Little Moments: A Day in the Desert Part 1

by CN Winters

Disclaimers: Here’s the latest invention from my warped mind <G>. They are stories of Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas that take place three years after the Xena Scrolls episode. Some are from Jan’s point of view. Some are from Mel’s.

These ladies are deeply in love but they have yet to express that love to each other. So if the idea of two gorgeous dames longing for each other in a non-platonic way is upsetting, I feel very sorry for you. It’s hard to live with tunnel vision and you have my sympathies. It will be a very long road for you.

Little Moments: A Day In the Desert – Part 1

By CN Winters cnwinters@hotmail.com

I can’t take my eyes off of her.

She captivates my every thought. All my decisions are based on how they will effect her. Whatever actions I take play a role in her life.

I never had this ‘problem’ before. I was a free spirit. I had ties to no one; at times, not even to myself. I didn’t care whether I lived or died. The rush of living on the edge, even if it meant my mortal existence, was all that mattered.

Like a reckless, untamed mare, I was never ‘broken’ by neither man nor woman. Until this woman…This woman rules me although she has no idea how much.

My heart flutters with every step she takes closer to me now. It reminds me of the Coney Island when I was a kid and how my father would take me on the roller coasters. His work was his life so I relished those few special moments he gave me.

I loved Coney Island. We didn’t make it to New York often but when we did, Brooklyn was always on the list. The Cyclone was my first stop and I would tug him along, my small hand fitting snug in his large callused one. It was quite a sight, I’m sure, to see this grown man being led around, arm outstretched by a petite child.

I’d look behind me and see the huge smile on his face beneath his long stubble. At the time I thought he was just as happy as I was to be there. Later, in hindsight, I realized that I put that smile there, not the amusement rides that brought ME so much joy. I was the true ‘joy’ for him. And it was years later that I too realized the best part of Coney Island was my pop.

We’d strap ourselves in and I’d feel the butterflies start as the cart went in motion. Every click and jerk the cart made had my nerves jumping both in anticipation and in fear. I waited for the big ‘drop’ with my fingers digging into the lap rail and my father’s hand over mine. It was a mixture of excitement and comfort – of the unknown and of love. It was a feeling I never thought I’d feel again as an adult. And I never did . . . until now . . . Until Mel.

I’ve been from one side of this world to the other and back around again all before the age of 14. I’ve been in brawls. I’ve been in firefights. I’ve even been shot. But nothing compares to the fear that comes with knowing that someday my life might go on without Mel in it.

And nothing compares to the butterflies I get when I look at her on a hot day. The Cyclone never gave me the belly flips like this southern belle. And I never thought I’d feel as safe and as warm as when my father was siting next to me. But on days like today, as I watch Mel approach – her long hair piled high above her head to offer some relief from the terrible heat – I feel it again. She’s made my butterflies return . . . and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

As she starts to speak she has a half-chuckle in her southern drawl. "What’s on yer mind doctor? Ya seem awful happy seein’ it’s about 160 in the shade," she teases.

"Thinking about Coney Island," I answer cryptically.

She seems annoyed when I answer in such a fashion but I can also tell she likes the challenge. Many folks think Mel’s just a looker with little going on between her ears. How wrong they are. She has a quick mind and an analytical nature about her that I truly adore.

It’s a curse of beautiful woman one could say. Perhaps that’s why I opt for the plain jane look and khakis. If I’m going to be taken seriously, my feminine wiles, as they are called, shouldn’t be openly displayed. But Mel . . . Mel never leaves the tent without her Avon in place. And I know it’s much harder for her to win the confidences of the men we see from time to time as we discuss business.

First they see her face. And then they see her body. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either case, it’s the outward appearance that first strikes them. And Mel is a striking woman without a doubt. When she goes to speak and they hear that southern accent, her credibility takes another shot in the arm. She’s a cute little debutante in their eyes; nothing more. Sadly, I can’t say I felt any different when I first met her. But many a times after Mel HAS their full attention they start to notice just how well versed and intelligent she is.

Jaws drop. Eyes pop. And more times than I can count I’ve had to stifle a smile behind the back of my palm under the guise of scratching an itchy nose. I truly love it.

I love it because once they realize that Mel has looks, class AND god forbid . . . brains, they cower like timid, guilty school children. She’s smarter than most of them. She’s certainly sexier than all of them. She’s the madonna and the whore rolled into one, which plays havoc on what they expect a woman to be. That in turn, plays havoc with what role they should play as ‘men’.

They feel threatened by a gentile woman who’d rather shoo flies away than try to kill them. I’ve got a whip on my left hip and a gun on my right but Melinda Pappas is far more dangerous in their eyes. Who’d have thought it?

The voice of my partner of three years brings me back from my thoughts. "Janice?" she questions, getting my attention. "What in tarnations are ya talkin’ about?"

Uh oh. The intellectual side has slipped back and the ‘hillybilly’ in Mel as she calls it, steps center stage. I can see the heat is getting to her. There will be no guessing cryptic messages today for her.

"You," I answer looking away. I don’t want her to see just how weak she makes me. I don’t need any clinks in my armor. I haven’t spent years building it up just to have some damsel, no matter how bright she is, take it away. "I saw you walking here with a grin and it reminded me of when I went to Coney Island with my father."

I finally turn to see her smile has returned and, not to mention, much bigger than before.

"I remind ya of ‘dad’ uh?" she teases. "Is that good or bad?" she asks, already sure of my answer.

I feel another clink form on my ‘bronze’ with her confidently stated question.

"Well, I didn’t say you remind me OF my pop . . . Just some happy times we shared is all." This conversation is getting way too deep for my tastes and I turn again to pick up a shovel. "But I’m sure you’re not here to stroll down memory lane," I grin. "What did you need?"

I let out the smallest of sighs when I see Mel’s mood shift to her original reason for coming to my side. "We found something," she said nodding over to the area she and some of my men had been digging.

"Really?"

"Yeah, seems like it’s a chest or strongbox of some kind. I had ‘em bring out the smaller tools ‘til we have a better idea of what it is."

"We know what it is don’t we Mel?" I ask with a sly grin.

The last scroll we managed to find gave directions to another chest containing more works from my crazy ancestor. I honestly think that perhaps I am the ‘mad dog’ I’ve been nicknamed sometimes – and not because of my experiences so much but my genetics. I think it all started with a certain bard who’s been sending me all the way around the world to every place she’d ever been. Either that or she had a really ‘warped’ sense of humor . . . the more I think about it, perhaps it’s a bit of both.

"Welllllll let’s not get too excited yet," Mel said being ever the practical one when it came to the Xena scrolls. "We’ll know more by the end of the day. Come take a look."

She nods toward the site and starts to make her way over. At the moment I can’t move my feet. I simple watch her glide along the sand. I could have made a small fortune with all the things I’ve found in my lifetime . . . but I realize the greatest treasure I found, which I would never sell or part with, is Melinda A Pappas.