After the Curtain Falls

Act Eight

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. Do not read if that sort of thing disturbs you.

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.

Rae pulled Thea gently into the club office and stopped to lock the door. The loud music from the third floor, though muffled, still echoed and thumped into the small room.

"So where were we?" She moved close to hold Thea again.

"We were dancing the samba." Thea wrapped herself around Rae's body. "But I had a different dance in mind."

"And what dance would that be?" Rae questioned as she kissed the actress' neck.

"One that we..." She breathed heavily. "Have practised quite a bit recently."

"Humm." Rae murmured, quite focused on her task as she licked and sucked her way over the hot flesh of the other woman's throat.

"Oh Rae..." Thea tipped her head back as her hands travelled over Rae's body and grabbed the woman's ass through the leather. Rae growled against her in appreciation of the aggressive move.

"The leather is great." Thea growled back. "But you look better with out it."

"Same comment for the satin." Rae moved her hands down to the front of Thea's pants anxious to rid the small woman of them.

"Oh no, no, no!" Thea broke the embrace and waggled a finger at Rae, laughing gently. "You take yours off, I take mine."

"What?" Rae smiled as the words registered. "Oh okay. Good deal."

Thea reached her own hand to the top of her pants and with ease she unfastened them and slid them off. She was not surprised that the air in the office felt no cooler to her than the dance floor had
been. Rae watched her movements as she undid the closure on the leather and worked to take them off. She pulled off her boots and stepped out of the unwanted material.

"So anything else we should get rid of?" Rae asked amused knowing the body suit she had on left her somewhat dressed still.

"The body suit has to go." Thea breathed as she looked at Rae and slipped off her shoes.

"And what are you taking off to match?" Rae asked with a sly grin. Thea held out her arms and stood before Rae.

"Name it." She tried to will her heart to stop pounding. She wanted to ravish Rae, but knew that this game would make the end so much better.

"Well..." Rae raised an eyebrow and moved to walk around her appraising what Thea still had on. "I believe the shirt and the panties would be a fair trade."

"Both? Hmmm." Thea pretended to think. "Very well."

"I'm glad you agree." She whispered, moving close behind the actress but purposely not touching her.

"After three?" Thea asked as Rae continued her circle until she was once again standing in front of her lover.

"After three sounds good." Rae growled. "Do we both count?"

"You can." Thea's eyes never left Rae's.

"Well then." Rae held green eyes. "One..." She widened her own stance. "Two..." She took a deliberate long breath. "Three!"

Thea grinned and slid her panties down first, rotating her hips towards Rae. Rae watched the movement before moving with a slow deliberate hand to undo the snaps that held the body suit closed. Thea removed her top breaking eye contact only briefly.

With her body suit undone Rae dragged her hand back up her stomach pulling the tight material upwards to bunch up under her breasts, before with both hands she peeled the damp material off her and let it drop.

"So shall we take an inventory?" Rae said slyly.

"Lead on." Thea replied.

"Well I am left in my bra and panties." Rae smiled. "And you only in a bra."

"You're over dress!" Thea interjected.

"I am." Rae laughed. "So what do you have to bargain for what I have left?" She decided to play this little game till the end.

"My bra for your bra!" Thea offered.

"Fair trade." Rae nodded her head. "Your count."

"One." Thea slid her hand over her body. "Two." Resting it between her legs. "Three."

Rae watched her movement momentarily distracted from the trade at hand. She reached behind her and undid the clasp to the bra and slid it off letting it drop to the floor.

"And yours?" She questioned when Thea hadn't moved.

"So now I am naked and you still have those on." Thea finished the deal and looked at Rae's underwear.

"Well yes." Rae agreed. "Any ideas how to fix that?"

"Yes I have." Thea grinned. "You have to keep them on!" She stepped forward and traced a finger over the front of Rae's panties.

"That's what you want is it?" Rae questioned as the muscles in her stomach fluttered under the

"Not really, but you're the one who wanted two of my clothes for one. I think you should have to suffer!" Thea pushed her hand further down between Rae's legs, still on top of the cotton.

"I'm going to suffer am I?" She breathed heavy and closed her eyes briefly.

"Aren't you?" Thea stroked a single finger back and forth leaning on Rae's sensitive spots through the material.

"Well I don't think suffering quite describes..." Her voice trailed off as the wave of pleasure
flooded her brain.

"You like this then?" Thea asked as she added two fingers to the stroking.

"Um humm." Rae mumbled her approval.

"Nice isn't it." She dropped her tone to a more sensuous sultry one.

"Heaven." Rae whispered back.

"But with these on, it can't go any further." Thea whispered as she stretched up to nip and suck Rae's ear. Her other hand pulled at the elastic.

"I have no objection to giving them up without a trade." Rae tried to find the words. "Say a present of sorts."

"That would be a very nice present." Thea teased gently, her hand still stroking. The motion turning into more of a pressured rub now.

"Consider them yours." Rae moaned.

"I will." Thea breathed as she curled her fingers under them, and met with Rae's warm wet flesh. Rae moaned again wordlessly. Thea kissed her way around Rae's neck. Rae's complete being was centred on what Thea was doing to her.

Thea's fingers began working rhythmically below. She felt them slipping a little with Rae's aroused passion. Her other hand gave a little tug on the elastic top. Rae's hands moved to caress Thea's shoulders and collar before slowly moving lower. She found it hard to concentrate with all that the woman's hands were doing to body.

"God Thea..." Rae moaned as her hands came to rest on the soft flesh of the woman's breasts. The flesh there was hot and erect.

"Take them off." Thea begged surprised at the animal passion in her own voice. She slipped her fingers out of Rae's panties, and stepped away from her.

"Anything you ask." Rae conceded in a heavy voice. She moved her hands to her hips and pulled them off and stepped out of them. She held them in her hand and offered them to Thea. "Your present." She smiled and winked. Thea took them with her teeth, and grinned as she tossed them aside.

"On the desk." Thea ordered and Rae moved without speaking to sit down. Her feet hung just slightly out of reach of the floor. Thea watched her with hungry eyes, then she came over and knelt between Rae's legs, placing wet kisses on the inside of Rae's thighs.

Rae ran a gentle hand through Thea's hair as she shivered under the kisses. The actress kissed the left and then the right leg, loving the feel of Rae's hand in her hair. Then she placed a delicate kiss on Rae's centre. Rae moaned from the kisses, every nerve in her body was on total alert and the mere feel of Thea's hot breath against her was enough to drive her mad.

"I love you." She kissed her way across Rae's stomach and then back down again. This time gently probing with her tongue as she sought out her lover's passion.

"Oh Thea!" Rae's words came in a ragged cadence. "I love you."

Thea licked with greater force, her hands on Rae's thighs. Slowly she slid them up. Rae leaned back a bit, her hips coming forward into Thea's exploration. The beat of the thick baseline of the dance floors music came up through her hands and seemed to mimic Thea's movements.

Thea moved her hands to Rae's ass and pulled her forward onto her mouth. Rae moved even further willingly. The increased pressure being just what her body screamed for. Thea pulled one hand back to help her lips and tongue with their exploration, dipping into Rae's hot wet tunnel.

"Thea!" Rae rolled the word out in a growl, her teeth clenched against the building fire
inside her. Thea moved her face back a little, her hand keeping the rhythm.

"What do you want?" She asked huskily.

"Hard!" Rae hissed her desires. "Fast, take control of it all."

"More?" Thea asked bringing two fingers to the edge of Rae's sex. The smell and feel of her lover made her feel even drunker than the alcohol she'd consumed.

"Yes!" Rae agreed closing her eyes trying to concentrate on an answer. Thea slid them in. Rae was aware most of the noises she was making couldn't even be described, let alone cover as an agreement.

Thea worked the three fingers inside Rae and let the forth rub against her clit. Thea kissed the top of Rae's mound, while thrusting deep.

Rae shook her head slightly as she took three quick breaths in and exhaled long and hard. Thea kept the pressure and the thrust constant her own need building. Her kissing became heated and hungry.

"You are everything." Rae whispered in a sudden almost calm voice as the muscles in her stomach, hips and insides locked tight. Thea could feel Rae's juices coating her hand. Rae breathed in one last time in panic as the orgasm rocked through her out like nothing she'd felt before. Thea's own breathing staggered as she felt Rae's release.

"God you are beautiful." Thea whispered.

Little trails of white passed over Rae's vision as the spasms of it broke through her from head
to toe again and again. She vaguely registered the words in the distance. Though the only things real to her were Thea's touch and smell.

"You are everything." She breathed again softly as it lowered from its peak but still held her
tightly in the ecstasy.

"More?" Thea asked as she gently pulled her hand back a little moving her fingers out an inch. Rae reached her hand down to still Thea's.

"Give me a second." She said weakly trying to get the dizziness out of her head.

"Sorry love." Thea breathed. "Are you okay?"

"Oh no sorries." Rae caressed Thea's face. "You just. Wow!" She couldn't think to how to explain.

"I'll have to take my hand out. You ready?" Thea asked gingerly and Rae nodded. Thea carefully drew her fingers out of Rae trying to be gently and smooth. Rae's insides flared up again at the movement and she briefly closed her eyes against the almost overwhelming intensity of the pleasure it brought. Thea then gently got to her feet and leaned towards Rae. Rae ran the back of her hand softly down Thea's cheek and leaned in to kiss her.

"I love you." She whispered just before their lips met. Thea lost herself in the kiss. Rae channelled her returning energy into the kiss. Moving hungrily to claim Thea's mouth with her lips and tongue. Thea responded willing, her own fire intense.

"I think we need to switch positions." Rae pulled back long enough to let Thea know what she wanted now.

"Anything," Thea gasped moving back a little. Rae slipped off the desk and moving her hands to Thea's waist turned them around and guided her back towards the desk to sit. Thea sat down and didn't manage to control the shiver that went through her as she felt the wet varnished desktop beneath her naked ass. Rae went back to the heated wet kiss as her hand led Thea's legs to part.

"What do you want?" Rae asked in a heated voice as her hand moved closer to the source of Thea's heat. "What do you need?"

"I need you." Thea gasped the proximity of Rae's hand to her centre driving her closer to the edge than she thought possible.

"You have me." Rae kissed her neck as she slid her fingers inside slowly. Thea shuddered with Rae's entry. Rae moved two of her fingers to sit still inside of her as a third moved in a pressured circle over Thea's centre. Thea's muscles clamped down immediately on Rae's fingers, her hips jerking forwards. "Only you have me." She moved her free hand to Thea's ass and pushed the woman further onto her hand.

"Ahhhhhhh." Thea cried out as her body spasmed sharply. Rae increased the pressure of her movement on the outside as her fingers began a slow hard rhythm. Thea squirmed on Rae's hand her juices flowing, her body sweating and her heart pounding.

"You are so beautiful." Rae cooed into Thea's ear as she began to move her hand faster. She moved her lips to the pulse point at Thea's neck and sucked in rhythm with it. With a sudden intense shudder Thea felt her muscles lock and her heart almost stop, as the wave of release splashed over her. A growl escaped her lips. Rae felt Thea's insides tighten around her and she fought to keep the rhythm of her movement up against their strength. Thea cried out again as orgasm after orgasm rocked her body. She felt the strength and effort her lover made to keep her going.

Rae held her tight as each wave hit her. The movement of her hand kept going strong. Thea embraced each wave of passion: one, two, and three. Before her body began trembling. Enough was enough. With a groan she fell back on the desk.

Rae slowed the movement of her hand, knowing Thea needed time to catch her breath.

"You are everything." Rae spoke softly.

"No." Thea gasped. "That would be you."

Rae leaned down to kiss the reclined woman's stomach. She looked up at Thea and smiled.

"I love you Thea." Rae said softly.

"I love you too. Help me up would you. I want to hold you." Breathing hard Thea met Rae's eyes.

"Anything." Rae softly slipped her hand out and moved to help Thea sit up, cradling the exhausted woman in her arms. Thea leaned heavily against Rae, loving the sound of her heartbeat. Rae buried her face in Thea's hair breathing deeply and caressing her back.

"You do the most amazing things to me love." Thea admitted almost silently.

"As you do to me angel." Rae kissed her shoulder softly. "Your cold love." She held her tighter feeling Thea tremble. "There's an emergency blanket in the closet." Thea smiled and nodded to encourage Rae to get it. She let go of her tentatively and moved quickly to snatch the blanket from the closet and moved back to wrap it around the star's back.

"This should help." She smiled and moved back to hold her.

"Make sure it covers you too." Thea smiled warmly. "After all we can't have you getting cold."

"Here take the corners in your hands." Rae moved to put them in place. "You hug me and I'll be all covered up."

"We could always get dressed." Thea suggested as she followed the instructions and brought her arms around Rae.

"We'll have to in a bit." Rae snuggled back against her loving the warm and the feel of the embrace.

"Yeah in a while." Thea mused.

"In awhile." Rae repeated happily.

"Now what would my Blackbird be doing in the office when there is a great track playing on the dance floor?" A loud voice with a slight Canadian twange to it suddenly announced itself as the office door swung open.

"What the fuck?" Rae turned to the voice at the doorway enraged at the interruption. "Cleo!"

"Raven!" A broad smile spread across the tall thin blonde's face. With a slow deliberate move Cleo stepped in and closed the door behind her. Her eyes looked Thea up and down and then she fixed her dark brown eyes on Rae.

"Cleo, I don't remember inviting you in." Rae pulled back and moved so that Thea's could have the blanket. Her rage made her miss the fact it left her with nothing. Thea looked at Rae and the other woman horrified.

"I wasn't aware I needed an invitation to my own office." She drawled as her smile grew even wider.

Thea was dumb struck though she knew she had to say something soon. Cleo glanced around the room, her eyes falling on the discarded clothing on the floor. With grace she bent down and picked up Rae's black body suit and held it out to the technician.

"Cleo, go back into the hall and I'll be out in a minute." Rae shot back at her, snapping the body suit from her hand forcefully. "And we both know this is not only your office."

"I could just turn my back." Cleo smirked and leaned against the doorway.

"And I could pick you up and toss you into the hall!" Rae snarled.

"Raven!" Cleo snapped. "You're very brittle! Did I interrupt something?" She tried to look around the tall, enraged woman to Thea.

"In the hall Cleo!" She snarled again. "NOW!"

Thea clung to her blanket tighter, feeling foolish.

"But I haven't had an introduction." Cleo said trying to fix brown with green.

"I don't think you deserve one after acting so childish." Rae moved to block her view.

"Childish?" She snapped her head back to stare at Rae. "I'm not the one rutting like an animal in an office." She snarled, turning round opening the door and closing it behind her with a slam.

Thea stared at the closed door, her mouth open and her eyes wide. Rae just glared at the closed door, her breathing short and enraged. Feeling her nails starting to cut into the flesh of her palms, she let her hands relax. Thea looked around her locating her clothes and reached out a trembling hand towards her bra.

"Thea..." Rae turned when she saw the movement in the corner of her eye. "I'm so sorry." Her voice was soft and scared. Hanging her head she collected the actress' clothes and moved to place them on the desk beside her.

Thea did not reply she just took her bra and brought it under the blanket. She shook her head in Rae's direction. With careful movements she managed to get both her arms into the bra and move it to a comfortable position.

"Should you go and talk to her?" Thea whispered as she took her top from the pile.

"I don't care if I ever talk to her again." Rae's voice was tight as she moved the body suit down over her head and into place. "She crossed the line!"

Thea did not feel she could comment on that, Cleo's words certainly had been pointed but for all she knew that could just be Cleo's way.

"Goddamn you Cleo." Rae cursed to herself as she finished buttoning her pants and moved to sit and put on her boots.

"Rae." Thea said softly as she watched the other woman dress.

"Yes?" She looked up.

"Sorry, I got you into this." The actress whispered.

"No Thea!" Rae said with a confident force. "This is not your doing, this is all Cleo."

"But..." Thea began until she noticed the anger in Rae's eyes and then she fell silent. "You had better see what she wants." She whispered.

Rae moved closer to the actress though made sure to not breach too close.

"No Thea." Rae's voice was soft. "Cleo is not my priority, you are."

"I'm okay." Thea's voice stayed quiet. "I should get dressed, do you two need the office?"

"No Thea." Rae shook her head, cursing Cleo silently again. "The last place Cleo needed to be in the world was in this office, in this club. She's just jealous." She slunk back to sit again.

"With reason?" Thea asked, she couldn't help the aggression in her tone.

"No, Thea, no!" Rae pleaded with her realizing what the question was asking.

"Go and see what she wants Rae." Thea pulled on her satin pants. "I will be here when you get back."

"Thea, I don't want to leave you." Rae spoke in a whisper.

"Go and see what she wants." Thea repeated, her voice controlled and calm.

"If that's what you want." Rae laced up her last boot and stood up.

"I think this is about what is right, not what I want." Thea replied, her mind whirling though her voice was calm.

"Right?" Rae looked at her stunned. "Why is what you want not right?"

A flare of rage sparked in Thea's eyes and she stood up fastening her pants with a flourish. When she turned to Rae her eyes were blazing.

"Because I want to go out there and slap her across the face!" Thea replied. "And that would NOT be the right thing to do. But it is what I want to do."

"Thea, you have every right to slap her." Rae answered. "It was Cleo who didn't have the right to do and say what she did."

"No Rae, I don't. I don't know her. The only one who can do anything right now is you." Thea reasoned trying to calm her explosive temper. "So please go and find out what she wants."

"Fine." Rae conceded not knowing what else to say. "Do you want to stay here or meet on one of the other floors?"

"I may go and get some fresh air. I'll see how I feel." Thea replied honestly.

"Okay." Rae said almost silently and moved toward the door.

"I love you." Thea called as Rae reached the door and a sudden sadness engulfed her. Rae turned slowly around.

"I love you Thea." She moved her hand to her heart.

"Don't be long." Thea smiled somewhat weakly.

"As quick as possible." Rae left the room.


Rae stalked down the hall as her rage returned, opening the door to the third floor with some force.

"Where the hell is Cleo?" She barked at the bouncer she found outside of it.

"She went up to the roof." He replied nodding towards the stairs.

Rae didn't respond, she just pushed her way through the drunken crowd to the stairs. Taking them two by two, she went up to emerge into the cool air of the patio. She looked around the half-filled roof for the tall blond.

Cleo drew her short knife under her manicured nail as she leaned against one of the tall chimneys on the roof. She lodged one of her knees up with her foot-resting flat against the brick work.

Rae noticed her right off and moved in long steps to where she was.

"What the hell was that stunt about?" Rae questioned right off in a harsh voice.

"Nice to see you too blackbird." Cleo pushed herself off the wall, flicking her knife round to close it. She slipped it back into her boot.

"Cleo, that's not the point." Rae backed down a little, wondering what stance Cleo was taking. Her usual one was not to meet aggression with such softness.

"Isn't it?" The tall blonde asked looking from Rae to the skyline. "I am sorry for interrupting you. If I had known honestly I wouldn't have come in." Her voice was a gentle purr as she apologized. She took a step away from the wall and from Rae.

"Cleo..." Rae shifted her weight back to stand less defensively. "How could you have not know I was with someone in there? I'm sure if Peter called to give report on me that he also mentioned I was with someone."

"I guess I was just excited that I might be able to see you." Cleo said flashing her eyelashes. "Peter may have mentioned something, but I didn't catch it."

"Since when are you that excited to see me?" Rae questioned.

"I haven't seen you for a long time darling." Cleo reached out a hand to Rae, waiting to see what she would do.

"I know Cleo." Rae took a step closer but did nothing with the hand extended to her. Cleo waited for a moment before lowering her hand. "But we were having lunch tomorrow, surely one day didn't warrant that little fiasco."

"Fiasco? Blackbird, I am sorry. I will even go downstairs and apologize to your distraction if you like." She took another step towards Rae. "If it would make you happy."

"She is not a distraction!" Rae tried to keep the bite out of her voice. "Her name is Thea and I am in love with her." She felt the feeling solidify in her heart. For her to say this to Cleo was above saying it to anyone else.

"Love?" Cleo barked at her after a sharp brief laugh.

"Yes Cleo, love!" Rae barked back seeing the change and knowing it. "Not lust, not a distraction but love."

"What do you know about love?" She hissed as her eyes hardened and fixed on the technician.

"I'm learning." Rae tried to defend herself, the wind suddenly pulled out of her sails by the remark.

"Learning?" Cleo snarled suddenly bitter. "And who is teaching you, her? The silent redhead?" She laughed again.

"Yes!" Rae snapped back quickly.

"When you get tired of your lesson blackbird, let me know." Cleo turned and began to walk back to the stairs.

"Cleo?" Rae turned and watched her leave. The tall long legged blonde stopped. "What did you hope to find coming here?"

Cleo remained still for a moment before talking a couple of long strides back to Rae's side. She looked deeply into the blue crystals of Rae's eyes.

"I hoped to find..." She responded, her voice back to its almost feline purr. "A fucking good time!" She spat the last words as her hand flicked out to grasp Rae's chin. Pulling the tall woman to her, she meshed her lips to Rae's before pulling back and stalking away. Rae stood cold and stunned against the kiss.

"See you tomorrow Blackbird!" She called as she reached the steps. "Don't be late." With a short laugh she jogged down the stairs.

"Bring the papers!" Rae called to her when her mind started to work again.


Cleo jogged down the remainder of the steps and strutted into the third floor dance room. Her lip curled into a stellar smile as her eyes rested on the slight figure of the strawberry blonde at the edges of the dance floor crowd. Changing her face to one of vague hurt she moved toward her.

Thea ran her hand over her hair as she emerged through the semi-secluded door. She had considered going down the private staircase, but this way she could keep an eye open for Rae.

Cleo moved quickly to catch her at the doorway before she could enter the crowd.

"Hi there!" She started in a sweet voice.

Thea was somewhat surprised when a tall blonde stepped into her path. With a blink she looked up, only then registering who it was. She coughed lightly.

"I'm glad I found you." Cleo smiled not breaking her happy enthusiasm. "Since Rae didn't introduce us, my name is Cleo." A hand extended out towards her. "Though you might have caught that during the fiasco." She purposely used Rae's word as she swallowed back the acid she felt towards the small woman to whom she offered her hand.

"Estell." Thea said finally extending her own hand. Her momentary stunned state fading enough for her to talk. "It wasn't the best way to meet." She added with a false smile.

'Okay Thea.' She told herself gently. 'Time to act.'

"No, and I apologize for that." Cleo frowned slightly. "I'm afraid no one thought to mention to me that Raven was... " She smiled softly. "Busy."

"As we had no idea you were here this evening, I am sure if we had Rae would have introduced us earlier, under more." Thea paused as she thought. "Normal circumstances."

"That would have been so much nicer." Cleo nodded softly. "Nothing good ever comes out of our Raven's rage."

Thea realized that her dislike for this woman was growing more and more every second. Just something about Cleo made her skin crawl.

"I wouldn't know." Thea replied carefully choosing her words.

"Wouldn't know?" Cleo tilted her head and purred in question. "You must be the music to soothe her savage beast."

"Must be." Thea replied innocently and sweetly. "Or maybe I am just not a catalyst." She added softly, maintaining her smile.

"Well I've always had an explosive effect on people." Cleo licked her lips. "But from what Rae tells me you're more the school marm of love."

"Really?" Thea stared up into dark brown eyes. "It was a pleasure meeting you Cleo." She forced her words to be even and calm as she broke the conversation.

"Oh yes." She purred again. "Definitely a pleasure. I'm sorry you can't come with Rae tomorrow for lunch."

"So am I." Thea replied, for the first time in the conversation being honest. "Though I am sure you have a lot to talk about. From what Rae tells me you have a lot to catch up on."

"Oh yes, a lot to catch up on." Cleo hissed before her voice went sweet again. "I'm dying to find out all about the woman who has captured my Raven's lost heart. What is your schedule tomorrow maybe we could have a late dinner instead?"

"I have a brief window between 5:30 and 7:00 and that's all I am afraid." Thea answered with a gentle shrug.

"Plenty of time." Cleo gushed happily. "I'll have a limo pick you up at the theatre and take you back before the evening show. You can tell Rae of the change of plans, yes?" The last of her words came in a soft purr.

"Are you sure you want me crashing the party as it were?" Thea breathed deeply.

"To be honest Estell." Cleo lowered her voice and looked uneasy. "I think if you were there it might make things a bit better. Raven and I had quite the falling out a short time ago and I'm afraid my little intrusion has only worked against my attempt to make up with her."

"It couldn't have helped." Thea urged honestly. "How about I ask Rae what she thinks and if she agrees then she can tell you when she meets you at two?" She tried not to frown, unable to work out the sincerity of this woman.

"That would be fine." Cleo smiled at her happily. "Her and I can get all the boring legal out of the way and then free up dinner entirely."

Thea began to feel herself relax which she couldn't understand as moments before she had been ready to slap this woman.

"I get so scared when she yells like that." Cleo turned her face away and rolled her eyes out of view. "I don't know what else to do but come right back at her."

"Scared? Of Rae?" She couldn't stop her question or keep the disbelief from her voice.

"Yes..." Cleo said quietly. "Though I know she'd never really lay a hand on me, she would never do that." Her voice pleaded for Thea to believe her.

Thea couldn't work this out at all. The drinks she had had suddenly caught up with her, as had the level of energy she had recently expelled.

"Never really?" Thea stressed the last word not sure what the tall blonde meant.

"Tonight was just a big misunderstanding." Cleo broke into her thoughts when she saw Thea's mind whirling. She purposely ignored the question to let it sit and fester in the actress' mind.

"Cleo, I was just on my way to get some fresh air." Thea looked to the stairs. "I don't want to delay you from whatever it is you were doing."

"Raven is on the roof." Cleo nodded towards the stairs. "I bet she misses you by now."

"I..." Thea looked to the stairs. "Thank you." She extended her hand to Cleo. "See you tomorrow."

"No Estell." Cleo took her hand and shook it. "Thank you. Yes, tomorrow."

Thea drew her hand back and walked to the stairs glancing over her shoulder at the tall woman. Reaching the stairs she rushed up them to head towards the roof.

Cleo waved at her before turning toward the door to the inner hall.

"How perfectly nauseating!" Cleo commented to herself as waved at the bouncer to open the door. "Get Peter up here, I want that office gutted!" She barked the order at him as she went inside. The bouncer nodded and called for Peter over his headset.


Rae stared off through the wrought iron bars to the lights of the city. Her mind tried to still itself but all of Cleo's hateful words sparked questions inside her. Unconsciously she wiped her hand across her lips again trying to get rid of the lingering feel of Cleo's unwanted kiss.

"Rae?" Thea stood a little way behind her lover.

"Thea?" She spun around at the soft voice. "Hi." She took her hand from her pocket and gave a little wave.

"Are you all right love?" She asked taking a step forward, trying to assess her lover's mood from her body language and from what she could read it wasn't good.

"Oh yeah, fine." Rae gave a short smile and stuck her hand back in her pocket. "You okay?"

"I was missing you." She replied honestly closing more of the distance between them.

"Me too." Rae gave her another short smile

"Rae, love." She said as she advanced. "Look at me." Rae looked up from the ground barely able to hold her eyes. "What's wrong?" She gasped shocked at the look in her lover's eyes. Her hand reached out and touched Rae's arm.

"When I tell you I love you... " Rae looked down at the ground and up again. "Why do you believe me?"

"What?" Thea questioned briefly before realizing Rae needed an answer. "Because I see it in your eyes." She added moving closer still. "I hear it in the timbre of your voice."

"But what do you see?" Rae questioned further. "What do you hear?"

"Rae, what is this about?" Thea asked trying to catch the woman's eyes.

"Thea, I don't know a damn thing about love." Rae laughed tightly. "Or about loving someone." She looked away. Thea watched her movements and listened to her words, carefully examining them in her head.

"Of course you do Rae." She replied even and steady.

"No, I don't Thea." The technician laughed again sadly.

"Why would you think you don't?" She asked frowning slightly.

"Thea, look at me." Rae frowned back. "I'm not the poster girl for love and stuff."

"Rae, I am looking at you." Thea retorted in a solid voice. "And I see the right person to love me. That's all I need."

"You sure?" The question was asked in a small voice.

"Of course I am sure." Thea said smiling gently. "Rae, I knew from the moment I touched you, when our fingers touched in the restaurant. From the first time I heard you laugh, I knew that I loved you. No, I don't know all the answers and I don't know all the problems we will face." Her voice softened. "But I do know that you are capable of great love my darling. Perhaps greater than me."

"Oh no Thea." Rae shook her head. "Your heart is bigger than anyone's on earth." Thea stepped forward and slipped her arms around Rae's body and laid her head on her chest.

"No mine is just more obvious." She gave a little laugh.

"I love you Thea." Rae spoke softly and placed a kiss on her forehead holding the actress tight.

"How do you know you do?" Thea asked gently, making Rae think about her statement.

Think was just what Rae did as they stood there embraced. But no matter how she questioned only one answer came.

"Because for the first time in my whole life my heart, my mind, and my body all agree and what they agree on is that I love you." The answer came in a whisper finally.

"I think that's enough evidence, don't you?" Thea looked up grinning. "Time to go home I think."

"Yep!" Rae nodded answering both questions at once.

"I am looking forward to being held all night long." Thea reached down for Rae's strong hand.

"Holding you is how I want to send every night until the end of time." The tall woman moved her hand into her lover's smaller one. "Though I'm afraid neither of us are legal to drive."

"A cab?" She questioned gently, closing her fingers over Rae's.

"Yep." Rae smiled. "Do you want to stay here in the city or go back to our house? I have the condo if you don't want to go to the hotel." She added sheepishly.

"I want to go home." Thea replied honestly. "Any where with you will fill my requirements."

"Home it is." Rae smiled.

"That's my way of saying, you choose!" The actress leaned up to kiss her lover's cheek.

"How about the condo? That'll let us sleep in later without having to worry about coming into the city." Rae offered smiling brighter after the kiss.

"Perfect." Thea replied, truly not minding where they went as long as they went there together.

"You ready?" Rae asked squeezing her hand. Thea nodded and held on tightly.


Carefully avoiding a shallow puddle in between two chimneys the tall thin figure stepped out into the moonlight and watched as Thea and Rae hand in hand moved to the stairs. She was secretly glad that Rae had called for the bouncers to clear the patio prior.

"Pathetic." She hissed tossing her hair back, her brown eyes glowing. "You will learn my blackbird." She hissed as she walked across the roof to the railing wanting to watch below to see when the two would appear.

"You will see how weak she makes you." She looked down at the streets. "I will watch as she breaks your spirit and clips your wings." Her lips drew back into a snarl.

"And when you crawl back to me!" She raised her voice aloud. "Will I show you how to fly again?" She stepped up onto the ledge and leaned over the railing to let the wind toss her long blonde locks.

"Will I Blackbird!" She screamed as a tear slid down her cheek. "Or will I let you die." She hissed in a lower tone as she watched the happy couple appear onto the street below.

For a moment, Rae glanced behind her and then looked up to the rooftops before placing an arm around Thea to guide her into the waiting yellow cab.

"I think I will watch you both die." Cleo growled before turning and going back inside.


Rae turned the key in the large lock and listened to the thick snap of the bolt letting go.

"It could be messy." She warned Thea with a smile, opening the large oak door to show a darkened loft.

"No worries!" Thea smiled.

Rae reached to a large pillar to the right of the door and flicked on the soft lights that lined the two windowless walls to their right and immediate left. The open kitchen was directly in front of them and backed onto a wall of floor to ceiling windows that looked out over Lake Ontario. The large living room area was defined by an ornate Oriental rug and enormous leather couch that centred on a fireplace and entertainment unit. Elevated from the rest of the room against the far corner and wrapped with windows was a king size bed. One doorway broke off to their right to the bathroom.

"So what do you think?" Rae stepped in and led Thea in by the hand. Thea took in her surroundings, once more almost overwhelmed by her lover's taste.

"It's amazing." Thea replied tightening her grip.

"Only a little place." Rae shrugged.

"I don't mean this in any other way than an observation..." Thea began as she looked around taking in the apartment. "But that looks like a great bed!"

"Wait till you sleep on it." Rae grinned at her. "I had it built in like that, it's one of a kind."

"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Thea turned to her lover and kissed her gently on the lips. Rae just smiled and kissed her back again gently.

"Do you want something to drink or eat?" Rae questioned when the kiss ended. "Or do you just want to curl up?"

"I think I have to be a bit of a spoil sport and go straight to bed with all the singing and other activities today, I need as much rest as I can get before tomorrow's performance. Do you mind?" Thea yawned as she spoke.

"Not at all angel." Rae shook her head. "I'm in the mood for bed myself. My luck after the evening performance tomorrow I'll have a good fifty lights to change." She laughed.

"Oh don't even say it." Thea reached up and stripped off her top and folded it carefully. She made the short walk over to the bed, laying the top on the floor next to it and sitting to slip off her shoes.

"Say what?" Rae questioned as she took off her boots and then moved to follow her towards the bed.

"That you'll have lots of work after the performance." She put her shoes together and slipped off her satin pants, folding them she put them on top of her shoes.

"Oh that. Yeah." Rae frowned when she thought about the conflict in their schedules. "It's early there shouldn't be too much to do." She tried to stay positive. "Angel, there are drawers built into the stand over here." She moved around the small stairs that went up to the bed and opened one. Hastily she took out the contents and stuffed them into another drawer.

"I heard Damien talk about the wiring in the theatre." Thea turned to watch Rae from her spot on the edge of the bed. "Is there a problem? Because it's an old place?" She watched the technician's movements with a smile. Without hesitation she picked up her clothes and moved down towards the drawers.

"What was he saying?" Rae left the empty drawer open and moved to rid herself of her heavy belt and pants. "Yeah there is a bit of problem with the age of some of it. I keep finding empty leads in the walls."

"Something about power surges." She placed the folded pants in first and then her shirt. Removing her bra she slipped it into the drawer as well then pushed the drawer closed softly. Yawning she walked back towards the bed.

"Yep, those too." Rae laughed as she watched her lover move. "I had to rewire the whole backstage in the summer."

"What a nightmare." She mused as she pulled back the bed sheets.

"A bit!" Rae smiled as she pulled off her bodysuit and tossed it aside. Tossing away her bra and underwear to join it she fumbled through the drawers to find a t-shirt.

"Which side?" Thea asked looking to the bed.

"No preference." She smiled again, pulling out a white shirt and slipping it over her head as she walked back to the bed.

"Are you feeling cold?" Thea watched Rae pull on the v-neck. "Or have you just gone off me?"

"Feeling cold?" She questioned back. "Gone off you?"

"The shirt?" Thea pointed. "Why do you need it?"

"Oh the shirt." Rae looked down and smirked. "We're going to sleep."

"Yes and I had planned on holding that lovely body of yours all night long." Thea added with a smile.

"T-shirt gets in the way eh?" Rae walked up to the bed smiling lovingly.

"If you want to keep it love that's fine by me." Thea conceded not wanting to seem pushy. "Though without it I would feel a bit overdressed." She laughed as she got into bed.

"Nope." Rae slipped the shirt back off and left it on the floor by the foot of the bed. "Not after the holding all night suggestion. Overdressed?" She questioned as she got in under the covers beside her.

"Well I do now." Thea moved right up to Rae instantly.

"But how could you feel overdressed if I was the one in the t-shirt?" Rae pressed up against her snuggling as she questioned only to feel the brush of silk into her hips.

"Well I'm still wearing an item of clothing. That I can't say I was expecting to be wearing!" She laughed gently and nestled into Rae's shoulder.

"Well you could always take it off." Rae moved her arms around the small woman.

"No it's okay, I think it's best it stays on." Thea closed her eyes. "Don't forget the alarm."

"Why is that?" Rae yawned. "And what time do you want it set for?" She reached over to take the small clock off the shelf.

"Just because." Thea kissed the flesh beneath her lips. "How does ten sound?"

"Just cause why?" Rae teased with the question. "Ten sounds good." She set the alarm and placed the clock back in its spot.

"Go to sleep." Thea said laughing.

"Yes my love." Rae kissed her forehead softly and snuggled in to a comfy spot.

"Love you angel." Thea whispered as she settled down.

"I love you too." Rae whispered sleepily but sincerely.

As the soft lights of the harbour came in through the window they drifted to sleep in each other's arms.


Rae excited the jeep and tossed her keys to the fresh face man running the valet. She smiled when he tossed the claim marker back to her so that she wouldn't even have to break stride. The door was promptly opened for her and she walked through knowing that her jeans and leather jacket were not the usual attire for this place. Though she also knew that she had enough pull that no one would say a word. She strolled through the large front annex and entered the short hall to the restaurant, as she approached the Matre-de she pulled off her sunglasses.

"Is Miss. Eaton here yet?" She asked him trying to pull his attention from the list in front of him.

"Yes. Her usual table." He nodded towards the bustling room.

"Good." Rae moved by him and towards the large booth in the corner that had been marked as Cleo's.

Cleo took a sip from her glass of wine and then put it back down on the large glass table. She reached her hand to the side, and rested it on the thigh of the petite blonde that was sat beside her. Cleo leaned over and whispered something to the other woman, who laughed lightly and took a drink herself.

Rae approached the booth, her mind wondering just what game Cleo was playing here. On the table in front of Cleo was a pile of paper and a mobile phone.

"Good afternoon." Rae sat down in the chair. Guessing the move would shock the blonde, who looked drunk on Cleo's power and charm. Cleo looked up with a sly smile. Where as the other woman looked stunned, glancing at Rae and then at Cleo.

"No worries doll." Rae grinned at her. "I'm not crashing I'm expected."

"Raven." Cleo said her voice a thick purr. "Be nice."

Rae just smiled and nodded politely at the blonde.

"This is Brittany." Cleo said.

"Brittany." Rae repeated trying not to laugh at the pretentious name. "Nice to meet you."

"I'll leave you two to it." The young woman nodded at Rae and then she leaned over and kissed Cleo's cheek.

"Thank you Brittany." Rae said again purposely repeating her name in a heavy tone.

"I'll have some one come and get you when the business is done." Cleo kissed the woman deeply and fiercely. Rae looked away from the display and motioned for the waiter to bring her a drink.

Cleo finally let the other woman slip past her, her hands resting on Brittany's hips as she moved away.

"I was wondering if we were suddenly going to start doing business with an audience." Rae waited till the blonde had left before she spoke.

"I don't mind an audience." Cleo smiled as she watched the blonde disappear.

"You do for business." Rae said in a low tone. "Or do you suddenly want to discuss the contents of the vault with everyone?"

"You're spiky today Blackbird." Cleo took a large drink from her wine.

"No, not spiky." Rae returned to her normal tone. "Just curious what papers you've got to return from Monaco so hastily?"

"Perhaps or maybe the actress was too tired to perform this morning?" She added with a hiss, taking another sip.

"That would be none of your business Cleo." Rae locked eyes with her. "Can I see the papers please while we trade barbs?"

"Sorry." Cleo falsely apologised and took the top paper and handed it to Rae.

"Why are you sorry Cleo?" She took the paper actually shocked that to hear the apology and began to read it.

"I was just showing an interest in you 'love' life." Cleo took a pen from beside the pile of papers and Rae took it absently as she began to read.

"Why would that make you sorry?" Rae read over the standard sale agreement for a rare 17th century watercolour before signing off on the deal. "Next?" She laid the paper face down in the front of her.

"I get this impression you want me to steer clear of the subject." Cleo handed Rae more papers.

"No, the subject is fine Cleo, just steer clear of the nasty backhanded remarks." Rae took the thick binding of documents, skimming the top portion she looked back up at Cleo.

"Problem?" Cleo asked catching her eyes.

"This is all stock mixing." Rae laughed. "You know this means nothing to me, I trust you think it's a good manoeuvre?" She asked the question sincerely.

"Of course." Cleo replied.

"Good enough for me then." Rae turned to the last page and stopped just short of signing.

"And Raven." Cleo leaned forward, her hand moving closer to Rae's.

"Yes Cleo?" Rae's voice softened.

"I don't want to fight with you. I am sorry for my comments and actions since I have been back."

"I don't want to fight either Cleo." Rae smiled at her, the ice inside melting just a little. "I accept your apology, why don't we just start with a clean slate now?" She signed the paper and turned it over to rest on the other.

"That suits me fine Blackbird."

"Next please?" She smiled as she held out her hand for the next papers. Cleo just slid the rest of the papers over to the dark haired woman and sat back. She sat watching Rae as she looked at them.

"How have you been?" The blonde asked.

"I'm just going to sign all the stock ones." She commented absently as she went through the pile, stopping to read only those about sales. "I've been busy but things are good." She answered reading over a lengthy document. "How have you been?"

"Up and down." Cleo responded. "You know me."

"You were in your favourite part of the world." Rae smiled at her before going back to the document. "Had to be more up than down."

"Perhaps." Cleo responded her tone showing she wasn't sure about the truth in this answer.

"Convince me Cleo." Rae looked up from the dwindling stack of papers and tried to hold her eye. Cleo looked away sharply.

"I have had a fabulous time." She said looking out of the window to her left.

"You always do." Rae looked back to the paper. "Which of the Fisher paintings is this deal for?" She asked absently.

"The small one you don't like." Cleo said, a slight smile gracing her lips.

"Oh okay." She laughed and signed off on the deal. "I didn't want to lose the one in the living room yet."

"I have told you that one is yours." Cleo sighed gently and looked back out of the window.

"Hold up here." She questioned as she read the last document. "You want to sell the Monet? To who?"

"Is there a problem?"

"You know that ones still being looked for by Interpol."

"Blackbird, are you suggesting I don't know what I am doing?" Cleo looked at Rae her brown eyes savage.

"Of course not Cleo." Rae backed down. "It's just, it's the Monet. It just sorta jumped out at me, some warning would have helped."

"Raven." Cleo's voice was hard and low. "If you want to be involved in this side of the dealings give up your little charade and join me. If not, just sign your name on the dotted line and accept my judgement."

"Fine..." Rae moved the pages back to sign her name. "You're right this is your arena not mine. All signed, anything else on the corporate agenda?" She took a big drink of her water. "None of those proxy things this time."

"Not this time no." Cleo's breathing evened back out and she turned her attention back to the window.

"So how is our little company doing?" Rae asked trying to regain her attention. "That little thing that you do all the work on and I just reap the benefits"

Cleo turned her attention back to Rae pleased that the other woman actually seemed Interested.

"It's going well. I may have to be out of the country for a bit again soon, as we are setting up a new office." Cleo looked at Rae thoughtfully.

"Where?" Rae smiled at her trying to act as interested as possible the truth was the company bored the hell out of her.

"London, England." Cleo replied. "I don't suppose I could interest you in taking on the top position?"

"Cleo you know I'm not qualified." Rae shook her head lightly. "And I already have a job."

"Qualifications don't matter Raven, you know that. It's all about who you are, not what you have written on a scrap of paper that I could buy for you." Cleo watched Rae for a moment. She knew that the other woman would not for one moment think about taking her up on the offer.

"I am pleased for you Cleo. You've been wanting to make a major move on the UK for awhile now. Congratulations!" She smiled. "You know I could never swim with the corporate sharks like you do." She laughed. "I'm too stubborn."

"You can't blame me for trying Raven." Cleo lowered her head and looked up and Rae through her eyelashes.

"No can't blame you Cleopatra." Rae smiled as she let the word slip out slowly. "Never blame you for trying."

"I meant what I said on the phone blackbird." Cleo's voice was soft and low revelling on the fact that Rae had used her full title.

"I missed you too." Rae let herself admit this despite feeling like the words somehow betrayed Thea. Though she knew nothing that pointed to that.

"Why do we always fight after I have been away Raven?" Cleo asked her voice purring, smooth and soft.

"I don't know Cleo." Rae shook her head lightly. "We always have though, even back in school."

"Yes, but back then we used to know how to make up." She reached out a long thin finely manicured hand and touched Rae's hand lightly.

"Yes, we did." Rae let the passionate memories flash by her for a second before pulling her hand gently back. "But we were different people then Cleo."

"Are we really so different now?" She kept her hand where it was and her voice was even softer, as she watched the emotions fly behind Rae's eyes. "Have we changed so much?"

"A lot has changed." Rae tried to find footing as her mind questioned again what Cleo had asked.

"Things have changed, but have we blackbird?" Cleo pressed on.

"No Cleo." Rae found her mind again. "I'm still a girl from small town Ontario whose father comes home every night with diesel on his hands and you still come from a family with three hundred years of history and enough power to have the Prime Minister's home phone number."

"Raven, that's not what I am talking about and you know it." Cleo wasn't giving this up without a fight. She's seen a weak link in the chain of armour Rae was wearing and needed to work at it. "I am talking about who you are, inside. Can you look me in the eye and tell me you are no longer that girl who would fight, not just to take part, but to win? Who felt the thrill of the chase, loved the wind in her hair?"

"No, I'm still her Cleo, you know that." She looked her in the eye. "But now I know it all has consequences." Her answer was sad. Cleo looked at Rae, her eyes burrowing deep through the blue right into the heart and soul.

"Blackbird." Cleo's voice was ultimately tender.

"Yes Cleopatra?" Rae blinked away the memories and looked at her.

"We all lost many things. Your loss was perhaps the deepest, but when I am away from here. When I am in some distant land, away from home. I think maybe I lost the most." Cleo looked Rae deep in the eye. "Because I lost you." Her voice was almost a whisper.

"Cleo." Rae whispered back. "You haven't lost me, I'm right here. We just can't be what we once were."

"I lost you the night your brother was gunned down Raven." She responded suddenly, her voice was hard once more though she kept the volume low. "You never forgave me for that and I can never make it up to you." She added her tone wavering a little.

"I never forgave you because it wasn't your fault Cleo." Rae placed a hand on the table and gripped the edge. "It was mine and no, I can never forgive myself or make it up."

"When will you stop torturing yourself over that?" Cleo watched with perverse pleasure as she rubbed the raw nerve. Rae let the question hang unanswered knowing full well they both already knew the answer. "The only one responsible for Tom's death was the guard who shot him." She waited to witness the reaction her statement would get.

"Cleo, this is old territory." She tried to break the conversation. "You know the answers to all of this."

"And so do you, in your heart of hearts." Cleo retaliated. "You sit there blaming me, blaming yourself, blaming the world for something that just happened. The only person responsible for Tom's death was him." She snapped. "He got out of the damned car. He tried to follow us. He got himself shot. Not you, not me."

"That's enough Cleopatra." Rae pleaded with her in a monotone voice masking the anguish inside her.

"Enough? Enough?" Cleo repeated in tight edge in her voice. "It's not enough. I lost the most important thing in my world because a boy couldn't do as he was told." Her eyes blazed. "It will never be enough."

"I don't want to talk about this anymore." Rae stated flatly and drank a large amount of water.

"I spent week after week, month after month trying to teach you to fly again." Cleo spoke with her voice full of exhaustion. "I knew then the Christmas after we buried him that you would never fly with me again."

"I put my brother in the ground." Rae held her with steely eyes. "I put my nineteen year old baby brother in the cold icy ground because for the first time in his whole life I let him down. You're lucky you didn't have to put me down next to him let alone see if I could fly!" She snapped the last words knowing the memory they would drag back, the one that Cleo always ignored.

"He put himself into he ground." Cleo spat back. "And he nearly took you with him. I can never forgive him for that." For the first time Cleo latched on to this usually forgotten memory. "I hated him every second I looked into your empty eyes."

"All three times you came to visit me?" Rae shot back in a hard voice.

"Now that is enough." Cleo said suddenly quiet.

"No, I don't think it is." Rae leaned forward in her chair. "It wasn't enough before, why is it always enough when it comes to this? Cleo? I've always wondered why."

"Why what?" She hissed leaning her shoulders forward as she hunched her body a little, covering her face with her blond hair.

"Why can't you talk about those months? Did I embarrass you Cleo? Did all the little social butterflies and thick walleted papa's boys you say you hate finally look at you with a condemnation you couldn't scare away?" Cleo remained silent though a slight tremor began lower beneath her left shoulder blade. "Did you finally find that there was one thing in the world you couldn't buy?" Her voice was a sharp whisper. "Did it shock you to know you couldn't buy my sanity?"

"Enough!" Cleo spat flinging her arm across the table sending wineglasses and water flying. "Never push me. Never take me there." She stood up and stared down at Rae her eyes wild.

"Cleo, you had to sign me in." Rae stated honestly watching her rise.

"Was I supposed to watch you die?" Cleo gripped the sides of the table and leaned down.

"No." Rae shook her head. "But for just once it would be nice to hear you say it was okay to be sad."

Her hands still firmly gripping the table Cleo controlled her breathing and then as it slowed she took one hand off and brushed it over her hair, she cleared her throat and looked at Rae.

"I have to go and get someone to fix this and arrange for Estell to be picked up." She moved slightly away from the table.

"What?" Rae jumped on the question. "Pick Estell up why?" She moved to stand.

"She's joining us, after the performance. I said I'd have a limo waiting." Cleo turned and tilted her head slightly.

"When was this planned?" Rae asked off balance her mind trying to figure out where all of this was coming from.

"Last night." Cleo smiled broadly. "I won't be a minute. When the waiter has cleared order her favourite drink."

"When?" Rae asked again.

"Oh when I bumped into her. Is it important?" The tall blonde's smile turned into a grin.

" No, she just didn't mention it." Rae slumped back into her chair trying to think.

A broad wicked smile spread across Cleo face as she turned back towards the bar area.

"You haven't changed that much then Raven. A night in bed with you made me forget the world too." She said as she sauntered away to rejoin her date at the bar. She slipped an arm around Brittany's waist as she told the bartender to bring her the phone.

Rae's mind didn't register the comment as it reeled trying to figure out why Thea hadn't mentioned meeting up with Cleo again at the bar or that she was coming to join them. Rationally she knew that Thea wouldn't have kept it from her deliberately, but that didn't explain why the actress had failed to mention in at all. Rae paid no attention to the busboys cleaning up the mess around her as she thought about this vastly deteriorating situation.

Continued in Act Nine...

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