Disclaimers, or lack of them: See Part 1
My thanks as always to my beta reader, Barbara Davies. Her work can be found on her page, Barbara Davies.
Rocky woke with a start. For a brief moment she didn't know where she was. A television cast a flickering glow across the room. She looked to her left, the presence at her side demanding her attention.
Jo was still asleep, flat on her back. Rocky was on her stomach right next to her. Their hands were tangled together between them.
Rocky gently turned onto her side. The dark-haired woman stirred but didn't awaken. Many nights, when she was woken by her dreams, Rocky would do this - just lie there in the silence of the night watching Jo.
They were both naked; any clothing torn off in the passion they had shared some time before.
Rocky pulled gently on the quilt, which Jo had pulled up over them when their skin started to feel the chill of the evening. It slid down the long body, and she watched in fascination as the dark nipples responded to the fabric of the quilt cover as it slid across them.
Jo sucked in a deep breath, exhaling loudly.
Rocky smiled to herself as she pulled the quilt away from her lover's body. She looked up from the flesh she had uncovered to Jo's face, to find two very blue, very dazed eyes looking back at her.
"Hi," she said quietly.
Jo attempted to speak but had to clear her throat first. "Why are you awake?"
Rocky reached out, tracing the soft flesh of Jo's cheek, running her hand down, following a smooth jaw line. "I'm not sure. Active mind, I think."
Jo captured the roaming hand, bringing it to her lips and kissing the fingertips. She pulled slightly, settling the blonde on top of her and holding on to her loosely.
"This is nice," said the blonde, relaxing onto the living mattress, revelling in the feeling of silky skin against her own.
"Yes it is," Jo breathed into her ear, her own hands wandering across the planes of Rocky's back.
"Jo?" Rocky suddenly pulled back, sitting up astride Jo's hips, leaving the brunette's hands empty. Long arms flopped back onto the bed.
The blonde looked down at the woman, and her hands traced the taut abdomen watching as the muscles beneath the skin tightened at her touch. "You're very beautiful."
Jo swallowed. "So are you."
"You know, I still don't know why you chose me." Rocky's hands found Jo's navel, the tip of her finger dipping into it. Green eyes looked into the flushed face. "I'm not sure I know what I'm doing here."
Jo opened her mouth to disagree, but clamped it shut again as a tentative hand then found her breast. "Is this nice?" Rocky whispered as her finger brushed across already tense buds.
Jo nodded quickly.
"And this?" She squeezed the aching nipple between two fingers, feeling the body beneath her react.
"I didn't ever think about loving another woman," she said quietly, watching her own hand as it caressed Jo's body. "But then I didn't think much about love for a long time." She brought her other hand up to join its mate. Now both breasts were enjoying the attention. She cupped the soft mounds, her short nails raking gently across the sensitive skin. "In my dream, you came and took me away, to somewhere safe and warm." She still cupped Jo's breasts in her hands, but now caressed both nipples with her thumbs. "The fact that you were a woman didn't surprise me. Why was that?" She tore her eyes away from her own hands when she received no answer, to find Jo's eyes tightly shut. "Jo, are you listening?"
Jo's eyes shot open. "Um, yes, I'm listening."
Rocky sighed. Her hands drifted downwards, along the outside of Jo's now highly aroused breasts, and came to rest on her hips.
"I want to make you feel the way you make me feel." Her hands moved inwards, her thumbs tracing the sensitive skin at the juncture of long thighs. She smiled to herself when she heard Jo's breathing increase, the chest she had been loving so tenderly only moments before rising and falling rapidly.
She ran her hand through soft curls, marvelling at the feel of them. "Anyway," Rocky continued. "You're just going to have to tell me if I'm doing anything right." She traced patterns across the twitching abdomen, circling a perfect belly button, and tracing the edge of the dark patch of hair. She looked down, and, cocking her head to the side, ventured further.
Jo's hips bucked so violently that Rocky was nearly thrown from the bed. She withdrew her hand quickly from the place she had found that elicited the reaction.
"Sorry," said Rocky steadying herself with both hands on Jo's stomach.
"Don't be," Jo squeaked.
"Did I hurt you?"
Jo shook her head tightly.
"I want to do it right." Rocky's hand once again found the place, and she watched closely as blue eyes fluttered closed. "Tell me what you want," she whispered.
Jo's mouth opened and closed, but no coherent sound was forthcoming.
"So this is okay, then?" She'd never felt such softness, and she felt her own body reacting to the new feelings she was experiencing.
Jo's hands grasped onto the sheet beneath her as Rocky's tentative touch drew out her pleasure. Her hips rose, encouraging the blonde in her efforts, feeling the touch become bolder, deeper.
And when a hot mouth enveloped her nipple she took two handfuls of soft blonde hair, holding her lover in place.
Even in her inexperience, Rocky knew Jo was nearing the edge, and she desperately wanted to see her. She raised her head, struggling against her lover's hands, which attempted to keep her in place. Desperately, Jo grasped for Rocky's free hand, pressing it to her aching breast.
Rocky gazed upon the face of her lover as Jo came. She'd never seen anything so beautiful; never had Jo looked so beautiful. She eased her hand away from the warmth and softness of her lover's pleasure, and pressed her body gently down onto the gasping form below her. Gently pushing damp hair from Jo's forehead, she kissed the tip of her nose, her closed eyes, and then her slightly swollen lips.
Though her arms felt heavy, Jo clutched at the woman who had just given her more pleasure than she'd ever felt. True, she had experienced much in her time, but never felt such emotion. She had finally given her body. True, she had allowed others to touch her, but this was so very different. And as she held her lover, whose fingers were at that moment making small patterns across her lower abdomen, she realised she had finally made love. It wasn't sex. It was love. Rocky's tentative, nervous hands had drawn out the woman in her, and for that she would be forever in her debt. To the other women who had taken her body, she had been nothing more than a conquest. A notch on a bedpost, a name to be whispered. And she hadn't cared.
The hand on her stomach had stopped its torturous movement, and she looked down at the face of her lover, relaxed in slumber.
Her tears surprised her. Why on earth was she crying? This was quite probably one of the most wonderful moments of her life. And here she was snivelling like a baby. She tightened her hold on the blonde.
"What?" Rocky's voice was sleepy. She looked up, alarmed at the tears she saw coursing down her lover's face. "Jo?"
"I'm fine," she said quickly, wiping at the tears with her hand.
"You're crying." Rocky propped herself up on one elbow, catching a tear as it made its way across Jo's cheek.
"I'm happy," Jo sniffed.
"I'm glad." Rocky leaned forward and kissed Jo, trying to put into that kiss the love and respect she felt for this woman. Trying to convey her thanks for the gift Jo had given her.
"I love you so much," whispered the blonde.
Jo merely smiled, knowing her voice would fail her. She pulled Rocky tightly against her own body, and dragged the quilt from where it had fallen to the side of the bed, covering them.
Two sets of breathing fell into a rhythm as they fell asleep, holding on tightly to one another, both secure in the knowledge that they had found one more piece of their soul. One more part of the jigsaw that might, just one day make them complete.
The TV played on. Its silver light picking out the forms on the bed, bathing them in an eerie glow, highlighting the matching smiles on sleeping faces.
They say when two English men, or women for that matter, meet, they will discuss the weather. And the day that greeted the lovers proved that point. Though dark clouds gathered in the distance, the sky over the small village of Tintagel was blue, and the winter sun shone fiercely. It was still frigidly cold, but the sun cast the village in a new light, and Jo could imagine the woman walking beside her growing up there.
They had parked the Merc in a small carpark and walked slowly through the village, looking at the places that Rocky was rediscovering. The long walk down to the cliff face, and to the ruins of the castle, was made carefully, the path still damp from the rain that had fallen in the previous days.
They surveyed the ruins, hand in hand.
Rocky felt the large hand squeezing her own. "You okay?" she asked, squinting against the sunlight which brought out the slightly auburn highlights in her lover's hair.
Jo's eyes were closed, her lips slightly parted. A furrow marred her forehead.
"You feel it too," Rocky said, moving around in front of the taller woman, and reaching up to brush away the ebony hair that had blown across the angular face.
"I feel sick," said Jo simply.
"I used to." Rocky leaned into the shaking form, winding her arms around Jo. "There's something magical here.... Something old.... It used to call to me." She rubbed her hands up and down the rigid back. "Take deep breaths."
Jo did so, and the colour started to return to her cheeks. She took a deep breath and looked down into concerned green eyes. "What was that?"
Rocky shrugged slightly. "I've never been sure. Some sort of echo of the past." She squeezed tighter, feeling Jo return the embrace. "You believe in reincarnation?"
Jo snorted, a most unladylike sound. She looked down, seeing the serious expression on the beautiful face of the woman holding her.
Rocky smiled up at her. "I think I've been here before."
Jo looked over the blonde head at the ruins. "Well, you have," she said simply.
"I have," Rocky conceded. "Many times." She turned her back on Jo, gazing out at the sea battering at the tiny outcrop to which the ruins clung. She felt Jo's arms encircle her from behind. "But it's more than that. I feel I've been here before that."
"In another life?"
Rocky nodded, closing her eyes and feeling the salt spray gentle on her face. "And I think you were too."
Jo looked down at the ruins, trying to imagine what it would have looked like in its prime. "Must have been quite a place."
"Fit for a King." Rocky's voice was almost lost on the wind.
"Or a Queen?" She bent her head and kissed the edge of the blonde's ear.
Rocky chuckled. "D'you think we were here once? Together?" She felt the woman behind her take a deep breath.
"I've never really thought about that kind of thing. Never thought about anything much before I met you."
Rocky thought about that statement for a moment. "Why was that?"
Jo seemed to shift uncomfortably behind her, and Rocky waited patiently for her answer. "I didn't need to think. Everything was done for me. My parents already had two successful children, and when I showed no ambition they didn't push me." Jo laughed gently. "And I loved them for it." The tall woman looked at the storm clouds gathering, starting to hide the sun. "Now, with you, I see so much I want to do. I want to do well for you, make you happy. I want you to be proud of me."
"But you don't...."
"No, please." She turned again in the circle of Jo's arms to face her lover. "No, I know what you've turned your back on. I know you've given up that life for me. All of a sudden, you have someone with more emotional baggage than she can handle looking to you for some sort of support, and you're giving it without asking for anything in return." She looked up shyly into blue eyes. "You're my hero," she said, watching as a blush spread across Jo's face.
"Yes, you are."
"Can we agree to disagree about that?"
Rocky shrugged. "If you like, but I'm right."
Jo looked down at her for long moments. "Where now?"
The blonde head eased forward and rested against her chest. "Back to the graveyard. I need to say goodbye."
Rocky watched the changing landscape as they left Cornwall and then Devon. By the time they reached the M4 they had started to see small pockets of snow that had resisted the slightly warmer weather. The further east they went, the worse the weather became, and as they passed Swindon they hit the first light snowfall.
"You're quiet," Jo said, studying briefly the tired profile of the blonde.
Green eyes turned in her direction. "Just thinking," she said.
Rocky nodded. "Oh yeah, I was thinking about you."
Jo's face creased into a smile. "Really?"
"I was just wondering where we'll be in a year or so from now."
Jo reached across and took her hand. "Where would you like to be?"
Rocky looked down at their linked hands, turning Jo's over and studying it intently. "I think I'd just like to be wherever you are." She watched the larger hand curl around hers and squeeze. "But...." The sentence hung in the air between them.
"But what?" Jo tore her eyes from the increasingly heavy traffic she was encountering to look down at the girl slumped in the passenger seat. "We have all the time we need. What's bothering you?"
"I'm finding it hard having to rely on you for everything. This trip, the clothes, everything. I was so used to fending for myself.... It's just hard," she finished weakly.
"It's no big deal," said Jo, matter-of-factly.
"It is to me."
"Ok then, we'll enrol you in the college. What would you like to do? They have plenty of courses."
Rocky looked at her as if she'd sprouted another head. "I couldn't do anything like that!"
"Why not?" she said simply.
Rocky was obviously trying to come up with a reason, but her jaw snapped shut as she realised she didn't have one. "I don't know," she said quietly.
"How about computers or something?" Jo gave her hand a little shake, realising that, at last, Rocky was starting to think a little positively.
"See?" She raised their linked hands and kissed the blonde's knuckles. "I want you to be happy, Sweetheart."
"I am," said Rocky.
Jo pulled into the courtyard and parked the car in front of her house. No sooner had they opened the boot than the front door opened and Edna greeted them. "I saw you drive in. I put the kettle on."
Jo heaved the bags out of the boot, and threw them inside the front door. "You go on up, I'll bring these," she said, and gently pushed the blonde towards her elderly friend.
Rocky followed Edna up the stairs and into the kitchen, pulling off her jacket and hanging it in the hallway as she went.
Edna stood against the sink, watching Rocky as she settled into one of the kitchen chairs. "How was it?"
"It was... hard." The blonde planted her elbows on the table and cradled her head in her hands. "Too many memories." She looked up at the woman from beneath pale hair. "But I'm glad I went."
The shrill whistle of the kettle interrupted them, and Edna turned to make the tea just as Jo stumbled into the hall with the bags.
"Come in here and sit yourself down," she called through the door. "I bet you drove the whole way without stopping."
"I was worried about the weather, didn't want to be out in it too late," said Jo as she sat, depositing a kiss on her lover's cheek as she passed.
"They do say it's going to get worse in the next few days. Cold front coming from the east." She put two mugs of tea in front of the two women. "I'll go gather my things."
Jo's eyes snapped up. "You don't have to go yet, Edna."
The old woman placed a gentle hand on the brunette's shoulder. "Yes, Jo. I do. It's been a pleasant few days here, but I've been out there too long." She shrugged and smiled at the confused look on Jo's face. "It's what I'm used to." She padded away quietly.
Rocky looked across at Jo. "You can't understand it, can you?"
Jo shook her head. "It's the worst winter for years, sub zero temperatures, and she'd rather be out in it than here. No, I don't understand."
"Same old story," said the blonde.
"The feeling of imposing, of being a burden."
Jo leaned towards the blonde. "You," she pointed a finger in Rocky's direction, "are not going back out there."
"No, I know," she said with a small smile. "But I have something Edna doesn't."
Jo chuckled and leaned across capturing the blonde's lips. "That's true," she said, her breath warm on Rocky's mouth.
"I'm ready," said Edna, dropping her bags just outside the kitchen door. "I'll need to find another trolley; I don't think mine will be where we left it."
Jo leaned back, away from the blonde and turned in her seat to face the old woman. "Can I finish my tea?"
Edna huffed and settled herself in the spare kitchen chair, watching as Jo and Rocky sipped their tea as slowly as they could.
So it was an hour later that Jo opened the door of the car and allowed Edna to settle herself in the passenger seat. The tall woman turned back to the blonde framed in the doorway. "Are you sure you won't come?" Jo took a couple of steps back towards Rocky.
Rocky nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure. I don't think I want to go back there yet." She turned Jo in the direction of the car. "Besides, I have three days of washing to sort out."
Jo resisted the gentle pushing and turned back, gathering the small woman in her arms. "I won't be long."
"Make sure you're not." She frowned slightly. "Shouldn't you take a jacket?" she asked noticing Jo only had a sweatshirt on along with her jeans and sneakers.
"I'm fine. I'll be gone an hour at the most," she ducked her head and nipped at soft lips. "I love you," she whispered.
"Love you, too." Rocky gave her a shove, and stepped back into the doorway, wrapping her arms around her in an attempt to keep out the cold. "Now go," she said, with a smile.
Jo pouted, and slowly got into the car.
The blonde waved to her friend as the Merc pulled slowly out of the courtyard, then she closed the door and made her way straight to the laundry room.
She had just emptied the contents of their travel bag on the floor when the door bell rang. "What have you forgotten now?" she muttered under her breath as she reached for the handle and opened the door.
Before her stood a nightmare, a smiling nightmare.
"Michelle," the tall man said, reaching for her.
Rocky felt her knees unlock and she staggered backwards, tripping over the bottom stair. She sat heavily, watching as the man quietly closed the door and turned back towards her. "It's been so long," he said as he crouched in front of her and cupped a cheek already wet with tears. "I've missed you so much."
Her mind struggled to comprehend what was happening. It couldn't possibly be, could it? She'd been so careful, stayed away. Surely by now he thought her dead. But no, here he was. He'd come for her.
"I searched for you," he said, pulling her to her feet and crushing her in an embrace. "I knew I'd find you. I never lost faith." He kissed blonde hair, and held her at arm's length. "Now we can be together again."
"No." Her voice was little more than a whisper.
"No?" his smile never faltered. "Michelle, I forgive you for leaving me. Whatever it was that made you leave, we'll sort out. We'll be happy again."
"I was never...." Her objection died on her lips as he crushed her to his chest again.
"Is there anything you need to take?" he asked.
Rocky managed to pull away from him. "I can't leave."
"And why is that?" he asked patiently.
"The tall woman I saw leave a moment ago?"
Rocky nodded, and realised he had waited until she was alone.
He smiled again, the same smile she had seen in her nightmares. "I waited for her to go, because I knew seeing you alone would be safer. I wouldn't want anything to happen should she object to you choosing to leave with me." He waited a moment for Rocky to think about what he was saying. "Would you rather we waited?"
"Would you hurt her?" Rocky asked, her voice breaking.
"If she came between us, Michelle. I would have to."
Rocky closed her eyes. "I have to get a coat. That's all I have."
"Very well." He followed the girl as she ascended the stairs, and stood in the hallway as she reached for her coat.
Rocky hesitated, and bypassed her own coat and took Jo's jacket from the hook. She draped it over her arm, and turned back to the man. "Can I leave a note?"
"I'm sorry, Michelle. A clean break, I think that would be the best."
She nodded, and took the hand that he offered.
"Let's go home," he said, and led her down the stairs and out of the house.
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