For complete Disclaimer see: Part 1
nyway, If you still like what you read please give me feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm fairly new to the writing world so I would really appreciate any advice or comments.
Strands of blonde hair falling on her face, drops of sweat rolling down the bridge of her nose as fingers flew over black and white keys as smooth as velvet. Strong emotions washing over her face as the music spread through every part of her body. With sealed eyes, she was lost to the world with only deep blue eyes on her mind. Feeling the pace pick up, she focused on that hint of green that became more distinct the closer you looked.
Suddenly, she felt that wave of frustration crash over her as her fingers pounded frantically over the keys. The violent sounds making her lightheaded, her chest contracting with every painful breath until she couldn't bare it anymore and tears escaped the edges of squeezed eyes. She slapped her palms against the keys drawing out an excruciating high pitch noise startling the Labrador that was sleeping at her feet.
Moist green eyes blinked open, as she sucked in air through her mouth trying to regulate her breathing. She spared her dog an apologetic look, seeing the quite annoyed face he wore from being abruptly woken up. “Sorry, boy.” She said when she reeled in her emotions, laying her head on the black baby piano, tilting it towards the large lounge open-plan window. The winter sunlight streaming through hitting her, warming her a little.
She couldn't do this. She couldn't keep doing this. And she tried, dammit! She really did. She felt the tears of frustration well up again knowing a long time ago this was all she did. She used to play and create, hours after hours until it felt like her fingers were going to fall off. Now, she was lucky if she would last a measly hour. The hurt and betrayal always crawling its way in. Not to mention the gaping hole in her heart that was left by a certain brunette of whom she hadn't interacted with for over a month. Since Christmas Eve which had played on her mind constantly. Also her music school went on its annual two month break until end of February. So there was no excuse for them to see each other. And she hated every moment of it.
Pressing a palm into her eye, she heard the doorbell ring. Dragging herself off the stool, she used her sleeves to wipe her eyes and ran a hand through her disheveled hair. Then she followed Smurf to the door. He sniffed the crack under the door once before turning on his heel, marching back into lounge. Maddie shook her head grasping exactly who it was that could get a disinterested expression out of her dog.
She pulled the door open to a smiling Lamar, who was still dressed in his work attire. “Work let out early today?” She asked, knowing it was nowhere near quitting time for him.
His smile slipped a little as he studied his best friend. “Yeah, Seth is doing the financial thingies.” He said nonchalantly as he followed her inside, shutting the door behind him. “You know how he doesn't like me around when he does that…”
“Wiseman…” Maddie agreed walking towards the couch before flopping face down.
“Uh, yeah…” Lamar sighed, sitting on the piano stool, grimacing at her. “I'd tell you, you look like shit but you already know that, right?”
Maddie picked up her head slightly, spitting out hair from her mouth. “Do you just come to my house to tell me all these flattering things?”
“Of course not! How could you think that?” He put his hand to his chest in mock hurt. “I also come here for food.”
“Right.” She rolled eyes.
“Yeah, so what you got?” He just shrugged when her eyes narrowed in a dark glare. “What? I'm hungry.”
“You are always hungry.” She mumbled burying her face back into the crook of the couch.
“ Nooo , I'm always horny… I'm only hungry when I'm awake.”
“I suppose that's true.” She shifted a little, sighing. “There's a large BLT in the fridge…”
Lamar's eyes lit up. “With extra mayo?”
“You know it.”
“Yes!” He leaned down and placed a sloppy kiss on the top of her head before dashing into the kitchen. She could hear the rustling of the fridge contents before it was slammed shut. “I love you…” Was shouted from the kitchen.
She snickered into the fabric of her couch. “You would say that to anyone who offers you food.”
“And I'd mean it too.” He grinned walking back into the lounge, his hands full with two open beers and the plate holding his sandwich. He placed all the contents on the coffee table before picking the blonde's feet up causing her to grunt. He shook his head as he sat down, dropping her legs on his lap and then making a grab for his extra large sandwich. Taking a giant bite, he looked at her. “Tho how wuu doin'?” He asked with his mouth full.
“Great, great… I'm doing great.” She stifled into one of the cushions.
He swallowed, taking a sip of his beer. “And I can see that…” He drawled with sarcasm dripping from his tone. “How long has it been since you guys spoke?”
Maddie didn't have to ask who he was talking about, she knew. He asked every time he stopped by. “Over a month… Maybe, six weeks. Forty-two days –”
“If you tell me how many hours, I'm getting you committed…” He interrupted dryly chewing on his sandwich.
She rolled over onto her back, resting her head on a cushion and blew a strand of hair off her face. “I wasn't going to.” She scowled at him. It was probably slightly over 1015 hours by now anyway, not that she was counting .
“Sure…” He rolled his eyes, handing her a beer. She sat up straighter and took a sip staring at the window. “Remind me again, how this is better for you guys?”
“Lamar…” She moaned, though it was weak.
“You can't tell me how, can you?”
“What do you want from me?” She asked softly.
He placed two fingers under her chin turn and adjusted her head to face him. “Didn't we establish I want you to be happy?” He smiled, wrinkling his dark nose. “Not looking like something Smurf chewed up.” He picked at some of her hair that was sticking up. “Though considering how haughty your dog is, I doubt he would even put you in his mouth.”
She sniggered, turning her face away. “I'm not that bad…” Looking at the disbelieving glare she received, she sighed. “Okay… I am.”
“Go see the girl, kiss, make up, God anything, just stop –” He paused and waved his hands in front of her. “This…”
“You just indicated to all of me!”
“Exactly!” He let out exasperated. When her bottom lip dropped impossibly lower, he sighed and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “You do know this is sadder than a long distance relationship. I mean, you guys are in the same damn small town.”
She leaned in closer laying her head on his shoulder, picking a bit of lint off his pullover. “How would you know? You've never been in a long distance relationship.”
“And this is why!” He declared, puffing out his chest.
She couldn't help the giggle that bubbled out of her. “That makes no sense whatsoever…”
“I know.”He chuckled too, looking down into beautiful green eyes. “Screw the self righteousness and go see her, Maddie. ” He told her, gently brushing a piece of hair off her face.
She glanced at the antique clock high above the fireplace. It was a few minutes past three. Her eyes fell slowly and she pointed to the window. “I do…” She whispered wistfully and sucked in her bottom lip.
Lamar produced a perplexed expression before facing the window slowly himself. The sunlight glistened against the thick planes of the glass creating a dazzling glare which obstructed part of the street that could be seen. He could barely make out old Mr. Tanner going through a few envelopes at his mailbox, the few kids hanging out near the stop sign and the grey sedan that drove by. Just as he was about to turn back and deem his best friend a nut case, he caught the black-hooded figure that gradually came into view. He felt the sudden hitch in his chest as he took in a sharp breath. Rising, he stepped closer trying to erase the glare from his stymied view. Then he could see those sapphire blue eyes pierce straight through the house from across the street. His head turned back, doubtfully, to the blonde that sat arms crossed and impassively staring at the figure.
“Jesus… How'd you –” He trailed off.
Hayden stood across the road, her knapsack strap draped over her shoulder, hands tucked in her back jeans pocket as she rocked on her heels. You could just barely make out the white cloud of her breath that fogged around her face. Maddie smiled sadly. “I don't know. She just comes here around the same time every day after school.” The blonde rose and padded over to stand next to Lamar, hugging herself. “She lingers for a few minutes just watching the house as if she's contemplating if she should come over.”
“Well… That's not weird at all…” Lamar supplied wryly, earning him a smack to the arm. “Ow…” He flinched at the scowl he received.
“I don't know…” She shrugged. “The other day she made it right onto the porch. I actually thought she was going to ring the bell when she turned around again and went home…” Lamar nodded thoughtfully, picking up the disappointment in her tone.
“And what do you do?”
She frowned. “What do you mean?”
His lips quirked into a knowing smile. “You wait for her, don't you?”
Maddie's eyes widened at the blunt accusation. “I…”
He chuckled interrupting he thought process. “C'mon Maddie, you can't lie to me. You are talking to the guy who knows you better than you know yourself.”
“Well, what do you want me to say? Even if I said no, you would call me a liar.”
“That is because you would be. You can't keep going down this road of denial.” He chided, waling his arms. “You are going to go insane!”
She let out a half laugh, shifting soft eyes back on Hayden. “Denial? You think I'm in denial? Insane, I'll give you.” She chuckled softly again. “But denial? No… No.” She shook her head. “My life hasn't been the same since that first night we met outside Murphy's bar. And every time I've tried distancing us, the universe has pushed us together again. I've never felt so thrown in my life. I've never felt so challenged…” She adjusted her solemn gaze back to him. “Even what happened back in LA, can't compare to the emotional turmoil she's causes me.” His eyes widened at that but he said nothing waiting for her to continue. “And now…” She watched the brunette slump her shoulders about to head home. “Now, I'm just tired. I'm tired and I miss her...” She smiled slightly.
“Then open that door, Maddie…” Lamar stood with his arms pointing to the front door.
She glanced at the door, then back at him. “I can't…”
“I'm scared…” She confessed, a little shakily.
“Why?” He prodded again.
“Because… Because once I open that door, I'm not sure I can close it again…” She sighed watching the brunette disappear from her sight.
Lamar matched her sigh as he also watched Hayden leave. “You know what I think?”
“You're not scared because you can't close it, Maddie. You're scared because you don't want to…”
He smirked when his comment was only met with silence.
… ... … … … … ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Hayden's blue eyes were focused in front of the class as she listened to the new literature teacher, Mrs. Foster. But her head was anywhere but on the content in front of her. It had been over a month since she had seen Maddie. The music school had gone on a break as well and would only resume in a few weeks. Every time she sat in this classroom, it hit her like a hurricane. The one thing she looked forward to everyday wasn't here. She wasn't here. She wasn't sitting on the edge of her desk, book in hand and glasses perched high on her nose, like she always did. That subtle hint of smile that was always aimed in the brunette's direction. She felt so hopeless, not sure what to do with the emptiness that began seeping through again. She had almost barged into Conner's house a couple of times when those feelings became too restless. But she restrained herself, instead waiting, watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of the blonde on her way home. God, she was a hopeless teenager…
And now because of her, she was stuck here listening to this woman go on about George Orwell's 1984. As the annoying voice droned on, she tilted her head barely catching some melting snow slip off a branch on one the Douglas firs that surrounded the property.
Hayden winced and her gaze shot to the graying woman in the front of the class impatient tapping a wooden ruler in her palm. Not again… “Yes…”
“Would you like to explain to me, what is more interesting outside?”
“I asked you a direct question, Miss Oliver.” The older woman glared sternly at her, the vein on her forehead becoming more pronounced.
Hayden stared at her momentarily before she let out a defeated sigh. She began packing up her stuff that was spread on the desk. “Snow…” She admitted softly as she stood up.
Mrs. Foster began vibrating with anger as her plump finger shot towards the door. “Go to the prin –“
“I know, I know, I'm going…” She rolled her eyes as she was already on her way out the door with the class snickering behind her. Mrs. Foster had sent her to the principal multiple times since her new post at Red Bay High. The thing about the round short woman was that she was a half decent teacher but she and Hayden had always mixed like water and oil because the brunette was different.
She trudged through the hallway until she reached the school offices, receiving a pity look from the receptionist who was shaking her head. “You know the drill…” The ginger woman said, raising her glasses higher on the bridge of her nose.
Hayden afforded her a wan smile. “Yeah…” She mumbled as she sagged down into one of the empty seats next to the other school delinquents. She plugged in her earphones, closing her eyes awaiting her visit with Principal Carter.
Fifteen minutes later, someone burst through the office doors startling everyone. Hayden's eyes popped open and she yanked off her earphones. “Reese?”
The short redhead spun around. “Hayden?”
The brunette stood up frowning. “What are you doing here?”
“The principal called and I should be asking you that question.” The redhead retorted pointing a reprimanding finger at her taller niece.
Hayden opened her mouth about to speak when the receptionist interrupted them. “Principal Carter will see you and your guardian now, Miss Oliver.”
The brunette shrugged, gesturing for her aunt to go before her. Reese strode confidently through the door that had the big principal sign plastered on it. An African American man stood tall dressed in a grey formal suite that screamed principal. He gave a polite nod and smile as he greeted the redhead with an outstretched hand. “Mrs. O'shea, I'm Principal Carter, sorry for calling in you after such short notice.”
Reese accepted his darker hand and shook, smiling gracefully. “Nice to meet you Principal Carter, though I wish it was under better circumstances.”
“Yes, well, please have a seat.” He gestured to the chairs in front of his desk as he took his own one. Both Hayden and Reese sat down, the brunette slouched and disinterested whereas her aunt was poised forward on the edge of her seat. “Well, the reason I have called you in Mrs. O'shea is because Miss Oliver here has been a frequent visitor to my office over the past three weeks.”
Reese's eyes widened in disbelief and turned to face her niece who remained impassive. “What?”
The dark man sighed and stared at the brunette. “Hayden, I don't know what to say… But I see you nearly five times a week.”
Hayden snorted. “That's only because there's only five days in a school week.”
“Hayden!” Reese chastised.
“Look Principal Carter, I'm sorry I see you so frequently but I don't exactly ask to be sent here. Today I simply turned my head and I was picked on. I don't see other kids here for the similar reasons, do you?” The brunette interjected.
“So you are suggesting Mrs. Foster has a personal vendetta against you?”
Hayden thought for a moment. “No. You know what I think Principal Carter, we have been discussing it for a couple of weeks… Also the fact that it is impossible for me to transfer classes so late in the school year. So I have no idea what you want from me and why you brought my aunt into this.”
“Hayden, I need to know these things.” Reese glared at her niece.
The dark man had an almost pained look on his face. “Simply protocol purposes.” He turned his attention to Reese. “You would have been called in a long time ago if I haven't been very lenient due to the fact that she is an exceptional student. But I find myself in a pickle here, Mrs. O'shea, with nothing to go with except word for word. Due to this uncharacterized behavior, Hayden has found herself on the top ten notoriety list.” Hayden simply rolled her eyes at that. “That is why I was forced to call you in.”
“Thank you for informing me, Principal Carter. I assure you, Hayden and I will have a discussion about this. I'll find a way to rectify this.”
“That's all I can ask.” He stood and shook her hand, gratefully.
Moments later, Hayden found herself trailing after her fast paced aunt through the parking lot. “I'm sorry you got called out of work.” The brunette mumbled faintly remembering it was one of the days that Reese usually went to the office. Usually, she just worked from home on the column she did for the local paper.
“That's not the part you should be sorry about.”
Hayden's shoulders slumped and she dropped her head. “I never do anything wrong, Reese.”
Reese simply halted just before her car and blew out a breath. “And I believe you.”
Hayden's head shot up. “You do?”
Reese smiled slightly. “Of course I do. You are not a liar… I know you've been really down lately and keeping to yourself. But you should have told me what was going on.”
“I didn't want to worry you.”
The redhead shook her head, knowing it was true. She poked a finger into the brunette's chest. “I will always worry about you, you bonehead.” She looked up into blue eyes. “You and Seth are all I've got now.”
Hayden felt utterly undone, wrapping her arms around her aunt tightly. “Me too. I'm sorry…”
Reese leaned into the comfort of the embrace before pulling out, raising a brow and placing a hand on her hip. “So, you want to explain to me why you are suddenly on the top ten student notoriety list?”
Hayden sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Remember Leighton Foster?”
The redhead frowned for a moment, recalling the familiarity of the name. “Uh, wasn't she your first girlfriend?”
“Yeah…” Hayden nodded.
“But what does that have to do with…” When Hayden arched a brow, realization hit. Things suddenly making sense. “Oh… Oh… Oh God .”
“Oh yes… Her mother.” The brunette grimaced. “She still blames me for her daughter's, and I quote: exploration of demon ways , unquote.”
Reese half giggled at that. “She did not say that… ”
Hayden found herself chuckling too. “Oh but she did, when she caught us kissing in her garage once.”
“God, some people…” The redhead rolled her eyes as she rounded the car towards the driver's end. “But didn't you tell her that Leighton was the one that asked you out?”
“Why would I do that?” The brunette shrugged as she hopped into the passenger's side. “It's none of her business.”
Reese nodded thinking Hayden was so much like her mother. They always had other people's best interest at heart. “Did you at least tell principle Carter this?”
“I mentioned it. But what more could I tell him that wouldn't have him thinking that I'm under some delusion that people are out to get me just because I'm gay.”
“But isn't that what's happening?” Reese frowned, adjusting her mirrors before turning on the ignition.
“I suppose… But she didn't make a deliberate stab at my sexuality, yet… She is too smart for that.” The brunette scowled, strapping on her seatbelt. “So, either I wait for her to slip up or I have to stick it out until graduation.”
“Maybe not.” The redhead pursed her lips as they pulled out of the parking spot. “Maybe I could talk to her…”
Hayden eyed her aunt, suspiciously. “Why do I have a feeling that's a bad idea?”
“What? I promise not to do anything rash.” Reese said trying to sound incredulous. But if you knew anything about Ella and Reese was they were harmless until you messed with their family. Then out came the claws. She sighed. “Fine, you and the principal can be present too. I was just going to talk to her, you know.”
“And say something profoundly parent-like?” Hayden teased, feeling more at ease, her eyes staring out the window.
“Hey!” Reese tilted her head slightly towards her. “I can be parent-like if I put my mind to it.”
The brunette chuckled and looked at her aunt. “I'm just teasing, Reese. You'd be a great parent one day…”
The redhead simply smiled hoping one day she would be as great as her sister. “I just bet you miss Maddie after getting sent to the principle like a hundred times a week.”
Hayden mentally cringed and turned her eyes to the side window. The blonde coming into her head for the hundredth time that day. “You have no idea…” She whispered, Reese barely catching it.
“I wonder why she just up and quit like that…”Reese said offhandedly. “I mean, I know her small music school is doing well but –it was just so out of character, you know…”
Hayden shrugged her shoulders in response, wistfully wondering what her ex- teacher was doing…
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... … ... …
“Lamar, stop complaining. You are the one who got me out of bed.” Maddie raked through the sale items on one of the clothing racks, searching for her size.
“Don't remind me.” He sulked, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned against one of the pillars in the store. “I wouldn't have needed to get you out of bed if you didn't start withering away in boredom and missing a certain Goth!” He hissed, quite miffed.
“I was not withering away bored!” She snarled back, finding what she was looking for, seeing how it looked against herself before throwing it back on the rack.
“Weren't you?” Lamar rolled his eyes.
“Then what exactly were you doing?” He challenged in a sneer.
“I, I...” At the smug look she received, her eyebrows tapered downwards into a sharp scowl. “I hate you, you know that. Everything is all your fault!” She tossed the few hangers at him and stormed down the aisle.
A large dark brow shot up at the sudden outburst as he threw the clothes on rack and raced after her. “My fault. How is everything my fault?”
She never slow her pace. “Well, if you didn't convince me to relocate to this damn town, I wouldn't have met Hayden and fallen in a deep twisted state of pitiful lo–” She halted suddenly, her eyes grew wide at what almost slipped off her tongue.
Lamar's eyes also grew as he bumped into her back at her abrupt stop. “What was that?”
“W –what?” She stuttered.
“The last part…”
“I never say anything! I just stopped talking! You never hear anything!”
“Er… Okay relax, I never hear anything. Jeez…” He held up his hands in defense. “But anyway, even if I didn't convince you to come down here, you would still be withering up in LA.”
She rolled her eyes. “So basically, all I do when you're not around is wither?”
“Well, you're certainly not having sex, are you?”
She frowned. “That's it, I'm going to aisle 7!” She started marching again.
“Ooo.” Lamar's eyes twinkled at the mention of aisle 7. “Can I come?”
“No!” She let out exasperated, only to have her thoughts dissolve the moment she stepped out of the aisle. Her feet stopped working as she stood stuck to the floor, her breath trapped in her chest.
Lamar walked over to her with elevated brows. “Maddie?” Then his own gaze swept in line with the blonde's.
“You said I wasn't getting punished…” Hayden moped as she walked through the town's jumbo retail store.
“When did I say that?” Reese feigned innocence, knowing her niece hated shopping. But she was out of work anyway, she might as well get the few things she wanted.
“Well… You implied it.” The brunette huffed, jamming her hands in her pocket.
“Look, I just need a few things…”
“Yeah, a few hundred things...” Hayden mumbled under her breath and then pointed to the refreshment stand within the store. “Fine, but you're buying me something to drink.”
Reese rolled her eyes as they both made their way towards the stand. “I swear, you are spending too much time with Seth. He never wants to come shopping with me either.”
“Uh-huh, can't imagine why.” Hayden humored, as she looked at the young man attending the stand. “I'll have a coke.” She looked at Reese. “You?”
Reese pulled out her purse from her handbag and shook her head. “No thanks, just the Coke.” She told the attendant, who handed Hayden the can. “So what do you think I should get Seth for his firm's anniversary?” She asked, as she paid the attendant.
Hayden opened her Coke and took a sip. “Uh, what does he like?”
“He doesn't really know…”
“If he doesn't know what he likes, then how do you ever get him anything?” The brunette grunted about to start their pilgrimage through the store when she froze in mid-step. At that precise moment when blue eyes met green, her heart felt like something had clicked back into place. Slowly, she lowered the can from her lips that became dry in an instant. She couldn't help the involuntary upward twitch of her lips.
Seeing the faint pleased expression on her nieces face, Reese turned. Her lips stretched into a huge smile when she caught sight of Lamar and Maddie, waving them over.
Lamar waved back and grinned before he tried to get through Maddie's stiff barrier. “Maddie…” He said gently, rubbing her shoulders.
She blinked twice, attempting to comprehend what was being said. “Yeah?” She asked, her eyes unable to leave the brunette. Her own lips curling in response at the subtle hint of smile she received. It was like the misery of the past month melted in that instant. God, she's beautiful…
“We have to go say hi. Reese is calling us over.”
He grinned devilishly thinking about Maddie's take on the universe. Damn sick universe bastards –Gotta love ‘em. “You kinda need to move your feet.”
She cringed slightly. “Right, feet…” She exhaled and they both made their way towards Reese and Hayden.
“Hey Red, fancy meeting you here.” Lamar draped his arms around the small redhead and kissed her cheek.
Reese grinned and leaned back. “Hey, does Seth know you're not at the office?”
“Of course.” Lamar's grin turned sheepish. “But he thinks I'm meeting with a client.” She giggled and smacked his arm. “What about you, Red? Does he know you're not home?”
“Of course.” Reese smirked. “But he thinks I'm in the office.”
“God, I'm a bad influence on you.” Lamar let out a deep chuckle. “We shall never speak of this…”
“Deal.” The redhead grinned and turned her attention to the blonde. “Hey Maddie, looks like we weren't the only ones who had shopping on our minds.”
“Looks like…” Maddie laughed uneasily and took Reese in a friendly embrace, her eyes still on the brunette.
Lamar considered the brunette. “Hi Hayden…”
Hayden fell out of her trance. “Hey…” She greeted him back.
Maddie slipped out of Reese's hug and smiled weakly at the brunette. She chewed on her bottom lip before strolling up to Hayden and taking her embrace chancing that she would have more self control because they were in a public area. Boy was she wrong… “Hi…” She murmured into the crook of Hayden's neck with a smile. Taking in the wonderful scent, she missed so much. The innocent warmth of the body against hers.
At first Hayden was startled by the sudden move, but feeling the tickling breath against her neck settled her knowing it was Maddie against her. She had wanted the feel of the blonde against her for so long. She wrapped her arms around her, just shy of painfully tight. Slightly burying her own smile into thick blonde hair. “Hi…” She murmured back, her eyes briefly falling closed.
Lamar smiled at them, seeing what looked like two friends who missed each other simply hugging from the outside. But he was the only witness that knew it was much more than that. “Man, I'm thirsty too.” He said noticing the can still in Hayden's hand. “Hey Reese, come help me pick out something. I'm always so undecided.” Before she could respond, he pulled her to the stand leaving those two with ample space, alone.
Maddie could hear Hayden's heart racing and feel her control slipping so she tried leaning back, only to be locked into place. She tilted her head and looked up into brilliant blue eyes. “You need to let go, Hayden.” She whispered, knowing in a moment or two it would start looking inappropriate.
Hayden nodded trying to get function of her arms. “Right…” She dropped them slowly, both of them feeling a great loss. Searching deep into green eyes so close to her own, she could see her own desire reflected back at her. Her lips quirked again, glad she wasn't the only one. “You need to step back, Conner.” She breathed back.
Maddie's eyes hooded at the intimate way Hayden's hushed voice caressed her face. “Right…” She took a full step back. “So how have you been?” She asked after a moment, needing words for what those expressive blue eyes were telling her.
“I, I –I.” Hayden found her tongue tangling wanting to say a million things at once but not sure what to say. She sighed and earnestly settled on, “I'm better now.”
It took everything in the blonde's restraint not to step back into Hayden's personal space. “Me to–”
Both their heads jerked when Reese and Lamar laughed and joined them again. The darker man, with a cup of coffee in his hand. “So what brings you guys here, anyway?” The redhead jovially poked Maddie.
“Aisle 7.” Lamar answered indifferently, taking a drink of his coffee.
All three women lifted their heads to the big signs above each aisle.
“Aisle 7- Delicates and Lingerie.”
Two of those women were both sporting matching blushes as Reese read the sign out loud. Hayden took a sip of her coke trying to hide her blush and pretending to be indifferent whereas Maddie's deepened as she caught the shade of red on the brunette's cheeks. She was going to have to kill him became her mantra as the redhead chuckled, suggestively. “Ah nice, so the rumors are true then?”
“What rumors?” Maddie frowned.
“The ones that said that you quit teaching to resume a discreet affair…” Reese purred, wiggling her eyebrows teasingly.
Both Hayden and Lamar choked on their beverages at the same time as all the blood drained from Maddie's face who was staring at the little redhead in horror.
Reese couldn't keep her straight face at the priceless look Maddie emanated and burst out into a fit of laughter. “Jesus! You should see your face! I'm just kidding… I mean, who could ever have a discreet affair in this small town.”
“You'd be surp- cough -rized.” Lamar grumbled between coughs earning him a jab on both sides.
God, kill me now. The blonde dropped her shoulders in relief, laughing awkwardly too. “Yeah who...” She muttered through gritted teeth, thinking that the redhead just shaved off a year of her life.
Still in her bout of laughter Reese noticed that Hayden and Lamar we still choking. “Jeez, are you guys okay?” She wondered, gently patting Hayden's back, baffled.
“Wrong pipe.” The brunette croaked, her eyes watering, feeling relief hit her like a gush of wind. Who knew her aunt had a deadly sense of humor.
Lamar hacked a few more times before regaining his breath. “Yeah, I'm fine… Mine must have been the coffee.” He held up his take-away cup back to the attendant and shouted. “What did you put in here? I'm a lawyer, I can sue, you know.”
Maddie shook her head, when she saw the worried look on the young man's face. “He is kidding.” She half chuckled, shooting the lawyer a glare. He glared back in a shrug and both of them turned back swiftly with forced smiles.
Reese scrutinized the best friends as a thought occurred to her. “Hey Lamar, you work with Seth, right?”
“Why? Do you know something, I don't?” He gasped in terror. “Did he dissolve our partnership without me knowing?”
“No, you nut.” The redhead laughed. “I just figured since you work with him and are such good friends, you could help me pick something out for him for the firm's anniversary.”
A slow genuine smile crept onto the darker man's face. “Oh yeah, that's next week, huh? Can you believe how long it's been?”
“Yeah, time just flies.” She nodded and averted her attention to the blonde. “You don't mind if I use your shopping buddy, do you Maddie? I'll just keep him for twenty minutes, tops.” Reese gave her a dazzling smile.
Maddie returned the smile. “What? No, I don't mind. Have at him, at least it will keep him out of my hair for twenty minutes.” She said, gruffly.
“Oh, thank you.” Reese hugged her briefly and glanced up at Hayden. “I tell you what, I'll give you Hayden. Just don't expect more vivid opinions either than heh or nah . But I promise she makes a hell of a pack-mule.” She winked at her niece.
“Er thanks…” Hayden muttered sardonically.
“Plus, I think she's been missing the music school like crazy since you guys went on break, always moping around the house.” The redhead mentioned before dragging Lamar down the aisle.
Maddie and Hayden stood there in awe at how fast Reese moved, leaving them alone. They side-glanced each other. The brunette stuffing her hands in her pocket, a mixture of glee and anxiety sinking in. She scratched the back of her head. “I think my aunt just gave me to you…”
Maddie chuckled, nervously. “You caught that too, right?” They simply stared at each other momentarily sharing a shaky laugh.
“Glad to know, I'm so easily disposable…” Though it was said with a slight smirk.
“Well, you know most women on a shopping mission. They would practically sacrifice their first born to get what they want.”
“Then I'm definitely glad my mom wasn't a shopping nut.”
“She didn't like shopping?”
“It's not that she hated it –like me . She was just indifferent, you know, go in, get what you need, if something else caught your eye, get it too. Not too over the top like Reese –or my dad.” Hayden grinned as her goofy dad came into mind. “Actually, I think Reese got it from my dad.”
Maddie found herself giggling, intrigued. “Really?”
“Oh yeah… My dad was hectic. He would either buy the entire store or cause a fight with other customers. After he got into that incident with that old woman with a cane, my mother took over the shopping.” Hayden's grin died down to a sad smile, feeling the warmth spread through her body speaking about her parents. She hadn't done that in over a month realizing that the only person she really spoke about them with was standing in front of her now.
Maddie caught the solemn aura that washed over the brunette, feeling a great urge to simply gather her up in her arms. It was always so comforting and eerie at the same time that they were able connect in this familiar way even after what they been through –what they're going through. “So what did you want to do for twenty minutes?” She asked, mercifully changing the subject.
“Well, I'm at your disposal for twenty minutes. But if you'd rather go it alone…” The brunette met her with sad blue eyes and trailed off.
And give up the only twenty minutes of this past few weeks that will make her feel somewhat human, no way . There was only so much torture she could endure herself. As long as they didn't touch she was sure she could behave. She was pretty sure… “C'mon pack-mule, let's take a walk. It's not like we planned this, right?” She winked with a warm smile.
The brunette's eyes lit up and she tried to suppress a smirk of her own. “Right…”
They made their way through the sector casually at a slow pace. Hayden's slanted glance taking in the shapely long grey knitted sweater beneath her coat and the onyx leggings showing off the form of fantastic legs that cut off below the knee with her boots. She was always dressed impeccable unlike herself. She just threw on the first clean pair of jeans that didn't have holes in and a simple t-shirt. Not to mention her favorite black hooded jacket and she was all set. How could they be so different yet so much the same? Lifting her gaze, she was met with deep green eyes. She felt her cheek start to burn at being caught staring and shot her eyes forward. “So, um, what have you been up to?”
Maddie dragged her gaze ahead of them as well. One of her hands clenched in a fist, trying to control the involuntary electric response her body was having to intense blue eyes sweeping over her. She could this. She could behave… “I've been lounging my vacation time away. You know, doing a few crossword puzzles here and there, reading, TV. Playing with a few pieces I've been writing.”
“That's great, you're really good.”
“How would you know?” Maddie's brow crawled up her forehead.
Hayden's smile turned sheepish. “Um, well, I was sitting at the piano once and going through some sheet music, when I came across some unnamed ones. I assumed they were yours. But they were incomplete so after I played one or two, I put them back.” The blonde's head fell gently. They were all incomplete, she thought pensively. “I'm sorry, if I overstepped…”
Maddie picked her head up and smiled. She shook her head. “No, its fine, you didn't overstep. I'm glad you liked them so far…”
Hayden wanted to ask why they weren't finished but held her tongue. They were amazing but she felt there was more to it. “So do you miss school?” She asked instead.
The blonde bit her tongue in thought. “Honestly, not as much as I thought I would. I mean, I did enjoy the routine and what I taught but…” But maybe she was just using it to run away from her problems. To forget about them, she thought gravely to herself. “Well, I still have my music school which has gotten a lot bigger since I quit. Students from my music classes enrolled, so there's a possibility you will be seeing some of your peers.”
“Oh joy…” Hayden rolled her eyes. “But I still get the kids, right?”
“Yes…” Maddie grinned. “I guess most of all, I do miss some of the students though.”
“Oh yeah?” The brunette smirked, her brow arched in challenge. “Which ones?”
“A sensible teacher never tells… Favoritism and all.” The blonde said matter-of-factly, with the same playful bite in her eyes.
The brunette chuckled, her eyes glimmering. “Fair enough…”
“Otherwise, things are pretty much okay. I like waking up late –when Smurf allows it.” She groused.
“How is the big guy?” Hayden asked as they turned into the next aisle full of an enormous range of winter coat that were going on sale close to the end of the season.
“He is constantly moody and there's a big stick up his butt like always. In other words, he is perfectly fine.” Maddie smiled softly, meeting Hayden's gaze. “I think, he misses you.”
“I miss him too.” Hayden said, her voice soft.
They stared at each other quietly for a moment, the silence speaking volumes between them. Until Maddie barely swiped her eyes away, pretending to be interested in the jackets on the racks closest to her. She ran her fingers through the material, ducking her head, hoping to gain some composure. “So uh, what about you, how's school?”
Hayden turned away, herself, restraining her own emotions that flooded to the surface. “School… um, it's been very productive .”
“Productive how?” Maddie brows creased, catching the unusual strain in her tone.
“Well… I've made it on the top ten list.” The brunette simply stated watching Maddie go through the racks.
“You were already there, you nut.” The blonde chided, seeing something she actually liked. “I'm pretty sure when I left, you were still first.” She rolled her eyes as she examined the fluffy coat before throwing it back.
“The top ten notoriety list.” Hayden grumbled under her breath so low Maddie almost missed it.
“Wait, what?” The blonde's head jolted pinning the brunette down with strong green eyes thinking perhaps she didn't hear right. “Notoriety list? You? ”
Hayden nodded indifferently. “Let's just say, I've pissed off the new literature teacher badly and now she is making me pay nearly every day…”
“How could you have possibly pissed someone off that badly to end up on the notoriety list in less than a month?” Maddie's tone sounded incredulous.
“Well, actually, I kind of pissed her off four years ago. She just stewed in it and remembered it was me.”
“Four years ago?”
The brunette sighed. “She caught me kissing her apparently straight daughter in her garage…”
“Oh… Oh… Oh God .” Maddie's eyes widened because she knew what delusional parents were like. She had a set.
“That's what Reese said.” Hayden found it quite comical that they had the same reaction.
“What happened to her daughter?”
“Last I heard, an art school in Chicago, living with her girlfriend.”
“What and she's still blaming you?” The blonde scoffed.
“That's the way I see it.”
“I can't believe Principal Carter is allowing this to go on.” Maddie scowled in disbelief.
“He can't really do anything unless she deliberately takes a swing at my sexuality.”
“Who is this lady?” The blonde's eyes went dangerously dark, her voice sharp.
Sensing the acidic change, Hayden couldn't help but smile. “Oh no, not you too… Reese already wants to punch her face in with her own blackboard dusters.”
“Go Reese…” Maddie chimed in but kept her expression stern. “Seriously, I can't believe nothing is being done.”
The brunette women sighed as they rounded the corner to the next aisle that was seemingly empty. “Conner relax… I'm okay, I'll sort it out.” She stopped them with a hand on Maddie's shoulder, turning her so that sincere blue eyes met green. “This isn't the first time I've been spited because I'm gay and you of all people know it's not going to be the last…”
“I know…”Maddie let out a breath letting her anger deflate with it. “But I don't have to like it.” She lifted her hand brushing back a stray piece of black hair behind Hayden's ear. The brunette's eyes slowly hooded at the gentle lingering touch before it fell away. The blonde simply watched her for a moment and took in a deep breath. She turned away and started walking again. “So… You know, for a pack-mule, your arms are pretty empty.”
Hayden watched her through wistful blue eyes as she went through a rack of cotton button up shirts. “And here I thought I could distract you long enough to forget.” She teased as she caught up in stride.
Maddie chuckled contemplating two shirts. “Sorry, you're not that lucky.”
“Maybe not right now…” The brunette murmured, hands back in her pockets.
“So which one?” She held up both shirts in front of her.
Hayden wrinkled her nose as she considered the options. “Seriously, you're giving me a choice and one of them is pink ?”
“And here I thought your aunt said you were limited to heh and nah.” Maddie rolled her eyes. “And It's more of a lavender pink, anyway.”
Hayden blinked twice, scrutinizing the shirt. “How the hell do you know that?”
Maddie laughed at the confounded look on the brunette's face. “Years of shopping experience. Plus, I love clothes.” Her eyes twinkled mischievously.
“Well, they definitely love you…” Hayden blatantly looked the blonde once over.
Maddie couldn't stop the blush that washed over her. “Here, hold that.” She tossed the pink shirt at the startled brunette, whose hands barely shot out of her pocket to catch it. “And let's go try it on before I'm forced to give you back.”
The brunette obediently followed the blonde to the cut off fitting rooms, where only one attendant stood yelling into her cellphone. She raked a hand through her short bleached hair.
“I swear Rod, this time we are threw!” She barked into the phone. There was a brief pause. “Oh…Oh really? Then tell me what the hell was her tongue doing in your mouth?” She hissed, unsuccessfully keeping her tone down and sparing Hayden and Maddie an annoyed glance. “Hold on…” She said keeping the phone at her ear, before inspecting the two in front of her. She raised a bemused eyebrow at the pink shirt in Hayden's hand.
“It's hers… I'm just the pack-mule.” Hayden clarified.
“All the cubicles are free.” She said in a drowning voice, her eyes narrowing sharply abruptly. “I can't believe you said that!” She yelled into the device and stormed off in one direction.
Maddie and Hayden shrugged and walked into the area that was surrounded with a dozen small sized cubicles. “I'll take that…” Maddie snatched the shirt away from Hayden as she observed the vacant room. “I was wondering?”
“Yeah?” Hayden asked, noticing that the – now missing –attendant was right. The area was completely empty with only a bit of sunlight streaming in through the window and bright florescent lights above.
“So, what do you think her tongue was doing in Rods mouth?”
Hayden chuckled, perceiving the devilishly teasing twinkle in Maddie's eyes. “I have no idea. Some people are so creative. Tongues in mouths… What's next? Hands on breasts?”
Maddie giggled, moving down the length of the passage to where the large panel mirror resided on the wall. They could see each other through the reflection. “That's absurd. Who would ever consider such a vile act?”
“Only –Every other person with hands.” The brunette suggested with a grin.
“Oh yeah?” Maddie smirked playfully. “Yours included?”
Hayden losing herself in that devious smile the blonde gave her. “My what?”
“What about my hands?” She questioned staring at them, obliviously.
“The proposition you just suggested…” Maddie wiggled her brows.
“Oooh…” Hayden felt the blood flood her cheeks as her proposal connected with the object of her desires. Who happened to be standing a few feet away from her. She shuffled her feet. “Oh, um…”
Maddie let out a full laugh at the embarrassed brunette, never seeing her so unraveled. “God, you're cute. Be right back…” She stepped into the cubicle closest to the wall mirror and flipped the latch.
Hayden leaned her forehead against the wall of one of the cubicles, trying to drain the excess color from her face. God, she had never felt so out of sorts before. Her mind going on the fritz with images that were submerged in her mind. Her hands on Maddie's perfectly shaped breasts, wondering about the softness she would find there, the fullness. God! She squeezed her eyes feeling a wave of need consume her. The month of staying away from her did no good. These feelings stronger than ever. Now it wasn't embarrassment that flooded her but desire. She slanted back strolling down the center line, taking deep breaths holding down whatever she was feeling. She was startled to a stop when the blonde stepped out of the cubicle facing her.
“So how do I loo-” Maddie trailed off feeling the intensity of the brunette's gaze stabbing through her.
“Beautiful.” She answered instantly, her eyes never leaving Maddie's face.
Maddie coyly turned around, facing the mirror, her eyes on the shirt, avoiding those dark blue eyes that could be seen reflecting through. “I meant the shirt…” She murmured, her hands gently fiddling with the collar, desperately needing something to do with her hands.
“Oh, um…” Hayden swallowed, gradually dropping her gaze over the item under discretion. She stepped closer until she was a few inches behind the blonde and only their reflection could be seen in the mirror. “It looks great…” She lifted her eyes until it met Maddie's reflected gaze. “But…”
“But?” The blonde hoarsely asked, the brunette's presence ravishing her senses. Just the heat oozing off the brunette, her subtle scent, driving her insane. She felt her hands start trembling and the inside of her mouth go dry when the brunette stepped impossibly closer without their bodies touching.
“But…” Hayden rasped quietly, not sure what she was doing, only that she couldn't help herself. She lifted her hand in a slow motion that had both of them watching the mirror intently. She skimmed the skirts of her collar until she reached the damp skin of Maddie's throat with her index finger. Maddie let out a tiny gasp at the contrast of her feverish skin to Hayden's icy fingers. Yet, all she could do was observe hazily.
Hayden's digit torturously flitted down the nape of her neck stopping where it felt material. Maddie's breathing becoming deeper, the movement of her chest more pronounced as her lidded eyes focused on the action in the mirror. Then with a flick, her top button was released, the finger continued moving dangerously lower, parting the shirt until she reached the creamy top of her cleavage. “There perfect…” She breathed into blonde hair causing Maddie's breath to hitch and fall back into her, so that they were pressed front to back, her knees too weak to keep her straight. Hayden's rational minded sintered when Maddie's warmth leached into her. She nuzzled into the hair behind her ears and left the tiniest of kisses there. “I think I'm starting to like pink.”
Maddie's head lolled back onto Hayden's shoulders as her mind went completely blank but for the sensation she was feeling. “Lavender pink…” Was the only thing that fabricated out of the mess that was her mind.
Hayden let out a small husky laugh as her hands grazed down the blonde's curves to rest on her hips. “I'm sorry… Lavender pink.” Their eyes met in the mirror when she placed another kiss against the bare skin of her neck.
“Hayden…” Maddie pleaded weakly, stricken by the primal desire in blue eyes.
“Tell me to stop, Maddie.” Hayden squeezed her eyes shut, her voice ragged, her tongue slipping out to taste the salty skin there. The month length of restrained desires pouring off them.
Maddie whimpered weakly as her head arched to the sensation, one of her hands running up through the textures of thick brunette hair on their own accord. “Stop…”
“Now, mean it.” Hayden cooed nipping a little.
Maddie didn't know which one of them was trembling more. Her hand gripping hair, gently pulling Hayden off her until she was directly looking into clouded blue eyes. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Instead, she pulled the brunette back, their lips meeting in a soft kiss. Hayden sighed into the kiss as Maddie twirled in her arms, so they were face to face, wrapping her arms around her neck. Hayden's hands possessing the blonde's hips, clawing the material as the kiss deepened. Her tongue sweeping her lips and dipping into the hot mouth that was latched onto hers. Maddie's fingers tangling in black hair pulling their bodies closer together. The kiss was slow and languid, tasting and memorizing, both overcome by the overwhelming passion that radiated between them.
Maddie felt her breath stolen like she had felt every time they kissed. Hayden's mouth moved in sync with hers, feeling the tempo increase as she was being backed into her cubicle.
Just as they were about to step into it, the attendant's annoying voice came crashing in. “How dumb do you think I am! You don't know how to do CPR!” She screeched causing Hayden and Maddie to spring apart fast.
The blonde stumbled back into the cubicle, closing the door and leaning back against it, her eyes painfully shut. Hayden stood straight looking at the mirror, holding her breath as the bleached lady walked in, checking the room and giving her a miffed glance, before stepping back out. She let out her breath as she began panting heavily, resting her forehead on her hand.
She could hear Maddie's breathing on the other side as it was the only other sound in the room. She stared at the closed door stepping closer to it when her cellphone beeped. Hesitantly, she dug into her pocket and scrolled through it reading the text. “Its Reese, she's done…” She stated, feeling a deep pang in her stomach when she got no response. “Maddie…” She started.
“You need to go.”
“Hayden, you really need to go…”There was a momentary silence before Maddie heard soft footsteps. She hugged herself listening to them get further and further away until they were no more. Only then did she let the first tear fall...
... ... ... ... … ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
The next day proved uneventful for the blonde. She worked on auto-pilot through most of the morning, through some of the afternoon, watching some infomercials selling only God knew what. She sat curled up on the couch still in her pajamas tucked in a thick blanket in her lounge. The volume of her TV set on low, but her impassive green eyes staring out of the window. Her heart ached...
Her mind running through the events of her entire life in fast forward. Her innocent childhood, her confusing teen years, her parents neglect and betrayal, her brother's death. All those things somehow landing her here in Red Bay. Where she survived one quiet year. And then one faithful night she blew out her candle that Lamar had given her attached to a cupcake in a bar. Her wish to regain the piece of herself she had lost since her brother's death came in the form of Hayden.
She had never felt more herself and edgy around anyone before. It takes the brunette less than two minutes to wipe clear all her restraints and make her feel something. Make her simply feel…
How could something feel so right and be so wrong? Was she supposed to continue living her life as a martyr, sacrificing her happiness for what was assumed to be right? For others? When was her turn?
“When is my turn?” She thought out loud. Smurf picked his head up off the plush rug near the fireplace at her softly spoken words. She adjusted her head towards him. “Don't mind me, I'm just sitting here feeling sorry for myself.” He woke up stretching his entire body before padding over to her. He laid his head on the couch near her face. She smiled weakly, running her hand over his fur. “I know, I love you too, buddy.”
She rose, going into the kitchen to pour herself another cup of coffee. Coming back into the lounge with a steaming cup in her hands, she glanced up at the clock. Her heart rate picked up when she realized that it was a few minutes to three. Leaving her mug on the coffee table, she ambled over to the window, her arms wrapped around herself. She waited like she did every day. Her mind traveling through yesterday.
Feeling Hayden's lips ghost over hers, again and again. Every time, it was different just like the brunette. She never knew what to expect. Fast, slow, exploring or ravishing but in the end it just came back to need. Their need to be all those things, together. At least it was for her. She waited ten minutes. Then another. And eventually half an hour went past, her line of vision empty like the hollowness in her stomach. She finally resigned herself to Hayden not coming. She was not coming… Could she really blame Hayden since she snubbed her for something they had done? The brunette probably hated her for leading her on and then always pushing on the breaks. Her eyes fell closed trying to withhold the tears that threatened to overcome her.
“The door was unlocked…”
Maddie's eyes flew open as the voice echoed in her head. She whirled around with bated breath. Her eyes scanning over the tall brunette that was standing in the entrance of her living room. Red rimmed eyes meeting red rimmed eyes.
“The door was unlocked…” Hayden repeated words were nothing but a whisper. But before she could get another word out she had an armful of the blonde against her. Maddie buried her nose into the brunette's chest as strong arms suddenly enclosed around her in abandonment. They trembled together in relief, in fear and a feeling they both were too scared to admit.
Hayden swallowed as her own words failed her. Everything she had come here to say flown out of head as she tightened her grip on the shaking blonde, her eyes clasped as she dragged them to the couch. She pulled the smaller blonde on her lap as she fell on it, not loosening her hold. She inhaled letting Maddie's scent fill her, her face deep into blonde hair…
An hour had passed and neither of them had moved an inch. Maddie finally lifted her head until she was looking into Hayden's face. She slid a strand of black hair away exposing more of the Jade's face. She cupped her cheek resting her forehead against Hayden's. Blue eyes peering into green as she placed the tiniest of kisses on the tip of the brunette's nose.
“What are we going to do?” Hayden whispered, eyes sliding closed.
“I don't know…” Maddie admitted softly.
“Please, don't let me keep pretending this is not happening between us. I can't keep doing this... ” Those ocean eyes opened, pleading.Maddie cupped her other cheek holding her in place. “No.” She shook her head pulling Hayden's lips to hers…
To be continued in Part 8
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