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Dreamwalker

Sun and Flowers

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The weather raged on elsewhere, but here, it's sunny and warm. Moira happened to know a guy who lived here that could control the weather. A long time friend of hers, he was. Moira asked if she could spend the day relaxing at his place and he said it was alright. His beachfront property was calm and the sand was naturally white. A glorious afternoon of sun bathing it would be!

Moira hadn't talked to Stesha in a few days. Not that she hadn't tried to reach her. It seemed as if Stesha had turned her phone off as it went to voicemail everytime Moira tried to call her. She left answers a few times. None more than "Hey, it's Moira. Give me a call back." She decided to call again today. What luck! A ring.

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Stesha had been putting off the inevitable for days, but by Sunday, she knew she'd better woman up and give Moira a call. It had taken a few days for her emotions to settle down to the point where she really wanted to be around anyone. Maybe it had been irresponsible to call in sick to work, but everybody else did it when they were suffering romantic reversals, and there was nothing urgent on the schedule. She'd stayed home for two days watching Discovery Channel and Oxygen, and eating Ben and Jerry's as though they were declaring a moratorium on blue jeans. It had helped, a little. At least now she could see a sort of grim humor to the whole humiliating situation. Maybe in another ten years or so, it would be funny.

She picked up the phone and punched in Moira's number, willing it to dump to voicemail. If it did, then she wasn't a coward and she still didn't have to talk. Having Moira answer the phone pretty much put the kibosh on that, though. "Hey, it's Stesha," she said, trying to be neutrally pleasant like she was at work. "Can you talk?"

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"Stesha," Moira gasped happily after putting the bluetooth reciever in her ear, "I was just thinking about you." Laying a towel down on the soft white sand, she's kicked back, letting nothing between her and the sun. "So, what's up? Where have you been?"

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"Not too much," Stesha said carefully, sorting a handful of seeds through her fingers as she talked. "Mostly staying at home. How are you and Jack doing?" Okay, there was a little bit of an edge to that one, but she thought she was entitled to that much.

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"I'm doing fine," Moira said happily, "It's warm and clear here." She sighed, "It's good to have friends, right?" Her question was tender without the first hint of suspicion of what was going on. "As for Jack I haven't seen him since the night you and me gave him a visit."

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"Well you certainly saw a hell of a lot more of him than I did," Stesha pointed out sourly. "Don't you think you could've at least clued me in on what your relationship was like before you got me to go over there and make a total fool of myself? Was it some kind of a joke between the two of you, or what?" That last question was more honest than sarcastic, and there was definitely some hurt in it.

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Moira sat up in shock. She didn't know what to think. She and Jack didn't have a relationship beyond friendship. Though that night took it to a new level of friendship. She stopped her thought process there. "Stesha, I apologize," she said with sincerity, "I never meant to hurt you." She stood up and walked to the patio, clothing herself in a white robe. Sun fun would have to wait for later. "I know I could start explaining now, but that would make them look like a fool stammering for excuses. Phones are so impersonal for this kind of thing. I would like to meet you in person."

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Stesha hesitated. "I don't know," she finally said. Part of her really wanted to see Moira again, but part of her wanted to stay back, where the heroine's overwhelming force of personality wasn't quite so intense. But that was the coward's way out, wasn't it? "I guess we can meet up somewhere. Where are you?" When Moira gave the address, she checked it on her computer. "All right, I'll be there in an hour." She had to get cleaned up after a weekend of wallowing before she was fit for company.

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Moira sighed as she hung up the phone. Stripping the beach robe, she walked back over to the towel with just her and the sun. She thought about what she would say to Stesha when she arrived. How could she mend a friendship broken with such treachery?

"Mom," she said quietly, almost prayer-like, "You were really good at these kind of things right? How would you handle this in my situation?" A dozen scenes of vengence filled Moira's mind. She sighed, "I mean if they were your friend!"

She continued her sunbathing by turning over to let her backside get some sun. It was really relaxing. Losing all track of time in her thoughts of what to say to Stesha, an hour flew by. She would have known if she kept the phone near.

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By the time Stesha pulled up in her clunky sedan, which in this neighborhood was sort of like parking a donkey in a stable full of thoroughbreds, she was already ten minutes late. She'd showered and dressed as fast as she could, but her hair wasn't in a cooperative mood today, and finally she'd just put it all in one thick braid down to her waist. Fighting traffic all the way to North Bay hadn't helped, nor had getting lost in a neighborhood she'd never visited. But she'd made it, at last. The house itself was very large and rather intimidating, but she skirted around it, as directed, and took the pebbled path out to the beach.

It was much sunnier out here than in town, and Stesha had to pause for a few moments just to enjoy the feeling. She was out onto the sand before she saw Moira sunning herself. It took about a millisecond to register the fact that for some reason, Moira had decided to eschew clothes for this meet. Stesha's face immediately turned red. She stayed well back, all the way by the house, where things weren't exactly clearly defined. "Uh, hey Moira, sorry I'm late."

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Moira looked up to Stesha swith a smile. She'd left her robe by the house, and suspected that going to get it would only put Stesha in an awkward predicament.

"Come closer, my dear," she smiled, "I can barely see you up there." Propping herself up on the palm of her hand where Stesha could see nothing, Moira nodded her over, "We have to talk about somethings, do we not?"

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"Step into my parlor," Stesha muttered, too quietly to carry across the distance. She looked around the patio for a moment and found Moira's discarded robe near the phone. Picking it up, she carried it down onto the beach and handed it to Moira, then took a few steps back.

It felt really weird to be standing when Moira was laying on the ground, so Stesha pulled off her sandals and sat down cross-legged in the sand. The sun was making her hair even greener than usual, and she fought the impulse to let it out of the braid and do some sunbathing herself. "I had some questions on the phone," she reminded Moira. "I'd like to hear the answers."

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It was strange with Stesha. Moira still had that burning desire, but Stesha made her question it. It was like she was everything that she couldn't have, and she wanted to keep it that way. Could this be a crush?

Although bodily modesty was foreign to Moira at this point, she made a point to cover herself with the robe before turning towards Stesha. Propping herself up by an elbow, she watched Stesha play for that short second.

"I'm all ears," Moira said after Stesha finally spoke.

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Stesha frowned at Moira, pulling her braid over her shoulder to fiddle uneasily with the end of it. "Why didn't you tell me the way things were between you and Jack before we went over there?" she said again. "You made it sound like you were just coworkers. You could've at least said you were interested in him." She took a deep breath. "I want to know if you planned it out ahead of time. I want to know if it was some kind of joke."

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And with that frown, Moira felt like lower than dung. It was like everything stopped until Stesha said words. "Honey, me and Jack are friends," she said stressing the last two words, "we've known each other for a while now. I've saved realities with him. He's my friend. That night took us to a different level of friendship. It was never planned. There was no joke." She sighs desparately trying to appease Stesha, "If I knew it would have hurt you, I would have never done it." Bounding up frome under the robe, she wrapped her arms around Stesha from the side and whispered in her ear, "I'm so sorry. Is their any way I can make it up to you?"

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Stesha jolted at the sudden embrace, grabbing hold of her hair with both hand. "Moira, please stop," she asked uncomfortably. "We need to talk about this, for real. I know Jack and I are through, but dumping me off on your couch and sleeping him when I was right there in the next room was just mean. I really liked him once, before all that other crap."

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Moira sighed sadly. Letting go, she looked at the ground like a wounded puppy, "To tell you the truth, it was mostly the spirits. That and my infatuation with Jack caused me to do things I don't remember." She was lying, she remembered everything Jack did to her in explicit detail. "In fact the whole night was a blur until you brought it up." She sighed and looked to Electra with a pitiful face, "I am sorry. If I had been in my right mind it would have been more Moira Swoops In And Kicks Jack's Ass, Defender of Love style." Her heart sank, "I know I've been a rotten friend here. I feel like I've let down my girl. Seriously, I'm asking you, can I ever make it up to you?"

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Stesha sighed. It was not easy to stay mad at Moira, even when she felt like she had a legitimate grievance. "I guess we both did things we were embarrassed about later that night," she allowed. "Definitely one reason I don't drink very much. Just... let's never do anything like that again, okay? I hate waking up in the morning and contemplating strangling myself on the showerhead cord." She rolled her eyes. "And let's never, ever, ever talk about Jack again."

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Moira grinned and nodded furiously, "No more Ambrosia and no more talk of Jack." Hopefully she didn't know what the slipped word meant. "Is there anything else you wanted? I've got this beach house to myself all day. We could get you some sun."

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After a moment's hesitation, Stesha smiled just a little. "Sure, why not," she agreed. "You got better weather than the rest of Freedom City today." The bee stings had entirely faded since their last meeting, but it was still nice to catch some rays. "Where did you find this place, anyway?" She untied the wide ribbon securing the bottom of her braid and began undoing it, letting her hair loose. "I've never even been this far north."

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"Well, let's just say I know the right people," Moira said as she watch Stesha braid. "Come one up to the patio," she said standing up and reaching down for Stesha, "You don't want to get sand in that hair."

Walking up to the patio she squints as she looks out to the ocean, then up to the sun, then back to the white sand, and finally sits down to look at Stesha. Her thoughts are about Stesha, not in a gratuitous way, but how she could please her. "Well we got a few direct choices. You probably didn't bring a swimsuit, so that leaves out the tanning. Unless you're the type that doesn't like tan lines. Also, the water is calm, we could go wade. Or we have a beach pad to ourselves. We could go see what Angel Marks keeps in her beach house. Finally, we could blow this popsicle stand, go back into rainy Freedom and find something to do."

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Stesha got up and followed Moira, taking a seat in a patio chair in a sunny spot. "I honestly don't mind just sitting here," she said, shaking out her hair. "The sun feels really good. Photosynthesis and all," she added with a wry smile. "A couple hours in the sun is better than eight hours of sleep. But If you're bored, we could find something else to do. I would rather not go back into the city just yet. Too much traffic, too much rain." She searched for a topic of conversation, trying to make things feel normal again. "How are things at the bar?"

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Moira smiled, "I'd really like to get my sun in, if that's ok with you. You're welcome to join if you wish. I'd understand if not." She nodded along with Stesha, "Good, just grab a towel and meet me out there. The sun is at it peak now!"

"The pub is doing quite well," Moira said as she dropped the robe on the patio for a second time. "We have a few good acts coming up in the next few weeks. You missed a nice kid last night. Soul singer by the name Amanda Jade."

Lying face up on the towel she had left twice before she sighed, "You're gonna love this. It's theonly way to get a tan. Some people actually put their bodies in machines to do this. Silliness I say."

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Stesha's face turned red when Moira dropped the robe again, but it seemed childish to make an issue of it. Even in her own head she wasn't sure if it was some offbeat sexual reaction to the other woman's superhuman beauty, or just an inferiority complex of her own. Looking at Moira, it got a little harder to blame Jack for dumping her own flabby ass, if this was the alternative. Keeping her own clothes firmly in place, she gathered a beach towel from the wicker cabinet by the house and followed Moira back to the beach, fixing her gaze on the clouds, on the water, pretty much on anything but her nude companion.

She spread her towel out on the sand a few feet from Moira's, within speaking distance, and lay down on the sand with her eyes firmly closed. "I don't tan very well," she said, "but the sun feels great. Seems like the only time I go out lately is when I'm working, though given my luck that's probably just as well."

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Moira smiled, at least Stesha was enjoying the sun. "Yes, enjoy the sun, it'll be here for hours. Heck we could get some drinks," she paused, "or not. And watch the sunset. But now relaxation."

"So," Moira sighed contentedly, "what do you usually do to relax?"

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