Story by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Written by CN Winters and Susan Carr (with additional writing from CSR)
Directed by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by Sharon Kierein
Sound by Steff
Art Direction by Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Humaira, Rob and Chantal
Willow's Bedroom – Evening
Rowena was lying on Willow's bed, wearing a plain white tank top with her lower half covered by the moving comforter. Her hands were raised above her head clutching at the headboard, and her eyes were squeezed tightly shut with her bottom lip clenched tightly between her teeth.
Suddenly, Rowena's body stiffened, her face contorting in a grimace. She reached under the blanket and pulled Willow up to lie against the headboard by her side.
"I'm sorry," Rowena whispered, her breath apparently short with fear rather than arousal.
"Are you all right?" Willow asked, concerned. Rowena only nodded, her gaze fixed on a particular point on the ceiling. Willow studied her for a moment, and then added, "Honestly?"
Rowena smiled and finally turned to Willow. "I'm fine," she said. "I got a little nervous, that's all."
Willow smiled sadly and pulled the blonde woman into her arms. "It's okay, Ro. I promised you we'd take things slowly. Whatever works for you, that's what matters."
Rowena sighed again. "It's…it's just so different, that's all."
"You mean being with a woman?" Willow asked.
"No! Being with you," Rowena replied. "Someone who's patient, so giving. Every time we're alone together, it's like you're totally focused on me – and not only in bed. Whether it's cooking dinner or getting me a cup of coffee while we're researching, you're always so attentive. I guess I'm not used to that."
"That's all a part of loving someone, Ro," she said. "I want to do everything I can to make you happy."
"And that goes for me too, Willow," Rowena said, rising up and looking down at Willow. "I want to make you happy and…" She paused a moment as if she was unsure if she should continue. "I don't want you holding back anymore," she finished.
"Holding back?" Willow scoffed, sitting up and wrapping the blanket around herself. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Yes you do," Rowena said with a reserved smile. "You can't lie to anyone, Willow Rosenberg, especially me."
Willow grinned sheepishly. "Okay, I confess. I do know what you're talking about. But an important part of making love is sharing the pleasure with your partner. It doesn't seem right if it's all…one-sidey. So until you're ready I'm keeping myself, well, in check and trying not to get too excited. Know what I mean?"
"Yes, I understand," Rowena said. "But I don't want you to keep yourself 'in check,' Will."
"No," Rowena said shaking her head. "Maybe seeing, and feeling," she added with a teasing smile, "that passion…Maybe it'll help me relax and feel it too. I know you're not an uncaring oaf Willow, and if…if I excite you, then I want you to show me."
Willow smiled softly and leaned forward to kiss Rowena gently on the lips. "I promise. Next time, no holding back."
"Thanks," Rowena said and then moved to stand up. "I'd better go."
"Please don't," Willow said in a small voice, placing a restraining hand on Rowena's arm. "Stay. I just want to be close to you tonight and wake up next to you tomorrow. Okay?"
Rowena paused in consideration and then finally nodded. The two women snuggled comfortably together.
"Night, Ro," Willow replied. "Love you."
Rowena smiled in contentment and closed her eyes.
Mitsubishi Rosa Bus Cab – Same time
Brell hunched over the wheel of the bus, his face tight with tension as he steered through the streets of Cleveland. Beside him sat his wife's cousin Clem, whose cheerful deposition was in stark contrast to Brell's distress.
"So I told Merk I would only accept kittens six weeks old or younger," Clem said apparently not noticing Brell's attention was elsewhere. "I mean, what good are they older than that? So he said –"
"What time now?" Brell asked, cutting Clem's gossip off.
"Oh…ah…almost half-past midnight," Clem answered, pulling up a flap of skin and looking at his watch.
"Portal open soon," Brell said nervously. "Must hurry."
Brell punched the headlight switch to the off position as he stopped the bus. Putting it into reverse, he carefully backed into a darkened alley and then cut the engine.
"Come, Cousin-of-Marriage," he said as he rose from his seat and went to the rear of the bus. He opened the rear door and eased down the ramp until it rested on the floor. Clem followed him down the ramp into the alley.
Cleveland Alley – Moments later
Brell's hair suddenly stood on end as a glowing blue aura filled the alley. With a soundless explosion the portal opened and the garbage and other debris from the alley around as the air pressure between the two dimensions equalized. Through the mist, a figure appeared. Brell stiffened and placed a hand under his overcoat until the mist cleared.
"Strawn," Brell said with relief in his voice. He removed his hand from inside his overcoat and held it out to the green, leathery-skinned demon.
"Brell," Strawn replied. "Hunters follow from Galas." He turned back and gestured through the portal. Most of the demons were similar in shape and size to Strawn as they began to come through. A few of them resembled Brell and some Clem, but all wore the look of the enslaved and downtrodden.
Brell's blue face blanched at the news. He turned to Clem and said, "Go start engine. You get ready to drive on signal."
"Hunters?" Clem repeated uneasily. "We shouldn't be here if they're around, Brell."
"Go," Brell insisted, helping an elderly demon up the ramp into the bus. He looked at Strawn who was at the other side of the ramp helping the refugees and asked, "How close behind?"
"Not far," Strawn said.
"We wait for portal to close," Brell said.
"No time. Must go now," Strawn insisted.
The line of refugees came to an end and Brell followed Strawn up the ramp yelling at Clem to go. The bus lunched as Clem ran over a pothole and Brell pulled up the ramp and latched the doors. As the bus turned onto the street, Brell cast a final worried glance back towards the open portal.
Cleveland Alley – Minutes later
The mist swirling through the portal once again parted and three more figures appeared. Although they looked humanoid, their heads were hideously elongated with protruding jaws filled with rows and rows of sharpened yellowed teeth. The leader scanned the alley way and then waved a hand. The air shimmered and the three figures were suddenly dressed in normal street clothes and appeared fully human. The leader signaled and they quickly strode out of the alley.
A minute later the portal closed with a crackling sound.
Dr. Tara Abraham's Examining Room – Next day – Morning
The next morning Becca nervously fidgeted on the examining table. She sighed and ran a hand through her hair, smoothing down the already perfect locks. She studied the wall posters on ear infections and new treatments for allergies. Finally, she picked up a small pamphlet titled "Menopause and You: What You Can Expect" and unsuccessfully tried to read it again.
The door opened and a tall and slender woman walked briskly in and sat on a rolling stool next to Becca.
"We got the test result back, Becca," the doctor said.
Becca snorted and held up the pamphlet. "Let me guess – a script for estrogen supplements and you're increasing my daily calcium dosage."
"We are putting you on vitamins, but you haven't started menopause."
"Then what is it?" Becca asked, worry furrowing her brow.
"Well, although unusual, it's not something unheard of," the doctor replied. "Congratulations, my dear. You're pregnant."
Becca's jaw dropped in shock.
End of Teaser
Onto Act One