~ Hearts and Flowers Border ~
by fingersmith
© March 2005

Disclaimer: See Part 1

Chapter Thirty-Four

Sunlight danced through the crack in the floral curtains to land, gracefully, on the bed. I could feel the heat from it on my fingers and it felt wonderful. My right side was firmly against Emma, heat from her naked body insulating me. My left leg was between her thighs, and I moved it surreptitiously.

'Good to see you're awake.' My green eyes shot to twinkling blue eyes that were studying me intently.

'How long have you been up?' I leaned in for a kiss.

'Oohh … about … let me think … about an hour.' She flashed me a smile. 'But you were wrapped so tightly around me I couldn't move.'

'You should have shoved me out of the way,' I pouted.

'I'll rephrase that. I didn't want to move.' I snuggled closer, embracing her, smelling the scent of our mingled bodies that coated her flesh.

After we both visited the bathroom, we climbed back into bed reasserting our positions. Laying in each other's arms and we relished the contact, chatting about anything and everything. The subject of our last visit cropped up again.

'God. It was a nightmare being in bed with you, feeling as I did, especially when Ms Davies and Ms Wilkins started to have sex.'

She laughed. 'Oh God yeah - that was a nightmare.' I stared at her.

'You heard them?' My voice reflected the shock that I felt.

'Who didn't? Now, they were loud.' A smile crept on her face. 'But not as loud as you.' A gentle kiss. 'I thought I would ravish you then and there. I was so turned on, especially having you so close to me, being able to smell you …' She smelled my hair. ' …touch you …' She trailed her fingers down my arm. '… and have my leg between your thighs.' She looked down at my thigh that was firmly planted between her own. 'I honestly don't know how I managed, especially when I heard you moan.'

My face blushed beetroot. 'But you were flat out … dead to the world!' I was incredulous.

'I don't think I slept for more than twenty minutes that night. I kept watching you, not believing that I was in bed with Laura Stewart. When they started, really started, my body began to betray me. I had to get as close to you as I could, as I dared to. It was only the horror at being caught that stopped me.'

'But you knew I was gay, right?' She nodded. 'Then why didn't you do something? You knew I was turned on.'

'Yes, I knew you were turned on. Those little mewling noises you made, made sure of that. What I didn't want to happen was for us to… you know … do it,' an adorable little blush, 'because they were doing it. I wanted you to be with me for the right reasons. I couldn't have survived if the next day you said that it was a spur of the moment thing.'

I hugged her to me. I understood what she meant, and it made sense. I would have felt exactly the same way. 'Okay. If you fancied me so much why didn't you pin a move on me?'

'Many reasons. I tried to get you to go for me. Remember Silence of the Lambs?' I nodded. 'Do you really think I was that scared?' I nodded again. 'Cheeky buggar.' I grinned. 'No, I had seen it before and thought it would make a great reason to grip hold of you.'

'What would you have done if I'd picked Fried Green Tomatoes?' I stroked her arm.

'Easy. I would have been inconsolable and fell into your arms to weep out my grief.'

'Why you sly …' She kissed me and I felt the yearning deep inside me rise to the surface once again. Neither of us had the strength to take it to its conclusion so we ended it slowly.

'What else?' I needed to know.

'Let me see.' Blue eyes looked back in time, appearing to glaze over in thought. Suddenly they were back and filled with light once again. 'I know. Remember that first Christmas?' Nod. 'Remember the disco At the Youth Centre?' Another nod. 'Well, that night I was going to kiss you …' I tried to interrupt but she put her hand over my mouth. I could smell myself on her fingers. 'Yes … I was going to kiss you and tell you how I felt. I'd spent so long plucking up the courage, and when I caught that same look in your eyes as I spotted you across the dance floor I made my move.'

'Yeah. And that bastard Rob Evans stopped you!'



'Let me finish.' I nodded my head again, looking almost sheepish. 'As I was saying … I walked across the dance floor, and yes, Rob interrupted me. I laughed at everything he said, and agreed with all his ideas about how stuffy it was in there, and then escaped. You were gone. I looked for you everywhere and eventually asked Justine, of all people, if she had seen you. She told me you had gone to the ladies, and she also told me, and I quote "to keep your fucking hands off Laura - she's mine". I couldn't believe the sight that greeted me.'

'I'm so sorry,' I wailed. 'I thought I didn't have a chance - I was so upset. Cassie was trying to calm me down.'

'Well … that's not what it looked like to me.' I tried to protest but she hushed my lips. 'It's in the past - forget it.'

'Why did you get off with Evans?'

She looked pained at this. 'I was so angry and hurt … I … I overreacted. I saw you leave and wanted to chase after you, beg you to forgive me and … and … tell you how sorry I was that I had read you wrong.'

'Read me wrong? Why?'

'It was obvious that you weren't interested in me that way. I didn't want to jeopardise our friendship … you meant so much to me. Still do.'

'Why on earth did you think I wasn't interested in you? I was like your shadow. If you said jump I'd ask "How high?".'

'Lots of reasons. The number one being how you would avoid touching me.' I sat up, startled by her words. 'You wouldn't let me hug you. You always seemed embarrassed by it.' Sadness seeped from pale blue eyes.

'It's only because I couldn't trust myself not to molest you on the spot. My hormones were on overdrive every time you were near. I thought you would be disgusted and tell me to fuck off.'

Strong arms pulled me back into her embrace and loving kisses scattered themselves all over, ending on waiting lips. Her eyes pinned me to the spot. She looked so serious. 'Another reason was Justine Russell.' She stopped, her eyes clouding over in memory. I was sure I saw hate flicker there, fleetingly, but still there. 'She was forever having digs at me, saying that you and her were ... you know. That made me feel sick thinking of her touching you. You deserved so much more than that bitch.' The last word spat from her mouth like a curse.

'But we didn't … I never . well not until …' I trailed off.

'As I said, that's all in the past. We have our future to consider. And if you're a good girl, I'll tell you what gave me the courage to try again.' Her face lit up. She looked liberated, finally free of the memories that haunted her.

I was intrigued about that night. But mainly I was elated at the prospect that Emma Jenkins had spoken of our future. Not the future - but ours.

Life was good.


Twelve o'clock saw us showered, dressed and fed. We decided to take in the sights of Whitby as it had become quite a cultural place to visit over the years. Cafes lined the streets, and books lined the cafes. It was relaxing, and the place was esoteric in its own charming way.

We visited Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society, a charming Edwardian museum, where I was the boring one and bought a teacher's pack. How anyone can visit Whitby and not be fascinated about Bram Stoker's Dracula is beyond me. The atmosphere of the place screamed gothic, and the vision of a man in a black cape played with my imagination.

As well as the educational side to the museum I found the toilets to be perfectly glorious. Funny expression for a public convenience, but it wasn't any run of the mill visit. Emma and I had gone in there to freshen up and ended up in the end cubicle, clothes barely covering our bodies and deeply engrossed in a passionate tryst. God … was she hot … was I horny? I thought I was going to eat her at one point.

The outer door creaked open as I had my hand inside her, pushing myself into her with a ferocious need that bordered on frightening. She was grunting and pushing back, her juices slicking my fingers and wrist. At the sound of voices I stilled my hand and waited. Emma kept up a slow rhythm, hooded eyes boring into my own. 'Don't stop,' spoken so softly I had to keen my ears to catch it. She continued to grind herself into me, the tip of her tongue sweeping along her bottom lip, her perfect white teeth biting into red lips. Another moan.

'Are you alright, luv?' A concerned elderly voice outside.

'Never better.' My eyes never leaving Emma's. I leaned in for a kiss and I felt her melt under my touch. I kept up my thrusting, impaling her on four fingers. Her hands tightened into my hair and she leaned down to bite my neck.

'Oh yeah!'

'Are you sure you're alright?' Closer to the door this time.

'Oh God … yeah … oh yeah.' Perfectly quiet from the other side. The toilet flushed, then the hand dryer burred, and eventually the outer door opened and closed.

Alone … thank the Lord.

I nestled my face between her breasts and inhaled the smell of her. My tongue browsed the cleft of her chest only to roam around puckering nipples, the skin taut and ready to be suckled.

Further down I went, the smell of her arousal like a beacon to my hunger. My tongue danced at the line of her downy hair, toying with her, toying with myself, fingers still buried deep, stroking the spot locked away from anyone but me. Forceful, hard strokes against her walls making her squirm and plead for more.

An inquisitive tongue burrowed through the soft hair that protected her from me, to forage for the elixir that could quench the thirst that ravaged my gut, begging me to take my fill. Thick, long strokes coated her lips, parting them to allow access to a perfect bud that trembled at my touch eliciting a whimper from deep within her chest.

I pulled my fingers free, sucked off the coating and murmured sounds of fulfilment, the taste of her burning into my taste buds, making them scream for more of her.

'Please don't stop … please …'

My tongue found its way to her opening, perching outside, tip at the ready. Slowly, I eased myself inside her feeling her sucking me in, a moan escaping her mouth, a moan escaping mine. I pulled out gently. She sucked me back in. In. Out. In. Out. The rhythm was getting faster - inoutinoutinoutinout … her hands were behind my head and she was crushing herself into my face. I could hardly breathe - didn't care. Continuous noises escaped her mouth; her backside was slapping against the cold tile of the cubicle, and I could feel her tensing, her walls clasping.

Her body convulsed, rising off the wall until she was arched away, my head pushed fully into her. I carried on thrusting, my hands gripping her arse, kneading and pushing.

I pulled my tongue out and took her outer lips fully into my mouth in a wet and slippery kiss. I could feel her nub pulsating, so I flicked my tongue over and over fervently. Another orgasm ripped through her and the roar of her voice ricocheted around the empty room. Her legs gave way almost immediately and she slipped down the wall taking me with her.

She was slumped against the wall, eyes closed, breathing erratic, and her chest heaving, with me half sprawled on her body. We were tangled in a cocoon of limbs, my head nestled on her quivering stomach, my hands were still underneath her clinging onto warm sticky flesh. A torturously slow kiss ensued, our breathing mingling and rough.

Not the most romantic of places, I know. But it didn't matter where we were as long as I could be with her … in any way. My own gratification was achieved through her - I was content to give.

After tidying ourselves up and leaving the museum (to very amused and not so amused stares) we visited the Abbey.

The Abbey was an old ruin that displayed the ruthlessness of mankind, with its sombre walls masking the destruction imposed upon it. Actually, it felt pretty creepy, especially with all the Goths roaming the place. This was an opportunity to grip on Emma, as if she would make it okay.

Lastly, we visited a museum that decorated the great Captain Cook, who sailed all the way to New Zealand on his ship the Endeavour. We were lucky to see the replica of the ship, the Bark Endeavour, which was new this year.

All in all, it was an exhausting day. The evening saw us eating fish and chips out of the paper watching the ships enter the harbour. So peaceful. We seemed like an old married couple and I was so content. I was here again, with the one person I loved above all others and she loved me in return.

What else could a girl want?


The weekend flew by in a blur of activity and sensuous lovemaking. The landlady of the guesthouse gave us curious looks whenever we returned or collected our key. She would study us intently hoping for whatever she was searching for to spring out and bite her on the ass.

It wasn't until we were going that Emma whispered in my ear, 'I wonder if she has had complaints about the noise?'

'What noise? Shit … no!' My face turned crimson, then paled significantly. 'You don't really think she … oh no … I'm so embarrassed.' I hid my head in her jacket and I could feel her giggling through the rippling movements of her chest.'

I didn't want to face her, but Emma persuaded me to go with her. I think she felt a little unnerved too, but was trying to pretend that she didn't care.

The landlady stood behind her desk, fag hanging from her lips reading the local newspaper. A cat that had seen better days was trying to get her attention, as cats tend to do, and pawed at the open page. 'Pack that in Smoggy. Go and kill a mouse or summat.'

Emma cleared her throat. 'Erm … excuse me.' Aging grey eyes looked up to be transfixed by us again. 'We'd like to pay the bill please.' No response, just a shuffling of paper and a grim look. She passed the bill over to Emma, who swiftly brought out her Visa card. I chucked the cat under the chin then sniffed my fingers. Fuck, that cat stunk to high heaven. I furtively wiped my hand down the side of my jeans.

Emma signed, refusing my offer of payment, stating that it was her treat. The woman glared at us once again. 'Is there a problem?' I'd had enough.

'Sorry to stare luv, but you two look like them birds of the telly.' Our faces were blank. 'You know, that tall one with dark hair … a bit butch looking, and the little blonde one.' More blank expressions. 'What was it called … bloody hell … it's on the tip of my tongue.' Something was on the tip of mine too, but I'm too much of a lady. 'Warrior something or other. Not on now, but used to be. Sometimes catch it on the reruns.' We didn't have a clue, but we both smiled anyway.

What is it about the British? Why didn't we just say 'We don't know what you are talking about. And by the way stop fucking staring, you're giving me the willies.' No. We say 'Really. Oh that sounds fantastic.' Sad - but true.


Neither of us wanted to go back to our dreary little lives, but I had promised Sarah, Elaine and Harry that I would see them as soon as I got back. Harry wanted to introduce me to his new girlfriend, and how could I disappoint him? I think he was after my blessing in some weird way.

The journey in the car was quiet yet relaxed. We didn't need conversation to hide lack of connection. Our lives were forged by another link in our chain of destiny. The only downside was that I didn't know when we would see each other again. And I so wanted to see her soon, see her constantly.

The car pulled up outside my house at nearly eight o'clock Monday evening. 'Sorry I can't stay. I've got to go into the office tomorrow and pick up the information about the new clients. I still haven't done the groundwork for the account yet.'

'Don't worry, sweetheart. I know you're busy. Look, don't stress about me, I'm free this week, when you can make it will be great.' I tried to hide the disappointment in my voice.

'Tomorrow night. You, me, a nice bottle of wine … I'll even throw in some nibbles too.' Saucily, her eyebrow rose and hid underneath her hair.

' I wish I could but I've got dinner arrangements.'

'Really?' I could hear the hurt in her voice.

'Why don't you come?' She looked pensive. 'It's with my family - you know, Sarah, Elaine and Harry.' Her smile beamed, lighting the whole street. 'They would love to see you again. You'll be surprised at how much Harry has grown.'

'I'd be more surprised if he hadn't. I'd love to.' Then she leaned forward to plant an agonising kiss on my lips. I wanted to drag her inside and ravish her until she begged for mercy. Unfortunately I knew that she had to be somewhere else, so I dragged my unforgiving lips away.

She helped me to my door declaring that I needed help with my one bag on account I was vertically challenged - a dig that earned her a dig in the ribs. Soft, deliberate kisses were shared at the door, and then she was gone.

Well, Harry wasn't the only one to bring home a girlfriend tomorrow night. I sniggered to myself. All of the people I love most under the same roof.

Could life get any better?


Chapter Thirty- Five

Sarah had been intrigued when I said that I wanted to bring someone over for dinner, especially when I wouldn't tell her who. She tried to pump me for information - I couldn't believe it that she didn't guess who it was straight away.

I was a bit nervous about how the evening would pan out. Elaine had a habit of interrogating anyone who I took round, almost like a father looking out for his baby's interests. I rarely took anyone there, not because of the Spanish Inquisition, but because I had not really thought that much of anyone to allow them into my fold, not really stayed that long in a relationship to even consider taking them to meet 'the family'.

Emma was different.

I picked her up at her place just after seven and she looked stunning, per usual. I wanted to skip dinner and go straight for dessert, but she eventually prised me off her and gave me that look.

'Come on Laura. We don't want to be late.' A loving kiss. My mind thought that we were thirteen years late as it was what would another hour do. But she was right. I didn't want to turn up bedraggled and smelling of sex - not the first time that they get properly introduced to her. And I didn't want to take the limelight from Harry's new relationship either.

We were both greeted by an extremely happy Harry. His girlfriend was all that he promised,: blonde, brown eyed and hopelessly smitten with my kid brother. Funny thing was - I used to teach her - small world eh?

Dinner flew by with constant rib tickling and general taking the piss. Nobody seemed surprised that Emma was my 'date', and they treated her to the same piss taking as I was getting - always a good sign.

The evening was nearly over when Harry took me to one side. 'Guess who I saw yesterday staggering out of the pub?'

'Father Christmas?' Sarcasm was always my forte.

'Well … he was there. But guess who else?' Obviously Harry had been around me long enough to not get phased by my fantastic wit. But I could tell that he felt uncomfortable broaching the subject, so, like a true Northerner I looked at him with 'I don't give a shit' expression. That was the usual way that I dealt with problems I didn't, or couldn't, handle.

'No other that Daddy dearest.' His eyes never left mine.

'And?' I turned to go, in my book the conversation was over. Harry grabbed my arm.

'Look Laurie … I know you don't give a rat's ass about him, but I thought I'd warn you.' I glared at him. 'He seems intent on looking you up … said something about apologising …'

'He can go fuck himself!' A little too loudly. I could feel, rather than see, Emma making her way over from chatting with Elaine.

'Laurie …'

'No Harry. End of discussion. I have avoided that bastard for thirteen years, and I'll be buggered if I am going to talk about him now.'

'What's the matter? Laura … are you okay?' And I'll be buggered if I was going to discuss him, and what he had done … tried to do, in front of Emma - she didn't need to know. 'What bastard?' I turned to look into concerned eyes.

'Nothing honey, no one.'

Emma knew that I was lying but knew that I didn't want to talk about whoever it was Harry and I had been discussing. It wasn't long after that I feigned a headache and left. I felt totally deflated. The evening had started out wonderfully and with just the mention of that twat's name everything had seemed to fold in. I couldn't understand why that would happen - it's not as if I thought about him at all, or that night, it's just … it's just … oh I don't know … just something.


The car was silent. Emma had tried to start a conversation, and I had tried to pick it up, but I couldn't concentrate, my mind decidedly elsewhere. So she gave up and stared out of the window.

I pulled up outside her place and turned the engine off.

'Are you up for a nightcap?' Blue eyes looked at me hopefully.

'Not really.' I just stared ahead again. 'Maybe tomorrow? Sorry … I'm quite tired.' The last part came out as an obvious lie, and my chest hurt with the telling of it. But what could I say? Sorry … just thinking about the time my father tried to fuck me. Didn't think so.

'Okay.' Such a quiet voice. Was that a hint of hurt there too? 'See you tomorrow. You know where I am …'She drifted off leaving the unspoken message hanging in the air. 'Whatever it is … I'm here … and I love you. Goodnight.' I heard her open the door to leave. I reached out and grabbed her arm making her slip back into the seat, closing the door behind her. She kept her back to me and I tried to turn her around.

'I just … I … I need to sort through some things … please understand … I love you, Emma - nothing can change that.' She turned to face me and I could see the tears threatening to spill onto her beautiful face. 'Hey …baby, come here.' She fell into my arms and started to sob, her body wracking with the force. 'Ssshhhh … hey … I'm sorry … it's not you … god no.' Glistening eyes shot up to peer into my own: she was trying to control her breathing. I thought my heart was going to break.

'I thought I had done something - said something to hurt you.' She began to cry again. 'I don't know what I'd do without you, Laura - I love you, so much.' I held her, clutched her, it felt almost like a nurturing - I felt protective. Funny thing was, what she needed protecting from was me.

Hungry lips searched out my own to devour my mouth. Hands gripped themselves into my hair whilst she fell forward into me. I returned her passionate embrace, relishing the contact, knowing that this is what mattered - the here and now. A hot tongue trailed itself from inside my mouth, over my jaw to descend to my throat. She sucked wildly, her hands slipping down to grab my breasts. I arched into her touch, needing to feel those hands on my skin.

Wish granted. Fingers slipped inside my top to push past the barrier of my bra and grasp my ready breast, pushing her hand into the pliant flesh, kneading it like dough. My breathing was laboured, I was moaning - she was grunting as she pulled the nipple to full attention and pinched the sensitive nub. Another moan. I could feel my body pushing her back against the door and began to scramble over the seat paying no heed to the steering wheel.

Pinning her against the door, I became frenzied in my attentions. I pulled her t-shirt up and lunged at her breasts, forcing as much of the scented flesh into my watering mouth as possible. I could feel my jeans being pulled over my hips and down, the cool evening's air breathing onto my overheated flesh. I started to grind my mound on her hip, needing the contact, feeling the blood race to the spot. My hands were tugging to relieve her of her top, my fingers desperate for uninhibited contact. Arms raised themselves to release the imprisonment of cloth that was acting like a bastion of virtue.

I pulled her to rest on the seat and leaned down to the lever to lower the back of the seat and she slipped backwards taking me with her. Another twist and the seat flew back to leave her flat. I straddled her, stripping my top from my body to expose bare skin.

My hands tugged at her jeans, liberating the buttons. I gripped the waistband and pulled them, tugged them, ripped them down her thighs. I pushed the restricting cloth down, using my knee to push them to her ankles. She kicked them free. Underwear tore underneath my hands; nothing would stop me from touching her, possessing her, loving her.

Hot mouths captured flaming flesh; lips, teeth, throat, ears - all under attack. Her skin tasted of redemption, of a promise I needed to hear. Carnal sounds broke free from deep within: guttural, animal, primitive. Fingernails scraped down innocent flesh, tattooing ownership, inciting the addiction. Sweat coated our bodies; our need coated our thighs, thighs that were pumping into each other, clasping, smearing slick juices onto each other like a fiery balm.

Sensations were pulsating through me, every nerve ending on alert, every noise, every movement adding to the rising fire that was waiting to lose control and break free to consume us both. Her deft fingers chafed my bud, promising freedom. I positioned myself over her hand, and, almost in chorus, speared myself onto her fingers, pushing them deep inside me, my own three digits buried deep within her. She filled me. I filled her. For an agonising moment we both froze - enjoying the tortuous sensation of penetration.

The rhythm of our hips began, not slowly as before, but with a necessity born of desire, primal and demanding. Grunts broke free, followed by moans of expectation. Her name fell from my lips like a mantra promising her salvation and enduring love. I wanted to impress onto her my worship; I wanted to burn my soul within her, I wanted to push myself deep inside to never return.

Savage rhythms, unabashed by place or time, usurped reason to dominate and control. Rational thought was left behind: only hunger remained.

I could feel her juices running down my arm, my own following in quick succession. Her walls were tightening, her hips frenetic with her need, choking sounds coming from somewhere below me and I searched it out to quell it with my mouth. Teeth nipped hard into swollen flesh eliciting a hint of blood followed by soothing licks.

The sensation welling from every pore was tantamount to hers, the ecstasy was blinding, the knowledge enlightening. I posed my thumb over her engorged clit, hovering over the spot like a prize to be claimed. And claim it I did. Her cry broke around the car, reverberating off the walls to become captured deep within me.

A scream left my lungs without warning, as the orgasm ripped all the way through me - we were almost in unison. We continued to thrash against each other unrelenting in our fever of coupling. Tears flowed freely down our cheeks as we murmured against each other's necks and faces, kissing and calming each other, our bodies a citadel to the other's vulnerability. Shuddering, convulsing jolts traced themselves through outlets throughout our bodies.

Our hands were still insistent, fingers still buried, thumbs still rubbing. Throbbing sensations built up again only to tumble over into another climax. Lips caught lips. Slow and sensuous dancing of hips and mouths, salty tears mingling to refresh parched tongues.

Hips began to slow. Urges began to ebb. Desire satiated … for now.

Violet eyes met mine. Swollen eyes, swollen lips and a tear stained face. 'I love you, Emma,' whispered and punctuated by a gentle kiss.

'I love you so much,' snivelled out.

We lay there. I was sprawled half on, half off her.

'I hope your neighbours are understanding,' I said, looking down at our nearly exposed bodies lying flat in the front seat of my car - a car, might I add, that was parked on the road outside her house. Her eyes followed mine and then rose again to meet my gaze.

'Gives them something to moan about.' Embarrassed chuckles broke free relieving the tension. I lay beside her snuggling close and inhaling the scent that was purely her.



'I'll have that nightcap now.'

She scooped me into her arms and gripped me so close to her I couldn't breath. But - who needs to breathe when you could die right there and then and die a happy woman?

This is a rhetorical question in case you were wondering.


Inside her house we continued our lovemaking. Not the hurried carnal coupling we had experienced outside in my car. No. It was gentle, tender, beautiful. Hands that had seemed almost violent with possession now seemed reverent, worshipping each other, stroking every curve and swell, every dip and line. Hips that had been frantic in there greed for satisfaction, now became temperate, the rhythm slow and sensuous, only to increase speed as the crescendo approached.

Hours passed. Words of eternal love whispered into fevered ears. Promises of forever etched into skin. Eyes pleaded guiltily, awash with devotion.

We lay in each other's arms, me half across her breast, her arm secured around me, and let the feeling of contentment wash over us. Hands still caressed damp skin, knowing that it was more for the contact than for gratification.

I felt at peace. The first time in my life I felt truly protected and content. Happiness seeped through my pores like it had finally been released from its self-imposed prison. There was only one more thing for me to do.
I had to tell her about my past. It was the only demon that I could still feel within me.

'Emma?' My throat was parched, so I cleared it and spoke again. 'Emma?'

'Mmm hmm.' She sounded like a cat, purring in pleasure.

'We need to talk.' I felt her body stiffen. I couldn't believe that after what we had just experienced she would still be anxious about how I felt about her.

'I need to get a drink - want one?' And she was gone, not even waiting for my answer.

It seemed like an age before she came back carrying two glasses of juice. She handed me one and climbed carefully back on the bed, propping herself up on her pillows. I watched her sip her drink, trying to appear distant but I could see every emotion, every uncertainty on her face. I gulped my own drink and then gently eased her glass from her grip.

After placing the glasses on the side, I snaked my arm around her waist and pulled her down. She seemed tense, but soon relaxed into my arms. I nuzzled her neck, placing gentle kisses on her collarbone. I heard a whimper.

'I need to tell you something … something about my past. Don't worry, it doesn't affect us.' A little kiss for reaffirmation. I lifted myself up onto my hand and looked into her eyes. 'I happened years ago … something about my parents …' I could see the concern in her eyes but I also saw relief; relief that she tried to cover.

I lay in her arms and told her the story of my miserable childhood. I told of the beatings, the arguments, the inability to feel safe. Memories washed over me and out of my mouth. I couldn't stop it. Memories of Harry losing his front tooth to a drunken father with ready fists. Memories of lecherous stares and gropings that no child should have to endure. Black eyes, fractured arms and swollen lips - all became revealed.

I couldn't look at Emma. Periodically, I had to stop to get my bearings and try to control the emotions that were fighting to get out.

I told her of how my mother used to turn a blind eye to everything: how I hated her even more than him for her lack of support. 'She was just glad he left her alone - didn't give a shit about what we were going through.'

Emma pulled me to her, embracing soundlessly, coating me with love, understanding and a promise of protection. She held me in her arms until I got my emotions under control: her soft, caring strokes calming my soul and easing the ache deep within. 'I need to finish.'

'It can wait, Laura. You need to shut off for a while.'

'No. I have to tell you all of it before I chicken out.' I took a deep breath and began again, wrapped up in Emma's arms, the only thing giving me the courage to go on.

'He was always a dirty fucker.' I felt Emma's body stiffen. I couldn't even look at her. 'He had been banged up for beating the crap out of mum too many times. All he got was three lousy days … Then he came back.' The memory was so strong; it wrapped itself around me and began to choke … Emma made soothing noises, cradling me in her arms.

I hastily wiped away the thick tears, smearing my face with the salty wetness. 'I told Harry to get out of there, I knew it was going to me this time. And I knew it wouldn't just be a slap.' The room seemed so big, so quiet, that I had to turn and look to see if she was still there. 'I was so scared … I'd never … you know … still haven't.' I swallowed nervously and snuggled even deeper into her. 'He slapped me so hard I felt my teeth rattle around inside my head. The next thing I knew I was flat on my back with him on top of me. All I could smell was beer and sweat - I can still smell it.' My stomach clenched at the memory; the memory of his words; the wild look in his eyes; the feel of his fat fingers clawing themselves down my legs; the feeling of helplessness.

'It was Harry who saved me. Whacked him over the head with a glass ashtray and knocked the fucker out. He saved me from him - saved me … when for years I had stood to the side powerless to help.'

The tears escaped me then. The pain in my chest tore me open, exposing my vulnerability to both Emma and myself. She folded me inside her, taking great care not to cramp me, holding me against her with one hand whilst the other ran soothing strokes down my back and through my hair. Tears flowed with abandon, escaping after thirteen years of being held inside to face the fear and the shame of my life, and my lack of courage to look after my little brother.

We lay like that for an age: her soothing, me crying.

Finally, I plucked up the courage to look into her eyes, dreading what I might see. Only anger rested there. Anger that initially I thought was aimed at me. 'That fucking bastard … I'll … I'll … fucking kill him … fucking … kill him!' Teeth clenched around every word, making her face take on the features of a macabre mask. She looked primal, savage and just a little insane.

Our positions changed as I began to soothe her, trickling words of comfort and calming to oversensitive ears. Eventually she began to cool off, and her pale eyes caught mine, concern and love taking over. 'You will never have to worry about him again. Got that? As long as I live he will never hurt you again.' She pulled me into her arms to nuzzle my hair and whisper words of love and security into my ears. 'It's not yours or Harry's fault that those bastards couldn't see what perfection they had.'

I felt relieved. I thought I was abnormal in some way because all parents love their kids, right?

I didn't tell her about what Harry had told me earlier.

What was the point?


Chapter Thirty-Six

The weeks flew by in a mindless blur. I was so happy, especially now that I had got that burden off my chest and Emma hadn't been disgusted and left. She was the most important person in my life and we spent every available minute in each other's company. We had begun to know the woman in each of us instead of the youth from all those years ago. It was strange, but I loved her more than I ever thought was possible. Although we had always had that connection, it seemed as if the boundary between what physically separated us had joined leaving no mark. We were totally as one.

When Emma had to go away on her trips I could feel the pain in my side like I had an open wound. The ache I felt was incessant and nothing could numb it. On the evenings before her trip the atmosphere would appear strained - mainly because we loathed to part but didn't want to admit it.

Her trips were getting less regular, and shorter too. But it still didn't stop me aching for her when she was gone. When she returned we were nearly frantic with need for each other - nothing seemed to satiate our lust and desire for each other.

On her return from her last trip she barely made it through my front door before I was on her, tearing at her clothes. I heard the pop of her buttons and the plink plink plink as they scuttled down the wooden hallway. Her skirt was next. It pooled around her ankles only to be kicked away by a trim black court shoe. My hands delved inside her underwear like they were searching for hope … for salvation … the hot wet juices greeted me like an old friend.

She was just as desperate. I didn't feel my top being torn from me; didn't feel my slacks leaving their nest; didn't feel the disposing of my underwear. No. All I could feel was her. She was hot. Smooth. Hard. Wet. Mine. Insistent hands roamed her, claimed her again. Teeth met skin in ownership, biting and scraping along needy flesh, wanting to tear out chunks and swallow it whole.

The coupling was frenzied. The slapping of skin and the pounding of flesh were joined by laboured breathing, gasps and moans. Epithets were muttered, forceful declarations of want and longing spewed forth like a tirade, a tidal wave of sheer hunger spilled over to drown and quench the raging fire that boiled below like the fires of hell itself.

Control was lost. Screams broke away from deep within to reverberate off dulled walls and be recaptured inside trembling bodies. Breathing erratic. We found ourselves slumped on the floor, half undressed, and clutching at each other.

I looked deeply into her glistening eyes that radiated love. A soft kiss on her cheek. 'Welcome home darling,' and I raised my hand to insert my drenched fingers into my mouth, sucking off the juices, taking extra care to nuzzle the webbing between each digit, savouring the taste of her. My tongue trailed over every inch, whilst her mesmerised eyes digested every movement.

'I think we should make our way to the bedroom.' Her voice was thick with need once again, and I felt my arousal surge once more.

She stood over me. Then like I was made of air, she scooped me into her arms and carried me into the bedroom.

Who am I to refuse?


Chapter Thirty-Seven

The school year was drawing to a close. Year 11 had left the previous month and only come in for exams. The relief surged throughout the school and allowed the teachers a little down time. This was the perfect opportunity to get lessons planned for the following year so that the summer could be free to do whatever we wanted.

Jack had been one of the leavers and I was sorry to see him go, although I did get to see him occasionally when he visited his sister. He was preparing himself for the advent of college in the autumn and still wanted my advice on courses and the like. I didn't mind, and not because I was desperately in love with his sister either.

Emma had arranged a holiday cottage for us in the Lake District, a little place near Eskdale, really out of it. I couldn't wait. Two weeks in the middle of nowhere with Emma Jenkins - just what the doctor ordered.

I loved the lakes. The beauty and tranquillity found there bordered on the sublime. I found that it allowed me to take stock of my life on the previous visits I had undertaken, though none of them would be as perfect as this.

The journey only took two hours on the motorway. It's amazing - you can go from the heart of the city to the core of the Lakes in such a short period of time.

The cottage was incredible. A huge open fireplace dominated the room, although we doubted we would light it considering it was the beginning of summer - but the good old British weather made you very aware of the capriciousness of nature.

The master bedroom was breathtaking. A four-poster bed stood magnificently in the centre of a rustic room that poured oak beams down the walls and across the ceiling. Rugs were scattered across the floor appearing almost random, and most of the furniture was stripped wood. I wouldn't have cared if I was stuck in a tent with her - just being with her made me whole.

The first few days were spent languishing in heated lovemaking, eating unhealthily and getting a feel for the place. On the fourth day we actually ventured outside to take in the lay of the land.

Our first port of call was Wastwater. The atmosphere at this lake was one that couldn't be replicated anywhere else in the world. Its ethereal beauty captivated the soul as the lake lay alongside Scafell Pike, the largest mountain that England had to offer. However many people came to Wastwater it never lost the feeling of solitude. It was like you were completely on your own, only nature to accompany you.

We had taken a packed lunch and our bathing gear as the day promised sunshine. Laying flat on our backs against the shoreline we immersed ourselves in our company once again.

I don't know how long we had been napping but the sound of frantic shouting pulled me out of Morpheus' realm.
'Ernie! Ernie! Come on fella! Come on!' I shot to my feet, Emma close behind me. The shouting was getting closer, and the voice was becoming more desperate.

A tall dark haired woman came over the edge of the bank holding what looked to be a ball of black hair - a wriggling ball of black hair at that. She looked frantic, her face a dark shade of crimson and her long hair stuck to her face with sweat. She caught my eye. 'You wouldn't happen to have seen a dog running this way would you?' The hope in her voice was apparent. The bundle of hair in her arms began to whine and wiggle more, exposing the most adorable dark brown eyes and shaggy head. 'Now, Bert, stay still.' The dog wriggled more.

'Sorry, I …' I looked at Emma who shook her head, 'we haven't seen anything.' Her eyes were wild. 'Do you need any help?'

'Thank you so much,' she gushed, the relief evident. A smile broke through for a moment until 'Bert' started to squirm in her arms. 'I haven't got his lead with me … Ernie, his brother, has run off after some bloody sheep, and I just left everything where it was and chased him. My partner is well up the road trying to hunt him down.'

'Do you want me to look after the little man while you go and find the other one?' Another relieved smile and I was handed the package of living, breathing, licking flesh. Interested eyes appeared in front of my own and I was hooked. The dog was the picture of lovability. Shaggy hair bunched itself over sparkling eyes, a shiny nose that was pressing itself to the exposed flesh of my arms, a tickly tongue that wanted to wash my face clean. I was so mesmerised that I failed to see the young woman and Emma leave to look for Ernie.

I nestled my face into his fur and breathed deeply. He smelled of open air, the lake and fun. I tickled his belly and he made a contented whimper and stretched himself back fully into my arms to expose the underside of his belly. 'Ah … you want to be tickled do you?'

Twenty minutes passed and I was having the time of my life. Bert was so much fun. I had found a stick for him to play fetch with and he obediently brought it back every time, sitting in front of me waiting for me to pitch it again. I didn't notice the return of Emma and the young woman, who by this time was joined by another woman with blonde hair and a stubby dog on a lead.

'Ah … this must be the infamous Ernie.' Big brown eyes landed on me, eyes full of expression and … guilt, I think.

'Yes … the fastest Border Terrier in the Lakes,' the blonde woman laughed.

We had a conversation about the dogs and Ernie's impression as a silver bullet, all the while stroking them behind the ears. Ernie had fallen asleep by this stage, the events of the chase having tuckered him out. The women explained that they had never chased sheep before, but then again they had never been so close to sheep before. It looked like the boys' holiday was going to be spent on the end of the double lead they shared. Bless them.

After much thanks and the promise of a drink one night they were gone. I missed the dogs immediately, and a sigh broke free from within me.

'What a lovely pair of dogs - the owners were nice too.' It didn't escape Emma.

'Funny how you commented on the dogs first,' she laughed. 'They said they were an eighth long haired Jack Russell crossed with a Border Terrier.'

I nodded still looking at the stick that Bert had brought back to me a few minutes before. Another sigh. I had always loved dogs, but as I've said before - it is too cruel to leave them cooped up all day on their own. Ah well - when I retire eh?

We packed away our picnic and headed off to Ennerdale for another bout of sunbathing and relaxation. Emma seemed lost in thought … so I let my mind drift to my four legged friends once again.


Chapter Thirty-Eight

The Lakes were all that it promised and more. The sheer beauty of place left me breathless and feeling insignificant. The only thing that surpassed that beauty was Emma.

Buttermere was commercial and hosted a myriad of different nationalities that all converged there to feast on the serenity that it offered. Obviously, because so many people visited, it lost some of its mystery. All the same, a good, long walk around the lake was still a lovely way to spend a few hours and enjoy a picnic.

We had been sitting on the shoreline just about to start our lunch when the familiar sounds of shouting reached us. Not frantic this time; just alerting the pair of where their owners were.

Pounding feet could be heard racing towards us. We couldn't see anything. Then they were there - Bert offering a red rubber ball to me covered in spit, his eyes sparkling begging for a game of fetch. Ernie had Emma pinned on her back and was giving her face a thorough washing.

'There you two are … oh … sorry.' The dark haired woman looked embarrassed and tried to pull Ernie off Emma. He wasn't having any of it and pounced back, more determined. Bert was whimpering at my feet, a look of desperation flitting over his shaggy face, the ball resting against my foot. I tickled his head, loving the feel of his fur under my fingers.

The blonde woman appeared carrying a rucksack and joined the meeting.

'So … here we are again …' Emma laughed. 'Fancy stopping by for a while. We were just about to have some lunch. You are welcome to join us.'

'Great. We were just about to do the same. I'm Annie by the way, and this is my partner Helen,' the dark haired woman said. They unloaded their rucksack that contained the boys' packed lunch and water as well as their own lunch.

It was fun. We chatted about the Lakes, our lives, and the boys. Bert and Ernie played in and out of the water, fetching sticks and the red ball until they slumped down, exhausted from their play.

I chatted to Helen finding her easy to talk to. She told me that they had both come up from Norfolk for a holiday, but she had originally came from Manchester before moving down south with her parents when she was seventeen. I kept looking at Emma who was engrossed in conversation with Annie. They both looked animated in their discussion; a discussion about what I don't know.

'How long have you two been together?' I think the question was spurred by a fleeting grain of jealousy as I watched my lover chat easily with someone else.

'Eleven years.' A soft smile graced her face. She was totally in love with Annie that much was obvious. 'What about you and Emma?'

'Two and a half months.' A contented sigh escaped. Two and a half months of being alive.

'Is that all! You two seem like you been together for ever.'

'It's a long story,' she smiled in encouragement. 'Well … it all started thirteen years ago …' and I told her the events leading up to this moment. Not all the events, especially the Justine Russell fiasco, but the bare bones of it.

After a couple of hours, lots of play fights with the 'terrible twosome' as they were dubbed, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. It had been a lovely afternoon and made me feel contented in some strange way.

'Good to see relationships getting stronger over the years instead of breaking apart,' Emma's rich timbre trickled over my ears. That was it. Seeing and chatting to two people who were so obviously in love gave me hope for the future.

My hope was that in eleven years our relationship was still as strong as Annie and Helen's. God. I hope so. I really do.


The rest of the holiday sped by leaving us breathless and totally at peace with the world and each other. It was like a dream come true spending all day and every night with Emma and I didn't want it to end.

The last evening was spent on the patio area sharing a cold bottle of wine, watching the sun dip down below the hills and witnessing the appearance of the bashful stars. Emma's face was obscured by shadows that danced and played with her features leaving my eyes straining to capture those fascinating blue orbs again.

'Why did you make a move on me? You haven't told me yet.' I had to know. What had been the difference between then and now.

She smiled that crooked smile of hers and my heart began to gallop.

'Can't we just say that I couldn't resist you anymore?'

'We could … but I need to know. What made you make a pass at me after college, and then again years later after all that had happened? You said that you knew that I wasn't interested. What changed your mind?'

It was so quiet. I could hear her breathing.

'Well …' she looked sheepish, 'at college I had all these feelings racing around inside me that I couldn't deal with. You were a constant thing in my life … someone who I had come to love so much …' her voice faded into the night.

'And?' I prompted.

'You always seemed so content with your lot. You dated on and off … and then there was Justine Russell who was always ready for some sarcastic comment about how you wouldn't give me a second look.'

'But we didn't see Justine all the way through college.'

'I know … but it used to play on my mind, especially after the Youth Centre fiasco.' She looked wistful, staring out at the darkened horizon. I fiddled with my wine glass and waited.

'I dated a great deal throughout college …'

'I know,' I interrupted, and she laughed at the comical hurt expression on my face.

'It was my way of dealing with things. I tried to block out my feelings for you, thinking they were a crush, a phase, a something that I shouldn't be feeling for my best friend.' I entwined my fingers into hers and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.

'Then … when we went to the Gay Village and I saw everyone else making out … my sense of reasoning kind of took a holiday. You looked so beautiful … I thought my heart would burst out of my chest and scream out its secret to you.' She took a sip from her glass and licked the excess from the rim. I felt a flame kick start in my gut.

'I was arguing with myself … should I … shouldn't I? You were oblivious. I watched you laughing and chatting to everyone. I noticed that women were flocking around you wanting your attention … wanting to claim you … and I felt jealous.'

'You? Jealous?' I was incredulous.

'Yes me. Jealous.' She leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss upon my lips. The flame in my gut began to heat up and venture south.

'Then you looked at me.' A sigh escaped her lips, and she turned and caught my gaze. 'I could see myself reflected in your eyes … just a glimpse. I had to see if what I had witnessed was true … that you wanted me too.'

'Oh God, yes.'

'That's when I asked you to dance. Holding you in my arms was like coming home. I couldn't think straight … the scent of you … the feel of you … it smothered my senses … I couldn't stop myself. When you responded to my kiss … god …' her eyes were glassy from the memory. I lifted her hand and kissed along her knuckles.

'Why did you ask me to forgive you?' She looked at me, confusion masking her face. 'Just before you kissed me you asked me to forgive you. Why?'

A slow smile appeared as the memory came back stronger. 'Well … it was in case you didn't feel the same way … I was covering all bases.'

'But I did.'

'Yes you did.' Another kiss - a little longer this time. 'The rest is, as they say, history.'

We were quiet again. I knew she was lost in thought about how that evening panned out: how it broke our lives apart. I didn't like to ask about why she decided I was worth the effort again. So we just sat there, lost in the memory of days gone by, revelling in the closeness of each other now. Fate was a fickle player, I knew that, and I didn't want anything to get in the way of my feelings for the dark haired woman seated next to me. I couldn't survive losing her again.

'I am so happy.' An almost reverent whisper that broke through my reverie. I thought it had seeped from my head until I was ensnared into pale grey eyes that bore into my own. A ghost of a smile tortured her perfect lips as she looked at me for a response. I smiled. Her hand came out and grasped my own, the thumb rubbing soft small circles on the back.

'It's hard to believe that we will be back in the city this time tomorrow,' I sighed, deliberately missing out the fact that I was more concerned about having to sleep in my over large bed … alone.

She stood up, and although we hadn't been snuggling I missed the warmth of her skin. Stretching a long toned arm towards me, she smiled once again, a hint of sadness playing along her mouth. I felt a spark of nervousness, not knowing why she would look sad. I didn't want to know. 'Well … let's make the most of our time here then.'

I allowed her to lead me to the bedroom, anticipation fluttering around my stomach like a captured butterfly. Slowly, she drew me towards her and inhaled my hair, then my neck. 'You smell wonderful,' she breathed, her breath caressing my skin leaving it tingling. Sure hands trailed down the front of my shirt, fingering the buttons until I could feel inaudible pops as they were released from their prison.

The cool evening breeze embraced my newly exposed skin and I closed my eyes in expectation. Soft delicate kisses flickered on my chest, moving steadily downwards to waiting breasts. Her hands were not idle as they gently pushed my cargo shorts away from my hips to gather in a cotton pool around my feet. All I had between me and my modesty was a thin piece of material that mimicked underwear.

My hands began their quest. Firstly, they stroked her hair, trailing through long dark strands that felt like new spun silk under my touch. They rested for a moment on her cheeks, cupping the supple flesh and allowed my fingers to hint at a caress. Then they ventured to her collarbone to finger the protruding bump with light strokes. All the while she was circling my breasts, tantalising them with the promise of attention only to pull away at point of contact. Frustration was rearing his ugly head once again.

Her head lowered, and moist lips opened and closed around an awaiting nipple that was rigid with longing, the puckering flesh around it taunting, demanding attention. They hurt with the need for her touch, and I as felt the wetness envelope me I released a moan. I felt those lips smile into my skin and her hand came into play, flicking the other nipple and rolling it gently between her finger and thumb. I felt her palm come into the action, rubbing directly over the stub … another moan, deeper, more guttural. Her fingers parted and the nipple was captured between her index finger and forefinger where she set up a coaxing rhythm. The shocks from this action, and the gentle, yet possessive suckling, fled to my core and I wanted to throw her on the floor and take her hard.

But not this time.

This time was meant to be slow. It was meant to be a joining; a gentle coupling; a reaffirmation of our love.

I nuzzled her hair, desperately wanting to kiss her. Her mouth snaked its way back up to my waiting lips and took them firmly. I returned the gesture, moaning deeply within her mouth, feeling her moans enter me, making the wetness between my legs pour from the source.

I don't know how we got to the bed. I can't even remember undressing her. But the feel of her skin on mine made me want her over and over again. It felt like the first time … again. Every time felt like the first time with her. So special.

She came hard the first time, quivering underneath me, breathing out my name in throaty moans, her nails deep in my back. I nearly tipped over the edge at just the sight of her. She was absolutely beautiful, her face flushed, her eyes hooded, a fleshy tongue sweeping over plump lips. I licked her neck tasting her in my mouth - the taste that was purely Emma.

She flipped us over … my beautiful girl straddling me, eyes the epitome of desire. 'What do you want?' sultry and breathless. 'Tell me … what would you like me to do?' Hungry kisses barked at my throat, her tongue swiping and licking. 'Tell me …' her voice trailed off as she captured my breast in her mouth and she feasted.

'Touch me … I need … god … I need to you to touch me …'

'How?' A mumbled response, my breast hindering her speech. Her hips were rocking against me and I could feel my desire coating my thigh, slicking its way to her skin.

'Fingers … tongue … whatever … just touch me.' I was becoming desperate. I needed to feel her in me, against me … anywhere.

She pulled away breaking the contact of skin and tongue and lips. 'Tell me … what do you want me to do?' Her expression had an air of surety about it. She seemed primal.

Her thigh came between my legs and began to push against me. I wrapped my thighs around her legs and pulled myself into her, bearing my want into firm muscles, my hands gripped her hips steadying me as I ground myself into her.

She pulled away leaving me gasping for more. 'Please Emma …' my voice held a note of entreaty, my eyes implored, my fingers clutched at her hips trying to pull her to me.

'Please what?' A playful smile, and her hand reached between my legs to allow fingers to slip along swollen lips coating themselves in my juices, sending shuddering jolts through my body. My eyes fluttered closed and then opened to concentrate on her face again. She was staring at me, the curve of her lips obvious.

I felt probing fingers rest outside of my opening, just a gentle pressure to announce their arrival. 'What do you want Laura?'

'To feel you inside me,' I panted.

'And? What do you want me to do then?' Her thumb grazed my clit making my body shoot off the bed.

'Fuck me - just fuck me!' Strong fingers entered me, pushing inside until I was filled. I nearly came then. She started thrusting in and out, the rhythm frantic, I plunged myself onto her, needing to feel her inside. Her tempo began to increase, the strokes deeper, the pace quicker, her thumb more insistent. I could feel the orgasm building as she fucked me, her free hand pinning me in place by my hip, her legs straddling my thigh. I could feel her grinding herself onto my knee, short grunts emanating from deep within her, her passion slicking my thigh, her fingers still deep.

I could feel her tensing and I knew we were both close. 'Harder Em … Harder!'

And she did.

We broke through into our climax together, hollow roaring sounds escaping from deep within as we both rode our passion, drawing out every shudder, quiver and tremor, little jolts flying through our bodies. Hot wet lips found each other, and I was surprised to find tears on her face. I was even more surprised to find them on my own.

Frenetic 'I love yous' tumbled from our lips like a catechism, committing this time to memory never to be forgotten.

Sated for now, we folded into each other and drifted into a contented slumber.


Chapter Thirty-Nine

It happened not long after we got back. I should have expected it … should have been prepared. But hindsight only happens after doesn't it?

It had been nearly a week since our return. Emma had been busy catching up with work and we hadn't seen each very often. I spent my time preparing for the return to school in a few weeks, wanting to be ready well beforehand as this would leave me time to spend with my girl.

Friday night saw me leaving Sarah and Elaine's and on my way to meet Emma at the Red Lion where we were supposed to catch up. I was so engrossed with seeing her again I didn't pay any attention to my surroundings.

Big mistake.

Darkness was sneaking up on me and I looked at my watch, audibly sighing when I realised I was running late. It was my fault. If I hadn't been waxing lyrical about the love of my life I would have seen it coming.

The pub loomed ahead in the distance and I fumbled around in my handbag for my mobile to alert Emma of my impending presence.

'Hello luv.'

I would recognise that voice anywhere.

'What the fuck do you want?' I spun around to see my father, older, dirtier, but him all the same.

'That's no way to talk to your old man is it?' I turned to go. A grimy hand landed on my upper arm. I tried to shake it off, but his grip became tighter, more insistent.

'I've nothing to say to you.'

'Look luv …' his strong hand pulled me around to face him, 'I just wanted to chat … catch up. Your old man's missed you.' A leer appeared on his face and I was thrown back to a time when that leer was poised above me, fat hands between my legs.

Fear seeped into my stomach and a cool sheen of sweat covered my body. I visibly drained of colour. 'I've … I've … got nothing to say to you.'

'Pity,' hungry eyes trailed up and down my torso, he unconsciously licked his lips, his focus resting on my heaving chest.

'Look … I'm meeting someone and … and I'm already late. They'll come looking for me soon.' I had consciously avoided the gender of the personal pronoun hoping that he would think it was male or even a group of people.

'Yeah … I know. That big leggy dyke you're hooked up with.' The surprise on my face was evident. 'Your old man doesn't miss much … bet she's a goer.'

'Fucking leave her out of this!' I spat out, anger getting the better of me. I couldn't stand the thought of him thinking about Emma never mind anything else.

'A little touchy aren't we,' he sneered. 'Maybe I'll pay her a visit next.' He licked his lips leaving them wet and sticky.

'If you go near her I'll …'

'What?' He cut me off. 'You'll do what? Get someone to hit me over the head again?'

'Just fuck off and leave me alone.' I turned again, trying to free my arm from his grip. I felt the pressure behind his hand increase and abruptly found myself slammed against the wall, his forearm across my throat.

'Play nice,' he growled.

I was finding it increasingly difficult to breath, as his arm was steadily adding more pressure. His body was crushing itself into me. I tried to shout out but he applied more force making it impossible.

'I'd like to carry on where we left off,' he growled as he nuzzled my hair. The bile was rising in my throat. I knew this time I didn't have Harry to save me - there was no one.

A jean clad leg pushed between my thighs, parting them wide. I closed my eyes, the arm across my throat making me feel faint.

He was mumbling about me needing to feel what a man could do, then I would realise what I had been missing - what I couldn't get fucking a woman. 'Although I'd like to watch,' he snarled into my ear.

One hand began its journey underneath my top. Why didn't anyone stop him? There was no one about. It was nearly nine o clock on a Friday night and everyone would be in the pub or at home.

I felt his hand grab my tit, rough and calloused. He kneaded it painfully whilst still holding me secure by my throat, his hips were striking up a rhythm and I could feel his erection begin against my crotch. God no! I couldn't bear the thought of him taking me. Why hadn't I come in the car? Why did I think I would be okay walking to the pub? Emma had offered to pick me up - but no - I had to be Miss Independent didn't I.

His hand left my tit and fumbled its way down to my zipper, the weight of him heavy against my small frame. I could feel him tugging but was helpless to stop him. I resigned myself to my fate.

'Come on sweetheart … show your daddy how much you love …' he let out a whimper as his body was physically lifted away from my own. My hands went instinctively to my neck to soothe the burning sensation. He was slumped against the wall, fear in his eyes.

Six foot of anger towered above him, her hair flying out, her blue eyes mere slits in a stoic face. Lips parted in a grimace that oozed destruction. Hands balled into fists as she tried valiantly to control the anger radiating from her. She looked like a warrior … an avenging angel sent to earth to save me.

'What the fuck is your game?' Her voice was ice. She didn't blink as she faced him down.

Although she exuded power, he believed that she was still only a woman.

Big mistake.

'So … the dyke returns,' he spat. 'What you gonna do? Stop me?' He struggled to his feet, trying to assert a sense of authority, a sense of power. Now, he was a big man, but Emma made him seem tiny. She stepped closer to him, I could only watch from the sidelines as I still felt faint. I slumped down the wall, my legs giving way and fumbled in my bag next to me to retrieve my mobile and ring the police.

He adopted an air of confidence. I could tell that he didn't want to appear weak in front of a woman, a dyke at that.

'You fuckers are all the same. Just 'cos you fuck like a man you think you are one.' He laughed, albeit shakily.

'And you're a man? Attacking a woman … your own daughter I might add …'

'She's no daughter of mine. She's nothing but a bastard. I took on that whore of a mother of hers when her real father didn't want anything to do with them.' That laugh again.

I sat there. Stunned. He wasn't my father? I didn't understand. His name was on my birth certificate. I felt a jolt of relief that was mixed with anger. Why hadn't anyone told me? Sarah must have known … wait … she said something about my mother settling for second best …

'Hello … Madam … could you please state your location … hello …are you …'

'Yes … sorry.' I passed on the details never taking my eyes off the scene in front of me.

'Feels good doesn't she … firm tits,' he was taunting her now, 'but I liked 'em better when she was younger.' He licked his lips, smacking them together like he had just enjoyed a tasty treat. 'Her pussy was all wet for …' Smack. Emma's fist came out so fast we were all surprised. He nursed the side of his face.

'Not bad,' a trickle of blood left his mouth and he swiped at it with the back of his hand inspecting the red stripe that appeared. 'I knew she wanted it … she was gagging …' Smack, harder this time. He reeled back slightly dazed.

I could see that Emma was having difficulty controlling her fury. Her chest was heaving frantically, her posture rigid.

'Tell me. Is she still limp in the sack?' Her hands were on his shirt in an instant, and she slammed him against the wall repeatedly. 'You dirty fucker … dirty … dirty little fucker!' She screamed into his face as she kept slamming him harder and harder into the wall. His feet were not touching the floor: his teeth were clacking together.

Her left hand left his shirt and began backhanding him across the face making his eyes bug out. 'How do you like to be on the receiving end, huh? Huh?'

I stood up and approached the scene, a scene that seemed surreal yet actually playing out in front of me. I laid a hand gently on her shoulder and could feel the tension emanating from deep within. 'Em. Come on love. Leave it. The police are on their way.' I felt her relax under my touch and she let him go. He slumped to the ground, keeling forward so his face was nearly touching the floor. I thought he had passed out.

I turned her around by her shoulders and her face instantly lost the darkness that had harboured there. A look of concern gathered around her eyes and her mouth. 'Oh honey …' She scooped me into her, cloaking me with love, acting like a human shield. 'My poor baby,' the words mumbled into my neck.

'My hero.' She tensed and pushed me away, only to deliver a roundhouse kick into my stepfather's gut. The breath left his body in an agonising gasp and he flew backwards into the wall with a sickening thud. I knew he wouldn't be getting up from that anytime soon.

She turned to me, taking me into her arms again, holding me safe. 'Don't worry. I've got you.'


The police arrived a couple of minutes afterwards to find me completely blanketed in Emma's arms and an unconscious man slumped on the pavement. We both went to the station to give our statements and he went to the local medical centre to get checked over.

Three hours later saw us curled up on my sofa softly stroking each other's back, almost like petting each other.

I felt safe in her arms. Contented.

'You won't have to worry about that jerk anymore. You've got me to protect you now.'

Thank you Emma. You honestly don't know how much I needed to hear that.

But deep down something was niggling me. I couldn't put it into words - just something. A seed had been planted after the attack - and what it was going to grow into was still a mystery.


Emma stayed with me for the weekend and comforted me when the emotion became too much. I had refused counselling from the police feigning tiredness. I promised I would go and see them, or someone, to talk through my ordeal.

Not only had I nearly been raped, again, by that sick pervert, but I had also found out that I had spent the best part of my life living in ignorance. I felt like a fool. I couldn't sit there and tell someone I didn't know how useless I felt. No. I had to get on with my life, push this mess behind me and carry on.

It's funny how things come back to haunt you isn't it?


I had a tearful conversation with Sarah Saturday morning. God … livid wasn't the word to describe her reaction.

She told me that what he had said was true - he wasn't my father. I became angry at this point, demanding to know why nobody had thought to share this nugget of information with me - especially at the time.

Sarah seemed uncomfortable with the question. 'Well … see … Elaine wanted to …'

'Elaine knows and I didn't?' The words spat out from clenched teeth to sound harsh and accusatory.

'Look … Laura honey … we thought you were beating yourself up about no one loving you enough to give a damn. If you were to know the truth about … you know … your real father walking out … well …'

The fight left me. What could I say? It was true. That was the key thing about my teenage years, all I rattled on about, not being wanted: Mum … Dad … Emma. I could understand why they hadn't told me. What good would, or even could, it have done.

The conversation ended on a happy note. The bastard was looking at five to seven years, and it was only later that we found out he was wanted for other things too and would be spending a stretch at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Good riddance.


Chapter Forty

I didn't even know that Emma had taken Martial Arts until the night of the attack. She nonchalantly informed me that she had taken it up in Cambridge as a good way of relieving tension. I could have done with a little stress relief - especially after losing her. She said that she tried to practice when she had a chance but felt like she was going a little rusty.

Good job really. I doubt that bastard would have got up from that one.

Funny thing was he tried to press charges against her. Can you believe the gall of that man? The police laughed at him and put it down to self-defence. Thankfully, they didn't check Emma's record and find out about the attack on Justine all those years ago. I don't think they would have been able to brush it away as easily as they did.

It was also a good job that the bastard - can't call him dad anymore - didn't know, he would have dragged that out to save his own neck.

Don't want to write about him anymore. In my eyes, he is dead to me now.


The summer flew by. I didn't want it to end, although I couldn't see Emma as much as I wanted to - like twenty four seven. She was busy with some large project that she had to get finished before the end of September.

The school year rolled around and delivered another set of rookie high school kids who were visibly shaking on their first day. Wide-eyed and innocent; dressed immaculately in new school uniform. I knew it would be only a matter of weeks before that all went out of the window. They were so impressionable, and the upper school kids had a whale of a time breaking them into routine.

As all teachers, I was really busy for the first couple of weeks. The word 'frantic' sums it up nicely. I had assessments to do, national testing, rearrangement of set lists, GCSE analysis to write, etc.

Yes. As I said … really busy. I didn't give myself time to think.

So busy that I didn't really notice that Emma wasn't coming around as often as I would have liked. Well, I did notice, and I did feel put out, but … but I was up to the eyes in paper work, you know how it goes.

After the first couple of weeks, when things had started to settle back down, it hit me. When we spoke on the phone she seemed a little edgy, like she had something else going on and she couldn't concentrate fully.

Don't get me wrong; when we did see each other the bond was still as strong as ever. But something was niggling at the back of my mind; something I didn't really want to think about in case I talked it up.

It was three weeks into term and she turned up late for our date. I hadn't seen her for two days and was feeling vulnerable. I missed sleeping with her every night; holding her close; feeling her next to me as I spooned against her. It wasn't sex - it was so much more than that. I just missed her, you know.

Although she was only fifteen minutes late, we had missed the beginning of the film. I was not best pleased. I didn't give a flying fuck about the film, I just felt that she was slipping away from me and there was nothing I could do about it. I began to think that she was losing interest; that she had come to realise that what we had when we were nineteen was infatuation; and now that she had sated this desire she could move on but didn't know how to tell me.

We ended up going for a coffee at the local book cafι. She seemed relaxed as she spoke about what she had been up to. I just listened and answered her questions as economically as I could without seeming rude.

The evening went slowly downhill from there. Every time she received another curt response her brow would crinkle just that little bit more.

I wanted to throw myself at her feet and beg for her to love me. Or if she couldn't love me, just to let me be near her, look at her, live in her shadow. The more I thought about it the more depressed I became.

'Laura … honey … are you okay?' Concerned blue eyes gazed into my own and she leaned across the table to take my hand in hers. The cool smoothness of her fingers made my heart ache. I would miss those hands, those eyes, that voice … so, so much.

'Just a headache. I think I need to sleep it off.' My voice was quiet and she looked more concerned.

'Do you want to go home, get in bed? I'll look after you.' She squeezed my hand.

A tiny crack was heard coming from my chest. I could feel the blood seeping out of my heart and flooding my body making me drown in my anguish.

'I'll be fine. It would be better if I just got into bed and slept. We can do this another time.'

'But I don't mind. I'd like to …'

I interrupted her. 'I wouldn't hear of it. It's better if I'm on my own.' Never a truer word spoken.

Hurt flashed across her face like she had been symbolically slapped, and then she looked concerned again. Her hand grasped my own, tighter. She looked down at our hands and a small sigh escaped her lips. 'Come on then - let's get you to bed.' Nervous eyes looked into my own.

She dropped me off outside my door, asking again if she could take care of me. Once again I turned her down. She leaned forward for a goodnight kiss and I turned my face away so she only brushed the side of my mouth. I scrambled out of the car.


I turned and nearly looked into her eyes … if I had looked into those blue depths my resolve would have turned to water and I would have begged her to come inside so I could commit to memory the feel of her; the scent of her; the sound of her; the taste of her skin; the taste of her love. Commit to memory the way she looked when she was in the throes of passion: the way she looked at me as she made love to me, like she loved me.

But I would have to live my life with the memory of our short time together.

'I love you.' Her voice was gentle, and for a split second I wanted to believe her.

'I love you too, Emma … so much.'

I leaned back into the car and claimed her lips. They were so soft, so inviting. My tongue poked its way inside her mouth and she sucked it in, a little groan escaping her.

I pulled away leaving her reeling from the lack of contact. 'Goodnight Em.' And I fled inside not turning around to look if she was still there. I felt like Orpheus, wondering if his beloved Eurydice was behind him, but knowing if he turned around he would lose her forever. Unlike Orpheus, I stood my ground.

When I entered my house I went straight to the side window and peeked outside. She sat there in her car, unmoving, staring at my front door, a pained look on her face. The flooding in my chest was heaving its way to my throat making me choke out the tears that had been threatening to appear all evening.

Fifteen minutes later, she started her car and pulled away.

The dam broke as sobs tore themselves from my chest. I knew I had to let her go. I knew that I didn't deserve her. I knew that I was completely devastated and doubted that I would survive losing her again.

Harry couldn't save me this time.

I fell to my knees, tears cascading down my face unchecked. I was finding it increasingly difficult to breathe. A low-pitched keening was emanating from deep within my soul, gradually escalating into something bordering into a wail. My hands gripped my hair and I began to pull, rocking myself backwards and forwards. I was dying inside.

The next morning I found myself in the same spot in the hallway, bundled up into a ball, clothes crumpled and eyes burning. I dragged myself up and staggered upstairs to hide underneath the duvet until I couldn't feel the pain anymore.

And that would be a long time coming.


I know what you are thinking. You're thinking 'Why don't you just ask her?' I would be doing the same thing if I were in your position. I hate it when I read something that is similar to this and they don't do anything about it. Why didn't I ask her?


All my life I have had people rejecting me for some reason or another. I always stuck around and waited for its conclusion. And look where it got me. I couldn't face Emma telling me she didn't feel we were going anywhere and it would be for the best if … I can't even finish that sentence. I couldn't face looking into her beautiful face and listening to her reasons why she didn't think it was working out.

Yes. I am a coward. But unless you've been through the same thing, you can't possibly know how you will react. And I hope you never do.

Funny thing was … everything was going great until the night of the attack. She probably got a really good look at what she was getting into and decided that she should get the hell away. Don't blame her really.

I just love her so much.

And it's agony.


The phone was constantly ringing. I knew it was Emma trying to talk to me, but like the coward that I am I let it ring. The doorbell went numerous times. I ignored it and pulled the pillow more firmly over my head trying to block out the sound.

A couple of times I could hear her shouting my name up towards the window, and like the weakling I am I closed my eyes and let the tears trickle down my face.

Two days I spent like that. I didn't have the energy or the motivation to get up, go to work, eat, wash … anything. The only thing I did was break my heart over and over again - that took up all my time.

On the third day I heard my front door open and close. Then soft footsteps roaming around downstairs. I hoped it was a burglar who would find me and suffocate me with a pillow.

The footsteps made their way upstairs, across the landing, and stopped at my bedroom door.

A gentle tapping followed. I snuggled deeper under the bedclothes that were beginning to smell of stale sweat by this time.

'Laura? Are you in there, love?'


I ignored the question, but my ears picked up the sound of the door opening and a heavy sigh escape the woman who I had come to think of as a sister.

'Oh honey … what's up?'

The sound of her voice, so full of concern, made my heart break all over again. I was buried beneath the covers and all she could have seen was the shaking movement as the pain pulsed through me. Every part of my body hurt. My eyes were so swollen I could barely see.

Covers were lifted from me allowing the light of the room to filter through the self-imposed darkness. 'What on earth …?' Sarah's voice held a hint at panic at my appearance. 'Laura honey … what's happened?' Her arms circled my shoulders lifting me up into an embrace. I was like a rag doll, completely without purpose, just a pile of disused cloths to be thrown out with the rest of the trash.

Sobs were louder now the protection of the duvet was gone. Firm, yet gentle hands stroked down my back and I could feel the sway as she rocked me from side to side making shushing noises into my ear.

'What on God's earth has happened?' I didn't answer … I couldn't. My throat was thick and blocked; I'd lost the ability of speech. 'Is it about your father?' I shook my head, the tears coming faster now with the memory of that night mixing with the loss of the light of my life. 'What is it? Come on baby, tell me. We are all so worried about you. Emma came around to ours three times today saying she couldn't get any answer.'

I lifted my head at this point. Why would she care? 'She is so worried about you … has been since the night of … you know.' I started to cry all over again.

Sarah held me in her arms for over an hour. Kind words of comfort accompanied by gentle strokes alleviated the crying, until I was just lying in her arms feeling nothing - completely numb.

'She doesn't want me,' my voice barely audible.

Sarah stopped her rocking but the hand still smoothed my back. 'Who doesn't want you, honey?'

'Emma.' Her name was like a coating on my lips. I loved the feel of it as it trailed passed my tongue and ventured out into the world on its own.

'You are joking, right?' Sarah's tone was of disbelief. I shook my head. 'Laura … look at me.' I shakily met worried green eyes. 'Emma is completely head over heels in love with you … what on earth gave you that idea?' I shrugged, not wanting to go into detail - it was still too painful.

'She is beside herself with worry. We had to stop her breaking the door down this afternoon.'

'If she's so worried, why isn't she here with you now?' I stared challengingly into Sarah's eyes.

'She wanted to come, but I said that I would feel the way for her first. She kind of has the impression that you want to break it off with her and don't know how to tell her.'

'Me!' I shot up straight, knocking Sarah's hands away. 'Me wanting to break up with her! That's a laugh. More like the other way around!' I was shouting now.

'What on earth gave you that impression?' She looked incredulous at my outburst.

'She's always making excuses why she can't see me. Turning up late … looking harassed like she's got better things to do with her time.' I shot out. 'Are there enough reasons there?' My tone was cutting. Why I wanted to be spiteful to Sarah God only knows?

'Have you ever asked her why?' Such a simple solution. But what was the point, I already knew the answer.

I shook my head and felt the fight leave me. 'I need to sleep … I'm so tired.' I began to lower myself to the bed again when the tone in Sarah's voice changed dramatically.

'Get your sorry arse out of that bed Stewart. Stop being the martyr and get the fuck up.' My eyes grew huge at this outburst. I had never heard her come out with compromising words … and now they were directed at me. 'Don't feel so goddamn sorry for yourself. If she going to leave you - get over it. But don't make decisions for her.'

She grabbed my arm and yanked me off the bed, grabbing my shoulder and beginning to shake me.

'By the God … don't just curl up and die … sort this fucking mess out before you fuck it up big time.' I allowed her to shake me, my eyes beseeching her to stop. Her grip loosened and her eyes dropped.

'Come on sweetheart … she loves you … I can feel it in my gut. Don't blow what you have together over some silly hunch.' Her voice had returned to soothing, her eyes gentling.

I fell forward into her arms and began to cry again. 'I'm so sorry … so … so sorry,' while she shushed me and once again became my saviour.


Chapter Forty-One

After I had a shower and ate the meal Sarah had made before she left, I came to a decision. I was going to call Emma and talk it through. We both deserved to be in the picture, not one outside making all the arrangements whilst the other was standing centre stage waiting to be told where to stand.

I picked up the phone and dialled her mobile number.

'Hello!' Was that panic or relief in her voice? 'Laura … is that you?'

'Yes, it's me,' softly spoken, my throat was still raw from all of the crying I had put myself through. 'We need to talk.'

'Oh.' I heard a hitch in her voice. 'Yeah sure … when do you want to see me?'

'Well … can you come over now?' My chest was heaving and bile was rising up my throat.

'Erm …'

'Look. Forget it. Some other time.' I was crushed. She couldn't even be bothered to come and tell me straight away.

'Laura … I … can I come over later, say about nine?' Her voice held something but I couldn't tell you what.

'Suit yourself,' and I slammed the phone down on her, then picked it up and lay it off the hook. She had put me off again. I was feeling angry now. How dare she? How fucking dare she piss me about? Fuck her … this was it!

I paced around the house like a caged animal, regularly picking things up and throwing them against the wall. Curses spewed from my mouth like I was possessed by some demon. Adrenaline raced around my body making me buzz, my senses razor sharp.

By the time nine o'clock arrived I was a living pot of anger. I couldn't wait to let fly at Emma - I would make her sorry that she ever walked into my life again.

The chimes of the doorbell alerted me to her arrival and I wasted no time in nearly pulling the door off its hinges to get to my prey.

She stood there, a couple of steps back from the doorway, hands hanging limply at her sides, her head slightly bowed, blue eyes peering into my anger filled green ones. 'How dare you fucking fuck me about!' I screamed at her. 'How dare you waltz up here like there's nothing wrong!' I began to close the door in her face when she lurched forward grabbing the side stopping it from closing.

'Laura … please … let me explain …'

'Explain what? That you want out? That you don't give two shits about me? What?' I pulled the door open and stood my ground.

'Can we go inside?' Her voice was calm, but I could hear the note of anxiety ringing out as clear as day.

'Why? Don't you want the neighbours to hear you breaking up with me?'

'Breaking … what on earth are you talking about?' She pushed her way into the house and went into the front room leaving me standing at the open doorway feeling like a complete dick.

She stood with her back to me; her shoulders slightly slumped. I slammed the door shut with all the strength I could muster, the sound thundering through the house.

'The way you've been acting … like you don't give a shit.'

She turned to face me, her face crumpling up. I wanted to pull her into my arms and tell her it didn't matter, not to worry. I couldn't bear to see her upset even though she had broken my heart.

'But I love you, Laura,' she croaked out releasing the tears that lay hidden behind those eyes. 'What did I do?'

I felt the anger surge again. It was so unlike me. I usually wasn't an unreasonable person, but my judgement was well off kilter by this point. I had spent three days as a hermit under my duvet, gradually breaking apart, and I needed to know one way or another.

'If you love me so much, why have you been avoiding me?' She tried to answer but I cut her off. 'Why have you been so distant when we have been together, huh? Don't feed me any crap, Emma; I know a knock back when I see one. I've had enough of them in my life.'

She stepped forward, the tears running unmeasured down her cheeks, her hands reaching out to me. I stepped away from her. She stopped and dropped her hands to her sides, only to lift one up to swipe away the moisture on her face. I could hear her snuffling, trying to keep control. Why couldn't she just say it and then go, leave me to my sad little life?

'But … I love you … always have …. always will.' Her voice was a whimper, a cry into the night. She was beginning to shake by this point and I could feel my resolve breaking down.

I don't know how I got to her, can't remember moving, but I felt her in my arms, so fragile, so vulnerable. Her body was heaving with the force of her tears and she was gripping onto me like I was her salvation. 'Don't leave me Laura. Don't leave us. I don't think I could survive it a second time.'

I couldn't register what I was hearing. Was she worried that I'd leave her? But …

My fingers gathered underneath her chin and I tipped her head back. I had to look into her eyes … she couldn't hide anything behind them. They allowed me to see deep within her.

I felt my stomach clench as I witnessed the heartache there - heartache that I had done. 'Em … I will never leave you … God … I love you so, so much. I just thought …' Her kiss interrupted me. So passionate and demanding. It felt like she was sucking my soul from deep within. She was claiming me, reaffirming my love for her, her love for me. I felt weightless: I felt elated.

The kiss developed, becoming more frantic in our need for each other. Our hands were everywhere, pulling and tugging at clothes, needing to purchase themselves onto living breathing flesh.

I pulled away and looked at her. 'Em … do you still want to be with me?'

'God yes!' She leaned in for another kiss. I pulled back and looked at her confused face.

'Tell me. Was it my imagination or were you distant with me?' She looked confused again. 'After the attack you seemed to change. You constantly seemed harassed and were forever late. I thought that you wanted to finish it … you know, not want to be involved with my problems...' I drifted off.

A smile broke open on her face. It was my turn to look confused - why was she smiling?

'Laura. I didn't lose interest,' she laughed aloud - I looked even more bewildered. 'God … how can you think that? I didn't see you for nearly ten years and I never lost interest then.'

'That was before you really knew me.'

'I know you like I know the back of my hand … like I know myself - God, even better than I know myself.'

She scooped me into her arms and nuzzled my neck. 'I love every part of you and your life. I love the changing colours of your eyes, the pout of your lip,' she gently kissed them to prove her point. 'The way your nose wrinkles when you smile,' she rubbed my nose with hers for effect. 'The smell of you drives me insane. Your kisses feed the flame inside me. Your hands - God your hands ...'

'Enough already,' I laughed quickly, mainly out of relief. Then my face turned serious again. 'What about my life?'

'What about it? You're an English teacher - I'll get over it.' She smiled a crooked smile.

'What about … you know … with the incident and all …' I couldn't even bear to think about it, never mind vocalise it.

'That was no reflection on you.' She pulled me to her once again. 'You just were in the wrong place with the wrong person. The blame rests solely on his shoulders.' I lay my head on her chest. 'You were the victim, love, but we have to move away from that now and carry on with our lives.' A kiss landed on top of my head.

'But … why did he try it again?' I could feel the anger well up inside me struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

Emma made shushing noise into my hair as I let the tears flow freely down my face. 'I don't know, honey. But we need to get this sorted. You can't live the rest of your life blaming yourself for somebody else's shortcomings.' I nodded into her chest and she stroked my back in leisurely circles.

We stood there for quite a while, both seeking comfort from the other, soaking it up, relishing in our bond. Eventually, I suggested we should sit down, as my legs felt like they had just completed a mini marathon.

We curled up on the sofa together so closely I doubt a human hair could have passed between us. I felt her breathe deeply and hold it before she released it back into the atmosphere. 'Laura?'


'There are a couple of reasons why I have seemed harassed lately.' I looked up to face worried blue eyes.

'What is it - or are they?' My voice wavered right at the end.

'Well … number one. I was thinking about selling my place and …' She stopped.


'I was worried about asking you …'


'Well … wouldyouliketomoveinwithme?'


She blew out a breath and sat up straight. Then she plucked my hand away from her shirt and held it between both of her own.

'I said … would you consider buying a house together; move in together?' Initially I was stunned, but three seconds later my mouth was on hers drinking her in. She eventually escaped and laughed. 'Shall I take that as a yes then?' I kissed her again. Harder this time.

After a couple of minutes she pulled away again. 'The second thing was a little harder to arrange.' I looked at her quizzically. She stood up and offered me her hand, and then she pulled me to my feet unmercifully. 'Follow me.'

She led me outside and towards her car. 'Where are we going?'

'Nowhere.' She fumbled with her car keys and unlocked the door, leaning in to unlock the back. 'Come here,' her voice was low.

I hesitantly walked towards her, my eyes flickering from her face to the opened door. I could hear something coming from within, a scrabbling noise. My interest was definitely piqued.

The inside of the car was nearly black and I could see an orange box resting on the back seat. Inside was an old blanket that was completely messed up. 'What am I looking for?' I was confused.

'Look closer.' So I did.

Twinkling brown eyes peered over the top of the box and captured my stunned expression. A little whine and a pant, followed by a yap. 'A puppy? What's a puppy doing in the back of your car?'

'Probably becoming a little annoyed at having to wait to meet his new mum.' My eyes widened.

'But I can't have a puppy … it would be cruel to leave him all day.' As I was saying this my hands were searching him out, wanting to feel that chubby ball of roundness and hug it to me.

'But he won't be left all day - I'll be there to keep him company, won't I?' I didn't know what to do. Put the puppy down and hug and kiss her senseless, or hug the puppy tighter - so I did them both. Puppy firmly entrenched in my arm, his head resting across my chest; I gripped Emma and laid a fat juicy one on the lips.

'Careful. You'll do a Lennie on him in a minute.' I laughed out loud kissing her soundly again.

After pulling away from her I lifted the puppy up to look in his eyes, his little body hanging limply below him. A pink tongue lolled out of his mouth and he panted contentedly, a stubby black nose glistening.

'What's his name?' I asked her without breaking eye contact with my newfound friend. 'Ow! He just nipped my nose.'

'I don't know his name - you haven't told me yet.'

'What about Buster? Chester? Shakey? Brian?'

'Brian?' The hoot of laughter left her lungs at an alarming rate.

'Okay … I get the message. What about Stumpy? Stubby? Bruce?'

'Bruce? What on earth possessed you to call him Bruce?'

'Look at his little overhang and his straight teeth - looks like Springsteen to me.' I nuzzled the dog's nose against my own and he bit it again. 'Ouch!'

'What about Nipper?' I could hear the amusement in her voice.

'Maybe … oh, he's so cute. Did you see that little yawn he just did? How adorable.'

'I always knew there was a maternal instinct in there somewhere. Come on. Let's get him settled; he's had a long day.'

Emma gathered his belongings from the car and locked up. The puppy lay contentedly in my arms as we walked like a new family back into the house.

It is amazing to think how in one day you can change the course of your life. If it hadn't been for Sarah, maybe the day would have panned out differently. I would have to thank her big time when I saw her next.


We got the puppy settled into his box that I filled with old jumpers and a blanket and put it in my bedroom. He had warm milk and puppy food and was looking contented and sleepy. His brown eyes began to flutter closed as a tiny yawping yawn escaped his mouth.

I lay on the floor next to him and stroked his head, staring in amazement at this little ball of wonder that had entered my life.

Emma came into the room, fresh from her shower, and settled down on the floor next to me, pulling me into her arms. A sigh escaped me. I felt like a mother watching over her child surrounded by the protection of daddy bear. Sickly sweet - I know, but hey - all through our lives that is the one thing that we search for - the ultimate feeling of belonging.

'Are you coming to bed?' Her voice was husky, and behind the question I could feel a promise lingering there. I doubted sleep was on her mind.

I turned and placed a gentle kiss on her lips, opening my eyes to be captured in her intense gaze. I pulled back and stroked her cheek. 'I love you, Em. I'm sorry … about … I don't know what came over me.'

'Shush … don't worry about it. You've been under a lot of pressure lately, and we need to get that sorted, right?'

I nodded and snuggled closer to her chest.

'Come on baby … up.' And she lifted me into the air and carried me, giggling, to the bed. Good job I'd changed the sheets.

After laying me down she leaned over me and captured my lips with her own. 'Now. We have some serious making up to do,' she mock growled whilst I squealed with delight. Her fingers trailed themselves down the front of my top and fiddled with the buttons in an agonising manner. I tried to stop her and do it myself, but she slapped my hands away.

'Patience.' Her eyebrow lifted to hide underneath black hair.

I could feel myself getting wetter as I looked at her slowly undressing me. Every movement was punctuated with a kiss, or a lick, or a stroke. My hands reached out and brushed her hair away from her face, loving the contact under my fingers.

It wasn't long before I lay naked underneath her gaze as she straddled me. 'So beautiful,' she murmured as her fingers traced a circle around my breast. My nipples strained into the night eager for attention. They didn't have to wait long as a warm wet mouth captured one and gently sucked, grazing strong teeth up the sides. A moan escaped me and I pushed her face further in needing to feel the pressure of her.

'I want to feel you,' I panted, tugging on her sleep t-shirt. She grabbed the back of the shirt and with one swift movement tugged it over her head, revealing perfect full breasts for my eager eyes. My hand floated towards them like a gravity pull. I was mesmerised by her beauty, her slick form, her silky skin.

Gently, I dragged my finger in lazy circles around each breast in turn watching her tilt her head back and close her eyes. She moaned. I moaned. With the backs of my fingers I rubbed the underside of her breast and leaned forward to capture the waiting bud in my mouth. She gasped on contact stoking the fire that was beginning to rage out of control between my legs.

My other hand stroked her hip and I could feel her rhythm beginning to start and her hips tried to purchase themselves onto my thigh. 'Off!' I tugged at her shorts and she lifted herself up so I could pull them down to her knees, and with a quick movement … they were gone. There was nothing between us anymore, and I don't just mean clothes. We were fully exposed to each other; our emotions on show unchecked.

I pulled her down towards me and sank my lips into her neck loving the feel of her pulse racing around underneath my touch. I loved the sensation of sucking on the part of her neck where it meets the shoulder, the slight dip; the sensuous taste. Her hands pushed me closer begging for more contact. I could hear her breathing catch as I sucked her neck and stroked her breast.

The pressure from her body was pressing into mine as she lowered me to the bed and covered my body with her own. The furnace boiling within me was an agony and I wanted to desperately to feel her thigh, her fingers, her mouth trying to quench it.

She positioned herself between my thighs, pushing her mound into mine. I could feel the connection and sensation of our wetness mingling together as the rhythm became more intense. I clenched my backside and raised it up to meet her need, making my clit stand out more. Her hands snaked themselves underneath me and gripped onto the waiting flesh, pulling me deeper within her, her breathing becoming erratic. My hands went to her hair and latched onto the nape of her neck, fingering the short hairs there, only to pull her in for a searing kiss.

Faster and faster we ground together, the kisses becoming more intense, almost animal in our need for each other. I wanted to open my mouth and swallow her whole, savour the taste of her for eternity. I could feel my wetness slipping down onto the bed; it was dripping from me.

I could feel her body tensing; I knew she was going to come - so was I. Faster. Skin slapping against each other - slap slap slap - tongues plunging into open mouths, burying themselves deep, not able to get enough. I felt her stiffen, and hold, and the release her climax into the night. White flashes appeared in front of my eyes as I followed her down the path of ecstasy. Strong, deep circles engraved by hungry hips bore into our need. Grunting, trying to drag out the jolts that pulsed through each other, savouring every shudder.

With a last kiss she was going down my body, kissing and licking everywhere, hands acting crazy like they didn't know what to touch first. Desire to taste her raged through my mind as I saw where she was headed. 'I need to taste you, Em.'

Without missing a beat she crawled up my body and turned herself around. As she lowered her mouth to meet my desire I grabbed the tops of her thighs to bury myself into her wetness. The taste was pure nectar, quenching my thirst for her. I could feel her tongue lapping against my folds and I buried myself deeper into her, my tongue delving into her core. A rumble of carnal desire throbbed through us both.

Juices dripped onto my chin, as I loved her with my mouth, my tongue delving, my lips kissing and sucking, my teeth nipping. I could feel her nub pulsing against my face as I pushed two fingers inside of her. She gasped into me making the feeling even more intense than it already was.

My arm began to pump as she impaled herself onto my fingers. I added the third digit, shuddering at her moaning and thrusting. I searched out her nub with my tongue and flicked it rapidly across her pulsating centre, my own desire rising in response to her reaction.

I felt her hands join in the fun as she frantically pushed aside the waiting flesh to insert her fingers into my wet warmth. I sighed into her wanting the sensation of her filling me to last forever. God - how I loved this woman.

Her walls were tightening around my fingers, her clit stood out, erect in its need for fulfilment. I knew she was close - I was beginning to feel the familiar jingling racing down my body.

It overwhelmed me. A cry tore itself from deep within to bury itself in her, my fingers pumped although the spasms of my climax made coordination a nightmare. She came then. Screaming my name back into me, spewing forth words of love and need and devotion right into my core. My free hand clasped so tightly to her thigh I could feel my fingers digging into her flesh. I came again and again, each time followed by her, and each time she came so did I.

Exhaustion stopped us; otherwise I would have died loving her. And gladly.

She slipped off me to land heavily on the bed, taking a moment to collect herself before scuttling up beside me to take me into her arms and kiss me deeply, the taste of our love mingling into hot, wet mouths.

We lay like that for an age, soaking up our love, with soft tender kisses and gentle caresses. Time and time again we returned to our lovemaking believing that this time would be enough to quench the thirst, only to start again as soon as we got our breath back.

Morning found us exhausted but contented. We awoke to the feeling of the duvet being tugged helplessly from our lifeless bodies. Small growling sounds were heard emanating from somewhere near the floor and I peeked over the edge to be greeted by sparkling brown eyes and a wagging tail. 'Wap grr wap!' Excited panting accompanied the oral display, his whole body swaying with the force of the tail. 'Wap!'

'Hello there little chap.' Even more excited now. 'Do you want to get up her with me and mummy?'

'Wap wap!'

'I'll take that as a yes then.' I leaned over and scooped the bundle of wriggling flesh into my arms and placed him in the middle of Emma and I.

He was excited to be on the bed and clambered all over the both of us before lying flat on Emma's chest. 'My dog eh? Seems he thinks differently.' I tickled him behind the ears and he let out a contented little whine. Emma laughed.

'What's so funny?' I looked into her mischievous eyes and smiled a full-toothed smile.

'Well … he may think he's my dog but he takes after you.'

I looked at the comfortable puppy, who was stretched out along Emma whuffling at all the attention being bestowed on him.

'What can I say? My dog's got great taste.' I leaned over and captured her lips in a soft kiss. 'Just like me,' I whispered my eyes not leaving hers. She kissed me again and my eyes fluttered closed.

'Wap grr!'

'Ahh … he's jealous, bless,' I cooed to the dog. 'It's all right little chap. We have enough to share.'

And we did. More than enough.



That was three years ago. Where has the time gone?

Emma and I moved into a detached house with a huge garden eight months after that episode and I have been living on cloud nine everyday since then. Sometimes, I even pinch myself to see if I am dreaming … I know … how stupid can you get?

She started her own business working from home so she didn't need to travel, and that suits me down to the ground. It is still in its baby stages but we are both optimistic. I still teach, although I have drawn a definite line between school time and home time - you have to or else when would you ever get any work done with that tall dark haired beauty in sight .

I talked to a counsellor for quite a few sessions to work through all the anger I held for my parents, and what the man I thought was my father did to me. I have now put that all behind me and concentrate on my own family.

Talking of which, the puppy is not so puppyish anymore. He has grown into a bigger ball of fur, with the classic otter shaped head of the Border terrier. Although we think of him as our baby, he thinks of himself as the pack leader, but let's us get on with all the details of feeding and walking him.

He's snuggled up to me now as I write this, his head planted on my knee making snoring sounds as if he is asleep. He's waiting for the jingle of his lead to alert him of a day at Lyme Park - lots of leaves to chase and birds to yap at. A very much-loved pooch - and he knows it.

Well, I have come to the end of my tale of love and loss - love and near loss - and love. I hope my messages are clear to you all.

Don't ever take life for granted.

If you want something go for it.

Never be contented with your lot.

Talk about how you are feeling, don't keep it locked away.

But mainly - never let the actions of others make you think less of yourself.

Life is what you make of it, and my life is bordered by hearts and flowers.

And always remember:

Laura Stewart
Emma Jenkins
Who both love

The End (or is it?)

Well … there we go. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing. Let me know what you thought.

Email fingersmith - I will try and get back to you. Thank you for reading.

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