“Are you upset about the way Mother found out?” I asked Gabrielle. I was laying on my back, and she was snuggled up to my shoulder. He head was resting just above my breast, and one of her arms was wrapped around my waist. The other was laying up by my head, her wrist bent so she could play with the hair at my temple.
I felt her shrug. “Not really,” she finally answered. “I knew I was taking a chance when I snuck in here tonight. I just couldn’t stay away.”
I chuckled and my hand which was now stroking up and down her arm gave her a little squeeze. “Well, I for one am glad you came in here,” I told her. “I’m glad Mother knows, and I’m glad we don’t have to sneak around anymore. Mother loves you like you were own daughter.”
Gabrielle pressed a kiss to the top of my breast. And then…she giggled, which totally caught me off guard. “What in Tartarus is so funny? I asked her.
“I was just thinking…” She lifted her head to look me in the eyes. “Wouldn’t it be ironic if your mother backed out a tryst with that man she saw earlier because we were here? After what she saw in here, I’ll be she’d regret that.”
I smiled at the idea of it, even though I still found it hard to think of Mother being involved like that. “I’ll probably ask her about it tomorrow,“ I admitted to Gabrielle. She nodded as though she had been expecting that. A big yawn overtook her then, and she was laying her head back on my shoulder.
“Get some sleep,” I told her, rubbing my fingertips over her shoulders. “We’ve got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.”
“Okay…good night, Xena. I love you.”
“Good night, Gabrielle. Love you too.” I don’t know if she even heard me or not. She fell asleep THAT fast. It took a while longer, but I dropped off as well.
Sometime later, I’m not sure when exactly, I heard the sound of my door being opened again. Gabrielle was laying flat on her stomach now, the right half of her body draped over mine. I tensed myself, in case there was any danger, and then saw it was my mother entering my bedroom once more. She approached the bed slowly, and then stood near the head of the bed, looking down at us. I lifted my head a bit, basically letting her know I was awake.
My mother just stood there, by the side of the bed, and for long seconds, all she was doing was staring down at us. The covers were pulled up over us, so she wasn’t seeing anything inappropriate. I saw she had the same smile on her face that she had used earlier, a very contented, peaceful look.
The candle had burned low, and I don’t know how well she could see us, but I watched in a daze as she pressed two of her fingertips to her lips, then gently pressed them to Gabrielle’s and then my forehead. She looked into my face one more time, then turned and left the bedroom.
I was puzzled by my mother’s actions. Why would she come her in the middle of the night, only to look at us, then leave? Surely she wasn’t checking to make sure Gabrielle truly wasn’t hurt, was she? I know she must have heard Gabrielle cry out, but my mother was experienced enough to know the difference between a cry of pain and one of pleasure.
Still puzzling over the purpose of the visit, I allowed the comfort of my bed and the warmth of my lover to entice me back to sleep.
“Mmmm…” I awoke the next morning to find Gabrielle almost completely on top of me, her thighs straddling my hips. I had no idea how we ended up in that position, but I wasn’t going to complain about it.
I wiggled my waist a little, skootching my way upward, until the top of my pubic mound was grazing the lower half of her slit. A wiggle or two against her, and her eyes were opening.
“Your hair is tickling me,” she giggled, then responded by scooting down a bit herself, so the fleshy part of her mound pressed into mine.
“Yeah, much better,” she sighed, and she put her hands on my shoulders, and she pushed herself up so her arms were straight. She began to rub her mound over mine in circles, causing us both to gasp for breath. I reached down and held her outer labia open, and soon, I could feel my clit swelling to reach for hers. At the first touch of our fleshy nubs, I moaned almost as loudly as she did.
Eventually, her hands came down to rest on my breasts as she continued her erotic riding of me. Our eyes closed simultaneously as the pleasure built. and she began to climax first, biting her lower lip to keep from crying out. At the same time, her lower lips squirmed against mine, and I was soaring right along with her. I grunted out my rapture, and pulled her mouth down for a kiss. She responded with an equal passion, then was sitting up on me again.
“Good morning,” I told her, not fighting back my grin.
“Mmm…good morning,” she answered, stealing one more kiss. She lifted one of her thighs to climb off me, and grimaced just a bit.
“Sore?” I asked, sitting up straight so my back was leaning against the headboard.
She bent over to pick her underwear, which earned a lusty pinch on the ass from me. She yelped, and whirled around, her hands coming around to protect said body part.
I tried to look as innocent as possible, as she tried to glare at me, and then we both had to laugh. It felt great to be this relaxed with each other.
After we had dressed and made a trip out back to relieve our bladders, I took Gabrielle’s hand and led her toward the back door.
“We should go say ‘good morning’ to Mother,” I told her.
She suddenly looked extremely hesitant. “Can’t we wait a little while, Xena?” she asked me.
I smiled patiently, expecting this reaction from her. “It would be better to get it over with now,” I told her. “She was quite happy to see us together last night. She won’t say or do anything to make you uncomfortable.”
I gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. “Come on…” I urged.
She trailed along behind me the whole way, but didn’t offer any more protests as we walked to the kitchen.
Mother was at the stove, flipping griddle cakes. “Good morning,” she said when she saw us.
“Good morning, Mother,” I replied.
I glanced over at Gabrielle who had her eyes lowered and whose face was slowly getting redder and redder. I gave her a gentle nudge. “Good morning, Cyrene,” she finally said.
Mother gave me an understanding look, then said, “Good morning, Dear. Gabrielle, some of the townsfolk were wanting to know if maybe you’d tell a few stories after dinner tonight.”
It was a smart move on my mother’s part; knowing Gabrielle wouldn’t be able to curb her excitement over telling stories. Sure enough, Gabrielle brightened immediately, and was beaming at Mother.
“Sure!” she replied. “I’d love to.”
“That’s wonderful,” Mother took her hand, and gave it a pat. “Not to mention great for business.”
“Let me help you serve breakfast,” Gabrielle said, suddenly forgetting her shyness from just a minute ago.
I stepped back, out of the way, even before Mother had a chance to accept. Gabrielle and she were going to continue to get along just fine.
After breakfast, I told Mother I was ready to go to work for her. I asked her what she wanted me to do first. She put me to work on a couple of sticky doors upstairs, as well as three windows that wouldn’t shut right. Gabrielle said she wanted to help.
I asked Mother if my old tools were still around, and was pleased when she told me they were in my closet where I had left them. On the way upstairs, I told Gabrielle about how even from a very young age, I had enjoyed home repairs and carpentry, and had made many of the pieces of furniture my mother still used in the inn. Of course, it was really unheard of for a woman to do that kind of work, but I just accepted it as more of a challenge.
I pulled open the door of my closet, and started digging around in the bottom of it. “Here it is,” I told Gabrielle, as I located the familiar old wooden box. As I moved to straighten up, the back of my head hit Gabrielle’s stomach.
“What are you doing?” I asked rubbing my head. Hardheaded as I was, it had hurt when I struck her firm abs.
Her eyes were bright as she continued to stare. “I’m just looking at your stuff,” she said.
I turned to see what she was looking at. “Did you really wear these, Xena?” she asked, pointing to the dresses that hung in the closet.
I quirked a smile. “When I had to. Most of the time, I ran around in Lyceus’s leather trousers and shirts, but every once in a while, Mother would make me wear a dress.
Gabrielle chuckled at that. “It’s too bad you’re built so differently from me,” she said touching some of the dresses. “Some of them are quite lovely.”
I felt a little uncomfortable with all this talk of my past, and stood abruptly wrapping my arms around her. “I celebrate the fact that we’re built so differently,” I said, pressing my body to hers for emphasis. Still smiling, I released her after a brief kiss. “Let’s get to work,” I said.
“If we must,” she sighed, but she was still smiling too.
It took less than an hour to fix the problem doors and windows, and Mother gave me my next task, which was to repair a couple of beds that were threatening to give out at any time. I noted with pride that they weren’t beds that I had built. Today was my mother’s day to bake, and Gabrielle had gone downstairs to help, learn, and more than likely, sample.
I couldn’t help but wonder what they’d be talking about downstairs. I honestly wouldn’t put it past my mother to bring up what she had seen last night. But I also knew that she would have enough tact to do it in a way that wouldn’t make Gabrielle uneasy.
Once the beds were fixed, I went downstairs. My mother was alone in the kitchen.
“Where’s Gabrielle?” I asked, sitting down on the kitchen table, and swiping a bit of fresh bread.
Mother shook her head at me, replying, “Get off the kitchen table. And don’t spoil your lunch.”
I shook my head to myself. I had commanded whole armies, and my mother still treated me like I was five.
I sat in a chair and tried again. “Where’s Gabrielle?”
“She told me to tell you she’d be back in a little while,” Mother answered immediately. “She ran into someone she knew from Potodeia, and Gabrielle went to visit with her and her parents.”
“Okay.” I waited till Mother’s back was turned, and swiped another hunk of bread. “I’ve got the beds taken care of,” I told my mother. “What’s next?”
She pulled a flat tray out of the oven and sat it on the counter. Then she walked over to me and sat down beside me. “That’s all for now,” she told me. “It’ll be time for lunch soon.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. “I’m not much on just sitting around.”
“I know you’re not,” she answered. “But you’ll at least try to sit and talk to your mother.”
Something in her tone of voice told me she had a specific agenda in mine. “Sure,” I answered.
She smiled gratefully at me. For a moment, we both stared at our hands, trying to think of something to say.
Finally, Mother did.
”Gabrielle’s a wonderful person,” she began. “charming, smart, witty, attractive…”
“No argument there,” I nodded.
“You’re in love with her, I assume?” she asked then.
I studied her, trying to figure that one out. “Very much so,” I answered.
“And she loves you, “ Mother continued. “I noticed something different about you both when you arrived yesterday. It didn’t take me long to figure out what it is.”
“What was it?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Intimacy,” came the surprising answer. “The last time I saw you two, you tiptoed around each other, almost afraid to look at the other. But when you arrived yesterday, you were so much more relaxed with each other. And you kept giving each other little looks…and little touches. I could just tell that you had grown a lot…closer and more comfortable with it.”
I nodded, not sure how to respond. What she said was true, of course.
“How long have you been together?” she asked me.
I was looking at my hands again. “Right around a month,” I answered. “It took a us a long time to admit to each other how we were feeling.”
“Hmmm,” Mother’s answer was very enigmatic.
“Mother…” I had to know. “Do you have any problems with the fact that I’m in love with another woman?”
She laughed then, once again taking me by surprise. “Goodness no, Xena!” she exclaimed. “All I care about is that you are happy and that you make Gabrielle happy.” She paused a moment, then said, “And besides, it was obvious you always had an interest in women, and they were always interested in you.”
“It was?” I asked, wondering about that.
“Yes, very. You used to steal your brother’s girlfriends from them all the time, sometimes, I think, without even intending to. . If I had a dinar for every time Toris or Lyceus came home grumbling about how their girls asked questions about you all night…”
I laughed at that. “But I didn’t really know what I was doing then. I just always wanted to best my brothers.”
“It figures,” she smiled at me. “When did you discover you had a real interest in women?”
I think she was just trying to get to know me a little better; we had hardly spent any time together the last ten years or so. Still, I began to wonder how many questions she was going to ask me. “I spent some time in the land of Chin,” I answered finally, “And there I met up with an incredible woman named Lao Ma. She intrigued me, in more ways than one, and it wasn’t long before I was sharing her bed.”
Mother nodded slowly, and opened her mouth as if to ask me more, but shut it again. Finally, she said, “I’ve never really been attracted to a woman, but if I walked your path, I could see why Gabrielle would appeal to you, and I can easily see how she fell for you. And I can tell just by the way you act around each other that your love is very true.” She stopped talking then, and just smiled at me; the exact same smile she had used both times she had been in my bedroom on the previous night.
“Thank you, Mother.” I told her. “Thank you for accepting me the way I am.” I meant it from the bottom of my heart.
“Ah, Xena,” she crooned, and she held her arms out. I didn’t hesitate to move into her embrace, burying my face in her shoulder to hide any emotion that might burst forth without warning.
When we separated, my mother stood abruptly. “I’ve got to get the last tray of shortbread in the oven,” she said.
I leaned back in my chair, watching her, thinking how I might approach the next subject. “Mother…” I began.
“Xena, why do you always call me ‘Mother’?” she interrupted.
I blinked at her. “Huh?”
“Your brothers only called me Mother when they were angry for something. The rest of the time, I was just plain Mom.”
Mom…I tried out the word in my head. I had been separated from any maternal feelings for so long, that I had never stopped to think about what I called her. But if she wanted Mom, I could go with that.
“Mom…” I began again, and I felt a flush of warm pleasure when I saw the grateful smile she gave me.
She had the last tray in the oven, and stood by the stove, looking at me. “Yes?” she asked.
“Mom…you’ve been on your own for a long time now…”
I smiled at her, knowing that she had far more patience than the average person. The very fact that I was here, visiting, was proof of that. “Do you ever get lonely, Mom?” I asked her finally.
That definitely took her by surprise., but after a few seconds she responded with, “Why do you ask?”
I shrugged. “All this love talk…” I tried, but I could see she wasn’t buying,”…I just wondered if you get lonely.”
Mom narrowed her eyes. “What do you know?” she asked.
I had to laugh. I came by my suspicious nature honestly. I held my hands up. “Not much,” I admitted. “Gabrielle and I saw you outside last night, looking pretty friendly with a man.” I paused, delighted to see a flush covering her face. That’s something I never expected to see! I smiled at her as sweetly as I could. “I’m sorry, Mom, but I can’t help but be curious about how serious you two are.”
Mom turned away to look out the window for a moment, before turning back to face me. She wore that same serene expression.
“His name is Simms, and he’s been staying in my inn when he’s in town for a very long time. He’s a salesman, and passes through Amphipolis about once a month. I always enjoyed talking with him, and a few months ago…well, things just sort of developed.” Her voice trailed off.
I nodded. “I understand,” I told her. And I did. I had my share of lovers like that in the past; people I would only see on occasion, but always good for some hot fucking. What seemed funny to me was that casual sex in that manner no longer held any appeal to me. While my mother was just now finding out the true benefits of a part time lover, I had long since outgrown that stage.
“I hope…I…uh…well…I hope that Gabrielle and my being here didn’t keep you from having some time with him last night,” I said.
My mother’s expression turned devilish then. “Not at all,” she answered. “I was returning from his room when I heard Gabrielle call out.”
Something about that struck me as funny and she began to laugh when I did. That was about the time Gabrielle entered the kitchen. She beamed at us as we greeted her, and sat down in the chair next to me.
I leaned in and gave her a kiss which she accepted readily. “Where ya been?” I asked her.
“Dena, who used to live just a couple houses from me in Potodeia lives here in Amphipolis now,” she answered. “She heard we were in town, and stopped by the inn. I went to visit her and her parents.”
I gave her a warm look. “That’s great,” I told her. “You find friends wherever you go.”
She laughed. “that’s because I always have you with me,” she answered, giving a sidelong glance at Mom.
My mom was just watching us with an affectionate look on her face. All of a sudden, she threw her hands up in the air. “Lunch! I’ve got to get lunch ready! And I’m running behind!”
“We’ll help,” Gabrielle and I said simultaneously.
With all three of us working, we threw together a salad with diced chicken as the lunch customers arrived. Many of the diners were out-of-towners, who were staying at the inn, but a lot of them were Amphipolitans. On the previous evening, there had been only a few there, and I suspected it was because of my presence. They were still unsure about me, and wanted to make sure I wasn’t in town to cause trouble.
Many of them paused to say hello now, or make a comment to Gabrielle about looking forward to the evening’s storytelling. As they’d walked off, I told Gabrielle who they were (if I recognized them), and what my relationship with them had been like.
After lunch, I took Gabrielle upstairs, and after giving her a brief kiss, filled her in on my talk with Mom.
“That’s great,” she replied, taking my hands in hers. “I know my mother and father would never be so accepting as Cyrene is.”
I shrugged. “Not a lot of people would be,” I told her. “Anyway, since the pressure’s off, I thought we could take the afternoon and I could show you around a bit. Then tomorrow, I’ll finish the repairs around here.”
She smiled eagerly, and wrapped her arms around my neck. “That sounds perfect,” she said, before she was pushing me back on the bed, kissing me thoroughly. I never even tried to protest.
Knowing we had all night head of us, Gabrielle and I just spent a little time necking, and then she was sitting up abruptly. I propped my head up on my clasped hands, as I watched her look around. “This is the first chance I’ve had to really look at your bedroom,” she told me.
I knew this was coming, and didn’t say anything as I watched her walk around the room, checking it out.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see. As a teenager, I spent little time at home, and I never had been much of a collector.
“Lyceus did the paintings,” I told her, when I noticed she was looking at some of them. There were several on my walls.
“He’s quite good,” she acknowledged, and then she was picking up a wooden doll that sat on my dresser. She smiled at me, indicating the find.
I grinned at her. “My grandfather made that for me when I was a very little girl,” I told her. “And when he and Grandma died, I brought it home with me to have something to remember them by.”
She nodded at me, and replaced the doll on the dresser carefully. Besides a few empty vases and other dust-collectors, there really wasn’t much to see. She turned to look at me still on the bed. I noticed the glint in her eye when she suddenly approached me again, straddling my waist. Her hands took mine from behind my head and she was lifting them to press them to the wall behind me, on either side of my head.
I was expecting another kiss, but she surprised me. “Okay…confession time…how many people have been in this bed with you?”
I KNEW we’d get around to that sooner or later. I wished it was later, but oh well…
“A few…” I told her finally.
“Just a few?” she asked, enjoying watching me squirm.
“Yep. I wasn’t exactly afraid of my mom, but I knew if she ever caught me with a boy in here, I’d never hear the end of it.”
Her eyes were still sparkling. “You never had any girls up here?” she asked.
“Nope, not even for a slumber party,” I answered. “I didn’t have many friends that were girls.”
“What about lovers?” she asked.
“No, the most I ever did with any of the girls around here was a little kissing…well…I guess I felt a few breasts too. But my first real woman lover was Lao Ma.”
I had told her that before, and I could see her remembering that. Pleased with how well she seemed to be reacting, I planted a seductive smile on my face. “I will tell you something about this bed though,” I told her.
Her eyes widened. “What?”
“Let me go, and I’ll tell you,” I told her. She hesitated, and then released me.
I chuckled and lunged forward, taking her down backward on the bed, so I was now straddling her. I lifted her own hands in an identical position to the way she restrained me. I leaned way over so my face was an inch above hers. “I had my first orgasm in this bed…on my own fingers,” I told her. I loved the reaction I got from her, as I saw her swallow hard, and felt her shudder. “And…” I paused dramatically, “I lost my virginity in this bed…actually in a position similar to the one you’re in right now.”
“Really?” she whispered.
“Uh huh.” I pressed my lower half just a little bit harder into her, and pressed against her rhythmically, letting the full impact of my words sink into her.
Her mouth was open, and I could see she was struggling to keep from asking a hundred questions. Just in case she figured one out, I lowered my head to kiss her.
A knock on the door brought our actions to a halt. I smiled ruefully at Gabrielle, then hopped off her to see who was at the door.
It was my mother. I was standing in the doorway, blocking her view of Gabrielle all sprawled out on the bed, and she didn’t even glance that way.
“Sorry to bother you , Dear,” she smiled, “but I was asked to give you this.” She handed me a tiny little package that was wrapped in a red cloth.
“What is it?” I asked her.
She shook her head. “Beats me…” she said with a grin. “I was just told to make sure that you got it.”
I heard her chuckle as she headed back toward the stairway.
Gabrielle was sitting up on the bed as I shut the door, staring at the tiny parcel in my hand.
“Aren’t you going to open it?” she asked me, as I stood in front of her, turning the cloth over and over.
“I guess…” I unwrapped the cloth, and stared at the tiny object now lying in my hand.
“What is it?” Gabrielle asked, pulling my hand down so she could see. “A button?”
“Yeah, a button.” It was an ordinary light blue button.
“Do you know what it means, Xena?” she asked me.
I tucked the button under one of my gauntlets. “I sure do,” I told her. “Wanna come with me?”
“Of course!” she hopped to her feet beside me.
“Grab your staff,” I told her. “We might have to do some trekking.”
She looked at me curiously, but did as I asked.
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” she asked, as she followed me out the front door of my mom’s inn.
“To find an old friend,” I answered.
“Which old friend?”
“You’ll find out when we get there.” I wanted to keep it a surprise.
She was quiet for a while, as we strode to the stables. Argo nickered the moment we stepped inside. I could swear she was shaking her head yes as I approached her. “Good girl,” I said, reaching for the saddle blanket. “This will be a piece of cake,” I winked at Gabrielle.
“For you, yeah. You know what you’re doing,” Gabrielle quipped.
I just smiled at her as I began to saddle Argo.
Once the task was done, I climbed up in the saddle and reached down for Gabrielle’s arm. She swung up behind me , and I let the reins go totally lax in my hands. Argo apparently knew just where to go.
She led us deep into the same woods we had been in yesterday, but this time, in a totally different direction. There were some established paths this time, so the traveling wasn’t nearly as treacherous.
It was much further though, and it was nearly a half hour before Argo was walking into a clearing with a small cabin. I patted Argo’s neck. “Good girl,” I told her, before I swung down from the saddle. I held my hands up, and my bard lithely hopped down into them.
“Still not going to tell me where we are?” she asked, keeping her arms around my neck.
I know what she was trying to do. I rubbed my nose against hers for a second. “Nope…”I told her.
She giggled at me, and followed me to the front porch of the cabin. I winked at her, then knocked on the front door.
“Who’s there?” I heard a masculine voice ask.
I continued to grin at Gabrielle, as I answered, “A horse produces three pounds of horseshit a day. A human being produces ten pounds of bullshit an hour.”
There was the scraping sound of a chair being pushed back, and then the door of the cabin was being opened. “I guess you got my message,” the old man grinned.
“I sure did,” I answered. “You never were known for your subtly.”
My old friend suddenly broke into a delighted laugh, holding his arms out for me. I laughed too, and was caught up in his embrace. He held me for long seconds, then relinquished his bear hug only to hold me at arm’s length. “It’s wonderful to know you’re all right, Buttons,” He beamed at me.
I heard the gasp from Gabrielle behind me. My friend noticed too, and finally released me so he could turn toward her. “And who have we here, Buttons?”
I could see Gabrielle threatening to explode with laughter over “Buttons” and gave her my most fierce look. The expression had been known to make experienced warriors soil their pants on the spot. All it did to Gabrielle was make her nose wrinkle at me.
“This is my partner, Gabrielle,” I answered. “Gabrielle, this is the man I was telling you about yesterday, Will.”
“Will?” she repeated, looking at me in surprise. I knew exactly what she was thinking, but she didn’t voice it, thank the gods. She took his outstretched arm and clasped forearms with him. “It’s wonderful to meet you!”
“And you too,” he answered. He lifted his head then. “Is that my old pal, Argo that I hear?” he called out. Only then did Gabrielle realize that Will was blind.
Argo whinnied a response, then trotted up to the porch to nuzzle her head into Will’s shoulder. “Have a seat, Ladies,” Will said, indication the porch, “while Argo and I get reacquainted.”
“Sure thing, Will,” I directed Gabrielle to one of the chairs on the porch, while I sat in the other. “You’re going to enjoy this,” I told her.
She was properly amazed when Will demonstrated his astounding talents, riding Argo in intricate patterns, weaving in and out of the trees around the cabin. Will was obviously directing Argo, because not once did she make a turn he wasn’t anticipating, and he and Argo were able to communicate perfectly. They began to pick up speed until Argo was galloping through the glen, enjoying herself immensely.
“He’s incredible,” Gabrielle said after a while. “Are you sure he’s blind?”
“Yep,” I chuckled”…at least he is physically. But mentally, he sees everything.”
“Everything?” she repeated.
I gave her a brief look out of the corner of my eye. “Yeah, everything…he was one of the few who wasn’t afraid of me when…well…you know…when everything was falling apart.”
She nodded her understanding, and continued to watch as Will finally slowed Argo down, and they trotted up to the porch. “She’s in terrific form, Buttons,” he told me. “You and she have been good for each other.”
He hopped down from Argo’s back, and stroked her nuzzle. “Thanks for the ride, Girl,” he said, before turning back to us. “I just put a pot of coffee on,” he told us then. “Would you care to join me?”
We sat in Will’s kitchen and talked for close to an hour. I had long ago lost track of Will, and after several visits to Amphipolis, without seeing him, had assumed he was no longer alive. He laughed when I admitted that, and told me that he had long ago moved to the forest so he could be by himself.
“I’ve been back before,” I told him…”Why did you wait till now to get in touch with me?”
He shrugged at me. “You never stayed for a day or so before…when your mother told me you and your friend were going to stay for at least a couple of days this trip, I thought you might be able to make time to come see me, Buttons.”
“Well, I’m glad you sent me that hint,” I told him, smiling. I really was…it was terrific to see one of my oldest and most nonjudgmental friends.
Gabrielle had been quiet during most of our talk…but now she spoke up. “What is it with “Buttons” anyway?” she asked us both.
I laughed at that….I know it had to be driving her crazy. Will chuckled too, then answered, “I’ve know Xena since she was a very little girl. Ever since I can remember, she was always a ragtag little thing…her hair always uncombed, a smudge of dirt on her face, and always missing a button or two…After a while, I just started calling her that, and now, I can’t think of her as anyone else.”
Gabrielle grinned at me, even as I was giving her a look that said the nickname was reserved for Will’s use only. If he hadn’t been so good to me as I was growing up, I would never allow it, but he had always been willing to share with me his knowledge of horses, and had taught me more than anyone else about riding. More importantly, he had supported me when it came time to go up against Cortese, and although I wasn’t entirely successful, had not deserted me when the battle was over. He still had his sight then, and although he was already quite advanced in age, had even joined in the battle, fighting bravely to defend Amphipolis.
Will refilled our coffee cups. “So how long you going to stick around this time, Buttons?” he asked.
Thunder was rumbling when we finally left Will’s place. I promised him we’d stop by one more time before leaving town, and he knew it was a promise that would be kept.
The sky was quickly growing darker as Argo made her way through the woods, back toward the village. “I almost wish I hadn’t told your mother I’d tell some stories tonight,” I heard Gabrielle say after a particularly loud peal of thunder.
“Why is that?” I asked, as I felt the first splashes of rain. The stable had just come into sight.
I felt her snuggle up even closer to me on the saddle. “I love to make love with you when it rains,” she answered sweetly.
”Mmm, yeah,” I answered, turning my head toward hers so I could collect a kiss. We were both thinking the same thing. We loved to make love no matter what the weather, but something about a storm did bring about some of our more impassioned actions.
“Maybe it will storm all night,” I told her, before urging Argo to enter the barn.
The drops continued to sprinkle on us, as we darted from the stable to my mother’s inn, and the skies opened up almost the moment we were inside. Gabrielle giggled at the timing, and then told me she was going to go upstairs to clean up a bit, before helping mother with supper. She started to walk away from me, but I grasped her hand, pulling her back toward me abruptly.
“Huh?” she managed, before I was pushing her against the closed door.
I smiled down into her eyes. “You’re going to have Mom spoiled rotten,” I purred in her ear. “She’s never had someone so willing to help her.”
Gabrielle shrugged, before her face broke into a matching smile. “It’s the least I can do,” she told me…”For allowing me to share my life with her daughter.”
Something in that simple statement really touched me, and I lifted a hand to stroke her cheek. “I love you, you know,” I told her.
She leaned her face into the touch, and then her eyes fluttered shut as I bent in to press my lips to hers. She had just thread her fingers through my hair, when there was the sound of a throat being cleared behind me.
I slowly released Gabrielle’s lips, then turned to see my mother watching us, a stack of plates in her hand. I shrugged at her, and let Gabrielle go, noticing warm the pink glow in my blonde bard’s cheeks were. For once, she didn’t seem embarrassed…instead her eyes shone with joy. “We’ll continue this later,” she whispered to me, before slipping under my outstretched arms. “I’ll be down to help you in a few minutes, Cyrene,” I heard her say, before she headed upstairs.
By now, I was used to an enthusiastic response to Gabrielle’s barding, so I wasn’t surprised when her avid listeners were calling for another tale even as the strong winds rattled the doors and windows of my mother’s inn. She had been at it for hours, and as much as I know she loved to tell stories, I could see even she was wearing down.
Mom recognized it too. “No more tonight,” she said, earning her the groans of the crowd members. “You don’t want to wear the girl out, now do you?” she added.
Gabrielle smiled wickedly at me, and I had to smile back, knowing exactly what she was thinking. Her audience seemed to understand though, and gave her yet another round of applause, before gradually making their way to their feet, and beginning the long process of getting ready to leave. Many of them pressed dinars into Gabrielle’s hands, despite her protests telling them it wasn’t necessary. They wouldn’t hear of it though, as they showed their appreciation.
I nodded and responded in kind to the several villagers that bid me a good night as well as Gabrielle. It made me feel more comfortable in my hometown than I had in some time.
The inn was virtually empty, when he caught my eye. I had noticed the troop of six children enter at some point during the evening, but had paid little attention to whom they arrived with. As a woman struggled to get the children dressed in overcoats to protect them from the rain, I saw who she was with. I debated just ignoring him and going upstairs, but found my legs traveling toward him before I could stop myself. I could feel Gabrielle’s eyes following my movements.
“Hello, Maphias,” I said, mustering a warm smile on his behalf. He had aged a lot, but still had that handsome boyish face.
“Hello, Xena,” he replied somberly.
“I haven’t seen you in a long time,” I said then. “I can see you’ve been busy.” I nodded toward the chattering children with a wry smile.
“Yes, I have,” he answered. “This is my wife, Cloda.” He indicated the dark-haired woman who was busy trying to button a squirming young child’s coat. She smiled nervously at me and gave me a nod.
I returned the nod, and looked back at Maphias uneasily. “I hope you’ve been well,” I finally said, and I turned to leave him.
Gabrielle was helping my mother carry dirty dishes toward the kitchen, and wasn’t in the room, when he suddenly approached me, taking my arm in his. I whirled angrily, and pointedly looked down at this fingers which were dug tight into my shoulder. He released me, but maintained his stance, right in front of me.
“You have no idea what you did to me, do you?” he asked me, his voice low, but teeming with anger. “Or more than that, you don’t care what you did to me, do you?”
I could see Gabrielle had returned from the kitchen, and from the corner of the eye, could see she was watching us curiously “I know what I did, Maphias,” I answered evenly. “And I am very sorry…but I know an apology could never make up for it. That’s why I never bothered to try.”
“No, not at this late date. I just wanna know…what happened, Xena? What happened between us?”
He deserved an answer, but I didn’t know if I could give it to him. I shrugged. “I was changing Maphias…inside. You weren’t prepared for what I was getting ready to do, and I didn’t want to drag you through it all.”
His eyes narrowed at me. “What in Zeus’s name does that mean?” he asked me through clenched teeth.
I took a couple of steps back, acutely aware we had a very wide eyed audience, including my bard and my mother and his wife. “You deserved much more than me,” I finally said. I held up my hand to indicate his family, which now stood quietly, watching what was happening. “You deserved…this…” I smiled at Cloda and the children, then held up my hand. “Take care, Maphias,” I said sincerely.
He stared down at my proffered hand for an eternity it seems, and then after glancing at Gabrielle, finally crossed forearms with me. “Goodbye, Xena,” he said after a beat, and he slowly turned back towards his family.
Gabrielle took my hand, and we watched as they left the inn, with Maphias’ arm around his pretty wife. I looked over at my mom.
“I didn’t think he lived around here anymore,” I told her.
“He was a soldier for a while,” she responded. “I suspect he knew that was what was attractive to you, or at least he thought so…” she gave Gabrielle a warm smile at this point, “but he just wasn’t cut out for it. He moved back here about eight years ago, married Cloda, and they started a family almost immediately. That’s what he was cut out for…raising children.”
“Do you see him often?” I asked her.
“Yes and no,” she answered. “He brings his family in here to eat every once in a while, and he always makes it a point to ask me if I’ve heard from you when he does. Thank the gods his wife seems to understand the reasons why. She doesn’t seem to be the jealous type.”
I nodded thoughtfully. There was no telling what Maphias had told her, or what she thought about me. I felt a pressure on my fingers, and suddenly remembered that Gabrielle was watching all this curiously. “Let’s go to bed, Xena” she stood on tiptoes to whisper in my ear.
It was easier said than done, as Mom and Gabrielle entered into a spirited argument about Gabrielle taking some of the proceeds Mom had taken in that night. Most of the audience had eaten at the inn before Gabrielle started, and those who didn’t had at least ordered something to drink during the performance, and Mom felt Gabrielle deserved a portion of what she had made. I escaped upstairs while they were still debating, leaving them to work it out on their own.
A few minutes later, I heard Gabrielle enter the room. “Xena?” she was saying immediately.
“Out here,” I answered.
I was out on the balcony, standing under the eaves of the roof, watching the storm. Gabrielle stood in the doorway…”Aren’t you getting soaked?” she asked me.
I gave her a wicked leer. “I’ve been soaked ever since I thought about being alone in my room with you again,” I told her.
She giggled. “I mean soaked from the rain.”
“Nah…just a splash now and then…I was just watching the storm.”
“And thinking?” Gabrielle asked.
She knew me VERY well. “Yes, and thinking,” I admitted.
I felt her take my hand, and allowed her to pull me back into the room. When she pressed me up against the wall near the open door, I didn’t resist.
“Who won the argument?” I asked her, smiling down into her beautifully expressive eyes.
She rubbed her hand up and down my arms, raising goosebumps in her wake. “I did, I think,” she answered.
“You think?” she moved her hands up to lock around the back of my neck, and I allowed her to pull me down to her lips.
“She says it’s not over,” Gabrielle murmured against my mouth…”I now know where you get your stubborn streak from.”
“Stubborn? Me?” My eyes twinkled as my hands sought out the fastenings of her shirt.
“Oh stop teasing me and make love to me,” she laughed, pulling back enough to give me access to the top half of her.
“My pleasure,” I answered, as I pulled the two halves of her shirt open, baring her breasts to my ravenous eyes. I wasted no time in lowering my head to plunge my mouth into the valley between them.
“Oh gods, yes,” I heard her moan, as I let my tongue loll out to start at the bottom of her cleavage, and slowly lick upwards. My tongue continued along the path of her body, as I licked over her chin, and across her lips. She grinned from the tickling sensations, but when my mouth lingered there, she sobered and opened her mouth to my pressing tongue. I reached down and placed my hands under her bottom, giving her a lift.
She took the hint immediately, and let me lift her so her thighs were wrapped around my waist. It pushed our skirts up in the process, and I could feel the moist heat of her underwear seeping into my own. It made my own knees suddenly feel weak, but still holding her, I made the few steps to the side of the bed. I bent at my waist and lowered her to the bed, my mouth automatically seeking out hers again.
She returned my open mouthed kiss eagerly, her fingers clutching at the hair on the back of my neck as she pressed her breasts to my leathers. I had removed my armor when I entered the room, and should have removed my battle dress as well, I could see. Oh well…there was ways of working around that.
I tore my mouth from hers, and began to kiss over her jawbone and chin, sucking at her tasty flesh. She lifted her head, and my mouth attached itself to her neck…where she was particularly soft and sensitive. I held onto her lightly with my teeth, while sucking on her skin…making her wiggle beneath me. One of her hands took hold of my right wrist, tugging it from beneath her body. The moment it was free, she was pressing it to her bared breast. I took the hint and began kneading the flesh there, feeling it harden further beneath my palm. She groaned and squeezed my body tighter with her thighs, trying to gain more contact.
Finally, I pulled myself away from her neck, and continued the trek downward, so my mouth could taste the flesh my hand was caressing. I opened my mouth wide, and sucked in as much of her breast as I could, delighting in the sensation of her nipple poking into the roof of my mouth. I growled in my throat when my other hand slipped from under her, only to rub over her other nipple. She was arching her back into me, making whimpering noises in the back of her throat.
I lifted my head, making a sexy popping sound, and then reversed positions, so I could tease the other nipple to the same state of arousal. She continued to wiggle against me, her cloth covered mound stroking into mine rhythmically.
I raised my body from hers slightly, not missing her cry at my absence, but smiling down at her. “Just getting you more comfortable, Love,” I told her, as I reached into the waistband of her skirt, and pulled it downward. I never let go of her as I stretched my arm down her body, pulling the skirt completely from her. She kicked off her shoes, and lifted her ass obligingly when I made short work of her panties.
I pressed back fully into her, my body and my mouth against hers. She opened her mouth to my onslaught, but I could feel her fingers trying to unfasten my own leathers. I reached down and yanked her hands away, pulling them up so I could hold them with one hand above her head.
She wrenched her mouth away from mine long enough to say questioningly, “Xena?”
I growled at her, letting her know I wanted to do what I wanted, and smiled fiercely when she stopped struggling against my grip. She knew by now to trust me when I got like this. “Keep your hands above your head,” I told her, and then I was sliding my own below her shoulders. I scraped my nails lightly over her, and then was pressing my own leather covered breasts into hers, wiggling hard against her.
Her gasps told me I was being successful, and if possible, her nipples were tightening and hardening even more, reaching toward me to gain more purchase against the leather material. I hiked my skirt up above my waist, and pressed my breeches covered cunt into hers.
“Ungh!” Gabrielle’s response was immediate and heartfelt. Her eyes clamped shut, and she tilted her pelvis so I could make more contact with her open pussy. I ground down into her, scrubbing both our clits against the roughened material of my underwear. She forgot she was supposed to keep her hands above her head, and dug her nails into my exposed biceps when I began thrusting, humping against her throbbing center with abandon. I didn’t mind…I welcomed the sharp pain. If I had really wanted to keep her hands above her head, I would have tied them there.
“Oh yeah, Xena, I like that…” she panted, as I increased the movement, making sure her clit received the brunt of my movements. She was moving her hips upward to meet mine, her breathing telling me she was going to spill soon. When I felt her body lose its sense of rhythm, and her breath catch in her throat in a shriek almost exactly last night, I knew I had accomplished my goal.
“Oh yeah,” she intoned over and over again…”Oh yeah…”
I reveled in it when I got that kind of mindless response from her. But now my sweaty body was demanding its own response, and the moment her thighs relaxed from around me a bit, I was ripping off my clothes, my body shaking with arousal. Her eyes popped open, and she watched me strip, her eyes lighting up as I revealed each uncovered body part.
When I was as naked as she was, I threw myself on the bed, pulling her on top of me so I could kiss her some more. My itchy nipples pressed into her breasts, and I was the one groaning now.
“It’s my turn now,” I heard her murmur, and I didn’t object when she let her mouth trail over my chin and down to my neck. She nibbled and sucked at me, not satisfied until she had left her mark. “Your neck taste sooo good,” she whispered against me. “I wonder how you’ll taste lower?”
Gods, I hoped it would taste equally as good to her with the attention she was giving my collarbone! With a series of delicate movements, she licked over my elongated nipple, and then she sucked one in.
It felt fantastic, and my entire body convulsed upward toward her, in an attempt to let her know that. She skillfully rode out the movement, and continued to lave her wet tongue over the tips of my breasts, her fingers stroking lightly over my ribs.
The firm touch of her tongue and teeth on my nipples coupled with the light strokes of her fingers over my sides was driving me crazy. “Please Gabrielle,” I beseeched.
She lifted her head long enough to grin at me. “Please what?” she echoed.
She was waiting on me to tell her what I wanted, I realized, so I forced the thought to become cohesive in my brain. “I need your mouth on my cunt,” I finally managed. “Please, Gabrielle.”
I saw her pleased smile before another wave of desire swept through me, and I had to close my eyes to keep from taking control from her and getting the satisfaction my body needed. I breathed a sigh of relief when I felt her mouth leave my breast, and begin the slow, arduous trek down my body.
Finally, blessedly, I felt the warmth of her breath rustling my pubic hair. I bent my knees and planted my feet flat on the bed, spreading my thighs so she’d have easy access.
“You ARE soaked, Xena…” I heard her tell me, before she lowered her head the needed inches to reach my pussy. My breath caught in my throat when I felt a feather light touch bat over my swollen clitoris. It was her tongue, and she was barely making contact with me…just enough to make my cunt cry out its need. A low noise grumbled in the back of my throat, but I was determined to let her tease me as long as I was physically able. I didn’t think that would be very long.
I felt her hands reaching for my breasts, and she gave them the firm touch my clit was begging for. Below, she was just skimming over my clit and labia, causing my womanhood to pour out even more juices. They rushed from my body, coating the cleft of my ass before splashing on the bed.
I writhed beneath her, my heart pounding in my chest, my hips bucking upward to demand a firmer stroke from her devious fingers. I was so close…it wasn’t going to take much.
Her fingers continued to tweak and twist my nipples, and finally, I felt her tongue press itself into my vagina. She stretched it out as far as she could, and her nose nestled against my clit. She held her tongue rigid, and moved her head instead from side to side, stimulating both my opening and my hardon at the same time. I was suddenly inundated with the sensations I needed to reach my climax.
My thighs began to cramp as they tightened up from the palpitations of rapture pressing through my cunt, and this time, I was the one crying out into the night. The blood suddenly pounding in my ears drowned out the sounds of the storm outside.
I crashed back to Earth, my chest heaving with an effort to catch my breath, and I felt a latent spasm as pulled her tongue from the depths of my tunnel, only to begin licking up and down the length of my slit, slurping up my lubricants which still sprang from me. Her fingers finally left my nipples, and she moved them down lower. One of her hands held my swollen outer labia open, giving her better access to me. The other crept up from beneath me, and began to stroke over my arousal slickened nether entrance.
My eyes finally flickered open, so they could lock with her dark green ones, as she watched me from over the flesh of my mound. “You’re not done, are you?” I asked, not sure what I wanted the answer to be.
She smiled at me then, and I saw her hold up three glistening fingers. “Nope,” she replied, giving me one of my own favorite responses.
COMING NEXT WEEK: In the third part of the trilogy, Xena loses her underwear while patching the inn’s roof. Gabrielle doesn’t seem to mind though.
The Xena and Gabrielle XXX Scrolls Page 2