DISCLAIMER: South of Nowhere and its characters are the property of The N network, no infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This started as a 'get-well' one shot for Clomle and well, took on a life of its own.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Aeryn Sun


Part One

"All right students, if anyone's bothered to do the assigned reading, we'll hold a discussion to go over the material so that maybe one or two of you will be prepared for the test tomorrow," Professor Blanchard droned on from the front of the class. Sophomore English lit was hardly the hardest class Spencer was taking now that she'd entered her second year of college but a necessity nonetheless.

"Anderson!" Professor Blanchard called out, doing his usual class roll call.


Spencer rolled her eyes and took her materials out of her bag, setting them neatly on her desk.



She ignored the voices around her, reviewing her notes until her best friend and roommate spoke from beside her.

"I swear that man is so high school," Madison complained from the next seat over. Spencer smiled politely and nodded her agreement.


"I mean, we've all been in this class since the start of the semester," Madison went on oblivious to the fact that Spencer was only giving her a small fraction of her attention. It was something that Spencer had learned early on when she started college and met Madison while they both pledged the same sorority and then ended up as roommates; as long as you nodded and made the correct noises at the right moments, Madison only required the minimum of attention since she never really had anything of real importance to say.

"You'd think he'd know us all by now," she finished. Spencer nodded again while tilting her head to the side.

"And yet he doesn't," she supplied, giving the impression that she was just as outraged as Madison was.

"I know! God, you'd think for what we pay in tuition someone could take the time to..." Madison went on. Spencer swallowed her sigh and hoped that this class would be more productive for her than the other class she shared with her friend, Physics where she'd missed the entire explanation on the classwork because Madison couldn't stop complaining about the horrible manicure she'd gotten earlier in the day.


"Here!" Spencer responded immediately. She always made sure to answer the Professor as fast as possible since any pause in the process seemed to throw the venerable teacher off his groove and he tended to get really pissed when that happened.

"Davies!" There was a long pause and Professor Blanchard audibly sighed. "DAVIES!"

"Yeah?" was the uninterested answer. Spencer turned in her seat and looked at the girl sitting sprawled out in a seat a few rows up behind her. Like always, the girl in question was sitting off to herself, baseball cap over her head and dark sunglasses hiding most of her face. Her dark hair was pulled back and fed through the loop of the cap, hanging down her back.


"Here!" Madison responded, leaning over to Spencer. "God, I don't know why that bitch even bothers coming to class. She never participates and she's seriously just a drain on the rest of us." Spencer shrugged, still not understanding Madison's animosity towards the other girl sitting quietly to herself. All Spencer did know was that Madison and Ashley Davies had attended the same high school in LA and were enemies there too. Madison never had anything good to say about the other girl, only what Spencer considered to be cheap shots and mean insults. Spencer herself didn't know the girl but didn't see what the horrible thing about her was.

Ashley was mostly silent in all the classes she shared with Spencer. They shared four out of six which was more than Spencer spent with Madison and Ashley hardly participated in any. Somehow though, the girl still managed to pass every test and answer any questions that were thrown at her so Spencer highly doubted that she was as brain-addled as Madison made her out to be. Really, other than the frequent 'slut dyke' comment Madison threw in Ashley's direction, which was generally ignored, Spencer knew nothing about her.

The one class Ashley did participate in was their music appreciation class. Spencer had been awed the first time she'd been able to hear the small girl sing; her voice was like velvet and seemed to wash over like warm rain. It didn't happen often, and the girl still didn't speak much, but when Ashley did sing in class, Spencer paid rapt attention to her.

"At least in high school she had a sense of fashion," Madison continued still. "Granted it was 'skanky slut ho' fashion but now a days she just seems to have let herself go. You'd think with all that money..." She was still speaking but Spencer had tuned her out, taking another sideways glance at the stoic girl.

She was in her usual attire; low-rise denim jeans, black rocker tee shirt and blue Element zip up with her brown Timberlands propped up on the metal bar of the desk. The knees were carefully faded and ripped from the pants, showing that as rough as they looked, they probably cost an arm and a leg. They were definitely out of Spencer's college-student price range. She was lucky to afford a new shirt every month at the local Wal-Mart which Madison refused to be seen in. But since Spencer had refused to follow her mother's planned path for her at medical school and instead headed off to another college across the country in California to pursue...well she wasn't sure yet but anything other than what her mother had chosen for her, she was on her own financially.

"Spencer! Quit staring at the freak before she thinks you wanna have her babies or something!" Madison hissed, drawing Spencer away from her contemplation of Ashley's choice of clothing. Shaking her head to clear it of the cobwebs that seemed to have formed, Spencer turned her attention, thin though it was, back to her friend.

"Uhm, yeah," she stuttered dumbly. Madison glared at her and shook her head.

"I'm serious, Spence," she said with such dread that Spencer nearly giggled. Madison was such a melodramatic little queen that the blonde sometimes didn't understand why she bothered putting up with her. "She's like a sexual predator or something. She won't care if you're straight or not. You don't wanna get caught up in her nasty, undoubtedly STD filled web."

"Riiiiiiight" Spencer agreed as Professor Blanchard called out the last name and class actually began.

By the end of class, Spencer was having trouble keeping her eyes open despite Madison's nearly constant chattering about this and that, the class and its inherent lameness, Ashley's status as a gargantuan slut of monolithic proportions, and the latest fashion trends. Spencer thought that the girl was well suited to her fashion degree coursework.

"So, Spence, you are going to Twist's party tomorrow night, right?" Madison asked in a tone that clearly said that she was going whether she wanted to or not. Spencer resisted, barely, the urge to roll her blue eyes and sigh. She hated the party scene at college; it bored her to watch perfectly intelligent people drink themselves stupid and then randomly screw whoever crossed their paths. It was like they felt the alcohol and other things available at these parties excused their behavior the next day and it went against everything she was raised to believe.

"Maddy, I have that big test Monday..." she started to protest, knowing even before she began that it was a hopeless battle. Madison got that look in her eye that let her know it was pointless to argue.

"Be ready by 7, Spencer," she ordered, turning to stalk her way up the stairs to the door. Spencer wordlessly nodded and when Madison was out of earshot, sighed to herself.

"Salga de mi manera de usted puta estúpida!" she heard Madison yell. She turned her head to see Ashley regaining her balance after Madison plowed into her.

"Oh grow up, Madison," Ashley responded tiredly. "We're not in high school anymore. Let it go." To Spencer she sounded horribly tired. Madison gave her another hearty shove and walked off. Ashley shook her head and looked down at Spencer, ever present sunglasses still perched on her face.

"Nice choice in friends you got there, Carlin," she sighed softly, almost inaudibly, before turning to walk away.

"I'm...uhm...sorry," Spencer offered as she lifted her bag. She wasn't quite sure why she felt the need to apologize to someone she didn't know but she did anyway. Ashley paused a moment and looked back.

"Whatever," she responded, throwing her canvas bag over one shoulder and leaving. Spencer watched her go in silence, ignoring the odd desire to follow her and unlock the mystery that seemed to be lurking behind those glasses.

The next night, Spencer readjusted her costume, sighing at herself in the mirror and wondering what on earth possessed her to allow Madison to chose her outfit. She double checked the bodice currently pushing her cleavage up and into massive proportions, wondering how people actually wore the damn things and still breathed. Compared to her now inflated bust line, her waist was positively minuscule and to her, she looked like a bobble-headed hourglass.

"You look, oh, God girl you are going to be beating off the guys tonight!" Madison squeeed as she entered the room and saw Spencer in her Renaissance era serving wench outfit. Madison was decked out in a Playboy bunny outfit that left very little to even the blandest of imaginations.

"I'm gonna be lucky to not pop outta the top of this thing or break a rib, Madison," she grunted in alarm. "You got this in the right size, right?" Madison giggled.

"No, silly, I got it a size smaller to make you look even hotter," she declared. Spencer's eyes bugged out at the fact and if she could have actually gotten a good breath in, she would have yelled at her friend.

"Anyway, you needed it because girl, you have been single since I met you and that so can't be healthy," Madison went on as they grabbed their purses and headed out to the party. It was only two blocks from campus so they decided to walk; Spencer knew that Madison wanted to walk so that there was no worry about what would happen to her car when, not if, she became too drunk to drive it. It was another thing Spencer disliked about the parties; she was inevitably left as the sober person since she didn't drink and ended up responsible for getting her friend home safe and cleaning up after her.

"Oh I forgot to tell you," Madison sing-songed in the tone that Spencer had come to hate because it meant awkwardness and embarrassment for her. "Jared is going to be therrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre..." Spencer rolled her eyes, thankful that the movement was hidden by the encroaching darkness of the evening sky. Madison had been convinced that Spencer was secretly in lust with Jared Weston ever since the blonde had spent the 'welcome back' party at the beginning to that year talking to him. Granted, he did most of the talking and Spencer only pretended to listen but ever since then, no matter how much she protested, Madison was practically planning the wedding for her.

Spencer chose not to respond, it would only make her friend more convinced of her desire to sleep with the boy. Spencer had dated some before college; first there was Austin when she was fifteen but that was a summer 'love' at the beach in Florida where her grandparents lived and after she went home in the fall she never saw or heard from him again. After that and through high school she dated Russell and even slept with him a handful of times but each time she found that the experience left her unfulfilled and feeling hollow.

So, shortly after graduation, she'd broken it off with Russell, feeling like a louse as he put the ring he had with him away. But she honestly could not see herself with him for the rest of her life. It wasn't what she wanted or what she thought love was. So she decided to concentrate on her studies and ignore the existence of romance altogether until college was over.

Unfortunately, Madison had other ideas for her and she frequently found herself in double dates that she loathed and having to turn down nice guys that truly didn't interest her. Madison didn't seem to get the hint that she wasn't interested in dating anyone; then again, Madison was so busy dating anything remotely male that Spencer found her accusations of Ashley Davies being a slut to be hypocritical.

They arrived at the party which was already in full swing. Spencer ignored the ogling eyes of a few guys and settled herself in her customary place during parties; the corner of the living room in a solitary chair. A few hours passed, which to Spencer felt like an eternity and the party was rowdy as hell. The alcohol had arrived earlier as well as other assorted party favors so most of the people in attendance were plastered or high or in some cases, like Madison's both.

Spencer had been listening, bored almost to tears, to Jared drone on and on about football or something while she attempted to ignore the stare she had felt on her all night. Near the door to the kitchen stood a short but accurate version of Zorro whom had been watching Spencer covertly the entire night. The stare kept causing goose bumps to rise on her exposed skin, which was more than usual, and a new experience for Spencer. Never before had a simple glance from someone caused a physical reaction with her but tonight, Zorro was accomplishing it.

When she was able, Spencer tried to look at the costumed avenger to try and figure out his identity. But the full costume, with mask and hat, made identification difficult. Occasionally their eyes would meet and Zorro's plush lips would curl into a smirk which would make Spencer shiver slightly. The smoky quality to those dark eyes on her made her skin flush slightly. She returned each smile before looking away embarrassed.

"Hey, baby," Jared slurred slightly, the plastic cup in his hand empty. "Lemme go get you a drink..."

"No thanks," she said hastily. "I uh...don't drink." Jared gaped at her.

"It's a paaarrrrty, Spence," he said, making her wince at the use of her nickname which was usually reserved for family and close friends. "You gotta drink."

"Uh, no, no I don't," she retorted annoyed. Jared shook his head.

"Yeah ya do! I'll go get it for you," he announced, getting to his feet and swaying slightly. He took off in the direction of the nearest keg, leaving Spencer to contemplate disappearing before he got back.

"Excuse me, fair lady," a husky voice from behind her, heavy with a Spanish accent interrupted her escape plan. "It seems that your date has left you bereft." Spencer turned and swallowed the 'squeak' that threatened to escape her lips as Zorro stood behind her, still smirking.

"Yeah, he, um, went to get me a drink that I didn't want," she said dryly. The smirk on Zorro's face grew to a full grin, showing perfect white teeth.

"Perhaps I can tempt the lady with one of these?" Zorro asked, pulling an unopened bottle of Sierra Mist from under his cloak. Spencer arched an eyebrow and took the still cool drink from her mysterious benefactor.

"My favorite," she said absently, wondering if it was a calculated move or a lucky guess on Zorro's part. She opened the bottle and took a long sip, the heat of the room making her throat dry and scratchy. "Thanks."

"My pleasure," Zorro announced, taking a small bow. Looking closer, Spencer could see that Zorro was definitely a female, even under the outfit and very well recreated goatee. Her features were too soft and feminine, not to mention the conspicuous absence of an Adam's apple, to be a man. Zorro's eyes were almost hidden by the mask and hat but what Spencer could see where dark and alluring. Black makeup covered the area around the costumed girl's eyes making them blend with the mask. She swallowed hard as the piercing gaze made her heart speed up.

"Hey, man, what's up?" Jared asked as he stumbled back over to the two. He looked the diminutive Zorro up and down. "Who're you? Mark? Chad?"

"I am Zorro," the costumed girl responded, her accent very close to sounding like Antonio Banderas' version of Zorro. Either that or the Nasonex bee but either way it sounded very nice, almost like a purr to Spencer.

"Dude! You sound just like that cat in Shrek! Wha wuz his name?" Jared laughed. Zorro scowled and seemed to pout which made her adorable in Spencer's eyes.

"Puss in Boots?" Spencer provided. Zorro deepened her pout, solely for Spencer. Somehow, knowing that it was a woman in the outfit made the comparison beyond funny for Spencer and she burst out laughing. Jared, thinking he had succeeded in breaking through the blonde's icy exterior, sat down and put his arm around the girl. Spencer immediately tensed up and stopped laughing.

"Here's yer drink, sexy!" Jared told her while handing her the plastic cup of amber liquid. Spencer looked at the cup disdainfully.

"Thanks but I have a soda," she pointed out, lifting her bottle slightly. Jared frowned.

"You can't party with a soda," he argued. He really wanted the hot girl to lighten up and figured that some good old fashioned beer might do the trick. If it didn't, he had a few other options up his sleeve.

He looked back at Zorro who had not yet left. "Don't you have somewhere to be?"

"Only if the fair maiden wishes me to leave," Zorro responded, directing her comment towards Spencer. The look on her face was expectant and Spencer realized that she was being given an out, a way away from the boring and no doubt horny boy. She wasn't about to pass that up.

"Actually," she started, standing up and removing Jared's arm from around her shoulder. "Zorro here was going to give me a tour of this huge house so...yeah, I'm gonna go."

She looked down and saw a slender, gloved hand extended to her direction which she gladly accepted. She felt an electric spark shoot through her hand at the contact and looked to Zorro to see the same surprised expression on her masked face. Apparently, Zorro felt it too.

"Spence, I can show you around!" Jared interjected. He leered at her slightly. "I know where there's this awesome bedroom..." Spencer rolled her eyes.

"No thanks," she said, gripping the hand in her own a little tighter. She gasped as a large, rough hand grasped her by the bicep.

"Come on, Spence," Jared complained. "You don't wanna go with that runt." Spencer looked at the hand holding her almost tight enough to hurt and then back to the boy.

"I said no," she repeated, pulling her arm away forcefully. "And for the record, my name is Spencer, not Spence, not baby and certainly not sexy to you." Jared glared and made another lunge for her arm. The sharp silver tip of Zorro's very real sword on his shoulder stopped him cold.

"I do believe that the lady said no," Zorro growled defensively. "Now, you can either be gracious and walk away like a gentleman, or we can settle it another way. Your choice." Spencer smirked to herself as even in the heat of the confrontation, Zorro's accent stayed intact.

"Whatever man," Jared bit out. "Frigid bitch ain't worth it." He stalked off in search of some other pretty coed to hit on.

"Hey!" Spencer protested at his back. "I am not frigid!" She heard Zorro giggling behind her.

"Do you wish me to defend your honor, my lady?" she asked, still laughing slightly. Spencer couldn't help but smile.

"No, but put that thing away before you poke someone's eye out with it," she advised. Zorro nodded and sheathed her weapon with a wink to the blonde.

"Would never happen, my dear," she said confidently. "I'll have you know that I am a champion fencer and I'm on the school team."

"Ah, interesting," Spencer said, glad to have a small piece of the puzzle to work with. "Anyway, what now?" she asked as Zorro led her to a balcony on the second floor. They looked out over the campus lit up at night and enjoyed the fresh air for a bit.

"You don't drink, Zorro?" she asked. Zorro shook her head.

"Not anymore," was the simple reply. "I gave up many things to pursue a life of adventure and virtue." They both burst out laughing at the comment.

"I'm Spencer, Spencer Carlin," Spencer introduced herself, extending her hand. Zorro shook it while nodding slightly.

"I am Zorro," she answered. "Or Alejandro Murrieta if you prefer." Spencer shook her head in amusement.

"No, who are you really?" she wondered. Zorro bit her lip and watched Spencer for a moment.

"Sometimes, the illusion is better than the truth," she decided. She lifted Spencer's hand to her mouth and lightly kissed the back of it, making the blonde shiver. Slowly, rich brown eyes lifted to meet clear blue which where focused intently on them. Spencer felt a pull, some magnetic force making her lean forward towards the slightly smaller girl until their lips were only millimeters apart. Spencer could feel the other girl's breath, hot and rapid against her face as they drew closer; she could smell the slightly cinnamon and vanilla scent of Zorro surrounding her as her heart pounded in her chest.

"I will only kiss you if it is what the lady wishes," Zorro whispered. Spencer swallowed almost audibly as Zorro's bottom lip brushed her own as she spoke. She felt her body immediately respond to that ghost of a touch, her nipples hardening as heat flooded downward.

This wasn't the first time that Spencer found herself a hair's breath away from kissing a woman. The first and only other time had been with her best friend in high school, shortly after the beginning of their senior year. She and Lauren had been having a sleepover and talking about anything and everything when they found themselves in very close proximity. Theirs had always been a touchy-feely friendship with long hugs and some cuddling or spooning when they slept over each other's houses. But it never went any further than that until that night.

But instead of giving in to the pull, Spencer had jumped away and excused herself, finding some lame reason to leave and go home. Their friendship never recovered from that and it was a little into their freshman year at separate colleges when Lauren sent her an email telling Spencer that she was gay. They had only communicated sporadically since which Spencer felt guilty about.

"I..." Spencer began, her voice shaky. "You may," she breathed. It was only nanoseconds later when she felt the gentle press of soft lips against her own and she whimpered into the embrace. Moments later she took initiative, sliding her tongue against Zorro's lush lower lip, asking for permission to deepen the kiss. A moan signaled Zorro's agreement and soon the kiss heated up until Spencer thought she might combust from the sheer power of it.

They parted, panting and rested their foreheads together somewhat awkwardly as it caused Zorro's hat to slide back. Some tendrils of curly dark hair fell from under the cap and framed increasingly gamine features.

"Wow," Spencer breathed.

"Oh God," Zorro moaned at the same time. Their breath mingled together as they stood there staring at each other. Spencer could very clearly see the desire and want in the smaller girl's eyes and knew that for whatever reason it was mirrored in her own.

Moments later they were tumbling into a room, lips pressed together with an urgency unknown to Spencer before that moment. She was on fire and she felt the only thing that could put it out was this mysterious girl in her arms.

They fell onto the bed in the room in a tangle of arms and legs, lips still locked, hands wandering and stroking, building the fires higher. Zorro landed on top, pressing Spencer deep into the mattress. One black clad knee slid between Spencer's, bunching her dress up slightly as they ground together desperately.

The situation, added to the intensity of their kisses and the tightness of her bodice were making Spencer lightheaded with lack of air. She gently pushed Zorro back a moment to catch her breath.

"God," she groaned, the feelings of arousal overwhelming her in ways that it never had before. Never had a kiss or anything else lit her up like this girl managed to do. She's never wanted anyone, not Russell and not Lauren the way she wanted this tiny female Zorro.

"I'm sorry," came the choked reply. Spencer looked up to see a slightly panicked expression on the brown eyed girl's face.

"Wait, no," Spencer said softly, reaching out a shaky hand and gently pulling at the hairy goatee until it peeled off the girl's face. "It's OK. Let's get rid of that cuz it's weird since I know you're a girl." Zorro grinned.

"Weird, huh? Never kissed a girl with facial hair?" she teased. Spencer rolled her eyes.

"Never kissed any girl, actually," she answered. Zorro's eyes widened.

"Really? Never? Wow, coulda fooled me," she joked. Spencer tapped her on the nose to quiet her. "So, uhm, is that why you stopped?"

"No," Spencer said honestly. "I stopped because I can't breathe in this thing. Help me unbuckle it." From the way Zorro's eyes lit up, Spencer thought she looked like a kid set loose in a candy store. Together they undid the tight strings on the back of the dress and for a moment, the blonde just enjoyed breathing without restriction.

"That is so much better," she sighed.

"Uh, yeah," Zorro whispered, eyes focused on Spencer' cleavage now not as pushed up and squeezed together but still quite ample. Spencer felt herself blush.

"See something you like, Don Alejandro?" she chided, keeping the other girl in character. Deep chocolate eyes traveled back up to lock onto her own eyes.

"Very much so, my lady," Zorro responded, accent back in place. "You are quite beautiful." Spencer wondered if she could possibly blush any harder. Zorro stripped off her gloves and gently stroked the side of Spencer's face with the back of her knuckles.

"Very beautiful," Zorro elaborated. Spencer looked at the incredibly feminine hands, thinking they were the most beautiful hands she's ever seen. She grasped the smaller girl's free hand and laced their fingers together, staring intently at the newly revealed digits.

"We don't have to do anything you don't wish to," Zorro vowed. Spencer felt her heart melt at the gesture. She was nervous and unsure where this need was coming from but she knew what she wanted. To prove this point to the other girl, she reached up and stripped the top of the dress from her shoulders, letting it drop to mid-waist and revealing her half-cup, flesh colored strapless bra.

Zorro gasped as more flesh became visible, leaning over to kiss the tops of Spencer's creamy breasts. Spencer moaned when she felt a tentative lick to the skin above her nipple, the heat of that tongue making the sensitive bud tighten even further without being touched. The reverent way that Zorro was treating her was another new experience for Spencer, making her feel more beautiful than she ever had before.

As that talented mouth lavished her exposed skin with licks, kisses and gentle nips, Spencer tugged Zorro's tight black shirt, silk she realized when her fingers grasped it, out of hip hugging black pants. She wanted to see and feel the other girl's skin.

Zorro complied, pulling off her hat and letting long, luscious brown locks with blonde and red highlights tumble free. She sat up and untied the cape around her shoulders, letting it drop to the floor along with the belt that held the sharp sword. She then helped Spencer to strip off her shirt, the ace bandage holding down her chest standing out in sharp contrast to the honey colored skin Spencer could see. Zorro quickly unraveled it from around her chest, exposing tan skin, a black bra and tight, toned abs. There wasn't a single flaw on the smooth skin as Spencer ran anxious hands over it, making the brunette shiver.

They pressed together, breast to breast and drank in each other's hungry moans as they fell back onto the bed. The slight weight of the other girl against her only heightened Spencer's desire, making her scratch her nails down the silky expanse of Zorro's back.

"Christ," Zorro groaned, her back arching slightly at the contact. This drove her hips down into Spencer and suddenly the blonde was desperate to get the rest of her dress off. She pushed at the sides of the dress, trying to get it over her hips. Warm hands covered her own, stilling her movements.

"Easy, my lady," Zorro soothed. "Let us not rip this beautiful gown..."

"Fuck it," Spencer growled. She wondered, very briefly, what she was going to blame her actions that night on come morning. There wasn't a drop of alcohol in her system; her mind was clear and unfettered. There was nothing affecting her judgment and as far as she could tell, nothing affecting Zorro's either.

So why was she behaving the way she was? As the dress was slid over her hips with the utmost care and discarded on the floor leaving the blonde clad only in her bra and matching thong with her thigh high stockings attached with a black garter and straps, she decided that she didn't care why, only that it was happening. And that she didn't want it to stop.

"Oh God, could you possibly be any sexier?" Zorro prayed softly. The darker girl whimpered as she took a good look at the girl on the bed under her. Spencer reached up to remove the mask that still hid most of the lithe girl's features but a hand on her wrist stopped her.

"Leave it, please," Zorro asked, suddenly sounding vulnerable. Spencer arched an eyebrow wondering what the other girl was trying to hide but nodded, letting her have her anonymity for the time being.

Their lips met again and eager hands slid down Spencer's body, pushing the cups of the bra down so that hot palms could surround and fondle the warm globes. The touch of another female was unlike the few times Spencer had allowed someone to touch her chest; it was soft and gentle. Zorro's hands were smooth and velvety instead of rough and calloused like male hands.

Spencer hissed in delight when skilled fingers lightly pinched her nipples, causing ripples of pain-induced pleasure to flow through her body and settle at the juncture of her thighs. She could feel how wet she was already, the moisture dripping down as she lay on her back. When a mouth replaced the teasing hand, sucking gently, Spencer nearly lost it.

"Jesus Christ!" she gasped. She dug her fingernails into the other girl's back, leaving half-moon indentations in the sun-kissed skin. She moved one hand to wrap it in midnight tresses and push that hot mouth closer. Zorro was humming against her skin as she worked the stiff peak with her lips and tongue.

Slowly, a tentative hand drifted down her stomach, tickling slightly and making her draw her stomach in to escape the teasing touch.

"Dear Lord," Zorro panted, lifting her head for a moment while her hand stilled at the top of Spencer's lace thong. "Do you want me to stop?" The accent was gone, leaving only a raspy low voice that Spencer couldn't quite place.

Spencer shook her head.

"No," she whispered. "Please don't stop." She arched her back into the wandering touch as slim fingers moved to press against damp cloth.

"Fuck! You are so wet," Zorro breathed in awe. Spencer bit her lip to keep from crying out as pressure was applied to her aching center and the throbbing bundle of nerves. Slowly, Zorro undid the clasps that held the garter to her thong and then slipped the wet fabric down trembling legs, waiting for any sign that she should stop. When there was no such sign, she moved back up the exquisite body on the bed and slipped her fingers into wet heat.

"You've never...been with a girl," she whispered trying to put her wanting thoughts into order. "So, if you don't like something..."

"Please!" Spencer begged, rocking her hips to get closer to the shy touch. "Touch me, please!" Zorro complied, slipping one finger deep inside the writhing girl.

"Jesus, you're tight," she groaned. Zorro lifted her head to look down at Spencer. "Are you..."

Blue eyes, bright with want and need stared back at her while Spencer shook her head, understanding the lost question.

"A few times," she ground out through clenched teeth, her hips still moving striving for more contact. "Long ago. But not...God, nothing like this..."

"Relax and let me take care of you," Zorro said softly and full of affection. She started moving her finger, stroking in and out of the tight channel slowly at first until they both found a rhythm.

Spencer's eyes shut tightly as she rode out the sensations ripping through her body. She'd never felt anything similar; even her own attempts at masturbation never set such a fire low in her belly. And this stranger, this other girl was doing things, creating sensations she never thought possible.

She whimpered as another finger was added, her wetness making the addition fairly easy to achieve. Those questing fingers curved upwards and Spencer couldn't stop the loud, wanton moan that bubbled up from deep inside.

"Oh God, yes," she begged, her hips moving faster in time with the deft fingers buried deep within her. "More...deeper..." Zorro whimpered in response, pushing harder and deeper, increasing her speed while still being gentle. She used her thumb to brush against the slick nub she knew needed attention. With each stroke deep inside the blonde, she slid up the bundle of nerves and then down on the way out.

"Please, oh please," Spencer gasped. "So...close...harder!" Wanting to get the beautiful writhing girl to her peak, Zorro's hand was nothing but a blur, driving harder and deeper. It was much more than anything Spencer had previously experienced.

The feel of a hot mouth suddenly sucking on her clit made Spencer scream her release as a white hot orgasm flooded through her. Zorro sucked harder, using her tongue to flick across the tip of the nub in her mouth, causing a serious of intense aftershocks to shoot through her. When those fingers moving inside her curved upwards and stroked, Spencer felt another orgasm rip through her, stealing the air from her lungs and leaving her limp and panting.

It was several minutes before Spencer returned to herself, able to breathe and feel her arms and legs. She'd never experienced anything like it before and basked in the afterglow feeling safe and secure in the thin arms that she found were wrapped around her. She nuzzled into the slender neck she was pressed into.

"Are you all right?" a soft voice asked close to her ear. Spencer nodded, still not trusting her voice.

"You were crying," the girl dressed as Zorro said sadly. "I didn't mean to..."

"You didn't do anything wrong," Spencer said quickly, her voice reappearing at the scared and remorseful tone in the other girl's words. She lifted her head from its warm perch and looked intently at the other girl. She didn't want there to be any doubt in her female lover's mind that what had happened what exactly what she'd wanted.

"Then why?" Zorro trailed off, slightly afraid of the answer to what she was asking. Spencer blushed and ducked her head behind her hair, sitting up slightly to look at the other girl.

"It was...intense," she admitted. Zorro sat up with her, brushing the hair away from Spencer's face. "And beautiful. I never felt anything like it before." Now it was the cloaked avenger's turn to blush profusely.

"It was my pleasure, my lady," she responded, using the accent again. Spencer giggled.

"You can drop the act, Zorro," she joked. Shaded eyes, darkened with unspent desire gazed back at her.

"Who says that it's an act?" she wondered, teasing slightly. Spencer let a curious hand reach out and cup a black lace clad breast, watching in wonderment as the smaller girl's eyes fluttered shut. She reached around with fumbling fingers to undo the garment, letting the straps fall slack against slender shoulders. After a moment, the dark haired girl shrugged her way out of it and let herself be fully viewed, naked from the waist up. She twisted around and quickly unzipped her tight leather, calf-high boots and let them drop to the floor before turning back to the girl below her.

Spencer was unable to do anything other than stare for several long moments. The girl sitting beside her was utterly gorgeous.

"I've never touched another girl..." Spencer said bashfully. Zorro pulled away slightly.

"No pressure. You don't have to..." The sound of the zipper on the black outfit's pants silenced the rest of Zorro's sentence as she looked down and saw the blonde's slightly shaky hands moving the metal tag downwards.

Spencer leaned in and captured the stunned girl's lips in a hot, passionate kiss.

"I want to," she husked. She slid the pants over slim hips and then paused, arching an eyebrow.

"Ooooooooook," she breathed, looking curiously at what the absence of pants had revealed. Zorro followed her gaze and then groaned.

"Shit, I forgot," she whispered, mortified. She looked back up into vaguely amused azure eyes. "I swear, I was just going for authenticity's sake," she explained awkwardly. Spencer nodded.

"So you wore...uhm...yeah, that?" she pointed at the red dildo and harness attached to the smaller girl. The phallus was tied down around a tan thigh with a black ribbon, giving the female Zorro a very male looking appearance. Zorro let out another low groan of embarrassment.

"Hey, you were the only one to notice that I wasn't a guy," Zorro pointed out, flushed red to the point of looking sunburned. Spencer reached over and undid the ribbon, noting idly that it was damp. The member bounced upwards, no longer restrained and stood proudly in front of the masked girl who glared at it.

"Lemme take it off..." she started. Spencer wrapped her hand around the red toy and pushed slightly. Zorro's words and movements immediately stopped with a badly disguised gasp. Spencer pressed again, moving her hand back and forth over the appendage. She watched, captivated as the other girl's hips rocked to meet the action.

"Is that good?" she teased softly. Zorro let out a wanton whimper.

"There's...a...uhm...little...uhm part of it is...pressing against me," she panted.

"Ah," Spencer said as she nodded her head and moved her hand a little faster. "I see. So that feels nice?" She knew the answer of course; she just liked seeing the flustered and lustful expression on the smaller girl's face.

"Oh fuck yeah," Zorro moaned, her head falling back as she rocked her hips. Spencer felt herself flood at the husky sound of the girl's voice as she was pleasured, the gasps and moans reigniting her own need.

"So, you wore it, with no plan on using it?" she wondered, slowing her actions. Zorro bit her lip and shook her head.

"No..." she whimpered. Spencer leaned in close to a small ear, hidden by slightly damp hair.

"Do you want to? Use it I mean?" she growled. She wasn't usually this forward but something about this girl lying in the bed with her had unleashed something inside her. Her inhibitions seemed to be on a long coffee break so she planned to use the time wisely.

Dark eyes popped open and locked gazes with her. She nodded her head, unable to speak. Spencer again took initiative, enjoying the feeling of power and the rush of excitement as she laid back down on the bed taking Zorro down on top of her.

"Oh God, are you sure?" Zorro gasped, propping herself up on her arms, one hand on each side of Spencer's face and looking intently down at her. The blonde wrapped her arms around the brunette's neck, pulling her closer.

"Stop worrying, please," she begged. "Take me..." She hissed as Zorro guided the tip of the dildo to press against her entrance, the feeling different but not unpleasant. She could hear the tan girl growling in lust as she pushed deeper within Spencer who pushed her hips down to meet the intrusion, feeling it slide further in. She was so incredibly wet that there was no resistance as the girl above her began to undulate her hips slowly. Their hips finally met as it slid all the way inside her, filling her.

"Fuck yeah," Spencer moaned, rocking her hips in a matching rhythm. They slid together, the plastic appendage stroking deep within Spencer with each motion and creating delicious friction as it withdrew. Soon, their pace picked up, each girl feeling the familiar and addicting swirl of their approaching orgasms starting.

Spencer looked up at the beautiful girl gasping above her, seeing her bathed in a light sweat and she knew that nothing else would ever be able to compare to that moment. This was not a one-off, a mistake or an experiment. As she tossed her head into the pillow and arched her back, taking the tool deeper inside with herself with each twitch and contraction of her muscles, she knew this was what she wanted, what had always been missing. The feelings of passion and completeness that she had found with this woman.

There was no way she was ever going back to the way things used to be.

"Christ," Zorro gasped. "You feel so good..." The lithe girl's hips were moving frantically, thrusting harder and deeper with each passing second as her orgasm neared. Spencer grasped a handful of impossibly soft dark hair and pulled hard, crashing their lips together hungrily as they continued to buck against one another.

"Fuck me..." Spencer grunted, ripping her mouth away. "Oh God...harder!...yes..." Zorro complied with the order, her hips slamming into Spencer's with each increasingly quick and desperate thrust. Spencer clawed that the girl's shoulders, riding her and gritting her teeth as the feeling of her inside of her became blissfully unbearable.

"I'm gonna cuuuuuum..." Spencer whined deep in her throat.

"Me too...oh God me too..." the panting girl above her cried out, grunting as her orgasm crashed over her. Her hips jolted forward roughly, the last push driving her deep into Spencer. Spencer screamed, the sound lost to the other party goers under the pounding of the sound system but very clear to both girls.

"Yes! Oh God, yes!"she chanted as her muscles contracted almost painfully, over and over. The bliss seemed to be never-ending, just like the first time the amazing girl who had collapsed on top of her made her climax. Nothing in her limited sexual past could compare with the way she felt at that moment.

"You are fucking amazing," Zorro gasped a few minutes later when they'd both regained their senses. They were laying side by side, brushing fingers over flushed skin and placing gentle kisses on swollen lips.

"Me?" Spencer hiccuped embarrassed. "You're the one who made me..."

"Hey! Who's in this room!" a loud banging on the locked door made both girls jump. The boy on the other side kept screaming. "I swear if that's you in there, Donnelly, I will rip your balls off!"

"Go away!" Zorro screamed back, fighting off the giggles that had overtaken Spencer.

"I saw my date come in this room!" the person on the other side of the door complained. Zorro looked down at Spencer.

"Isn't that they guy you were talking to?" she asked, still amused. Spencer nodded.

"Yeah, but he was so not my date," she replied. Zorro nodded.

"I know," she smirked. Spencer arched a pale brow as they moved around redressing.

"Oh you knew did you?" she chided. She enjoyed watching the blush reinstate itself on Zorro's cheeks.

"That he wasn't your date?" she clarified. "Yeah because you obviously have better taste." Spencer burst out laughing as she loosely did up the straps on her bodice again, not wanting it anywhere near as tight as it once was. She watched as Zorro put herself back together, the last bits of her costume, her gloves and goatee being placed back on. Other than some wisps of hair trailing out of the hat, she looked none the worse for wear.

Looking down at the redding marks on her exposed chest and breasts, Spencer knew that she couldn't say the same.

The door suddenly fell open as the lock gave way and Jared and Madison stood there glaring at the duo.

"What. The. Fuck?" he grumbled.

"Spencer, who is he?" Madison demanded to know, pointing at Zorro. Spencer and the costumed swashbuckler exchanged smiles as Jared approached, his face dark.

"All right, let's see what asshole is behind the mask..." he threatened, reaching out to grasp that tiny faux Mexican. Zorro sidestepped the drunken lunge and took out her sword, swiping it quickly but carefully across the chest of Jared's Superman jersey. The boy gasped and stepped back in shock, looking down at the small 'Z' that was left behind. He glared back at the small swordsman.

"Hey! You ruined my shirt!" he complained.

"The mark of Zorro!" Zorro announced, sheathing her sword and turning towards her giggling lover. She grasped Spencer's hand and kissed the back of it.

"I'm afraid I must take my leave, my lady," she said, lowering her voice and again using the Spanish accent. She climbed into the window and threw it open, leaning out onto the edge.

"What are you doing?" Spencer gasped, at once fascinated and frightened for the girl's safety. Zorro smirked.

"Making a hero's exit," she said simply. She took her sash and threw it over the line of lights that led from the window, over the pool. With one last grin at Spencer, and a muttered 'oh god I hope this works', she grabbed an end in each hand and jumped. She sailed down the line, light bulbs popping as she went over them. She landed, unperturbed, on the other end of the pool. She looked back up at Spencer, watching in the window and bowed low, before running out the back gate and into the night.

Spencer turned back to her friend and the boy behind her, gaping at Zorro's exit. She shrugged.


Two weeks passed since the night of the costume party, and Spencer found herself unable to get that night out of her mind. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw that girl, bathed in sweat above her, rocking against her and she felt the answering flood of desire that accompanied the memory. She kept trying to figure out what the girl could possibly look like under the mask and make-up but thus far wasn't having any luck. She wasn't anymore successful in finding the girl on campus. Most of the fencing team, to Spencer's disappointment and slight confusion, were small, dark haired girls so that didn't help. She was at a total loss.

She refused to think that what went on that night might only be a fling, an easy fuck for the mystery girl, now dubbed Z in her mind. Since it had meant much more to Spencer than just a quick roll between the sheets, she couldn't believe that the girl felt differently. The instant spark between them, the hot passion and ravenous hunger that consumed them had to be more than just a random thing, in Spencer's opinion. She'd never felt that way with anyone; so free and uninhibited. Despite not knowing who Z really was, there was an instant level of trust with her. Spencer was dying to know who she was.

After Zorro's graceful escape, Spencer went on with the charade that 'she' was a 'he', not wanting to incur the same petty bias from Madison that the prejudiced Latina already commonly had against Ashley for being gay. She didn't want to experience that yet or ever really. At least not until she was sure of what was going on, what she was feeling. She was pretty sure that the one thing she'd been denying about herself for years had just declared itself loudly and in rainbow colors; she was a lesbian. She wasn't really sure that she was ready for that. More so, she wasn't sure her family was ready for it even if she was. Plus, given Madison's proven homophobia, it was bound to make their living arrangements all kinds of tense.

So, while she admitted, although reluctantly just for the sake of her Catholic upbringing and a sense of privacy, to a sexual liaison with Zorro, she left the small tidbit of gender slip by unnoticed. She doubted Madison would have heard her anyway over her continuing praising of any and all deities that Spencer 'finally got some ass'. The way the diminutive girl had lit up with excitement at seeing Spencer with a guy, obviously having been intimate with that person, bordered on obsessive.

Spencer endured all the teasing over the hickeys and lingering bite marks that she'd been marked with, enjoying the delightful chill that ran up her spine as she recalled how they had arrived on her pale flesh. She almost didn't want a few of the more distinctive marks to fade although time was making them lighter and lighter. Most were gone by this point but nothing could make the memories fade. No matter what she was doing, she could not get that beautiful girl out of her mind.

A few times over the last fourteen days, she thought that she smelled the scent of the dark haired beauty, a curious combination of cinnamon and vanilla mixed with some unknown light perfume. And each time it occurred, she'd felt a surge of wetness to her core as she grew hot and throbbed in time with her thundering heartbeat. She was amazed that someone could affect her so physically; and yet, it delighted her at the same time.

Spencer and Madison had both asked around about who had attended Twist's party as Zorro but no one seemed to know. Granted, the two girls were looking for incredibly different reasons. Spencer was looking to maybe get to know the mysterious swashbuckler who had so captured her entire being. Meanwhile, Madison was looking: 1) to get her roommate hooked up again and 2) to stop Spencer from her wistful daydreaming at every hour of the day. Madison had never seen the blonde girl with such a happy glow around her and she wanted to see it more often. Spencer laughed to herself when she thought about how fast Madison would change her opinion if she knew that the glow was caused by another woman.

"Seriously, chica, we need to find your man before you combust," Madison declared as they headed to class. Spencer had gotten a late start that morning, caught up again, as she often was lately, in reliving the memories from that night. She'd thanked her luck for not the first time in recent days that she and Madison were now living at the sorority house, unlike their freshman year when they shared a one room dorm room. Now they each had their own small room with a lockable door. Granted, they still shared a bathroom with the entire floor but at least they had a minimum of privacy from each other. And Spencer, lately, was taking advantage of that seclusion.

"Either we find your man," Madison giggled. "Or buy stock in a battery company." Spencer flushed bright red as her friend spoke, mortified that Madison had banged on her door just in time to hear her moan 'oh fuck yeah' loudly. Now the teasing was relentless.

"Shut up!" she scolded, hiding an embarrassed smile as they entered class. Most of the rest of their English class were already seated, including the bane of Madison's existence, Ashley Davies.

Spencer glanced at the quiet girl, in her customary seat long enough to notice that she was wearing a different hat than her usual black VolCom one. This one was a brown Quiksilver cap pulled low over her Oakley's while she slouched in her seat. Her khaki cargo pants, with multiple pockets on the sides and usual Timberlands matched the hat well. Spencer smiled as she sat down, thinking that the green tee shirt Ashley had on that said 'you looked better on Myspace' was hilarious.

"Oh look, Spencer," Madison mused sarcastically. "Looks like the bus from rehab is running. Ashley made it to class." Spencer frowned.

"Maddy, isn't she always here?" she wondered, not understanding her friend's outright hatred of the other girl. She'd tried a few times to get Madison to explain it to her but it only ever ended up with Madison ranting furiously in Spanish too fast for Spencer's high school conversational Spanish to keep up with. So, she never really got an answer.

"And that's the problem, Spencer," Madison sighed, annoyed. She hated that the blonde wouldn't just go along with her ire and constantly questioned it. Things were so much easier in high school when her 'friends' just agreed with everything she said. It made her miss Sherri and her wonderful 'yes ma'am' qualities.

"If she had any sense, she'd stay the fuck home." Spencer turned in her seat to look at the other girl and only saw the usual blank expression on the shaded face. It seemed that no matter what Madison said, even the harshest, cruelest comment was only ever met with what Spencer would call boredom. Ashley was totally unaffected. Spencer theorized, to herself out of fear of pissing Madison off, that Ashley's invulnerability to the comments was part of what was upsetting Madison so much.

"Maddy," Spencer sighed. She rubbed at her forehead, feeling a slight headache forming. There were so many other things that they could be talking about; like finding her Zorro that Madison wasting time ranting about someone Spencer honestly didn't know just seemed stupid. Especially since Ashley was not going to rise to the bait and give Madison the confrontation she seemed to so desire. "She's just trying to get her degree; same as us. I really don't see the point of this vendetta that you seem to have against her."

Madison stared at her like she'd just sprouted a second head with horns and Spencer immediately knew that she'd picked the wrong thing to say. She closed her eyes and waited for the spanglish verbal beat down she knew was headed in her direction. Honestly she just wished Madison would explain the source of the hatred so maybe she could understand her friend's point of view. The way it was now, Madison was just coming across as a bitch.

"Fucking hell, Spencer," the tiny Latina growled. "Are you that stupid? No puedo creer que usted puede ser ése absurdo. Spencer, listen to me and listen really close, entienda? Ashley Davies is a manipulative, evil bitch. She doesn't care about other people's emotions. Fuck, she doesn't even have any of her own. She uses and abuses and discards people like you would your underwear."

"Madison," Spencer whispered, chancing a glance back at the stony girl who was currently being ranted, rather loudly about. Ashley was looking back at them from behind her glasses, her plush lips pressed into a thin line but otherwise unmoved. "Keep it down."

"No, Spencer," Madison growled back. "I don't care if she hears me. She knows that she's destroyed people, destroyed lives. She knows what kind of monster she is..." A slam from behind her drew Spencer's attention. She turned her head to see Ashley standing, slinging her bag over her shoulder before she stormed up the stairs to leave.

"Awww, what's the matter, Davies?" Madison called after her triumphantly. "Truth hurt too much?" Ashley paused and looked back down at them before just shaking her head and leaving. Madison, satisfied with herself, took her seat, a smug expression on her face. Spencer felt her stomach churning with disgust and guilt.

Even without seeing Ashley's face, she knew that the other girl had been hurt by the things Madison had said. What bothered her even more was the fact that her friend seemed to have absolutely no remorse whatsoever. It made Spencer wonder which of the two dark haired girls were really the monster.

"That's better," Madison chirped happily. Spencer just shook her head.

"Don't you feel the least bit bad?" she asked. "I think you really hurt her." Madison seemed to think about it for a moment before deciding on her answer. She smirked evilly at Spencer.

"No...no I really don't."

Spencer trudged into her Music Appreciation class a bit apprehensive. She knew that if Ashley was there, the guilt that had been eating at her since English class wouldn't ease any. But she also knew that if Ashley wasn't there, it was only going to grow worse. She wasn't entirely sure which outcome she wanted.

So when she took her seat and looked around, she felt an odd sense of relief to see Ashley in her customary seat near the window, her gaze fixated away from the door and onto the tall trees that shaded the grassy area outside of the class room. The diminutive girl seemed lost in her own universe, not noticing that Spencer or anyone else had entered the room. Spencer then noticed that Ashley was wearing her iPod and undoubtedly hadn't heard anyone else enter.

She bit her lip, wondering if she should try and talk to the reclusive girl or if she should let it be. She didn't want Ashley to think that she was anything like Madison, because in all honesty she wasn't. It was becoming more and more evident to her as time went by that she was nothing like Madison and that she wasn't sure that she liked the kind of person Madison seemed to be.

Her decision was made for her when their teacher came in and began the lesson. She missed the entire class, her thoughts too tied up and twisted over whether or not she should apologize for Madison's behavior. She knew if nothing else, she was going to have to try and reign Madison in so that Ashley could attend her English class in peace.

When class ended, she found herself shooting up from her seat to try and talk to Ashley, almost before she realized what she was doing. The brunette grabbed her books, ignoring the approaching blonde and turned to leave the room. Desperate to ease the guilt festering in her chest, Spencer grasped her wrist. Both girls gasped at the contact and Spencer tore her hand away like she'd been burnt.

An electric charge had ran up her arm, shooting across her chest and making her heart thunder loudly in her ears. The only time she'd felt anything similar was in each and every touch from Z. She stared at the smaller girl, trying to imagine her as Zorro.

Ashley scowled at her, her lips set still in the thin line. This made her look nothing like the friendly, warm girl from that night.

"Coming in for another cheap shot?" she growled, making Spencer take a step back to avoid the venom in the husky voice. "Doing Madison's dirty work for her?"

"I...no," Spencer stuttered, at a loss as to how to react to such anger. Even from behind the dark glasses she could tell Ashley was upset and it bothered her that Madison had had such an effect on her. Ashley's voice shook slightly with each word she spat at the blonde.

"Whatever," she snarled. "Save it. I've got better things to do than stand here and listen to some little twit carry on Madison's vendetta...God, I don't know why I thought she'd ever grow the fuck up..."

"I am not a twit," Spencer said suddenly, her mind focused on the insult. She didn't want this girl forming an opinion of her based simply on the company she kept anymore than she was going to form her opinion on Madison's slander. Spencer was the sort of person to give someone a chance first; then decide whether or not to get to know them. As far as she was concerned, Ashley was a clean slate no matter how much trash Madison talked. Until Ashley proved that she wasn't worthy of it, Spencer was going to treat her with nothing but kindness.

"I know you're not," Ashley sighed, hefting her bag and shaking her head. "I just...it's so fucking high school and I just want to move on. She won't. It frustrates me." Spencer nodded her understanding.

"Yeah, Madison can be that way," she agreed. "Uhm, I'm Spencer Carlin," she added as an afterthought. The somewhat bumbled gesture won her a small smile from the mysterious girl.

"Trust me, I know who you are," Ashley chuckled. She immediately flushed as she realized what she said. "Uhm...I gotta go..." She started towards the door, putting as much space between herself and Spencer as she could.

"Wait..." Spencer tried to stop her, immediately entertained and captivated by the other girl. Ashley paused and tilted her head.

"I'm not, you know," she said softly, so soft Spencer almost didn't hear her. The blonde frowned.

"Not what?" she wondered.

"A monster," Ashley whispered. And with that, she exited the class before Spencer could respond.

Spencer arrived back to her sorority house, her thoughts whirling around. The sheer pain and pathos in the few words Ashley had left her with had left her shaken and wondering what truly happened between Madison and Ashley. It seemed to Spencer like Ashley was desperate for her to believe she wasn't a monster; she sounded as though she would cave in on herself if Spencer believed Madison instead. It confused Spencer but it reinforced her belief that there was more to the tiny musician than what Madison had led her to believe.

"Oh my god, Spencer!" Becky, another sorority sister gushed as she rushed up to the distracted blonde. "This arrived for you this morning!" The red head handed her a small box and bounced on the balls of her feet expectantly. Spencer looked at the box, seeing only her name written in loopy script with no return address and then back at Becky.

"Aren't you going to open it?" Becky squealed in excitement. Spencer smiled and tried not to get her hopes up. It had been two weeks since her encounter with Z and thus far she hadn't heard anything. She didn't want to but couldn't stop herself from hoping that it was from her.

"I'll open it later," she said with false calm. The last thing she wanted was to open it around the prying eyes of her sorority sisters, just in case it was something...incriminating as to the feminine identity of Zorro.

"Oh come on, Spence!" Becky whined. "We've been waiting all day for you to get back so you could open it and now you're not gonna? God, you're killing us here!"

"Beck!" a loud, annoyed voice called from behind the tall red head. Spencer tilted her head to see passed Becky and saw Lucy, one of the senior sorority sisters, approaching quickly.

"Leave Carlin alone," she barked. "I'm sure she doesn't want to broadcast her private shit all around the house. I told you to just give her the package and let her be." Becky blushed bright red and mumbled an apology before shuffling away before Lucy could really rip into her. The only person Spencer had met so far that could match if not surpass Madison on the 'bitch' scale was Lucy.

"Fucking freshmen," Lucy swore, disgusted. She smiled at Spencer and the blonde looked, not for the first time, for sharp barracuda teeth behind the smile. She knew that if she got too close, she'd lose a finger to the vicious two-faced girl. "Sorry about that Carlin. The freshmen are such tools."

"Yeah, uh, thanks," Spencer said as she headed towards her room. She didn't like being around Lucy too long and was looking forward to when the senior girl graduated in the spring just to finally be rid of her. She made Spencer very uneasy which was unusual given her laid back nature. But Lucy was vicious and manipulative, even Spencer with her sheltered upbringing knew better than to trust the girl. And she was annoyed by Lucy's refusal to call her 'Spencer' and instead stuck with 'Carlin'. Lucy hated Spencer's first name saying it was too mannish and ugly. That had hurt Spencer's feelings since she liked her unique name.

She entered her room and put her bag down before turning her attention to the plain brown box. She set it on the bed and stared at it, wondering if she should open it. It seemed like an easy decision on the surface but she was afraid that if it turned out not to be from Z that she was going to be crushed. But if it was from the masked girl, she knew that her hopes would soar and that might only lead to disappointment later on. She really wasn't in the mindset to have her heart broken.

Finally, her curiosity won out and she opened the box, pealing back black tissue paper to reveal a small teddy bear dressed, she realized, as Zorro. It was complete right down to a hat and little plastic sword. Laughing she picked the bear up and hugged it to her chest, knowing, without reading the note in the bottom of the box, that it was indeed from Z. Holding the bear tightly to her, she picked up the paper and unfolded it, looking at beautiful calligraphy-like handwriting.

'Dearest Spencer,

My sincerest apologies for not contacting you sooner. I was afraid of how any such overtures would be received.'

As she read, Spencer smiled, again hearing the girl speaking in the Spanish accent she'd made sound so alluring that night. She thought that it was sweet and charming that Z was staying in character even in a letter.

'But, as time has gone on, I find myself unable to stop thinking about you, your natural beauty and the time we spent together. That night was...unforgettable, my lady as are you.

Please accept this small bear as a token of my affection and as something to remember me by.'

Spencer felt her heart sink at the thought of never seeing Z again. It was exactly what she was afraid of. Part of her didn't want to continue reading the letter and she let the bear fall slack in her grip. Sighing, she continued reading just to get it over with.

'Do not misinterpret my words, fair maiden. I do not wish for our night of passion to be the only night we share. But, right now, there are many forces working against us and I must wait until the time is right to reveal myself to you.

I can only hope that you will wait as anxiously for that day as I will.

Until then, sweet sweet Spencer.

You have my heart; I hope in time I will hold yours as well.


Spencer let out a happy squee and set the bear on her bed as she changed into her pajamas. It was still early but the wear and tear of the day, her short talk with Ashley and the pain that radiated from the girl plus Madison's growing evil streak seemed to sap her of her energy. So, she pulled back the covers and crawled into bed, hugging the soft bear to herself and reveling in the fact that it actually smelled a little like Z.

Content for the moment with the small but meaningful token, a reminder to let her know that that evening wasn't the result of her overactive imagination, Spencer drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

It was all over the house the next morning that Spencer had received a gift from her secret admirer, Zorro. She reluctantly showed the stuffed bear to her sorority sisters, but made sure to hide the note. She didn't know why but she didn't want anyone coming across the private item. It was something especially for her, for her eyes only and she didn't want to share it with the entire house.

All the girls in the house were on a mission to find the mystery man and reunite the tragically separated lovers. It had become the house project. Spencer was content to let them try knowing that they were going to have very little success in finding her Z, mostly because they were looking for the wrong gender. The fact that many of the girls were going to be doing very little other than chasing their tails amused her.

She put her little bear in a place of honor on her bed and tried to start her day, hearing Lucy bellowing through the halls for the 'stupid twits to shut the fuck up about Zorro'. It was Saturday and Lucy liked to sleep in. The excitement over Spencer's mystery man was putting many of the girls into a tizzy, each of them thinking that by being as hyperactive about it as they were, they were helping Spencer. While she appreciated that they cared about her, she would rather keep her private business just that, private.

"Maddy, you have any plans for this morning?" she asked her hungover best friend. Annoyed hazel eyes glared at her while she pushed her hair out of her face.

"Other than puking up the nasty ass eggs this stupid pledge just tried to kill me with," she growled, shoving some poor freshman pledge, Dionne, if Spencer remembered correctly, out of the way. Dionne whimpered in fear and scampered away. Spencer rolled her eyes.

"Maddy, calm down," she sighed. "That girl is you last year." Madison gaped at her in shock.

"I was not that skittish and spineless..." she started to argue. Spencer leaned across the table so that she could say what she wanted quietly making sure that no one else would hear.

"I seem to remember you sobbing into a milkshake at the diner one night, hysterical over the fact that Lucy had screamed at you, reamed you out in front of the whole house because you used the wrong fabric softener," she reminded her friend, the image of the fiery Latina reduced to a crying, pathetic mess at Denny's entertaining her. "You pretty much promised her and the senior girls that you'd do anything, including lick their boots, if you just made the sorority." Madison glared at her for a long minute.

"What do you want, Spencer?" she asked eventually. "I gotta a date at one so, make it fast." Spencer nodded.

"I just wanna talk," she said simply. "Quad in twenty?"

"Yeah," Madison grunted, leaving the kitchen to get dressed.

Spencer went to the campus coffee shop and got herself a latte and some muffins before circling back to the quad to meet Madison. Her friend was sitting there waiting for her, looking bored. Spencer handed her a cappuccino that she'd gotten her and sat on the stone ledge.

"What's up?" Madison asked, much more personable now that she was fully awake and getting a good caffeine fix. Spencer sipped her latte while she thought of how to ask what she wanted to know.

"Can you...will you tell me what happened between you and Ashley Davies?" she asked cautiously. Madison choked on the sip of liquid she'd taken, spitting harshly. After she composed herself, she glared hotly at the blonde.

"Why the fuck do you wanna know about that freak?" she screeched. "Have you lost your little corn shucking mind? Are you really that desperate for friends that you'd stoop so low as to enter Ashley's social radius? What the fuck, Spencer?"

"Calm down, Maddy, I asked a simple question," Spencer shot back, not liking the insulting and demeaning tone her friend was using. "I didn't ask you to give her a personal reference, just explain to me why you hate her so much."

"Why should it matter?" Madison growled. "Isn't my word that she isn't worth your time, good enough?" Spencer sighed loudly, shaking her head.

"No, Maddy, I'm sorry, it's not," she replied evenly. "I talked to her yesterday. I felt bad over what you did in class..."

"Why?" Madison broke in. "I didn't." Spencer swallowed an annoyed groan.

"Which is the reason I did," she retorted sourly. "Just because you have no remorse doesn't mean that I don't." Madison took a big bite out of one of the muffins and watched her friend for a moment, trying to figure out what Spencer's angle was.

"You shouldn't bother," she informed Spencer after she swallowed. "She isn't worth your remorse, your pity or frankly your time."

"All right," Spencer agreed. Madison smiled in triumph. "Why?" Madison's smile immediately fell and she crushed the muffin in her hand.

"Look, Spencer, I don't understand where your sudden fascination with the whore is coming from but I'll throw you a bone. I hate her because she destroyed lives..."

"You've said that but I don't understand how..." Spencer protested.

"Pequeno tonto loco," Madison muttered disgusted. "Spencer, because of that selfish little twat, two people died. My best friend and my boyfriend, died." Spencer gagged a little at the information, feeling bad that she brought up her best friend's painful past. But she honestly had no idea since Madison never spoke much about her past.

"I'm sorry," Spencer breathed. She wondered if there was a sign over her head that said 'ass' or 'heel' on it. She sure felt like both.

"Yeah, so am I," Madison sighed, the emotions connected to the event coming back and momentarily knocking her off her 'bitch' soapbox. She shook her head to dislodge the feelings and took a deep breath.

"I don't like talking about it," she said honestly. "It was a bad time in my life and while I have moved on, it pisses me off that that monster, that murderer gets to go on with her life without ever paying for what she did." Spencer nodded mutely, unsure what to say in the situation. Madison checked her watch.

"I'm gonna go back to the house and get ready for my lunch date," she announced. She seemed to think a moment before she turned and faced Spencer, a serious expression on her face.

"Just a fair warning, Spence," she said softly. "If you wander into that...mutant's line of fire and she will make you suffer. Oh, she'll smile and look innocent and whatnot, but trust me, that girl is destructive as hell. She'll rip out anything good about you, spit on it, stomp on it and ruin who you are just to make herself feel good. It's what she does, what she's good at. And she'll have no remorse over doing it either."

"Uhm, OK," Spencer mumbled, mortified that she'd even brought up the subject.

"I just want you to know, Spencer," Madison gave her a wane smile. "Cuz you're a good person and I'd hate to see something like that ruined by a monster like Ashley Davies."

For next few days, Spencer felt like her mind was in a washing machine, churning and swirling as she tried to reconcile what Madison had told her with the pain-filled plea Ashley had made to her. Both girls seemed adamant in their personal beliefs and it left Spencer confused as to which one to believe and trust.

Her mind told her that as Madison's friend, she was obligated to believe her and agree with her because her loyalty was with her. But her heart was screaming at her that there was something else going on there, between Ashley and Madison and that she didn't have the whole picture. Her heart kept telling her that there was something worth looking into as far as Ashley was concerned.

In the middle of all the confusion, she was still dealing with the mystery of who Z was and where the girl was going to fit into her life, if it did indeed come down to the outcome Spencer was hoping for. She hoped that Z would reveal her identity to her soon; she wanted to get to know the girl as who she was and not as someone behind a mask. So far, it was apparent that Z was someone with money since there had been flowers, expensive bunches of flowers left on Spencer's car and at the sorority house. Each time the card was black with the 'Z' mark of Zorro on it. The whole thing was driving her sorority nuts.

Spencer had never had anyone pay such close attention to her personal, romantic life, not even her parents and it disturbed her. She knew that when the truth of Zorro's identity got out, she might not be as welcome in the house. Not only that, but her family, her conservative Catholic family was not going to deal well with it either. Her mother was going to have an aneurysm when she found out Spencer not only slept with a woman but that she was a lesbian.

Spencer let out a frustrated sigh; that last thought really shook her up. She had spent a lot of time thinking about what it all meant; her tryst with Zorro, her blossoming feelings for the girl that were growing exponentially each day... she tried to wrap her mind around the changes in her these things were bringing about. It was becoming clearer to her each day that she was indeed...gay.

"Oooph!" she grunted as someone collided forcefully with her as she walked away from the library. Her books, and the offending walker's scattered over the ground, pages flipping in the light breeze.

"Fuck!" another voice echoed her own. "Don't you watch where you're going?" Spencer looked up at the irate voice.

"Ashley," she whispered, more to herself than the other girl. The brunette picked her head up from where she was bent down to get her things and frowned.

"Oh, it's you, hi," she muttered. "Sorry," she offered as an afterthought.

"Me too," Spencer responded, reaching down for her own things. "I was so lost in thought..."

"Uh huh," Ashley grunted, grabbing for her sunglasses that had fallen off her face with the force of their impact. Spencer tilted her head, noticing for the first time that the smaller girl wasn't wearing them. She seemed to be squinting a lot on what was an overcast, cloudy day.

"Here," she said, handing the expensive shades to the other girl. Ashley lifted her head and looked at her for a moment her face unreadable. It was the first time Spencer had ever seen Ashley without the glasses. Her breath caught in her throat.

"Your eyes," she gasped. Ashley scowled and put the glasses back on.

"Yes, I have two of them," she grumbled, annoyed. She was uncomfortable with the way Spencer was looking at her. It made her feel rather exposed and vulnerable, two things she made sure that she never was.

Spencer, for her part, was stunned by the beauty of Ashley's chocolate eyes. They were cold right now, staring at her with an apprehensive expression but they were so familiar to Spencer. She could see them being at some point, smiling and warm. She shivered unconsciously.

"So why you always wear the glasses?" she asked, immediately feeling stupid for asking such a dumb question. She cringed, hoping for whatever reason, Ashley simply didn't hear the question.

"Cuz my vision sucks ass," she said absently. "So, yeah, sorry." She moved to walk away but Spencer reached out to stop her. Again, a small electric shock started at the point where they touched and swam through both girls' bodies.

"Wait," Spencer asked. Ashley pulled away and rubbed at her arm, looking sideways at Spencer warily.

"Why?" she wondered softly. "I'm really not in the mood for you to throw Madison's insults at me."

"God, why do you think I'm always going to attack you?" Spencer snapped, exasperated. Ashley readjusted her hat and shrugged.

"Why wouldn't you?" she responded in the same tone. "I hear the shit Madison tells you about me; I know exactly what she thinks of me. I figure she's told you her version of what happened and well, you've got your opinion."

"Yes, I have MY opinion," Spencer stressed. "Which you've never taken the time to ask me. Madison has told me her version so why don't you tell me yours?" Ashley seemed to think about it for a moment before turning to leave.

"Because we're not friends. I don't even know you..."

"You haven't tried to get to know me," Spencer interrupted. Ashley sighed.

"You're right," she agreed. "I haven't. Because it's not worth the effort." With that, she walked away, leaving a stupefied and confused Spencer in her wake.

Spencer tossed and turned later that night, unable to get Ashley's coffee colored eyes out of her mind. She knew those eyes; they had been haunting her for the better part of two weeks. But was it possible for her Z, funny, adventurous, sensual, and kind secret lover to truly be the silent, moody, withdrawn and jaded Ashley Davies? The thought that the girl who so monopolized her mind lately and who had quite possibly with a minimum of effort stolen her heart was a murderer as Madison claimed greatly upset Spencer. The doubts, the questions and the fears refused to let her sleep.

Sighing in annoyance, she kicked the covers to the floor and glanced at the digital clock. The red numbers told her that it was 3:13 am but that didn't help her any. She was thankful that her first class wasn't until 11 given her insomnia. The last thing she needed was to fall asleep in one of her classes and incur the wrath of one of her professors.

Reaching over, she grabbed her laptop and pulled it into her lap, turning it on. She connected with the house's wi-fi to surf the Internet. She looked aimlessly for about thirty minutes before she was struck with an idea. Signing into the school's server, she ran a search for articles about King High in LA, the high school both Madison and Ashley attended hoping that it would shed some light on their relationship or lack there of. She filtered through the porn links and sport statistics for the school, trying to find something from around the time frame that she knew the two had attended classes there. Scrolling down, she spotted a headline that made her breath catch in her throat.

"Gunmen open fire on Junior Prom" A picture accompanied the article, the sign for King High clearly visible through the chaos that filled the frame. The picture must have come from a cell phone camera and showed teenagers sprawled across the concrete and lawn where they had fallen or ducked when the shooting began.

She moved the page down, reading the article with a growing sense of dread.

"King High's Junior Prom was marred by violence Friday night when a carload of suspected gang members opened fire with semi-automatic weapons on unsuspecting students as they exited the gym which held the ceremony. Police officials have confirmed that the death of at least three teenagers in attendance with nearly ten more hospitalized, some in critical condition. Police have refused to release the names of those killed until notification of the families. It is believed that one of the deceased was the target of the shooting, reportedly the work of a rival gang."

Knowing what to look for now, Spencer reopened the search engine and typed in a more specific search. She skimmed through a few articles until she found one that named the people who were killed and injured.

"The names of the four students whom were killed in the gang related drive-by at the Junior Prom for King High were released yesterday. Among the deceased at the scene were Sherri Pena, 17, a junior at King High. Miss Pena was a well-known student, a member of the cheer leading squad and of the volleyball team. Bozworth Carmichael, 19, a senior and suspected gang member is believed to have been the intended target. Aiden Dennison, 17, junior, was the star of the Cobra's basketball team and three year All-American player in the school district. A fourth student, Jennifer McClain, a junior, died later at LA General of her injuries."

"Injured in the shooting were: Brandon Look, 18, senior; Jacqueline Weston, 16, sophomore; Alonzo Ramirez, 18, senior; Kyla Woods, 16, sophomore; Yesenia Morales, 18, junior; Ashley Davies, 17, junior; Maria Soto, 16, junior; and Michael Carver, 17, junior. Davies and Morales have been released from the hospital at the time of printing. The actual condition of those remaining in the hospital were not released."

Spencer scrubbed at her face tiredly. She had a feeling that this was what Madison had been referring to. She'd mentioned Aiden and Sherri in passing over the past two years but Spencer never asked about them. She was about to close the page and try to figure out a way to talk to either Madison or Ashley about the incident one more link caught her eye.

"Deceased rocker's illegitimate daughter among those injured in high school shootout."

Spencer opened the link and looked at a picture of a girl who looked eerily similar to Ashley only much younger. The caption on the picture read 'Kyla Woods, illegitimate daughter of the late Raife Davies.' Spencer gasped.

"Davies?" she wondered out loud. "Is he Ashley's father? That's too much of a coincidence."

She quickly read through the article until she saw mention of Kyla's half-sister, Ashley who was also injured in the shooting when a bullet ricocheted and grazed her side.

"Wow," Spencer breathed in awe. She couldn't believe that the daughter of a rock icon not only went to school with her but sat only a few rows back. She knew that there was probably a lot of Hollywood royalty that went to school with her but being from small town Ohio, she was still star-struck.

"Wow," she repeated. If Z really was Ashley Davies then Spencer realized that she had slept with a celebrity's daughter. The thought made her giggle a little until she started to wonder how any of what happened that horrible night was possibly Ashley's fault, especially since Ashley's sister and Ashley herself had been injured. Ashley didn't look like a gang-banger to Spencer.

Yawning, she closed the laptop and crawled back into bed. She hoped that she was able to make some sense of what she had learned the next morning.

The next day in English, Spencer covertly examined Ashley, mentally comparing the tiny girl to her Z. Take away the Timberlands, or in today's case, the thick soled black Vans and the two girls were virtually the same height and build. But where Z's flattering black outfit was worn to accentuate her beautiful features, Ashley's low-rider jeans, grey tee shirt that asked 'how many licks does it take' and grey Roxy jersey made her blend in and didn't attract attention. It seemed like everything Ashley did or wore was intended to attract as little attention as possible. Her clothes, although fashionable, were her camouflage.

Her hair, pulled back like always into a ponytail and hid beneath a black Element baseball cap, didn't show any hint of the highlights of red and blonde that Z's hair had displayed. The only thing that stood out on Ashley was the tattoo on the small of her back that Spencer had noticed one day when she was walking into Music class behind her and her shirt had ridden up. It had been a very good day for her, in Spencer's opinion. She'd enjoyed the unintentional view even early on in the semester before the whole incident with Z.

She shook her head at herself, wondering how she managed to not notice the big sign above her head that seemed to be shouting 'LESBIAN' earlier than now. And how no one in her life had ever really noticed with.

So Spencer searched her memory for the same marking on Z but could remember ever actually viewing the mystery girl's back at any point. She had been a lot more preoccupied with her front and her...extra equipment. She shivered at the thought and tried to hide the smirk from Madison.

She toyed with the idea of 'accidentally' knocking Ashley's hat off at some point, just to sneak a peak at what was hidden underneath. But, Madison's warning that Ashley was a murderer and now the knowledge that there might be a gang angle to it made Spencer wary of trying. The last thing she needed was to receive a big ass beat down by some gang member.

A sharp tap to the side of her head made her turn and glare at Madison, wincing as she rubbed the now sore spot.

"What did I tell you about that slut?" she demanded to know as she shot daggers at Spencer. Spencer opened her mouth to respond but choked on her reply.

"I swear, Spencer, if you're going to try and reform that social reject, you're just going to end up as much of a loser as she is."

"Madison, I just..." Spencer tried. Honestly she had no clue as to how to explain the growing preoccupation she was developing towards Ashley without giving away entirely too much information.

"Look, I get that you feel sorry and whatnot for the freak," Madison went on, ignoring Spencer's attempt at explanation. "Everyone loves taking in a stray now and then. But, you start hanging with her and you are so not hanging with me. And the house will not stand for you hanging with one of those..."

"'One of those' what?" Spencer frowned as she asked. "Lesbians?" She felt vaguely insulted. Madison grunted and shook her head.

"No...well, yes, but I actually meant a demon spawn loser whore like Ashley," she said irritated.

"I was just looking..." Spencer started. She couldn't help but think that Madison certainly had a way with adjectives.

"I know!" Madison hissed. "Stop looking!"

"I like her clothes," Spencer offered as a way to deflect her friend's ire. Madison twisted to look and then screwed her face up in disgust.

"Retro skater-chick wanna-be?" she scoffed. "She's a poser and you have much better taste than tha...wait, why is she sitting closer?" Spencer took another look and smiled to herself; Ashley had indeed moved up a row from where she usually sat. The silent girl was watching her with a bemused expression on her face, apparently able to hear the conversation going on in front of her and finding it amusing. Spencer offered her a wave and got her hand yanked back by her friend for the effort.

"What the fuck? God, Spencer! What did I just tell you?" Madison ranted as class started. "Great, just fucking great. You went and made eye contact with the queer freak and now she thinks you're on her hook waiting for her to reel you in."

"I'm not a big mouth bass, Maddy," Spencer countered, slightly amused, mostly because the Latina was so pissed. She shook out her wrist wondering if Madison's mad grab for it had managed to sprain anything.

"Whatever," Madison spat. Spencer rolled her eyes at her friend's melodramatic flair and wondered for a moment if Madison wasn't better suited for the Drama program instead of the Fashion program.

As Professor Blanchard discussed the reading assignment, Spencer let her mind drift back to her 'Z vs. Ashley' debate. She didn't recall if Z was wearing contacts but then again the room they were in had been dark and her eyes had been dilated with desire. Still brown and alluring but not something Spencer could successfully compare.

She sighed, frustrated and tried to ignore the shivers running up and down her spine as she felt Ashley's eyes on her throughout class.

Music Appreciation was always one of Spencer's favorite classes. She enjoyed getting three credits for sitting around, listening to and discussing music. There was rarely a test or assigned reading. More often than not, the homework was to listen to and compare different music types. The most work it usually took for Spencer to achieve a good grade was the downloading of new music that she didn't already have and the broadening of her music tastes.

Then, there was the occasional class that was even more enjoyable than most; the rare classes when Ashley sang. All the students were occasionally asked to sing; those that lacked the ability usually dropped from the course early on. But those that remained were usually very talented and Ashley was no exception.

Spencer sat in her seat, mesmerized by the velvety smooth sound that flowed so effortlessly from the tiny girl. Ashley was obviously shy about her talent. It normally took about fifteen minutes of cajoling from their teacher to get her to do it. When she finally did cave in, she would sit at the piano with the teacher as he played, or play herself, her eyes shut and body oddly relaxed. It was like she entered her own little world.

Today's music was Sarah McLachlan's 'Full of Grace'. They were dissecting the songs composition and use of visceral images within the words. They'd been talking about the meaning of some songs and how one song could be interpreted in different ways by different people.

'It's better this way, I said
Having seen this place before
Where everything we say and do
hurts us all the more
It's just that we stayed too long
In the same old sickly scheme
I'm pulled down by the undertow
Never thought I could feel so low
Through all the darkness...I feel like letting go.'

She sounded so sad and remorseful that it brought tears to Spencer's eyes, which she covertly attempted to wipe away before anyone, especially Ashley, noticed.

'Follow the strength
And follow the courage
Come and lift me from this place
I know I can love you much better than this
Full of grace

I know I can love you much better than this...
But it's better this way'

Spencer couldn't help but think, as the song ended, that Ashley was trying to say something. She wondered if maybe she was just reading too much into it given what else was going on in her life. Was Ashley Z? If she was, why didn't she just say so? There had already been more than one opportunity for her to confess to being the mystery marauder and yet she hadn't. It made Spencer wonder what Ashley was hiding or hiding from if she actually was Z.

"Thank you Miss Davies," the teacher, Mr. Winchell said happily as Ashley retook her seat while the class applauded thunderously. Spencer thought that the blush on the brunette's face was adorable. It also made her look even more like Z, that night when she'd been embarrassed by her...extra equipment. She then felt the rising heat in her own cheeks when Ashley turned to her and gave a weak smile.

"It's always great when a scion of a musical legend is willing to share her talents," he went on, causing Ashley's blush to deepen even further. She pulled her cap down over her head and slouched in her seat. "You really should give yourself more credit, Ashley. You have tremendous talent." The class murmured its agreement as he handed out papers outlining one of the few assignments they were required to do.

"For this one, I want you all to pair up...well no actually given your different levels of aptitude with music, I split you up into pairs that I thought you'd benefit the most from. The name of your partner is written at the top of your assignment."

Spencer glanced at the top of her paper and felt herself grow cold with apprehension. It read, very clearly in red ink, Ashley Davies. She looked over at Ashley to see the brunette rubbing her forehead as she read the paper. Her head lifted and turned towards Spencer, making the blonde's heart pound loudly in her chest. She offered a little wave and got a snort in response.

She hated the way Ashley seemed to run hot and cold with her; she couldn't figure it out and it left her feeling off-center. She shrugged off the feeling and walked over to the reclusive girl as class ended.

"Hey Ash...er...Ashley," she stuttered, her tongue feeling like it had grown to massive proportions inside her mouth. She mentally cursed herself for accidentally calling Ashley 'Ash'. She hoped the other girl hadn't noticed. Her greeting won her a grunt in response.

"So, uhm, when do you want to get together to work on this?" she asked, waving the paper slightly in reference. Ashley let out what sounded to Spencer like a long-suffering sigh. It was clear that the smaller girl really didn't want to do the assignment with her. Spencer swallowed the hurt that this realization caused her and shook her head.

"No, ya know what? How about you do one half and email it to me and I'll do mine and I'll edit them together so it looks like we cooperated?" she offered hastily, not wanting to force Ashley into spending time with her if she didn't want to.

If Ashley was actually Z then there had to be a reason why she didn't want to reveal herself and this assignment might just drive her further away instead of letting them get to know one another. Spencer wanted Ashley to know that she didn't have to do it so she gave her an easy out.

"Here, I'll write down my email address..." she started, bending over to the desk to scribble the address onto a scrap piece of paper. A gentle hand on her wrist, sending a shudder up her spine, stopped her.

"Whoa, calm down," Ashley said softly. Spencer stopped and stood back up, looking at the brunette cautiously. "I mean, if that's how you wanna do it, OK fine. But if you'd rather actually sit and talk about the assignment, I'm OK with that too."

"Really?" Spencer asked hopefully. She genuinely wanted the chance to get to know Ashley, one on one without Madison whispering little insults and barbed comments the entire time.

"Yeah," Ashley agreed. "Only thing is, we can't get together at the sorority. There's no way Madison would let me through the door without sicking half your sorority on me with pitchforks and wooden stakes." Ashley mocked shivered at the thought making Spencer smile at her cuteness.

"You have a point," she acquiesced. She had to admit though, Ashley painted a humorous picture. She doubted that most of the girls from the house would know which end of the pitchfork to use. "We could meet at the commissary." Ashley crinkled her nose, a new facial expression for Spencer to witness.

"Ew, ah yeah, no," she said firmly. "I don't do public outings." Spencer tried to think of somewhere but other than the library, couldn't come up with anything.

"Here, if it's OK with you, how about we meet at my house?" Ashley asked, jotting down her address on Spencer's piece of scrap paper. "It's on the beach and kinda hard to miss. I live there alone so there's no one to bother us..." she stopped and looked back at Spencer. "But if you're uncomfortable with that..."

"No!" Spencer said quickly, a little too quickly in her own opinion. "That's good, I mean fine..." She cringed at how she sounded. Ashley gave her a half-grin.

"OK, then just let me know when is a good time for you," she offered. "Or just show up. I'm pretty much always home when I'm not at school, since I lack a social life." Spencer nodded.

"All right, I'll do that," she smiled widely. She felt like doing a cartwheel but squashed the urge.

"See ya around, Spence," Ashley said as she started to leave the room.

"Bye!" Spencer replied but couldn't get one single thought out of her mind. Ashley had just called her 'Spence'.

Spencer rummaged through her closet, trying to find the perfect outfit to wear. It was Saturday and she was supposed to be at Ashley's house by 1:30. She threw a pink spaghetti strap blouse across the room in frustration. She wanted to look nice, attractive without looking like she put that much effort into it. Easier said than done.

It was 10:45 and all she'd managed to decide on was her best pair of tight fitting low-rise jeans in her wardrobe in the hunt for perfection. She was at the back of her closet where she kept her 'it's rare but I feel like looking sexy and drawing attention' clothes. They were usually reserved for the unique occasions when Madison managed to drag Spencer out to a club or party, both of which she disliked.

Finally, she settled on a baby blue form fitting girl tee that was tight but comfortable. It accentuated her bust line and the waist. It also showed about one and a half inch wide strip of skin at her abs. Just a hint of a tease for someone looking.

Another hour passed with Spencer concentrating on her hair and make-up. Even though the chance of Ashley not being Z was fairly slim, it was still a possibility. If it ended up that Ashley was only Z's sullen, prickly, and antisocial evil twin, Spencer still wanted to befriend her, if only because it seemed like Ashley could use a friend. Madison no doubt would flip her expensive extensions and then ride Spencer out of the house if she even caught a whiff of wind suggesting that she was going to Ashley's beach front house...where she lived alone.

She'd go on to accuse Spencer of being hideously naive in her extending an olive branch to someone as manipulative and evil as Ashley. It wouldn't matter to the opinionated Latina that the two girls had to work together for an assignment. She would just insist that Spencer demand a new partner from the teacher so that she wouldn't have to waste an iota of time in the same zip code as Ashley.

Her friend's attitude was tiring and frustrating to Spencer. Until she had all the facts regarding what had actually transpired between the two brunettes, Spencer was trying to stay neutral. Still, the lingering and growing possibility that Z was really Ashley Davies was making Spencer more apt to side with her instead of Madison. She felt kind of bad that she didn't outright trust what her friend had told her but she couldn't help but think that there was more to Madison's story than she let on. And Spencer knew that the missing pieces could only be filled by Ashley.

Opting to wear her hair down and slightly wavy, she put the finishing touches on her 'barely there' make-up before examining herself in the mirror. She had to admit she looked really nice. And she also couldn't deny that Ashley was a very attractive woman even behind the sunglasses and under the baseball cap. It seemed just to be inherent natural beauty the other girl possessed. It was obvious that Ashley didn't play up her looks and yet she was still breathtaking.

Satisfied with her appearance finally, she grabbed her backpack and purse before leaving her room and heading down the stairs.

"Whao, Spence!" Katie, a junior sorority sister wolf-whistled. "Where you going looking all boom-shaka-laka-laka?" Spencer blushed having hoped to get out of the house before anyone spied her and spare herself a confrontation.

"No where," she mumbled. "Just going to the library to study..."

"Bullshit," Madison snapped from behind her. Spencer jumped, startled. Madison was the very last person Spencer was interested in seeing at that moment.

"Maddy, I..."

"Save it, Spencer," her friend ordered. "I know exactly what you're doing."

Spencer felt her blood run cold in as panic overwhelmed her. If Madison somehow knew that she was going to Ashley's house, she'd be locked in her room or worse yet, Madison would start accusing her of being a big old lesbian. While she realized that the latter was most likely true, she didn't want or need it broadcast, especially in the house in front of all her sorority sisters.

Chances were Lucy would go on a rampage that would only end with Spencer being homeless with no where to go. She couldn't afford off-campus housing and the regular dorms were full. She'd end up having to go home and deal with her self-righteous mother saying 'I told you so'. Spencer would rather sit in a small box full of poisonous snakes and spiders, humming the Macarena while chewing on tin-foil wrapped glass than endure that torture.

"Uhm..." she stuttered, feeling her cheeks flush more and her palms start to sweat.

"I can't believe that you honestly thought you could get away with it, either," Madison ranted. Spencer braced herself, closing her eyes and tensing her body, for the oncoming venomous volley.

"You thought that you could just go and hook up with your mysterious Z and not tell the rest of us who he really is?" Madison accused, smiling slightly. Spencer's eyes flew open at the words and she stared in utter shock. She opened and closed her mouth several times, looking something akin to a fish.

"So?" Madison asked, hand on her hips and head tilted. "Who is he?"

"I don't...I'm not..." Spencer tried, shaking her head. She smiled as a plan formed in her mind.

"I'm not really ready to tell just yet," she declared shyly, playing it to the hilt. Madison and a few of the other sisters watched her waiting for Spencer to elaborate.

"I mean, it's just all so new and we're still in that whole 'getting to know you' phase. I just don't wanna jinx it, you know?" She mentally crossed her fingers hoping that they bought the lie. She wasn't the world's best liar and she knew it. It was a few tense moments before Katie broke the silence.

"Aww, that is so sweet!" she cooed. The rest of the girls in attendance murmured their agreement and Spencer let out the breath she'd been unconsciously holding.

"Alright," Madison agreed with a smirk. "I'll go along with it for now, Spence. But the moment that it starts getting serious, I have to meet him and give my approval for him to be with my best friend." Spencer nodded knowing that the day when Madison approved of Ashley would never arrive. Still, it was her way out of the present situation so she took it.

She thanked Madison and headed to her car, a beat up, two-tone 1991 Chevy Lumina affectionately called Guadalupe. She glanced at her watch and sighed. In her excitement, she'd left incredibly early.

How was she going to kill over an hour?

She arrived at Ashley's ten minutes early, proud that she hadn't gotten lost on her way there. She got out, grabbing her knapsack, purse and large bag of Chinese food as she went. She was hungry, but too nervous to actually eat. So she'd ordered a wide selection from China Hill and hoped that Ashley hadn't eaten yet. She also hoped that the food would serve as a good ice breaker for the no doubt uneasy and awkward first few minutes of their encounter.

She paused and stared at the house she was walking up to, awed by it size and beauty. It was right on the beach, slightly away from the other houses. She hesitated before ringing the bell, suddenly overtaken by her nerves.

What if Ashley is an unbelievable bitch all day, is the assignment worth it? Spencer worried. Then again, what if she confesses to being Z and we end up having hot passionate sex all day and night and then fail our class? She pondered that for a moment and then grinned.

I can deal with that.

She rang the bell and then waited, hearing a series of thumping as someone approached the door. The large wood and stained glass object swung open to reveal Ashley, her hair piled messily yet fashionably atop her head. Gone were the usual sunglasses, replaced by simple square shaped, brown rimmed glasses. She was make-up free and Spencer felt her heart leap to her throat.

"Hey," Ashley greeted her. "You're early." She spied the bag of food and arched a dark brow. "And you come bearing gifts, I see." She reached over and took the paper bag from Spencer's burdened arms and turned back into the house. Spencer assumed that she was supposed to follow the brunette so she did.

Spencer couldn't help but gape at the lavish surroundings. The house was large but cozy, the color scheme warm and inviting. The carpets were lush and obviously expensive making Spencer pray that she didn't end up spilling something on them while she was there. The sections of hardwood were immaculately kept, shining brightly in the sunshine that streaked in from the large floor to ceiling windows that faced the ocean. Spencer tried to close her mouth and not look like some overwhelmed back-road hick to Ashley.

"Wow," she whispered, more to herself than Ashley. Ashley smiled slightly as she set the bag on a dark wood kitchen table and motioned for Spencer to sit.

"Yeah, I guess," she agreed, disappearing into the kitchen for some plates and sodas. "I have Mountain Dew, Pepsi, and Sierra Mist. Or I can make tea or something..."

"Sierra Mist," Spencer responded, requesting her favorite beverage. "Please." Ashley nodded and handed her the soda before sitting down across from the blonde.

"You didn't have to bring anything, you know," she said softly. Spencer blushed.

"Yeah I know but I figured you might be hungry cuz I was kinda hungry," she started. "Then I didn't know what you might like or if you even like Chinese food but then I thought 'who doesn't like Chinese food'? I wasn't sure if you ate meat though so I got some veggie dishes just in case and..."

"Whoa!" Ashley broke in, trying hard not to giggle at the other girl. "Is that something you always do?" Spencer frowned.

"What?" she wondered. Ashley let out a laugh.

"Babble. I mean do you have an off switch because it seems to happen a lot," she teased. "We've had like two conversations and both times your mouth tried to break a land speed record or something." Spencer ducked her head.

"Sorry," she mumbled, embarrassed.

"Eh, don't be," Ashley told her. "It's endearing really. Some might even say it's cute..." Spencer's head shot back up from where it had dropped to.

Wait, did she just call me 'cute'?

"So, did you get any boneless barbecue spare ribs?" Ashley asked, rummaging through the bag. Spencer came out of her fog and nodded.

"Yeah, I got that, sweet and sour chicken, teriaki beef cuz the teriaki chicken is nasty, egg rolls..." Spencer went on to list the different things she got and watched, bemused as Ashley piled her plate high. So far, things were going terrific. Spencer sent up a small prayer of thanks and wished that it remained as good.

Later, after Ashley had eaten what Spencer considered an amazing amount of food, they put the dishes in the dishwasher and went into the living room to work on their project. Spencer was still unable to stop staring at her surroundings, finding the whole home to be beautiful. She sat on the soft black leather couch and simply looked around, taking in the whole thing. If Ashley thought anything of it, she said nothing.

"Wow, Ashley...this place is beautiful," she said finally. She just had to mention it. She saw Ashley smile slightly.

"Yeah it is," she agreed.

"How do you afford to rent something like this?" Spencer wondered. She barely had enough money to get buy; lunch had just about tapped her dry.

"Simple," Ashley said breezily. "You buy it, not rent it." Spencer felt her jaw drop and her eyes grow wide.

"Buy?" she squeaked. She couldn't even imagine how much a place like that cost.

"It's easy when you're a trust fund baby," Ashley replied, shrugging it off. "So, this assignment..." Spencer shook her head to clear it from the bewilderment of how much money Ashley probably had. Her own upbringing had been comfortable but not affluent. She didn't know what she'd do if she had the sort of money it appeared that Ashley did.

"Yeah," Spencer reached for her bag. "Let's work on it."

For the next few hours, they discussed their assignment, comparing several different songs from varying decades and their influence on the music scene and their impact on society, if any. They both agreed that two of the best songs, both in composition and message, were 'Hotel California' by the Eagles and 'Imagine' by John Lennon. It was comfortable for Spencer, the way they were so able to talk about what they agreed on or disagreed on. Without the shadow of Madison and her influence on Spencer looming over their heads, Ashley was a lot more personable if still aloof.

"Yeah," Ashley passionately agreed with something Spencer had said, her eyes lit up. It was a side of Ashley that Spencer enjoyed seeing. "I totally think that the guitar pieces, the solos in 'Hotel California' are some of the best ever written." Spencer nodded.

"My father was such a fan of them," she told the brunette. "He was always playing that album on Saturday afternoons when my mother was at work." At the mention of her parents, Ashley got a wistful expression on her face and Spencer immediately felt guilty.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." she started. Ashley arched an eyebrow at her.

"What? Didn't mean to what? Mention your parents or upbringing?" she asked. When Spencer nodded, the tiny girl let out a sigh. "Don't feel guilty about talking about who you are or where you came from. Yeah, sure my story is different but no one grows up the same as someone else. And to tell you the truth, I like hearing how other people grew up. It reminds me that there are good, caring parents out there, and not just ones like the ones I had."

"OK," Spencer said shyly. She was at a loss for something to say; she didn't want to just continue talking about her family and she didn't want to end up saying something stupid.

"I don't know about you, Spence, but I need a break," Ashley announced, stretching her arms over her head and then elongating her body. Her red Fox shirt rode up as she did so, showing off tanned and toned abs. Her eyes were closed as she relieved the tension in her body that sitting stooped over for a few hours had caused. Spencer heard a few of the brunette's joints pop as she moved and loosened up.

"Ah, that is so much better," Ashley said happily. Spencer hoped to God that she wasn't drooling but the whole display was incredibly hot and she felt herself start to throb slightly at the beauty of Ashley's body and the satisfied moan that escaped the smaller girl's mouth. It was almost an exact echo to how Z had sounded after she came. Spencer shivered at the delightful memory.

And she called me 'Spence' again. Usually I hate it when anyone outside my family calls me that but with her, I love it.

"Uhm, do you," she coughed to get the squeaky quality out of her voice. "Do you have a bathroom?" Ashley nodded.

"Yes," she replied. Spencer waited for a moment for her to direct her to it but no such instructions were forthcoming.

"Er..." Spencer stuttered. Ashley smirked.

"Oh, I don't let guests use it. I have them go out into the ocean and pee," she teased. "If it's the other I make them go to the 7-11 down the road." Spencer bit her lip for a moment, looking lost. Ashley burst out laughing.

"Geeze, Spence, I'm kidding. It's down that hall on the left," Ashley told her, smiling. Spencer stood up, her legs a little shaky from both sitting for so long and the fact that Ashley's moan has set a small fire in her pants.

"Thanks." She walked down the hall she was directed to, looking for the bathroom. She tried the first door but found it locked. Shrugging, she went a little further and tried the next door. It opened and revealed a small room that seemed to be full of memorabilia. Curious, Spencer glanced back towards the living room but couldn't see Ashley. She didn't want to snoop but her desire to learn more about Ashley and see whether or not she was actually Z overrode her better sense.

She entered the room and took a quick glance around. The walls were covered in posters for Purple Venom, Ashley's father's band. Against one wall there was a display of framed gold records, album covers and pictures of Raife Davies. Looking closer, Spencer saw that some were taken when Ashley was very young, smiling at her father or laughing. The love between the two was obvious and Spencer's heart hurt to know that Ashley no longer had the man in her life.

A leather vest with the band's name emblazoned on the back was also framed and hanging near the wall. Newspaper articles in frames and Raife's obituary from Rolling Stone were included in the collection. Spencer looked on the shelf and saw many books and magazines detailing Raife's life and his career with Purple Venom's. It was a loving memorial to Ashley's father.

Sighing at the pain that the stoic brunette had obviously suffered, she turned to the other wall and gasped. Trophies of all different shapes and sizes were displayed on a black chrome and glass case. Above the case were two very beautiful swords and under those were two fencing swords, apparently prizes won in competition. Also in the display case were various other types of swords, some of which looked very old.

"If you pee in here, I'm gonna be really upset," Ashley's voice behind her made Spencer jump and clutch at her chest in fright. She turned to see the homeowner in the doorway, her face passive. Spencer hung her head guiltily.

"Sorry," she whispered, knowing that any progress in getting to know Ashley was just ruined. She mentally kicked herself for invading Ashley's very closely guarded privacy.

The smaller girl sighed.

"It's all right," she finally said. Spencer's head flew back up to look at her in surprise. "It's been a long time since I had company and I forget sometimes that I'm a celebrity's kid. You were bound to be curious, I guess."

"Still, that doesn't give me the right to snoop, Ashley," Spencer confessed, feeling genuinely guilty. "I really am sorry." Ashley gave her a one shoulder shrug.

"Whatever. Just...next time tell me you wanna look around. Don't tell me that you have to pee and then run around here like you own the place," she said sounding tired like she had that day back in class the day before the party. "At least be honest about it."

"Wait! I was being honest," Spencer said quickly, wanting to allay any fears that Ashley had that Spencer was only there in the house to get a look at some famous person's belongings. "I really do have to pee. I just...I opened the wrong door and it looked interesting. I don't really know you and I...well, I wanna get to know you and..."

"Breathe, Spencer," Ashley joked. "Before you turn blue and pass out." Spencer blushed, realizing that she was babbling yet again.

"Sorry," she repeated.

"It's OK, seriously," Ashley told her, sounding a little more lively and less defeated.

"So...uhm...nice trophies," Spencer pointed out. Knowing that Z was a champion fencer, it made Spencer almost completely positive that Ashley and Z were the same person. She felt relief at figuring it out and a strong sense of happiness. She was really starting to like Ashley, even with her sometimes cold attitude and the walls that she seemed to hide behind.

Ashley's eyes widened at Spencer's words and she looked like she'd been slapped.

"Oh...uhm...those are...my sisters," she stammered. "Yeah, those are my sister Kyla's. She stays here sometimes when she's not off at Berkley. I don't, ah, do team sports." Spencer grinned at her, seeing right through the story.

"Oh, that's too bad," she said, exiting the room and turning towards the last door, inevitably the bathroom. Ashley frowned at her.

"Why's that?" she asked. Spencer stopped at the bathroom door and turned slightly to face the other girl.

"Oh, no reason," she said saucily. "It's just, a girl with a sword, I gotta say...HOTT!" She winked at Ashley and then walked into the bathroom, leaving her host with her mouth slightly agape and blushing.

After a few more hours of working on the assignment, and a distinct lack of flirting, Spencer had returned home. It was like while she was in the bathroom, Ashley had rebuilt the walls around her, complete with a moat and pet dragon guarding them. She was cold, but not mean; just unreachable and Spencer found it incredibly frustrating. So, after deciding that they had accomplished all that they could, Spencer had softly said goodnight when Ashley walked her to the door.

Now it was Sunday evening and Spencer was bored. She wanted more information. It was like she'd been handed this beautiful fascinating puzzle to solve but someone left out all the edge pieces and didn't give her a picture to compare it to. She was left with little odd bits and pieces instead. So, with nothing left to amuse herself with, she compared what she knew of Z with what she knew of Ashley.

Hmm let's see...brown eyes? Check, both of them have brown eyes. Z's are a bit more open and warm; Ashley's are so guarded and cold sometimes. It's like she's so far inside herself that the light doesn't reach her anymore. It makes me so sad.

Brown hair with red and blonde highlights? Check. She smiled, remembering how she'd nearly choked on a sip of her soda when Ashley had pulled her hair down after about an hour and a half of studying. She'd run her fingers through it, getting the snarls out as she went. It was the first time Spencer had seen her without a hat on and she'd been stunned by the similarity to Z. And she'd hated that when she came out of the bathroom, Ashley's hair was hidden under a Roxy knit hat.

I still don't understand though. Z is obviously Ashley; I mean, unless Ashley has a twin, there can't be two people that look so much alike, can there? And their voices...both husky and deep, soooo sexy. So, if Ashley is Z, and I think she is...why is she still so cold with me? We already had sex so it's not like there should be any awkwardness between us.

She frowned, knowing that the answer to that was undoubtedly buried somewhere in what happened at the Junior Prom. Unfortunately, there was no way she could ask Madison anything more, she would only get suspicious and give her another lecture about staying away from Ashley. If she did that again, Madison would surely limit her exposure to Ashley and it would only get that much more difficult to untangle the mess in front of her.

She knew that she certainly couldn't ask Ashley. With her brazen flirting before she went into the bathroom, she'd inadvertently put a wall up between them. Spencer wasn't entirely sure what she'd done wrong or why Ashley had reacted the way she had but it seemed that they fell a few steps away from the progress she felt they'd made.

"Hey Spencer!" Katie called from outside Spencer's door. "Some thing's arrived for you!" Frowning, Spencer got up to answer her door. Katie beamed at her and handed her a small black envelope along with a black box.

"It's from Z, isn't it?" Katie teased, excited. Spencer looked the envelope over, not wanting to open it in front of Katie.

"Uhm, thanks, Katie," she said slowly.

"I thought you found out who it was, though," Katie piped up, not getting the hint. "Why would he bother with pretending to still be Zorro?" Spencer's eyes widened and she knew that she had to think of an excuse, and fast.

"He's...a...a drama major," she said hastily. "He likes doing all those sortsa things. He's real...uhm...creative."

"Ohhhh," Katie squealed. "You are so lucky, Spencer. I mean, the only guys that I can get to give me the time of day are either uberdorks or horny jocks..."

"That's too bad," Spencer said absently, starting to close her door while she still stared at the envelope. She couldn't wait to open it and see what Ashley...Z had to say. "Thanks, Katie." Katie, who had still been speaking up until that point, stumbled to a stop and smiled.

"Oh my God, Spence, I am so sorry. Of course you want to open that alone. Oh! He is soooo romantic," she gushed as the door shut. Spencer threw the lock on it just in case and sat on her bed. Slowly, she untied the silk black ribbon that was wrapped around it and carefully pulled the flap open.

'Dearest Spencer,

I have missed you. While I do see you everyday, unknown to you, there are times I wish that I could speak to you, spend time with you. But things are still not where they need to be for me to fully reveal myself to you.

It makes my heart ache to be so close but unable to tell you who I am or how I feel. And I find that my desire to be near you is overwhelming. But sometimes I fear that what I feel is one-sided, that you do not feel the same connection that I feel. I pray that you feel the same for me.

If that is the case, then I ask you to meet with me. Tonight, promptly at 9 PM, be at the corner of Oxford and Wilson streets. Awaiting you there will be transportation to bring you to me.

There is no need to dress special for me, darling lady. Be comfortable and at ease. Know that I expect nothing, sweet Spencer. I only wish to spend time with you.

Yours Always.


P.S.- I hope that you enjoy the gift.'

Spencer opened the black box then opened the white box that was tied with a red ribbon. She had an idea, from the emblem on the white box, of what was inside. Still, she gasped when she finally saw it. Inside was a gleaming black iPod along with a black silicone case to protect it from scratches and dings. She took it out of the box and turned it over in her hand, stunned that it was the newest model, 80gb and incredibly expensive. She then noticed the engraving on the back.

'For Spencer,

My Beautiful Damsel,


She smiled, despite feeling a little uncomfortable with the price of the gift. Then she noticed the gift card worth $200 in the bottom of the box.

"Oh this is too much," she sighed. Even though she wasn't sure she could keep something so expensive, she was touched by the gift and the thought that went into it. She knew that Ashley had oodles of money but still, the thought of the brunette spending such cash on her was mind-boggling. She vowed to discuss it with 'Z' when they met up later that night.

With that thought, Spencer turned to her closet and groaned.

Time to find the perfect outfit.

Spencer was dressed and ready, standing at the requested spot a good twenty minutes early. She wanted no chance, however remote, that she would miss whatever transport Z was sending for her. The note had left her slightly confused. How could Ashley miss that she knew it was her? The whole 'girl's with swords' thing should have totally given it away that she knew Ashley was Zorro. Yet, Ashley was still playing an unnecessary part. Spencer hoped that she'd get the chance to tell Ashley that the act wasn't needed; she was genuinely interested in her.

So she'd thrown on her black jeans and a new crimson blouse, pulled her hair back and left the house. She knew that she still looked nice but wanted to listen to the direction given to her in the letter. She tried to think of a way to let on to Ashley that she knew as she stood in the lamp light.

As she was thinking a strange sound drew her attention. She looked up the road and gasped as a black buggy, being led by a large, magnificent black stallion approached her, moving in and out of the street lights at a steady gait. It stopped in front of her and the driver dismounted, tipping his hat to her before he pulled the step down.

"Spencer Carlin, I presume?" he inquired in a thick British accent. Spencer nodded mutely. Smiling, the tall gentleman extended his hand to guide her towards the buggy. She paused at the step, a little uncertain.

"The gentleman asked me to give you this to ease your nerves," he said, handing her a cold bottle of Sierra Mist and a single red rose. Spencer felt her nervousness ebb with the gesture. She had been apprehensive about getting into the buggy without someone knowing where she was going. But the thoughtfulness shown to her by Z made her feel safe.

She climbed in, sitting down and relaxing on the plush red velvet interior. It was sinfully soft and as the buggy began again, she let her mind wander. She had almost dozed off when the buggy came to a stop at a secluded section of beach. Spencer looked around, trying to figure out if they were anywhere near Ashley's home but it didn't appear that there were any homes in that area.

"This is as far as Spartan and I can go, Miss Carlin," the driver told her while helping her out of the buggy. Spencer looked around nervously. "Your instructions are to head directly to the water and then turn right."

"Turn right?" Spencer echoed. The driver nodded.

"Turn right. You'll see where you're headed then. Good night." He climbed back into the driver's seat and tipped his hat again with a smile before taking the reigns and setting out on his way. Spencer let out a sigh, mostly caused by nerves and headed into the sand. She was glad that she'd worn her well-worn Adidas instead of her newer Converse as she trekked through the sand.

She reached the water and turned as she was instructed and smiled. As she looked down the beach, through the posts holding a small pier over the water, she saw a roaring campfire waiting for her. She walked towards it, her feet no longer sliding in the slippery sand since she was walking on the more compacted earth. She walked under the pier and emerged on the other side. She gasped as she got closer to the fire, noticing a large canopy room was set up and waiting, with more roses in her hands, was Zorro.

"Evening, beautiful lady," Z greeted her, bowing slightly. Spencer approached and took the flowers from the smaller girl. Z wasn't dressed in the same outfit she was for the costume party; while she was still wearing a mask, she otherwise was clad in simple jeans and black silk shirt. Her feet were bare and Spencer could see her wiggling her toes in what the blonde figured was anxiety.

"Thank you," Spencer said shyly. "For the iPod, the flowers and the buggy ride." Z grinned.

"My pleasure my dear," she declared. "Shall we sit?" she asked before Spencer could say anything more about the gifts. Spencer nodded and let herself be led over to a pair of chairs next to a small table. "Are you hungry?" Spencer looked and saw a variety of finger foods and snacks on the table, along with some bottles of soda in a small cooler beside the table.

"Yes, thank you." Spencer reached for a cheese covered cracker and a soda. For a few minutes they simply sat beneath the canopy, snacking and watching the waves roll in and retreat.

"I'm glad you wanted to see me," Spencer admitted softly. "It might sound silly or weird or something but...I've missed you." She bit her lip and looked away. A gentle hand grasping her own drew her attention back. Z kissed the back of Spencer's hand and then gave it a light squeeze.

"I have missed you as well," Z said sincerely.

"Can you...would you speak with your own voice?" Spencer asked timidly. "I mean, I love the accent and everything but...you don't need to out here." Z tilted her head and thought about it for a moment before she nodded.

"OK, if you want me to," she said softly, her voice low and free of an accent. Spencer tried to hide the smile she felt creeping across her face. That voice was unmistakably Ashley's. Now that she'd spent time with the other girl and had a long, Madison-free conversation with her, she knew Ashley's voice.

"How did you do all this?" Spencer wondered attempting to break the slight tension she'd felt build as one of Ashley's safety walls was knocked down. It seemed as though her request to drop the accent had thrown Z for a loop and she was struggling to recover.

"I got a permit for the fire," Z told her absently, chewing on a piece of sliced fruit. "I bought the canopy and set it up this afternoon...it's really no big deal." Spencer regained the hand that had been holding her own moments before and gave it a squeeze.

"Yes it is," she told Z gratefully. "You went through all this for me and that...wow, it amazes me. I've never had anyone do such romantic and thoughtful things for me." Z's head dropped slightly and she didn't looked back up at Spencer. Spencer thought the girl's bashfulness was adorable.

"You should," Z said honestly. "You're so wonderful and special. You should be treated like a queen..." Spencer felt herself blush hot.

"Shush," she giggled. Z looked back up and stared at her, her chocolate eyes warm and earnest.

"No, really, Spencer," she insisted. "You're not like other people and...I really like you." Spencer's heart did a happy little jig at the softly admitted words.

"I like you too," she replied, loving the grin that nearly split Z's face in half. "So, when are you going to let me see you?" she asked, reaching towards the black mask that hid Z's face. The brunette pulled away, shaking her head.

"I can't," she said, her voice wavering as she spoke. The look of fear and pain in those eyes that Spencer found herself falling into was palpable. Ashley was terrified and it showed in those windows to her true self. Spencer immediately kicked herself for pushing someone as fragile as Ashley obviously was.

"OK," Spencer agreed, wanting to put her back at ease. "There is something else that I want though..." Z looked at her expectantly. Spencer stood up and took a step to cover the distance between them. She knelt in the sand and cupped both sides of Ashley's face.

"Kiss me."

The kiss had been electric, sending both girls into a hot frenzy. They ended up in the sand, lips pressed together desperately tasting and teasing one another, battling for dominance. They both knew that they were going to end up with sand in uncomfortable places if they didn't move into the canopy where a large blanket was laid out but neither was willing to relinquish their hold on the other.

"Fuck!" Z growled, aroused, as Spencer's hands found their way up under the back of her shirt. The blonde's fingernails scraped hard down the soft skin, leaving red tracks that burned. But Spencer needed the girl closer to her, her desire for her overwhelming her.

"Oh God!" Spencer cried out as Z's jean clad knee slipped between her own, sliding up and pressing down against her hot, aching center. She instinctually ground down, creating friction against her throbbing clit, seeking release.

"Shit, Spencer," Z gasped as they both rocked their hips against each other. Spencer pulled hard at the lithe body above her, pulling her down against herself. She loved the way Z's slight weight felt against her, pressing her deeper into the sand.

"Please," she begged. "I need you...touch me..." Somehow, to her undying amazement, Spencer felt herself being lifted into Z's arms and carried a few feet over onto a soft, plush blanket beneath the protective cover of the canopy. She sank down onto the blanket and gazed at Z in astonishment.

"Wow," she giggled, making Z blush. "You're a strong little thing, aren't you?" Z blushed deeper and ducked her head, hiding under a curtain of lush brown hair.

"Not usually," she admitted. "It's just...God the way you sounded..." She groaned in want as she lifted her head to meet Spencer's eyes. "God, I want you." Spencer shivered at the need and hunger in the other girl's voice; it clearly echoed her own desires.

Spencer reached out and grabbed the front of Z's shirt pulling her close and mashing their lips together again in a searing kiss. Their lips slid and moved against each other, their tongues coming into play at teasing, licking and petting the others. One by one the buttons on Z's shirt fell away under Spencer's determination. The silk shirt slid down slender shoulders and was tossed haphazardly to the side so that Spencer could see the silk black bra that encased pert breasts. She put her hands over the front of Z's breasts, cupping them and feeling hardened nipples pushing into her palms through the material.

"I can't get over the way you feel," Spencer breathed in awe. The girl was so beautiful, so soft and warm. There was no way that she could see herself ever growing tired of touching the panting brunette. Consequences, Madison, her family be damned, this was what she wanted.

"Do you..." Z gasped, her throat dry as she unbuttoned and discarded Spencer's shirt, revealing a lacy red bra. "Do you want to touch all of me?" Spencer whimpered at the thought. She wanted to but she had no idea how.

"I...I..." she stammered. Warm tan hands covered and stilled her own for a moment.

"Hey," Z soothed. She hooked a finger under Spencer's chin and raised her face to gaze into darkened indigo eyes. "I want this to be right for you. You don't have to do anything that makes you nervous." Spencer's heart again melted at the sensitivity and thoughtfulness of this special girl before her.

She bit her lip and tried to think of how to put her thoughts into words.

"I want to..." she admitted honestly. "God, do I want to. I just...don't know how..." she trailed off, embarrassed. Z nodded her understanding.

"I know," she said softly. She seemed to think a moment before deciding on her next words.

"Do you want to learn?"

Both were naked and lying together on the blanket. After Z's question, Spencer had simply whispered 'yes' and Z took charge, stripping them both down until nothing remained to separate them. Spencer still burned for Z's touch but the thought of touching the other girl, while terrifying in its unknown quality, excited her more.

Z laced the fingers of one hand with Spencer's and smiled warmly at her.

"Start here," she said gently, taking their joined hands and covering her breast with them. "You were doing real well with this part earlier." Spencer blushed and did as she was asked, kneading and cupping the breast, flicking her thumb over the erect tip. She loved hearing the involuntary gasp her actions caused so she repeated the action.

"I want you to..." Z gasped, her entire body jolting slightly as Spencer increased the pressure against her sensitive nipple. She let out a long moan as Spencer pinched it. "God...uhm, OK...I want you to feel free to explore and...mmmmmmm...learn without feeling nervous or worrying. I'll let you know what I like...." Spencer bent down and took the nipple into her mouth and sucked. "Liiiiiiiiiike that..."

Spencer enjoyed the way the body beneath hers arched into the sensation. She was beginning to see what Z was saying about 'letting her know'. Moans and whimpers were flowing nearly constantly from the masked girl's mouth as Spencer diligently worked both breasts, alternating with her mouth and hands.

"Oh fucking hell," Z panted. She was grinding her hips against the thigh Spencer had situated between her legs, seeking to relieve the pressure building inside of herself. Spencer was amazed and incredibly turned on by the feel of Z's arousal sliding across her leg. The smaller girl was soaked, making Spencer feel proud and powerful since it was she turning the girl on. And she had to admit, so far she was enjoying the hell out of herself.

She licked the nipple she had in her mouth with the flat of her tongue, then flicked across the tip. Each action made Z gasp and her hips jolt just a little more frantically.

"Am I doing OK?" she asked, knowing full well the answer but wanting to hear it from Z's own lips.

"God, yeah," Z whimpered as Spencer let her teeth graze the nipple she'd claimed. The brunette let out a long keening whine as her desire and need grew. It made a hot shiver race through Spencer's body.

"Can I...can I touch you?" she asked, unsure as she let her right hand wander down to Z's tight abs where she scratched her nails over the velvety skin there. She felt the muscles in the toned girl twitch at each caress.

"Pl...ease..." Z begged, too far near the end of her endurance to let Spencer play anymore. She desperately needed release. Her back arched and she sucked in a ragged breath as Spencer slowly slipped her index finger into her wet heat.

Spencer, having never touched another girl before, was amazed, aroused, and fascinated all at once. Ashley was wet, soaked even and it coated her finger quickly as she moved it around. She was hot too, the heat emanating from the girl's center almost feeling like it was burning Spencer's fingertips as she slid another one in to explore.

She stroked around the puffy wet folds, captivated by their slick and soft feel. She was absolutely positive that she had never felt anything like it before.

"So wet," Spencer whispered in awe. Her response came in the form of a high pitched whimper. When her finger brushed across the hardened, swollen nub at the apex of the folds, Ashley's entire body jumped and she let out a long moan from the back of her throat.

Spencer concentrated on that place, letting her slick fingers move up and down over the sensitive bump, circling around it and then flicking across the top. She had no idea what she was doing but judging from the wanton, primal sounds Ashley was making, she figured she was doing something right.

"Oh fuck yeah," Z/Ashley panted when Spencer pinched the nub in between her fingers. Her hips were moving in sync with the blonde's digits as they moved against her. "More, Spencer...please..."

Spencer shivered, part of her not able to believe that she was really doing this; touching this beautiful woman and making her feel orgasmic bliss. But she had to admit to herself, in the back of her mind since the rest was certainly preoccupied with better thoughts, that it was the first time in her life when anything intimate felt right. The first time she had ever felt fulfilled in a sexual sense was that first night with the girl currently writhing beneath her ministrations. To her astonishment, touching Ashley and making her feel the way she was seemed to be even better.

"What..." she swallowed, her throat dry even as her mouth watered from watching her fingers gliding through Ashley's wetness. She wanted to stick her tongue out and taste the essence of the beautiful girl but wasn't sure she was ready for that yet. She was still a little unsure with certain parts of lesbian sex.

"What do you want me to do?" she finished the original thought and waited, still running her fingers up and down Ashley's clit and then over and across her folds. She let her fingers wander to the girl's opening, teasing the entrance with the very tip of her finger.

"Please! I...ple...need..." Ashley begged, unable to articulate. Spencer bit her lip and slowly slid her index finger deep inside the pleading girl.

"Yeeeeeeesssssssssssss..." Ashley moaned, her muscles immediately clamping down on the finger tightly. Spencer smiled to herself, glad that she had guessed correctly. She slowly pulled the finger out before plunging it back in as far as she could and then wiggling it around.

Ashley let out an unintelligible but encouraging growl and thrust her hips to meet the stroke. Spencer was in awe; she had never been inside a woman like this and it felt so good, so hot and wet, tight and throbbing around her finger. She whimpered to herself as she slid back out and reentered Ashley with two fingers.

This was something she knew, penetration and it looked like Ashley enjoyed the sensation. Spencer began to move faster, pumping her hand with quickening thrusts, each one going a little deeper. She curled her fingers up, curiously looking around and drew a ragged, almost pain-filled gasp from Ashley.

"Are you OK?" she asked suddenly nervous, slowing her ministrations. Ashley's hand grasped her wrist in an almost painful grip and arousal blackened brown eyes opened and looked at her, the expression fiery but Spencer could see the raw need there.

"Do...not...stop..." she ground out through her teeth which were clenched so tightly Spencer worried that she'd chip one. "Pl...eaaaassssse..." Spencer nodded and went back to her actions, speeding up slightly and rubbing a soft, spongy spot she'd encountered at the tips of her curled fingers.

"Oooooooooooooooooh God," Ashley moaned. Spencer concentrated on flicking the pads of her fingers over that spot, noticing that doing so was driving Ashley crazy. "Oh God, oh fuck...oh god..." Ashley chanted, one hand still holding Spencer while the other as in her own hair, tugging as she bucked against Spencer.

"Oh God!...I'mmmm gonna...." Ashley screamed. Suddenly, her body froze for a moment before her entire back arched driving her feet and head into the blanket. Spencer moaned as she felt Ashley come, her fingers being squeezed tightly over and over as the orgasm kept rolling over the smaller girl. Ashley let out a wail as she continued to climax, her fluids flooding Spencer's hand with liquid fire. Spencer watched, captivated as the fluid ran down her hand and wrist, totally soaking her.

She withdrew her fingers as the contractions and aftershocks seemed to fade and moved up to kiss the panting girl. She wiped the tears that she was surprised to see running down Ashley's cheeks into her hair.

"Are you all right?" she asked softly, afraid that she'd done something wrong. She then realized that she was echoing the same thing Zorro had asked her after she was brought to orgasm the first time at the party. She smiled to herself.

It took a few more minutes for Ashley to recover enough to answer. She looked at Spencer, her eyes bright and for the first time, Spencer saw something new in those beautiful brown eyes; happiness.

"I'm fine," Ashley said, her voice gravelly and rough. She reached out and stroked the side of Spencer's face. "My tears...it was so...pure..." she struggled for the right words. Spencer felt her eyes sting with happy and touched tears.

"I'm glad that I did all right," she said pleased with herself. Ashley wrapped her arms around the blonde and pulled her in for a kiss.

"Oh, you did so much more than 'all right'," she sighed contented. "Trust me when I say that that was a new experience for me too." Spencer lifted her head and smiled at her.

"Really?" she wondered, the thought of bringing Ashley to new heights filling her with giddiness.

"Oh hell yeah," Ashley confirmed. She smirked. "As a matter of fact, let me show you."

Part 2

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