Janet slammed on the brakes as the light turned red. "God dammit, just get me there!" she shouted into the empty space in the car. Gripping her hands tightly to the steering wheel kept her steady, kept her grounded. Her stomach clenched, and she swallowed convulsively when telltale saliva flooded her mouth. She refused to throw up in the car, she told herself; she would get to the hospital and everything would be fine.
If Sam wasn't dead.
She gritted her teeth against the sheer terror that struck at that thought, and slammed on the gas when the light turned green. The roads were damp from the earlier gentle rain, and her wheels spun for a moment before they caught on the pavement. Less than five minutes and she'd be there. Ten blocks, four traffic lights. She made a hard left and blew through a yellow, and somewhere in the corner of her mind she heard her tires screeching. Three more greens and she was in the parking lot, not exactly in a space, but she hoped military plates would keep ticket writers and tow trucks away. Running to the bay doors, she didn't notice the puddles that splashed dirty water on her faded jeans.
"Excuse me, I'm looking for Sam Carter." *oh god, oh god, oh god, please please please please* "She was brought in for a car accident." *don't let me lose her i'll die if she didn't make it why won't she just answer me* "Dammit, where is she?"
The clerk held up a hand again and kept speaking into the phone. Janet whipped out her military ID and peered at the woman's name tag. "Excuse me, Heather, I am a doctor and this is a military matter, if you don't tell me where Major Samantha Carter is there is going to be a very big problem in about ten seconds."
"You're looking for Sam Carter?" a voice responded.
"Yes," Janet croaked, turning toward the voice. "Do you know where..." she trailed off when her throat closed.
"Come on," the nurse said softly. She put a hand on Janet's shoulder and soothed her. "It's gonna be okay," she said. Janet's hand flew to her mouth-- she'd heard that tone before; she'd used it herself when delivering bad news to family members.
"She didn't make it?" she squeaked out, not breathing.
"What?" The nurse looked confused.
"Sam. Is she..."
"Oh my God, no, she's fine! It's just a broken arm. Didn't Heather tell you?"
The strength seemed to go out of Janet's legs for a moment. Her knees hit the floor, but she didn't feel it. The nurse was speaking to her-- she saw her mouth moving but couldn't hear the words. Slowly she allowed the unknown woman to help her up, and they lurched down the hall together.
A door opened, and there she was, bruised, a cast on her arm, and the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. "Sam," she moaned, and stumbled forward against her, crying.
Slowly Janet took stock of the woman in her arms; alive, breathing, blood pumping through her veins. Carefully she wrapped her arms around a narrow waist, avoiding the arm that hung in a sling. Sam's good arm was already around her, fingers caressing the hair at the back of her neck. Janet pulled away a few inches and caressed Sam's face, touching their foreheads together. "You're okay," she breathed.
"Yeah," Sam whispered, her voice choked. "Didn't someone tell you?"
Janet shook her head.
"Oh, God, Janet, I'm sorry."
"I thought you were dead." Janet's hands fell to her sides. Tears sprung to her eyes again. Sam's callused palm came to rest against her cheek, and it was so hard not to lean against it, nuzzle in and take comfort from the small gesture. But she stepped back and pulled herself together.
Or so she thought. Nausea swept through her, and she knew she'd be sick in a moment. "I have to go, be right back," she mumbled, staggering out of the room. Steps away she spotted a rest room and made it just in time. She held herself over the toilet for a few unsteady minutes, knees aching from her earlier fall. Finally she wiped her mouth and flushed. At the mirror, she dabbed at the dark circles caused by smeared mascara. She rinsed her mouth, and when she turned around to leave, the nurse from earlier was standing at the door, a concerned look on her face.
"Y'okay, honey?" she asked.
Janet nodded. "Yeah."
"It's my fault. Sam wanted to call you herself, but I had tests to run--"
"It's okay. We're fine. It's fine."
"Can you walk?"
"Yeah." Janet trod carefully, her system depleted from both the adrenaline spike and losing her dinner. "Can I take her home soon?"
"Sure, honey. Just have a few more papers to get in order and you can have her back."
Janet nodded. "Thanks."
"See that machine down the hall? Why don't you walk down and get yourself a soda? You look a little pale, hon. Don't want to worry your girl, do you?"
Janet frowned at the words, but figured she'd missed something. "Uh, no?"
"Here're a couple of quarters. I'm not usually so generous, but your Sam's been an angel. I'm feeling very giving right now." The nurse winked.
Sam, an angel in the hospital? Now Janet was sure there was something fishy going on. "Thanks, I think. I'll be back."
Bettina came through the door and handed Sam a few more papers to sign. "You'll be all set after you promise us your first born," she smirked.
"Gee, thanks. I'm so happy." Sam signed, relieved her dominant hand was uninjured. "Is Janet okay?"
"Pretty much. You take care of her tonight, you hear? You may have had the accident, but she had a good scare. Got herself so upset she was just sick in the bathroom. And I don't mean a little."
"What?" Sam hopped down from the gurney and winced at the movement. "Where is she?"
"I sent her to get a soda. She's a little shaky."
"God, I feel rotten. I didn't realize they wouldn't tell her."
"Well, they can't officially release information unless you're family, and since your relationship isn't exactly legal, you're sort of screwed. Unless you have power of attorney--"
"Well, you know, you're not married. Are you?"
Sam flushed. "No, no! We're not even--" she paused, making a back and forth motion with her hand, "together."
"Aw, honey, you don't have to pretend with me. I saw it in her face as soon as she walked in."
Sam felt her mouth drop open. She blinked. "Oh?" Her heart leapt in her chest, but after a moment, she shoved the feeling down. No use in getting excited over nothing. Janet was just concerned and worried, nothing more. Didn't mean a thing. Unfortunately.
"You two are sweet. Bet she fits right under your chin, the little thing."
"Yeah," Sam muttered, thinking about how nice it would be to hold Janet again, right under her chin.
And then the unspoken object of her affection appeared with a couple of Diet Cokes in hand. "Hey," she said. "I'm sorry I left so quickly, there was something I had to take care of."
Sam was happy to see her, but Bettina was right; she didn't look good. "You're okay now?"
"Oh yeah, fine. I brought you a drink." She turned to Bettina. "How much longer?"
"We're done. Took care of everything before they called so you wouldn't have to wait. Now, I'm going to give *you* the Vicodin. Don't let her take more than eight a day, one to two tablets every four to six hours. It's on the bottle." She turned back to Sam. "Have some food if it makes your stomach upset, okay Blondie?"
Sam grinned at the name. "Okay, Bettina. Thanks for all your help."
"No problem, ladies. You come back if you have any trouble or feel woozy at all. Your head is fine, but you're bruised, and the marks will show up tonight. Maybe take a hot bath. Just keep the cast dry."
"Got it. Janet's a doctor, she can help me." Sam smiled reassuringly at her friend; she could still see the worry in Janet's eyes.
"Even better. Get on home, now. And take care, you hear? No more drag racing in that hot car anymore, right?"
At Janet's questioning glance, Sam said, "She's kidding. I swear."
"I *am* kidding. But I don't think the guy who hit you is going to be racing for a while."
Janet paled. "Was he hurt badly?"
"Nope. But his breath was mighty ripe. Wild Turkey. The officer who questioned you told me it's a third offense."
Sam saw the fire in Janet's eyes and reached out a hand to calm her. "I'm okay, Janet. Let's just go?" The move worked, and Janet relaxed visibly.
"Sure. Are you okay to walk? Feel fuzzy at all?"
"A little, but I can manage. Thanks, Bettina, for everything."
"Sure thing. You girls take care of each other, you hear?"
"Will do," Sam answered. As the left the hospital, she looked down at Janet's profile and breathed a sigh of relief. "Janet?" she asked.
"Would you mind if I, um, came over and stayed? I just don't want--"
"No question about it. You're coming home with me." Janet looked up and slid an arm around her waist. "I want to keep my eye on you."
Sam leaned against the small, sturdy form gratefully. Tears stung her eyes as she lifted her uninjured limb across Janet's strong shoulders. "Thanks." She couldn't articulate the feeling that spread through her. It was like the knot of tension she'd been carrying since the crash had finally loosened. The accident had scared her badly, and she felt drained of energy since the thrill of surviving wore off. Plus the single Vicodin tablet had kicked in, easing the pain but blurring her thoughts. All she wanted was to lie down and rest, with Janet close by to watch over her. Without thought, she pressed her nose into Janet's hair and inhaled as they strolled to the car.
Janet glanced at Sam, who slept deeply, her head lolling against the seat. She'd only been in the car five minutes before Sam had dropped off, and Janet was grateful. She wanted a few minutes to catch her breath after the events at the hospital.
She felt uneasy. That was the only word for it. The thing she held inside herself, the emotion she felt for Sam that was normally tucked in a tiny pocket somewhere below her ribcage, had exploded out of its confines the moment the call had come in from the hospital. It raged out of control, sending her into Sam's embrace more than once that evening. When she held Sam earlier, she hadn't wanted to let go.
Somehow, between her current location and home, she had to shove everything she was feeling back inside that pocket and zip it shut. Tight.
When she pulled in the driveway, she was disappointed. She hadn't made much progress.
"Sam," she whispered, "Sam, wake up. We're home." Unable to keep her hand still, she reached up and brushed at Sam's bangs. When long eyelashes fluttered, Janet jerked her hand back and cursed under her breath. Before her impulses got the better of her, she got out of the car and went around to the other side. She opened the door and Sam eased out carefully, holding her broken arm steady.
Quickly she retrieved Sam's things from the back seat and pushed the door shut. To her surprise, Sam immediately wrapped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed. "Thanks, Janet." Janet kept her mouth closed, knowing she'd stutter if she said anything. Sam seemed to be leaning on her a little, and quickly Janet chalked it up to her injury.
"You pretty sore?" she asked.
"Not bad. The pill's working. I feel funky."
Janet smiled at the slurred words. She was still half asleep. "Let's get you to bed then."
"Can't I stay up with you?"
"No, Sam, you need to rest. And it's late, almost 11. You've been up since 5AM, haven't you?"
"Yeah, I guess," she mumbled.
Quickly Janet realized she'd never be able to keep herself in check with Sam like this, so soft and warm and affectionate. Her mission was to deposit Sam in bed within five minutes of getting inside. Instead of stopping in the living room, she pulled Sam upstairs and headed straight for the guestroom.
She flipped the light on and gently removed herself from Sam's side, ignoring the confused look on her friend's face. First she'd get Sam tucked in, then worry about how to deal with everything else. Quickly she left Sam's things by the nightstand and turned down the bed. "I'll leave a toothbrush and towels in the bathroom for you, okay?"
"Janet, are you all right?"
Carefully, Janet avoided looking in Sam's eyes. "Yeah, I'm sorry, I'm just exhausted. It's been a really long day, you know?" God, she thought, let me get of here before I make a mistake.
"Okay. I'll just... go to sleep then?"
"All right. I'll leave your pills on the bathroom counter. Good night," she said. Sam stepped forward, her arm extended, but Janet just gave a little wave and left the room.
"G'night," she heard Sam reply, and climbed down the stairs slowly, pretending she didn't notice the pleading note in Sam's voice.
She made her way to the kitchen and pulled a bottle from the freezer. Two shots of Stoli later, she sagged against the counter and wiped her mouth. It probably wouldn't calm her down, but it might help her sleep.
Sam paced restlessly. Her arm ached, but she hesitated to take another pain killer. She ambled to the kitchen for some water, and leaned against the counter as she drank it. Refill, drink. By the time she was done, her stomach felt overfull, but she hoped hydrating would make her headache go away. No concussion, Bettina had said, but her back and shoulder would ache for a while.
Not to mention the arm broken in two places.
Her eye was drawn to a multi-bloomed flower on the kitchen table, an amaryllis if Sam was correct. She approached it and touched the blossom gently in the moonlight, wondering if Janet had bought the plant recently or had grown it herself. She sat in a chair and sipped the last of her water, drifting in an exhausted haze. If she didn't feel so terrible, she'd probably be perfectly content. Janet's home was one of the few places outside work that felt truly comfortable. Her own house was wonderful, a pleasant place where she spent time alone, or occasionally with the team. But here was different; the simple presence of a particular individual in the house seemed to soothe her, even when that individual was asleep in her own room.
She thought about Janet. Her smile. Her eyes. The line of her neck as it connected to her spine-- she loved that spot. Typically she didn't allow herself the luxury of daydreams about her; it was safer that way, not to put words to what she felt. Easier to just pretend that it was deep friendship, and that it would be fine as long as things stayed the way they were. But after the shock of the wreck, she decided she deserved it. When her car had been clipped, it had spun wildly into the intersection. Two impacts later, she'd been shoved up against the car door and was certain her entire side was paralyzed. That had worn off a few seconds later, and though she could feel all her limbs, her arm was most definitely broken.
The time at the hospital before Janet arrived was hard, but she'd asked Bettina to wait to call for a ride and a friendly face. She hadn't wanted to worry Janet or make her hang around till she was released, but that plan had backfired. She'd never seen her friend so frantic when she walked through the door-- it had frightened her. She'd fallen apart on the spot, something Sam had never witnessed before. It was strange because Janet was her rock, the one she went to when she felt broken on the inside and outside. Then she'd taken off and been sick, much to Sam's surprise. She longed to know why, but assumed the adrenaline rush from the speedy drive over had thrown the doc off kilter.
That's what made her subsequent dismissal upon arriving at home so odd. And hurtful, Sam admitted to herself. She'd wanted to sit with Janet, maybe rest against her while her friend stroked her forehead or rubbed her sore back. Cut it out, Carter, she thought, that's what lovers do, not friends. It was hard to remember that fact. But still, something other than, 'I'm tired, let me turn down the sheets for you, towel's in the bathroom, g'nite,' would have been nice. Okay, so it hadn't exactly been that way, but it might as well have been. She'd snoozed in the car on the way here, but woke up as soon as she hit the sheets. After an hour and a half of staring at the ceiling, she got out of bed and roamed Janet's rooms, relaxing gradually as she inspected bookshelves and picture frames, CDs and plants. Her disappointment at Janet's behavior faded as the woman's presence surrounded her. She felt it in every object in the house, and it calmed her jangled nerves.
Janet. Resting her chin in her good hand, she thought about holding her, and imagined how nice it would be to do it again. Just for another minute, she reasoned. It didn't mean anything, was only a fantasy...
A sound woke her out of the doze she'd fallen into.
Sam's blue eyes narrowed in the darkness, unsure of where it came from. Outside? Inside? It wasn't Cassie; she was at Angela's for a trigonometry study session that most likely turned into a pizza slumber party. Stealthily Sam crept through the house, wondering if she had time to run back to her room for her firearm of if she should make do with the fireplace poker and one good arm. Just in case, she grabbed the poker.
She heard it again. It was a cry, almost like an animal. A wounded animal. When she reached Janet's door, she gently twisted the doorknob and peeked in.
Janet was sobbing. Sam's head jerked a bit in her shock. Twice in one night-- this was serious. She had to help.
"Janet," she said, padding over to the bed. "Hey, what's wrong?"
No response. Janet's body continued to shake, and tears refracted the moonlight streaming in through the curtains. Her whole face was wet, with salty streams running down her neck and into her hair.
"Janet?" she said again, dropping the poker beside the bed.
It was then she realized that Janet was asleep, probably dreaming. She whimpered, and the word "Sam," came out of her mouth as a small moan.
After sitting on the side of the bed, Sam grasped a shoulder and shook it. "Janet, wake up. Wake up right now."
Janet jerked away from the touch, eyes flying open. She sat up quickly, almost smacking foreheads with Sam. "What is it? Are you in pain?"
"Relax, I'm okay."
Janet swallowed thickly, her hand moving to the back of her neck. "Sorry, sorry." She took a deep breath. "What's the matter?"
Sam dipped her chin. "You were crying. In your sleep."
"What?" She touched her fingers to her cheek. "Oh," she said. "Oh." She covered her mouth, then wiped away some of the wetness with the back of her hand. "I'm fine. Did I wake you?"
Sam saw the swerve plain as day. "No. Why were you crying?"
"It's nothing. I don't know. I don't remember." Her brow furrowed, and Sam waited. "Let me get you some pain meds, you're probably hurting."
"Janet, sit. I'm fine. Why were you crying?"
"I told you, I don't remember, now just--"
"Why are you shutting me out? Why won't you let me help you?" Exasperated, Sam let her voice rise to a level that she probably hadn't used with Janet in the past. At least, not over anything personal. "You were sobbing. You," she stumbled a little, thinking of the forlorn timbre of Janet's voice. "You said my name."
"I said..." She shook her head. "Sam, you're injured, you should be in bed, it's nothing to concern yourself over."
"Dammit, tell me what's wrong. I've got a broken arm, Janet, it's not like I'm dying!"
Janet froze at the word. She turned her head to the window, and Sam moved closer. She could feel it; the answer was right there, just under the surface. It was only seconds later that whatever had been holding Janet back burst open. Sobs poured from her throat, her body trembling violently. Carefully, Sam leaned in and wrapped her good arm around her. "Oh, Janet, please. Talk to me." She rubbed the worn cotton covering her back, noticing that it stuck to the skin. She was damp with sweat.
Janet clung to her, and Sam felt a nose and mouth buried in the space between her neck and shoulder. Against her will a shudder went through her, and roughly she shoved the sensation away. But it was difficult not to just sink in with this warm, pliant body pressed against her. Especially when Janet was nuzzling her ear that way.
Finally, Janet found her voice. "The hospital, when they called, they just said there was an accident." She hiccupped between sobs. "I was afraid. Terrified. I thought I'd never see you again."
Sam felt like she'd been smacked. "I'm so sorry, Janet. I wasn't thinking at all, except about myself, my arm, what I'd do at work, how I'd handle keeping the team grounded for a while. I assumed they'd tell you I was still in one piece, at the very least." Sam's heart squeezed in her chest. "I'd take it back if I could, Janet, I swear."
Softly she kissed Janet's temple, almost unaware she was doing so. It seemed like the thing to do at the moment. That's what she told herself. Then she felt Janet's lips at her ear. "I don't know what I'd do, Sam," she whispered.
Sam held her fiercely, fingers digging into Janet's back. "That won't happen," she declared, heart pounding so hard in her chest she was afraid Janet could feel it. Her emotions were starting to spill over; it was a challenge to keep them in check with this precious woman so close, so afraid, so soft in her embrace.
"I always know in my head when you're out with SG-1, you could come back hurt. Hell, I've seen you nearly die more than once. But something like this, just a car crash, God, Sam, I just-- I-- can't--" She choked on the words and crumbled again, tears flowing freely beneath Sam's thin t-shirt.
"Shh, Janet, I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. I promise I won't leave you."
Janet's hands stole around her back, and Sam felt the awkwardness of their position suddenly. "Come on, come with me." The sheets were damp, and she wasn't about to lie down in that bed knowing she had a perfectly good one only a few steps away. Without asking why, Janet stood with her, keeping her arms wrapped around Sam's waist. It was awkward, and slightly painful, but she wasn't about to mention it.
When they reached Sam's bed, Sam whispered, "Lie down."
Janet sat at the edge of the bed. "I don't know, Sam, I'm okay. I don't know what happened."
Sam brushed the hair stuck to Janet's forehead back, sliding her fingers through the slick strands. "Lie down," she repeated.
Janet did as she was told, and Sam nudged her over a bit so she could get in after her. Carefully she arranged her body against Janet's side, slipping her arm beneath shoulders and neck. Again she pressed her lips to Janet's temple. She had no idea what she was doing, but it felt right. It would comfort both of them.
"Sam," Janet said, her voice still rough with tears.
Brown eyes lifted to Sam's, liquid with need and fear. "You're the whole world to me, my whole world."
Sam's body stiffened in disbelief. Time slowed; she couldn't draw a breath for fear of disturbing the air surrounding them. It was the most transforming moment of Sam's life. She managed a garbled, "What?"
"You really want me to say it again?" Janet had retreated into herself, clearly terrified at Sam's non-response.
"Yes," she said, trying desperately not to beg.
"You're everything to me," she said simply.
"Janet," Sam cried, her voice filled with the pent-up yearning it had become harder and harder to contain. She touched her mouth to Janet's cheekbone, her eyelashes, the tip of her nose. "Thank you," she breathed into her mouth, before letting her lips descend to Janet's into a chaste kiss.
One taste, and she was hooked. She kissed her again, and let her lips travel the terrain of Janet's downy skin, listening to the sounds emanating from a fragile throat. Janet was practically vibrating with tension; she could feel the uncertainty coiling her muscles. Determined to dissolve that tension, she returned to the bowed lips she'd longed for and enveloped them in a searing kiss.
That woke Janet up. Suddenly she was alive with motion, gasping, biting, pulling. A tongue slid into Sam's mouth, and she couldn't stop the moan that bubbled up from deep inside. She welcomed the invasion, heat shooting through her veins, quickening her pulse. She drew Janet in, turning her head and pressing closer. Sam felt legs moving against hers, hips rising in a cadence she longed to answer. Her body automatically responded by moving atop Janet, but quickly she wrenched away, breathless with pain. She groaned, and this time, it wasn't with desire. Bolts of pain shot down from her shoulder, through her chest and back. "Oh God, it hurts," she grunted.
Instantly Janet was in doctor mode. "Lie back, take deep breaths. I'm getting your medication. Is it in the bathroom?"
Silently, Sam nodded. She panted through her teeth, breathing through the radiating ache. Her stomach rolled, and she knew if she could see her reflection it would be tinged with green. Shortly Janet returned with water, crackers and the blessed pills. "You should eat something with them."
"Don't want to, I'll throw up."
"Oh sweetie, I am so sorry, I didn't even think."
Sam let out a muffled laugh. "I wasn't exactly thinking either." She watched Janet smile slightly, and even in the blue light coming in from the window she imagined she could detect a blush. "That really happened, didn't it?"
Janet looked at her hands. "Yeah. I think so." She paused seeming to gather her thoughts. "But Sam, I don't want you to feel like you have to--"
"Hey," Sam interrupted. She could hear the hesitation in her voice, and she didn't even want Janet to finish the thought. "Don't think whatever it is you're thinking. Ever."
Janet visibly relaxed. Her easy grin returned. "Okay." A gentle hand caressed Sam's face, fingertips slowly trailing across her features. "I won't." She leaned down and kissed Sam, who willingly responded to the soft touch.
Sam deliberately tried to catalogue the strange sensations coursing through her; half of her seemed to be melting, the other half wanted to jump up and down and shout her happiness to the world. Everything felt new and different. The air against her skin, the throbbing ache in her arm, the mouth seductively moving against her own.
This, she abruptly realized, is love.
When Janet lifted her head to smile, Sam couldn't hold it in. "I love you," she said. They were the easiest words she'd ever spoken.
Janet released a sound something between a sigh and a gasp. "Oh, Sam. I love you," Janet responded.
Tears gathered in her eyes, and Sam couldn't bear it. "Oh, don't cry again, I hate it when you cry."
That stopped the coming flood, and Janet laughed instead. "These are the good tears, sweetheart. The happy ones." One last caress of Sam's cheek followed, and the doctor returned. "How's your stomach now? Still feel nauseous?"
Sam's eyes widened in surprise. "Nope." Suspiciously, she narrowed her gaze. "Is this how you treat all upset stomachs in the infirmary?"
Janet's eyebrow lifted provocatively. "It's my secret weapon. It's how I keep all the teams on their feet, of course. When General Hammond had that flu bug last year he was very receptive to my technique." She held out a cracker and giggled when she felt a pinch near her posterior.
"Figures. Takes me five years to get a kiss, when all I had to do was break my arm and get an upset stomach." Sam popped the wheat thin into her mouth.
"Well, once was enough, okay? No more broken arms. I couldn't take the shock."
Gingerly Sam sat up with Janet's help. "I'm really sorry that happened. You know, the nurse told me she saw you in the bathroom getting sick."
Janet rubbed her forehead. "Yeah. How embarrassing."
"She thought we were *partners*. I corrected her, said we were just friends." She ate a few more crackers, finding herself listening intently to the loudness of her munching. "I don't think I did a very good job of denying it." She swallowed the last of the water, downing two pills in one shot.
Janet laughed. "No wonder she kept calling you 'mine'. Come to think of it, that sounds pretty good." She took a deep breath and whispered, "My girl. Mine."
Sam took her small hand and held it to her chest, overwhelmed with the way the words sounded coming from Janet's mouth. They kissed again, then Sam laid her heavy head against a solid shoulder. "Sam?" Janet asked.
"Maybe you should try to sleep."
She turned her mouth against Janet's ear. "Only if you stay with me."
"Always," Janet murmured, and Sam's heart swelled in her chest. She breathed in Janet's rich scent, a combination of lotion, shampoo, and the natural fragrance of her body. It lulled Sam into relaxation, and she leaned more heavily on the softly rounded shoulder.
"Come on, it's time to rest," Janet said, and tenderly she urged Sam back down to the bed. She moved under the covers next to her and slid a muscled thigh between Sam's, inspiring a gasp of desire. "Easy, tiger. Have to wait a little while before we can go any further, okay?"
"Not long, though," Sam growled, licking her lips. She was extremely aware of the press of Janet's breasts against her side, and knew it was going to be damned hard to keep from touching them in her sleep.
"Not long. I promise." Janet punctuated her statement with a swipe to Sam's ear with a rough tongue. She grinned when Sam moaned her disappointment.
"I can not believe this. I wait years, then when I finally get around to it, I can't even make love to you."
Janet placed her head on Sam's good shoulder. "Don't worry, Sam. We have plenty of time."
Good. She felt so good. In her half-dream state, she was literally surrounded by the one she loved. She couldn't see her, but she was enveloped by her scent, her skin, her spirit. "Sam," she sighed, and moved in her sleep.
A light chuckle was the response, though Janet didn't hear it.
Slowly, she swam up from oblivion, rubbing her cheek on flimsy cotton. She inhaled deeply, and stopped. Her eyes flew open to complete darkness, then she realized her face was tucked into something. Pulling her head back, she realized that something was Sam.
"Huh," she muttered, staring up into bottomless blue eyes that twinkled with amusement.
"Hi," Sam replied.
Blinking furiously, Janet waited for her brain to start working before she made any further movements. Her body was flush with Sam's, head inches from a ribcage that rose gently with every breath. At some point she'd curled up in the night, lifting a knee across Sam's pelvis, while her bedmate's long arm was extended to grasp her thigh. The feel of the hand on her flesh sent a wave of heat through her, recalling both her dream and the events of the previous night. Janet sucked in a breath, her eyes widening.
Sam smiled. "*There* you are. I was wondering when you'd actually wake up."
"Huh," she said again, and laid her head back against Sam's ribs. Then she noticed that her own hand had crept suspiciously high under Sam's t-shirt and was resting on bare skin. She wiggled her fingers.
Sam giggled in response. "Oh, don't, it hurts when I laugh too much," she begged.
Janet flattened her palm, slowly running her hand across the plane of Sam's well-defined belly. A sharp inhalation was the reply to her exploring, and she continued her journey from pelvic bones to the ribs found just below breasts. When she reached that spot, she halted her progress and looked up.
Eyelids shut, Sam was breathing heavily through her nose, and it was clear that she was biting the inside of her bottom lip. At the cease of motion, Sam opened her eyes to gaze down. Janet felt a rolling warmth erupt between her legs when confronted with the want those familiar blue eyes conveyed.
She swallowed. "Morning," she said, alarmed at the growl that seemed to have come from her own throat.
Sam licked her lips. "Yeah." She released her hold on Janet's leg and stretched her arm out to the side. Unsure if that was an invitation or not, Janet remained still. Nothing happened, so she lifted up slightly to rest on her elbow, then pulled Sam's shirt up to see exactly what she'd been feeling.
She gasped at the colors that had surfaced during the night. Sam's injured side was awash in bruises, along with the lines that marked where the seatbelt restrained her in the crash. "Oh God," Janet breathed, devastated at the damage to this cherished body.
Sam's eyes popped open. "What, you've seen it all before--" She stopped abruptly when she saw the bruises. "Well, damn. That looks pretty bad."
"You're not having trouble breathing, are you?" Quickly she sat up and looked more closely at the injuries.
"No. No broken ribs, they checked. But I guess I got banged up pretty good, huh."
"How about your neck? Any spasms?"
Sam smirked. "Not right now. I feel pretty relaxed, in fact."
Janet's inner doctor was shouting; she wanted to drag Sam into the infirmary and check her out herself, but knew that would be a terrible idea.
"Janet," Sam said.
"Yeah?" Her eyes hadn't left the broad purple marks along Sam's ribs.
"Don't get upset. They'll fade. My arm will heal. I don't have a concussion, or broken ribs, or a punctured lung. It was a car accident. That's all. The car's not even totaled. At least I don't think it is," she added, frowning.
Janet nodded her head and deliberately pulled Sam's shirt down. She took a few deep breaths. "Okay. Okay. But you should take something for the pain. The last pills have probably worn off."
"Sure. I need to go to the bathroom anyway."
"Can I make you some breakfast? You should eat."
"Sure, that would be great." Sam's toothy grin made Janet want to devour her whole. "But I want something first."
Sam's hand rose to Janet's cheek. "Come here, I want to whisper it to you."
Janet flushed in anticipation. She leaned down, holding herself up by the arms. Sam's breath caressed her ear, making the hair on the back of her neck stand up. No words were spoken, but Janet was trapped by the feelings coursing through her as the seconds ticked by. Chills shot down her spine and spread through her lower back as Sam blew warm air on her neck. A mouth pulled at her earlobe and Janet whimpered, the arm holding her up nearly giving way. Finally a tongue licked at the tiny vein pulsing behind her ear, and she heard, "I didn't want you to forget what I said last night..."
Janet quivered. "What you said..."
"That I love you, and I want you, so badly. Just wanted to remind you." Sharp teeth nipped Janet's ear, and she yelped in response. Every nerve in her body seemed to be trembling from the simple touch of Sam's mouth at her ear. That was the moment she knew she was in trouble.
Janet yanked her head away, pupils dilating wider by the second. She grimaced when she spotted Sam's cast, and bolted from the bed. "I'll get you some juice," she said over her shoulder.
She heard Sam yell, "Janet?" just before she closed the door to the bedroom and leaned against it. Between her legs she could feel the wetness that had gathered during her dreams, and the past five minutes hadn't helped.
Juice. Kitchen. Anything to get away from the woman in the bedroom.
"Janet!" Sam cried again. "Great," she said to the empty room. She couldn't fathom what exactly it was about "I love you, I want you" that bothered Janet. Unless she'd had second thoughts.
No, Sam thought, that hadn't happened. Janet meant every word she said last night. It was something else. And she was going to find out what it was.
She left the bedroom and climbed down the stairs to the kitchen, where Janet was holding a glass of orange juice against her forehead. "Janet?" Janet's body jerked, and she slopped juice over the rim of the glass. "I'm sorry I scared you," Sam started.
"No, it's okay. It just spilled on the counter." Quickly she mopped up the mess, and handed Sam another glass of juice.
"Janet, what just happened?"
"Come on. You know what I'm talking about. Why did you pull away?" Sam stepped closer and watched Janet's features school themselves into a familiar mask of pleasantness. She wasn't buying. Her stomach clenched briefly at her next thought. "Have you, uh, changed your mind?"
"What?" Janet was incredulous.
"You know, about... us. We didn't exactly talk about it, really. You were worried, maybe you said things you regret--"
"God, no!" Janet came forward to place a hand on Sam's shoulder. "No, I would never regret that."
"Then why did you run away from me?" Janet's eyes fell closed, her brow creasing with concern. "Whatever it is, you can tell me."
"Can we sit for a second?" Janet asked.
They moved to the kitchen table, and Sam pulled her chair close to Janet's so they sat knee to knee. Sam took a small, deft hand in one of hers, hoping to calm both of them.
"I'm a little," Janet took a deep breath, "overwhelmed."
"Okay," Sam nodded.
"I've wanted you, this, everything, for so long, and I'd think about it sometimes. Kissing you, holding you, telling you how I felt."
Sam smiled gently, relieved to hear the reassuring words.
"But in my mind, I never got much past telling you, and kissing you, and..." She stumbled a bit. "Um, I, and the making love part, I thought about that too."
"So did I," replied Sam with a lazy grin.
"Ha, yeah." Janet ran a hand through her hair. "I suppose I didn't realize how much I wanted this. You, I mean. I'm not being very clear, am I."
"You're fine, just keep going."
"Sam, I," Janet surged forward. "I want you so badly, God, it's like my insides are all tied up." She paused again, clearly trying hard to express herself, but Sam was beginning to get it. "I loved you before, but now that I've said it, and you've said it, it's bigger than anything I imagined. I'm just, I don't know, overwhelmed?"
Sam nodded. Top that off with Sam's fooling around back in the bed, no wonder Janet was on edge. "I understand completely." Something similar happened to her; having finally spoken the words made everything so real, larger than life. "I don't want to push you in any way, Janet. I know what you mean about it being bigger now that it's real. But I think that makes me want to move forward, probably a lot faster than I'm physically able right now," Sam laughed.
"Yeah, that's a problem," Janet sighed.
Note to self, Sam thought, no more teasing until physically able to follow through. "It'll just be a few days, right?"
"Probably. I want to see how your shoulder's doing. Sprains take a while to heal."
Sam wiggled her shoulder a bit, trying to ignore the twinges she was feeling. "It's not bad," she pouted.
"Yeah," Janet replied with a straight face. "You look entirely pain-free. Don't move it around. Besides, you still need your pills. I'll get them--"
"No, you stay. Drink some juice, I'll get them." Sam stood. "I'll let you do the cooking thing, okay? My kitchen skills haven't improved since my last try, I can't imagine how they'd be one-armed."
Janet laughed. "Shudder to think. I'd hate to lose another dish towel to the stove top."
"Hey, that was an accident! It didn't even set off the fire alarm. And if you'll remember, I replaced it."
"Yeah, I remember. Now scoot, and I'll start some breakfast. French toast?"
Slowly Sam made her way back up the stairs. She found her pills and shook out one, dropping it in the pocket of her shorts for after breakfast. Peering into the mirror, she noted the pallor of her skin-- pale, with definite dark circles under the eyes. No wonder Janet was so paranoid about getting too revved up.
As she brushed her teeth, she heard the phone ring, followed by Janet's voice chatting with the caller. Unwilling to attempt the shower without Janet's help, she ran a brush through her hair and harrumphed at her reflection.
At the bottom of the stairs, she heard Janet saying, "No, sir, she'll probably be out four to six weeks... I know sir. She's okay though. Oh, here she is, would you like to speak with her?"
Sam raised her eyebrows. Janet handed the phone over, mouthing, "Hammond."
"Dammit, Carter, what do you think you're doing getting into a car accident?"
Sam smiled. "I'm sorry sir. Nothing much I could do about this one."
"I'm more used to having members of my team out of commission because of an off-world event than car wrecks, but I suppose I'll survive. You're all right, Carter?"
"Yes, sir. I'll be good as new in a month."
"Or six weeks," Janet said in the background.
"Well, you take it easy. Doctor Frasier says you've got some bumps and bruises, so rest up. I don't want to see you in here for the rest of the week, is that clear?"
Sam's face fell. "Yes, sir. I'll be in on Monday then."
"Don't sound so disappointed, Carter. A little time off won't kill you."
"Of course not, sir. Thanks for calling to check up on me."
"You tell Doctor Frasier to take good care of you."
"I will, sir." Sam leered at Janet.
Janet was hiding a smile, and not doing a very good job of it. "What was that all about?"
Sam rubbed her lips together. "General Hammond told me to tell 'Doctor Frasier' to take good care of me."
"Oh really," Janet drawled, and Sam nodded. She approached and slid her arms around Sam's waist. "I don't think that will be a problem."
"Mom, I'm home."
Quickly Janet moved Sam's feet off of her lap and turned to face the television straight on. Sam couldn't leave well enough alone, and with a wild grin, she shoved her toes under Janet's rear.
"Stop it! She'll be in here in a second!" She pushed Sam's feet back to the other side of the couch and folded her hands primly on her knees. She knew she'd tell Cassie about the shift in relationship with Sam, but not quite yet. A little time to adjust wouldn't be a bad thing, she thought.
"Hey," Cassie said as she dropped her bag next to the tv. She frowned. "What's wrong?"
Janet jutted out her chin. "Nothing. Why do you ask?"
"You're sitting weird." She turned to Sam. "Sam, hi! Oh my God, what happened to your arm?" Immediately she was kneeling at Sam's side, hands fluttering over her in fear.
"It's a broken arm, a few bruises. I got into a car wreck last night."
"A car wreck, oh my gosh! But you're okay, right?" Sam nodded. Suddenly, Cassie blanched. "Not the Volvo!"
Laughing, Sam replied. "Thank God, no. I'd have had a fit. It's the Mustang I got last year. As long as the frame's not damaged, it's fixable."
Cassie breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm so glad. I mean, not that you were in a car accident, but that it wasn't, oh, you know what I mean."
"Course I do. Thanks for your concern. Gimme a hug. Just watch the shoulder." Cassie gently embraced Sam, and Janet smiled at them affectionately.
"My turn," Janet said. After exchanging kisses with her daughter, she asked, "How was the exam?"
"Not bad. I think the cram session last night really helped."
"You mean you were actually studying?" Janet joked.
"Ha ha. We got pizza and studied, Mom. We get the grades back Monday, hopefully."
"I'm sure you did a wonderful job, sweetie. I know you wanted to bring that grade up." She rubbed Cassie's arm, and her daughter decided to make herself comfortable on the couch.
"Yeah, I did. Anyway, enough math talk."
"Come on, Cass, you know it's my favorite subject," Sam ribbed.
"Major Carter, you need to get out more," Cassie replied dryly. The girl looked at the tv. "You're watching the History channel?" She glanced again at Janet. "Who are you and what have you done with my mother?"
Janet squirmed under Cassie's watchful eye. "It's a perfectly interesting program on World War II. And we're in the military, so it's fitting, right Sam?"
Sam grinned. "Uh huh."
Cassie looked back and forth between them a few times. "What are you--" She stopped short, and leaned in to peer at Janet's neck. "Hey, is that a hickey?"
"What?" Janet yelped, smacking her hand up to cover her neck. "No!"
Their eyes met, Janet's fluttering wildly, Cassie's even and piercing. "Mom," she said slowly, "I was just kidding. I thought it was make-up or something."
Janet's mouth dropped open. "Oh," she breathed, "I know. I mean, obviously." Against her will, she flushed. She could feel the heat of embarrassment creeping up her throat as she removed her hand.
Cassie looked intently at Janet for a few seconds, a small grin forming. "No way," she said, awestruck.
"What?" Janet asked, her heart sinking.
"Don't tell me you finally told her," she said, doubt threading her tone.
"Excuse me?" Janet's voice was sharp.
"Sam." Cassie turned back to Sam, who was examining the material of her soft cast with great interest. "She told you, didn't she." Sam looked up through her lashes, her expression guarded. She didn't speak.
Turning back to Janet, Cassie pleaded, "Mom, I know how you feel, that you're in love with Sam. Don't hide this from me, please. If I'm wrong, tell me. I'm not a baby anymore. I deserve to know."
Sam sat up straighter against the couch and leaned in, touching Cassie's arm. "Honey, there's really nothing--"
"You're right." Janet cut her off, more shocked at her outburst than anyone else.
The hopeful look in Cassie's eyes broke Janet's heart. "You and Sam, you're," she clasped her hands tightly, "together?"
Biting her lip, Janet nodded. Cassie released a huge sigh and breathed, "I can't believe it. Mom, I'm so happy for you." Janet found herself enveloped in a huge bear hug, and tears flooded her eyes. Over Cassie's shoulder, she caught Sam's astonished expression. She thought it probably mirrored her own; she simply couldn't believe what had happened. Her arms gripped Cassie tighter, and she'd never been so grateful to have found her daughter as she was at that moment.
She sniffled noisily, laughing at her emotional outburst. Cassie pulled back and grinned. "Don't cry, Mom." She turned to Sam, moving closer on the couch to hug her too. "I waited so long for this."
Sam frowned. "What do you mean?"
Cassie sat back against the couch. "Come on, don't you remember all those pictures I used to draw of the three of us when I was little?"
Janet thought back. "Yes, I guess. But I thought that was just because we were the two people who spent the most time with you."
Nodding, Cassie responded, "Yeah. The two people I loved most. I wanted them to be with me, and I wanted them to be together. Parents. A family."
The idea struck Janet like a solid thing; it was as if she was seeing her past through a prism that suddenly shifted her perspective on everything. "I didn't know."
"Me neither." The tenor of Sam's voice matched Janet's exactly.
Cassie smiled. "Doesn't matter now."
Janet took a huge breath and exhaled, flopping back against the arm of the couch. "God. This has been an interesting day, to say the least."
Sam reached her leg over Cassie's lap to nudge Janet's thigh. "A good day, right?"
Smiling, Janet replied, "Yeah."
Cassie shook her head. "I was beginning to wonder if you two were ever gonna get it together."
"Well, you know, the Air Force does frown on this sort of thing," Janet offered.
"Mom, pardon my French, but bullshit."
"Mother, you were just scared." She looked over at Sam. "And so were you." Looking again at Sam's cast, she asked, "So it was the accident that did it?"
"Cass, sometimes I think you're too smart for your own good," Janet sighed.
The girl looked satisfied with that comment. "True."
"Stinker," Sam muttered, giving Cassie's shoulder a healthy slug.
"Hey!" Cassie yelped.
Despite the playful banter between Sam and her daughter, Janet's voice was threaded with solemnity when she said, "Cass, I have a question,"
After an irritated look thrown at Sam, Cassie turned back. "Yeah?"
"You said you knew how I felt about Sam. How?" Janet really wondered; had she been so obvious? She'd hidden her feelings for so long it had practically become second nature. Perhaps she wasn't as good at it as she thought.
"Little things," Cassie answered. At Janet's confused look, she added, "Like whenever Sam was coming over you'd get new flowers for the kitchen table, or burn candles so everything would smell good. You start shopping for her birthday three months ahead of time. You always make her favorite foods when you cook dinner for us." Cassie looked up, thinking. "Um, oh yeah, there's the gooey look you get on your face every time you're on the phone with her."
Janet's mouth dropped open. "My face does not get gooey!"
Simultaneously Sam whined, "Your face gets gooey? I want to see that!"
Cassie giggled madly. "Mom, it's gooey. Moon-eyed. Face it, you're in luuuuuve."
"Well, yes, but that's not the point." Janet was at a loss. She knew Cass was teasing her, but worried that her feelings were so easily noticeable. What if she were so transparent that someone at the base caught it? Their careers could be finished.
"Janet," Sam said quietly.
"Hmm," Janet replied, still deep in thought.
"No one at the base knows."
Janet's head jerked when she realized Sam had read her mind. Or perhaps she could see it written across her features-- yet another reason to worry. "Right."
"Saying it aloud doesn't change things between us. We'll work it out. No one is going to ask." Sam stared into Janet's eyes, her voice unhesitating and defiant.
"I won't say anything, Mom. I'll be really careful. It will be like Toronto, okay?"
Janet grinned. "You're good at secrets, aren't you, sweetie. I'm sorry about that."
Cassie leaned her head on her mother's shoulder. "It's been worth it though, hasn't it?"
Tears gathered again in Janet's eyes. "Yeah, it has."
"Then this will be too," the girl said.
Sam stretched her arm across the back of the couch to rest on Janet's neck. "It's worth it. No matter what," Sam said, and Janet knew this was it. This would be her life: loving Sam, loving Cassie. The three of them together, rain or shine.
"As much as I'd love to stay here indefinitely, I have to make dinner."
"Aw, Mom, can't we order in? It can be like a little celebration."
At Cassie's puppy dog look, the one she never could resist, she relented. "Fine. But no pizza."
"No problem, I had that last night. Thai?"
"It's okay with me. Sam?"
"Sounds good. Can you get the menu, Cass?"
"Sure, be right back. I think it's in the junk drawer."
When they were alone, Janet moved to sit close to Sam. "That went okay."
Sam took her hand. "It seemed a lot better than okay to me," she said.
Nodding, Janet brushed her lips across long, tapered fingers, then turned them to place a tender kiss in the palm. "Yeah." She inhaled Sam's sweet fragrance, her stomach clenching with desire. "Can I have a kiss? Just a little one, I don't want to push my luck with Cass--" Sam stopped her mouth with a kiss, gentle and soft. It escalated however, and Janet hardly noticed the time that passed. She buried her fingers in Sam's hair, tugging slightly, tongue slipping into a slick mouth when Sam groaned at the sensation. Her breathing was quickening when she heard a voice from the kitchen.
"Mom, are you two done yet? I'm hungry!"
Instantly the pair separated, both of them flushing furiously. "So much for little kisses," Janet muttered before calling out, "Sorry. Come on in."
Cassie glowed when she came through the walkway and pushed Janet closer to Sam as she sat at the end of the couch. "Don't mean to cut the honeymoon short, but I'm a growing girl. I need sustenance. And I think you two do as well..." Cassie smirked.
Janet sat up straighter as Sam snorted under her breath. "Excuse me, young lady, I am still your mother and I'll have you treat me as such. That's enough of that, got it?"
Cassie rolled her eyes. "Whatever. You're the one making out on the couch. That's supposed to be my deal."
Dropping her head to her hand, Janet mumbled, "Don't remind me." She sighed. "Sorry, sweetie, I'm just a little on edge. It's been a strange day."
"That's for sure," Sam added, resting her hand on Janet's thigh. It was an innocent touch, and Janet covered her sweetheart's fingers with her own. "Best I've had in ages."
Janet squeezed Sam's hand. "Me too."
Sam lay back against the headboard, wishing Janet would move over a little. She was practically hanging off the side of the bed for some reason, and Sam was lonely and bored. Plus she had a rather burning desire to run her fingers along the bare skin of Janet's shoulders. The tank top she wore was thin and cut low across her back, and dappled with ambient light, those shoulders were incredibly appealing. Taking action, she sat up and moved closer, reaching out to barely touch her fingertips to skin. It was soft, so soft, unlike the scarred skin of her own back. She wondered if the scars would bother Janet. The doctor hadn't really mentioned them during her exams, but obviously she knew the marks were there and wouldn't be going away anytime soon.
Sam traced shoulder blades that rose like tiny wings, then followed the line of her spine to her hairline. Janet shuddered under her hands, mouth opening in a small O. Grinning, she continued her exploration until Janet rose up on her elbows. "Honey?" she breathed, her voice thick with sleep.
"Hi," Sam replied.
"What are you doing awake?"
"Watching you. You're beautiful," Sam admitted, wondering if she'd ever said those words to anyone.
Janet grinned crookedly. "You're sweet, Sam, but you should be sleeping. You didn't get enough rest last night."
"I know, but it's damned hard to fall asleep when it's not even 10PM."
Sighing, Janet flopped back down on the bed. "God, it's just 24 hours since the hospital called."
Sam exhaled heavily, surprised. "Geez, you're right. I can't believe it's only been one day. You know I never thought I'd say this, but," Sam grinned sheepishly, "I've never been so grateful to wreck a car in my life."
Janet chuckled. "Just don't do it again, okay?"
"Girl Scout's honor." Sam ran her palm down Janet's arm. "I'm sorry I woke you. I know you're exhausted, but I just couldn't resist."
"S'okay, I don't mind," Janet told her, wriggling her body closer to Sam's. "Get down here, you're too far away."
"Yes ma'am," Sam saluted, and maneuvered under the covers with her head on the pillow and her good arm under Janet's head. A hand came up to rest just under her breast, and a leg claimed its rightful place between hers. "Mm, that's better. I was lonely with you all the way over there."
"You don't have to be lonely, Sam. I'm right here." Limpid brown eyes caressed her face, and Sam leaned down for a kiss. "Love you."
"I love you too."
"Think you can sleep now?"
"Yeah. My pill's probably starting to work. And you're a very accommodating teddy bear."
Janet smiled. "Anything for you, dear." She snuggled in closer, resting her head above Sam's breast. "Does this hurt?"
"Nope. It's perfect. I could get used to it," she murmured.
"You'd better," Janet said softly. "Good night."
Sam closed her eyes, a small grin lifting the corners of her lips. "Night."
Sam paced the kitchen floor, sipping steadily from her water glass. The wine they'd had with dinner knocked her out quickly. She wasn't much of a wine drinker, but since Janet made Italian she decided to give it a go. Janet had brought home something white-- pinot grigio?-- and Sam's eyes had widened at first taste.
"Wow!" She quickly had another sip just to make sure the first hadn't been a fluke. "This is good!"
Janet smiled slyly. "That's what happens when you spend more than $4.99 on a bottle."
"No, it's *really* good. Wow."
"A double wow rating, I couldn't ask for more. Don't drink too fast, it's got a high alcohol content."
"Janet," Sam had deadpanned, "You've seen me with the guys. I could drink you under the table."
"Don't overestimate your tolerance, sweetie. It has a helluva kick. Kinda like me." At that, Janet had leaned over and given Sam a long, slow kiss, tasting of wine and spice.
When she'd pulled away, Sam's head swam. She cleared her throat. "You sure do."
Two hours later she'd passed out on the couch. Unfortunately, she'd lost consciousness while kissing her very amorous girlfriend, who was no doubt disappointed at her bad timing. But hell, three glasses of wine seemed a lot more potent than three Coronas. Who knew?
She'd only realized after the fact that Janet had probably been setting the stage for the big event. Sam had smacked her forehead with gusto after she thought about it. Flowers, candlelight, expensive wine all made for a very romantic evening. And Cassie was conveniently staying across the street. Janet hadn't held back her affections on the couch, and if Sam had only been a little less loopy they'd have ended up in bed. Finally. Eight days had passed since their first kiss, first declaration of love, first chaste night together. The bruises had faded from Sam's accident, and she'd gained more mobility in her arm and shoulder since then. They ached, but not enough to keep her away from Janet for much longer.
They'd fooled around like teenagers a lot, each backing off when it got to be too much. But she had a sinking suspicion that Janet was about to burst from wanting. God knew she was feeling the tension pretty heavily at the moment; just thinking about Janet's damp breath in her ear a few short hours before made her knees weak. She licked her lips and leaned against the counter as she drank some more water.
Gradually she formed an image in her mind of what might have happened if she'd lain off that third glass of wine... Warm skin, slick mouths, soft hair, and best of all, the sound of Janet's voice when she was aroused. Throaty and rough, it raised goosebumps across her entire body, hardened her nipples and sent floods of heat through her. Sam breathed deeply as she recalled the guttural groan first heard three days before during a particularly intense grope session in the car. Having a teenaged daughter in the house usually put a damper on noisy bedtime antics. But that afternoon, Sam's mouth was fastened to a breast, and Janet had finally let loose a moan unlike any she'd ever heard. Sam had nearly come right then, and at that moment realized exactly how intense her attraction was to Janet. It was everything about her: her face, her body, her spirit, and damn, that voice absolutely did her in.
Janet had just looked down at her confusedly when she'd frozen, then panted in her face, "You okay?"
She nodded, and went back to her task: do anything to produce that sound again. When it worked, she'd jerked away and immediately pulled the shirt down to cover Janet's beautiful breasts. Sam's chest ached from exertion, her ribs protesting from the effort. "I can't. I'm sorry." She'd leaned back against the headrest and ground her teeth together in frustration.
"It's okay," Janet exhaled. "You'll be better soon." After catching her breath, she added, "Right?"
Sam turned her head and gazed into Janet's eyes. "I sure as hell hope so. I need you."
The small woman licked her lips and started the car. "We'd better go. Cassie will be wondering where we are."
They'd driven home in silence, Sam grinning as the steam from the windows slowly dissipated.
With a sigh, she started for the stairs. A sound broke the quiet of the house, putting Sam's senses on alert. She stood perfectly still, listening for it. Seconds later, it came again, and this time, Sam recognized it. It was that lost animal sound, the one she'd heard the night of the accident.
Janet was having a nightmare.
Quickly Sam climbed the stairs, careful not to slosh water over the edge of the glass. She reached the side of the bed and left the water on the nightstand, wondering if Janet would be thirsty when she woke up.
Janet groaned again, but for some reason, it sounded different than she remembered. Sam hardly noticed her own nipples tightening, so concerned was she over Janet's state of mind.
That is, until she heard Janet say her name in her sleep.
"Sa-a-am," she said, and suddenly Sam was extremely aware that Janet was *not* having a nightmare. She noticed Janet's chest rising and falling rapidly, one hand thrown over her head. The other hand was hidden beneath the covers. Slowly, Sam pulled the sheet back and nearly cried out at the sight of Janet's hand moving purposefully beneath her shorts as she slept.
That was all it took. Sam ripped the sheet off the bed and tore her own shirt off, hardly caring that her arm protested. Her shorts flew across the room to land on the corner of the dresser mirror. Without preamble, Sam yanked Janet's boxers down, and the woman jerked awake. "Huh?"
Sam licked up Janet's thigh. "You were dreaming." She took Janet's damp fingers and sucked them into her mouth. "About me."
"Ohhhh," Janet replied, her legs inadvertently spreading slightly.
Sucking at Janet's hipbone, she drawled, "I want you." Her tongue dipped into a perfect navel. "Do you want this?"
"God, yes, please," Janet cried, arching her back wantonly. Sam quickly pulled the little t-shirt off Janet, then hovered above her while braced against the headboard. It was an incredible view, Janet finally revealed to her completely.
Deft hands covered her breasts instantly, and Sam sagged at the touch. A soft voice murmured, "This is what I was dreaming about. Are you real?"
"I'd better be," Sam groaned as she straddled Janet's hips and lowered herself down. "When you were asleep, I heard you make that sound again."
Janet hands were busy doing incredible things to her breasts. "What sound?"
"Uhh, th-that," Sam gasped, "that one that drives me nuts."
Slowly the smaller woman sat up and Sam settled more heavily on her thighs, smearing wetness between them. Janet pressed her palms to Sam's rear and pulled close, licking at anything she could get to. "I make a sound that drives you nuts?" She circled Sam's breast till finally she latched onto the nipple.
Sam threaded her fingers through soft strands of hair, pressing the talented mouth hard against her. Distracted by the feelings sweeping through her, she couldn't make her mouth form words. To her dismay, Janet pulled away. "What sound?" she asked again.
"Wha-- um, you made it in the car the other day." Sam realized they wouldn't get any further till she satisfied her lover's curiosity. Dipping her head, she sucked at Janet's pebbled breast, teeth grazing the tender flesh just enough. After a moment, she was rewarded with the exact, gravelly tone she was searching for. It sent a frisson of heat through her, so she ground against Janet's leg to satisfy it. "That one. I like the way you sound, when I touch you. It," she paused, shoving away her reticence with effort, "does things to me."
"It does?" Janet breathed, seeming surprised at the idea of her voice being a turn on. Sam nodded vigorously to assure her. "Well then," she said as her hands came around to dip between Sam's legs, "I guess I'll have to make a little more noise, won't I." Her fingers slid through copious wetness, then she opened her mouth and groaned like there was no tomorrow.
Sam nearly hit the ceiling, throwing her head back and biting her bottom lip to keep from screaming. A tongue skimmed her throat and collarbones, and Sam drifted in a place of pure heat and motion, her skin feeling though as it were melting and enveloping Janet. The one she loved, and would love till she died. And after. "I love you," she cried as she moved against Janet's skillful hands.
Janet smiled. "I love you too, sweetheart. Now let me hear you. You're so quiet I hardly know if you like what I'm doing." Sam's eyes flew open and she peered down at Janet in disbelief. Quickly she realized she was being teased, but vowed to be a little more vocal.
That wasn't a problem when Janet's fingers penetrated her deeply. She cried out, loosening the hold she often kept on her reactions. "Kiss me," Janet pleaded.
Sam dropped her head and lost herself in Janet's mouth, whimpering as she got closer. She yanked her head back for air, moaning with abandon. Gradually she felt the pleasure centering, swirling on the perfect spot as she muttered incoherent words into the shell of an ear. Then she was there, exploding in Janet's embrace, her body jerking madly as the release shot out to every appendage, every nerve ending.
Her limbs swiftly gave out, and she slumped against Janet. They fell back against the bed, Sam's muscles completely loose and exhausted. Her breath came in short pants, and her throat felt strangely raw.
When she was able to lift her head, she looked over at her partner, eyes wide. "Huuhh," she said, and Janet cackled.
"Is that right?"
"Huh, yeah." Sam slid her weight off rounded hips and nuzzled an ear. Moving her lips to Janet's throat, she felt the wildness of her pulse, reminding her there was more to be done. She opened her lips and dragged them down velvet skin, inhaling and licking as she went. "Smell so good," she rumbled, and Janet's hands dug into her hair to tug gently.
She spent minutes on each breast, Janet's lilting voice encouraging her caresses. When they'd begun a physical relationship, it occurred to Sam that as much fantasizing as she'd done, she had never touched a woman in a sexual way. At first, she wasn't entirely certain of her abilities in pleasing a female body. Those feelings had flown out the window almost instantly; Janet's responses assured her that she was doing everything right. She felt that same confidence now while Janet writhed beneath her hands and mouth.
"Sam, you feel so good, so much better than my dream," she mumbled. "God, there, right there," she begged as Sam's fingers crept below Janet's curls.
Hesitating only a moment, Sam pressed her tongue between Janet's thighs. Immediately strong legs jerked together around Sam's ears and hands pulled harder on her hair.
If the noises Janet made earlier turned Sam on, these sent her into the stratosphere. She kissed the honeyed flesh with vigor, sliding her fingers inside and listening carefully to gauge responses. A steady stream of groans met her ears, so she kept on, thrilled that she was pleasing her lover. Already she was astonished to find herself highly aroused again, practically on the verge of coming.
She curled her fingers up inside the heated cavern, losing a hunk of hair in the process as Janet yanked her fisted hand away and wailed in release. Curved hips froze in mid-thrust while Sam's tongue fluttered, trying desperately to draw out the pleasure. Seconds later, Janet collapsed, throwing her arm back over her head.
Sam couldn't hold back a huge grin as she caught her breath. She giggled. Sprawled out gracefully, Janet opened one eye and peered down at Sam. "What's so funny?"
Still laughing, Sam managed, "You pulled my hair out."
"What? Don't be ridi--" She froze, and Sam saw the moment she realized she still had a chunk of blonde in her left hand. Her mouth dropped, and she exclaimed, "Oh, Sam, honey, I am so sorry." Reaching for Sam's head, Janet tried to sit up but couldn't seem to make her muscles work.
"Don't you move," Sam said, sliding up Janet's body and spreading herself over her. "I'm fine. I hardly felt it. Honest." She kissed the base of Janet's throat. "I was sort of, um, occupied at the time."
"I liked how you were occupied. Very much." Two hands held Sam's face and drew her in for a kiss that started passionately, but evolved into a gentle expression of devotion. "I love you," she said, and staring into Janet's fathomless eyes, Sam believed.
"You did well with only one arm. Once you get that cast off, I'm afraid you'll be the death of me," Janet smirked.
Sam focused on a single word she'd just heard. "I did *well*? That's all I get? A *well* rating? That's like *fine*. I need better than *fine*. I'm an overachiever."
Janet laughed heartily, and the smile lit her whole face. It warmed Sam's heart, and she knew she could watch those lips form that exact same expression every night for the rest of her life. "I was being facetious, sweetie," Janet reasoned.
"Nope, no way. I have to get a better score." Sam got up on her knees and waved her arm around, wincing slightly at the pain in her shoulder. "Can you cut this cast off me? You know I'm ambidextrous."
"I believe it, but quit flailing around, you'll hurt yourself. I need to keep you intact." Janet snaked her tongue out and licked the corner of her mouth. "The night isn't over yet, you know."
Sam leaned over Janet, bracing herself with her good arm. Undulating against Janet's soft belly, she growled, "You can say that again."