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by Tim Wellman and Rinah
Xena and Gabrielle held hands and walked down the street. Gabrielle looked up, and seeing her friend daydreaming, smiled and put her head on Xena's shoulder. She took a deep breath and glanced at all the strange people around her, the vendors and colorful trinkets, the huge buildings... it was the first time she had ever been to New York. She let go of Xena and adjusted her new jeans, then put her hands in her pockets.
"Xena, you should've tried on a pair of these... wonder why they want you to Guess the name?" Gabrielle smiled and looked up at the Sheriton New York.
Xena adjusted her sword... she still wore the same outfit. "Gabrielle, a warrior doesn't wear designer jeans." She narrowed her eyes, searching the windows of the hotel for would-be attackers.
"Oh, you're just being silly." Gabrielle playfully bumped into Xena. "We're supposed to be on vacation... you could've left your sword at home."
Xena stopped abruptly, and grabbed Gabrielle's shoulder. "Don't even kid about that." She reached over her shoulder, and found the handle of her weapon, closed her eyes, and sighed softly. She shivered, then refocused on Gabrielle.
Gabrielle sniffed the air, discovering food. "Xena, can I have a hotdamn?"
"It's hotDOG, Gabrielle." Xena shook her head at her friend's lack of sophistication. "And do you really want food made from dogs?"
"No, I guess not." Gabrielle's mind wandered over a thousand different thoughts, locking on none of them. "I'm just hungry."
"We can eat when we get to our room."
"Oh, no.... We're going out to eat." Gabrielle furrowed her brow and punched Xena's chest with her finger. "You promised, this was a vacation. And I don't mean just trapping pigeons, like in Chicago... I want a real meal."
"It's just that I've got villages to save, and..."
"Forget it!" Gabrielle turned her back and pretended to cry.
"OK, Gabrielle... we'll go out for dinner." Xena put her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder and gave 'the look' to the curious passer's by. "Damn tourists..." She lifted Gabrielle's chin and smiled. "I suppose you'll want to go dancing afterwards..."
"We always do back home." Gabrielle turned back around and hugged Xena. "Thanks..." She backed away and smiled. "Besides, it'll be fun."
"Come on, let's get checked in." Gabrielle followed Xena into the hotel.
"Do you think they'll take dinars?"
Xena flipped a dinar to the bell hop and slammed the door in his face. Gabrielle was already jumping up and down on the bed, practicing martial arts' moves on an invisible enemy.
"Xena, you've got to try this."
"Gabrielle..." Xena stood back and watched her bouncy friend. She moved her eyes up and down, following Gabrielle's adventures on the mattress, then her eyes dropped to the floor.
Gabrielle rubbed her rearend as she got back to her feet, and looked at Xena. "I thought you were spotting me." She soon forgot the fall, and looked around the room, picking up everything she could lift and examining it. "Wonder who makes all this stuff?"
Xena smiled and admired the bard. So inquisitive, unhardened by the trials she had been through... and so dense, sometimes. "I imagine they make it all in the Village... you remember the guys at the Lincoln Center Craft's Fair talking about 'making' it there?"
Gabrielle nodded her head. "Well, I need a bath before we go out." She pushed open the door to the bathroom and looked inside, then turned back to Xena and smiled. "The tub is big enough for two." She twirled her hair around her finger, and looked coyly from the corner of her eyes.
With a 'whoosh', Xena was standing naked in front of Gabrielle, and together they walked through the door.
As they walked along the darkening street, Gabrielle stared at the brightly lit signs. She held Xena's hand and swung her arm by her side. A quiet song passed her lips: "Tea for two and two for tea... me for you and you for me..."
Xena's head moved from side to side, keeping time with Gabrielle's melody. She started to hum along, terribly out of key. She scratched her shoulder, under her epaulet, and took a deep breath. The evening was turning cool, and Xena's legs were freezing. She glanced around, trying to spot firewood, when she noticed a guy throwing cards on a table. Gabrielle had already broken away and was standing in front of him, her eyes glued to his hands.
"Xena, we gotta play." Gabrielle turned around and held out her hand for a dinar.
"Gabrielle, this is just like the kiwi fruit and turtle shell game. He slides the right card off the table, so you can't win."
Gabrielle nodded and smiled as if she understood... she didn't have a clue; then they walked away together, taking each other's hands again. "Xena... what's a kiwi fruit?"
"Ask the producers...."
Gabrielle's mind quickly dropped the thought and returned to her stomach. "Can we eat, now?"
Xena looked around and spotted a small bakery. "I guess we can get food there."
Gabrielle's eyes lit up. "Great! Cake!"
Gabrielle had icing all over her face, as she finished the last piece of a double layer, double chocolate, fudge brownie cake. Xena sat beside her on the sidewalk, pecking at a brain muffin.
"Thiwjr rjpi jre efpwepk oewepf."
"Gabrielle, you're mouth is full. I can't understand a word you're saying." Xena tossed her muffin into the gutter.
Gabrielle swallowed several times and cleared her throat. "I said, I wonder why they wouldn't let us eat inside?"
"They have strange customs, here, Gabrielle... and when in Rome..." Xena smiled and wiped a finger full of icing from Gabrielle's chin and stuck it in her mouth.
"Well, you still owe me a real dinner." Gabrielle smiled and wiped her face on a napkin. "I mean, with candles and wine and a meat product as a main course." She stood up and sniffed the air. "I smell food... real food." She started walking down the street.
Xena hopped up and followed the hungry bard. She looked at the logo on Gabrielle's behind and smiled because she didn't have to guess. She ran to catch up, then put her arm around Gabrielle's shoulder, mainly to gain some control over her friend's movements. Gabrielle led them to a club called, "Ruby Fruit Bar & Grill". They walked through the door in each other's arms, surprised that inside, women everywhere were in each other's arms.
"Xena... what is this place?" Gabrielle looked around and smiled. She sniffed again, then saw food on a table. "Xena, look... real food."
"I guess we just sit down."
They found an empty table, and Gabrielle picked up the candle and sniffed it. "Smells like flowers."
They waited several minutes for a waitress. No one came. Xena tried to motion to someone, but still couldn't get anyone's attention. She pulled her sword and sliced a chair in two. She got a waitress.
Xena ordered a salad... Gabrielle ordered everything on the menu. The waitress looked at Xena and smiled. "I suppose you're headed to Meow Mix for Xena night?"
"Are you talking to me?" Xena smiled, and, just in case trouble was brewing, unhooked her chakram.
"Oh, it's OK... we get Xenites in here all the time." The waitress stroked Xena's hair. "You know, if you lost a little weight, you'd look just like Xena."
"I am Xena." Xena wasn't sure whether to write her off as just another crazy New Yorker or to start slicing and dicing.
The waitress laughed again. "Oh, you guys kill me."
Xena thought about taking her up on the offer.
"So, are you going to the Xena fest?"
"Listen, if you don't bring us some food, I'm going to squeeze your head between my thighs until you loose consciousness.
The waitress looked as if she were trying to decide what she wanted to do... get the order, or kneel down. She looked at Xena's sword again, then left for the food.
Gabrielle smiled again and stuffed a baked potato into her mouth. "Frtij rpjp iyoij rpjr worpw."
Xena nodded, as she turned up a wine bottle to her lips, then wiped the spill-over off her chin... and her chest... and her legs. She watched as Gabrielle inhaled every spot of food on the table, then licked the plates.
"Now that's good eatin'." She belched and looked around.
"Hi, I'm Sheila." Gabrielle turned to meet the voice, and was greeted by a smile.
"Hi, I'm Gabrielle."
"Hi, Gabrielle... can I give you my number?" Sheila handed Gabrielle a napkin with her number on it.
Gabrielle looked puzzled. "And why do I need this?"
"Well, if you want to get together sometime..." She looked at Xena and smiled. "Nice outfit."
Xena blushed and waved her head. "Just a little something I put together."
Gabrielle grabbed Sheila by the arm and looked into her eyes. "But, I need a number? You must be popular."
Sheila bit her bottom lip and widened her eyes, not quite sure whether Gabrielle was serious, or not.
"Forgive us, we're from out of town... way out of town." Xena smiled and widened her eyes to match Sheila's. "Telephone number, right?"
Xena's reply seemed to worry Sheila even more. She waved and walked away.
Gabrielle looked at the napkin, then wiped her face with it. She poured another glass of wine, and leaned back in her chair, then fell over on her back. She hoped up like Callisto had just poked her in the ribs, and smiled and blushed. "I meant to do that."
Xena motioned for the waitress to bring the check, and as she smiled, the waitress seemed to get weak in the knees. Xena looked at the check and then looked at the empty plates. "Gabrielle, did you have a Waldorf salad?"
She belched again and licked her lips. "Did it have some kind of fruit in it?"
Xena looked at the check again. "Two hundred and forty dinars?" She handed the check back to the waitress who pretended to read it.
"Well, that includes the tip."
Xena rolled her eyes, then dumped a handful of coins in the waitress' cupped hands, and watched as she walked away. She walked funny, Xena thought... not bad, just funny. She looked back to Gabrielle who was swilling another glass of wine.
"Gabrielle, I thought you wanted to dance... I'm not going to sit here and just watch you get drunk." Xena sighed and looked away. "It's getting late... we need to get to bed... it's nearly seven o'clock. So we better be dancing soon."
"We can't dance here." Gabrielle picked something from between her teeth and looked at it on her fingernail. "No one else is."
Xena stood up and walked behind Gabrielle, lifting her up and spinning her into her arms. She looked at the bard and smiled, as her heart melted into Gabrielle's eyes. "Who's going to stop us?"
"But there's no music..."
Xena pulled Gabrielle close and kissed her forehead. "Gabrielle, you are the music." And together they began, slowly drifting across the floor, staring into each other's eyes and dreaming....
"Xena, I'm going to miss this place." Gabrielle looked around and started singing. "I'm an ol' cowhand.... from the Rio Grande...".
Xena smiled at the bard and kicked a panhandler into a garbage can, then put her arm around the bard. "Just don't say I never take you anyplace."
Gabrielle pressed her body against Xena's and sighed. Xena looked down at her friend and sighed back. Then Gabrielle got a terrible look on her face and suddenly stopped. "Damn!"
"Gabrielle, what's wrong?"
Gabrielle looked down at the ground, then back at Xena. "I just stepped in some gum..."
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