Part 6

(E-Mail Rachel)

Callisto awoke with a start. Her eyes darted around the room for a few seconds before she remembered where she was. "This has got to be a dream" she thought. She looked around her new room and was quite pleased with it...."Too much frilly stuff in here though..." She chuckled to herself, making mental notes what to bury outside in the forest later. She had a washbasin, a table and two chairs, a bed...even a small chest for her belongings. "Yep....definitely a dream...."

Her thoughts were interrupted by a sharp rap on the door.

"Enter my domain!" she giggled as the flaps parted and Ephiny strode in bearing two steaming mugs of tea. 'Hmmmm...she looks nice this morning' she thought to herself, and wondered why her stomach just did a weird little flip.

"Callisto...how was your first night in our village?" inquired the regent as she set the mugs down on the table and took a seat.

"Honestly?" replied Callisto, stretching as she crossed the room to take a seat next to the blonde amazon. "I don't think I have ever slept that good."

Ephiny found herself smiling before she knew it. What was it with this woman? Since her arrival yesterday, the regent hadn't been able to form a cohesive thought when in her presence. And now was no exception.

"Ephiny?"

Callisto's words startled her out of her musings, and she looked up to see a pair of amused brown eyes looking back at her. 'No Eph, don't look...don't look...' she yelled to herself, but alas, too late!

Their eyes locked and held...each trying to figure out what was going on here.

"Eph...are you alright?" asked Callisto as she reached over to feel for a fever.

"I'm fine...{ahem}....really Cal...." she finally managed to stammer out. She tore her eyes away from the blonde...("Gods that was tough!") but Cal slid her fingers under Eph's chin and brought her eyes up again to meet her own.

"Why do you look away from me Ephiny? Do I scare you?" the warrior asked.

"A little..." replied the regent honestly.

Callisto stood abruptly and walked across the room. "I swore allegiance to your queen...your nation, and I don't make promises I don't intend to keep."

"Well that's good to know." Ephiny swallowed hard. "For future reference I mean...errrr...." She swallowed again. 'By the Gods why won't my mouth say something UN-stupid just once here?' "The council meeting is in a candlemark...." she said standing to leave. "Do you know where the meeting hut is?" she asked.

"If it's the one that has the sign on the outside that reads 'Meeting Hut', I think I can find it..." She flashed a smile and winked at the amazon.

Ephiny just stood there for a second, not sure if she was being flirted with or not.
"Cal...just tell me this isn't some cruel joke, or some way to get back at Xena..." she looked away and out the window. "Because maybe I really want to believe you have changed." The last sentence was out before she knew she had even said it, and she silently cursed herself for being so revealing.

Callisto walked over to her and gently turned the regents' face to meet her eyes once again. "Ephiny...like I said, I don't make a promise I don't intend to keep. And I promise you this is for real."

Eph searched Cal's eyes for any signs of untruth, but all she found was honesty and sincerity. "Good..." she whispered as she slowly reached out, running her fingers through the blonde locks and around the back of Callisto's neck, while leaning forward enough to brush her lips across the warrior's. She pulled away, not knowing if she had just made a serious faux paus or not.

Callisto was startled for a moment, but was brought out of her reverie by the flipping in her stomach again. What was this? She had never felt anything like it. It hadn't been like this when she kissed Xena! All she knew is she wanted more. Her fingers went up to caress the line of the regent's chin...her cheek. She looked into her eyes. "What are you doing to me Amazon?" she whispered as she slowly brought her lips to Ephiny's.

This time there was no hesitation, no wondering as their kiss deepened. The mug of tea Ephiny had been holding clattered to the floor, completely forgotten. Callisto marveled in the softness that was Ephiny's lips and tongue, and felt a spark begin somewhere inside her. Her arms reached out and pulled the woman close to her, and Ephiny responded by encircling hers around the ex-warlord's neck and running her fingers through her hair.

Ephiny finally had to break away....she couldn't breath! She backed off a step, staring incredulously at Callisto, her heart pounding and her breath coming short.

"I...I've got to go...." she stammered, backing towards the door.

"Eph....look out..."

CLUNK! Right into the doorjamb.

"Ow!"

"I tried to warn you..." Callisto winked at the regent. "Can I see you later? Please?"

"Ok." said Eph, smiling nervously at Cal. "Later is good for me."

"Great...would you consider accompanying me to the lake after the meeting?" asked Callisto.

"Alright. See you in a bit then..." said the amazon as she strode out the door, this time avoiding the jamb.

Callisto stood rooted to the spot for a good few moments, trying to make sense out of the just passed occurence. She was attracted to the regent, that much was obvious to her. But just how she got herself into this date thing was beyond her comprehension. 'Since when did I become so sappy?' she thought. Indeed, her mind was racing with the problem of creating a romantic setting for that afternoon. She hadn't a clue as to how to go about it. She pulled on her boots and left the hut, deciding a long walk and some peace and quiet would give her time to think of something....

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Ephiny was hurriedly crossing the compound, her eyes darting frantically in search of the bard. She snapped her fingers...."Of course, the dining hall!" she muttered to herself as she headed that way.

She strode through the doors and seeing Gabrielle across the room, proceeded to cover the distance in three steps, grabbing the queen by the arm and literally hauling her out the back door...

"Hey! Eph!! Ouch....hey stop that's hurting me!" yelped Gabrielle as she frantically tried to loosen the regents' grip on her bicep. "What's going on??"

"Gabrielle....I need to talk with you ALONE! Right now! We need to go somewhere more private..." stated Ephiny as she once again tried dragging the bard away, and spotting the barn, headed that way.

"EPH stop right now!" ordered Gabrielle, stamping her foot down to emphasize her unwillingness to be used as a potato sack. "I am not going anywhere until you shed some light on this wacko behaviour of yours."

Ephiny stopped, sighed and looked up at the sky. She threw her hands up and said "Fine Gabrielle. Fine. Ok I'll tell you...."

The bard crossed her arms and smirked at her small triumph.

"I kissed her Gabrielle. I kissed her! And for the life of me I can't explain what possessed me!" blurted the regent.

Gab's look of smugness turned into a look of curiosity. "Kissed who Eph?? Is that what has you so weirded out? I mean, i always thought kissing was a good thing...."

Ephiny got an exhasperated look on her face and began pacing.....then she turned to face the bard...

"Callisto. I kissed Callisto." she looked away embarassed.

Now the look of curiosity on Gabrielle's face turned into a look of complete disbelief....

"Callisto???" whispered the bard. Ephiny shook her head. "Ephiny....Oh my Gods!" And the bard began giggling uncontrollably.

That was enough to almost make the regent burst into tears, and Gabrielle saw it on her face.

"Oh...Eph...Gods, I'm sorry! Heeeeey...." She put her arm around the amazon, and they both sat down on a nearby boulder. "I'm not laughing at you Eph really. I think it's wonderful! If anyone could be good for Cal, it's you...and besides, I mean, she's damn sexy!" stated the bard. Then quieter...."Don't tell Xena I said that ok?" She giggled. Ephiny smiled forlornly back at her. "So what's the problem then Eph?" she asked.

"Oh I don't know Gabrielle....that's just it! I'm so confused...I shouldn't be lusting after her! I mean, she hurt you in the past, hurt Xena, this village....." she paused and took a deep breath. "Why her? Why me? And why did it have to feel soooo good....." She sighed.

"We don't have answers for all our questions Ephiny. Sometimes you just have to 'go with it' " said the bard, quoting one of her favorite lines. "It might never make sense, but what matters is you are happy. It's as simple as that. So how did Callisto react to all this?"

Ephiny blushed purple. "Ummmm...well she had a goofy look on her face for a second before she kissed me back."

"She kissed you back??? Gods Ephiny!!! Think of it...one day you can tell your grandchildren that you smooched a God!!" Gabrielle busted out laughing, and Eph couldn't help but join in. When they got their giggling under control, the bard continued...."So how was it?? Dooooo tell....."

"Gab....gods....ummm...it was like soft, sensuous, electrifying....i swear she made my stomach lurch in three directions at once! Where she touched me i was on fire. I couldn't move or breath...and the way she looked at me...." she gulped..."It would make even Xena blush."

"Hmmm, you just described the way I feel when Xena kisses me. Congratulations Ephiny, I think you just fell in love." stated the bard with a wry smile.

"L..L...Love? That's impossible! No one in their right mind....."

"And who ever said you had a "right" mind?" said the bard jokingly. She playfully slapped the regent on the stomach. "You worry too much."

Ephiny again looked exhasperated. "Gabrielle, she asked me to go to the lake with her...after the meeting this morning and...I-I'm not sure what to talk about...."

"Like I said....you worry too much. Just be yourself and everything will be fine." said the bard. "You had better go get changed for your date 'Miss I'm-Too-Hot-For-My-Leathers'. You won't have time to later."

The regent smiled. "You're right. I'll see you at the meeting. Oh and Gabrielle?" said the amazon as she turned to leave..."Thanks for the pep talk."

"Anytime Eph....what are friends for?"

The bard watched her regent trudge away to the baths and couldn't hide the smile that plastered her face.

"Now where did Xena get to?" stated the bard, looking around....

Continued In Part 7
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