After the Curtain Falls

Act Three

by Beth Dragon and Kathleen Wolf

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: Any relation the characters within the following story have to other people living, dead or fictional is purely coincidental. All characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the authors.

LOVE/ GRAPHIC SEX DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a love relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story. Please note there are scenes of a graphic sexual nature at intervals in the story.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARNING/DISLAIMER: Later Acts of this story will depict scenes of sexual violence/spousal abuse and its aftermath. This type of depiction may disturb some readers and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.

ILLEGAL DRUG WARNING/DISCLAIMER: Later Acts of this story will include reference to heroin use and the horrors that it causes. If this topic disturbs you, you may wish to read something else.

FEEBACK: All comments are greatly appreciated and can be sent to:

THANKS: To Emma, for her never ending love, support and chocolate. To the Ex-Guards Village for all their feedback and expert advice.

Unable to control himself, Michael stalked past Estell's dressing room again. Picking at the front of the miss-fitting costume, he was surprised to see the door slightly ajar. It had definitely been fully closed the last ten times he'd walked by.

"Estell!" Announcing himself in a loud angry voice, he pushed on the door to open it more. "Where the hell have you been? You missed the fitting."

"Michael!" Thea whipped around startled. Lost in thoughts of a tall dark beauty and their recent moments together, she cursed herself for not closing the door completely and saving herself this interruption.

"What?" He asked startled by the intensity of her voice.

"Don't do that!" She barked at him, happy to hear his muffled choke as he realized his forwardness and attempted to catch the swinging door. "If you want to talk to me knock." Her eyes flashing, she threw a forceful scowl in his direction.

"Oh for God's sake." He whispered to himself under his breath as he stepped back and closed the door. A sharp polite knock was the next sound heard. "Estell, are you in there? It's Michael." A strained sweet voice came through the barrier.

"I am well aware I am late and that I have missed the fitting." Hearing the sharpness in her own voice, she stopped and counted to ten trying to calm down. She couldn't blame being late on him, it wasn't his fault. In fact it wasn't a question of fault at all. She'd hoped for at least a few moments of peace after they'd gotten back to the theatre so that she could think. Fully get her head around what had happened that afternoon. Smiling at the wonderful memory, the sound of Michael shuffling outside the door reminded her that her hopes had been dashed. "For God sake come in!" She snapped, realizing the counting has done no good.

Looking a bit lost, Michael opened the door slowly.

"Estell, where have you been?" He kept his voice soft, hoping the new approach might get him a better reception. "I was worried, everyone was."

"Thank you Michael." Stripping off her top and looking for her first costume, Thea managed to keep her voice calmer. "I am as you see fine."

"You look a bit agitated." He continued in a soft voice. "Are you sure you're fine?"

"I hate to be late, that's all." The short response came from the actress just as she found the costume and moved to undo the multiple pins that held it to its hanger.

"I know..." Watching her slyly in the mirror, Michael noticed something and stopped mid-sentence. "Estell, are you all right?" He questioned moving closer. "How did you get that bruise?" He reached out slowly towards the dark mark on the actress' shoulder.

"Michael, please." Thea turned around out of his reach. "It's nothing. I must have banged it!" Twisting again she tried to see the mark in question in the mirror.

"It's not nothing." He said concerned. "And how could you have banged both shoulders and there by your collar bone?"

She raised her eyes to the heavens briefly before looking back to study the reflection in the mirror. Noticed a fourth mark somewhere she hoped Michael hadn't, she quickly moved to slip into the top of her costume.

"I bruise really easily! I know how lame that sounds." Snapping the words at him, she moved to do her top up out of the view of his prying eyes.

"If you're sure it's no big deal." He responded absently trying to study the marks.

"I'm fine really." Doing up the last of the closures, she turned around to give him a beaming smile.

"That's good." He smiled back. "Cause we are going to get cued any minute."

"Michael, you could do me a favor actually." She used her sweetest voice to try and sway him as she watched him sit down in a nearby chair. "It's going to be a long rehearsal I think."

"Anything?" He bounced back up to stand immediately.

"Get me a bottle of water would you?" She looked at him with pleading eyes.

"No problem." Michael nodded at her and raced out of the room. Ecstatic at the idea that he was again the one the beautiful lead was asking for favors.

'It's good to be an actress.' She thought to herself as she watched him scamper off. Hearing the heavy slam of the door behind him, Thea looked around for the rest of her costume. It was most definitely going to be a long night. 'And all I really want to do is be with Rae again.' The one single thought occupied the four corners of her mind.


"Okay O'Keefe get a grip on yourself here." Rae stopped what she was doing and braced a hand on one of the nearby light bars for a moment. With her forearm she whipped the sweat from her forehead. "You have about twenty minutes to hang twelve lights." She continued the pep talk in a rough tone as she started on another light. "There is no reason to even doubt you can do this. You could do twice as many as long as you keep your mind on the job."

The words made her smile and stop in mid-motion. That was the whole problem wasn't it. She couldn't keep her mind on anything but the petite gorgeous young actress who was somewhere in the theatre below getting ready for the dress rehearsal. Their moments together in the hotel had been so quick and intense that the technician wondered if it was the lights alone that should be blamed for her current high body temperature. They had been forced to race back to the theatre and parted in a frantic hurry as each of them realized they were very late. She'd regretted not having one last chance to solidify with Thea that what had happened had been as perfect as she thought. If only they'd been able to kiss one last time. She shook her head and sent a cascade of sweaty drops falling to the floor below.

"Oh yeah that's where my problem is, right there." She glanced down toward the closed curtains of the stage. "Can't keep your mind on anything but her can you." She laughed at herself. "And it's only going to get harder if you're still up here when she's on stage." Another bead of sweat trailed down the side of her face. The fact that three fourths of the lights around her were already on and warming up was not helping her already soaring body temperature in the least.

"Okay here's the deal." She closed her eyes for a second and spoke to herself in a hushed tone. "You have a job to do." She gave herself a stiff nod and set back to the task of attaching the next light and aiming it. "You have to get this done or that gorgeous beautiful soft... " Her mind lost the track of her pep talk almost immediately. Though she did manage to keep working on the light as she listed off all of Thea's overwhelming attributes to herself. "... Won't be lit proper at all and you can't have that." The motivation to get her job done finally struck her. The lighting needed to be perfect or the woman of her dreams would be on a poorly lit stage. Placing the proper gel on the light she had just hung, she allowed herself to lean backwards over the edge of the scaffold to check the beams placement on the stage. Both legs hooked around the crossbar made her confident that she wouldn't fall. Though anyone watching from below would be quite concerned for her safety.

The sight on the stage made Rae stop. With a portion of the curtain still in her left hand, the young actress stood centre stage near the floodlights looking back at her.

"Hi Rae." Thea mouthed the words knowing no one would pick them up but the technician. She gave a little wave with her free hand nervously.

"Hi Thea." She mouthed back with a sudden bright smile and waved back.

Hearing a noise on the stage behind her, Thea looked back for a second. She knew Michael would be returning with her water any moment and she had to be brief.

"I miss you." Turning around, Thea mouthed the words hoping they might convey all that she was feeling. Grinning to herself at how hot the poor woman on the scaffold looked.

"I miss you too." Rae mouthed the words back slowly and confidently.

Still smiling, Thea lifted her shirt a bit and blew down it. She hoped that Rae would understand her message. The exaggerated forehead wipe and smile that came in return told her the technician understood.

"I have to go." Looking back to see Michael heading towards her room, she mouthed the words with a slight frown and another wave. "See you soon."

"I know." The upside down woman mouthed back with a wave. "See you later."

Grinning like a teenage, she nipped back behind the curtains and skipped back to her room. The only trace of her being there was the slight sway left in the thick velvet curtains as they moved back into position.

Rae waited until the curtains were fully settled before flipping back up to face into the hot lights again.

"Okay O'Keefe, you got your fix." She laughed at herself again. "You should be able to give 100% concentration to work for at least five minutes." Pulling herself up to dangle on another nearby bar, she snapped the safety cord around her harness and moved herself farther down to the next light.

"Only eleven left now." Sighing, she turned back to glance at the stage again. She knew that she wouldn't see the captivating woman there now, but she also knew her imagination would easily fill in the image for her none the less.

"Time to do my job." Rae shook her head hard and tried to concentrate on the lights hoping that if she got them done she could grab a seat in the back in time to see the third act. Thea's monologue made it her favorite.


The final scene finished and being the last one to leave the stage, Thea was left to drag her tired body from the wings toward her dressing room in solitude. Pulling back her shoulder blades in an attempt to straighten out her stiff back she let out a deep sigh. The sight of Michael propped up against her dressing room door made her wish she had the energy to sigh again.

"Hi Michael!" She forced herself to smile as she got closer to him.

"Hi." Called out of his trance, he looked up from the floor to meet her eyes. "I was waiting for you."

"I kind guessed that." Thea moved past him into her dressing room. "Can I help you?"

"Yeah well." Turning to watch her enter, he leaned heavily against the doorframe waiting for an invitation to enter out of fear of making her upset again "Well I sorta needed to ask you something. Not for me so much, cause I already know the answer. Just so I can button the lips of a few of the chorus people."

"Ask away." Sitting down heavy in her chair, she let another loud sigh escape her. "Okay Michael, come in." She beckoned to him in a tired voice. "Close the door." She added the instruction as an afterthought.

"Estell, You know the blonde." He walked in and closed the door softly behind him, before again leaning against it.

"The blonde?"

"The one in the chorus with the one line who thinks she's the next you."

"Silvya you mean?" She pondered the reference slightly before the name came to her.

"Yeah Silvya." He nodded. "Well she sorta has got this crazy idea and she's been spreading it around to everyone in the cast."

"Michael, what is it?" Thea looked up at him, trying not too look as tired as she felt.

"Estell..." Straightening out his shirt he looked away suddenly.

The young actress struggled to force the smile that threatened to spread across her face to subside.

"Those bruises you have." His voice was timid and low. "Are they bruises or are they...?" He made a little face briefly rather than continuing.

"Are they?" She asked in an innocent voice, fighting really hard to keep the smile from her face.

"Estell..." He turned to look her in the eye finally. "You know what she thinks they are. You can't let her be telling everyone that's what they are when they're bruises. I mean you didn't have them this morning." He waffled on, not noticing Thea looking down briefly in an attempt to hide the smile that had finally flared on her face. "So if you have THEM now, that means there is a reason for you being late."

"Michael, thank you for your concern!" Looking up again, Thea used all of her training to bring her face back to a neutral state.

"And the reason Sylvia's giving involves that tech monkey!" He went on in a harsh voice, trying desperately to show her the weight of the problem that existed.

"You know that Sylvia is mainly driven by jealousy." Thea tried to brush away his so-called problem as nothing. "She wants my job and she knows she could never have it."

"Estell, I am concerned." He continued. "She's going around convincing everyone that you and that techie were having a quickie at dinner. She could never have your job, she has no talent." He added the last part with an adamant nod. "You have to say something, explain to everyone." He pleaded with her finally.

"Michael." The single word came out of her sharply. "If I explain anything it would be that my private life is just that. To stand up against them would be bringing myself to their level and I am not on their level and I don't think you are either."

"Of course not." He moved to crouch next to her. "You are a billion times better than any of them."

Carefully laying her hand over his, Thea did her best to keep her cool with him and the others. The idea of them going around dissecting what had happened between her and Rae made her sick to her stomach.

"How about you and I go have a lovely relaxing late dinner?" Michael put on his best smile and hoped the invitation might draw the actress out of her silence.

"It is lovely that you care so much Michael and I thank you for your concern. But I don't think I should retaliate." Thea removed his hand and tried to ignore his invitation. There was only one person she wanted to be spending the rest of the evening with and Michael was not that one. Seeing the anticipation in his face she knew she couldn't leave the question unanswered. "And would it be better for her to be spreading rumors about you and I? Than about 'that techie' and I?" She let the last words roll sharply off her tongue, her heart needed to show its hatred of the derogatory term.

"All rumours are bad." Michael croaked out through a constricted breath as he tried to regain himself. Moving to stand he went back to leaning against the door. "I don't know why the theatre has to run on them."

"Exactly." Thea agreed in a tired voice.

"Though rumours of you and I might be a little more." His words came with a little shrug. "More manageable."

"Michael, you are very kind to worry but this is theatre life. It doesn't get any better, no matter who you are." She smiled at him sadly. It seems this young man had a lot to learn about what when on behind the curtain. "You could be a saint and never look twice at anyone and the rumours would still be there." Closing her eyes for a second, she knew she'd have to quell his fantasies of a 'them'. "As you said all rumours are bad. I would hate for you to get bogged down by them."

"Look we're the stars here." Taking his courage in his hand, Michael moved closer to her. "We don't have to deal with any of the underlings, so why don't you and I go out for a fabulous dinner and just blow them all off?"

Thea managed to give him a weak smile. She had to give him credit for his persistence. He didn't give up easily. The tired part of her mind just wanted to cut him off at the knees. Point out to him that he was not the tall, dark and beautiful woman who she was so desperate to see again, so any chances he thought they had were dead in the water.

"To be honest all I want is to go back to my hotel room and collapse for the night." The democratic part of her mind tried to sidestep his second invitation. "Sorry."

"You need a drive?" He asked hopefully. "My car is right outside."

"The hotel is just down the road, so no need. Thanks anyway." She sighed under her breath. "Really thank you for caring Michael."

"Okay." He smiled at her, finally defeated. "See you tomorrow before the show then." Moving to open the door he turned to face her one last time. "I will always care Estell. You are a very special woman." His soft voice hung in the room long after he left.

As the door closed, Thea shook her head and let another heavy sigh escape her.


"Okay Simmons." Rae looked over the clipboard of notes one last time. "I think we're almost caught up. Only need to change the third and fourth lines and we'll be done for the night."

"Right boss." The tall thick man nodded at her and yawned. "You want to do it yourself or shall I?"

"Why don't you take care of it. I'll look after the wiring problem in the sound room." Not bothering to look up, she continued to check off things on her list.

"Sure thing." With a stiff nod he headed up the scaffold.

From the dimly lit entrance hallway nearby, Thea gave an amused sigh as she watched the exchange. She coughed lightly as she stepped out of the shadows and into the auditorium, continuing to study the absorbed woman with a bright smile.

Rae spun around on her heel when she heard the sound. She had somewhat expected to see Damien standing there with more notes for her, but the sight of a Thea made her smile immediately.

"Hi." The soft simple word was nearly lost in the grand theatre.

"Hey there." Rae responded with an equally soft voice and dropped the clipboard to her side. Looking up to check that Simmons' was far up out of earshot on the scaffold she walked closer. She unknowingly bit her lip as she tried to fight the urge to gather the small woman up in the arms and kiss her again right there and then. "How you doing?" She asked the question in a concerned tone, noticing the stress in the actress' shoulders.

"I am tired." Thea admitted. "And I want to go home." She watched Rae biting her lip and figured out her inner thought right away.

"You need a long hot bath and then to be tucked up into bed." Taking a step closer to block her words from anyone, Rae spoke softly.

"I do, but..."

"Your car!" The technician blurted out the revelation suddenly realizing that the woman's convertible was still at the restaurant a fair distance away. "Oh God Thea, I'm sorry."

Thea couldn't keep the broad smile from crossing her face. Instinctively she reached out with her hand to touch the worried woman's arm, but she quickly pulled it back, still very unsure how Rae would feel about such a display.

"No worries." She spoke the words quickly to cover up her abandoned motion.

"I should have thought of it earlier. You've been waiting around forever." Rae smiled at the raised hand and couldn't help but let her face drop as it was pulled back. "I have one little thing to take care of in the sound booth but I can drive you home then if you like." She wasn't sure how the offer would be taken but she made the attempt regardless.

"That would be great. Should I come with you to the sound booth? I haven't been in one for ages." Thea cringed at the sad line.

"Sure come on." Rae answered happy that the actress wanted to come with her. "It'll give us a bit of privacy." She added in a whisper, still fighting the urge to kiss the strawberry blonde. Motioning up the aisle, she waited for Thea to start walking first. The petite woman stepped forward confidently and began the trek up the aisle to the sound room. Checking with a backward glance that Rae was following.

"Simmons!" She yelled upwards and waited for the standard whistle in reply. "When you're done you and the boys head out. Report at four tomorrow, four sharp!" With quick steps she followed right behind the actress.

"Just in here." She opened the almost hidden door in the wall for Thea when they reached the top of the aisle. Without thinking she moved her hand to the small woman's back with a feathery touch and guided her to enter the small room. The moment of contact made her take a sharp breath as her senses were startled by the want that surged again with the simple gesture.

"Thanks." Thea jumped from the touch and closed her eyes briefly at the flare of passion that welled up and surprised her. "So this is where you do your magic?" She added trying to cover up her reaction and then stopped and smiled realizing what she had said.

"Only magic is what you do on the stage." Rae answered with a little grin as she closed the door.

"Is that the only magic you know?"

"No, I know of at least one other type of magic." Rae continued to grin as she dropped her clipboard on one of the shelves nearby.

"Rae..." Thea breathed the word and stepped forward towards her.

"Yes, Thea?" She questioned moving closer to the actress without thought of the action.

"Hold me." The request was simple.

"Always." Rae whispered as she carefully and softly wrapped her arms around the smaller woman and drew her close. Thea melted into the embrace and rested her head against the taller woman's chest. In an instant Rae bent down to gently rest her chin in soft hair. "I missed you." She added almost silently.

"You get sick of the sight of me I am sure." The tired actress whispered back half joking but half-afraid her words were true.

"Never ever." Rae raised the strength of her whisper to show how serious her words were. "I could look at you forever and it wouldn't be nearly long enough."

"I bet you say that to all the stars." Thea pulled back to see the technician's face.

"I have never said that to anyone." Intense blue eyes locked to green ones.

"Good." Thea whispered and stretched up to kiss her cheek. Rae closed her eyes against the coolness of the lips on her skin. "Rae, I really want to get out of here." She whispered. "You should do what you need to do so we can get leave."

"I can fix this tomorrow." She whispered at the same time. "Let's go."

"Are you sure?" Thea asked absently, happy that they would be no more delays in their departure.

"Yeah, no worries." She winked at the actress. "I need to get a part from home in order to fix it."

"That's convenient."

"Very much so eh?" She laughed a little, surprised herself how easily she was being led away from her work. "You ready to go, your chariot awaits. I'll have you back at your hotel in no time, unless?" She left the ending open.

"Rae, I'm not sure I want to go back to my hotel." Thea's soft words came with a shy smile.

"I have a place here in the city, but if you're up for a short drive." Rae jumped at the opening. "My real home's in the suburbs, we could go there. If you wanted to of course." Her voice was almost nervous, and her internal voice boomed loud at her assumption that not wanting to go to her hotel meant Thea wanted to be with her.

"That would be great." Thea held on tight for another second, happy when Rae continued to hold her back.

"Yes, it would." Rae repeated to silence the voice inside her head.

"If you are sure." The star added, wanting to make sure the woman felt no pressure. Even after all that had happened that afternoon.

"I'm very sure." A confident nod came with the words.

"Me too." Thea closed her eyes and yawned.

"Good." Rae kissed her softly on the forehead. "Let's get you home sleepy head."

"Lead me where ever, I am sure to follow." She recited the line from a long forgotten play finally knowing she understood what the words meant.

"Let's go love, my jeeps out back." Rae moved out of the embrace to take her hand.

"I haven't been in a jeep since I was little." Thea gave her hand willingly as she gave the little insight for no real reason.

"Well then you're in for a treat." The dark haired beauty laughed. "I'd ask if you wanted to drive but I think we'll be curling you up with a blanket."

"I'll be asleep before we hit the main road." She laughed back. "Come on, anyone would think you like it here!"

"I'll wake you up when we get there or should I just carry you in?" Rae led her out of the small room.


"You know I can't help thinking you'd make a better hero than Michael does!" Thea laughed as the theatre doors swung closed behind her and they walked out into the cold night air. "Then again that would make it a very alternative play!" She gave a little nervous laugh and checked to see her new lover's reaction.

"Poor Michael." Rae laughed out loud. "He did look like a deer in headlights tonight." She smiled at the change in the tone of the star's laughter. "And an alternative play wouldn't be so bad." She squeezed the hand in her own as she fidgeted in her pocket to find her keys.

"It didn't help that his costume just didn't sit right." Thea added, thinking that a deer in headlights couldn't possibly look as scared as her co-star had when he first stepped out on the stage. "I think Michael is just beginning to learn what theatre is all about. And I don't think he is liking it much."

"Well, that did look uncomfortable for him." Rae hit the unlock button on the slim remote keychain and moved to open the passenger door. Thea clambered in with a giggle, forgetting at first how high the seat of the jeep was and having to pull herself up with the handgrip at the top of the doorframe.

"Your chariot princess." Rae smiled and bowed with a flourish. Secretly she wanted nothing more at that moment then to kiss the giggling princess silly, but she held herself in check. Their afternoon of passion was no reason to believe she had such a right at any time.

"Well a fine carriage it is." Thea smiled. Looking around at the brand new black shiny jeep she couldn't help but think what a fine carriage it was indeed. The all leather black interior and impressive array of extra buttons and switches told her the jeep was definitely not factory issue.

"Watch your hands." She gave the warning as she moved to close the door then ran around quickly to her side and jumped in. For the first time noticing how easier her height and long legs made it to get into the high vehicle.

"Okay, now I go to sleep and you wake me up when we get there." The actress cleared the instruction when the driver had settled into her seat.

"Let me get you that blanket." Rae turned around and pulled the thick black flannel from its spot on the back seat. "Here you go."

"Deal?" She took the blanket and spread it around her. "Thank you." She added happy for the warm gesture. Running her hand over the blanket she laughed at the idea that someone would miss the running black link in Rae's life. Settling back in the seat she closed her eyes and got comfortable.

"Deal." The Raven smiled back and started the jeep. "The chair tilts back. The controls are on the side." She added softly as she pulled the jeep away from the back of the building.

"Tilt the seat? You want to be able to wake me remember!" The red head warned with a grin. "Don't let me miss anything good!"

"I won't let you miss a thing." Rae pulled onto the main road. "And the offer to carry you in still stands."

Nestling down in her seat, Thea drifted into a light slumber instantly.


'Here's a question.' Rae thought to herself looking briefly over at the angel sleeping softly in the passenger seat beside her. 'Should I phone ahead and order food or just hope there's something at home?'

'I am starving.' She listened to her stomach growl and then be answered by Thea's sleeping stomach growling next. 'Order food it is.' She smiled as she checked her blind spot and merged onto the highway. Picking up her cell phone from between the seats she dialed the number to the Chinese restaurant near her house. She glanced on the glowing dial of her watch to see what time it was as the phone rang on. When someone finally picked up she was glad to be a regular as the once annoyed voice was soon happy to fill her request. She rhymed off every dish she thought that Thea could possibly like and arranged for it to be waiting on the doorstep by the time they arrived home.

"Hope you like Chinese." She whispered as she stole another glance at the sleeping figure beside her.

"Hummmmm." The soft mumble came in response and made Rae smile.

"We'll be home soon." She added as she turned back to the watch the empty road ahead and turned the heat up a bit in case the actress was cold.

Used to always driving with the radio on, Rae started to sing softly to herself as she flew down the highway toward home.


"Thea... Thea..." Already having the car parked and the passenger's door open, Rae tried to coax the sleeping woman awake.

"Hummmmm? What?" Thea bolted upright in the seat.

"We're home." Rae's voice remained soft as she jumped back a bit to give the startled woman room.

"Sorry." She cleared her throat.

"It's okay." Rae added trying to calm her. "I didn't mean to startle you."

"Really, I am sorry." She frowned gently, realizing how strange her actions must seem.

"It's okay. Are you all right?" Rae asked concerned by the woman's second apology.

"Yeah, I just..." Thea began an explanation but stopped herself.

"Just what?" The technician asked with even more concern.

"Nothing." The actress looked up blinking and then smiled her brightest smile. "So this is home huh?" She asked trying to look past the tall woman to the house behind.

"Yes, this is my castle so to speak." Rae moved further back out of the doorway and looked to the house with a little scowl. Parked in front of the two-car garage the angle of the roof made it difficult to judge the true size of the house. A bolt of apprehension went through her as she remembered the reason why she didn't invite anyone from the theatre home. But this wasn't just anyone, this was Thea and she would field any questions as best she could.

"Nice." The actress remarked as she got out of the jeep and took a few steps over to get a good look at the house. 'It's huge.' She thought to herself as she studied the red brick exterior and strained to see through the large bay window on the second floor.

"It's okay." Rae shrugged as she moved to close the jeep door. "My favorite place of all is the cabin but that's a three hour drive away." She thought of the small log structure that she'd built with her own hands. "We'll have to go there for a weekend soon." She added softly, sending the small hope out for consideration.

"You have a cabin?" Thea turned from studying the house to look at her surprised.

Rae cursed herself for making the cabin comment. It was going to be hard enough to explain how she could afford this place let alone a retreat up north and her condo in the city. Her heart went a little cold as she realized that her comment might also put too much pressure on the actress. After all, one afternoon of passion didn't mean that Thea would be comfortable with that kind of invitation.

"Yes." She nodded after a long silence. "Just a little retreat for when the world gets a bit too much." She did her best to downplay the cabin.

"Sounds nice." Thea kept her answer simple as her mind whirled around with questions. It was becoming quite clear that she'd underestimated just who Rae was.

"I should warn you about something." Rae said suddenly as she remembered who'd be meeting them inside. "I hope you like dogs." She smiled and moved toward the front door.

"Love them." The actress smiled back genuinely and followed her. Her eyes still glued to the house. She was sure that in the daylight the structure would be twice as impressive as it looked now. She laughed to herself as she removed the imaginary picture of a small quaint house that she'd created for Rae to live in from her mind and replaced it with a memory of the mansion before her.

"Good." The tall woman grinned. "You ready to go inside then?" Her voice was nervous as she watched Thea study the house. It was obvious even in the dark that Thea was surprised and the technician waited for the questions to start.

"All ready." Thea's voice was bright for the late hour.

"Come on then, time to meet Marc Antony." She offered the actress her hand.

"Marc Antony?" The small woman queried as she took the hand offered to her.

"My husky." Rae smiled at the inflection that her English accent put on the name. With gentle guidance she led Thea around the small shadowed walkway and up to the front door.

"You have a husky. How lovely!" The actress smiled at the idea, deciding in a moment that a husky would be the perfect dog for the dark woman that held her hand.

"Oh and I hope you like Chinese." She added. "I took the liberty and ordered while we were driving."

"Do you think of everything?" Thea laughed lightly as she looked at the two large bags waiting on the front steps.

"I try to." Rae smiled. "I might not have what you like though. I can phone for other dishes if there's nothing you like."

"What ever is good for me, for some reason I am famished!" The small woman patted her stomach.

"I figured you might be." Rae laughed remembering the growls that had serenaded her for most of the ride home. "Being under the lights takes a lot out of you." She opened the bolt lock on the front door first and opening the door reached inside to punch a long series of numbers into the keypad on the wall to disarm the alarm system.

"Yeah, an actors life huh!" Thea watched her and tried not to smile. The alarm system confirmed that the inside of house must be just as impressive as the outside.

"Yep. Eating at ungodly hours and sleeping late." Rae laughed and held the door partially closed. "Got to love it."

"I thrive on it." The actress admitted, as she realized why Rae wasn't opening the door fully. She laughed lightly. "Come on then, bring on the dog!"

"Marc Antony!" The tall woman's voice echoed through the house. "She's well behaved so don't worry she won't maul you."

"She?" Thea questioned and laughed loudly. "Or are you warning the dog now?"

"I know, I know." Rae laughed with her as she heard the thumping of paws as the dog pounded through the house to the door. "A friend named her and didn't care that the name didn't match the dog's gender." She shrugged her shoulders and smiled. "And the warning is definitely for you." She opened the door fully, knowing that Marc Antony would come right to the end of the hall and sit at attention when she saw her owner with company.

Thea looked though the now open doorway and smiled at the shiny attentive eyes that moved in the dark. Marc Antony moved to the edge of the hall and stopped when she saw the small woman standing there. Rae reached in and flipped on the light. The tall, majestic white and gray husky was sat up straight. Her pink tongue panting out one corner of her mouth in anticipation.

"She is beautiful." Thea whispered. "Could I stroke her?" She asked a little hesitant despite Rae's no mauling assurance when she saw how huge the husky was.

"She's actually a husky, wolf cross." Rae added picking up the bags on the step and motioning for the stunned actress to enter. "And of course you can pet her." She laughed. "Look at her tail she's dying to meet you." Rae looked down the hall and locked eyes with the dog. "Marc Antony this is Thea." She kept her voice even. "Come say hi."

With Rae's invitation, the dog came down the hall in a controlled bound and sat in front of Thea panting. With a nervous hand the small woman reached down and stroked the dog's head. Immediately becoming more comfortable as the dog stared at her happily.

"Hello." She whispered softly to the dog as she continued to pat her head. The happy noise coming out of Marc Antony and a small nuzzle into the actress' hand told everyone that the dog considered her a friend.

"She loves you." Rae smiled.

"What do you call her?" Thea turned to look back at Rae who hung in the doorway. "Surely not Marc Antony all the time?"

"No, not all the time." The technician laughed and walked past her to lay the bags on the upstairs steps. Thea bent down and continued to fuss with the dog while she waited for Rae to continue. "She also goes by Mac."

"Mac huh?" Thea looked at the husky and dropped a kiss on her head between her ears. "I think I am going to call you Toni!"

"What do you think Toni?" Rae laughed and asked the dog as she took off her boots. Standing up from the dog, Thea slipped off her shoes. "Would you object to eating in the basement?" She questioned in a tired voice. "We can curl up on the leather." She added hoping to persuade her.

"Sounds fine to me." Thea grinned at the dog and then at the tall woman standing nearby. "Does Toni get any?"

"Of course." She grinned back. "She just loves chicken balls. Just let me put the alarm back on." She reached to punch the code into the system.

"Don't we all!" Thea made sure to look away from the keypad.

"Good thing I ordered two boxes then." Rae moved to pick up the bags. "Wouldn't want us all fighting over them."

"Point me in the right direction and I'll get plates if you like." The actress offered trying to be helpful.

"I'll give you the tour." Rae smiled. "This is the main hall." She grinned. "As you can tell and these are the stairs upstairs."

"Okay, okay!" Thea put her hands up in mock surrender. "Stop! Just point me to the basement, I am way too tired to do this right now."

"First double doors to your right are the stairs down to the basement." Rae winked at her. "What can I get you to drink?"

"Anything cold!" Thea answered as she walked down the hall toward the doors.

"The bar is downstairs mix yourself something if you like." Rae called as she moved toward the kitchen.

"Okay, thanks." Thea opened the ornately carved oak doors and flicked on the light.

"Mac, go with Thea." Rae instructed the dog, though she knew the husky was already following the small woman. Dropping the bags on the counter of the kitchen's centre island, she moved around to collect everything they needed.


Thea walked down the stairs noting the paintings that adored the walls with an impressed eye. Emerging at the bottom of the slightly rounded staircase in the middle of a huge room caught her off guard. Off to her left was a well stocked bar while the far right corner held a large elaborate entertainment unit filled with all sorts of electronics. An enormous L-shaped dark brown leather sectional divided the bar area off from the rest of the room to encase a carved oak coffee table. The walls were painted a deep hunter green and were covered with paintings, as were most of the walls of the house. Thea noted that not one of them was a reproduction and she reminded herself to study them in greater detail later as she moved straight to the bar. One by one she read the labels trying to decide on what she was thirsty for. The choice was a little overwhelming.

"Did you find everything all right?" Rae asked when she reached the end of the stairs. Moving directly to rest the tray on the coffee table.

"Hi!" The actress turned from the bottles she was studying and smiled.

"Hey there." Rae smiled back. "You need help?"

"Not really just weighing up my options!" Thea turned back to the bottles.

"There are quite a few I'm afraid." She laughed and moved towards the bar. She walked around it to bent down to open the small fridge hidden behind the structure and took out two bottles of water.

"I noticed!" The small woman exclaimed at a loss to make a choice.

"I like choice." Rae grinned as she stood up again. "I could show you the wine cabinet if you would like wine?"

"Now that looks like a good start." Thea pointed at the bottled water in Rae's hand.

"Water?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, sorry to be boring." The actress leaned against the bar.

"No need to be sorry." Rae laughed and moved to swing the fridge door open fully and show her that it was mostly filled with water. "It's my favorite actually."

"There you go!" Looking into the fridge, the blonde started to laugh.

Grabbing two glasses from the rack overhead, Rae used the ice dispenser in the wall to fill them both.

"I love baileys, but you already know that." Thea smiled her mind going back to earlier in the day. "I'm just too tired to drink it right now."

"It's almost three am." The technician flipped her wrist to look at her watch. "It is a bit late."

"Indeed." She nodded.

"Take a rain check on the baileys." Rae winked. "It'll be here whenever you want one."

"Sounds good, but I won't take a rain check the food." Thea moved around the bar.

"Oh not me either." Rae grinned as she followed. "We got a ton of it and I think Mac is dying." She motioned to the dog, which was sat upright by the table.

"She's so lovely." Thea smiled at the husky sniffing the air feverishly. "Come on then, let's make a hole in it!"

"Right behind you."

Thea laughed as she moved around the large table to sit on the sofa.

"So what is your favorite?" Rae asked as she sat down and poured out their drinks. "Maybe I got lucky."

"Hummmmm I love chicken! Any kind." She gave the easy choice, not wanting to disappoint the technician.

"How about chicken balls, Szechwan chicken, orange chicken and chicken chow-mien then?" Rae listed as she pulled container after container out of the bag. "I tend to over order." She turned and grinned. "That's why the place delivers so late for me."

"But I guess Toni likes it!" She pointed to the dog, which was trying to sneak under the table and stick her head in the now discarded outer bag.

"She loves it." Rae laughed at her pampered pet. "This dog eats better than some people."

"Well she looks like she deserves it." The actress noted. "She is beautiful."

"We also have Cantonese chow-mien, sweet and sour ribs, rice, Chinese noodles." Rae continued to pull containers out of the second bag. "Fried calamari, fried shrimp, pepper steak, emperor beef."

"Whoa! Did you order the menu?" Thea asked looking at the now covered table.

"Close." The dark haired woman smiled. "I wanted to make sure there was something you liked."

"You must earn too much." Thea made the comment without thinking. The sudden lavishness of Rae's house came crashing down on her and she winced at the biting nature of her words. She knew better than to make such a comment and her mind instantly slipped into controlling the damage her words must have caused.

"Oh and a whole ream of egg rolls and spring rolls." The dark haired woman added before the comment sunk in. "Earn, no." She added softly. "It comes from investments." She tired to offer a brief explanation.

"Sorry, silly comment." The actress apologized quickly.

"It's okay." Rae shrugged. "It must be odd seeing a techie live in a place like this. Even being the head techie I shouldn't be living this lifestyle."

"Hey it has nothing to do with me." Thea added trying desperately to back pedal. "You're lifestyle looks fine to me. I shouldn't have said anything."

"It's okay to question." Rae turned back to dish herself out dinner. "I know it's odd, no one from the theatre knows I have a place here."

"Why should they?" Thea asked honestly.

"That's what I figure." She turned back to look at Thea and smiled softly. "Unless of course I invite them here."

"But I bet you don't do that do you?" The actress asked in a timid voice, unsure what she wanted the answer to be.

"Did it once." Rae leaned back and grinned. "And I'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow." She winked at the star.

"I like that style!" Thea grinned back.

"Am I eating alone?" She laughed and motioned to the actress' empty plate.

"Sorry." Thea began to take large portions of her more favorite dishes in the huge array.

"Sorry Mac, almost forgot your plate." The tall woman moved to the dog's allotment and laid it on the floor for her.

Thea watched Rae with the hungry animal and felt a warm smile grace her face. She could see so much love in Rae that she doubted the technician ever let anyone witness. She didn't know why it surprised her to see this example of what Rae kept hidden down deep, she'd seen it there all along after all.

"Did you want music?" Rae questioned as she began to eat.

"We could do with some." Thea answered as she leaned back into the couch with her plate on her lap.

"What is your preference?" She picked up the remote from the table.

"I like anything but how about some classical?" Thea asked taking a mouthful.

"Classical coming right up." Rae smiled at the choice and hit the play button for the CD player. The action instantly filled with the low melody of an orchestra. Thea closed her eyes to listen to the music as she chewed on a mouthful of chicken.

"So tell me..." She opened her eyes and looked at the technician.

"Yes?" Rae tried to eat the noodles without making a fool out of herself.

"Did you think that..." Thea stopped and looked away.

"Think what Thea?" She stopped eating and waited for the actress to continue.

"Did you expect today to happen?" Thea finally asked suddenly very nervous.

"No, I didn't expect it." Rae spoke honestly as she moved to put her plate on the table. "But I'm so happy that it did. Did you?" She asked back very nervous herself.

"No, but..." Thea realized her throat was completely dry and she reached to take a big drink of the ice water.

Rae studied her as she took the glass, wanting so much to reach out to touch her arm but knowing she had to let Thea finish what she saying first.

"Rae, you know that I had noticed you for a while now. I just want you to know that..." She found herself floundering again.

"You can tell me anything Thea." The Raven's voice was soft. "And you know I'd noticed you too." The last part came in an even softer voice.

"Rae, I don't want to hurt you, that's the last thing I ever want. That's why I never did anything about how I felt." She blurted out the words feeling completely foolish.

"Thea, I understand." She nodded and reached out finally to place her hand on the star's arm softly.

"You do?"

"I think I knew somehow today that you'd never make the first move." Rae smiled as she thought back to their talk in the green room. "That's why I asked you to dinner." Her smile went a little wider. "I don't know where I found the courage but I knew I had to try."

"Thank you for trying." Thea whispered in a sincere tone. "I had to say yes." She stammered out the words as an afterthought.

"You didn't have to." Rae lowered her eyes slightly.

"I did." Thea found a strong voice as she spoke the honest words. "I promised myself if you asked, I would accept. I never break a promise."

"Now I wish I'd asked sooner." Rae looked back up and smiled.

"Your timing was great."

"Yeah it was."

"I am glad you accept the compliment." Thea grinned broadly.

"I meant more..." Rae blushed when she realized what she'd said. "Oh you know." She grinned back instead of continuing when she heard Thea start laughing. "Love that laugh." Rae's smile went softer.

"You're crazy!" Thea exclaimed with a small shake of her head.

"Is that a bad thing?" Rae turned to ask Mac who had looked up from her almost empty plate.

"It's the middle of the night and we are eating Chinese and stumbling over our words like crazy teenagers." Thea looked to the dog as well trying to explain.

"AROOOOO!" Mac let out a long loud howl in response.

"Even she finds us funny!" Thea laughed again.

"Nope, I didn't think so either." Rae laughed and tossed the dog another chicken ball. "It is funny isn't it." She turned back to look at Thea with a serious face. "Not funny bad, but just funny that we would be stumbling over our words." She smiled warmly.

"Yeah." Thea smiled back at her. "I haven't been his tongue tied in a while."

"I don't think I've ever been." She picked up her plate and leaned back to take a small mouthful. "Who else got you tongue tied?"

Thea looked off and thought about it for a moment, trying to figure out just when the last time was.

"My public speaking examiner!" She exclaimed finally. "Though for very different reasons!"

Rae laughed and fought to keep herself from choking at the answer. Thea couldn't help but laugh as the technician struggled. She handed Rae a tissue in a vague attempt to be helpful. The technician took it gratefully as she tried not to smile and hoped that too much of the sauce had dripped down her chin.

"I should hope for different reasons." Rae spoke again when she got the coughing under control. "I'm not known for being tongue tied. So you have a rare talent." She added the last part in a soft voice.

"Apparently." Thea laughed again softly.

"So what comes after tongue tied?" Rae questioned as she put her plate on the coffee table.

"Oh no! Wait, I can think of another speechless occasion." Still deep in thought the actress commented.

"Which was?" Rae asked curious.

"My eleventh birthday." She replied with a distant look in her eye.

"What happened at your eleventh birthday?"

"My parents bought me a pony." Thea smiled brightly at the memory. "That blew my mind."

"A pony!" Rae commented. "That would be a good reason to be speechless. You must be an only child?"

"That's what I figured." She added taking a sip of her drink. "An only child? Me? Oh no, I have a sister. The bad thing was it was too cold to be riding him so I had to spend the first few months of ownership just mucking out stables." Thea added still reliving the memory.

"Too cold, when's your birthday?" Rae questioned taking a long drink herself.

"January." Thea replied. "January the seventeenth."

"January?" The dark haired woman gave a little pained cough as she looked off blankly at the far wall. "The seventeenth." She added blankly as she slowly moved to lay her water glass down. She didn't even notice that she laid it on the edge of something and it teetered over.

"Yeah everyone used to tease me because it's so close to Christmas..." Thea waffled on not noticing her dinner companion's reaction. It was only as the heavy glass hit the carpet with a loud thud that she looked up. "Rae?" She gasped her concern.

"That's my brother's birthday." Rae spoke in a small voice.

Thea looked between the glass and the technician trying to find some understanding of what was going on. How could the same birthday cause such a reaction?

"Was his birthday." She forced herself to correct the mistake without looking away from the wall.

Thea felt everything slow as her head heard the word 'was', turning she focused her full attention on Rae alone.

"Was?" She whispered, desperately wanting to reach out and touch Rae but not sure if she should.

"Was." Rae whispered back. "He was killed eight years ago."

"Rae... I'm so sorry." The actress stammered. "I... how did it happen?" Her rational mind caught up to her natural inquisition. "No, I mean. Rae, we don't have to talk about this."

"No, I'm sorry." The technician shook her head trying to clear it from the ghosts that had sprung up to fill it with the mention of that date. "It's a long story Thea." She turned to look at her with her heart falling as she realized just how much of the past this little reference would dredge up. A past that could so easily tear Thea from her in an instant. "It's a sad story and I don't come out of it looking very good."

She shook her head and moved her plate down for Mac to finish. An uncomfortable laugh escaped her as she noticed that her hand was shaking. The laugh was quickly stifled as she saw the spilled water and realized it had been from her glass. Thea moved her plate down for the dog as well as her appetite fell away. The look in Rae's eyes disturbed her.

"Rae." She kept her voice as level as she could manage.

"Yes?" The dark woman looked at her.

"You don't have to tell me anything about it, but if you want to I can listen." Thea spoke in a soft voice as she fought the urge to reach out and touch her. The reaction such an action could bring at this moment would be unpredictable in the least. "We all have a past Rae. There is no reason for it to harm the future."

"Not everyone has one like this I'm afraid." Her words came with a painful grimace.

"Rae, how bad can it be?" Thea offered having made the decision to take a positive approach.

"Oh it's bad." The technician shook her head. "You have a right to know though." Something inside her screamed this fact in opposition to the rest of her brain that wanted to get as far away from the memories as possible.

"You are young and you work in the theatre. You can hardly be a mass murderer now can you?" The actress laughed as she tried to lighten the mood with humor.

"No, not a mass murderer." Rae shook her head again and swallowed hard. "Tommy was the only one to ever get hurt."

Thea eyes forced closed briefly as she realized that humor hadn't been the right thing to try.

"Your brother was Tommy, yes?" She asked the question to try and establish the facts.

"Yes." A slight smile crossed Rae's sad face. "Born Thomas Francis O'Keefe, January 17th, 1973 in the small town of Collingwood." The smile faded quickly. "My mother died while she gave birth to Tommy, so I've always looked after him."

Thea nudged a little closer on the couch while still giving Rae lots of space. She drew her knees up under her chin as she listened intently.

"He died on a very hot day in August." With a sigh, Rae let the words come out without thinking about them. "He took two shotgun hits to the chest at very close range, there was nothing I could do to save him."

Thea used every ounce of her tired strength to control the gasp her gut reaction threatened to let burst out.

"There was nothing anyone could do for that Rae." She whispered in reaction to the words.

"He wasn't supposed to be there." The technician shook her head again as she blinked hard against the tears that welled up in her eyes. "It was going to be the last job."

The star was sure her heart was breaking in two as she watched Rae battle and she knew she couldn't just sit there and watch her fight. Unsure how her comfort would be accepted, but not caring anymore, she reached out and gently touched the technician's arm.

"Supposed to be where?" She asked the question in a gentle voice, trying to hold the crystal blue eyes that danced around frightfully to look at anything but her.

Rae turned her head down to look at the hand on her arm, surprised by the contact and unable to believe that the actress would touch her at all.

"It was an estate job, burglary." Rae started the tale in a blank tone. "Cleo knew the owners were downtown at the yacht club's summer ball. A couple of paintings and a sculpture were to be the take. Easy mark, minimum security, all electronic... last job and then graduation."

Thea tried not to stare blankly as her mind was bombarded by facts and she worked feverishly to work out the order of her impending questions.

"I was already in the building when Cleo got in." The dark haired storyteller caught Thea's eyes and watched for any sign of the hate that she expected to see starting. "I didn't know that Tommy had come with her, didn't know that he was in the car. She'd told him to stay put cause I needed help with the tech. But he didn't!" She barked the last part out.

"Okay Rae." She held up her hand. "Stop, stop right there." She swallowed hard as tears formed in her green eyes.

"Yes, Thea?" Rae stopped and wiped her own tears away with the back of my hand. Trying to show Thea she was with her in the here and now, though she spoke in a scared voice.

"Okay." The actress let a thin smile form on her lips. "It's okay." The relief in her voice was obvious and she moved impulsively to hug Rae. She held on tighter than perhaps she'd originally meant to but she didn't let her arms relax. For a second she'd been afraid she'd been losing Rae completely. Rae slowly put her arms around the small woman, afraid the young actress would bolt out of them at any moment so she kept them loose.

"Oh Rae." She whispered holding tight. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to interrupt." She stammered suddenly realizing that Rae might think she'd stopped her because she didn't want to hear anymore. "I just..." Her voice disappeared as she realized she couldn't exactly explain what she had been thinking.

"It's okay." Rae spoke softly, searching every second for any indication that Thea wanted her to let go. "Interrupt whenever you want. I'm sure you have questions, I haven't made myself real clear."

"I should let you tell the story your way." Thea encouraged. "Please if you can, carry on."

"Cleo and I were inside when we heard the shots." The woman took a deep breath before going on. "Seems Tommy had come in over the fence and the guard had caught him on the front lawn." Her voice was distant. "The guard panicked. He was a hired kid. After eight hours of training they stick a gun in your hand and send you out to save the world. He fired off two shots without thinking and both caught Tommy in the chest."

Thea closed her eyes briefly, feeling just a hint of the pain that the woman in her arms felt.

"I saw him on the lawn through the front window. Cleo went out to him." Her blank stare continued as she saw nothing but his form bleeding on the lawn.

"Oh love." Thea was unable to stop herself from whispering the small endearment as her hand went to stroke Rae's back.

"She could explain being there but I couldn't, so I had to go back out the way I'd came in." Rae whispered softly, deciding only to describe how she'd gotten into the estate if Thea asked directly.

"What happened to Tommy? To the guard? To you?" She asked in an almost silent voice.

"It was supposed to be the last job." Rae pleaded with the past as she cried. "No one was ever supposed to get hurt."

"I know. I know honey." She enclosed her arms back around the tall woman and held her tightly.

"I managed to escape and evade detection." Rae took a deep breath. "The guard was charged with a weapons offense. And Tommy..." She tried to find the words. "He bled out on the lawn before the ambulance could get there."

Thea placed endless light kisses into her hair and pulled her close. Rae held onto her desperately. Without thought the actress began to gently rock them back and forth, trying to offer any comfort she could.

"It was all my fault." Her words were broken by thick sobs.

"No, it wasn't." The actress whispered the words over and over, unable to believe that Rae could believe such a thing.

"I loved him so much Thea." Rae fought against the tears.

"Of course you did. Rae you still love him." She continued to rock her softly. "It's okay to cry love. It really is."

"I don't do this normally." The technician calmed a bit as she spoke.

Thea looked up for a second, trying to see if she could find a blanket or anything to put around them.

"You should." She bent her face down and kissed her head again. "It's good to cry. I cry all the time." She smiled wearily as she noticed a thick quilt just out of reach.

"About what?" Rae asked weakly.

"Everything." Thea gave a little laugh. "Anything." She smiled again as she watched Mac, having read her mind, trot over and pull the blanket within her reach.

"I don't usually cry about anything." Rae's voice was tight.

Thea closed her hand around the soft material with a minimal movement.

"I'm sorry about this." Rae found herself fighting the urge to pull away, though she needed to stay right where she was more than anything.

"No sorries love." She whispered softly. "You have nothing to be sorry for and though I have many questions." She moved back and released her grip though she kept her hands on Rae's arms. "Now is not the time."

"I have lots to be sorry for Thea." Rae added sadly.

"I think what you need now is to sleep, or at least rest." The star moved to throw the blanket out fully and bring it around Rae's back. "And here in my arms sound like the best place to me."

"Thea, your questions have a right to be answered." She offered the half-hearted protest.

"Rae, we all have things to be sorry for. I know my questions need to be answered. But I know you will answer them. There will be a time for them but that time is not now."

"I will, I promise."

"All you need to do right now is rest in the arms on someone who loves you." Thea kissed her lightly on the forehead. "Rest despite all you think you have done and no matter what you may ever do."

"I would like that." The technician's voice was tiny.

"Then do it." She responded in a loving voice and was happy to see Rae smile and move closer to her. "Just lean back, close your eyes, and think of our newfound love. Think how far we have come, and of the adventure we have ahead of us. A raven and a star." The actress moved them both down into a reclined position on the couch. "Rae, that 's you and I." She stroked the woman's arm and lowered the tone and timbre of her voice. "Just think of all that we have seen and done."

"A raven and a star." Rae whispered back as she snuggled into the small arms around her. "I love you Thea."

"I love you too Rae." She thought about the words for a moment. "No matter what and strangely enough I think I always have."

"Always." The technician nodded her head against Thea's shoulder. "Always and forever."

"Rest now my strong one. It is time for the Raven to land for a while." The actress kissed into the black locks again softly as she pulled the blanket up further. "Rest her wings, and let the wind leave her feathers. The world will turn without her watching,"

Mac happily moved to rest her head on the couch next to them.

"For tonight at least." She added and smiled down at the dog. "A star, a raven and a wolf, eh Toni? What a combination." She laughed happily as she closed her eyes.

Continued in Act Four

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