Disclaimer: this chapter deals with some pretty bad memories, some of which could be shocking. You can blame the bard.

Also recommended not to read at work.


Heart’s Choice

Chapter 7


Lois Kay

It was a relative quiet corner Emma had guided Kyra to, both women nursing a glass of white wine. In spite of Kyra’s desire to ‘keep her wits’, she had decided one glass of wine might help her to relax.

In the corner there were a few empty tables and chairs, but in unspoken consent, they remained standing, close to each other, so they could feel the heat that was still radiating from their bodies.

"I didn’t mean to make a spectacle out of us," Kyra’s voice sounded a little remorseful and she avoided Emma’s eyes. "I’m sorry if you…"

"Kyra," Emma gently interrupted her. "Look at me, Kyra. Please?"

A pair of dark green eyes hesitantly left the milling crowd and slowly traveled up Emma’s face until they finally met a warm, blue gaze.

"Don’t apologize. It was…," Emma had to take a deep breath to organize her thoughts. Her eyes were radiating happiness and love. "It was simply amazing." She lifted a hand to cup Kyra’s cheek and her eyes bore into her friend’s. "You are amazing," she whispered.

Kyra felt her heart skip a beat and slowly but surely a smile found its way to her face, bringing a light to her eyes that, to Emma, held unspoken promises and emphasized her beauty.

"My timing was a bit off, I guess," Kyra smiled. "Even though I don’t regret it, I can’t help…thinking…how more…convenient it would have been to not be at a big party, surrounded by a multitude of people. Some time alone, in private would be really welcome."

Emma’s eyebrows rose into her hairline and she shot Kyra a questioning look. The expression on her face was a serious one, but her dark blue eyes were twinkling.

"And…what would you have…done, had we been in private?" Emma purred, seeing the expected blush color Kyra’s cheeks.

But Kyra stood her ground. She was very aware of the warmth of her cheeks, but her eyes did not leave Emma’s. Instead, she nibbled on her bottom lip and feigned a pensive expression, while her eyes started to roam Emma’s body.

"Well," she drawled. "Talk of course. What did you think?"

Emma grinned and realized it was true that Kyra would probably have to get used to her always teasing family members, but she was convinced that her friend would be able to dish out as much as she would receive.

"You are a tease," Emma smiled.

"I know," Kyra admitted with a grin. "But honestly, Emma. We do need to talk and I’d like some privacy when we do. However, I do admit…" her eyes traveled to Emma’s mouth and the teacher shuddered when the tip of a pink tongue peeked out and Kyra unconsciously moistened her lips. "…I would also love to kiss you some more…and more…and more…"

Emma briefly closed her eyes and felt a wave of desire course through her body, with so much power, it almost left her lightheaded.

I am in so much trouble here…

"Kyra, honey," her voice croaked and she opened her eyes again. "If you keep looking at me like that I will have to drag you behind those bales of hay…to get a little…privacy."

"Oh," Kyra mouthed, secretly pleased with the effect she had on her friend. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time that she could turn Emma into a puddle with just one look. "I guess that would really cause a riot, huh?"

"It would," Emma vigorously nodded, smiling when she saw the sparkle in Kyra’s eyes.

"I’d better behave then," Kyra sighed. "But can I have one more kiss? Just a little one?" she asked with a small pout.

Emma chuckled and in answer brought her face closer to capture Kyra’s lips in a warm, white wine tinted kiss, that did not last long enough to lose themselves into, but still left both of them craving more.

"Let’s mingle and be sociable," Emma smiled, holding her hand out to Kyra and sighing in contentment when the other woman’s fingers entwined with her own.

"I will have to find Simon," Kyra mumbled. "I need to tell him…something…before…well, before he finds out some other way."

"He is over there." Emma helpfully pointed towards a far away corner, where a group of children were herded together by Ann Altena, Hester and Irene, one of Emma’s other sisters.

"I guess it’s almost bedtime," Emma grinned, watching her sisters distribute glasses of juice and milk among the children.

The Altena’s had asked two teenage girls who lived close by and were known by all the children, to come and baby-sit, while the party would continue. The large living room in the main house had been transformed into a big bedroom, with air beds and sleeping bags scattered around the place. To the kids it would be a huge party to bunk together. Only the little ones would be taken home with their parents, the bigger children were allowed to stay the night and Emma pitied her parents, because she knew they would be awake at the crack of dawn.

As soon as they came within hearing distance, Kyra’s eyes caught Simon’s and they exchanged a happy smile. His face was buried in a glass of milk, a white smudge on his upper lip.

"Hi, Mom," he greeted her with a beaming smile and Kyra ruffled his hair when she carefully took a seat next to her son, on a huge bale of hay.

"Hey, honey. Did you have fun?" she asked, aware of Emma’s presence at her back.

Simon nodded and took another sip of his milk, his gray eyes looking at his mother over the rim of the glass. Kyra noticed a mixture of confusion and hope in his expressive eyes and she gave him a reassuring smile.

"What is it?" she softly asked, brushing away a curly strand from his forehead, making a mental note that her son needed a haircut soon.

Simon lowered his, almost empty glass and balanced it on his knee, still holding it between his hands. His eyes traveled from Kyra to Emma and back again, its expression suddenly curious.

"You and Emma kissed," he said. It was not a question or accusation, it was more like he was stating a fact.

So much for privacy, Kyra wryly thought, aware of all the eyes that were looking at her and Simon. Kyra had always been honest with her son, trying to instill that same quality in him as well and she knew the situation called for absolute openness. If her relationship with Emma developed into a permanent one, and she was sure it would, there would be a lot of changes in Simon’s life and it was her responsibility to look out for her son and make sure his life would not be disturbed too much.

Trying to postpone a response to Simon’s statement was out of the question. Her son was looking at her with innocent, confused eyes and she knew she had to deal with it immediately.

"Yes," she finally answered. "Emma and I kissed."

Simon’s eyes traveled to Emma again, who was still standing behind her, answering Simon’s inquisitive glance with a calm, friendly look.

"Why?" Simon asked in a clear voice.

"Simon, do you remember we were talking about boys liking boys and girls liking girls? A few weeks ago?"

Simon nodded and he sent Emma a small smile.

"Emma made pancakes then," he answered.

"That’s right," Kyra smiled. "Do you remember that you asked me whether I liked boys or girls?"

"You said you didn’t know," Simon replied, suddenly seeming so much older and wiser than his five years.

"And I didn’t," Kyra softly spoke. "But after that day we spent a lot of time with Emma and I have discovered I really like her a lot, Simon."

Simon didn’t immediately answer. He put his empty glass in Hester’s outstretched hand and suddenly crawled into his mother’s lap, feeling Kyra’s arms envelope him in a warm and safe hug. She put her cheek on his curly hair and slowly rocked him in her arms.

"I like Emma too, Mommy," Simon finally answered. "But grandma will be angry with you."

Kyra’s arms tightened around his small body and she closed her eyes against the tears that were suddenly threatening to fall. She had never planned on getting pregnant with Simon, but over and over again her young son proved to her he was the biggest, most precious gift she had ever received. Here she was, carefully trying to tell him about her feelings for Emma and her son expressed his worries about her own relationship with her mother.

"Leave grandma to me, sweetie," she told him in a voice that was thick with emotion. "Don’t worry about it, all right? Are you okay with me liking Emma?" she added in a whisper.

Simon nodded and wrapped his arms around Kyra’s neck, burying his face against her shoulder.

"I love Emma," he mumbled. "Will she come live with us?"

Kyra could hear a soft chuckle behind her and she suppressed a smile, knowing there would be an amused twinkle in those amazing blue eyes.

"Let’s…take things slowly, okay?" she told her son, kissing his cheek. "I think it’s a good idea if we all get used to it first, what do you think about that?"

"Okay," Simon sighed, pushing back a little to look his mother in the eye. "Can I have a brother or a sister? Peter said that two moms can have babies as well and I would like a little brother."

Oh, my God! Here I am, trying to take things slow for Simon’s sake and now I am the one who has trouble keeping up!!!

"Honey," Kyra’s voice croaked, feeling the heat radiate from her face. "Let’s…take things slow," she exhaled. "It’s not like babies can be ordered at the corner shop, or something…"

Emma’s eyes had traveled to her eight year old nephew who was answering her glance with innocent blue eyes. She smiled at him and her eyes moved on, looking for his mother.

"What in the name of science are you teaching your children?" she asked Hester with a frown.

Hester shot Emma a look that was as innocent as her son’s and pointed towards her chest with raised eyebrows.

"Me? What do I teach my children?" she echoed. "Why does it always have to be me? You are a teacher, you know the stuff they hear at school…Besides, Peter has a friend whose mothers are having another baby," she added with a smirk. "My kids are open minded, you should appreciate that."

"I do," Emma laughed. "But you have to admit, sis, that some information can lead to embarrassing situations."

"And isn’t that just funny?" Hester smirked with a wink.

"Okay, kiddos, bedtime," Irene announced, seeing all the children had finished their drinks.

Immediately Amber and Anne, her six year old twin daughters jumped from their seats and grabbed their mother’s hands.

"Veronica promised us a story," Anne happily announced, glancing at the lanky teenage baby-sitter who was carrying a tray with empty glasses to the makeshift kitchen. "Come on, Mom, Amber and I will sleep next to Marianne."

The bunch of children slowly filed out and Simon hesitantly looked up at his mother.

"Is it still okay for me to stay with them?" he asked.

"Yes, honey, it sure is. You have a good time, all right?"

He nodded and pressed his cheek against Kyra’s, while his arms were tightly wrapped around her neck.

"Thomas has a real cool flashlight and Jacco and Peter have rubber spiders that glow in the dark," he said with excitement.

"All right, sounds interesting" Kyra laughed. "Try not to scare the girls, huh?"

Simon produced a smirk and gave his mother a quick kiss, before releasing her and slipping off her lap.

"Bye mom."

"Bye, sweetie. Have a good time."

Simon nodded and glanced at Hester who was patiently waiting for him at the door. He turned to Emma and looked up at her with a shy smile.

"Goodnight, Emma," he softly said.

"Sleep tight, buddy," Emma smiled, not able to resist raking her fingers through his curly hair.

Simon grinned, turned around and ran towards Hester, who took his hand and led him out of the door.

"Well, that was…educational," Kyra chuckled, feeling Emma’s warm body settle on the hay beside her. "And so much easier than I thought it would be."

"Children are pretty flexible," Emma answered. "It’s amazing how they adapt sometimes. He is a special, little boy."

"He is," Kyra wholeheartedly agreed. "He is such a gift."

It was comfortable, sitting on the bale of hay, with Emma by her side. The music was loud and happy, but it was still possible to have a quiet conversation. The glass of wine had somewhat relaxed her and Kyra reached out for Emma’s hand, intertwining their fingers and letting their joined hands rest on her thigh.

"I was a student, when I got pregnant with Simon," she started, glancing aside and seeing the interested look in Emma’s eyes. "I was in my third year at the University. My mother had been trying to hook me up with the son of a couple we had known for years, they played bridge together. Anyway, since the dad was a big shot lawyer and the son would follow daddy’s footsteps, mother thought it would be great if I would marry Rick. Of course I had other plans," Kyra softly chuckled. "I wanted to be left alone and concentrate on my studies. I was working hard on my business degree, with a minor in Marketing. I usually got out of all the parties, except for this one. Rick was a nice guy and I know our mothers were pressuring him into pursuing me. He asked me to this party at his place and I thought I might get some rest for a while if I would just give in and go. So, I did."

Kyra paused and stared at the thumb that was tenderly caressing the back of her hand, realizing that if Rick would have made her feel the way Emma did, her mother would probably have had her way.

"I went to the party, deciding to stay a couple of hours and then make a graceful retreat."

Again Kyra paused and she swallowed hard, again feeling the shame and guilt she had felt six years ago.

"What happened?" Emma softly asked.

"I had some wine, I can’t really remember how much exactly, but it couldn’t have been more than three. I…remember feeling a bit queasy and Rick telling me to have a drink of water, but…what happened afterwards is…I don’t really know. I woke up the next morning, in bed, with Rick. I was horrified. He was still sleeping, so I got dressed and got out of there as soon as I could. Nine months later Simon was born," she added quietly.

Emma bit her lip and could not help wondering what had happened that evening. Kyra was not the type of person who would drink too much and get herself into trouble, but somehow that was exactly what had happened.

"Did…did he take advantage of you, or…?"

"I can’t remember," Kyra whispered. "It’s possible that it was consensual. That was Rick’s side of the story anyway. He told his parents we were both drunk and things…got out of hand."

"How did your mother respond?"

Kyra laughed humorlessly and shook her head, still amazed by her mother’s actions.

"She wanted me to quit my studies, marry Rick and play the happy housewife. She and Rick’s mother even made him propose to me. He was so relieved when I declined," Kyra chuckled. "I told him that I was capable of raising my child by myself and didn’t need his help. So, he never acknowledged Simon, but that was fine with me. Of course my mother blamed me for that. She said…well, never mind what she said, it was not pretty."

"Did…were you alone during all this?"

Kyra looked up to see a pained expression in Emma’s face and she reached out a hand to stroke her friend’s cheek.

"Jazz was there for me, all the way," she smiled. "And my dad and Albert as well, they were living in Amsterdam back then. I had three mother hens looking after me."

"I am glad," Emma softly replied, realizing that the past was something that could not be changed, but feeling a stab of pain anyway when she thought about Kyra being pregnant and alone. "They sound like an interesting support system."

"And they were," Kyra smiled. "You should have seen the look on the nurses faces when Jazz and my dad were at my side when I was in labor. They were having a ball."

Kyra exhaled and covered their clasped hands with her free one, enjoying the warmth that Emma’s touch evoked and that seemed to fill all her senses.

"My mother refused to see Simon. He was three years old when they finally met each other. I was hopeful that she could leave the past where it was and be a grandmother for Simon. I guess that is why I put up with her criticism and snide remarks all the time. She is the only grandmother he has and his grandfathers live far away."

"What do you think will happen when she finds out about you and me?" Emma asked, already knowing the answer.

"She will have a major coronary and will probably do anything in her power to make me change my mind," Kyra calmly answered, knowing her prediction would be an accurate one.

"What about Simon?"

Kyra cast down her eyes and absent mindedly rubbed the back of Emma’s hand. Emma’s question was a valid one and she had been wondering about that same thing for weeks.

"It’s not relevant," she finally sighed, looking up into a pair of empathic blue eyes. "I know she would try to influence Simon and set him up against me…us. I will not allow that, so I decided that if she makes things difficult for us, she will not be able to see Simon anymore. I…I hate to do that, take Simon away from the only grandmother he has, but…I need to protect him."

"She will blame me," Emma quietly remarked, seeing the acknowledgment in Kyra’s eyes.

"I am sorry," her friend whispered, blinking away a tear. "I wish it could be different and if you decide it’s not worth it, I will understand. She might try to ruin your career and I hate to be responsible for that."

Emma swallowed away the lump in her throat and slowly extracted her hand from Kyra’s, who softly whimpered when suddenly she experienced a grave sense of loss.

Better she tells me now she doesn’t want to go through with this than after we would have become involved even more, she reflected with rising insecurity, while the sadness constricted her throat, causing her breath to hitch in her chest.

Emma’s body shifted and for a terrifying moment Kyra felt her heart break, not able to look up to see her friend walk away from her. But then a pair of warm hands was put on her shoulders and when she raised her pain filled eyes, she saw Emma kneeling on the ground in front of her.

"Kyra, honey, look at me," Emma urged, her voice soft and gentle.

A small ray of hope peeked through the dark clouds that surrounded Kyra’s heart when she saw the look of affection in Emma’s eyes.

"I don’t care what your mother will do. She can try and ruin my career, slander my name and blame me for everything that has gone wrong in her life. I don’t care about that. I do care about you and Simon. The only reason for me to turn my back on you, would be you, looking me in the eye and telling me to go."

"That will never happen," Kyra replied hoarsely, with tear filled eyes.

"Then stop worrying," Emma smiled, lifting a hand to trail her fingertips down Kyra’s cheek.

Kyra caught the strong, yet soft hand, turning it palm up and pressing her lips against the warm skin, in a silent gesture of gratitude and love.

"Thank you," she whispered.



It was way past midnight when the party finally wound down and the first guests started to leave. Emma smiled at some friends of Hester’s husband, David, while her eyes searched the crowd for a familiar curly head.

Numerous people had wanted to talk to the teacher and for the last two hours she had been separated from her friend, who had been taken under Hester’s and Irene’s wings and was being introduced to a lot of different people.

Emma had enjoyed herself, talking to old friends and acquaintances, but after Kyra had walked away with her sisters, she had felt a constant sense of loss.

"She’s standing near the door, next to mom and dad," an amused voice suddenly sounded and Emma felt an arm slip around her waist that gave her a loving squeeze.

When she glanced aside it was straight into a pair of twinkling blue eyes that belonged to her youngest sister, Imke.

"Hey, squirt," she smiled. "I haven’t seen a lot of you this evening. Where have you been?"

Imke snorted and playfully bumped Emma with her hip.

"Are you kidding? I have been around the whole time and Neville and I were just an arm length away when you and Kyra were ‘dancing’," she smirked, wiggling her eyebrows. "But, I can’t blame you for not noticing your poor little sister, since you were…otherwise engaged."

Emma rolled her eyes, but laughed heartily and wrapped an arm around her sister’s shoulders.

"She is beautiful, Emmie, inside and out," Imke remarked, noticing how her sister’s eyes traveled towards the door where Kyra was engaged in an animated discussion with their eldest brother Bart and their parents. It seemed like the Altena family had taken to Kyra immediately, something Emma had expected anyway, but seeing it actually happen made her happy nonetheless.

"Yes, she is," Emma dreamily answered, seeing Kyra’s expressive eyes dart to her direction, followed by a radiant smile, which made her heart skip a beat.

"Oh, sister mine, hook, line and sinker," Imke chuckled, but her blue eyes were showing the affection and joy she felt for seeing her sister happy.

"I’m so glad the two of you have found each other, Emma," she added with a sigh. "I was worried about you, being so far away from us, but I think moving South was the best thing you could have done."

"It was," Emma agreed wholeheartedly. "She is…a wonderful person, Im."

"She thinks the world of you," Imke answered, while they slowly strolled towards the exit of the barn. "I talked to her for a while and I think she believes you can walk on water."

Emma laughed and gave her sister a one armed hug.

"So, I guess I’ll have to talk to her again soon and tell her some of your childhood stories, that will make her change her mind," Imke teased with a mischievous smile.

"Oh, no! Not the one where I fell into the piggy pen," Emma groaned, remembering that dreadful event like it had only happened yesterday.

"Well, that is always a good one to start with," Imke chuckled. "And the one about you trying to single handedly catch that rooster and ending up in the creek."

"I wasn’t always that clumsy," Emma defended herself.

"True," Imke agreed. "But you will have to admit that mud and water always held a special attraction to you."

They had reached the small group and with a smile Emma slid her arm from Imke’s shoulder and grabbed the hand Kyra was holding out to her.

"Hey," she greeted her friend with a gentle smile. "Did you have a good time?"

"The best," Kyra nodded with sparkling green eyes. "It was a great party, but I have to admit I am kind of tired now. It’s been a long day."

"Can I walk you home?" Emma smiled, aware of four pairs of eyes watching them.

"I’d like that," Kyra answered, turning to Ann and Dirk Altena to wish them goodnight.

Of course Hester stepped in front of them when they were about to walk outside, into the darkness and she looked at them with an amused smile, which earned a small groan from Emma.

"Are you girls leaving?" she innocently asked.

"Yes, we are," Emma patiently answered, wondering what her sister would be up to this time.

"Okay," Hester drawled, shooting Emma a mischievous look. "Don’t forget you promised the kids pancakes in the morning, so you’d better get up early."

"I will," Emma calmly answered, hoping she would not blush under the scrutinizing look that was sent her way.

"Good. I know you are a reliable and sensible person who will make sure to set the alarm."

"I am," Emma dead panned, hearing Kyra chuckle. "So, move, sis, so I can get out of here and get some rest."

One of Hester’s eyebrows rose and she looked from Kyra to Emma and back again with a suggestive glance.

"Rest, huh? Well, sweet dreams," she grinned, stepping aside.

"Thank you," Emma sighed, smiling when suddenly her sister gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Don’t do things I wouldn’t do," Hester stage whispered.

Emma grinned and playfully slapped her sister on the back.

"That leaves open a world of possibilities," she laughed. "Night, Hester."

Pulling Kyra along, Emma quickly stepped outside, immediately feeling the cold night air touching her skin, making goose bumps erupt all over her body.

"Burrr," Kyra shivered. "It’s nippy."

Immediately a warm arm was wrapped around her shoulder and she was pulled against Emma’s side, while they quickly walked towards the little guesthouse.

Silently they continued their walk and when they reached the front door, Kyra quickly opened it and stepped inside, pulling Emma with her.

It was pitch dark and for a moment Kyra was completely disoriented, trying to remember where the light switch was. Her free hand reached out to trace the wall and when she felt the hard plastic under her fingertips she flicked on the light, bathing the small living room in a soft light.

"I want a cup of tea," she softly announced. "How about you?"

"Sounds great," Emma answered, already stepping inside the tiny kitchen to get the water started. She opened one of the cabinets and pulled out two cups, which she set on the counter.

"Why don’t you sit down and make yourself comfortable?" she suggested, almost jumping in surprise when a pair of arms slipped around her waist and Kyra rested her cheek against her back.

"I am comfortable," she mumbled and Emma felt her heart rate pick up when hot breath caressed the skin underneath the thin fabric of her dress.

"Have I told you that you looked absolutely gorgeous tonight?" Kyra sighed, rubbing her cheek against Emma’s shoulder.

"You have," Emma softly answered, gripping the kitchen counter with two hands, when Kyra pressed her lips against the back of her neck.

Oh, God, I am in trouble now. Sensitive spot, Kyra. Real sensitive spot. Better be careful….

With a moan Emma let her head fall forward, feeling the nerve endings in her neck and shoulder cheerfully stand up, begging for more, while a tingling sensation ran down her back, to settle in her lower belly, spreading exhilarating warmth.

Kyra could feel the skin underneath her lips grow warm and she decided she really liked the effect she had on Emma. It gave her the self confidence she lacked, knowing she had absolutely no experience when it came to the physical aspect of a relationship.

Experimentally she let her lips travel to the side of Emma’s neck, nibbling a soft spot just underneath her ear, while her arms pulled the warm body closer against her own.

"Kyra,’ Emma breathed, feeling the heat spread through her body. "Honey…if you…continue to…do this…I won’t be…able to…stand up anymore."

Sounds good to me, Kyra thought, while her hands involuntarily started to rub Emma’s waist.

Holding Emma like this was a total new experience, which filled her heart with warmth, but also made her hungry for more. Slowly releasing her hold, she let her hands slide to Emma’s hips.

"Emma, turn around," she requested in a husky voice, feeling her friend tremble.

Obediently Emma turned around to face her friend and immediately Kyra’s hands slipped around her neck, while a pair of smoldering green eyes met her blazing blue ones.

"I need to kiss you," Kyra boldly stated, not waiting for a response, but pulling Emma’s face down and sealing their lips together in a passionate kiss.

Emma closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around Kyra’s body so tightly, the only thing that prevented them from toppling over was the solid form of the kitchen counter at her back.

Kyra’s soft lips caressed, nibbled and tasted Emma’s, leisurely taking their time to thoroughly explore and when a tentative tongue touched her upper lip, almost shyly asking for permission, Emma thought her heart would stop. With a soft moan she granted Kyra entrance, letting their tongues speak of love and desire, while her hands slid to the small of Kyra’s back, cupping a pair of firm mounds and pulling her impossibly close.

Kyra felt so right in her arms. Her warm, supple body was molded against her own and Emma was aware of all the soft curves that were pressed against her slightly taller frame, fueling her desire to an almost painful level.


When Emma felt her knees starting to tremble and lack of oxygen made her lightheaded, she unhurriedly pulled away, and a deep breath filled her lungs with much needed air.

"Oh, my God," she panted, pressing her forehead against Kyra’s, aware of the other woman’s labored breathing.

"Amen to that," Kyra whispered, still trying to catch her breath. "I had no idea."

"About what?" Emma asked, releasing a shuddering breath.

"That it would feel so good to kiss you. If I’d known I would have done it a lot earlier," Kyra gently joked, looking up and seeing the blue eyes twinkle.

Emma appreciated the light tone of voice, it eased the coiled up tension in her body and reduced the chance of her ravishing Kyra right then and there in the small kitchen.

"I have to admit I have wanted to do this for a long time," Emma confessed, brushing away a curl behind Kyra’s ear.

"Really?" Kyra smiled, playfully kissing the tip of Emma’s nose. "Since when exactly?"

"Since I first saw you," Emma softly answered with a serious expression in her eyes. "The moment you walked into my classroom I was lost." She smiled and kissed Kyra’s forehead. "Of course I was not pleased by it, because you came to pick up your son and for all I knew, you were married, or at

least…straight," she hesitantly added and Kyra looked up to see confusion in those eyes she loved so much.

"Let’s pour that tea and get comfortable," she suggested, realizing she still needed to explain a few things to Emma. "There are a few things you need to know."

Emma nodded, knowing that no matter what Kyra would tell her, it would answer some questions that had been in the back of her mind ever since they became friends.

A few minutes later both women were seated on the couch, silently sipping their tea. As if by mutual consent they were sitting in the opposite corner to leave a little space in between them, both knowing that sitting closer together would probably provide too much of a distraction.

"I‘ve done a lot of thinking lately," Kyra suddenly started, staring at her friend with open, honest eyes. "It has been a very confusing few weeks, I can assure you," she smiled. "I…admired and appreciated your honesty with me, about you being gay, but it brought back a crushing wave of emotions and memories I spent years trying to forget."

A glance at Emma’s face showed her an intense interest in her story and taking a deep breath, Kyra continued.

"I am gay as well, Emma," she softly stated, her eyes never leaving the warm blue. "This is not a crush or an experiment. The feelings I have for you are deep and genuine. I was attracted to you the first time I walked into your classroom," she smiled, seeing the affectionate look in Emma’s eyes. "When I was in high school I had a friend, her name was Kimberley. She was the youngest of nine children. Her parents were very religious people who raised their kids in a pretty…Spartan and harsh way. In all aspects. Only at school Kim seemed to be able to relax a little. Anyway, we became friends and she started to spend some time at my place as well. I thought she was allowed to, but afterwards I learned she did it in secret, because her parents had found out about my dad being gay and told their daughter she was not allowed to associate with ‘the likes of me’ ," Kyra said with a wry chuckle, taking a much needed sip from her tea.

"We spent a lot of time together and I discovered that I had fallen in love with Kimberley. And she with me. To me that felt as natural as breathing, but since Kim’s parents were more or less religious fanatics, she felt guilty about it and she was scared to death they would find out. Our ‘relationship’, if I can call it that, never extended further than a little kissing and cuddling. We were planning on becoming roomies once we started college and would be away from our parents’ supervision. It never got that far," Kyra sighed and there was a sad expression in her eyes.

"One day my mother came barging into my bedroom, when Kim and I were lying on my bed. There was nothing going on, we were just lying there, talking and I had my head on Kim’s shoulder. My mother was…furious," Kyra sighed. "She pulled me away from the bed and told Kim to leave the house and never come back again. She accused the poor girl of corrupting me."

Kyra put down her empty glass and turned to glance at Emma, who was looking at her with a mixture of empathy and sadness.

"I need a hug," Kyra whispered, crawling towards Emma, whose arms were already opened in silent invitation.

Emma felt a shiver go through Kyra’s body and she braced herself for the rest of the story. Knowing Vivian LeJeune it would probably not be pretty.

Kyra’s head rested against her shoulder and Emma put a protective hand on the curly hair, using her other hand to tenderly rub Kyra’s back.

"At first we told my mother we were just friends, but she kept accusing Kim until she finally broke down and confessed to her that she was in love with me. I told my mother I was in love with Kim myself, but she didn’t believe me. She said I only came up with that to protect my friend. Her daughter was not gay. Kim was the perverted one. Poor Kim cried her eyes out and begged my mother not to tell her parents," Kyra said with a trembling voice. "And I begged mother as well. I knew Kim would be in so much trouble if her parents found out. But mother didn’t listen."

Kyra buried her face deeper into Emma’s shoulder, feeling a pair of strong arms hold her close. Breathing in the scent of Emma’s perfume and skin, she felt safe and cared for.

"Mother called Kim’s parents and told them their daughter had ‘corrupted me with her perverted ways’. Her dad didn’t want to run the risk of Kim running away, so he asked my mother to keep an eye on Kim until he could come over to pick her up. She was so scared, Emma. She begged mother to let her go, but my mother didn’t even flinch. So, I decided to try and help Kim. I went into the kitchen and opened the back door. When Kim’s father arrived and mother went to open the front door, Kim made a run for it and escaped through the yard. That is the last time I ever saw her," Kyra added quietly.

"Did she go back to her parents’?" Emma softly asked.

"No," Kyra swallowed hard. "She ran to the railway track and hurled herself in front of a train."

Emma gasped in horror and closed her eyes against the stab of pain she felt when thinking about that poor teenage girl, who did not see any other solution but ending her own life.

"For years I felt responsible. If I had not opened the kitchen door for her, she would have gone home with her dad and maybe…she would have lived," Kyra whispered in a strained voice.

"Honey," Emma answered hoarsely. "That was not your responsibility. How old were you and Kimberley?"

"Sixteen," Kyra answered softly.

"Oh, my Lord," Emma sighed, pulling Kyra closer to her body to give her as much warmth, love and support she could. Kyra’s story was heartbreaking and again Emma said a silent prayer of gratitude for her parents and siblings, who had always been supportive and loving. Who had always showed her unconditional love. No matter what.

"I am so, so sorry, Kyra," she whispered against the curly hair that was still nestled against her shoulder. "It hurts me hearing you had to go through all that. I wish I had known you back then, I…"

"No!" Kyra answered, a little more forceful than she had intended. She lifted her cheek from its comfortable spot and a pair of frightened green eyes peeked up at Emma.

"No, she would have…hurt you," she whispered, reaching out a trembling hand to touch Emma’s cheek, as if she needed to reassure herself her friend was real and still there, holding her close and providing a warm cocoon of safety and affection. "Like she hurt Kim. She would have made sure to keep us apart. I…I could have used a friend like you back then, but I’m glad I didn’t know you. Having you in my life and then losing you again would have been unbearable."

A lonely tear escaped Kyra’s eye and slowly left a track of moisture on her cheek when it rolled down, creating a tiny wet spot on Emma’s dress.

"My mother grounded me for months, I was only allowed to go to school. But I didn’t mind. I spent most of my time up in my room anyway, studying or reading. I think that is when the relationship I had with her grew really cold. I was afraid to make new friends, so I spent most of my time alone."

"Where was your brother during all this?" Emma gently asked, feeling a little anger surface because her friend had to go through that difficult period of her life all by herself.

"Jazz had just started college," Kyra sighed. "He didn’t live at home anymore. I…I never told him the real story, only that Kim had died in an accident with a train."

"What about your dad?"

"I was…" Kyra swallowed hard. "I was feeling so guilty about what had happened, I was afraid to tell him. I knew my mother resented me for it and I couldn’t bear to lose my dad’s love as well."

"Oh, Kyra, honey ! How alone you have been," Emma whispered. "I am so sorry you had to go through all that. You must have been so lonely."

"I was," Kyra simply answered. "School and later college kept me busy and I could focus on that. I liked studying and once I got used to it, I didn’t really miss not having friends anymore."

Kyra chuckled softly and rubbed her cheek against the soft fabric of Emma’s dress.

"If my mother could see me now she would be spitting nails and breathing fire," she sighed. "And you know what?" Kyra lifted her head to be able to look at Emma and noticed a pair of intense eyes looking back at her. "I wouldn’t give a damn! I’m ready to break ties with her, Emma. She has been trying to control my life for too long already, it’s about time I start to live my life the way I want to. With the person whom I chose. And if that means that Simon loses his grandmother, I’m really sorry, but I don’t want her to fill his head with bigotry and prejudice as well."

"Simon will have a grandmother right here, on the farm," Emma promised, brushing Kyra’s face with her fingertips. "That is, if you would allow that to happen," she added in a whisper, feeling her heart almost beat out of her chest while she waited for Kyra’s response. Had she been too pushy? Too presumptuous? Oh, God, what if she had read Kyra wrong?

With a wistful smile Kyra leaned back a little and put her hand on Emma’s chest, feeling the warm skin through the fabric of the black dress and noticing the rapid beating of her heart.

"What are you afraid of?" she asked, her eyes boring into the deep blue ones.

"Rejection," Emma honestly answered.

It was just one word, but it held an ocean of feelings and fears. With her answer she had completely opened up to her friend in a gesture of hope and trust.

"Never," Kyra calmly promised with a tender smile.

Leaning closer to Emma she captured a pair of soft lips and they unhurriedly shared a kiss that was soft and loving. It was a confirmation of the feelings they had not even discussed yet, but that was just a matter of time, because the intensity of their gentle caresses was evidence to what was in their hearts.

When they finally broke apart they looked at each other and smiled. Kyra let her fingers trail through Emma’s short, thick hair, until she reached the back of the teachers head. Slowly she pulled her closer for another kiss

"Kyra, honey, there are a few things you need to know about me as well," Emma quickly whispered, before Kyra’s lips would rob her from all coherent thought again.

"Is it about kissing?" Kyra asked, with a little twinkle in her eyes

"No," Emma smiled. "But…"

"Later," Kyra promised, covering Emma’s warm lips with her own and sliding her arms around her friend’s neck, purposefully intensifying the contact.

A small moan escaped Emma’s lips when Kyra’s tongue boldly requested entrance and her heart rate picked up for other reasons than before. Kyra’s warm body was pressed against her own and while Emma’s hands stroked her friend’s back she pulled her even closer.

Kyra felt her world spin out of control when Emma’s hands caressed her body through the thin material of her dress. She reveled at the feel of the other woman’s lips and the wet, hot taste of her mouth. She felt her body shift and before she knew what was happening, Kyra was lying on her back on the couch, with Emma’s body covering her like a hot, living, breathing and kissing blanket.

Much better, her mind sighed contentedly when all of a sudden she could use her hands to roam Emma’s body, which she did, first a little shy and insecure, but with rapidly increasing confidence when she heard the soft moans of her friend.

After what seemed like an eternity, but could not have been more than a few minutes, Emma reluctantly pulled back and looked down at Kyra’s face. Her eyes were dark in her flushed face and her lips were moist and parted, beckoning her back, making it hard for Emma to remember why she had broken the contact in the first place.

"Kyra…things are…getting out of control here," she whispered in a hoarse voice.

A pair of dark green eyes slowly blinked and Emma swallowed hard when her brain registered the longing they radiated.

"Funny," Kyra whispered, reaching out a hand and tracing an imaginary line across Emma’s cheek, ending at the corner of her mouth where she brushed a pair of soft lips with her thumb. "I thought things were just going great."

Emma groaned when her body responded to Kyra’s words with a vengeance. The blood surged through her veins. She was throbbing in places that were screaming for attention and she had reached the point where ignoring them would be extremely frustrating and painful. To say the least.

Kyra looked at the emotions that were crossing Emma’s face in rapid succession and with a gentle smile she waited for her friend to response. She felt completely loved and safe and even though she had no experience whatsoever in how to please another woman, she already had gotten a good idea of how to proceed, based on the small sounds and moans Emma had been making. Kyra had to honestly admit to herself that she was a little nervous to take things further, but the desire that had been racing through her body, could no longer be ignored. And it felt so right to hold Emma, kiss and caress her and to feel her so close. She enjoyed the weight that was pressing her down, almost pinning her into place and there was nothing she would rather do than succumb to it, surrendering herself to the intoxicating haze of passion she had enjoyed while they had been kissing.

A slow smile spread across Emma’s face when she saw the twinkle in Kyra’s eyes and she brought her face down to quickly kiss the bridge of her nose.

"You are so beautiful," she sighed. "I would…love to take things further…and…what the heck," she mumbled. "Let’s be completely honest here. Kyra, honey, I so want to make love to you, but I want it to be special. Not just some making out session on an old coach that is basically too small to hold the two of us."

Kyra chuckled at the frustration in Emma’s voice and let her hands slide across the black clad shoulders.

"Just a few steps away from here, there’s a comfortable, big bed," she whispered, caressing Emma’s sides, neatly avoiding touching her breasts. "Can we make it special in there?"

"Are you sure you want this?" Emma softly asked, already knowing the answer when she saw the green eyes turn even darker with desire.

"I want you," Kyra whispered. "In all aspects, in every way. And I probably won’t have a clue to what I need to do, but…"

Emma’s fingers pressed against her lips and Kyra could not resist snaking out her tongue and swirling it around a tasty index finger.

"Just follow your heart," Emma managed to croak, while her body shuddered.

To be continued in chapter 8

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