Connecting Hearts by Cephalgia and MJ

Part IV


Disclaimers: See Part I

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Chapter 16


Randa woke up late on New Year’s Day. She hadn’t intended to sleep so long but the combination of the late night and the delicious warmth of being in love caused the nurse to slumber peacefully into late morning.

Randa lay quietly, reviewing the events of the night before. Denise had seemed pleased with her confession of love, but hadn’t said anything in return. I take that back, she said plenty with her kisses and I heard her loud and clear. She may not have said she loves me but I sure felt it. That will have to be enough…for now.

Slipping from the bed, Randa grabbed her towel and headed out to take a shower before going downstairs. As she exited the study she nearly ran headlong into Denise who was on her way to the staircase. Both women stopped short, staring at the other and blushing.

"Good morning," the blonde offered. "I was just on my way to the shower. I didn’t mean to sleep in. I’ll hurry and help you with Sara."

"Sara is fine. We’ve been up for a while and have already had breakfast so take your time. I probably would have slept longer also but something was on my mind it seems."

"Something good I hope?" the nurse probed.

"Oh, very good," Denise returned. The eye contact held until Randa came to herself and started again for the bathroom.

"Well, I guess I…uh…I should be getting in the…uh…shower and…"

A hand reached out to capture the nurse’s arm as she passed. "Randa," was all Denise said, but the low sensual tone of her voice caused the blonde to turn into the taller woman’s embrace and immediately seek the heat they generated so strongly together. Strong arms pulled the smaller woman in close as Randa turned her face up to Denise. Blue eyes blazed into green briefly before lids lowered and lips met. The fire of the previous night was rekindled instantly as the women deepened the kiss and hands wandered increasingly familiar territory.

Randa broke off the kiss and settled herself against Denise while trying to slow her rapid breathing. She felt the taller woman press a soft kiss against her hair then rest her cheek against that same spot. The blonde let a contented sigh escape her lips and enjoyed the marvelous physical contact a minute before stepping back.


Denise chuckled as Randa made her way into the bathroom. Closing the door, the nurse leaned back against it. I feel like I’ve been branded and it was just by a kiss! Kisses never did this to me before. She knew the difference was the poet. The songwriter who said ‘a kiss is just a kiss’ never got one from Denise Jennings!

Randa turned on the water and proceeded to shower, barely suppressing the urge to sing show tunes.


A short time later Randa entered the kitchen to find Denise and Sara lingering over a cup of tea. The radio was on and they were listening to the morning program Sara favored, a mixture of local news, weather and music.

"Good morning, Sara," she said as she gave the older woman a brief peck on the cheek.

"Good morning," Sara returned. "You must have slept well. What would you like for breakfast?"

"I think I’ll just have some tea and toast with your delicious strawberry jam. You have to remind me to get your recipe for my mom." The nurse moved behind Sara to the cupboard where the jam was kept.

"Let me help," said Denise as she rose to her feet. "I’m afraid I returned it to a higher shelf than usual when I put it back earlier."

"Well, the President of the Vertically Challenged Club thanks you, oh tall one." Randa placed two slices of bread into the toaster as the brunette pulled the jar from the shelf. The blonde found the butter in the refrigerator and Denise opened the jam. Absently, the brunette stuck a finger in the jar and brought some of the sweet, red mixture to her lips but paused just short of her goal as she noticed Randa staring at her. The blonde was dumbstruck by the near erotic image of the sweet jam approaching even sweeter lips. Denise appeared to be embarrassed until she saw the heated look on Randa’s face. The poet extended her hand to the nurse and silently offered the jam to the blonde’s partially open lips. Never losing eye contact, Randa opened her lips wider and took the offered digit into her mouth. She used her tongue to swirl around the fingertip, transferring the jam to her mouth. Denise gulped audibly, but her eyes never left the blonde’s. The moment ended as the toast popped from the toaster.

Pulling her hand back, Denise moved back to her aunt. "I’m…I’m going up to my study to work for a while. You’ll be okay?"

"Of course, DJ. Randa and I will be fine, don’t worry about us." Denise gave her aunt’s shoulder a squeeze and gave Randa a look that clearly said "Later."

Randa brought her tea and toast to the table and the two women sat in companionable silence for a moment before Sara said "How long?"

Puzzled, the nurse looked at Sara. "How long what?"

"How long do I need to pretend I don’t see what is happening between you and DJ? Probably for DJ’s sake it should be a few days, I suppose. She does tend to embarrass rather easily I’m afraid," Sara said nonchalantly.

Randa was incredulous as she asked, "How did you know?"

"Now Randa, as a nurse you should know ALS doesn’t affect my eyesight at all." Sara nodded at a place directly in front of her. The blonde turned to see the kitchen window with the curtains open. The sky outside was overcast and with the light on Randa realized Sara, by reflection, had an excellent view of everything happening in the kitchen. The nurse blushed a bright pink and let out a small, strangled groan.

Sara chuckled at the blonde’s discomfort but said, "It’s alright, Randa. I’ve been so worried that DJ would be alone after I’m gone. I’m glad that’s not going to be the case and I’m very glad the person she found was you."

The nurse felt tears gathering in her eyes and she moved forward to hug the older woman. "You’re the most remarkable person, Sara Jennings. I hope you know that."

Randa felt Sara smile and say, "I have my moments. Now, finish your breakfast and we won’t speak any more about this. Well, not at the present anyway."

Another small groan emanated from Randa as she moved back to her tea. This is going to be a long day.


Two days later, Brightwood delivered the database computer. Randa showed Denise how the system worked with the regular computer and the two worked as a team to get the components set up in the study. They used the new line the phone company had installed earlier in the day and sent out test messages insuring the system would be functioning and ready for Randa’s use on her first shift back to work the next night.

Two hours had passed before the pair realized it. Randa looked at her watch with a worried frown. "Denise, we should go downstairs and check on Sara. I didn’t notice how the time had gotten away from me." The poet glanced at her watch as well and followed the nurse from the study. They were only halfway down the stairs when they heard a faint "DJ! Randa!" The poet took the last four steps as one and raced into the living room. Sara was slumped forward in her chair unable to raise herself back up due to badly weakened limbs. Denise eased the older woman up into a sitting position as Randa entered the room.

The nurse saw the stricken look on Denise’s face but moved first to Sara. She checked the woman over and after determining there was no injury, she asked, "Sara, what happened?"

The older woman tried to cover her fear by pretending annoyance. "I forgot to ask you to place the remote control for the television in my lap and as I knew you both were busy upstairs, I tried to reach it myself. I leaned forward but when my hand was on the bloody thing I couldn’t push myself back up. I’ve been slumped over for the last quarter hour."

Denise was appalled. "I’m so sorry, Sara. I should have been here. This never should have happened. We won’t leave you again."

The annoyance in Sara’s voice was real this time. "DJ, this was my fault. I know better than either of you what my body is capable of and I made a serious misjudgment today. You most certainly will not spend every moment minding me as if I was a child."

A child Randa thought. That’s it, a child.

Randa offered to help Sara to her bed, as it was close to the time she usually took her afternoon nap and Randa wanted to give her another brief check for any injury she may have missed. When she returned to the living room she found Denise with her head in her hands, rocking slightly back and forth. The nurse settled on the couch next to the brunette.

"Denise? Denise, she’s fine. She was a little shook up but she’s okay now." The poet refused to be comforted and continued to blame herself for the incident.

"If we’re looking for blame I think there’s enough of it to go around." Randa took Denise’s larger hand in her own and leaned to the side to place her cheek against Denise’s arm. "We both were wrong in this, but placing blame isn’t going to prevent this from happening again." Denise brought her free hand up to caress the blonde’s cheek.

"Randa, what am I going to do? I feel like I have let Sara down."

"We are going to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You’re not in this by yourself anymore, remember?" Turning her head, she placed a soft kiss into Denise’s palm. "I have an idea about this problem and Sara is the one who gave it to me. Let’s buy a baby monitor. No matter where we are in the house we can hear what is happening with Sara and we would know right away if she needed anything. You know as well as I do that Sara wouldn’t be comfortable with us hovering over her every minute so I think this would be a good compromise."

"It’s not a bad idea. If you’ll stay here with Sara, I’ll go and have a look in the stores. If we could get this thing set up today I would feel much better."

"Of course I’ll stay with her. I’ll be right here when you get back." Denise and Randa stood up and moved to get the brunette’s hat, jacket and gloves from the closet.

"I’ll try not to be gone long." She bent to give the nurse a brief kiss before making her way out the door.

As Randa watched the poet move down the snowy sidewalk she felt her heart ache just a little. Oh Denise, I love you so much and this is going to be so hard on you. You are hurting terribly already and this is just the beginning. The nurse closed the door and moved back into the warmth of the house.



Denise had decided — due to the snowy weather and precarious driving conditions — that she would be much safer traveling to the local shop on foot. She was glad that the general store, no more than a mile away, seemed to stock the most unimaginable of items. Still she did hope a baby monitor would be among their varied stock. They sell pet rabbits for god’s sake!

Walking at a rapid pace, icy snow crunched loudly under her booted feet as Denise moved down the street. As she turned a corner onto the main road she was annoyed to see another fall of brilliant white flakes begin to make their descent onto the frozen land below. Just great, she thought, bloody typical.

Speeding up her gait, Denise pushed herself to reach the general store faster. Feelings of guilt still laid heavy in her mind and just the thought of Sara’s plight was upsetting to recall. To be confronted once again by the growing severity of Sara’s disease brought home the reality of her suffering. And it was only going to get worse.

Folding her arms against the increasing cold, Denise sighed; her warm breath released as a dense cloud of vapor. She could feel her emotions rising but pushed them deep down. If I start bloody crying now no doubt the damned tears will turn to icy droplets on my face, she thought, trying to lighten her mood with internal humor.

It was going to be a long cold trek!


By the time Denise returned home the snow was falling at a rapid pace. As she reached the front door, Denise felt the need to shake herself off and remove the large amount of flakes that had taken residence upon her head and shoulders. Hands shaking with the intense cold, DJ grappled around her pocket with her free hand — the other holding a large carrier bag — looking for her keys. Once found, she rammed the appropriate key into the lock and pushed the door open, almost falling with relief into the warm house.

"Jesus, it is cold out there," she muttered with a shiver.

Keeping a strong hold of the bag in her left hand, Denise wandered into the front room, too cold to even remove her outdoor coat. She entered to find Randa sitting by the fire reading a book. Denise could tell it was one of hers.

"Want to swap places?"

Randa looked up in surprise. "Denise! Look at you; you’re freezing!"

She got up and the poet handed her the plastic carrier bag as she moved towards the roaring fire. "I need some heat. Did you know it has started snowing again?" Denise pulled the black woolly hat from her head.

"I do now!" Randa replied, placing the bag down and helping a still cold Denise out of her coat. "The snow is pretty treacherous in these parts isn’t it."

"Looks better from the window, too." Denise replied with a smirk as she rubbed her hands together and held them out in front of the fire. "How’s Sara?"

"Still sleeping."

Nodding, Denise turned to face Randa. "I was really glad you were here earlier, Randa, thank you. I would have been too freaked and guilt ridden to have even thought about checking for possible injuries. You were great." She smiled fondly. "I loved the way you took control so efficiently."

Randa stepped forward and took Denise’s hands, warming them with her own. "It’s just instinct and training." She shrugged lightly.

Denise moved her hand over Randa’s arm and said, "You were still great."

With a slight blush, the blonde looked down. "Thank you." She then looked to her side at the grey carrier bag slightly covered with droplets of melted snow. "So you managed to get a monitor?"

"Yep." Kneeling down, Denise settled herself on the rug in front of the fire and Randa followed suit. "They had two, so I chose the best. It has a longer range, is off-white in colour and the cool thing is that it’s two-way - only you have to press a button on the ‘parents’ end to talk. Obviously that part isn’t entirely necessary but I wanted to get the best they had."

The nurse frowned. "You know, Denise, this was my idea. I feel I should contribute to the cost."

"Hey, no, it’s fine honestly."

"I know but…"

"Randa." Denise insisted, "believe me, money is of no issue to me."

"I just thought that maybe…well… I’ve never really noticed…"

Denise smiled as she realised what Randa was trying to say. "Look," she licked her lips slowly in thought, "money will never be a problem, Randa. I understand what you are trying to say but believe me when I say that I am more than covered in that department."

Randa looked up, she seemed slightly uncomfortable. "I wasn’t sure. You don’t really seem… Well, apart from your car and sneaker obsession!"

In thought, Denise looked into the fire. She wondered whether she should explain to the nurse something that only Sara and Carl knew. After all she had signed contracts to ensure her silence in the deal, but she did trust Randa.

"Look, I um… I earn money from more than just the poetry that you know about."

The nurse frowned.

"Do you know just how much some people want to be famous?"

Randa shrugged, not entirely sure she knew what the poet was implying. "I guess… maybe?"

"Did you know that some people will do anything to be famous, even if it means paying somebody else for their work and the right to put their own name against it?"

Slowly understanding sunk in. "You mean like ghost writing and things like that? So you’ve written poetry for somebody else and they’ve called it their own?"

"Well, not just poetry." Denise stated.

"What else?"

The poet smirked. "Well, I also write for a greeting card company but what I was actually referring to was a couple of err… novels."

Randa’s mouth fell. "You’ve written a novel?"

"Two actually and because the first did so well the woman paid me five times as much for a sequel." Denise still found it hard to believe that those novels had done as well as they had.

"I don’t believe it!" Randa shook her head and stared at Denise in wonder. "I don’t suppose you can tell me what they were? What they were called, or who the so called author is?"

"Well," Denise scrunched her nose in thought. "Let’s just say that they were a couple of period novels set in the early sixteen hundreds that were adapted into television dramas."

Randa stared at Denise flabbergasted. "Wow, I’m speechless." She chuckled. "It’s lucky I love you for you and not your money then, isn’t it?"

Denise leaned forward. "For me, yes." She stared into clear green eyes. The flickering flames from the fire blended their orange hues with the light emerald orbs creating a vision of what Denise considered poetic perfection. "You are so beautiful, Randa."

The blonde smiled as she caressed Denise’s face. The poet could tell she wanted to respond but she seemed to have a nagging thought on her mind.

"Doesn’t it bother you to have somebody else taking the credit for your work like that? I mean, it appears to be something very successful. This woman must be quite famous and supposedly just as successful now."

"It’s what she paid for." Denise replied. "It’s her conscience. She wants the fame and she now has it. I don’t want it. In both cases all parties are happy."

"You really are, aren’t you?"

"What?" Denise asked.


Taking Randa’s hand, Denise looked deep into her eyes. "I was as happy as I thought I could be. Then something happened to change all of that forever and I thought things would never be the same again." She looked down at the smaller hand within her own and ran her fingers over the soft flesh. "Then through something that I thought would leave such devastation in our lives, you came along. Though I do still see and feel that devastation every day you have brought a new aspect of joy into my life that I have never before felt. Randa, your presence is the reason I feel the way I do." Denise looked back up into misty green eyes. She delivered a wry smile. "That was the long winded answer to your question." The poet realised it was the first time she had ever really voiced any aspect of her feelings to Randa.

It appeared to have been the right move as the nurse leaned forward and initiated a gentle kiss, which ended far too quickly as far as Denise was concerned. Randa looked over to the baby monitor still in the shopping bag and said, "Do you want to test it out?"

With a nod of approval, Denise rose to her feet and pulled Randa with her. "Let’s go and play with the new toy!"


After discovering that Sara was still sleeping, Denise and Randa decided to try the monitor out themselves. Taking the main transmitter, Denise disappeared up stairs leaving Randa and the receiver downstairs. She wandered down the landing while deciding which room to enter. She eventually chose the bathroom. Denise passed through the door and pushed it to as a wicked thought crossed her mind. Sitting upon the edge of the bath, Denise turned on the transmitter. "Testing, testing one two three. This is…" she paused in thought, "lyrical lady, requesting…"she paused again. Name, damn my mind has gone blank. "Err, requesting um… Raunchy Randa?"

There was silence.

Denise chuckled. "Randa, press that little grey button on the top right hand corner."

There was a slight pause before Randa’s electronic voice filtered through the main transmitter. "Raunchy Randa?"

"So I choked!" Denise said with a chortle. "Anyway ladies and ladies it is time to play ‘Guess whose room I am in.’ Are you ready to play?"

There was a short laugh before Randa asked. "Do I get a prize if I win?"

Denise thought for a while. "Um, sure… anything you want. Okay ladies and ladies. Right, this room is used by the two younger members of this very household." The poet had to roll her eyes at her own terrible version of a game show host’s voice.

"Is it a bedroom?"

"Invalid question I’m afraid… sorry." An evil glint sparkled in her eyes. "This room contains a bed that they have both slept upon."

"Well that helps a lot."

Denise sniggered. "Well then, let me venture a little further into the room, shall I?" She crossed her legs and placed one hand by her side upon the white porcelain bathtub. "Okay… let me check out the clothing. How about underwear?"


"Oh yes, that is a good idea."

"Denise?" Randa’s electronic voice questioned.

"Well this lovely lady wears some… oh some veeeeery nice black panties. Lacy… and WO HO… g-string."

There was a short silence before Denise heard the unmistakable sound of a certain blonde nurse coming up the stairs. She chuckled as she opened the bathroom door just in time to see Randa reach the top step and disappear briefly into the study before returning with a frown. Her eyes soon located Denise leaning against the bathroom doorway with a grin.

Denise smiled innocently as she gazed back at Randa who stalked towards her. Oh am I in trouble?

"You, Denise Jennings, were in the bathroom the entire time. You cheat!"

Denise placed a hand over her chest in shock. "Me? A cheat?"

The nurse chuckled. "Yes, you. So… was that just a lucky guess about the underwear?"

Shrugging Denise placed her arms over Randa’s shoulders. "Doesn’t every girl’s drawer contain at least one black, lacy, thongy type underwear?"

"Do they now?" Randa wrapped her arms around the poet’s waist. "Well, I still say you cheated so I demand my prize. ‘Anything you want’ if I recall."

"Okay," Denise conceded, "what do you desire?"

"Well my desired prize consists of two parts. First I would like at some time in the future for you to prove your statement about what every girl has in her drawer!" She wiggled her eyebrows. "And secondly, I think a kiss will do just fine for the present moment."

Denise pursed her lips as she appeared to be considered the request before she replied, "Deal." And slowly leaned forward, sealing their lips together.


Later that afternoon, Denise entered her aunt’s bedroom to find Sara watching the television. Randa had not long ago selected a DVD for her to watch but as Denise knew it was Sara’s favourite film and had seen it a dozen times, she wouldn’t mind the interruption.

Carrying the baby monitor box under her arm she walked through the room and sat in the vanity chair beside Sara’s bed. Propping her socked feet upon the floral cover she gazed briefly at the screen watching Audrey Hepburn’s transformation as she blossomed from common flower girl to beautiful lady.

Sara looked to her right at Denise. "So what do you have under your arm?"

Biting the inside of her cheek, Denise looked at her aunt in thought. Neither she nor Randa had yet told Sara about the monitor and she hoped Sara wouldn’t take it the wrong way. "We had an idea and well, we thought it might help to make sure nothing like what happened earlier today happens again."

A shadow of fear crossed Sara’s eyes. "What is it?"

"This." Denise placed the box upon the bed and looked at Sara nervously.

The old woman looked down and read the label. "A baby monitor? Are you serious?"

Denise winced inside. "Well technically yes but we just thought it could be used more as a monitor in general." She desperately wanted to explain herself. "It’s um… just something to make sure that if you ever need anything, no matter where we are one of us will always be on hand and you only have to speak. It’s not meant to intrude on you or treat you in anyway less…" she groaned; this was not going as she expected.

"I do understand, DJ."

With a sigh, Denise looked at Sara and said, "You liked watching me squirm, didn’t you?"

Sara smiled warmly, but Denise could see the remnants of fear still in her eyes. "When I realised I was unable to push myself back up, DJ, I was so frightened."

Denise nodded and moved off the chair to sit on the bed beside her aunt.

"I tried so hard to push myself back to my sitting position but my limbs just refused to cooperate. I never felt helpless before that incident, DJ. It gave me a glimpse of just how this disease is progressing and it frightens me so."

"It scares me too, Sara."

Blue eyes so like her niece’s filled with tears. "I feel like such a burden to you, DJ. How long before I can no longer lift a beaker or simply turn the page of a book?"

Denise tried to hold her composure but she felt her lip tremble as tears rolled down Sara’s cheeks. "You will never be a burden, Sara, please believe that. You have been more than just my aunt for these past twenty years, you have been like a mother to me and I feel so very blessed for every second that you have been a part of my life." She wrapped an arm around Sara’s frail shoulders and drew her in close. "I will always be here for you, you will never be alone through any of this, and that is what we want to make sure of. Both Randa and myself will always be here for you. You will not be alone."

Denise held Sara until her silent tears ended. The old woman moved back slightly and looked at her niece. "And neither will you."

The poet frowned.

"I am aware of how your relationship with Randa has progressed and I am very happy for you, DJ."

Her cheeks flushed and Denise lowered her eyes. "Did she tell you then?"

"Well let us just say that I got it out of her." Sara smiled. "I am happy for you both. Randa is a lovely woman." The older woman looked into her niece’s eyes as she said, "So have you two…"

"Sara!" Denise blushed profusely, "I might have known you would ask me that!" She covered her cheeks with warm hands. "But no, we haven’t. I don’t feel ready for that just yet, you know. It also doesn’t help that I get the feeling that Randa is a lot more experienced at this kind of thing than me. Makes me feel a little like a clumsy novice." She shrugged with a wry smile.

"You know things will work themselves out, DJ, they always do." Sara placed her fingers under Denise’s chin indicating that she wanted to look her niece in the eyes. Denise looked back up at her aunt and the old woman beamed. "You are happy?"

"She makes me very happy."

"Then that is all that matters," Sara said as she kissed her niece’s cheek before turning back to the television with a smile.

Denise gazed at her aunt steadily. But is it right to feel this happy when you are going through so much?



Chapter 17


The next afternoon Randa was sitting on the front steps. Though the sky was overcast, no snow had fallen since the previous day. The temperature had dipped again overnight but the nurse, lost in thought, seemingly didn’t notice. The door opened and Denise emerged from the house bundled up snugly in her heavy jacket and wool hat.

"Hey there, everything okay?" the poet asked. You said you were just coming out to sweep the steps so when you didn’t come back in right away I thought I should come out and investigate."

Randa reached for the brunette’s hand and urged her down to the step along side of her. "I’m glad you came out here with me, but I’m really alright. I was just thinking."

"About what?"

The blonde thought a moment before speaking. "I was thinking about the last few months and how my life has completely changed. If you had told me three months ago I would be sitting in England next to someone I love with all my heart, I would have said you were a few ants short of a picnic. Crazy as that notion would have seemed at the time, nonetheless here I am."

"I am glad you’re here, Randa," Denise said as she placed the hand still linked with Randa’s into her pocket for warmth.

The nurse turned a little to look into the poet’s eyes. "It’s not just the being here that’s been on my mind. I want to tell you a few things, have wanted to for a few days now actually." She fidgeted a little, but felt Denise squeeze the hand still tucked in her pocket.

"You can tell me anything," the brunette said softly.

"Okay then," Randa started, "but just let me stumble through this as best I can. Right about now I wish I had your gift with words because this wouldn’t be so difficult for me to tell you. I want to explain to you how I feel, what has happened to me. When I first arrived and saw you at the door I thought you were the most astonishingly beautiful person I had ever seen. I’m sure you’ve had people react like that to your looks before; you’re a very attractive woman. I just wanted you to know though, that it wasn’t your external beauty that made me love you. Your internal beauty captured me a long time ago. I’m not sure I could ever make you understand how you’ve touched me with your words. Even though I had never seen your face, I felt as if I had seen your soul and it was breathtaking. I came to England and met a visually striking woman. Yesterday you told me you were…let’s call it comfortable, financially. I want, no, I need you to know that none of that means anything to me. I loved you long before I met you, you had me way before ‘hello’." The nurse paused for a moment.

"I can’t deny I’ve been involved with other people. I’ve had a few relationships but I’ve never felt the way I feel now. I used to think having someone care for me would make me feel good, but now I know that the feeling good part is all because I care about someone else. I’m so in love with you, Denise. For the first time, and I know the last time, I’m in love."

The poet sat quietly, absorbing the honest words. She was near to a response when a voice came from the pocket not containing the conjoined hands.

"Oh Lord, who I hope is the only one listening to me, please answer my prayers. Please let my niece DJ receive the wisdom she so obviously needs not to push down on the gray button when she is carrying the receiver to this monitor because then I would have to overhear more personal conversations, not that I just overheard one." Denise removed the receiver of the baby monitor from her pocket and showed it to Randa. The nurse just shook her head and groaned, "Not again."

"And Lord," Sara’s voice continued, "Let my niece and her friend, Randa, also have the wisdom to know when to come inside out of the cold and make a cup of tea for themselves and a very nice older woman as well." Denise and Randa laughed and the poet pushed the gray button. In as deep a voice as she could muster, she said "Granted."

The two women stood up, hands finally releasing but hearts closer together than ever.


That afternoon Randa went upstairs to the study for her first shift back on the Brightwood Information Network in over two weeks. Denise went with her to watch the process that had allowed the pair to first meet. While the poet was no stranger to technology, the Brightwood system was fascinating. After watching Randa field the first two questions, the poet excused herself to head downstairs to make supper. Earlier, the two women had agreed on days Randa worked the brunette would cook and help Sara get ready for bed. On Randa’s evenings off she would do the cooking and assisting for Sara.

As Denise turned to leave the room, Randa called, "I’ll miss you."

The poet smiled and told Randa she would bring a plate of food up for her later. Working undisturbed for a couple of hours, the nurse realized she would be busier on her new shift. Being online in the evening in England meant daytime in the States and the consultation room was rarely empty. She was involved with a possible case of appendicitis when Denise came up behind her with a steaming plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes and peas. Randa finished the consultation by suggesting the client go to an emergency room as soon as possible. She then logged off for her lunch break.

Turning to her supper, the blonde eyed the meal appreciatively. "Mmm, looks good. Occasionally though, I like to have dessert first." She reached up to Denise and pulled her head down for a lengthy kiss. "Oh yeah, you can put that on the menu every day if you like."

"Very lucky for you that it is the specialty of the house," Denise replied. "Maybe you would care for a second helping later?"

"Most definitely." Randa started to eat and was impressed by the poet’s cooking skills yet again. "Please send my compliments to the chef."

"Thank you, madam," said Denise "but all compliments must go to Sara. She insisted I learn to cook when I was a teenager. I may have hated it then but it has come in quite handy recently."

"How is Sara tonight?" the blonde asked.

"Tired, I think, but not too tired to tease me about her accidental eavesdropping earlier. Right now she is watching one of those Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies on the television. She said she wanted to retire after it was done. When I get her to bed, would it bother you if I came up here and did a little writing? I could lie on the foldaway bed and work. I promise not to distract you."

"Um, sure, I’d like that." Denise, in this room, on my bed. What could possibly be distracting about that? Randa finished the plate of food and gave her thanks once again to the poet.

It was another two hours before Denise reappeared. Randa felt her presence immediately. It was as if someone has turned on a radiator in the room, causing there to be a comfortable warmth around the blonde. Between consultations, Randa would sneak peeks over at the poet. Many times her head would be over a writing tablet, brows furrowed in concentration, but just as many times the nurse would look up to see blue eyes trained upon her. Finally, the shift was over and Randa rolled her head and shoulders, trying to loosen the knots accumulating there.

The nurse nearly jumped when she felt Denise’s magic hands start working on the stiff areas. Her heartbeat picked up as strong fingers worked on sensitive spots. Randa closed her eyes and lost herself in a fantasy of Denise and herself on the poet’s large bed, touching and caressing.

"Randa? You still with me?" Denise asked.

"No, but I’d like to be," replied the blonde under her breath.

"What was that?"

"Oh, nothing, just mumbling to myself. Thank you for the massage, you have very talented hands." Randa stood up and wrapped her arms around the taller woman’s waist. "How about that second helping now?"

Denise smiled and brought their lips together in a kiss that left both women feeling as if their whole world was inside that one small room. They held one another for several minutes until a small cough was heard on the portable monitor set up near the bed.

"I guess we should call it a day, Denise. Let me just take a quick look in on Sara then I’ll be ready for some sleep."

"Well, I’ll say goodnight then and I’ll see you in the morning," said the poet as she laid another quick kiss on the nurse’s lips then turned to leave the room.

"Goodnight, love."

Randa said the words aloud before she realized she had used the term of endearment. She knew she was blushing as the brunette turned and fixed the nurse with a gaze from her warm blue eyes.

"I love…that," said Denise and left Randa in the study with her thoughts.

The nurse looked down at the foldaway bed that still held the imprint of Denise’s body Was that really what you wanted to say to me, Denise? I wonder…

Chapter 18

From her bedroom window, Denise watched silently as the sun rose elegantly into the early morning sky. Higher above, the moon was still visible, creating a magnificent contrast between the amber sun and the marble moon hanging like majestic bodies in the atmosphere.

Leaning forward with both hands planted upon the natural wood of her windowsill the poet’s eyes moved lower as she studied the picturesque scene of the frozen landscape. No snow had fallen in over four weeks yet the air was so cold as to not allow the frozen flakes to melt away. Roads and pathways may have long since been cleared, either by pedestrian travelling or mobile griters, but the untouched land of the countryside still held a blanket of icy white snow.

Turning away from the window, Denise moved over to her wardrobe and pulled open the double doors. Looking out at the winter scene had left her feeling colder than usual, though the fact that she was only wearing a pair of faded blue jeans and her bra could have also accounted for that. Denise slid a sweater and tank top from their respective hangers and closed the doors. She pulled the black tank over her head and sat down upon her unmade bed, holding the sweater. That too was black and one Sara had knitted just over a year ago. Denise ran her fingers over the complex design knowing her aunt would never again be able to create such intricate patterns.

Sara’s strength had taken a rapid decline to the point where she was no longer able to move her legs and had only limited movement in her arms and upper body. She was still able to speak relatively well although she had lost more strength in her voice and it no longer sounded the same.

Both she and Randa had taken to spending more time with Sara. Sitting and watching films, television or just reading from a book or doing daily puzzles. Denise had to admit it; Randa had been wonderful with Sara. The nurse just seemed to know and understand what Sara needed better than the poet could and she was eternally grateful for that. Randa was a godsend, not only in Denise’s life but in Sara’s too, making the older woman’s last few months a joy and comfort to experience. Of course the joy part did half span from the fact that she never did get tired of teasing the poor blonde about catching her in embarrassing situations and often stated that it was a good job she wasn’t able to venture up stairs for fear of what she may find.

It always amused Denise but the truth of the matter was that their relationship hadn’t progressed from the early stages. For many reasons it seemed they had not moved from what Randa had called ‘first base’. Looking after Sara who in both their eyes always came first, often feeling tired at the end of long days and of course the poets own self-consciousness dictated the need to move slowly. Randa was happy with that and had stated that jumping into bed with somebody after the first date was an experience she had learned from. Denise never did admit it, but that also contributed to her feelings of inadequacy. She had no idea where they had sprung from, but Sara had told her during one of their conversations while the nurse was working that it was more than likely due to her lack of experience. She had to agree that maybe Sara was indeed right.

Lifting the sweater, Denise pulled it over her head and pushed her arms through the sleeves. Once she was dressed she pulled her long hair back into a loose ponytail and rose to her feet. Today the three women had decided to go out for a walk around the outskirts of the village. It was obvious that Sara was beginning to feel stagnant due to being cooped up inside for so long and she needed a change and some fresh air.

Randa had risen long before Denise and had already got Sara and herself ready for the day before the poet had even made an appearance. She had ambled downstairs in her shorts and tee shirt to find the women dressed in their warmest clothing, sitting with hot drinks and waiting for her to show. Denise was literally ushered back up stairs to go and get ready for the excursion.

Opening her bedroom door, Denise stepped out into the landing now fully dressed and ready to face their forthcoming trek. She approached the stairs and took them two at a time as she made her way to the lower level of the house. Reaching the bottom step she was greeted by Randa who was looking for her and Sara’s coats.

"Do I now pass Lady Randa’s inspection?" Denise asked with arched eyebrows.

Randa looked the poet up and down. "You’ll do, I suppose."

With a very pronounced pout, Denise folded her arms. "And after I spent the last five minutes scrubbing and buffing… that is all you have to say?"

"Oh I don’t know." Randa stepped a little closer as she asked, "What exactly does buffing involve?"

Denise let her arms fall to the side as she noticed the playful yet heated look in the blonde nurse’s eyes. She stepped even closer until they were almost touching. "Well I guess if scrubbing means getting clean then buffing would mean getting dry!"

"And that only takes you five minutes?" Randa asked, "Are you that quick at everything?"

"Hey, you were the one who told me to get my arse into gear if I recall. But no, I am not always that quick. Besides, I like to take my time with certain tasks." She lowered her voice an octave. "Believe me!" Denise smirked lazily as a flush covered the nurse’s cheeks. She was getting the hang of this whole flirting game.

"Oh I don’t know; I think may need a little more than that to believe you."


Randa nodded her head.

"Well, I have it on good authority that there are certain activities that I do prefer to… take my time in!"

"And on whose authority would that be?" Randa asked.

"Um… me!"

Blonde eyebrows disappeared under equally blonde hair. "Oh so you are that familiar with yourself are you?"

Denise shrugged. "Occasionally."

"No help from outside sources?"

The poet leaned forward as she whispered into the blonde’s ear. "A certain person does come to mind - so to speak." She moved back and looked into Randa’s eyes for as long as she could before both women could no longer hold out and they started laughing.

"You are so evil." Randa stated as she fanned her flushed cheeks.

Denise chuckled. "It must be these bad influences around me!" She took a deep breath, feeling the familiar heat that surrounded her whenever she was in such close proximity to the nurse.

"You mean it isn’t true?"

"Are we all ready to go yet?" Came Sara’s voice from the receiver hooked upon Randa’s belt.

Without replying, Denise leaned forward and kissed Randa softly before winking and exiting the hallway.


Walking across the large stone bridge, Randa — with one arm hooked through Denise’s who in turn was pushing Sara in her chair — looked down into the frozen lake below. With the temperature as cold as it was the water had been frozen over for weeks and even provided entertainment for the local children. During the past three weekends skaters, eager to try out the icy surface, had accosted the area.

Wondering what the nurse was looking at, Denise peered over Randa’s shoulder. "Bloody hell… there’s a duck frozen into the water!"

Eyes wide Randa looked across the lake. "Where?" She looked back at Denise to gauge her line of sight and noticed her mischievous grin. "Oh you!" Randa scowled, "I think you must have gotten out of the evil side of the bed this morning."

"Sorry. I couldn’t resist." Denise chuckled.

From her position in the chair, Sara rolled her eyes at her niece’s antics. The woman had been in an impish mood all morning. Looking out as they neared the far end of the bridge a thought occurred to her as she noticed a specific landmark. That gave her a wicked idea. "Randa?"

The nurse turned from her glaring at Denise to look at Sara in question. "Yes, Sara?"

"You see that tree by the edge of the grassy verge, near the post box?"

Denise groaned as Randa’s eyes scanned the area. "Yes."

"That is where DJ had her first kiss!"

"Is it?" Randa looked up at Denise.

"Sara!" The poet whined.

"Oh hush girl." Sara chewed on her lips in an effort to refrain from laughing at her niece’s obvious discomfort. She continued to address Randa, "Of course she didn’t tell me this until a few years later, but yes, that was the place."

"Who was it?" Randa asked with interest.

"Oh, you have asked for it now," Denise warned, "She loves talking about this."

"His name was Jeffery," Sara replied with amusement, "and he was the most striking boy I ever do remember."

"Good looking?"

Sara laughed. "No! He preferred to be called ‘Bullet head’. He had a multicoloured Mohican hairstyle… the colours tended to change rather frequently and his jeans held more holes than actual material. After my first meeting with him I remember DJ had proclaimed that she wanted to dye her hair. Naturally I forbade it so she made a compromise and a day later she sauntered down the stairs with bright pink hair."

Randa laughed. "No! Was it real?" She looked back at Denise who was moping silently.

"Lord no. It was one of those spray in dyes. The only problem was that it didn’t wash out of my pillow cases and by the time she had grown out of her punk phase I had to dispose of several of those blasted cases."

"So," the nurse questioned Denise, "were you a rebel?"

"I was what you would characterise as a wannabe rebel. I may have tried to look the part, but the worst thing I ever did was graffiti my name in a text book at school."

"Wild Child."

"Oh well, it was a maths book… never my favourite subject."

Randa moved closer to Denise’s side for warmth. "I suppose your favourite was the English language."

"You guessed it!"

Denise smiled as she remembered how in the beginning she had no choice but to be interested in English, especially literature. With Sara as her teacher for one term at school she was compelled to make sure she excelled in the subject.

Sara worked as a substitute teacher and travelled around the local schools covering absent tutors. Denise always remembered the shock she felt while sitting in class one day waiting for their lesson to begin when all of a sudden Sara walked in. The substitute had declared that due to their usual teacher’s maternity leave she was the classes’ temporary tutor. It wasn’t long before the Jennings surname was recognised by the poet’s classmates and the teasing began. Luckily, being one of the tallest and most imposing members of the class, Denise could usually silence them by a well-placed cold stare. Yes, Denise remembered, sometimes it felt good to be intimidating.


When they returned home Sara was so exhausted that Denise had taken her straight to bed, where she immediately fell asleep. After closing the curtains and assuring that the monitor was on, Denise turned around to find Randa standing in the door way. She approached the nurse and placed a hand on her right shoulder. Randa covered the larger appendage with her own hand.

"She’s really… it’s really taking hold isn’t it?"

Randa nodded silently.

"I hardly recognise her voice any more. Everything seems like such a chore to her." Denise rubbed her forehead with a painful sigh. "God I hate this, Randa." She looked back at the silent sleeping form resting peacefully in her bed. "I really hate this."

"I know, love." Randa pulled Denise into her arms as she noticed the first tear fall from the poet’s eyes.

Denise closed her eyes tight trying hard not to let her emotions get the better of her, but it was no use and her tears came anyway.

Silently, Randa led them away from Sara’s bedroom door and back into the kitchen where she leaned against the work surface and pulled Denise into her arms.

"I’m sorry," the poet sniffed.

"Never be sorry to show how you really feel," Randa said as she looked at Denise with her own tearful green eyes. "Your emotions are what make you human. They craft the person that you are and help you write the way that you do. It’s what makes you, you."

Without replying, Denise placed her forehead upon Randa’s shoulder. "Sometimes it’s like I forget, you know… and then suddenly it occurs to me… Sara’s dying." She looked back into Randa’s eyes. "She is the only family I have left now. My mother was adopted and my father had only one sister. When they died the only person I had left in the entire world was Sara, and when she dies…"

"You will have me," Randa stated.

"Will I?"

"Yes," the nurse answered seriously.

Denise brushed away the single tear that lazily made its way down Randa’s own cheek. "We make a right pair, don’t we!!"

"I hope so."

With a smile, Denise pulled the woman closer to her, glad to have her in her arms and in her life.



Chapter 19


Randa looked at the small calendar attached to her checkbook. It amazed her that January had flown by and it was well into February already. She wrote out the payments for her monthly bills and noted with satisfaction a modest amount still left over even though she had cut her hours per week down. Must have slipped into a lower tax bracket or something she thought. The small excess was welcome because the nurse had spent a little of the cash on a surprise for Denise. Her mom had slipped the present in with Randa’s usual shipment of bills and letters. When the poet had commented on the heavy yellow envelope’s weight, Randa had nonchalantly said, "Must be my nursing journals." Denise hadn’t questioned it. The nurse had saved the surprise for a day when she thought Denise would need it and it appeared that day was now.

Randa thought back to events earlier in the day. She had the receiver to the monitor with her during the night and thought she heard sounds of distress on it. Not taking time to wake Denise, she moved quickly down the stairs and into Sara’s room. The older woman was weeping openly.

"Sara, what’s wrong? What’s the matter, sweetie? Are you in pain?"

Sara shook her head and choked out the words, "The bed."

Randa checked the bed and found the source of Sara’s upset. Throwing on the internal and external nurse’s mask, she brought her eyes up to the older woman.

"Don’t worry Sara, I’ll take care of this. I’ll get you cleaned up in a jiffy and into some fresh clothing and up into the wheelchair, okay?"

"But Denise…" began Sara.

"Doesn’t need to be involved this morning," Randa finished. The nurse fetched a basin with warm soapy water and proceeded to give the other woman a thorough bed bath, being sure to first place large towels between Sara and the damp linens. Randa kept up a line of general chatter as she used her professional skills of assessment. Sara’s skin condition was good. Randa and Denise had taken to coming downstairs two or three times during the night to turn the older woman. Since Sara lost use of her legs she was unable to do this on her own anymore. Sara’s buttocks, hips, ankles and heels all looked good and Randa applied a fragrant lotion to these areas after rinsing and drying them. Helping Sara into her clothes was a struggle as was getting her into the wheelchair alone. Usually the poet and nurse worked in tandem at these jobs but today Randa knew Sara didn’t want Denise involved.

Once Sara was safely in her wheelchair, Randa took the wet linen to the washing machine and started them on a long cycle. Returning to Sara, Randa took a seat in a chair beside her. Reaching over, the nurse took Sara’s hand in her own.

"Oh, Randa, I’m so embarrassed! I could tell what was happening but I could do nothing to stop it."

"I know, Sara, I know. I’m a nurse, remember? We can take care of this easily but right now I need for you to be calm so we can talk and make a few decisions. After I explain your options, you can tell me what you want to do, alright?"

Sara nodded and Randa talked to her. She was matter of fact in giving Sara her options and when the discussion was concluded, the older woman was calm and clear about her decisions.

"Okay, Sara, I’m going to wake Denise up and let her know what’s happening and how you have decided to handle it. After breakfast we’ll call Dr. Macarthur and have him help us with the arrangements. All this okay by you?"

"Yes. Thank you, Randa."

Randa stopped in the study just long enough to get the receiver and then headed to Denise’s bedroom. Opening the door quietly, the nurse peeked in. Denise was sound asleep, her hair tousled on the pillow. Randa crept to the bedside and couldn’t resist placing a tender kiss on slightly open lips. Denise’s mouth curved up in a sleepy smile and said, "Jeffery, is that you?"

Randa smacked the brunette on her arm and replied, "You better not be dreaming of Bullet Head." The two women chuckled and Denise drew Randa in for a hug. It took all of five seconds for them to realize they were both on Denise’s bed in little more than sleep shirts.

"Mmm, this is nice," Denise murmured.

"This is nicer," was the blonde’s reply as she brought her lips once again to the poet’s. For long moments they reveled in the pure bliss of the contact. Randa brought her hand up and lightly stroked the curve of Denise’s breast. At the brunette’s sharp intake of breath, Randa was brought back to the reality of why she had sought Denise out in the first place. With more than a little reluctance, Randa sat up.

Willing her breathing back under control, Randa said, "You’re almost irresistible like this, but we have to talk."

Denise heard the serious note in Randa’s voice and sat up quickly. "What is it? Is Sara okay?"

The nurse put a reassuring hand on the brunette’s arm. "She’s fine, but she had a problem this morning. Do you remember when we discussed how the course of Sara’s illness would go and what problems she would have?" At the poet’s nod, Randa continued. "This morning she lost control of her bladder. It was pretty upsetting for her."

Denise made as to rise from the bed, but was stopped by Randa’s hands on her shoulders. "It’s fine now. I got her cleaned, dressed and up in the wheelchair. She didn’t want you to see her like that." The nurse waited a moment as Denise processed the information. "After breakfast we need to call the doctor, Denise. We’re going to need a few things. At the least we are going to need a hospital type bed and a neck support for her wheelchair. We also need to get her a catheter. I don’t want her to have the kind of embarrassment she had this morning. If they deliver it, I’ll place it in today."

Denise could only nod in agreement. Randa leaned forward and placed a light kiss on the poet’s nose. "Might as well get up, we’ve got a lot of work to do."

That had been in the morning and now it was after 9:00 p.m. Randa stood up from the desk in the study and went to the foldaway bed. From underneath it she brought forth a large shopping bag. Taking the bag she made her way downstairs to the living room. Denise wanted to stay with Sara for a while after the pair had got the older woman into bed. The new hospital bed let Sara have her head raised, which eased her breathing. A mechanical lift had also been delivered to assist with getting Sara in and out of bed. It would only be used when either Randa or Denise was not available. The catheter supplies had been delivered and Randa had inserted the device. Sara attempted to hide her dismay at losing another bodily function, but Randa saw how disappointed she was.

Randa heard Denise quietly close Sara’s bedroom door and come down the hall to the living room.

"What’s all this then?" asked the poet as her eyes took in Randa’s preparations.

"What does it look like? It’s an indoor picnic, of course." Denise lowered herself to the blanket as the nurse explained the setting. "We have some hot chocolate direct from the kitchen, a few tarts I picked up at the bakery yesterday and we have entertainment in this little videocassette."

The poet nodded at a bare branch sticking out of a vase at the foot of the blanket. "And that would be?"

"Well, I got that yesterday too. That’s directly off the tree where you got your first kiss. I was jealous I wasn’t there for it at the time, so I thought you might like to try it again now, with me."

Denise smiled and leaned forward to bring her lips flush onto Randa’s. After a moment, the poet leaned back and sighed, "Much better than Jeffery."

"Yeah? I’m better, huh? Take that, Jeffery!" the blonde hooted.

"Definitely better. Jeffery didn’t taste like he had just nicked a tart."

"Whoops, guess I’m busted. Okay then, let’s move on to the entertainment. I want to get to know everything about you, Denise, and I want you to know everything about me so I had my mom video transfer all her pictures and slides of me onto this videotape. What you have here is the Miranda Leigh Martin story in pictures in just 28 minutes."

The poet settled with her back against the couch as the nurse popped the tape in the VCR. Randa rejoined Denise and snuggled into the brunette’s arms. As the pictures began to appear on the screen, Randa would explain how old she was and what was happening in the picture. All went smoothly until a particular picture popped up.

"Mom!! I said not to include that one! Oh my God, does the humiliation never end?" The nurse hid her fiercely blushing face in her hands.

Denise took Randa’s hands in her own and said, "What’s a picture show without a shot of a bare bottomed baby?" Randa just rolled her eyes and groaned as Denise continued. "Besides, I think it’s adorable. I think you’re adorable now." The poet’s voice lowered with the last few words and Randa felt the surge of excitement she always felt when Denise talked to her in that tone.

"Randa, thank you for doing this. This was a difficult day for all of us, but I’m glad it’s ending so much better than it started out." Denise met Randa’s lean halfway and the kiss was hot, sweet and exploring. As the kiss deepened, Randa brought their still joined hands up. She placed the poet’s hands on her breasts and covered them with her own. The soft touches and caresses to the blonde’s body ended when the kiss did. Both women sat back, a little dazed and breathless.

"Wow, what was that?" asked Denise.

Randa just smiled and snuggled back up against the poet. "That, my friend, was second base." The women laughed, picked up their hot chocolate and resumed watching the video.


It was past midnight. Through the open curtains of her bedroom window DJ could see a multitude of ancient stars sparkling in the ebony sky. She lay on her back, hands behind her head as she stared at the random patterns and imagined making shapes out of the scattering of glimmering balls of gas.

She and Randa had retired to their separate beds over an hour ago, but she had yet to fall asleep. The unexpected changes of the day had left her feeling somewhat bemused and the stark reality of Sara’s decline was slammed into her consciousness once again as she witnessed the medical equipment being delivered to their house. Deciding where to store Sara’s old bed had been the biggest headache for her, but eventually she had decided on the garden shed and one of the gentlemen who assisted in delivering the medical supplies had helped her carry the heavy wooden frame, mattress and headboard outside. She did consider putting it in the study for Randa but knew it wouldn’t have been a very logical move as it would have left hardly any room for them to move while working.

With a frown, Denise sat up in her bed and turned on the lamp by her bedside. She looked at the clock on the wall and was surprised to see that it had already turned one o’clock. Sighing, she crossed her legs and looked around the room for something to do; not feeling in the least bit tired was beginning to get rather annoying. She was supposed to go down and turn Sara at around two o’clock but usually was able to get a few hours sleep before then. Tonight she was not so lucky.

Pulling the covers from her body, Denise slipped out of bed and onto the thick pile of the carpeted flooring. She looked around her minimal room. Maybe I should just try and keep my mind busy; that could wear me out a little, she sighed, but I still need to go and turn Sara in a while. Opening her bedroom door she stepped out onto the landing.

The dark space instantly illuminated with the dim light from her bedside lamp as she wandered out and into the house. Quietly she made her way downstairs and into the kitchen where she grabbed a small carton of juice from the refrigerator before heading back up stairs. As Denise reached the top step and pushed a small straw into her juice carton she was surprised to see the study door slowly open and a blonde head poke out.

"Can’t sleep?" Randa asked.

DJ took a drink before she answered. "No, I had these awful nightmares about bare bottom babies coming to get me and now I am just too afraid to close my eyes."

"Oh you poor thing!" Randa pouted with false sincerity and obvious mirth. "Are there any times of the day when you do have a down period? You always seem so aware; you even wake up alert."

"Just a curse I guess."

"So what are you up to now?"

Denise looked around before her eyes moved back to Randa. "Well I was in the middle of a post midnight wandering. Care to join me? I promise not to make fun of your sleep rumpled hair."

"Such chivalry," Randa said as she emerged fully from the bedroom while pressing down her disobedient locks. "How about we turn Sara first?"

"Okay." Denise replied and together the women ventured down the stairs to check upon the older woman.

Once done and with Sara resting comfortably again, Denise walked over to the living room window. She looked up into the sky and said, "Uh oh!"

Randa quietly approached as she whispered, "What is it?"

Denise pointed up at the sky. "The stars have disappeared, my guess is that we are about to get some rain. Not that it would be a bad thing I suppose. It did feel like the temperature was lifting a little yesterday. Still it’s a shame, I do love the stars… they remind me of a poem I read while I was at college."

Randa moved to stand in front of DJ and the poet instinctively wrapped her arms around the smaller body. "What poem?" The nurse asked.

"It is called, ‘The Light of Stars’ by Longfellow." Denise paused as she tried to remember the first two verses.

"The night is come, but not too soon;

And sinking silently,

All silently, the little moon

Drops down behind the sky.

There is no light in earth or heaven

But the cold light of stars;

And the first watch of the night is given

To the red planet Mars"

Randa smiled. "That’s nice."

Nodding, Denise buried her nose in the mass of blonde hair. "I always liked the last verse, it was so poignant." She closed her eyes as she remembered the final lines.

"Fear not in a world like this,

And thou shalt know ere long,

Know how sublime a thing it is

To suffer and be strong."

Reopening her eyes, Denise ran her hands over Randa’s bare arms as she looked back into the sky. "Randa?"


Denise paused, suddenly not sure what she wanted to say. It was a familiar feeling around the blonde nurse and if truth were told, DJ was slightly unsure what exactly her feelings were. She had no doubt about what her body felt, Denise knew she wanted Randa — in every sense of the word, even with her self consciousness. Just the memory of her hands on Randa not many hours before had created stirring feelings inside of her, but the fact remained that she was still confused.

Denise had never been in love before and she would freely admit it, even though she seemed capable of writing about it. So faced with somebody who had so openly declared their love, DJ was afraid to voice her own feelings for the plain fear of not fully understanding if what she was feeling was indeed love. The weakness she felt in her knees, the way her heart fluttered in her chest whenever the blonde smiled, the way in which Randa was so capable of stealing her breath away with just a single kiss alone. Denise wanted to put a name to these feelings, but felt afraid to face something she had never before known. So instead she followed her heart and spoke with actions rather than words. For a woman who lived by the written word it was a unique experience.

"I um…"

Still standing with her back flush against Denise chest, Randa looked up and to the side. "What is it?" When no answer was forthcoming Randa turned around in Denise’s arms. She looked up into clear eyes shimmering in the distant light of a street lamp. "Denise, are you alright?"

Denise gazed at Randa and nodded silently. "Do you want to sit?"

Randa nodded, seeming slightly confused by the poet’s behaviour. "Sure."

Taking Randa’s hand, Denise led her over to the wide three-seated sofa. She sat down quietly and pulled Randa down beside her to sit on the edge. Then she moved back and lay down on her side with her back against the couch. Randa followed suit, laying her own back against Denise as the poet wrapped her free arm around and pulled her in close.

With a deep contented sigh, Denise asked, "Are you comfortable?"

Randa nodded as she held onto the arm draped over her waist. Threading their fingers together she pulled their entwined hands up to her chest and held them just under her chin. "Hmm, comfortable."

Feeling content with the warmth of the fire and the luxurious feel of the body flush against her own, Denise began to feel the first stirrings of the slumber that had eluded her all night. Releasing her hand from Randa’s grasp, Denise reached up and pulled the throw from the back of the couch, settling it over their bodies. "Is this okay?" She asked in a whisper.

"Very okay." Randa replied as she retrieved the poet’s hand.

With a sleepy smile Denise closed her eyes. Within minutes both women were fast asleep.


It was the ringing of the doorbell that roused both Denise and Randa from a light sleep. Two sets of eyes opened to the bright reality of a new day as the rising sun shone into the cool living room. They had both gotten up once more during the night to see to Sara and during that time the fire had died a cold death leaving the room at a rather chilly temperature. Neither Randa nor Denise had made any vocal acknowledgement of the fact that they had spent the night together on the sofa but the poet knew that her ability to actually get to sleep had been greatly increased by a certain nurse’s presence.

With a groaned, "I’ll get it," Denise extricated herself from behind Randa as the nurse got up to go and see Sara.

Denise peeked through the spy hole on the door before she opened it and noticed the red Royal Mail van followed by the young man in the traditional navy uniform. With a cursed sigh to the only person who would send her mail ‘next day recorded delivery’, Denise opened the door and greeted the postman.

"Morning. Delivery for you, Miss." He handed Denise the large brown padded envelope, "If you will just print your name here then sign and date there," he pointed to a document upon a small clip board, "I’ll be on my way."

"Sure." Denise took the offered pen and signed her name. She frowned in thought before asking, "What date is it?"

"Thirteenth of February!" The young man replied, "One of our busiest times of the year."

"How so?" Denise asked still not fully comprehending the postman’s remarks.

"Valentines Day tomorrow!" He replied

"Oh yeah, of course." Denise dated the form and handed the clipboard back to the young man. He accepted it with a smile before turning and walking back down the pathway.

Denise closed the door quietly and walked into the living room. Randa was kneeling by the fire placing a fresh amount of coal into the hearth.

"I’ve already checked on Sara and she’s still sleeping." Randa looked back at the lumps of coal she was placing into the hearth. "I am doing this right? This is just from memory and watching you do it all these times."

"Perfectly." Denise replied as she opened the package. Lifting the lip of the envelope she looked inside before reaching in and pulling out the contents. There was a small pile of book cover designs for her to look over. She read the accompanying letter from Carl with a measured amount of interest. There were still a couple of months before her new book was even going to be at its covers design stage, yet Carl would always send her information and ideas on the hopes of one day getting her to place a picture of herself on the back cover. It had obviously never worked.

It wasn’t that Carl didn’t respect her need for privacy and anonymity. The trouble was that he just wanted to see the day when the shrouded D Jennings would be revealed and he knew that day would come. Carl was her editor after all and as he often stated, he wanted the world to see the person he knew.

Randa finished re-building the fire and looked up at Denise who was in the midst of reading the cover letter from Carl’s package. "Anything interesting?" She questioned, rising to her feet.

"Just more bumf from the publishers. Carl… my editor… he’s just sent me a few cover ideas for the new book. He likes to keep me on my feet, and make sure I am still working away."

"Does he know about Sara?"

Denise shrugged a little guiltily. "He knows she is unwell, but I never told him just what the problem was." She looked at Randa timidly before putting the mail back inside the envelope and placing it upon the mantle. "I know I should tell him but I," she sighed, "hell… truth be told I’m just not good at telling people things like that." Denise shook her head as she moved back over to the sofa and sat down upon the discarded throw. "Pretty awful huh? For many reasons I should say something, but I am just too damn scared. Maybe by leading people to believe that Sara is just under the weather at the moment leaves a slight air of possibility that she may get better… even though I know that possibility is in the eyes of other people. At least it means they don’t act like she is dying. That air of gloom and nervous sensitivity due to making sure they don’t say the wrong things. I remember when my parents died; some people would actually cross the road when they saw Sara and I walking down the street. I know it was mainly because they didn’t know what to say but it still hurt."

With a sad smile, Randa sat down beside DJ. "I do know what that’s like, Denise. My mom went through something similar when my dad died. Some people just don’t know how to act when faced with death."

"Yeah!" Denise laughed ironically. "For such an every day occurrence and reality in life, it’s the one thing we are all most afraid of. Death… the unknown… the most terrifying yet assured aspect in all our lives and the one thing with an unequivocal guarantee." Looking down at her palm, Denise’s free hand traced the lifeline in the centre of her hand. "Do you believe death is the end, Randa?"

"No," she stated simply and took Denise’s hand. "I’ve seen more than my fair share of death over the years and I could never believe it was the end. I didn’t want to. Whether we all go up to heaven or return in another life, I truly believe death is not the end. The spirit is a strong force… I don’t think even death can hold that back."

Feeling a surge of devotion as she listened to Randa’s honest words, Denise cupped the nurse’s face and leaned in, kissing her softly upon her lips. "Thank you."

"What for?"

With a shrug and tiny shake of her head, Denise kissed her again. "For always knowing what to say to make me feel better. You must have a gift. You’re just wonderful, you know?" She leaned in again but froze as she heard the unmistakable sound of Sara’s voice coming through the monitor. "That’s our cue." She said quietly as she rose, pulling Randa with her and together the smiling women headed in to see Sara.


It was early evening and while Randa was upstairs working, Sara was in the living room watching the evening news while Denise was sitting on the floor searching through the lower cupboard of the mahogany, free standing unit.

Sara sat in her chair feeling a lot more comfortable now that she had the neck brace to keep herself up right a little better. Although she would admit to hate having to wear it, the brace did provide unquestionable relief. For that alone the older woman would happily wear the support.

With amusement, Sara looked down at her niece wondering again what the younger woman was up to.

Denise reached inside the middle cupboard as she pulled out handfuls of compact disks. She glanced at each case one by one as she read the labels. What the hell do you have to do to find anything in this house?

"What are you up to?" Sara asked.

Turning frowning eyes up toward her aunt, Denise folded her arms. "I was looking for that relaxation CD, you know the one with the sounds of the countryside. Distant life, the wind, birds, rippling water… yada yada."

"The one that you used to listen to… when you wanted to relax your mind to sleep?"


"Why do you need that, honey?" she asked, her voice hoarse and her speech slow.

Denise shrugged. "I’ve been having trouble getting to sleep and I remembered how it used to help me. Last night was so bad that I ended up wandering around the house until I think I woke Randa up. She talked with me for a while and eventually we fell sleep on the sofa together."

Sara smiled inside. "Maybe your body is trying to tell you something."

"Yeah." Denise replied as she turned back to continue her searching. She pulled out another handful of compact disks, "That if I don’t find this CD, the only way I will be able to get any sleep is to wake other members of this house up and get them to talk me into unconsciousness."

Sara wanted to shake her head at her niece’s lack of understanding. She sincerely hoped she would realise what was so plainly written all over her face. Sara had an idea. "You know, DJ, it’s Valentines Day tomorrow."

"That was something I forgot until this morning. Unfortunately I haven’t really had any time to think or do anything about it yet."

"I have an idea… if you’re interested?"

Blue eyes perked up hopefully. "What?"

"Well, it will involve surprising Randa, and you taking her out tomorrow night."

The poet shook her head. "Oh no, we are not leaving you just to go out. That isn’t right."

"Of course it is, silly!"

Denise arched her eyebrows.

"Diane will come around and visit me tomorrow night, it will be no problem and you know that. She will be more than happy to sit with me for a couple of hours while you take Randa to a certain place that if you remember she did mention the other day."

Denise frowned as she tried to remember what Sara was talking about — it soon came to her. Randa had suggested getting take out food and stated that she liked Mexican but Denise had told her that there was only one Mexican restaurant within sixty miles of the area and it didn’t cater to the take out industry. "You mean take her out for a meal to that Mexican place?"


"You think so?"

"Yes and it should be… a surprise."

"Hmm." The poet pondered thoughtfully. "Are you sure you will be alright?"

"Yes." Sara answered, hoping Denise would go for her idea. She desperately needed a push in the right direction.

"Okay." Denise quit her CD search and instead started looking for the Yellow Pages. "Lets hope I can get a table!"



Chapter 20


"Is your figure less than Greek?

Is your mouth a little weak?

When you open it to speak,

Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me.

Not if you care for me,

Stay, little Valentine, stay

Each day is Valentine’s Day."

Randa finished "My Funny Valentine" on a slow sweet note. Well, it’s a slow sweet note to me, but I bet cats are howling for miles around she thought. She had always sung in the shower and the songs that flowed across her mind and past her lips could usually gauge her mood. For the weeks she had been in the Jennings household though, she had suppressed that activity. Today, however, was Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, and Randa gave in to the urge to sing.

Hearing Savage Garden in her head, Randa started singing

"I want to stand with you on a mountain,

I want to bathe with you in the sea,

I want to lay like this forever,

Until the sky falls down on me…"

Randa finished up the romantic ballad and stepped from the shower. Wonder if Valentine’s Day is as big a deal here as it is in America?

Her mind wandered back to when her father was still alive. He loved the day and always went out of his way to make it special for his wife and daughter. He sent flowers, brought chocolates and when Randa was older, always took them out for the evening. They might play miniature golf, visit an arcade or just go out for a fancy supper. Where they went wasn’t important, it was the love he showed for his spouse and child that always impressed Randa. When the evening ended, her parents would tuck her in and spend the rest of the evening together. As a child, Randa thought it must have been boring for them just being together, but when she grew up she realized that time, for the two of them, was the most precious.

Dressing quickly, the nurse joined Denise and Sara in the kitchen. Denise was feeding Sara oatmeal and working on her own breakfast as well.

"Good morning again," Randa said and gave each of the Jennings women a kiss on the cheek. Denise and Randa had been up earlier in the morning, bathing and dressing Sara then assisting her into the wheelchair. Though Sara’s body weakened her mind stayed sharp and she enjoyed talking and teasing with the two younger women.

Taking the spoon from Denise, the nurse said "Let me help Sara with her breakfast and you eat yours before it gets cold. By the way, Happy Valentine’s Day."

Sara looked surprised and said, "Can you believe how rapidly this month is going by? We’re almost halfway through already."

"I was thinking the very same thing myself," Denise said. "I need to remember to get that letter to Carl out to the post today." Sara nodded in agreement.

"So," Randa said hopefully as she spooned up another bite of the hot oatmeal for Sara, "Are there any special Valentine’s Day traditions here in England?"

Denise appeared thoughtful. "No, not really. It’s just not a big celebration here."

Randa tried to hide her disappointment. Her visions of a romantic day with Denise were stopped cold. Maybe next year Denise and I can start some new traditions of our own. The nurse felt a warmth rush through her as she contemplated a future with the brunette. That’s a first for me, but it feels wonderful.

Outwardly, Randa asked, "So what’s on the agenda today?"

Denise shrugged. "I thought I might work on the book a little this morning. This afternoon I had hoped to organize my files and my CD’s. I seem to be having problems finding things I need lately."

Well, that’s a romantic day thought the blonde. "Oh, Denise, remind me to return one of your CD’s. I found a relaxation CD with country sounds on it and I borrowed it because I was having a little trouble sleeping. The last two nights though, I haven’t seemed to have needed it." She watched as Denise blushed and knew they were both thinking of the last two nights together on the couch.

After the first night it seemed natural that both women had gravitated downstairs and to each other. Randa felt some wall between them had been breached and felt closer to Denise than ever. The emotional closeness had been mirrored by a physical closeness as sometime during the night Randa had turned in her sleep to face the brunette. The first sight Randa saw on waking was the sleeping face of the beautiful poet. The blonde had sighed softly in contentment.

Randa thought back to a fairy tale she had read as a young girl about the Light Princess. For a hundred kisses from the Prince, he received one kiss from the Princess and felt himself too well repaid. That’s what I am she had thought. What did I ever do to deserve the presence of this woman in my life? I am too well repaid.

Blue eyes had opened in front of her and were studying her intently. "What are you thinking about, Randa?"

Randa smiled. "Fairy tales, and how I never believed in them until now."

Denise appeared to like that answer because she tightened her hold around the nurse that had started in their sleep. The blonde watched as blue eyes moved closer then closed as the poet kissed her tenderly. Too well repaid flitted through Randa’s mind before she lost herself completely to the sensation created by Denise. It was only after some moments that the women became aware of their bodies being pressed together in an intimate way with Randa’s leg between Denise’s longer ones. The blonde felt a powerful rush of hunger for the woman before her. I want to make love to her she thought.

Caution warred with desire as thoughts raced through Randa’s mind. Okay, Denise seems to enjoy the kissing and touching with me but she’s never showed me she’s ready for the next step. I don’t even know if she’s been with a woman before. I’ve got to take this as slow as she needs. Slow it down, Miranda. You know she’s the love of your life, you’ve got time.

Randa moved back and slowly eased out of Denise’s embrace. The brunette asked, "Is something wrong?"

The blonde laughed. "No, something is too right. We just don’t have the time right now for me to show you exactly how right it is. We just might be able to squeeze in a cup of tea before Sara wakes up though."

The moment had passed and now a day that started out so promising looked like it was going to turn out like the others before it.

"Sara, just because Denise is going to do the reclusive poet thing doesn’t mean we’re stuck here too. How about a short turn about the town? I feel like a little fresh air."

"Sounds like an excellent plan to me. If you’ll just assist me with my coat and scarf, I’ll be ready to go."

Randa went to fetch the older woman’s things and her own jacket as well. Denise followed her into the hall.

"You’re not upset with me because I’m working, are you?" the poet asked. The blonde turned to face her.

"No, of course not." Randa reached up and pulled Denise down for a steamy kiss that was punctuated by the nurse’s hands moving from the poet’s thighs to her breasts in a brief but passionate mapping. Pulling herself away with extreme reluctance, Randa said in a growl, "God, you have just got to learn how to celebrate Valentine’s Day."

With that Randa returned to Sara and headed out into the cool fresh air.


While the women were out, Denise had double-checked her table at the restaurant that evening. She couldn’t help but smile as she remembered the look of disappointment so obvious on Randa’s face, even if she had tried to hide it. Denise hoped she would like this surprise. She had never done anything like this before so considered herself a novice in the arts of romance. How hard could it be? She wondered, then had to decide how she would accomplish her plan. She did want to surprise Randa and that meant waiting until they almost had to leave the house before springing the surprise upon her. Denise thought on how to best carry out that feat.

She was still locked away in her study when she heard Randa return with Sara. Denise waited until she had finished copying a hand written sonnet onto her computer before going downstairs to ask them how their walk had been. Though it had rained yesterday the air was once again cooling and last night Denise had been sure she heard hail stones hammering against the living room window.

Descending the stairs, Denise entered the living room to find Randa helping Sara off with her coat.

"Nice walk?" She asked looking at the white box upon Sara’s lap.

"Cold walk," Randa replied.

"Aww," Denise said as she placed her arm around Randa and rubbed her arms with a friction of warmth. She looked at Sara in question. "So… what’s in the box?" The poet was positive she recognized the design.

"Ah ha." Sara responded. "Not for you missy. This is for when Diane visits me tonight. It is always nice to see her so I thought I would surprise her with her favourite treat."

"Please don’t tell me you have a jumbo sized chocolate éclair in there and you are not going to let me have any?"

Randa laughed as she watched the sulk forming on the poet’s features.

"Okay I wont." Sara replied, "Besides they are not the jumbo ones."

"They?" Denise asked hopefully.

"Does she always act this way when you bring cream cakes into the house?" Randa asked.

"Always." Sara replied, "If you ever want anything doing. The chimney sweeping, the floor cleaning, the garden digging, just wave an éclair under her nose and ask away. I came across this amusing fact when she was younger and have selfishly used it to my best advantage ever since."

"Oh, maybe I’ll remember that," Randa said as she watched Denise try to take a peak inside the box. She slapped her hand away with a look of warning.

"Well." Denise stated, releasing Randa and moving backwards, "I better get back to my work if you guys are not going to relent." With a sigh she turned and approached the door. "See you later."

Sara watched her niece exit the room with affectionate eyes.

"Do you think we should have told her we brought her one for lunch?"

"Nope" Sara replied, "It will be a surprise when she comes down later. Of course you can always use it for bargaining material if you like. She is excellent with an iron. Unless you have some other completely wicked idea in mind," she winked conspiratorially.


Denise had stayed in her study all day, not even emerging for lunch. She knew they would be eating in the evening so decided to forgo food until that time, knowing she was prone to experimentation whenever she ate out at foreign eateries. Randa had emerged upstairs twice to see whether she wanted food, but Denise had declined saying she was too busy to stop and didn’t want to disrupt her flow. She had, however, left her room once to assist Randa when she had asked for her help with Sara.

By early evening Denise had decided to call it a day and glanced at her watch. It was fast approaching six o’clock and she knew she needed to be ready to take Randa out by seven. The table was booked for eight and it was a forty-minute drive into the only town to have a Mexican restaurant. El Macho. She had been there once before with Carl and his wife during a meeting so she knew how best to time herself.

Denise walked out into the landing and listened to the sounds coming from the lower part of the house. She could hear one of Sara’s favourite soaps starting and knowing Randa had a tendency to sit and watch it with her, she decided she might as well get herself ready.

Forty minutes later Denise was standing in front of the full length mirror on the back of her wardrobe door. She was dressed in an ivory satin shirt that Sara had bought for her last year. The older woman said it reminded her of a ‘poetic writer’s style shirt’ with slightly flared cuffs and a loose fit. The blouse travelled down to the top of her legs where she wore black hipster style trousers, held up by nothing more than a small zip. Shrugging and hoping she looked presentable, Denise pulled on a pair of black heeled boots bolstering her height by several inches. Lets go. She closed the wardrobe door, turned off her light, and headed down the stairs.

Denise walked into the room to find both women engaged in light conversation. "Hey."

Two sets of eyes turned in her direction, one pair with hidden delight, and the other with bemused confusion.

"Um…" Denise looked again at her watch before looking up at Randa and beckoning the nurse with her index finger.

With an obvious frown Randa rose and followed Denise out of the room. Green eyes looked the poet up and down in question.

"I know this is short notice, but I wanted it to be a surprise."

"What’s a surprise?" Randa asked.

"Us… going out. We have to leave just as soon as Diane arrives."

The nurse never lost her look of confusion. "Denise, what are you talking about?"

"Valentines Day." The poet smiled.

"But you said…"

Denise flapped her hands. "I say a lot of things," she smirked, "Did you really think I would forget the most romantic day of the year? It’s not like your singing this morning didn’t let me know just how much it means to you too. Come on, I’ve had this booked since yesterday."

Randa looked down at herself self-consciously. "But look at me, I’m not dressed to go out anywhere."

"You look beautiful. Hey, I only changed out of my jeans because they had a hole in the knee. You on the other hand always look presentable." The poet noted the unsure look upon Randa’s face. "But okay… if you want we have about five minutes to go until Diane arrives so you better hurry."

With a bright smile, Randa leaned up and kissed Denise before taking off up the stairs two at a time.

Shaking her head, Denise walked back into the living room with a grin.

"I take it Randa was pleasantly surprised?"

Denise chuckled. "She just bounded up stairs to make sure she is presentable enough to leave the house!"

"She always looks presentable," Sara said with amusement.

"That’s what I said."

"Well just remember," The older woman stated with sincerity, "Chivalry is not dead just a forgotten art. Remember to open doors for her, pull out her chair… you know all the little things us girls like."

"Whatever happened to equality? I am a girl too you know."

"Ah, but this is your surprise so you have to do the courting and the wining and dining."

"Hmm." Denise frowned in thought. "So, do you think I should wear my leather jacket? That way if we come across any puddles I can cover them for her to walk over and the jacket will still remain pretty much dry for me to wear after."

Sara narrowed her eyes. "One day that smart-alecky mouth of yours will get you into trouble young girl, you mark my words. And don’t you forget what I said by the way!"

Denise smiled as she kissed Sara on cheek. "Yes ma’am," she replied only just reining in her urge to salute her aunt.


They drove through the brightly lit city centre in companionable silence as Randa looked out the window at the nightlife — such as it was. Although there was only one nightclub, each road held at least four pubs that were all brimming with life. It seemed there was a football match and the larger pubs held large boards outside informing the public that they had the satellite link and a large wide screen television. Whenever England’s first team was playing the whole country knew about it.

Denise steered the Lexus down a smaller street and pulled into a semi-circled car park. Trees lined the entire arch of the area. "Well, here we are."

"Where?" Randa looked around

"El Macho." Denise replied and pointed to the building behind them, "the only Mexican around here. I remember you said… well Sara reminded me… that you said you liked Mexican food, so I hope this is okay. I figured Mexican to you is like what Indian and Chinese food is to us."

Randa’s eyes filled with delight. "Denise, this is just great."

The poet smiled affectionately. "Lets go then."

Randa placed her hand on the door to exit the car but Denise stopped her. "Whoa, nope, that’s my job."

"Denise," Randa chuckled, "I can open my door!"

"I am sure you can but when Sara gives me the third degree, asking how the evening went and I tell her that you did in fact open a door yourself, she will have my hide!"

Randa laughed.

"Just play along, okay? I think Sara wants to know that I treated you with the utmost respect."

Randa leaned towards Denise. "Not too much respect I hope?" She kissed Denise softly and the poet happily responded.

"Well in that case, you’re on your own if we come across a puddle!" Denise replied with a laugh and Randa frowned. "Just joking, I will explain later."

The nurse nodded. "You better," she replied and kissed Denise again.


When the two women arrived home the house was pleasantly peaceful. Denise was the first to walk into the living room to find Diane reading a book in front of the muted television. After a brief chat and update on how Sara had been while they were out, Denise offered to give Diane a lift home. Although the older woman declined, stating that she had walked there and didn’t mind the trek back, the poet insisted. The night was still very cold and due to limited amounts of street lighting in the rural area, it was dark.

So while Denise was out taking Diane home, Randa went in to check on Sara. The older woman had woken up at the sound of Denise closing the front door and was eager to hear how the evening had turned out.

Randa helped Sara in adjusting her position. She smiled at the older woman as Sara asked whether she enjoyed her evening. "It was… it was wonderful." Randa replied. "Such an unexpected surprise. I really thought Denise had either forgotten or just didn’t acknowledge this day."

"Oh not my little niece. She may have needed a slight kick in the right direction, but she did remember."

With a short laugh the nurse readjusted Sara’s pillows before looking back at the older woman. "Little?" She asked sceptically.

"Believe it or not," Sara stated, "There was a time when I actually outranked her in height."

Randa eased Sara back down onto the pillows as she said, "And at what age was that?"

"Up until about the age of fifteen!" Sara chuckled. She looked up at Randa who was brushing a lock of her hair from her face and a tender warmth of affection filled her heart. "I am so happy you entered her life, Randa. DJ always told me that she was happy being alone… and the sad fact was that I knew it was true." Sara took a slow breath. "My only hope was that she would find somebody to share her reclusive lifestyle with. I think now she has."

"I hope she feels that too." Randa replied with meaning.

"She does," Sara assured her, "Whether DJ realises it or not; I know she does."


When Denise arrived home the house was in darkness. Venturing into Sara’s bedroom she found her aunt fast asleep. She kissed her lightly on the cheek before leaving to seek out Randa; she was surprised not to find the nurse waiting for her. She can’t have gone to bed could she?

Taking the stairs two at a time, Denise reached the landing and instantly noticed the light on in the bathroom through a gap under the door. She also noticed the monitor sitting upon the banister so she picked it up casually. With a shrug she walked into her bedroom and placed the monitor upon her unit before taking off her coat, hanging it over the top of the wardrobe door. Denise was hoping to see Randa while she still had the nerve, as she wanted to give the nurse a certain something and realised this would be the perfect time.

From the landing she heard the bathroom door open and she walked back out to see Randa. The blonde was just exiting the bathroom, already dressed for bed in blue and white striped pyjamas.

Randa look up at Denise surprised. "Hey… I didn’t hear you come back."

"Only just got here." Denise replied.

"I didn’t know how long you were going to be so I thought I would just take a quick shower to warm up a little before I go to bed." She bit her lip a little self-consciously. "Denise, I had a really great time tonight. Thank you."

Nodding, the poet took Randa’s hand and led her into the study. Once inside she released her and looked around the room nervously as she tried to formulate a sentence. Suddenly words seemed a little lost to her. "Randa… I um… I want to give you something, a gift, something to… you know… celebrate the day." Kneeling down she pulled open the small drawer at the bottom of the freestanding shelf and removed a medium sized leather bound manuscript. Running her fingers over the black cover she rose to her feet and looked back at Randa. "Remember when you said… before we met I mean… that you had read everything I have ever written?"

Randa blushed as she nodded. "Yes, how can I forget? I said a lot of things that I wish I could have taken back if I recall."

Denise chuckled lightly. "Well this here is the everything. This is all the poetry that I thought for one reason or another was too personal for publication. This is the stuff that nobody, not even Sara, has read and I want you to have it." She held out the handwritten book with an air of apprehension. "For you."

Looking down at the leather book held in Denise’s hands, Randa seemed at a loss for words. "Denise, I…" She paused.

"What?" The poet asked.

Reaching out, Randa took the manuscript from Denise’s hands. Looking down, she opened the book and began to turn the pages. She ran her fingers over the precise hand written verses.

"There are over sixty poems in there," DJ supplied, "I always knew that one day somebody else would see these but it would be somebody who I hoped would appreciate it. Somebody I trusted enough to see this part of myself. Somebody special."

Randa’s head was lowered as she studied the pages. With curiosity, Denise turned her head to the side and looked down at Randa with concern. Did I make a mistake? she wondered. With a frown she placed two fingers under Randa’s chin and lifted her lowered head. Misty green eyes greeted her.

"Hey, surely they are not all that bad?" She said with a smile. "I am sure there has to be at least one that you will like!"

"Do you mean it?"

"Mean what?"

Randa wiped a stray tear from her eye. "Somebody special? It’s just that… I…"

With a sinking feeling Denise realised Randa felt insecure about how she felt about her and if she were honest with herself, she knew the blonde had good reason. With certainty, Denise knew that had to change. Stepping closer she took the manuscript from her hands and placed it down upon the desk. Running her fingers through blonde locks she cupped the back of Randa’s head and held her close. "You are more than I can express, Randa. You’ve changed me forever and I could live an eternity and never be able tell you just how much you mean to me." She swallowed hard realising she was about to take the biggest step ever. "But I would like to show you."

Green eyes gazed up at Denise as understanding settled in Randa’s mind. Before she could speak they met in an unyielding kiss. Their lips moved slowly against one another as they parted and searching tongues found each other with innate accuracy.

Denise felt strong hands move over her back and settle over her shoulders as she pushed her own hands over Randa’s body until they covered her behind. Bending her knees, Denise lifted Randa slowly and the blonde’s legs instinctively wrapped around her waist as she moved out of the study. Reaching out she shut the light off as she carried Randa into her bedroom, kicking the door to before moving toward the bed.

Gently she placed Randa back down onto her feet as their lips parted. She looked down into Randa’s hesitant eyes and smiled shyly.

"Denise, are you sure?"

The poet nodded cautiously. "Of this I am sure. Of what comes next you may have to give me a little um…" she looked away bashfully but gentle fingers guided her back. "A little… You see I’ve only ever once… with a guy. You may have to show me." Again she looked away but Randa guided her back softly. She leaned up and kissed Denise once and let her right hand move down the front of the poets blouse where it stopped at the top button and her index finger hooked itself around the ivory fastener.

"Anything you desire," Randa replied as she released the first button from its hole.

Denise looked down and watched as each small ivory button of her blouse was released one by one and as every one was freed she felt her heart beat a little faster. Moving her vision up, Denise’s eyes locked with hazy green staring at her with undisguised hunger. She swallowed hard as she felt the back of Randa’s fingers move softly down her stomach, and the last button was released. A powerful heat was building inside of her and instantly she panicked, Oh my god what am I doing? "Wait!"

Randa’s hand fell away limply as she looked up in concern. "Denise, are you all… do you want to stop?"

Internally DJ took stock of her body’s reactions. Without Randa’s hands upon her she felt suddenly empty. Do I want her to stop? She thought, and instantly knew the answer, No!

Taking a deep breath and shaking her head, Denise stepped forward; her expression slightly confused as she took Randa’s hands and placed them upon the warm skin of her waist. "I don’t think I will ever want this to stop," she whispered as she closed the distance between their lips and once again initiated an increasingly ardent kiss. Her eyes closed as she sunk into a feeling that she knew she would never tire of.

Randa moved her hands cautiously over Denise’s arms until she reached the top of her shoulders. Slowly she pushed the satin shirt from the poet’s body, allowing it to fall un-needed onto the carpet. Denise half expected the coolness of the upper part of the house to chill her exposed flesh but the heat Randa was creating inside, radiated outwards warming both bodies that were so closely connected.

Releasing Randa’s lips Denise moved her own across the nurse’s jaw, her tongue coming into play as she reach Randa’s ear lobe and sucked the soft flesh into her mouth. Randa groaned as her own hands slid across Denise’s back and deftly unhooked her bra. Releasing the succulent lobe, Denise grinned into Randa’s neck at the apparent efficiency in which Randa was undressing her. She felt blunt nails drag across her back and groaned at the unexpected feeling it instilled within her. DJ closed her eyes in pleasure. She moved her lips down Randa’s neck until they came into contact with a wildly beating pulse and there she sucked eagerly. Denise knew she would leave a mark.

With the sound of heavy breathing and light moans filling the air, Randa pushed the white bra from Denise’s body, that too falling unwanted to the ground. She moved her hands around to the front of the poet’s body and quickly upward to cover newly exposed breasts.

Denise’s eyes flew open and she pulled away from Randa’s neck with a strangled groan as warm hands moved sensually over her breast, knowledgeable thumbs circling the peaks with desired intent. A startling impact of throbbing heat streamed through her body and her knees felt instantly weak. She looked down into Randa’s hooded eyes, her breathing harsh and ragged, her body beginning to pulse with an unrestrained yearning.

I need to see her was her only thought as Denise moved the hands that she was using for balance upon Randa’s shoulders down to the nurse’s stripy pyjama top. She unclasped the top button before Randa pulled away and her hands moved from Denise’s breasts. The poet suddenly felt bereft, but the feeling soon subsided as she watched Randa begin to undo each button. Once released, the nurse slid the top from her shoulders and DJ got her first glimpse of the desired flesh. She was amazed by the physical reaction inside her as the sight alone caused her body to throb uncontrollably. Blue eyes eagerly devoured the newly exposed torso. So beautiful, she thought.

Randa moved her hands across her chest to rest upon the waistband of her bottoms. "Do you want me to continue?" She asked in a voice filled with deep desire.

With the realisation that Randa was only wearing one other item of clothing, Denise nodded eagerly. "Oh yes." She breathed and watched transfixed as the blonde slid the stripy bottoms down her legs and stepped out of them.

Denise visually consumed the revealed body, desperately wanting to touch the sculpted flesh, and noticeably trembled as Randa stepped toward her. Drawn by an irresistible magnetic pull, they came together in an intense kiss, naked flesh meeting for the first time. The sensation alone caused both women to groan into the increasingly fervent kiss. Tongues moved lovingly around one another as hands traced along increasingly warm flesh. The poet moved her hands down to cover Randa’s behind where she cupped the firm flesh within both her hands and pulled her roughly against her own body.

"Oh… God!" Randa groaned as her hands dropped to the waist of Denise’s black trousers. Finding nothing more than a simple zip holding the clothing upon the poet’s hips she pressed the zipper down and released the trousers. They fell soundlessly to the floor.

Randa stepped back and looked down upon the revealed body. A noticeable heat seared within her eyes as she realised the poet wasn’t wearing any underwear and the obvious evidence of her arousal was clear to see. Denise blushed at Randa’s blatant stare, yet her desire increased as the blonde fell to her knees and began to move the trousers away from her feet, removing leather boots as she did so.

The poet didn’t think it was possible but her heart’s fevered pounding increased even more as she stared down at the blonde head so close to her desire. She closed her eyes, basking in the feeling. Randa finished removing the clothing but seemed to pause as she held herself close to Denise’s thighs. Warm breath caressed her fevered flesh and Denise reopened dark blue orbs, gazing down in anticipation, just in time to see Randa move forward and place a single lingering kiss to her inner thigh. She felt a soft tongue sweep across her skin before Randa pushed herself to her feet and hungry eyes stared into one another with an unrestrained craving. Harsh breathing and an aching tension saturated the still air as their lips came together with increasing urgency and Denise was positive she could taste her own passion upon Randa’s lips. A groan from deep within erupted from the poet’s entire being.

They moved backward, Randa steering Denise toward the bed until she felt the back of her legs hit the heavy object. Moving down, Denise positioned herself onto the bed and instinctively moved to its centre, Randa followed and she lay beside Denise’s right side. For a few moments she did nothing more than move her hands over the poet’s flesh, watching with obvious pleasure as little goose bumps erupted wherever her fingers travelled.

Denise looked up as Randa moved above her and gazed into devouring jade eyes. The feel of the blonde’s body lying upon her own and the warm flesh gliding against hers was nothing short of ecstasy. Again, Denise knew it was a feeling she would bask in for eternity. The sensation of Randa’s breasts heavy against her own and engorged nipples pressing into her caused a surge of molten desire to flow from her own body. Her chest heaved with laboured breath.

Randa leaned forward, pushing one of her legs in between Denise’s and the poet instinctively opened up, allowing her greater access. They moved against each other slowly and Denise felt the proof of Randa’s passion slick against her thigh. She groaned and slid her hands down to further increase Randa’s contact.

"You okay?" Randa asked in a breathless whisper as she started a slow grind against the poet, pushing her thigh a little firmer into Denise’s centre.

Denise nodded as she surge her own hips against Randa’s. "Oh yeah," she breathed.

Grinding slowly against each other, Randa lowered her lips to Denise’s chest and kissed the rise of her breast before moving her tongue over to the poet’s rigid nipple and taking it into her mouth. Her tongue moved over the stiff peak as she sucked firmly and her free hand moved up to cover Denise’s right breast, rolling the neglected nipple around her fingers.

"Oh, Randa." Denise groaned and clutched the blonde head against her chest, feeling the effects of her manipulative ministrations as waves of pleasure shot throughout her body. A flush of heat coloured her cheeks. "That feels so good." She whispered and unconsciously increased the rhythm of her hips.

Freeing her right hand, Randa moved it down Denise’s body and smoothed her fingertips along the poet’s thigh. Releasing the breast within her mouth, Randa lifted her frame slightly and faced Denise. Her hand moved to the apex of her thighs and eased over the molten heat of Denise’s passion. She groaned wordlessly and looked at the poet in question, her breathing rough and laboured, matching the brunette’s. "Denise?"

The exquisite feel of Randa’s fingers swirling around her centre forced Denise to close her eyes helplessly under Randa’s welcome assault. Then suddenly the nurse’s thumb glided over the source of her arousal and her body surged with a wild fire of heated desire. Eyes shooting open, Denise cupped Randa’s face and held her close.

"God yes… Randa… please."

Leaning forward the nurse kissed Denise roughly, pushing her tongue into Denise’s mouth as her fingers plunged into the poet’s depths.

Denise’s body bucked, thrusting up against Randa with the conscious need for more and as the blonde set out a steady rhythm, Denise moved against her in synchrony.

Never before had she felt such intense feelings of want, of need, of an uncontrollable craving that she knew only Randa could fulfil.

With one hand holding Randa in a fiery kiss, her other moved down the hot perspiring body to cup her behind. Lifting her thigh she moved again between Randa’s legs eager to feel the source of the nurse’s arousal as it glided over her thigh. The heat was incredible.

As her breathing became increasingly laboured, Denise pulled away from Randa’s lips. An uncontrollable inferno was bubbling within her and her body ached with the need for more.

"Randa." She whimpered.

"I know." Randa replied as she withdrew from Denise and entered her harder, adding a third finger.

Denise cried out at the sensation of being so utterly complete. She felt Randa was touching the deepest parts of her soul and for the first time ever she felt blissfully whole, like she had found the missing pieces to her entire being.

Moving against one another at an increasingly favoured pace, Randa ground against Denise’s thigh. As they both felt the poet begin to pulse around her fingers, Randa increased her speed moving in and out of Denise with deep thrusts.

"Randa!" Denise shouted, as a tidal wave of throbbing pleasure released throughout her body. She held onto the blonde desperately, riding her fingers as Randa closely followed. Calling out the poet’s name, an intense orgasm eclipsed her entire frame.

As the feeling subsided Randa collapsed upon Denise, both women breathing hard and clutching each other with a desire to never let the other go.

Endless moments later, Randa lifted her head and Denise gazed into heavy lidded jade eyes. She raised her hand and brushed a sweat soaked lock of hair away from her forehead. Randa grinned as she leaned down and kissed Denise softly.

"Gosh." The poet breathed.

Randa chuckled.

"Now I know what was missing the first time."

"And that was?" Randa asked as she brushed her thumb over a bead of sweat rolling down Denise’s cheek.

"You." Denise simply replied. Lifting slightly she rolled them over until she was above the blonde. "So, when can we do that again?"

"How about now?"

"Sounds good to me." Denise said as she initiated a hot demanding kiss, feeling a new surge of confidence swell within her.

End of Part IV

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