The helicopter returned them to the beach house outside Playa del Carmen in the early evening. The fast shower at the police station before they changed to street clothes had removed the smell of the whiskey and tequila they had used for cologne and washed the pig's blood off Kim. Once back at the beach house, however, Shego wanted a long shower with the chemical soap that was supposed to remove the tan dye and Kim would not feel really clean until after a much, much longer shower.
They went into the shower together. After forty minutes, and every drop of hot water in the house, Kim finally felt clean. Shego had not quite returned to her normal hue, a hint of olive drab remained in her complexion.
They toweled each other off and returned to the bedroom to work on their hair, swapping stories of the times when long hair was a pain.
As they talked about the rescue Shego asked, “You were great, Kim. Do you have any idea why I was laughing so hard the other night when you put on ‘Faster Than the Speed of Night’?”
“After you played that song about ‘Loving You's a Dirty Job,’ I bought The Best of Bonnie Tyler on eBay. There was a song that reminded me of you. You're a hero.” Shego took a CD from a drawer, found the track and sang along, singing a little louder on a few words to cover the original gender in the song.
Somewhere after midnight In my wildest fantasy
Somewhere just beyond my reach
There's someone reaching back for me
Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat
It's gonna take a superGIRL to sweep me off my feet
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
SHE's gotta be strong
And SHE's gotta fast
And SHE's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero ‘til the morning light
SHE's gotta be sure
And it's gotta soon
And SHE's gotta be larger than life.
“Come on, hero, tell me how you want your share of the reward -- then let's get back to what we were doing before we were so rudely interrupted. I'm going to give you a SPECIAL bonus tonight because we worked so well together.”
“The money is yours, I didn't ask for it.”
“Yes, but you did half the work. You earned it.”
“I didn't work with you for a reward. I did it to help save the girl.”
“You think it's wrong to take money for helping people?”
“How can you take money from someone in trouble?”
Shego stared at Kim. “We put our fuckin’ lives on the line. We could have been killed. It's not your job, and it's sure as hell not my job, to go around the world doing good for free. Tell me, if you get your job for Global Justice do you plan to get a salary or work for nothing -- or do you expect mommy and daddy to keep paying your bills while you play hero?”
“Global Justice will pay me a salary.”
“Then aren't you getting paid to do good?”
“It's not the same!”
“No, you've got a steady nine-to-five, a retirement plan, and health benefits. I don't have any of that. I don't even do billable hours. If you want my services you pay for them. I'm damn good at what I do and I'm worth what I charge. If people didn't think so they wouldn't hire me.”
“You expect police and firemen to get paid, don't you?”
“Yes, Kim. That's MY point. They get paid to help people. That's their job. The police could have stormed the house -- and probably gotten the girl killed in the fight. But they would have been doing the job they were paid to do. Her mom and dad wanted something special -- they wanted their daughter out alive -- and that took our skills. We did the job we were paid to do.”
Ten minutes of escalating volume failed to resolve the argument. Finally, a weary Kim said, “Why don't we just go to bed. We haven't had a lot of sleep in the last forty-eight hours. Maybe you're right. Let me sleep on it.”
They slept back to back that night.
Kim awoke with Shego's tongue in her ear and the pale woman's hand cupping a breast. “Want to work up an appetite for breakfast?”
“I don't think so.” The hand moved away.
“What's wrong? Still the hero versus mercenary thing?”
“Maybe. I don't think so. Perhaps you are right and I just don't like the rate you charged. Maybe I'm PMSing, I feel moody and don't know why.”
“You picked a hell of a time for it -- this is worse than the colonel at the door the other night.”
After breakfast they headed into Playa del Carmen for feminine hygiene products and to let Kim buy souvenirs and gifts for friends and family in Middleton.
“Are you sure you don't want your share of the reward.”
“No, it's all yours.” Kim snapped.
“Would it pollute you to use blood money?”
“I'm sorry, that wasn't what I meant.”
“Can we do this -- you spend a lot more than you planned and we can tell people the gifts are from us?”
“I… I guess so.”
It wasn't an ideal solution, but it worked. They spent the morning shopping and had lunch at a nice restaurant away from the tourist zone.
“This sure doesn't taste like the food at Bueno Nacho.”
“Please, Kim, tell me you like this better or I'm going to feel like I'm in a relationship with a twelve-year old.”
They were back to the tourist zone after lunch. Shego felt like Kim needed to spend money, she had earned it in Shego's opinion and a refusal to spend would have been a rejection of Shego. Kim felt some reluctance to spend the money, but there were so many stores and pretty things and so many friends to remember that she tried to overcome her scruples.
In the evening they watched the moon rise and told their old war stories, fights the other had never seen and each sharing her own perspective on their battles against each other.
“Are you okay, Kim? Do you want to sleep alone tonight?”
“No, I want to be with you. I just don't think I'm in the mood for more than sleep.”
Shego rolled over in bed, her back towards Kim, and went promptly to sleep. Kim lay awake in the dark. The relationship with Shego was starting to terrify her and she didn't know how to articulate it. It wasn't that time of the month, and she had to find some way to tell Shego what was happening.
Around two in the morning Shego awoke with a start. Kim had spooned her in her sleep and held on to her tightly -- as if in some dream someone was trying to take Shego from her. The older woman found Kim's embrace both uncomfortable and comforting at the same time and eventually made it back to sleep.
“Feeling any better this morning?” Shego asked hopefully.
“About the same.”
Another lost day. There was so little time for them to be together in a place where Shego could feel comfortable and relax. But even being with Kim on the beach or shopping made the thief feel good.
“Want to see Tulum? It's a small Mayan site just down the coast, very pretty. Chichen Itza is more spectacular, but it's inland and a lot more of a drive.”
“Did you say you have a motorcycle? Can we take it?”
“I guess so. We may need to buy you some stuff -- like helmet and boots. Let's see what I have in storage.”
Shego could almost outfit Kim, but she needed to get a pair of boots sturdy enough for protection and comfortable enough for walking before they could leave.
“Does it really stay in shape for riding from one trip to another down here?” Kim asked before they started out.
“No, I only make it once or twice a year. But the service is really good about checking over the car or cycle before I arrive. If I arrived unannounced I'm not sure if things would work.”
“Kim held on tight as they flew down the highway. Shego enjoyed the feel of Kim's arms around her.
“A few days ago the lines would really have been crazy, all the New Agers wanting to be here for Winter Solstice at the temple. It would have been even wilder at Chichen Itza.”
“It seems to me like the line here is plenty long today.”
They weren't with a tour, but Shego seemed to know the place well enough to explain the details. From the rocks at the top of the cliff they could look over most of the site and down to the ocean below and the tourists playing on the small beach. It was a beautiful place to be with someone you loved, but Kim seemed nervous and out of sorts.
In the afternoon they did some riding just for fun, and Shego found a relatively deserted area to give Kim a few lessons in driving a motorcycle. Then, back at the beach house a fast shower washed off the dust of Tulum and the afternoon before dinner.
After Itxel had cleaned and left Shego moved into the kitchen to make a small mess. Fresh strawberries, a lemon, lime, sugar, and lots of ice. She poured the frosty mixture into two glasses, then added more rum than she should have to her own glass and a splash of grenadine for Kim's daiquiri.
Kim politely commented on how good it tasted, but silence dominated the living room as they sat there and sipped their drinks.
“Okay, Kim, I give up. What in the hell is going on? You've been moody for more than two days. Don't give me the PMS crap -- you haven't even opened the sack from the drugstore the other day. If it's the mercenary - hero thing we need to get it out in the open, it's not going to go away. Is this some sort of a test? Are you punishing me for not meeting your standards?”
Kim waited too long to answer. “I don't really know what's wrong. I think I lied to you Shego.” The little color Shego had seemed to drain away. “I think I lied to me too…”
Shego headed for the door. “Wait,” Kim called. “Let me explain.”
“Later, Possible. I'm going out to the beach. I need to be alone.”
“It's okay, I'm good at being alone.”
Kim laid back on the couch and stared at the ceiling. She wished Shego had stayed instead of running away. She wished that Shego would open the door and come back. And she desperately wished there was some way for her to put her feelings into words. She finally decided Shego was not coming back, at least not anytime soon, and pulled a t-shirt over her swimsuit top. She knew she needed to head to the beach if she was going to find Shego. But which way had Shego gone? If she wanted to get drunk she would have taken a right and hiked into town. She had said she wanted to be alone. Kim turned left and hoped Shego would let herself be found.
Almost a mile north Kim spotted a small figure sitting on a rocky outcropping in the surf. The ocean breeze blew her long, black hair and her pale green skin mirrored some of the ocean's twilight colors -- she seemed vaguely unreal, like a mermaid staring out at the ocean.
Kim made no effort to hide the sound of her approach, doubting she could have fooled Shego anyway. But Shego showed no sign of hearing Kim, perhaps Kim's noise was lost in the sound of the surf -- or perhaps Shego was too lost in her own thoughts. Kim joined Shego on the rock, her own legs dangling down in the water, before Shego acknowledged her presence.
“What do you want, Possible?”
“I want you to trust me enough to talk with me instead of running away.”
“I'm supposed to trust you after you say you are lying to me? How can I trust you after that?”
“I said I think I lied to me too.”
“And that's supposed to make me feel better? You can't even be honest to yourself so I should trust you?”
“Look, if we're in a relationship we have to communicate. Do you want us to be in a relationship?”
“'If we're in a relationship’? ‘Do I want us to be in a relationship’? I thought that was why we were here together. You aren't even sure about that?”
“YES! We are in a relationship. We love each other. I'm asking you why you aren't willing to work at it.”
“I've never had to work at it before. All my affairs were on a long-as-it's-fun basis. When it stopped being fun for one of us it was over.”
“So the fun is gone and you're leaving me?”
“I was having fun. You're the one who got all moody on me.”
“I needed to talk -- and you walked out on me.”
“YOU needed to talk, and you begin by telling me you've been lying to me? Don't make me the bad girl in this for wanting to be alone. How am I supposed to stay around when you tell me I can't trust you! I'm trying to be honest with you. I'll bet it's been five years since I said my real name out loud -- but you asked and I told you.”
“Okay, I wasn't completely honest with you--”
“You said LIED.”
“Yes, I said that. But we need communication if I'm going to regain your trust.”
“That's easy for you to say. YOUR parents are the great communicators; they sit around the kitchen table and talk about anything. My parents kept things bottled up until they exploded at each other.”
“How about communication in your own relationships?”
“Damn it Kim, I've never been in a serious relationship. I never felt anything like this in the affairs I've been in.”
“You don't have experience! You are the first person I ever loved. The first person I ever had sex with. What experience am I supposed to draw on? The woman I love took a hike to be alone when I needed to talk about my feelings.”
There was silence for a minute. “Maybe we need to go into Barnes & Noble and see if we can buy two copies of Relationships for Dummies.”
They both stared out into the ocean until Shego finally broke the silence. “Okay, Kim,” she asked softly. “What did you lie to me about? Was it the part about loving me? Was it the part about wanting to be with me? Can you not get over the fact I'm a mercenary and you're a hero?”
Kim stared at Shego, then grabbed her and held her tight. Shego resisted for a minute, struggling slightly, then relaxed in Kim's embrace. “None of those… None of those…” Kim whispered. “Months ago I said I could accept it if we don't have a future. I said I just wanted to enjoy being with you while we could… I think I lied. I want you in my future. And… and… sometimes I can't sleep, thinking about the fact they're going to put you away someday. I want us to stay together. God, sometimes I'm so scared for you… for us… I think it's making me crazy.”
‘That's what I want too, Princess. I want us to be together.” Shego returned the embrace. They were both crying, and exchanging the salty kisses that had marked the first night they confessed their love to each other.
The rising tide eventually forced them back to the beachhouse. They held hands as they walked back and once in the bedroom slept clinging to each other.
Kim awoke alone the next morning and momentarily panicked. Had Shego left? She heard noise in the kitchen and investigated. Shego sat at the table, reading an English language newspaper and making occasional comments at the sturdy woman who appeared to ignore everything the pale woman said.
“Hey, pumpkin, welcome to the land of the living. Need an eye opener?”
“Itxel, a coffee for Miss Possible, por favor.” The housekeeper set a cup of coffee in front of Kim, along with a cream pitcher and a sugar bowl stuffed with small packets of sweetening options. “Gracias.”
Kim had hoped they would be work up an appetite before breakfast, but Shego seemed to have finished eating before Kim got to the kitchen. And she disappeared before Kim finished her own breakfast.
Back in the bedroom after breakfast Kim found her mission clothes laid out on the bed. as Shego adjusted her own black and green uniform.
“What's going on?” Kim demanded.
“Put on your clothes, Pumpkin, time for a sparring session. Let's see how badly out of shape this last semester left you.”
“Please, Shego, after last night I really don't want to fight you.”
“Wrong Princess, after last night you really want to fight me -- two good reasons. First, do you remember our first real kiss?”
Kim smiled, “I can't forget it… I'm sorry I hit you. But… I'm still confused.”
Shego grinned, “I think we were communicating physically before we tried to talk with each other. Maybe we haven't done that in too long. It's a level we both know and we can accept each other as equals. We may have some leftover frustrations with each other from yesterday -- I think I'll feel better after I knock you on your ass.”
“You're not thinking we're into domination, are you?”
“No, I don't want to really hurt you -- I love you. But part of the thrill is when we test each other. When we show how well we understand each other in combat I feel like we are communicating on some deep and basic level. Am I crazy?”
Kim thought for a minute. “No, you're not crazy. Maybe we do need this. But I sure hope that isn't the only level of communication you have planned for today.”
“Oh, no it's not. Do you remember I said there were two reasons you wanted to fight with me this morning?”
“Second reason, winner's choice - best of three falls.”
“Think about it for a minute.”
Kim thought about it for minute. It was a long, intense battle. The frustrations melted away as they fought… Attack, defense, feint … Shego finally knocked Kim down for one. As she helped Kim to her feet Kim's leg lashed out, almost catching and tripping Shego who only barely flipped out of the way.
“Dirty, Kim, trying to knock down your opponent when she's only trying to help you. I like that.”
“I learned from a master.”
Shego laughed and the battle continued. Not wanting to lose Kim redoubled her attacks on Shego, keeping the other woman constantly on the defensive until her superior strength gave Kim the victory.
Kim wisely didn't offer to help Shego back onto her feet. “Hey, Kim, can we take a break before round three? I could use a drink.”
“Sounds good. Another of your strawberry daiquiris?”
“Yeah, but both virgins this morning. I don't want anything slowing me down for round three.”
They sat side by side as they enjoyed their icy drinks. It was a beautiful day, they were each with the woman they loved, their frustrations seemed miles away and both were looking forward to the end of their sparring.
Round three promised to be much like the second round, Kim trying to overpower the older woman. Both were smiling and laughing as they fought. But even as Kim saw victory in her grasp an unexpected spin kick caught her in the ribs and put her down.
“You okay Kim?”
“You mostly damaged my pride.”
“Oh, I'll kiss it and make it better. But remember, winner's choice.”
In the early afternoon, back in the bedroom, sweaty from their workout and its aftermath, Kim lay in Shego's arms. “I'm going to beat you next time.”
“Was losing all that bad?”
Kim giggled, “Not really.”
“They say that when God created the world he called all the animals together. To some he gave strength, to some speed, to some cunning and to others patience. He gave out all the blessings until there were only two left. Then he realized he hadn't blessed Adam and Eve yet. He told Adam, ‘You get your choice. The first blessing is to pee standing up.’ And Adam said, ‘I'll take it! Yes, I get to pee standing up! I'll be king of the world! I can write my name in the snow -- give it to me!’ So God did. And Eve asked, ‘What blessing is left.’ And God told her, ‘multiple orgasms.'”