Disclaimer: lyrics in this chapter are used without permission (Bad Lois!)


Heart’s Choice

Chapter 6


Lois Kay


As predicted by Emma they arrived at the huge farmhouse about twenty minutes later. Kyra drove her car up to the side of the house where Emma said she could easily park and the first thing she noticed was the row of cars already neatly lined up. Skillfully steering her vehicle in between a huge Jeep and an old, beat up Volkswagen Beetle, Kyra killed the engine and slowly pulled the keys from the ignition.

Breathing in deeply she tried to control the nervous fluttering in her stomach and sent Emma a weak smile. Her friend reached out a hand and gently squeezed her knee.

"Are you okay?"

Blue eyes looked at her with gentle compassion and Kyra briefly closed her eyes to gather her thoughts. It was too late to turn back, she knew. But if Emma’s family was anything like the woman sitting next to her, things would work out.

"I will be," Kyra nervously laughed.

"They will love you," Emma promised, giving the knee one last squeeze and pulling back her hand. "I think they are all here already, so it will be a little overwhelming, I’m afraid, but at least you’ll have it done and over with soon."

"Thanks," Kyra wryly replied, unbuckling her seatbelt and opening the door.

Emma grinned and opened the door on her side, to exit the car and enjoy the feeling of being able to stretch her muscles, after the long ride. She cast a look at Kyra who was lifting Simon from his seat and turned around when she heard an enthusiastic yell behind her.


A slender woman with long, auburn hair came running around the corner of the house and threw herself in Emma’s arms, followed by what seemed like an army of people. Kyra’s eyes widened and she cast an insecure look at the approaching group, her eyes nervously darting from Emma’s family to her friend who was hugging the woman who could have been her twin sister.

With a radiant smile Emma turned around, her arm slung over her sister’s shoulders and she motioned Kyra to come closer.

"Kyra, this is Hester, my big sister. Hester, this is Kyra and that handsome little man is Simon."

"It’s so good to finally meet you," Hester exclaimed, walking away from Emma to envelope a stunned Kyra into a friendly hug. "Welcome to the Funny Farm."

"Thank you," Kyra softly replied, smiling when Hester knelt down in front of Simon, so she could look at him on eye level.

"And you are Simon, Emma’s friend," she smiled warmly. "It is so nice to meet you, Simon. I am Emma’s sister. She told me a lot about you. Do you like animals?"

The little boy shyly nodded, while he leaned his head against his mother’s hip. Feeling safe with her arm around his shoulders.

"Emma says her dad has cows and there are lambs," he said with a hopeful look in his gray eyes.

"There sure are,’ Hester smiled. "This morning another pair was born, they are tiny."

"Can I see them?" Simon immediately asked, forgetting his shyness and looking up to his mother who was looking down at him with a loving smile. "Mom?"

"Sure, honey, if Emma’s dad says it’s okay."

"Of course it is," a deep voice sounded and when Kyra looked up she noticed a pair of twinkling eyes in a weathered face.

Dirk Altena was a tall, broad shouldered man, with thick hair that used to be dark, but was now sprinkled with gray. Kyra immediately noticed where Emma got her smile from and she liked the farmer right away.

"Nice to meet you, Kyra," he welcomed her, grabbing her hand in a warm, strong grip. "And you too, Simon," he smiled, ruffling the little boy’s curls. "Do you want to come with me and have a look at the lambs?"

Simon nodded and without hesitation he put his little hand in the extended large one, following Emma’s father towards one of the barns.

Emma sent her father a grateful look and shifted her attention back to Kyra, who was looking a little more relaxed, although she was still sporting a slightly shocked expression on her face. Knowing the teacher had a big family was one thing, but meeting them all at once was something completely different. She stepped closer to her friend and took her elbow, leading her towards an elderly woman, who threw her arms around Emma to give her a heartfelt hug.

"You look good, sweetheart," Ann Altena remarked with a pleased look. "And this must be Kyra."

"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Altena,’ Kyra tentatively smiled, already liking the chubby woman with the reddish blond hair and sparkling blue eyes.

"Call me Ann, please," Emma’s mother said. "Otherwise I feel ancient."

Emma grinned and gave her mother a quick kiss on the cheek. She was so happy to see her family again she felt almost giddy.

"All right, Kyra," she said, turning to face her friend. "I will introduce you to the rest of the gang now. Remember: they won’t bite and you don’t have to remember all their names at once," she winked.

Kyra chuckled, feeling a little more relaxed, but she was still grateful for Emma’s hand on her shoulder when she was led to a large group of people, who were all lined up. The first thing she noticed was that all Emma’s siblings either had dark hair, like their father, or reddish blond, like their mother. Emma and Hester were the only auburn haired ones.

After thirteen introductions her mind was spinning and she shot Emma a completely dazed look.

"All right," she drawled with a touch of humor in her voice. "I remember your parents’ names, and Hester, but the rest is a blur, except for Neville," she admitted with a grin, pointing at a dark skinned young man, who was the fiancé of Emma’ youngest sister, Imke.

Everybody started laughing and Emma gave Kyra an encouraging one-armed hug.

"Well, he does stand out amidst the rest," she chuckled, winking at her youngest sister, whose blue eyes were sparkling.

"I picked him for his color," Imke grinned. "That way I can always spot him easily during our family get togethers. Are you done, Em? Can I finally give you a hug now?"

Emma laughed and let go of Kyra, opening her arms wide to embrace her sister, who did not need any more encouragement and wrapped her arms around her in a bone crushing hug. All the others followed suit and Kyra stood back a little, watching the happy reunion with a smile. It was clear to see that Emma’s family was very close knit. She had never seen her friend radiate so much happiness before and she realized that Emma must have missed them more than she had been willing to show.

A hand on her shoulder startled her and when she looked up she noticed Ann Altena looking at her with a friendly smile.

"Would you like a cup of coffee or tea, Kyra?" she asked. "We have a few hours before this party starts and it might be a good idea to relax a little, after driving all the way up here."

"I’d love to, thank you," Kyra smiled, letting Emma’s mother lead her to the back of the house, where the entrance to the huge kitchen was located.

Emma watched her friend disappear around the corner, followed by the rest of her family and she let out a deep sigh.

"She is absolutely stunning, Emma," Hester spoke, wrapping her arm around Emma’s waist and slowly following their family.

"Yes, she is," Emma smiled.

"So, any progress in the love department?" her sister teased, laughing when she saw Emma blush.


"Well, honey, I can’t help it," Hester defended herself. "I already told you a zillion times I only want you to be happy. It seems to me that Kyra is cut out for the job."

Emma stopped dead in her tracks and looked at her sister with a deep frown.

"How can you say that, Hes? You have only met her two seconds ago."

"Well, it has been a bit longer than that, it was at least five minutes," Hester dead panned. "And I watched her watch you when you were doing the famous Altena group hug."

"So?" Emma asked with a little trepidation.

"Sometimes it’s hard to see something when it is right under your nose, so I guess I can’t blame you," Hester continued. "But in those few minutes I have seen the way she looks at you, sister dear and let me tell you, there is a lot more than ‘just friendship’ there."

Emma cast down her eyes when she felt unexpected tears sting the back of her eyes. If only she had the confidence to walk up to Kyra and tell her how she felt. But she promised her friend to give her all the time she needed and she wanted to keep her promise, no matter what.

"Emmie," Hester sighed, using her family pet name. "Come here."

Wrapping her arms around her sister she pulled her in for a hug. One of her hands stroked the back of Emma’s head and she slowly rocked her younger sister like she was a little girl.

"She is not ready for anything that goes beyond friendship," Emma’s muffled voice sounded. "And I don’t know if she ever will be."

"Then ask her," Hester calmly answered.

"I can’t," Emma sighed with something close to desperation. "I promised her I would wait until she was ready. I don’t want to make her feel like I am forcing her into something she doesn’t really want, or something she is not ready for, Hester. It wouldn’t be fair."

"Well, maybe this little vacation will nudge her in the right direction," Hester spoke. With a little help from me and the Altena Love Squad.



"It’s not real big, but comfortable enough for two adults."

Emma had opened the door to the little brick building that was close to the big farm house, but far enough to have some privacy and she was leading Kyra and Simon inside. Their bags had already been carried inside by a few of Emma’s helpful nephews and they were neatly placed on the floor, next to the couch.

"You lived here as well?" Kyra curiously asked, looking around the small, but cozy living room with inquisitive eyes.

"Yeah, I did," Emma answered, leaning her back against wall and watching Kyra with an amused smile.

"It…looks real nice," Kyra decided. "It looks cozy, with all those warm colors."

It feels like you.

"I like it,’ she smiled. "Will you…where will you be staying?"

Emma walked to the window and gestured Kyra to follow her, which she obediently did. Standing close to Emma she peered outside, her nose almost touching the glass.

"Do you see that little window over there? It’s just above that door on the left," she pointed towards the big farmhouse. When Kyra nodded she smiled. "That’s my old room. I will be staying there."

"Okay," Kyra softly responded, unconsciously leaning her body closer to Emma’s, until their shoulders were brushing. Neither woman felt compelled to move. They just stood there, enjoying each other’s close presence, the warmth that radiated from their bodies and the comfortable silence between them.

"If there is anything you need, you can always go outside and hit my window with a pebble. Don’t use bricks," Emma joked, but there was a touch of seriousness in her voice.

"Like when I want pancakes for breakfast?" Kyra answered with a mischievous smile.

Emma laughed and her blue eyes sparkled when she looked at her friend. A little, slumbering devil inside of her woke up, probably because she was home now and happy and feeling a lot more confident than she had been in a long time.

"If you want," she answered. "Or if you discover any other need I can fulfill."

Kyra’s green eyes widened and she shot her friend a startled look. This was the side of Emma she longed to see more often and she was immensely pleased it was starting to show itself a little more.

"My needs may be hard to handle," she answered in a husky voice, forcing herself to not cast down her eyes. She wanted, needed to see Emma’s reaction.

The blue eyes turned a few shades darker and the amused twinkle was replaced by something that could only be described as longing.

"I doubt it," Emma finally answered, aware of the fluttering in her stomach. "I am sure I can handle anything you want."

They stood there, in front of the window, gazing in each other’s eyes, while the rest of the world faded out. Kyra’s eyes studied Emma’s face and what she saw made her heart pound faster. She moistened her lips and swallowed hard. Her heart and mind were screaming at her to do something, anything, to reveal what had been cooped up in the deepest part of her soul for so long now, but the little part of her rational mind that was still working, warned her that the party they were supposed to attend, would start in less than an hour. There was not enough time. Not yet. Kyra knew that as soon as she would confront her friend with her deepest secrets, they would need time. And privacy, to be able to talk without being interrupted. Her tale was too painful and intense to allow anything but a quiet atmosphere and her friend’s undivided attention.

Later, it has to be later. Damn. But I should give her a hint, a promise. I’m sure she will understand. If I do nothing now, I will explode.

"We need to talk soon, Emma," she whispered, reaching out a hand and cupping her friend’s cheek.

The long, dark eyelashes that framed the dark blue eyes fluttered and for a moment the indigo gaze was hidden, while Emma slowly exhaled, trying with all her might to keep her hands where they were, stuffed inside the pockets of her cotton slacks, willing away the almost painful desire to reach out and pull the slightly trembling Kyra close. But she did not want to break her promise. She had given her word.

"Yes, we do,’ she answered in an almost inaudible voice, opening her eyes again and seeing Kyra’s face coming closer.

When a pair of soft lips lightly brushed her own, Emma thought she would faint. The kiss was so light, their lips hardly touched, but the effect was electrifying. Emma could feel her whole body starting to shake and she feared her legs would give out and land her on the floor with a thump. But as unexpected and quick as the kiss had started, it ended again.

Kyra withdrew and smoldering green eyes looked at Emma with concern.

"Are you all right?" Kyra whispered and when Emma nodded, not able to speak yet, a slow smile appeared.

"We’ll talk later," Kyra promised, stroking Emma’s cheeks with her fingertips, before she withdrew her hand, leaving a trail of fire in its wake.




"Simon, honey, are you ready? Did you tie your shoelaces?" Kyra called from the bedroom, looking in the mirror to apply a touch of lipstick.

"Yes, Mom," her son answered from the living room, sitting on the couch where his mother had told him to stay put and not get himself dirty again. He was dressed in black corduroy pants and a burgundy shirt and looked incredibly cute with his neatly brushed hair and good clothes.

His head turned towards a soft sound and when his eyes focused on the door, he greeted the entering Emma with a broad smile.

"Simon, can you help me to zip up this …" Kyra came walking out of the bedroom and when she saw Emma she stood stock still. Her green eyes were wide when she took in the vision in front of her.

Emma was wearing a dress that barely reached her knees. It was a black, short sleeved cocktail dress with a v-neck. The lace was hugging her body snugly and gave her a sweet and absolutely feminine look. Her auburn hair almost seemed to glow in the soft light of the ceiling lamp. And to Kyra’s appreciative eyes she looked incredibly attractive and positively sexy.

Emma was not aware of Kyra’s stare. She was too busy appreciating the beautiful woman in front of her. Kyra was wearing a sleeveless emerald green cocktail dress that reached just below her knees. The silk was draped in a classical style with a scooped cowl in the front. She had put her hair up, on both sides of her face a playfully dangling curl hung. A thin golden chain with a small, sparkling emerald and a pair of matching earrings complemented her natural beauty, emphasizing the color of her eyes.

A slow smile spread across Emma’s face and she stepped a little closer, breathing in the scent of Kyra’s perfume that she had come to identify with her friend.

"You look absolutely stunning," she whispered. "Do you need help getting zipped up?"

Kyra swallowed hard and could only nod, slowly turning around to give Emma access to the back of her dress. With slightly trembling fingers Emma reached out to pull the tiny looking zipper up, trying to ignore Kyra’s bare back that was hidden from view as soon as she accomplished her task. She was aching to touch the soft looking skin and she had to control herself not to lean forward and kiss the bare skin of Kyra’s shoulders that was so tantalizingly close.

Kyra had closed her eyes when she had felt the soft touch on her back, forcing herself not to think about Emma’s fingers that were almost touching the skin of her back and shoulders. Her friend’s closeness made her body respond in a way she was not used to. Her heartbeat increased when she felt Emma’s breath on the back of her neck and she suppressed a moan.

Does she have any idea what she is doing to me?

"All done," Emma’s soft voice sounded close to her ear, sending a shiver down Kyra’s spine and this time she softly whimpered.

"Have you any idea how beautiful you are?" Emma asked, her voice full of emotion.

Kyra slowly turned back to face her friend and managed a weak smile.

"Have you looked into the mirror lately?" she replied, her eyes roaming Emma’s body. "You look gorgeous, Emma."

"Thank you," Emma smiled, turning to glance at the little boy on the couch and sending him a wink. "Simon looks handsome."

"For as long as it lasts," Kyra chuckled, knowing her son despised being dressed up and as soon as he would see his new friends, she knew he would completely forget about the clothes he was wearing.

"Mom, you look like a princess," he remarked, staring at his mother in awe.

"Thank you, honey," Kyra smiled. "If I am a princess then you must be my prince!"

Simon laughed and jumped off the coach to walk over to the two women. He grabbed his mother’s hand and gently tugged it.

"Can we go now?" he asked, already fed up with having to sit on the couch and stay clean. "I want to go and play with Steven, Thomas and Jacco."

"Oh, our terrible trio," Emma chuckled. "Steven is my brother’s Bart youngest son, he is seven," Emma explained to Kyra. "And Thomas and Jacco are Robert’s kids, they are seven and five. The three of them always manage to get into all sorts of adventures."

"Sounds like Simon will have a good time," Kyra smiled, lovingly stroking her son’s cheek. She took a deep breath and looked at her friend. "Shall we go then?"


Hester and David’s anniversary party would take place in the huge barn, across from the farm house. Emma had explained to Kyra that the use of the barn was a family tradition. Every anniversary party and graduation party her family had ever thrown, had been in that same barn. Her father and brothers had transformed the building into a huge party hall. There was a real bar, a stage for a live band, a decent sized dance floor and tables and chairs were set up everywhere, while entertaining music sounded from the speakers that were mounted on the walls. On one side of the hall bales of hay were stacked against the wall, providing an excellent playground for the many children.

As soon as Emma and Kyra walked out of the little guest house, they could already hear the music and Simon enthusiastically tugged Kyra’s hand.

"There’s Jacco," he called out, spotting his new friend who was standing in the hall’s doorway. "Can I go, Mom?"

"Sure, honey, go ahead," Kyra answered, immediately feeling Simon’s hand slip out of her own. The little boy ran off and both women laughed when they heard Jacco’s cheerful greeting.

They slowly made their way to the barn, walking so close together that their hands occasionally brushed. Kyra glanced aside and saw Emma shooting her an inquisitive look.

"Are you all right?" her friend asked. "There will be a lot of people there, but at least you’ve already met my family. It’s going to be a great party,’ she promised with a gentle smile.

"I’m fine," Kyra answered. "A little nervous, maybe. It’s been a while since I have been at a party this big. I guess the last time was way before Simon was born."

"Just remember, we don’t bite," Emma smirked, making Kyra laugh.

"I know," she answered. "Only when I ask, right?"

They had reached the entrance and Kyra took a deep breath, thinking that if the sounds coming from the barn would be any indication, the place would probably be crowded. She was aware of Emma close presence and grateful for her friend’s silent support.

Looking up in a pair of twinkling blue eyes she made a quick decision. Without hesitation she grabbed Emma’s hand and curled her fingers around the slightly longer ones.

"Let’s party,’ she smiled, pulling the surprised auburn haired woman into the warmth of the barn.



"Ooh, would you look at that?" Hester grinned, nudging her sister Sophia with her shoulder and pointing toward the entrance of the barn where Emma and Kyra just walked in, hand in hand.

Sophia glanced in the designated direction and her blue eyes sparkled when she noticed her sister and her friend.

"That looks really nice," she smirked. "And don’t they just look gorgeous?"

"Beautiful," Hester admitted with a pleased smile. "They really make a spectacular couple. And the fact that they are holding hands tells me that there’s a lot of progress in our sister’s love life."

"Finally," Sophia sighed. "What do you think, Hester? Will this be the real thing for Emma?"

"Absolutely," Hester answered without hesitation. "And with a little luck and meddling, this evening will go down into history as a turning point for both Emma Altena and Kyra Hartman."

Hester grinned and straightened her dark blue cocktail dress, winking at Sophia.

"I’d better get over there to greet our two little love birds."

"Be nice, Hes," Sophia chuckled, knowing full well how much Hester loved to tease, having been on the receiving end of her wicked sense of humor enough times already. "Don’t give them a hard time."

"Who? Me?" Hester pointed at her chest, giving her sister an innocent look. "The only thing I’ll give them is a shove in the right direction. You know Emma. She practically needs to be whacked in the head to wake up and smell the coffee."

Hester put down her glass of wine on a nearby table and shot Sophia a grin, before she squared her shoulders and made her way towards the entrance.

"Oh, boy," Sophia mumbled.



"Are you having a good time, Kyra?" Sharon Altena, who was married to Emma’s brother Willem asked. Her friendly brown eyes looked at the beautiful woman who was standing next to her, noticing the content expression in the dark green eyes.

"Oh, yes," Kyra answered with a pleased smile. "Your family sure knows how to throw a party."

"Yes, they do," Sharon admitted. "They are a happy bunch. I remember the first time Willem brought me home to meet the family. I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous in my life," she laughed, clearly remembering that day. "It was Christmas. Willem told me the best way to get it over with was when everybody was together and he thought the Holidays would be the best occasion. I’m an only child and I tell you, when I stepped into the room and saw all those faces, I just wanted to turn around and run screaming."

Kyra laughed and shot the petite woman a curious look.

"What happened?" she asked. "I mean, it’s obvious you didn’t run."

"Willem was holding my hand so tight, like he knew what I was thinking," Sharon grinned. "I had no choice."

"Well, I do admit I was pretty nervous this afternoon," Kyra said. "But the reception was great and so was Emma," she added with a smile.

Her eyes scanned the crowd and within a few seconds she had spotted the auburn head she was looking for. Emma was across the barn, talking to an elderly couple, but even from the distance, Kyra noticed the blue eyes occasionally looking into her direction and she smiled.

Sharon followed her gaze and when she saw the look Emma and Kyra exchanged, she inwardly smirked. Their glances were practically crackling with electricity and she secretly wondered who would take the first step to take their friendship further.

"If you keep looking at her like that, she’ll spontaneously combust," Hester’s voice suddenly sounded behind them, causing Sharon to almost snort out the sip of juice she had just taken.

Kyra’s cheeks turned brick red and she shot Hester a look that was a mixture of amusement, embarrassment and insecurity.

"I’m sorry, Kyra," she apologized with a laugh. "Me and my big mouth."

"Hester is the biggest tease on this side of Northern Hemisphere and I am sure she has a doppelganger on the other side as well," Sharon grinned. "Just ignore her, Kyra. We all do."

"Oh, ouch!" Hester laughed, putting her hand over her heart in a dramatic gesture. "You might be right, Sharon, but I mean well. Especially in this case."

Kyra looked puzzled and Hester took pity on her. She wrapped her arm around Kyra’s shoulder and gave her a friendly squeeze.

"Listen, honey," she started, glancing in the direction of Emma, who was looking at her with raised eyebrows. She winked and turned her attention back to Kyra. "I’m famous for speaking my mind and I suppose that can be annoying, I admit that, but one thing is sure, I am always honest."

Hester’s face turned serious and she looked into a pair of shy green eyes.

"Kyra, I’m not blind. I see the way the two of you look at each other and God knows I don’t want to cause any trouble, but I want my sister to be happy. She…has gone through some tough times not that long ago and…well, she rose above it all, but she was hurt badly," Hester paused and let out a small sigh. "I probably shouldn’t tell you all of this anyway, that is Emma’s responsibility."

"She doesn’t," Kyra replied sadly. "Talk about it, I mean. I know there’s something, but she…"

"She’s waiting for you to take that first step," Hester calmly said.

"Yes, I know."

"She told me," Hester admitted, seeing the surprise on Kyra’s face. "Frankly, I told her to go for it, but she explained to me she couldn’t, because of a promise she made. She would wait for you forever, you know, even if that would make her miserable. My sister is so darn honorable, I’d like to slap her around a little sometimes."

Kyra chuckled and from the corner of her eye she noticed Emma making her way over to where they were standing.

"She sees me talking to you and I’m sure she wants to come to your rescue," Hester grinned, seeing the barely veiled look of affection in Kyra’s eyes.

"Will you do me a favor, Kyra? The air around you two is so thick with sensual sparks that if you don’t act upon it and relieve some of the tension, it might become contagious and we’ll end up with at least another seven nieces and nephews nine months from today."

This time Sharon did snort out her juice and with a huge grin Hester helpfully patted her sister-in-laws back, sending the blushing Kyra a playful wink.

Kyra was shocked into silence by Hester’s words. Not because of what she said, but because of the accuracy of it. She knew that, after she had kissed Emma that afternoon, the sexual tension between them had steadily grown. And even after Emma had introduced them to several more people and they had mingled in the crowd, they constantly had made sure they were in each other’s line of vision. The glances and occasional soft touches they had exchanged had been filled with promises of things to come. And she wondered if the rest of the Altena family had noticed that as well. Probably.

"Hey," Emma’s voice sounded and Kyra turned around to face her friend. "Is Hester behaving?"

Kyra smiled and again she melted inside when Emma’s dark blue eyes bore into her own.

"Your sister does have a sensible opinion about certain things," Kyra slowly answered.

She cast a glance at the surprised looking Hester and handed her the glass of wine she had been sipping from. Turning back to Emma she grabbed the puzzled woman’s hand.

"Do you want to dance with me?" she softly asked, sending her friend a small smile. "According to Hester we need to get rid of some…tension," she dead panned, hearing Hester almost choke behind her. "If not, your family might rapidly expand."

Feeling Emma’s fingers intertwine with her own, she pulled her friend with her towards the dance floor in the corner, where the lights had been dimmed and a slow song was playing.

Emma’s heart pounded in her chest and she almost had to pinch herself. Kyra was tugging her towards the dance floor. Within a few moments she would be able to wrap her friend in her arms and dance with her. And it was Kyra who had taken the initiative. The same Kyra who had kissed her that afternoon.

As soon as they stepped onto the dance floor, Emma found her arms full of a beautiful, warm, pleasant smelling woman, who wrapped her arms around Emma’s neck, rested her cheek on her shoulder and let out a sigh of contentment.

Emma’s own arms automatically circled the silk clad body that was pressed up against her own and the feeling of Kyra’s feminine curves brushing her chest and the feel of her soft skin underneath her hands was so good that Emma thought she would faint from the sheer pleasure of it.

Being a little taller than the woman in her arms, Emma was able to rest her cheek against soft curls that smelled of jasmine and herbs. Closing her eyes she breathed in Kyra’s scent and they slowly moved to the music, locked in an embrace that radiated intimacy.

The moment Kyra felt Emma’s arms around her body, wrapping her in a warm cocoon, she closed her eyes and soaked up the affection. All her doubts and insecurities faded away when her body molded against Emma’s. With a happy smile she breathed in Emma’s perfume and for the first time she allowed herself to thoroughly enjoy her body’s reaction to the feel of the other woman.

I have come home, she realized, swallowing away the lump in her throat. This feels so right. This is where I was meant to be.

Leisurely they danced, unaware of the amused looks that were sent their way, or the high five Hester, Sharon and Sophia were sharing. Not seeing the proud look on the faces of Emma’s parents or the relief that was evident in Emma’s brothers. For long moments their world only consisted of the dance floor, the soft, sensual music and each other.

"So, what was that all about just now, with Hester?" Emma’s voice finally sounded, her lips almost brushing Kyra’s ear.

"Relieving tension," was Kyra’s soft response.

Emma’s tightened her grip around Kyra’s body and pulled her even closer.

"Do I dare ask?" she asked in an amused voice.

"I don’t know, do you?" Kyra dreamily replied, feeling Emma chuckle.

She opened her eyes and peered up into a pair of radiant blue eyes that effortlessly caught her own gaze and held it. Wordlessly the indigo surrounded Kyra like a warm blanket, holding her close, caressing her in silent adoration and for the first time since they had met, Emma’s guard was completely down, allowing Kyra to look straight into her soul. It made her feel powerful, yet humble at the same time and she recognized the other woman’s gift to her for what it was. Trust.

Kyra’s hand left its comfortable spot and gently cupped Emma’s cheek, reveling in the feel of the silky skin her palm was resting against. Still lost in Emma’s eyes she let her fingers trail through the thick, auburn hair, loving the way the soft tresses embraced her fingers.

"You are so beautiful," she whispered.

As if on cue the already dimmed light above the dance floor became softer still and another song started. Emma recognized Sarah McLachlan’s ‘I love you’ and with Kyra firmly in her arms, helplessly drowning in the deep, dark green pools she softly started to sing along, her eyes never leaving Kyra’s.


I have a smile stretched from ear to ear

I see you walking down the road

We meet at the lights, I stare for a while

The world around us disappears.

It's just you and me on my island of hope

A breath between us could be miles

Let me surround you, a sea to your shore

Let me be the calm you seek

Totally captivated by Emma’s voice and the words of the song, Kyra almost forgot to breathe. They were standing in the middle of the dance floor, wrapped in each other’s arms, unaware of the world around them. Kyra never knew her friend could sing and she was completely blown away by the melodious warm alto that completely filled her senses.

A tear escaped the confines of her moist eyes and rolled down her cheek. But before it could splatter on the silk of her dress, Emma’s thumb had already caught it, lovingly wiping it away.

But every time I'm close to you

There's too much I can't say

And you just walk away

And I forgot to tell you

I love you

And night's too long

And cold here

Without you

I grieve in my condition

For I cannot find the words to say

I need you so

And every time I'm close to you

There's too much I can't say

And you just walk away

And I forgot to tell you

I love you

And night's too long

And cold here

Without you

I grieve in my condition

For I cannot find the words to say

I need you so


When the song finally ended Kyra felt as if her heart would burst with the abundance of emotions she was experiencing. There was so much she wanted to say. Needed to say. So many things she had waited to share with the woman in her arms, but it was all too much. Her emotions were on overload and she had an almost aching need to be close to Emma. Closer than they already were. Words would never be enough to tell the auburn haired woman how she felt at that moment. How precious the gift was that Emma had given her. How deeply it had made her feel. So Kyra did the only thing she could do at that moment, encouraged by her heart, cheered on by her mind and invited by the warm indigo that bore into her soul.

Tracing her hand back to Emma’s neck she pulled the other woman closer and with their eyes still locked together, their lips tenderly brushed. Kyra’s eyelashes fluttered close and with an aching need, she increased the contact, feeling one of Emma’s hand slide down to the small of her back, burning her skin through the silky texture of her dress, while the other hand rested between her shoulder blades, increasing the pressure and pulling her impossibly close.

A soft whimper escaped when Kyra took her time to tantalizingly slowly use her lips to gently probe and taste Emma’s. It was all Emma could do to let Kyra set the pace and not ravish the other woman’s mouth with uninhibited passion.

When they finally broke apart their faces were flushed and their eyes were radiating desire, wonder, happiness and love. Kyra’s gaze held a touch of shyness, but after a long look of silent promises a tender smile found its way to her face and her lips returned for another kiss.

"You are absolutely wonderful," she hoarsely whispered against Emma’s mouth, before retreating and gradually becoming aware of the fact that they were standing in the middle of a dance floor, with countless eyes surrounding them, politely trying to look the other way.

Emma saw the blush creep up Kyra’s cheeks and she softly chuckled when the woman who had just initiated a mind blowing kiss, buried her face against her shoulder, muttering: "Oh, my goodness."

"Don’t worry, sweetie,’ she tried to reassure her, spontaneously using the term of endearment. "I don’t think anyone noticed."

But a quick look around showed her a multitude of smiling faces and with trepidation she saw Hester close to them, a huge smile on her face while she was dancing with her husband.

Of course they stopped right next to them and Hester looked at the embarrassed Kyra with a mischievous grin.

"Honey, I advised you to relieve a little tension, not cause a scandal," she gently teased. "After seeing the two of you kiss like that I’m sure every couple here wants to leave immediately to go home and have a private party."

Kyra did not answer, she just peeked up from Emma’s shoulder and softly groaned, while her friend let out a happy laugh.

"I am sorry," she whispered, feeling Emma’s lips brush her temple.

"Don’t be," Hester answered with a laugh. "Just be happy. I know I am."

David Jansen just winked and led his wife away, steering her into another direction, leaving Kyra and Emma standing alone, still wrapped in each other’s arms.

"Want to sit out the next one?" Emma softly asked, caressing Kyra’s cheek with the back of her hand.

Kyra just nodded and slowly extracted herself from the warm body that had been enveloping her in such a comforting embrace.

"I could use a glass of…something,’ she mumbled, feeling Emma grab her hand and pulling her towards the bar. "No alcohol though," she quickly added, thinking about the talk they would have soon. "I need my wits."


To be continued in Chapter 7

Return to the Academy

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