Chapter 21. The Girl becomes a Woman

Three years later.

Sarah saw the moving truck sitting at the curb and the men carrying out the old file cabinets. Agnes was ordering them to be careful with the equipment from the landing above. Carefully the young woman carried the large covered package up the stairs. For moment she watched as the elderly woman scolded the movers, it was not until the woman noticed her that she stopped. "Miss Williams, I'm sorry, I didn't know you were coming in today."

"Just came to say good-bye." Sarah moved into the room, watching the men scurry away as quickly as they could. "Is he in?"

Agnes nodded; "Go right in."

Sarah opened the door, "Knock knock," she called out.

Doctor Mayfaire turned and looked at her, "Sarah! Come in."

She moved in, holding the package in her hands out to him. "A going away/ graduation gift."

"Now Sarah, you're the one graduating. I should be the one giving you a gift." He teased.

"Just open it," she ordered the man as she took a seat in one of the few chairs left in the room.

He tore off the brown wrapping and looked at the painting that was beneath. "Sarah, this is amazing." On the canvas was a depiction of all the fantasy characters that Sarah had encountered in her dream. In the center of it all was a portrait of Doctor Mayfaire himself seated in his chair. If one looked closely enough, he was holding the crystal paperweight that his father gifted to him upon his graduation rather absently in his hand. "This is wonderful, my dear."

She shrugged, "It's just art."

"I'll put it in the office when I return to Avon." He promised.

"Put what in your office?" Asked Judith Mayfaire carrying the baby in a BabyBjorn into her husband's office, "Sarah, how nice to see you."

"Hello, Judith." She greeted the woman warmly and moved to look at little Jamie, the son that her doctor and his wife had recently welcomed. "My God, he's grown." She held her finger out to the baby. "I just stopped by to say good-bye and bring a gift to my ex-shrink."

"Ex-shrink," he muttered, showing the painting to his wife. "Look how wonderful this painting is."

"Very nice, dear." Judith agreed without really looking, and then asked quietly. "Did you finish packing the files? The movers won't wait and neither will the cargo plane."

He nodded and continued to look at the painting. "This represents your success Sarah, not mine."

Judith lifted Jamie out of the carrier, making a face. "Well, excuse us, but the boy is muddy…again." She moved with the diaper bag to the private lavatory.

Sarah called to her as she left, "Have a good time in England, Judith." She moved toward the door. "Well, I delivered the painting and I'm outta here."

Doctor Mayfaire walked with her out of the office and into the hall toward the staircase that seemed to go on forever in every direction. "We'll be seeing you tomorrow at the graduation, won't we?"

"No," Sarah said, shaking her head. "I'm going to New York. I have an early flight. I start classes at the university almost at once. I'll be staying with my mother until the dorms open for the fall term. Besides, I really don't want to go through the whole good-bye scene again." She moved toward the stairs. "I told Terry good-bye last night."

"Sarah, wait." He said firmly. "I've just one question." She looked at him; he reached out to take her hand, leaning over the rail that now separated them. "You never told me why you stayed in therapy." He studied her face. She'd gone from a pretty fifteen year old girl to a lovely young woman of eighteen; sometimes he still could not get over the changes.

Looking at him, her green eyes danced with mischief. "We had a deal." She said factually. "I would stay in therapy if you proved to me that you were not the Goblin King. You proved it and I stayed in therapy."

"How on Earth did I prove that?" He asked, concerned. "When you lost consciousness you called me Goblin King." He challenged her one last time. "You told me I saved you."

"Yes, but you did something that the Goblin King would never had done." Sarah patted his hand, hearing Judith calling him from the office. "You married Judith and the Goblin King would never had done that."

"He wouldn't?" A brow went skyward.

"No, he wouldn't." Sarah said moving forward, her face inches from his. "You see, the Goblin King would never had married anyone, he'd have waited for me…"

"Sarah…" He protested.

"Even if it had taken forever," she murmured.

"James!" Judith called, "We have more packing."

He leaned back, as the girl patted his hand one last time. "Knock 'em dead in New York, Sarah." He said. "Oh, take this." He passed a business card to her.

"What's this?"

"My private line in Avon." He shoved hands into pockets, grinning sheepishly. "Should you ever need…anything."

Sarah laughed, "I'll call." She moved down the stairs and called over her shoulder, "Have a nice life in England, Doc." She didn't look back.

Returning to his office, James Mayfaire took his son in his arms and held him close. He noticed his wife shaking her head as she took a real good look at the painting. "You don't actually plan on putting this up in your office, do you?" She asked in a disturbed, little voice.

"Of course," He answered. "Why not?"

Judith looked at the images, shuddering. "It will give your patents nightmares." She exclaimed softly.

"It should give them hope. If Sarah Williams can come out of the Labyrinth of traps her mind set, imagine what anyone else can do." He said thoughtfully. "I'll be proud to hang it."

Judith noted the touch of sorrow in his tone. "You miss her already, don't you?"

He gazed at the painting, behind his image stood an image more powerful, more imposing and more majestic, that of the Goblin King. It was faint, but if one looked closely, one would notice that Sarah had made their hands both hold the crystal orb. The Goblin's hand was transparent, but it was clearly over that of the doctor's. He narrowed his gaze on the eyes of the grandiose being standing behind his image. "Yes, I suppose I do. However," he handed the baby back to his wife. "I'm off to jolly old England and Sarah's off to New York. She's no longer under any delusions." He tapped the figure standing behind his image. "She's free of you, Goblin King."

Judith heard a crash above them, "What was that?"

James moved to the stairs and the roof where the birds roosted. "The barn owl destroyed its nest." He said, bending down and picking up some of the broken shards saw something beneath the nest. "The mate died; pity." He motioned his wife toward the stair. "I'd best call maintenance to come clean up." He stood, moving to the edge of the rooftop and watched as the white bird flew away, heading east. "How odd," he said. "I've never seen an owl flying at this time of day."

"James, the packing," Judith said shifting the weight of the baby.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

When Sarah had reached the street, she tore the card into many little pieces. "Good-bye, Doc." She said, dropping the paper into the trash barrel just before she moved down the street. She walked through the park as she'd done countless times before, pausing only for a brief moment in the glade where the swans swam in the spring-fed pond. She began to cross the foot bridge and stopped, turning to take one last look at the playground of her mind--her childhood haunt, the obelisk and the knolls. A shadow crossed over her, she looked up to see an owl winging its way toward the east. She smiled and suppressed the urge to allow herself one last fantasy.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Karen tapped on her door, "Are you finished?"

"Yep," Sarah nodded, "that's the last one."

Karen sighed, "Toby wants to see you before your Dad takes you to the airport."

Sarah went down the hall to her brother's room; he was sitting on his bed holding Sarah's old bear and grumbling to it. He looked up and then down again. "Now what's this all about?"

"Do you have to go?" He asked in his baby voice.

"Yes, I do." She nodded, "I've got classes."

"But I won't be there." He protested, sounding very oddly old.

"You'll be coming to visit me," Sarah promised, "And in the fall, we'll go see the Macy's parade."

The promise of the parade was the only thing that made the boy smile. He crawled into her lap. "Tell me one more story." He begged, "A good one to last me."

"Once upon a time," she kissed his golden mop of soft baby hair that seemed to be so wild and would not lay flat. "There was a beautiful young girl…."

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

New York, New York

The apartment of Linda Williams.

Sarah's taxi arrived at the apartment building at three; nearly two hours after her plane had landed. She could not believe how bad the traffic was, and was grateful the cabbie had switched off his meter. He charged her only a flat airport rate, usually, and had been very kind in helping her unload her luggage.

Anton has been the doorman at her mother's building for at least five years; he tipped his hat to her as she approached. He pulled a dolly out of the little closet in the vestibule. "Miss Sarah. Nice to have you with us again."

"Hey Anton, my Mother leave for the theater already?" Sarah asked as he began piling her belongings on.

The man looked at her for a moment with sadness. "No Miss, she left this for you with the key." He pulled an envelope from his coat pocket.

Sarah took it, and followed him to the elevator, not opening the envelope until she'd reached the apartment and he had deposited her belongings in the foyer of her mother's posh apartment.

'Dearest,

I know you'll understand. After all, you're an artist!

I had this wonderful opportunity dropped into my lap.

I'm off to Portugal and certain stardom.

There's a bottle of wine chilling and a new dress for you on your bed.

Dinner is ordered and paid for, wish I could be there to enjoy it with you.

Happy graduation, my darling.

Love,

Mother.'

Sarah shook her head; some things in life would never change. Linda was once more again and running after that elusive star that always seemed just out of her reach. The fact that Sarah had the apartment to herself tonight gave her a sense of relief. At least she didn't have to put on a brave face or pretend to be happy. She took her cases one by one into the room her mother had set up for her use, unpacked, and then looked at the dress laid out on the bed. One thing she could say for Linda Williams was that her taste in clothes was not to be faulted.

The dress was a Christian Dior creation, and was perhaps the most elegant thing she'd ever worn waking. It was black crape, with shirring at the shoulders, allowing for the material to gather and form around her breasts, the 'vee' formed by the overlapping sides supplying ample exposure of her cleavage. The décolleté in the back mirrored the front, the only way to tell the front from the back was the darting for the derriere. It felt like butterfly wings when she held it up against her skin. She looked in the mirror and shrugged, her mother had gone to a lot of trouble. There was that special dinner coming and a bottle of wine chilling, why not indulge all the way?

Sarah took the dress and undergarments and made her way to the lavish bath in her mother's master bedroom. She laid the dress on the bed, stripped off her garments, and drew herself a hot steaming bubble bath. She used her mother's makeup supplies and her perfume. ( She. Lower case S ) Slipped into the Dior before pinning her hair up in an upsweep. Looking into her mother's full length mirror, she smiled; looking back was not a half grown kid, but a lovely woman.

She opened the door when the dinner arrived as the sun was setting. The cart was rolled into the apartment and the waiter from the exclusive restaurant bowed to her. He set the table as he'd been ordered and then left. Sarah looked at the dishes on the table, grateful the waiter had taken the cart out with him. She could at least pretend she was waiting for a dinner guest. Someone very special, very handsome, and very… Sarah stood up. She was not going to give in to her imagination, not now. After all the hours of therapy, she'd learned the difference between her over-active libido and reality. She poured herself a very tall flute of the wine, and drank it down. Moving to the stereo she switched on the CD player. The song came on and Sarah smiled, listening to it and finishing her first drink and pouring a second. She began to dance to the music, her body moving slightly more suggestively than it would have without the half of a bottle of wine.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

He heard the music when he stepped off the elevator on the floor of Linda's apartment. He smiled, took out the key he'd never returned, and unlocked the door. Entering, he heard the pretty female voice singing along as the song began to play again.

"I've nothing much to offer
There's nothing much to take
I'm an absolute beginner
And I'm absolutely sane
"

He smiled, 'Think so, do you?' He mused as he watched the young woman in the black dress dance.

"As long as were together
The rest can go to hell
I absolutely love you
,

She sipped the wine, shaking her head in agreement with the song as it played on.

But were absolute beginners
With eyes completely open
But nervous all the same
"

He moved forward, pressing up behind her, putting his lips to her ear. "If our love song
could fly over mountains, could laugh at the ocean/sail over heartaches second time
," he crooned in her ear.

Sarah looked at the wine glass, "Oh, I can't be that drunk," she turned to look into the face of the man she'd dreamed of for years, the man whose rejection had begun her fantasies that led her to believe in the Goblin King. For the first time, Sarah thought how remarkable the resemblance of the two was. "Jeremy? Is that you? I thought you were mad at me."

Jeremy Eden smirked, "How much wine have you had, Sarah?" He looked at the remainder of libation in the glass.

"Now I know you're only a halus… halus…" she giggled. "A mirage. Jeremy Eden wouldn't care how much wine I'd had." She giggled, "Neither would you, Goblin King. You're just a mirage." She sang the last words, adding in a saucy tone. "Something that I only see." She danced away from him with a bit more wiggle in her hips than was really necessary.

"Ah, am I?" He teased, looking at her dress. "And what should a mirage do about a drunken little girl all dressed up in her mother's dress?"

"Sorry to disappoint you, but it's my dress. A graduation gift," Sarah giggled, placed her glass of vino down, freeing both her hands. She gripped his lapels and pulled him to her. "Kiss me; tell me how beautiful I am." She growled. "This isn't real, but kiss me anyway."

Complying with her wish, the man began to kiss her lips with a hunger he had not wished to display, or at least not so quickly. His hands strolled over her shoulders, down the open back of the gown and over her rounded rump. "You're beautiful." He murmured in her ear at last as his lips moved past her cheek. "Much too beautiful to resist this time."

Sarah unsteady on her feet, leaned against him. "Nice and solid for a mirage." She giggled girlishly.

Bending slightly, he swooped her up in his arms. Cradling her to his chest, he moved to the master bedroom, where he dropped her down on the bed. He undid his jacket and tossed it aside, then pulled off his shirt to reveal his bare chest. "I warned your mother," he said as he joined the inebriated young woman on the bed. "I told her I'd be only too happy to take a bite out of you." His voice had gone dark, low, and dangerous. "Not a kid anymore… not quite a woman… but not a child," he kissed her with an open mouth. "Getting ripe," his hands moved over her as his mouth claimed hers. The slightly incapacitated young woman responded to his touch and his tongue. Jeremy wasted no time; he pulled the zipper on the back of the dress and it opened wide. His mouth went to work on the breasts that were now uncovered and rising to his touch.

Sarah licked her lips, "God, this it the best fantasy I've ever come up with. It feels so real," her voice wavered as his lips moved over her abdomen. "I don't care what the doctor says; fantasy is wonderful." Jeremy chuckled softly. The girl gasped as he took hold of her derrière roughly. "Oh, don't stop. Please don't stop!"

The pretty black lace panties were pulled down her legs and discarded carelessly off the side of the bed to join the dress, leaving her in just the sexy black stiletto heels. The man shimmed out of his slacks, then raised her leg and began to kiss her from her ankle up to her knee. "Wouldn't think of stopping now, you naughty little girl." He murmured to her. "I've waited much too long for this. The last I saw you; you were too young to keep. This time, you're just right." He moved forward to bury his face in the well trimmed muff that covered her sex. "I knew you'd taste like forbidden pleasures." He crooned. "Hot, sweet, and pure."

Sarah shivered as the first wave of the orgasm went through her. Her hips jutted forward to greet his hungry, thrusting tongue. "God, yes," she moaned. "Oh God, eat me!"

Wiping his face in her mother's delicate comforter, he pulled himself up; his hands forced her to come up as well. "Time to pay the piper," he growled in her ear. He compelled the novice to kneel as he took his place behind her. His hands moved over her breasts, down her ribs and worked their way down to part her legs. His hardened manhood throbbing as it softly beat against her ass. One hand slipped fingers into the moist tangle of hair, stroking the engorged nub, massaging it until the girl cried out as she came on his fingers. "You think that was good? Wait." He lowered himself to a seated position, letting the hard cock move between her dripping curls at the top of her legs, he forced her to open her knees really wide as he slid his legs between hers. Guiding it, he let the bulbous head kiss the entrance of her dripping cleft. "Take me in, pretty woman." He whispered. "Take me in." His hand guided the shaft, which slid easily into the well lubed love canal. He felt the last barrier, her maidenhead. "Now, once and for all." He wrapped his arms about her--one at her collar, and one at her hip lin--like the wings of a bird, they enfolded about her. Thrusting up with his hips, he pulled down with his arms, impaling her on his shaft and taking her virginity in one swift passage. She moaned only slightly, turning her head and letting it roll back to his shoulder. He thrust again, then again, then again. Soon he was thrusting against her as she panted and begged for more, deeper, harder, faster. He never released her from his iron clad grasp, until he finished spilling his hot seed into her.

She fell forward, collapsing on the bed when his arms let loose. Gasping and gulping, she felt his member slip out of her twitching muscles and feel him shift and swing his legs out from under her before gathering her up in his arms. "I wasn't dreaming?" The euphoria of the wine having fled, leaving her entirely sober.

"No." His voice buzzed in her ear.

"This was real?" She asked, blinking into the pillow.

His hand moved to her bottom. "Very."

Sarah was quiet for a moment, thinking desperately of what to say, what to ask, and coming up empty. Finally, she moved to spoon against him, needing that contact, even if it were only for a moment. "How long will you…"

"Keep you?" He finished for her. when she nodded, he smiled, knowing she could feel the facial muscle rise as his cheek was so close to her. "Not long." Sarah moved, raising her head so she could see the stray, long soft blond hair that was flowing from the man lying over her. "Only forever."

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Author's note:

Okay, show of hands… who read the synopsis?

&&&&&&&&&&&&

Thank you to the many wonderful readers who've made my first year here on so much fun. I've had a wonderful first year, and look forward to many, many more.

Special thanks goes to Yodeladyhoo, who put lots of hours in listening to me gripe, and helping me weed out this story. (My pleasure, as usual. Sorry for the delay, folks. She had this all done. My life made this story late for her deadline. Send all death threats to me.)

I wonder sometimes what I would do without the wonderful friendships that have developed because of this site.

Thank you again for reading my work.