A Journey's End Moment: Strange Bedfellows.

"Have I ever been in love?" Rachel repeated the question, the black haired woman blinking in surprise. She gave the younger girl a curious look, "That's pretty personal, considering how little time we've known each other."

Sam Davis blushed, her long brown ponytail swinging. "I'm sorry," the younger woman looked away in embarrassment, her glasses sliding down slightly.

Rachel looked at her sympathetically, reaching out to gently push Sam's glasses in place. "Why do you want to know?" she asked curiously.

Sam looked down at the ground, a few strands falling into her face. "I've read a lot of romances," she said softly, "but I don't think I've ever fallen in love."

Rachel chuckled, leaning back on the steps. The two of them were out at Journey's End, the house on the hill by the sea, having volunteered to take care of the place while Nicole was out on a signing tour. Not that the resident ghost Laura couldn't manage, but being intangible much of the time meant there was only so much she could do.

"I'm no expert," Rachel said, "I've had flings, but that's about it."

Sam hesitated, "Are you... uhm....?"

"Am I a lesbian like Nicole?" Rachel asked gently.

"Yeah," Sam blushed again.

'I wonder if this is going where I think it's going?' Rachel thought to herself with some amusement. "Yes I am," she said firmly, "I hope you're not going to be too uncomfortable up here alone with me."

Sam smiled up at her, "No, it's all right." She rested her chin on her knee, the sun shining down on them as the breeze stirred the trees nearby. "I read the first draft of Nicole's latest book," she said quietly, "the lesbian romance."

"Right," Rachel smiled, thinking how much she had enjoyed reading the book, too. A departure from Nicole's straight novels it had been both touching and a bit erotic, about first love and a powerful romance between young woman.

Sam puffed out a breath as she confessed, "After reading it.... I found myself wondering if I had ever fallen in love."

"That's a tough one," Rachel acknowledged. They sat out there for a few moments more before she finally acknowledged why they were sitting there, stalling. "Do you want to try going inside?" she asked Sam.

"I think I've gotten my courage up," Sam sighed, standing up and taking a moment to brush the dust off the bottom of her shorts. With a wry smile she asked, "Does Laura frighten you as much as she does me?"

"I've gotten a bit more used to her," Rachel got up too as she confessed, "now she just gives me the shivers."

"Gee, I have that to look forward to," Sam said with a self-mocking sigh as they walked up to the front door.

Rachel moved to unlock the door but it clicked open on it's own, swinging open by a unseen hand. Within was brightly lit, the inner hall gleaming clean as usual, probably a direct result of Laura's efforts. "Uhm, hello?" Rachel called.

Sam gulped, "Do you think she's here?"

"Good morning," the cheerful voice came from right behind them, making both of them jump with a cry. Whirling around they saw a blonde haired woman giving them a faintly amused smile, her old-fashioned dress swirling around her as if it was being moved by an unfelt breeze.

"Do you have to do that?!" Rachel blurted out, putting a hand to her chest right over her wildly beating heart.

"Yes," Laura smirked impishly.

Thump!

Both woman and ghost turned sideways to see Sam fall to the floor in a dead faint. Cursing softly Rachel knelt beside the girl, checking her pulse and noting her pale color. Thankfully it seemed the fright had only knocked the girl out and did no other harm. Getting one arm behind her head and the other under her legs Rachel lifted Sam with a grunt, carrying her into the living room and setting her down on a couch.

"I'm very sorry," Laura said humbly, "I truly didn't think I'd startle her that badly."

"It's all right," Rachel sighed. It wasn't like Laura could do much to let people know where she was, considering she was usually perfectly silent and could simply appear anywhere in the house that she wanted to.

Sam groaned softly, blinking as she came awake and looked around her in confusion. Her eyes widened as memory rushed back and she winced, "I did it again!"

"Did what again?" Rachel asked as she helped Sam sit up on the couch. The blood rushing to her face restored her color pretty quickly, her glasses sliding down cutely on her nose as she tried to get her bearings.

"Faint," Sam sighed, looking over to where Laura hovered worriedly nearby.

"Are you okay?" Laura asked softly, looking down at her with gentle concern on her partially transparent face.

Still blushing Sam managed a smile, "I'm fine, ma'am."

'She really is kind of cute,' Rachel found herself noting with amusement. Looking up at Laura she asked, "Did Nicole make it out of here okay yesterday?"

"Yes," Laura nodded, something very like a blush coloring her ethereal cheeks as she remembered what had happened before Nicole had left. A bit apologetically she said, "I'm sorry that Nicole made you agree to two house sit, but I think she's not entirely comfortable leaving me here on my own just yet."

'Wonder how wild they got before Nicole left?' Rachel mused naughtily. "It's all right," she said, "I could use a few days off."

Sam got up from the couch, the young woman still looking a bit sheepish. "Which rooms do you want us to use?" she asked curiously.

Firmly in her hostess mode Laura smiled charmingly , "There's a guest room upstairs, but I'm sorry to say we only have one bed."

Rachel blinked, noting Sam blushing faintly as they both remembered their conversation outside. "It should be fine," she looked around and saw that Laura had brought their bags in, "why don't we go up and get settled?"

"I'll see you later then," and with that Laura simply faded away.

"Come on," Rachel grabbed her suitcase and led the way up. "Is this going to be all right?" she asked Sam softly.

Sam blushed slightly, "I'll be fine." A little frown as they reached the second floor, "I'm surprised that she didn't suggest that one of us take the couch, tho."

"Nicole and Laura only admitted they were officially a couple a little while ago," Rachel informed her softly, "I bet they're trying to matchmake."

"Matchmake?" Sam squeaked as they entered the spare bedroom.

Rachel snickered softly, setting her small suitcase by the bed. "They're like most couples," she informed Sam, "they want to see all of us pesky singles paired up."

Sam had the oddest look on her face, "But I'm not even into girls."

Rachel sat down on the side of the bed, looking around her curiously. A large dresser and nightstand was nearby, as well as a wardrobe off to the side. "Obviously Nicole hasn't noticed," Rachel laughed, even as she felt a small stab of regret. Sam really was cute, in a boy-dyke kind of way.

"Does that mean that Laura is going to keep trying to...." Sam made a smooshing together gesture with her hands.

Rachel chuckled, "Probably." She took pity on the younger woman and added, "I'll try to run interference for you, all right?"

"Thanks," Sam sighed. Under her breath she muttered, "I didn't sign up for this."

Rachel snickered softly, "It could be worse."

Sam looked curious, "Oh?"

"They could have tricked you into going with us to Vancouver to one of the dyke bars or something," Rachel said impishly.

Sam blushed, again, "Definitely not what I signed up for."

To be continued...