Title: The Rose and the Gypsy Queen

Summary: "I miss the way a girl kisses, the way they smell, and I especially miss the way they touch." Self-conscious Siobhan fell hard when she read Rosalie's romance novel, Memoirs of a Girl in Love. Can Rosalie teach her beauty has nothing to do with size? AH

Pairing: Rosalie/Siobhan

Rating: M

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight nor its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

Warning: There are some references to the occurrence of domestic abuse. It is not detailed, nor are the specific events directly spoken of, just that it has happened.


Friday afternoon

I miss the way a girl kisses. I miss the way they smell, and I especially miss the way they touch. Ghosting fingertips up over a curved hip, the gentle rounding of a satiny smooth stomach that draws your fingers up to the soft flesh above that just begs to be cupped and kissed. I miss the way my girl looked against the sheets, her dark hair a gossamer curtain hiding her shoulders as I kissed my way up her spine as she feigned being asleep.

In the twilight of awakening, I can remember the taste of her skin, that sweet musk as my lips drew pouty lines along the underside of her breast as she told me it was too early. The taste of her sex as I convinced her that I needed her like this always. I miss the feel of her muscles tightening around my fingers as I coaxed that last climax from her before she swatted my hand away with an exhausted laugh.

Most of all, I miss the way she felt in my arms and the way she murmured, "Je t'aime, Rose." Our love didn't last, and all I'm left with are these memories. I watched her move on to what she said was an "easier" relationship, one her family could understand.

I can recite that page by heart, and hate that the reader before me has it bookmarked. Most of them do. I gave them that one glimpse of the real me on a single page among stories of a twenty-something trying to find her way in New York until she ran away to the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to discover who she was. I didn't run away; I followed love, but my readers don't want to know that. They don't want a thirty-two year old, weak heroine who chased Bella, the quirky bookstore owner who ran away from the strength of my feelings and back to her estranged husband who had left her, taking their young daughter away, when she told him she thought she was gay. They don't want the woman who begged Edward to let her share his wife, just a little, when she told him she'd gotten past the phase and asked him to take her back. Just a little would have been enough for me.

They want Rose, the confident, beautiful, ice-queen who learned to love a woman abandoned by her husband as he went off to find himself in the music world. They want Rose who softens just enough to be human, and ends with flour smudged cheeks, and runs away to Paris with Marie where they live happily ever after. My agent certainly loves that Rose. Rosalie Hale is just another pretty author he can market to housewives wanting a little sparkle in their lives. Rose Calen is a strong heroine who knows what she wants and takes it, all while running a successful bakery (a talent she discovers while trying to woo this magical Marie) and being a loving, devoted partner to a jet-setting journalist.

I signed the book in front of me, giving a sweet smile and thanking the woman for coming as she tried to lean all the way over my table, her low-cut blouse hanging open. Perfectly styled blonde hair was cut into a severe bob, the silvery pale shade making her look more like a doll. "I'm Jane," she whispered. Her hazel eyes looked to the ground and then back to me, attempting a coy smile as she did so. It wasn't working.

I nodded, giving another smile, this one less patient. "I know. You had me personalize the book to you, Jane."

Felix, knowing my tone, rested a hand on my shoulder and invited the next woman up for her book to be signed. His imposing size was enough to scare off even the most enthusiastic fan. There were no secrets in my life, not even those of my sexual orientation. I was a private person regarding my relationships, when I had them, but I refused to hide behind any gossip that Felix and I were "involved." He was a very handsome man, and perhaps in my past I might have been happy with him for my parents' sake. Now, though, I'd left that world behind to make my own path. It wasn't easy, but it was right.

"Rosalie's schedule regretfully will not allow any discussions or questions today, but she will be back tomorrow for an extended Q and A and book signing session in the coffeehouse attached to the bookstore. She'll be available from nine-thirty until eleven, and..." Felix trailed off as he moved to drum his fingers on the table. I hated when he pulled a surprise on me, and he knew it. "We're sponsoring a raffle for a private dinner with Rosalie on Volturi Books' tab at Renata's Ristorante."

I barely held back an amused snort as Felix smiled at all the women, working his charm with a few naughty winks. The owner of the publishing house also owned the restaurant; it was a marketing ploy, pure and simple. It mattered little to me. As their newest starlet, I was being paraded around like a toy on Felix's arm. I was his unwed trophy wife with all the benefits and none of the mess. It was an hour drive into the city for me, and the publishing house had put me up in a suite for the weekend

Some twenty minutes later, after a line of several Annas, a Corine, an Erica, and a few others who were just happy for a signature and then left quickly, I saw her. She was tall. Now, I'm five feet nine inches, beyond average for a woman. This woman, was easily six in her ballet flats. She had lush curves that reminded me of a fertility goddess, large breasts that rose gently with each breath, hips that rocked side to side as she hummed along to the music playing throughout the store. Black leggings were just barely visible beneath a long peasant skirt in shades of black and gray, and a turquoise sweater wrapped around her, making her into a gift. Her hair was dark and wavy, held back with small butterfly clips that glittered like nestled jewels.

The women who have gained my interest before were tiny, little things with tight muscles and bony shoulders, small breasts and fragile looking waists, hips and asses that men wrote songs about. She didn't have any of those things, but she made my blood sing. I wanted her in a way I had wanted no one before. I wanted her to make me not miss kissing a woman any longer. I had to touch her.

Just looking at her wasn't even the start of it. What she set before me for my signature wasn't a copy of my book, though I saw it peeking out from the bag she carried. An article I'd written five years ago on domestic abuse and what resources women have available to help them was resting atop a transparent green, plastic sleeve. Despite it being the article that changed my life for the better, it was one I purposely didn't look at once it was published. I had lived through the story I shared for several years in my attempt to be a good daughter, maintain my parents' social status, and because I thought I loved Royce. I ignored what I deemed "the little things," not really noticing as they became larger. By the time they were major, I was in the hospital.

While I stayed in bed healing, I started researching my options and used the tools I found to help myself get out. Royce's attorney was more than happy to force his hand in a quick divorce if I dropped the charges against him. As much as I didn't want Royce to get off the hook for what he'd done to me, I was more eager for my own Tabula Rasa.

Starting over was hard, but I did it. When I met Bella in her bookstore, trying to find a copy of the books that had helped me for a woman I'd met online, she took away my breath. Her dark eyes were so expressive, and I knew then and there that I wanted to look into them day after day.

Bella might have taken away my breath, but this intoxicating woman gave me a reason to breathe, and I knew nothing about her save that I had to know everything. I wanted to know what she smelled like in the morning if I buried my face into her neck. I wanted to know what that supple flesh would feel like beneath me, how strong her thighs were when we'd rock together, what sounds she'd make as I worshiped her.

It wasn't until Felix nudged me that I realized I was staring. "Sorry. Hi." I was blushing and felt like I was back in junior high. Take a deep breath, Rosalie. "What would you like for the inscription?"

Her voice, when it came was a beautiful alto, a hint of an Irish accent buried beneath a Midwestern United States, rushed dialect. "To Siobhan, that's S, I, O, B, H, A, N. A woman who read my words and accepted the hand that was waiting for her to reach out." I was stunned as Siobhan spoke. "You've always been there, Ms. Hale. From this article to Memoirs, you've been there. Memoirs of a Woman in Love may be just a work of fiction, but you wrote it in such a manner that it filled me with butterflies."

I became lost in the plump swell of her lower lip as she continued on; I wanted to feel that pouting lip dragging across the inside of my arm. When she said my name, Rosalie- not Ms. Hale- and pulled me from my lustful daze, I nearly came just from the sound of the soft lilt she had. Wishing Felix could hear my thoughts, I willed him to see my interest. I want her to be the winner, I practically screamed. I had to hear more. I wanted to pretend, just for an hour or two over dinner, that she was the woman on my arm, the one paparazzi were dying to get a glimpse of to fuel men's masturbatory fantasies.

When my agent didn't intervene, I reached for the pale hand tipped in short, pale pink painted nails. "I want to hear more. Are you busy later?" It was forward, but I've always gone for what I want wholeheartedly.

"I am; sorry." Something in her tone was dismissive; I came on too strong. Siobhan tucked the article back into a folder and slid it alongside the book in her bag.

"Come back tomorrow and I'll sign the book for you. You won't have to wait in line." I grabbed the single VIP pass I had, the one usually reserved for Felix to hand out. "Please."

"We'll have to see what the Fates have in store for tomorrow, Ms. Hale."

She wasn't a step away before my agent's lips were against my ear. "She'll be back if I have to drag her kicking and screaming to Renata's. And, dammit, Rose, if you won't let me watch, at least let me have a picture."

Knowing I had no way to somehow kick or pinch him without being caught, I forced a pleasant smile at the next woman bringing up a book for me to sign. My body was still trembling from meeting Siobhan. My pulse thundered in my skull, and all I could think of was the way she said my name. It had never sounded more beautiful on another pair of lips.


Friday night

It was after two in the morning before I could finally fall asleep, and even that was with the aid of Benadryl. Felix had sent a text message at ten, when I first tried to go to sleep, and it had my heart racing anew. Her name's Siobhan MacKenna. Check your email.

Grabbing my laptop, I was shocked to see a collection of short videos gathered from different websites, with the subject Don't ask; this is what I get paid to do, Sweetheart. Felix

Siobhan was a dancer. She might have easily worn a size twenty-two, but she moved as gracefully as the others on stage. There was no denying the command she had of her body. Undulations of hips and stomach incited lust with each move, and the belly-dance music playing in the background brought to mind that white-hot scent of just-lit incense and the heady taste of rosewater ice cream.

My fingers slid down my body, and I wished they were hers exploring the slick folds between my thighs. I wanted those red lips on my breast. I wanted her to be the one making my toes curl.

She was. She just didn't know it.

I watched the video of her solo performance, my eyes glued to the sway of her breasts in the gold coin bedecked bra over the black top. Black mesh covered Siobhan's torso, hiding the shadowed curve of waist I wanted to taste. A rainbow skirt twirled in psychedelic tatters, hands flitting back and forth in time with the music. She was a goddess; Siobhan, patroness of earthly delights.

My fingers moved in time with hers and all too soon it was over, the shaking of her hips mimicked by mine, the tinkling of her bells- the rushing of blood through my body. She let out a primal yell, one reminiscent of Xena's battle cry, as the music built, and another jolt went through me.

I would cause her to make that sound just for me.


Saturday morning

She came, but the reluctant look upon her face shattered whatever hopes I'd held for wooing her. Siobhan's hair was pulled up in a bun, the soft curve of her cheek unblushed, her lips a natural red as she pouted to no one as she spoke on the phone off the side as I signed another book. "No, Maggie; I told ya I would be busy tonight." A sigh pulled my eyes back to the casual, beautiful, mess she looked. Exhaustion was easily read upon her features.

"I'm sorry, my dear. You'll have to take care of things on your own. I know you remember how." The playful chiding covered up the sound of my heart being crushed.

"For Gianna, the woman who will win the dinner with you." A polished woman, the kind who belonged on Felix's arm, smiled a carefully crafted grin that was supposed to be beguiling. If I didn't already know who she is, I'd have been put off at her forwardness.

"Ah, yes, Gianna, the reporter who outed me to the press as the 'other woman' in Edward and Bella Cullen's marriage. The only reason I could see me wanting dinner with you is to thank you for giving me the material I needed to write Memoirs." I knew my smile was less than warm but would not seem out of place if there were any cameras about.

Gianna cleared her throat a few times as she recovered. "You aren't going to let that go, are you? You're an author, a rising star in the literary world. Your fans want to know about you."

No. My fans wanted to know about Rose, and they settled for more about me. "My personal life does not affect my career. The fact that I am a gay woman has nothing to do with my writing other than lending a sense of reality to any romantic scenes I may include. Some things, like loving a woman or that first time you feel her breath ghosting over your face before you kiss, cannot be fully conveyed without having experienced them firsthand. Research isn't everything."

Felix chuckled from behind me, his mind no doubt lingering on thoughts of Bella and me kissing, or the time he walked in on me with Victoria, my occasional fuck-buddy. She was twice-divorced, both times for getting caught with her then-husband's secretary. I'm still not quite sure she's so much gay or even bi, so much as she likes to keep people guessing and enjoys reveling in hedonistic pleasures. If it feels good, she does it. When she's single, I enjoy pinning her pale arms up over her head and watching her writhe.

Now, though, my eyes were only on the dark-haired beauty across the room. I wanted to watch her smile as we sip wine at dinner. I definitely wanted more than a fuck. I wanted to fall in love with her.

Bored with Gianna, I checked my watch, and let out a dramatic sigh. "I'm sorry, it's my break time. Felix, make the announcement; I'll be back in seven minutes." As Felix repeated my message into his microphone, navy blue eyes met mine in a shy smile before looking away as I went to the coffee shop for a refill of my hot chocolate.

"It's June, Ms. Hale; how can you drink that at this time of year?" I could smell the powdery scent of Love's Baby Soft mixed with Tide and some a spicy shampoo. Separate, I wasn't fond of any, but together, mixed with Siobhan's natural musky-sweet scent, I couldn't take the perfume into my lungs fast enough.

Turning to Siobhan, I felt my lips curve into the first genuine smile I'd had in days, if not weeks. "Siobhan, I'm glad the Fates saw fit to bring you back today. Why haven't you come up for me to sign your book?" The barista set my travel mug on the counter with a grin. "Thanks," I said quietly before giving my attention back to Siobhan. "If you don't want to cut in line, I'd be glad to sign it now, maybe even over lunch or dinner later." I could feel my body tensing with the pursuit of my desired prey.

The embarrassed blush, not one of flattery- for I have long since learned the distinction- came with a definitive shake of her head. "No, but thank you, Ms. Hale." She ignored my interruption to give my first name and continued on. "Whatever charity case you've decided I am, I'm not the kind of woman you'd date for more than the media effect of being seen with someone twice your weight. I'm not interested in being your charity case. My love life doesn't need Aphrodite coming in to stomp all over my heart."

She made a sound akin to a hiss as my violet eyes locked on hers. No one ever saw me this close without my shaded sunglasses on, but I'd absentmindedly pushed them up onto my head as a makeshift headband when I ordered my refill. It took her a few tries to find her voice. "Your words are beautiful, you are beautiful, and I know that I'm pretty, but not in the way society would ever allow us to be together without disparaging remarks. I've worked hard to get where I am in my career as a dance instructor and still keep true to who I am." With a look to Gianna where she stood with her camera, taking photos of my signing table, she added, "You aren't worth the media attacks."

She was a step away but still heard my whispered, "You are to me." Her shoulders stiffened and I watched her walk away; her hand reached for the door as Felix called her name, reading off the card he himself had put in the bucket. Siobhan didn't look to Felix, she turned to me.

"Why?"

I felt myself biting my lip for a moment as I considered what I could say that would not drive her farther away. Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I gave a shaky smile and walked the few feet to where she stood, until we were only inches apart. "Because I want one chance to show you how beautiful you are. I want you to leave our dinner feeling like the strong, beautiful goddess you are. I want for that hour to pretend that I'm not so tarnished and you might actually desire to spend time with me. I want to see the candlelight reflecting in your eyes. Most of all, I want to do this."

I reached for her hand, seeing short, red nails, carefully filed, and each decorated with a swirl of the palest pink. Siobhan held her breath as I brought those fingers to my mouth and kissed the curved knuckles, leaving a stain of cranberry lipstick upon the pale skin. I want to see her mouth smeared with my lipstick. "Please come to Renata's tonight. Name your time, and I'll be there."

She pulled her hand back, lip quivering as she looked down at me. Finding some amount of resolve, she nodded once. "Six-thirty. Be you, not that," she said while pointing at the cutout of me in a red-dress that Felix toted around to all my book signings.


Saturday, six-thirty PM

In the end, I chose to wear jeans and an old, pink sweater. My hair was up in a loose bun, and I forwent makeup in exchange for lip balm and moisturizer. If Siobhan wanted me, I would give her the real me.

The hostess at Renata's did not recognize me, and I had to show her my driver's license for her to seat me at my reserved table. The cozy nook had a two person padded bench with just enough room for the server to bring our dishes in. I had chosen this spot for our reservation because it was intimate and simple, not the velvet-draped curving booth that looked more like a place for debauchery than dinner.

I wanted to sit close enough to Siobhan to satisfy my needs for her attention if she turned down a real first date. If in this hour she did not see some spark between us, I would let her go. If in this hour I did not develop more than a lusty crush for her, I would let her go. A relationship, a real one, could not be solely based on lust and a shared negative experience.

When she walked in, I saw several patrons turn to appraise her. The women dismissed her; the men were divided. Half were disinterested; the others saw that same sensual delight that I did from the first moment she entered my world. She must have come from class; her cheeks were flushed, hair down loose in thick waves, and her clothing gave her the look of a gypsy queen. Black leggings were covered by a gauzy, jewel green skirt with an uneven hem. A black, scoop-necked shirt had gold beading at the neck and sleeves. Bells were tied to the soft boots she wore and on a bracelet about her right wrist.

Siobhan's bells tinkled lightly as she walked to me, hips swaying with each stride of her long legs. Scarlet lips curved into a sinful smile. "Rosalie."

"I feel underdressed, Siobhan." I looked down apologetically before meeting her eyes again. "You wanted the real me, though."

"You're beautiful, as always. More so, perhaps." Her playful smile fell as she looked to the bench. "That's going to be a tight fit for the both of us."

With some gentle coaxing, Siobhan slid in next to me, our hips pressing into one another as her arm went up over the back of the seat. Her powdery musk scent overwhelmed me again, in the best of ways. She was soft, sweet, and luscious. I wanted to turn her face to me and greet her with a gentle kiss, barely withstanding the urge to do so.

"I'm not accustomed to being looked at the way you are staring at me, Rosalie. I know I just came from a class, but I thought..."

I cut Siobhan off with a finger against her mouth, smiling as her lips pursed into a whisper of a kiss. "You were thinking that you look less than beautiful. I don't care what others have thought, Siobhan. I think you're enchanting."

Beneath my fingertip, I felt more than I heard "Why me?"

"Siobhan, I don't know what your life has been like other than what you've told me. I know that in the numerous fan events I've been through for Memoirs, I have yet to meet anyone like you. The moment I looked into your eyes, I saw something kindred. From the moment I saw your lips, I wanted you to make me forget kissing any other woman. In the first instance I let my eyes fall onto your hips, I wanted to have my hands on them as we dance in a club."

I took a quick sip from my goblet of ice water and then continued, barely breathing. "Most of all, I want to get to know you. I want to know what makes you smile, what brings out a sparkle in your eyes. Some part of me wants to take a break from writing my next novel and make supper, so that when you walk in the door from the studio, I have dinner waiting. I want to hear you laugh. I want to see what makes you dig your heels in and argue a point, and I want to kiss you when I do something that makes you sad." By this point, I'd dropped my hands to my lap, and was accordion folding my napkin.

"Siobhan, you just glow with life. I want it to be contagious. I miss the little things- staying up all night, talking on the phone, giggling as I fall in love. I miss...this." My fingers itched to touch her, and I gave in, letting my hand caress the side of her cheek before tucking a dark curl behind her ear. "I don't want to miss anything anymore. I don't want to miss them, with you."

Our waiter interrupted before Siobhan could respond, bearing glasses and a bottle of wine. "Our specials tonight..."

My date held up her hand. "A carafe of sangria, the six course to share, non-vegetarian, and as few disruptions as possible. Thank you."

He was still standing there, shocked at the abrupt dismissal, when Siobhan turned so that one leg drew up under her on the bench, her shoulders facing me. Her whisper was breathy, the silky huskiness of pillow talk you wrap yourself in. "I'm not used to being pursued, Rosalie. I am finding that I like it."

Not giving me a chance to revel in my minor success, she continued, "Liam was a good man when we were back home. Here, he changed. Too much stress, too much drink, too much American media, too much... everything."

I shook my head, trying to tell her she didn't need to tell me, but with a soft plea that she needed to, I let her continue. "It was gradual, not like what you wrote about in the article. As things grew more intense physically, so did the verbal abuse. In time, while I didn't believe it about myself, I knew others thought the same as he did. Being of size in this world, is right fucking tough. You have to build a thick skin, no pun intended."

The flicker of the candle on our table played off of the sad look that crossed her eyes, giving her the appearance of divine statuary. "I'm still learning to re-love myself. Dancing, being active, helps. I am no good at sitting, unless it is to read. I devoured Memoirs in one night, only stopping to refill my water bottle once, and two trips to the bathroom."

A mischievous smile replaced the slight frown that had grown. "I miss those things, too, Rosalie. Liam, my whole family for that matter, did not understand when I told him I liked women. It wasn't something to be talked about." Her eyes drifted to the candle, one finger toying an inch above the flame. "Then I met Maggie and knew everything I had just imagined was right for me."

The words bubbled out of me before I could think to stopper them. "Perhaps I owe Maggie a heartfelt thank you then."

The richest, heartiest laugh I've had the pleasure of hearing in years warmed me down to my soul. "Maggie and I were good together for a short time. We didn't have what it took for a long-term relationship. She also wasn't happy with my body. She kept pushing diets and surgery pamphlets at me. Maggie wanted me to be someone everyone would take a second look at, and not because I'm big. She also desired different things from life than I do. I want someone who will be there at night when I come home, someone who will call me if they're going to be late. I want someone who puts me first as much as possible. I know that work has to come first for both people in a relationship, but I don't want to be second-fiddle to friends and partying. It's selfish of me, but that is how I am, take me or leave me."

"Take."

Siobhan wasn't given a chance to respond, our pitcher of sangria along with a caprese salad and small toasted flat breads were set down in front of us. We both dug in, letting my acknowledgment and acceptance of her requirements in a relationship hover in the air like the sweet scent of the thyme bundles on the walls.

By the time we'd gotten to dessert, we had polished off two pitchers of the wine and fruit blend, mostly Siobhan's doing. I sipped at mine slowly, watching her cheeks grow more and more red as the evening went, until it was after ten pm, and we were still just slowly eating as we talked. With each topic, I was more certain that she was whom I wanted. It was as if we were old friends discussing where we'd been for the past few years, not strangers trying to explore a shared spark.

"Rosie," she giggled as she pointed out the window. "What will you tell those photographers about this evening? You could have any woman on your arm, yet you're closeted away in this nook with me."

"I don't want just any woman. I want someone who can let me be me in jeans and a sweater. Just like you, I need someone who will let me be first in her heart. I'm not the socialite my agent and the media have painted me to be. I grew up in that world and would escape it altogether if I could. These stories I have in my head, they need an audience. So, for those characters I have not yet birthed, I smile for the cameras, wear pretty dresses, and I sing the song I'm expected to when the cameras are on."

When Siobhan asked me where I saw myself in ten years, I really had to stop and think. "I don't know. Still writing, that's for sure. I'm not sure on physically where. My brother and his wife are down in Texas, our parents are in New York, though I'm not in contact with them. Right now, I have a cozy, two bedroom home in the suburbs on a half acre bordering a bike trail. It has the white picket fence and everything. I used money from Royce, my ex-husband, to purchase the home. It was a parting gift, of sorts."

I lost my focus as I watched her lips close around a bite of espresso and dark chocolate flourless cake. When her tongue crept out to lick across the bottom red curve, I clenched my napkin until my fingernails dug through the fabric into my palms. "Nothing currently is holding me in the Chicago area. I settled here for a fresh start away from all my family and friends. There were too many reminders in New York, and Jasper, my brother, was a crutch."

He and his wife, Alice, would have no doubt left multiple voicemails asking about my "date" once a few pictures were out on the web of tonight. "Jasper took me in after the divorce. Royce had poisoned my parents against me. They begged me to really try to work things out with him. They saw my preferences as the reason behind what he was doing to me, not that it was just an excuse he used." Circling back to what she was really asking, I shrugged. "I can write anywhere I have a computer or pencil and paper. What about you?"

She looked far away before sipping at the coffee she'd ordered some time ago, and I'd neglected in my obsession with her. "I'm not certain. Going home, to Ireland, is in my long-term dreams, as is being a mother. The thought of a babe in my arms, of the child variety," she clarified, "is something I'm looking for in the next five or six years, whether I have to go through adoption, a bank, or figuring it out with my partner at the time."

Siobhan must have seen my quick smile as she echoed it. "I saw that article, too; the one on reclaiming motherhood when single. It helped when I was mourning the chances I thought I had lost in leaving Liam. I meant what I said at the signing, you know, about giving me the push to accept the help offered to me."

When her hand slid up to touch my cheek, I couldn't fight off the impulse any longer. "I'm going to kiss you now, Siobhan." Taking her blush and lack of protest as acceptance, I gave in to everything I wanted.

Her cheeks felt smooth as glass beneath my hands, her smile growing larger as I gently cupped her face. Using my fingertips to draw her closer, I let our lips just meet, no force, no tongue. Lipsticked velvet pushed harder against my own when I began to pull back, and the chemistry I felt began to explode into a full body arousal- at just one kiss.

We pulled apart panting, having done nothing more than share a chaste kiss. "Wow," she sighed, reaching up to touch her lips. "I've never had..." Siobhan's eyes took on a glow of wonder as she looked at me. A stretch-accompanied yawn interrupted what else she wanted to say, leaving her to shrug as she smiled shyly.

"Neither have I."

"Not even with your real life Marie?" When I shook my head in response, she kissed me again- making my heart stop and then beat faster. "You were right," she murmured against my lips.

"What?" I asked, still luxuriating in the sensation of our touching flesh, her kiss muffling my question.

"I missed this; kissing a woman," Siobhan answered as she pulled back. "I'm glad it was you."

"I want to kiss you again, when we haven't been drinking wine all night. I want to take you on a date, one not sponsored by the publishing house. I want to watch you dance, and I want you to look at me how you are right now, and I want you to feel as beautiful as you look on the outside and are on the inside."

Her breathy "how" was barely off her lips as I slipped my hand down her cheek, slid over the rounded shoulder, caressed a path down her hip where I let the warm flesh fill my palm. "I will kiss every inch of you, my lipstick leaving a red stain in every spot you don't like until you feel how much I love your body and the strength it carries. You are so much more than a dress size. You are a gypsy queen when you command the spotlight on the dance floor."

I watched her eyes widen; the dark lashes were soon rimmed with tears she blinked back. "Take me back to your hotel room, Rosalie. I think I had too much to drink tonight. I want to wake up with your hair covering me. Just sleep, okay?"

Morning came too soon, and I wasn't sure I had slept more than an hour before the alarm Siobhan had set went off, shrill bells playing in the other room. I watched her stretch, the camisole she'd slept in lifting to show a sliver of soft skin. My fingers swept across it, wanting to touch her.

She shivered, then turned to face me. "If you do that, we may not get out of bed."

I hummed a response, and then allowed my fingers to trace the pink and brown paisley satin swirls in the space between navel and the gentle swell of her midriff below her breasts. My eyes were locked on hers, and I loved watching her smile as I fought to keep my touch light enough to not be a push for more, but just heavy enough to not tickle. I knew that fine line.

When my fingers went too low, she'd tense. "You're beautiful, relax," I murmured before kissing her shoulder.

"Easy for you to say. I can see your hipbones and bottom rib indentation when you are flat on your back." Her voice was thick with her accent and sleep, quivering a little with lust.

So, I pounced. I was straddling her hips, our heated flesh aligned as I gripped her wrists and loosely held them overhead. "What do I have to do to show you how beautiful you are?"

I kissed each wrist before letting go, using my eyes to tell her to keep them in place. "Do you think being curvy is a turnoff? I think you're a goddess. Let me worship you."

Her skin tasted of sandalwood and sin, the scent of soap uncovered as her perfume wore off after a night in my sheets. My tongue felt out the miniscule dips in her wrist before I placed open mouth kisses down the length of each arm to the elbow. There, she tasted of salt and sweet musk.

I licked.

She whimpered.

The coil in my stomach grew heated as it tightened. Teasing kisses and lightly nipping teeth earned the first moan as I kissed across her shoulder to the neck that now smelled of my shampoo from me sleeping with my head tucked beneath her chin. When I sucked just hard enough to leave a quickly fading pink mark, she arched, bringing one thigh up in between mine.

Oh, God, the way she felt. With the pressure she gave right where I needed it, I couldn't have not moved if my life depended on it. I pushed down against the muscled leg, and let her assuage the need I didn't remember missing.

"Rosalie, we shouldn't, not yet. I'm not that girl." I assured her that I wasn't either with softly whispered words, fighting my urge to thrust and rub, wanting to have her fingers up inside me to tease my ache.

By the time I had kissed to the center of her collarbone, Siobhan was panting.

"Do you feel as beautiful as I see you?" I asked between licks of her sweet skin.

"N-no, not yet." Her mewling made me brave.

I took one of her nipples into my mouth, the silky fabric of her nightshirt quickly growing wet as I sucked at the peak. Her words soon lost meaning to my ears as she pleaded in her native tongue. It didn't matter; my heart and body knew what she was saying. More. Please. Oh, God. The only things that mattered were when she cried out my name, her fingers pushing my head to the other breast so I could deliver the same worship.

"My beautiful Gypsy Queen," I begged, "how can you not know how beautiful you are? Seeing you like this has me so turned on." My fingers inched down to the edge of her camisole and then slid it up. Only with an insistent tug did Siobhan sit halfway so I could remove the top altogether. Her breasts were large and full, the soft weights filling my hands as I cupped them. Dark mauve nipples still shone with my saliva, and I watched her back arch as I rolled each nipple between thumb and index finger.

"Rosalie!"

I grinned as she pleaded for more. "Not until you can tell me you're beautiful." I slid down the bed, my body going between her thighs, and I paused with my chin resting on her soft stomach. "Do you feel beautiful?"

She looked at me, eyes half-lidded with lust. "I'm getting closer to feeling it." A saucy smile was accompanied by a tender stroking of her fingernails down my cheek. "When you look at me like that, I feel beautiful. But, maybe you should keep going until I feel really beautiful."

Reaching up to grip her hand, I smiled. "I don't do one-night, umm, one-morning stands, Siobhan. I want you, want this, but not just for one night."

Her answer was the lifting and wriggling of her hips as she tried to take off her panties while I was still holding down her legs. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't want more than a morning. Make me feel beautiful, Rosalie."

My shorts and tank top seemed to just fall away as she wrestled to get skin to skin with me. Warm and soft, the best things I'll always remember about loving a woman. Those are followed by the way her breasts pushed into mine and her hands fisted my hair so she could pull me up for another kiss... The way her hips cushioned me as we rocked together, hands mapping out the skin from our waists to shoulder and back again... The way she pouted as I moved out of her reach... The all too womanly way she lifted to me as I parted her thighs and kissed the soft skin at the crease of her leg and sex.

She made that Xena yell for me, again and again, and together we stopped missing everything.