Heart’s Choice

Chapter 16


Lois Kay


There was hardly any wind, just a gentle breeze ,that was a nice addition to the unusually warm spring weather. Still, even the soft touches of the wind pushed the waves of the sea a little higher, rolling in and colliding with the barrier that separated the main land from the sea. The hinterland was flat with green, lush fields that had been protected by man against the raging waters for centuries. One hundred and twenty-six kilometers of dike snaked through the flat landscape, meticulously maintained to keep the inhabitants of the land safe.

Emma had taken Kyra to a quiet area where they could walk on top of the dike. The view to the south provided a beautiful sea of green pastures and scattered little villages, some of them located on man-made hills, an ancient protection against the sea. The north view was one of the Wadden Sea ,and now and then Emma pointed out some interesting views, happy to be able to share her love for the land with her lover.

The wind played with their hair and Kyra had to tighten the knot in the leather strip around her long curls, to prevent them from being loosened from their constricting confines.

Emma had wrapped her arm around Kyra’s shoulder and tried to shield her from the wind, but Kyra didn’t want any of that. She loved the feel of the salty air on her face. It gave her a tingling feeling of freedom, and with shining eyes she stared in the distance, where she could see the outline of one of the Wadden Islands.

"It’s beautiful up here, Emma," Kyra spoke after a long, peaceful silence in which they both strolled over the dike, soaking up the peaceful beauty that surrounded them. "Thank you for taking me here. It’s really amazing, we live in such a tiny country and even though I have done quite some traveling, I’ve never been here before."

"I know what you mean," Emma mused, shooting her lover an affectionate look. "We tend to reach out for things that are far away, thinking that the distance we have to travel will make it all the more worth while, but, in the meantime, we miss all the beauty that is right underneath our noses."

A pair of twinkling green eyes in a rosy face looked up at her with a small grin, and Kyra lovingly squeezed the waist she had her arm wrapped around.

"That is absolutely true, my sweet philosopher," she replied. "Point taken. I guess I’ll need to readjust my future plans. Instead of taking you to Aruba to spend a few weeks during the summer vacation, we can just spend it here," she teased in a light voice.

Emma laughed out loud, a sound that created interesting tingles in Kyra’s body and she dropped a quick kiss on the top of a dark, curly head.

"I’d love to go to Aruba," she admitted. "But the truth is, I’ll be happy wherever we are. As long as you and Simon are with me."

Kyra just smiled and stared at the sea, her eyes following two seagulls, gliding on the wind that carried their piercing cries inland. Her eyes watered a little when she stared at the horizon, trying to discern where the body of water met the endless sky. When she was a child, she had been fascinated by the phenomenon that it would be impossible to reach the horizon. No matter how close it sometimes seemed, it was always out of reach.

"I love the way you always include Simon," she finally spoke in a soft voice, not aware of how wistful she sounded. "No wonder he loves you so much."

"I wouldn’t have it any other way," Emma answered, equally soft. "I love him, I really do."

"I know you do. I am so lucky to have found you."

"Funny that," Emma smiled. "Here I am, thinking I was the lucky one."

"You’ll make a great parent," Kyra said, resting her head against Emma’s shoulder. "I’ ve never had any doubts about that."

"I have the best roll models," Emma smiled.

"I guess I don’t," Kyra sighed with a sad expression in her eyes. "I mean, my dad and Albert are wonderful, but they have always been so far away. First they lived in Amsterdam and after that they moved to Aruba. I know they love us unconditionally, but the distance made things a little harder sometimes. And then of course there’s my¼ mother," Kyra said, pulling a face. "It’s weird to call her that, you know. In my opinion, a mother doesn’t only give birth to a child, but also raises and nurtures it. She did give birth to me, but I can’t honestly say I feel nurtured by her. Not even remotely. When I see the way your parents love you, and your brothers and sisters and all those grandchildren, I just can’t help wondering why my mother could never do that."

Emma didn’t immediately reply to Kyra’s comment. She could hear the sadness in her lover’s voice and thought it might be best to just let Kyra talk. She tightened her hold, and brushed her lips against her lover’s forehead in a gesture of silent support.

"When I was about ten years old, just after my parents’ divorce, I saved up all my allowance and put it away in a little box, that was hidden behind some books on the shelf. I wanted to save up, so I could run away. I wanted to find a family that would love me." Kyra softly snorted and exhaled slowly. "That was probably very selfish. I know my dad, Albert and Jazz loved me."

Emma lifted the hand that was tucked around Kyra’s shoulder and used her fingertips to lightly brush her cheek, immediately feeling Kyra lean into the contact.

"It wasn’t selfish," she gently rebuked. "It sounds to me you were very lonely. You are a compassionate person, honey, I told you that before. You are very sociable and love to be around people. I have watched the way you interact with my family and even though, at first, you were a little overwhelmed, you handle them all in a very friendly, natural way. It makes me sad to think you were so lonely as a child. You should have been born into a large family, like mine."

With a small smile, Kyra turned in Emma’s one armed embrace and gave her a quick hug, quickly pressing her lips against the surprised teacher’s cheek. When she pulled back she was rewarded with a happy grin.

"I’m not complaining, mind you, but what was that for?"

"Because I love you," Kyra answered, stepping back to Emma’s side and wrapping her arm snugly around her waist again. "I would have loved to be a part of your family."

"You are now," Emma simply replied. "They have practically adopted you. This morning, Hester told me that if I didn’t look after you properly, she’d hunt me down, skin me and hang my hide over the fireplace."

"Ouch," Kyra winced. "I appreciate the sentiment, but she’d have to get through me first, though."

"That’s the spirit!" Emma chuckled.

They continued their walk in silence and Emma mused how she had managed all those years without Kyra. Love was such a strange, but powerful force. It had altered her life in less than a day. The very first time she and Kyra had met, their future entwined, like strands on a loom, intricately woven until there was just one thread, seamlessly fused together.

"Of course, I never ran away," Kyra continued her story. "I think I knew it wouldn’t work, so, as soon as I had saved up enough money, I bought a book and lost myself in heroic adventures. When I was reading, I was never alone." Kyra let out a soft humorless laugh. "Of course my mother complained all the time about me sitting in my room, reading one book after another. But she never, ever asked me the reason why. It was always about her. What she thought, what she wanted, what her expectations were."

Emma exhaled slowly and pushed back a snide remark about Kyra’s mother. It would not serve any purpose to show her feelings about her lover’s family. Kyra needed her to listen and support her, not vent her own frustrations.

"If she would have asked you why you were always in your room, reading, what would you have told her?" she gently asked.

"That I could create a world of my own when I was reading. That I could escape the real world and feel the love and warmth I craved so much," Kyra immediately answered. "Even if it lasted only as long as the length of the story."

Emma’s remarkable eyes turned another shade of blue when she glanced aside to Kyra’s pensive face. Even though her lover’s words had been calm, she could still sense the world of hurt Kyra had gone through when she was growing up.

"What were your favorite books?" she asked with a small smile, already suspecting the answer.

"Books about big families, with lots of children," Kyra smiled, her green eyes soft and shiny. "And stories about orphans and runaways who found a new, loving family."

"Somehow I knew you were going to say that," Emma smiled, giving Kyra’s shoulder another squeeze. "Big families and lots of children, huh?"

"I always wanted a big family," Kyra confessed with a shy glance at her lover, who didn’t look surprised, but just sent her a loving, gentle smile.

"How many?"

"Oh, my goodness," Kyra chuckled with a faint blush. "About six."

Emma didn’t answer, but when Kyra gazed up she noticed a raised eyebrow and a pair of twinkling blue eyes.

"Six, huh? Well, that means we’ll have five more to go," Emma gently teased. "Of course we’d need to discuss suitable housing then as well. I mean, I really like your house and it would be big enough for a family of five, but I don’t think it be big enough for six rascals."

Kyra grinned and felt almost giddy with happiness. Emma hadn’t brushed aside her desire to have a large family. Not that she had expected that to happen, since Emma was from a family with eight children. But it was good actually to have heard her say the words.

"How many did you want?" she asked, nibbling her bottom lip when she looked up at her lover’s relaxed expression.

"I always said I didn’t care, as long as there were more than three. So, I think six is acceptable," Emma calmly answered.

"Good," Kyra grinned. "I’m glad we got that settled."

Looking at each other they both started laughing and they shared another warm hug, not caring if anyone could see them. But the dike was empty, except for the couple and, for a brief moment in time, they could pretend to be alone in the world.

Kyra wrapped her arms around Emma’s neck and pressed her lips against her lover’s in a slow, deep kiss that left the teacher breathing irregularly when she was finally released. With slightly dazed blue eyes, she looked into a pair of loving green ones and a slow smile spread across her face.

"I never really understood the concept of being ‘kissed senseless’ until you kissed me," she confessed, moistening her lips and suppressing a grin when she saw Kyra’s eyes darken when she noticed the tip of her tongue. "Did you want to do that again?" she whispered suggestively.

Kyra swallowed hard and cast a look around. There was no one in sight. Not that she really did care if anyone would see her kissing Emma, but she didn’t feel the need to make a spectacle of themselves either.

"Oh, yes, I want to do that again," she answered huskily, not waiting for Emma’s response, but immediately capturing those soft, warm lips again, losing herself in the enticing, loving caresses, that enveloped her in a warm, sensual haze.

It was a long time later, when they finally broke their embrace and shared a look of silent wonder.

"What you do to me," Kyra sighed, pressing her forehead against Emma’s, willing her racing heart to calm down.

"I completely lose myself in you," Emma replied with a shuddering sigh. "I think I am addicted to your kisses."

"Good," Kyra smiled. "Because there are a lot more where those came from. And they are all yours."

"Oh, I really like that," Emma smiled, still a little out of breath. "But since I possibly can’t just have my way with you on top of this seawall, we’d better take it easy. One more of those kisses right now and I’ll spontaneously combust."

"Mmm...can’t have that happening," Kyra answered in a teasing voice. "I’m sure there are environmental rules about that. We’d be polluting the Wadden Sea."

"And create an ecological disaster," Emma nodded, with a sly grin.

They both laughed and, wrapping their arms around each other again, they continued their slow walk, enjoying each other’s closeness and the quiet beauty of the nature that surrounded them.

They didn’t speak for a long time, content to soak up the sound of the rolling waves and the occasional seagull overhead. It was Kyra who eventually broke the silence.

"Honey, what would you say if I told you I’d like to call Rick?"

Emma shot a quick glance aside and took her time to ponder over her lover’s question.

"If that’s what you feel you should do, then I think it’s a good idea. May I ask you why you want to call him?" she gently asked.

Kyra bit her bottom lip, staring into the distance and trying to organize her thoughts.

"There are a few things I¼ need to ask him. Things I feel I need to hear from him. I¼ I really want to know more about those drugs my mother gave him. I want to know what she¼ told him about it." Kyra glanced up at Emma and there was a mixture of shyness and anxiety in her eyes. "This might sound strange, coming from me, but Rick¼ he was never really more to me than someone I knew, an acquaintance, but I¼ I don’t think he’s the kind of person to come up with the idea of putting some GHB in a girl’s drink. I know he¼ took advantage of me and it’s not like I’m not angry at him for doing that, but Emma," Kyra looked up again and her eyes were brimming with tears. "Involuntarily or not, he did give me Simon."

Emma slowly nodded and reached out a hand, to brush away a tear tenderly that threatened to roll down Kyra’s cheek. For a long moment they just looked at each other, until Emma smiled a little sadly.

"I do understand that," she softly responded. "I¼ don’t get me wrong, Kyra, what happened to you was simply horrible, but¼ I’m so glad we have Simon in our lives."

Those words broke Kyra’s last resolve and, pressing her face against Emma’s shoulder, she silently cried. They weren’t just tears of hurt and sadness, but also tears of gratitude and relief, because of Emma’s readily given and unconditional love, support and understanding.

"All those feelings are so ambivalent," Kyra sniffed after a while, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "Part of me is angry at Rick, for taking advantage of me like that, but the other part is¼ almost¼ grateful, because if it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have Simon. Does that sound sick?"

"No," Emma immediately answered with determination. "It’s not sick. It’s absolutely understandable, honey, believe me."

"Part of me even feels sorry for him," Kyra softly admitted. "As far as I understand he and his wife can’t have any children. Rick will never know what it’s like to have a child of his own. He’ll never have a son of his own, like Simon."

"When did you want to call him?" Emma gently asked, pressing a soft kiss against a damp, salty cheek.

"As soon as I can, I guess. I think the sooner the better."

Emma nodded and pointed at Kyra’s pockets with a raised eyebrow, making her lover chuckle.

"Yes, I do have my cell phone with me. And yes, it’s fully charged," she smiled, basking in the warmth that radiated from Emma’s eyes.

"No time like the present," Emma replied. "Why don’t we sit down on that grassy slope over there? We’ll be in the sun and out of the wind."

Kyra eyes followed Emma’s outstretched finger and she nodded in approval.

"Are you sure you don’t mind?"

"Sweetheart, of course I don’t mind. I am in awe with the way you’re dealing with all of this. All I want is to love and support you. I love you. There’s nothing more important in this world than the well-being of you and Simon. And my family’s, of course," she added with a chuckle, making Kyra smile. "Come on, let’s sit down there. You can talk to Rick, while I hold you and study those beautiful cows over there."

Kyra smiled through her tears and for the umpteenth time she sent up a silent prayer of gratitude. Having Emma in her life was such a blessing. She truly didn’t know what it was she had done to deserve such a loving, understanding and compassionate lover, but she was grateful just the same.



Bridget Peters cast a look at her husband and suppressed a sigh. Her eyes were filled with pain and sadness when she looked at the bent head. Ever since he had talked to Kyra’s partner, he had been quiet and withdrawn. Bridget knew that deep down inside he had been relieved at not having been able to talk to Kyra, but she knew he also realized that someday soon, he would not have a choice. Kyra would contact him and confront him with the past. And according to Bridget, she had every right to do so. No matter how much she loved Rick, knowing there was a world of difference between the man he was and the brash student he used to be, what he had done to Kyra was despicable. No woman should have to go through that. Ever.

But Bridget had let him talk. She had given him the opportunity to tell her his side of the story, realizing she owed their love and shared past at least that much, even though, at the time, she had not been convinced their relationship could be salvaged. But his heartache and grief had been real. Just like his feelings of deep self-loathing and guilt had been genuine. And when she had held her husband in her arms, rubbing his back while his tears soaked through the fabric of her cotton shirt, she had been able to reach down into that special place deep inside her soul, reserved only for him and she had forgiven him.

She had been right next to him on the couch, when his trembling fingers had dialed Kyra’s phone number, and it was her hand on his knee, that provided the anchor he needed to get through the conversation he had with Emma Altena, Kyra’s lover. Her arms had held him when the call had ended and Rick had collapsed, crying until there were no tears left and he had started dry-heaving violently.

He had been awfully quiet ever since. It had only been a day and Rick had not slept and could hardly eat. His guilt and shame were eating him up inside, while he restlessly waited for a call from Kyra. And Bridget hoped that Simon’s mother would not wait too long, not that she would blame Kyra if she did, but she feared for her husband’s health and knew he could not pick up his shattered soul and try to get on with his life, without having talked to Kyra first.

With a sigh that was close to a sob, Bridget cast a look at the plate on the coffee table. The sandwich she had made hours ago, was still untouched,

as was the tall glass of milk, usually Rick’s beverage of choice.

"Honey," her soft voice broke the heavy silence. "Can I get you anything else?"

A pair of tired, hazel eyes looked up and Rick Peters slowly shook his head, only managing to muster up the faint shadow of a smile. He wanted to reassure his wife, but at the moment he didn’t know how. He felt like he was engulfed in pain and guilt, knowing it had been his own doing and the only ray of light was his wife, his courageous, beautiful Bridget, who had defied all logic and had chosen to stay at his side. Over and over again, she had proven to be his strength.

"No, thanks, Bridget. I’m fine," his voice croaked and he quickly gazed away, so she didn’t have to see the tears in her eyes.

Lost in thought, Rick Peters stared at the phone that was lying on the table. It was still silent, and he knew it would most likely stay that way for a long time. Maybe Kyra would never call him. Maybe Emma had not even told her about their conversation and he honestly couldn’t blame her. If somebody had done to Bridget, what he had done to Kyra, he didn’t think he would be able ever to forgive that person.

Leaning the back of his head against the soft pillow of the couch he closed his eyes, wishing he could turn off the tormenting thoughts inside his head and have a rest... if only for a little while. But sleep was something that had been eluding him for a while now. It had become a luxury he could not enjoy. He had to live with his dark thoughts for days and nights on end.

Suddenly the piercing sound of the phone shattered the silence and Rick shot upright, staring at the device with wide eyes, filled with a mixture of hope and horror. His heart was trying to beat its way out of his chest and he clenched his hands into fists, willing them not to shake.

Oh, my God. What if¼ ? What if it’s her, Kyra? What do I say? What can I say?

Witnessing the near panic of her husband, Bridget quickly walked towards the table and picked up the phone to answer it. Hazel eyes, dark with fear, never left her.

"Bridget Peters," her soft voice greeted.

There was a brief silence and listening intently, Bridget was certain she could hear the faint sound of breathing, while in the distance she thought she detected the far away cry of a seagull.

A voice was cleared and the intake of breath was audible now.

"Um¼ Hi, this is¼ Kyra Hartman. Could I¼ Is Rick there, please?" a warm, but hesitant voice sounded and Bridget let out a relieved breath.

"Yes, he is¼ Kyra. I’ll hand the phone to him. Just a moment."

"Thank you," was the soft, polite reply and Bridget was overwhelmed by the strong wave of sympathy she felt for the woman on the other side of the connection.

"Rick, it’s Kyra," she said, settling on the couch next to him and handing him the phone.

Rick Peters took the device with both hands and he shook almost uncontrollably when he brought the phone to his ears.

"Kyra?" he rasped.

"Hello, Rick," a tentative voice filled his ears and he bit back a sob, taking a deep breath to frantically try and calm himself.

There was a brief moment of silence, in which both Kyra and Rick were taking steadying breaths, supported by their respective partners, who were physically connected to them, to help them get through the next few minutes.

"Kyra¼ I¼ I don’t know what to say," Rick finally managed to croak. "I’m so, so sorry. I¼ I can never¼ ever¼ put into words how badly I feel about it."

"You drugged me and took advantage of me, Rick," Kyra’s voice sounded. There was no hint of accusation, no anger, just a profound sadness and lack of understanding. "Why?"

Kyra’s voice was calm and controlled, but only Emma, who was sitting behind her, with her arms wrapped around her trembling body, knew how much trouble her lover had not to raise her voice in anger. Kyra really did want to understand and even Emma could hear how distressed Rick Peters sounded. The lawyer sounded like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

"I wish I had a clear answer for you, Kyra," Rick cried. "I¼ I was a coward. I should have¼ should have¼ stood up against her, I should have just¼ I wish I had told my dad, Kyra¼ I was¼ so¼ scared. I was a coward. But she had seen me and¼ Oh, God."

This time Rick seriously started crying and with a helpless glance over her shoulder, Kyra turned into Emma’s arms, putting her head against her shoulder, with the phone still firmly pressed against her ear.

"He’s crying," she whispered and Emma nodded, pulling the woman in her arms even closer and falling in love with her all over again, when a pair of green eyes looked up to her and a little voice said: "It sounds like he was one of my mother’s victims as well."

Emma swallowed away the lump in her throat and for a moment she had to bury her face in Kyra’s curly hair to hide the tears that threatened to fall. The situation was emotional enough without her falling apart.

Kyra clamped down on her quivering bottom lip and pressed her face against the crook of Emma’s neck, while Rick’s uncontrolled crying still filled her ear.

"Emma," she whispered. "This is not going to work. He’s just too upset."

Emma raised her face from its hiding place and cautiously sniffed, not wanting to alarm her lover. Her watery blue eyes were caught by a pair of sad green ones and she reached out a hand to cup Kyra’s cheek.

"What do you want to do, honey?" she gently asked, noticing the wheels were already churning inside Kyra’s head.

"Maybe we should just¼ meet," Kyra softly spoke, while a small frown creased her forehead. "Somewhere around here. Today. I want this done and over with as soon as I can. What do you think?"

Emma took a moment to think about Kyra’s suggestion and she had to admit it was a good one. Maybe if they could meet somewhere and have a talk, eye to eye, it would help both Kyra and Rick to deal with the situation better.

"It’s a good idea, sweetie," she complimented her lover with a smile. "You might want to ask him."

Kyra nodded and turned her attention back to her cell phone again. She could tell Rick was still completely lost and after a moment of debating with herself she cleared her throat.

"Rick. Rick, listen to me. I know this is hard and¼ You are very upset. Why don’t you hand the phone to your wife? I need to ask something."

The background sounds indicated that the phone was handed over to someone else and after a few seconds Bridget Peters’ voice could be heard. It was thick with emotion and it was clear Rick’s wife was upset as well, but at least she was able to talk.

"Yes, Kyra?" I mean, if it’s all right for me to call you Kyra," Bridget quickly added.

"Oh, yes, please, don’t call me Mrs., that reminds me of my mother," Kyra spontaneously responded, with so much distaste on the last part it made Bridget smile.

"Listen¼ " a little hesitation. "Bridget, this is not going to work. But I do need to talk to Rick. I’d like to meet him. As soon as possible. Do you think we can arrange that today?"

"Sure, no problem," Bridget answered, reaching out a hand and putting it on top of Rick’s fidgeting fingers. "Tell me where and I’ll make sure he’ll be there."

"We are back in Friesland. I know it’s a bit of a drive, but¼ ."

"That’s all right, Kyra. Don’t worry about it. Just tell me where and when."

"I’ll ask Emma, since she’s a native," Kyra gently joked and Bridget could hear the sudden warmth in her voice.

There was a brief, muffled conversation and when Kyra started speaking again, she sounded a little nervous.

"Umm¼ Emma suggested that a public place, like a restaurant or something, is probably not a good idea, since¼ well, since it’s going to be pretty emotional. Um¼ we can meet at the farm, where Emma’s parents live. There’s a little house behind it where¼ we’re staying there. We could talk there and we wouldn’t be disturbed. I’ll ask Emma’s sister if Simon can stay with them. I can pick him up later. I don’t want him to meet Rick. I hope you understand that."

"Completely," Bridget answered firmly, admiring the strength and courage Kyra Hartman was showing.

"Good," Kyra responded with a hint of relief in her voice. "I’ll give you the address. If you can’t find it, just call my cell phone. I won’t hold it against you, because it’s a maze of farms out there."

Kyra gave Bridget the address, having faith in the fact that Rick Peters’ wife would be capable of making sure her husband would show up at the arranged time.

"All right," Kyra finally sighed, all of a sudden sounding very tired. "We’ll see you later then, Bridget."

"Yes, you will¼ and Kyra? Thank you!"


With a deep sigh, Kyra switched off her cell phone and carelessly dropped it in the grass next to her. She was emotionally drained, and the obvious distress Rick had been in had not helped her to feel better.

"I feel sorry for him," she softly spoke, leaning back against Emma’s chest, while stretching her legs in front of her. "How weird is that? Yesterday I wanted to just¼ hurt him as much as I could, but now¼ I don’t know, Emmie."

"Want me to hurt him for you?" Emma asked with a touch of humor in her voice and Kyra chuckled.

"Would you?"

"I don’t think so," Emma exhaled. "I’m not exactly the violent type. I resent him for what he did, but on the other hand, I can’t ignore the fact that without him there wouldn’t have been a beautiful, little boy called Simon."

"I know what you mean," Kyra admitted. "Talking about ambivalent feelings. I suppose there are no rules about this in that famous family rulebook of yours," she added with a grin, surprising Emma with the unexpected gentle joke.

"Not yet, but after today we might add an amendment," Emma quipped with slow smile.

Kyra laughed and snuggled a little closer to the warm body, that was practically wrapped around her. She felt happy and content in Emma’s arms and just wished they could stay where they were for the rest of the day, on the grassy slope of a long, quiet dike, facing the fresh green country laid out in front of them, with the sound of the sea in the background and the soft spring sun overhead.

Emma nuzzled her neck, placing soft kisses against her sensitive skin and Kyra closed her eyes, leaning back and resting her head on her lover’s shoulder. The pain and sadness of betrayal that had been so overwhelming the previous day, seemed to be reduced to almost nothing now, and Kyra smiled when she realized it was true what was being said about love: it was the most powerful emotion known to mankind. It could move mountains. Emma’s love for her was like a healing balm, liberally applied to the cuts and bruises on her soul and creating soft layers of protection against the pain and anger.

"I must be the luckiest person in the world," she suddenly sighed and looked up at Emma with a happy smile. "I have Simon, I have you. Your family is just fantastic. I feel¼ I feel like a little balloon that has been almost empty for a long time, until all of a sudden it was completely filled with air and now it can just¼ soar up to the highest places." Kyra chuckled and shook her head. "That must have been the tackiest thing I’ve ever said. But I meant it, anyway."

Emma smiled and gave the woman in her arms a quick kiss on her lips, before pulling back and looking at her with a radiant smile.

"I think it was an original analogy and not tacky at all. In fact," Emma tucked a lose curl behind Kyra’s ear. "I think it was very cute. And I’m very grateful you feel that way. All I want is to see you happy."

"I am happy," Kyra answered. "I’ve never been happier in my life and I think I’ve just come up with a way to deal with my mother." She glanced up in Emma’s calm, gentle eyes and couldn’t resist placing a kiss on the tip of her lover’s nose. "I know she expects me to fly off the handle completely, be furious and in tears. She’ll expect me to be devastated and guess what?"

With an impish smile Kyra turned around in Emma’s arms and straddled her lover’s thighs, while the teacher’s arms automatically circled her waist.

"What?" Emma obediently asked with a smile.

"I’m not. Devastated, that is. Like I said, I’m happy. I’m not happy about her or about what she did to me, but if she expects me to behave like some¼ fire breathing wench, she’ll be disappointed. The best way to deal with Vivian LeJeune is to not give her what she wants. And I can do that," Kyra calmly stated. "In more ways than even she can imagine."

Emma looked into Kyra’s calm, but determined green eyes and slowly nodded, while she pondered over her lover’s words.

"It sounds like you have it all worked out," she finally spoke with more than a hint of pride in her voice.

"Must have been the fresh air," Kyra grinned, leaning forward to steal a quick kiss. "But I’m very serious about it, Emma. For years I’ve given my mother what she wanted, which gave her control over me. Those days are over."

"Good," Emma smiled. "I’m happy to hear that."

"I’m still working on some¼ practical specifics, but as soon as I’ve figured those out as well, I’ll let you know," Kyra promised. "It has to do with the business," she added and Emma nodded.

"Fair enough, honey. Whenever you are ready."

Emma cast a look at the sun to estimate the time, before glancing back into a pair of mischievous green eyes.


"Don’t tell me you can tell the time by looking at the sun," Kyra playfully teased.

"Sure I can," Emma answered with raised eyebrows. "You mean, you can’t do that?"

"I’m a city girl, remember?"

"Oh, yes, of course," Emma nodded. "I almost forgot. But it’s not too late, there’s still hope for you, if you’ll let me teach you."

Kyra nibbled her lower lip and clasped her hands around Emma’s neck, leaning forward and bringing their faces close together.

"Well, you are a qualified teacher," she drawled, using her thumb to rub the back of Emma’s neck. "And I do have to admit that, up until now, the lessons you’ve been teaching me have been¼ very¼ valuable and absolutely intriguing. And let’s not forget to add¼ stimulating to that list," she added in a suggestive voice, while her green eyes visibly darkened.

"Stimulating?" Emma repeated, very aware of her body’s response to Kyra’s words and closeness.

"Oh, yeah," Kyra breathed, crossing the small distance and lightly touching Emma’s lips with her own. "Stimulating, exciting, arousing, sensual, seductive¼ do I need to go on?" she whispered against Emma’s lips, letting out a small chuckle when her lover softly moaned and quickly shook her head.

"Good, then kiss me."

And Emma did just that, capturing Kyra’s lips in a passionate kiss and feeling her lover slowly press her down against the grassy slope, until she was lying on her back with Kyra firmly sprawled across her body and for a few precious moments the world stopped spinning.





"What do you mean you don’t know?" Vivian LeJeune’s cool voice sounded uncharacteristically agitated. "I just told you where to go and what to do. How complicated is that?"

Pacing back and forth between the window and her antique desk she raked her fingers through her hair, creating a disheveled appearance that was very different from her usual impeccable looks.

"Listen to me and listen carefully. I could turn you in with just one phone call and don’t think I wouldn’t do it. Your ticket to freedom is to do as your told and don’t ask any questions. Do you understand that?"

Walking towards the huge window, Vivian LeJeune glanced outside and frowned. She was desperate. There wasn’t much time left and, if she wanted to act, she’d have to do it as soon as possible. Especially since Roderick and Bridget refused to cooperate. She couldn’t believe them. How could they be so¼ naïve? Didn’t they know the kid could have been theirs, if only if they had listened to her?

"I’m only going to say this one more time, Goran, so you’d better pay attention. I gave you the address and yes, there’s no one home and there won’t be for at least another week. I want you to get inside and comb through everything. I repeat, everything, until you’ll have found something that I can use. An address, phone number, letter, a photograph¼ anything that will help me build this case. What?....No, that is the right address and the name is correct as well¼ Altena¼ Yes¼ I want you to get on it right away... and Goran? Don’t disappoint me!"

With a swift gesture of her finger Vivian LeJeune switched off the phone and, outwardly calm, deposited the cordless device on top of the coffee table. Her gray eyes were cold and determined when she stared outside.

She would make sure that the relationship between Kyra and that teacher wouldn’t last long. Even if it would take everything she had, she would stop them. She was convinced that, as soon as she had found something ugly about Emma’s past, she could convince her daughter to walk away from the teacher. It was all just a matter of time. She was sure about that.

To be continued in chapter 17

Return to the Academy

Feedback and comments are welcome at: ripplesintime@hotmail.com