Disclaimer: These characters may bare a resemblance to a certain
duo (who don't belong to me) that we all know and love, but that's all. This
is an uber story and the characters are mine.
Language warning: Not often but yes.
Love and sex warning: This story definitely portrays a loving relationship between two women.
Violence Warning: A little, unless you also count a projectile camera and battered door.
Thanks: I would like to thank first of all Garnet for doing a wonderful job in beta reading this story. To Carolyne, for her constant support throughout, and giving me the kick up the backside to continue writing whether she realised or not. And last but no means least Tammy, for all the invaluable information on horses that she gave me and for naming the two horsey characters.
Let me know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
Early Sunday morning and before anybody else was awake, Rosalind Morris sat quietly in her husbands personal office. It was six o'clock, the time James Abbot was supposed to start his day, but with him temporarily out of action, she was the only one up and about.
The office was large with deep maroon carpeting and dark oak furniture. One side of the wall had been converted into shelving and housed many hundreds of books. On the other side were framed pictures of several generations of both sides of the family. She sat at a wide desk, a computer to her right and large telephone/fax machine to her left. In front of her was a wide telephone directory in which she was diligently flicking through trying to find a specific number. Eventually her eyes came across the digits she was searching for. Lifting the receiver off the phone, she tapped in the number and waited as it rang.
Hello Martin it's Rosalind Morris.
Rosalind Morris? Are you kidding, it is six in the morning what is going on, has something happened?
The woman straightened her dressing gown, No, no everything is fine, and I am ringing because I have a something I would like you to do.
And this could not have waited for a more decent hour?
Look Martin, how long have you been this families solicitor?
And your father before?
Then if you wish to stay that way, you will understand that it is advisable to undertake the task I ask of you.
There was a slight sigh, What can I do for you Mrs Morris?
Excellent. Ok I want you to do some digging around, find out what you can on a Tess Alexander yes the photographer and I need this doing as soon as possible. Any debts, offences, relationships, whatever you can dig up on the woman, I want to hear about it, understand?
Yes, I shall do my best Mrs Morris.
I want you to exceed your best on this Mr Saunders, and I need this as soon as possible, got it.
Yes I've got it.
Good, I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future, my wishes to your wife Martin, goodbye. She hung up the phone with a haughty smile. Lets see what you have in that closet of yours shall we Miss Alexander.
Tess stood in her bedroom, Leto idly watching her from the comfort of her masters' bed. She lay on her stomach, paws up and crossed over her muzzle, her eyes peeking over the top of sharp claws, Tess was positive the dog looked board.
The bedroom was fairly large, covered by a cream carpeted floor, and walls. On the ceiling was a large fan that was only ever turned on during the hottest of summer days, and being as though this was England, it wasn't that often. A large double bed stood in the centre of the room by the far wall, and opposite was a row of pine, built in wardrobes. There were three double doors to the wardrobe in which Tess organised her clothes. One set held casual clothes; the next held working attire and the third held more formal clothes. It was the third set of doors that she stood by, pulling them open and regarding the mass of choice.
She pulled out a long black dress, So what do you think. She looked at the dog and held the item against her body, Look alright for this evening?
Leto's amber eyes looked her master up and down before turning away unimpressed.
Good job I was joking then. She stated putting the dress back and pulling out a simple black designer suit. Ok girl, how about this one?
Leto rolled onto her back, her legs hanging limp in the air.
Hmm, yep I think this one to. Tess pulled out a protecting cover for the suit, zipped it inside, and then hung it on the handle to one of the wardrobe doors.
At seven o'clock that morning she had driven into work early, intent on picking out the gear she would need for the evenings shoot. There was going to be a lot of people there, all wanting to get their faces into a picture that could grace the pages of the latest celebrity, or social life magazine. She picked up a whole box of films, and decided on two cameras that she much preferred to work with on such events. Both were light weight, and simplistic in their loading functions.
Tess was a little wary that Robert might have been in the studio; she had no desire to see him until after the function. The photographer knew he would start questioning her and she would not want to misguide him about the fact that Nikki was going down with her, but she knew he would not be too impressed by that revelation.
Upon her return, she had rung the hotel and asked for her suit to be changed to a room with two beds and luckily she had been able to do so. A cancellation the evening before left only one room available and as luck would transpire, it was indeed a double room.
Tess stood in her en-suite bathroom filling a bag with all the things she would need for her overnight stay. These 'posh' hotels as she called them, always had the necessary toiletries to offer, but Tess preferred to use her own.
Right, toothbrush She placed the item in her bag, Toothpaste, moisturiser, err soap where is the damn oh here it is she chucked the soap into the bag. Shampoo and conditioner check. I think that is everything God no deodorant She pulled the aerosol from the top shelf, Life's essential um is that everything? She asked, looking at the golden dog still sprawled out on her bed, I think so oh I know perfume. She picked up the bottle of her favourite scent and placed it in the bag.
Tess turned to leave the bathroom, Well that is There was a quick pause, Oh for gods sake! She turned back into the room, Comb, brush, cotton wool, make up you see Leto THIS is why I hate to go away because I have to take so much bloody crap with me.
Leto rolled onto her stomach and slid off the bed. She looked at the woman flinging a mass of items into a way too small bag, and trotted out of the room unimpressed, if she wasn't getting any attention, there was no point in her being there.
Once everything she needed was packed, she had taken Leto down the road to the teenage boy who walked her during the day for Tess. He had offered to always look after the dog whenever Tess was away, so she was glad of his help, plus he was cheaper than other dog sitting alternatives. She would have considered her mother, as she had rung late Saturday night, informing her that she intended to come up and spend the Christmas holidays with her. Unfortunately she was not to arrive until Wednesday, but Tess was still glad she was coming.
Lisa got down onto her knees and looked under her bed, she spotted the item she was looking for and dragged it out. Getting to her feet, the teen zipped open her sports bag and looked inside. The site of a mass of unwashed gym clothes greeted her and she winced at the sight, well at least they're not rank! She thought. Picking up the dark green bag, she tipped it upside down, watching as the collection of multi coloured garments fell out into a pile on her bed. Once the carrier was empty she slung it over her shoulder and headed out of her room.
Nikki sat on her bed, an assortment of articles in front of her, waiting for Lisa to return. Her sister had offered to help her pack for the night, and she had accepted, wanting to make sure she didn't forget anything.
She had woken at seven that morning, but had not risen until half eight. The blonde had spent the early morning lying in bed, thinking mainly about the day before. Tess, she thought to herself and a smile naturally graced her lips. Lacing her fingers behind her head, Nikki had recollected their time spent in the forest while taking Leto for her walk. Her thoughts lingered, and she remembered the kiss, though only brief it was all encompassing. The feel of Tess's hands as they held her, there was no mistaking their intent, both wanton and at the same time protective. The softness of her lips as they delicately touched her own, gentle yet full of promise. The feel of pliant breasts against her chest, pressed against her tightly, like the moment never wanted to end. And most of all, the vibration of Tess's moan, the memory of it alone causing heat to build within her, swelling her.
It was then that Lisa had barged into her room, full of excitement for the pending hours to follow. Nikki wasn't sure who was more excited about it, her or her sister. She though back with a smile at how Lisa had rang her friends later the night before telling them the news. Still the blonde didn't really see what the big deal was, just a load of famous people whom she probably wouldn't know. The photographer had told her that there would be a large majority of soap actors there, and she was not an avid fan of that. Still Lisa had begged her to ask Tess for some pictures, especially if a certain male actor from her favourite soap was there. She had agreed with a laugh, knowing the only excitement she felt was for the woman she would be spending some of the time with. Nikki accepted that Tess would not be able to spend much of the evening with her as she would be working, but she was still happy.
Lisa trudged into the bedroom, sports bag in tow, I found it under my bed.
Nikki grimaced, Oh no, don't tell me it still had all your stinky gym clothes still inside?
Ok, I wont tell you.
Ugh, so it did. The blonde head fell into small hands.
Lisa grinned, What you don't know, won't harm you.
I think you just answered my question.
Oh for gods sake chill out sis, I checked it out and it does not smell like old training shoes or anything like that. She chucked the bag onto the bed beside her sister.
Small mercies. The blonde replied.
Lisa laughed, Hey just be grateful ok, now come on and lets get these things into the bag before sexy woman arrives.
Yeah, yeah come on will you.
Nikki sighed, Oh all right, but don't you dare call her that when she arrives.
Cross my heart, hope to die, blah, blah, blah She giggled, and ducked as Nikki threw a pillow in her direction.
At five minutes to eleven Nikki recognised the already familiar sound of Tess's Blazer turning into the pebbled driveway. She had been downstairs for half an hour, and had a surprisingly normal conversation with her mother. Rosalind Morris had not mentioned Tess once, but had commented on how lucky Nikki was to be attending such an event, and how she wished her an enjoyable evening. Richard Morris wasn't home, as he was attending Church that morning and Rosalind had decided to stay at home and wait for the maid to arrive. She was not supposed to work on a Sunday, but with Abbot sick, Rosalind needed the help. She had no qualms about making dinner; she just refused to do any of the cleaning period. That is what the hired help if for, she had repeatedly stated.
Lisa had been looking out the window when Tess arrived, so was first to greet her before the photographer even had a chance to knock. Pulling the door open, she sported a wide toothy grin.
Lisa. Tess replied, smirking at the teen's own peculiar grin.
Come in, Nikki is ready.
Tess walked into the wide hallway, noticing the large sports bag sitting by the wall, and long black clothing cover. She wondered what Nikki had chosen for the evening, assuming that's what was inside.
NIKKI, TESS IS
Yes I know you don't have to shout. Nikki replied, coming into the hallway. She was wearing comfortable clothes for the journey, simple beige trousers and a black shirt. Tess had chosen black jeans and a green local rugby team sweater, the cold weather still making her choices limited. Still, she was a Tigers fan anyway and watched them play whenever she was able.
Lisa watched the tall woman's reaction to her sister, grinning at the expression on Tess's face. Looks almost dreamy, she thought to herself and chuckled a little too loudly, forcing a questioning look from the dark woman. Lisa looked away, seemingly inspecting an imaginary mark on her top she brushed at the spot, hiding her smile.
Are you ready? Tess asked.
Nikki grabbed her jacket from where she had left it, on the banister and put it on. Yep, I think I have remembered everything.
Just then Rosalind Morris walked into the hallway, standing beside her youngest daughter.
Miss Alexander, nice to see you again. She replied evenly.
Mrs Morris, how are you this morning?
Oh just fine. She turned towards her daughter, Well Nicole what time will you be home in the tomorrow?
Um I am not sure Tess?
Tess walked over picking up Nikki's bag and clothing protector, Well I guess it will be some time around mid-day, maybe a little after. She stated with a nod, I am supposed to have a meeting with the director of the Organization around half past ten, so we shall be leaving straight after I presume. She placed the bag over her shoulder, and draped the garment over her left arm.
Lisa opened the door as she watched Nikki take the photographers arm. See you tomorrow sis. She looked towards the taller woman, Tess. She smiled innocently.
Rosalind walked towards the door as the two women walked out into the cold morning. Light snowflakes had started their decent again, but seemed too inconsequential to last. Good bye Nicole dear, have a wonderful time. All she could do was hope things would be fine until she was able to get the information she had requested, then she would find out just what Miss Alexander was up to.
Bye Mother, Lisa don't forget about Thunder and Jenna.
I wont, don't worry.
Great, just checking, see you tomorrow.
They watched the women until they reached the Blazer, and then shut the door, the brisk wind too cold to keep it open much longer.
Tess opened the back door, putting Nikki's bag next to her own. She hung the coat hanger of the garment cover on the side handle above the passenger door; it was on the opposite side of her own. Shutting the door she looked around for Nikki, and found her getting into the passenger side at the front, she smiled, and opened the drivers' side.
Ready to get going? She asked as she climbed into her seat, No last minute realizations of items you think you might have forgotten?
No. The blonde replied, God Tess do really think me that much of a lame brain.
Tess pouted sheepishly, Well no, but I had to ask. I was half way down my street before I remembered my hair dryer.
Nikki bit her lip. Sorry. She shook her head with a smile, Why did you bring your hair dryer anyway; won't they have some at the hotel?
Suppose I just prefer to use my own things, that way I can be sure I am the only person using it, have used it, or will ever use it.
Ah, well actually I didn't bring my hair dryer thinking I would be able to use one of theirs, do you think I should go in and get mine?
Tess started the engine, No, no you can use mine.
But you just said
The photographer grinned, You are the exception to the rule, I don't think I will mind you using my things. She looked at the blonde, noticing the shy expression, and decided to push a little further, I am sure I could get used to your hands on my things.
Nikki snickered, Well I shall keep that in mind.
The brunette beamed, I shall look forward to it. She pulled the car out of the driveway, and onto the narrow road.
They had been on the motorway for forty-five minutes, and in Tess's opinion were driving at the rate of a snail without slime. There had been an accident the M69, and their progress was minimal. Not knowing how far down the disaster was, Tess was unsure how long they would be in the tail back, and so far the radio had yet to give any details. She had it set so that traffic reports would interrupt the CD player, but as yet there had been nothing.
She looked over at Nikki; the blonde had dozed off before they had even hit the motorway. Tess had thought about waking her, but decided she looked too cute to rouse, besides she was sure the evening would be long so decided to let Nikki get as much rest as she could.
From the corner of her eye, flashing lights came into view and she craned her head to see whether she was finally reaching the front of the jam. Sure enough she spotted the cause of the commotion, two cars had presumably collided, blocking two lanes of the motorway leaving only one remaining for the mass of traffic to get through. Shaking her head at the realisation that rubber necking was probably half the cause of the hold up, she cursed the over curious drivers in front.
Nikki came around to the sound of light profanities.
Bloody stupid, god damn nosey buggers some of us would like to get moving you know.
The blonde sensed the slow movement of the car, What's going on? She asked in a sleep filled voice.
Looking around and feeling guilty that her outburst may have woken the sleeping woman, she immediately calmed, Oh damn it I am sorry Nikki, I guess I woke you. Tess looked back at the road sheepishly.
It's ok Nikki yawned, I can't believe I fell asleep I am the one who should be sorry Tess.
The photographer chuckled, Oh that is ok my pride was not damaged too badly. It was ok to get some extra rest, you may need it for tonight, it's usually a long evening. She released a hand from the steering wheel, scratching the back of her neck, And besides, you looked way too adorable to disturb.
The Blazer reached the front of the queue and Tess steered her way through the single lane with a sigh of relief. Suddenly a radio broadcaster informing drivers about an accident on the M69 interrupted her music, shaking her head and turned the radio off, muttering the word 'typical' as she did so.
So what CD's have you brought?
Oh um She put her foot down on the accelerator, gathering speed and glad to be out of the jam. Well I just grabbed a couple of compilation albums, so there was a variety of different artists, I realized I was not sure what kind you would go for, so thought it may be the best idea.
Ok, so what are the choices?
Well there is a 'Top Gear' one, it has all those driving songs on, then there is a strictly female CD, one of Movie themes tunes and just a normal chart music one so take your pick. I was listening to the road songs CD while you were sleeping I guess that means it is your turn to choose.
Hmm. Nikki poked out her bottom lip in thought, Well I think I shall go for the All Woman compilation, I like them ones.
Excellent choice. Tess proclaimed, and proceeded to change the disks.
The rest of the journey went with little hassle at all. Tess was slightly annoyed when a white van in front cut her up, but managed to refrain from throwing any more verbal insults. Nikki had kept her occupied with her constant chatter, and she found it a pleasant alternative from the hum of back ground music.
They had spoken about many different subject, yet neither one of them had approach the subject of their kiss the day before. It was present in both minds but the women were a little apprehensive about bringing it up. So instead Nikki had entertained Tess with stories of antics that she and Lisa used to get up to as children. And how Lisa would always get the blame even though she was youngest, simply because the parents thought she had lead Nikki into these things. What Lisa didn't tell, or allow her older sister to say, was that it was usually Nikki's idea in the first place.
So you were a bit of a wild child huh? Tess had said, and Nikki laughed.
Well I was eleven, so Lisa was a few years younger, I came up with the plans and she executed them, so naturally she was the one to get caught.
Nikki had then asked about Tess's childhood, and the older woman had stated that she was an only child, but did have cousins that she looked on as siblings. She was very much a tomboy and spent her pre-teenage years either playing soccer with the other boys in the neighbourhood or with her father as he tried to teach her the mechanics of cars. Needless to say she wasn't over interested in that, so only managed to pick up the basics. Nikki had laughed when Tess told here that during a class discussion, when the teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, Tess had replied 'A professional footballer.'
When did you decide to take up photography?
Tess thought for a while, It was after a Christmas present I got one year. It was a pin hole photography kit, strange really just a black box that you stuck a hole in and exposed a sheet of photographic paper for about 3 seconds, but I was hooked. From that moment on, I spent all my time taking pictures, I got four jobs delivering news papers, I washed cars, cut lawns, anything I could to earn money for my own real camera. It was my college choice when I left high school, and I guess I never looked back.
Nikki smirked, So you decided against professional football?
Tess laughed, Well I guess so, besides the truth of the matter is that I was really terrible at it. I found that with my height, I was a lot better at playing Net ball, and Basket ball, but although I loved playing, photography always came first.
The closer they got to Birmingham, the thicker the snow became. As they reached the outskirts of the city, Tess noticed that the large flakes were settling more, giving the metropolis a picturesque pre Christmas look. The sky was dark, the day getting gloomier and with the Christmas lights already on, it looked as though nightfall was soon to arrive.
When they finally reached the Barbican hotel, Tess looked up at the familiar building, age wise it was fairly new. Built with light grey bricks and standing on thirty levels, it stood with one of four other hotels on its street. It was wide, easily twice the size of the others with two Grecian style columns on either side of the entrance.
Turning to the left just after the building, Tess took a small road that led down to an underground guest car park. She navigated around and down the ramp, as she looked around the three-floor basement parking lot. It was lit very well; with large round defused lighting fixtures on the white tiled ceilings. The first floor they entered was full, so she drove the vehicle down two ramps to the next level, where she found many vacant spaces. She spotted space in front of a wall, and pulled in between a red Focus and yellow Laguna.
I take it we are here? Nikki asked with a relieved sigh, glad to be able to get out of the car; her bladder had been calling her for half an hour.
Yep. Tess switched off the engine, and released her seatbelt. Let's get out of here shall we? She looked at the car beside Nikki, Careful of how you open the door, I think I maybe a little close on your side.
Tess opened her door and slid out, shutting it behind her as she heard Nikki do the same. She opened the back and pulled out both carriers and put them on the floor, as she placed the suit bags over her left arm.
Is this 'do' tonight at the hotel?
Tess slammed the back door shut and activated the alarm. Yep they have three function rooms. One on the ground floor, one on the fifteenth, and one on the penthouse. We are on the top floor, one floor above our room. She picked up both carriers with the arm holding the suit bags, and walked around to the blonde. Ready to go?
Uh huh. Where is my bag?
I've got it.
Nikki shook her head, No I'll take it, I need your arm, so and I don't want you to be overloaded.
Tess pursed her lips, Ok. She handed the lightest bag over to Nikki, who proceeded to place it over her right shoulder.
Nikki held out her arm, and Tess put the crook of hers out for the blonde to take, Lead the way.
They walked at a slow pace, their footsteps echoing around the underground parking area. Tess followed the signs leading them to an access point to the stairs and lifts. She momentarily contemplated which to take and decided on the lift, thinking it would be both easier and quicker.
They reached the elevator door, and Tess tapped the button waited.
You taking the lift? Nikki asked with an amount of uncertainty.
Oh nothing just wondering that's all.
The doors opened and Tess led Nikki into the empty compartment, it shut with a loud clank behind them. The photographer hit the button for the ground floor and the elevator lurched into action, beginning it assent to the designated level. Nikki bit her lip and increased her grip on the taller woman's arm, holding on with a firmer pressure, her breathing slightly broken. Tess looked down at the blonde with a frown, but before she could ask what was wrong, the doors opened onto the ground floor.
Well here we are. They stepped out and Tess led Nikki over to the reception.
The foyer was very large, with a black and white hexagon tiled floor. Around the area were an assortment of well know shops selling such things as, flowers, chocolates, alcohol, clothing, magazines, and a small shop that particularly caught Tess's eye. It was one selling an assortment of gadgets; it wasn't there the last time she was at the Barbican, so she made a mental note to check it out later.
They walked over to a long reception desk, manned by four assistants. Tess made a beeline for a suddenly available receptionist.
Yes Miss, can I help you? Asked a small perky woman with long blonde hair and black-rimmed glasses. She wore a white and red-stripped blouse under a navy suit jacket, the same look as the other receptionists behind the large front desk.
Yes, Tess Alexander I have come to check into my room. She leaned slightly over, looking at the computer screen for her name.
The woman looked down at her computer and started tapping on a large keyboard. Ok Miss Alexander yes the twenty ninth floor, you changed your room from a single to double with two beds right?
Tess nodded, and Nikki fidgeted beside the woman at the notion of what floor their room was situated on.
Ok, if you will sign here, I will give you your key card.
Tess picked up the special pen and signed her name across the electronic digital screen.
Thank you Miss Alexander, and here is your key. The blonde receptionist handed the card to Tess with a smile.
Thanks. The tall woman replied, taking the key and putting it into her back pocket, she turned in the direction of the elevators.
A crowd of people had started milling around the foyer, so Tess put her arm around the blonde, holding her close as they made their way through the growing number of people. Noticing there were a lot of young teenage girls, she realized they were probably fans of one star or another, waiting in hopes of getting a glimpse of their idol.
Reaching the set of three elevators, Tess noticed only one was going up, so led a quiet Nikki over to the door, which opened almost immediately. They walked inside, three more people entering behind them, and Tess pressed the button for the twenty-ninth floor. Once again Nikki held onto Tess as the doors shut and the compartment lurched upwards.
The photographer notice a stronger than usual grip that Nikki used to hold onto her arm once again, and she suddenly realized the problem. Releasing the girl from her arm, she put it firmly around the blondes' shoulders, pulling her close. Pushing her arm further around the smaller woman, she placed her hand on the top of Nikki's chest and put her lips next to a small ear.
There was a slight nod.
You don't like lifts do you? She asked in a whisper.
A small shake.
Why didn't you say something?
Nikki took and deep breath, Irrational fear I have no reason to feel anxious I just
Don't like them.
Nikki nodded, Um, yes I really don't like them.
The elevator stopped on the seventeenth floor, and the other passengers walked out, leaving them alone. The doors re-closed and they carried on their journey up to the twenty-ninth floor.
Pulling Nikki closer still the taller woman spoke softly into the blonde's ear, How about if I try and take your mind off your whereabouts?
Nikki felt her breath catch at the unexpected words.
Tess lowered her lips until they touched soft fair skin. She kissed the area of flesh available with a gentle pressure. The burden of things she was carrying became meaningless and she wanted to throw them down to the ground, her body fully responding to the woman in front.
Tess Nikki breathed as the unexpected feeling started to cloud her senses.
Hmm The photographer responded, as her lips burned a trail up Nikki's inviting neck to her ear. Her tongue snaked out, sucking in a small lobe, heedless of the tiny golden stud that adorned the pliant flesh. Tess breathing deepened and became ragged, her body revelling in mounting heat.
Closing her eyes, she let her head fall back onto the photographers shoulder, wanting the pleasurable sensations to wash over her, but something held her back. Bringing herself out of the wonderful haze that was trying to overtake her basic sense, she became aware of her surroundings. She could sense that the elevator had stopped and by the sudden gush of cool air, the door had opened. Tess? The photographers tongue found a particular sensitive spot at the back of her ear and she felt herself begin to swoon. Breathing heavily, she shook her head, Tess Tess? She tried to pull away.
Sensing resistance Tess released the blonde, Oh Jesus I am sorry Nikki. Lowering her head, she rubber her temple suddenly thinking she had just make a terrible mistake.
The door opened Tess, I thought that we should get out of here before anyone decided they want to use it. She smiled shyly with the realization that the taller woman hadn't even noticed.
The brunette looked up and noticed the open door for the first time, Oh OH I see She sighed, Right, ok I guess we better go. Taking Nikki by the arm, she gently led the woman out as she scanned around for their room, once spotted they walked to the white door. Tess pulled her key out, swiping it through the lock and opening the door, together they walked in.
Tess looked around; it was a nice size room. By the far wall were two beds one single and one double; she wasn't too pleased about that. Opposite the beds and on the wall, was a TV/video and beneath it was a small unit that housed a fridge, set of draws and specific items needed to make tea and coffee. Near the door stood a freestanding wardrobe and on the opposite side was a door leading into a bathroom. The colours where a mix of whites and pastels, not very appealing colours as far as the photographer was concerned, she was glad this room was only for one night.
Tess took Nikki's carrier and together with her own she placed them inside the wardrobe out of the way, hanging the suit bags on the silver railing above. She turned around to see the blonde feeling around the room.
Can I get you something? She asked self-consciously.
Nikki shook her head, No I am just getting used to the place.
Tess nodded, Ok. She sighed.
Nikki noted the slight defeated sound in the taller woman's voice, Tess are you alright?
Well it is just you sound a little She though for a moment, and it suddenly hit her, Tess, back in the lift, did you think I was trying to move away from you?
Well you were weren't you?
The blonde stopped by the side of the single bed, You know what I mean.
Tess looked down suddenly embarrassed, Um well yeah kind of, but it is ok I know you weren't now but for a short moment, I thought that I'd kind of you know pushed myself on you a little. It is just that She sighed, and decided to take a massive leap Look Nikki, I um when I am with you I can't control the way I feel, I mean I can and do, but I can't stop the way my heart feels when you are around. Do you understand what I am trying to say? Nikki didn't respond so Tess continued, I have feelings for you, I care about you in a way more than just friendship. The brunette looked desperately at the smaller woman hoping she was not making a mistake in her declaration.
Nikki brushed a hand through golden locks, and lowered herself to a sitting position on the single bed. She had no idea of how to respond, so spoke of only what came into her mind.
Um how can a virgin heart,
With such clarity,
Feel the first tremors of Love.
When but nothing before,
Has ever evoked,
Such a gift from up above.
With a spark it ignites,
Such feelings of warmth,
Encompass the beating heart.
Securing and binding,
Two souls as one
Never to be torn apart.
Tess moved towards Nikki, and sat on the double bed facing the blonde, That's beautiful, who wrote it?
Nikki lowered her head, I did the first day we met you said you would like to hear some of my poetry some time.
The brunette nodded, Yes.
I didn't accept it at first but you are the reason I wrote it.
Didn't accept it? Tess frowned.
I couldn't believe it I guess, I mean how can you feel such things for somebody that you have only just met?
You feel these things for me?
The blonde head nodded slightly.
A smile broke out on the tall woman's face, as she leant forward onto her knees in front of Nikki. I'm happy you feel these things Nikki.
The blonde raised her head, as Tess pushed her right hand through the blonde locks, and then cupped one smooth cheek. Lifting to stand on her knees, she moved forward until her stomach rested upon Nikki's knees.
Feeling the movement Nikki reached out, and finding Tess's arm she moved her own hand around to the taller woman's back. She parted her knees slightly, allowing the larger body to slip between them. Unable to resist the magnetic pull that drew them together, Tess leant forward, sealing her lips to the smaller woman's with a contented sigh. The contact was soft and gentle, nothing more than a whisper of a touch, but as their confidence grew so did the kiss. Wrapping her other arm around the slight woman, Tess drew her in close, pulling her towards the edge of the bed.
Nikki moved forward, sinking her fingers into the long dark locks and basking in the their silky texture. She felt Tess's lips part and a moist tongue move over her lips; with only a slight trepidation she accepted the questing muscle inside. Their tongues touched drawing moans from both women, as they caressed each other lovingly.
Feeling an intense glow radiate within her, Tess pulled Nikki forward, sliding her off the bed and into her lap. They held each other close, sitting on the beige carpeted floor, their kiss deepening in intensity, increasing in its passion.
Nikki wrapped her arms around the brunette, as she felt a new and overwhelming spark of awareness wash over her. The air around her became cold, as her body's temperature accelerated, all due to the woman she was kissing in an escalating and heated embrace.
Breathing becoming increasingly difficult, Tess pulled reluctantly away, taking in a deep ragged breath of air. Did I mention how much I liked your poem?
The golden haired woman smiled, If I knew I was going to get that kind of response, I would have written a few more for extra credit.
The photographer laughed and cupped Nikki's cheek, With kisses like that, you don't need extra credit you can have me anytime you want. The words were spoken in jest, but the meaning was all to clear to both women. Still, an embarrassed blush worked its was across fair cheeks, and Nikki lowered her head, conscious of the fact.
Tess put one finger under her chin and pulled her back up, Hey, you know I love it when you blush, so stop trying to hide it ok? She lowered her hands, until they cupped Nikki's behind. Hmm, I think I am beginning to like this as well.
A deeper blush covered the already glowing cheeks, but instead of lowering her head, Nikki moved forward with the intent of capturing Tess's lips once again. A sudden knocking on the door halted her advance.
Damn it. Tess cursed, as Nikki lifted herself of the woman's legs and re-deposited herself on the bed again with a smile. Whoever that is, will be nowhere near as important as what they have just interrupted. She pushed herself to her feet and trudged to the door with a dissatisfied sigh. With a frown she open the barrier just as another set of knocks sounded on the heavy wood. Yes? She asked before the door was fully open.
Standing with a large bouquet of flowers in one arm was Jeffery Soul, the charity director. He was a small man with a thick head of light brown hair, moustache and beard. He smiled at the tall woman as she looked down on him, Tess, darling how nice to see you again, it doesn't feel like a year since last we saw each other does it? He asked.
The photographer smiled down at the small man, Jeffery, yes been a whole year. So how are you and your lovely wife?
Fine, fine, we are all glorious. So, looking forward to this evening?
Great, and of course these are for you. He handed Tess the bouquet.
Tess took the flowers, Thanks Jeff. She moved to the side, Wont you come in? There is somebody I would like you to meet.
Jeffery walked into the suite and spotted the blonde sitting on the bed, who had been waiting patiently for an introduction. His eyes lit up with a thousand questions, Well hello there, I am quite surprised to see you my dear, Tess here has never brought a guest with her before. He looked accusingly at the brunette, Now why didn't you tell me you were bringing a friend Tess, I would have brought this lovely creature a bouquet as well. He turned back to Nikki, holding out his hand. Jeffery Soul, I am very pleased to meet you my dear. He stated.
Nikki smiled, Nikki Morris, nice to meet you.
Realising why his hand was not taken, he looked quickly at Tess and the woman smiled knowingly. So Nikki Morris, are you looking forward to tonight?
The blonde smiled, Absolutely, I have been looking forward to this since yesterday.
Yesterday! You were only invited yesterday. Well that is just typical of our Tess, why there was this one time when she fourteen she didn't even tell her own mother she was lead in the school play until the opening night.
Nikki laughed, Wow you have know Tess for some time, maybe you could fill me in on some juicy snippets of information later.
Hey! Tess exclaimed walking forward, I am in the room you know.
Jeffery flapped his hands, Oh be quiet girl, I finally get to meet a friend of yours and you try and ruin all my fun. He looked back at Nikki, Absolutely, why I have many stories I could tell you. He moved closer to the blonde, We should wait until this evening when Missy here is hard at work, snapping away. He said in a faux whisper.
Tess folded her arms, as Nikki laughed, Can't wait. She replied.
The taller woman walked up to the blonde and stood by her left side. I may have to sulk and mope about this you know.
Nikki put her arm around Tess's back, Awe and we would not want that now would we?
The photographer smiled looking down at Nikki, Nope I would be pretty miserable company.
I am sure I could pull you out of your funk.
You sound pretty confident. She stated, placing an arm over Nikki's shoulders.
I have my ways and yes I am confident in my abilities.
Jeffery looked back and forth between the two women, watching the obvious play of flirtation, they seemed to be oblivious of his presence. A large smile etched its way onto his face, as realisation began to set in.
Confident huh, you know I will have to see these abilities if I am to make a judgement in your She was cut off by the sound of a clearing throat.
Tess I think I should be going now, Nikki dear, it was lovely to meet you and I look forward to seeing you both later this evening.
The women disengaged; unaware of what they had just revealed. Tess led Jeffery to the door, See you later this evening.
The door open and Jeffery stepped out into the main corridor, See you tonight Tess, and just for the record I think she is a lovely woman.
Tess nodded, She is that Jeffery old boy.
The man frowned as Tess used her mothers name for him, You have just a little too much of your mother in you Tessa.
The tall woman folded her arms, Uh huh see you later Jeffery.
The man smiled and waved as he turned on his heels and disappeared down the hallway.
Tess shook her head and closed the door. Walking back into the room, she noticed the smile on Nikki's face, What you grinning at?
Nikki shook her head, Nothing, so you have known Jeffery for a while?
Oh yeah. He was our next-door neighbour when we lived in Coventry, and just seemed to keep in touch when we moved away. Actually he and my father worked together for a while.
He seems nice I like him.
Tess shrugged, Yeah I guess so, he used to wind me up something rotten when I was younger. Anyway, when he joined his wife Barbara, on the charity board, he somehow sweet-talked me into doing the shots for their events. Hell I was just starting out in photography at the time, and it gave me the break I needed, in a big way. I don't know what it is about taking shots of the stars that tends to build up your public profile.
So why do you lead the semi reclusive life you do, and work for a simple portrait studio? Nikki asked. I mean not that it is a bad thing or um well you know. It is just that you have quite a reputation, yet you don't seem fazed by it in the slightest.
Tess walked over to the blonde and sat down on the single bed, Nikki following suit, It's just not me I guess, it is not that I don't like the acknowledgement my pictures have gained... She shrugged again, Maybe I am happier behind the camera, it is almost like I can hide behind it and create a world all of my own. Capturing it as I see fit, and in a way I want it to be perceived. Does that make sense?
The blonde nodded, Yes, I guess it does. When people are looking at your pictures they are not looking at you.
Uh huh. She smiled.
But why do you feel this need to keep such a distance?
Tess looked long and hard at Nikki, I guess I just like the simple things in life, it does not take much to make me happy.
Should I be offended by that? She joked
The photographer chuckled, No, no it is my feelings for you that are simple to me.
Nikki frowned, Oh yeah, what do you mean?
Tess looked down, Love she thought. Wait did I just say that, she shook her head do I love her? She looked back up at the Nikki; whose head was bent to one side in question. I love you. She thought
Just then the phone rang causing both women to jump.
It was early evening and Rosalind Morris had been pacing the house all day. When she told Martin Saunders that she wanted the information as soon as possible, what she meant was 'today'. She knew he knew this, so was expecting his call at any time, the only problem was anticipating when that call would come. She didn't want her husband getting suspicious as to what her solicitor was calling her for, so she was on tender hooks all day. Unfortunately Lisa had received most of the brunt end of her mothers bristly mood, she was unable to say anything for fear of being told off. So she had taken to spending the day in her bedroom, only leaving to give Thunder and Jenna some company.
When at last the phone did ring, Rosalind picked up the receiver with anxious haste.
Hello Rosalind, it's Martin Saunders.
The Mayoress sighed, Well about time, I have been expecting you for some hours now Martin. Anyway, how did you get on with my request?
There was a forced release of breath, Not too well I am afraid.
This was not what the woman wanted to hear.
I did as you requested, looking for what I could on Miss Alexander, but I am afraid to say she has a pretty spotless record.
So you found nothing? The woman asked, more than a little annoyed at this piece of information.
Well she has no driving offences, not even a ticket, no criminal record of any kind. She has no out standing debts, everything she owns is brought and paid for, as you would expect. She is a high earning individual Mrs Morris, all her monthly payments are paid by a direct debiting system from one of her bank accounts.
Rosalind sighed, What about back ground and personal information?
She keeps pretty much to herself I am afraid, there is not a lot to give. There isn't even any relationship history well apart from college rumours.
The woman's eyes sparkled, Oh do tell.
Even this is pretty sketchy, they were just rumours about people she was said to have dated. A man called Andrew Spencer, two other guys and a woman but this is all just hearsay.
Rosalind's ears pricked at the last statement, Did you say a woman?
Yes apparently a girl that she shared a dorm with in college. There was talk that they were more than just friends. This started out as just rumours of course, but it did state on college records that her roommate was taken out of college by her parents because of a supposed relationship between the two women. But like I say, it seemed more likely to be the product of narrow minded, and or overprotective parenting, mixed with a bit of old fashioned idle gossip in my opinion. Also apparently the other girl was put into some sort of rehabilitation centre
Dark eyes narrowed, Thank you Martin. The woman seemed to be deep in thought, That was most helpful goodbye. She hung up the phone.
Folding her arms, she walked into the living room and sat on the pale sofa, if she thinks she will corrupt my daughter she is very wrong.
Tess sat on the double bed, checking over her equipment. She had retrieved the equipment from her car earlier then had gone and set up a single camera and tripod in the back of the main hall facing a small stage, so all she had to do was ready the rest of her wears.
It was a quarter past six, and she was supposed to be there by half past so she could capture the arrival of the guests, but as yet Nikki had not emerged from their bathroom. She fidgeted on the bed, closing the final case and placing it on the floor beside another one. There was a black shoulder carrier, which held her surplus amounts of film, and a large rectangle silver case that held her camera.
She looked at her watch; another minute had passed since she last checked. Shaking her head at her own over eagerness, she got up and walked towards the bathroom door, Hey Nikki do you need any help? She questioned, hoping the woman would not think she was trying to interfere, or hurry her up for that matter.
No, I am almost done. Came the quiet reply.
Tess nodded and walked back into the middle of the room, standing between the two beds. She looked again at her watch; it was still sixteen minutes past six. Looking across the room, she checked her appearance in the full-length mirror, brushing her hands over the black tailored suit. She had tied her hair back into a long braid, and earlier she had trimmed the edges of her fringe after deciding it was too long, and getting in her eyes.
Looking at the closed bathroom door she sighed, Nikki had been in there a while, and as she thought about it, she realized that it probably took time for her to get ready. Mentally scolding herself for the lack of consideration, she folded her arms; sometimes you are an impatient fool T.
The sound of the door being opened, brought Tess back to her senses, and she turned to its direction. Her mouth literally dropped and her arms fell limply to her side as she watched the figure walk from the smaller room with uncertainty. She stood in silence, unable to tear her eyes way from the vision before her.
Nikki bit her lip, Do I look ok, I mean I know it takes me a while to sort my self out, especially in a different place, but I managed ok I hope. Lisa says I have turned putting the simplest application of makeup on, into an art form she laughed, Tess?
The photographer blinked and shook her head. She cleared her throat, Um I err, Her eyes travelled along Nikki's form. Her hair looked different, more styled yet still simplistic. She wore a simple fitting black dress that clung to her figure in all the right places. Tess realized it was the first time she had gotten a glimpse of the body underneath the thick winter clothes the blonde wore, and she was more than amazed at the sight. The dress came just above her knees and she wore simple black pumps with no heels, and a gold necklace around her neck. Tess released a breath, You look wow, I don't even know if there is a word to describe how amazingly beautiful you are.
Nikki's skin flushed, I think those words work ok. She smiled shyly.
Tess walked towards the blonde, and cupped her face. Not even close. She stated and leant forward, brushing her lips gently upon Nikki's. She pulled back and looked into sightless blue eyes, You have left me almost speechless well in the way that I cannot even begin to tell you how stunning you are.
Leaning forwards once again, the brunette sample the proffered lips with delight. They tasted slightly of cherry, and she realized it must have been the gloss the blonde was wearing. Their kisses were light and tender, lips coming together again and again with gentle pressure.
Nikki pulled away first, You look beautiful too by the way.
Tess grinned and chuckled, Oh well thank you.
The blonde smiled The feelings you instil in me, speak so loudly of the person you are and to me that is the ultimate of magnificence.
At a loss for words Tess leaned forward pulling the blonde into a warm embrace, And you are the most wonderful person I have ever met. She pulled away and looked at her watch, it was twenty-five past six. Are you ready to go up?
Nikki nodded, Lead the way.
The evening had been a huge success. Tess and Nikki had arrived on time, with none of the other guests having made their appearances at that point, so Nikki was able to meet each person as they came. Tess took a shot of each couple or group of people as they arrived, and Jeffery and his wife greeted them and introduced them to Nikki.
The blonde was amazed; she had met so many famous names that she was sure Lisa would badger her for stories for the rest of her life. She met quite a few TV and soap personalities, and even the odd sports star, one of which that she was sure her father would be most amazed at as he played in his favourite football team. She stayed with Tess for the first part of the evening, but when Tess had to start moving around, she declared that she wanted to sit down for a while. Really she didn't want to be in the way while Tess worked, though the photographer did not know this at the time.
While she was seated many people came to speak with her, including Jeffery's wife, who after getting the scoop from her husband about Tess's guest, was most eager about wanting to meet her.
While Tess had been doing her rounds, her eyes constantly strayed back to the blonde, feeling a certain amount of regret that she was unable to be with her, but she was glad she had so many people to speak with. And if Tess was honest, she was amazed that the woman had seemed to charm so many people in such a small amount of time. But regarding the blonde and how beautiful she looked, she decided maybe it was not such a big surprise after all. That sparked a slight feeling jealousy within her, and the want to get back and be with Nikki, forced her to do her rounds just a little quicker. It was not a possessive kind of jealousy, she knew that, but the thought of not being able to spend time with the blonde when others seemed to be more than able to do so, encouraged her to move a little quicker.
Half way through the evening the buffet had been opened and Tess returned to Nikki in time to eat with her. The blonde filled her in on all the people she had been speaking to, and teased her about details of Tess's early life that Jeffery's wife had told her about. The brunette smiled, having the feeling she was in for a small amount of teasing, when she realized just what tales Barbara had been telling her.
After dinner the auctioning began, with many different items being donated by stars and TV companies. As each item was being auctioned Nikki was amazed at the prices each piece was going for. Then suddenly the next item caught her attention, it was a gold disk of Lisa's favourite band, signed by the group themselves. The bid started at one thousand pounds, and she put her hand up straight the way. Tess looked down at Nikki in surprise.
Hey what you doing? She asked.
What does it look like? I am bidding. Nikki whispered back with an excited smile.
These things can get pretty high you know, are you sure you know what you are doing Nik?
The blonde nodded, Yes, trust me Lisa will love this, I have to get it for her; and it will be like a thank you for looking after Thunder and Jenna.
Tess looked amazed, Whatever happened to a card or chocolates?
There was a small chuckle, This is much more interesting.
The bidding continued, Nikki making the last bid of five thousand four hundred pounds, and then it stopped. The item went to the blonde, Nikki grinned and clapped her hands. Tess just looked on astounded.
At the end of the evening, the total amount of money raised was announced, seventy nine thousand pounds. Tess took some shots of a large check being handed over to the founder of the 'Christmas for children' organization. It was a charity that helped children who were either hospitalised or in care, and were away from their families over the Christmas season.
When the evening was over all the guests left for the night, and Tess and Nikki retired to their room.
While Nikki had slipped into the bathroom to change for bed, Tess stood between the two beds with a frown.
Nikki? She called
Do you usually sleep in a single or double bed at home?
Nothing I was just wondering, you can take the double then, I will take the single.
Nikki emerged from the bathroom, the tips of her hair wet from where she had washed her face, her cheeks pink with that just scrubbed glow. She wore cream coloured pyjamas with picture of Tigger on the front of the top she wore. Tess grinned at the endearing sight.
No it is ok, you can take the double, and I am smaller than you anyway, so I'll take the single.
Tess shook her head, Nope, executive decision, you take the double, I do the single and that is final.
Small hands landed on slight hips, Uh huh executive decision my arse, I will take the single and that is final.
The photographer laughed, No you take it.
Ok, I have an idea. Tess bit her lip hoping she was not about to step her bounds, How about we both take it, that way no more disagreements, and I promise to keep my hands to myself, even though you do look adorably cute in your Tigger pj's.
There was a slight pause of consideration, Ok but if I get in that damn bed and you get in the single, I will sleep on the floor.
Ok. Nikki walked cautiously over to the double bed and got in, as Tess disappeared into the bathroom.
She lay in the quiet room, her stomach doing slight flips at the thought of sharing the bed with the dark woman, even though secretly she had hoped for as much. Not that she would ever admit it, and unbeknownst to her, Tess had hoped for the same.
Tess returned from the bathroom, wearing white shorts and Tee shirt, she climbed in next to the blonde.
What is it? Nikki asked.
I forgot to do my hair.
Want me to do it? The smaller woman questioned with hope.
Tess thought for a moment, Um sure?
They both sat up and Nikki reached for Tess, running her hands over the woman until she found the band at the bottom of her hair. Pulling it off, she slowly sifted her fingers through the braid, unravelling the silken hair.
Hey Tess can I ask you something?
Of course? Tess smiled in the darkness, loving the feel of Nikki's fingers running though her hair.
When you were thirteen, did you really punch a guy in the nose when he said that the best position you could play in soccer would be a goal post?
The brunette laughed out loud, Who told you that oh hold on let me guess Jeffery right?
Nikki smiled, Yes he said he and your father had to more or less beg the boys parents not to get the police involved.
Tess smiled as she recalled the event, Well yeah I guess so but he deserved it, and besides he was a bully with all the girls. She pouted, He hurt my fragile pride, I was so sure I was going to be the first female star of the England football team, I couldn't believe I was a terrible as I actually was.
Awe well at least you found your calling in life.
The tall woman nodded, Guess so, though he is now a professional footballer playing in the Premier League bastard. She sniggered, and Nikki laughed. So Miss Morris, can I ask you something?
Of course you can.
She hesitated briefly, Well I was just wondering how you could be so blasé about spending the kind of money you spent tonight I mean five thousand is a lot. I would have a headache for a week if I just spent money like that on impulse. Although Tess didn't like to admit it, she could be a little frugal when it came to needlessly spending money.
Nikki finished with the long hair and lay back down, Tess following suit. The blonde decided it was now or never, she may as well get it over with and tell Tess what her mother had been grousing about for some years. After a slight pause she spoke, My grandfather was quite a rich man, an entrepreneur, earning his money through many different avenues and business he'd started. Quite simply when he died, he left his fortune to Lisa and I. She rolled onto her side facing the brunette, and Tess did the same. The only thing he left my mother was the house we live in now, she is obviously quite upset about it, to say the least.
Tess nodded, I see.
Anyway, he left a kind of trust fund for us in which we have a limited amount of money at our disposal, until we reach our twenty forth birthday, then we get the bulk of our inheritance.
She had to ask, How much is the bulk?
Nikki sucked in her bottom lip, then released it quickly, Um one and a half.
One and a half what?
EACH? She asked astounded.
Yeah, I was a little shocked at first myself, but I guess now I have matured a little I've been making some decisions about what I want to do with the money.
And that is?
I want to start my own business, you know with horses. Maybe start up some stables, a stud farm maybe, I would like to open a place where mistreated horses can go and regain their health. That is how I got Thunder, he was neglected by his previous owner he is such a docile creature.
Tess's brows were raised, Wow. She shook her head lightly.
Nikki smiled, Yeah, the trouble is that this has caused a certain amount of tension since my grand fathers death when my mother found out she only got the house, oh that and any money left over from that spence account. The thing is that it's my birthday soon Christmas day in fact.
No shit Christmas day huh? God I always thought it must be pretty shitty for kids whose birthdays were around Christmas.
There was silence for a long while, Nikki rolled onto her back, and sighed, Does it bother you, I mean about the money?
Tess reached out and took Nikki's hand, Why should it bother me, I think you are very lucky Nik.
Nikki moved herself towards the taller woman, and then turned onto her side, facing away. They spooned together, Tess's arm placed securely around the smaller woman's stomach. I am glad, I always feel slightly uncomfortable about this, and to be honest I am glad you're not fazed by it. She yawned, suddenly feeling very tired.
Tess kissed the blonde hair in front of her, You snared me the first time I saw that dazzling smile of yours, and I think I was yours from that moment on, nothing could change that.
Nikki pulled Tess's hand to her lips, laying a soft kiss upon the long fingers, You captured me when you first took my hand. She smiled.
Does that mean we are stuck with each other?
Forever if you want? Stated the blonde seriously.
Tess pulled Nikki in close, I want. She whispered and closed her eyes, sleep claiming her rapidly.
fiction index <> homepage