Disclaimer One: These characters belong to me and me alone, so don't be a pud and try to snatch them away. I'm watching you. No, I'm serious. I can see you now.

Dedication: To my friends whom I hold dear, you mean more to me than I could ever express. Thank you.



Alternate Ending





Even after the most incredible afternoon, the next day, the files and numbers in front of her still appeared to be gibberish, but for a different reason. When she first logged online, excitement coursed thorugh Jill's body as saw Mustanblu avaliable on her friends list, but within a few seconds, the user logged off. Thinking it was Yahoo's mistake, Jill picked up the phone to call the brunette's job instead--only to find that she called in sick. Concerned and panicked, she tried the mechanic's home only to get voicemail, prompting her to leave a message. The more time that passed the more Jill's thoughts took a downward spiral. I did something. It must be me. Maybe it was too much too soon. Tears slid down her cheeks. She wiped at them angrily. "No, it's got to be some kind of mistake. This can't happen to me. It can't. We connected. There was something there."

A couple of hours later, Mustangblu returned. Jill waited, wondering if she would disappear again. Five minutes passed. With nervous fingers she started typing a message.

Jltner: <<Maggie? You okay?>>

Long minutes passed, but there was no answer. A sick feeling started deep in her stomach. With each minute of silence that passed, it grew bigger. Jill's heart thudded painfully, and she tried to control suddenly ragged breathing. This can't be happening to me. She seemed fine on the phone last night. What happened between then and now? Maggie, please don't let your fear ruin this. Needing to give it one more try, Jill picked up the phone once more.


Maggie stared at the computer screen blankly. She wiped at gritty eyes as the words blurred. Sleep beckoned her, but she refused to go. Despite the whispered words, soft caresses and hot breath stealing kisses, her old friend fear returned, blossoming inside until it became a living breathing entity. It took over, reminding her of the potential of pain--causing it and feeling it. The two sides warred inside her--fear versus happiness, leaving her exhausted, confused. Even now when she closed her eyes, Maggie could recall the accountant's smile; glittering blue eyes; the way her skin tasted; and the way she smelled. She remembered it all. Her hands clinched into hard fists. Blunt nails bit into her flesh. It's too risky. A far away voice whispered. Maggie gritted her teeth and pounded her fists against the sturdy wooden top of the desk. It's way too risky. Think of what could happen.

The phone rung. Maggie snatched the cordless up, glancing at the caller ID. She gasped and closed her eyes again. It rang and rang until the sound cut off abruptly. Knowing that the accountant more than likely left another message, Maggie typed in familiar numbers and waited for the prompts. The pain in the voice on the other end tore at her heart. "Please don't do this. It's okay to be scared. Don't you see? Don't you understand? It makes it all the more worth it. Don't do this." She erased the message, but the words were burned into her brain.

Risky. The cryptic voice mumbled.

"Shut up!! I'm already hurting her! She's scared too." Maybe she's right.

Think of what could happen.

Maggie burst out laughing, as a light bulb went on in her subconcious. A few words from someone who cared--from someone who understood, opened a door that seemed locked tight. "I am. . .I am thinking for once. . .I am. She's scared, but she's taking a chance. I could be like this forever, and I'm so tired of it--tired of the running. I could be happy. That's what could happen!" She screamed to the virtually empty room. "That's what could . . . happen," she whispered brokenly. I'm such an idiot! The tide of the internal war changed in a mere matter of seconds, leaving all parties involved the victors.

Needing, wanting to share her thoughts and discoveries, Maggie couldn't dial the numbers fast enough. Stumbling over the keypad several times, she had to stop, take a calming breath and begin again. Elation coursed through her, bursting inside until she almost could not contain herself. A smile spread across her face. bSo this is what potential happiness feels like. I really have been an idiot all these years.


Jill leaned her elbows on the edge of her desk and covered her face with her hands. The one time I take a chance; the one time I just go for it, and it lands me here--alone.

The phone rung, interrupting dark thoughts. She glared at it before snatching it up. "Yes, Turner here." Her greeting was curt and icy. Silence met her. Then, the unmistakable sound of a deep swallow pierced the quiet.

"Maggie? Please let it be you."

Maggie cleared her suddenly dry throat. "Um, I'm scared, but I. . .want this."

Relief flooded the accountant, blocking out any spark of anger. She closed her eyes and sighed. "Okay, it's a place to start."

"I think I'm ready."


The End

Hopefully, this is a triumphant return even with the little twist I put on things. Sorry I've been gone so long. I've been sorting my life out. I recieved all email and know even though I didn't have it in me to answer at the time. It meant the world. Hope you enjoyed this story. Drop me a line at Minerva