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The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA/Universal. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a Uber-Xena western. The characters of Rena, Holly, and the others in this story are mine. Please do not use any of it or alter this story without permission.
This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.
This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depiction’s of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
This is a sequel to Rena The Renegade. I highly recommend reading the first story, before reading this story; otherwise, you will be lost. For those that sent me email, thanks for all the feedback. All feedback is welcomed at WWarrior01@aol.com.
Rena The Renegade - Going Home
By Weekend Warrior
Her horse, Arcos, could not go any farther. They had stopped twice since sunrise to rest but Arcos was exhausted and the heat from the sun, high in the sky, was not helping. It was taking a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep the mare going. She had to admit the wind was running out of her sails not to mention the influence of the fidgeting body behind her. Holly had slept most the night; however, since the sun had risen, she shifted her position every few minutes. Rena searched out a stream then found a good spot to camp. While she unsaddled Arcos, Holly setup camp.
They had not eaten anything but jerky since her capture by the Ranger so she was very grateful to see that the stream contained fish. She fashioned a fishing pole from a branch using her boot knife. Attaching some thread and a bent nail, she was ready for bait which was found under a rock near the stream. She quickly caught a couple trout which she turned over to Holly to cook.
Concerned about the slow progress they were making she went on foot to cover up their tracks. Arcos could only be pushed so hard riding double. A single rider could make much better time. Their only hope was to make sure that the posse could not follow their tracks. Returning to the campsite, her sensitive nose picked up the delicious smell of lunch causing her to quicken her pace back to camp.
Holly tried several times to start conversation during lunch; however, the single syllable responses wore down her persistence. After lunch, Rena’s eyelids drooped as she stared into the fire. Riding all night and half of the day was finally taking its toll. Holly took the opportunity to fully observe her, she noticed the yellow tinge around her eyes, the only remaining evidence of the beating she had taken from her own men, when they refused to follow her orders to give up the money.
Holly fetched the bedrolls, laid out Rena’s, then moved over to Rena and knelt down. Taking Rena’s elbow, she gently urged her to stand. "Come on." She whispered.
Unable to resist, Rena did as told, allowing Holly to lead her over to the bedroll then pushed her down. Holly pulled off her hat as she descended on the bedroll.
"It won’t work. I can’t sleep during the day." Rena protested as she rolled on to her back.
"Try, please. Close your eyes." Holly insisted. She knelt down behind Rena’s head, leaning back on her heels. She wiped a errant lock of raven hair out of Rena’s face before beginning a gentle massage of Rena’s forehead and temples, drawing soft circles.
After a few minutes, Holly felt Rena relax into her ministrations. After a few more minutes she felt Rena’s head tilt to the side. With a mischievous and self satisfied smile, Holly stopped her massage and watched as Rena slept on.
Holly had slept most of the night, held on the horse by Rena’s strong hands covering her own. Tired of sitting, actually a little bit sore of sitting, she wandered downstream to see what she could find.
Rena’s eyes fly open. What the .? Where was she? Waking up during the day through her for a loop, she was completely disoriented.
‘Holly’s in trouble.’ Jumping up, she started running towards the screams, pulling her revolver as she went, her heart pounding in her chest. Her movements were less than graceful as she rushed through the brush stumbling over the uneven ground, her only thoughts were of getting to the blonde woman as quickly as possible. Branches swatted at her face as she pushed her way through. The growling told her the story before she could see it - coyotes or wild dogs. She burst into the clearing looking for the leader. Taking out the leader would disperse the pack.
One coyote had Holly by the back of her clothes! Without hesitation she shot the coyote closest to the front of Holly, it was the one that appeared to be enticing the movements of the others. The other coyotes jumped, then backed off, still growling, they looked hesitantly from Holly to Rena. Without their leader they were confused and disjointed. Rena fired at the coyote that previously had a mouth full of clothes. Having had enough, the coyotes took off.
Rena kept an eye on them until she was sure they were gone. Turning her attention to Holly, she walked over and asked, "Are you Okay?"
Holly nodded yes but her face contorted into a pained expression as tears began to flow. She threw herself into Rena, desperately needing to be held. Stunned, it took Rena a minute before she wrapped her arms around Holly pulling her tight. Sobs racked the small body, Rena hung on until they subsided. Pulling back Rena gently wiped tears away. "Lets get back to camp."
They silently walked back to camp, Holly tightly clinging to the other woman, sniffling now and then. She gradually relaxed her death grip as they neared camp.
"Are you sure you’re Okay? Did you get bit?"
Holly turned a crimson red. She nodded yes.
Tears threaten to start again. Puzzled, Rena moved around to look at where she had seen a coyote hanging onto her clothes. The seat of Holly’s riding pants was ripped to shreds and blotched with blood.
Keeping her voice even, she put a comforting hand on Holly’s shoulder, lightly squeezing. "Holly, I need to disinfect it and see if it needs stitches."
Holly took a deep breath but didn’t move. Moving back around to face Holly, Rena pulled her close and kissed her temple. "It’ll be okay. Kneel down on the bedroll, I’ll get the bandages."
Holly did as told. Rena retrieved the bandages and a flask of whiskey. "Okay, lets see them." Holly shot a her a glare, which she returned with a gentle smile. The only thing that kept her from bursting into laughter was the seriousness of the situation and Holly’s apparent discomfort with dealing with this injury. "Come on Holly, do you trust me?"
A big sigh. "Yes" She proceeded to pull her pants down to her thighs then laid down on the bedroll.
Rena poured the whiskey on the wounds. The sting of the whiskey caused Holly to tighten her cheeks. Rena grinned, as the cutest dimples appeared in those cheeks. Rena put her hand over her mouth to keep the laughter at bay. This combined with her exhaustion threatened to blow her resolve not to laugh. "OOOOOwwww! Blow on it!" Holly cried.
‘Blow on it? This just gets better and better.’ Accommodating, Rena knelt down and blew a steady stream of air towards the wound. Holly’s eyes went wide, she froze at the sensation. Not exactly what she had expected. Her heart started racing and her breathing became ragged.
Rena cleaned the wound and applied bandages, all the while Holly stayed perfectly still. "There’s a couple long scratch marks which are not very deep and a couple teeth marks that are deep but are not big enough to need stitches. You will be very sore for a couple days though."
Rena patted the back of her arm. "I’ll get your other pants. These might re-infect the area. Besides they’re shredded."
After an early dinner, Rena went to sleep on her bedroll. Holly laid her bedroll out beside hers. Laying on her side with her elbow propping up her head, she observed the sleeping form. She is so beautiful. I wonder what her life would have been like if that gang had never raided her home? No doubt she would have had her pick from any of the guys in her area. Would she have been a rich ranchers wife? Holly smiled and snorted at the prospect.
Her mind drifted back to the kiss. During their escape from the posse, Rena had kissed her on the mouth. ‘Had she misinterpreted that? Rena has not tried to kiss her since. The kiss on the temple doesn’t count, it was more of a motherly/caregiver kiss. Although, I can’t picture her doing that with any of her men. True, they have been a little busy, what with running from a posse and being attacked by coyotes, not to mention Rena hasn’t slept in two days.’
‘Where would that kiss lead and do I really want to go there? The kiss happened so suddenly and felt so right there wasn’t time to think about it. It felt as natural as breathing.’ Holly was disappointed when it abruptly ended. Although she had to admit, it was not the time or place, the posse was just over the hill, sound asleep, but that could change at any moment.
Holly had never been with a man. Back in Poteet she had been engaged to the Sheriff, but the most that they had ever done, was a goodnight peck on the cheek. Until she met Rena, she had no idea that women could be together.
She looked back down at the peacefully sleeping form, the answer slammed her with such force, it caused her breath to catch. ‘This is where I belong. I can’t imagine life without her in it.’ Looking at that face, it took all of her control not to snuggle up to and bury her face in Rena’s neck and shoulder. ‘Where she goes, I go.’
‘But what if she had misinterpreted the kiss? What if Rena doesn’t feel the same way? What if Rena got tired of her after a while? Why didn’t she kiss me goodnight? Ughhh.’
Rena woke up, stretching her arms over her head and pointing her toes out, she felt good and rested. Her muscles, down the full length of her frame, became taut then easily relaxed. She had an uneasy feeling she was forgetting something. She turned on her side to watch the still sleeping form next to her. There was that angel face. Then it occurred to her what was missing. This was the first night since Poteet that they had not slept very close. Man, am I turning to a mushball or what!
‘She’s an innocent in more ways than one. I haven’t had any experience with innocents. Most of my encounters were with fellow outlaws, saloon whores, and an occasional lawman.’ The latter helped keep her out of jail, more than a few times.
‘This experience was definitely going to be different. I’ll have to take it slow. Give her every opportunity to stop if that’s what she wants. I wonder how long she will stay? More than likely she is just romanticizing what happened. She will get tired of this life soon enough then go home. Hell, after the coyotes she may want to go home today.’ Rena frowned at that thought. ‘What do I expect? The life I lead is rough, coyotes are a breeze compared to some of the other aspects.’ She shook herself out of that train of thought.
Rena brought the campfire back to life, checked the perimeter, and cooked breakfast. She gently shook Holly several times. After the third try, Holly finally got up. They ate breakfast then set out. Holly couldn’t ride so they both walked. Walking, they should reach Abilene by nightfall. Supplies were getting low, Rena didn’t take the time to check them before leaving the posse. She didn’t like the idea of making an appearance in town but she didn’t like the idea of sending Holly in by herself either. An appearance could bring the posse and Ranger down on them. They would make it quick, get the supplies and get out.
"I need to let my father know that I’m all right."
Here it comes. She is ready to go home. "What did you have in mind?"
"I could write him a letter and mail it at the town up ahead but I don’t have anything to write with or money to mail it."
With a sigh of relief, smiling she said "I think we can afford some paper and a stamp. But we can’t send it directly to him or they will be able to trace it to Abilene. I have a friend we could send it to. She could mail it anonymously from her town. Oh, and don’t put anything in it about where we are going or where we have been. Most likely the Sheriff will confiscate it after your father has read it."
Holly frowned at this, other people reading her letters, it suddenly occurred to her that she didn’t know where they were headed. "Where are we going?"
Rena didn’t answer for a long time. Just when Holly thought she wasn’t going to answer, she heard "Amarillo".
Their eyes locked. Holly took in the pained questioning look. She smiled what she hoped was a reassuring smile. "It’ll be Okay." With that she wrapped her hand around Rena’s upper arm and squeezed, then stepped closer. Rena nodded, not making any move to break the contact, then returned her gaze to the road. They continued on for a few paces like this, with their sides touching and Holly’s hand and arm wrapped around Rena’s arm.
Holly had never seen Rena look so open and vulnerable. ‘So she is going home to face her mother for the first time in ten years. I hope it will be okay. It has to be, this could change her life for the better. This could mend all those old wounds that haunt her.’
Rena never liked being touched but this felt so right ? No matter what happened, she knew Holly would be there for her. ‘Please stay with me until then’, Rena silently pleaded.
Feeling the moment pass, Holly slowly slid her hand down Rena’s arm and then reluctantly released it.
After a length of silence, Rena asked "How’s your uh wound?" She did not even try to stop the smile that came to her face. Holly looked up at the tone, catching the smile. "IT IS NOT FUNNY!"
The laughter that had been held in check from last night could not be held back. At first it was just a couple chuckles, then at Holly’s indignant face, Rena was laughing full out. The image of those round dimpled cheeks sent her over the edge, Rena double over laughing, falling to her knees. "Come on, you should have seen the look on your face." Rena managed to get out between gulps for air.
She stomped in front of Rena. "IT IS NOT FUNNY!" Holly tried to remain mad but seeing Rena laugh for the first time made her smile. After a moments hesitation, she dropped to her knees, backhanding Rena in the abdomen, before joining in, admitting that it was rather amusing, especially if you were not the recipient.
When the laughter died down, Rena wrapped her arms around Holly, pulling her into a hug. "I’m glad you’re okay." She sealed this sentiment with a kiss to a earlobe. The soft lips and moist breath sent shivers down Holly’s spine. Their cheeks caressed as Rena pulled back, rocking back on her heels she stretched into a standing position, then pulled Holly to her feet. "Let’s get going."
Holly walked along smiling.
There was something wrong. The hairs on the back of Rena’s neck were sticking up. The streets were empty. Abilene had always been a bustling town, slightly larger than Poteet.
The general store seemed normal aside from the fact that it had no customers. People congregate at places like this, just to pass the time of day. Knowing that they wanted to get out of town as quickly as possible, Holly purchased a tablet then headed for the bench outside the store to write her letter.
"Stay close." Rena warned.
Rena gathered up supplies and was in the process of paying for them when they heard a commotion in the streets. Rena heard her companion’s voice among the turmoil.
I am fine. Actually, I’ve never been better. I would ask how are you but I have no address for which you could send me your response. I hope you are well. I will write occasionally, I promise.
I’m traveling with Rena Halston. I might add it’s of my own free will. You are probably wondering "What in blazes has gotten into my daughter?"
"GO ON START RUNNING, I’LL GIVE YOU TILL THE COUNT OF 5 BEFORE I START SHOOTING."
At those words, Holly looked up and to her horror, saw a man push a boy out in the street. She jumped up, rushing over to the boy. Placing herself between the man and boy, "What are you doing to this boy?" The man had his gun out, waving it in the air. His intentions were very apparent, but Holly had to stall for time.
He smirked. "Well, well, what do we have here. You’re ruining my fun little missy, but you will make up for it later. Now get out of the way before I decide you should join in."
‘Yep, tonight is going to be fun.’, He thought to himself.
"Look, I don’t know what the problem is but I’ll make sure he doesn’t bother you anymore." ‘I hope Rena comes out soon.’ Holly sent a silent plea.
"Oh, he won’t bother me anymore. Now "
"Do you only play with unarmed women and children or can anyone play?" Rena smirked. She strolled casually into the street, wearing a new black duster. Her previous duster had been shredded by a mountain lion, that they came upon in a cave. Rena still carried the stitches from that attack.
The gunfighter whirled around to face this new challenge. He was not prepared for what he saw. Up until now, his only threat was a small town Sheriff which he quickly took care of. The feral grin mixed with the cold eyes sent a cold chill down his spine. This woman was a gunfighter, certainly not from this small town. Where did she come from?
"Who are you?" A pause, then a little more confidently he stated, "This town belongs to Drake Onassis." He walked out in the street keeping her in his vision.
"Name is Rena Halston." A pause as she watched, first recognition, then fear cross his face. "I say this town belongs to the people of Abilene." Rena was very familiar with the concept of taking over a town, in fact she had taken over many towns herself. Usually, to allow her men to rest up before continuing on. The concept was simple: the outlaw took owner liberties with anything in town, from supplies in the general store, drinks in the saloon, to companionship from the towns folk. Rena moved the front of her duster behind her revolver, swayed her hips, preparing for the gunfight sure to come. "Where is Drake?"
‘She acts like she knows him.’ "He’s coming. I’ve heard of you. There’s a hefty reward on your head which I’m going to collect." He sneered, ‘I can outdraw any woman.’
"Rena, We’re okay. Don’t kill him." ‘We’ll turn him over to the Sheriff’, Holly reasoned.
The gunfighter rolled his eyes, ‘What are they amateurs?’
‘This is a gunfight and she says don’t kill him. This is not a game of checkers.’ Icy blue eyes locked onto the dark brown of the gunfighter’s. Everything around them faded out, at that moment there was only two people in the world. People experience moments of utmost clarity a few times in their lives. For Rena, every gunfight consisted of one of those moments. Her sense of sight, smell and hearing were heightened to the point of being almost painful. He was fifteen paces away yet she could hear his breathing, smell him sweat, and see the perspiration on his forehead.
Rena took in every detail of the gunfighter. Not that she was worried about the outcome of this fight, but she never took one for granted. Overconfidence was the undoing of many a fighter. There was always a telltale sign of when a gunfighter was going to draw, in some fights every little advantage helped. The majority of gunfighters took a deep breath before drawing, some shifted their weight to the other foot, some blinked to clear their focus.
Holly watched, fascinated, as Rena turn into the Renegade. This was no longer the woman that sat laughing in the road this morning. This was the person that was feared by a large part of the Texas territory. She watched as Rena focused in on the gunfighter, her face stoic, except for the cold twinkle in her eyes.
A slight breeze blew her duster and dark mane around behind her. The movement in complete contrast to the rest of her person. Her black cotton pants clung to her muscular legs, the gun belt wrapped around the top of her hips while the guns rested low against her thighs accenting her curves. The holsters were secured by thin strips of leather tied on the inside of her thighs. Her white shirt was tucked into the pants, buttoned low, revealing the swell of her breasts. Mesmerized Holly could not look away. Confidence came of her in waves. Her presence drew every pair of eyes on the street. ‘Oh my God, she is so beautiful’.
This gunfighter took a deep breath before drawing. Rena’s aim was dead on, she shot the upper portion of his arm that he used to draw the gun. The gun flew out of his hand in mid-draw. He looked down at his arm then back at Rena. That was fast!
Rena hesitated to make sure he would not go for the gun, when she was sure it was over, she spun the revolver around her trigger finger then holstered it. Cautiously she approached the gunfighter, kicking his gun well out of reach.
Unbeknownst to the four people in the street, the entire town watched from various windows hoping against hope that the woman would win in answer to their prayers. When it looked like the fight was over, they flooded the streets yelling and screaming for joy.
As fast as lightning, Rena had her revolver out of the holster again but the noise was coming from everywhere. Quickly she realized there was no threat, she re-holstered her revolver. She watched as several men picked up the gunfighter. She was surrounded, everyone was slapping her on the back, thanking her for rescuing them. Embarrassed, she looked for an escape. She decided to ensure the gunfighter was securely taken care of.
Smiling inwardly, Rena watched as Holly wolfed down her meal, where does she put it all? The town had offered to pay for their meals and room while they were here, but Rena would not hear of it. It made her feel to close to owning the town, as she had done so many times in the past. She left her past behind, this was going to be a clean break. The town was so grateful that it didn’t matter if she was the devil himself. They would keep their identity a secret so there was no need to leave immediately.
They were sitting at the table at the back of the Inn, Rena with her back up against the wall. She had a view of the entire room and the entrance. The mayor, a plump short man, sat with them. He was concerned that Drake and his men would be descending on his town at any time.
"I’ll ride out to meet him in the morning." Rena stated matter-of-factly. They had once rode together. Drake always had a thing for her. It should be easy to convince him to leave this town alone.
The mayor’s mouth dropped open but he did not comment.
"You mean we. We’ll ride out to meet him." Holly corrected. Their eyes locked, blue met green.
"Not this time. Drake knows me. He’ll get skittish if I ride in there with someone else." Rena squeezed Holly’s thigh under the table, an unspoken promise she would return. "You’ll be safe here until I return."
"Of course she’ll be safe here. I’ll look after her as if she was my own daughter. What will you say to him?"
Rena turned to the mayor. "He won’t be coming to Abilene."
Sensing that was the end of discussion, the mayor nervously rambled on about other gunslingers, other times. After a few minutes Holly was pulled out of her brooding and into the stories. Before long she was enthralled, encouraging him on.
Rena’s thoughts drifted to the first time she saw Drake.
He was so cocky. She had went ahead of her men to stake out a bank. Sitting on a bench across from the bank, she watched under the brim of her hat as a lone figure rode in and tied up his horse at the bank. He looked nervously up and down the street, could he be more obvious? She remembered shaking her head, thinking they would not hit this bank tomorrow. Then again, the Sheriff would not suspect two bank robberies in a row?
The Sheriff quickly appeared, headed cautiously for the bank. No doubt he had witnessed the man ride in, then merely looked for his horse. Town folk were very suspicious of strangers, that is why she had not approached the bank yet.
Her curiosity piqued, she walked over to the bank, casually looking in. The Sheriff had disarmed the kid. Slowly as if she were admiring the street front, she looked up and down the street to verify that the Sheriff was alone. With guns drawn, she slammed the bank door open, startling everyone on the inside. "Sheriff, give him his guns back and yours."
The Sheriff was too stunned to move. He was looking down the gun barrel of Rena Halston. His blood turned cold. Rena never wore a handkerchief to hide her face. What was the use, her blue eyes and dark hair gave her away every time.
Drake didn’t miss a beat. "What took you so long?" He smirked waiting for her response. She must have raised an eyebrow because he chuckled before helping himself to the weapons.
"I know you. You’re Rena Halston." The Sheriff finally managed to gain some composure.
Rena eyed the Sheriff then watched for the kid’s reaction. She saw the smirk fade and a trace of fear as he realized who his accomplices was. It was her turn to smirk, she nodded to him. "Get the money." Rena backed up against a wall watching the Sheriff and the entrance just in case they got more company.
Drake pointed his guns at a clerk. "Bring it out here." The clerks stood behind a counter that had bars going up to the ceiling. A door off to the side led behind the counter. One clerk unlocked the door to hand out the bag of money that he had previously filled. "Got it." To the clerks he said "Get back in there and lay on the floor."
"Handcuff the Sheriff to the bars and get his key." This was too easy Rena thought.
They were both looking at her expectantly. "What?"
"The mayor was telling me that Artemis Cortez is keeping the army busy down south. That’s why so many of the outlaws are headed north, to avoid both sides. I told the mayor that you knew Cortez."
"Mmm Hmm." She agreed.
"Not many people live to say that." The mayor’s respect for Rena just increased measurably.
After dinner they retired to their room. It was simple, yet comfortable. A beautiful quilt adorned the only bed. A pitcher and wash basin sat on a table in front of a mirror. There was a window that overlooked main street.
Rena dropped their bags by the table, took off her gun belt and draped it over one of the bed’s corner post. She went back to the table then started undressing. Suddenly Holly didn’t know what to do with herself so she went to the window, becoming very interested in the street activities below.
"Rena, how long will you be gone?" She did not turn around but continued to watch the street below.
"One, two days three days max.. Our room and meals are paid for three days."
Rena poured water into the washbasin, using the provided washcloth she wiped off the road dust. Finished she pulled on a fresh undershirt, then moved to the bed and laid down.
Nervously, Holly approached the bed. "I don’t have anything to sleep in." Holly spoke softly.
Rena went to their bags, pulled out her a spare undershirt and tossed it to Holly. "It will be a little big but it should be comfortable." Rena resettled on the bed, laying on her side, she faced towards the window away from Holly.
Holly went to the table. She quickly undressed then washed up. Donning the undershirt she got a whiff of leather and a sweet musk scent which she recognized as Rena’s. She said the only thing that came to mind "Its perfect."
Rena turned over to take a look. She chuckled. "Hardly perfect." It went down to her knees. The silence stretched out causing the tension in the room to be palpable. Rena reached behind her head, entwining her fingers, she rested her head in her hands, the soft pillow felt nice under her fingers. "We should buy a pillow to take with us." She kept a straight face.
"A pillow? Are you getting soft?" Holly questioned, an amused puzzled look on her face.
"No, I was thinking we could put it on Arcos so you could ride." A mischievous grin took over her face.
It only took half a second before the statement sank in. "You are so dead." Holly jumped on the bed grabbing the other pillow. Rena jumped up to her knees grabbing her own pillow. Pillows started flying. One pillow swing sent Holly to her back on the bed, giggling she quickly got up again, the pillow fight continued. Laughter and feathers drifted in the air. Finally, when the air was thick with feathers, Rena decided to end the fight. As Holly swung, Rena threw her long arms around both the pillow and Holly then pulled them both down to the bed. They lay there in a heap trying to catch their breath, without sucking in any feathers.
Pulling the pillow out from between them, Holly snuggled up to Rena. This is the place she wanted to be last night. Rena slowly, gently kissed her on the temple and cheek. Holly tilted her head back which caused their lips to brush. Rena lowered her head to press their lips together. When she pulled back, Holly’s hand reached up to pull her head back down. Rena shifted their bodies to a more comfortable position. They kissed slow and gentle.
Rena held a tight reign on her control, she let Holly set the pace and intensity. She resisted an almost overwhelming urge to press into that soft body and deepen those kisses. Holly was different from all the others, she has to be patient. They continued kissing, taking in every square inch of the others face. Cheeks and foreheads caressed. It was as if they were each trying to memorize the others face by kissing eyes, nose, mouth, cheek, and chin.
Some time later, Holly snuggled back down pillowing on Rena’s shoulder, her face buried in Rena’s neck. "This is heaven." Holly whispered. Rena wrapped her arms around Holly, pulling her close.
‘Heaven gets a lot better’ thought Rena, a huge smile took over her face, but decided to agree out loud. "Mmm Hmm"
"Goodnight Rena" Holly whispered.
The rhythm of their breathing synchronized as they drifted off to sleep.
Holly realized there was a smile on her face as she woke up. With her eyes closed, she stretched out but didn’t find the person she was looking for. She sat up and looked around. The room was empty, causing her face to fall. ‘I wonder if she already left? This is all so new to me. Does she feel the same way?’ She took a deep breath and let it out.
She spotted her tablet sitting on the table. ‘I don’t remember putting it there.’ A sliver of excitement skitter through her as she hopped out of bed and went over to the table. Pages were turned back, on top was a note from Rena.
Wrote the letter to Maggie. Go ahead and mail your Father’s letter to her. There’s money on the table for that and anything else that may come up. Stay out of trouble. I’ll be back as soon as I take care of Drake.
Short but sweet, that was her Rena. Her Rena, she liked the sound of that. Holly’s smile was back. What are we going to do for money? I don’t know how much Rena has on her but it will run out sooner or later. She tucked that thought away for later consideration.
‘I wonder if she would mind if I read her letter to Maggie. How could I not glance at it while removing it from the tablet, right?’
Mail this letter for me. Don’t let anyone know where it came from.
‘Maggie, who is she? What does she mean to Rena? Another gang? There is so much that I want to know about her.’
As you know by now, I have decided to travel with Rena. I don’t know if I can explain why to you. Traveling with Rena, I am living the adventures that I always heard about. At home, I tell the stories instead of live them. I’ve never felt more happy or alive.
It’s not what you think. Rena has decided to turn her life around. She is no longer with that gang. She came to the aid of a small town, not unlike Poteet. She helped arrest a gunfighter.
It may not seem like much but it was a big step for her. I think it will get easier over time.
Holly paused in writing her father. ‘How do I explain how I feel about her to my father?’
"What cha writing?"
Shading her eyes, Holly looked up from her position on the bench outside of the Inn to see a young man looking down at her. Her bottom being a little sensitive, she was sitting on a pillow from her room.
"A letter to my father. My name is Holly."
At that he chuckle. "Everyone in town knows your name. My name is Jackson Claude. I run the livery stables."
"Nice to meet you." Holly was thrilled to have someone to talk to .
"I’m pretty good with a gun myself. I would have taken care of that guy but I had to shoe his horse."
Holly not wanting to appear rude merely nodded. ‘Okay.’ she thought.
Jackson wore chaps that were several sizes too large and a hat that went to a rounded point high above his head. Around his waist he wore what looked like a home made gun belt which contained the largest revolver Holly had ever seen, it looked nothing like Rena’s sleek polished revolvers. The holster was high on his hip unlike Rena’s which rested against her thighs. Holly could picture Rena standing in the street from yesterday, the thought brought a smile to her lips.
Jackson smiled back. ‘I think she likes me.’
"Yeah, people around here know better than to mess with me." He said puffing out his chest.
"I bet you’re not as good as Rena." The pride evident in Holly’s voice.
"I’m faster than Billy the Kid." It was the only famous name Jackson could think of, who was not in this territory. "I’m going to be a famous gunslinger one day." He continued.
"Why would you want to do that?" Holly countered.
"My whole family is gunfighters. Its in the blood. Its what they expect of me." Jackson said as if it was obvious.
Jackson sat down beside Holly as he continued to tell her about all his many skills. After a couple hours of listening, Holly could take no more. She excused herself, to go rest in her room.
After she was sure Jackson was gone, Holly went back to her position on the bench. Several people stopped by to talk to her. Unfortunately Jackson stopped by several times too. One time the Blacksmith came looking for him.
"Jackson, if you don’t finish shoeing those horses by sunset, I’ll put the shoes on you." He yelled from across the street.
Holly discovered that the Blacksmith actually owned the livery stables and Jackson worked for him.
"Ha, Ha, that guy is such a kidder." Jackson said this softly so only Holly could hear him. "I gotta go. I’ll stop by later."
By nightfall, Holly had learned all about the Jackson Claude; Mark Weatherstone - the storekeeper, married, one daughter and one son; Dr. Harrison - who doubled as both the doctor and dentist; and Wiley Gimble - runs the saloon, keeps it clean, no fighting.
Reluctantly, Holly retired to her room. Rena said it could take as long as three days but she caught herself looking down the road more than once today hoping to see a tall, dark and beautiful figure ride in.
She looked around the room, it looked so empty. Picking up the undershirt that Rena had given her, she brought it to her nose and inhaled. The combination of leather and sweet musk brought back memories of last night, laying next to Rena. She cleaned up then dressed for bed. Knowing she was far from going to sleep, she sat by the window, looking back over to the bed. Memories of last night surrounded her in a comforting embrace, she could almost feel Rena’s arms around her. She wrapped her arms around herself then looked up to the stars. I wonder if Rena is looking at these stars right now.
For lack of anything better to do, Holly started a journal. She would record their adventures starting with leaving Poteet. Once again, she sat on the bench outside of the Inn writing in her tablet. Today she did not require the pillow.
Around mid-afternoon, a large shadow blackened out the sun. Holly shivered by the sudden lack of sunshine. She looked up to speak with whomever it was, hoping that it wasn’t Jackson. Her jaw hit the boardwalk as recognition hit her. She was staring into the face of the smirking Texas Ranger. There was a glint in his eyes of self approval.
"It was Holly, right?" A pause. "Where’s Rena?"
"I I don’t know. She left me here. She took off without me. I guess she thought I was safe here." ‘Everything she said was true.’
"Went to join up with Drake, huh?"
‘Oh, no. He knows. How much does he know? Wait, he thinks she is joining up with Drake?‘ "Its not like that. She went to persuade him to leave Abilene alone! She stopped one of his men. He is in the jail."
The Ranger snorted, what a stroke of luck it had been. He wired into headquarters, only to be told to pick up a prisoner in Abilene. Little did he know at the time that Rena would be here. The Mayor had already filled him in, it took a couple threats of obstruction of justice to get the name of the women. "Yeah right. She’s probably making a move to take over his men. I’m going after her. This time I’m bringing her in." ‘I might even get Drake as a bonus.’ "Stay out of my way or I’ll have you jailed."
Holly waited until the Ranger left her sight, then made a beeline to the livery stables.
Jackson was backing out of one of the stalls with a pitch fork loaded with steaming straw. The top part of the door was closed. Surprised to hear Holly in the stables, he straightened, ramming his head into the top part of the door. He collapsed to the ground, the steaming straw went flying, coming down on him.
Holly moved towards the noise. Surprised to see Jackson on the floor but unwilling to be distracted from her mission to warn Rena, she brushed it aside and explained why she was here. "Jackson, I need a horse!"
"Why, where are you going?"
"A Texas Ranger is going after Rena. I have to warn her."
"Do you know where she is?"
"Not exactly, she went to see Drake."
"Do you know how to find him?"
"Well, no. I just know she headed west."
"I better go with you. I’ll track her."
"You can do that?"
"Oh yeah. No problem."
Half an hour later the two of them were riding out on Jackson’s mule, Daisy.
"Jackson, what is that smell?"
"Oh, uuuh its Daisy."
Riding back to Abilene, Rena found her thoughts continuing to return to a certain blonde with sea-green eyes. Several times she found herself chuckling out loud, at the memory of bandaging Holly’s bottom.
Having completed her mission, she was very much looking forward to getting back to Abilene. At first Drake had tried to convince her to join up with him, but when he realized he was wasting his breath he agreed to stay away from Abilene, for old time sake.
The hair on the back of her neck was suddenly standing on end. Scanning the horizon she picked up a lone rider. Moving Arcos behind some brush she observed the rider. He was studying the ground as he rode, tracking someone or something. She got off of Arcos, softly whistled a command, Arcos knelt down. As he got closer, Rena recognized him as the Texas Ranger from a couple days back. She smirked, he never looked up to observe his surroundings. He would pass right by her, even if she was in plain sight.
The Ranger passed her heading directly for Drake and his men. After a safe period of time, Rena softly whistled another command which brought Arcos back to her feet. Rena mounted Arcos nudging her forward towards Abilene.
‘Drake’s men will tear that Ranger apart. Well its none of my business. Yeah, but he would not be out here if it wasn’t for you.’ Then she heard another voice and saw those sea-green eyes "Don’t kill him" from the gunfight in Abilene turned into "Don’t let him die."
Rena pulled Arcos to a halt. With a big sigh, she turned Arcos around to follow the Ranger. After a few hours of riding, she was approaching Drake’s camp again. She dismounted and approached the camp on foot, leaving Arcos at the outer perimeter. Using the trees as cover, she crept closer and closer until she could see the Ranger. Drake’s men were taking turns pummeling him. The Ranger fell to the ground, which appeared to satisfy the men for the moment. ‘I’ve worn out my welcome here. I’m going to need a distraction to get him out of there.’ She thought.
Standing on the back of his horse, the Ranger’s hands were tied behind his back. A noose was tied around his neck, the other end hung over a branch tied to the tree. If his horse moved or the Ranger just got too tired to hold his own weight, the rope would hang him.
Drake’s men broke out in laughter each time the horse moved. "Whoa, there girl, easy" the Ranger crooned. How was he going to get out of this? He was so tired and sore.
Something hard hit him in the back, sliding down to rest against his tied hands. He managed to control his natural reaction to flinch away from it. To do so would cause him to lose his balance.
Moving his hands around, he realized he now held the handle of a knife. Cautiously, he looked around to see if anyone noticed. Apparently no one had. Briefly, he wondered if this had come from God himself? This is no time to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Keeping his movements hidden from Drake’s men, he cut through the ropes. Now what, he thought to himself. He didn’t dare look up, else he might expose whoever was helping him.
Rena had already cut the noose rope through to a single thread. If the Ranger fell it would break. She waited while he cut his hands free.
Seeing his hands free she flipped another knife in the air, catching the blade end. With a powerful swing, she threw it across the camp, cutting a rope on the other side. The rope released a branch, as the branch swung free, it sent a dozen arrows towards Drake’s men.
"Indians!" Yelled one of the men. Everyone took cover. "Do you see them?" Yelled another looking out from behind a rock.
Rena watched the men turn their full attention to the Indians. She cut the noose rope, dropped down onto the horse pushing the Ranger into the saddle. "Get the noose off." She whispered as she grabbed the reins and kicked the horse.
Drake strolled back into camp. "What is going on?" A pause. "And where is the Ranger?"
Rena pushed the horse hard. Reaching the outer perimeter she let loose with a loud whistle. Arcos came running along side. Rena stood, balanced on the back of the running horse, then jumped the gap landing in Arcos’ saddle. They raced on in silence.
As the sun sank deep behind the horizon, they were forced to slow their pace. After some time, Rena called a halt. It was to dark to continue on.
"No fire." Commanded Rena as she unsaddled Arcos. The Ranger followed her example. After the horses were taken care of, they sat on opposite logs staring at the place that would have been a campfire.
"Why did you do it?" Asked the Ranger. All he could make out was her silhouette. He watched as she shrugged.
Rena struggled with her own demons. Why did you risk your life for him? "You don’t deserve to die like that."
"After what I put you through?" He could think of no reason for her to risk everything for him. Maybe she really had changed.
She shrugged again. "You were only doing your job." A pause. "A Texas Ranger is an honorable job." She lowered her head to watch her feet.
"Will Drake raid Abilene?" Let’s see if she accomplished what the girl said she was going to do.
Rena straightened. "No. He said that he would leave Abilene alone. He is many things, but he always keeps his word."
This is not the notorious outlaw I was chasing thought the Ranger. What am I going to do? I just can’t walk away but how can I take her in after what she did for me? As if I could even take her in.
She got up, moved to her bedroll. "Get some sleep. We leave at first light."
"This looks like a good place to stop." Holly finally gave in. Jackson suggested several places earlier, but Holly insisted they continue on, knowing that the Ranger would press on. Holly dismounted then set about setting up camp.
"I’ll start a fire while you go get dinner. I’m starving." Holly suggested as if they had done this several times before. Rena and Holly had this part down. Noticing the fact that Jackson was just staring at her, she looked up at him. "What?"
"Where do you suggest I go get dinner, the General Store?" He said sarcastically.
Suddenly, Holly felt a sick feeling in her stomach. "You don’t know how to hunt for dinner, do you?"
"Sure I do, but there’s nothing out there to hunt." Jackson stated defensively.
"Okay, no problem, we’ll just make something from our supplies." ‘We might have to ration the supplies’ Holly thought to herself.
"Great." Jackson replied but made no attempt to retrieve the supplies so Holly walked over to Daisy. She pulled off the bedrolls then realized there was no place for supplies.
Realization dawning, Holly turned to face Jackson. "We have no supplies?"
"Hey, I supplied Daisy. Meals are woman’s work." Jackson exclaimed.
"Wait, I still have some supplies in my bag." Holly hoped. A thorough search revealed a couple pieces of dried jerky and some trail mix. She split the jerky with Jackson and put the trail mix away for tomorrow. ‘They should catch up with the Ranger tomorrow.’
They arrived in Abilene late in the afternoon of the next day. The Ranger headed straight for the Doctor’s office while Rena headed straight for the Inn to look for Holly. Stopping by the desk, she inquired "Is Holly upstairs?".
The clerk seemed a little put out. "No, she has not returned since her and the livery boy rode out two days ago. You did not pay for the room last night. Even though no one stayed there I could not use the room so you must pay for it. You must check out if you have no further need of the room."
Rena did not hear a word past the first sentence. Holly went away with some boy? Could that be? In such a short amount of time? Rena looked at the clerk who was rambling on something about payment for the room. Rena tossed a couple coins onto the desk, waving off his lecture with the other hand. "I’m checking out. Where can I find out some information about this boy?"
"He works for the blacksmith. You can try him."
Rena went upstairs, packed hurriedly, then went in search of the blacksmith. Headed down the street in the direction of the blacksmith, she heard her name being called out.
"RENA" It was the Ranger. He was in the middle of the street. Everyone stopped what they were doing to stare for just a moment then they scattered as if blown by the wind. Fear of getting hit by a stray bullet in the coming gunfight cleared the street.
Rena stopped, slowly turning around. As she turned, she moved her duster back. After everything, is this what it comes down to? She found her center then waited him out.
The Ranger watched her as she focused in. He felt his stomach do a flip-flop, imagining the outcome of a real showdown. "Stay out of trouble. Or I’ll be coming after you."
A moment of understanding passed between them. He was not going to take her in. "See ya around, Ranger." Rena nodded then turned and continued down the street in search of the blacksmith. Second time she had turned her back on a gun, must be getting soft.
She went over all the details she received from the blacksmith. The blacksmith was slightly taller than her but triple her size in width. His arms were the size of her thighs but under her scrutiny, the Blacksmith had constantly twitched and fiddled with his leather apron. He explained how he had vehemently insisted that they wait in town but to no avail. They rode out to try and warn her about the Ranger.
According to the blacksmith, this Jackson couldn’t find his way out of an outhouse. Out on the road was no place for greenhorns, Rena was worried about Holly. Fortunately they left a trail that was easy to follow. She would be able to make good time with this trail.
For the hundredth time today, Holly wondered where Rena was and if she was okay. Searching for something to take her mind off of Rena, she looked towards the ground, trying to make out the tracks that they were following.
"Jackson, where are the tracks?"
"There." Jackson responded without looking up, he swung his arm down and then up in a straight line away from them.
Holly studied the ground but could not see a thing. "Where? Show me."
Jackson brought Daisy to a halt, then jumped down. "See here." He said pointing to the ground.
"Where?" I don’t see anything.
Daisy took a sidestep, as Jackson knelt down to point at the tracks but they moved so he pointed to the new location.
Realization hit them both at the same time. The tracks are part of Daisy’s shadow. Holly looked up, sweeping the area. They were headed north. Drake’s camp was west of Abilene. ‘Oh no, how long have they been headed north?’
"I followed the tracks, they must have blended in with Daisy’s shadow " Jackson rambled on.
Holly blocked out Jackson’s mumbling. ‘What were their options? No tracks to follow. There was only one option. They would have to go back to Abilene. The Ranger was sure to bring Rena back to Abilene.’
"We go back the way that we came. Rena is probably waiting for us at Abilene."
Holly heard a voice as if off in the distant. As she became more awake, the words became louder and clearer. "Jackson the Mighty, rode through the countryside, he never needs a place to hide "
Holly felt herself falling. She flinched but then realized that she often dreamt about falling. It wasn’t until the hard she impacted with the ground that she realized this was no dream. Confused she looked around trying to minimize her movements, but all she could see was the ground and a close up look at a tumble weed. Adjusting her head to gain a new perspective, she looked up to see Jackson and Daisy coming back for her. ‘I must of fell asleep, then fell off.’
She winced from the pain in her right side as she sat up. ‘At least Daisy’s not as high as Arcos. Although, I don’t have to worry about falling off of Arcos. Rena makes sure of that.’ A smile came to Holly’s face, then faded. ‘I wonder where she’s at. I wish she was here. The sooner we get back to Abilene, the sooner I can find out what happened.’
Holly dusted herself off.
"Are you OK?" Jackson maneuvered Daisy over to some rocks.
"Yeah, just a little sore." Embarrassed, Holly climbed back up on Daisy. "Let’s go."
Jackson continued in the direction they were going, watching the tracks to make sure they were going the right way.
A beautiful sunset painted the horizon in dark reds, orange and yellow. Was Rena watching the sunset at this very moment? ‘Wait something is wrong. The sunset should be on their right side!’
"Jackson, why are we headed north again?"
"We are not headed north. I’m following our tracks back the way that we came." Jackson responded without looking up.
Holly looked down. The tracks were headed in the same direction that they were. Somehow, they had gotten turned around, following their own tracks north instead of going south.
"Jackson, we are headed NORTH again!"
Jackson looked up at the sun setting to his left. His shoulders slumped.
Feeling sorry about the outburst, she said "We are both tired and hungry. Let’s camp. We’ll get a fresh start in the morning."
Holly sat quietly staring into the campfire. She studied their situation. The jerky and trail rations were gone and they were low on water. She was worried that they would not make Abilene tomorrow. She didn’t know how long they had been traveling north again.
"Hey, is there room at this campfire for another?"
Recognizing the familiar voice, Holly looked up confused. Was she hallucinating from lack of food?
Rena lead Arcos into the clearing.
Holly jumped up, quickly covering the distance between them. Smiling broadly, she leaped up, throwing her arms around Rena’s neck, trusting that Rena would catch her. Rena felt her lips curling up to match the smile on Holly’s face. She braced herself, taking a step back as she caught the airborne blonde. Rena held her for several moments, soaking up the warm of their closeness that she had missed over the past few days.
Not only had she gotten use to Holly’s presence but she actually craved the physical contact. When Holly talked, she had the habit of touching her on the hand or forearm or patting her on the belly. Sometimes to make a point, Holly would place her hands on Rena’s waist to get her undivided attention before going on. As Rena breathed in Holly’s scent, it suddenly dawned on her how much she missed the closest they shared. It was if a tear in her very soul was being sealed.
Rena set her down, then awkwardly moved back a step. They looked into each others eyes, smiling. Rena felt herself being pulled forward again, as if caught in a strong river current. As she took a step forward, the trance was broken by a sharp slap to the back. Jackson stepped between them, slapping them both on the back, pulling them close in a three way hug.
Holly felt this uncontrollable anger at the lost moment, but it quickly dissipated when she saw the icy glare Rena gave Jackson. He immediately back up. ‘I’m glad I’m not on the receiving end of that.’ She amused.
"Uh .. Rena, this is Jackson." Holly thought introductions were in order.
Rena glanced down at Holly then back up at Jackson. Scrunching up her face, she asked "What is that smell?"
"Umm .. its Daisy. She must be up wind." Jackson nervously replied.
"Uh huh." Dismissing Jackson, Rena looked over Holly’s shoulder at the campfire. "What did you have for dinner?"
"We didn’t have any dinner. Trail mix ran out this morning." Embarrassed for not being better prepared, Holly eyed the ground.
Rena laid a palm under Holly’s chin, gently pulled her face back up, she rubbed the soft skin with her thumb. "Get some trail mix out of my bags while I work on dinner."
Holly let out a sigh of relief, at least Rena was here now, she would make things right.
While Jackson and Holly munched on the trail mix, Rena cooked beans and filled them in on Drake and the Ranger. They ate dinner in silence as Jackson and Holly wolfed down the meal.
Holly laid Rena’s bedroll next to hers. Jackson had his bedroll on the other side of the campfire. After Rena laid down, Holly snuggled up against her.
"By the way, how is your Um? You can ride?" Grinning, Rena reached down and gently patted Holly’s behind.
Holly smirked up at her, slapping Rena’s belly. "It is fine. Yes, I can ride." This was becoming a running joke between them.
Turning serious, Holly whispered. "Thanks for coming after me." She left her hand on Rena’s belly, gently caressing the ribbed abdomen.
"You came after me first." Rena reminded her.
"That’s what friends do." ‘Not that I helped with the Ranger at all’ Holly thought sadly.
"Is that what we are friends?"
In a barely audible voice, Holly whispered "I want to be more than friends."
The close proximity and Rena’s sharp hearing managed to pick it up. Rena moved her lips to within inches from Holly’s ear. She breathed more than said "I want that too." It was a promise of things to come. The warm breath and deep voice sent a fiery wave throughout Holly’s body followed closely by a chill with goosebumps.
Rena shifted her position, pulling herself out from under Holly. She leaned down pressing her lips to Holly’s. As Rena deepen the kiss, Holly willingly opened her mouth. Rena took the invitation, plunging forward, consuming the mouth attached to hers. Holly felt the fiery wave spread from her mouth, down her throat, then explode in her abdomen. She groaned into Rena’s mouth at the sensation, which fueled Rena’s growing desire. Holly joined in the dance of mouth and tongue, reaching up she put her hand on the back of Rena’s neck, she pulled her closer. Rena wrapped her arms around Holly, pressing them together as the kiss continued.
Rena was quickly losing control. She pulled back, both their breathing was ragged. Resting her temple against Holly’s, she paused to catch her breath. "But do you want an audience?" She pulled back to watch Holly’s expression, a mischievous smile playing on her lips. As expected Holly flushed, glancing over at Jackson’s sleeping form. Rena laid back down, still trying to get her breathing under control.
Smiling mischievously, Holly thought ‘Maybe we could sneak away in the middle of the night.’ A pang of guilt hit her. ‘He would not be able to find his way home.’ With a grim smile, she snuggled back down against Rena. Rena wrapped a long arm around her, squeezing tightly before loosening her hold.
"There it is." Rena said pointing to the town off in the distance. Holly leaned to the side around Rena to take a look.
They decided to ride for Amarillo instead of heading back to Abilene. Amarillo was just a couple days away from where Rena had found them. Jackson could get a stagecoach ride back if he wanted to return to Abilene.
Holly smiled as she thought about the last couple of days. Traveling with Jackson had become frightening, unsure whether they would survive or not. But since Rena had joined them, it had become fun. In addition to the supplies that Rena had, she added to the supplies by getting fresh game in the evenings. One evening she came back to camp with a couple jack rabbits, while another evening she caught some fish from a nearby stream. Afterwards they had went swimming, frolicking in the water like a couple kids.
Holly discovered that she needed physical contact with Rena. While they rode Holly held on to her waist, in the evenings they would sit about the campfire side by side with their sides touching, and at night Rena held her. Holly was almost certain that Rena felt the same way because this touching is something that the normally reserve and standoffish outlaw would not allow. Then there were the other times, where their hands would brush as Holly handed Rena something such as a dinner plate or mug of coffee, Holly would touch Rena’s forearm as they sat and talked, Rena would brush her hand across Holly’s back whenever passing by.
‘I wonder if Jackson’s noticed.’ Holly mused.
Smiling widely now, she looked down at her hands, she had pushed Rena’s duster back, resting her hands on Rena’s hips in front of the duster. Leaning forward, she wrapped her arms around Rena, laying her head in the middle of Rena’s back and squeezed.
"What was that for?" Rena said in an amused tone.
"Just wanted you to know that you’re not going in there alone." Over the past couple of days, Rena had spoken less and less, drawing into herself. Holly was worried about this homecoming but never let on to Rena. This homecoming could be a turning point in Rena’s life. Since she could not get Rena to talk about it, she did manage to distract her with stories. Rena had actually laughed out loud at one of her stories last night.
A silence passed between them. Holly worried maybe she should not have voiced her concern.
Putting her hand over Holly’s Rena replied in a low voice. "Thanks. I needed to hear that."
They rode slowly through town followed by Jackson on his mule. Amarillo was larger than Abilene. The street bustled with horses, wagons and people. Holly saw recognition in several faces. Some of them scurried away while others gathered in groups whispering. Rena seemed oblivious to it all, facing forwards, but somehow Holly knew she was not missing a thing.
They stopped outside the saloon, the billboard read "Cecelia’s".
Surprised Holly asked, "Your mother runs a saloon?"
"Uh huh" Answered Rena.
"I’ll go check out the stagecoach schedule.", stated Jackson. He did not want to be part of a mushy family reunion. It was obvious that he was a third wheel anyway.
Rena lowered Holly to the ground then dismounted, she tied the reins to the horse post. After only a moment’s hesitation she started for the swinging doors. Holly followed close behind.
Inside the door she stopped, taking in every detail. It was pretty much the same as she remembered it. It was dimly lit, the only light coming from the front windows and the swinging doors. The wooden bar, made of dark oak, ran almost the entire length of one wall. A brass rail ran along the bottom of the bar, serving as a foot rest for patrons. A large mirror hung on the wall behind the bar. A crack ran through the mirror, Rena wondered how recently that had happened. A rather large elderly man stood behind the bar cleaning glasses, eyeing them cautiously. There were three wooden tables with two to four chairs each. That was fewer tables than Rena remembered. A staircase at the opposite end of the saloon lead the way upstairs to rooms. It was too early for the working girls to be up.
Holly was so intent on observing her surroundings, she didn’t notice when Rena stopped, she bumped into the back of Rena, then bounced off.
An elderly woman emerged from a door off one side of the bar, she went behind the bar. Rena watched her every movement, afraid to move, not wanting to catch the woman’s attention. The woman’s gaze followed that of the elderly man, seeing Rena, she took a sharp breath. Rena took a deep breath, then made her way over to the bar.
"Mother." Not sure how to act, Rena nervously inclined her head in greeting.
"Rena." For a moment that stared at each other, expressionless.
"We heard your gang was headed this direction." A pause. "You cannot hold up here."
Rena’s eyes went wide, she shook her head to the negative. "I left the gang."
Before Cecelia could answer, a group of men, carrying guns, pushed their way into the saloon. The group moved as one towards Rena. Quickly Holly moved over next to and slightly behind her friend.
"Drake and Rena’s men are headed this direction." Stated one of the men. Several of the men looked to Cecelia.
"Do with her as you wish." Overcome with emotion, Cecelia ran to her office off to one side of the bar.
"You’re under arrest" Stated the man wearing a Sheriff’s star.
Rena was obviously stunned by her mother’s words, she did not hear the Sheriff’s words. Holly stepped in front of her.
"If the gang is really hers, do you want to aggravate them by locking her up. For all you know, Drake could be her boyfriend. Are you prepared for the consequences of locking her up?" With very little time, Holly was making this up on the fly. Briefly, she wondered what the relationship was between Drake and Rena but there was not time to think about that now.
Several members of the group mumbled words to each other, then seem to come to a consensus. "Go, get out of town. Do not bring them here."
Finally pulling herself together, Rena pushed through the group, head held high, with Holly close behind. Outside Rena grabbed the reins, mounted, then swung Arcos towards the street. Panic seized Holly, she’s going to leave without me. Holly grabbed her leg.
"Stay here." Rena commanded.
"Not without you." Came the equally demanding tone. She understood that Rena had to get away but she also understood that she should not be alone.
Rena glanced up as the men came out of the saloon, then reached down, pulled Holly up behind her. They rode out of town.
Holly pushed back Rena’s duster, placing her hands flat on Rena’s abdomen, then buried her head in Rena’s back. If only there was some way to pull the hurt and guilt away from Rena, into herself.
From years of practice, Rena’s first instinct was to push Holly aside; however, given the tight embrace, she would have to knock her off Arcos to accomplish that. After a few minutes of tense riding, she sighed, then she started to relax into the embrace. It wasn’t Holly’s fault, there’s no reason to push her away.
They sat in silence at the campfire, Rena cleaning her guns while Holly wrote in her journal. Neither had spoken a word since they left town. Holly was determined to give Rena the room that she needed.
Rena watched Holly out of the corner of her eye, occasionally, Holly would glance in her direction. Rena smirked inwardly, ‘I wonder if she has written a word in that journal tonight.’ She laid down her gun, then turned towards Holly. Holly immediately set down her journal and moved closer. Hesitantly Rena spoke, "I don’t know what I expected."
"Rena, they’re scared. People act irrationally when they’re scared."
Rena frowned. "They should be scared of me." She looked Holly directly in the eyes. "You should be scared of me."
Not breaking the eye contact, Holly smiled gently. "I was referring to Drake and his men." A pause. "I was intimidated by you in the beginning well I still you get this look in your eyes it makes me nervous, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought you would hurt me."
Rena could not stop the amused smile that crept over her face, nor the way her eyes twinkled at this moment. It was true, Rena knew it, from the first moment she locked eyes with the reddish blonde standing in the front entrance of her father’s Inn, she knew Holly was special.
Looking back down at the ground, Rena let out a heavy sigh. "Drake will tear Amarillo to pieces with fifteen men."
"What can we do?" Holly queried.
Rena tensed. "Shh" Her eyes narrowed as they scanned their surroundings, tilting her head as she listened, every muscle coiled ready to leap into action. Rena’s gun was back together and ready for use, lying in her lap, hand poised around the handle, ready to respond.
Recognition crossed her face. "Ranger, come join us."
The statement caused Holly’s blood to go cold. ‘Not again.’
Holly followed Rena’s gaze, she observed a shadow move slowly into the camp area. As it approached, it took on the features of the Ranger. Five other shadows moved into the light.
"Rena" The Ranger nodded his greeting, then turned to Holly, tipping his hat. "Ma’am"
Stunned beyond words, Holly did not respond. The Ranger’s behavior reminded her of a reunion of friends instead of the deadly game they played only a couple days ago.
He nodded to the other men one at a time. "Ranger Smith, Ranger Houston, Ranger Grover, Sheriff Townson, and Sheriff Clifford". They nodded as they were introduced but their suspicious eyes never left the Renegade. Since they were going after Drake Onassis, Ranger Douglas had filled them in on his harrowing experience and the surprise rescue from the Renegade. None of them believed it, they thought it must have been someone else, but now
Rena appeared relaxed but she was screaming on the inside. ‘Surrounded by lawmen!’ "What brings you to these woods, Ranger?" Rena stated nonchalantly, she directly this to Ranger Douglas, ignoring the other men, still uncertain where she stood with Douglas.
"Heard Drake Onassis is headed for Amarillo. The men and I are going to take him in."
"Six against fifteen? I guess its better odds than one against fifteen." Rena snickered which release the tension that had been building.
The Ranger smiled, hesitated, then said "You could join us and even the odds?"
It was Rena’s turn to be stunned, as well as the other men, they shuffled their feet but kept quiet.
Holly watched in silence, observing these two previous adversaries, who had started playfully bantering back and forth. However, this offer caught her attention, this was a chance to not only work for the greater good but to work side by side with the good guys.
"Rena, you said yourself, they’ll destroy Amarillo unless you do something." Holly persuaded.
Rena glanced at Holly then looked back at the Ranger. Trying to come up with some reason why it was totally ludicrous. Rena asked for confirmation, "You want me to help you take Drake in?" A pause. "How can you trust me?" A pause. "Why should I trust you?"
The Ranger’s dark brown eyes held Rena’s icy blue. "You could have left me to die with Drake’s men. You’ve changed Rena. I trust you with my life." A pause, then to answer the second question. "I owe you my life."
Everyone watched the exchange, wondering how it would turn out. Now, they all looked at Rena.
Rena nodded acceptance. "Okay, but we do it my way." Spoken with a tone that would brook no arguments.
At this, one of the other Rangers move to protest, Ranger Douglas waved him off. "She knows what she’s doing." Looking around, he ended the discussion with "Let’s get some sleep. We’ll get an early start."
Shortly after dawn, they were in the livery stables of Amarillo. Rena sent the livery boy to deliver a message to Drake. A message that simply said "Meet us in the street at high noon."
Rena took stock of their abilities; the Rangers were pretty fast with their guns, and the Sheriffs could shoot straight but were not gunfighters.
Using a stick, Rena drew the town’s street in the dirt of the livery. "Drake will have men on top of the saloon, the inn, the general store and the telegraph office."
"How do you know that?" Ranger Houston interrupted.
"Because its what I would do." Rena glared at him for the interruption. "Townson and Clifford take them out. Quietly. Wait till we are in the street before you make your move, we’ll draw their attention. Once Drake’s men are taken care of, you should be in a good position to help us out up there. Any questions?" A pause. "Go"
Still unsure about taking orders from an outlaw, Sheriff Townson and Sheriff Clifford looked at the Rangers. Ranger Douglas nodded his agreement, which they took as their sign to go take their positions.
"We got thirty minutes to wait, then we go." Rena continued.
"Let me get this right. The five of us are going to face fifteen men in the street?" Asked Ranger Grover.
"It’ll start as a shoot out. After it starts, find cover quickly. With Townson and Clifford over head, we should have the advantage." She looked at Douglas. "I’ll take Drake out."
"Why you?" Douglas was glaring at her.
"Drake is one of the top ten gunfighters in this territory. Last time I looked, you weren’t even on the list." A pause. "I am." Stated Rena matter-of-factly. The Ranger nodded, accepting it for the truth. Truth be told, she did not want that job, there was a time when she considered Drake a friend, but she was the only one that could do it.
Rena moved over to where Holly was sitting on a bale of hay, apparently deep in thought. "Hey, there."
"Hey" Holly responded, looking up.
Rena sat beside Holly, not able to make eye contact. "Holly, listen." Gathering her thoughts she continued. "If something happens to me " She held up a hand to stop the protest. "If something happens to me, I want you to talk to Richard Foster at the bank. I have some money stashed away, you can make a new beginning with it."
Rena’s gaze met the sea-green eyes, waiting for a response.
Holly tossed out her first response, she could tell this was important to Rena. She leaned sideways against Rena, looking down, she nodded her assent. Holly paused, trying to gather her thoughts. "Is it going to be that bad?" She whispered.
"Its not how quick you are or how many men you have, it’s what you have up here." Rena touched Holly’s temple. Rena looked away, observing the other men prepare. "I haven’t lost yet."
Holly snorted at the last statement, the obvious argument to that statement was it is just a matter of time. After a minute had passed, she confidently stated, "Rena, I know you can do this."
Rena looked back, studying those deep sea eyes for any trace of doubt, but found none. She wrapped an arm around Holly and squeezed, pulling them together until their temples touched. Straightening, she loosened the embrace but kept her arm loosely draped over Holly’s shoulders.
Thirty minutes later, Rena threw open the doors of the livery which banged against the side of the barn. "Let’s go." Rena commanded, she was back in the Renegade mode. The streets were deserted, the only movement was a tumbleweed blowing along one side. Rena started forward, Douglas flanked one side, while Houston flanked her other side. Grover and Smith walked on the outside. Unconsciously, their steps fell in sync, spurs chimed, eyes straight ahead, each focusing in on the upcoming gunfight. The shoot out would be in the middle of town, just outside the saloon. With long confident strides, side by side, the Renegade and lawmen approached the saloon.
Her senses picked up on the people peering out from the windows. She grew up in this town, with these people. ‘Well, it looks like I’ve come full circle.’
Drake and his men were waiting outside of the saloon. Drake smirked. "Rena, I know you said you wanted out, but I really have to object to the company you’re keeping nowadays."
In her peripheral vision, Rena watched Sheriff Townson take out one of Drake’s men, only three more to go. ‘I need to buy them some time.’ Rena smiled crookedly, "At least they take a bath every once in a while."
This brought a full smile to Drake’s face. "You never complained at the time."
"Oh yeah I did, I even dunked you in a river a couple of times." This brought a real smile to her face at the memory.
Drake laughed, then got serious. "So come back. You’re on the wrong side. We would make an awesome team."
Rena got serious. "No, I’m finally on the right side." All of a sudden she wished she could see Holly’s face, she needed the reassurance.
"If that’s what you want." Drake said as he made his way out to the middle of the street, his men following his lead.
Rena moved her duster back, then found her center. The Rangers followed her lead.
"Drake, you don’t have to do this. You could surrender." Rena knew this was not an option but she had to offer. If Drake surrendered, there was a rope waiting for him.
"My, what confidence you have, but then you always were very sure of yourself." A pause. "You know that’s not an option." Then a thought occurred to Drake. He looked up at the rooftops for his men, not really surprised when he saw the Sheriffs in their place. ‘Damn, he knew better than to underestimate Rena.’
Rena smirked, "Problem?"
Suddenly, he was not very sure of the outcome. His men had followed his gaze, now half of them were searching the rooftops.
Rena raised her voice to address Drake’s men. "Leave this town, ride out now, promise not to come back, we won’t follow you. Of course Drake you’ll have to remain behind." No matter the outcome, this was going to be a blood bath if she didn’t do something to avoid it.
The men in the back looked around at each other, waiting for someone to make a decision.
"Stand your ground! Its fifteen to seven." Drake commanded.
One man slowly edged away, followed by a second man, followed by a third and fourth. Drake stood there with only a half dozen men left. "@#$%@#!!!! Yellow bellied cowards!" Drake yelled.
Rena smirked, "Not much loyalty among thieves." Then softer, "Looks like it is over."
Drake faced Rena, moved his duster back, and readied himself as his remaining men followed suit. "Its not over till the fat lady sings." He hissed.
Rena found her center as her focus sharpened taking in every detail of Drake and the men around him. Time stood still, not a sound except for the labored breathing, waiting in anticipation for the inevitable. Rena knew that Drake shifted his weight before drawing, she knew every little bit would help in this fight.
She saw one of the other men move first, time sped up as everything happened at once. Both her and Drake drew and fired at each other. From the corner of her eye, Rena watched the gunfight continued around them, but she never took her eyes off Drake. It was as if the others sensed this was a private fight which none should interfere with. A knowing look passed between them, before Drake dropped to his knees, then went face first into the dirt. Rena had been a fraction of a second faster, causing Drake’s aim to be slightly off, his bullet caught her in the left arm.
A sheriff, from above, took out the only remaining member of Drake’s men. Rena looked around to assess the outcome. Drake’s men were dead, Ranger Smith was lying in the dirt seriously injured, and Ranger Grover was favoring his right leg. Not bad. Sadly, Rena walked over to Drake’s body. "I’m the fat lady, but I’ll sing at your funeral, old friend." She whispered. ‘There’s no going back now. Both sides of the law will be looking for you now. And this was suppose to be better, how?’ She thought.
The street was filling with people as the town came out of hiding. Holly was leading the way, running over to Rena, Holly placed a hand on Rena’s right arm. "Are you okay?" Not looking up Rena nodded, Holly went to help the injured Rangers.
Sometime later, Rena sat at a table in the Saloon, drinking a beer, watching with something between amusement and annoyance. The crowd had ushered them in for a celebrating drink. It had felt good, knowing that she had made a difference in their lives; however, she could do without all the attention. Douglas sat at the table with her, clearly enjoying the attention, taking much of the pressure off of her. The working girls were making their rounds, encouraging the customers to buy more drinks, Rena did not recognize any of them.
Holly pushed her way through the crowd, as she approached, she frowned, noticing the dark stain on Rena’s sleeve. "Hey"
Holly went to her side and examined the hole in the sleeve. "You’re shot!"
"Its just a scratch." Rena stated, watching the crowd. Her mother was busily trying to keep up with the enthusiastic crowd, not approaching the table that Rena sat at.
"I’ll be right back." Holly patted her on the shoulder, then disappeared only to reappear a few minutes later carrying a wash basin and some cloth. Both Rena’s eyebrows raised. ‘When did she start taking care of me? Since when do I need someone to take care of me?’ Then she chuckled, deciding to go with it. "What would I do without you?"
Holly smiled as she rolled up Rena’s sleeve. The scratch was two inches long, but it wasn’t very deep. Holly cleaned it, applied a suave, then bandaged it. As she finished, Cecelia approached the table. Rena had started to relax under Holly’s attention, but tensed up as her mother came near the table.
Rena’s mother came around the table so Rena stood up to meet her.
Cecelia broke the silence. "Rena, I’m sorry."
Moving forward, Rena raised a hand in protest. "No, don’t" She hesitantly wrapped her arms around her mother. "Mother, please forgive me?" Rena pleaded in a whisper.
Cecelia hugged her daughter, whispering "I forgive you." A pause. "Its good to have you back."
"You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to hear that." A light flooded Rena’s soul, forcing the darkness back. She knew she was being given a second chance, it was such a precious gift.
Cecelia patted her daughter’s back. "C’mon, let’s sit down and talk." They both discretely wiped tears from their eyes before sitting down.
Holly watched wordlessly, tears coming to her own eyes. She knew Rena needed this. ‘At last, Rena had come home, things would be okay. Home? What if Rena wants to stay here? Will it change her feelings for me? Oh, shut up and get a grip.’
Ranger Douglas gave his seat to Cecelia, to join in with the more rowdier bunch. The shoot out story being told over and over, it had expanded into killing all twenty members of the gang.
After they sat down, Rena rested her hand on Holly’s shoulder. "Mother, I’d like you to meet a good friend of mine, this is Holly."
Cecelia studied Holly closely, so intently, Holly started to squirm. "Nice to meet you Mrs. Halston."
"Called me Cecelia, sweety." She said to Holly. While keeping her eyes on Holly for a reaction, "She’s not the usual type that you hang around with dear?" she asked Rena.
"No, she’s not." Rena smiled at Holly. Holly felt like something was being communicated but didn’t know what it was.
Cecelia looked up at her daughter. ‘Now that’s different.’ Deciding now was not the time to get the story behind those two, she changed the subject. "Rena, money is mysteriously dumped into my bank account about twice a year, by a man named Salomon. Do you know anything about that?" Cecelia watched her daughter.
Rena looked down at the table and shrugged. Holly watched the two of them.
"It came in handy a few times. A cattle drive came through, busting up the place last year. I used the money to fix the place up." A pause. "Thanks."
Rena looked up, meeting her eyes, nodded acceptance.
"Salomon?" Holly queried.
A pause. "He’s my um business manager."
Now Holly’s eyebrow shot up into her hairline. "Business manager?"
Rena sighed. "He invests the money that I send him, keeping a percentage for himself."
"So, what does he invest the money into?" Asked a very curious Holly.
"Things like telegraphs, horseless carriages, and something called black oil. He seems to know what he’s talking about." Rena heard about horseless carriages, mainly they were used in the east, but she had never seen one. She shrugged. "When I need money, I wire him, he sends me what I need."
Before Holly could find out more, they heard a high pitched screech. "Reennaaa" A jovial voice summoned. It belonged to one of the working girls in a red low cut dress. She walked right up to Rena, bent over, and placed a kiss back near her ear, lingering a bit longer than necessary. Pulling back she wiped the lipstick from Rena’s cheek, "How are you dear?"
"Hi, Carla." Rena grinned at the woman.
The woman was pretty, only too much makeup, required for the job, Holly supposed. Holly guessed she looked older than her years. Holly did not like the attention she was giving Rena one bit. For no logical reason, she wanted to pummel this woman.
From Cecelia’s actions, she did not like this one bit either. In a stern voice, she said "Carla, Please attend to the paying customers. These are family."
Smirking, Carla winked at Rena before returning to work, this was not lost on Holly.
Holly was already in bed by the time Rena got to their room. Rena’s mother insisted they use the tub in her private room. Holly went first, then retired to the room, also, provided by Rena’s mother, while Rena made use of the tub.
Propped up by both pillows, she sat cross legged, both legs under the cover, writing in her journal.
"Hi" Rena greeted.
"Hi" Holly smiled back.
Holly put her pencil and journal away, then rearranged the pillows, putting one back on Rena’s side. Rena dropped her things on the chest of drawers, took off her robe, turned down the light, and got into bed. Turning towards Rena, Holly propped her head up on her elbow.
"Hmm " Turning towards Holly, Rena propped her head up on her elbow, mimicking Holly.
Hesitantly Holly asked, "Tell me about Carla?"
Taken back by the request, Rena’s eyebrows raised, she studied the sea-green eyes in the dim light, ‘Just how much did she pick up on?’
Sighing Rena began the story of her relationship with Carla.
"I was sixteen when Carla showed up, she’s a couple years older than me. Her and her family were headed further west when their caravan was raided by some outlaws. Carla’s husband and her parents were killed, she was hurt pretty badly but she survived. We took care of her until she got better, then Father offered her a job at the saloon which she took, because she had no place to go."
"Much to mother’s concern, we hit it off, right away. I admired her spirit, she never gave up, no matter what life threw at her, she kept on going. She called me brat, I called her wench. When she wasn’t working, we would stay up late talking, father was too busy with the saloon to notice. She would tell me stories about California, about the gold rush. She swore one day she was going to make it out there, her eyes always lit up when she talked about it."
"One such night, we were up late talking. This guy named Jake was courting me. He had tried to kiss me that day behind the barn. When I told Carla, she asked if I had ever been kissed, when I said no, she asked if I wanted to try it. It was like a dare, I thought she would back down first but I should have known better."
"She showed me the different types of kisses, peck on the cheek, peck on the lips, a full kiss and then the passionate open mouth kiss. It was the last one that didn’t end right away. It lead to other things and well, we became lovers that night."
"We kept it our secret. Mother would have skinned us both alive if she knew. Father " Rena rolled her eyes at that contemplation.
"So what happened?" Holly asked.
Rena paused then frowned in consternation. "My father was shot by a low life scum bag." Rena replied bitterly.
"Did you love her?" Holly couldn’t bring herself to ask in present tense.
Rena sighed, letting the bitterness fade away. "No. My parents wanted me to marry Jake. I didn’t want to. Carla was a way of rebelling."
Holly reached over, kissed Rena on the cheek. "Thanks for telling me."
Rena smiled, staring intently at Holly, a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"What?" Holly started to get nervous.
"You, have nothing to worry about." Rena moved closer to Holly.
"Really?" Holly could not keep the hopeful note from her voice.
"No one owns me." ‘Never even considered spending my life with someone until now.’
"Oh" A slight frown crossed Holly’s face. ‘Not exactly a declaration of love. What did I expect? Am I just the latest conquest? Is this just a temporary thing? Will she get tired of me? Leave me somewhere?’
Puzzled by the response, Rena tilted her head and raised an eyebrow, waiting.
Holly looked up and was immediately struck by two things: 1) The compassionate, patient and caring look on Rena’s face, and 2) She is so beautiful and so very close. She trusted Rena beyond reason or thought, it had been that way since the day they met. Rena has never let her down. ‘Besides, if Rena ever tried to leave me behind, she is in for the fight of her life.’ This brought a wide smile to her face.
Both dark eyebrows shot up at that, but the smile was contagious. Holly shook her head slightly, dismissing the need to talk about it. ‘We haven’t known each other that long. This is all so new. Its going to take some time to get use to each other.’
Slowly, Rena reached around Holly’s neck, pulled her in, she pressed their lips together. Gently she pushed Holly back down, deepening the kiss, demanding entrance to her mouth, which Holly freely gave. Holly’s hands went around her waist pulling her closer. Rena leaned into her but kept most her weight on one of her arms and leg. Holly felt a surge of warmth shoot down her chest and explode in her abdomen, she moaned at the contact, wanting more she pulled her closer.
After a few minutes Rena pulled back, gulping sorely needed air into her lungs. Holly’s hands began to explore the tight muscles in her shoulders, lower back, and then buttocks. Moving her hands back up under the shirt, she reveled in the softness of Rena’s skin, pushing the shirt up as she went.
Rena moved back down, kissing along the jawline, up to the earlobe, then down the neck. Holly’s breathing was ragged as she reached the pulse point on her neck. She suckled the sensitive spot, getting a soft moan from Holly.
Holly’s hands had stopped moving as she lost track of what she was doing and started concentrating on Rena’s movements, her hands gripped Rena’s waist, trying to pull her closer yet.
While kissing Holly’s neck, Rena massaged her left breast through the shirt feeling the nipple harden. Lowering her hand, she slid it under the shirt, slowly caressing the tight abdomen, sliding it up over the ribs to the base of her breast, then up further cupping the breast. She circled the nipple with her thumb. Involuntarily, Holly groaned and arched towards her.
Her own breathing ragged, Rena whispered close to Holly’s ear. "Are you sure about this?"
"Uh Oh, Yeesss." Holly assured. A pause. "What about you?"
Rena chuckled. For an answer she captured Holly lips again, kissing her thoroughly.
Rena pulled back, straddling Holly’s hips, Holly was about to protest at the loss of contact, until she saw Rena pull her shirt off. Rena pushed Holly’s shirt up. "Take this off." She whispered huskily. Holly leaned forward as they both lifted it up over Holly’s head. Rena smiled, the normally shy Holly was eagerly compiling. Their undergarments quickly followed.
Rena lowered herself back down, both groaned at the sensation of skin on skin contact. A light sheen of sweat developed over their bodies, as their bodies moved against each other. Rena felt her own desire climbing higher, she pushed it back down so she could concentrate on the writhing subtle body beneath her.
"Holly, everyone is different, tell me what you like."
"Wouldn’t it be easier to tell you what I don’t like."
Rena smiled as she kissed an earlobe. Suckling the soft skin, she trailed a line down the base of Holly’s neck, continuing down until she captured Holly’s left breast. She ran the palm of her left hand over Holly’s right breast.
"I want to hear you." Rena insisted.
Holly gasped at the sensation of Rena’s mouth covering her nipple. Then the contrast to the rough callous hand running over her other breast was putting her sensations on overload. She felt a flood of moisture between her legs, moving her hands lower to Rena’s hips, she ground them together.
"Oh, yeah" Holly breathed.
Rena lowered her hand to Holly’s abdomen, rubbing the strong muscles there, before moving lower. She caressed the curly patch.
Holly bucked at the touch. "Oh gods yes"
Holly’s voice was driving Rena, herself, closer to the edge. Rena parted Holly’s legs by inserting her thigh between them, then she bent Holly’s leg between her own thighs. A groan escaped her lips as she pressed against it.
Rena slowly slid her finger, through the patch, between the velvety flesh, sliding back and forth against the nerve bundle.
"Yes .. Oh gods yes" Holly started moving against her.
"Holly, you’re so wet." Rena breathed. Holly felt another flood of moisture at Rena’s voice.
Rena moved her hand in rhythm with Holly, matching the rhythm with her own thrusts against Holly’s thigh.
"Oh gods, YES" Holly words were getting louder.
"Yes" Rena breathed.
The pace steady increased, as did the words and volume. Their bodies sliding slickly against each other, each driving the other, climbing higher and higher.
They jumped off together, clinging to each other as they descended. Rena moved her weight off to the side, still leaning against and holding Holly. After regaining her composure, she asked "Are you okay?"
"Ummm Hmmm" came a totally inadequate but drowsy answer.
Rena chuckled softly. She wrapped her arms around Holly, then twisted, pulling Holly on top of her. Holly immediately snuggled down into her favorite spot. ‘This feels so good. Holly feels like an extension of myself.’ Rena pulled the covers over them, then felt herself pulled into a deep sleep by the steady beat of Holly’s heart.
Rena slowly woke up, she took in her surroundings, the warmth pressed up against her, thoughts of the previous night brought a smile to her face. She moved slightly, relishing the skin-on-skin contact all the way down, grinning as Holly snuggled closer in her sleep.
Deciding there was no place she would rather be at the moment, Rena lay awake holding a sleeping Holly close, arms and legs entwine to where it was impossible to tell where one started and the other stopped. She wondered how this happen. How did this innocent young woman get past her long ago erected barriers, so quickly. Looking back, she knew without a doubt, she had been helpless to do anything about it from their first encounter, but she never even saw it coming. She chuckled as she remembered their first kiss, thinking at the time, the woman would run screaming from her. That didn’t happened. Holly only confirmed that she felt the same connection.
Rena pushed a golden lock of hair away from Holly’s face. This could work. They balanced each other.
‘Who are you fooling?’ her inner demons demanded. It occurred to her that she was just as sure, that it was only a matter of time before Holly left her. Its just a matter of time before she gets tired of the road, the killing, the running She swallowed the lump that formed in the back of her throat. Softly, she kissed the top of Holly’s head. She would make the most of it for as long as it lasted.
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