Liana rolled onto her back as she stretched, yawning as she watched Mare sitting on the side of the trundle bed, answering a text message. The previous night had gone quite uneventfully, for the most part. John had set up the Christmas tree and Leigh, Liana and Mare set about decorating it. Leigh made them all hot chocolate and put on her favorite Elvis Presley Christmas album. It was a great time, ending in dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato basil soup. The night culminated with the two women watching television with Leigh… and John, until he fell asleep in his chair about a half hour after dinner. Curled up in front of the couch together, in a room lit only by the cheery glow of Christmas lights, they’d watched Leigh shuffle Liana’s father off to bed. As Liana had been trying to get Leigh back into Supernatural, the three of them managed to make it through two episodes before she, too, succumbed to fatigue. Afterwards, they’d retired to the room they shared for the duration of Mare’s stay.
They tugged the trundle out from under the daybed and set it up close enough that the mattresses were touching and the comforter and blankets were shared. Getting under the coverlets first, Liana watched as Mare turned out the lights and crawled across the trundle to snuggle closer to her. As her fingers threaded through Liana’s and tightened, Liana felt her heart speed up and she whispered, “Can I tell you something?”
“I want you to tell me everything, Liana.” Mare shifted a little closer, nuzzling her nose against Liana’s. “Our… chemistry… is unreal!”
Liana nodded, her smile bright. “I was thinking the exact same thing. It blows my mind that you’re here, that you’re this close, and that tomorrow morning, when I wake up, you’ll be here and not a dream.”
Mare’s lips lifted in a crooked grin. “I keep thinking the same thing.” She leaned up to press a kiss to Liana’s forehead. “I just don’t want this time together to ever end.”
Liana pushed closer to the other woman, loosing her hand to slide it into the warm silk of Mare’s hair. “Me, either.”
A giggle drew her from memory and Liana lifted her blue gaze to find Mare staring at her, chewing on the corner of her lower lip. “You have no idea how adorable you are, do you?”
“What do you mean?” Liana lifted up on one elbow, her eyes focused on Mare’s full and shiny lower lip. Gods, her lips are amazing!
A light knock came at the door as Leigh cracked it open. “We’re going to go in to town for some groceries. I know it’s early,” she whispered, able only to see Liana. “I’m fairly certain you aren’t ready to get out of bed yet. Anything you think you and your guest will need or want to eat? Also, is there anything you left back in Nevada?”
Ten minutes later, the two women listened as the front door shut and locked behind Liana’s parents. Rolling onto her side, Liana slid her hand over the flat plane of Mare’s belly, whispering, “Coffee?”
Mare’s hands slid up and into the soft waves of Liana’s blonde hair, drawing her face down as she answered, “In a minute.”
Liana nuzzled her face against Mare’s, her eyes fluttering shut as she breathed the other woman’s breath. “It feels very much like the air is charged—”
“It is,” Mare murmured next to Liana’s ear. “It’s been charged—”
“I have goosebumps all over—”
Lips pressed lightly to hers, interrupting her sentence, though Liana didn’t care as she surged into the line of Mare’s body, winding her arms around her neck, her fingers threading through warm golden hair. Opening her mouth wider to invite a deeper kiss, Liana moaned when Mare’s hands moved from her hair to rub over Liana’s chest and sides. Mare sighed against Liana’s cheek, relinquishing control to Liana even as she sucked lightly on Liana’s tongue.
Falling onto her back, she giggled as Mare crawled up over her, hooded Channel-blue eyes holding her own wide blue eyes captive. Liana’s fingers tugged Mare’s hair back, winding the thick stuff loosely around her hands as she lifted her lips to the other woman. Liana lost herself in the feel of Mare’s hands on her skin, the weight of Mare’s body on her own, the taste of her tongue and the softness of her lips, the sound of her pleasure… Mare fully intoxicated all of Liana’s senses and all she wanted was more.
Mare’s lips and teeth and tongue moved down her throat, nipping at the vein throbbing in Liana’s neck before whispering, “You… gods, I can’t seem to stop—”
Liana’s hands clenched as she arched into Mare’s touch. “Please don’t!”
Heavy footsteps in the entryway as the screen door slammed shut seconds later sent Liana giggling and shoving Mare off her as she squealed, “No, give it back!”
“Never!” Mare shouted, crawling to the other side of the trundle.
The immediate chill of their separation sent goosebumps all over her and Liana followed after her on her knees, reaching out to grab her hands as she cried out, “Give it back to me!”
“What will I get if I do?” Mare’s right eyebrow arched as her eyes sparkled in the morning sun. “A shiny nickel?”
A knock came at her doorjamb and Liana turned her face towards it, seeing her father’s face appear in the crack. “Your brother called. We’re not going to drag you out of here when you’ve not had time to get ready, but I needed to get my phone charger and I didn’t want you to worry if we were gone longer than your mother told you.”
“All right, Daddy. Thankee, thankee! I love you!” Liana favored him with a warm smile before getting off the trundle and running over to kiss his cheek. “I love you.”
John hugged her tightly, kissing the top of her head. “I love you, too, dearheart. We’ll be back soon, and I’ll call you on our way home to see what you want us to bring you home for lunch. We’ll even stop at Cracker Barrel.”
“Thankee, Daddy!” Another kiss to his cheek and seconds later, the front door shut and locked behind him.
Liana turned around to see Mare walking on her knees to the edge of the daybed, gnawing on the corner of her lower lip as she came to a stop. Her long ash-blonde hair tumbled in glorious disarray about her shoulders as she reached for Liana, whispering, “So we have a while… whatcha wanna do?”
At the arch of a slender right eyebrow, Liana could only think of one thing to do and she knew it would do nothing to get her into Mare’s heart. She also knew what she wanted to do wouldn’t slake her desire even a little bit. Be more like throwing a bottle of lighter fluid onto a bonfire. Padding over to wind her arms around Mare’s slim shoulders, Liana tangled her hands in the woman’s golden hair, her words quiet, “I feel like if I do what I want to do, the history of the world will say we’re moving too fast.”
Mare’s hands settled on Liana’s hips. “I know exactly what you mean.” She nuzzled her face against Liana’s, their lips brushing briefly. “Tell me what you want from me, Liana.”
“I think it would be easier to tell you what I don’t want from you.” Liana swallowed hard, biting her own lip as Mare caught and held her gaze, waiting for her to speak. Gods, what do I say? What do I not say? Exhaling a shaky breath, she gave in. “I want to know what it feels like to wake up to you every day.” Tearing her gaze from the other woman’s, she finished, “I want our conversation from last night to be a reality. I don’t want our time together to ever end.”
Slender fingers slid over her cheek and into her hair. “I don’t see why it has to end, Liana. I don’t have any pressing commitments. I know that you’re down here to visit your parents at Christmas, so I know that I can’t be the only thing you’re—”
“But you are,” Liana interjected, a shy smile forming on her lips. “You are the only thing I can seem to think about.”
Mare blushed. “You seem to be all I can think about right now, too.” Pressing a quick kiss to Liana’s lips, she continued, “I just mean, I know I can’t be your main priority—because Christmas—but I can be here when you do what you came to do and I can whisk you away if it doesn’t go the way you want it to go.” Her smile turned a little shy. “I mean… I understand that we can’t just jump into this, but gods, do I wanna.”
“I know, right?” Liana gave a dry laugh. “It’s like, if we were only ten years younger, then—”
“—we’d have the ten years to get to know each other, not react on desire, become a confusing insta-love slammed on Goodreads—”
Liana laughed out loud. “Don’t forget be likened in some way to a Hunger Games knock-off… or Twilight, if either of them were gay!”
Mare threw her head back and joined Liana in her mirth as for a long time, neither woman could do anything but succumb to comfortable joy.
It was with great reluctance that Liana helped Mare to the security checkpoint. They laughed as they joked back and forth about their favorite parts in the last Supernatural episode they’d watched with Leigh, one from the second season called Tall Tales. Mare clutched Liana, mimicking Sam, “I’m here for you! Brave little soldier! I acknowledge your pain!”
Liana giggled. “I loved that episode! Loved the Trickster. Next time, we should watch Changing Channels and we can say all the lines with them—”
“Son of a bitch!” they exclaimed together, quoting one of Dean’s opening lines from the mentioned episode.
Quieting down a long minute later, Liana murmured, “I’ve had a really good time, y’know, these past few days. I really hope we get to do this again.”
“It’s been exactly what I needed as well. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.” Mare wrapped her arms around Liana, hugging her tightly. “I’ll text you when I get in, okay? And I’ll tell you tonight when I’m going to come back, and sweetie, I’m really going to try to make it Christmas Eve day, okay? I want to spend Christmas with you.”
Liana nodded, pressing a kiss to the crook of Mare’s neck. “I will look for your text and your call.”
Mare tugged begrudgingly from their embrace, the joy in her smile glowing like the sun as she waved at Liana. “Talk to you in a bit.”
“I’ll look for your call, sweetie.” Liana hugged her arms, smiling back, before watching Mare show her ticket and identification to the checkpoint agent. Liana watched Mare load her things into the x-ray machine before passing through the body scanner. It wasn’t until Mare’s feet were back in her Uggs and her satchel strap was across her chest once more, that she turned to meet Liana’s gaze. Those blue eyes softened as they darted down to her phone, her fingers moving fast as they formed a text, one that lifted her gaze to Liana’s a final time as she waited. Liana dug her phone out of her pocket and it vibrated in her hand, startling her even as she chastised herself for not expecting it. Unlocking the screen, she read:
Do you want me to fall in love with you, Liana? I’m telling you I could.
Liana’s mouth dropped open and one hand went to cover it as her eyes sought out Mare’s face… and the woman nodded, as if answering the silent question of Are you serious? Liana typed her answer without second guessing herself.
What makes you think I’m not already in love with you? That I’m not already yours?
Her cheeks filled with color, but she hit Send and waited for the visual reaction. Mare bit her lower lip as she smiled shyly at Liana, mouthing, You are, y’know. You’re mine!
Liana nodded, bringing one hand up to cover her heart, a smile turning up the corners of her lips before she mouthed back, And you’re mine!
A hand slid across her shoulders and Liana turned to find her mother standing next to her. Leigh’s smile warmed her daughter’s heart and she slid her hand up to cover her mother’s as she turned her gaze back to Mare’s beautiful countenance. Liana tried to memorize Mare, every curve and shadow and wisp of flyaway blonde hair, whispering, “Momma… can I tell you something?”
Leigh pressed a kiss to her temple. “You can tell me anything, honey.”
Liana took a deep breath as her smile tightened, concerning Mare, who looked down at her phone, typing a text. Liana looked down at the screen when her phone buzzed in her hand.
Are you telling her?
Liana gave a single nod, turning to Leigh as she opened her eyes wide. “Momma… I’ve never ever known something as intensely as I know it now, and I know that you know what I write, and I know that you don’t like the content, but that you’re glad it makes me happy. It’s just, I never felt it necessary to tell you this until now because there… was really nothing to tell.”
Leigh furrowed her brow, her statement sounding more like a question. “Honey, I don’t understand?”
Liana cautiously met her mother’s worried look, swallowing hard. “Momma… I’m… I’m gay.” Taking a shallow breath, she glanced down before darting her eyes to where Mare stood, amazement and pride clear in the small smile sparkling in her eyes. Taking courage from her lady, Liana finished, “I’ve consciously known since college, and when I look back to some of my actions in high school, I think I probably knew then, too.”
Leigh nodded, her blue-gray eyes ticking to Mare and back to Liana. “Are the two of you seeing each other?”
Liana blushed, hissing, “I’d like to see her again, Mom, but you saw us meet for the first time. You were there.”
“Did the two of you—” Leigh broke off, shaking her head and hugging Liana, nearly bringing her to tears. “It doesn’t matter. All that matters is your happiness.”
Liana’s mouth fell open as the tears that had been so close slipped down her cheeks. “You—you aren’t—you aren’t disappointed?”
Leigh pressed a kiss to her daughter’s cheek. “I know what you must think sometimes, and is it a life I wish for you? No, but we can talk about that later. First, send her off properly.”
Leigh laughed, and Liana believed her mother in that moment. Whirling on her heel, she called Mare’s name. The woman who’d been an integral part of Liana’s life since her early twenties, ran to the exit door with her bag and tossed herself into Liana’s arms. Liana’s mouth found Mare’s full one as Mare’s smooth arms wrapped around Liana’s shoulders. Liana giggled, holding tight to Mare as she spun them in a slow circle and nuzzled Mare’s nose.
“I take it she’s okay, yeah?” Mare whispered, stealing another kiss. “She’s okay with us?”
“She told me to send you off properly!” Liana answered, enthusiasm heavy in her voice. “I mean, I know it’s going to be hard, but—” She cut herself off, lifting another kiss to Mare’s lips. “—I can kiss you and not worry!”
“Then kiss me, lady!” Mare teased, and Liana lost herself once more.
On to Part Three