CHAPTER 10: "On The Beach..."

Michelle was gently awakened the next morning by the touch of Tammy's fingertips caressing her breasts, and her lips and tongue on the back of her neck. She smiled, the giggled. "Tammy," she said, her voice still husky with sleep, "cut it out."

"Oh, do you really want me to stop?" asked Tammy, continuing. "It's a lovely day...we shouldn't be wasting it in here..."

"Mmm...who said anything about wasting it?" replied Michelle, turning her head slightly. Tammy worked her way around Michelle's neck, ear, and cheek. Michelle turned a little more, reaching behind her and puttiing an arm around Tammy's neck. Their lips and tongues met, and within moments, they were wrapped around each other, hugging, kissing and giggling. Before long, their bodies were so entangled, it would have been difficult to tell where one ended and the other began.

They eventually wound up in an upright position, straddling each other's thighs, rubbing themselves against each other's hips as the gently sucked each other's tongues. Michelle opened her eyes as they kissed, and discovered Tammy's eyes were open as well -- something she found strangely erotic, adding fuel to her already building desire.

She exploded suddenly, without warning. Gasping, she clutched Tammy's hips, driving herself against her. As the throbbing in her center began to subside, she gently bit Tammy's neck.

"Ooh! Mija..." Tammy squealed in surprise and delight.

"I'm not finished with you yet, lover," Michelle declared huskily, thrusting her tongue into Tammy's eager mouth.

She pushed her thigh harder against Tammy's sex. rubbing back and forth, faster and faster, until Tammy cried out, crushing her mouth against Michelle's, seeking her tongue hungrily.

They held each other for several minutes afterward.

"Ye gods, that was incredible," Michelle said, still breathless.

"For you and me both," Tammy said.

They kissed again. "I could do this all day," said Michelle, dreamily.

"Oh, me too," replied Tammy. She began running her tongue teasingly over Michelle's lips.

Michelle felt her body responding to Tammy yet again. She began to tighten her embrace and started to move her face closer to Tammy's, when suddenly, Tammy pulled away. Standing up, she announced. "But -- we've got all weekend for that -- and it's a gorgeous day, and I think we should get out in it."

Michelle raised an annoyed eyebrow. "Tease," she said.

Tammy sat back down on the bed, and put her face right in front of Michelle's. "You know I'm right, darling," she said playfully.

Michelle grinned. "Yes, I know -- but you're still a tease."

"And you love it."

Michelle nodded. "Yes...I confess, that is quite a turn-on." She kissed Tammy again, then said, "I am absolutely famished."

"Me too," said Tammy. "I guess a wild night will do that."

"I guess so, replied Michelle with a wink.

* * * * *

Over Michelle's favorite breakfast of espresso and blueberry bagels with cream cheese and orange marmalade (What an incredible sweetie, Michelle thought fondly when she realized how carefully Tammy had planned the menu that morning), Michelle began to tell Tammy some of the things she'd learned about her late grandmother -- and herself.

"It -- it was almost like I was living her life -- experiencing everything she had," Michelle explained.

"It was very emotional for you," Tammy replied.

"Oh, yes...well, you know...Grandmama was really the one who practically raised me...I mean, my mother took care of me -- I never went hungry or cold, or anything like that -- but Grandmama was the one who -- well, taught me about know?"

Tammy nodded. "You must still miss her terribly."

Michelle nodded. "I do...but...I don't's like, she was so old...had lived and seen and done so was easier to let go, because I guess we all knew she'd had her time. Not like when somebody dies young." Ye gods, but I still wish I could talk to you right now, Grandmama, Michelle thought.

Tammy sighed. "I never knew any of my grandparents," she said. Then she brightened, and said, "Well...I thought maybe we'd go into town today and go shopping for awhile -- "

Michelle raised an eyebrow. "Shopping?"

"Oh yes -- you'd love the El Camino district -- all the most interesting little stores..."

Unlike most reasonably affluent young women her age, Michelle did not care for "shopping" for the sake of "shopping." She had enough clothes to wear something different every day for two weeks, which she considered sufficient...beyond that and everyday expenses, her only real indulgences were her books, her cabernet, and an occasional music CD. She looked at Tammy. Oh well, she thought. I still love her.

"Are they any used book stores down there?"

"Oh yes -- there's one that carries just about any obscure title you might want -- it's called -- "

"I've heard enough -- let's go."

* * * * *

"Don't you want to come in here with me?" asked Tammy, almost hurt as they stood outside a specialty clothing store called "Batik Creole."

"Do you mind if I just meet you back here in -- oh, say an hour or so?"

"Well -- all right."

"Do you know where that book store is?"

"Well, actually, there's three of them. Let's see...the "Bookworm" is just around the corner..."Littleton's" is..."

Michelle smiled and gave Tammy a peck on the cheek. "It's okay, sweetie. I'll find them."

Quadra Bay was your typical sea-coast tourist town in many ways -- particularly in its size. Despite the relative smallness of the central business district, Michelle still managed to get lost within five minutes. Oh well, she thought to herself. Might as well enjoy the Spanish Colonial architecture while I try to find my way back.

She turned down a street called "Calle San Sebastian," and noticed a rather intriguing record/music shop. "Tommy's Tunes," the sign said. Michelle grinned at the take-off on the name of a certain Broadway choreographer. What the hell, she decided, walking in.

The young man was about her age -- maybe a year or two older. Not a "hunk," thought Michelle -- but he's cute. He looked like someone who had stepped out of the 1960's -- shaggy hair pulled back into a ponytail, a light beard, and wire-rimmed glasses. He noticed Michelle and smiled.

"Hi," said Michelle.

"How's it goin'?" the young man replied.

"Are you 'Tommy?'"

The young man laughed. "Naw -- there isn't really one. I'm Kyle," he said, extending a hand.

"Michelle," she replied, taking it.

"Pretty name. Did anyone ever tell you -- "

Michelle rolled her eyes. Oh, good. Here we go again. "...what a pretty lady I am? Oh yes, all the time," she said, wearily.

"Well -- that's true, but that wasn't what I was going to say."

Michelle raised an eyebrow. "Oh -- ?"

"I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to -- "

"Oh, it's all right," Michelle giggled. Despite herself, she actually found herself developing a liking for this fellow.

"I just couldn't help noticing -- you look a lot like Lucille Ball."

"Lucille Ball?"

"Oh -- I mean -- when she was younger -- you know -- back in the 1930's."

"Was she around then?"

"Oh, yeah...she'd done vaudeville and movies for years before I Love Lucy. In fact, did you know I Love Lucy was a radio show before it was on T.V.?"

"Sounds like you know a lot about that stuff."

Kyle grinned. "Yeah," he said, "it's kinda dumb, I guess, but I always loved that show. Ever see it?"

Michelle shook her head. "I don't really watch much T.V."

Me neither," Kyle replied. "But I admit, I'm pretty fond of Lucy." He chuckled. Then, changing the subject abruptly, he said "Anything I can help you find today?"

Michelle shook her head. "Just out shopping."

"Okay -- well, just let me know." With that, he sat down on a stool and picked up a book he'd apparently been reading before she came in. Michelle noticed the cover -- A Brief History of Media and Popular Culture in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, it read. Whew, thought Michelle. "Looks heavy," she said under her breath.

"Beg pardon?" asked Kyle.

"Your book -- doesn't look like its light reading."

"Oh this -- yeah, I'm doing my master's degree in communication over at South State," he explained.

"I almost went there," said Michelle.


"Yeah -- but PLU was closer to home," she replied.

"Oh -- are you from Port Landers?"

Michelle nodded. "My best friend was majoring in botany, and PLU seemed to have the best department -- and, I didn't really want to leave home by myself." Ye gods, she thought, why am I blabbering on to this guy?

Kyle nodded. "I go up there sometimes," he said. "The city library has a great historical archive."

Michelle smiled. "Why, thank you," she said.

Kyle looked at her quizzically. "Little civic pride there?"

"Actually," Michelle explained, "I'm an assistant librarian there. Keeping the archives are part of my job."

"Well, you do a bang-up job of it," said Kyle appreciatively.

Michelle blushed. "Thanks," she said. "But look, I'll let you get back to your book."

"Gimme a holler if you need anything," Kyle replied.

Michelle wandered around the record and CD racks for about twenty minutes, picking through the selections casually. Billy 'em all...Sting? Ick...she moved over to the classical section and started looking for anything Mozart, when her eye fell on a section labelled "Jazz."

The jazz section was meticulously organized -- obviously, this was "Tommy's" first love. Selections were sub-categorized into Latin, Be-bop, Fusion, Mainstream -- and a small section devoted to "Trad Jazz and Ragtime." What's "trad?" Michelle wondered. Ragtime she knew about from her grandmother. Out of curiosity she began to pick through the selections. Yerba Buena Jazz Band, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, Young Duke at the Cotton Club -- none of the names meant anything to her. Then, she saw a CD that made her heart stop. It was labelled:


THE ROARING '20's, vol. 3:


"Katie, You're The Lady"

"Oh my god," said Michelle aloud.

Kyle looked up. "Find something?"

Michelle picked up the CD. "My god..." she turned it over. On the back were reproductions of old photos. One was the same photo of Fletch Hamilton that her grandmother had had; the other was a group portrait of the band. She picked it up and took it to the front. "How much?"

Kyle took the CD from her and looked at it over the top of his glasses. "Fletch Hamilton," he remarked. "He was one of the greats."

And you don't know the half of it, thought Michelle. Aloud, she said, "Can I open this up and look at the liner notes?"

"Uh -- sure, why not?" As he removed the wrapper, he added, "I -- uh -- assume you want me to go ahead and ring this up, then?"

"Yes...please." Kyle handed the now-opened CD back to her and started ringing up the sale. Immediately, she opened the case and started reading the liner notes:

Were it not for his untimely death on March 14th, 1925, Fletch Hamilton might have become one of the greatest names in jazz, perhaps surpassing even Duke Ellington...

Quickly, Michelle flipped through the brochure to the list of songs: Wait 'Til You See My Baby Do The Charleston, Black Bottom Stomp, My Baby Don't Mean Maybe...finally, she found the one she was looking for...


This tune was composed by Hamilton himself about three months before his death. There were many rumors at the time that Katie, You're The Lady actually referred to a "mystery woman" he was romantically involved with. Despite the many theories and a great deal of speculation, the identity of "Katie" -- if she existed at all -- has remained a mystery. This tune is interesting in the syncopated pattern that is first set up in the verse...

Suddenly, the words on the page blurred. Michelle realized that tears were falling from her eyes. She swallowed and sniffed.

"Hey -- are you all right?" asked Kyle.

"Huh?" said Michelle, looking up, her eyes wet. "Uh -- no -- (*sniff*) -- it -- it's just these damn allergies of mine..."

"Here, " said Kyle, reaching behind the counter. "I have some tissue..." he pulled out a box of kleenex and handed it to her.

"Thanks," Michelle said tearily.

"I've got some 'Dryzit,' if you want."


"Yeah, it's sort of an herbal anti-histamine," said Kyle, chuckling.

Michelle giggled. "I bet you're a vegan, too."

Kyle grinned. "Well...I still like cheese once in a while."

"I thought about going 'veg' once," replied Michelle, glad to change the subject.

"Well, you know..."

Before long, Michelle and Kyle were having an animated conversation about the pros and cons of various dietary choices, which wandered to cuisine, wine...before she realized it, Michelle had lost all track of time.

"So -- there you are!"

Michelle looked up to see Tammy enter the shop. "Oh -- hi, Tam..."

Tammy, not looking particularly pleased, came up to Michelle. "You were supposed to meet me an hour ago." She gave Kyle a rather cold look. Kyle simply smiled and nodded.

"Uh -- Kyle, this is -- uh, my friend, Tammy."

"Hi," Kyle said pleasantly.

Tammy ignored him. "I was worried about you."

"Tam, I'm sorry -- here, look at this," Michelle said, holding up the CD she had just purchased. "This was the guy my grandmother wrote about."

"We should get going," replied Tammy icily.

"Yeah, I suppose." She turned to Kyle. "Well, it was nice meeting you."

"Same here -- you ladies around for long?"

"Only until Monday," Tammy said tonelessly.

"Well -- enjoy your stay. Michelle -- maybe I'll see you next time I'm up at the library."

"Sure," replied Michelle. "I'm usually there during the week."

"Let's go," said Tammy, pinching Michelle's arm.

"See you," said Michelle as they walked out the door.

* * * * * *

Tammy said little on the way back to the car.

"So -- what'd you get?" asked Michelle.

"Stuff," said Tammy brusquely.

"Where is it?"

"I put it in the trunk."

They arrived at the car. Michelle took the passenger seat, and Tammy slid in behind the wheel, started the motor, gunned it, dropped the transmission into low and popped the clutch. The little roadster lurched forward with a squeal of tires.

"Hey! Watch it!" said Michelle, startled.

"Fuck you," said Tammy.

They whizzed out onto the highway and started heading south. Neither woman spoke a word for some time. Finally, Michelle said, "Tammy, are you upset with me because I lost track of time and missed meeting you?"

"What do you think?"

"Where are we going?"

"I don't know yet."

Again, there was silence.

After awhile, Tammy turned off onto a little dirt road that meandered through some trees. They came to a gate, marked "Private Property -- No Tresspassing." Tammy slammed on the brakes, got out and opened the gate.

"Tammy, what the hell are you doing?"

"What does it look like?"

"Tammy, can't you read the sign?"

"Yes, I can read, Miss High-And-Mighty College Girl with her fucking degree in Library Science!"

"Tammy, what's your problem?"

Tammy got back into the car. She drove through the gate then got out, closed the gate again. Finally, they continued down the dirt road.

They finally came out on a secluded beach, surrounded by rock formations and a number of trees. Michelle had never seen a place so beautiful.

Tammy pulled under one of the trees, shut the motor off and sat in the driver's seat, arms folded across her front under her breasts. They were silent for several minutes. Finally, Michelle turned slowly.

"Can we talk?"

No response.

"Tammy -- "

"So -- was that guy cute? You guys gotta date coming up?" Tammy spat.

Michelle's eyes grew wide. "Now wait a minute -- "

"No -- you tell me!"

Michelle grinned and shook her head. "Tammy, Tammy, Tammy..." she said. "Hey, he was just a nice guy...I was enjoying talking to him."

"I could tell," said Tammy in an icy tone.

Michelle reached out to put a hand on Tammy's arm, but she pulled away. "Honey, I'm sorry...but really -- I was just talking to him..."

Tammy looked up at Michelle. "Yeah, and didn't show up to meet me when you were supposed to...I had no idea what happened!" She looked away, then added "Then I see you in that record store flirting with that hippie-guy -- "

"I was not flirting with him! We were just having a conversation!" yelled Michelle. "Ye gods! Aren't I allowed to talk to anybody?"

Tammy sighed. "I'm sorry -- it just looked to me like -- "

"Hey," Michelle said softly, putting a hand on Tammy's bare shoulder.

Tammy turned. She was still unsmiling, but the look in her eyes had softened. "What?"

Michelle grinned. "I think it's sweet of you to be so jealous."

Tammy's eyes grew wide. "I -- I was not!" she protested.

Michelle shook her head. "Well, it sure seemed that way to me," she said. "And I love you for it." With that, she pulled Tammy's face to her own and planting a long, deep, passionate kiss on her mouth.

"Oh, you bitch," Tammy sighed, sliding her arms around the other woman, and sliding her tongue deep into Michelle's mouth.

Soon they were pulling at each other's clothing, putting their hands all over each other. Mouths glued together, they began working their clothes off until they were nearly naked. The fact that they were in the front seat of a sports car, while making it awkward, also seemed to make it all the more exciting. Before long, they had their hands on each other's sex, fingering and stroking each other as they kissed, licking and sucking each other's tongues. They came off at nearly the same time, gasping and crying out in surprise and pleasure...

They held each other in silence for quite awhile afterward. Finally, Michelle said, "Ye gods...we should fight like that more often..."

Tammy smiled and looked up. She kissed Michelle's lips tenderly, and replied, "I don't like fighting." She kissed her again, teasing with her tongue, and added, "But I do like making up."

Michelle returned her kiss, caressing Tammy's lips with her tongue. "I love you, Tammy Carvallo," she mumured.

"I love you, Michelle Devereaux," replied Tammy, her lips parting to welcome Michelle's tongue.

Michelle reached behind her and pulled the doorlatch. The passenger side door came opened, spilling the two women out on to the sand, giggling, wrestling and kissing. They made love again on the sand next to the car for nearly an hour...

Afterward, Tammy commented, "I packed us a lunch, if you're hungry..."

Michelle chuckled. "A girl can sure work up an appetite -- all that fightin' and lovin'." She kissed Tammy one more time, then they got up and began pulling things out of the trunk -- beach blankets, a large parasol, and a cooler -- and carrying them to the beach closer to the water.

"So, what happens when we get caught?" asked Michelle as they set up the parasol and spread out blankets on the sand.

"Oh -- are you talking about the gate back there?"


Tammy chuckled. "The beach isn't "private" -- but the only ways you can get to it is by boat or through that property. Those folks aren't even here except for around the holidays."

"I see," Michelle commented.

"Like a beer?" asked Tammy, pulling out some sandwiches and a brown bottle.

"Sure," said Michelle.

They spoke little as they sat under the parasol, eating their sandwiches. Afterward, Tammy pulled out some sliced fruit she had brought. She would put the slices halfway into her mouth, then offer Michelle the other half. Their mouths would cling together for several seconds before they bit the slice in half between them.

"Ye gods, that's erotic," murmured Michelle appreciatively.

Tammy leaned over and kissed her neck gently. Michelle closed her eyes and slowly lay back as Tammy proceeded to kiss her neck, shoulders, working her way down to her chest, pulling her bathing suit top off again, and running her tongue over her breasts...

They made love again, slowly and tenderly this time, with Tammy laying her full length on top of Michelle, their legs entwining. Arms around each other, they lay nearly motionless, except for their heads moving back and forth as they kissed each other's lips, caressing and exploring each other's mouths with their tongues.

"Oh, Tammy...whispered Michelle between kisses.

"Yes, mija," replied Tammy, caressing Michelle's lips with her own, then running her tongue over them.

Michelle sucked Tammy's tongue into her mouth gently, caressed it with her own tongue, then whispered, "Tammy...oh god...I love your mouth..."

Slowly, Tammy counted Michelle's teeth with her tongue...then Michelle did the same with Tammy. Their mouths practically glued together, Michelle moved her hand over Tammy's back, starting slide her bathing suit bottom off. She realized she couldn't get enough of the sensation of Tammy's smooth, soft skin against her own.

They rolled onto their sides, rubbing their thighs against each other. Their breasts were squeezed together as their embrace grew tighter and tighter, and their kisses grew deeper and more passionate. They thrust their hips together, grabbing each other's buttocks and grinding against each other. Soon, their kisses consisted holding their tongues together with mouths wide open as they gasped for breath...

Michelle squealed as Tammy pushed her knee between her thighs, pressing against her sex...Michelle rubbed against Tammy's leg vigorously until she came off violently.

When the throbbing subsided, Michelle ran her fingers over Tammy's hip, down her thigh, and back up to the small patch of black hair at the juncture of her thighs. She rolled onto to her back and closed her eyes in bliss as Michelle fingered and caressed her sex, kissing her ear playfully. Within a few minutes, Tammy gasped and moaned, then relaxed.

She rolled onto her side, and Tammy and Michelle put their arms around each other, gazing into each other's eyes.

"Does it get any better than this?" asked Michelle quietly.

"I don't know, mija," replied Tammy. "Hard to imagine."

Michelle ran her fingers through Tammy's long black hair. "I am so in love," she murmured. "I could stay like this for days."

"I wish we could," said Tammy. Suddenly, she pulled away. "But then, we couldn't try out the water!" She sprang to her feet.

"Hey -- " Michelle pushed herself halfway up.

Tammy bent down, fastened her mouth onto Michelle's, poking her tongue into the other woman's mouth briefy, then pulled away. "Last one in is a blonde bimbo!"

"Hey!" said Michelle, getting to her feet, accepting the challenge. She made a grab for Tammy, but Tammy pulled away and ran toward the water. Michelle chased after her.

They wrestled in the water playfully, grabbing, tickling and kissing as they panted and giggled. Eventually, they went down together. As their bodies came together and they began making love yet again, Michelle thought of an old movie she'd seen once...and an extremely erotic love scene on a beach...what was that, she wondered as she joined her mouth to Tammy's...

They made love over and over again on the beach, under the trees, and even in a shallow lagoon that came inland a few hundred yards, enjoying and pleasuring each other in every way either of them could think of. They finally wound up back under the parasol, lying in each other's arms.

They simply lay quietly together, stroking and caressing each other. Finally, Michelle murmured, "'re incredible..."

Tammy smiled and kissed Michelle's cheek. "Don't sell yourself short, mija," she declared. "Takes know?"

Michelle giggled. Then her face took on a dreamy expression. "I could stay like this with you forever," she said earnestly.

Tammy sighed. "Oh, mija...who needs forever? We have now."

Michelle wasn't quite sure how to take that...but she couldn't argue with it. It was the most wonderful "now" she'd ever had (except for once). Michelle sighed contentedly and rested her head in Tammy's breast, finally dozing off in the late afternoon heat...

She woke with a start. The sun had set; the air had gotten noticeably cooler. Tammy was not there.

"Tammy?" She looked around. "Tammy...?" Her eyes turned toward the water...Tammy was wading out in the water, a few yards out. Michelle rose to her feet and walked out to the shore.

Tammy was simply standing there in the water, waist-deep, letting the small waves lap around her body. Michelle waded out to her and put her arms around her from behind, cupping her breasts gently. Tammy turned her head, and they shared a long, sweet kiss. She then turned her entire body, and their arms encircled one another. They stood there in the water for a long time, kissing and caressing, until it was almost completely dark. Then, wordlessly, Tammy took Michelle by the hand, leading her back up onto the beach. As they approached the parasol, Michelle saw that Tammy had built a pile of driftwood in a circle of stones. Tammy knelt down, removed a cigarette lighter from her handbag, then proceeded to light the driftwood. While the flames leapt higher, Tammy pulled the big beach blanket over next to the fire. She then gently pulled Michelle down so they were on their knees, facing each other, thigh-to-thigh, their naked bodies in full contact.

They stayed like that for a long time, just gazing into each other's eyes, caressing each other's face, shoulders, and arms. Slowly, Tammy moved her face toward Michelle's. They kissed each other's lips -- coolly at first...then, little by little, more ardently, looking into each other's eyes the whole time. Soon, their lips were parted -- ever so slightly -- then the tips of their tongues touched teasingly. Gradually, their kisses became deeper, and more and more passionate. Before long, their mouths were wide-open, sealed together as they ravenously sought each other's tongues.

Michelle began working her way down, kissing Tammy's face, licking her neck and shoulders, running her tongue all over her breasts...slowly, Tammy lay back on the blanket, as Michelle continued her erotic journey "south." Slowly, she kissed her way over the curve of Tammy's hip, and down her leg, running her tongue along her inner thigh...

Tammy gasped. "Oh, Mishi..." she sighed.

Eventually, Michelle made it all the way to Tammy's feet, placing a playful kiss on each toe, eliciting giggles from Tammy. Then she looked back at Tammy's face...

"Come, mija..." Tammy whispered. "Come kiss my mouth..." Michelle moved back toward Tammy's face, her legs entwining with the other woman's... as she touched Tammy's lips with her own, Tammy whispered, "I want to feel your tongue on mine...let me taste your sweet mouth." She began teasing with her tongue again in the way that made Michelle lose control...

Michelle pulled back for a moment, regarding Tammy in the reflection of the firelight. Tammy said nothing -- their eyes locked for several seconds. It..feels so...primal, Michelle thought, as the last vestiges of rational thought fled from her mind. Suddenly, she felt as if they were two savage animal-women, consumed with passion, performing some primitive, erotic ritual...

With a wordless cry, Michelle flung herself on Tammy. Tammy grabbed Michelle's hair and pulled her face down to her own. Their mouths locked together, they kissed hungrily, sucking and licking each other's tongues, their bodies creating their own savage heat as naked skin caressed and rubbed against naked a tangle of arms and legs, they rolled back and forth on the blanket, wrestling, grinding and battering against each other in an erotic parody of combat...

They exploded at nearly the same time...Michelle screamed in ecstacy as wave after wave of pleasure rolled up from between her thighs and over her body. Tammy went rigid, digging her fingers into Michelle's back, locking her legs around her lover's body as a low growling sound arose from the back of her throat, rising to an almost ear-splitting screech as she experienced her own climax.

They lay there for almost an hour, holding each other, dozing off to the lullaby duet played by the crashing waves on the shore in counterpoint with the crackling of the slowly dying fire.

Finally, Tammy spoke softly. "So incredible," she murmured sleepily. She laid her head on Michelle's shoulder. "Love you..."

Michelle smiled and kissed the top of Tammy's head.

* * * * *

They lay like that over the better part of another hour, until the fire died out. Slowly, reluctantly, shivering in the now-chilled air, Tammy and Michelle slowly put on their clothes, picked up all the trash, packed up the parasol, blankets, and other assorted odds and ends, and started back to town.

The drive back to Carlos' beach house was made in silence. They held hands, fingers entwined most of the way, arriving at the house about forty minutes later.

Both women were exhausted. When Michelle started to open the trunk, Tammy waved her hand. "Forget it, mija," she said with a weary wave of her hand. "We can deal with it tomorrow."

Michelle nodded. Hand-in-hand, they entered the house, stumbled into the bedroom, slipped out of their clothes and fell into bed. Slowly, they put their arms around each other.

"Thank you," murmured Michelle sleepily.

"For what?" replied Tammy, equally drowsy.

"For today...for being in my life..."

"Thank you, mija," Tammy answered. "Buenos noches, mi dolce."

Michelle kissed her tenderly. "Goodnight, lover."