when dealing with some of the males she ran across, who felt obliged to balk at female leadership, even when she was paying their salary. Up here she could let down her guard and relax. She felt the transformation process begin as soon as she opened the door to the apartment. When she cast her eyes on the sleeping Samantha, who was curled up with her arms wrapped around a large pillow, every trace of the businesswoman in Alex melted, leaving behind only the soft, caring lover -- the person not many people ever got to see.

Alex squatted down on her knees and kissed Samantha softly on the ear as she whispered, "Good evening, baby."

Samantha opened her eyes and let go of the pillow as she reached up and drew Alex closer. "It's about time you stopped working." The two bodies merged into one as the lovers caressed each other. "As much as I would like to stay here forever, I do have a dinner almost completed. Could I interest you in some real food?" Samantha began to get up, pulling Alex back up with her.

"I imagine I could stop long enough to eat dinner, as long as I get you for dessert." Alex smiled at the small blonde now standing in front of her. "I'll go wash up while you finish."

Dinner was rather uneventful. Each of the women talked about what transpired since they parted ways. Sam filled Alex in on all the conversations with the subcontractors and lecturers. Alex explained just how near to completion the entire project was coming. They laughed, ate and drank as the sun did its daily ritual in front of their abode.

As dinner was winding down Alex made the suggestion that they go to the Sawdust Festival on Saturday. She explained that the Festival was where she had originally intended to take Samantha last weekend before the San Francisco trip turned up. She went on to explain that the summer festival took place in a three-acre eucalyptus grove in Laguna canyon, and that it continued through the entire months of July and August.

"This Festival is unique to Laguna, Samantha, over 180 artists from all disciplines come together for this event each year as they have since the early 1960's. Mom and Kelley used to bring me here when I was little. It started out with a bunch of disgruntled artists who were out to show the establishment that they didn't have to follow guidelines to be true artisans. Coming to the Festival was one of our family traditions."

"Was a tradition" That sounds like it isn't any more." Samantha looked up questioningly at her lover. "Did you stop going?"

"Yeah." Alex answered with a sigh. "I guess the tradition stopped when I started college. It's kind of a shame, it was always a fun time." She gave Samantha a quick hug.

"Maybe we can start it up again, Alex. It might be fun."

"That's sweet, Honey. Maybe we can. Mom would probably like that!"

"So, do you still want to go swimming?" Samantha asked. "After the kitchen gets cleaned up."

"No," came the response from the tired executive. "But, I would like to take a short walk on the beach." She picked up some of the plates off the table and started into the kitchen.

"I can handle this, Alex."

"Well, the least I can do is clear the table off."

"Okay," Samantha gave in, "It will make it faster if you clear and I clean."

In less than 15 minutes they were finished and out the door -- not without locking it first -- and headed down toward the shoreline.

"Hey, Samantha, I forgot to tell you that the beach signs arrived today. I'll have someone put them up tomorrow. What do you think about putting fencing up?"

Samantha looked at her lover and frowned slightly, "I think I would rather not put up fencing unless we begin to find it necessary. I love the way the beach looks in its continuity. No sense in spoiling the view if we don't have to."

"My thoughts exactly," Alex smiled down at the small blonde.

Looking down the long expanse of beach took Alex back to other happy times she spent on this plot of land. "You know, we're going to have to go grunion hunting sometime this summer, I haven't been for years!"

"I thought that was a California legend." Samantha stated.

"No. Grunions are as real as sharks but a lot more fun to play with. We'll have to call the Maritime people and see when the next run is scheduled; it should be anytime now." She looked over at the small woman by her side and drew her in closer. "There are so many things I want to do with you, Samantha. You've brought excitement back into my life and I can't seem to sit still anymore." She stopped walking long enough to kiss Samantha gently and hold her close. "Look around, Honey, this is where we belong. No matter where else we go or what else we do, we'll always have this to come home to." She felt the small woman in her arms shiver and held her close. "Come, on let's go back up to the house."

The rest of the evening continued along uneventfully. They looked at furniture to complete Sam's office, furniture for the parental suite and furniture for Samantha's so-called bedroom. Even though it was only catalogue shopping they pretty much decided on most of the pieces and Alex said she would call the order in first thing tomorrow morning. They also found a white sectional couch for the living room with a middle that pulled out into a double bed and two matching recliners that could sit close or sit separate from the completed couch. If anything turned out to be not as displayed in the catalogue there would be no problem with sending it back. Samantha wanted to look for some glass top tables to go with the couch. Alex suggested that they look around at the Festival on Saturday. With all those decisions out of the way the only shopping left was for linens and accessories. Alex told Sam to feel free to go do the shopping one day early next week with Suzanne if she wanted, stating that shopping was not her most favorite chore. Samantha laughed at the term "chore" applied to shopping and said she would ask Suz if she wanted to help her spend some money.

They talked a little while longer as they sat and watched the ocean below them rise and fall and the moon dance on the white caps. Samantha was the first to suggest bed and it didn't take any coaxing for Alex to agree.

"It's been quite a day," Alex stated looking over at Sam while she was undressing. "How do you think you're going to like working with me?"

"I'm going to like it just fine, Alex," came the immediate response. "At least I know it will never be dull!" She smiled over at her lover.

"Just how long do you think that nightshirt you're putting on is going to stay on?" Alex grinned.

"Probably not long, I guess it isn't really even worth the bother, now is it?" The small blonde shook her head and proceeded to take the nightshirt back off as she hopped into the bed. "Better?"

"Much!" Came the answer from a naked Alex who immediately got into the other side of the bed.

"This is definitely the only way to end a busy day." Alex pulled Samantha close to her, the heat from their radiating bodies igniting the fire of passion once again. The soft music still emanating from the living room added a perfect background for the two lovers as they exhausted themselves in the sweetest way possible and ended up falling asleep, wrapped in each other's arms.