Disclaimer: This is an original story, written for a Radclyffe challenge. Topic is 'From Fantasy to Reality.' All characters are original and belong to me. No archiving without my written permission.

Rating: NC-17 for consensual sexual intimacy between two consenting adult women.

Summary: Sheridan Ward, business tycoon, has fought her personal dragons for the last year, and now she's at the yearly shareholders' convention . By her side, unwavering personal assistand and nurse, Lark Mitchell is struggling with unexpected feelings for her tormented boss.

The faint whispers died out gradually as the woman began her solitary journey up the aisle between the round tables. Some of the luncheon guests at the luxurious hotel didn’t know whether to look away or stare openly at her.

Sheridan Ward’s green eyes dared all the people present at the stockholders’ yearly luncheon to pity her. She propelled her expensive, state-of-the art wheelchair through the vast ocean of people, her back ramrod straight and a half-smile on her firm lips. She wore her black hair short, in large locks swept back from her face, looking deceptively void of makeup. Dressed in a Saville Row black pantsuit over a silver gray shirt, she looked immaculate.

Lark Mitchell waited in the wings by the head table, cursing everyone who glared at her boss with their jaws dropped. Don’t they realize how hard this is for her? Why the hell did she have to make her usual entrance like that? But Lark knew why. True to tradition, Sheridan Ward, like her father and grandfather before her, opened the yearly stockholders’ convention by hosting a luncheon for all participants. Also tradition was to “march past the troops” as the Wards had always done. I wonder how many even tried persuading her to refrain from it. I know I did, and she bit my head off. Lark shuddered at the memory.

The luncheon was the starting shot for a week of events, crowned with Ward Enterprises Inc.’s stockholder meeting. Sheridan’s personal staff had prepared for this event for months. God knows how she’s managed. Lark sighed in silent relief as Sheridan approached the head table, managed the ramp without problems before elegantly circling the long, elevated table, and wheeled up to her seat in the middle. The two men flanking her rose quickly, looking quite forlorn since there was no chair to hold out for her. Sheridan smirked, wheeling in place and engaging the breaks. “By all means, take a seat, gentlemen.”

Casting a glance in Lark’s direction, Sheridan raised an inquisitive eyebrow. Lark nodded, raising her hand in a gesture meaning everything was set. She turned around and gave the man by the door handling the electronics a thumbs-up. He turned down the dimmer, throwing most of the Rosary Ballroom into semi-darkness, and directed a spotlight at Sheridan.

It didn’t matter the stunning woman couldn’t stand on her own two feet anymore; she was every bit the despotic president of Ward Enterprises, commanding the audience with a mere glance as she began her welcome speech in a clear voice. Her face illuminated by the stark light, its shadows and planes emphasized, left no one uncertain who ruled the show.

Lark sighed inaudibly. It was heartbreaking to realize how much she was going to miss this sight.

~

Sheridan kept the half-smile on her lips throughout the luncheon, knowing very well how her once so statuesque frame looked nowadays. Fighting to remain upright, although she admitted the defiant posture killed her back, she moved the wheelchair skillfully between the tables toward the exit. Where the hell’s Lark? Her personal assistant had remained close throughout the two-hour event, but was not in sight now. Personal assistant, Sheridan huffed. More like my right arm. Or my legs, as it were.

Suddenly Lark showed up at her side and placed a bottle of regular water in Sheridan’s hand. “Here. You didn’t eat much, nor did you drink.”

Glaring at the other woman, Sheridan grudgingly admitted Lark was right. “Thanks.” As she studied her assistant over the bottle she sipped from, Sheridan noticed signs of fatigue in Lark. The marbled eyes were definitely more of a slate gray, and her naturally pink, full mouth was pressed into a fine line. “You okay?”

“I’m fine. Let’s get you out of here.” Knowing better, Lark didn’t attempt to push the wheelchair, which was impossible anyway since it had no handles for this purpose on the back. Lark merely stepped toward the exit, and Sheridan was about to follow her when something hit her in the head from behind, making her drop the bottle in her lap where the water ran freely across her pants. “Shit!” The word escaped Sheridan’s lips before she managed to clench her teeth around it. Raising a hand, she felt the back of her head, while she pivoted the wheelchair with the other.

Lark whirled, taking in the situation in a second. “Sheridan!” She rushed forward, removing her employer’s hand from her head. “Let me look. What happened?”

A woman standing close by stared at them in horror. She was holding a square purse, with hard metal edges. “I’m so terribly sorry,” she gushed. “I was adjusting my shawl, and … Oh, Ms. Ward. What can I do to help?”

Realizing it was an accident and not an attack, Sheridan began to calm down. She looked in dismay down at her lap. Damn, it looks as if I peed in my pants. “Nothing, thank you. I’m quite all right.” Her lips felt stiff as annoyance still flared.

“You sure?” Lark’s low voice, followed by soft fingers in Sheridan’s hair, made her suddenly forget everything else.

“Yeah. You’re right. Let’s get out of here.”

Lark nodded and removed her fingers, and the loss of the careful touch left Sheridan feeling robbed of something. Irritated, she only nodded toward the woman with the purse before wheeling out the ballroom doors. “You have the key?”

Lark had reserved a suite for them, to avoid a strenuous four-hour drive home after this first event. They didn’t need to commute to the many meetings and appointments Ward Enterprises held during the stockholders’ convention week.

In the elevator, Sheridan leaned back in the wheelchair, examining Lark. The woman was dressed in a cream, tailored, sleeveless dress, with a simple string of pearls around her neck. Wearing her long caramel-colored hair loose, she looked stunning, new. Sheridan had known her for eleven months, ever since she became ill, and never quite seen her this way. I’ve been a bitch the last few weeks. Perhaps she’s had enough. She tried to disregard the stab of panic. Who am I kidding? I was always the company bitch. Still, watching the tired face, with the normally so rosy cheeks pale and the smooth forehead wrinkled, bothered Sheridan.

The suite consisted of two bedrooms, a living-room area, and a small, fully equipped kitchenette. Sheridan knew the fridge held some of her medication. She had little patience for taking it and was completely oblivious to the schedule. That’s her job.

“Let me check the back of your head,” Lark said. “That was one mean-looking purse. Sharp edges.”

“All right.” Sheridan refused to acknowledge how much she liked the touch of Lark’s hands in her hair. Human touch. Eleven months and only health-care pros have touched me. And Lark.

Lark’s fingers carefully divided Sheridan’s hair in several places, examining her scalp. “There’s a small bump. Looks like she didn’t manage to break the skin, at least. Thank God.” Lark sighed.

Turning the wheelchair, Sheridan caught one of Lark’s hands, obviously startling the other woman. “Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?” she asked, her voice stern. To her alarm, tears welled up in Lark’s eyes, clinging to dark brown eyelashes like perfect diamonds.

~

Despite having her vision distorted by stupid tears, Lark saw Sheridan’s face alter into an expression close to fear. Lark took an involuntary step backwards, her nerves too raw to endure a closer inspection.

“Answer me.” Still demanding, Sheridan now sounded almost breathless.

“I can’t …” Lark held up a hand to forestall a new request for an explanation. “I can’t do this anymore. I … can’t.” This wasn’t how she planned to do it. A formal letter of resignation lay in her briefcase.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Sheridan growled, her fists rolled up and rigid in her lap.

Lark refused to answer, staring at her employer’s hands. The black fabric clung to Sheridan’s legs, reminding Lark why they had hurried to the suite. “Let’s get you changed. What do you want to wear?” She turned to walk into Sheridan’s bedroom.

Snaking out faster than any reptile, one of the strong hands caught Lark’s wrist. “Just a robe. You’re not off the hook. You owe me an explanation.”

Do I? Lark stopped, only raising her eyebrows. “Later. You’re soaked.”

In the bedroom, Sheridan slid over from the wheelchair onto the foot of the bed. Lark moved in front of her, after placing the complimentary white terry-cloth robe next to them, nudging the wheelchair out of the way with her foot.

Kneeling, Lark undid Sheridan’s black, shiny shoes, tugging them off carefully while the other woman unbuttoned her trousers and pulled the zipper down. Because she knew her employer detested being rolled around to remove her clothes, Lark reached around her, ready to pull the trousers down as Sheridan lifted her own weight by pressing her palms against the bed. Sliding off the wet piece of clothing, Lark hung it neatly over the back of a chair. “You can manage now, right?”

“No. Stay.” Sheridan was still giving orders.

“All right. What else can I do?”

Her eyes narrowing, Sheridan seemed to carefully debate her reply. “Is there a limit to what you would do?”

What’s this game about? “As long as it’s in my job description, no.”

“Smart answer. But then you’re a smart woman, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

Sheridan smirked, sitting with her elegant, long legs bare; there was no visual evidence of how painful and immobile they were. “Your job description is pretty arbitrary, isn’t it? You’re supposed to meet any of my needs.”

Lark’s breath caught in her throat. She’s at it again. Her games. Her self-deprecating games. “I can’t do this anymore.” The words came out staccato, Lark’s emotions tearing through her like wildfire. “You play me, or try to, and I have no idea what you think you’ll accomplish by antagonizing me. Or are you simply testing me?” Lark flung her hands in the air. “All right. You win. I quit.”

The silence between the two women seemed to stop the world.

~

Sheridan’s heart bled. She knew the phrase was a cliché and such things didn’t happen unless you suffered a coronary, but it was still true. Lark, flowery scented, golden-haired, soft-handed Lark, was leaving. The dream was over. The drama a moot point.

“When?” Sheridan’s voice hardly carried the short distance between them. The short distance equaled a vastness of oceanic proportions.

“According to my contract, I have to give two weeks’ notice. Since I haven’t had a vacation for the eleven months I’ve worked for you, I’ll give you three days to find a replacement. With the salaries you pay, it shouldn’t be hard.”

Flinching, Sheridan heard the unspoken words. With my not-so-winning personality, it will be a nightmare. “Why not leave right away? Why wait?” Why twist the knife constantly for three whole days?

Lark seemed to calm down. “You need help. I know you’re capable of fending for yourself, but these upcoming days will be tough. I’m sorry … I shouldn’t have sprung this on your right now, with the convention just starting …” She took one step closer. “Let me help you with the robe …”

“No. I’ll manage. Leave me.”

Hesitating, Lark regarded her with a range of emotions flickering over her sensitive features. Sheridan scrutinized her, but of all the feelings present in the other woman’s eyes—none of them were close to pity.

As Lark left the room, Sheridan slumped to the side, hiding her face against the coarse fabric of the bedspread. More loss. Can I cope? Can I? She stayed in that position for a few minutes, breathing deeply to regain control, before sitting up, unbuttoning her jacket and shirt. She pulled them off and tossed them carelessly on top of the damp pants on the chair. Not wearing a bra, she pulled the robe toward her, moving from side to side to wrap it around her body.

Pushing with her hands, she pulled herself up against the pillows. As she took one and held it close to her stomach, Sheridan closed her eyes against the physical pain, as well as the emotional torment. Her hands. Why do Lark’s hands contradict what she feels? When she touches me, it’s as if she wants to. Sheridan tried to rouse the anger, but in vain. Instead the hurt blazed through her again. Her voice, even, sometimes suggests she cares on a personal level. From day one, Lark was always so professional and loyal. When everyone else among Sheridan’s staff either didn’t know what to say or do, or behaved as if Sheridan had not only lost the use of her legs, but also her brain, Lark’s calm personality was like soft cotton against raw nerve endings. And now the day I always knew would come is here. She’s leaving. Of course.

Sheridan refused to let the pain take over. Instead she kept her eyes closed and the pillow pressed against her chest. Burying her face into the softness, she willed herself to relax.

“I don’t want to leave. I have no choice.”

Careful hands pulled the pillow from her arms, wrapping her up in a soft embrace.

“The truth is ... I never wanted to leave you in the first place.”

The hands described slow circles on her back. “You’re all that matters to me. My heart’s breaking and I can’t even tell you, face to face.”

Sheridan moved toward the warmth, the hands, but could not open her eyes, no matter how she tried. She attempted to speak, but in vain. No words, not even a mere sound, came from her lips.

“You did your best to test me, to drive me away, and now I can’t see any other solution than to grant your wishes.” She felt a soft kiss on her forehead. “But, before I go, I want something.”

Desperate to ask what, Sheridan moved restlessly in the tight embrace--still wordless, soundless.

“I want something to remember. I want a piece of your heart to take with me.”

Sheridan tossed her head back and forth, frantically trying to communicate with the beloved voice. Finally she broke free, drew a deep breath, and called out a name.

~

Sitting in the living-room area of the suite, Lark stared at the envelope in her hand. She had typed her letter of resignation only two days ago, while nourishing futile hope she’d never have to hand it in. As things turned out, it had been a good idea to bring it with her.

The last eleven months of her life had proved to be much more complex than the “cushy job” her agent promised her.

“Merely acting as a nanny to this wealthy woman,” he said, grinning. “After your latest job, that’ll seem like child’s play. No nosy relatives to give you grief.” His face had become serious. “No nephews with octopus arms and with no tolerance for alcohol.” Shuddering at his words, Lark had accepted the position.

In retrospect, Lark didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the ‘cushy job’ remark. Her agent was a nice guy, but he obviously hadn’t done his homework on Sheridan Ward’s history. After spending almost a month in the ICU battling bacterial meningitis, the dynamic president of a multinational corporation was now confined to a wheelchair, probably for the rest of her life. When Lark entered the scene, she realized the other woman still suffered from excruciating pain sometimes, and had not even begun to accept her new situation. A registered nurse as well as a physiotherapy assistant, Lark found herself also becoming a watchdog, secretary, and live-in maid.

Anyone with their head screwed on right would’ve left much earlier. I just couldn’t. It wasn’t just the fantastic salary. It was her. Sheridan Ward was not like anyone Lark had ever met. Dynamic, yes, but also a despot at times, able to turn into a roaring monster within seconds. Lark knew what Sheridan battled on a daily basis and was one of the few who wasn’t scared stiff of her. Still, when Sheridan was in a particularly bad mood, even she stayed out of her way. She wasn’t paid enough to listen to that.

Leaning back against the couch, still clutching the now crushed envelope, Lark wondered when everything had begun to change for her. Was it in Newport? They had spent their first weeks together during the summer at the Wards’ beach house there. With Sheridan conducting business via Internet teleconferences, Lark had grown to love the surroundings, the whole area. Born a city girl and raised in Brooklyn, she was mesmerized by the fresh, salty Atlantic air.

What had grabbed her by the heart even more was how incredibly different Sheridan became when the fax quieted and the computer was switched off. Sitting on the large veranda, the other woman had stared at the ocean for hours every evening, staying out too long until her tall frame shivered from the night breeze.

Lark would then simply go out and wrap a blanket around Sheridan, rub her shoulders until she stopped shaking, and suggest they go inside. Sometimes Sheridan refused, and Lark learned that only if she said that she herself was cold did the other woman relent.

Green eyes followed every movement Lark made as she readied Sheridan for bed. There was still medication she needed to take. At that point, her employer was not so skilled at moving in and out of the chair, so they practiced. I held her quite a bit during those weeks, and through the summer. I had to, to guide her body while she learned as much as possible, to regain her independence. I taught her not to need me, but, oh, God, how hard it was to let go of her sometimes. The way she clung to me, in fear of falling, her face buried into my neck, breathing hard while regaining her balance … Lark drew a trembling hand along her face. It was still her best-kept secret, how good Sheridan felt in her arms.

When they came back to the city, a more rigorous schedule took place, to ready Sheridan for returning to work. Relentless, until Lark knew the tall body screamed with pain, Sheridan drove them both hard, working endless hours in the gym. One evening, Sheridan just wouldn’t let go of the bars, forcing her practically immovable legs, strapped into braces, to slide on the surface while she hung on straight arms, sweat dripping down her taut, aching body. Only when Lark pulled rank on her, yelling at Sheridan that she’d destroy everything she’d gained unless she slowed down, did she listen.

Sheridan let go of the bars and she fell forward, in slow motion at first. Not even thinking, Lark threw herself in between the bars, catching the much taller body with her own. They slid to the floor, and Sheridan ended up on top of Lark, pressing the air out of her lungs with her weight. Lark didn’t care. She held on to the sweat-drenched body, her eyes roaming worriedly over the pale face. “Are you hurt?”

This question made Sheridan give a bark of laughter, sounding almost like a sob, “Are you kidding? I’m crushing you, and you’re asking me if I’m hurt? No, I’m not hurt. My body doesn’t function, everything is going straight to hell, I can’t walk, and I’m about to suffocate you, but I’m fine!

“You certainly sound dandy.” Lark peeked up at Sheridan, relieved she hadn’t fallen in a way that worsened her condition.

Her eyes widening in surprise at Lark’s words, Sheridan laughed again, this time more genuinely, before rolling off her assistant. It was easier to breathe without the tall body wedged in between her legs, but Lark was still reluctant to let go of her. “How about if I help you onto the exercise bike and you can go for another five minutes to cool down?” she suggested. Sheridan merely nodded, accepting her assistance.

It was then, as if Sheridan had worked out hard enough to keep the demons at bay, they’s begun to talk. After they showered and shared the intimacy of Sheridan’s naked frame and Lark only wearing Nike shorts and a tank top, they moved to the Ward residence’s luxurious kitchen, where Lark put Sheridan to work with chopping vegetables while she cooked some pasta.

They spoke together, nothing deep or revealing in the beginning, but Lark reveled in the calm and content tone in Sheridan’s voice during evenings such as these. Several times she wondered how many of Sheridan’s employees saw this side of her. Just as many times, a not-so-generous part of her rejoiced that she was probably the only one.

Such moments were rare at first, but when Sheridan became convinced Lark’s working method was effective, a tentative camaraderie and trust began to form. Sheridan lowered her guard enough for Lark to see someone else, someone entirely different behind the formidable business tycoon. Besides being the most stunning woman Lark had ever seen, Sheridan possessed a deep knowledge of many things and anonymously donated large amounts of money to several different charities and research projects. When Lark mentioned her generosity while helping Sheridan with some of her personal correspondence, the other woman dismissed it with a smirk, joking it away, “We all need good points when we meet our maker. This is one way.”

Lark leaned back and looked at the envelope that held the end to her life in Sheridan’s presence, turning it over and over between her fingers. She wondered if Sheridan’s brush with death, when the dynamic woman fought for her life in the ICU, had prompted this attempt at being facetious. At this point Lark stopped being afraid of Sheridan and allowed herself to relax in her presence. She dared to share some of her own lesser-known sides, and she knew Sheridan found it intriguing when Lark showed her the moves she’d learned in her self-defense classes. She never asked Lark why she went to this particular class, but Lark had hoped one day they’d be comfortable enough with each other for her to tell Sheridan about what happened at her last workplace. Somehow she knew Sheridan would understand how paranoid and vulnerable the incident had left her. The thought of her patient’s twenty-five- year-old nephew was still an open wound. Only the sharp pair of scissors she’s carried in her uniform pocket had prevented him from succeeding what he, in his drunken state, referred to as a “seduction attempt.”

Lark’s hand tightened around the envelope, inadvertently wrinkling it when she directed her thoughts back to her employer. Six weeks ago, when the reality of the outside world caught up with Sheridan, and she began pushing herself harder than ever before to get ready for the stockholder convention, their newfound friendship simply didn’t stand the test. Suddenly out of control, their peaceful work schedule turned into a maddening pace, and it escalated in intensity every day after that.

Lark tried to warn Sheridan, fearful the other woman was pushing herself toward a collapse, but Sheridan reacted with fury, lashing out at her at any opportunity. Six weeks. It didn’t seem long, but the constant rejections had been agony, and the loss of the togetherness they’d shared hurt like hell.

Lark!” The outcry from Sheridan’s bedroom was bloodcurdling.

Lark flew up from the couch, dropping the envelope on the floor when she ran toward the bedroom. Flinging the door open, she stopped on the threshold and stared at the woman on the bed.

Sheridan was crushing a pillow against her chest, tossing and turning on the bed, obviously trapped in a terrible nightmare. About me?

“Lark! No!”

Lark hurried toward the distraught woman, seeing tears streaming down pale cheeks, the firm, curvy mouth trembling. “Sheridan! It’s just a dream, Sheridan. Wake up.” Lark took the other woman by the shoulders and shook her gently. “I’m here. I’m here.”

“No more …” Sheridan was still trapped in the private hell. “No more …”

“I’m here. Sheridan, it’s Lark. You’re safe.” Nothing seemed to reach the shivering woman.

Resolutely, Lark pulled Sheridan up into a firm embrace, unable to witness such torment. Her strong, healthy arms held the other woman tight, rocking her. “Shhh. You’re okay now.” She heard a deep breath from Sheridan.

There was a profound stillness. Lark stopped rocking but didn’t let go. She held on to Sheridan, burying her face in the damp, black locks, expecting a terrible eruption for her audacity to offer consolation.

“Lark?” The husky whisper was such an anticlimax, Lark almost laughed.

“Yes.”

To Lark’s astonishment, Sheridan raised one arm and wrapped it around her waist. “I’m sorry.”

The scent of fresh soap and the faint musk-based perfume Sheridan used filled her senses. Lark tried to focus on what Sheridan was saying, but all she could think was how good and right it felt to hold her. “I know.” She kissed the other woman’s hair. “I’m sorry too.”

“For what?” Sheridan pulled back enough to look up at Lark with narrow eyes.

“For destroying your day of triumph. The day you showed everyone that you’re back in charge to stay. You worked so hard for it.”

Sheridan pulled free, rolling away from Lark. Her empty arms ached. I knew it. She hates me for it.

Patting the pillow next to her head, Sheridan gave a tired smile. “Won’t you lie down with me, Lark?”

~

Lark’s eyes turned a brilliant blue. “What?”

“Please, don’t make me ask twice.” It was hard enough the first time. Sheridan held her breath while she studied the careful expression on Lark’s face. The petite woman, so strong and capable and often surprising, looked at her with clear apprehension.

“All right.” Lark kicked off her pumps and lay down. “I’m here.”

“So you are.” With a contented sigh, Sheridan let her eyes roam freely. Lark’s dress revealed more than the other woman knew right now. The top, where one part of the front overlapped the other and gave the illusion of a generous décolletage, fell apart, revealing a cream lace bra holding firm breasts.

Sheridan drank in the sight unabashedly. So luscious. Like velvet and satin. Further down, the skirt of the dress had ridden up the slender thighs, showing off naked, long legs. No stockings. Oh, my.

“What’s wrong?” Lark’s eyes were even darker blue now. “You don’t have nightmares, normally.”

Don’t I? If you only knew how I’ve tossed and turned, with some difficulty to boot, when your face has haunted me in the night. And your body is a torment in itself. She had fantasized, spent many nights, awake or asleep, dreaming and imagining. You. Just like this. “Sometimes I do,” Sheridan confessed noncommittally.

“I’m sorry. I haven’t heard anything, or I’d have woken you up.” Troubled eyes, that soft, pink mouth.

“There’s a remedy for all this,” Sheridan said huskily. “There is something you can do to help me get rid of my nightmares and stop the pain. However, I’m afraid it’s not mentioned in your job description.”

“Then tell me anyway,” Lark whispered. “Let’s just say I’m off duty right now. I’ve gone home.”

Home? Sheridan closed her eyes briefly. “Kiss me.”

Lark flinched visibly. Her lips trembled, and she stared at Sheridan with something resembling panic.

Oh God, oh God, I was wrong. I take it back. Don’t look at me like that, like I’m a freak. Please, I take it back. The horrified litany never made it to Sheridan’s vocal cords. Suddenly, in a flurry of movements, Lark was on top of Sheridan, pressing that enticing pink mouth onto hers. Gasping, Sheridan parted her lips and let Lark’s passionate tongue inside to probe and taste. Finally able to engage her arms, Sheridan pulled Lark closer, kissing her deeper, ravaging the mouth so willingly attached to her own.

Finally breaking loose, Sheridan gasped for air, then pressed her greedy lips onto the very skin she had studied only moments before. Her hands tugged at the dress, pushing the top of it down. She gasped when she realized she’d inadvertently trapped Lark’s arms in the process. Not above using this for her own advantage, Sheridan slowed down, staring lustfully at the heaving chest before her. The lace bra strained over pert breasts.

“Let me?” Sheridan looked at Lark. A two-second pause was about to stop her heart from beating.

Lark raised her chin, arching against Sheridan. “Yes.”

She latched onto the left nipple, biting and sucking it through the lace, reveling in the whimpering sounds of pleasure coming from Lark. Impatiently she pushed the bra up, revealing two rock-hard nipples, looking ready like ripe raspberries. Sheridan licked them, nibbled and chewed them. She couldn’t get enough. When they were finally too raw to even blow air at, she helped Lark out of the top of the dress completely and released her arms.

Unhooking her bra, Lark tossed it on the floor. She gazed at Sheridan with a calculating expression in her eyes, suddenly reaching up and sliding the robe off her broad shoulders.

~

Dark brown nipples, pebbled and awaiting her touch. Lark didn’t know where she found the courage, but she pushed the terry-cloth robe open all the way down. Sheridan wore lace thong panties, which Lark already knew. She stared at the dark triangular shadow beneath the flimsy fabric.

“You like what you see?” Sheridan asked in a hoarse tone of voice.

Her mouth watering, Lark could only nod. She had seen Sheridan in a state of undress many times before. Never like this. She’s beautiful. “You’re beautiful.” Her own voice startled her into action. Leaning forward Lark took a taut nipple into her mouth, sucking it lingeringly, increasing the pressure on it until Sheridan cried out.

“Oh. Oh. Damn it, Lark …” Shivering, the other woman pushed herself off the bed and further into Lark’s mouth. “I have needed this … you … so much. For so long. Damn you.” Sheridan was sobbing now.

Not bothered by what Sheridan was saying, Lark pinched the abandoned nipple as she moved onto the other, biting it, lavishing attention on the puckered skin with her tongue.

Grunting, Sheridan obviously tried to remain in control of her raging lust, but she failed miserably. It was as if each little bite of Lark’s teeth fueled the fire, drove her closer and closer to the abyss.

“No!” Sheridan’s hands shot out and grabbed Lark by the shoulders before she rolled them both over. Ending up half on top of the smaller woman, Sheridan kissed Lark deeply, and her tongue probed every part of the sweetness of her mouth.

Her heart thundering, Lark surrendered. She knew the built-up energy between them, the lust, the looks, was all going to come crashing down today. They had circled each other for almost a year, sticking to their respective roles of employer and employee, but now that was all over. Lark knew Sheridan was going to take her.

~

 

The soft fabric of Lark’s skirt lay bunched up in a ring around her waist. Sheridan’s eyes burned at the sight of the silk and lace boxers underneath. Don’t shred them. Careful now. She slid down the bed, grateful for all the training allowing her to move as effortlessly as she did. Nuzzling the boxers, she reached up under the skirt and found the waistband, tugging at it.

Lark wordlessly raised her hips, allowing Sheridan to remove her underwear. She groaned quietly at the feeling of pushing the garment down silky smooth legs. Lark surprised her, kicking off with when Sheridan couldn’t reach any further down, spreading her legs slowly, in a gesture of trust and surrender.

Sheridan moaned out loud this time and knew there was no turning back. She had to have Lark, even if it was only this once. Mine to have, this one time. She had to take what was offered and use it well, or she’d go insane. Maneuvering her body in between the slender legs, she inhaled the special scent that was a little bit flowery, but mostly all Lark. Soft, downy hair, trimmed but not shaved, did not manage to hide the damp folds, swollen and slightly separated, underneath.

To Sheridan’s amazement, Lark reached down, using both hands to part them further. “Please. Touch me.” There was a bated anticipation in Lark’s voice.

Please? Is she crazy? Doesn’t she know how much I want this? Want her? Resting on her elbows, Sheridan dipped her head and let her tongue slide along the wet sex. Avoiding the protruding ridge, she licked and tasted every part of Lark, making the woman beneath her cry out and shiver--long, reverberating shudders rocking the bed.

“No, no, no! Take me!” Lark cried out, when Sheridan had enjoyed her taste for minutes that seemed like an eternity. “You owe me. You owe me for all these months … all this time when I’ve looked at you … forbidden fruit…” Tears streamed down flushed cheeks. “You owe me, damn it!”

Startled, Sheridan tried to grasp what Lark was saying. I owe you, do I? She couldn’t think clearly. Flattening her tongue against the trembling clitoris, coaxing it further out with her agile tongue, Sheridan could only think of one thing. Lark was going to come, and come hard. And it was going to be because of her, Sheridan.

~

Lark soared. She climbed towards the orgasm, sometimes almost having it within her reach, but it eluded her time after time. She whimpered, spreading herself further, making more room for the woman between her legs.

“Sheridan,” she groaned. “It hurts. I need to come.”

“Yes. It’s time.”

Lark felt Sheridan move to the left and then several fingers of Sheridan’s hand pressed against her, moving into her, filling her up, while the skilled tongue massaged her clitoris.

“Sheridan!” The convulsions came without any forewarning. She clenched her teeth, her back arching off the bed as the prickling needles of pleasure erupted from her sex, traveling via her veins, throughout her legs and abdomen in wave after wave.

Sorrow filled her, and yet she was still bucking under Sheridan, whose fingers still took her. This is it. This is what I’ll have to remember, to take with me.

Her fingers still inside, Sheridan hauled herself up along Lark’s body, the robe half on, half off. “You’re amazing. You’re wonderful.” Her voice was a strange mix of fury and reverence, and Lark buried her face against the damp skin of Sheridan’s neck.

“Is it over?” she managed.

“No. Touch me,” Sheridan replied darkly.

As a dying woman gaining reprieve, Lark pushed her right hand between them, sliding her fingers in between Sheridan’s legs, in underneath the thong. The molten heat and copious wetness made her gasp, and without thinking, she pushed on, going inside. Feeling immediate flutters of an imminent orgasm, her thumb began to circle the large, swollen clitoris.

With a strangled sound, Sheridan pressed her cheek against Lark’s shoulder, deep sobs shaking her tall frame. Seeping from her eyes, the tears ran down both their cheeks, mingling with sweat.

“You’re close,” Lark murmured. “You’re … close.”

“Yes!”

The flutters turned into waves, which in turn built up to convulsions, rocking back and forth inside Sheridan, tugging at Lark’s own body, sending her across a second precipice. Hearing the heartbreaking cries from Sheridan, Lark closed her eyes, knowing they moved toward the end. She carefully retracted her hand, and instead wrapped both arms around the other woman. “I don’t want to leave. Not really.”

~

Sheridan lay resting against Lark’s shoulder. Her heart rate was slowing down, as was her breathing. Her mind, on the contrary, was whirling, examining Lark’s words. She doesn’t want to leave. Or was that lust speaking?

The faint trembling in the smaller body next to her defied that last worry. “Why?” There was no reply and Sheridan realized she would have to take the next leap of faith. “I don’t want you to leave me either. I want you to stay.”

“Why?”

Fair enough. Digging deep into the recesses of what was left of her courage, Sheridan raised her head and, looking up into the marbled eyes, saw nothing but guarded kindness. “I can’t imagine my life without you.”

Lark’s eyes turned into the softer kind of blue. “Anyone can help you with physiotherapy and administer your medication.”

“Yes, I know that.”

“So why do you want me to stay?”

“I …” Sheridan closed her eyes for a moment. “You reach me like nobody else can. You’re very good at what you do. If you leave, it’ll be hell …”

“What do you mean?” Lark was apparently not beyond prodding to get an honest answer.

Anger flashed for a second and made Sheridan tighten her grip around Lark. “This, damn it! The way you touch me. How you don’t let my fucking body turn you away … turn you off, for that matter.” Her voice sank into a husky whisper. “With you, I feel like I can be well again, whole again, even if I’ll never walk.”

Lark smiled, a tremulous movement of lips displaying perfect teeth. “You mean a lot to me.”

Is she staying? Barely able to breathe she pushed on. “And?”

Cupping Sheridan’s cheeks, Lark’s warm hand sent the message even before the other woman spoke. “If you truly want me to stay, I’ll have to be more. I mean, more than your assistant.” She raised her head, brushing her lips across Sheridan’s. “All the time I’ve worked for you, I’ve felt I belong here. Even some of your other employees commented on it. It tore me apart when you were the only one who couldn’t see it.”

“I see it,” Sheridan whispered. Oh, God, I could have lost her. “I do.”

“I know that now.”

“I see you.” And I never want to close my eyes again.

“Yes.” Lark kissed her again. “I see you too.”

“Stay.” Promise me. No more fantasies. Reality.

“Yes.”

“Stay.” Sheridan pulled the discarded robe over them both.

Curling up against the taller frame next to her, Lark simply nodded, then yawned.

All right. “All right, baby. Sleep now.” Sheridan was afraid to relax enough to go to sleep. Not just yet. I won’t close my eyes.

A few minutes later, she knew sleep was settling upon her. Giving in, she pulled the woman in her arms closer.

~ ~ ~

End

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