Disclaimers: This story belongs to me so I don't give permission for it to be posted somewhere else under a different title, change in names or storyline.
Sex: But of course! J
Note: There will likely be somewhat graphic violence in this story, as part of it takes place during war times.
If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com .
San Jose, 1960
Danni looked over the stack of order pages she'd been mailed, meanwhile she sat on the hotel room bed with the phone tucked between her ear and shoulder. "Yeah, Allison I got the orders from Carl, as well as the names of the men I have to meet with Tuesday." She listened to her business partner's questions, as Danni was representing F&H Industries for the opening of their newest warehouse in San Diego. "No, I'm already in California, in San Jose. Yes, I realize San Diego isn't in San Jose and is in fact a couple hours away, Allison." She rolled her eyes. "I've got something I want to do before I meet with the warehouse manager." She tossed the orders to the scratchy comforter underneath her and reclined back against the stacked pillows. "Just something personal... Yep, dinner with Carol and Frank, too... Talk to you later. I'll give you a call after I leave the meeting and am at the airport.... 'K. Goodnight."
Danni cradled the phone and blew out a breath. She pushed off the bed and walked into the small bathroom, flicking on the overhead light and looking at her reflection. She looked tired, and it was no surprise why. F&H was expanding in a big way, and she'd been on the road for the past two weeks making all the right connections all over the country. California was her final stop before she had to head back to Nebraska for a debriefing with Allison and their attorney, and then she could head home.
"God, I look like hell," she muttered, turning her face this way and that, noting the dark circles under her eyes. Though it was only nine-thirty at night, she decided to go to bed. After all, tomorrow she had a stop to make before her drive to San Diego.
In her rented '55 Buick, Danni drove slowly down Peachtree Lane, sunglasses on as she neared the house she was looking for. There it stood, just as she'd remembered it from eleven years earlier. She pulled over curbside a few houses down on the opposite side of the street and watched, a smile coming to her face.
In the driveway, a beautiful 14 year old Megan washed the family car with rag and soapy water from a bucket at her feet. She was doing a less-than-stellar job as she missed spot after spot, obviously just trying to get through it.
"You missed the entire back window, Megan," Danni chuckled.
Her gaze was caught by sudden movement at the front of the house. As she watched, Kate came out of the house, hands on hips. She wore a light sun dress, her arms and shoulders bronze with a California glow. The two exchanged words, though they were too low and too far away for Danni to be able to hear. To Danni's utter delight, however, Megan suddenly grabbed the hose and sprayed her screaming mother, Megan's laughter riding on the warm breeze of the day. Kate braved the spew of water until she'd managed to wrench the hose away from her daughter, immediately turning the tide.
Danni laughed outright as mother and daughter squealed in laughter, spitting out water as the tide was turned once again. Danni longed to be able to go join them, but knew that wasn't an option. Instead, she got the car started again and pulled away from the curb, headed on her way to San Diego.
San Diego, CA 1968
"I cannot believe this place is still open," Kate marveled, taking a bite out of her cheeseburger. She wiped at some runaway ketchup before it fell off her chin.
"I know. I come here whenever I'm in town," Danni agreed, sipping from her chocolate malt.
"How often are you here?"
Danni shrugged. "Every year or so; I have to come to check on things at the warehouse or follow through with problem orders, things like that."
"You should stop by!" Kate admonished, throwing a wadded up napkin at her friend. "Jeez! All these years." She tsked her tongue then took another bite.
Danni smiled at that, then used the napkin to wipe her mouth then tossed it back to Kate. "Here you go, you can have your napkin back now."
Kate rolled her eyes, batting the soiled napkin away. "You're terrible."
"Yeah, well you're the one who drove all the way to San Diego with me," Danni reminded.
Kate grinned. "That I did. That I did."
Kate looked around in awe at the giant warehouse Danni led her through. The smell of freshly cut wood permeated the space as stacks of cut lumber lined the walls, as well as metal shelving filled to capacity with stacked blocks, planks as well as cords of uncut and unprocessed material.
"Wow," Kate marveled, looking around as they made their way across the cement floor to the back wall of the massive space where offices lined a connecting hallway.
"F&H has expanded across the country as builders and materials providers," Danni explained. "We actually just got a contract with the military for materials to be used in some of their building projects."
Kate smiled. "Guess you've come full circle, haven't you?"
Danni stopped and thought for a moment, nodding. "Yeah. Guess so." She led Kate down the hall of offices and out the door at the end. Just beyond that was the bright, sunny day as well as a large box truck. Two men were loading a second one.
"Good afternoon, Miss Felts," one of them said, tipping his hat at the women.
"Hey there, Rene. In the truck?" she asked, patting the side of the first truck, which had the large back door closed.
"Excellent. Oh, Rene this is Kate Hannigan, mother of the lucky lady who will be receiving the set."
"Ma'am," the older man said.
"Kate, this is Rene Velcour, the warehouse manager."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Velcour." Kate said, taking the man's outstretched hand and shaking it.
"Alright, Kate," Danni said, grunting as she unlatched and pushed the slider door up. "Let's see this baby."
Danni stepped up into the back of the truck then reached down to help Kate. Standing in the large, hot metal box truck, Danni moved to the large, tarp-covered object up by the cab of the truck. She grabbed one end of the blue tarp then with a flourish, tugged it off.
Kate was excited to see what Danni had created, and in truth, was slightly jealous that Megan was getting such a thing from Danni and not her. She gasped when the dining room set was revealed. Though a simple design, as was Megan's tastes, it was unbelievably elegant and beautiful. The intricate woodwork that marked the legs of the table and chairs was breathtaking.
"Oh, Danni," she breathed, running a hand over the smooth, shiny finish of the tabletop. "This is extraordinary! Megan is absolutely going to love this!" She turned to Danni and threw her arms around her neck, pulling her tightly to her in an almost painful hug of gratitude.
Danni hugged her back, relieved that Kate approved. "I was hoping you'd like it," she chuckled. Pulling away she smiled down at Kate. "I was nervous, I have to say. Now I just hope Megan will approve, too."
"Oh my god yes, she'll approve." Kate turned back to the set. "Now I want mine."
Danni smiled and looked over every single piece, making sure nothing was chipped, broken or scratched. "It's in great shape, so that's good. I figured she and Rob would have a modest-sized place for now, so I only brought the four chairs, but if and when they want it, I have six more back at my workshop as well as additions that can be slid into the table to expand it to seat ten."
Kate helped Danni secure the tarp then they headed out of the hot box truck. She hopped down from the back then turned, grabbing Kate at the waste and lifting her down. "Alright, Rene," she called out to the warehouse manager. "It looks beautiful. I need this delivered today." She looked to Kate. "Is that okay?"
"Yeah, perfect. Probably good, since Megan and Rob will be gone for a week after the wedding."
"Perfect. Hang on a sec."
Kate watched as Danni walked over to Rene, assuming they were discussing the delivery details. Kate watched Danni as she dealt with her employee, so filled with confidence and poise. She was truly striking. She returned the smile Danni gave her as the taller woman walked back over to her.
"Ready to head out?" Danni asked.
Waves washed up to the shore only to recede once more, then do it all over again. Danni and Kate walked along the warm sand, each carrying their shoes. Danni looked out to sea, utterly content. The sand between her toes, the cool breeze brushing her skin and the warm sun caressing her face: it was a plethora of sensations. The one sensation, however that was slightly distracting and somewhat disturbing was Kate walking beside her. This very beach had been the backdrop to so many of their moments together long ago. It was both gratifying and painful to be back in their stomping grounds.
"What are you thinking about?" Kate asked softly, looking up at Danni as they walked. "You seem so far away."
Danni glanced at her before returning her gaze to her surrounds. "I guess I kind of am," she admitted. "I was just thinking about some of our time here before. We spent an awful lot of time here."
"Yes, we did," Kate sighed. She inhaled the scent of the sea and all the living creatures within. "Some wonderful times here, Danni."
Danni nodded. "Yes. Wonderful times."
"You know what I remember most?" Kate said, stopping them with a tug on the hemline of Danni's tank top. She plopped down in the sand, pulling her skirted legs up to her chest and hugging them.
Danni sat next to her, long legs out before her and crossed at the ankles. She brushed some sand off the leg of her jeans. "What's that?"
"Making love here after we got married," Kate said, her voice quiet and wistful. She couldn't bring herself to look at Danni, afraid of what she might see - or might not see - if she did. "I probably shouldn't bring that up, but it was so magical."
Danni pursed her lips together for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, it was. And it truly was magical, not just from distance and time, you know?"
Kate nodded. "Yes. I know exactly what you mean." Finally she garnered the courage to look over at Danni. She was relieved to see a warm smile aimed at her, Danni's eyes twinkling with the memory. "Does Mary make you happy, Danni?" She was surprised the question had left her heart and her mouth, but it was out now, so she decided to go with it, even though she wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer.
Danni looked back out to sea, her heart immediately closing at the question. "My relationship with her is uncomplicated," she said. "I don't have to feel." She looked over at Kate, expecting to see disapproval in her eyes, but instead saw understanding and sadness.
"Is that what you want? Not to have to feel?"
"I drank for a few years to try and deaden everything. What I was doing instead was slowly killing myself, from the inside out," Danni explained softly. "Allison helped me to get myself together, and then I numbed myself by throwing myself into work. We created F&H and it thrived. It became my identity and all that I'd allow myself to care about."
"And now?" Kate asked. "What do you care about now?"
Danni sensed they were beginning to enter dangerous territory and as much as she wanted to stop the conversation before it went any further, she couldn't. She couldn't because, not only did she sense Kate needed to talk, to understand and to purge, she realized that she did, too.
"I care about my dogs," Danni said pitifully. "I care about my home." She looked deeply into Kate's eyes, seeing the girl she'd fallen in love with twenty-five years before, and in truth, had never stopped loving. "I care about Megan. I care about you, Kate. I may not want to, but I do."
Without thinking about person or place, Kate cupped Danni's cheek and brought their lips together. She closed her eyes at the softness of the simple kiss, which Danni returned. The shocked gasp of a fellow beach-goer made her pull away to see Danni glare at the older couple before turning soft eyes to Kate.
"I care too, Danni," Kate admitted. "Very much so."
Danni glanced around the small house that Megan and Rob lived in. It was obviously the space of a young couple, just starting out in life. The furnishings were sparse and mismatched. Brightly tie-dyed fabric hung on the walls in places, a few hung posters of the biggest music stars of the day hung in others. Despite the clutter of a small space, the house was clean and tidy, just like Kate's.
Kate walked over to Danni, just having gotten off the phone with Megan. "They'll be here in a few minutes," she informed. She had used her spare key to let them and the delivery men in. The old ratty and scarred two-person table had been removed by the men, Danni's work of art replacing it. "Good call on the smaller set," Kate said, admiring the new table and four chairs that fit, but just barely.
"Well, I remember my first place." She laughed at the memory. "Place was a tiny pit. I didn't have room for anything."
"Yes, well I got relatively lucky with my first place," Kate grinned. "Remember that house on Shore Lane? God, all of us girls living together." She laughed. "I'm surprised none of us killed each other."
"Yeah, try living with a bunch of sailors," Danni challenged with a raised brow.
Kate scrunched her nose in disgust. "No thank you. I'm sure the smell was lovely."
Danni raised her arm suddenly and sniffed her armpit. "Ahh, pit juice!"
Kate laughed, swatting at her playfully. "Goof."
"Yeah, well the only reason it wasn't messy was because it wasn't allowed to be."
The front door opened and Megan and Rob entered. "Hey guys!" Megan called out, giving first her mother and then Danni a hug. She stopped just as she was pulling away from Danni, her gaze caught on the table and chairs. "What's that?" she breathed, walking over to it. "Come here, babe," she called to Rob, who quickly joined her after his own round of hugs.
"I wanted the two of you to have something of your own to start out with," Danni explained. "Your mom filled me on your tastes, so I hope you like it."
Megan, who had been running her fingers over the smooth wood stopped and glanced over at Danni. "This is from you? You bought this for us?"
"She made it, honey," Kate explained gently.
Megan's eyes widened in shock. "You made this?" she whispered. When Danni nodded, Megan hurried over to her, once again taking her in a tight hug. "Oh my god! Thank you!"
"You're welcome, sweetheart," Danni said into the hug. She pulled away and smiled down at the girl. "Congratulations to you both. I truly wish you the best life and love has to offer." She accepted another half dozen hugs from Megan and a few from Rob.
"It was probably wise to give Megan a sedative," Danni chuckled as she helped Kate lock up the house and turn off lights on their way upstairs.
"My daughter gets a wee high strung when she's stressed," Kate said, leading the way up the stairs, Danni following close behind. "As excited as she is to finally marry Rob, I know she's nervous about everything going off without a hitch." They reached the upstairs hall and Kate's closed bedroom door, where Megan was already fast asleep in her bed. "I wanted her to get some good sleep before tomorrow."
Danni leaned against the doorframe of Megan's bedroom, where she'd slept the night before. "Kate, I can sleep on the couch," she offered. "I feel terrible that you two have to bunk together because of me."
"Not a chance, Danni," Kate said, shaking her head. "I will not have you sleep on the couch. For one night I can handle sharing a bed with Megan." She crossed her arms over her chest. "Who on earth came up with the ridiculous notion that it's bad luck to see the bride the night before the wedding, anyway?"
Danni smiled. "Probably some colonial minister who was afraid his daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law would do the nasty before their wedding night."
Kate grinned, nodding. "You're probably right." She walked up to Danni and took her in a warm, lingering hug. "Thank you for today; I truly had a wonderful time with you."
"So did I." Danni placed a quick kiss to Kate's forehead. "Get some good sleep; tomorrow will be a very busy day."
"You, too. If you need anything, I'm just across the hall," Kate said unnecessarily.
Danni smiled. "Good to know. 'Night."
"Goodnight, Danni." Hesitant to leave Danni, she waited for just a moment, what for she wasn't sure. Finally, she made her way the short distance back across the hall and entered her bedroom, closing the door softly behind her.
Danni sighed, running her hands through her hair. "I really need to get home before I do something really stupid," she whispered, heading into Megan's old room and closing the door.
The house would be utter chaos as three women tried to get ready using two bathrooms and mirrors in only one of the bedrooms, so Kate was up before sunrise to ensure Megan had everything she needed to get ready for her big day, as she knew from experience that Megan's head would be in a thousand different places, none of which were hugely productive.
She hurried downstairs in the pre-dawn darkness and flicked on the kitchen light, ready to start preparation of a good breakfast. There would be no chance of eating until the reception, which wasn't scheduled to begin until two-thirty p.m. She opened the fridge and removed a carton of eggs then package of bacon and sausage, followed by loaf of bread and jars of jam and bag of onions and cheese.
"I think you need about three extra arms there, Kate," Danni said as she entered the kitchen, her hand coming up to cover a giant yawn.
"What are you doing up?" Kate asked, followed by an answering yawn. "Don't do that!" she admonished, setting her goods on the counter. "It's contagious."
Danni grinned. "Then maybe I'll do it again." She outright laughed at the glare that received. "Alright, alright: I'll be good. How can I help?"
Three hours later, everyone was fed and showered. Now, it came down to the 'getting ready' part, which often times took longer than anything else. Danny, who wore no makeup, was the first to be totally ready, and so took on all the duties of making sure both mother and daughter had all they needed. She was relieved when someone knocked on the door and she opened it to find Carol.
"Well, good morning and what an amazing surprise!" Carol crowed, taking Danni in a welcoming embrace. "I guess you being here explains why I haven't heard from Kate in the last day or so," she laughed.
Danni laughed. "Yeah well, I've kept her busy, what can I say? Come on in; I could definitely use the extra hand." She looked Carol over, dressed in a beautiful white dress with hair and makeup done. "You look beautiful, Carol."
"Save the compliments for Kate, stud," Carol chided, "I don't swing that way."
Danni chuckled then led Carol upstairs.
Carol and Danni were put through the gauntlet between mother and daughter. Finally, Danni was called into Kate's bedroom, where Kate stood before her standalone mirror, hair and makeup finished. She stood in her dress, though the back was unzipped as Kate faced the mirror. She watched Danni's reflection advance to stand behind her own.
"What can I help you with?" Danni asked, doing her best to keep her gaze off the expanse of pale skin that was Kate's back.
"Zip me, please?" she asked.
No choice but to look, Danni moved up behind Kate and reached for the zipper of the beautiful ivory dress Kate wore. The satiny finish clung to her curves, the halter showing off beautiful shoulders and tasteful cleavage. As she pulled the zipper into place, she looked at Kate's reflected image. She could only remember one other time when Kate had looked so beautiful.
"I really shouldn't say this," she said softly, her words for Kate's ears only. "This reminds me of the day we got married. Only that day do I remember you ever looking as beautiful as you do today."
Kate's heart swelled at the words, her gaze meeting Danni's. "It makes sense," she said just as softly. "That was the happiest day of my life and today is the happiest day of my life for my daughter."
Danni rested her hands on Kate's bare shoulders, reveling in the feel of the warm, soft flesh. She eyed the smooth skin of Kate's neck and shoulders before guiltily taking a visual dip into Kate's cleavage. "Thank you for making me part of this today, Kate."
Kate reached up and covered one of Danni's hands with her own. "I never would have wanted it any other way."
Danni could feel the heat and tension rising in the room and decided to break it. "So, how does it feel that your little baby bird is forever leaving the nest?"
"Danni!" Kate exclaimed. "Don't make me cry! I just got my makeup finished!"
"And how beautiful it looks," Danni grinned. "I do, however have something for you. Stay right here."
Kate watched as Danni hurried from the room, a hand coming up to brush any tears away before they ever hit her mascara. "Damn her," she sighed with a smile.
"Okay," Danni said, coming back into the room, something in her hand. "Today is Megan's day for sure, but today is also your day: it's because of you that Megan is so beautiful, so loving and so beloved by everyone that will be in that church today. My mom did an awful lot for me, and I know you do an awful lot for Megan and deserve to be treated every bit the queen to your little princess."
Kate felt even more emotion rising up and fought valiantly to hold it down. "What did you do, Danni?"
"This." Danni presented a long velvet jewelry box in front of Kate from where she stood behind her. "For you."
"Danni," Kate breathed, no idea what was in the green box. She took it in slightly trembling hands, the hinges creaking slightly as she opened the box. She gasped when she saw the beautiful gold necklace inside. A teardrop-shaped emerald was at its center, two diamonds on either side. The stones were modest in size but stunningly beautiful.
"I wanted you to have something to make you feel as special as you've made Megan feel." Danni plucked the necklace from the box and gently brought it up around Kate's neck, securing it at the back of a graceful neck. Together, they studied the effect of the necklace with Kate's dress. "Stunning," Danni murmured, looking into Kate's eyes.
Kate quickly turned, throwing her arms around Danni's neck and pulling them together. "Thank you," she whispered into Danni's ear. "You are the sweetest woman I've ever known."
Danni smiled into the hug, unable to help herself as she placed a kiss on Kate's soft neck. "You're welcome. Come on: let's go to a wedding."
Danni was asked to join the family at the front of the church, so she sat in the pew and watched as Kate walked her daughter down the aisle. Megan looked almost as beautiful as her mother: almost. Danni felt a strange sense of pride overtake her as she watched Megan delivered to a newly-shaved Rob, who looked every bit the Navy man he'd be in a few months. Though she'd known this couple for less than forty-eight hours, she felt a kindred to them and a deep need for their future happiness and prosperity.
After Kate had finished her task and had handed Kate off to Rob, she made her way to the pew and Danni, giving Danni a look of so many mixed emotions: pride, sadness and profound happiness. Danni smiled at her, trying to give her all the comfort she could. She immediately entwined their fingers as Kate took her hand into her own, the two joined in that way for the duration of the ceremony.
Danni glanced at Kate from time to time to see her reactions as the ceremony continued, both Megan and Rob pledging their love to the other, touching in their own words. Kate teared up more than once, which touched Danni's heart.
"She looks so beautiful," she leaned over and whispered.
Kate nodded, bringing the handkerchief Danni had given her up to blot at her eyes. "Yes, she does."
Two hours later, Danni stood by Kate's side - at her bequest - as guests came up to her and congratulated her on how beautiful Megan was, how beautiful the ceremony was, how amazingly sweet Rob was and how incredible Kate looked, for the mother of a 22 year old bride, that is. Kate took it all in stride - as best she could, anyway. It certainly helped having Danni with her, giving her strength and calm. Not to mention, Danni looked amazingly beautiful in a light blue woman's-cut suit.
When Helen and her husband Jonathon stepped up to Kate, they doled out the regular congrats, but Helen's gaze kept sweeping back to Danni. "Have we met?" she asked.
Danni and Kate exchanged a quick glance then Danni turned back to Helen. "It's nice to see you again, Helen," she said with a bright smile. "Danni Felts."
It took Helen a moment but then the moment was over and her eyes were huge. A hand came to her mouth as she stared at the stunning woman standing before her. "You're a -"
"I always was," Danni supplied.
Helen looked at Kate. "We need to talk."
Kate smiled and nodded. "Sure. Call me for lunch next week." Kate managed to keep her amusement in check until Helen and her husband had walked away, leaving Kate and Danni to snicker. "I didn't even think about this aspect," she confessed.
"I did. Let's just hope your parents don't recognize me," Danni said, joining Kate as they joined the rest of the people in the reception hall.
"I doubt it. They met you once twenty-five years ago. They're just going to wonder why you're here and why they've never met you." She and Danni shared a laugh at that.
The reception hall was filled with friends and family of both sides. Decorations were affixed to anything that would stand still and cloth-covered tables littered half the space, the rest of the floor left bare for people to dance. A stage was set up near the dance floor, six-piece band already set up and playing popular music of the day.
The party began as Rob and Megan danced their first dance as husband and wife, a tearful Kate standing with Danni watching.
"They look amazing together," Danni commented, sipping from the apple cider Kate had brought in for her.
"Hey, Danni," Frank, Carol's husband, said as he and his wife walked up to the pair. He and Danni shared a brief hug. "So good to see you!"
"Good to see you, too, Frank," Danni smiled, happy to see her friends.
Kate watched, shocked at the familiar interaction between the two. She looked from Danni to Frank: she never even got a hug from Frank, let alone Frank giving one to Danni.
The dance ended and Rob and Megan made their way to the microphone that the singer had been using on the stage. Megan took it in hand, Rob by her side.
"Good evening everyone and thank you so much for coming to our little party, here." She grinned, waiting for the raucous cheers to end. "This next dance is reserved for our parents, which I want to do one at a time, starting with my side of the family."
"That's how it should be, Meg! Lady's first!" someone yelled.
Megan laughed. "That's right!" She looked at Rob. "Remember that, baby." The crowd laughed, even as Rob grinned and blushed. "But seriously, folks. My mom, the dynamic and groovy, Kate is here!"
Cheers went up, making Kate blush and give a small wave.
"As you all know, my father, George couldn't be with us tonight, but I do want to send out recognition to a very special guest and special person in my mother's life, Danni Felts. Everyone, Danni Felts!"
Before Danni knew what to do, the spotlight was on her. She raised a hand in greeting, not entirely sure what to do.
"So, all that said, let's dance, parents!" Megan crowd, once again sending the audience into a volley of cheers and howls. "For this dance," she turned to the band behind her. "Take a break, guys." As planned beforehand, the drummer put the needle to vinyl as Moonlight Serenade was piped into the large space through speakers. "Old people music." Megan and Rob made their way from the stage to the crowd.
"Dance with me, Danni," Megan said, grabbing a very surprised Danni. "It's the parent dance."
Danni was just as stunned as Kate and the gathered, but accepted Megan's hand and allowed herself to be led to the dance floor, a spotlight shining on the two dancing pairs. "This is a bit unorthodox, Megan," she said, taking Megan's hand and accepting Megan's hand on her shoulder as she placed her own hand on Megan's back.
"So is the situation," Megan answered with a smile.
Danni glanced over to see Kate in Rob's arms, the two obviously in conversation, even as Kate's gaze found Danni's. Danni returned her focus to Megan, curious of what she would say, as her eyes held a great conversation within their depths.
"An amazing day," Megan began, allowing herself to be whirled around by Danni's dance expertise. "You are a wonderful dancer."
"Thank you," Danni said, sending Megan into another spin.. "Not exactly music from your generation."
"Nope," Megan agreed, recovering from the fancy dance moves. "As I said, old people music."
"Be nice. This 'old person' can kick your butt."
Megan threw head back in laughter. "Oh, no doubt!" Megan held on tight as she was spun then dipped, delighted in Danni's playful nature. Once back up on her feet again, she looked up into Danni's face, noting the smile in her eyes. "So what is it like in Maine?"
"Cold," Danni said simply with a smile. "No, it's beautiful there. Best crab and lobster you'll ever eat."
"I've never had crab or lobster," Megan admitted.
"No? Oh, you're missing out on all that's good and holy."
Megan laughed. "I like you, Danni. You have a wonderful energy about you."
"Do I?" Danni asked as the song began to come to an end. "That's certainly good to know." She dipped Megan one final time as the last notes echoed throughout the room. Once she had her upright again, she placed a kiss on her cheek. "Thank you for the dance."
Megan took Danni in a tight hug. "She loves you, Danni," she whispered in her ear, just before she hurried over to her husband and mother, leaving Danni to look after her.
Kate hugged her daughter and then walked over to Danni. "That was some fancy footwork you were doing. I have to say, I was almost jealous, considering we've never gotten to dance."
Danni grinned. "You never asked."
Kate smirked. "Come on; help me start the food preparation."
Kate's laughter could be heard from inside the empty house, followed by the sound of a key in the door lock. Danni pushed the door open with one hand while holding Kate up with her other arm.
"We're home," she said, chuckling as she saw the stunned look on Kate's very inebriated face.
"Home?" Kate asked.
"Yes. Home. Come on, let's get you inside."
Danni held Kate up with hands on her waist, Kate having drank a few too many glasses of wine and champagne at the reception. She guided her over to the couch where Kate fell onto the cushions with a giggle that Danni found absolutely adorable. To her shock however, Kate pulled her down on top of her.
"Whoa!" she exclaimed, barely catching herself on her hands before she completely flattened Kate. "Hello there."
Kate grinned up at Danni, snaking her arms around her neck. "Hello."
"Kate, you're extremely drunk," Danni said, attempting to pull away from Kate, but Kate held her firm.
"So what? You're absolutely beautiful and I absolutely want you."
A warm shiver thrilled down Danni's spine at the words and the look of pure lust in Kate's eyes, but Danni knew this would be a huge mistake for countless reasons. "Don't do something you'll regret," she said softly.
Kate tugged on Danni's neck until their mouths were mere inches apart. "I won't, because unlike you, I've never regretted loving you."
Before Danni could absorb her own words thrown back at her, she was engulfed in a searing kiss. Knowing full well that she couldn't resist Kate, Danni gave in, returning the kiss and deepening it as she lowered her body, pressing herself against Kate's warmth.
"God, yes," Kate moaned, her head falling to the side as Danni's mouth left a fiery trail in its wake. "Danni..." Kate reached down, cupping Danni's behind as she tried to press them as close together as possible.
Danni groaned at the move, pressing her hips into Kate's. She kissed and licked her way to Kate's cleavage, bringing up a hand to cup her right breast as her tongue dipped. She tugged frantically on the low neckline of the dress until Kate's bare breast was revealed.
Kate cried out as her rigid nipple was tongue and engulfed within the warmth of Danni's mouth. "Yes," she moaned, hand coming up to cup the back of Danni's head. Suddenly, the shrill ring of the telephone broke into the heated haze of the living room. Kate groaned as Danni left her breast. "Dammit. I better get it." She staggered to her feet as Danni moved off her. "Megan was going to call if Rob's parents couldn't give them a ride to the airport."
The spell broken, Danni got to her feet, running a trembling hand through her hair. She couldn't believe what she'd just allowed herself to do. "Shit," she murmured into her hands as she buried her face in them.
Kate grabbed the handset of the phone and brought it to her ear. "Hello?" She listened as the caller spoke, her heart falling. "Sure." She set the handset down on the counter and walked out of the kitchen and towards the stairs. "It's your girlfriend," she told Danni, her voice bitter.
Kate felt the proverbial bucket of cold water that seemed to sober her immediately, as well as brought stark reality to her: Danni wasn't hers and never would be again. She shoved her emotions down and went into her bedroom, where she quickly changed out of her dress and tugged on her pajamas. From there, she went into the bathroom and began to process of brushing out her hair and using cold cream to remove her makeup.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror, the eyes looking back at her dead and remote. She knew the alcohol had given her the boldness to do what she'd wanted to do since Danni had come back into her life, but it was her heart that was paying the price. She turned away from her own reflection, instead focusing on opening the lid to the cold cream jar. She scooped out some of the thick, white cream and began to rub it into her skin.
As she did the mindless work, she knew she had to let Danni go for good. To try and keep her or sway her, or even just to have in her life at all, was crazy. It was far too painful to be so close yet eons away from what she wanted and needed from Danni. She could feel tears wanting to come, but she swallowed them down; it wasn't worth crying over anymore, as it would do no good. At least while Danni was under her roof, that is. Once Danni left, Kate would deal with this once and for all, and then let her go.
Kate steeled herself as she heard Danni's footsteps coming up the stairs and down the hall. She straightened her spine in an act of some sort of physical rebellion: you won't know that I'm destroyed, Danni. She glanced over at the open doorway of the bathroom as Danni stepped up to it. Her face was ashen and she looked utterly shell-shocked.
"Did the phone call not go good?" Kate asked, immediately angry at the sarcastic tone of her words.
Danni stared at her for a long moment. "Allison was killed in a car accident tonight."