In Healing Arms

by DS Bauden

Please see part 1 for disclaimers.


 

Part Four

 

Alex drove down the winding road to get to the beach. The steep incline made two cars passing one another nearly impossible. Alex could tell Sydney was a little unnerved, so she held onto her hand until she felt the taller woman calm.

"Itís OK Hon, I have driven down here a million times. Relax." Alex soothed.

"Itís just such a curve on such a hill, itís kinda scary donít you think?" Syd asked.

"Yeah, at first I would always make Tracey drive because I was always afraid I would hit someone. The more I drove it, the more at ease I became." Alex explained.

"Well, I for one, am glad that you are driving. I think I would be too preoccupied with the view. This is really pretty Alexandra."

"It should be, they spent over eight million dollars on the restoration of it."

"Eight....million.....dollars?" Sydney gasped.

"Yeah, see what happens when you get a roomful of bored, retired, millionaires together? They even made the city pay for it. Like they just couldnít reach into their little mad money jars and pay for it themselves. Some of the people in this town make me crazy."

"Wow, I can see why. Why did your parents stay here? I would have been dying to get away from here."

"It was a safe place to bring up children; there isnít much crime here. My dadís practice was here, and mom liked to golf at the club, which is only a mile or so away from home. They had a good life, why would they leave?"

"I guess you are right. Did you like this place growing up?"

"It had itís moments, but all in all, I do like this place alot. Itís very beautiful here, and how many towns are there, where it's safe to walk just about anywhere, without being bothered by someone? Itís really expensive to live here though. I am very lucky that my parents were able to give me the life that I had."

"Itís nice that you see that. Some people, when they are born into money donít feel quite the same way as you do. A lot of people expect to be catered to or just donít know how to do anything for themselves. You are so not like that. I canít tell you how happy that makes me."

"I am glad Sydney. I donít know if I could ever be like that. My whole high school class seemed to be filled with people like that. Letís just say that I am very happy I didnít turn out that way." Alex paused when she remembered something from her past. "You know what? OK, this is the kind of people that I went to school with, ready?"

"OK, tell me." Sydney said amusedly and shifted in her seat to watch Alexís face become more and more animated.

"I had a locker that was next to one of the more popular girls in my grade. I think her name was Jordan DuBois, or something ridiculous like that. Anyway, she would keep an extra outfit in her locker, just in case someone was wearing what she had on that day." Alex finished and Sydneyís eyes shot wide open in disbelief.

"You have GOT to be kidding me."

"I wish I was, but that isnít even the horrible part."

"Oh God, there is more?" Sydney groaned.

"Yeah, so brace yourself." Alex giggled.

"OK." Sydney said while smiling as she gripped onto the dashboard.

"OK, one day I was in the commons area and I was near the phones. I saw Jordan on the phone and she was starting to raise her voice. Well, being the nosy body that I am, I slowly walked over to the phone next to her and pretended to use it. You know, just so I could listen." Alex paused and Sydney nodded in acknowledgment. "So anyway, she was talking to her mother and she was bitching about the fact that someone had on the same outfit she had on. Well, her mother said to change into her other outfit. Jordan said that she had done that already, and it was her second outfit that this person was wearing. So she asked her mother to bring her a THIRD outfit so she could change."

"OH MY GOD!!!!! My mother would have laughed at me and hung up the phone."

"Yeah no shit, so guess what?"

"I am afraid to know anymore." Sydney replied while chuckling through her hands that now covered her face.

"Well you guessed it, her mother came to school and dropped off another outfit for "Miss Priss" to wear!"

"I cannot believe that!!"

"Yeah well, believe it, because itís true. And I think she bitched at her mom because it was wrinkled or some shit, and her mom apologized and promised to take her out to the mall after school."

"Jesus!! That is exactly what I am talking about! You are so lucky that you didnít turn out that way. I may have had to kill you."

"Believe me, I would have killed myself." Alex agreed and slowed the car into the parking space.

Alex and Sydney got out of the car and walked to the brick path just short of the sand leading to the water. They stood next to each other just admiring the view. The sun had begun its descent leaving a beautiful trail of color itís wake. The water glistened with the light of the upcoming nightís sky. It was truly a sight to behold. Alex had never seen a sky like this one. She felt as if it were smiling upon her. She felt a warm calm wash over her and goosebumps trail up her arms. She took in a sharp breath of air and suddenly tears began to roll down her cheeks. Alex smiled into the sky knowing her parents were the cause of this phenomenon. Sydney looked away from the view and saw Alex weeping and wrapped her arms around her.

"Whatís wrong baby?" Sydney asked as she kissed the top of Alexís head.

Sniffling, "Sydney, I just felt my parents surround me. It was like all of a sudden I couldnít breathe, and I felt a warmth run through me. Then I took in a quick breath and I could faintly smell them. God, it probably happened in like two seconds, but my God Sydney, I know it was them." Alex sobbed into Sydís embrace.

"The people who love you will always be with you Alexandra. Death doesnít even stop that; at least I donít think so. I believe in souls, I believe in angels, and I do believe that you are watched by loved ones who have died. That doesnít surprise me that you felt them. You must have fond memories of the beach with your folks." Syd said as she stroked Alexís hair with her fingers.

"I do. They used to take me here every weekend in the summers. I would swim, and mom would help me build sandcastles, and then dad would let us bury him occasionally. They were the sweetest people Syd. My mom was the most wonderful woman that I have ever known. I could only dream of being the mother she was."

"Alexandra, you have the biggest heart I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind, that if you have children, you would be a wonderful mother. I feel lucky to have met you Alexandra. There arenít many hearts like yours. I feel honored that you chose to share some of it with me." Syd reassured.

Alex looked up into the deep pools of blue and felt the love pass through them. Sydney had to fight back the tears threatening to blow her cool exterior. She tightened her hold on Alex and felt the woman reciprocate. Alex kept her head resting on Sydneyís chest. Sydney hoped that Alex didnít hear her racing heartbeat. She was so scared with her feelings towards Alex. She loved this woman with her entire being, and she was going to tell her tonight.

 

********

 

Tracy and Edna were racing around the kitchen finding bowls and such for the caterers. The food came on time and so did most of the guests. The family room was filled with people who loved Alex, or maybe some that just liked her a whole lot. There were people she hadnít seen in a long while; some before her parents died. Tracey could not wait for her friends to arrive. Tracey was a wreck; she wanted everything to go well. She wanted her friend to have the best birthday ever. Edna just sat and watched as Tracey continued her running from room to room making sure everything was perfect.

"If anyone sees headlights, let me know. Everyone is here except for Alex and Sydney. So shush everyone when they arrive." Everyone looked at the crazed woman and smiled. Tracey continued to run around double and triple checking everything making sure that nothing was left undone before they arrived. The house was ready for Alex. She was going to have the best party ever if Tracey had any say in this matter at all.

 

********

 

Sydney continued to hold Alex as the rest of the daylight was engulfed into the lake. She knew tonight was going to be something special, but she couldn't erase the fact that Sharon was around. She didn't like the fact that she was here. Business or not, she hoped that she was leaving shortly. 'How does she know about Alexandra? How does she know of her parents' death? She had just better stay away from her. I don't think I would be responsible for my actions if she ever tried to hurt her. She is a selfish, money hungry whore that knows nothing of the value of the human heart. Especially a heart like Alexandra's. She just better stay away.' Sydney's body stiffened while thinking about Sharon. Alexandra looked up at her lover with concerned eyes.

"What is it honey? You seem very uncomfortable. Are you okay?" Alex asked.

"I, ah, I was just thinking baby, I'm sorry. I was thinking of my past and how lucky I am to have you. Sometimes I look back at the person I was and then I look at you, and wonder if I really deserve you."

Alex straightened herself in Sydney's hold and held Sydney's shoulders to gain her full attention.

"Now you look here Sydney Thompson. Don't you ever let me hear that out of your mouth again. You deserve to be happy and to be loved by someone. Everyone deserves some kind of happiness in life. If I can be the one to give you that love and happiness, then I am going to do just that. Why would you say something like that?"

Sydney just shrugged, "I guess I am waiting for all of this to blow up one way or another. I have never felt for anyone the way I feel for you Alexandra. I never thought I was worthy of such a gift. The last woman I was with......." Sydney stopped not wanting to bring all of this up on Alex's birthday night.

"Come on Sydney, I know you are holding something back from me. You have to know by now that you can tell me anything." She looked up into troubled blue eyes. "And I know you feel you will shatter me with whatever it is that you are keeping to yourself, but please know that whatever it is, we will get through it, I promise you." She pleaded with Sydney for her to understand.

"Donít make promises you canít keep Alexandra."

"I have never made a promise to you that I didnít keep. I never intend to break any promise that I have made to you, ever."

"Alright then, I will tell you as much as I can for right now okay?"

"Whatever you would like to share is all that I ask Sydney. I just want to help you with these demons that seem to be plaguing you."

"You are such a find Alexandra, I canít tell you that enough."

Alex hugged Sydney one more time and they walked to a nearby bench to sit and bare souls. Sydney really didnít want to spoil Alexís evening, but to deny this woman anything was something that Sydney didnít want to do, ever.

Sydney took a deep breath and started to tell her tale of woe.

"Well, many years ago as you know, my parents died. Something that I didnít mention to you was that I had a brother."

"Tim? Sydney you have told me so much about Tim."

"Alexandra, if I tell you this, it will be much easier to just say it, and have you ask questions later, is that alright?"

"OK honey, I am sorry. Please continue."

"Tim is my brother, yes, but I had another brother, Billy, who died about two years after my dad did." She paused to see the sadness in Alexís eyes. It was a sadness for Sydney that Alex felt. ĎWhy did she feel the need to keep this from me?í Alex thought. It was something she would ask when she was indeed finished.

"Anyway I was an angry person after my dad passed away. I didnít understand why people that we loved had to leave us. It didnít make sense to me and I became very angry and I hung out with a bad bunch of people. They made me feel like I belonged to something, we could do anything, we were in control, nothing could hurt us. I guess I needed that reassurance that I would never be out of control again. This I could handle, and no one was going to take that from me. If there were people out there that challenged us and the way we thought, well we would just change their minds. Iím sure you know that it wasnít peaceful negotiations that took place." Sydney stopped to register Alexís reaction to her admission. Alex just studied Sydneyís face and wondered how she changed so much in ten years.

"Anyway, like I said I was a very angry person back then. When Billy died I turned into something even worse. I was my own enemy. Everything I touched, everything I loved was leaving me and I only knew of one thing to release the pain that I felt. It was pure violence. Everything that I did was nothing short of psychotic. I didnít know of the person that I used to be. I just became this thing that destroyed or abused anything or anyone that got in my way of thinking or feeling or doing. Then when my mom died it finally hit me; I had no control of anything. All the people that I had hurt it was all for nothing. So I guess it was at that time when I finally realized that all I had done for the past four years was become a stupid, worthless bully. I had no self respect anymore. I didnít like the person I had become. It was truly time for a life make-over. So that is when I made up with my brother and decided to go to University and work on the sheep station." Sydney paused to let Alex soak in everything she had told her. She knew that she needed to keep going on her tale, but she just wasnít sure if she could muster the courage.

"Sydney? May I say something?" Alex said as she looked at the pained face of her lover.

"Of course sweetheart, I think I would really like it if you would." She said as she gave a half smile, unsure of what Alex would say after what she had just heard.

"I know you think you probably just dropped a huge bomb on me and now is the time when I will just run for cover. Well let me reassure you again, that I love you. I know itís hard for you to hear that, but honey, I canít not say it to you. I have never loved anyone the way I love you. You make me a whole person. In a sense you complete me. I know that there is more to your story, and I will listen to every word you speak, but please know that I will never stop loving you."

Alex stopped to brush the fresh tears that were falling freely now down Sydneyís cheeks. She took her face in her hands and looked her square in her swollen eyes. "I love you Sydney." She finished her statement and sealed it with a soul binding kiss. "Know that I will always love you. You donít have to keep anything from me. In fact I would prefer that you didnít, but I know that you are hurting from something, and if you canít tell me now, I do trust you enough to know that one day you will. Now if you want, you can keep going with your story. If you would like to stop now you can. I just want you to know that I donít want to push any of this out of you unwillingly. Whenever you are ready to tell me the rest, please do. OK?"

"Alexandra...you are the most extraordinary woman I have ever met. I donít think I will ever meet anyone like you. You are such a gift to me. Thank you. Thank you for loving me." She said as she wiped the rest of the tears that had fallen down her face. She took a deep breath and continued her story. "At the University I met a woman named Sharon Harris. She was the first person that I thought truly accepted the dark side that I had possessed for so long. She and I became close friends. She would share stories of her life in the States with me, and I told her about my past. Mine of course were scary tales of angst and rage and death, while hers were nothing like that. She never flinched with any of the tales that I told. She would just listen, occasionally she would hold my hand if any of the stories would get ugly, which they usually did. She was the most comfort I had had in almost five years. Tim and I were not close for awhile, but that was my fault. After mom died, we finally reconnected. After all, we were what was left of our family, so we had no choice but to find each other again. He had gotten married, but it was still nice to have my brother back. Anyway, about Sharon...God I hate thinking about her." She paused and took a deep breath. "Sharon was a beautiful woman, she was tall, lean, and blonde. She had the darkest eyes I had ever seen. She was everything I thought I was looking for in a partner. God I was so wrong. She and I became lovers. We did everything together. I told her everything about me and still she stayed, so I thought I had found gold. Well I found foolís gold Alexandra, and boy did I find that out the hard way.

"She asked me to move to the States with her after the school year had ended. God I think I was about nineteen at the time. I was so in love, or so I thought, that I couldnít think of doing anything or being with anyone else. I told my brother about selling the sheep station, and he thankfully, wanted to keep it going. Thatís when I packed up my life in Sydney and moved it to Montana with her. We stayed together for about three years I think it was. One night, she had called me from the office. She said she had a project that she had to finish. It was gonna take a few hours so she was gonna be late getting home. Silly me started to feel bad for her." She painfully chuckled. "So I packed us a dinner picnic. I got some stuff together and put it in a basket and took it to her office." Sydney paused to gain control in her voice. It had begun to quiver as she started talking about that night. She regained her breathing and started again.

"I walked into her office and there she was at her desk. Well I should say, on her desk, having sex with her secretary, Tina. Isn't that the oldest cliché in the book? She didnít even stop until she had a fucking orgasm. She then preceded to tell me that I was a prize to her. A beautiful trophy that she could come home to or she could be on my arm whenever we went to a bar or something. I was something that she could show off. I was a fucking possession of hers. She had so many affairs behind my back. All of her compassion for me was just a lie. She didnít give a shit one way or another for me. She liked my money and she liked the way I looked. Obviously I was lacking in the sex department since she had sex with anyone she could get her fingers into. Although she seemed to like it rough, or so she said the other day...."

"The other day!! Sydney when did you see her?" Alex almost shouted in disbelief.

"She approached me when I was in the restroom at the restaurant last week."

"Why didnít you say anything? God, no wonder you were so upset when you came back."

"I didnít say anything because I didnít want you to worry. You have had so much on your mind, this would have only added to it. She handed me a towel after I had washed my face and I literally almost killed her Alexandra. She brings out an anger in me, I didnít know I had."

"What happened Sydney? Did she threaten you?"

"More like I threatened her. She made mention of finding out who you were, and I guess I just lost it. Alexandra, I canít even tell you how much I wanted to hurt her after she mentioned your name and her own in the same sentence. Somehow she found out about you and the fact that your parents were killed. I just donít know how she did it, unless she has been following me. She said she was here on business for her fatherís company, but still. It really freaked me out to see her after all this time."

"Oh Sydney, I am so sorry. God, I wish you would have told me. I donít want you to ever go through anything like that alone again. Do you understand me? I want you to promise that you will ask for help if you need it. If something is bothering you, I want to know about it. Are we clear about this? We are in this together!" Alex said sternly but with so much love in her voice.

"Yes Alexandra, I understand. Thank you for your concern. It means the world to me."

"OK, I am sorry, I didnít mean to jump in like that, but damn Sydney, that really threw me to hear that you had seen her, and here, of all places!! I hope to God that I never meet this woman Sydney. I swear to everything Holy, that I will punch her lights out."

"My hero." Sydney chuckled and kissed Alex on the top of her head. "So to finish this damn thing, I left her that night. I told her I didnít want to be found by her and that she shouldnít come home until the next day. I stayed with some friends until one of them told me about Edna needing a stable hand. I had worked with horses before so I knew what kind of work would be involved. I called your aunt and we had a great talk. I came to the ranch and she showed me around. I loved it there and I really took a liking to Edna. She took me in and the rest as you say, is history. She is the dearest friend that I have ever had. She always knew what to say to make me feel better; she still has that wonderful quality. This is my third year there, and I couldnít think of any place else I would rather be." Sydney smiled down at Alex.

"What about Australia?"

"Oh I miss home, there is no question about that. I even contemplated moving back after what had happened. There were just so many bad memories there for me, that I thought I just needed a fresh start. Sure it didnít start out great in the States either, but I was already here, and Edna entered my life. It seemed like it was meant to be. How else do you explain me meeting the woman of my dreams?"

"The woman of your dreams?" Alex shyly asked.

"You, Alexandra." Sydney shifted in her seat to face Alex. She caressed Alexís face with her hand. "I love you Alexandra. I love you more than anything I have ever known. That scares the hell out of me, but itís time that you know that I am in this for the long haul. I swore to myself that I would never love anyone again, but you showed me a love that I have never seen before. I know that heart of yours doesnít have a mean streak in it. I know that my heart is safe with you. You have owned it since we met at the stables the day you arrived at the ranch. I love you Alexandra with all of my heart."

Alex began to weep when she finally let it sink in that Sydney did in fact love her and now she was finally voicing it. Sydney reached into her pocket and pulled out a small velvet box. She took it with shaky hands and held it before Alex.

"Alexandra, I want you to have this. Although it scares me senseless, I want you to be with me forever. However long forever is, I want you to share your life with me. Please accept this gift and know that you encircle my heart with every breath that I take. I love you Alexandra." Sydney said as fresh tears streamed down her face.

Alex opened the box to find the ring that Sydney had picked out earlier that morning. "Oh Sydney, this is beautiful!"

"Look in the inside of it."

"Ooh, an inscription...Always, Sydney." Alex put the ring on and brought her hand to Sydneyís heart. "I love you too Sydney. Thank you so much."

"Happy Birthday baby."

The two just held onto each other as the waves of sobs passed and resurfaced over and over. Their trip to the beach had lasted well over her time limit and Sydney knew that she had to get Alex back to the house. There were festivities awaiting them in Alexís honor, and a very nervous wreck named Tracey.

 

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Part Five

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