Chapter Thirty

We went to a café bar called The Lounge. Tables were scattered around the room housing couples in deep discussion, couples mainly of the same sex. I’d been here before … numerous times actually, and it was at my suggestion we were there again. Ash didn’t seem bothered about the fact this place was a rendezvous for gay people.

In fact … she looked very much at home there. Actually knew where the restrooms were without me pointing them out.

‘Coffee?’ I nodded at her and claimed a table snuggled up in the corner. Within two minutes she was back, slipping her jacket from her shoulders and dangling it from the back of the spare chair.

‘Why didn’t you pick the sofas? They would have been so much more comfortable.’ I looked over into the corner where two sofas were nestled together and noted that one was already occupied by two women in deep discussion.

‘This is more private.’ Her eyebrow twitched and she sat down in the chair opposite, shuffling it around a little so it was closer to me.

I was at a loss for words … you know … she was too close to me … in my space a little, if you know what I mean. I began to look at the paintings that were sale on the walls, anything but to look into her eyes. Stupid I know … I couldn’t spend the whole time looking away from her … but I didn’t feel capable of controlling this surging in my gut. I think it was her smell … the smell of her … the all-consuming smell that tantalised my nostrils and tried to obliterate reason.

‘Firstly, I’d like to apologise.’ This got my attention and I turned and faced her. She looked so serious, so intent on making me understand what she was going to tell me. ‘Not just for today … for, erm … the other two times too.’ I could see the rapid swallowing of someone who was dying of embarrassment, and knew it had taken a lot for her to apologise. Any one with an ounce of compassion would have said not to worry … it was ok…

I just stared at her. Silent. Expectant. Wanting her to squirm …

Our eyes were totally connected and it was such a weird sensation … almost as if I was being absorbed. Then she blinked … and blinked again… and then blinked again accompanied by a shake of the head, like reality had just hit her … like she had just realised where and with whom she was with.

‘I …erm …well, I honestly don’t know what go into me.’ If I had been able too, I would have put her out of her misery, but I was a little gobsmacked – not over what she had just said … but what she hadn’t said … what I had felt coming from her. I felt a clambering of something in her … something clambering to me … something wanting to be there with me … mute … content … and I couldn’t quite grasp the implications, or the motivations for that matter.

‘Just been under so much pressure and I took it out on you.’ Her eyes left my face and my skin felt cold. A strong hand reached out started to play with the sugar sachets on the table, and this made my focus drift to those capable digits. ‘I was out of order … but …’ I saw one of the sachets burst underneath her fingers and the sugar fall helplessly onto the table’s surface. The grimace on her face was instant, but she tried to cover it up.

‘Two coffees and a Chelsea bun?’ The waiter’s voice broke through and I saw Ash’s eyes flick around to take note of the waiter and the tray he was carrying. Her movements were jerky and she looked on edge.

The time from the announcement until the waiter had gone seemed like forever. Sounds of the café took centre stage and I felt uncomfortable being there … almost felt alone in a room full of people.

Ash had her face turned slightly from mine, and I studied her unnoticed … until her expression changed and I knew she would be turning back to face me. It seemed like it took forever for her head to swivel round, but by the time it did I was already engaged in the contents of my cup, pulling it towards me like a barrier.

In my head I kept on seeing the open look on her face … the ‘something’ that had been there. I felt a seed plant itself inside my gut and stick. Deep down inside I wanted what I had seen to be there to actually have been there … that want … the same want I had not as far down.

‘Here you go.’ Soft. Her voice was so soft.

My eyes lifted slightly and scanned the table to spy her hand holding out the plate with the Chelsea bun perched on there like an offering.

The feeling washing over me was tantamount to agony. And all over a fucking bun at that. It wasn’t the fact I had a bun, or that I had actually wanted a bun … it was the fact she had thought I wanted a bun and got me one …it’s stupid … the feeling was unreasonable and stupid … and the deep ache ripping through my chest was testament to this stupidity. I must have been due on my period … I always turned into a mard arse just before it … you know … cry if someone wins a holiday on some crappy day time show … the works …

‘Thought you might be hungry.’

And I was off … straight to the ladies, the motion of gripping my belly to indicate I needed the restroom for a call of nature rather than to release this emotion welling up inside.

Inside the stall, I just leaned my head against the wall and allowed the feeling to consume me. I couldn’t grasp the cause of it. It was only a bun for Christ’s sake. But then again … it wasn’t. It was the feeling of connection … the feeling that she and I had connected for however brief a time.

My reaction came from fear … I know that now. Fear of allowing this feeling of connection to take hold of me, take hold and open up to hurt all over again.

Back at the table, Ash looked up from a small book she was holding in her hands. Her eyes searched out my own, and I could see the lines of worry etched on her face. A smile I didn’t know I could conjure, planted itself on my face and I slipped back into my seat with a mumbled ‘That’s better,’ before stretching out and grabbing the cooling coffee.

‘You ok?’ I flicked my eyes to hers and back to my coffee again before nodding vigorously.

‘Much, thanks.’

We sat there in silence for a while, the bun sitting untouched, the coffee becoming cooler and cooler. Ash kept on shuffling around in her seat, crossing and uncrossing her legs. I knew she wanted to say something, and had the distinct feeling I wasn’t going to like it.

It was only after we had ordered a second coffee that Ash plucked up the courage to say what she wanted to say. I honestly wished she hadn’t bothered. I wished she had kept her mouth shut and just let me live out the rest of my life in ignorance.

‘Lou?’

It was something about the tone, I think. Something in that one word … that one syllable, that forewarned me.

‘I’ve a confession to make.’

‘Confession?’

And she did look uncomfortable. My staring at her seemed to put her even more ill at ease, and she semi-stretched her arms out in front of her almost like preparing herself for battle.

‘You know you were called to the station to see Read?’ I nodded. ‘And I … erm … acted surprised to see you?’ I nodded again, but this time she just stopped and looked down at her hands whilst I dwelled on the two words ‘acted’ and ‘surprised’.

‘Go on.’

‘Well … I told them to call you.’

Huh? Told them to call me? But how did she …

‘I know you’re wondering how I knew about you … well … erm … well … this is the tricky part.’

I leaned forward; my interest was totally piqued by this stage.

‘Remember Danny Spencer?’

‘What has he to do with anything?’ I leaned back, emitting a deep breath as I did so.

‘There is no easy way to tell you this … but … I think you have a right to know.’

‘Know what?’ A tinge of anger was coating my tone, maybe because my initial response to her acting surprised was slowly drifting away. And secondly, I had a gut feeling I wasn’t going to like what she was going to tell me.

‘Well. Erm. Lou? Please don’t get mad with me.’

‘Just tell me, Ash.’

‘Danny Spencer is …erm … he’s your brother.’

I actually felt my mouth gape. Actually felt the lips part and the slackness take root. I had a white screen inside my head and there was nothing coming onto it. I felt blank. Emotionless. I just sat there, half leaning towards her with my mouth open.

‘Well, half-brother.’

That seemed to get some kind of reaction anyway. A jolt of feeling hit me in the gut and made me sit back in the chair, my eyes focused on her face.

‘He’s …’

Fuck it, Ash! There’s no fucking way I’m related to that twat!’ The words were out and they didn’t come out quietly. Heads turned in the café and I lowered my voice before continuing through clenched teeth. ‘How on earth could he be related to me?’

‘Calm down, Lou … I’m just …’

‘How on earth …’

‘Well if you …’

I was half leaning over the table by this stage, the adrenaline pumping through me. I felt angry … and cheated. My head was totally in a spin … nothing made sense. Danny Spencer? Related? Ash had only contacted me because I was related to Danny Spencer. That was the only reason. That was the reason … the reason she had called me the link … not Sam’s link, but Danny’s.

Now I was angry. Fucking angry. Of all the …

‘Lou … just calm down … let me explain.’

‘What? What can you explain? That you fucking used me? Again?

I saw her lips move around the word ‘again’, and she seemed to chew over it, but her expression stayed blank … well … more like confused. The shaking of her head seemed slow and out of focus. My eyes were burning and I could feel the coolness envelop me, which was a telltale sign of my up and coming temper. I felt slow and sluggish but wired and primitive at the same time. My forearms tingled as muscles spasmed.

At this point, her eyes looked away … only for a split second, but they looked away. It was then I knew for sure. Ash had used me to get to Danny Spencer, whoever the fuck he was.

My fingers curled around the edge of the cup that had housed my now cold coffee and I couldn’t stop the action of the lift … tip … and hurl.

She sat there. Cold coffee all over her face and shirt, her eyelashes flinging back the excess and the once separate hairs collecting into tiny groups. Her mouth opened and stretched, pushing the liquid away. I stood, leaning over the table, the empty cup clenched between my fingers, knuckles whitening.

Fuck you Ashley Richards! Get the fuck out of my life. Got it?

Then I was gone. I didn’t care how she felt. I had to go and see my mother … had to find out some things. Deep down I knew Ash was telling the truth, but on the surface I just couldn’t accept he was any relative of mine. I didn’t know anything about him … not even his age or the colour of his eyes.

The only thing I knew was that he was a nasty piece of work, and the fact Ash claimed he was my half-brother.

I was not happy.

In more ways than one.

                        **************************************************************

Chapter Thirty-One

In less than forty-five minutes I was banging on my parents’ door. Yarmouth was only twenty-five miles from Norwich, and I floored it to get there in that time. Anger flooded through me. I couldn’t distinguish whom I was the angriest with. Ash … my parents … or even myself.

Now my anger with Ash linked with the anger I held for myself. I trusted her. Again. I had let my guard down with her … again. I had been kicked in the teeth and told to keep my perverted feelings to myself … again. Well, not as much told about my feelings the second time as the feeling of being used. I felt she had used me as a way to help her case. Now this was something I doubted I would ever forgive.

My parents were another matter entirely. They must have known Danny Spencer was a relative of some kind … even though they didn’t know I was working a case that linked with him. I should’ve heard his name mentioned before now. Because if my memory serves me right … I knew he wasn’t the son of my mother.

So that left only one person.

The bastard.

The dirty teenage fucking pregnant getting twat of a bastard. The same bastard I hadn’t heard from for over thirty years … and even then it was too soon. Even when my brothers and sister, Angie, had got married … he didn’t turn up … or couldn’t be contacted. He had shown in more ways than one that he just wasn’t father material. Biologically, he could get a woman pregnant – but it takes more that a feisty spot of sperm to make a dad. A hell of a lot more.

‘Lou?’ The surprise in my dad’s voice stopped me in my tracks for a split second. He sounded so happy and pleased to see me, and this was supported by a huge grin as he leaned forward and pulled me into a hug. ‘What have we done to get a treat like this?’

Now that was a loaded question. And after five minutes, I think he was sorry he answered the door.

                        **************************************************************

It is never good to hear how a member of your own family could be so heartless. My father was an out and out bastard. However angry I had been when I had stormed out of The Lounge paled in comparison to how angry I was when my mum told me of what he’d done.

If you cast your memory back to earlier, you may remember I had overheard how he got a seventeen-year-old girl pregnant. Or something like that … I had been eaves dropping on the conversation between my mother and her sister. The letter … in his workbag …

Remember?

Well, as it turned out, he had. Seventeen and pregnant by a man who was in his forties by that stage. Turns your stomach … to think he slept with a girl who was only a year older than his eldest daughter. Shows you what kind of man he was.

Nine months later (five and a half after my mother had walked out on him), a baby boy was born.

Yep. Daniel Lee Spencer.

Danny Spencer.

The Danny Spencer. The one who was at that moment in Norwich trying to gather a bunch of cronies to do his bidding.

It took a few minutes for me to collect myself … it was the age that had cornered me. I automatically assumed he was in his early twenties at the very most. Don’t ask me why … the only reason I can come up with is the fact he had Sam Read on his books, shall we say.

Why would a man who was in his thirties want to have teenage kids running around him? No mention of Michael Jackson here, please. I mean … in his thirties and using bits of kids to do his dirty work … getting them on his side … pretending he was their friend.

Just the thought of that makes my skin crawl anyway. But still … that’s not normal is it? Then again, it was the perfect age to catch the unsavoury elements of society … especially if you can sculpt them to be what you want them to be … the younger the better. And Sam Read would love the fact someone was actually taking him seriously – an adult at that.

Now I come to think of it, it makes perfect sense. They were his protégés … dispensable … gullible … cheap. They could cop the rap if the shit hit the fan, and Spencer would just flit off back to Manchester or whatever rock he had crawled out from underneath.

But why Norwich? Why near me? Did he know I was here? Ash had said she knew where to find me because of him … but what did that mean? Was he after me? My family? My mum … for some reason or another?

I sat on the dining room chair. Slumped really, my head resting in my hands completely resigned to the fact my neck couldn’t support it at the moment. I could hear my mum’s voice trying to get through to me … trying to tell me she hadn’t wanted to hurt me even more than I had already had been. Trying to say I would always be her baby.

Tears trickled through my fingers and plopped effortlessly onto my trousers, the wetness hitting and separating the colour of the material, making patches appear darker than the rest. I was fascinated in a comatose kind of way. I felt like I had been lied to on so many different levels. I understood why my mum hadn’t told me, and I honestly didn’t care if my father had twenty kids by different mothers.

So what made this hurt so much?

What made the ache inside my chest, you know … the ache that gripped and pulled and wrenched something inside until I felt like screaming for it to stop?

My parents hadn’t lied … they’d avoided the truth – inadvertently forgot to mention it. But someone had lied. Someone who I thought I could trust with my life … trust with my all.

Ash.

She hadn’t just lied. She had used me. Used me. Used me to get what she wanted. An arrest. Another glowing recommendation of a job well done. Another pat on the back – maybe a promotion. Maybe a bigger and better office with less paperwork and a bigger and better pay packet.

But in the process she had crippled me. The one person who had trusted her implicitly.

And for that I could never forgive her.

Never.

I could smell coffee, could feel the heat of it. My dad was pushing a cup of the stuff underneath my face, and I could see him bending so low he was almost kneeling on the floor. Concern etched his tired face, and I felt my heart fill with love for him all over again.

You know, that sad kind of love. The kind of love that makes you so very aware of what you have and also what you don’t.

‘Thanks Dad.’ My voice was full of the rejection I was feeling, full of the hurt of unrequited love, full of the agony of betrayal. All in those two words.

The room was deathly quiet, and all that could be heard was the clinking of the cups as they hit the saucers and the intermittent sound of liquid being drained from china.

As I sat there, the rejection I had been feeling ebbed away and anger slowly, but surely, began to replace it. Boiling anger. Blood red anger, and it was aimed right at the woman who had instigated so much self pity inside me.

I wasn’t a victim, no way. I allowed myself to feel like this. I allowed my feelings to override my reason and make me close up inside and metaphorically stroke the old wound that had been spliced open by a new one.

Fuck this.

There was no way I was going to let this get to me.

Ok. Danny Spencer, however much I hated the fact, was my stepbrother. There was nothing I could do about it … so why stress myself out.

The next fact.

Ash had used me.

Get used to it.

I sat up straighter in the chair and inhaled deeply … held it in … then blew it out in one long breath.

My parents were watching me intently, probably expecting me to crack off again. But I just smiled. I think that freaked them out more then if I had lost my rag and danced a temper tantrum around the house.

‘Thanks. I’d best be off.’

My mum made a move to say something, but stopped after the initial goldfish manoeuvre.

I stood, swiped a hand down the front of my trousers, catching the wet patch were my tears had fallen a few minutes before. Handbag in hand, and destination clear, I bade my farewells and left.

I was on a mission. I was out for revenge. I was going to make sure Ashley Richards knew she couldn’t mess with me anymore.

The only thing I didn’t know was where to find her.

But I would.

By golly … I would.

                        **************************************************************

Chapter Thirty-Two

White anger enveloped me. On the outside I looked normal, to that I can guarantee. Everybody I spoke to I did so very coolly, and not once did I have to raise my voice. Even when the station refused to tell me where Ash was staying whilst she was in Norfolk.

It was nearly ten thirty by the time I got back home, still none the wiser. But determined.

I promised myself, as I was unlocking the front door, that tomorrow would bring an address of one tall and very cock sure Detective Inspector. And I would settle the score.

The key was firmly in the lock by the time my body alerted me I was not alone. Someone was watching me.

I turned in the Hammer House Horror kind of way, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing to full attention … very much in conjunction with the ones on my arms.

Streetlights made shadows on the pavement and they appeared to move. And my hands started to wiggle the arrogant key in the lock a little more frantically. I knew how to handle myself, but I wasn’t going to walk into trouble.

I heard a movement come from just behind the hedge and my stomach clawed at my throat in an attempt to flee the scene.

The door fell inwards and I stumbled through, clumsily grabbing at the handle in a last pitch to save me hitting the floor. I would have done it too if my handbag hadn’t slipped off my shoulder and landed heavily on my forearm.

I landed awkwardly and tried to scramble more into the house, as I was well and truly spooked by this stage. I could hear someone approaching … hear a voice saying my name, but panic consumed me and I was trying to kick the door shut.

A hand grabbed my ankle and I let out a yelp … or should I say scream of terror, and kicked wildly.

‘Lou. Lou! It’s only me.’ I recognised the voice as being Ash’s, and instinctively kicked out again wanting to hurt her. Her hand held my foot in a grip I can only describe as vice like, and all that happened was I was scooted backwards along the floor a little further.

Her frame loomed above me and she looked huge. A flitting memory of over thirty years ago came into my mind … the memory of the first time I’d met her.

‘Are you okay?’ Almost an echo of the time. And once again, I felt the tears well up in my throat … the football variety, leading me to thinking I wasn’t okay and I would be damned if I was going to admit it to her.

Ash held her hand down towards me to help me up, but instead of a split second of thinking I would refuse help, I slapped her hand away.

Fuck you!’ Then proceeded to struggle to my feet. She didn’t take no for an answer and grabbed my clammy hand in her cool one. Some things never change. At least mine were a lot cleaner now.

One deft movement later I was in her embrace … no chance of staggering forward … just vroom … into her chest – head first.

And just like all those years ago – she towered above me, dwarfing me with her size and her presence.

A little voice whispered inside my chest ‘Stay here’, but the gob on display said ‘Get your hands off me!’ and shoved her away.

Her arms were outstretched in a mime’s welcome, and I once again slapped at her.

‘What’re you doing here, Ash?’ I snapped, my hands trying to smooth down my clothes.

‘Came to see if you were all right.’

‘What the fuck do you think?’ My head poked out, birdlike … hands on hips. ‘You shatter my world and then come to see if I’m all right?’ I blew out a sarcastic breath. ‘You’re more fucked up than I thought.’

With that, I turned to go. Her hand grabbed my arm and she tried to spin me around. I froze in place … and so did she. ‘Get off me … I’ve nothing left to say.’

‘Please Lou … just hear me out.’ She had a pleading quality in her voice and I wanted to back down and let her speak, but I was too hurt … too fragile … she would only screw me up again.

‘I think you’ve said all you needed to say.’ And I yanked my arm free. But she was not to be deterred … she was insistent and grabbed my arm again.

‘I said get your hands off me!’ As I tried to shrug her away, she pulled me and I half turned towards her. My name was falling from her lips and I didn’t want to see her, never mind hear her ever again.

Then things got a little hazy. I can’t exactly remember what happened … all I remember is I tried to slap her … my arm pulled back … my hand flat and ready for connection.

But it never came.

I remember the speed of it … the power lacing it … the anger swelling inside it.

But it never reached its destination.

Ash caught it and pulled me towards her. Anger raised its head … blood red and fighting. She had me pinned. One hand caught … my other arm held fast. So I kicked her.

Nothing.

Not even a wince of pain.

So I struggled.

But she held me tighter.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do.

I screamed in her face. Loudly. Words of hatred. Words of betrayal. Words I could never repeat.

I saw her flinch … even felt her grip loosen slightly, but still not enough to release me.

Her lips tightened into a thin line, and I knew she was thinking. Then she pounced.

Those lips were now on mine. Hard and tight, muffling the screams still pouring from me. One hand released mine and pulled me closer to her and I took this opportunity to thump on her arm, pull her hair … slap her and slap her and slap … her.

The kiss stayed firm and unwavering …except for a tiny movement from her lips … a tiny movement that was building to a little more movement … then a little more … then I felt my own move against hers. I hated myself for moving my lips, but I couldn’t help it. Rationally, I thought if I could distract her, pretend to be playing along … then I could lead her into a false sense of security … make my escape.

But the lips were against each other… more movement … less pressure … more intense … sucking me in … blurring my reality. Her mouth opened a little … so did mine … my hand had stopped hitting her now and was just holding the top of her arm.

I could feel myself falling into her … bodily falling … lips and mouths and tongues falling. Fingers began to trace along arms and backs. The kiss deepening … wetness passing from one mouth to another … stroking a need … stoking a fire I thought was dead.

Before I knew it, my fingers were tangling in her hair pulling her closer and into me. Her thigh pushed its way between my legs and rubbed against the want gathering there. A gasp mingled with the spit and tongues and teeth … mine or hers I don’t know … but it felt wonderful.

Her hand left my arm, swung behind her to hit the door closed, and then she turned me and walked me backwards … never breaking the contact, her thigh tantalisingly chaffing my groin.

Against the wall. She pinned me against the wall. Her lips left my mouth stranded and began to devour my neck. Hands searched out the hem of my top and cool fingers slipped inside … strong and sure of purpose … they cupped the underside of my breasts and caressed them juxtaposing the primitive suckling on my neck. Her fingers were gentle, almost reverent.

God. I wanted her. Wanted her touch. Wanted her mouth. Wanted her to take me and take me and take me forever. My upper body pushed into her; pushed my breasts more firmly into her hands. A thumb broke from the pack and rubbed across my pert nipple. Fuck … it felt good.

I lifted my leg and wrapped it around her to enable a more definite contact between my legs. My hips began to grind into her; rhythmically in tune with hers … and her mouth and her fingers and …God … I needed more. Needed her.

Inside my head the thoughts of revenge flitted to the surface only to be replaced by this growing desire coursing through me. I slipped my hands down her back and pushed them beyond the waistband of her trousers, craving the feel of her skin, pushing her into me. I could feel the building of release begging … cleaving … gnawing.

In unison, our hands were round the front and fighting with the buttons of our trousers. Pop. Pop. Then the zip. Then the hands inside. Then the first touch of fingers on desire. The wetness more than a gathering … more than reason … more than I had ever hoped it would be.

She was wet for me. So fucking wet … for me.

And I was wet for her.

Slick fingers slipped and tugged and pushed and held. God … it felt like I’d died and was living out my fantasy. Oblivion was threatening me … I wanted to remember this moment; the first moment I touched her.

‘No.’ Her voice hit my skin and I froze on the spot … my hand down her pants. A surge of anger lifted from my gut and stuck in my throat. I had fallen for her charms again. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have allowed myself to get into this pos …

‘Not here … upstairs … properly.’ Staggered words broke out and trickled over me … and I was surprised how the anger dissipated to bliss in just a short space of time.

Lifting me away from the wall was effortless. Turning me in the direction of the stairs was performed in a dance like way. Her hands and fingers were still embedded in my underwear as were mine in hers. Lips were capturing and clashing as I waltzed, staggeringly, towards the stairs with my partner fully attached to me.

At the base we began again. Kissing fervently and trying to continue the coupling started minutes before. I could feel her pulling back, but this time I knew it was because she wanted this to be more than a quickie in the hallway … I didn’t know what she wanted it to be, but by that stage I didn’t care.

                        **************************************************************

My room was dark … and only the light from the streetlights enabled me to see her. But I didn’t have to use my eyes to know her. I had all my other senses wrapping themselves around what was ultimately her … I could smell her scent, you know … her scent. It was compulsive.

Her arms were around my waist and were rubbing slow circles at the base of my back … her lips taking and possessing my mouth, like they were taking and possessing me. Trousers slipped effortlessly from skin, down ready thighs to expose dampness on underwear. Fingers slipped inside, whilst another hand battled with buttons on tops. Shoes were discarded.

The air on my skin promised me something it never thought it would get.

Ash.

Flesh tingled … expectant. Breasts were discovered with searching fingers. Nipples erect under thumbs.

Her mouth was pure pleasure, as it traced paths up and down my face, throat and shoulders. Her tongue was inquisitive, as was mine, and wanted to taste it all … wanted to taste all of her.

I pulled her backwards and towards the bed, needing her to take me … needing those fingers in places that ached for her. The constant throbbing drumming between my legs was becoming unbearable … I just needed a touch … a stroke … a caress.

Movements were swift and sure, and before I knew it, I was on my back, sprawled on the bed with my legs parted in invitation. Ash crawled up my body making excitement quiver and demand attention. The feel of her skin against mine was pure bliss … no other word could describe it. It felt as if we began to morph into each other on contact … melt into each other.

Lips met lips in a quest for fulfilment. Hands sought places to worship, tender strokes, which were growing more insistent. The rhythm was steadily increasing and the wetness from me was smearing itself over her leg, making it glide effortlessly over her. Each and every meeting of flesh was exquisite. It felt I couldn’t get close enough to her.

She was moving downwards … lips leaving a fiery trail as they danced along my throat and neck, suckling my breasts, flicking my nipples; her hands were slipping along my sides.

Hair tangled in my fingers, soft silky strands I had only ever dreamed of touching. I could feel the heat of her scalp … feel the movement of her head as it moved along around and up and down.

Leaving the confines of her hair, my fingernails etched a path down her spine, either side, until they reached her arse. Firm and round … and grinding. It was perfect, just how I had always dreamed it would be.

I could hear my name on her lips … feel my name on her lips … the same lips that were now on my skin and moving towards destiny … towards hope and expectation.

Hot breath tantalised and agonised over my need and I pushed my hips upwards and closer to her face. Her hands were holding onto my hips and I could feel her push me back onto the bed.

The first touch of her tongue as it parted my folds made me gasp aloud. I have never felt anything more exquisite in all my life. It was slow and searching … moving upwards to my clit in one stroke, her breath lathing it more fully and blending it into a cocoon of primal need.

Hips jerked of their own volition; I was vulnerable to this need … vulnerable to her touch. I just wanted more. Blood thundered in my ears making it near impossible to concentrate on anything but her mouth … her fingers on my hips … her tongue.

God … her tongue. It was moving with agonising precision … up … and down … up … and down. Groans were coming from between my legs, groans of desire. My fingers were back in her hair trying to guide her to my ache … trying to make her slip her tongue inside … taste me from the inside out, just as I wanted to taste her … just as I wanted to love her.

‘Take me. Just … take me.’ The words came out stunted and breathless, but the intent was clear. I wanted this woman to take me and own me and possess me and love me in any way she wanted. Any way. I was hers, always had been. And whatever happened after this at least I would have experienced being loved by someone I had spent my whole life craving … spent half my life trying to forget.

A solitary finger circled my entrance … swirling and teasing. I pushed my hips down trying to capture it inside me, but she just moved it away. I was becoming frustrated. I needed her inside … I needed her inside …

In. Deep. Full. Captured. An involuntary jerk of my hips pulled it in more fully and I groaned out her name. The finger stayed put, throbbing inside me - or was I throbbing around it? Whatever … it felt like I’d come home again.

It slipped out and then in and then out and then in … slow and sure … brushing along my walls as it curved and pushed. Another one joined the first and waited inside me. I pushed again and tried to raise myself to look at her. Blue eyes stared intently at me from between my legs, and I felt a spurt of juice shoot from deep inside.

‘Kiss me … please … kiss me.’ I had to have those lips on mine … had to know this wasn’t an illusion, a re-creation of the fantasy I had harboured in my chest for years.

Without taking away her fingers, she crawled up me and laid her frame over my own. Her hand was between my legs and an errant thumb began to brush against my clit. I spread my legs wider wanting to suck her inside, and wrapped my leg around her waist, opening myself up even more for her.

Her mouth covered mine and her breathing was ragged. I was so consumed by her … so enthralled by her … I wanted this to last forever, but knew I wouldn’t take long to climax. Kisses landed on my throat and neck and I could feel her nipping the flesh.

God … Lou .. God … I want you want you want you …’ The words tumbled from her mouth and tattooed themselves onto my skin. With every word she pushed inside me, like she was possessing me.

It was becoming more frantic, more animal. She was fucking me … fucking me … fucking me and it was deliriously brazen. My breast was nearly inside her mouth and she suckled it like she was starving. I pulled her head closer and she groaned into me. One of my hands glided around her arse and pulled in sync with her thrusting, jamming her fingers home.

I could feel it coming. I could feel myself cumming. I wanted to cum with her … for us to cum together. I needed us to cum together … needed it.

My hand stopped gripping her arse and slipped between us to halt the pounding of her fingers inside me. ‘Ash … let me touch you … let me … touch you.’ She pulled her fingers free and I slipped my leg between her legs and rubbed my thigh along a soaking want.

Oh God … Lou … fuck.’ She half bent over me as the sensation ripped through her, my other leg slipping down her calf and stroking the back of hers. Her arm supported her as she leaned back and pounded against my thigh, smearing it with her essence. I sneaked my hand between the gap and through soft pubic hair. Her clit was swollen, and she stopped in mid thrust to allow my fingers access.

Two fingers parted her folds, and a gasp left her mouth. I watched her eyes flicker closed only to reopen with desire raging from them. A soft snort left her mouth and nostrils, indicating there was no turning back for her … she was close … as close as I was.

She kneeled and leaned back slightly allowing me to circle her core. Her hand was back and tantalising my opening in rhythm with my ministrations on her. I raised my leg and supported her whilst I slipped two fingers inside, just as she slipped two inside me.

We both growled with hunger. Hips began a dance … thrusting and pushing and needing to capture and take and own. The need to cum was synonymous to agony and the movements became more forceful, more intense. Both of us were beyond the realm of reality and I could feel her walls clasping around my pulsating fingers, as surely as I could feel my walls spasming.

‘Cum for me … cum for me …’ Her voice was deep, growling and primitive, the words weren’t a request they were imperative to her survival.

White and bright and clear and so fucking intense. I was over. Fighting… clawing … gasping out my cumming into the air to mingle and merge with her sob of release. Uncoordinated coupling, jerky and euphoric, we thrashed and plunged out the last vestiges of delirium before she collapsed on top of me, my fingers sliding effortlessly from within her. Her mouth was wet and soft as she kissed me. It was deep yet gentle, and I felt so much pour from that one kiss than I had from everything that had preceded it. Her body moved against me trying to elicit the aftershocks, trying to appease the need to begin all over again.

Trying to satiate the raging inside us both.

But I had waited too long for her… too long for this. I needed to take her again. Fuck her again. Own her again … Love her until I couldn’t move and couldn’t think of her anymore.

I knew I would never have enough of her … never love her enough …

But I would die trying.

And as I rolled her onto her back I thought, ‘This is going to be a long night.’

And an enjoyable one at that.

                        **************************************************************

Chapter Thirty-Three

By the morning light we were nearly dazed with exhaustion. The whole night had been spent discovering each other over and over again. It was only through dehydration that we finally stopped and I lay my head on her chest and nuzzled my face underneath her chin. Soft kisses lingered in my hair and I wished I had the strength to lift my head and claim her mouth again.

‘I need water. Want some?’ The vibrations of her voice rippled through her chest and I snuggled deeper into her. I didn’t want to move … didn’t want to break this connection, but I knew I needed liquid.

I nodded slowly, the movement of my face bringing me closer to her chest and I couldn’t resist a sly flick of my tongue against a sleeping nipple … a nipple that shot to attention immediately, giving the impression it was searching for the perpetrator.

Ash slithered from underneath me and slipped her shirt on. ‘Won’t be a tick.’ And she was gone, leaving the room decidedly empty.

I lay back onto the pillows, closed my eyes and sighed. I felt so contented inside … so at peace at last. This is what should have happened twenty years ago.

My eyelids shot open. ‘Fuck!’ I sat up. ‘Fuck! What have I done?’ Both my hands covered my face and I tried to scramble to a sort of rationalisation if what had taken place. I had just had unbridled sex with Ashley Richards. Ashley Richards.

The Ashley Richards who had dropped me like a stone twenty years ago.

The Ashley Richards who had used me to get closer to Danny Spencer.

The Ashley Richards who now knew I knew about Danny Spencer. And still needed me on her side to get him.

A fleeting emotion of self-pity shot through me, only to be replaced by anger at what I had allowed to happen. I had been such a fool. Again. I had fallen for her charms. Again. It’s amazing how many ‘agains’ there seemed to be when I was with her.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed, slipped on my sleeping shirt and readied myself for her to come back in the room.

Two minutes later, the door opened and she came trotting in, barefoot and naked from the waist down. She grinned at me as she leaned back on the door to push it closed, two glasses of water in her hands.

I sat. Stoic. Glaring at her. The smile froze momentarily, before slipping completely from her face. ‘Lou?’

She had the decency to look concerned, but at that time I didn’t think of what she would be feeling at this stage. She had gotten what she wanted … or thought she had gotten it.

‘What’s up?’ Silent footsteps led her closer to the bed.

‘You think you’re so clever don’t you?’

‘Huh?’

‘You heard.’

‘Lou … I don’t know … What’s up?’ She moved closer, but the expression on my face warned her to stop. I had the sheet clutched in my hands, the same sheet we had shared minutes before … the same sheet that reeked of our lovemaking.

‘Don’t play games, Ash. I know.’

‘I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.’ She set off towards me again. ‘ Can we just …’

‘Don’t come any closer.’ I didn’t recognise my voice, just buried my head in my hands again trying to stave off the onslaught of emotion welling up inside me. I didn’t want the fire to dissipate … I needed the anger to get me through this.

Silence surrounded the bubbling pit of lava churning in my gut. The same lava that was threatening an appearance, vowing to shatter the silence and take no prisoners … kill on sight.

My nails dug into my scalp and I grimaced with the pain of it, although it wasn’t a patch on what I was feeling inside.

A sob broke the stillness of the room, and that sob didn’t come from me. ‘Lou?’ Her voice was pleading me, saying so much in just that one word. I could feel the ropes around my heart tug and pull, trying to dislodge the bitterness, which was trying to embed itself there.

Hands left my face, and I looked in her direction, not at her face … I couldn’t handle looking at her face. I looked at her hands … two hands holding water … water in glasses that was moving and jittering around inside the vessel as if it was on board a ship.

Splosh.

It hit the stripped wood floor like a brick.

Splosh.

Another thudding in such a quiet room. The tears that had began to seep out of my eyes and down my face halted … took stock … waited.

Splosh.

I looked at her hands. They were trembling, and so were her arms. I could see her stomach quivering too, retching and rolling. But I couldn’t hear anything now.

Eyes. I had to see her eyes. I knew her eyes … knew them …

Her head was bent and I could only see the top and the bottom half of her face. I waited. Waited for her to look at me.

If I had blinked I would have missed it. That solitary tear that fell from her chin and against her shirt with a muted plop. I just watched the dark patch spread into the size of a penny piece, and then another … plop. Her shoulders began to move, very slightly. Then her tongue came out and smeared itself over her lips.

‘What have I done?’ The tone sounded like how I felt. Rejected.

The answer I wanted to spew out seemed lodged somewhere between my throat and the roof of my mouth. I opened my lips to speak but couldn’t, just chewed around the words, mouth pursing and relaxing in the style of chewing an elastic band.

‘Tell me. What have I done?’ A little bolder now, but still full of the same something that was cleaving inside me.

‘You used me, Ash.’ Short, simple and to the point.

‘Used you? How?’ Her eyes met mine and I felt my chest tighten. Inside my head two words clambered around, ‘Be strong. Be strong…’ But I felt anything but strong at this moment, there … sitting on my bed with my heart in tatters on the floor. I should have been feeling elation – but I was far from that.

‘You fucked me to get what you wanted.’ The confession hit the air and hovered over her stunned face.

‘Yes I did.’

The pain ripped through me. She admitted it so easily … so readily …

‘I wanted you. Always have.’ Huh? ‘For twenty years I’ve wanted you … it’s always been you.’

Blue eyes met mine and seemed to plead with me, but I was angrier now. How dare she lie about it? How dare she stand in front of me and treat me like an idiot.

‘You liar … you fucking liar!’ The last bit screamed from deep within, and I was on my feet and over to her, thumping the tops of her arms in temper. Water splashed everywhere, all over the both of us, but it didn’t cool me down. ‘How dare you!’

She just stood there and took it, her fingers gripping onto the glasses more firmly. ‘You ran away. Told me you couldn’t. You weren’t like that …’

‘I never said I wasn’t like that … like you … like us.’ Her eyes flashed, as they looked straight into mine. ‘I ran because I thought I’d taken advantage of you.’

‘How on ear…’

‘You were drunk. Had a few drinks. I kissed you when you were drunk and I felt so ashamed.’

I felt the symbolic punch to my gut. I felt my jaw drop open and snap shut again. I felt like a twat.

But I just stood there in front of her completely at a loss for words. For some reason I was finding it hard to digest what she had said. Especially the bit where she had said she felt ashamed. Why on earth did she feel ashamed? It was me … my fault.

Ash moved past me and placed the half filled water glasses on my bedside cabinet before sitting on the bed. I turned to look at her and I felt my heart clench. That once so vibrant face was devoid of all colour, her eyes looked dull and lifeless. They were staring ahead like they were being transported through time to that fateful night twenty years ago.

I didn’t move straight away, I just let her collect her thoughts. One part of me didn’t want to know what she was going to divulge, but the other half … well the other half thought it would die if she didn’t tell me.

She lifted her glass from the side and downed the whole lot, although there was hardly any to drink. I felt the thirst come raging back, but before I could do anything she had my glass held up in front of me inviting me to take it. I think the invitation was for more than that though.

Walking forwards seemed as if it was performed through treacle. Lifting my feet seemed an impenetrable task, but I slipped my hand around the cool glass, brushing my fingers against hers in the process. A jolt soared through me and I tried to contain the visible shudder with the deft movement of glass to mouth, followed by rapid swallowing.

After placing the empty vessel back on the side, I tentatively joined her on the bed. We both sat there in silence before I decided enough was enough. ‘What did you mean? About being ashamed?’

I turned and looked at her profile. I could see the swallowing bobbing in her throat, so I lowered my gaze to her clasped hands on her lap. The fingers were tangling and untangling … fighting the urge to break apart and do something.

‘I’d … erm … liked you for so long.’ She swallowed again. I knew she was feeling pain. I could feel it. I didn’t say anything. ‘Well before that night. But I never thought you thought of me that way … thought I was a freak to fancy my best friend.’ She rubbed her eyes. ‘I honestly thought it was a phase, something I would grow out of. But it never happened. It seemed as if every day I wanted you more.’

At this point she stopped to collect herself, and I continued to wait.

‘It’s more than that though … much more. I think it started when we were kids.’

‘What?’ Now this was freakish.

‘I don’t mean wanting you … I mean the connection I’d always had with you. Then when you fell back into my life …’ Fell being the operative word. ‘I thought I had found you again and there was no way I was going to let you go.’ She actually turned and looked at me at this point. ‘It started so innocently … I was just so happy to have you back. And then I began to look forward to seeing you … then miss you when you weren’t there.’

Her hands tried to clasp again, but I took one into my own and rubbed my thumb along the back of it. This emboldened her, I could see by the way she took a deep breath before continuing. ‘It wasn’t long before I began to crave you … you … everything about you. Your smile .. your smell … your laugh. The way you wrinkle your nose when you are just about to grin.’

A small smile graced my lips at this, and she smiled back. ‘Like that.’ A little laugh came out of my mouth and for some unknown reason I felt embarrassed.

She sighed and turned away, her face wistful. ‘It was agony being with you, but even worse when I wasn’t. I was so frightened of you finding out … thought you’d be disgusted and tell me to get lost.’ I gripped her hand more firmly now … just a quick squeeze just to make sure I knew this wasn’t happening in my head.

Yes. This was real. She was real.

‘When I found out you were moving to Norfolk, I thought my world was coming to an end. It seemed like the other side of the world.’ She lifted her head and turned to face me. ‘I thought I was going to lose you without ever telling you how I felt.’

‘But why didn’t you tell me. You must have known I had feelings for you.’ I placed my hand on the side of her face, cupping her cheek. ‘I more than adored you … I … loved you, Ash.’

The smile spread over her face like a rash, and like rashes, it was totally contagious. Then her eyebrows dipped at the centre as a frown took its place. ‘Loved?’

Shit. Had I gone too far? Said too much?

‘You mean you don’t now? Love me, that is.’ I wanted to lie and say no, thinking that maybe it was too soon to admit what was clambering up my throat wanting to open itself up for confession.

‘Never stopped.’ There it was. Out in the open, not taking any notice of rational thought or reasoning. Emotion won out. And by the look on Ash’s face I believe my heart had made a better decision than my head ever could.

Her arms were around me and I was engulfed into her body, her scent tantalising and teasing, her chest heaving … breathing ragged. A muffled ‘Thank you, God’ was repeated into my hair like a catechism. Arms tightened and I could feel her shaking. I knew she was crying, although I had never seen her cry before tonight.

‘Hey … hey … what’s up?’ I tried to pull away, wanting to look into her face and reassure her everything was all right, but she just clung to me tighter, and I could feel the moisture seeping into my hair.

I held her in my arms, stroking long languid strokes up and down her spine, and waited for her to stop crying. Arms loosened eventually and she pulled slightly back to reach for a tissue.

After wiping her eyes and blowing her nose, she looked at me and gave me one of the most endearing smiles I had ever seen. She was Ash … my Ash … Ash the girl I knew … Ash the woman she was now.

‘Better?’

‘Much thanks.’

‘You still haven’t told me.’ One of her eyebrows lifted in question. ‘Why?’

‘Why what?’

‘Why you actually kissed me the night of my birthday? And why you ran?’

‘I told you why … I felt ashamed.’ I tilted my head and looked at her straight in the eyes. ‘I need a drink.’ I raised both my eyebrows. ‘I do … I spilled most of that.’ She pointed to the bedroom floor.

‘Okay … you get settled and I’ll go and get us both some juice. But you’d better spill when I get back.’

The journey to the kitchen was performed on extremely wobbly legs. I was surprised they had the capability to work at all with all the angst and emotional upheaval they had been through. In less than five minutes, I was pushing the bedroom door closed and padding towards the bed.

Ash was sprawled back, her head and shoulders were propped up with a pile of pillows, and she shifted to make room for me, her hand reaching up for the glass. Two gulps later, it was history and she slammed the glass on the side. ‘See? I told you I was thirsty.’

I climbed onto the bed and snuggled next to her, one arm around her waist and my head on her chest. It felt so right to be there with her, so peaceful. I think she thought she’d gotten away with it. ‘Spill Richards.’ I felt her chest push out as she drew in a deep breath.

‘Well … I erm … it … was …’

‘Oh for God’s sake, Ash. We’ve slept together. I’ve told you I love you … just tell me!’

The story she came out with filled me with a myriad of emotions. Mainly melancholy. I so wanted to turn the clock back and change the events leading up to her flight that night. I wished I had just told her … I wished I hadn’t had so much to drink that made her feel she had taken advantage of the situation.

When she stopped, after she admitted she’d ran because she was scared at the consequences of her actions, I just stared at her.

‘What?’

‘You still haven’t told me.’

‘I have … I bottled out because I thought you were drunk and would regret it the next day,’ she said adamantly.

‘That’s not what I meant, Ash. Why didn’t you bother explaining why you ran? … You could’ve said you were drunk too.’ I turned and looked up at her. ‘You left it twenty years to tell me … I thought you felt something for me?’

‘I didn’t leave it twenty years.’

I lifted myself up onto my elbow and looked down at her. ‘It’s been twenty years, Ash. From that night to the night you showed up … nearly twenty years.’ I looked down at her mouth and then back to her eyes. ‘You could have at least said goodbye.’

‘I tried … I came to your house and stood outside I don’t know how many times. But I just couldn’t face you … thought if I called you and spoke over the phone it would be easier.’

‘So why didn’t you?’

‘You were cut off.’

It was true. My dad had disconnected the phone the day before we were to move to make sure he’d done it. But then it dawned on me.

‘You had my new number. Why didn’t you call me in Norfolk?’

‘I did.’

‘You could have … what? No you didn’t. I think I’d remember, Ash’

‘Spoke to Jo.’

‘You spoke to … Jo?’ Shit. ‘What did she say? She didn’t tell me you’d called.’ I looked up at her, and she certainly looked uncomfortable by this stage. I could see her chewing her lip, probably thinking how she could get out of this conversation that appeared more like a confrontation by now. One of those little ‘Oh what the hell’ sighs came out and I saw the resolve kick in and her mouth purse.

‘After we’d had a little chat, I told her I thought it would be best if you didn’t know that I’d called.’

I sat up straight on the bed, the warmth of her body completely absent from me. ‘You called and said not to tell me?’ I couldn’t believe it – it must’ve been soon after we’d moved because Jo moved in with Craig not long after.

Then a thought struck me. ‘What did she say?’ Ash shook her head saying it didn’t matter, but I needed to know. Well … you would too, wouldn’t you? You’d want to know why the sister you thought the absolute world of would betray you like that. She knew how I felt … she knew I loved Ash … she knew that I’d kissed her… shit … she didn’t know. I hadn’t told her.

‘What did she say to you, Ash? Please. I need to know.’

Ash looked uncomfortable. ‘Jo loves you, Lou.’ I just stared, and it seemed that my world had suddenly gone tits up, you know … when you can’t really grasp something … think it must be wrong … think the rest of the world has gone crazy and imagined something that you couldn’t possibly perceive. ‘She was only thinking of you.’

I pulled back even further, as if to try and grasp the bigger picture, but my brain was fucked. Ash held her hand out … palm upwards as in offering … fingers extended. I just sat there like a laughing Buddha ornament –frozen to the spot. My eyes just said ‘Tell me … tell me … tell me …’ over and over again.

She sighed, knowing I wouldn’t give in until I knew. ‘Come here, baby … and I’ll tell you.’

I resisted for a few seconds and then laid down on top of her, my hand sneaking around her waist pulling her into me.

And then she told me … word by word what had passed between the two women I loved so much. There had been no tears … no tantrums … no shouting. Just an agreement.

It was for the best.

For whom I didn’t know. The best for Jo? Ash?

Because it certainly hadn’t been the best for me.

And all that crap about making a fresh start and leaving me to get over her and get on with my life.

As I was listening, a maelstrom of emotions whizzed through me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry … scream or sob … rage … spit … thump … demand … become complacent … sullen … too many emotions … too many.

Eventually my screwed up insides came to a decision. Not consciously. It was only the feeling of wetness on Ash’s skin that alerted me that I had been crying … the tears had seeped unbidden. Surprise released the pent up emotion crackling underneath the surface, and the floodgates opened. I felt cheated. Cheated. Fucking cheated. How dare they decide for me.

How dare they think they know what’s best.

‘How dare you! How fucking dare you!’ It was out and there was no going back from this. I was up and off the bed in a flash, the room almost spinning … it was totally unfocused, a little like the conversation… a little like my brain. ‘How could you decide what was the best for me? You didn’t even ask me! Didn’t ‘t even get my side of the story.’

‘Lou…’

Don’t “Lou” me!’ Spit flew out … I was seething. Wait until I got hold of Jo … wait until …

The next thing I remember was being in her arms again and she was holding me against her, gripping me, shushing into my hair. I was so angry, but her presence was soothing the ire flooding from me … soothing it away … soothing it all … away.

‘Please Lou … don’t be mad.’ I attempted a half-hearted wriggle. ‘Don’t blame Jo … she was just looking out for you … like she always has.’ I thought of Jo … thought of how she had always had something against Ash … Do you remember me saying about distrusting her? Distrusting her after the lemonade incident? Well this certainly wasn’t lemonade, and it was more certainly something that couldn’t be mopped away.

Soft kisses were in my hair and I was allowing the anger to seep away … flow away … drift away. I was still hurt by what they had done, but I needed to speak to Jo about it. Needed to hear her tell me why she had done what she had. Funny thing was, I could understand why Ash had stepped away from it all. She was still reeling from the acknowledgement that she had a crush on her best friend, and felt like a circus freak. So, obviously, she would back down from the situation believing that I would be better off without her.

But Jo knew the truth. She knew I had feelings for Ash. She knew I was in love with Ash, yet she told her to leave me alone. And the only person I wanted to tell me the reason for that was Jo herself … and I would do that as soon as I could call and make arrangements to see her.

That was the kind of thing that had to be done face to face.

And that could wait until the morning, because I had better things to do … like concentrate on my future instead of my past.

                        **************************************************************

Chapter Thirty-Four

It was about ten o’clock in the morning when Ash’s mobile shrilly brought us both back into the land of the living. She slung herself half off the bed and rummaged around on the floor to retrieve her trousers, in which was hidden the singing beast.

She randomly pressed the keys to accept the call, and when she turned to face me she looked totally exhausted. We had spent a while earlier trying to come to terms to what had happened and eventually agreed it was something that, with time, could find a place where it belonged. In the past.

I watched Ash talking into the phone, her eyes hidden behind heavy lids and knew she was harassed. Work had called her for some reason or another, and I could see the tension mark itself along her mouth. I raised a finger and ran it along the underside of her bottom lip remembering where those lips had been last night.

The smile changed the path of my finger and I looked into the bluest eyes I had ever seen.

And they were twinkling … for me … at me.

I mouthed ‘I want you’ and she grinned and held up a finger as if to say ‘one minute’. But I couldn’t wait for that.

Fingers moved across her chest and along her collarbone. Ash intermittently bit her lip and tried to keep her voice steady as my fingers crept lower and circled her breast. She shook her head, but it was only half-heartedly.

So the fingers ventured lower, and I lifted myself up and over her. Circles on her belly … brushing fingertips that were valiantly going lower and lower and …

‘Haaah!’ The air escaped her mouth as my fingertips reached her nub … and it felt wonderful. Eyes pinned on mine and conversation became more staccato, the person on the other end of the phone becoming more confused as the answers were becoming unfocused.

I decided that my mouth should join in, and began to skip along her belly whilst my hand was between her legs. Her voice was becoming curter with the caller, telling whoever it was that she would be there as soon as possible.

Guilt sneaked in as I thought it unfair to lick her belly and stroke her whilst she was trying to take in information, so I pulled back, only to have her hand rest on my head, and guide me back down.

Peeking up to her, I saw the glint flash from her eyes and I knew she was horny. Fingers tangled in my hair and I could feel the pressure increase on my scalp. My lips brushed against her pubic bone and I nuzzled in deeper, glorifying in her scent. Two fingers separated and guarded her clit, opening her wider … opening her up to my watering mouth.

One flick with my tongue and she gasped, the slamming shut of her mobile seeming to echo around the room. Both of her hands gripped my hair and pushed me down and into her, her hips rising off the bed to allow me full access.

With the flat of my tongue, I eased from her opening and upwards in an agonisingly slow movement, my fingers slipping to the side, up, and over her thigh. I pushed her legs apart and she scooted backwards to spread herself wider. Inside my gut, the muscles clenched and spasmed, and I just wanted to take her roughly … take her fully … take her and own her and make her mine.

But I didn’t.

I brought my tongue back downwards, using just the tip along her swollen clit until it reached her core once again. Ash’s stomach sucked in and I could hear and feel the air being held and released emitting a groan in its wake. I gripped her thighs, one under, and one over, and pulled her towards me as I buried my face into her, breathing her in deeply.

‘Jesus, Lou … God yes … Take me … take me.’ I rubbed my face into her like I was giving her an open mouthed kiss, my lips moving in the motion of speech, miming the words ‘I love you’, hoping they would be swallowed up inside her, just like I wanted to be.

Another stroke with my tongue upwards … then down … up … then down … up … then …

‘I need … to taste … you … need to …taste you … too.’ Words undulated into the air, but I knew what she wanted. I slipped my hand back between her legs and eased my fingers into the place my tongue had just left.

Effortlessly, I swung my leg over her middle and scooted backwards until I straddled her face, my fingers never missing a beat. Her hands gripped my hips and eased me downwards until I felt the sensation of her tongue flicking against my nub. Involuntarily, I jerked forwards as a spasm shot along every nerve in me.

A couple more flicks and then a suck and then … oh god … it was ecstasy. My eyes closed and I rocked on her tongue, my fingers still pushing and pulling along slick folds. One minute I was rocking, the next my face was once again between those precious thighs and I was delighting in the taste and texture of this woman … my woman … underneath me …

Without warning, we entered each other with tongues ready to be lost inside … tongues ready to caress walls that begged to be loved … tongues eager to fulfil this quest … this destiny that was burgeoning on the exquisite.

Or was it exquisite already? Who cared? The intense feeling of an approaching climax was mushrooming and filling and exacting a promise of forever in this ecstasy … the promise of completeness between one person and another.

Two people seeping into one, becoming complete once again.

Actions were becoming frantic. Mouths were eating. Consuming. Devouring. Sucking. Tongues were dancing and flicking …hoping and dying to love and be loved. I could barely breath and I could hear Ash’s ragged breaths coming from underneath me … neither of us wanting to stop … both of us needing to cum …

I could taste the change in her … salty yet still as sweet as honey, and I knew she was close … as close as I was. My hips were trying to escape the confines of her hands, as they wanted to pound into her, but I had to take it out on her clit … on her opening …

I delved deeper into her as she delved deeper into me.

Harder and faster. Harder and faster. Hard and fast… hard and fast.

Her cry entered me just as mine entered her. I felt the wetness shoot from inside me and coat her face, my nails were digging into her thighs and I was riding her unabashed. Her hips lifted and floundered in the air as her climax robbed her of all coordination.

My name was inside me. Chanted through parted lips … lips that we soft and moist and pliable in their weakness.

It was blinding, but I knew at that moment I had never seen so clearly in all my life.

I fell forward and half on top of her, uncaring about how I looked, totally exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Her hand was trying to grip my fingers and pull me towards her, and I had to force my traitorous body to comply and get me to her … get me in her arms.

But I made it. Safe. Secure. Wrapped tightly in the arms of the woman who even after twenty years held my heart so easily. The woman who held my everything so easily.

And there we lay. Ensconced. Content to just be, if only for a little while.

                        **************************************************************

part 10

Return to the Academy