Author's note: For those who may have followed my work in the past, you probably recognized this story. It was originally posted under the title, On A Moonswept Moor with the Japanese names intact. In the published world, the story was published, as Sensual Healing and it still can be found at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles online. Course, the American version contains all renamed characters and settings to make the story belong to me. Here, I have tried to keep it close its original making. I renamed it more appropriately, since the moor title seems more suited to a historical romance as to opposed a contemporary one. You may have noticed some slight differences in the story such as Chad's last name, which I have no idea what it is in the Dic version or what the Starlights' names are and other little particulars of a rambling mind such as mine. This story is of course, finished. I'm just now trying to go back and re-edit again. And again, and again. A never-ending process, if you ask me. Keep a watch out for the rest of the postings and to those of you who have never read my stuff, I hope you give this story a chance. As you may have already noticed, it is an alternate reality--no Sailor Scouts here, just good ole fashion romance--adult style. So read on, if you dare!

Lady M. Harris

Dance Beneath the Moon
By Michelle Harris aka
Lady M. Harris

Part One

Crossroads Central Hospital . . .

"Dr. Shields, I'd like you to meet Serena Ashton. She just started a couple of weeks ago, volunteering about twice a week. When she's not volunteering, she works for Crossroads Elementary school, teaching first grade." Dr. Hamilton smiled as she introduced Dr. Shields to her close friend, Serena.

"Pleased to meet you, Serena," Darien replied as he bowed slightly to the ladies, his blue gaze quickly sweeping over Serena. "I'm sure you'll enjoy volunteering here, Lord knows we could use the help." Then, before Serena could chance a comment, he turned to Amy. "Dr. Hamilton, one of your patients has just checked in. She requested that you be paged, but since I've run into you, perhaps you could catch one of the nurses before they-" her pager cut him off as it began beeping loudly. "Never mind. . . . Well, I have a meeting to catch. I'm sure, I'll see you ladies around," he smiled politely at them before abruptly turning away; leaving them in a swirl of long, white coattails.

"Does he always look through you as if you're nothing more than a pane of glass?" Serena laughed softly as she watched Darien's retreating back.
Amy nodded her head, smiling at the same time. "Yes, but you get used to it. Even us doctors manage. Dr. Shields is the president of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Infertility here at Crossroads Central. He's also on the board of directors and not only that, but he has a private practice as well. I'm surprised he has any time to himself. Rumor has it that he's dating two of the most beautiful and wealthy women of Tokyo." Amy chuckled as they made their way up to the maternity ward on the second floor.

"Just two?" Serena laughed again. "My, aren't we greedy? But, I suppose that if I looked as good as he did, I would too--date more than one man," she added, her blue eyes twinkling with mischief. They both laughed at the comment.

"Of course, the single women on staff here practically trip over each other just to be near him. They hang on his every word. It's really quite a spectacle to watch, as you'll see soon enough for yourself. He's been on vacation the last two weeks and the nurses acted like they were in a great depression. I almost want to thank God that he's returned," Amy grinned. "What about you, Serena?" Amy ventured quietly, sounding a little cautious. "Has the right one come along for you yet?"

"Well, if he has, I must be pretty dense because I haven't realized it!" Serena smiled slowly. "Let's not talk about me Amy, my life is boring. You know that all I do is teach my little class of intelligent, first graders and volunteer here. I live in a nice-if a little cramped-apartment with my black cat. And I visit my parents on the weekends. It's a little dull for someone as young and bright as me, but actually, I'm quiet content. But you know all that, too! So, how are little Greg and big Greg, by the way?" Serena asked, smiling as she changed the subject.

"They're doing well. Greg is almost five now, can you believe that?" Amy said with disbelief in her voice. She looked over at friend's smiling face, then added, "It felt like it was only yesterday that you and I were in high school. Now, I'm here, doing what I love the most and married to the most incredible man. . . ." she trailed off with a contented sigh.

"You're so lucky, Amy," Serena said, traces of longing in her voice as she sighed deeply. "I teach some of the smartest kids, pretending that they're all mine," Serena laughed at her silly choice of words. She really did love her job. Of course she would have never thought, not in a million years, that she'd ever become a teacher. Especially since she was always silently cursing her teachers for the poor grades and constant detentions she got in school, even though they were mostly her fault.

She sighed silently; when you had a lot of time on your hands on the weekends, reading became a very interesting hobby. Oh, Serena had dates with a couple of guys; she didn't stay home every weekend. It's just that the right one hadn't come along yet. Serena was perfectly content with the way things were. But she did yearn for a child of her own. She just had to wait for the perfect man to come along and to realize her dream of the perfect family, that's all.

Amy looked sideways at Serena, adding quietly, "I met Greg's brother's girlfriend last weekend. Her name was Lita Kerns. . . . Did you receive the invitation?" Amy asked suddenly, knowing that Serena had.

A sad smile came over her lovely features, and her gaze became slightly glassy and unfocused. She knew exactly what Amy was referring to. "Yes, Amy, I did. And I'm glad. I couldn't have given him what he wanted. He deserves someone who can love him fully, something that I could never do," she said, reliving bittersweet memories of a young and lost love of her high school years.

She had cried all the tears her young heart had been capable of at that time. As much love as she had for him and everyone whom was in the circle of her life, she just couldn't love Terrence as much as a woman should. In the end, she didn't think it was fair to Terrence. Of course, at the time, he didn't think so and it hadn't made a whole lot of sense to her either. They had separated, Terrence was frustrated with Serena, but time healed the wounds that had made his heart bitter. Serena had heard of his new manager's assistant, Mina, who had captured the heart of the famous singer-artist, Terrence Holiday.

Apparently, their love was going strong; for almost five years later, wedding invitations were finally being sent out. Terrence had called her last month one last time to ask her permission to wed the lovely Mina. Serena had sobbed quietly over the phone, carefully cradling the earpiece as she listened to Terrence's familiar and loving voice. Unintentionally, she had alarmed Terrence as he wondered once again if Serena still cared for him. No, no, it's not like that-it's not why I'm crying so...she had sniffed out between the tears that continued to flow unchecked down her warm cheeks. She was just glad that he had finally found someone who loved him as he should be loved and she was so sorry for causing him so much heartache in the past.

Almost two thousand miles away, across the vast ocean, in Europe, Serena couldn't see the pained expression that came across Terrence's face as he listened to the woman, whom would always hold a special place his heart. Serena . . . Serena . . . my darling, sweet dove, he had breathed out softly to her, reminiscing of their lost love. Why couldn't you have loved me the way Mina does, he thought sadly to himself for the hundredth time. . . . Who are you waiting for?

A couple of weeks later . . .

"Excuse me, I'm trying to find someone who works here," said a brassy voice behind Serena. Serena turned around, and she felt her eyes widen a bit. The woman standing behind her was very beautiful with long, wavy, dark auburn hair and eyes the color of emeralds.

"Sure, who are you trying to find?" Serena replied, smiling with genuine politeness toward the lady. She reached for the directory on the reception desk.

"I'm trying to find Dr. Shields. The receptionist downstairs said he was last seen on this floor," the woman answered with a deep, sultry voice.
"Oh yes, he was here just a moment ago. But I'm afraid you just missed him. Could I leave him a note for you?" She asked the other woman, as she returned the hospital directory to it's original resting place. She then pulled out a pen and notepad. Dr. Shields was very popular with the women around the hospital and his patients, so it hadn't taken Serena more than thirty seconds to memorize his extension.

For some odd reason, Dr. Shields seemed to have unofficially elected her as his personal secretary when he was at the hospital. And even stranger, she enjoyed the secretarial work he handed to her. She had an uncanny knack of knowing where he was most of the time. That only annoyed the nurses at the hospital. Even though her plate was already full with her own work at school, she also enjoyed the time she spent at the hospital.

"Do you have any idea when he'll return?" The woman asked, now seeming anxious.

"He won't be returning today. The office he has here is only for when a patient checks in," Serena replied, beginning to write the date out on the notepad. "Would you like for me to take a message?" Serena asked again, politely smiling.

This time, the woman gave her a thorough, five-degree look. Serena was completely unaware of her utterly charming and lovely appearance she made at that moment. Her hair was done in her usual braids with incredibly, long streamers of golden-white mane trailing to her calves, and brushed to a gleaming shine. Her delicate features were tinged with a subtle, pink hue topped off with perfect sun-kissed lips. From her uniform, the woman instantly knew that the girl before her was a volunteer at the hospital, but why she seemed to know so much about Darien's whereabouts had her wondering how much time the girl spent with her favorite doctor.

I know he's not fucking her, Beryl thought decisively and crassly. She again, looked over the girl before her. She's not his type, too naive looking and eager, she decided off-handily. Now, Melissa was another matter, Beryl's mouth curled, arrogantly.

"Oh no, that won't be necessary. I'll just ring his cell. Thank you," Beryl smiled, dismissing Serena instantly as potential competition for Darien. She turned away with a whirl of overwhelming perfume, her voluptuous figure oozing sensuality, her long hair swinging to rise and fall off her full hips, encased within her smart, burgundy two-piece suit.

"Well, I see that you've finally met Beryl," Molly materialized suddenly beside Serena as they watched Beryl's disappearing back. Molly was one of the nurses on the maternity ward, her shift just starting.

"She's very pretty," Serena replied, as they continued to watched Beryl leave through the elevator doors.

"Pretty bitchy, you mean," Molly chuckled, popping a piece of bubble gum into her mouth from her pocket.

"Molly! She was very cordial to me," Serena burst in a shocked tone, half-laughing at the same time. "Okay, so she did seem a bit uppity," She admitted as she grinned back at her friend. Molly certainly did have a way with words.

"Wait until you meet Melissa, then! She's what they would call an 'An American Werewolf in Tokyo'!" Molly laughed outright. Serena couldn't help but chuckle along with her and her choice of title for the unknown woman that Serena had yet to meet.

"Anyway, how is it that you seemed to know so much about our famous doctor's whereabouts, does he . . . like check in to you?" Molly asked teasingly, what all the other nosey nurses didn't have the nerve to do. She was just curious about the relationship-if there was one-between her good friend and the hospital's most popular doctor. She was a happily married woman and it intrigued her as to how Serena seemed to be Dr. Shields' personal assistant.

"Actually, when I'm here, he does most of the time. It's strange, I know." Serena blushed slightly, laughing a little in the process. "I mean, it's like I've been appointed his secretary or something. Maybe, it's because everything he gives to me, I do right away, I don't know." Serena continued, "You know, I don't think he's ever really looked at me . . . but then, he does that to everyone," she shrugged her shoulders.

Dr. Shields was an enigma to her. Maybe it was because she didn't hang on his every word or that her eyes didn't go glassy with hearts that made Dr. Shields take her seriously. She had a feeling that Dr. Shields, despite the women he's been seen with, was lonely. He was a definitely a private man. Of course, she would never in a million years tell him her opinion of him.
"Do you want him to really look at you, Serena?" Molly almost groaned out, thinking: oh no, not another one! Dr. Shields had enough women moping after him; he certainly didn't need Serena. Molly would have hated it if he ever hurt Serena with his seemly callous ways with women. Serena deserved the best where men were concerned.

"NO-no! God, no! He's got enough admirers," Serena said, scandalized that Molly would even think to lump her in that same category. "Good Lord, I like him in only a professional sense," she explained, shrugging her shoulders at the same time. "That's all," she finished.

"Good," Molly said as her shoulders relaxed.

"Hey, Serena! What are you doing this weekend?" John, an X-ray technician asked her when he spotted Serena talking with Molly. He grinned devilishly at Serena, pretending to ignore Molly and knowing he would annoy her. "Oh hi Molly," he added, as an afterthought. "Don't you have some patients to attend to?" He joked as Molly stuck out her tongue at him like a little girl.

"Actually, no. Why? Do you want to go on a date?" Serena grinned as John's face flushed.

"Uh . . . umm . . . hey yeah, how'd you know I was going to ask you out?" He laughed, his face beet red now, even his ears appeared rosy.

"Oh, I don't know . . . maybe because your face is so red?" Serena sinfully teased him. Molly laughed and shook her head and stated that she really did have some patients that she needed to check on and promptly left the two, clucking away like a mother hen.

Christmas season . . .

Serena stared at the dress through the window, her mouth practically drooling. Puffs of cold air surrounded her, they went unnoticed as she continued to fog up the glass pane before her. The dress was beyond beautiful, far more beautiful than anything she had ever owned in her life. Crossroads Elementary was having a Christmas party this year, but it was being held for the parents, teachers and children. She planned to attend that occasion in fairly casual dress.

However, she was going to the hospital's Christmas party with Tim, and that party was considered to be the event of the year in Tokyo. She had gone out with him a couple of times, mostly because he was a lot of fun to be around. Tim had said that he wasn't seriously looking for a relationship with any girl right now and they dated on occasion just to get out and because they were pretty good friends.

What I wouldn't give, for once, is to look like a princess, she thought to herself as she continued to stand in the light snow, which was the usual for Tokyo, gazing with longing at the dress through the department store window. The dress was of the finest silk, the color a pale, ice-blue. It clung to the mannequin's figure, as if it was begging for her to own it. Everything about the dress screamed elegance and simplicity. It also hollered an expensive price tag. The dress was the same amount as one month's rent. She practically groaned thinking about it, yet still wishing she had the extra funds to purchase it. Oh but wouldn't I look great in that, she thought smiling dreamily to herself.

Tiny snowflakes began to drift down and around her. They swirled and played tag along to each other as they floated lazily down to the frozen, city ground. The day was slowly turning to dusk and the timed streetlights came on, casting a luminous, purple tint to everything it touched. Serena had just finished shopping for the last gift on her list. She was still gazing at the dress with longing when another reflection joined hers.

"You really should get it, Serena. It's very nice." Darien said standing beside her, a bemused smile etching his lips.

"Dr. Shields!" Serena exclaimed in surprise, bowing slightly as a blush erupted across her face. It was the first time she had ever seen in him casual clothes and that he actually looked relaxed. Of course, he looked magnificent as usual, his usually hard face seeming softer in the evening dusk. She dismissed the first thought, knowing it was true, yet not wanting to acknowledge the fact that even she was in a bit of awe over his gorgeous looks. Besides, he was one of her bosses and she couldn't even begin to think that way about him. "What are you doing here?" The questioned popped out before she had chance to think about how fishy it sounded, but he didn't seem to notice or mind.

"I'm waiting for a friend to finish shopping. And you?" he asked politely, but was unable to contain his displeasure at the unknown person that was causing him to wait.

"I'm all done," she smiled up at him as she hefted up her bags to show him. The last gift had been for her mom and Serena had gotten her a lovely sweater and a matching skirt.

"For your boyfriend, I suppose?" he grinned down at her, one dark brow arching ironically.

"For my boy-" Serena laughed, her bright, blue eyes growing wide and shining like the color of sapphires in the evening twilight. "You're too kind, Dr. Shields!" She laughed, one gloved mitten coming up to hide her smile.

"I'm too kind?" Darien echoed her, faintly amused. "I don't have a kind bone in my body, Ms. Ashton," he said as he looked toward the department store door. Shoppers were bustling in and out of the busy building and Christmas music could be heard playing faintly every time the doors opened.

"Oh what I wouldn't give to own that dress though," Serena lamented as her attention returned to the dress. She sighed with longing, not caring that Dr. Shields was still standing beside her and could observe her wishful moment.

"Why don't you just buy it?" he asked. Women . . . they were always so indecisive, he thought dryly.

"Wish I could. It's too bad it doesn't come with a roof. It's way out of my budget," she said, still pining for the lovely dress.

Darien caught himself and his ugly thoughts. Of course, she couldn't just buy it. She wasn't anything like Beryl or Melissa, he thought diversely. They were selfish, wealthy, bitchy, and just the kind of women he liked. Serena was your average, pretty, single girl trying to make it on her own. For the second time in a couple of seconds, he caught himself again as he gazed down at the charming sight she made. She looked adorable with her impish nose practically smashed up against the window as she gazed longingly at the dress the way a child would crave a sweet. Why was he comparing her to Beryl and Melissa? He mentally shrugged off the intrusive thoughts, wondering at himself.

"Oh my God!" Serena exclaimed as she moved her gaze to the clock across the street, stiffening. "I totally forgot that I've got a PTA meeting to be at tonight!" She looked up at him, apologetic as she smiled, her eyes darting back to the clock. It was already 6:30. "I'm sorry, Dr. Shields, but I've got to go and I'm already late! But that's nothing new for me."

"See you next week," he said quietly to the waving Serena as she disappeared down the crowded walkway. He watched her silently until her figure was no more than a shadowy apparition, swallowed up by the rest of the holiday shoppers.

A couple of days later . . .

"So, do you have any plans for your birthday?" Raye asked as she curled up in one of Serena's comfortable chairs. "Mmmm . . . this is good." Raye complimented as she sipped at the hot mocha Serena prepared for her. Serena had come a long way, learning how to cook and preparing a simple item, like mocha. She remembered when Serena had trouble boiling water without setting off the smoke alarm.

Raye smiled wistfully, remembering those first years in high school with Serena. She had met Serena and her little group of friends during her freshmen year at Crossroads High School. Amy, the aspiring doctor-to-be; the now famous singer-artists, Terrence, Mike and Jarrod Holiday brothers were also a fascinating part of their group of friends. Serena had always been popular girl among her schoolmates. Raye hadn't completely forgotten how clumsy Serena could be with her ungainly and coltish her legs. Where ever disaster was, you could be sure that Serena was involved somehow. She also had been generally a crybaby most of the time, too. Yet Serena's strongest characteristics had always been loyalty, honesty and friendship. She was also a glutton then, got poor grades and couldn't boil water if her life depended on it in the kitchen and could only think about boys. She was still sometimes a glutton, but she had finally caught up with the rest of them in their group, her body and mind maturing.

Serena shook her head as she settled in another chair next to Raye. "Uh-uh. I'm supposed to go over to mother and father's. They're going to take me out to dinner this evening, but that's about it. I really hadn't thought about doing anything else, why?" She asked as her black cat, Luna leaped onto her lap, meowing for attention.

"Oh, I don't know, just curious I guess." Raye grinned at her as her eyes wandered over to the TV "Have you met anyone new, lately?" Raye asked as politely as she could. She knew she wouldn't be able to fool Serena with her question. Sure enough, Serena's gaze shot fire at her.

"I swear, between you and my mom wondering when I'm going to meet Mr. Right; it's getting a little old." Serena replied annoyed and sighing in the process as she petted the now purring cat.

"Well, someone has to watch over you," Raye answered, dryly. "You seem bent on being alone for the rest of your life. Terrence was an excellent catch, if you ask me, and you guys were such sweethearts in high school and almost through college," Raye finished, watching Serena's face carefully. She knew Serena would sigh at this comment.

Raye had a feeling that, given time, Serena would have eventually fallen in love with Terrence, but for some reason, she had held herself back. Even Serena didn't understand it. She had whispered once, long ago, to Raye that someone was out there in the world, waiting for her . . . someone who desperately needed her and what she had to give to him. Raye had shaken her head at her friend, wondering about Terrence. Didn't he need and love her, she had asked? No, Serena had said. He loved her yes, but needed her?--no. It wasn't enough, she had said. Terrence needed someone who could fully appreciate his love and what he had to offer. At that time, Raye didn't understand, never having been in love.

Raye could fully appreciate Serena's mature reasoning now. Back then, it hadn't made a whole lot of sense to her. The only thing that had mattered to her at the time, was getting good grades while she was in college and helping her aging grandpa with the inn. Chad had been staying at the Cherry Hill Inn for a while, but it wasn't until he was preparing to return home, in her last year in college, did an absolute change take over Chad. From out of the blue, he declared his real background to her and that he was an executive businessman at his parent's company. A total turnaround from the irritant and funny Chad she had known. He had made an astounding announcement that had stunned her and grandpa, by asking for her hand in marriage after her graduation from college followed by a graceful and eloquent request to court her before the marriage.

Raye had been duly impressed, if a little bit awed by the whole situation and who Chad had really turned out to be. He was none other than Chad Thornton of the Thornton Heavy Industries Corporation. Chad was the sole heir to the entire fortune and CEO of the company. She was shocked of course, and a little impressed by the way he went about asking grandpa for her hand in marriage. She had ducked her head then, suddenly shy. She had never been shy about anything in her life and had consented to the courtship.

Chad and she were married for almost four years now, and it seemed as if they lived and breathed each other's love. Raye never regretted a moment or looked back and wondered why Chad had picked her out all the women he could have had. Of course, Chad would whisper to her in the darkness of their room about then, and how she had blossomed into the most incredible beauty he had ever laid his eyes on. Raye blushed now, thinking about Chad's lips on hers, and how her body would respond to his caresses like a finely tuned instrument and showing her exactly how he felt about her.

Serena grinned at her, hearing this speech, now a thousand times over. "Just because you're so happy being married, doesn't mean everyone should jump into the same bandwagon, Raye." Serena commented with a grin as she noticed Raye's preoccupied gaze. A pink hue stained Raye's face, and Serena knew what she was thinking. She sighed, thinking someday. . . .

Stayed tuned for part two.