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Far From Raven's Island

Chapter Text

Janeway listened to Seven turning the shower off in the bathroom.

Smiling she turned the champagne bottle in the ice bucket and then lit the candles on the dresser next to the four-poster bed. The warm fire in the fireplace gave the room a lovely glow. She pulled back the covers and folded down the sheets, making the bed look more inviting.

The CEO had showered first while Seven was writing a postcard to Martha at the office. Now she pulled off her silk robe and sat on the bed in her short silk nightgown, while filling two glasses with champagne.

Seven came out of the bathroom, her hair in damp curls around her face. She was dressed only in a white towel, her body still glistening with drops of water.

"Oh, Kathryn," she breathed when she saw the romantic scene.

"Here, darling, I think a toast would be appropriate," Janeway smiled and handed the blonde a tall glass.

"Appropriate?" Seven asked, cocking her head as she accepted the glass.

"Here, sit next to me," the executive said and patted the spot next to her on the bed.

Seven sank down and looked expectantly at the woman she loved.

"I propose a toast," Janeway began, her voice husky with emotion, "to us. I love you more than I can ever say and being here with you … well, there’s no other place I’d rather be."

The younger woman smiled as they toasted each other and sipped their champagne.

Seven wrinkled her nose at the bubbles.

"Do you like it?" Janeway asked.

"Yes, I do."

Janeway leaned in for a quick kiss. Seven moved her glass to her left hand and put her right arm around her lover, pulling her close. Deepening the kiss she let her tongue explore Janeway’s mouth, making the older woman moan.

The executive carefully put her glass down and then reached out for Seven’s. She accidentally nudged it and some of its contents splashed over the blonde’s naked shoulders.

Gasping from the cold liquid Seven put her glass down. Before she could wipe off the champagne with a corner of her towel, Janeway bent down and licked the drops from the alabaster skin.

Seven tipped her head to the other side, giving room for Janeway to lick off all the errant champagne. Stealthily the executive unfolded the towel, baring more and more of the desired skin.

"Come here, my love," she whispered hoarsely. "Let me help you to lie down."

She pulled Seven up and guided her onto her back in the middle of the soft bed. She tossed the towel on the floor. Standing next to the bed she looked at the blonde through narrowing eyes.

"You are so beautiful," she mumbled. "I never grow tired of looking at you."

Seven smiled and then did something that took Janeway’s breath away. Slowly reaching out for the still half full glass of champagne she brought it to her lips and took a tiny sip. Then she lowered the glass and let it drip on her breasts and her stomach, pooling in her navel.

"Seven!"

Janeway moved towards the other woman as if hypnotised, not able to take her eyes of the golden drops of champagne beading on Seven’s soft skin. She leaned down and captured some with her tongue just above Seven’s collarbone.

"Mm …" she mumbled happily. "This tastes so good and it’s not just the champagne."

Licking across to the other side, Janeway managed to gather most of the champagne there. Kissing down a full breast she made a detour to a quickly hardening nipple, letting her teeth tease it over and over until the blonde was shivering underneath her. The nipple, raw from the attention, was hard and wonderful in her mouth when she greedily sucked it in.

She licked it lavishly, soothing where her teeth had nipped the sensitive bud earlier.

Seven whimpered almost inaudibly, arching into her lover’s mouth.

Janeway moved further down kissing, careful not to miss any of the delicious champagne drops in her way. Dipping her tongue into Seven’s navel over and over she lapped the liquid into her mouth before continuing her journey downwards.

"Kathryn," the blonde gasped. "Please, Kathryn …"

The executive breathlessly raised her head.

"What, Seven? What do you want?"

"You make me burn for you, Kathryn."

"Yes? Then tell me how to put out the fire, darling," Janeway coaxed her.

She looked at Seven. The other woman was lying with her hands clutching at the pillows, trembling all over. Her hair was a cloud of silver around her blushing face and the full lips were half open, teeth glistening white between them.

"Go on, tell me," Janeway continued, tracing a quivering thigh with her fingertips.

Seven hesitated briefly.

"I need your touch," she whispered huskily. "I ache for your touch."

"Like this, you mean?" the older woman said in a low voice, combing her fingers through the blonde curls between Seven’s thighs.

Moaning, the other woman parted her legs, pulling her knees up in surrender and in a wordless demonstration of complete trust.

"Yes … please …"

Regarding the glistening folds, Janeway smiled tenderly as she let a very careful finger run along them.

"I can see all of you like this," she said. "I can touch everything and watch just how it affects you."

Seven gave a quiet whimper.

"I think it’s time to tame that fire within you, sweetheart."

Janeway reached under Seven’s thighs and pushed them up and further apart. She got between them and leaned over the woman she loved and adored with every part of her being. Kissing the full lips under hers she knew that nobody could ever take this woman’s place in her heart.

She probed the slick folds and found the hard nubbin that made Seven go rigid at the slightest touch. Rolling it between her fingers, she could taste the moans that broke free from Seven’s throat.

"I’ve got you," she mumbled against her lover’s mouth. "Just let go of everything and give yourself to me."

Pushing inside Seven with two fingers, stretching the younger woman and making her cry out softly, Janeway knew that neither the blonde’s or her own release were far away. With her free hand she ripped her nightgown over her head and tossed it to join the towel on the floor.

Straddling Seven’s thigh, she let her own heated centre slide along it, all the time moving her fingers in and out of the other woman.

Seven’s hands found Janeway’s narrow hips and pulled her tighter onto her thigh.

"Yes!" the executive growled softly between clenched teeth as she felt the orgasm build. She let herself go just prior to Seven’s soft sobs, taking the blonde tenderly and relentlessly at the same time.

"Kathryn … Kathryn …" Seven gasped, beads of sweat running down her temples and into her damp hair. "Hold me …"

Janeway collapsed on the curvaceous body beneath hers, slowly removing her fingers. Strong arms folded around her as she held Seven close and buried her face into her neck.

The older woman tried to catch her breath.

"Seven, you are incredible. I love you so much."

"I love you too, Kathryn," the blonde replied drowsily, her arms still firm around her lover.

Janeway gently removed herself from her lovers embrace as she reached out for the candles and blew them out one by one.

The room went dark except for the glow from the fireplace that warmly reflected off her beloved features.

"You are so beautiful," she whispered as she pulled the covers up around them both. Tenderly she took Seven into her arms. Smiling she cradled Seven as the blonde nuzzled her cheek and snuggled closer.

"Kathryn?" the younger woman murmured softly barely awake.

"Yes, darling?"

"I never realised that you could be this romantic."

"Oh, Seven … before this vacation with you, neither did I."

*****

Marion rolled over in her bed, not sure what woke her up. She sat up and listened. At first there was only silence but then she heard a muffled sound from the couch.

Julia had insisted on taking the couch and something unspoken in the other woman’s eyes had prevented Marion from objecting more than once.

"Julia," she whispered. "Are you awake?"

A soft gasp from the couch revealed that she was.

"I’m sorry, Marion," the other woman said quietly. "I didn’t mean to wake you up."

"Don’t worry about it," the sales manager said.

She rose from the bed and padded over to the couch. Without asking permission she sank down next to Julia’s feet.

"Did you have a bad dream?"

Julia stirred in the darkness, barely visible in the shadows.

"Not really," she mumbled. "I fell asleep without a problem but then I just woke up wide awake and couldn’t go back to sleep. I guess I’ve have too much on my mind."

"Want to talk about it?"

"I’d hate to bore you with the mundane details of my life," Julia warned.

"I don’t mind. You might bore us both to sleep and that would be a good thing. Don’t you agree?" Marion joked.

The other woman shook her head.

"Don’t say I didn’t warn you," she said as she pulled her knees up, leaving more room for Marion who sat next to her and assumed a similar position.

"I’ve worked hard to achieve my goals and to succeed in my line of business," Julia began. "I’ve put in fourteen hour days, sometimes longer, for as long as I can remember. These past five years it’s really paid off. I love my job. I’ve received plenty of accolades and recognition but …"

Taking a deep breath she glanced at Marion and hesitated.

"This is harder than I thought it would be. I feel like such an idiot."

Marion met Julia’s eyes and held her gazed.

"You are not an idiot. Take your time. There’s no rush. We have all night."

Julia nodded and with Marion’s encouragement she continued.

"I’ve always wanted my parents approval. I wanted them be proud of me, of what I’ve accomplished, at what I have achieved. But it never seems to be enough. They view my job as some kind of hobby, some kind of temporary existence. My god, you should hear them go on and on about my two sisters. They did what was expected of them. They performed their duty. They produced children and are leading meaningful lives."

"Are you the oldest sister?" Marion asked gently.

"Yes. Oh, they think that it’s great that I make a lot of money but to them it is the ultimate failure that I haven’t married. They have introduced me to at least a dozen men over the years and when I’ve politely turned them down, they take it like a personal affront. They think that I’m cold and inconsiderate and that I have no feelings. That’s not true. I have feelings. I have needs. All I want is to be allowed to live my own life but this seems to be beyond their comprehension."

"Julia, you are one of the warmest and kindest people I have ever met. Your parents have truly missed the marks if they believe those things about you."

Julia sighed and leaned her forehead against her knees.

"I just want them to accept me for who I am, appreciate my achievements … just love me, really," she whispered. "Isn’t it amazing how much you still want your parents approval and validation even as an adult?"

Marion shuddered.

"Oh, I know exactly what you mean," she murmured, "much better than you realise. My parents have been dead for several years but my grandmother and I are very close and I know how much her love and approval means to me. You’re never too old to want those things from your family, approval, unconditional love."

She moved without thinking, pulling the other woman into a comforting embrace. Julia hid her face against the sales manager’s shoulder, trembling a little.

"When they told me at the front desk that my fiancé had already arrived and was waiting for me in our room, I was mortified. I had really looked forward to this vacation," Julia said as tears of frustration and hurt ran down her face.

Running her hand comfortingly over Julia’s back, Marion began to rock the other woman.

"It’s hard, isn’t it?" she murmured.

"Very," Julia admitted. "I had just finished a difficult assignment. It even won the firm an award can you believe that? I gave myself this trip as sort of my personal reward and things were going so great. The cruise, meeting you … and then what do my parents do? Pull one of their stunts!"

"Just let me hold you, honey," Marion said, not noticing the term of endearment until it left her lips. "You’re okay."

Inhaling unsteadily, Julia nodded against the shoulder under her cheek. Marion pulled the blanket up and wrapped it around them both.

"This is silly, really," Julia said wiping away the tears that had fallen down her cheek.

"What is?"

"Here we are, two successful women who don’t have to prove anything to anyone, hiding under a blanket. But it feels good, doesn’t it?"

"Yes, it does."

Marion hugged Julia close and kissed the top of her head.

"You’re quickly becoming a friend," Julia murmured uncertainly.

"You too."

"Thank you."

"You’re welcome."

Silently the two women found comfort in one another as Julia’s tears slowly subsided.

"I have a confession to make." Julia said in a quiet voice.

"You do? "

"Yes. I’ve been thinking about our kiss," Julia said almost inaudibly.

Marion sighed and tipped Julia’s head back.

"Then I have one too. I have thought of little else," she admitted.

Soft, moist lips descended on equally yielding ones. A faint gasp and hesitant, tentative tongues met, touched, explored. There was no need for pressure, no rush. Only the softest of touches, both comforting and erotic but without any need to escalate further.

Marion cupped a gentle hand around Julia’s cheek, held her in place as she probed her mouth. The other woman let her in, let her do what she needed to do in order to seek and find the pleasure of each other’s taste.

Ending the kiss with endless tiny kisses, Marion pulled back.

"Do you trust me, Julia?" she asked seriously.

"Yes."

"Will you come to bed with me? To sleep?"

Julia wrapped her arms around Marion’s neck and nodded, kissing her cheek.

"I’d like that very much, to sleep with you," she whispered. "I really would."

Marion rose from the couch and pulled the other woman with her to bed. As they settled in, not in each other’s arms but hand in hand, the two fell asleep comforted by the other, feeling safe and content.

*****

The transformation was unbelievable.

Seven looked at the other three women. All of them dressed in different pastel coloured dresses with little matching jackets. White gloves and hats went with each outfit together with purses that matched the pumps.

Kathryn had surprised them all by being able to book a table for them to have tea at the Ritz. Apparently you had to make reservations at least six weeks ahead but the executive had pulled some strings and here they were.

A waitress showed them to a table at the far wall.

"Thank you," Kathryn said as she sat down in the chair next to Seven. "I must say I don’t feel as silly in this outfit as I thought I would."

Marion looked a bit uncomfortable but Seven thought it might be the fact that the sales manager was expected to have tea and not coffee. The blonde regarded her friends, feeling utterly content in sharing yet another meal in their company.

They had spent the day shopping and having lunch on Oxford Street. Kathryn had coaxed them into a boutique where she had insisted that they all buy the correct outfits to wear when having what the British called high tea.

Seven smiled at the thought of them trying on the clothes, laughing and giggling, being completely carefree.

She looked at Julia, noticed how the other woman’s warm gaze constantly rested on Marion. Careful to not be too obvious, the blonde regarded the sales manager, wanting to reassure herself that her friend was not in danger of being hurt.

"I guess tea is mandatory," Kathryn sighed in mock despair looking at the menu. "Cucumber sandwiches too, I suppose."

"If we’re going to do it, we might as well go about it the right way," Marion agreed stoically. "I can be brave when required."

"I’m impressed," Julia grinned and nudged Marion with her elbow. "That kind of statement from a coffee addict such as yourself."

"I should say so," Marion smiled.

Janeway nodded to the waiter who arrived at the table. The young man enquired which beverages the ladies desired. The group deferred to Seven who promptly made a selection from the Ritz collection of teas. Soon tiered trays of delectable delights appeared at the table, small finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and an array of pastries.

The aroma of the tea filled the air as it was served and all four women began sampling the delicious treats.

Seven looked at Kathryn, her gaze met her lover’s.

"Happy?" Kathryn mouthed over the rim of her cup.

The blonde nodded and smiled.

"I can’t believe that we have to go home soon," Marion sighed and put her cup down, frowning a bit at the hot beverage. "The days go by so quickly when you’re having fun."

"I have three days left before I have to go back to work," Julia sighed. "I wish you all could stay a little longer."

Kathryn leaned back in her chair, discreetly wiping her mouth on her napkin.

"Seven, do you want to go home?" she asked casually. "Are you ready to leave Europe?"

The younger woman considered the question.

"In a way," she admitted. "It is wonderful to be away from the duties that demand so much of our attention. However, I realise that it is time to go home and deal with all the work that is bound to have gathered while we have been gone."

Kathryn smiled enigmatically.

"Well, I have arranged for us to depart tomorrow morning," she said while reaching for her second cucumber sandwich. "However, I’ve taken a few liberties with our itinerary. Julia, I’ve also made arrangement for the remainder of your stay."

The interior designer blinked.

"You did? That’s … very nice of you," she added hesitatingly.

"Yes, I thought you’d appreciate not having to return to your original hotel," the CEO said, eyeing the tea before sipping it cautiously.

"Your right. I do."

"So you won’t mind accompanying Marion, Seven and myself to Copenhagen in Denmark?"

You could hear a pin drop.

Seven looked at her partner in complete and overwhelming surprise. Slowly a radiant smile formed on Kathryn’s lips and she broke out laughing.

"Oh, ladies," she gasped. "You should see your faces!"

Seven felt a smile form on her own lips and she turned to Marion and Julia who both looked decidedly dazed.

"You did it again," Marion managed. "Copenhagen?"

"It’s a beautiful ancient city!" Julia blurted out.

"What about you, darling?" Kathryn asked.

"You are amazing, Kathryn," Seven beamed, reaching over to the other woman, taking her hand. "You had this planned all along."

"Not all along," the executive confessed. "When I realised that Julia was joining us and that we all needed some more time to just kick back, I checked the flights. We take a plane to Copenhagen tomorrow morning and fly back to Heathrow in three days then jump on a direct flight home. Julia will have to take a plane from there to Michigan though."

Julia smiled through tears.

"Thank you very much for including me, Kathryn," she whispered.

The CEO smiled warmly.

"You deserve a break, my friend," she stated firmly.

Marion nodded approvingly and then reached out and swiftly touched Kathryn’s arm.

"Thank you," she said in a low voice. "I second Seven’s opinion. You’re an amazing woman."

The auburn haired woman shook her head.

"Oh, I don’t know about that," she said. "I’m dressed for the part. I’m in the right environment with the right assortments of trappings. It should have made it easier but still I failed."

She sighed dramatically but winked at Seven.

The other three looked curiously at her.

"At what?" Seven asked although she was on to her lover.

Kathryn made a face.

"After going through all this effort; I still hate tea!"

*****

If London had offered cloudy and a bit cold fare, Copenhagen provided a sunny and warm summer’s day. They had arrived at Kastrup Airport the day before and taken a taxi to Hotel D’Angleterre, one of the oldest hotels in Europe.

Its luxury was different from the Ritz, the Danish spirit making it less posh but with a great deal of ambience.

A stroll from the hotel located at Kongens Nytorv, a large square at the centre of Copenhagen, took them to all the famous stores, including the Magasin, a large department store with a proud tradition.

They walked along the main shopping street and after buying ice cream they sank down on a bench at another picturesque cobblestone square.

Janeway turned her head to the sun, closing her eyes and enjoying the taste of the melting ice cream in her mouth. She listened to the other women laugh and chat but mostly the sound, not so much the words.

The executive was pleased with her idea to take the other three to the Danish capital. They would most likely never forget this trip. She knew she wouldn’t. The look on Seven’s face when she made new acquaintances and experiences was priceless. So was the expression when she realised that Janeway would do anything to romance her, to woo her. The CEO wanted there to be absolutely no doubt in the blonde’s mind that she meant everything to her.

Just as Janeway knew for a fact that she would give up everything for Seven, she knew just as surely that Seven would never ask that of her. She felt utterly safe in the glow of the younger woman’s love.

She opened her eyes and realised that Julia and Seven had wandered off to window-shop a bit down the street next to the canal. The area was called Nyhavn, an area famous for its shops, bars and restaurants.

"What are they looking at?" Janeway asked Marion drowsily.

"I don’t know but what ever it is, it has Seven very intrigued."

Slightly concerned, the auburn haired woman sat up and put on her sunglasses. Seven and Julia were pointing into the store and the interior designer was shaking her head.

Marion suddenly gasped and then laughed.

"Oh, god, Kathryn," Marion said between fits of laughter. "I think you better go over there."

Not understanding, Janeway squinted through the bright sunlight to read the sign over the door.

Her eyes widened.

"Over my dead body!" she exclaimed and got up from the bench in a hurry.

*****

Seven looked in the window and knew this was what she really wanted. The design to the right was compelling, it called out to her. She had to have it.

Somehow she knew that Kathryn would not be as thrilled.

"Have you thought this through, Seven?" Julia asked, genuinely concerned. "It seems a very impulsive thing to do and it’s not like you can change your mind."

"I know it is permanent," the blonde agreed. "I have always found the tradition fascinating but never had the opportunity to pursue it myself. I think Kathryn bringing me to this fascinating city is a sign that I should go through with it. That one," she pointed. "That is the one I want."

"No, you don’t," a decisive throaty voice said behind her.

Seven turned around.

Kathryn was standing behind her, hands on her hips and shaking her head. Marion had also joined them, apparently having a hard time keeping a straight face.

"This is a bad idea, Seven," Kathryn said seriously.

"No, it is not," the younger woman stated calmly. "This is not as rash as it may seem. I grant you that I have never mentioned it to you before but when I looked in this window and saw the design, I just knew."

"Seven, it isn’t safe. There are diseases …"

"The note here says that this establishment is under the supervision of the Danish Health Department."

"You don’t read Danish," Janeway objected.

"No, but it’s similar enough to German which I do read," the blonde said, turning around to look at the design again. "I want this one."

Kathryn glanced over her shoulder while grabbing the blonde by the waist as if holding her back physically.

"Which one?" she muttered.

"The right one. The design with the spaceship in front of an asteroid belt."

Kathryn sighed.

"Why do you want that one so bad?" she asked. "There are so many colours, it will hurt like hell, darling."

"I want it."

Seven couldn’t quite explain why she was so adamant about the tattoo. It wasn’t a very large one, but it was intriguing and she had made up her mind.

"I’m not asking you to have one, Kathryn," she said, pivoting in the older woman’s arms. "I’m going in to make an appointment now."

She waited patiently for Kathryn to let go of her. Slowly the executive lowered her hands. She looked at Seven with trepidation but then took her by the hand.

"All right, darling," she muttered, "I know that look."

She opened the door to the tattoo workshop and they all entered. A tall bald man looked up from the behind the counter.

"Velkommen," he said warmly.

"I would like a tattoo done as soon as possible," Seven stated politely.

The man grinned.

"There is no time like the present. If it’s not too big I can do it right away."

Janeway groaned.

"How about the rest of you ladies?" he asked. "Are you also browsing for a life time decoration?"

Marion and Julia shook their heads while smiling. Then they stared at Kathryn who didn’t reply right away.

"My friend is concerned with the potential health risks," Seven said bluntly. "Can you explain the procedure so she does not worry about me, please?"

"First of all, I’m Jens. I’ve worked with tattoos for more than twenty years. This is a famous tattoo workshop. We even have members of the Danish Royal Family among our customers. We sterilise everything and only use hypoallergenic colours and well-tried equipment. The procedure isn’t actually painful but it can be perceived as a burning sensation that some find unpleasant."

Kathryn cringed at Jens’ eloquent explanation.

"Have you picked out a design and where you want it done?" Jens now asked Seven.

"Yes."

Seven had located the design on the wall and pointed at it.

"I want this one on my lower back," she stated firmly. "How long will it take? My friends can go on shopping and then come back for me."

"Oh, I’m not going anywhere, I’m waiting right here," Kathryn muttered. "If you are submitting yourself to that kind of torture, I sure won’t let you go through it alone."

"We have a waiting area," Jens said. "You are welcome to complimentary coffee and a chocolate Danish. This design takes about ninety minutes."

Marion and Julia opted to continue their stroll and do some more shopping and promised to be back in time.

Kathryn went up to Seven and pulled her close. The blonde regarded her seriously.

"This is important to me, Kathryn," she said quietly.

"You can’t regret it later."

"I will not regret it."

The CEO regarded the design on the wall. Taking one step back she smiled.

"I’ll wait here," she said.

Seven smiled back.

"Thank you," she said.

*****

Julia was in awe of her surroundings. The attention given to detail at the D’Angleterre Hotel amazed her. From the imposing New Georgian facade as they entered this palatial setting to their guest rooms, the architectural and interior designs and decor were wonderful.

They had dined in that evening at the Restaurant Wiinblad where the well-known Danish artist Bjørn Wiinblad had designed the decor. The tiles, the statuettes, even the plates were exquisitely designed. Bjørn certainly had the touch she mused.

The use of pastel colours, the mix of antique as well as modern furniture appealed to her on many levels. She was closely examining the craftsmanship of a ceramic piece when Marion entered the room.

"That must have been the biggest meal I’ve ever had in my entire life," Marion huffed behind her, making Julia jump. "Sorry, did I startle you?"

"No, I’m fine, I just didn’t hear you come out of the bathroom," Julia smiled, turning around.

"I’m tired," Marion said. "It’s been a long day."

"I agree. Do you … or should I …"

She wanted to kick herself for being so awkward but the situation was so new. She looked uncertainly at the other woman.

"What?" Marion asked sounding mystified. "Oh, you mean, the bed or the couch or both?"

"I sound like a nervous kid, don’t I?" the interior designer blushed.

Marion walked up to her. The dark haired woman was dressed in a short silk robe that left her tanned legs naked up to her mid thighs. Raising her hands to Julia’s shoulders she looked at her seriously.

"Are you afraid of me Julia?" she asked softly. "There’s no need to be."

Julia shook her head.

"No," she answered quietly "I’m not afraid of you, Marion. We’ve become very good friends over the past weeks and I’ve come to trust you. It’s just me."

"What’s wrong?"

"Nothing is wrong, not really. I guess I’m just … scared?"

The other woman pulled her closer and hugged her.

"I’d never ask anything of you that you don’t want to give freely," Marion promised. "If you think I’m very experienced … you’re wrong, I’m not. I know I can sound like a sarcastic bitch … hell; I am a sarcastic bitch sometimes but I would never hurt you, not intentionally."

Julia raised her hands and cupped Marion’s cheeks.

"I know that," she agreed. "I also know that your sarcasm is a front. Something you hide behind to cover up the pain. It may not be obvious to most, but I see it."

"You do?"

"Am I wrong?" Julia challenged quietly.

Marion gazed into Julia’s eyes meeting the challenge.

"No, not at all," she answered quietly. "Julia, we’re both a bit scared, both a bit burned and both … attracted to each other."

Julia felt her heart take a leap. She let her hand fall to Marion’s waist and wrapped her arms around the other woman. Looking at the tanned face she smiled shyly.

"You’re so beautiful," Julia said. "You’re eyes are incredible. They can be so piercing and so … searching. You’re an observer."

"I am?"

"You are."

"I like observing you."

"You do?"

"Mm."

Marion leaned down and captured Julia’s lips. They kissed tenderly at first but then with growing passion. Involuntarily opening her mouth to taste the other woman, Julia moaned into the hot mouth against hers.

Whimpering into the kiss, she knew she needed more this time. She was scared but the intoxicating scent of Marion was getting to her, making her tremble all over.

"Are you cold?" Marion mumbled against her lips, nibbling them, her words reverberating against them.

"No. No, I’m hot. I’m burning up," Julia whispered, swaying where she stood in Marion’s embrace.

"You are? You’re hot? I turn you on?" the other woman asked in a hoarse, feverish voice.

"Oh, yes … yes, you do," Julia moaned. She slipped her hands down, massaging Marion’s hips through the thin robe. Feeling nothing but skin through the fabric she let her hands move around to cup the other woman’s bottom.

Marion pressed against Julia, making her take a step back, ending up with her back against the wall next to the bed.

Julia, wearing a sleeveless nightgown, pulled the other woman with her, not intending to let go.

"I’m not scaring you, am I Julia?" Marion hissed in her ear before nipping at the earlobe with her teeth. "You’re holding me so close I can feel your heartbeat. Surely you can’t be afraid … when you hold me so close?"

"No, I’m not afraid," Julia whispered.

She turned her head and caught Marion’s half open mouth. Slipping her tongue inside the wet softness she examined the woman that haunted her dreams, not being able to slow down, not being able to let go.

Marion let one hand follow Julia’s rib cage and then reach her hip. From there it moved slowly to her stomach where it hesitated.

"May I?" Marion breathed.

Julia inhaled audibly. She knew what Marion asked, what the other woman wanted. She had never felt such fire inside before. Moisture was gathering between her legs, she was so embarrassingly ready.

"Marion …" she tried to speak. "I … I want to … it’s just …"

"It’s too fast for you," the other woman said, taking a step back, removing her hand.

The withdrawal tore at Julia.

"No, that’s … that’s not it," she whispered.

At a loss for further words she lost cohesion in her knees and slid down the wall. Marion immediately knelt before her, looking worried.

"Julia what is it?" she asked.

"I guess … I’m just … you have a strong effect on me, Marion," she blushed.

The other woman frowned and then smiled gently.

"I do? How … interesting. Would you care to elaborate on how this effect manifests itself?"

Julia stared at her. Marion was joking now?

"Don’t tease me?" she asked quietly.

"I’m not teasing you Julia," Marion said with a soft smile. She rose and pulled Julia up from the floor. "Come here. Listen to me," she said as she guided Julia to the bed.

They sank down on the bed sitting next to each other.

"I would never tease you. I would never make fun of you or your feelings. To tell the truth, I’m so aroused, I’m amazed I can still see straight."

Julia didn’t know what to say. She followed her instinct and wrapped her arms around Marion’s neck and hugged her hard.

"You want me?" she breathed against the softness of the other woman’s neck.

"Desperately," Marion admitted huskily. "That doesn’t mean I can’t wait for you."

Julia murmured something inaudible.

"I can’t hear you," the other woman said.

"I’m so wet," Julia whispered.

Marion gasped out loud.

"Oh, god, you take my breath away," she moaned. "Was that why you were embarrassed?"

"Yes."

There was a brief silence.

"Julia … may I feel it?" Marion then asked tentatively, sending a jolt of desire through the woman in her arms.

Julia couldn’t find her voice to answer so she nodded as the other woman slid a finger across her lips, down her chin, tracing along her neck down between her breasts. Julia’s nipples ached but received no attention. The finger slid along the soft roundness of her stomach and further down along her thigh. It reached the rim of her nightgown and began to move up, taking the silky fabric with it.

"There … spread your legs, honey, just a little," the dark haired woman whispered, holding Julia close with one arm and slowly, slowly nudging the fabric up with her finger.

"Oh …"

Julia let her legs fall apart a little, focusing on the finger barely touching her.

"Good girl," Marion said, kissing her cheek.

She was so close now, Julia was sure Marion must sense the moisture and heat from her hot centre. She whimpered and hid her face against the other woman.

"That’s it," Marion hushed.

She reached the damp silk panties and surprised Julia by lowering her to the bed and pressing two fingers against her, still on the outside.

"You’re right, honey," the sales manager purred. "You are very wet. Very ready."

"Mm …" Julia sobbed quietly.

"May I?"

This time she managed to answer.

"Yes."

Then several eager fingers were there, removing her panties and parting her folds. The same hot digits found her aching nubbin and began a slow but intense manipulation that caused Julia to whimper incoherently.

The feeling was so intense, so erotic that she knew she would come any minute, any second.

"You’re such a good girl," Marion said tenderly and she leaned over and kissed her lips.

Her fingers didn’t penetrate Julia, didn’t force anything on her, just circled that throbbing ridge of nerves that drove her crazy.

"Give it to me," Marion then said, suddenly sounding very uncertain, almost needy. "Please, Julia, don’t hold back. Give it to me."

That was all it took.

Spirals of pleasure began in the pit of her stomach, radiated out through her limbs and sent her flying. For a wonderful, magical moment she hung in mid air before descending into Marion’s arms.

Marion pulled Julia close, close into an embrace meant to show that she was safe.

"Thank you," Marion said huskily, "thank you so much."

She didn’t quite understand why Marion was thanking her but grateful to hold on to something solid in a world that still was spinning.

Slowly she stopped trembling and found that Marion had managed to shift them in bed and get them both under the covers.

"What about you?" Julia asked drowsily.

"Oh, honey, don’t worry. The gift you gave me tonight … it’s enough, more than enough for now. Hush, go to sleep, I’ll be here when you wake up."

Julia wanted to object but all the rampaging feelings had exhausted her.

She trusted Marion.

She would be there in the morning.

*****

Seven was in bed already. Janeway had helped her change the dressing on her tattoo in the bathroom. It was all right to shower as long as no soap lingered on the tattoo since that would cause the colours to fade.

Now the blonde was studying the older woman, as she got ready for bed.

When Janeway turned to switch off the light the blonde spotted something that made her gasp out loud.

"Kathryn!"

The executive turned around.

"Yes?"

"On your shoulder … you had a tattoo done! You did not tell me!"

Janeway smiled brightly.

"I did, sort of," she admitted.

"What do you mean, sort of?" Seven asked, climbing across the bed to examine the design on Janeway’s shoulder blade.

"It is not swollen, like mine?" the blonde said, confused.

The CEO grinned, knowing how surprised Seven must be.

"I cheated," she confessed readily. "It won’t last a lifetime, only a couple of months."

She peeked up at Seven who flung her arms around her lover’s neck.

"I would not want you to get a real tattoo if it was not your choice," she said gravely. "This was a delightful surprise, though."

"Do you like it?" Janeway asked.

She had spotted a small design on the wall in the tattoo workshop that had appealed to her. After enquiring about the special paint she had decided to surprise the woman she loved. Now she boasted a fake tattoo of a raven on her shoulder and from the look in Seven’s eyes she knew that the blonde had understood.

"We go home the day after tomorrow," Janeway said and pulled the blonde down under the covers and onto her shoulder.

"I know. This has been a wonderful vacation."

"Your best so far?" Janeway joked.

"Indeed. It will be hard to surpass."

"I know of a place that might," the executive claimed while yawning.

"Where?"

Janeway closed her eyes and held Seven close.

"If you won’t nag about it not being so luxurious … there’s always Raven’s Island."

*****

Marion set her bag down and walked up to the window.

It seemed only reasonable that it should be raining. The flight home had been uneventful on the surface. They had travelled comfortably in business class. She had been sitting next to Julia, her mind trying to come to terms with the fact that they would have to part soon. Julia would fly home to Michigan on a connecting flight.

The goodbye at the airport had been bittersweet no matter how they both tried to keep it light.

"I’ll call you when I get home," Julia had said, smiling with trembling lips.

"You promise?" Marion had asked brusquely.

Her eyes very soft, Julia had squeezed Marion’s hand.

"Of course I do," she whispered. "Nothing could prevent me."

The sales manager had sighed and closed her eyes briefly.

"I’m sorry, honey," she had apologised.

They had hugged just before Julia had to board her plane and then Marion had returned to Janeway and Seven who were waiting for her.

Now Marion leaned her aching forehead against the cool glass of the window, her breath creating mist on its surface.

She missed Julia more than she had ever expected.

The sudden ringing sound from her bag made her flinch.

She reached for her cell phone and pressed a button.

"McDunn."

"I knew you couldn’t stay away forever. You should’ve known that I don’t give up that easily."

Marion sank down on the bed, covering her eyes.

Avery.

She squared her shoulders, knowing what she had to do.

"Hello, Eric," she said emotionlessly.

"Where have you been?" the man at the other end asked. "This disappearing act is going to cost you."

"You won’t get any more money."

A moment’s silence revealed that Avery was surprised by the calmness in her voice.

"You sound awfully sure of that, Marion," he then said smoothly. "However, I think I will. There are things I know that you don’t want … certain people to find out. Nothing has changed."

"That where you’re wrong. I’ve changed," Marion said. "What you fail to realise is that the only person you will hurt by pursuing this matter is yourself."

A sound from the door made her pivot. On the threshold to the guest room stood Janeway and Seven, regarding her seriously. She nodded at them to let them know that she was handling it.

"What do you mean? I have nothing to lose," Avery hissed. "You saw to that when you signed and handed in that statement to Janeway."

"No, you did Eric," the sales manager said calmly. "What happened was brought on by you, your actions, your arrogance, no one else. My only mistake was using your questionable talents for my own misguided purposes."

"You seem to be forgetting the kind of damage I’m more than capable of inflicting on you and your family," Avery snarled. "And it won’t be just be my say so; I have documents and photos to back up everything. What will your old granny think of that?"

She had waited for the threat to appear. She had known he would mention the most precious person in her life, her grandmother, and use it against her. Still it hurt and she went pale, blindly searching for the bed to sit down.

Somebody removed the cell phone from her sweaty palm.

"Marion? Don’t you dare hang up on me, you bitch …" Marion heard Avery shout before a lethal, throaty voice interrupted him.

"Eric Avery. I think it’s safe to say that this last phone call of yours was a huge mistake," Janeway said slowly.

*****

Avery inhaled audibly.

"Janeway," he huffed. "So Marion went running to you to bail her out of trouble."

"You are way off as usual," the CEO said coolly.

"I take it she’s been hiding at your place all this time."

Janeway shook her head. The voice on the other end made her angry as hell.

"You know how I deal with employees, don’t you, Avery?" the executive asked casually, sitting down next to Marion on the bed.

There was a prolonged silence.

"You didn’t think that sooner or later you would run across someone who would have you investigated?" Janeway continued.

"I don’t know what you mean," Avery tried.

"Oh, I think you do. Ever have that strange, paranoid feeling that someone is watching your every move, Avery?"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Ah, you see, when I heard of your latest despicable little endeavour I hired a private investigation firm to gather enough damaging evidence against you to put you away for a long time."

"You’re bluffing," Avery stated but with a revealing tone of uncertainty in his voice.

Janeway put a reassuring hand on Marion’s knee, as Seven sat down on the sales manager’s other side.

"Have you ever known me to bluff?" the CEO asked lethally. "In all your years at this firm, have you ever known me to make an empty threat?"

Avery was quiet.

"I think not," Janeway said shortly. "We have you right where we want you, Avery. You’re out of choices."

"Can the McDunns afford to have all their little dirty secrets exposed?" Avery hissed. "Have you asked Marion? She has a lot to lose."

"She stands to lose much more if you’re allowed to continue this. Get it through your thick skull, she’s had enough."

"Her family is well known and the press will have a field day."

"Oh, I’m sure they will. However the focus of their reporting will be writing about you, about how you blackmailed a defenceless woman who was only trying to correct a wrong, about the real reasons you no longer work at my firm.

There was only silence at the end of the connection.

"You don’t get it do you, Avery? You can’t win. Your extra source of income is terminated."

"You bitch!"

"I see that you are finally grasping the reality of the situation."

Janeway glanced over at her employee and smiled.

"I don’t care. You’re right I have nothing to lose," Eric Avery growled. "I plan to go to the press as soon as possible and there is nothing you can do about it."

The CEO sighed.

"Then you’re a bigger fool than I thought," she said and hung up.

She quickly dialled a number.

"Mr Leighton? Kathryn Janeway here. I just finished talking to Mr Avery. Our man is not being very co-operative. Did you obtain the documents in question?"

"Yes, Ms Janeway. I personally supervised the sweep of his apartment. It’s my opinion that we have recovered all the documentation and photos he had pertaining to the McDunn family. There’s still the threat of him going to the press even without the evidence to back up his story."

"I know. Did you complete that other project I requested?"

"Oh yes. You were right about that one ma’am, a target rich environment."

Janeway smiled. "How nice. Can you bring what you’ve recovered from Mr Avery’s apartment as well as that other project to my office as soon as possible?"

"Consider it done. I’ll deliverer it myself."

"Excellent."

Leighton paused for a moment.

"What about Avery? Would you like me to deal with him?" he then asked.

"No, Mr Leighton, I’ll be handling that situation myself. I assume Avery wasn’t calling from home just now. Do you know where he is?"

"It will only take me a second to find out."

There were talking in the background and then Leighton returned.

"Avery appears to be headed home. He should be at his address within an hour if he doesn’t make any stops."

"Good. Keep a tail on him. I’ll be waiting for you in my office."

"I’m on my way."

"Thanks. See you soon."

Janeway hung up the phone and turned towards the two women.

"I think it’s time that we paid Avery a little visit," she smiled. "I’m sure he’ll be pleased to see us. Don’t you?

*****

The nerve of that woman, he raged.

Eric Avery turned the key to open his front door.

Janeway’s words had infuriated him.

"That bitch!" he hissed between clenched teeth.

Slamming the door he quickly made his way to the bar.

Picking up the decanter, he grabbed a glass. Pouring the contents of the decanter into it he brought the glass to his lips and swiftly slammed its content to the back of his throat then swallowed. Quickly he poured himself a second drink.

Thinking of Marion McDunn made him frown as the alcohol burned its way down.

The assertive woman had dismissed him with an insulting remark when he had tried to make a move on her years ago. Her indifferent tone of voice had incensed him.

It was shortly after that he stumbled upon some damaging information regarding the sales manager’s family. He had been sitting on the documents for years knowing that they would come in handy some day.

When Marion had turned on him after the fiasco with Annika Hansen, shortly followed by the humiliation in Janeway’s office, he had already begun to plan his revenge. The fact that the endeavour could bring him sorely needed extra cash was a bonus.

McDunn was a callous bitch and when he had confronted her with the lucrative information it had been a true pleasure to watch her pale and stutter.

He had called her at all hours, day and night, that first week when she still thought she could avoid paying. She had changed her phone number twice but it had not proved difficult to obtain the new unlisted numbers from the phone company. Eventually she had given up and begun to pay him off. He now had the company bitch right where he wanted her. She had sounded increasingly desperate every time he called her and that alone had brought his damaged ego satisfaction.

Avery gulped down the second drink.

Everything had seemed to work out well. McDunn had paid him a handsome amount on five different occasions up till now. It would render him great pleasure to submit the sordid story to the tabloid press.

Still, something in Janeway’s cold voice made him uneasy. The thought of his former boss caused an quickly growing headache to form behind his eyes.

Janeway was continually interfering with his life. The bitch had ruined him. Oh yes, she had let him go without pressing charges, but she had let it be known that he was not to be trusted. She had poisoned the opinion of any would be employer in this city and now here she was meddling again in things that were none of her business. Well, he would show her.

"We’ll see who’s the fool is then you ... "

Just then the doorbell rang.

Slamming the empty glass on the counter he walked down the hallway towards the door.

Looking through the eyehole Avery couldn’t believe what he saw. Unlocking the door he swung it open.

"Hello, Avery," Janeway said, locking her even blue-grey eyes on him. Behind her stood Marion McDunn and Annika Hansen.

"What the hell do you want?" Avery demanded, his hatred for the woman visible to all present.

"I want to talk. Obviously there was a breakdown in communication and I’m here to clear up any misunderstandings that might exist. May we come in?" She nudged the man out of her way and they all passed him. Stunned by their audacity he stared after them as the three women went into his living room and calmly stood in the middle of it.

"You have some nerve. Coming here, barging into my place like this. Let me tell you something, you’re the fool if you think you can manipulate me. I have every intention of going to the press with this story," Avery hissed and then turned on McDunn. "So you really thought that this bitch was going to be able to stop me?"

"That’s enough!" Janeway ordered. "Listen to me you arrogant ass," she continued in a threatening tone. "If you check where ever you might have kept documents on Marion and her family you will discover them missing."

Avery walked straight over to his desk and started searching through the drawers.

"Yes, that’s right," Janeway said. "Search all you want. They’re gone"

"How do you know I didn’t make copies or did you forget about that?"

"No, I didn’t overlook anything. What I find amazing is that there are things you have so conveniently disregarded."

"Like what? The meaningless affidavits those women wrote accusing me of harassment? They’re nothing but lies and innuendoes. They have no hold on me and neither do you."

"Really," said Janeway "That’s pretty confident for a man with your track record. What about the rest of your life? I’m sure there’s nothing in your past that has any sort of hold on you, is there?"

"You have nothing on me Janeway."

"Really? Tell me, when was blackmail legalized?"

Janeway walked over to the desk and laid a leather briefcase on top of it. With just a few moves the case opened. Reaching inside she pulled out a thick folder and began to flip through it.

"What’s that?" he demanded.

"Why it’s your life, Mr Avery, an open book of sorts, or so you claim. I find it fascinating how much information is available on an individual, thanks to technology," she said as she scanned the document. "Besides your reprehensible behaviour towards women I see that you have many other traits to be proud of: blackmail, extortion, oh yes … tax evasion and the list just keeps going on and on …"

"Let me see that!" Avery said as he grabbed the folder from her hands.

He went pale as he read the dossier that Janeway had commissioned on him.

"Please, take your time. I don’t want there to be any more misunderstandings, so to speak."

After several minutes Avery laid the document down.

"What do you intend to do with this?"

"That completely depends upon you."

The executive circled him predatorily with slow steps, never taking her eyes off him.

"It’s time for you to take a trip, Avery, a very long trip. I find your presence in this city rather a nuisance. I want you to leave; I want you to leave for good.

"You can’t be serious?"

"Oh, but I am," said Janeway as she closed in on him. "If you fail to leave this city or reside anywhere within a two hundred mile radius of this place, I will destroy you. If you ever come near any employee of mine, any family member, any friend, the results will be the same. If I find that you have interfered or disrupted my company in any way, even remotely, I will come after you. I will turn this file and all of the other evidence I have collected on you over to the authorities. As you can see from the dossier the evidence and information on you is quite extensive. My guess is that, at a minimum, you’d be looking at twenty-five years behind bars and I don’t think you would thrive in that kind of environment now would you? Oh, and I too have made copies, many copies of this report so don’t get any more bright ideas."

Janeway had not raised her voice but Avery knew she would not hesitate to carry out her threat.

"You bitch," he snarled at Janeway.

"For an educated man your vocabulary is somewhat limited," the CEO said ironically.

Fear and fury battled within him.

"Get the hell out of my house!" he yelled, hating the fact that his voice trembled.

"Oh, we’ll go," Janeway, said gently. "I can see that out presence makes you uncomfortable but before I do, I want to ensure that there are no misunderstandings between us. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes."

"Good. You have two weeks to evict this place. I wouldn’t waste any time if I were you. There will be no extensions on this offer. This is not a threat; this is a promise." She paused, smiling maliciously. "Oh, and Avery? I’ll be watching."

Janeway turned and nodded to both women signalling them that it was time to depart.

Not even glancing at him the two women followed Janeway out the door without uttering a single word.

When the door closed behind them, for the second time in his life Avery felt as if he had been hit by an eighteen-wheeler.

Janeway could have that effect on people.

*****

 

Her cell phone rang for the second time that evening. Cautiously she picked it up and answered. Would ever the sound of a ringing phone not cause her to shiver?

"McDunn."

"Hi," a soft female voice said.

"Hello, Julia."

"You sound tired."

Marion rubbed the back of her neck.

"Let’s just say that it has been a long and interesting evening."

"Want to talk about it?" Julia asked gently.

"Yes, but not tonight. You must be tired too. How was your flight?"

"Uneventful."

"You sound strange. Ah, don’t tell me. Your parents either called or met you at the airport."

"They called. Mother was furious."

The sales manager held the phone closer.

"What did she say?"

"The usual stuff. I was the one with the new vocabulary."

There was new energy in Julia’s voice.

"Yes? What did you say?"

"I told them that if they couldn’t respect my choice of work, my way of life or my friends, I would have to minimise our quality time together. Mom was absolutely appalled but I think my Dad might come around eventually."

"Good for you, honey," Marion said, a smile forming on her lips.

"We should both be in bed by now but I have to ask you something," Julia said.

"Shoot."

Marion began to undress, heading for the shower.

"I went through my email just before I called. I have an invitation to a conference in your neck of the woods …"

"Come stay at my place," Marion forestalled her.

"Really?" There was a smile in Julia’s voice.

"I can’t wait to see you again," Marion said, her voice husky. "I miss you."

"You do?"

The doorbell rang.

"Hang on," Marion said. "Someone’s at the door."

Marion placed the phone down on her bed. Wondering who could be calling at this late hour she pulled on a robe and went out into the hallway. Cautiously she tuned on the security monitor to see who was buzzing her at this late hour.

She gasped.

Pushing the button to open the door she let her visitor in as she rushed out into the hallway to meet her guest at the elevator.

"Julia!" she exclaimed and stared at the smiling woman standing the elevator. "How …"

"Well, you said you missed me," the other woman said.

Marion reached out and pulled Julia into her arms, hugging her close.

"How did you get here so quickly?" she asked burying her face into the short dark hair.

"When I had finished talking to my parents … I just knew."

Marion leaned back, wanting to see the look on Julia’s face.

"What?" she asked.

"I knew where and with whom I wanted to be. I knew it was too soon to leave you. Guess I took a chance for the first time in my life," Julia admitted.

Marion framed the beloved face in her hands and kissed the soft, pink lips.

"I can’t believe you’re here," she said hoarsely, "but I’m so very glad you are."

"Are you sure?" Julia asked, gazing into Marion’s eyes as if searching for the truth.

"I’m sure. I have never been more sure."

Suddenly delirious with happiness from having Julia so unexpectedly back into her arms, she hugged the other woman fiercely.

"I love the fact that you’re here," she smiled. "Where are your bags?"

"Here."

Marion laughed, reaching down to pull the two bags into hallway. "Come inside."

The two women picked up Julia’s luggage and entered the apartment.

"I was just going to bed," she said. "I was feeling a bit lost and tired … it has been a long evening and I will tell you all about it but not until tomorrow. I just want to take a shower and crawl into bed with you. Or are you hungry?"

Realising that she was babbling, Marion smiled sheepishly.

"No," Julia replied. "I ate on the plane. A shower and then to bed sounds fine to me."

That was all Marion needed to hear. She pulled the other woman towards her bedroom, casually undressing her as they approached the bathroom.

Julia shrugged out of her blouse and let her slacks fall to the floor, forgotten, as the sales manager held her close.

"Shower with me?" Marion asked breathlessly.

Julia nodded.

Naked they stepped into the shower stall. Marion looked at the woman she had come to care about, to love … She inhaled audibly.

"Marion?" Julia said wonderingly.

"Julia … oh, god, honey … you are so beautiful." The older woman caressed her shoulders, down her slender arms down to her hands. She then lifted one hand to her mouth, kissing Julia’s palm. Looking into the bright, grey eyes of the woman in her arms she smiled. "I’m so in love with you."

Julia’s eyes widened. She freed the hand Marion had just kissed and traced the sales manager’s trembling lips.

"You’re everything I could ever want," Julia whispered. "I can’t think of anything but you. I’m very much in love too."

Happiness stirring in the pit of her stomach, a broad smile forming on her lips.

Marion hugged Julia hard.

"You make me happy," she said.

Julia clung to her, burying her face at Marion’s neck.

"You make me courageous," she replied.

"Courageous?"

"Yes. You make me dare to be me."

Tipping Julia’s head back to possess her sweet mouth, Marion let the hot water flow over them.

There would be time enough to face the world tomorrow. Right now all she knew was that she was where she needed to be with the person who had come to mean everything to her.

*****

The bedroom was dark, only the soft glow from the moon lit up the two forms snuggled together.

"Marion looked so relieved," Seven mumbled sleepily against her lover’s neck.

"She did," Kathryn agreed.

"She told me why Avery was blackmailing her."

"I didn’t know that," the CEO said. "She’s very protective of her grandmother."

"She could not help what her father did but she has still opted to right his wrong," the blonde said thoughtfully. "She did not want her grandmother to ever find out."

"He was a weak man. Marion is strong and has almost paid off his debt. Her grandmother need never know how her only son embezzled from his employer to feed his gambling addiction. Marion’s sacrifice to have struggled with payments all these years is not for nothing."

Seven rose on her elbow and regarded her lover closely.

"You were incredible how you handled Avery," she said.

Kathryn pulled her close and wrapped her arms around the blonde.

"I’m glad we pulled this off, darling," she said. "I’ve resented Avery ever since he tormented you and those other women."

Seven tipped her head back and kissed Kathryn tenderly.

"I know," she said. "But…"

"What darling? What is it?"

"He frightens me, Kathryn. You have made an enemy, perhaps a dangerous one."

"I’m aware of that sweetheart but I don’t want you to worry about it," Kathryn replied, hugging Seven. "I have taken steps to ensure that Avery is not a threat to anyone. He’ll be under surveillance for a very very long time my dear. If he makes one false move we’ll know about it immediately and appropriate actions will be taken. Marion’s grandmother is very old and I will honour Marion’s wishes to protect her grandmother from knowing the truth about her son. But once she has passed away then there’s nothing to prevent me from dealing properly with Avery."

 

They lay in silence for a while.

"What else is on that lovely mind of yours?" Kathryn asked softly.

"You."

"Me?"

"Do you have any idea how much I admire you? Your strength, your courage, even your ruthlessness?"

"Seven!"

"No, it is true and sometimes it scares me."

Kathryn held her love closer. "Would you like to know a secret?"

"What?"

"Sometimes it scares me too but something inside me wants to take on the world when the people I know and love are threatened. I would take on anything, anything at all for you my love. You are the most important thing in my world. Yes, Marion is a friend, but the real reason I intervened is because you wanted me too. Of course the whole thing became much easier when I discovered that Avery was behind the problem. I have never forgiven or forgotten what he did to you."

"Kathryn." Seven said as she reached out to capture the lips of the woman she loved.

"Do you realize how much I love you Annika Hansen?" the older woman asked hoarsely. "Do you realise that my life is meaningless without your presence in it?"

A tear rolled down Seven’s cheek as she stared in amazement.

Janeway kissed the damp cheek.

"Why the tears darling?"

"Because I …" The blonde’s voice betrayed her, the lump in her throat growing.

"What?"

"I always knew that I needed you but until this moment I never really understood how much you needed me."

"Oh Seven, you’re my heart, you’re my life."

Kathryn captured Seven’s lips and kissed her deeply. Slowly, lovingly, she began to make love to this amazing young woman who had captured her heart and given meaning to her existence.

"Do you know I can’t see or hear anything without thinking about how you react to it?" the executive said as she kissed the younger woman’s neck. "You are my first thought when I awake and my last as I fall asleep."

Seven inhaled audibly and pulled the older woman closer. Her heart overflowing with emotions and her head spinning at the Kathryn’s incredible words, she kissed the wine coloured lips of the woman she loved.

"Kathryn, let me make love to you," she whispered.

"Let’s make love together," Kathryn answered softly into Seven’s mouth. "Let’s share the pleasure … the touches … the love …"

The executive shifted in bed, slowly taking Seven’s hand in hers and letting it slide around her own neck. The blonde smiled tremulously and laced her fingers through Kathryn’s hair, tousling it, making the older woman look deliciously dishevelled.

They looked at each other, searching each other’s faces for nameless truths only to focus their attention on moist lips, desiring the touch, the taste.

Kathryn lowered her head and caught Seven’s lower lip between hers. Nibbling it gently with her teeth, she elicited a soft moan from her lover. She let her tongue enter Seven’s mouth and was met by its counterpart in a long and lustful dance.

"Mm …" Seven whispered into the kiss. Kathryn’s taste was intoxicating, she could never get enough of this intimate touch, the playful, passionate way of making love with ones mouth.

Recalling that first, almost clumsy kiss outside the elevator in the apartment drove her to roll them over in bed. It was that kiss that had started it all, ignited the passion between them that had quickly turned to love.

Releasing Kathryn’s mouth she looked at her, her eyes shining.

"I love your kisses," she exhaled. "I only have to close my eyes … and I can taste you …"

Kathryn moaned quietly and tried to pull Seven down for another kiss. The blonde smiled again and avoided the searching lips. Instead she lowered her hungry mouth to her lover’s neck and let her tongue slide along it up to follow Kathryn’s jaw line.

The executive arched against Seven.

"Oh sweetheart," she breathed. "You’re like fire … you burn me …"

"Love can burn," Seven murmured against the damp skin. "It is a fire that warms us, Kathryn … do not be afraid."

Her words sent a jolt through the older woman who suddenly reached up to frame Seven’s face with trembling hands.

"How did you know?" she whispered feverishly. "Sometimes I am … afraid."

The blonde turned her head and kissed Kathryn’s left palm.

"I know because I have experienced the same fear on occasion," she said reassuringly.

Kathryn closed her eyes and Seven could not resist leaning down to kiss the half open mouth beneath hers. The executive whimpered and wrapped her arms around the younger woman in abandon, deepening the kiss until their passion was almost unbearable in its intensity.

"I need you so much," Kathryn said huskily. "Please … love me … make love to me, darling."

Seven shifted and began a journey of kisses down Kathryn’s body. She reached the other woman’s small breasts, carefully blowing at their hardening peaks, not teasing, just heightening Kathryn’s expectations. When the executive began to move restlessly beneath her, she relented and tenderly locked her full lips around the left nipple, circling it with her tongue.

Kathryn arched again, reached around her lover and pulled her closer and at the same time she parted her legs, wrapping them firmly around Seven’s hips.

Seven could feel the damp curls between Kathryn’s legs against hers. She involuntarily began to rock her body against her lover’s, pressing against her, mixing their wetness.

Moving her mouth to the other soft orb, she gave that nipple the same loving attention. Humming gently she licked it in long, languid strokes, enjoying the taste, needing it as much as she needed to breath right then.

The executive pulled her legs up more, locking her feet around Sevens waist. This spread her hot centre wide open and allowed Seven to rub deeper, closer against her. The loving friction of her swollen folds against Kathryn’s completely exposed wetness made them both gasp out loud.

Feeling utterly safe in the cradle of Kathryn’s arms and legs, the blonde rocked against her, the passion and tension building inside them.

She reached up and pulled Kathryn’s right arm from her neck. Starting at the wrist she planted open mouth kisses all the way up to the other woman’s shoulder. She licked her way along the collarbones and then freed the other arm to kiss her way down to its wrist.

"Do you realise how beautiful you are?" Kathryn said, her voice hardly audible. "All I have to do is think of you, look at you … and I want all of you … your love … your mind … you body. I need it all."

Seven stopped moving and looked at her beloved.

Tears were running from Kathryn’s blue eyes, down her temples to hide in her auburn hair. Her lips trembled, swollen from their kisses and her cheeks were flushed from their passion. She had never looked more beautiful, more accessible.

Seven smiled and kissed Kathryn’s lips.

"You have my love. You will never lose it."

She rolled them onto their sides, careful not to crush Kathryn’s leg under her hip. Holding Kathryn’s other leg firmly around her waist, Seven let her hand slide along a quivering thigh. Slowly she reached the moist area between the executive’s legs.

Not taking her eyes off Kathryn’s face, Seven examined the wetness, let her fingers play with the slick folds and the hard, aching nubbin.

Kathryn trembled and could not hold back a whimper.

"Seven … take me … make me yours …"

Pressing effortlessly into Kathryn, the blonde took what was hers. She let two fingers slide inside and press up against the spot she knew would sooner or later drive her lover over the edge.

"Ah …" the older woman gasped and let her head fall onto Seven’s shoulder, burying her face against the other woman’s neck. "Fill me, darling … I need you."

Adding a third finger, understanding her lover’s need to be fully taken, she plunged into the wetness with equal amounts of force and care.

This was all it took. Seven held the other woman close, whispering terms of endearment as passion rode Kathryn’s body, making her convulse in the blonde’s arms.

Slowly the smaller body next to hers grew limp and Kathryn could catch her breath while being cradled and soothed by Seven.

"There, my Kathryn," the blonde said quietly. "I am keeping you safe."

Kathryn shifted and looked at her.

"You made me yours," she said hoarsely and kissed Seven’s cheek. "You knew what I needed and you gave it to me."

"Yes."

The executive smiled and reached down between them, cupping Seven’s sex gently.

This sent a shiver through the blonde. She pressed herself against the tender touch.

"I think my sweetheart needs to be well loved too," Kathryn whispered and moved her leg down in order to push Seven on her back. "I think I have to show you just how much I adore you, darling. Pull your legs up … that’s it … let me see all of your beauty … just like that …"

Seven regarded her lover as she parted her legs, giving Kathryn full access. The executive let her hand move in small circles over Seven’s stomach, making the blonde shiver.

Getting between the blonde’s legs, Kathryn sat down, her hands on Seven’s knees, lovingly holding them apart.

"You are exquisite," she murmured, her eyes darting back and forth over the curvaceous body on the bed. "Almost like a marble statue … but oh, so alive, so warm, so loving."

Spreading the drenched folds, Kathryn lowered her head to lap at the blonde. She licked the juices from her beloved with great care, not leaving any area that held Seven’s pleasure untouched by her hungry mouth.

The blonde reached for the pillows that she was leaning against and held on as an almost unbearable pleasure surged through her. Soft whimpers and moans forced their way past her vocal cords, ending up as the name of the person that embodied all her love.

"Kathryn!"

She arched under the skilled mouth, the loving lips that devoured her with such abandon. There was so much tenderness in the way Kathryn took her. No penetration was needed; the executive left no crevice or fold unexplored.

When Kathryn eventually flicked her hot tongue over the raw, aching nubbin, Seven went rigid, arching against the arrows of pleasure that drilled into her and spread through her body like rays of fire.

"Oh!"

She blindly searched for Kathryn who must have known what her young lover needed because she was right there. Tender arms pulled the blonde close and held her through the storm of her passion.

The beloved throaty voice floated over Seven as she sobbed quietly.

"Seven … Annika … What passion you give me. It’s such wonderful gift. It brings me such joy to see you give yourself to me like that. I can never get enough of it. I adore you."

Seven hugged her lover close and could only nod. Her voice had betrayed her again but she knew that Kathryn didn’t need words right then. Her reaction to their lovemaking and the way she was clinging to the executive said it all.

Eventually the lump on her throat gave way and she could speak.

"You make me so happy, Kathryn," she whispered.

"I want you to be happy with me. That’s all I desire. Your happiness."

Seven smiled and snuggled closer.

She realised she was exhausted. The tumultuous evening was taking its toll on her. When Kathryn yawned and rubbed her cheek against Sevens, she understood that her beloved was just as tired.

"I am so comfortable," the blonde said.

"Me too," Kathryn said. "I want to hold you like this all night."

"I love you," Seven murmured.

"I know. I love you too."

There was a brief silence as the two women settled down for the night, content in knowing that they were safe and happy in each other’s arms.

Seven reached up to cup Kathryn’s cheek.

"Thank you for the lovely vacation," she said.

"You had a great time, didn’t you?" Kathryn asked and kissed the top of her head.

"How could I not since you were there with me?" the blonde asked gently.

She pulled Kathryn even closer, needing the closeness.

The moon was the only witness as the tall blonde tenderly kissed the woman she loved goodnight.

*****