The Outback Tracker

by

Rab Donald

RabsterBGSB@aol.com


"You have got to be kidding me, right?"

"Sorry Sydney, not this time. You were personally picked by the president of the network to do this piece."

"But I am a hard-hitting, award-winning journalist. I have a Peabody, for crying out loud! Now I am reduced to going to interview some lunatic who boxes kangaroos for a living?"

"The Outback Tracker has never boxed kangaroos."

"And you would know this how?"

"Umm... I, umm... watch the show."

"Let me guess. She’s cute, isn’t she?"

"Yes but… Come on. Sydney. I cannot go upstairs and tell Ron Sykes you refuse to do the piece. My head would be rolling down the stairwell before I even got my next sentence out."

"Okay. Let’s say I agree to do this piece. What’s in it for me, Riley?"

"Well, you are due a vacation. How about an extra week down under... on the network?" he said hopefully.

"Nope, not good enough. Throw in my choice of my next assignment without a peep out of you about budgets or sweeps. Then we have a deal"

"Okay, but remember if Ron pitches a fit about any of this deal, it will fall squarely on your shoulders. Oh yeah think of this as a high profile fluff piece, please," he said to lighten the mood in the office.

THE OUTBACK TRACKER

Names had always featured prominently in the life of Sydney Hightower.

Her surname mostly. For a girl who never reached beyond 5’ 4" , the family name of Hightower had proved to be an irresistible lure to would be mirth-makers over the years.

Even now as a veteran "twentysomething" the quips were as reliable as they were old. The compact blonde, taut of body and sharp of mind had sometime mused if the comments would be fewer or even more numerous had she achieved , say six feet in height.

That hypothetical situation was as nothing however, if Sydney had ever revealed the full splendour of her given nomenclature.

Officialdom in it’s many guises, including her employers, were allowed

Sydney Gabrielle Hightower, one "middle-name" being an accepted standard

on any form requiring identification.

A decision made by her parents those twentysomething years ago had actually provided : Sydney Delilah Gabrielle Cleopatra Hightower.

It was one of many things that Sydney could not find forgiveness for.

The reporter took a brush to her recently shorn locks, after just a few moments she decided her fingers would suffice.

‘You are still pretty’ she assured her reflection, yet her voice lacked a certain conviction.

******

‘You are a pretty girl’ was the most effusive her father had ever been about her appearance. Of course he had often been less than encouraging on other things too….Sydney shuddered at the remembering and tried to eliminate the sound of his voice from her mind.

Her mother had been little more than a doormat. It was a struggle just to recall the sound of her voice, so seldom was it heard.

The telephone ringing was on this occasion, a welcome distraction.

‘Syd, it’s Riley here’ the voice contrived a tone of urgency.

‘Sydney to you’ the blonde chastised but in a friendly fashion, any conflict between them had never been taken, or given as personal.

‘Riley I know that voice and I know that tone, you are about to shaft me’

‘If only you would let me’ the man was compelled to give the standard response, though both accepted there was simply not an iota of sexual chemistry between them.

‘The deal is this. Lots of stuff seems to be going on and camera crews are needed all over…’

‘Listen, Riley!’ Sydney interrupted, ‘I am not wandering over the back of beyond lugging a steadicam and a boom-mike, no way no how!’

‘Syd, Syd, Sydney would I do that to you?’ Riley soothed.

‘Yes, you snake’ the reporter growled.

‘I have sorted it’ her boss said as if he really had.

‘You go and report, you know like the newspaper guys do? Then if we judge that it is worthy, we hire a local crew and you do the piece. You could even get assistant producer credits or something…’

Sydney stared with disbelief at the telephone, did he really think an assistant producer credit was an incentive, a worthy goal?

‘Later, Riley’ she hung up the phone.

*****

She had to accept the inevitable, and actually travelling without a crew might be fun. Sydney had never bought into the notion that a hunky camera man and /or a tasty sound assistant was "the icing on the cake" as that bitch over at KBC had once informed her.

They had both been covering the notorious "Shadow Killer" trial.

Everett McCoy as a reporter to studio, Sydney investigating juror intimidation.

Everett was all big hair, big teeth and big bosom - she had won several awards.

Sydney was cutting her teeth, trying to bring serious investigation into the habitually superficial coverage.

Everett had seemingly "adopted" the junior reporter, and was never far away and never shy of offering her "sisterly advice"

Said advice consisted mostly of how to screw your way to the top, or that is how it seemed to the relatively naïve Sydney.

In retrospect that interpretation was probably a little harsh. Everett was simply a beautiful woman who enjoyed sexual liaisons, and as a single woman she was perfectly entitled to. It was just something that Sydney herself was not inclined to, and she ashamedly found it shocking. The full bitterness came when Everett suggested that Sydney was a lesbian.

They had been in a bar at the end of a particularly fraught day.

Everett was eyeing up potential bed-mates. Sydney was barely listening when she heard

‘listen to me, honey. I’m sorry. Maybe you like pussy?’

Was the notion more shocking or Everett’s bluntness? Was it simply the casual way she had said "pussy"?

The youngster was still mentally reeling.

‘Nothing to worry about honey, but you should try to get an overseas posting’ Everett had continued ‘those European chicks are mad for pussy. Even I couldn’t resist all the offers’ she finished with a wink.

******

Now sitting alone with only Riley’s farewell for company, Sydney again felt the same shudder that Everett’s words had induced back then.

She wanted to be repentant for constantly referring to Everett as a "bitch"

but bitterness, perhaps unfounded bitterness was surely a legacy from her parents.

The recurring memory was there, lodged in her brain, it would not be moved.

Sydney poured herself a large vodka, added fresh orange and ice, lit a cigarette and decided to wallow in misery…

‘You are pretty. A bit fat but a pretty face’ her father had unexpectedly and uninvited, entered her bedroom. That made Sydney nervous.

‘Thank you’ the teenage girl was barely audible.

‘You have a boyfriend yet? I’ll bet all your friends do’ the old man said.

‘No dad’ Sydney was truthful, and also hoped this was the answer required.

‘Jesus! Girl’ he had exploded ‘You are almost sixteen. Have you not opened your legs yet? What boy is going to be interested in a chubby broad that doesn’t deliver the goods? What the frell are you doing here on a Saturday night?’

He had raped her with words.

The young Sydney felt tears well up, and strained to stop them from flowing.

‘I’m reading’ she knew this was not likely to be an acceptable explanation.

‘Dammit girl where is your ambition? Do you see a potential husband

waiting to whisk you away?’

‘Daddy, I am not interested in boys’ Sydney had totally broken down.

Her father misunderstood the meaning.

‘Are you telling me you are a dyke?!’ he raged ‘my daughter is a disgusting pervert? What the frell are you doing to me..?’

‘No dad no!’ Sydney had tried to explain, ‘I just mean I am not ready for…’

******

Time for a further vodka. Sydney had never quite exorcised the ghost of her parents. Her father mostly, but the resentment held true against her mother also, simply because she didn’t seem willing to intervene.

The phone this time was an intrusion, having settled with her vodka and cigarettes, the recollection of her parents no longer vivid, Sydney had decided an evening of either trash TV, or quality music could transport her happily into the dawn.

‘Sydney’s going to Sydney, Sydney’s going to Sydney!’ it was a familiar voice, though an unwelcome one.

And the very latest of the endless "name" jokes.

The reporter had never properly resolved her sexuality, in fact after a few encounters in her college years, she had more or less decided that she was possibly, probably asexual. Another legacy from the parents of hell.

She was unconcerned. The physical act had never really inspired her. Though Sydney would have liked a companion … she could mostly live alone quite happily.

Quite happily without Mary, certainly.

‘Darwin Mary, I am going to Darwin.’ She spoke with disdain.

‘Same place, it’s all Australia’ was the response.

It was exactly that response that Sydney detested. Mary was a good-looking girl, but she had no sense of realitie. It annoyed Sydney that her junior colleague was such a haphazard thinker. Maybe it annoyed her more that she did find the woman mildly, if not positively attractive.

‘Mary, I am very busy, I’m sure you understand’ the blonde tried to sound, well, busy.

‘Bring me a souvenir?’ the younger woman requested.

‘Sure thing’ Sydney dropped the receiver with undue haste.

******

Refilling her vodka, reaching for a further cigarette, the reporter did not want to dwell on her uncertain desires, choosing instead to recount the number of times since that rather public exchange with Riley that she had heard the "Sydney’s going to Sydney" mantra.

The young Mary had by no means been alone in reciting what they thought was a clever word play.

‘Darwin, for frell’s sake, Darwin’ Sydney recalled she had slightly lost her temper, and consequently left the office with an unsettled atmosphere.

It was growing late, Sydney had only just realised by the darkness outside as she drew the curtains, and she felt uncertain as to what to do next.

Like most people who drink too much for their own good, the reporter was well aware of the fact…she was also aware that she could sometimes afford to indulge without entirely losing control…sometimes.

The very fact that she was again staring to the mirror indicated that the alcohol was taking effect.

‘God bless the "Outback Tracker", god damn her too!’ Sydney went to raise her glass in a toast then realised she was not holding it.

Time for a refill, clearly.

Slightly drunken contemplation was often maudlin, but could provide more insight, Sydney had decided.

This evening’s produce from her "clarified" state decided that Sydney needed the vacation anyway, but also something of a conspiracy theory.

"The network chief has chosen you personally" Riley had said words to that effect….why?

Because she was their ace reporter and he wanted her out of the way!

Major events were happening and the network didn’t want too much inside scrutiny. It was obvious!

‘Everett McCoy won’t be in frickin’ Australia’ Sydney was beginning to slur.

‘She will be on Capitol Hill with her ankles behind her ears and the KBC script lodged in her tiny brain…bitch!’

The blonde dynamo appeared less than dynamic as she staggered towards her bedroom. She had tried to make mental notes :- Ask Riley about the conspiracy thing, stop calling poor Everett a bitch and get some background stuff on this damned "Outback" woman…

******

Sydney awoke early with only a mild headache and a strong craving for cold water. Her reflection in the bathroom mirror made her head thump just that little bit more.

‘You are not a nice person, and far from a pretty sight’ the reporter informed herself with a suitable degree of self disgust.

She had a full ten hours before she was due at the airport, then a goodness knows how many hours flight from LAX to Darwin.

Three weeks in the land of Oz, but packing was not a problem.

Sydney was a frugal dresser, everything practical, nothing frivolous.

Actually viewing "The Outback Tracker" was an obvious way to while away an hour or so, but Sydney was unenthusiastic.

The original assignment had seemed like a retrograde step given her acclaimed status within the industry, the idea that she was being herded out of harm’s reach really niggled with her professional pride.

Memories of that *astute* bitch , Everett surfaced again.

‘It’s all politics honey’ she had warned ‘don’t assume talent alone will get you to the top’

With her mood becoming more mercurial, Sydney made yet another mental note to send Everett McCoy a bunch of flowers…the woman had passed on advice, even wisdom that she need not have done. In her forward, brusque, over-confident way, the "rival" had actually been kind, almost "sisterly".

After a brief work out, just to keep her abs in shape, Sydney scoured the printed media for stories about her next "assignment".

"The Outback Tracker" was apparently a show imported from Australia that had quickly cultivated an enthusiastic audience. More than newspaper column inches, websites had sprung up with devoted fans paying homage not so much to the programme itself, but the presenter, the star? One Lucy Xenon.

‘Ha!’ Sydney exclaimed, ‘someone with a more stupid name than mine’

The small, grainy photograph did not invoke much reaction, but the attached prose described a woman of astonishing talents, and beauty.

The flat-stomached blonde kept on her cynical hat, she had heard it all before.

The Aussie angle was more exotic than some country girl from Nowhere, Idaho

but all the same…just another supposedly pretty face.

The actual nature of the show seemed to be eclectic. Mostly wildlife-friendly, conservation issues, but also tracking down missing kids, escaped convicts, all mixed up with homespun, sometimes mystical philosophy….

‘A real no-brainer’ Sydney decided.

******

The taxi ride to the airport found Sydney again in reflective mood.

Her life was a crock…and not her parents, the interfering but well-meaning Everett, the network, nor the annoyingly pert Mary was to blame.

Riley was a fool, but had steered her into the report that won the "Peabody award for journalism" , Ron Sykes was a typical manager, the network head a typical executive…what did she expect?

A "veteran twentysomething" that was her own self-styled description.

A veteran nobody, pretty to some, pretty hopeless to others…that was the extent of her actual life. Reduced to interviewing a nobody gal from a nowhere country that no-one cares about…

******

‘There must be some mistake, this is a first-class ticket’

As the stewardess tried to direct her to the rear of the ‘plane, Sydney took the affront as a metaphor for her life. Her spirits had rarely been so low, but maybe the past few months had simply been a preparation for the inevitable…she was now officially a second-class citizen.

She even wondered if complaint would be profitable, the fight, the dynamism had seemingly deserted her.

‘I am booked with PNN, the "Prime News Network"…’ the statement was almost forlorn, it used to be defiant.

The flight attendant took the ticket and consulted with a more senior colleague.

‘Our apologies Ms. Hightower’ the original stewardess said with no hint of contrition, ‘let me show you to your seat’

Such a minor victory gave Sydney an undue glow.

‘I would have had Ron Sykes balls on a wire for that!’ she laughed.

The look of utter incomprehension on the uniformed woman’s face provided suitable deflation.

‘Vodka and orange, a large one, A.S.A.P.’ Sydney barked the order as if she were requesting coffee from the office junior.

A first-class berth did not mean acceptable service as far as Sydney was concerned.

‘I do not want your cardboard food, just a drink every now and then!’

It would be fair to say that the flight was not an entirely pleasant experience,

Sydney’s mood teetered between near drunken euphoria, to almost suicidal depression…rage, jealousy, self-loathing, pride even hubris all crossed between the hemispheres, ranged the lobes of her brain.

‘You are a fucking mess!’ at one point Sydney chided herself aloud.

‘Actually, you are quite pretty’

It was the voice of a portly gentleman, expensive suit, bad haircut.

The blonde ignored the intrusion but mentally beat him to death with her miniature vodka bottle.

Her father had he lived.

******

As she claimed her baggage, one suitcase and one hold-all, it suddenly occurred to the ace reporter that she had no idea of what arrangements had been put in place. Automatically scanning the airport her field of vision first registered a bar. It seemed a perfectly acceptable place to rest for a while…

Sydney vaguely recalled that she would be met at the airport, or was it at a hotel? She scrambled through her purse, something had to be written down.

At least the measures at the airport were OK, unlike the dribble of vodka you are served on the ‘plane.

The reporter had decided that a minor binge could do no harm.

Hell! She was on expenses, she could grab a room anywhere, anytime…

many of her investigations had taken months, this nonsense could be wrapped up in a few days.

She rather hoped they would choose not to use any package that she could provide. The whole thing really was beneath her. Sydney ordered another large measure of her preferred ‘poison’ and noted in passing that the barman could well have made the short-list if Everett McCoy had been here.

The name "Sydney" had been audible on a few occasions, had Mary et al been present they surely would have whooped with delight.

‘Qantas flight 37 to Sydney will board at gate…’

******

Unaware of just how long she had stationed herself in the bar, Sydney was worried that she may have dozed off…the handsome barman was now a slightly overweight barmaid, her full ash-tray now emptied and clean.

Her feet, calves and thighs seemed just marginally numb, as did most of her senses though they were returning to normalcy.

‘May I join you?’ the voice was unexpected ‘maybe you wish another drink?’

Looking up, what Sydney saw was little short of a vision.

‘Another drink? Sure, vodka and orange, plenty of ice’

It was a genuine request but also a delaying tactic.

The airport bar had somewhat emptied during her reverie, so the reporter had a clear view at least of the back of this overwhelming new presence.

Six feet tall, at least…and that in flat shoes. Long jet black hair cascading to the small of her back, proportioned as a Goddess, not one ounce of obvious fat.

Faded denims moulded thighs and buttocks that screamed "bite here"

A black, silk-like shirt and then before she could assimilate everything the woman turned clutching the vodka-orange and apparently a white wine.

This was now sense overload.

The black shirt was unbuttoned to reveal contrasting white T-shirt, the bosom high, proud and firm. On approach, the only distraction from that stunning frontage was the startling blue eyes, piercing and mesmeric.

Sydney imagined she might be drooling, she did not care.

‘You are Sydney Hightower’ the woman placed the drinks and took her seat.

‘And you are Lucy Xenon!’ the reporter could not reconcile the grainy newspaper snap with this joyous apparition, yet who else could she be?

The blonde noted a flash of consternation on the other’s face, Sydney’s voice had been a little shrill with excitement.

Indeed the black maned beauty did rather lower her posture and drop her voice.

‘Actually Lucy Jackson. Could we maybe talk somewhere else? I’m sure that I have booze at home’

Sydney looked apologetic then slightly peeved.

‘I’m not an alcoholic, you know’ she mumbled before downing her drink in one.

Lucy’s car was unremarkable enough that Sydney allowed herself another short nap as the "tracker" drove her off…it was only when they parked that the blonde realised that she had been "sitting on the wrong side" and more oddly that they were now at Lucy’s own home.

‘I’m staying here?’ the reporter switched her gaze between the neat suburban home and the in fact quite sporty motor with the steering wheel on the right.

‘It’s clean and comfortable’ the tall Aussie hid her indignation, almost.

‘Wasn’t there a hotel..?’ Sydney was cursing her vodka memory.

‘Suit yourself’ Lucy was brusque, ‘but at least spend tonight here’

Standing only a few feet away from this stunning amazon, those words though likely not intended to, caused thrills and ripples to course Sydney’s blood.

One time at college, a fellow female student had made an overt invitation

‘spend the night with me’

Her voice had been imploring and Sydney was tempted and horrified and confused…

She had ruined that opportunity…her father’s homophobia still resonated back then…but not anymore.

‘Sorry Lucy, I must sound terribly rude’ she spoke as she meekly followed the tall figure who had whisked her luggage off the driveway and was now unlocking the front door.

The living-room was as Lucy’s attire, simple, functional but altogether stylish.

Sydney had shunned food but accepted wine. Vodka had been offered, but the reporter decided that though she was too intoxicated to stop, a "lighter" beverage may just help to keep her awake for a bit longer.

Sydney was on the settee, Lucy on a nearby chair. The reporter was privately captivated each time the "tracker" threw back her head allowing that mane to flow…

The Australian was explaining.

‘I was told of your arrival and thought it only proper to meet you in person.

Did you know your flight was delayed by nearly two hours?’

Sydney’s mind was a blank, she made to speak.

‘It’s OK. You have very expressive eyes. Both of them’

That statement only caused more confusion, but it certainly got the blonde’s attention.

‘Anyway, I decided to do a quick bit of shopping, wine as it happens’ Lucy grinned, Sydney melted.

‘On the way back to the airport I got held up by a road crash. I know some basic first-aid so I helped out a little until the ambulance arrived, that delayed me a bit’

‘Oh my God!’ the reporter was becoming even more awe-struck. This woman has so many skills!

‘It was OK, the guy will survive, maybe it will quench his thirst for driving too fast.’ Anyway, by the time I reach the airport, you have arrived, or at least your flight has.’

‘So how did you find me?’ Sydney wondered aloud.

‘I am the "Outback Tracker!" Lucy cheekily replied.

******

‘What is the thing with the name? Why "Xenon" if your real name is Jackson?’

Sydney was pleased with herself, she had managed to sip the wine slowly and was only one glass ahead of her companion.

‘This is such a long story, are you sure you are up to it tonight?’ asked Lucy.

‘I doubt that I will remember every word’ Sydney confessed ‘but I don’t really want to go to bed yet…is it bedtime?’

‘When do you usually go to bed?’ the woman took off her black blouse as she spoke, causing any manner of feelings to stir in all parts of the blonde’s body.

‘I really meant, what time is it?’ Sydney was surely blushing.

‘It’s ten at night, maybe you do want to see your bedroom? All that flying and drinking….’ Lucy tried to sound tactful

‘Honestly, I’m not an habitual toper. This trip, it was not my idea of fun, I was upset and self-indulgent, self pitying…’

‘Being interviewed for American TV was not my idea of fun either’ Lucy confessed, ‘but today has been an adventure’ she concluded with a smile.

And maybe a wink? Thought Sydney.

‘Appearing on TV at all was not my idea’ Lucy explained but some idiot at the local station heard about me tracking down an escaped convict. The police told him I had assisted them before, finding runaway kids or lost backpackers…

it is not exactly a common occurrence..’

‘Hence "The Outback Tracker". I know these TV folk’ Sydney laughed.

‘I finally agreed to a few shows provided I could push a conservation message and make it educational. And they didn’t use my real name’

‘So who chose Lucy Xenon? Actually it quite suits you’ Sydney smiled.

The tall one shrugged, ‘someone thought it was exotic’

‘I really don’t want to talk shop tonight’ Lucy went on ‘but I have no idea what interest PNN could have in my show. I think we only made six or seven’

‘If you want me to be truthful, I don’t know either. My paranoid side told me it was a way of getting me far out of the country. It is a nice feature, but not really my usual fare…’ Sydney’s voice trailed of, she was painfully aware of the other woman’s bosom straining the white T-shirt.

‘I’m a more serious journalist’ the blonde tried to regain her composure.

‘You have won an award. I was very impressed by your bio’ said Lucy.

‘You saw my bio?’ Sydney was puzzled.

‘I checked on the Internet, even saw a small photo, but you are far more cute in real life’ Lucy bit her own lip. Why had she said that?

‘Now I am totally ashamed’ admitted Sydney ‘you know I have never seen your show nor did I bother to check the ‘net. I just read a couple of newsclips, I got a photo too. Though I would hardly call you cute’

‘I’m sorry, that did sound bad. You are totally beautiful but you have won a very prestigious award for heavy-weight journalism. You have my respect for that, honestly. I just get nervous around hot-looking women’ Lucy was clearly genuine but it took a while for the words to permeate Sydney’s brain.

‘God in Heaven! Woman! What are you talking about? I would hardly call you cute because you are stunning, just flawless! How can you worry about hot-looking women when you are the hottest thing alive?!!’

******

Any number of things could have happened in the following few seconds, but only silence followed by the re-filling of wine glasses did.

Just before the silence turned awkward Lucy said

‘Actually, the man who owns PNN also own our local station, maybe there is some sort of tie-up there’

It seemed a reasonable conversation divertor, and the tension eased slightly.

‘You are probably right’ Sydney agreed.

‘Since we are being honest…’ the tension heightened again

‘I actually agreed to the show when I heard how much they were paying me.

Goodness! I knew Academia was not overly rewarded but wow! You TV people make a fortune’ Lucy declared.

Sydney seemed genuinely embarrassed.

‘It can be quite shocking. I could make a small fortune by staying here and claiming full hotel expenses’ she added.

‘Make a small donation to a wildlife charity and I will wait on you hand and foot’

Lucy laughed. Sydney laughed more nervously.

Lucy stood up. She headed towards the kitchen and returned with another bottle of wine, and a bottle of vodka with a jug of fresh orange.

‘I hardly drink at all, but this seems like a special occasion’

‘Yes. Yes it does’ the blonde smiled with mouth and eyes and their gazes met momentarily. There was little added tension when Lucy chose to join her guest on the sofa.

******

‘The tracking thing is totally exaggerated, but that is what the public latch on to’ Lucy explained. ‘It isn’t so very difficult either, not for me’

Sydney urged her to explain with just a look.

‘I grew up next to the outback, always went camping there. You just get a feel for the place. You know what plants, animals even insects that you should see, and where you should see them.’ Lucy paused just to smile.

‘If you walked back into your apartment, you would notice if something was wrong, something was out of place’ Lucy stated.

‘I guess so’ Sydney agreed.

‘Well the outback is like my home. People leave behind clues, they can’t help it.

They kick a rock, I will notice it…’

‘That is amazing! A great gift’ Sydney sounded as impressed as she was.

‘You don’t feel the need for a cigarette?’ Lucy asked out of the blue.

‘The urge has come and gone…how did you know?’ the reporter asked.

‘The ashtray at the airport, small lipstick traces on the cigarette butts’

‘I didn’t like to ask. I never noticed an ashtray here’ Sydney admitted.

‘But you have put the notion in my head. Should I go outside to smoke?’

Lucy fetched an ashtray from the kitchen.

‘I dabble myself, I keep promising to give up’

Sydney offered a cigarette and took one herself.

She flicked the lighter and held it out. Lucy lowered her head to allow the tip to reach the flame, steadying the blondes slightly quivering hand with her own.

It was their first touch and the effect was electrifying…Lucy held the touch longer than was necessary, Sydney did not care. After that initial meeting of skin, however innocent and chaste, it now felt more awkward not to be touching…they automatically nestled closer so that their thighs could just make contact.

Sydney felt more relaxed than she had ever felt in a comparable situation.

She was still fearful though. Lacking in confidence.

What if Lucy was straight? Had she mis-read the whole evening?

One thing had been settled in her own mind. She, Sydney Gabrielle Hightower was definitely attracted to women. Though my God! Every woman on Earth would be turned by this wondrous beauty she surmised.

Lucy too was apprehensive, she knew because she had already lit a second cigarette. The long-haired Australian was used to meeting girls in gay haunts where the question of sexuality was not an issue.

Sydney was a little younger than herself, but her demeanour suggested she was quite inexperienced…or maybe she had a steady boyfriend? Was one of those "waiting for marriage" types?

Taking a deep breath, Lucy suggested

‘tell me something you have never told a living soul’

Sydney pondered only briefly then blurted out

‘my full name is Sydney Delilah Gabrielle Cleopatra Hightower’

Lucy bent double with laughter, then carried on laughing.

‘Oh! That is wonderful’ she managed in between further giggles.

At first amused, the blonde began to get annoyed.

‘It is not that funny’ she growled.

‘I’m sorry’ Lucy had to wipe tears from her eyes,

‘I was hoping that you would admit to being a raving dyke’

Sydney was momentarily speechless.

‘You see my real name is Gaye Lucy Jackson. I got sick of all the jokes with people asking "are you Gaye" that I switched to Lucy.’

Sydney smiled.

‘I can relate to that. By the way, are you gay?’

Lucy stared intently into the blonde’s eyes.

‘Only if you are a raving dyke’ she whispered.

The two women fell into a soft, tender kiss.

******

Passion had been a slow burning fuse, the exploration of bodies some times almost reticent, yet other times savage and abandoned.

With her fires awakened, Sydney did not restrict herself to being a student to Lucy’s teacher, the blonde was more than happy to take the lead, exert control when the need, her need required.

The joining had been so explosive that Lucy decided that she herself was as a virgin to such encounters.

‘That was like the Fourth of July and Christmas and Thanksgiving all combined….’ Sydney let her thoughts trail away.

‘You are the journalist. All I can say is fuck me!!… But give me a rest first’

Lucy grinned and their hands clasped.

Though it was late afternoon by the time they surfaced, sleep had played it’s part, particularly for Sydney who finally let the flight take it’s toll.

Both awake the idea of food appealed and they found themselves quite naturally preparing a meal together.

‘You know it was the name thing that did it’ Lucy grinned the grin of love.

‘By confessing that I knew you were genuine’

‘By confessing that I knew I could trust you’ Sydney beamed back.

‘You know it’s nearly our 24 hour anniversary’ the blonde spoke.

‘Mmm’ said Lucy ‘time to move our relationship along?’

‘Why mistress? What do you have in mind?’ Sydney adopted her best southern accent.

‘I do have the thigh-high, leather boots!’ Lucy confessed with no embarrassment.

‘I want, I expect to get inside all of your wardrobe’ Sydney smirked.

This almost sparked more lovemaking, but they restrained themselves to a hug and a kiss as the meal was ready.

‘I will have to contact LA, my boss Riley will be expecting a report of some sort’

They were enjoying a post-parandial cigarette and glass of wine.

‘E-mail?’ suggested Lucy, ‘my computer is oldish but it works’

‘Fantastic. Now I wish I had Everett McCoy’s mail address.’ Said Sydney.

‘An old girlfriend?’ Lucy was oddly jealous.

‘No. Actually it is a private joke between me and myself. But I didn’t call her a bitch!’ Sydney seemed pleased.

The older woman raised her eyebrows, speaking of bitches, should I dig out my leather boots?

‘Good idea. May I just write a quick message to Riley?’

‘Of course. Don’t take too long or I will start without you….’

‘You would too you greedy bitch!’ laughed Sydney

‘I was greedy but thoughtful, you were just an animal!’ Lucy retorted as she headed to the bedroom.

Still grinning broadly, Sydney typed a message:

Sydney is bathed in sunshine right now. Sydney is the happiest place I have ever been. I have a friend who is Gay. Locals can be cheeky, I am about to give one of them a good tongue-lashing.

Cleopatra.

THE END


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