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CHAPTER NINE. KARA HAD PURPOSEFULLY gone to the store during lunch, hoping that Ginny would be out

KARA HAD PURPOSEFULLY gone to the store during lunch, hoping that Ginny would be out. And she was. Nana greeted her with a smile and drew her inside.

"I'm afraid that Ginny's at the park," she apologized.

"That's okay. I ran out of beer," Kara said and took two six-packs from the shelf. She looked around. "You don't happen to have any tofu, do you?"

"Tow what?"

"Never mind," Kara said and laughed. She picked through the fresh vegetables and bought a few more bags of pasta. "I can make do with this," she said.

"Ginny will be disappointed she missed you," Nana said. "Why don't you come over for dinner again?"

"Oh, Louise, thanks, but I don't want to trouble you with my diet," she said.

"No trouble," Nana said, racking her brain, trying to think of something she could cook without meat.

"Really, but I appreciate the offer," Kara said, letting out a sigh of relief. It was short-lived, however. The bell jingled over the door and she turned and met green eyes across the room.

"I thought that was your Land Cruiser outside," Ginny said.

"Beer," Kara said and she shoved a bill at Nana.

"Have you been working?" she asked.

"Yes. It's coming along."

They stood watching each other, Kara not realizing that Nana was trying to give her change.

"Sorry," she murmured and held out her hand. "Well, I better go. See you around," she said. She had nearly escaped out the door when Ginny called to her.


"Hmmm?" She turned around and Ginny walked over to her.

"Come to dinner?"

"I think Louise is out of vegetable dishes," she said quietly.

Ginny smiled. "Come early. There's a trail at the park I want to show you," she said. "And don't worry. We'll do something with rice," she added.

Kara's eyes lingered for a moment, then she nodded. "Okay. But don't go to any trouble."

"Come about six?"

Kara nodded again, knowing she was foolish to accept. The less time she spent in Ginny's company, the better. What was it about this woman? Green eyes remained fixed on her and she smiled weakly.

Ginny watched her retreating back until Kara was out of sight and she sighed. Why had she insisted on dinner? She knew she was playing with fire but that hardly mattered anymore.

Ginny was chopping vegetables for their stir-fry when Kara knocked on the door.

"Go ahead. I can finish," Nana said and waved her away. "But I'll wait for you to cook. I'm not really certain what you're trying to make here."

"I'm not really certain myself, Nana."

She wiped her hands on a towel before opening the door. Kara had traded her shorts for jeans and her T-shirt was tucked inside neatly. Ginny's eyes traveled slowly upward, stopping only when blue eyes locked with hers. She drew a nervous breath as she stared at the taller woman.

Kara held up a bottle of wine. "I hated to come empty handed again."

Ginny shook herself, finally stepping back.

"Thank you. Let me give it to Nana, then we can go to the park."

Kara watched her, her eyes following her as she walked away.

Ginny was aware of Kara's eyes burning into her and she had to force herself to keep walking. But when she was safely seated in Kara's vehicle, she couldn't seem to relax. She was aware of Kara's nearness like never before and she refused to look at her as she drove. She closed her eyes for a moment. I'm not attracted to her! Not like that. When they parked, they sat for a few seconds, their eyes lighting everywhere except on each other. Finally, Ginny opened the door and Kara followed suit.

"The trail follows the stream," Ginny said and they walked in silence, past the picnic table where they had shared lunch.



"You're awfully quiet. Is everything okay?" Kara asked.

"Yes, of course. I just wanted you to see the stream." She managed a weak smile as Kara's eyes peered into hers and she finally looked away, afraid. "I don't know about the colors, though. Probably too dark in the woods," she said, continuing.

They walked on, the shadows lengthening as they followed the small stream. Ginny seemed nervous and Kara wondered why. Was she afraid to be alone with her? No. Ginny was the one who had suggested the walk, not Kara.

Ginny tried to keep her breath even and steady as she walked, but this woman's nearness wrecked havoc on her system. The walk had been a mistake, she realized now. She had simply wanted to spend time alone with her, without Nana. Time to talk. But they had been doing very little talking. Instead, their glances had collided time and again.

Kara's hand on her arm stopped her and she looked up.

"In the spider web," Kara said softly and motioned with her hand. A butterfly had been caught in the web and its legs were captured, but it continued to struggle to escape.

"Let's save it," Ginny said and reached for it. Kara stopped her.

"It's probably dinner. And breakfast," she said.

"But it's too pretty to leave," Ginny said, her eyes turning sad at the thought of the beautiful butterfly becoming dinner for a spider.

Kara agree and reached up to untangle the butterfly, trying not to disturb the web. The butterfly wrapped around Kara's finger and she gently pulled the web free.

"Oh," Ginny breathed. "Let me see." She reached for Kara's hand and brought it to her, the butterfly still clinging to Kara's finger.

As they watched, it flew away into the trees without a second look to its rescuers. Kara lowered her hand, Ginny's fingers still wrapped around it. They stood there for seconds, minutes before their hands finally drew apart.

Ginny was aware of her heart beating, pounding in her ears and she forced her eyes from Kara. Why did this woman affect her? This woman. Ever since Ginny had laid eyes on her, her mind and body had asked a thousand questions. Questions that she struggled to answer.

"Come on," Kara said quietly and continued down the trail.

Ginny watched her, her feet still firmly planted. Kara looked completely at home in her jeans and hiking boots. Comfortable. Loose jeans that were snug on her backside, gently swaying as Kara walked and Ginny found she couldn't pull her eyes away.

"Are you coming?" Kara called, breaking Ginny out of her self-induced trance. Well, not entirely self-induced. The woman in the jeans had something to do with it. Ginny finally moved, walking briskly to catch up and they continued along the path in silence, both fumbling with their thoughts, looking for something safe to say.

"Is it too dark here?" Ginny finally asked.

"It's nice. Pretty." She stopped where boulders had fallen and formed small rapids in the creek. "This would be nice at night, the moon overhead," Kara said softly. "The trees would make perfect shadows on the water."

Ginny wasn't watching the water. She was watching Kara, watching as her chest rose and fell with each breath. She lowered her glance, settling on the soft swell of Kara's breasts. She wore no bra. Her eyes found Kara's nipples as they strained against her T-shirt and when she realized she was staring, she tore her eyes away, her lids slamming shut for a brief moment and she took a deep breath, savoring the smell of the forest and trying to come to her senses. What are you doing?

"I thought you might like it," she finally managed to say.

"I do. It's very beautiful," Kara said quietly, but her eyes were fixed on Ginny, not the stream.

"Nana will be waiting for me to start dinner," Ginny said, but she made no move to go, aware that Kara was watching her. She kept her eyes glued to the stream.

"Yes," Kara murmured. "We should go. Thanks for showing me this. I can appreciate beautiful spots like this without having to paint them."

Ginny looked up and let her eyes settle on Kara's for a moment, then turned and led the way back.

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