DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sinjenkai


Part 28

The sounds of the birds chirping and dogs barking, slowly released Calleigh from Morpheus's embrace and she opened her eyes to a sun lit room. Blinking her eyes a few times, bringing everything into focus, she once again gave thanks that her eyesight had returned.

Carefully she got out of bed, making sure that she didn't wake Natalia, she went into the bathroom, quickly taking care of her needs and changed into a pair of khaki pants and a polo shirt, before heading into the kitchen to start breakfast.

Opening the refrigerator door, she pulled out the eggs, milk, cheese, and went to the drawer to get the bacon, when she stopped.

"Damn, we didn't buy any." She muttered and started putting everything back. "It's Alicia's for breakfast then, because I need bacon."

Pouring a couple glasses of grapefruit juice, she carried them back in the bedroom to wake up her wife. Walking in, she saw Natalia stretching so she stopped at the door to admire the view.

"Since you are such a lovely sight this morning, I'm offering to take you out for breakfast."

Twisting until her back popped, Natalia slowly sat up to look at her skeptically. "Are you sure that it's because I'm so lovely this morning or because we didn't buy bacon again yesterday and you're going through withdraws." And she slowly got out of bed.

Holding out Natalia's glass of juice, Calleigh smiled sweetly. "Ok, you found me out. I need my bacon fix, so how about breakfast at Alicia's?"

Sidestepping the offered glass, Natalia glided between Calleigh arms, reaching underneath the polo shirt to run her fingertips over satiny skin, bringing up goose bumps on Calleigh's arms. "You filled those glasses pretty full. Hope that you don't spill any."

Pushing up the shirt even farther, Natalia cupped Calleigh's breasts through her bra, gently squeezing and toying with the nipples. Stepping in even closer, she reached around to unhook the silk covering so that she could push it out of her way and replaced her hands with her lips, sucking on a breast, while that other one was being tormented by her talented fingers.

"Talia…. Tali…. Ah… Tal… You gotta let me put these down."

"Nope." Was the only thing that Calleigh heard.

With her free hand, Natalia reached down to unfasten the button of the slacks and slid her hand past the little slip of silk to find slick warmth. Curling her fingers slightly, Natalia teased the pulsating opening before ever so slowly, easing inside. Leaning her head back a bit, Natalia saw that Calleigh had her eyes closed, was panting and her hands were shaking slightly. As she watched and continued to stroke, Calleigh's head fell back with a moan, exposing her tender throat to Natalia's gaze. Removing her hand from the blonde's breast, Natalia wrapped her free arm around her back, pulling her closer so that she could tenderly bite the thundering pulse point, while curling her fingers inside the warmth, finding the little ridges.

"Ahh… Tal please…. I'm gonna drop them."

"You better not."

Moving her fingers faster now, Natalia suckled on creamy skin, placing her mark near the hollow of Calleigh's throat. Dragging her lips away, she brought them up, next to Calleigh's ear and spoke to her in a seductive whisper.

"It's up to you. You can stop this right now by putting down the glasses and we can continue this later on. Or… you can try to take it, knowing that you can't move, can't use your hands, and maybe experience something amazing."

Leaning back slightly so that she could see Calleigh's face, Natalia became more aroused as Calleigh brought up her head, opened her eyes and looked at her with such unabashed hunger that it made Natalia swallow. The normally pale greens eyes, now flashed like green fire with want as the tip of her tongue came out to moisten her lips.

Her voice rough with need, Calleigh growled out. "Don't stop."

With one swift move, Natalia dropped to her knees, pulling down the khaki pants with her free hand and leaned in to lav the throbbing little nub, causing Calleigh to jerk her hips while concentrating on the glasses. Sliding in another finger, Natalia kept the thrusts very smooth and controlled, but she did deepen them, twisting slightly every time that she withdrew. Wrapping her other arm around Calleigh's hips, she drew her closer so that she could draw more of her wife between her lips. The juices from Calleigh were now completely coating Natalia's hand and making a slow trail down her wrist and the moans coming from somewhere above her head made Natalia give one slow, long lick on the now throbbing nub.

With her knees finally giving way, Calleigh sank down to the floor, still maintaining a death grip of the two glasses. As her knees hit the floor, she spread her arms as wide apart as she could and one at a time, carefully put a glass on the floor. When as released the final one, she leaned back until she was sitting on her heels with Natalia still within her.

Watching as the blonde met each thrust now even harder than before, Natalia added one last finger and lightly tapped her clit, making Calleigh finally topple over the edge in an earthshaking orgasm, crying out 'Natalia' in a guttural groan. Calleigh's body shook with the force of the release and when Natalia again rubbed her clit, she continued into the second orgasm without warning, followed quickly by a third.

Reaching out, Calleigh snagged Natalia's tank top and dragged her over so that she could crush their mouths together in a hard, demanding kiss. Their tongues clashed and slid over each other as Calleigh arms wrapped around her wife, drawing her nails up Natalia's back.

Hissing in response, Natalia ran her thumb one last time over the little nub, causing Calleigh to scream out one final release before falling back. Gingerly withdrawing from the still pulsating warmth, Natalia carefully straightened out Calleigh's legs, letting her finally lie flat on her back.

Resting on her side, looking over at the still panting woman, Natalia couldn't believe the gamut of emotions that she felt for her. Love, friendship, need, want… even hunger. Every good thing that Natalia had ever heard about love, was embodied in this woman and she couldn't get enough of her. Of her body, her laugh's, her tears, sigh's…everything, anything that she was willing to share, Natalia was going to take it from her. Reaching over, she caressed Calleigh's cheek, drawing her gaze over to her.

Quietly she asked. "Are you ok?"

Calleigh opened her mouth to say something, but nothing would come out. Reaching over to one of the glasses of juice, Natalia handed it to her and rising up to her elbows, Calleigh drank deeply.

After emptying the glass, Calleigh put it down beside her and took a deep breath, swallowed a couple of times, before she managed to whisper. "I'm awfully glad that I didn't drop the juice."

"I'm glad that you didn't either." Leaning over, Natalia gave her a tender kiss. "I love you."

"I love you too Talia, so much, but remind me never again to hold two glasses at the same time. I'll have flashback to this for the rest of my life."

Laughing, Natalia made her way to her feet, then reached out a hand to help Calleigh up. Wrapping her arms around the smaller woman, Natalia placed gentle kisses on her face.

"Let's go take a shower, then go get some breakfast. You go ahead and start the shower, I want to call Dr. Jensen as see if she can take me in today."

Reaching for the phone, Natalia watched as her wife slowly made her way into the bathroom, then she leaned over and picked up the remaining glass of juice, sipping it as she waited for the call to go through.

After a few moments, Natalia joined Calleigh underneath the flowing water, reaching around her for the liquid soap to gently bathe the body in front of her.

"I have an appointment in at noon. What time do you have to be at Dr. Tatum's?"

Leaning back against her wife, Calleigh enjoyed that feeling of her wife hands sliding over her body. "Uh… eleven-thirty. You can drop me off on the way and I'll wait for you to pick me up."

"You may have to wait a couple of hours, you don't mind?"

Turning so that she could look Natalia in the eyes, she softly replied. "No darlin', I'll just be replaying last night and this morning over in my mind and time will fly by."

"Ok, well let's get all squeaky clean and go to breakfast, I've worked up quite an appetite."

Calleigh quirked an eyebrow at that, smiled, but didn't say anything. Soon they were dried off, dressed in casual clothes and in Natalia's Avalanche, headed towards Alicia's, one of the best little mom and pop restaurants in town.

Once there, Calleigh ordered scrambled eggs, grits, tostadas, and two sides of bacon, while Natalia ordered of an omelet with a tostada and both women order café con leche. When their order arrived, the first thing that Calleigh reached for was the bacon.

"Oh, this is so good."

Natalia chewed a bite of eggs. "Maybe you should see someone about your obsession with bacon, babe. I don't think that this is normal."

Chewing happily, Calleigh took a couple of seconds before she answered her teasing wife. "Darlin', this is entirely normal for anyone claiming to be from the South. It's just in our blood."

"Uh huh… ok, so I'll drop you Dr. Tatum's and head over to Dr. Jensen's. She said that this first session would probably be two hours so that she can see what we need to cover so that I can get cleared to return to work."

Reaching over to cover Natalia's hand with her own, Calleigh reassured her. "I'm sure that you will be back in your lab in no time and you'll be wishing that we were back at the cabin, playing in the sand."

Bringing up Calleigh's hand so that she could kiss her knuckles, Natalia whispered back. "I know and you'll be at the range, happily shooting your guns. I just don't want to talk about Jethro and I know that I have to so I can get cleared, but part of me feels that if I talk about him, he'll somehow control me. I know that's stupid, but that's what scares me the most."

Shaking her head, Calleigh, put down her fork and took both of her wife's hands in hers. "Talia, that is not stupid in the least. What you went through, before, during and the aftermath, this is normal. I would be really worried if you weren't scared, but remember…"

"I know. Together we can get through anything and we will. I love you Calleigh and I always will."

They finished up breakfast and soon Natalia was dropping Calleigh off in front of Dr. Tatum's office. Leaning over into the passenger seat, Natalia reached out to pull Calleigh closer so she could give her a quick kiss.

"I'll see you in a couple of hours."

"Ok darlin', drive careful."

Closing the door, Calleigh walking into the building, but not before she turned around and winked at Natalia, who she knew was watching her walk.

Shaking her head, Natalia checked traffic, merged, and drove to her appointment.

Natalia was soon walking into Dr. Jensen's office and after giving her name to the receptionist, she wandered over to look at a huge saltwater fish tank. The colors of the fishes always astounded her with their brightness.

"Ms. Boa Vista. The Doctor will see you now."

Turning away, Natalia followed the receptionist through an open door and was greeted by Dr. Jensen.

"It's good to see you again. Shall we sit."

For the next hour and fifteen minutes, Dr. Jensen listen while Natalia told her what had happened. She would interrupt from time to time to ask for clarification or to steer the conversation in a different direction, but mainly she listened.

"After the phone call that Jethro made to Calleigh, you said that you shut down. Can you go into to detail about that?"

Getting up out of the chair to go and walking past the desk to look out of a window, Natalia rubbed her arms as she was beginning to feel cold.

"I … just knew that I wasn't going to get out of there alive and… I couldn't tell Calleigh that I loved her one last time. That one thought…one act… was the one thing that I regretted that I couldn't do. I didn't care that he was going to take my life…. I just wanted her to know that I love her. I always will."

Writing something on the pad in front of her, Dr. Jensen thought for a moment before she asked. "But how did you feel about her when she brought up Jethro when you were at the cabin? You said that you saw visions of him, torturing Calleigh and then in the bathroom mirror. Do you feel that you would have been able to handle things better if she hadn't brought it up?"

Whirling around to face the older woman, Natalia's eyes were flashing. "Don't try and make Calleigh the villain in this. She would never do anything to hurt me. Neither one of us had talked about what happened that night and it affected her just as much as it affected me, just in a different sense. She had to sit and wait… she couldn't be involved because she couldn't see well enough. I know her. She would've traded places with me in a heartbeat, but I…" Turning back to the window, Natalia whispered. "I couldn't let her do that. She should… she will never know that kind of pain. I had dealt with it before with Nick. I know ho… how to compartmentalize myself away from the pain."

Going back to sit down in her chair, Natalia quietly answered the question. "No, I don't think that I would have handled things better if Calleigh hadn't brought it up. I was still having nightmares, daytime scares, jumping when I thought that I heard his voice. What she did made me realize that I was allowing Jethro to still control me and I'm not going to let that happen again."

The session ended soon after. Dr. Jensen wanted at least one more session the next day, so she was confident that she could clear Natalia to go back to work after the honeymoon.

Leaving the office, Natalia walked into the parking garage, found her Avalanche, and slid inside. She slumped against the steering wheel, resting her head against the cool leather, trying to control the memories that were storming around in her mind, not giving her the chance to breathe. Looking at the dash clock, she found that she had a bit of time before she was to pick up Calleigh. Speeding out the parking lot as the session seeped back in. Shaking her head she sped to their beach, switching to 4-wheel drive she drove along the beach a ways. Finally she jumped out walked away a few feet. Look at the shore for the marker she turned to the ocean and stared at the setting sun peeking through the off shore storm. She sat down hugging her knees and let a few tears fall, as she flashed back to the session.

"Talk to me Ms Boa Vista. You've come to me asking to talk and you've said nothing these last five minutes." She flashed Natalia a look of blank concern.

Natalia looked at her and took a deep harsh breath. "Natalia... just call me Natalia." She leaned back in the chair a moment and looked at the bookshelf. "I've been kidnapped, beaten within an inch of my life... watched my wife be blind for weeks, been in an explosion, had an attempt on her life as well... the list goes on and on."

"Natalia... you have been through things that most people don't see or think of in a lifetime." Natalia just nodded and walked past the desk and looked out the window next to the elder woman. "Natalia... start... from the beginning. Childhood, as early as you can remember." Their conversation continued accounting the most drastic of details, difficult, harsh accounts of all the events in her life that scarred her. Slowly working out each detail.

She looked at the lightening flashing in the background, hitting the ocean as the waves crashed. Recalling more and more. Trying to pull the happier thoughts out of the woodwork's. Closing her eyes she put her forehead to her knees and concentrated. The smell of Calleigh's hair, the look in her eyes after a long day or the way that she looked first thing in the morning.

She continued there a while, every other memory a happy one. Her emotions were tearing her apart. She watched the storm continue to brew not but fifty miles away, the bright blue ocean darkened, normally even waves thrashing about. Natalia was filing through her emotions slowly, trying her hardest to keep them in check. She ran her fingers through her hair relaxing finally, as each crack of lightning and thunder rolled off the storm and to her ears. Standing up, she grabbed a blanket from the car, draping it around her. It smelled like Calleigh, making her feel warm and safe both physically and emotionally. She knew that she should go and pick up Calleigh, it was almost time, but five more minutes became one hour, then two, lost in her thoughts. So focused on the storm, she missed the sound of Calleigh coming around her SUV and leaning against it. After another five minutes, a tear rolled down her face, no apparent reason, finally her mind was clear for more than just a minute.. She smiled. "How long have you been standing there?" She turned to Calleigh, still firmly planted in the sand and seemingly no intention of moving.

Walking into Dr. Tatum's office, Calleigh was surprised at the soft colors and the muted music that drifted on the air conditioning. After giving her name to the receptionist, she walked over to an aquarium that had some brightly colored fish, darting around. It always amazed her how fish could have such vivid colors.

Hearing her name called, Calleigh turned around to see Dr. Tatum standing by an open door, beckoning her in.

"Hiya Doc. Aren't you a sight for sore eyes."

Shaking her head with a smile, Dr. Tatum followed Calleigh into the examination room. "If I had a dime for every time I've heard that, I'd never have to work again."

Sitting in the chair, Calleigh chuckled. "I figured that you probably did, but I just couldn't stop myself."

For the next half hour, the doctor peered into and gave Calleigh's eyes almost every test she could, but she finally was able to sit on a stool across from Calleigh and tell her that she could go back to work in two weeks. Her eyes were doing quite well, but she was still a little concerned about some areas near the nerves. She told Calleigh to continue to put in the drops and to come back in two weeks, when she would then, clear her for duty.

After thanking the Doctor and taking care of the payment, Calleigh decided to wait for her wife at the coffee shop near the entrance of the building. From there, she would be able to see her as she drove up. After ordering a Café Mocha and a pecan brownie, she sat a table near at a window and settled down to wait.

Two hours later, Calleigh was again checking her watch and getting more worried at each passing minute. Bringing out her phone, she called Natalia's, only to have to go straight to voice mail. She convinced herself that Natalia was just running late and would be there any minute, but forty-five minutes later, Calleigh called Eric and had him put out an APB on Natalia's vehicle. Within fifteen minutes, it had been spotted and Eric had picked her up to take her there.

Calleigh nervously tapped her fingers on the door rest as the head to wherever Natalia was and her foot beat a steady staccato.

Looking over at the blonde, Eric cleared his throat, in a concerned, yet condescending manner. "Hey Cal, listen… I have to ask this, but are you sure that you should be involved with Natalia? I mean, if she's going to be like this, you know that you won't be able to depend on her when you really need her. Come on, like she's going to a shrink."

He rambled on without looking over to see that Calleigh clinch her jaw or the death grip she now had on the door handle. "And besides, what do you really know about her? Who has she been with? Come on Cal, I know that you're smarter than this. You know that we make a great team and that I'm crazy about you so, why don't you give us a chance. I know that you had a moment of weakness, we all have. You don't exactly have a way out of the relationship gracefully but… You can just tell her that you've changed your mind."

Silence prevailed in the vehicle for a few minutes before Calleigh asked Eric to pull over.

"But we're not there yet?"

Calleigh's voice was ice cold. "Just pull over Eric."

The Hummer came to a stop a few feet later and Eric put it in park, then turned to Calleigh. Before she had a chance to say anything, he started again.

"I know that you will need some time to break things off with her, but I can wait. I think that is the best thing for you and besides, you don't want that type of relationship to hold you back from promotion."

"Eric, stop right there, don't say another word. If you want to remain friends, you will listen very carefully to what I am about to say, because I am only going to say it once."

Turning to face the young man, Calleigh's eyes were daring. "If you ever talk about Natalia that way again, we will not be friends. I know everything I need to know about Natalia and least you forget, you are one of the men that she has been with. And define 'This', because if you claim being beaten by your ex husband, kidnapped, your sister kidnapped, on top of that targeted by someone in the lab that repeatedly haunts your every step…as 'This', then god help you. As far as I see it, you've had a long time to create a relationship with me. Natalia and I are like clockwork, both during work and at home. In addition, in regards to my work, I will be promoted based on my job performance, not on who I sleep with. Honestly, you think you can help me get a promotion. And who are you to say anything about her seeing a shrink? Didn't you have to go see a psychiatrist after your shooting incident? Wouldn't that put you in the same category as her? Natalia has done nothing, but defend this lab and everyone in it, while you've done a lot to jeopardize everyone in Miami Dade PD! Eric, for knowing each other as long as we have, you know nothing about me. Based on this conversation, it's going to stay that way."

Opening the door and getting out, Calleigh paused before she closed the door. "I won't tell Natalia of this conversation, because she considers you her friend, but rest assured that I'm not going to forget this. I may forgive you in time, but I will never forget."

Closing the door, Calleigh started walking towards the beach where the her wife was desperately needing her.

"Calleigh, wait!" Running up beside her stopping her with a hand on her arm. "You know what I mean. You come into work and you look exhausted. You are having to chase after her all the time. You don't even watch your own back, and you were blind for months because of it. I dated her Calleigh, I know what it's like. She's sweet and beautiful, but she's not stable. My memory isn't perfect and it curses me, but I can take care of myself." His eyebrows furrowed, looking in her eyes. "I don't want you to have to watch out for two people."

Yanking her arm from his grasp, Calleigh had to literally squelch the desire to snarl at him. "You are bound and determined to push this, aren't you? Fine! I was blinded because of Stetler, not because of Natalia. She wasn't responsible for me that day. And you know what, you weren't there that day either. If either one of you had been, I wouldn't have ever been in that situation. So don't go blaming her for that. You dated her, but you kept it secret, why is that? If she was so unstable, why didn't you report her? That in its self jeopardizes the department. You could have done it anonymously, but you did nothing. Again, why is that? Do you know why?" She poked him in the chest with her finger. "You know why? Because there is nothing wrong with her. Are you mad you didn't get to me first or that you cheated on Natalia? Or is it you really want me? Which one is it? You know what, it doesn't even matter. Eric, it's over, I'm with Natalia and I'm the happiest I've ever been. Do not ever try and come between us again."

In almost a pleading voice, Eric tried again. "Calleigh, you're right, you wouldn't have been in that situation, I would have been in your place. I'd rather be in that positi...."

Cutting him off, she proclaimed, "Damn it Eric. Get it through your head. We are not going to get together. You need just to get back to work and leave me to go take care of the woman I love. In case you can't remember, this is the woman who was terrorized, kidnapped, tortured, and barely made it out alive. The same woman that you let go off alone because you're feelings were hurt because you didn't get what you wanted. If anything, I should be blaming you because she's going through this. You didn't have her back or even look out for her because your ego was hurt."

Calleigh took a step away and when Eric tried to reach for her again, she stared him down. "Enough. Go back to work. I need to get to Natalia. She needs me to look out for her right this moment. I'm not going to let her down. Not now. Not ever."

Walking off, Calleigh didn't have to look back to know that Eric was standing there, looking like a lost little boy. Suddenly Calleigh stopped and turned back, stopping him before he left, looking up at him with her eyes narrowed in dark curiosity.

"Eric, why did you help pay for the wedding gift if you wanted me ultimately for yourself?"

Eric looked at her, his mouth open a bit before licking his lips, looking away. He looked back at her, shifting his weight. "Cal.. I tried to pretend I was ok. I realized I'm not at all..." He clenched his jaw and looked away again, knowing that was the wrong thing to say to keep her at bay. He couldn't tell her the truth, that it was typical male stupidity, thinking he could win her over by being supportive and stepping up. He turned and walked away before Calleigh could say anything, got in the Hummer and drove away.

Shaking her head, Calleigh turned back in the direction of the beach and after walking a couple of minutes, pulled out her phone and hit her speed dial.

"Hey… How are you?.. Could you drop by tomorrow morning around eight?... I need to talk to you about something… Just say that you are stopping by to see what the doctors said or something… No, it's not a big deal… Just want to cover all the bases… Thanks… See you then."

By the time that she closed her phone, the Avalanche was in view. Quickly she jogged up and as she got closed, slowed to a walk as she was Natalia wrapped in the blanket that they had used one night stargazing. Quietly she came around the corner of the SUV and leaned against it, watching her wife stare out at the impending storm.

After about five minutes, Natalia spoke loud enough for her to hear. "How long have you been standing there?" Then she turned to face Calleigh.

"Long enough to once again realize how dark my life would be without you. I just have one thing to ask of you. Next time, Natalia, charge your cell phone so I won't freak out every time you don't answer it."

Digging into her pocket, she looks at it, closing her eyes with a frown. "God, I'm sorry Calleigh. I didn't realize. I'm sorry I didn't come back right away, I just needed some time to process." She looks over to Calleigh, offering her a hand to sit in the sand with her.

Walking over to take her hand, Calleigh sat down drew it to her chest instead. "It's all right. I should have postponed my appointment and gone with you. I should have been with you the first time. I'm sorry."

"As much as I love you at my side every moment, uou've lived those moments enough." Natalia leans against her, watching the storm once again.

Calleigh kissed the caramel colored hair. "But darlin', neither one of us ever has live through those moments alone, anymore. We have each other to share, not just the good times, but the bad times too."

She pulled Calleigh's arm into her lap, hugging onto it. "Thank you." Brown eyes sought green, so many thoughts passing through her head from 'I don't want you to have to share this with me anymore' to 'I don't want you to see me this weak'. She remained silent this time. Simply appreciating that Calleigh was the first lover to truly value her life.

Silently they watched the storm roll in until they could feel it on their skin. Standing, Calleigh held out her hand to her wife, helping to her feet. Kissing the hand within her grasp, she softly requested. "Would you do me the honor of have dinner with me this evening? I know a quiet little restaurant that has some amazing sushi, a very quiet atmosphere and there is a private room that we can use."

Taking her hand, and then wiping the sand away. She smiled at the kiss and the dinner offer. Keeping their hands locked, she pulled Calleigh closer and in her most seductive Spanish accent. "Sounds amazing." She pulled her wife into a loving kiss.

Reluctantly, Natalia released Calleigh's hand so she could get into the SUV, but as soon as the truck was turned on and they were back on the main road, she reached for it again.

Quietly Calleigh gave directions and they were soon pulling up to a very non-descript two story building that was surrounded by a simple wooden fence.

Getting out of the truck, Calleigh waited by the passenger side until Natalia came around and took her hand, leading her through the gate.

As soon as the wooden gate was closed, the city noises disappeared and all that Natalia could hear was the wind sighing through the trees. The Japanese garden was very Zen with volcanic rocks outlining slate rock shelves of the babbling stream, while a wide koi pond with a small bridge was just before the restaurants rear entrance, which was for their best guests. Dwarf trees were scattered throughout as bamboo shoots created a curtain between restaurant and a storeroom.

Crossing the bridge, they walked up to a shoji screen and Calleigh rang a bell that was attached to a nearby post.

After a short wait, the screen slid open to revel a young Oriental woman dressed in traditional Japanese kimono.

"Good evening Miss Calleigh. It has been a long time since we've seen you." The woman bowed slightly.

Smiling, Calleigh returned the bow. "Yes Akiko, it has. This is my wife Natalia and I wanted to share with her your restaurant."

Smiling, the young woman turned to Natalia and bowed. "Welcome Miss Natalia to our humble restaurant. I hope that you will enjoy your experience with us."

Turning, she led the two women inside where they were transported to a different land and time. They were asked to leave their shoes beside the entranceway and were given slippers to put on instead. On the walk to their destination, Natalia saw silk wall panels depicting the ancient Japanese life while notes of bamboos flutes floated on the air. Vases of tall bamboo were placed along the way with fish tanks with bright schools of fish giving splashes of color. The main room tables were a mixture of teppanyaki for groups or hibachi grills for couples.

Coming to another shoji screen, Akiko knelt down and slid open the screen, bowing until Calleigh and Natalia entered the room. A low wooden table and floor cushions were in the center of the room along with smaller tables along the sidewalls.

Stopping inside the doorway, Natalia turned to her wife. "Did you call and tell them that we were coming?"

Ducking her head a bit, Calleigh had the grace to blush. "Yeah, I thought that you might just like someplace quiet."

Leaning forward to brush her lips against Calleigh's, Natalia whispered. "You know exactly what I need sometimes even before I do. Thank you."

"Darlin', you are more than welcome. Would you like for me to order?"

"Please, whatever you order is fine with me."

Giving Natalia a gentle kiss, Calleigh went over to one of the side tables, and picked up a single sheet of rice paper and looked at the menu. Taking the single pen that was on the table, she selected several assortments from the list before she went over to the door and slid it underneath.

As she turned back towards the room, Calleigh found Natalia seated on one of the floor cushions, cross-legged and leaning against the table.

"I never knew that this place was here. How did you find out about it?"

Going to sit opposite of her, Calleigh easily folded her legs underneath her. "When I first came to Miami, one of my first cases was a carjacking and turned out the family owning a few of the cars worked here. When the case was solved, they offered free dinners to those who worked on and helped solve the case. I've been coming here ever since. It's very relaxing and something out of the ordinary."

There was a scratching at the screen, before it was slid open as another young woman appeared, kneeling by the door, so gracefully she stood up, bringing up with her a small tray which held a couple of small sake bottles and cups along with a couple of bowls of soup and a wicker basket with warms cloths. Taking the couple of steps necessary to enter the room, the girl knelt once more, placing the tray on the floor next to her, slid the screen closed before rising again to place the tray on the table.

"Good evening Miss Calleigh, Miss Natalia."

Natalia nodded her head in response while Calleigh answered. "Hello, Nami. Good evening."

"It is good to see you again." Nami handed Natalia and then Calleigh one of the warm clothes to cleanse their hands. "May I pour please?"

"Yes, thank you."

Pouring the drink, she placed one cup in front of each woman, then placed a bowl of soup. Scooting back from the table, she rose and left the same way that she entered.

Looking over to her wife, Natalia smiled warmly. "This is quite traditional, isn't it?"

"Yeah, that's one reason I like it so much." Picking up the bowl of soup, she took a small sip as it gentle curls of steam rose above.

Mimicking her wife, Natalia nodded. "I can certainly appreciate tradition." Setting the bowl down. "What did Dr Tatum say about your eyes?" She looked across the table with curious, hopeful expression.

Smiling, Calleigh's eyes sparkled with the news. "I have to continue with the drops for two more weeks, but after that, I'm cleared for work."

"Now that is something to celebrate. I'm so glad it's over and you got through fully with no more complications..." She looked up at her wife. Initially, Natalia looked scared from their past, but so happy about the present.

"Darlin', everyday with you is a reason to celebrate."

"Calleigh, you amaze me. You are a brilliant woman, and you make my heart melt every time you speak... And your taste in women is not so bad either." Natalia gave her a sly smile.

Laughing, Calleigh held her response as there was another scratching at the door and the process was repeated again, but this time the tray held plates of steaming yakisoba noodles and artistically arranged trays of sushi.

Waiting for Nami to leave, Calleigh teased her wife. "Well, you have excellent taste in women also and to top it off you tas…."

Natalia smirked clearing her throat. "Is that so Miss DuVista? Because if you remember, just this morning, you had a bit of trouble hanging onto those glasses of juice." She paused clearing her throat. "And that was a meal in itself, tasting mighty fine."

Calleigh froze in the middle of reaching for the yakisoba noodles with her chopsticks, her mouth was slightly opened and her eyes wide in shock.

Natalia blushed, something only Calleigh could see through her tanned complexion, the smirk on her face gave it away as she took a sip of sake, holding the cup delicately with both hands.

"Darlin, you may want to close your mouth before I put it to use." Playfully mocking Calleigh's accent.

A blonde eyebrow rose, and Calleigh drawled. "Ooo. To paraphrase one of my favorite lines from the movie 'Steel Magnolias'; that was spoken like a true smart ass."

Natalia laughed, unable to help it. She looked at Calleigh through her bangs that had fallen into her face. "What if I wasn't intentionally being a smart ass?" A hopeful smirk played across her lips.

"Then I would have to ask… exactly how would you put it to use?" Calleigh tossed the question back across the table.

"I think I'll let that question plague your mind until we get home."

Once again, Calleigh paused, but this time it was to look at her watch.

Natalia grinned. "Slow down there Tiger. I am thinking of at least 2 uses that are rated PG first."

Chewing the piece of tuna she had in her mouth, Calleigh licked her lips before saying. "Oh I know darlin'. I'm just mentally figuring up the time line."

The slightest moan escaped her throat, knowing Calleigh was reading her mind.

"Why do you think that I ordered seafood, darlin'? You know what it does to me."

Natalia smiled as her mind flooded with ideas for later.

Calleigh smirked. "Don't forget. We haven't tried all the things that your sisters gave us."

Squirming a little, Natalia was unable to help the chill running down her spine, her soulful brown eyes were nearly black with thoughts running through her head.

Just looking at her wife, made Calleigh wet, and it still amazed her that just the look on Natalia's face, or the sound of her voice…. something just that simple could make her feel so alive.

Natalia smiled knowingly. She swallowed her last bite and she was full and satisfied. Watching the way Calleigh moved never ceased to amaze her.

Rising to her knees, then to her feet, Calleigh went around the table to offer her hand to her wife.

"Ready to go love?"

She took the offered hand, smiling brightly. "Absolutely."

The storm had come ashore while they were dining so as Calleigh and Natalia readied to leave, they were met by Akiko, who was holding a large umbrella. Quickly she covered the two women, and escorted them to their vehicle and then scurried back inside.

The ride home was pleasantly quiet as both women were left alone with their thoughts. After pulling into the garage and letting the door closed behind them, neither woman moved from the Avalanche.

Turning to her wife, Natalia caressed Calleigh's face, smiling as she leaned into her palm and closed her eyes.

"Thank you for a wonderful evening babe. I really like that place a lot."

Kissing Natalia's palm, Calleigh answered. "I had hoped that you would. Let's get inside; I'm in the mood to snuggle."

Getting out, they opened the garage door and went inside to the kitchen. Calleigh went over to the sliding doors of the back yard and let in Mallory, who ran around the living room all excited to see them, splattering water everywhere.

"Hey girl! Did ya miss us?"

Coming out of the bedroom, Natalia tossed Calleigh a towel to dry off the dog, then went into the kitchen to open a bottle of wine.

Calleigh called out. "Hey Talia, I'm gonna jump in the shower real quick. Do you want me to leave the water running?"

"Yeah, I'll be right in."

Putting the bottle on the countertop, Natalia quickly opened it, and pour a couple of glasses. Picking them both up at the same time, she smiled to herself thinking how glad she was that her wife was already doing something else or she would pay her back for earlier that morning.

Walking through their bedroom and into the bathroom, she stopped at the sight of Calleigh standing underneath the cascading water, leaning her head back and the water running along the curves of her body.

Taking a gulp of wine, Natalia set both glasses down next to the sink, leaning against the counter she continued to watch. Her moan was barely audible, eyes glued to her wife's body. She bit her lip trying to resist the urge. Arms folded across her chest, her eyes narrowed, watching the light glisten off her wife's skin. Oh, how badly she wanted to be the water.

Turning slightly, Calleigh opened her eyes to catch Natalia staring at her with such a look of hunger and her face, that she actually shivered, even though she was standing under hot water. Slowly she moved her hands along her body, watching as Natalia's eyes followed their path.

Natalia was slow to take off her pants, then even slower to unbutton her shirt, leaving herself in just her undergarments for a moment till Calleigh stopped everything to watch her. She then continued to strip till she was naked.

Now was time for Natalia to feel the heat as the room seemed to get hotter with the look in Calleigh's eyes. Green lightening seemed brighten the room as her eyes raked the bronze body that was slowly… too slowly walking over to join her in the shower. Opening the door, she held out a hand, offering herself to her love.

Taking it with a smile, Natalia turned slightly as she closed the door. Remaining silent, her eyes held Calleigh's gaze as she slid one finger from Calleigh's shoulder, down her spine, to the top of her thigh. She stepped back a little, breaking her stare with Calleigh. Licking her lips, she slowly dragged the back of her hand along her own body, watching closely for Calleigh's reaction.

Eyes followed the hand, growing more hooded the lower it traveled. Lips parted and she unconsciously leaned forward. Oh, how she wanted to be that hand.

Natalia continued to smile as her hand traced the toned line of her hip inward to her inner thigh; leaning forward as she spread her fingers. Slowly… too slowly, she moved her hand to the back of her thigh, turning just slightly, just enough to let Calleigh witness her fingertips move up the round of her rear and across the small of her back. Leaving only a wake of goose bumps as Calleigh's eyes grew more and more hungry. Sliding her hand over the top of her hip, she traced her middle finger up the center of her abs, between her breasts. Her hand moved off her skin, opening her hand, her fingers spread out going from her chin and jaw to the base of her throat, knowing it was Calleigh's favorite spot to kiss at any given time. Her hand paused as her tongue ran across her lips, teeth capturing her bottom lip. Holding herself in that position; her hip cocked, her head tilted down and the look of innocent seduction danced across her eyes.

Moving until she was barely a breath away from her wife, Calleigh leaned forward to place her lips to the base of Natalia's throat, groaning as she touched warm skin. Slowly she brought up her hands to ghost Natalia's sides, trembling as she watched water drip down between Natalia's breasts. Leaning down, she stopped that one water drop and traced its trail back up until she was able to press her lips the pulse point on her neck. Sucking gently, she placed her hands about Natalia's hips and pulled her close, moaning with contact.

Her heart sped up the closer Calleigh's body came; once her lips touched her throat, Natalia gasped, tilting her head back slightly. Her chest heaved with each breath she took, while chills racked her spine as Calleigh's hands moved along her sides. She studied her wife as her lips captured the drop of water, and then her knees gave way just as Calleigh pulled her in, pressing as tight as she could into Calleigh's body. Groaning at the contact, Natalia wrapped her arms around her wife's neck, digging her fingers into golden hair before pulling her head back placing a searing kiss on her lips.

Digging her nails in Natalia's back, Calleigh slid a thigh between her legs and almost swooned when she came into contact with hot slickness. There was nowhere in the world that she would rather be than right there in the arms of her wife, feeling the evidence of how much she was loved. Pushing Natalia up against the tiled wall, she brought one hand, up and around to cup a breast, teasing the already hard nipple. Loving the way that Natalia surged against her, and glorying in the sounds that were echoing off the walls.

Pulling back slightly, Calleigh looked up into eyes that were almost black with passion. The same eyes that with one look could make her belly cramp or could gaze at her across the room and tell her that she was loved.

Tensing her back at the touch of Calleigh's fingers, Natalia's hips pressed forward against the toned thigh, and groaned "Oh... Cal...." As she felt the cold tile and the warm, adoring hand trap her body in the middle, her breathing became labored as every little move Calleigh made astounded her. The jade gleam in Calleigh's eye made her knees buckle and that pressed Natalia right on top of Calleigh's thigh. She gasped two deep breaths before her eyes showed submission, letting moans fill the room as she bit her lip once more.

As the moans filled the room and her ears, Calleigh paused. She pulled away a tiny bit, taking deep cleansing breaths as she tried to control her urges. Something was telling her to slow things down, something in her gut said that this was going way too fast.

Whimpering slightly, Natalia closes her eyes, leaning her head back against the tile. She clinches her jaw, trying to hold back from attacking. Opening her eyes, she looks at Calleigh to gauge herself, and her hands finally move out of Calleigh's hair to her shoulders. She takes one finger, moving it from her shoulder to her jaw line, gently cupping Calleigh's face, watching with curious and concerned eyes.

Calleigh's expression fell as she stood there studying Natalia's eyes. 'Come on Calleigh, just say it.' With a deep breath and a hard gulp, Calleigh looked at Natalia with pained eyes. "The echo... the echo of your groan in the small space just… caught me off guard..." She looked down, not wanting to speak his name, to not admit that he haunted her too.

Natalia lifted her chin tilting her head looking into Calleigh's eyes so lose. "Calleigh… what is it..?"

Calleigh's voice grew hoarse, she didn't want to speak his name in the middle of such an amazing intimate moment, but it felt like a slap upside the head. "Every time... he... touched you, I heard you groan, protecting me from him. I just didn't expect it." Calleigh just looked at her wife almost helpless.

Taking a ragged breath, Natalia leaned forward, and kissed Calleigh's cheek, closing her eyes as the reality of the situation came to light. This was the first time Calleigh admitted Jethro had gotten to her too. Maybe it is the first time, what if it's the hundredth time. Natalia started to panic internally. Just early today she had been in a psychiatrist's office trying to solve this very problem and it didn't end with her, it haunted her wife. Natalia moved back a step rubbing the water off her own face.

Calleigh leaned in, kissing Natalia's cheek in return, and then paused only a second before exiting the shower, grabbing a towel and a wine glass. Leaving her wife, possibly a helpless mess, but she needed to step away to clear her head so she could pull Natalia, her safe and sound wife back into her thoughts, kicking out the helplessness they both held in that situation many weeks ago. Slipping on her lounge pants and tank top, she made her way out into the front room.

Natalia stood there in shock before she realized her wife had left the bathroom. She looked at the wine glass before reaching out, and downing the rest, right there in the shower. She knew why Calleigh had walked out, she didn't blame her; it was just going to take the rest of the hot water to clear her own head again.

Calleigh looked out the window, watching the storm crackle. She didn't want to admit it, to say it, but she knew Natalia wasn't going to let it go. Calleigh was never one to flip from intimate moments so instantly, but this was different. This wasn't something that she could ignore. She knew this would hurt Natalia, but she could fix that when she cleared her own mind. The moment needed to build again. Calleigh took the last of her wine, and then walked into the kitchen to fill it again.

Natalia stood at the back of the shower with the spray missing her still, her expression blank. Everything any one needed to know showed in her eyes. She took a step into the warm water and finally closed her eyes. She could let this go. If Calleigh would've fought this feeling, it would have somehow continued to manifest in her mind, making it bigger than it was, once she found out what was wrong. This was quick, and nearly painless. She could let this go if Calleigh could for now. She looked at the door, she felt lost without Calleigh. She finished her shower in record time, climbing out she dried off and slipped into shorts and a tank top. She grabbed her wine glass and sought out her wife.

Calleigh looked up at her wife with soft eyes and a sad smile. Natalia returned with a genuine smile and calm eyes. "I'm sorry darlin', it was a snake in the grass, I didn't see it comi..."

Natalia put a finger to Calleigh's lips. "Babe, it's ok. Thank you for telling me though, I know you didn't want to say it. It's ok." Natalia leaned forward and kissed her wife, happy when she kissed back.

Calleigh poured the wine into the glasses as Natalia stood behind her, wrapping her arms about her waist. Closing her eyes, Calleigh smiled when the brunette nuzzled her face to the side of her neck.

"Darlin, you are a snuggle bug."

Natalia let out a small giggle. "Join me? I want to watch this beautiful storm with my gorgeous wife and this delicious wine. I think we need another bottle of this when we go to the store next."

Calleigh took both glasses and started walking when she paused. "Wait." She smirked and looked at her wife with one eyebrow cocked. She handed one of the glasses to Natalia, who laughed.

"Oh come on! Don't want to get caught in that situation again?" Said with a smirk as she used one finger to lift Calleigh's chin and place a sweet kiss on her lips.

"Darlin', I' m certainly not complaining, I thoroughly enjoyed this morning, but I don't think wine will come out if I'm too willing to drop everything to have you."

Going over to the bay window, Calleigh leaned over to pull the extra pillows out from underneath the seat, leaving Natalia to admire the view. Tossing the pillows up on the bay seat, Calleigh turned and extended her hand.

"Join me for a storm watch?"

Instead of taking her hand, Natalia went and relaxed on the seat, opening her arms and legs, inviting her wife to make herself comfortable between them.

With a smile, Calleigh went to sit in the safest haven she could ever find. Surrounded by the love and the protection of the most amazing woman… no, person she had ever met, while Natalia felt that she was the one that was being shown love and being shielded by the most remarkable woman.

Natalia leaned her head against the window frame, her fingers finding their way into Calleigh's hair. She closed her eyes, breathing in the smell of her wife. She opened her eyes to watch a bolt of lightning hit the ground and light up a quarter of Miami. She felt Calleigh's protective hold press against her body in full. Neither could help it, so protective of each other even in the most relaxed of moments.

Moving her head slightly, Calleigh turned so the she could nuzzle her wife's neck, breathing in her scent. This was the aroma of that she always would associate with Natalia, not the perfume that she wore or the lotions that she used. Pure unadulterated Natalia DuVista, this was Calleigh's drug.

Dimples appeared as she grinned, feeling as Calleigh breathed her in. Natalia wrapped her arms around the blonde's shoulders, getting lost in the storm now pelting the window with heavy rain.

Rubbing the arms of her wife, Calleigh sighed and reached out for her glass of wine, takes a sip before offering it to Natalia.

Taking the offered glass, she takes a swig. "Thank you love." She kiss the top of the blondes head, running her fingers through her hair slowly, watching over the body snuggled up against her. "Baby... would you join me in bed. If I wasn't about to fall asleep I'd love to stay right here all night." She looked down seeking out jade eyes with adoration clear upon her face.

"Darlin' I'd love to. I'll put the glasses away, you go turn down the sheets, and I'll meet you there."

Leaning up, she kissed the brunette before wandering into the kitchen with a sway in her step.

Natalia enjoyed it with a smile and a shake of her head. She looked back out at the sky once more, then moved into the bedroom, pulling the sheets down and stripping down to bare skin. For some reason, she just wanted to feel Calleigh against her skin.

Calleigh walked in to see her wife pulling off her tank top. "Did I walk in on a secret plan?" Her mega watt smile was infectious as Natalia smiled bright.

"No, I just want to feel your skin against mine while we sleep." She crawled into bed, watching Calleigh strip and climb in shortly after. Natalia snuggled up to Calleigh's side and it didn't take long for either to rest easy.

Three a.m. rolled around when Calleigh finally opened her eyes after tossing and turning for the past forty-five minutes. Closing them again, she turned onto her side trying to find that one comfortable position. Finally, she flipped over completely and landed half laying on Natalia with an arm draped over the brunettes shoulder, her head pressed against the other. Both she and

Natalia moaned, relaxing, Natalia laid her head to the side against Calleigh's hand. They settled and were sound asleep again.

Natalia's heart rate raised when her mind processed the weight against her body. She looked up, seeing Nick over the top of her, pinning her down. She started to squirm, but couldn't move, couldn't speak and couldn't push him off. Her breathing became ragged as she fought for oxygen. Her body jolted, but it was stopped by weight. She whimpered with every punch that landed against her, causing her muscles to tense when she was punched. Her mind was working a mile a minute while tears rolled down her face as she gasped for breath. Finally, she choked when Nick was shoved off her. Natalia's body went to jump up off the bed, but was held by Calleigh's weight. Natalia's eyes fought to open, but couldn't. Her body quaked in panic when he pressed against her again, this time having his way with her. She laid there, tears rolling down her face, trembling. Her wrists were stuck under the comforter, but her mind swore Nick was holding them hostage; another slap across the face caused her to cry harder. Her jaw tightened, eyebrows furrowed, stomach tensed and finally she cried out "Stop…" The weight lifted off her allowing her to curl into a ball. She felt weight against her shoulder and cowered away from it. Nick always played these tricks after he got his way, trying to be affectionate. Everything about her trembled violently as she felt weight against her back. Fingers enlaced with her own and this time she heard her name said in the rough Southern drawl of the lover she was supposed to be next to. Finally, with a hard shake against her body, her eyes flew open as she choked gasping for air, tears covering her face and pillow.

'This one is bad.' Was the thought that raced through Calleigh's mind. The sounds of whimpering and the racing heartbeat underneath her hand on Natalia's chest had awaken her from her slumber. Rising to an elbow, she peered down to see Natalia's eyes move wilding underneath her lids. Before she could move, tears started falling from those same eyes, while Natalia's body shook and then tensed. Reaching down, Calleigh gently pulled away the comforter that was tangled around her wife, all the while talking gently to her. Calleigh tried to wipe away the tears, but Natalia flinched every time her hand came close. She then, pressed her hand to Natalia's shoulder to shake her awake, but she moved away. Finally she put her hand against the brunette and shook her awake as her voice became stern. "Natalia! Wake up darlin'... come on..." She watched Natalia's eyes open and saw the pure fear in her dark eyes.

"Calleigh…. Oh God…. It was Nick…. I couldn't sto… I don't want to go through this again. Why him? Why now?"

Natalia looked at Calleigh totally shaken. She reached up, capturing Calleigh and hid her face crying against the blonde's chest. Her fingertips dug into Calleigh's back and upper arms, her heart was still racing, breathing still labored, but her nerves were calming at a slow pace.

Calleigh held onto Natalia like her life depended on it. "Natalia I don't know…" She cradled Natalia closer to her, running her fingers through her hair slowly, kissing the top of her head. She wanted to scream at every ghost and every memory that haunted Natalia. She felt totally helpless, all she could do was protect her when Natalia was wide-awake, when she could see the fear or pain in her eyes before the memory really sunk in.

"I'm right here darlin'. I'm not going to let anyone hurt you ever again. I promise you this."

Leaning her head back, Natalia looked up at her wife with tear tracks still on her face. The eyes that gazed back at her were filled with such love that Natalia almost started crying again with relief. She knew in her heart, that she was safe, that she would never be alone again.

Natalia's body finally gave way, so exhausted from emotional and physical tension. She closed her eyes still clinging to Calleigh's body. "I.. just... sleep..." With a final deep breath, she fell asleep again. She didn't stir, didn't move, just kept her head on Calleigh's chest, listening to her heartbeat.

Calleigh sighed in relief as she closed her eyes, feeling Natalia relax against her. She knew her wife would be clear minded for the rest of the night. With one hand still in Natalia's hair, the other tracing lazy circles up her arm, she was soon fast asleep, protecting her wife.

Part 29

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