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Part One

Lynn W.


Chapter 8

The first week of January had been a busy one for the detective division. Just before Christmas, Hutch and Starsky had investigated a mugging that had escalated into a murder, as well as a shooting at a convenience store in which a clerk and one of the customers had died. A week later, they had investigated a murder-suicide case. What was it about the holidays that brought out the craziness in people? They had pretty well wrapped up the three cases, but it had been draining. It was Friday afternoon and they were both ready for the weekend.

Ken Hutchinson was thankful to have a woman like Jenny Schaefer to look forward to during his time away from work. Jenny rarely asked for details about the cases he worked on, although she was always ready to listen when he felt the need to talk about some of the feelings the cases engendered in him. They had been seeing a lot of one another since they had met at the tea dance. Even the two times that they had gone somewhere with Starsky and Maggie--first, to the Marx Brothers double feature and then to a bowling alley--things had gone well. But lately, Hutch and Jenny had been going solo. They had spent one afternoon at an art museum, they had gone to a basketball game, they had gone disco dancing. Sometimes, after one of their dates, they would go back the apartment that Jenny shared with Maggie. There wasn't a lot of privacy there, and Hutch could tell that Maggie felt uncomfortable being around when the two of them were there. So, after their last two dates, Jenny and Hutch had gone back to his apartment..

Tonight, Jenny was coming directly to his place after she got off work. He planned to cook dinner for the two of them--grilled salmon, salad, baked potatoes. When they had spoken on the phone earlier in the week, making plans for tonight, Jenny had asked if she could bring something for dessert. Hutch had smiled and suggested that she simply bring herself. Jenny had caught his meaning and sighed seductively into the phone before they had hung up. It was a quarter to four and Hutch was ready to go home and fire up the grill. Jenny was supposed to arrive around 5:00. Hutch hummed to himself as he arranged the papers on his desk for Monday morning.

"So," Starsky said, watching his friend, "tonight's the big night, huh?"

"What do you mean?" Hutch asked.

"The night you're cooking dinner for Jenny."

Hutch smiled. "Yeah."

"You two must be getting pretty serious," his partner observed. "The last time you cooked for one of your dates was..." Starsky tried to remember and couldn't.

"Barbara," Hutch said.

"Oh yeah, Barbara. Wasn't she the blonde with the big..." Starsky's voice trailed off, waving his hands in a circular motion in front of his chest.

"Saint Bernard," Hutch said, finishing the sentence.

"Yeah, she had one of those, too," Dave Starsky said with a sly grin.

"So, what are you up to this weekend, buddy?" Hutch asked, changing the subject.

"Oh, not much," Starsky said.

"I thought you were going to ask that new secretary in Holding out to dinner."

"I did," the dark-haired cop said. "Unfortunately, I found out she is engaged to this gorilla on the SWAT team."

"Too bad, partner. I think I'd rather take my chances with a Saint Bernard!"

"Yeah, well, I was thinking maybe I'd call up Maggie and see if she wanted to go do something tonight."

"That sounds like a good idea. You two always seem to have a lot of fun when you go out."

"Well," Starsky said, " it's not like we're really goin' out. We're know, goin' out."

Hutch smiled. "I know." He stood up and pushed in his chair. "Well, whatever you do this weekend, pal, you have a good one. I'll see you later."

"See ya, Hutch," his partner said. He looked at the telephone for a moment after Hutch had left the room, then Starsky picked up the receiver and dialed a number he had come to know by heart over the past few weeks.

"Library Reference Desk," a familiar feminine voice said.

"Yeah," Starsky said, lowering his voice an octave. "I'm conducting some, uh, research for a book I am writing and I was wondering if you could help me."

There was a long pause on the other end of the line, before the woman's voice said, "I see, sir. And exactly what subject are you...researching?"

"One Hundred and One Ways to Amuse a Librarian," he said.

"Starsky," Maggie laughed, "you are crazy!"

"Well, I've been called worse!" he laughed.

"What's up?" Maggie asked.

"Oh, I don't know. Hutch is cooking dinner for Jenny tonight."

"Yes, I know," Maggie said. He wasn't sure, but he thought he detected a little wistfulness in her voice.

"Well, I was wondering if you wanted to go out for a pizza or something after work."

Maggie was silent for a moment. "Okay," she said. "I get off at five."

"Great! Do you wanna meet at the restaurant?" Usually when they got together, they would pick a restaurant or some other place to meet, each of them driving separately. They always went Dutch when they went somewhere to eat: although, he had offered to buy her dinner a couple of times. Each time, Maggie had insisted on paying her own way and Starsky had never pressed the issue. Perhaps, it would feel too much like a "date" to Maggie if he were to pay for her meal.

Again, there was silence for a moment. "Uh, Starsk," Maggie said. "My car is in the shop. I rode in with Jenny today."

"Okay then, I can swing by and get you."

Maggie was a little hesitant at first. "I promise to drive slowly," he said, remembering the white knuckles and the look of panic on her face the night he had driven the four of them to the Marx Brothers movies. At last, she said okay. "Great!" he said. "I'll be by to pick you up when you get off at five. Is Luigi's okay?"

"Sounds good," she said.


Jenny arrived outside Hutch's apartment at Venice Place a little before 5:00. She had arranged to leave work an hour early because of her date with Hutch. She had worried about how Maggie was going to get home, since Maggie was working her regular 9 to 5 shift and Maggie's car was being repaired. But Maggie had found a co-worker who was willing to give her a ride home, so Jenny had gone home to get ready for her date.

She had never known anyone quite like Ken Hutchinson. He was sensitive and warm and even shy at times. Yet he could be loud and boisterous and quite funny at other times, such as when he was rooting for the Lakers at a basketball game or when he and Starsky were talking about some of the funnier moments in their police careers. Jenny had also found Hutch to be a hopeless romantic--sending her flowers after their first solo date and quoting poetry to her on the way home from the day they had spent at the art museum. In spite of her reservations about giving her heart away too quickly--after all, she had only known Hutch for a month--and after being hurt so much by her break-up with Tony three years ago, Jenny could easily see herself falling for Kenneth Hutchinson. She just hoped that, if she fell, a certain handsome cop would be there to catch her this time.

She could smell something delicious as she walked up to the door. She knocked and Hutch greeted her after a few moments.

"Hi!" he said, opening the door. "Come on in!" He looked so good in his blue and white checkered shirt and blue jeans.

Jenny had also worn jeans with a white blouse that had been embroidered with flowers across the yoke. Hutch closed the door and gave her a kiss on the cheek. They went outside onto the balcony, where Hutch had his hibachi set up. The temperature was warm and mild for a January evening--even for Southern California. Hutch had a bottle of chilled white wine which he opened, and they laughed and chatted, sipping their wine, until dinner was ready. Jenny was impressed by what a good cook Hutch was. She was not much of a cook herself. In fact, Maggie did most of the cooking for them at home. After dinner, Jenny helped Hutch with the dishes, even though he insisted it wasn't necessary.

"Well, you wouldn't let me bring something for dessert or do anything else to help you with dinner," Jenny said, loading his dishwasher. "The least you can do is let me help with the clean-up."

"If you will recall," Hutch said, coming over to her and taking her hands in his, "I believe I told you that you were the dessert tonight!" He bent his head slowly to hers and kissed her softly. "Ummm," he said, ""very nice." They kissed again, putting their arms around each other and tasting the sweetness of each others' mouths. They finished cleaning up the kitchen and went out to the living room.

By now, it was dusk and Hutch lit several candles in the living room. Their collective light bathed the room in a soft, romantic glow. They settled onto the couch and sipped the rest of their wine. Hutch slipped his arm around Jenny's shoulders and she nestled her head onto his shoulder. For awhile, neither of them spoke, content to enjoy the silence of each other's presence, the comfort of simply being together. At one point, Jenny looked over to a corner of the room and saw something she had never noticed before during the two other times she had been to Hutch's apartment: a guitar.

"Hutch," she said, "do you play the guitar?"

"Yes," he said, a little self-consciously. Even though he was quite an accomplished musician and had a good singing voice, he was a bit shy about serenading a woman until he had gotten to know her well. Still, he felt a kind of closeness with Jenny that he didn't often feel with most of the women he dated.

"Would you play something for me?" Jenny asked.

"I'd be honored to, my lady," he said, setting down his glass of wine, getting up, and bringing the guitar back with him to the couch. He spent a few moments tuning it, then he turned to Jenny. "Do you have any requests?"

"Oh, I don't care," she said. "Anything is fine with me."

Hutch thought a moment, then he smiled and began to play and sing a familiar song by Gordon Lightfoot. "If you could read my mind, Love, what a tale my thoughts could tell..."

Jenny was delightfully surprised by Hutch's warm baritone voice and the beautiful way he played the guitar.

Jenny applauded when he was done. "Hutch! That was wonderful!"

"Well, thank you," he said, smiling shyly.

"Maggie plays the guitar, too," she said.

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah," Jenny said. "She mostly just plays for the youth group at church--we have a folk mass once a month and Maggie and a couple of the kids at church usually provide the music."

"Where do you attend church?" he asked.

"St. Anselm's," she said. "It's a small Episcopal church not too far from here."

"I've been by it before," Hutch said, nodding. "Perhaps, sometime I can bring my guitar over to your apartment and Maggie and I can find a few songs that we both know."

"That would be great. Maggie's got a beautiful singing voice and I'll bet the two of you would sound really good together." Jenny smiled, turning thoughtful for a moment. "You know, you and Maggie remind me a lot of each other. Maybe that's why I am so fond of both of you."

Hutch smiled. "It's funny," he said, "in many ways, you remind me of Starsky. You are both so outgoing and caring. And you both like the same kinds of food." Hutch remembered the two chili dogs that Jenny had eaten at the basketball game they had gone to. And after their day at the art museum, she had suggested they stop for burritos on the way home!

"Would you play and sing some more?" Jenny asked.

"Well, only because you asked so nicely," Hutch said with a smile. He proceeded to perform several more songs for her: Time In a Bottle, I Write the Songs, Love Me Tender, and another song that Jenny had never heard before. It was a bluesy-sounding piece that started with the words "I wish I was the sunlight, gently reaching out in space..."

When he had finished, she said, "I've never heard that last song before." Hutch was taking a break. He had set down his guitar and was sipping his wine.

"It's one that I wrote," he said modestly.

"You wrote it?" she asked. "Hutch, I am so impressed by you! Not only are you a dedicated public servant, a good dancer, an excellent cook, and a very handsome man, now I find out you are an accomplished musician with a beautiful voice and a song writer, too!"

Hutch smiled as he finished his wine and set the glass down. "You forgot to mention how modest I am," he laughed.

"Yes," Jenny said, smiling. "And I also forgot to mention what a good kisser you are, too." Their eyes met and then their lips. They kissed gently at first, even playfully, but gradually their kisses grew in ardor and intensity. He cradled her head in his hands, then held her tightly in his arms. She ran her fingers through his hair and explored the muscles of his arms and his back. Tongue caressed tongue, their hearts beating together in a rhythm that was eternal. They had kissed several times before tonight, but not for such an extended period of time or with such deliberate passion.

At last, they stopped long enough to catch their breath. "Jenny," Hutch said, "forgive me if it is too soon to be thinking this..."

"What are you thinking?" she asked, breathlessly.

"Could we continue the bedroom?"

Jenny's heart jumped into her throat. Remember what happened with Tony! her mind fairly screamed. But it was the voice of reason that answered. "I--I'm not prepared for this tonight. I mean, it's been a long time since I did this last. I 'm--I'm not on the pill anymore."

Hutch nodded, then softly said. "I...I understand. I don't mean to rush you."

"That's okay, Hutch," she said. "Perhaps it's time I went back to see my doctor."

He nodded, then they were silent for a few moments. "Do you have condoms?" she asked quietly.

He looked up at her, searching her eyes, trying to be certain of what he saw in them. He started to answer, but had to clear his throat. At last, he said, "Y-Yes."

She looked deeply into his eyes and held her breath. She wasn't sure how long they sat there like that. A minute? Five minutes? Ten? Slowly, she kissed him. At the same time, she began unbuttoning his shirt. He smiled as he returned her kiss, gently beginning to unbutton her blouse. Their kisses reached a new intensity and his lips descended to her neck, her throat, her shoulders. He nestled his head into the soft valley between her breasts. She tugged his now-unbuttoned shirt from where it was still tucked into his jeans and he shrugged out of it. He removed her blouse and slowly, slowly laid her down on the couch. They kissed each other passionately, hands exploring their upper bodies, although she still wore her bra. His hand rested on the straps, as if asking permission to continue. Now it was he who held his breath. She nodded and his hands slowly descended, sliding the straps down her arms. She slid her arms out of the straps and arched her back so he could reach the hooks at the back. Once more, he hesitated and looked deeply into her eyes, wanting to make sure that she wanted to continue. She put her hands on either side of his face and lifted her head, catching his lips in hers. His fingers deftly unfastened her bra, pulling it aside and letting it fall to the floor. They remained on the couch for a long time, skin touching skin, heart beating against heart, exploring every curve, every plane with their hands and their lips and their tongues. Jenny seemed to lose track of all time. Eventually, Hutch sat up and held out his hand to her. Her skin seemed to glow in the soft light of the candles. Her breasts were round and full and luscious. His chest was lean and smooth. There was great strength in his muscled arms, but also a great tenderness. Jenny sat up and took his hand and together they went down the hall to his bedroom.

Slowly, he began to undo her jeans. He slid them down her slim hips, past her knees, down to her ankles. She stepped out of her sandals, then out of her jeans. He rested his hands on either side of her waist, drinking in the sight of her luscious curves, as though silently asking permission before beginning the final step toward intimacy. She began to unfasten his jeans and slid them down his long, lean legs. He kicked off his shoes and stepped out of his jeans. His erection was unmistakable through his briefs. They looked at one another and he slowly bent his head to kiss her. He fondled her breasts, rubbing his thumbs back and forth over the nipples until they became hard. He bent his head to suckle first one, then the other. She moaned in pleasure, and pulled his face up to hers for a long, hungry kiss. He gently sat her down on the bed and pushed her back, stopping long enough to remove her panties and his briefs. She looked up at him as he stood in the darkened room. He looked like a Nordic god. His penis was erect and large and it seemed to stand at attention as he gazed down at her. He moved to the side of the bed and turned down the covers. She sat up and moved to the head of the bed, snuggling between the sheets. Hutch joined her, gently enfolding her in his arms and kissing her now with renewed passion. She had wanted this to be slow and deliberate, but she found herself becoming impatient. It had been so long since the last time she had done this and she wanted so much to feel him inside of her.

He must have felt it, too. He turned momentarily to the nightstand and fumbled in a drawer, retrieving a packet containing a condom. He quickly unwrapped it and slipped it on his throbbing shaft. Then he kissed her gently, deeply, wanting to savor this moment before their first coupling. She reached down to caress his manhood and he gently reached down to touch the juncture between her thighs. She was soft and moist and her hips rose almost of their own volition to meet his gentle caress. He moved above her, resting his weight on his hands and his knees, which seemed to frame her beautiful body. Then he eased into her with great tenderness and she gasped with pleasure. He was so big and he filled her so tightly. Slowly, he thrust himself deeper and deeper until he was almost buried within her. Their bodies began to rock in a loving motion as old as time itself. He murmured her name and she began to say his name over and over, almost like a mantra. They began to move faster as the passion began to build within them. Jenny wrapped her legs around his and she started raising her hips to meet his every thrust. Faster. Harder. Deeper. Their hearts beat quicker, their breathing became heavier. Then his voice began to rise and he began to shout her name over and over and she his. He was quickly reaching the edge, nearing the pinnacle of ecstasy. Suddenly, Jenny's body went rigid and she clung to him desperately, as though she were drowning in a sea of emotion and she were clinging to him for dear life.

"Yes!" she cried, "Oh, yes! Yes! Yes!"

He felt her muscles tighten around his swollen shaft. Immediately, Hutch cried out her name again and again, as he, too, reached his climax. It seemed to go on forever. At last, he rolled to one side and they clung to one another for a long time, each damp with perspiration, each sated with the first sweet, tender taste of passion. Reluctantly, he eventually pulled himself out of her and their bodies began to relax. He cuddled her in his arms and wrapped his long legs around hers. When at last their breathing had slowed and they were able to speak, he whispered, "My God, Jenny, you were wonderful!"

She snuggled down into his arms, "Oh Hutch, so were you." They were both silent for a few minutes, then she continued, "It has been three years since I, since I did this last. I'm not that experienced, but it has never felt like this before!"

"It's been awhile for me, too," he said. She wondered how long, but she decided not to ask. She doubted it had even been three months since his last sexual encounter, but, somehow, that didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was what they had just shared. He must have sensed her thoughts, because he said, "I'm probably a little more experienced than you are, but let me tell you, I felt things tonight with you that I have never felt with anyone else." Then, without hesitation, he asked, "Would you think it too soon if I said, 'I love you'?"

"No," she smiled, "because I love you too, Hutch."

They kissed again, this time a soft, unhurried kiss, and spent the next half hour cuddling and basking in love's afterglow.

Chapter 9

Dave Starsky pulled his red and white Torino into the parking lot of Luigi's Pizza Palace. True to his word, he had driven slowly and carefully and he had not noticed his passenger grabbing her door handle with white knuckles the way she had the last time she had ridden with him. He smiled. "How was my driving this time?"

"Much better," she said. "Thank you."

They got out and went inside. The first time they had been here was the night they had come here with Jenny and Hutch, prior to the Marx Brothers double feature. That night had also been something of a celebration, since he and Maggie had come in third in the Charleston contest at the tea dance. Their prize had been a gift certificate for a free dinner for two at Luigi's. Since then, it had become a special place for both of them. This was now their third time to eat here. They found that they both had very different tastes in pizza. Starsky liked his with everything, including anchovies. Maggie liked the vegetarian pizza, just like Hutch. Sometimes, Starsky wondered why Hutch had not pursued Maggie, instead of Jenny, since Hutch and Maggie were so much alike. But Hutch was crazy about Jenny and Starsky was glad to see his friend so happy for a change.

For his part, Starsky had been on a few dates since he had met Maggie, but he had to admit that he didn't have nearly as much fun with his dates as he did when he and Maggie did things together. Maybe it was because he knew he didn't have to try to impress Maggie; there was no pressure to "score", no expectation of having to "perform" before the night was over. One night, they had gone bowling with Hutch and Jenny. It had been a fun evening, but it had become obvious that night that the two love birds wanted to be alone, so Starsky and Maggie had found other things to do for laughs, just the two of them, on subsequent outings.

They had gone miniature golfing one day, with hilarious results. Starsky had hit a shot that had ricocheted off the turning windmill and had accidentally hit a middle-aged man right in the seat of his pants as he was preparing to putt. They had apologized, of course, and the man had been very understanding. Then Maggie had attempted to launch her ball into a dinosaur's opening jaws, but she had wound up launching her putting iron instead! At least, they had not had to apologize to the dinosaur and the only thing that had been damaged was Maggie's dignity! They had finished their game, but they decided that miniature golf was definitely not the game for them.

One night, they had gone to a showing of the Bogart classic, The Maltese Falcon. It was a movie they had both seen many times before they had met, and they wound up whispering much of the dialog to each other at the same time that the characters on the screen said their lines. This had annoyed a few of the people on either side of them, so eventually they wound up mouthing the lines, instead of whispering them. They managed to keep from cracking each other up during the rest of the movie, but going out of the theatre, they had laughed until they both had tears coming out of their eyes! Later that night, they had gone to The Pits, the eatery run by Starsky's and Hutch's friend, Huggy Bear. Huggy had taken an immediate liking to Maggie, saying she was a lot classier than the ladies Starsky usually brought there. Maggie had blushed at this remark, and Starsky had had a hard time trying to convince Huggy later that he and Maggie were just friends.

Tonight, as they ate their individual pizzas at Luigi's, Starsky's with everything and Maggie's vegetarian special, Starsky pointed to the place across the street. "Ya ever been there before?" he asked. It was a roller skating rink.

"No," said Maggie. "I haven't been on roller skates since I was a kid."

"Well, whaddaya say?" he asked.

"Do they rent pillows to strap on to your rear end in case you fall?" she asked.

"I don't think so," he laughed. "But you're not gonna fall. You'll have me there--to catch ya!"

"You'll be behind me all the way, huh?" she asked.

"You better believe it, schweetheart," he said, lapsing into his Bogart routine.

And so it was, after finishing their pizzas, that the two of them were soon lacing up their skates at the Roller-Rama. "I don't know about this, Starsky," Maggie said, standing up and taking a tentative "step" forward.

"Wait up," he said, tying off his final skate and tucking in the laces. She looks so cute, he thought to himself, in a...wobbly sort of way.

They stepped off of the carpeted area, onto the wooden floor of the rink where the other skaters were whizzing past them. Some of the skaters were young children, some looked to be middle aged, a few even looked to be in their sixties, but most of them were teenagers. Every once in a while, someone would fall, then laugh and pick themselves up and resume skating. Several were doing fancy moves like figure eights or skating backwards. Starsky started skating, the long even strides of a kid who grew up skating on the sidewalks of New York City. Even though he was a long way from New York, he was still very much a kid at heart and the skating came easily to him. He looked behind him, just in time to see Maggie floundering, flapping her arms in an attempt to keep from falling. He quickly skated to her rescue, managing to reach out a protective arm just as she started to fall backwards. He pulled her up and for a few moments he held her close. She had thrown her arms around his neck and was holding onto him for dear life. Her could feel her heart racing and there was fear in her eyes.

"It's okay," he said. "I've got you." Their eyes locked and he felt a very strong urge to kiss her. She was holding her breath. Did she feel it, too? Slowly, he came to his senses. "Why don't we try this together?" he asked. "Little baby steps. Don't be afraid. I'm here. I won't let you fall." Maggie nodded mutely as he held her hand and the two of them set off on their trek around the edge of the rink. Gradually, she began to relax. He continued to offer words of encouragement and eventually, her strides became longer and more confident. By their second time around the rink, she had loosened her vise-like grip on his hand and even managed to smile. They went around one more time, their strides fairly even and closer in speed to those of the other skaters.

"Care to take a breather?" he asked. She nodded her head and they headed for the carpeted area in front of the concession stand. Unfortunately, Maggie was not prepared for the transition from smooth wood to carpeting and as they stepped up off of the rink, she went down.

"Maggie!" he cried, stooping down to where she sat in a heap. "Are you all right?"

She looked up at him and, at first, he was afraid she was crying. But then, he realized that she was not crying, she was laughing. "Watch out for that last step!" she said, "It's a killer!"

He started laughing, too, and pulled her up. Again, their eyes met and he felt a momentary tightness in his groin. Oh, Maggie, he thought, why do I suddenly want to kiss you tonight?. She looked so sweet and so innocent. Her face was flushed and she was breathless, as though they had just come up for air in the back seat of the Torino. He shook his head, trying to rid his mind of the image. "Let me, uh, let me buy you a diet soda," he said. "I'd say you've earned it!"

They drank their soft drinks and made small talk, but there was something very different between them. Or maybe he was just imagining it.


Maggie was quiet on the way home from the Roller-Rama. They had gone around the rink again a couple more times without any major mishaps. They had even joined in on the hokey pokey, one of the favorite games at the Roller-Rama. They had laughed and joked and had a good time, but for Maggie, something felt different now. She had felt it when Starsky had reached out to keep her from falling. She had thought, at first, that she had just imagined it--this strange sensation. But then, it had happened again later, after she had fallen in front of the concession stand. Whatever it was, something just seemed different now. Something in his eyes. When it had first happened, she had wanted to run away, like that night at the tea dance. But the second time, she had had the sudden urge to kiss him! What was wrong with her? This was Starsky. They were friends. She felt guilty having such thoughts about him. She glanced over at him as he drove her home. She was struck by how very handsome he was. She wondered what it would feel like to touch his face, to touch the soft curls of his hair. She wondered what it would be like--Dear God!--to kiss him.

He must have felt her eyes on him, for he looked over at her. "What's the matter? Is my driving starting to scare ya again?"

"No," she said. "No." She was scared, all right, but it was her own thoughts that were scaring her!

Before she knew it, they were at her apartment. Starsky hopped out of the car and bounded around to open her door for her. She was all for the Equal Rights Amendment, but she found that she liked these little, chivalrous gestures. "Thanks," she murmured, in something of a daze, as Starsky swung the car door shut and offered her his arm as they proceeded up the sidewalk to her door. Neither Jenny's nor Hutch's car were there, so she knew that they were still off somewhere, probably at Hutch's apartment. It didn't matter to Maggie. It was still fairly early, not yet 10:00.

This was the first time that Starsky had driven her home without Jenny and Hutch in tow. Again, things seemed suddenly very different now. She felt awkward. Should she invite him in? She rummaged through her purse, looking for her keys. When, at last, she found them, she turned to face him. He smiled at her, but even his smile seemed different now. It was not the cockeyed grin she had come to know, and...and love? Did she detect a touch of seriousness in it now? A hint of expectation?

"I had fun tonight," she said, although her words didn't sound quite right.

"So did I," he said, but he had a strange look in his eyes.

"Good night," she said, turning away to unlock her door.

"Maggie," he said. She felt a chill run down her back as he said her name. It was as though she had been stabbed with a knife. Slowly, she turned to face him. "Something happened tonight," he continued. She stood there, unable to move, unable to breathe.

"I know," she said at last. Her chin quivered.

"So you felt it, too?"

"I don't know what it was that I felt, but whatever it was, I am still feeling it now."

"I wanted to kiss you the skating rink."

Oh God, he had felt it too! After a long pause, she said, "I know. I wanted to kiss you, too."

"I want to kiss you right now."

"So do I." Her whole body was trembling now. They stood in silence for what seemed like an awfully long time. Then, slowly, he stepped forward. He put his right hand on her shoulder and with his left hand, he cradled her chin. Hesitantly, he moved his head toward hers. His kiss was gentle, like a butterfly's wings brushing against her lips. She held her breath. He pulled back briefly, his eyes searching hers for some sort of a response. She blinked her eyes, almost in disbelief. Then she closed her eyes and moved her head toward his and they kissed again. It went from gentle to passionate in a matter of seconds. She pressed her lips against his and her arms tightened about him with an intensity that surprised them both. One kiss melted into another and another. It was as though the flood gates had finally opened and the two of them were being swept along on waves of passion. Her hands reached up and felt the soft curls of his hair, the smoothness of his cheek. He drew her closer, encircling her with his strong arms. He opened his mouth and sought entry into hers with his tongue. Suddenly, she drew back, her eyes wide in fear. She was no longer twenty-six, but a twelve year-old again, and it was not David Starsky who stood in front of her, but a seventeen year-old neighbor named Luke Herron. Too late, Starsky realized that he had tried to take things a little too far.

"Maggie, I-I'm sorry," he said.

She moved away from him. "David," she said in a shaky voice. Somehow, she could not call him "Starsky" anymore. Starsky had been her pal, someone to joke around with. She wasn't sure who this new person was, but she couldn't call him "Starsky" any longer. "David," she said again, "what...what just happened?"

"I believe it's called 'kissing'," he said, trying to relieve the tension with a little humor. Maggie was not laughing. "Look, I'm sorry, Maggie. I shouldn't have kissed you...that way.

"No, it was my fault," she said. Once again, in her mind, she was an adolescent, shivering, on her knees, naked and ashamed, in the Herrons' basement. Luke was standing over her, telling her smugly that what had just happened between them was all her fault, that she had wanted it, and she had gotten just what she'd asked for.

"Maggie," Starsky said, trying to comfort her. "It wasn't your fault. I shoulda known--"

"No!" She turned away from him. "I'm scared, David."

"So am I, Maggie." She looked up at him questioningly and he continued. "I don't know, I don't know what to do now," he said. "This is all new territory for me."

She wasn't sure what he meant. "You''re not a...a virgin are you?"

His eyes opened wide and the corners of his mouth turned up. His smile was sad and sweet. He shook his head as her words gradually sunk in. "No, Maggie, I'm not. But I have a feeling you are."

Her eyes flashed with anger and shame. "I told you before, I was raped when I was twelve." She looked down. After all these years, there was still pain there, still fear, and perhaps a few other things, too, in spite of all her counseling, off and on, over the past fourteen years.

"And since then, have you ever had a sexual relationship with anyone?"

"No," she said. It was almost a whisper.

He reached for her, to hold her close in a protective way, but she pulled away, side-stepping him. "Then you are...still...a virgin, Maggie. And, I gotta be honest with you, I'm scared. Scared that I'm gonna do something wrong like I did just a minute ago--something that will frighten you or hurt you even more. And that's the last thing in the world that I want to do."

She was silent for a long time. "So, it's over, right?" she asked, convinced he was about to tell her good bye for the last time. "I'm never going to see you again."

"Is that what you want, Maggie?"

"No," she said. "But we can't go back to where we were, pretending that none of this ever happened. Where can we possibly go from here?"

"I hope," he said softly, "that we can just...take it slowly, one step at a time, and explore this 'uncharted territory' together." She looked at him for a long time. She couldn't believe it. He was not going to just walk out of her life, after all.

She nodded and tried to smile. "David," she said, "I-I can't promise you anything. What happened tonight, it might never happen again. Maybe..." she hated to say this, but fear suddenly closed around her heart like an invisible hand, "maybe...we shouldn't see one another least not for awhile."

"Are you sure about this?" He looked sad and startled, as though she had just slapped him.

"David, I'm not sure of anything right now!" Tears shimmered in her eyes.

He looked at his left hand and closed the fingers into a fist. Gently, playfully, sadly, he touched it against her jaw. "Here's lookin' at you, kid." It was Bogey's line, but it was Starsky's voice. He smiled at her and said, "I'll call you...tomorrow."

She nodded. "Good night."

"Good night," he said.

Chapter 10

Hutch awoke from a beautiful dream. He had been riding a chestnut mare along the beach, the breeze whipping through his hair and the horse's mane. It was sunset and the sea was calm and he felt such a sense of peace. The evening star was just coming out and he remembered pointing it out to someone who was riding beside him in his dream. As he became more fully awake, he was aware he was lying on his back with a woman sleeping in his arms. It was Jenny. He looked at the bedside clock--it was 11:23 am. The two of them had spent an incredible night, making love, dozing in each others' arms, eating a late night snack and finishing the bottle of wine, then making love again and again.

Jenny had called Maggie during one of their "breaks" around 10:30 to let her know that she would be spending the night at Hutch's place. As Jenny was dialing, she had told him she expected Maggie to be angry or at least concerned at their decision to consummate their relationship, but when she got off the phone, Jenny told him that Maggie had seemed distracted and somehow just not herself. Hutch had suggested that Starsky might have had something to do with it.

"What do you mean?" Jenny had asked him. Then he had explained that Starsky had been contemplating giving Maggie a call when Hutch had left him at work that afternoon.

Jenny had shaken her head. "Well, if Maggie and Starsky did go out somewhere, I can't see her acting different now."

Hutch had smiled. "Maybe Starsky was there when you called, breaking down Maggie's defensive 'wall' that you told me about?"

Jenny had looked at him in disbelief. "Oh I don't think so! You don't know Maggie!"

Hutch had shrugged. "You don't know my partner! He can be very charming."

Jenny had looked down, shaking her head, then she had smiled. "I know someone else who is pretty darned charming."

"Oh?" Hutch had asked, taking her in his arms. "Where is he? I'll 'moidelize' da bum!" They had spent the next half hour making love.

Now that it was morning, Hutch was hungry and ready to get up, but he couldn't do this without waking Jenny. He ran his right hand down her back and patted her round, firm bottom in a loving gesture. The left side of her face was resting on his chest with her right arm flung across his stomach and her left arm wedged under the pillows that they shared. Hutch bent his head down to kiss her hair, caressing her face with his left hand. She stirred and he softly said, "Hey, Sleepy Head, we need to wake up." She mumbled something unintelligible, but he persisted. "Jenny," he said, "come on, Love. You need to wake up." He kissed her forehead and tried to get her to open her eyes. Gradually they opened and she seemed a little disoriented at first, lifting her head and shaking it and rubbing her face with her right hand.

"Jenny," he said softly, "you need to wake up."

"Hutch," she said, at last, smiling at him in a dreamy sort of way. "What time is it?"

"It's almost 11:30," he said.

"It's not even midnight yet," she said, yawning.

"No," he said, with a gentle laugh "It's after eleven in the morning! I'm getting hungry and I need to use the bathroom, but I can't move, the way you're holding me captive!"

"Ummm," she said, "my captive. I like the sound of that."

They got up together, showered together, dressed, then started making brunch: cheese omelet's, toast, coffee, and chunks of fresh cantaloupe.

While they were eating, Jenny commented again on what a good cook Hutch was. "You and Maggie are just so much alike. Can you make lasagna?"

"Yeah, I've made lasagna before. Why?"

"Maggie makes the best lasagna I've ever had. Maybe we should invite you and Starsky over for some of Maggie's lasagna."

"Well, that sounds good," Hutch said, taking a bite of his omelets. "When do you want to do this?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe next Saturday night? I know! You could bring your guitar over and you and Maggie could serenade us after dinner."

"Sounds good. I'll check with Starsk to make sure he hasn't made any other plans."

"Oh," Jenny said, her train of thought momentarily derailed. "Is Starsky, uh, seeing anyone right now?"

"Not as of yesterday afternoon," Hutch said. "Of course, with my partner, all that can change literally overnight."

"Oh," Jenny said. "Well, maybe you should give him a call today and give him some advance notice. You know, so he can keep that night open?"

Hutch smiled at her over the top of his coffee mug. "You wouldn't be trying to fix my partner up with your roommate, would you?"

Jenny shrugged. "I know that Maggie is attracted to him. And they seem to have fun whenever they go out together--uh, just to have fun."

Hutch nodded. Starsky had commented to him before about how much he enjoyed Maggie's company. Still, as charming as his partner was, he wondered if that would be enough to overcome Maggie's reluctance to pursue a romantic relationship. He reached for the phone. By then, it was after noon--surely Starsky was up and out of bed. He dialed his partner's number and waited for an answer.

"Yeah?" the voice on the other end of the line said.

"Hey, Starsky. What's up?"

"Nothin' much, Blondie. How about you?"

"Well," Hutch cleared his throat, "Jenny and I were just talking and wondered if you might want to have dinner over at Jenny's and Maggie's place next Saturday?"

"Tell him Maggie will be fixing some of her lasagna," Jenny called out.

"Yeah, Jenny says that Maggie fixes a great lasagna," Hutch said with a grin.

There was silence on the other end of the line. Hutch had expected some good-natured ribbing from his partner about Jenny's still being there. Instead, Starsky said, "Does Maggie want me to come over?"

Hutch's smile faded. "We haven't talked to Maggie about this yet. Why?" Hutch was reminded of Jenny's comment about how strange Maggie had sounded on the phone last night.


"Did you and Maggie go somewhere last night?"

"Yeah, to Luigi's, then across the street to the Roller-Rama." Something didn't sound right. The words were too terse for his partner.

"So, what happened?" Hutch asked.

"Nothin' happened," Starsky said, defensively. "Who said anything happened?"

"Okay, okay," Hutch said, knowing his friend would eventually tell him what was bothering him.

Starsky was silent again. "Listen, if Maggie wants me to be there, I'll be there."

"Okay, pal. I'll see you tomorrow at work." Hutch hung up the phone. What, the Hell, was that all about?

"What is it?" Jenny asked, concerned over the way Hutch's brow was wrinkled and by the tone of his voice on the phone.

He shook his head. "I don't know. Starsk said he'll be there if Maggie wants him to be there."

"Sounds like maybe they had an argument," Jenny said, taking the phone. "Let me give Maggie a call." When Maggie answered, Jenny told her about their plans for next Saturday night. "I volunteered you to fix some of your lasagna for the four of us," she said.

"The four of us?" Maggie asked.

"Yeah, Starsky is going to be joining us for dinner," Jenny said. "That is okay, isn't it?"

"Yeah, sure," Maggie said without any emotion at all.

"I understand you and Starsky went out last night."

"Who told you that?" Maggie asked.

"Well, Hutch did. He just called Starsky to make sure he'd be free for dinner next Saturday and Starsky mentioned that the two of you ate at Luigi's, then went roller skating last night."

"Yeah," Maggie said. "We did."

"Maggie, did something happen last night?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, you sound a little strange right now--the same way you did last night. And when Hutch spoke to Starsky, he said that Starsky sounded a little strange, too. Is there something wrong?"

"No," Maggie said. "I gotta go. See you later."


Maggie was doing laundry when Jenny returned home shortly after 3:00 that afternoon. Jenny had stopped at the grocery on the way home from Hutch's apartment to pick up a few items she knew they were out of. As Jenny was putting the groceries away, she noticed that Maggie was strangely silent.

"They had a buy one, get one free sale on that kind of granola that you like," Jenny said, putting both boxes of cereal into the cupboard. Maggie nodded, folding towels on the dining room table. "Hutch likes that granola stuff, too," Jenny said. "You know, it's funny, but he reminds me a lot of you. He even plays the guitar and sings. He's even written a few songs. Just like you."

"That's nice," Maggie said, somewhat distracted.

"He played some of them for me last night. I told him he ought to bring his guitar with him next Saturday night when he and Starsky come over for dinner. Maybe you and Hutch can serenade us after dinner."

"I'm not that good, Jen," Maggie said.

"What do you mean? You sound great when you play and sing with the youth group at church!"

"The guys are not going to want to hear songs like that," Maggie said.

"I bet they would. You know, Amazing Grace or that arrangement of Alleluia with the descant that you sing? Or all those campfire songs you know, like Today or Land of the Silver Birch? I'll bet you and Hutch could play some songs together and we could all sing along."

Maggie didn't say anything.

"Okay," Jenny said, coming over to her friend and sitting down across the table from her. "Spill it."

"Spill what?"

"I don't know, you tell me," Jenny said. Maggie went on folding towels with a zealousness that was not warranted. When Maggie didn't answer, Jenny asked, "Are you angry because I spent the night with Hutch last night?"

Maggie shrugged. "You're a big girl. Whatever you and Hutch decide to do is your business." Then, after a moment, Maggie added, "Did you and know, sleep together?"

"If you mean, 'Did we make love?', the answer is 'yes'," said Jenny, holding her breath, waiting for a sermon or at least an admonition from her friend. Even though Jenny was a religious person, she did not feel that having a sexual relationship with someone you were committed to was sinful. And, after last night, she certainly felt a definite commitment to Kenneth Hutchinson. Several years ago, Jenny had discussed this subject of pre-marital sex with her priest. He was a rather liberal-minded man. He had not exactly given her permission to engage in pre-marital sex, but he had not condemned her for it, either. However, Maggie was more conservative in her views. She hated to see Jenny involving herself sexually with someone--especially after how devastated Jenny had been when she and Tony had broken up. Jenny and Tony had planned to be married, but monogamy was not one of Tony's strong points. Even after Jenny had caught Tony in bed with another girl, Jenny had still been willing at least to forgive, if not to forget. But in spite of Tony's faults, at least he had had the decency to call the wedding off, realizing that he was not ready to be faithful to just one woman.

Maggie was silent again, but at last she said, "It's been a long time since Tony betrayed you. You know how you're always telling me that I hide behind a wall? Well, it seems to me that you've been hiding behind a kind of wall for the last three years. I guess it's time for your wall to come down now. I'm happy for you, Jen--really happy. Hutch seems a lot different from Tony. I think he'll treat you right."

Jenny couldn't believe her ears. She smiled out of relief and sheer joy that Maggie was being so supportive of her relationship with Hutch. But, if her spending the night with Hutch was not the problem, then why was Maggie upset? It must have something to do with Starsky. "What happened between you and Starsky last night?"

"I told you before, it was nothing."

"No, earlier when I asked, you avoided the question entirely. Now you are implying that something did happen, but 'it was nothing.' There is a difference."

Maggie stopped folding the laundry and looked long and hard at her friend. She had never had trouble talking to Jenny before about anything, but she had never had anything like this to talk to Jenny about. Maggie looked down.

Jenny suddenly became concerned. Starsky was a very charming, very attractive man. And Maggie was an attractive woman. And Maggie had told Jenny how attracted she was to him. Even though Maggie had been raped, she was still so naive. Surely Starsky knew this. Surely he would not try to take advantage of Maggie's innocence. Jenny put her hand on Maggie's arm, "Maggie, did Starsky try anything last night?" Maggie continued to look down at her lap. Jenny attempted to get her friend to look up at her. "Maggie?"

When Maggie at last looked up at her friend, a single tear was making its way down her cheek. "It was all my fault."

"What? What was all you fault?" Jenny was imagining the worst. As much as she wanted her friend to have a normal love life, she knew Maggie was not ready for anything of a sexual nature yet.

"I fell at the skating rink--twice--and each time, David came to my rescue." Jenny noticed that Maggie now called him "David", but she didn't comment on this. Maggie continued, "Both times, when he put his arms around me, I Apparently, he felt it, too. When he brought me home, he---we...we kissed each other." Maggie looked down once again and fell silent.

Jenny began to relax a little bit. "Is that all that happened?"

"Is that all?" Maggie asked. "Jenny, we kissed each other! Isn't that enough?"

Jenny smiled. At last! she thought, a crack has formed in Maggie's wall! Now she was curious, as well as relieved. "Was it a real kiss or just a peck on the cheek?"

Maggie looked up at her friend. Jenny still doesn't get it. "It was a long, passionate kiss," Maggie said, rather impatiently, "or, rather, it was several kisses, one right after another."

"Were here when it happened?" Jenny thought perhaps they had wound up lying down on the couch or something else that might have seemed a little frightening to Maggie.

"No," Maggie said. "We were standing on the front porch."

Jenny was now ready to offer sisterly advice and congratulations to her friend on her first steps toward intimacy. "Well," she said, "How was it? Was Stars--uhh, David--a good kisser?"

"It was scary," Maggie said. "He even said it was scary for him, too."

Jenny frowned. "Scary? How?"

"He called it 'uncharted territory'--for him, as well as for me. He has never dated someone who was a...a rape victim. He also told me that I am really a virgin--in spite of the rape." Jenny nodded. He has a point. "He also apologized for going too far."

"Too far?" Jenny asked.

"He, uhh, he tried put his mouth," Maggie said, wincing at the memories and the emotions that David's kiss has stirred in her last night.

Now, suddenly Jenny understood why Maggie was so upset. "He tried to French kiss you?"

"Yeah," Maggie said, "I-I guess that's what it's called."

"No wonder you freaked out," Jenny said. "It brought back memories of the rape." Maggie had told her long ago the details of that awful day the summer before they had met. Maggie was crying openly now.

Jenny got up and hugged her friend. "Maggie," she said, "I'm sure that it was scary for you--and for him. But Dave Starsky is not Luke Herron. Starsky seems like a sweet, caring, sensitive guy. And it also sounds like he is really attracted to you. And I know you are attracted to him."

Maggie shook her head. "I told him I wasn't sure we should see one another again--at least, not for awhile."

"Are you afraid to see him next Saturday? I mean, Hutch and I will be here--"

"I'm not afraid to see him," Maggie said.

"Then what's the problem?" Jenny asked.

"I don't know. I guess I'm afraid that he'll try to kiss me again." Then, after a long moment, she added, "Or maybe, I'm afraid that he won't try to kiss me again."

"Then tell him about the rape," Jenny said simply.

"He knows I was raped."

"No, I mean, tell him all the details about that day. He's a cop. He's probably interviewed dozens of rape victims. He'll understand what you went through--what you're still going through."

"I thought Dennis was sensitive and caring, too, remember? When I told him about the rape, he made fun of me and called me a dinosaur!"

Jenny gave her friend another hug. "You are not a dinosaur. You are a woman who has hidden behind her wall for long enough. It is time for you to come out, my moon child," she sighed.

"Moon child?"

"Yep. You're mooning around like an anxious adolescent over your first love. My Aunt Grace would call you a 'moon child'." Maggie nodded. Somehow the term seemed to fit.

Chapter 11

It was about 5:00 Saturday evening when Hutch pulled up in his battered old Ford outside of the apartment that Jenny and Maggie shared. Right behind him was Starsky in his red and white Torino. Hutch reached into the backseat of his car and took out his guitar, along with a bottle of Chianti. Hutch was wearing jeans with an embroidered jeans jacket over a white shirt. Starsky was wearing jeans and a maroon-colored tee shirt, along with a black leather jacket.

"You're sure Maggie's okay with me being here?" Starsky asked his friend as they walked toward the door. Starsky had spoken to Maggie a couple of times on the phone during the past week. She had apologized for over-reacting and had tried to assure him that she really wanted him to come for dinner with Hutch. On Monday, Starsky had described the events of Friday evening to Hutch and Hutch had told him what Jenny had learned from speaking to Maggie on Saturday. Both Maggie and Hutch had tried to reassure Starsky that he was welcome, but Starsky was still a little leery of being there. He knew that Hutch and Jenny planned to go out by themselves after dinner and he had promised himself that he would leave when they did. The last thing he wanted to do was to see fear in Maggie's eyes again--especially as a result of something he had done.

"Everything's fine, Starsk," his friend said. "You talked to Maggie yourself. She told you she wanted you to be here."

"Yeah, but you didn't see the look in her eyes last week, Hutch."

"I know, buddy, but I also know you. You would never intentionally do anything to hurt Maggie." He put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "C'mon, let's try this lasagna. If it's even half as good as Jenny says it is, this will be a night to remember!"

"A night to remember," Starsky said. For Hutch and Jenny, maybe, but not for Maggie--or for me.


"Hi, guys," Jenny said, opening the door. "Come on in! You're a little early. Dinner won't be ready for another hour or so."

"Well, Love, that's why I brought the old guitar," Hutch said, giving her a big kiss on the lips. Maggie happened to stick her head out of the kitchen at that moment. She looked at Jenny and Hutch, locked in their embrace, and then she looked at David. Their eyes met in a look that spoke volumes. Maggie quickly ducked back into the kitchen. Oh God! David looks even more handsome than I remember! She set the timer for the lasagna and busied herself putting the finishing touches on the salad. She had already made a cheesecake for dessert.

"Maggie," Jenny said, in the kitchen doorway, "why don't you come out here in the living room with us? Hutch brought his guitar along like he promised. Why don't you go get yours and we can make everyone sing for their supper!"

"I-I'd rather not," Maggie said. "I'm kinda busy."

"Doing what?" Jenny asked. "The lasagna is baking and won't be done for about an hour. You've made a wonderful dessert and the salad looks like it is ready. The table is set. The only thing we need are drinks. Hutch wants a beer, Stars--I mean, Dave--wants a Coke, I'll have one of your diet sodas, so that just leaves you." Maggie put the salad in the fridge and Jenny began fixing the drinks.

"I thought you said we were going to get out the guitars after dinner," Maggie said.

Jenny smiled nervously as she waited for the bubbles in her diet soda to fizzle down enough for her to pour some more into her glass. "Oh. Well, Hutch and I have decided to go out to a movie later, just the two of us, so I suggested that he and Starsky come early so we could sing before dinner. I guess I forgot to tell you."

"You're leaving me alone with David?" she asked. There was a touch of panic in her voice.

"Come on, Maggie. I think that you and St--uhh, David need to talk. You know, get this resolved."

"He and I have talked, this week, by phone."

"All right, then," Jenny said. "So let's go out there and have some fun. You know how much you love to sing." Jenny squeezed her friend's hand. Maggie nodded, then reluctantly followed Jenny into the living room.

"Something smells really good in there," Hutch smiled as he took his bottle of beer from Jenny. Maggie handed Starsky his glass of Coke. She wondered why he was drinking a soft drink instead of a beer like Hutch.

Hutch took a swig of his beer, then picked up his guitar. He began tuning it. Jenny looked at Maggie and nodded her head toward Maggie's bedroom, where she kept her guitar. Maggie looked at Jenny for a long moment, then nodded in resignation and went to get her guitar.

She brought it out and Hutch motioned for her to sit on the couch next to him, since there was more room for them there with their instruments. Starsky and Jenny sat in chairs on either side of the couch. Maggie and Hutch took a few moments to tune their guitars together, then they looked at one another.

"Ladies first," Hutch smiled. Maggie's mind suddenly went blank. What should I play?

Jenny prompted her friend. "How about Amazing Grace?"

"It's a church song," Maggie said apologetically.

"It's one of my favorites," Hutch said. "Shall we do it together?" Maggie nodded.

"Key of F?" she asked, nervously. Hutch nodded.

Maggie began strumming the last line of the melody as an intro and Hutch followed her lead. With a somewhat shaky voice, she began to sing,
"A-ma-zi-ing grace, how sweet the sound,
Tha-at saved a-a wretch li-ike me,
I-I once wa-as lost, but now am found,
Wa-as blind, bu-ut now I see."

Jenny and Starsky looked at one another and smiled. Jenny could tell that Starsky was really impressed with Maggie's clear soprano voice. Maggie glanced up at Hutch and he nodded his encouragement as they moved on to the second verse. Hutch now began singing with her. He seemed to know all the words and the chords by heart, as she did.

"Twa-as grace tha-at taught my heart to fear,
A-and grace my-y fears re-lieved,
Ho-ow pre-cious did that grace ap-pear
The-e hour I-I first be-lieved."

By the end of the second verse, Hutch had broken into harmony, no doubt something he remembered from church choir from when he was a youth.

As they moved into the third and fourth verses, Maggie and Hutch were doing two-part harmony and Hutch was adding some fancy riffs on his guitar. Maggie seemed at last to be relaxing a bit. Hutch looked at Maggie as they neared the end of the fourth verse with a quizzical look on his face, as if to ask, Is there a fifth verse? I don't remember. Maggie nodded and said, "Back to verse one."

They repeated the first verse and this time even Jenny and Starsky joined in.

When they were done, there was laughter and a round of applause. Jenny was relieved that things were going so well--so far.

"Maggie, I knew that you could sing, but that was beautiful!" David Starsky said.

"It really was," Hutch said. "And you play very well, too."

Maggie shook her head. "I'm a better singer than I am a guitar player. I just sort of strum along--nothing like the fancy picking that you were doing, Hutch." She said. "And you have a very nice voice, too." Hutch nodded his thanks.

"Maggie," Jenny said, "do that version of Alleluia that you do with the kids at church."

Maggie shook her head. "Jenny, I do a descant on that one. I don't think--"

"What's a descant?" Starsky asked.

"It's a harmony part done by a soprano voice," Hutch answered, matter-of-factly.

"I can sing the regular part," Jenny said, for she had a strong, clear voice herself. "And it's so easy, I'll bet that Hutch and Starsky could join in on this one, too." She looked at each of them as she explained, "You simply repeat the word 'Alleluia' over and over for the first and last verse. Then the two middle verses--"

"Uh, Jen, we don't have to do all four verses. If you want me to do the whole descant, you can just sing the eight-fold Alleluia for each verse." Maggie had never discussed religion with David, but she suspected that he might be Jewish given his Semitic good looks, and she didn't want to make him uncomfortable singing verses about 'blessed Jesus'. Besides, Maggie was nervous enough about doing this descant for the two men.

"Okay," Hutch said. "What chords are we using for this one?" Maggie went over the chord progression with him and he nodded. As she hummed it, he said, "I think I may have heard this before. You start the intro and nod when you want me to jump in."

The next few minutes, Jenny , Hutch, and Starsky sang the basic melody of the eight-fold Alleluia as Maggie's clear descant seemed to sail over their voices like a beautiful bird in flight. When the song ended with Maggie's lovely voice a full octave above theirs, it brought chills to Starsky. He shuddered and tried to rub the goosebumps from his arms. Jenny and Hutch exchanged a satisfied smile.

Again, both men complimented Maggie on her singing voice. "Did you ever have voice lessons?" Hutch asked.

"I took a couple of voice classes in college as electives," Maggie said, "but that's it."

The time went quickly as the pre-dinner sing-along continued. Hutch was indeed a much better guitarist than Maggie. As Hutch began to take the lead on a couple of songs, including the one he had written that he had played for Jenny the week before, Maggie found herself putting her guitar down and just listening or simply trying to harmonize, vocally, with him. Hutch knew lots of songs that Maggie knew the words to--folk songs like The Ash Grove and John Henry, Beatles songs like Here, There, and Everywhere and Yesterday, old standards like It's A Sin to Tell A Lie, and country songs such as Lying in Your Loving Arms Again. Maggie was a little embarrassed singing along with this last one, especially with the looks that passed between Hutch and Jenny. Before they knew it, the timer went off, signaling that the lasagna was done and Maggie scuttled off to the kitchen as the others moved toward the dining room table.

When they were all seated, Hutch poured each of them a glass of Chianti. Maggie didn't really want any, but Jenny shot her a look that silently pleaded with her not to make any waves. Hutch raised his glass in a toast, "To Jenny and to Maggie--two very beautiful and very talented women." The four of them clinked their glasses and Maggie took a small sip. The Chianti seemed to burn its way down her throat, much the way communion wine did.

Jenny raised her glass next. "To Ken and David--men who are as handsome and talented as they are brave and charming." Again, they clinked glasses.

Starsky was next. "To love and life, to good friends and good food." He looked at Maggie as he said this. Maggie felt the color rush to her cheeks as she clinked her glass with them this time. It was now her turn to make a toast. She raised her glass, uncertain what to say. At last, she said, "To Hutch, to Jenny, and to David," looking at each one in turn, "three people whom I care about very much." They clinked glasses and started in on the food.

The conversation was light and punctuated with laughter. All evening, Maggie felt David's eyes on her and it made her uncomfortable. Everyone was highly complimentary of Maggie's cooking. Maggie had made two batches of lasagna, just to be sure she had enough. Both Hutch and Starsky agreed it was the best lasagna they had ever tasted. And the cheesecake was a big hit, too. The four of them took their dessert and coffee out to the living room. This time, Hutch and Jenny sat close together on the couch with Maggie and Starsky in the side chairs. Around 7:15, Hutch looked at his watch. "I guess we need to be leaving soon if we want to get to the movie theatre before the crowd." He and Jenny took their dishes out to the kitchen.

"Why don't you just leave the dishes in the sink and I'll get them when I get home," Jenny said to Maggie, who had brought in her dishes.

"Don't be ridiculous," she said. "you two go on to your movie. I can get the dishes."

"Yeah," Dave Starsky said, bringing his dishes into the kitchen, "I'll help Maggie with KP duty." Maggie started to protest, but he insisted, saying it was the least he could do after the wonderful meal she had fixed for them--as well as the "entertainment" before dinner. Maggie looked at Jenny with a sudden flash of panic in her eyes. I thought Dave was going to leave when you did, her eyes asked her friend. But Starsky's smile was warm and reassuring. "Go on, you two. I'll stay and help Maggie before I go home."

Jenny looked at Maggie and nodded at her. It will be okay, Maggie.

Chapter 12

It took just a few minutes to put the leftover food away and to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

"David, would you like to take any of these leftovers home with you?" Maggie asked. At first he declined, but then he agreed--the lasagna and the cheesecake were just to good to pass up and there was plenty left over.

"I'd love to," he said, in all sincerity. "And you really are a terrific cook, Maggie. That's the best cheesecake I've had since I left New York!" Maggie nodded shyly. "And your singing! My God! You have a beautiful voice! That thing you did to the Alleluia, it gave me goosebumps!"

"The descant?" she asked.

"Yeah, that was it." She nodded and looked down. He hoped he wasn't lavishing the praise on too heavily. He truly was taken with Maggie's talents as a singer as well as a cook. And she's a good looker, he thought, and a good dancer--and a good kisser. Should I leave immediately after we're through here?

"I'll probably send some of this home with Hutch, too," Maggie said, "when he and Jenny get back from the movie." But then she was thoughtful for a moment. "Do you suppose they will even be coming back here tonight?" she asked him.

He shook his head and shrugged. It must not be easy for her, knowing that Jenny and Hutch are lovers. "I don't know," he said, "Hutch didn't say anything to me, one way or the other."

Maggie nodded. "I guess I could save it for him." As she made her way around the kitchen tidying up, Maggie moved on to the coffee maker. There looked to be about three cups left in the decanter. "Would you like some more coffee?" she asked.

He had been hoping for a reason to stay a while longer. "Sure, I'd love some. But I already put my cup in the dishwasher."

Maggie laughed. It was one of the few times he had seen her laugh all evening. "That's all right," David, "I'll let you have another one!"

He laughed with her. He noticed she got down two cups. She put the soap in the dishwasher and turned it on, then they took their coffee out into the living room. The two of them sat on the couch this time, although he kept himself at what he thought would be seen by her as a safe, non-threatening distance. He noticed that Hutch had taken his guitar with him, which probably meant he and Jenny would be going to his place after the movie. Starsky followed Maggie's glance and realized that she was probably thinking the same thing.

There was an awkward silence, then Maggie said, "Perhaps this is too personal a question, David, but are you Jewish?"

"No, it's not too personal, and, yes, I am," he said.

"How is it that you knew the words to Amazing Grace?"

He laughed. "Well, by heritage, I am a Jew; although, to tell you the truth, it has been years since I've set foot inside a temple. I guess I've learned songs like Amazing Grace and Silent Night and other Christian songs just through osmosis. I've heard these songs over the years--on TV and the radio, over the Muzak in the shopping mall, and in high school chorus--much the same way that I'll bet you've learned songs such as Havah Nagilah and Shalom Chaverim."

Maggie nodded; she knew both of those songs. "I was just afraid, even if you weren't Jewish, that you and Hutch wouldn't want to hear a bunch of church songs tonight. I was afraid it would make you uncomfortable."

He smiled, "No, Maggie. It didn't make me uncomfortable. Your voice is so beautiful, it didn't matter to me what you were singing."

She looked down. She seemed nervous. He was reminded of how she had been at the tea dance. As long as they were dancing, and not talking, she was at ease. He had seen that same level of relaxation tonight as she was singing. Perhaps music was one way for him to reach her, to put her at ease. Without thinking, he asked, "Maggie, would you like to dance?"

"Right here?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said, "I thought maybe you'd like to 'cut a rug' with me!"

She remembered how much fun they had had at the tea dance. "Okay," she smiled shyly. "What shall we dance to?"

"Oh, I don't care," he said, pleased that his suggestion had been well-received. "How about some Glenn Miller or maybe some Benny Goodman?"

She set down her coffee cup and went over to the corner where she and Jenny had their stereo and their records. While she went through the albums, Starsky set his empty coffee cup down and moved the coffee table out of the way. In a moment, the swinging sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra filled the room. It was a "greatest hits" album that featured both up-tempo numbers, such as In the Mood and Juke Box Saturday Night, as well as slow numbers like Moonlight Serenade and At Last. They did the jitterbug to the faster numbers, then reverted to slow dancing on the others while they caught their breath. As they danced, he could feel her relax in his arms. Even during the slow numbers, she felt comfortable enough to rest her cheek against his right shoulder. She no longer felt stiff, the way she had during their first dance over a month ago. In fact, Starsky realized, the only thing that felt the least bit stiff was a certain engorged part of his anatomy.


Maggie had been nervous at the thought of being alone with David Starsky, but now that they were dancing, she felt at ease. As she rested her head on his shoulder, she was aware of how good he smelled. She wondered if it were his aftershave or the soap he used or merely his own individual scent. She had noticed it before, but it had never seemed as strong to her as it did tonight. It was musky and sweet and it filled her senses along with the gentle sounds of the song, Perfidia. It was, by far, her favorite Glenn Miller song. They had not played it at the tea dance and she was happy to be sharing this song with him now. They had spoken very little since they had begun dancing and Maggie was glad of that. It was talking with David that seemed to intimidate her the most when they were slow dancing. She was afraid she might blurt out something to him about how handsome he looked or how good he smelled or...or how much she wanted to kiss him again.

"With a sad lament, my dreams have faded like this broken melody..."

The words and the music were bittersweet, a Latin melody that always made Maggie think of unrequited passion and love betrayed, rather like Jenny after she and Tony had split up. Her thoughts turned to Jenny now. She was glad to see her so happy with Hutch. Would they eventually be married? That would mean that Maggie would be alone. Maggie had pondered all this three and a half years ago when Jenny and Tony had announced their engagement. After they had broken up, these past three years had seemed like a reprieve, but only temporarily. Eventually, Maggie knew that her friend would marry someone--Hutch?--and live happily ever after. Maggie doubted she would ever marry. And again, the bittersweet sounds of the song spoke to her heart.

"While the gods of love looked down and laughed at what romantic fools we mortals be..."

She lifted her eyes to look at David. He had been looking at her, she had no idea for how long. Their eyes met and slowly, slowly, he leaned his head down to kiss her. They maintained eye contact the whole time. It was as though he wanted to be certain there was no fear in her eyes this time. It was only when their lips met, that she finally closed her eyes and she returned his kiss gently. They continued to move in time to the music, but their kiss began to grow in intensity. Her arms went around him and she found herself rubbing her hands up and down his back. He felt so solid--"barrel-chested", her father would have said. They stopped moving their legs at some point and his arms held her close. He seemed to be trying to confine his hands to her head and her shoulders, nothing lower. And, while he kissed her passionately, his mouth remained closed.

At last, they came out of their clinch. Again, he seemed to search her eyes for any sign of fear. She smiled at him, a nervous attempt at bravery. He smiled down at her. "Care to sit the next one out?" She nodded and they sat down again on the couch, this time side-by-side. In fact, they each kept an arm around the other's back. He was sitting on her left side and she settled her head again on his right shoulder. She ran her right hand through his hair, savoring how soft the curls felt. He buried his face in the top of her head. My God! He smelled and felt so good! She looked up at him and they began to kiss again, slow tentative kisses at first, each kiss separated from the next, like a set of exquisite pearls strung on a necklace. Gradually, each kiss became longer and more ardent. Again, they reached a point where they stopped to catch their breath. In a trembling voice, she asked, "David, would you teach me...would you teach me how French kiss?"

Her question must have caught him by surprise, because he asked her to repeat it. When she did, he smiled, and said he would be happy to.

"What do I, uhh, we do?" she asked.

"We just relax," he said, "and we kiss each other the way we've been kissing each other all along. The only difference is, we open our mouths and...and taste each other--gently, like savoring a fine wine." She swallowed and nodded, trying to summon her courage. "You know," he continued, "we don't have to do this."

"I know," she said. "But I'd like try it--if you would." He smiled and lifted her chin with his left hand. They began to kiss again--softly, sweetly--with their lips slightly parted. Again, each kiss was separate from the next. Gradually, she became aware of his tongue tentatively touching her mouth. She began to do the same. In time, the kisses became longer and their mouths opened wider. This time, when he put his tongue in her mouth, it felt nothing like an invasion, the way it had when he had tried it the week before or the way it had so long ago in the Herrons' basement. Instead, it was just as David had said. He seemed to be tasting her, savoring her, and she him. He tastes as good as he smells and he looks! Their kisses deepened. Their hearts beat faster, their breathing quickened, and their tongues entwined in a dance all their own, unleashing some of the pent-up emotion she had been running away from for the past fourteen years. Maggie wasn't sure how long they stayed on the couch like that, she only knew she wished that they would never have to stop. Not that she wanted to continue any further down this road to sexual intimacy--at least not tonight. She only knew that she wanted to continue kissing David Starsky.

Chapter 13

Slow it down, Starsky, he told himself. Don't overdo it this time. Nice and slow. Nice and slow. He had lost track of how long they had been making out on the couch. All he knew was, the bulge in his pants was ready to explode, but he would have to deal with that later, on his own. Right now, it was important to hold her, to help her feel comfortable, safe, loved. He smiled to himself. Maggie was quite a kisser. It wasn't her expertise that excited him, rather her innocence, her sincerity. There was no game-playing with Maggie, no hidden agendas, no coy act meant to tease him. He wanted so much to protect her, to teach her what love and intimacy was all about. He could picture her, warm and soft, in his arms, the two of them crashing over the edge of passion into something beyond anything either of them had ever experienced before. He knew it would take a long time to get to that point--if, indeed, they would ever get there. But sitting there, cuddled with her on the couch, he felt it was a real possibility.

At last, she spoke. "David, I...I want to tell you about...about the day I was raped." She searched his face, watching for his reaction. He knew from in-service training that it was important for rape victims to be able to talk about their experiences, especially with their lovers or mates. Starsky had never pictured himself having to listen to such an account as anything but a cop, taking a victim's statement. It was hard enough for him to listen in those situations, but he always had a sense of professional detachment that insulated him and prevented him from over-reacting to what he heard. Suddenly, he realized that if he were to listen to Maggie tell about her rape, he would not have that professional detachment to fall back on. This was not going to be easy. But then, he thought, it will be even harder for her. She had to live through it, has to live with the memory of it every day of her life. The least I can do is listen to her tonight. Besides, he thought, the very fact that she wants to tell me about it says something about her trust in me. C'mon, Starsky, you can take it.

He moved around to face her on the couch. His right arm was still around her shoulders. He now took her right hand in his left. "Tell me," he said gently.

She again searched his face, wanting, he supposed, to be certain of his sincerity before she began baring her soul to him. She took a deep breath, then began. "The summer that I turned twelve years old, we were living in Cincinnati, Ohio. We had lived there all my life--my mom, my dad, and myself. I was tall for my age, and, uhh, well-developed. I looked much older than I was--more like sixteen, instead of twelve."

Starsky smiled, trying to picture Maggie at that age.

"In June," she continued, "a new family moved in next door to us, the Herrons. They had a daughter, Trisha, who was my age. They also had a son named Luke who was seventeen. Luke Herron was handsome, he had his driver's license, he even had his own car. I became good friends with Trisha, so I spent a lot of time at her house that summer, but I guess part of why I liked going over to her house was because I always hoped I would get to see Luke. He never seemed to pay much attention to me when he saw me. In fact, I was convinced that, as far as he was concerned, I didn't even really exist. In looking back, I remember that Trisha spent several nights at our house--sleepovers, you know--but she never asked me to spend the night at her house. I never found it strange at the time. I also never wondered why I was only allowed to be at her house when one of her parents were home. My parents were that way, too--no friends allowed over without parental supervision. In retrospect, I know now that the Herrons' reasons for these rules were based on a different reason than my parents'--one that would only come to light on August sixteenth."

Starsky steeled himself for what he knew was coming.

Maggie took a deep breath, then continued. "August sixteenth was a Tuesday. I went over to Trisha's house that morning and knocked on the front door. Their garage door was closed, otherwise, I would have known that the only car in the garage was Luke's. I found out later that Trisha and her mom were at the shopping center, buying new school clothes, and, of course, her dad was at work. He was a lawyer, by the way. When I knocked on the door, it took awhile for anyone to answer. I almost gave up and walked back home, but then Luke answered the door. I asked him if Trisha could come out to play and he said they were watching TV in the rec room down in their basement. Their rec room was really neat--it had been remodeled with wood paneling and a shag carpet. They had a TV and a stereo down there, a large, overstuffed couch and chairs. Her dad even had a bar down there. I used to think that their basement was the coolest room I had ever seen." Maggie laughed, a hollow, derisive laugh.

"Anyway, I followed Luke down the stairs. I wondered where Mrs. Herron was, since she was usually in the kitchen--she was quite a cook and Trisha and I used to help her bake things. I guess I figured that maybe she was downstairs, too. When we got to the basement, the TV was on, but I didn't see Trisha--or her mom. I turned around to ask Luke where they were, but he had this strange look in his eyes. He told me that he had lied, that Trisha and his mom were out shopping and they wouldn't be back for a long time. He also told me that he was glad I had come over when I did, because we could have the house to ourselves. I didn't know what he meant at first. Then he touched me, on my arm, and told me he had been watching me for a long time. He said he knew that I had a crush on him and he said that he had a crush on me, too. I couldn't believe it! I was so elated! Then he touched my hair, and told me that I was a lot more...mature than most girls who were my age. In fact, he said I was more mature than most of the girls his age! He said that I was a 'real woman'. He asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I, of course, said yes, even though I had no clue what that meant--or, rather, what he meant by that."

Starsky shifted uncomfortably on the couch. This was taking an unbearably long time.

"He led me to the couch and we sat down, He told me how beautiful I was. All the time, he kept touching me--my hair, my cheek, my neck. Eventually, he breast. It was through my clothes, of course, but it felt like a bolt of lightning going through me. I was both thrilled and shocked at the same time. Then he started to kiss me. He was gentle for the first few seconds, but very quickly his kiss became hard. He squeezed my breast and I tried to push him away. He only grabbed me harder with his other hand and...and shoved his tongue into my mouth." She looked down.

Now I understand her reaction to the other night, he thought. "Maggie," he said, "I'm sorry. I had no idea--"

"No," she said, "there's no need for you to apologize. You didn't know."

She was silent for a few moments. Her voice was shaking now as she continued. "He was so strong. I had no idea how strong he was. Trisha had told me that he was into body-building--he had a set of barbells in his room. He...he tried to pin me down on the couch, but I managed to break free from him as he was trying to remove my shirt. I started running for the steps, but he caught me. He knocked me down and shoved his forearm across my neck. I though he was going to suffocate me or even break my neck. He told me if I was a good girl and would lie still, that he wouldn't hurt me. So, I just froze. He removed my clothes and touched me--all over. I was crying by then. I kept asking him to please stop, but he said that, if I was going to be his girl friend, we would have to do this. He kept saying how breasts were. He kept fondling me and I felt something like an earthquake inside of me. I couldn't stop shaking. With one hand, he, he slid down the cutoff jeans he was wearing...and his underwear. Then he touched me...between my legs. He told me he knew how much I wanted him because I was so wet. I didn't know what he meant. I thought I had...had wet my pants before he had taken them off of me and that was why I was wet. The next thing I knew, he was pushing himself between my legs, trying to get inside of me. I...I never saw his penis, I couldn't bring myself to look at him. I had my eyes closed, just wishing he would stop so I could go home. He...he had a hard time entering me, because I, of course, was a virgin. He cursed at me, telling me that I might look like a woman on the outside, but I was still a little girl on the inside and that he would have to 'take care of that'.

"I remember a terrible pain. It felt like my insides were being torn apart. I thought he might be jamming a knife up inside of me--the pain was so intense. Thankfully, it didn't take him long finish. He pulled himself out of me and stood up, pulling his pants back up. I curled up in a fetal position, afraid to move. He told me to get up and I made it into a kneeling position. When I looked down and I saw blood on the carpet beneath me, I thought he really had put a knife up inside of me. I was trembling and crying. I thought I was going to die. I didn't know what had happened to me. I had a vague notion of where babies came from, but I had never heard the word 'rape'. I felt so scared and so ashamed as I sat there, doubled over, naked and bleeding on the shag carpet. He told me to stop crying and acting like a baby, that it was my fault for 'coming on' to him. He said he had done me a favor and that I had wanted it as much as he had. Then he threw my clothes at me and I got dressed. He made me help him try to clean the blood off of the carpet. He told me he would kill my dog if I told anybody what had happened that day." She was silent again for a few moments.

Starsky had so many questions, but he wanted to let her tell what happened in her own way.

"When I went home, I was still shaken, but I was no longer crying. My mother saw me and noticed the blood on my shorts and my thighs. She thought that I had started my period. I had already been having them for about a year at this point. I started to cry and it was a long time before I was able to tell her what had happened. I was so afraid that Luke would make good his threat to kill my dog. When I finally told my mother what had happened, she called my father at work. He immediately came home. I loved my father, but I hated having to repeat for him the whole story of what had happened. He went next door to speak to the Herrons. Mrs. Herron and Trisha still weren't home yet and it took a long time for Luke to answer the door. I don't know what exactly my father said to him. I know that he made Luke call Mr. Herron at work. My father later told the police that Luke told his father "it happened again" or words to that effect. My dad stayed there until Mr. Herron got home. The police were called and I was taken to the hospital. God! I hated being examined by the doctor there--it was almost as humiliating as what Luke had done to me. Pictures were taken of the bruises I had, seminal fluid was collected, and I was given a couple of shots. I spoke to a police woman about what had happened to me."

Starsky couldn't stand it any longer. "Did your family press charges against the kid? Obviously, it sounds like you weren't his first victim."

"No, I wasn't his first victim. We later learned of at least two other victims--one a classmate of Luke's, the other a neighborhood girl--in the place they had lived before they moved to Cincinnati. But, my parents decided not to press charges against Luke or his parents."

Starsky was incensed. "Why the hell not?" She recoiled at the anger in his voice. Immediately, he regretted what he had said, or, at least, how he had said it. "I'm sorry, Maggie. But I can't believe your parents would decide not to press any charges."

"There were lots of reasons, I guess. To this day, my parents still cannot bring themselves to discuss this with me, so all I really know is what I remember about what I was told at the time. Of course, things were very different fourteen years ago as far as the legal system goes. And I'm sure the fact that Mr. Herron was a lawyer had something to do with it. I know that my father contacted our family's attorney and he advised settling out of court if any charges were actually taken out. But mostly, I think my parents just couldn't bear to put me through the ordeal of a trial, of having to tell and retell what had happened to me. My parents did take me to a psychiatrist for counseling. Over the next few years, I went back , off and on, for several weeks of follow-up sessions. I guess it's time I went back to counseling again. I have feelings for you, David, feelings that I have never felt for anyone. But I don't know if I can ever have a sexual relationship--with you or anyone."

Starsky was silent. He wondered the same thing, too. He was also afraid to even touch Maggie now, for fear of stirring up some other horrible memory the way he had the other night. He was also angry as hell that Luke Herron had gotten away with a violent crime against a child--against Maggie. He made a mental note to run his name through the computer database at work to see if anyone named Luke Herron had an adult record for anything, but he didn't tell this to Maggie. Instead, he asked, "Did Luke Herron have to pay any sort of penalty for what he did to you?"

Maggie shrugged. "The Herrons agreed to take Luke to a psychiatrist, I don't know if they ever did or not. They also paid for my medical bills and made some sort of a cash settlement with my parents. It must have been sizeable, since my parents decided to move a few weeks later and would not have had the money to do so otherwise. That's when we came out to California--my mom had some relatives out here. I hated leaving Cincinnati, but I was still afraid that Luke would kill my dog--or me or one of my parents. It was a pretty horrible year for me--and not just the rape: having to move across country to a strange new place, leaving the only home I had ever known, as well as all my old friends. I've often wondered what became of Trisha--if Luke ever raped her, or anyone else after he raped me. I never really made another close friend except for Jenny and part of our bond was that her family had just moved from Cincinnati, too. I became a bookworm and gained about fifty pounds that school year. I didn't lose the weight until a few months ago. I had terrible self-esteem. The only thing I felt good about were my grades and my singing. I guess my self-esteem still isn't the greatest."

He was silent for a long time. His mind was racing in a dozen directions at once, trying to process all that Maggie had told him. He looked over at her with a new sense of respect. Not that he hadn't respected her before. He wished he were Mr. Spock from Star Trek, and he could simply touch her head and make her forget all the horrors of that day in August fourteen years ago. He wished he could track down this Luke Herron and personally make him pay for what he had done to her. But, mostly, he just wanted to take Maggie in his arms and love her, to show her what love could be, should be. He put his arms around her in a protective embrace. She didn't shrink from him, as he feared she might. Instead, she nestled against him and, quietly, began to cry. Starsky had expected her to cry long before this, and as much as he hated to see a woman cry, he knew these were tears of relief as much as they were tears of pain, tears of hope as well as sorrow. He held her closer and realized that he was crying, too.


Maggie wasn't sure how long she sat there, sobbing into David's arms. It had been years since she had cried when she thought about the rape and even longer since she had told anyone the full story of her rape. The last time had been when she was in college, when she had told Dennis. It felt cathartic to finally be telling it to someone else, someone who could understand her pain, someone like David. In some ways, she wondered if David understood even better than Jenny had, since he had seen and spoken to other rape victims. Years ago, when she had told Dennis about the rape, he had laughed at her, but David was not laughing. In fact, when she finally looked up into his eyes, she saw tears there. She had not expected this, and she suddenly felt the need to comfort him.

"Oh, Davey," she said. She had never called him this before, but it seemed to fit him at this moment. She put her hand in his hair and ruffled the soft curls, the way a mother might do to a crying child. She then reached out and touched his face, wiping away one of his tears, smiling at him through her own tears. He returned her smile and wiped away one of her tears, too. It somehow seemed rather comical and they soon found themselves laughing at the same time that tears were coming down both of their faces. It was one of those absurd moments in life that is often among the most profound.

He kissed her forehead, a rather paternal gesture that reflected her ruffling his hair. He then kissed each of her eyes, as though he were trying to kiss away her tears. Then, he kissed her cheeks, her chin, her nose, and finally her lips. As often happened when they kissed, it started out gently, an act of comfort this time, more so than anything else.

But, at some point, the need for comfort was eclipsed by other needs. Before long, it was passion instead of comfort that they were both seeking, wanting to give as much as to receive. Maggie lost track of time, as well as all sense of place and propriety. She kissed him hungrily, feverishly, as though her life somehow depended on his lips, his hands, his arms. She felt as though she had been turned upside down in a snow globe, shaken by an unseen hand, then set back down again as a storm of emotions swirled around her, settling over her, along with the sudden realization of where she was. The room was now dark. She was lying on top of David on the couch, her head resting on his chest. He was stroking her back, murmuring to her softly, and there was an unmistakable bulge pressing against her abdomen. She wasn't crying anymore. Neither was he. And she was no longer afraid. It was as though all of her demons had been exorcized and she were now free from the hold they had had over her for all these years. At last, she was ready to break down the emotional wall that had protected her and imprisoned her for so long.

"David," she said softly, "I love you."

He smiled. "I love you, too, Maggie."

Chapter 14

They were silent for several moments, then they both started to speak at once. They laughed nervously, each telling the other to speak first. Eventually, they both sat up, their arms entwined, on the couch.

"You first," he said. He knew that what he had wanted to say was totally improper. It had nothing to do with his hormones or even his sense of compassion--it went much deeper than that.

Maggie shook her head, saying, "I'm not sure I even know how to say what is on my mind, on my heart." She took a deep breath before she continued. "I...I want to do more than French kiss you now. I...I want to..." she looked down, unable to even form the words.

"Maggie." His voice was like a verbal caress. "Let me love you. Let me show you how it could be--how it should be." She raised her head to meet his eyes and he hurriedly added, "Not tonight. We are both going to need some kind I...I always have a couple of condoms in my wallet." Jeez, this sounds so calculated, he thought, like I had it all planned. Or, worse yet, like I'm some kind of sleaze who is always ready for a roll in the sheets. Have condoms, will travel. Of course, to some extent, he was always ready, if the right moment and the right person presented themselves. "But you, you probably would want some kind of protection, too. Perhaps, we should both see our doctors, you know, just for a check-up. I'm no saint, Maggie. I can't tell you how many women I've slept with. I'm careful, don't get me wrong. But it's just that, the last thing in the world I want to do is pass something on to you or to get you pregnant."

She nodded, obviously considering all that he had just said. At last, she spoke, "Davey," she called him that again, "I know you are a man, with needs and...and a healthy libido. Maybe what I'm about to ask is, well, unreasonable. I don't want to tempt you. But I don't want to be alone tonight. I know Jenny is probably going to be staying with Hutch again. Would you...would you stay here tonight? I...I just want to hold you, to feel your arms around me. If that is too much to ask you--"

"No," he said, "it's not. But whaddaya say we sleep fully clothed, okay?"

"Okay," she said. "Here, on the couch? makes into a bed."


She went to get some sheets, two pillows, and a blanket, while he took the cushions off the couch. Together, they unfolded the sofa bed and made it up. Maggie went to use the bathroom, to brush her teeth, and to take out her contact lenses for the night. Starsky then used the bathroom. They kicked off their shoes and stood on opposite sides of the bed, looking at one another. Maggie felt awkward all of a sudden, but David smiled and switched off the lamp on the table next to him. He crawled between the sheets and looked at her. He patted the bed beside him, encouraging her to join him. She looked at him for a long time, so long that he was afraid she might have changed her mind. Then, at last, she smiled shyly and turned off the lamp on the table beside her. She snuggled down next to him beneath the covers. They wrapped their arms around one another, both of them exhausted from their emotional ordeal. He couldn't remember a time where he had merely slept with a woman and not made love with her, but he felt as close to Maggie as if they had already become lovers--maybe even closer.


"I don't see any lights on," Jenny said, as they pulled up next to Starsky's Torino outside her apartment building. "You don't suppose that Maggie and Starsky..."

Hutch looked at his watch. "It's only a little bit after midnight, Cinderella. Maybe Maggie and Starsky just have the lights turned down low."

"Still, I'd hate to interrupt them--especially if they are doing anything romantic."

"You mean, like what we were doing half an hour ago at my place?" Hutch asked with a wicked grin.

"I love you, Kenneth Hutchinson," Jenny said, giving him a quick kiss. As much as Jenny would have liked to have spent the night at Hutch's apartment again, she had also wanted to be home in time to get some sleep and to go to church with Maggie in the morning. Jenny hated to miss church for more than a Sunday or two--it made her uncomfortable, rather like going without brushing her teeth for a day or two. So, after a short but sensational romantic interlude on Hutch's couch, they had agreed to call it a night. Now Jenny wasn't sure what to do.

"How about if we go in quietly and have a look around?" Hutch suggested as they sat in the front seat of his car. "If they are cuddled up on the couch or playing a game of Monopoly by candle light, they'll hear us as we unlock the door. If we go in quietly and don't see anything, but we hear some heavy breathing coming from the bedroom, we can turn around and go back to my place. Then we can set the alarm and I can bring you back tomorrow morning in time to get ready for church--and you can call before we leave my apartment."

Jenny nodded. "I like the way you think."

"Aw, heck," Hutch said, "and all this time I thought you only loved me for my body!"

"I like that, too!" she said, kissing him again.

"Good," he said, "'cause they're a package deal--two for the price of one!"

They got out of the car and approached the front door quietly. Jenny slid her key into the lock and turned the handle. "I don't hear anything," she said, as she opened the door, hesitantly. The light from the outside porch cut through the darkness of the living room. Hutch nudged Jenny and pointed at something in the room, but she had already seen what he was pointing at: the sofa bed pulled out and two people cuddled up together in the middle of it. "I can't believe it!" she whispered. Maggie and Starsky--sleeping together! Maggie sleeping with anybody! She was so happy for her friend. "Wait here," she told him. "I just want to get my toothbrush and a couple of other things. Then we can go back to your place."

Hutch stood beside the open doorway, so that the porch light would give Jenny enough light to see her way through the living room and down the hall to the bathroom. As he stood there, one of the figures on the couch rolled over. "Hi, Hutch," Starsky whispered, getting up carefully, so that he wouldn't wake Maggie.

"Hey, Starsk," his friend said, a little surprised to see that Starsky was fully dressed. "We were afraid we might be...interrupting something," Hutch said in a whisper. Starsky shook his head and motioned for Hutch to follow him to the kitchen, where they could talk quietly without disturbing Maggie. Hutch closed the front door and the two of them walked out to the kitchen and turned on the light over the stove.

Jenny joined them at this point. "Starsky," she said, "we didn't mean to wake you up."

"You didn't," he said. "Maggie went to sleep about an hour ago, but I just couldn't fall asleep."

Jenny noticed that he was dressed and wondered if he had quickly pulled his clothes on while she was in the other room. She was dying to know what--if anything--had happened between them, but she wasn't exactly sure how to ask that. Finally she simply asked, "How is Maggie?"

Starsky smiled. "Exhausted--emotionally, and I guess maybe a little bit physically."

Jenny held her breath, waiting for him to elaborate.

"She told me in detail about the day she was raped," he said. "We both cried. God! What she went through!"

Jenny nodded, "I know." She looked at Hutch. "I'll have to tell you about it someday--or Starsky can. It was awful!"

Starsky rubbed the back of his neck. "Anyway, we just held each other and cried some more. Before I knew what was happening, we were making out on the couch."

Jenny cleared her throat, suddenly feeling rather maternal toward her friend. " far...?"

Starsky shook his head and laughed. "Not very. We discussed going farther, but I told her we both needed some form of protection before we crossed that bridge."

Jenny was relieved and glad to know what an honorable man David Starsky was. "Thank you," she said, and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She didn't think Hutch would mind and, judging by the smile on his face, he didn't. Obviously, he already knew what kind of a man his partner was.

"Anyway," Starsky said, looking at Jenny, "Maggie was still pretty upset after telling me about the rape. She asked me to stay with her tonight because she thought that you were going to be spending the night at Hutch's place and she didn't want to be alone. We pulled out the sofa bed and agreed to keep our clothes on."

Hutch put a hand on his friend's shoulder. "How about if Jenny and I go back to my place? I'll drop her off in the morning so she can get ready for church."

"No, that's okay," Starsky said. "I can go home now that Jenny's here."

Jenny put her hand on David's arm. "I don't think that I am who Maggie needs to see when she wakes up. Unless you'd rather not stay..."

Starsky smiled a weary smile. "Go on back to Hutch's place, then. We'll see you in the morning."

"Tell you what," Jenny said. "Let me get my clothes for tomorrow, so that I can shower and get dressed at Hutch's." She smiled at the thought of showering again with her Nordic god after another night of--what was that song he and Maggie had sung earlier?--lying in his loving arms again.

Chapter 15

"That's it!" Dave Starsky said, closing the file folder on his desk and pushing back in his chair. "The report on the Bricklow case is finished and I'm outta here!"

"Tonight's the night, huh partner?" Hutch asked.

"Yeah, I think so. Man, I don't think I have ever looked forward to something for this long unless it was Hanukkah or my birthday!"

Hutch smiled. He had also never known his friend to be this deliberate about a sexual encounter. Maggie had gone to her doctor a few weeks ago to discuss birth control options. On her doctor's advice, Maggie had started using birth control pills. Her doctor had cautioned her that she and her partner should each use an alternate form of contraception until she had been on the pill for at least a month, and, even then, she had recommended that Maggie and her partner continue to use a second form of protection, "just to be sure". Maggie had been willing to begin her sexual relationship with David Starsky the weekend after she had seen her doctor. Jenny had also started back on the pill. She and Hutch used a combination of condoms and spermicidal foam as a back-up until her first month on the pill was over. Maggie had asked David why they didn't just do the same thing that Jenny and Hutch were doing, but Starsky had insisted that he wanted the two of them to "do it right"--touch every base, dot every "i", cross every "t". Starsky had gotten a clean bill of health from his doctor and Maggie had gone back to her rape counselor for a few sessions. Starsky had even gone with her to the last one. He wanted to make sure that everything would be perfect, that there would be no regrets when they finally did it. And tonight, they had decided, was the night.

"You know," Hutch said, "this is really out of character for you, Starsk. I mean, you're the original 'Mr. Spontaneity' when it comes to romance."

"Yeah, well I'll tell ya somethin', Blintz, I'm a changed man since I met Maggie."

Hutch smiled again. "I can tell," then he added, "not that you weren't already a pretty special guy before you met her."

Starsky was quiet for a moment. "Hutch, I haven't felt this way about a woman in a long time...not since Terry." Hutch nodded. Starsky looked his friend in the eyes. "I'm scared, Hutch. It seems like, you and me, whenever we finally meet that 'special someone', something terrible happens...Terry...Gillian..."

"I know what you mean," Hutch said with a grim smile, but then his face brightened. "I'd say we were both entitled to have some good things happen to us for a change--good things like Jenny and Maggie!"

"I hope you're right, Hutch," his friend said. He was uncharacteristically quiet for a moment, then he said, "You know, it'll always be 'me and thee', partner--no matter what happens--and maybe that's why Maggie and Jenny are so good for us The two of them have been through an awful lot together. They have a bond that's just as strong as ours. They can understand what it is to have a...a friend who is like an extension of yourself. For a long time, now, I have felt like something was missing--from both of our lives. But I feel whole. You?"

Hutch nodded. "Starsky, every now and then, you say something that is really profound."

Starsky grinned. "Scary thought, isn't it?" They both laughed. "I told ya, Hutch, I'm a changed man."

The two men embraced. "You're still the best friend I'll ever have."


Maggie felt like a million dollars. She had left work at noon in order to get ready for her date with David. She had had her hair done, gotten a manicure, gone home and soaked in a bubble bath for an hour, and was now putting the finishing touches on the outfit she was wearing tonight. She reminded herself of Jenny, primping before the full-length mirror. Her long, red hair was pulled back and piled on top of her head. She was wearing a teal blue taffeta dress, mid-calf length. She was even wearing dressy sandals with inch-high heels. She had put on a little extra makeup tonight and beneath her dress she was wearing a white silk teddy with high-cut legs, spaghetti straps, and a row of buttons down the front. Jenny had helped her pick it out, telling her that the time it took David to undo all the buttons would only heighten their pleasure. Maggie had spermicidal foam in her purse--for later. Since this was the two-month anniversary of when she and David had met, the plan was to eat dinner at the Hilton (the place where it had all started), then go to Starsky's place for the night. She had packed a few things in a small overnight bag--toothbrush, hairbrush, stuff for her contacts, clothes and shoes for tomorrow--but Jenny had advised her that she wouldn't need anything to sleep in! She hoped she looked all right. She also hoped that she would not disappoint David tonight--after dinner.

Jenny got home a little after 5:30. Maggie was dressed and ready to go, even though she and David didn't have dinner reservations until 7:00.

"How do I look?" she asked her friend, twirling in front of her.

"Absolutely stunning!" Jenny said.

Jenny and Hutch were going out to celebrate their two-month anniversary, too, only in a much different way than Maggie and David. They were going to The Pits for dinner, then out to a disco, then back to Hutch's for the night. They had thought about going back to Jenny's place, since Maggie would be spending the night at Starsky's, but Jenny had come to look at Hutch's place as her home away from home. She even had her own tooth brush, some toiletries, and a few items of clothing that she keep there now.

In the past week, Jenny had finally told Hutch the full details of her break-up with Tony and how devastating it had been to her. Hutch had shared with her some of the demons from his past, as well--his marriage to Vanessa and the tragedy that followed, and his losing Gillian. Next week, for Valentine's Day, they were planning a night on the town, rather like Maggie and Starsky were having tonight.

Maggie was starting to become nervous about tonight. "What if...what if we don'" she asked Jenny.

Jenny nearly laughed. "I'm sure that David is well-endowed, but I have a feeling that you two will, uh, 'fit'--perfectly! Do you want some K-Y to take with you?"

"K-Y?" Maggie asked, quizzically. "Kentucky?"

Now Jenny did laugh, as she explained to her friend what lubricating jelly was for. Jenny gave her a tube to put in her overnight bag, just in case.

David arrived around 6:30. He was wearing a dark blue suit with a red paisley tie. It was the first time Maggie had ever seen David wear a tie. He looked uncomfortable and she suddenly had a vision of what he must have looked like as a thirteen year-old making his bar mitzvah. The blue in his suit made his eyes seem even bluer. He whistled appreciatively when he saw her and gave her a long, hungry kiss. Then they picked up Maggie's overnight bag, told Jenny good bye, and headed off on their anniversary adventure.

Chapter 16

Dinner at the Hilton was an elegant affair. They shared a feast of steak and lobster for two. Ordinarily, he would have ordered champagne, but he knew Maggie didn't really care for it and, to tell the truth, neither did he. He wished he had Hutch there to advise him on whether he should order a red wine or a white wine, since they were having beef and seafood. But then, he remembered that Maggie wasn't much of a wine drinker, either, so they both ordered coffee. There was a small dance floor and a ten-piece orchestra playing popular songs. They got up and danced to a couple of slow songs--Unchained Melody and Close to You--while they waited for their dinner. Maggie was no longer ill-at-ease when they danced to a slow song. She pressed her cheek against his and softly hummed along with the music. The food was excellent, but neither of them were terribly interested in their meal--their attention was focused, instead, on what awaited them later at his apartment. Maggie seemed a little nervous to him, and he realized that he was also a little nervous.

It was almost 9:00 when they pulled up in front of his apartment. Maggie had not needed to grab the door handle even once while he was driving this evening. He smiled at her and leaned over to give her a quick kiss "Don't move, Beautiful," he said. Before she knew what was happening, he had bailed out of his seat and come around to the passenger-side door to open it for her.

"I'm not sure how long this chivalry routine is going to last, but I am going to milk it for all it is worth!" she said.

"That's udderly ridiculous!" he said, lapsing his Groucho Marx impersonation. He closed her door, then grabbed her overnight bag out of the trunk. They walked, arm-in-arm, up to his apartment and he unlocked the door. When they got inside, and he turned on the light, Maggie was surprised to see a vase holding a dozen red roses on the table. The bouquet was adorned with baby's breath and a few sprigs of greenery, along with a white ribbon. The card nestled in the bouquet read: "Happy (2 month) Anniversary! Love, Dave"

"Oh, Davey, they're beautiful!" she said, inhaling the delicate scent of the roses and reading the card.

"I thought about having them delivered to you at the restaurant or even earlier in the day while you were at work or at home, but I decided it might be better to just give them to you here," he said, removing his tie and his coat and tossing them in a chair. He unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and came over to her.

She looked up at him and there were tears shimmering in her eyes. He was afraid he had done something wrong, but then he realized that she was crying tears of joy. "Nobody has ever given me flowers before!" she smiled. She put her arms around his neck and gave him a big hug.

"I'll have to see what I can do to remedy that situation," he said, rocking her in a gentle embrace. He thought of whisking her into his arms and taking her to his bedroom right then. Easy does it, Starsky, he said to himself. We've got all night. Just take it slow. He turned on some music and they settled down on his couch.

They cuddled for awhile, lost in their own thoughts and in the simple joy of being together. They whispered sweet nothings to each other, reminiscing over the past two months: meeting one another at the tea dance and winning third place in the Charleston contest, their dinners at Luigi's, the Marx Brothers double feature, their disastrous day playing miniature golf, bowling with Jenny and Hutch, mouthing along with the dialog during The Maltese Falcon, that night at the Roller-Rama and their first kiss, listening to Maggie sing and the wonderful dinner she had fixed for them that night, Maggie's courage in telling him about her rape, sleeping together on her sofa bed, his going with her to her counseling session, and all the things that had led them up to this moment.

"I love you, Maggie Grayson," he said.

"And I love you, David Starsky." They began to kiss, knowing that each kiss from here on would take them closer to consummating their relationship. They had been so careful up till now to keep their actions and their feelings in check. They had fondled one another a few times through their clothes, but mostly their making out had been confined to very deep kissing while lying together on the couch. As they paused to catch their collective breath, he looked into her eyes and they both knew that it was time. Without saying a word, he stood up and took her hands in his as they slowly walked into his bedroom.

As they faced one another in David's bedroom, Maggie soon realized she had no real idea of what to do next. She looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to take the lead. Instead, he just smiled at her, holding her head in his hands and kissing her softly. Gradually, he put his arms around her and fingered the top of the zipper at the back of her dress. He pulled his head away long enough to smile at her. "Are you ready?" he asked.

She nodded. "What, uhh, what do we do now?" she asked.

He thought a moment, then he said with a provocative smile, "Why don't you unbutton my shirt?" She gingerly began undoing the buttons, but her hands were trembling. He took her hands in his and kissed her fingers. "Let's sit down," he suggested. She managed to finish unbuttoning his shirt, then he unbuttoned his cuffs and pulled the shirt out of the waistband of his pants. He held out his arms to the sides. "I'm all yours," he said, smiling. She looked from his neck down to his waist and back up again. She slowly grasped the collar of his shirt and slid it down off of his shoulders. He removed his arms from the sleeves and tossed the shirt on the floor. Maggie sucked in her breath at the sight of his magnificent chest. Her father had very little hair on his chest. At the tea dance, she had noticed David's hairy chest, but she had had no idea just how lush the hair was, how muscular his chest and his arms were. He put his arms around her and she did the same. Hesitantly, she let her hands roam over his arms, his back, his chest. He smiled at her, encouraging her with his eyes to explore him.

After awhile, he held her close and she rested her head against his chest. The hair was soft, but wiry, different from the soft curls on his head. After awhile, she felt his hands again fingering the top of the zipper at the back of her dress. "My turn," he said softly and kissed her nose. He pulled her closer to him, resting his chin on her right shoulder so he could see what his hands were doing. Slowly, he unzipped the teal blue dress. "Let's stand up again," he whispered. As they did so, he slid the neck of her dress down her arms and the dress fell to the floor. For the first time, he saw the white silk teddy and his eyes traveled appreciatively down and then back up her lovely curves.

She suddenly remembered the spermicidal foam out in her overnight bag. "I think I need to use the bathroom," she said and he laughed; he must have thought it was merely a case of nature calling. "I need something out of my bag," she said, and he nodded in a flash of understanding.

"I'll get it," he said, kissing her cheek. "Don't go away."

She sat back down on the bed to remove her sandals. He returned with the bag and she exited into the bathroom. She had read the instructions already, so she knew what to do--sort of. She shook up the aerosol container and pressed the tube down over the top. The white foam immediately filled the tube, causing the plunger device to rise to the top of the tube. She laid the tube down momentarily as she unsnapped the fasteners at the crotch of her teddy and tugged down her panty hose with the built-in French cut panties. All of this was so new to her, but Jenny had advised her on everything from what type of stockings to wear with her teddy to how to use the foam. Maggie used the bathroom while she was there--nervous bladder!--then she inserted the tube with the applicator and pushed in the plunger. She wondered what it would feel like in a little while when it was David who was plunging into her. She finished up in the bathroom, discarding the pantyhose as just one less thing to remove later. She refastened the snaps of her teddy and washed her hands. She glanced at her face in the mirror. Her cheeks were flushed.

When she came out, David was sitting on the bed. He had removed his shoes and socks and was unbuckling his belt. He smiled when he saw her and stood up. "Come here," he said, taking her in his arms and kissing her with growing passion. "These are next," he said, indicating his slacks. "Do you want to do the honors?"

She nodded and began unfastening his pants and sliding down the zipper. Already she could feel his bulging manhood through the material. His pants fell to the floor and he kicked them aside. He was now clad only in a pair of men's bikini briefs. The sight of him took her breath away.

He held her close, wanting to pause and give her a chance to rest before the final step of their journey. He rubbed her back with his hands, feeling all of her luscious curves through the thin silk. Her hands rubbed up and down his back, venturing lower to caress the rock-hard mounds covered by the fabric of his briefs. As she did this, he too ran his hands down over her soft, round bottom, pressing himself against her. His erection felt hot through the thin layers of fabric that still separated them.

A shiver went through her. She wanted him. She wanted him very much.

He reached up and removed the decorative combs that had been holding her hair in place. Her long auburn tresses fell down around her shoulders. He ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her, then he continued, "This next part, we can do standing up or kneeling on the bed or lying down. What's your pleasure?" he asked.

She shook her head. "What do you prefer?"

"Standing," he whispered.

She nodded. "Whose turn is it?"

"Why don't you go next?" he said. She put her arms around him and slid her hands down over his hard butt, slowly hooking her thumbs into the waistband of his briefs. She started to push them down in back, but he stopped her. "I think," he smiled, "that you might do better if you lower the front first--due to the slight...obstruction there."

She smiled shyly, realizing that the elastic in the front had snagged on his swollen "obstruction". She took a deep breath, then pulled the elastic at the front toward her and down. His engorged penis practically jumped out at her and she stepped back, her eyes snapping up to his face.

He was obviously amused, but he was clearly not making fun of her. "Now try the back again," he whispered, and she did. She had to bend forward, slightly, in order to slide the briefs over his hips and down his strong, muscular legs. He stepped out of the briefs and stood before her, naked and magnificent.

She had never seen a naked man. She had even averted her eyes when confronted by paintings or statues of naked men.

Again, he put his arms around her, pulling her toward him. "Go ahead, Maggie," he said, "look at me, touch me. Don't be afraid. It really turns me on." They spent the next few minutes like that. Gradually, her hands became bolder, caressing his buns, his thighs, and finally his long shaft.

When she finally brought herself to look at him, she could not believe what she saw. "David," she gasped. "You are huge!"

He smiled, his face a mixture of pride and amusement and surprise at her innocence.

She swallowed, "Are you...are you sure that...all of you is going fit...inside of me?"

He continued to smile. "You know, I think that is by far the nicest thing that any woman has ever said to me!" Then, after a moment he said, "Yes, Maggie. I'm fairly certain that all of me will fit inside of you. Shall we find out now?"

She nodded, then looked into his eyes. He slowly began to undo the buttons on her teddy. There must have been two dozen of them. He took his time on the first few, but gradually, he began to move faster, his fingers swiftly moving from button to button, deftly undoing each one until the teddy was open from her breast bone down to her public hair. He noticed that she was no longer wearing the pantyhose beneath it. He reached inside the open teddy, resting his fingers on her ribcage. Slowly, he moved his hands up, following the curves of her body. He hesitated when he reached her breasts. Already he could feel her nipples growing hard beneath the gentle probing of his thumbs. He continued up to the spaghetti straps and pushed them aside and down her long, smooth arms. He continued to slide the teddy down her body to the floor. She stepped out of it and the two of them faced one another, naked. His eyes swept over her body, taking in every curve, every angle.

She looked down at the floor, waiting for him to say something. It seemed to take a long time and she felt certain it was because he was somehow disappointed in how she looked. My breasts are too small, she thought, my hips are too wide, my thighs are too heavy, my arms...

When, at last, he spoke, it was almost a whisper. "My God, Maggie!" he said, "You are beautiful!" She looked into his eyes. There was no derision there, only admiration and love.

They held one another, their lips and their bodies meeting, blending, their passions beginning to build. Tongues and hands began seeking out all the places that each had been denied access to for the past two months. He bent his head and kissed her right breast. She gasped with pleasure. He wasn't sure how much longer he could last, and he wanted very much to pleasure her before he lost control of himself. He gently grasped her shoulders and led her to the side of the bed. He opened the drawer in the nightstand and pulled out a red foil packet. Maggie realized that it was a condom. He sat her down on the bed, having her scoot back quite a ways. He put his right knee beside her, keeping his left foot on the floor as he tore open the packet containing the condom.

Maggie was fascinated just watching him. His penis was erect, standing out at about a thirty degree angle from his navel. He slid the latex down over his throbbing shaft, then put his left knee on the bed beside her, straddling her thighs. His eyes looked into hers with love and longing. They were so close now. He eased her back onto the bed and he braced himself above her with his strong arms. He began to kiss her, to move over her body. He nuzzled her neck with his tongue while his hands caressed her breasts. Maggie moaned with pleasure. He bent his head and began to kiss her breasts, first one, then the other, Gently, he began to suckle her breasts. While his lips and tongue brought pleasure to one nipple, his hand brought pleasure to the other one by rolling it gently between his thumb and index finger. She was writhing in pleasure, lifting her hips to meet his abdomen, pulling him down on top of her.

"Please," she said, her voice somewhere between a gasp and a whisper. "Please, David. Don't make me wait. Do it now. Please! Oh, please!"

He nodded. He was nearly ready to burst himself. He reached his left hand down between her legs and found her moist and ready for him to enter her. He hoped he would not hurt her.

"Guide me, Maggie," he said, hoarsely, "with your hand. Guide me into you."

She grasped his shaft and placed it at the juncture between her thighs. Slowly, he began to slide himself into her. He held his breath, afraid he might hurt her. She was so wet, he wouldn't need any K-Y, which he also kept in the drawer, next to the new box of condoms. He slid deeper into her and she gasped.

"You are so big!" she said. "So big!"

Her words excited him and he thrust himself deeper into her. He had tried to be gentle with each stroke, but he was beginning to lose control. She did not react with fear or pain; instead, she ground her hips against him, causing him to thrust even deeper into her. She was making tight circles with her hips, moaning and gasping. He grasped her shoulders and thrust harder, faster, deeper until he felt something like an electric shock go through her body, a shuddering sensation, like an earthquake or an explosion. She shouted his name, then moaned "Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh my God!" as she glided down from the pinnacle she had just reached.

He smiled and immediately felt an explosion of his own. He let out a sound along the lines of a groan or a growl as he, too, reached a pinnacle of passion and began to glide back down to earth. He collapsed on top of her, his body spent, his hair in damp curls, his body glistening with sweat, and his joy great for having just had one of the most satisfying, sensational sexual experiences of his life. He rolled to one side as he pulled himself out of her.

She clung to him, her body trembling, her hair plastered to her face with sweat. He reached out to move the hair out of her eyes. He wanted to see them--was there fear there? Pain? Regret?

She smiled at him. "Oh Davey," she said, a look of wonder on her face. "That was wonderful!"

He smiled back at her. "Yes, it was."

They rested, their bodies entwined as they held one another in the afterglow. In a very few minutes, they were both at it again, this time with Maggie on top. If anything, her orgasm was even more intense the second time, for she was highly aroused by David's fondling and suckling her breasts--something he could do much easier with her beautiful breasts swaying above him. They showered together and she removed her contacts before they made love yet again.

He taught her many different ways for two people to pleasure one another as the night wore on. When they awoke the next afternoon, they were both quite sore from the workouts they had given one another, but also quite sated on loves' first tender fruits. Maggie's "wall" was once and for all dismantled, and, in its place, a new structure was being built. Maggie wasn't sure what this new construction would look like when it was completed, but she knew that it was being built on a firm foundation--love.

The End