Disclaimers and Warnings: The characters in this story may have strong
resemblance to a certain bard and warrior but that is where all the similarities
end. Plagiarism is uncool.
Warnings: This is a story of alternate nature and yes, that means it involves
a loving relationship between two persons of the same sex. Blanching? Exit please.
If not, carry on.
Rating: So far it's PG-13 and yes there's cussing, so sue me. ;p
She lugged her backpack wearily towards the coach, her small frame dwarfed by
her baggage that contained everything that she possessed at that point of time.
The porter took over her tedious task when she got close enough, and she heaved
a sigh of relief as she rubbed her aching shoulders.
Pulling herself up the coach, Flick dropped into a vacant seat and shut her eyes.
If only leaving a state meant leaving everything that happened within it behind.
If only it was so easy.
Sighing heavily, Flick could feel tears threatening to overwhelm her again. She
bit her lower lip, willing herself not to cry. She was well and truly alone now,
having lost everything that ever meant anything to her.
"Run, sweetie! Please run. . ." How could she? The blonde was torn between
the door handle to freedom and her mother.
The older version of Flick gave her another shove towards the former when another
crash came from within the room. "Honey, go! Be safe, I beg of you. I will come
for you soon."
"Come with me, mum! Leave with me!" Flick pleaded, her green eyes filled with
unshed tears and fear -- fear for what was going to happen to her mother, herself
and the madman that was her father inside the room, threatening to break the door
apart to get to them.
"I can't. I have to try and help him. . . Whatever it is, he is my husband and
your father, and I love him. Please, stop arguing and go. I'll come for you, I
promise!" Flick had acceded and left the house that she grew up in, running and
crying all the way to her best friend, Penny's house.
Flick lost the dazed look and dug her hand into the pocket of her jeans for the
wanted item. It came out, crumpled but valid, and the conductor went on to the
passenger behind her. Taking the baseball cap off her head to reveal short, shaggy,
blonde hair, Flick brushed a hand through the golden mass before replacing the
cap, this time pulling it lower to shield her face from the dying glow of the
sun. She was about to drop off to sleep when someone dropped unceremoniously onto
the seat beside hers, jerking her awake.
A waft of perfume connected with her senses, something distinct but not overpowering,
a scent that she did not find altogether appalling. Judging by that, her companion
for the sixteen hours drive was a woman.
A slightly panting woman.
With a low, rich voice.
"Thank you for waiting. I was caught in a traffic jam on the way to the station,"
she husked out to the conductor. Flick could hear the smile in the voice and thought
if the owner of the voice looked as good as she sounded, she would be very beautiful.
"No problem, Ma'am. Here's your ticket back. Have a nice journey." Flick snorted
silently to herself as she eavesdropped unashamedly. The man sounded smitten.
It made her wonder how her companion looked like, but somehow, something stopped
her. She would know the truth about her companion's appearance when she opened
her eyes and it might disappoint her. She would rather allocate a face to that
voice -- that way it gave her something to think about. Maybe, hopefully, it would
take her mind off the ugly things that have been on her mind since forever.
The engine started, and the bus pulled out of the station. Flick sighed inwardly,
trying to make the aching in her heart stop and the pictures in her head disappear
-- it was as successful as trying to stop bees from making honey. Finally, Flick
fell into an uneasy sleep, plagued with memories and mixed emotions.
"Hey. . . ssh. . . it's okay. Ssh. . ." The brunette was at a loss when her traveling
companion started whimpering in his sleep. It was a little weird to console someone
when they were not even conscious to receive the consolation, but Rei did not
know what else to do.
The boy had had his cap down since the moment she took her seat, and she assumed
that he was sleeping. But when she heard the soft snort coming from him when the
slightly flushed looking conductor beamed at her, she knew that he had been listening.
Since the bill of the cap did not move an inch after the conductor left, Rei had
given her perceptive companion a once over.
Rei assumed that he was a Nike fan because both the brown cap and baggy sweatshirt
that her companion wore were of that brand. She speculated that the boy was about
sixteen because of his small frame, and wondered why he was traveling alone. At
that, Rei smirked at herself, realizing that her tendency to assume had surfaced
again. She then redirected her thoughts to seeing her ten-year-old daughter and
Vince, her boyfriend of five years again after a month of separation.
She was just scoffing at herself when she thought of Vince as her boyfriend for
she considered herself too old to be having "boyfriends" when the sobbing started.
Initially, she was surprised at the movements from her still companion but took
that to be him re-adjusting himself in his seat. Then the shuddering started,
and small sobs could be heard coming from beneath the bill of the brown Nike cap.
That was when Rei knew that the boy was crying. She did not think that the youngster
would cry out loud like that if he were awake, and so concluded that he had indeed
fallen asleep after the bus pulled out from the station.
The strangled sounds pulled at her heart. He sounded like a wounded animal and
all she wanted to do was to take the pain away. She tried again, "Sshh. . . it's
okay. . . it's just a dream."
Whether he heard her or not, Rei did not know, but he did move closer to her and
laid his head beneath her shoulder for comfort. Feeling awkward and clumsy, and
surprisingly okay with the situation otherwise, Rei put out a hand and patted
her companion's arm soothingly. The sobbing soon stopped, but the head still remained
on the makeshift pillow. Strangely, Rei did not mind the foreign burden and, acting
as though she let strangers sleep in her arms everyday, she shut her eyes to get
some sleep herself.
A pair of eyelids cracked open to reveal dazed blue eyes to the glory of dawn.
Rei blinked, and in a span of a few seconds, made out where she was. Her right
side was feeling numb and she itched to stand up and stretch herself. It was only
half past five, eight more hours to go until they reached their destination. The
body beside hers stirred as well, and a sleepy hand reached up to take off the
cap to reveal more of the blonde hair that she had spied briefly last night before
the sun had set.
Slender fingers brushed through the tousled hair as the half-awaken head removed
itself from its pillow. Rei said a silent prayer for that allowed her to pop her
neck. Startled by the sound that movement caused, Flick looked up into a strange
pair of eyes and realized with a start that she had been resting her head for
hours at least, on someone she had never seen before in her whole entire life.
Rei, on the other hand, was shocked to realize that it was a girl instead of a
boy who was in those baggy clothes.
"I - I'm sorry," they both blurted out simultaneously, suddenly fully conscious
of what had happened the night before, in the shroud of darkness.
It was all right, then, for a stranger to seek comfort in another and for a stranger
to give comfort to another in the darkness. But now, in the light, it seemed awkward.
Neither knew if they had crossed the other's boundary in ignorance and both did
not know how to act towards the other.
The coach pulled up at a gas station for another stop along the way. Some passengers
started making their way down to use the toilet, get a drink or just to stretch
themselves. Rei felt the urge to relieve herself as well, but did not want to
leave the coach abruptly, just in case her companion took it the wrong way.
"I hope you don't mind," she started hurriedly, "You were crying. . . then you
fell asleep. . . I mean, you didn't actually wake up. . ." Rei screwed up her
face in frustration when her sentences came out disjointed. What was it that happened?
She could not think clearly when she had more urgent needs to settle.
"No of course not." Flick replied hurriedly, thinking to herself that her voice
sounded a little funny and cleared her throat a little. So that was what happened.
She did not know how she could have mistaken a stranger for her pillow and hoped
that it was not her nature to go around sleeping comfortably in any old person's
arms. "I'm the one who should apologize, sleeping on you like that." She looked
visibly uncomfortable but knew that it was not the woman's fault.
Both women smiled at each other hesitantly. "No worries." Rei shrugged, stood
up abruptly, and started moving towards the coach door. Flick got up and followed
Once out, Flick sighed as she stretched herself, straightening out all the kinks
in her body. She watched the brunette walk to the toilet and took out her slightly
flatten pack of cigarettes and a box of matches. Lighting one up, the blonde took
a deep drag and started blowing smoke rings.
Soon, the cigarette burnt down to its butt and Flick yawned as she made her way
to the toilet to wash up.
Inside, she saw the brunette drying her hands, but she did not walk over. Minding
her own business, Flick started washing her face and after finishing up, drying
herself up with the paper hanky in the box on the wall beside her.
"I'm Rei." Her bus companion was at her side, her eyes connecting with Flick's
in the reflection.
"Flick," the blonde offered politely. That was what all her friends and family
called her back home ever since she was a tot.
Shaking her head, Flick tried to clear her thoughts about home and register what
Rei was saying. "I'm sorry?" she asked when she realized that Rei was waiting
for an answer to her question that she had missed completely.
"I asked if you're going up north for business or pleasure," Rei repeated herself,
all the while wondering if she was being overly inquisitive or if she was still
safe within the limitations of being conversational.
Flick shuffled her feet uncomfortably. "Uh. . . business." That was her plan,
wasn't it? To move to a place where no one knew her and start all over again,
hopefully getting over what happened or at least accepting it. She just needed
to know how she was going to accomplish that.
Rei could sense that Flick did not want to talk, but that revelation intrigued
her more. It made her want to know what happened to her to make her look and sound
so weary for her age. She was assuming again, thinking that the blonde was a teenager.
Would it be rude to inquire her age, she wondered? "Where will you be staying
while you're there?" she asked instead.
As they made their way back to the coach, Flick said hesitantly, "I don't know.
I'll find a place." It had been a long time since she talked to someone about
superficial things, and the once familiar feeling was now foreign to her. She
now understood what some of the writers meant when they wrote about moments that
could stretch out for eternity and years at a time that could go by in a flash.
The last few months constituted an eternity, and her entire childhood was a lifetime
Rei thought fast. She had just met a girl on a coach, who obviously was in some
kind of trouble -- maybe drugs? She didn't look like a junkie -- had nowhere to
stay and most probably no one to turn to. Immediately, she could feel her compassionate
side surfacing and she offered her new friend a life to the nearest and cheapest
motel once they reached their destination.
Flick stopped outside the coach and took out her cigarettes again. Rei was very
kind and maybe just what she needed, but she had just met the woman and did not
know if she could trust her. Looking into the questioning eyes that were waiting
for her answer to a very generous offer, Flick shrugged and said yes before popping
another cigarette into her mouth.
Rei grinned, pleased that the girl was accepting her help and left her to smoke
her cigarette in peace as she climbed up the coach to wait for the driver to leave.
"My friend will be there to pick me up with my daughter." Rei chatted on, glad
that Flick no longer had the bill of her cap pulled over her face upon the departure
of the coach from the gas station. Her face lit up when she thought about seeing
her daughter again. The month of separation being the longest period of time she
had ever been away from her ten-year-old.
Her daughter had never gotten the chance to know her real father for he died before
she was born. Rei knew that he would have been the perfect father for Lisha if
he was still alive. She could still remember the worst phone call she was woken
up by those years ago, informing her of the tragedy that had taken place.
Frank had fallen from the hospital building. Because there were no signs of struggle,
the police ruled out foul play. She still could not bring herself to believe that
her husband had committed suicide but no clues were forthcoming to indicate otherwise.
Ten years later, here she was -- missing a husband but moving on with her life.
The mystery of her Frank's death would never be solved. It had taken her a long
time to accept that there were no answers to her questions, and even longer to
stop asking the questions, but she eventually did. No matter what the reason was,
the fact remained that he was dead and she was left alone to bring their daughter
Vince, a long time friend of Frank had always been there as her support to give
her all the help that she needed, and so when he revealed his feelings towards
her those years ago, no one was greatly surprised. Rather, their friends were
happy that both of them had found each other amidst all the tragedy and heartache,
each revealing their predictions that the two would eventually get together.
Rei was amused. She had never thought of Vince that way before until he kissed
her that night. He had always been sweet to her and Lisha, and when she found
out that he cared for her as someone more than just a friend, she readily accepted
the man into her life as her partner.
Flick nodded, thinking that the woman looked really young to have a ten-year-old
"I married my high school sweetheart." Rei grinned, answering the unspoken question.
"He was still a medical student then. I gave birth to Lisha the year after. .
." The same year Frank died. Sadness clouded her eyes for a split second before
she continued her biography in a cheery tone. "Sometimes when I get picked up
by unwanted strangers, I just have to mention my ten-year-old daughter and my
wish to get married again, and they would all run away without fail." Rei chuckled,
making Flick smile at the mental image.
"Why don't you?" Flick blurted out suddenly. At Rei's questioning look, she explained
her question. "Get married again." Marriage was always made out to be the goal
of every person. Her father used to sit her on his lap, telling her how proud
he was of her and how honored he was to know that he would be the one to give
her away at the altar. He used to call her his little princess, his bundle of
Seeing Flick wipe an invisible tear off the corner of her eye, Rei wondered again
at her companion's burden but went on with her story anyway. "Well, sometimes
I feel guilty -- like if I marry again, I would be betraying my late husband."
She noticed the surprise in Flick's eyes, expressing the surprise that Rei would
reveal such an information to her.
"I know that Frank would want me to be happy, and I am. With Lisha in my life,
I don't find myself lacking of anything. She constantly reminds me of him. She
has his smiley eyes and his wavy brown hair, his sweet disposition and quick mind.
I guess I just don't love Vince the way I loved Frank," Rei confessed. "I guess
there are times when unions are made out of necessity rather than passion. This
is one of them."
Flick nodded slowly even though she didn't really understand the logic in what
Rei was saying. "But if you meet someone that you love -"
Rei smiled. "Oh, don't get me wrong, I do love Vince. . . and maybe someday we
would get married. Sometimes I hope that I would grow to love him more, or at
least as much as he loves me." Rei looked away, a little sad. "He's a good friend
and a caring lover. What more can I want?"
"True love?" Flick suggested, her eyes faraway as well. That was what her parents
had -- right up till her father started drinking and became an abusive alcoholic,
taking out his frustrations on her mother and herself. Even till the very end,
her mother was adamant that she still loved her husband and trusted for him to
change his ways and return to the loving man he was before. They had died on the
same day, in each other's arms, leaving her alone and with no one -- was that
what love was about? Then, she wondered, how much did they love her?
"Maybe." Rei shrugged. "But how many people are lucky enough to find it twice
in a lifetime when some beg to find it once?"
Flick felt a surging admiration for the woman beside her. Now, she was
a survivor. Rei had fallen silent, apparently wrestling with her own thoughts
and feelings. It had been a long time since she had shared her past so freely
with someone. Most of her friends were also friends of Vince and somehow she found
that she could not converse freely with them.
"So, why 'Flick'? Is that really your name?" Rei tried to change the subject.
She had practically told her companion all there was to know about herself when
she knew nothing about her.
It was only fair to trade information, Flick reckoned. "My dad gave me that name."
At the mention of her father, Flick felt her chest tightened and winced. Then
her eyes took on a faraway look as she continued. "My mum told me this -- I was
too young to have any recollection of it." Flick smiled wistfully as she stared
unseeingly out of the window.
"I never uttered a word till I was about two. My parents were pretty worried.
At one point of time, they thought that I might be mute but the doctors assured
them that I was perfectly normal and that speech would come in time. That day
in summer, I was in the backyard playing with Heathcliff. . . he's our cat."
Rei chuckled at that. They had named their cat after a cartoon alley cat.
"My dad started calling for me to stop hassling Heathcliff. He was all comfy on
the hammock, calling 'Felicity, stop making Heathcliff whine.' I didn't listen
to him and continued playing with the big orange tomcat. When he saw that I didn't
bother, he didn't bother as well and started talking to me. Not that I understood
him, of course. 'Felicity, Felicity, Felicity. My little princess, Felicity,'
he said. 'When will you grow up and be a beautiful woman like your mum?'"
She could memorize the story word for word due to the many times her parents told
it when she was growing up. It used to embarrass her, but now it just made her
heart ache. "He kept saying my name over and over again like a prayer when all
of a sudden he stopped when he thought he heard something."
Rei shifted her long legs to get into a comfortable position. Flick had a nice
storytelling voice. Why, she could almost see the girl's parents and visualize
"He called my mum out to the backyard and started to call my name again. This
time, they were sure they heard it. I finally spoke, and the first word I ever
said was a gross attempt at repeating my name. So there you have it. Most people's
nick names come about when their younger siblings pronounce their name wrongly.
I had to be different. I did that on my own." Flick smiled in a bittersweet manner.
"Felicity is a pretty name," Rei commented with a smile, wondering why Flick looked
so alone and sad if she had such a loving family. "Did you have a quarrel with
your parents?" she asked, knowing that it was too personal but still forging ahead
anyway. She was stubborn, if anything, and she would persist if she really wanted
something. Now, she really wanted to know the girl's problems so that she could
Flick felt her walls begin to erect themselves again inside her after opening
up to the stranger beside her but she stopped them. Maybe it was better to say
it all to someone you did not know, like in a confession box, and then let it
go. "No. They're dead."
That was so unexpected that Rei gasped. "I'm sorry. . ." Rei berated herself furiously
for her stubborn streak that could sometimes be worse than her tendency to assume.
"I was out of line, I shouldn't have asked."
"It's okay. I wouldn't have told you if I didn't want to." Flick eyed her companion
surreptitiously. "You don't know how many people are begging to be in your position.
They've been trying to get me to talk to therapists and what nots -- all those
doctors with their fancy certificates and qualifications, people who claim that
they could help me," she scoffed.
"Whatever works for you," Rei said lightheartedly, feeling a little proud at the
bit of information.
The coach pulled up at their final destination, effectively ending their conversation.
The passengers started clambering to get out of the confined space, some excited
to meet their loved ones and others just plain sick of being in the coach. Flick
and Rei both waited till the bustle around them quiet down before they stood up,
both feeling slightly awkward. They had both shared very personal details of their
lives with each other but the truth was that they barely knew each other.
"Look, you don't have to say yes if you don't want to, considering that we've
just met and all, but I would really like you to come over for dinner one day
at my place," Rei spoke up suddenly. Flick looked up at Rei in surprise. They
had really gotten on well for two people who had never met each other before,
and there was something about the woman that assured her that she could be trusted,
that she was sincere.
She hesitated for a split second, then broke into a warm smile. "I would love
to." Flick accepted the second offer from Rei and was rewarded with a brilliant
smile that made her feel tingly and good.
"Great. Now let's go and meet my girl."
Lisha was tall for her age. Looking from her newfound friend to her daughter,
Flick could see who she got the tall gene from. She herself was struggling to
reach 5'6, but she wasn't complaining -- not much anyway. Vince was tall and dark,
very nicely built with a very intricately shaped goatee. If Rei had not mentioned
that he was a surgeon, Flick would never have guessed his occupation. He looked
more like an athlete, with his height and build, or a movie star, with his slightly
arrogant but charming personality.
There was something about the man that unsettled her but she shook it off. She
could not expect to have instant connections with everyone she met, could she?
No, it would not seem feasible, and it would belittle what she found on the coach
with Rei. Shrugging slightly, she took out her cigarettes and was a little dismayed
to find a lonely stick in the pack. Sighing, she took the last stick out and made
a mental note to get some more of her necessary vice.
She had been introduced immediately after Rei hugged her daughter and received
a peck on the cheek from Vince. The warmth in Lisha's blue-green smiley eyes reached
her and she had in turn given the girl an equally warm smile. Vince had shook
her hand politely and had jokingly asked why 'a small girl' like herself wasn't
traveling with adults. She had, in turn, haughtily replied that she was already
twenty, old enough to take care of herself, much less travel on her own. That
definitely contributed to her not-so-great impression of Vince the surgeon. He
was annoyingly patronizing.
They were all getting into the car when Vince's beeper went off.
"Great. They need me now." Flick was surprised to see that he was truly sorry
to leave Rei. Her impression of him lifted a little. At least his feelings for
Rei were apparent. "Just say the word and I'll stay." Vince dropped his voice
so that only Rei could hear the words, but Flick caught the tone in the back seat
and shuddered involuntarily. The man was sexy and he knew it.
"It's all right. Give me a call when you finish." Vince shrugged and gave Rei
a crooked smile. He leant over and planted a soft kiss on the Rei 's lips, eager
to turn the innocent touch into something more passionate. Rei pulled away slightly,
feeling a little self-conscious in front of her daughter and her new friend. "You're
gonna need the car, right?" she asked, instead.
Vince glanced at the car and then back at his lover. "It's all right. I'll take
a cab. You'll need the things in your luggage. I'm not that ungentlemanly." Vince
gave Flick a smile before turning to address Lisha. "I'll see you tomorrow, princess."
He shook Flick's hand again. "Well, looks like it's a brief encounter for us.
Good luck." With one last kiss to Rei, the surgeon left, taking his charms and
sexual energy along with him.
Rei turned to Flick and flashed her a small smile before climbing to the driver's
seat and starting the engine. As the vehicle pulled out of the station, Flick
wondered when her journey would end.
* * *
The room that Flick was shown to was rather small. It had a double-decker bed
in it and the lower bed was already occupied. Flick went over to the shelf and
dumped her backpack beside it. Careful not to make too much noise lest she woke
her roommate up, Flick searched through her belongings, found some clothes to
change into and went out in search of the bathroom.
Under the running water, Flick shut her eyes, letting the slightly warm water
wash away the invisible grime that stuck onto her during the trip. The longer
she stood there, the more refreshed she felt. For a moment, she could almost make
herself believe that she was home in her own bathroom, while her mother was cooking
downstairs and her father in the garden, smoking in his hammock with a beer in
At that, green eyes shot open to reveal anger and regret. It was that bottle of
beer that caused everything. Flick sighed and finished washing up, the pleasure
she previously felt depleted.
Back in her room, Flick climbed up to the upper deck and dropped her head onto
the clean pillow. Rei had suggested that they went to breakfast together, but
she had declined the offer. She wanted a good nap before going out later to search
for a suitable rental apartment. Even though the place Rei brought her to seemed
clean and rather safe, Flick had no intention of staying there for long.
The card with Rei's number and address on it was tucked safely in her wallet.
Her new friend had made her promise to call her and arrange for a time Flick could
go over for dinner.
Everything was going to be great. She would find a nice place that she could rent
before completing her enrolment for the state university. Her letter of acceptance
had arrived last week, something she would have been happy about if not for the
events that had transpired prior to that.
It was a good thing that she had managed to get the scholarship that she applied
for on a whim. She was going to put herself through school, and with the small
sum of money her mother had saved for her over the years. . . She never got past
that point. Snoring softly, the small frown lines on the young face slowly eased
* * *
Cigarettes. Flick stretched herself and rubbed her eyes before yawning. She had
to buy some cigarettes. It was a little after lunchtime when the small blonde
awoke from her nap. After pulling on some decent clothing, Flick trudged down
the road to the nearest convenient store to purchase her drug.
"Well they're not really a kind of drugs, are they?" she mumbled to herself idly.
A single stick of Marlboro found itself between warm lips. What gave people the
right to divide legal drugs from illegal ones anyway? Whichever way, people die.
What was it that she read somewhere that really made her think? Ah, yes -- we
all have only one life to live, but there are so many ways to die.
Cars sped by her on her left as she wandered around , unidentified and insignificant
. The sounds and colors unimportant, the numerous individuals on the street merging
to become a crowd of strangers. Smoke left her lips as her uncaring eyes scanned
the signs on the windows of the shops near her.
She was free. To go wherever she wanted to, whenever she felt like it, in whichever
way she delighted in; no more telling her mum where she was going and what time
she would be home, no more worrying if she was going to be home late.
Suddenly, she felt more lost than she had ever felt before in her life. While
the world used to be laid out in clear, distinct paths before her, they now blurred
into one huge mass, like a desert, without limitations. It scared her. Terrified
her, really. Flick sat down by the side of a foreign road with a finishing stick
of cigarette in her mouth and cried.
"Lish! Could you get the phone? I'm trying to save our dinner!" A slightly hysterical
voice called out from the kitchen as a brown haired girl scampered out of her
room and pounced on the couch to get to the ringing apparition.
Peeking into the kitchen, the girl snickered when she saw her mother glaring at
the uncooperative chicken which was lying on the oven tray, burnt. Rei's shoulders
sagged a little, knowing that nothing else could be done to their meal, and reached
for the cordless phone.
She mouthed a 'thanks sweetie' to her daughter and rolled her eyes as she spoke
into the receiver. Lisha walked over to the chicken with a fork and jabbed at
it a couple of times. She glanced at her wristwatch and pronounced it dead at
1748 hrs. The young girl aspired to be a surgeon when she grew up, like Vince.
Rei sighed after hanging up the phone. Clicking on the 'talk' button again, she
dialed for pizza.
It had been almost a month since she met Flick on the coach, and Rei was beginning
to think that the blonde had forgotten about their dinner arrangement when she
finally rang. Sitting down by her daughter who was munching on a slice of radish,
Rei picked out a leaf of spinach and popped it into her mouth.
Truth be told, Rei was a little relieved that Flick had called. She sincerely
liked the girl on the bus and wanted to know how she was getting on.
"He's not gonna be here, is he?" Lisha asked, wiping her hand on the front of
her t-shirt. Rei frowned, telling her daughter to wash her hand. "Mum , next time
when I'm a doctor, I promise I'll make time for you," Lisha said, ignoring
her mother's comment about being clean.
Rei's frown turned into a smile as she pulled Lisha close to her and planted a
kiss on her forehead, inhaling the fruity scent the shampoo her daughter used
gave off. She did not need Vince to be constantly by her side unlike what the
movies portrayed. Romance was way overrated on the big silver screen.
"Sweet talker you." Rei chuckled at the apple of her eye who was squirming in
her embrace. "All right, off you go." Lisha put the cordless phone back to its
stand and switched on the television. The doorbell rang in the background, causing
Rei to yelp from the dining table, wishing that she had more time to complete
"Hi." Lisha smiled at the older girl that she met briefly a while ago. Flick smiled
a little uncomfortably, curbing the urge to dig her right foot into the ground
she was standing on and circling it with her toes.
Rei ran over to where her daughter was and rested her hands on Lisha's shoulders
whilst steering her to the side so their guest could enter. She observed that
Flick's hair had grown out a little, now touching the collar of her yellow Adidas
sweatshirt. Her right hand was holding out a brown package which Rei assumed to
be a bottle of wine, and her left hand was stuck in the pocket of her baggy jeans.
Rei welcomed her guest with a smile before receiving the package from Flick and
inviting her in. She was surprised to find two bottles in the paper bag.
"I, uh, didn't know what we were gonna have so I got both white and red," Flick
explained, seeing the surprised look on her hostess' face.
Rei grinned, closing the door behind her. "Don't worry. We'll finish them both."
Flick relaxed a little at the smile on Rei's face and followed her into her home.
* * *
"For the tenth time, Lish, you're way too young to drink," Rei announced flatly.
The small girl pouted but brightened up immediately when Flick started talking
about the new film starring her favorite actor, John Travolta.
Lisha had always liked science fiction shows, and 'Battlefield Earth' seemed like
a good one to catch. "Do you wanna watch it with us?" she asked Flick.
Rei cocked her head and smiled at her daughter who was conversing with Flick.
Lisha was sensible for her age and never did give her much trouble growing up.
They had always been very close -- all the more so for they only had each other.
Sometimes even Vince was an intruder of sorts when he joined in on their outings.
She detected Flick's uncertainty in saying yes to her daughter's request.
"Yes, that would be fun. If you're free, that is." Rei hoped that it would reassure
Flick that she would not be imposing or unwelcome. Green eyes connected with blue
ones before crinkling up on their sides as Flick's face brightened up with a soft
smile as she said yes. Taking a huge bite off her slice of pepperoni and cheese
pizza, Rei continued listening to her daughter raving about Travolta.
Rei was pleased to hear that Flick had gotten a place to stay. It was a bonus
to learn that the apartment was merely a couple of blocks away from her three-bedroom
house. The school term had started a week ago, that being the reason why Flick
had not called until the day before. Flick was accepted in the university that
Rei was teaching in. Rei had jokingly asked Flick during dinner if she was stalking
her, successfully eliciting a smirk and slight lift of a golden brow.
Shaking her head with a smile on her face, Rei turned off the water faucet and
straightened her dark blue shirt and long dark hair before she exited the bathroom.
"Is he good looking?" She could hear Lisha's inquisitive voice floating out from
the living area, punctuating the conversation with questions.
"Is who good looking?" Rei took the empty armchair that was facing the two chatting
girls. Well, yes, Lisha was doing most of the talking, but it was still a conversation,
"Corben!" Lisha rolled her eyes at her mother for interrupting her interrogation
of Flick, a perfect expression of exasperation that made Rei laugh.
Flick looked embarrassed, her face a little flushed. It was one thing to tell
a ten-year-old girl about your crush and another to tell her mother about it.
Rei would not have the time or interest to listen to her infatuation.
"Uh, he -- I have a crush on him, that's all. It's nothing, I hardly even know
him, I mean. . ." Flick shrugged and continued, forging on to make a point that
she did not even know existed. "Yeah, I don't know him, I'm just attracted to
him, that's all," she concluded, blushing a little harder at the mirthful expression
Rei held on her face.
Not wanting Flick to get the wrong idea that she was mocking her, Rei asked her
how she got to know the boy and what he was like.
It was not too long ago, Flick related. He had dirty blonde hair and a nice smile.
"Politically inclined, too." Flick grinned, twiddling a stray strand of hair between
her fingers. Corben was intelligent and spoke very well. He was not aggressive
like most activists, but when he spoke, people listened to his quiet voice that
sounded almost frail if you did not listen carefully.
"Sounds like someone has a great impression of him." Rei chuckled, sipping at
her red wine.
Flick shook her head, smiling. She hardly knew the person, she insisted. He may
not even know of her existence. Rei personally wondered how she could have slipped
the guy's notice if he had generated such a lasting impression on the rather striking
"Well, like the song goes. . . a crush is just a crush." Flick finished the remnant
of her wine in one gulp. Rei leaned over to top up her guest's glass.
"Who knows what might happen." Rei settled back on the armchair, suddenly feeling
old. When was the last time she herself felt like that for another person? The
years stretched out before her, making her blink several times before she returned
to the conversation in her living room.
Lisha had fallen asleep by then. Flick glanced at her watch and was surprised
to note that it was already half past eleven. The entire evening had flown by
with startling speed. Flick got up from the couch silently, joining Rei on the
porch where they could speak without waking Lisha up before she left.
"Thanks for inviting me over. I had a great time." She needed a cigarette now.
The period right after dinner had been the most torturous, but she had stopped
herself from lighting up in front of Lisha.
"We had a great time too. Do you still wanna catch that Travolta movie with us?"
Flick nodded, lighting up her much awaited cigarette and took a long drag.
Flick had left her number with the Conrads so that Rei would be able to contact
her. Initially, she had only wanted to have that dinner that they agreed on previously,
never expecting a second meeting to follow. However, she had really enjoyed herself
both times she had Rei Conrad for company and it delighted her that both the college
professor and her daughter liked her company as well.
"Thanks for the dinner once again. I'd better go." Flick walked down to the pavement
and turned to wave goodbye to her hostess. Putting one hand into her pocket while
the other navigated her cigarette, Felicity Mitchell made her way back to her
studio apartment, humming all the way.
Flick yawned and reached her arms out in the cool night air on her walk back home
after a day well spent in the library. She popped her neck by swinging her head
left and right and sighed in pleasure. Dinner was the top priority, now that her
work was done. Chinese takeaway, maybe? So absorbed she was with her own thoughts,
she did not hear her name being called until the voice was right behind her.
Turning around, she saw Corben Green, the activist with his ruffled blonde hair
smiling at her. Her heartbeat quickened -- he knew her name!
"You dropped your diary." Corben handed a small, transparent covered book to Flick
who immediately thanked him for picking it up. That explained for him knowing
her name -- he saw it on the diary cover. "I've seen you around in class." Flick
nodded with a shy smile, wondering what she could say to avoid looking like a
tongue- tied moron. "I'm Corben, by the way." When he saw that Flick had nothing
else to say, he bade her goodbye and ran back to where his friends were, waiting
Flick continued walking, her appetite vanished, all the while cursing herself
for being such an idiot. She could have said something intelligent to him -- never
mind intelligent, something more than a 'thank you' would have been good. She
heard her name being called out again. Almost afraid to turn, Flick did it anyway
and waved back at the smiling activist in his simple white shirt and a pair of
khaki colored slacks. Hugging the diary to her chest, Flick grinned the whole
way to the Chinese restaurant across the road.
* * *
A pair of golden brows met each other over a snub nose as their owner hunched
over sheets of paper with a pen poised to write. The question here was: what to
write? Flick squeezed her eyes shut and reopened them again. Tucking the pen behind
her ear, the flustered looking blonde rummaged through the books before her in
an attempt to search for the elusive point that she was trying to make. University
was going to drive her crazy one day, she was certain.
She had spent the entire day in the library, trying to do up a draft for her English
essay that was to be due in a month's time. Normally, she would have put it off
till closer to the deadline, but she had a Philosophy essay due around the same
time as well, and she had a feeling that the latter would take up more time.
She took the pen from behind her ear and started tapping it on the side of her
head. Green eyes scanned through what she had written and looked at the question
she had set for herself again, ignoring the person who sat down beside her.
Vaguely hearing a question being asked, Flick did not respond until she felt a
slight tap on her arm. "Huh?" She turned to see who was addressing her.
"Um, I was asking if you'd let me zap some stuff from that book you have there?
I'll be really fast, and I promise I won't run off with it," a brunette with a
soft voice implored.
She looked around at the mess on her side of the table and asked her which book
she was referring to. A quick glance at the clock hanging in front of her told
her that it was time she left.
"The Halliday one," the girl pointed. "The others are already taken, and this
is the last book available," she explained.
"You can have it. I'm pretty much through with it ," Flick said absently.
The girl took the book from Flick, offered her thanks and paused. "I'm Daphne,"
she introduced herself.
"Flick," Flick said politely as she started packing -- that consisted of her dumping
everything that was not the property of the library into her bag. Daphne continued,
saying that she had seen her around in class and handed her a bright orange leaflet.
"Do come if you're free." Daphne smiled. "It's a good place to know people. I'll
see you in class." Flick smiled politely as she got up from her seat and slung
her backpack over her right shoulder.
The words 'H.A.Z.A.R.D -- an experience not to be missed' were printed neatly
on the top of the leaflet. Scanning through the contents, the blonde realized
that some amateur bands were going to perform at some pub that Saturday evening.
The orange leaflet was haphazardly folded and then stuffed into the pocket of
the jeans that she was wearing. S he might just pop down for a drink or two.
A figure stopping right in front of her made her snap out of her reverie and halt
before an accident between two human vessels could occur. She was about to side
step the figure and go on her way when she looked up and saw a familiar pair of
eyes twinkling at her.
"Hey there, short stuff, where are you off to?" Rei had a stack of books in her
hand and looked like she needed to unload real soon before her elbows dropped
Flick laughed, tickled by the way Rei's speech and her attire contrasted. Rei
was smartly dressed in a dark gray power suit and a black shirt, complete with
black pumps, looking very executive. "I'm on my way home," she volunteered, her
eyes twinkling back.
She offered to help Rei with her load, which Rei politely declined. "Want a lift?"
Rei asked in return.
"Um. . ." Flick scratched the back of her head. "Yeah, why not?" They walked to
the library together, with Rei doing most of the talking as usual, telling the
blonde about the interview that she attended that day, thus explaining for the
executive look. She was thinking of a change of environment, and a neighbouring
university had offered her a position with very tempting benefits.
Flick grew silent at that. Beside her, Rei wondered when Flick would start feeling
more at home with Lish and herself. Even though they had met up quite a bit and
had stayed over at each other's places on occasions, she could not help but feel
that Flick was still a little hesitant about their friendship. There was still
a distinct distance between them.
"So what are you up to this weekend?" Rei asked conversationally after dropping
off the books at the library, rubbing the sore muscles on her arm.
Flick told her about the essay that she was trying to finish as soon as possible
and remembered the orange leaflet that the girl in the library gave her. She waited
for Rei to unlock her maroon Mazda Astina before inviting Rei to go down to the
bar with her if she was free. The invitation was made on an impulse and it surprised
herself; she wasn't even sure if she really wanted to check the bar out.
Rei put her seatbelt on and turned on the ignition before pulling out of the parking
lot. "Saturday. . . let me see. Yeah, I could do that. Lisha's going to be staying
over at Sandra's anyway. They're having a sleepover." Rei looked over to her passenger
with a twinkle in her blue eyes. "God, I feel old. My daughter's old enough to
be talking about boys already." Rei chuckled, stifling a yawn.
Flick smiled in reply. "You're not that old. You got married early, that's all."
Flick shrugged, running her eyes down the length of her friend, noticing not for
the first time how well her friend kept herself in shape. Funny, Flick never felt
uncomfortable that Rei was a professor in the same university she was in. She
saw her as the woman she met on the coach, someone whom she got along well with
and the only person she saw outside the university.
That made her stop and think how isolated she was. Hell, she did not even hang
out with people her own age anymore outside classes and rare coffee breaks. And
if Rei took the new job. . . they wouldn't even be on the same campus anymore.
Rei could sense that her passenger had drifted off somewhere and did not disturb
her. She was certain that Flick had so many other sides to her that she had yet
to reveal. There was a distinct sense of melancholy around the blonde, even when
she was laughing or playing with Lisha and her. She could only try to understand
her loss of her parents, although she did not know how they passed on, and hoped
that one day her friend would learn to trust her more, and eventually allow her
to share her pain.
"So, what time do you want me to pick you up on Saturday?" Rei asked, hoping to
break the silence and the heavy mood that had transcended over them in the vehicle.
Flick thought for a while. "We could go for dinner first," she said, glancing
over at the driver who was sporting a rather pleased smile. "I heard that there's
a great Vietnamese restaurant near the bar." She thought for a while and added,
"But I'll have to let you know. . . I want to try and finish my assignment before
I go out." Her apartment was too much of a distraction even though no one was
about. There was always the television, the video games, the books. . . she would
have to make a trip down to the library.
Sandra's mother would be coming over to pick Lisha up at about eleven, Rei reported.
Maybe she could come over and do her assignment there. "I'm in the education line,"
Rei said wryly when Flick threw her a sceptical look at being able to concentrate
at her place, "I'll keep you working, if that's what you're worried about."
Flick grinned. "All right. I'll come over at about one. Are you sure. . .?" She
trailed off uncertainly, wanting to give Rei another chance to back out if she
wanted . Rei reassured her that it would be fine. She needed to go through some
tutorial papers as well, and maybe they could motivate each other to work before
going out and getting drunk that night.
"Who said anything about getting drunk?" Flick smirked, freeing the seatbelt as
they have reached her place. Rei laughed softly and gave a small shrug. "I'll
see you then," Flick said, getting out of the vehicle, "Thanks for the ride and
um. . . I'll give you a buzz before I come over."
"That would be good. See you then." Rei smiled and drove off.
"Do not," came the adamant reply.
"Do too," the equally obstinate counter.
"Not." If anyone was going to back down, it was not going to be Flick. Rei and
her were talking about the texts that she had to read for her English course and
were arguing whether James Joyce made any sense in his book, Dubliners.
Flick had thought that the slim book would be a breeze to get through but that
was before she started reading it. The short stories did not make any sense! Critics
call his works 'moments of epiphanies' but Flick just found them to be a load
of crap. What would a glimpse into a specific moment of a person's life tell you
Rei on the other hand was trying to fight on the behalf of the deceased Joyce,
saying that the novel does have a point to it. What about the underlying contempt
for the class systems of Dublin, she asked, and the political viewpoint that Joyce
gave through his characters?
Green eyes rolled, her mouth full of rice and braised pork. Rei smirked, feeling
exhilarated by their discussion. They had been at it the entire day, ever since
she asked Flick what her essay was about. They had talked about Woolf, Mansfield,
Forster, and now Joyce. Flick argued her points well, and it was one of the rare
times that she talked as much as Rei did, the fire in her eyes evident as she
refused to let the professor talk her over.
Rei found Flick to be a very intelligent student who had a flair for words; pity
she did not use them much, not verbally anyhow. She had probed a little more,
thanks to her relentlessly stubborn nature, and had discovered that Flick had
always loved to write and even submitted one of her works to a publishing house
"If you hate Joyce so much, you'd better not read Ulysses, his other book,"
Rei warned, wiping her lips with the napkin. Flick assured her that she would
never read any of Joyce's works again, especially one named after the so-called
Greek hero that she disliked. If anyone took the time to read Homer's Iliad,
they would see how much Odysseus, or his Roman counterpart, Ulysses deserved what
he got. In Flick's opinion, Penelope should have re-married instead of being a
faithful wife that she was. Love was more than blind -- it made you stupid.
* * *
"Hey, isn't that a professor from uni?" A young man in a tan shirt with a nicely
kept moustache nudged his friends beside him. They turned to observe the woman
coming into the club and started murmuring amongst themselves, wondering who the
blonde standing near her was.
Daphne and her friends were laughing at a joke that someone was telling when the
brunette spotted Flick, the girl she invited down to the bar coming in. Her eyes
rounded when she saw her with Professor Conrad. She had taken her class the previous
"They look pretty chummy," a blonde beside her, Faye, commented. "Looks like we
were right. Conrad's a closet lesbian. More hearts are going to be broken now
if she's already taken."
The group chuckled. They had been speculating about the professor's preferences
ever since she started teaching the year before. Some of the girls even had crushes
on the statuesque brunette with the striking blue eyes, joining the already existent
non-official Conrad fan club. However, they had found out at a carnival that she
had a daughter and a hunky boyfriend. Some went away with broken hearts, and others
were adamant that she was just covering up her true sexuality.
Daphne, on the other hand, had noticed Flick for some time now, but never had
the chance to talk to her. That day in the library, it was a stroke of luck that
she saw her there, and she had plucked up her courage to ask her out -- indirectly
of course -- hoping that she could get to know her better. Now, she was sure that
she would not stand a chance against the older woman. She saw the professor walking
towards the bar, leaving Flick alone at an empty booth that they had found, and
decided to go over and say hi.
* * *
Rei ordered drinks for herself and Flick after teasing her friend, saying that
she would get lost in the crowd if Rei let her get their drinks. Flick had swatted
at her playfully, attracting many gaping stares that she was oblivious to.
She had noticed that there were some familiar faces around, many of which had
been her students some time or other. When she had reached the bar, the group
of girls she was standing behind had caught sight of her and had gasped. She had
responded with a lift of the eyebrow -- never saw a professor at a bar before?
-- and they immediately turned their backs to her whilst waiting for their drinks,
sneaking glances at her.
It was amusing, she thought, cutting across the crowd to where Flick was with
two bottles of beer in her hands. She spotted a familiar looking brunette at the
table with her friend. If she remembered correctly, the girl's name was Daphne.
"Hi," Rei greeted as she slipped into the booth beside Flick, handing her the
bottle of beer. Flick had already lighted up a cigarette and smiled gratefully
for the accompaniment.
Daphne looked a little unsure if she should stay at the booth now that the professor
was back. She had never talked to her on personal basis before, but from what
she heard, Rei Conrad was a rather outgoing teacher. "H-hello, Professor Conrad.
I didn't know that you came to places like this." She groaned inwardly when the
words left her mouth. They came out sounding all wrong! "Um, what I meant was
that I've never seen you around here before," she corrected hastily.
Rei grinned, throwing her companion a look. "She's the bad influence." Rei tilted
her head in Flick's direction as she took a swig of her beer. Flick rolled her
eyes. "By the way, just call me Rei." She smiled at Daphne before taking a sip
of her beer. "You're Daphne, right? I remember you. . . you wrote on Wuthering
Heights for your essay in my class last semester, didn'tcha?"
Daphne nodded in surprise.
"Oh no, are we going to talk about literature again?" Flick groaned, looking first
at Rei and then at Daphne. "Please, kill me. Put me out of my misery. I have had
enough of literature for today, thank you."
The professor chuckled, telling the confused looking brunette seated across her
that they have been talking about that the entire day, from her house to the restaurant
and now, in the bar. Daphne gave her a pained smile. Her fears were confirmed,
they were going out. Why else would Flick be at the professor's place? She excused
herself politely, saying that she had to get back to her friends and that she
would see Flick later.
"Close friends?" Rei asked noncommittally, sipping at her beer now that Daphne
was gone. Flick shook her head and told her how they met.
Rei glanced at Daphne who was across the room with her friends, her face holding
a forlorn expression as she related something to her friends. The girls standing
around her kept looking over in their direction, making Rei wonder what was transpiring
"I'm not sure if you've noticed, but this is a gay bar," Rei said wryly. The crowd
was a dead giveaway. And those looks that they were giving her. Probably thought
that she and Flick. . . Blue eyes rounded. "Oh God," she mumbled, shaking her
"What?" Flick was lighting up another cigarette, determined to smoke up a storm.
"This is a gay bar, Flick," Rei repeated herself. Flick gave a shrug to mean 'so?'
"The girl who invited you down is looking really sad after walking away from our
booth, and after she told her story to her friends, they keep on looking over.
. . I think they think that you and I are. . . together," Rei finished her spot
on analysis of the situation.
Flick choked on her beer, spurting a little of the liquid on the fitting black
T-shirt that Rei was wearing. "Hey, watch it!" Rei jested, wiping her shirt.
"I. . ." Cough. "You. . ." Choke.
"Take it easy," Rei laughed, her eyes sparkling. She enjoyed being with Flick,
and going down to a gay bar with her was not going to change anything. Moreover,
there was nothing going on between the two of them.
"I'm sorry," Flick apologized, her face a little red after choking on her drink.
She looked around at the crowd and observed for the first time that her friend
was right -- this was a gay bar. "I'm sorry, I didn't know. . . Shit, there
are people from the uni here, aren't there?" Green eyes met blue ones worriedly.
"Will this get you into trouble?"
Rei shook her head, amused and touched by her friend's immediate concern for her.
"Nah, I don't think there's a rule that says that professors can't go to gay bars,"
her eyes twinkled and then took on a mischievous glint, "unless of course you
feel insulted that people think that you might want to go out with an old, ugly
"Oh come on. You're gorgeous!" Flick exclaimed before she could stop herself and,
after realizing what she just said, started blushing. This was the first time
that Flick had made a blatant admittance that she found her friend attractive.
So what? Girls found girls attractive too, didn't they? That did not amount up
to anything other than frank assessment of a friend.
Rei did not expect that answer from the blonde at all, and was feeling surprisingly
heady at the compliment. She blamed the feeling on the alcohol even though she
did not have that much yet and chuckled lightly. "You're not too bad yourself,"
she returned, causing the blush on the blonde's face to deepen. She was wearing
her favorite yellow Adidas sweatshirt again that evening, and it contrasted perfectly
with the reddish tint on her face.
"They're looking again," Rei sighed, getting a little self-conscious at the attention
that they were receiving. The plucking of guitar strings could be heard on the
other side of the room and, to Rei's relief, some heads turned to see what it
The next band was getting ready to start playing after the half hour break between
them and the previous performers. "We could go," Flick offered, sure that she
had upset Rei.
"It's fine, really," Rei reassured, putting a hand on the blonde's. "It'll look
as though we're guilty if we leave now. We'll go after this performance."
Flick cocked her head as she considered the logic in her statement and smiled.
Indeed. The band started, but the hand that rested on Flick's did not move.
"Hello?" A sleepy voice answered the phone. Vince frowned as he glanced at his
watch. It was ten to eleven, and Rei was supposed to get Lisha from her friend's
place before going over to his place. By the sound of it, she was going to be
"Honey? Aren't you supposed to get Lish at eleven?" Vince asked, trying not to
let his annoyance show.
Rustling of the covers, he assumed, could be heard before a very loud, "Shit!".
Vince winced as the word pierced his ear, making him pull the receiver away. "Vince?
Is that you?" Not waiting for him to answer, Rei continued, "I'll call
you back," and hung up.
Vince looked grimly at the receiver in his hand before replacing it on the phone.
Their relationship was almost non-existent, and he sorely missed having Rei and
Lisha around. Padding up and down his apartment, the surgeon thought of what he
could do to make their relationship what it used to be.
* * *
"Heya, chipmunk!" Vince greeted Lisha by gathering her into his arms for a big
hug, to which she responded with giggles. "How have you been? Gosh, I haven't
seen you for weeks, and you've grown into a beauty, like your mother!" Vince teased
the girl in his arms.
Rei smiled at the sight of Vince and Lisha twirling round in the living room,
all the while wondering when she can sneak away to get a couple of aspirin for
"And how have you been?" Vince walked over to her with a charming smile and placed
a chaste kiss on her lips. "I have something for you," he said mysteriously, taking
her hand in his and led her to his bedroom.
Rei saw that Lisha had settled herself on the couch, watching her favorite cartoon,
'Tintin', and allowed herself to be pulled behind Vince.
The sight that met her eyes overwhelmed her. The room was covered with roses --
vases and vases of roses. The smell that reached her was wonderful. "I. . ." she
did not know what to say. Was it a special occasion? She carefully went through
all the important dates in her head and did not find a match. Maybe it was something
that she had forgotten.
"You like?" Vince asked, pleased by the expression that Rei wore. It had been
such a long time since he did something this romantic for her, and he was glad
that she liked it. He needed to work on it more. Their relationship was precious
to him and he did not want to risk losing her.
Rei nodded mutely, walking over to the vase nearest to her and pulled a rose out.
She winced as a thorn pricked her finger, drawing blood in the process.
"You all right?" Vince grabbed her hand and put her injured finger to his lips,
sucking the wound gently. Rei nodded again, feeling a little funny that she was
standing in a room full of roses with her finger in a man's mouth. Not just any
man, she thought, it was Vince, and she should not be feeling funny because her
lover is sucking her finger. It had been ages since the last time they were this
close. Maybe that was the reason why she felt weird. Their relationship had become
more like a friendship to her, she realized with a start.
Rei assured Vince that she was all right. "Let's go and watch the telly with Lisha,
okay?" Vince acquiesced, a little let down that his efforts were not very appreciated.
Sensing his mood change, Rei turned and gave him a peck on his cheek. "Thanks
for the flowers, I love it," she smiled, brushing away the earlier discomfort
that she had and eliciting a grudging look from her dark lover.
"Rei, I have something to ask you," Vince started hesitantly. By the look on his
face, Rei knew that it was going to be either one of two questions -- both of
which she didn't want to answer right now. "Will you consider us moving in together?"
Rei groaned inwardly. "It's just that. . . you know how much I love you and Lisha,
and how much I want to be a part of your lives. I want us to live together. Be
a family together."
Rei wondered how much longer she could put this off. They have been together for
a long time, and it seemed odd that she did not want to move in with Vince. Initially,
she had used Lisha as an excuse; what would happen if things did not work out
or if Lisha did not like Vince? But now, it was evident that Lisha and Vince adored
each other. What other reasons could she give? Why did she need any reasons in
the first place?
"Okay," she said finally. "I'll think about it."
in part 2
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