Disclaimers. This is going to be a somewhat light-hearted effort. But I dare say I can squeeze some angst in somewhere. Probably some sex too.
My thanks as always to my beta reader, Barbara Davies. Her work can be found on her page, The Writings of Barbara Davies.
Day One. Friday
Dani Collins woke. And for a few brief moments attempted to comprehend why her face was pressing up against the wall, which should have been a few feet from her bed.
Then she remembered. She wasn't at home, she was on a narrow single bed in a caravan on the South Coast of England. Near Bournemouth to be precise.
She and her two friends, Stephanie and Melanie, had driven down from Kent the night before, to take advantage of the sudden and unexpected heatwave the country was experiencing.
They'd left early enough, just giving themselves time to get home from work, change, and jump into Steph's car. But the need to take in liquid refreshment, at just about every pub they passed on the journey, meant they arrived at the caravan site in the small hours of the morning, with Dani driving the last part of the journey due to Steph's weak willpower. So it meant that they arrived safely, and without Steph breaking the law. Dani never was one for drinking too much, so it was no loss for her to stay on orange juice.
The caravan was a large 8 berth static van owned by Steph's father. Unlike most of the other vans on the site, he didn't let it during the summer months and used it himself for his family and friends. The campsite was a large one, with facilities for towing caravans as well. Situated within walking distance of the city centre, it was a lovely place to take a holiday. But the three girls had just four days to enjoy before they would return to their homes and their jobs.
Dani eased out of the small bed, and padded to the door. She heard no noise from her two friends who were sharing the larger double bedroom. They had drunk quite a bit more than she had, so she wasn't surprised that they were still sleeping. She went into the main part of the caravan, and the heat almost knocked her back a step. They'd just fallen into bed when they'd arrived, and now, at nearly 10 in the morning, the sun was beating down on the fibreglass body of the van, turning it into an oven.
She opened the windows and the top half of the door, letting what little breeze there was blow through. Ordering her short blonde hair, she filled the kettle and switched it on. She just had the tee-shirt she'd worn during the previous evening and a pair of panties on, and still she felt unbearably hot. But she smiled at the sounds of children playing filtering through the open window, reminding her of holidays spent with her parents at similar sites.
The weekend had been planned during the previous week. The weather forecast had been excellent and they'd all managed to persuade their employers to let them have a couple of extra days off and have a long weekend.
The kettle began to whistle, so she got out a few mugs from a cupboard above the sink, and rummaged through the box of groceries they'd brought with them to find the tea bags. They'd actually had the good sense to put the large bottle of milk into the small fridge before collapsing into bed, otherwise it would be a curdled mess by now.
She made the tea, and ventured into the other bedroom at the end of the caravan.
Dani stood in the doorway, surveying the mess in the room. Clothes were strewn about; somehow a bra had found itself on the curtain track. The window was closed and the heat in the room was unbearable. But the two women in the bed were oblivious.
The blonde placed the two mugs on the dressing table and reached through the curtains to open the window.
Her two friends were face to face, their noses a hairsbreadth from each other. Both were still semi-dressed, and Melanie's face still bore the heavy make up she'd donned the day before. Both were obviously very hot.
The sheets had been discarded in the night and lay on the floor, and Dani bent to pick them up, folding them and putting them in a corner of the room.
She bent and shook Steph's ankle. "'Morning," she said, and took a step back as her friend's dark brown eyes opened. Those same eyes widened in alarm.
"Jesus Christ!" cried Steph, backing away from the other sleeping woman and disappearing into the small space between the bed and the wall. Her head reappeared, and she stared at the sleeping vision. "She looks like Alice Cooper."
Dani looked from Steph to Melanie, who, with her face streaked with mascara, certainly did resemble the singer, facially at least. Her hair, unlike his, was blonde, from a bottle. And permed, so it never really stood a chance at all.
"Should we wake her?" asked Dani, sitting on the edge of the bed.
"No," said Steph, easing herself out of bed. "She'll just start crying again." She walked across to the dressing table and gratefully picked up the mug of tea Dani had brought her. "Oh, bliss," she said, as the warm liquid eased her tight throat.
Steph gestured to the door and they both made their way out of the bedroom into the living area of the caravan. "This was her bloody idea," hissed Steph. "Why is she blubbering?" She followed the smaller blonde woman to the small table, sitting opposite her friend.
"She misses Mark," said Dani, sipping her tea.
"I miss Jason, but I'm not going to sniffle all weekend." She turned her gaze to the window and the children playing beyond. "Wonder what he's doing now," she said quietly. When she turned back to her friend, there were tears in her eyes.
"Oh boy," said Dani, and cradled her chin in her hands.
A sudden smile crossed Steph's face. "You know she pads out her bra, don't you?"
Dani screwed her face up. "No. It's all padding?"
Steph nodded. "It fell out last night. The padding I mean." She swivelled sideways, putting her feet up on the bench seat. "She always makes such a big deal out of it." She gave her friend a wicked smile. "And it's all false."
"Well, don't make a big thing out of it." Dani nodded towards her friend's chest. "Just because you managed to somehow get enough for all three of us."
Steph glanced down at her own chest, hefting it lovingly in her hands. "This is all natural, which is more than can be said for Mel in there."
"Don't let her hear you calling her that," chuckled Dani, casting a glance at the closed bedroom door. "You know how crazy she gets."
"Where's the loo?" came the strangled cry from the other end of the caravan.
"Down the road, second hut on the left." Steph couldn't look at the blonde who had just staggered out of the bedroom; her close encounter with Melanie that morning was still too fresh in her memory.
Melanie shuffled towards them, squinting against the bright sunlight pouring through the open door. "Stephanie, you had better be joking, because I'm telling you, if I have to set foot outside this damned caravan each time I need a pee, you will not survive to see Sunday."
Melanie tried and failed to give her friend a withering look; the fact that her eyes seemed to have a problem focusing completely dampened the intended affect. She changed tactics.
"Please?" she said, pulling her tee-shirt down, and knocking skinny knees together.
"There." Stephanie pointed to a small door opposite the opened door.
The Alice Cooper impersonator shot them a half smile and launched herself towards the small bathroom.
"Oh my God!!" came the cry, once she was inside. "Paper!!"
Dani and Steph looked at each other. "You take it," said Dani. "I made tea."
"Did we get any?" Steph looked towards the box of groceries.
"Ooops," said Dani.
It was a gentle walk along the cliff top to the centre of Bournemouth. Not a large town, but during the summer months, especially in the school holidays, the population soared.
It was quite a mix, with the town being one of the most popular retreats of the retired. Mixing with the small children on the beach front were the grannies and granddads. A long row of small beach huts sat at the bottom of the cliff, between the prom and the beach, and people in varying degrees of undress lounged just outside them. Inside, they made tea and sandwiches and did what the British loved to do: people-watch.
The three girls had followed the cliff top path, and found themselves quite quickly in the bustling centre of Bournemouth. It was a little after 2pm by the time they got there, and they scanned the pub fronts to find one that served food all day.
Finally they found The Chieftain, and on the blackboard outside it claimed, "Food served all day."
"This'll do," said Melanie, whose appearance was just about back to normal, her makeup applied and her hair solidified.
Dani stood back, knowing this was a ritual for her two friends. Entering a pub. She waited a moment, and watched.
Melanie and Stephanie entered, scanned the pub, immediately taking in where any interesting unaccompanied males were sitting, and walked near them, but passed by seemingly uninterested.
Dani shook her head, and followed, sitting opposite her two friends as they picked up a menu from the table.
"It's cooler in here," said Dani as she scanned the menu. It was the usual pub fare: steak, chicken, scampi, lasagne. "What do you two want?"
Receiving no answer, she looked up to see her two friends pointedly not looking at the table of young men who were leering at them.
"Steph," she said. "What do you want to eat?"
Steph's dark eyes lifted from the menu and fluttered in the direction of the young men. "Chicken," she said, letting her eyes rake across them for a moment.
Dani turned her attention to Melanie, whose gaze had dropped to her own chest, making sure everything was in place. "Chicken too," she said, unsurprisingly as always following Steph's example.
One of the boys stood and made his way to their table. Both Melanie and Stephanie buried their faces in the large menu.
"Hi. Can we buy you girls drinks?" he said agreeably.
Dani smiled up at him. "Hello. We were just about to order actually." She stood. "I'll get mine, but I'm sure my friends are thirsty."
She made her way to the bar, and settled on a high stool. It was quiet in the pub; the dinnertime rush hour was over, and it was too hot for most people to stay indoors. She looked behind the bar but there was no-one about, so she waited patiently.
A woman arrived from a door behind the bar, a large plastic bag of ice slung over one shoulder. "Be with you in a moment," she said as she dumped the bag on the floor then opened the large ice chest. She hauled the obviously heavy bag up and lowered it into the chest.
Wiping a forearm across a sweaty brow, she turned to the woman sitting at the bar. "What can I get you?" she asked the small blonde.
Dani's mouth opened and closed a couple of times before she managed coherent speech. Before her stood a woman much taller than her own five-and-a-half feet. Long dark hair fell about broad shoulders. Ice-blue eyes regarded her with something approaching amusement.
"A drink?" the tall woman prompted, resting her elbows on the bar.
Dani knew that one day she would meet a man and she would know immediately that he was the one for her. She knew for sure she would gaze into his eyes, and see her very future reflected back at her. He would be tall and handsome, and he would reach out and cup her cheek and tell her that her search was over. Then he would lean down and kiss her. Damn, was I barking up the wrong tree! she thought to herself.
"Yes please," Dani squeaked.
The woman cocked her head to the side, smiling a curious smile. "Should I try to guess what you're thinking?" she asked.
Dani's blush, and the look of mortification that crossed her face, was her only answer.
The woman realised the effect she was having on her customer, and leaned onto the bar, resting her chin on her joined hands. "Will it be a beer, maybe a cider? Or something a little stronger?" She ran her tongue across her upper lip.
A screech caused both women to jump, and they looked towards the table where the two boys had joined Melanie and Steph. Melanie was laughing, in her own unique way, at something one of the boys had said. Stephanie was edging her chair closer to the blonder of the two, though both appeared to have been cloned from some boy band and were almost identical.
"Your friends make friends quickly," the tall woman observed, returning her attention to the blonde on the other side of the bar.
Dani smiled, remembering the tears from her two friends that morning when remembering their abandoned boyfriends. "Yes, they do."
"What about you?" she asked.
"What?" asked Dani, turning back to face the bartender.
"Do you make friends quickly?"
Dani pursed her lips. "Depends."
"Hi, my name's Chris," she said, extending her hand.
Dani stared at the hand for a moment, as if it was something that might burn her. Then she reached across and took it, watching as it folded around her own. She managed to tear her eyes from the vision, only to fall straight into another when her gaze found twinkling blue eyes. "Dani Collins," was all she could manage.
"Good to meet you, Dani." A perfect eyebrow rose, and the blue eyes shifted from her face to their hands.
"Oh." Dani released the taller woman's hand quickly, and was glad when Chris took a couple of steps back.
"So what was the drink?" she asked, leaning down and grabbing a glass from the washer, and polishing it with a cloth.
Dani surveyed the shelves of drinks behind the bar. "A Breezer," she said. "Do you have one in the cooler?"
Chris chuckled at the flushed woman. "Sure," she said, and bent to pick a small bottle out of the fridge. "You want a glass?" she asked, opening the bottle and placing it on the counter.
Dani shook her head, and grabbed the bottle, taking a long swig from it.
Chris watched the blonde, enjoying following a bead of sweat as it made its way down her neck and then on to her... .
"It's hot," said Dani, rubbing the back of her hand against her neck.
"Very," said Chris, pushing away from the bar. There were some more customers at the other end of the counter. "I'll be back."
Dani watched her. Staring unreservedly at the woman who kept glancing back at her as she served her customers. Her arms were bare, the skin like silk, glistening with the sweat that the almost unbearable heat produced.
Chris ambled back to Dani as soon as she'd dealt with her customers. "Your friends are ordering food. Will you be eating?"
Dani looked across at Melanie and Steph, who were giving their order to a young man. Melanie was pointing to the menu; Steph was almost in the lap of one of their new friends.
"I'm not sure I'm hungry anymore," said Dani, instantly blushing when Chris raised her eyebrows. "What?" asked the blonde.
Blue eyes slowly surveyed as much of the body in front of her as she could see. "We do good chicken," Chris said. "I'm having lunch soon. Maybe you'd like to join me."
Dani looked from Chris to her friends. She weighed up her options. Taking lunch with her noisy friends, and probably their new acquaintances. Or spending a leisurely hour or so with the charismatic woman she'd met barely ten minutes before.
"I'd love to," said Dani. "What would you recommend?"
Chris bit her bottom lip. Well, that was easy, she thought to herself. "If not the chicken, the lasagne."
"Ok, I'm not a chicken lover." Dani slid off the high stool. "Where will you be eating?"
"On the patio. It's cooler out there; we get a little sea breeze blowing through."
Dani looked back at her friends. They seemed to have completely forgotten about her, totally engrossed with their new friends. So she followed the tall woman out into a pretty and very deserted patio area.
Chris was right, there was a gentle breeze blowing through the place, and she gallantly pulled out a chair at a table.
Dani blushed slightly and sat, then Chris left her again to order their food. She returned moments later with another drink for the blonde and some silverware.
Lunch was wonderful for Dani. She found Chris to be funny, and very alluring. Charismatic in a way she'd never known in another person. She found herself staring far more than she felt comfortable with. Taking pleasure in watching the expressive face in front of her. And those eyes. When Chris laughed they sparkled, and Dani couldn't help but laugh with the dark-haired woman.
"So, how long are you here for?" asked Chris, pushing her empty plate away from her.
Dani was still pushing her lasagne around her plate. Listening to Chris, and finding herself wanting to watch her new friend rather than eat, her meal had grown cold and unappetising. "'Til Monday. Just having a long weekend by the sea."
"You picked the right weekend." Chris leaned back in her seat. "David!" she called, and a young man came and cleared her plate. "You finished with that?" she asked Dani.
Dani nodded, smiling up at the young man. "Thank you," she said as he took the plate, giving her a smile as he went.
"So what are your plans for the weekend?" asked Chris taking a long drink of cider.
"We haven't really made any. Just going to have some fun."
Chris smiled. "Sounds like a good plan."
And so the conversation continued. They talked of their families, Dani slowly getting over her anxiety in the tall woman's presence. They talked of their jobs and of Chris's father, who was currently managing a night-club he'd just bought in Ibiza. They spoke of many things, having no idea of the passing hours. Not really noticing that the pub and the patio area were filling with people venturing back out as the afternoon gave way to evening and the temperature finally began to drop.
Dani was startled by a wavering Melanie, who was framed in the doorway. "Dani?" she asked.
"Ah," said Dani, standing quickly, an irrational feeling of guilt settling around her. "I was... having lunch."
"And?" asked the blonde, tottering towards the pair.
"And nothing," squeaked Dani. "You're drunk," she said, her face creasing into a frown.
"I am not," said Melanie indignantly. "But Steph is," she slurred. "We need to go back to the camp site and get ready for this evening."
"It is evening," said Dani flatly. "It's 7.15."
Melanie peered for long moments at her watch. "Are you sure?" She staggered away from the two women and back into the pub.
Dani turned towards Chris. "Sorry about that. I'd um... ." She waved towards the door to the interior of the pub.
"You'd better get them back." Chris finished for her.
Dani reached into her small bag, pulling out a wallet.
"Hey," said Chris quickly. "It's on the house." She lifted Dani's hand and kissed the back of her fingers. "It's been a pleasure." Her dazzling smile stood out vividly against tanned skin.
Dani swallowed hard. "Thank you. And yes, it has been a pleasure." She looked back towards the door, then back at Chris.
She wanted to kiss the enigmatic woman. More than anything else. She didn't care that she was surrounded by people; that fact never entered her mind.
She took a step forward, opened her mouth, and said, "I have to go."
Chris frowned when the small blonde suddenly turned on her heel and rushed into the bar area. She watched as she helped her two friends to their feet and ushered them out of the pub, followed closely by the two boy clones.
The dark-haired woman sighed, looked around the pub, noticing how full it was getting. She spotted a willowy blonde standing near the juke-box, and sauntered over to her. "Hi," she said.
Dani walked a few paces ahead of her two friends. They followed on, arm in arm, making slow progress through the teeming streets of Bournemouth.
Somewhere along the line they had lost the boys, for which Dani was exceedingly grateful. Mostly because they said they had a friend they'd like her to meet. Her mind was replaying the afternoon with Chris, and she was oblivious to her friends' increasingly raucous behaviour.
It wasn't until Steph fell flat on her face, that she turned and surveyed the pair.
Melanie was staring down at her fallen friend, trying to stay still long enough to offer her assistance to stand once more.
"Get up, you silly bitch," said Melanie, as Steph rolled over and sat in the middle of the pavement.
"Oooh," said Steph, pointing at the window of the shop behind Melanie. "Tattoooos."
Melanie turned and staggered towards the window. "Tattoos and body piercing," she slurred.
"I'm sure it's not open," said Dani, hauling Steph to her feet. She looked on in horror as Melanie tried the door, and pushed her way inside.
She gritted her teeth in frustration, and allowed Steph to pull her towards the door. "Oh boy," she said under her breath.
Day Two. Saturday
For the second day running, Dani woke with her face pressed against the wall. She rolled onto her back, and regarded the ceiling for long moments.
"Chris," she whispered, closing her eyes, picturing the blue ones she'd seen in her dreams.
She turned on her side, snuggling into her pillow. The sun shone through the thin yellow curtains, which billowed gently.
She was peaceful, and she closed her eyes, hoping to recapture the dream of blue eyes and silky soft skin she'd been enjoying before she woke.
Suddenly the door flew open, causing the whole caravan to shudder. And there, framed in the doorway, was a nightmare of blonde hair and smudged make-up.
"What have you done?" rasped Melanie, staggering further into the room.
Dani didn't move, and peered up at the horrifying sight, only her green eyes peeking from beneath the pillow.
"It's horrible," Melanie said. "Horrible." Dramatically she raised a hand to her forehead, pressing her palm against the space between carefully plucked eyebrows.
Dani remained still, watching the suffering woman. "I tried to stop you," she said in a small voice.
Melanie cast bloodshot eyes upon the blonde woman in the bed. She dropped her arms to her sides, swaying slightly. "I can't go home again," she said finally, before walking shakily out of the room.
Dani sighed as the door drifted shut, and slid out of bed. She had a long t-shirt on, which came to just above her knees, and she ventured out into the main part of the caravan.
The first thing she became aware of was the sobbing, and she followed the sound to the tiny bathroom, where Steph was sitting on the closed toilet lid holding a wash cloth to her stomach.
"I told you last night it would hurt," said Dani reasonably. "They say you have to keep it clean and the redness will go down in a few days."
Steph lifted the cloth, and Dani winced at the reddened area around her navel piercing. The dark-haired woman stood, but didn't straighten, and brushed past Dani, walking with a stoop into the bedroom, where Melanie was lying face down on the bed.
On the blonde's upper right buttock was a dressing, peeking out from above the waistband of her bikini briefs.
Melanie was sobbing into the sheets, undecided as to whether the pain in her head or her backside was the greater. Steph eased herself gingerly onto the bed, and sat with her back against the headboard. She turned accusing eyes on Dani, who hovered in the doorway.
"Look," protested the short woman. "I tried my best to talk you out of it."
Melanie mumbled something into the mattress.
"What?" said Steph, trying to peer down beyond her bosom at her new jewellery. She turned her attention to Melanie. "What are you saying?"
"What does it say?" sobbed the distraught blonde.
"What does what say?" asked Steph, trying to pull her fingers through her own matted hair.
"The bloody tattoo!!" screamed Melanie, instantly regretting it as she slumped back down onto the bed.
Dani took a couple of tentative steps forward, and sat on the bottom edge of the bed. "You want me to look?" she asked, putting a gentle hand on Melanie's calf.
Melanie peered over her shoulder, Alice Cooper once more making an appearance. "Please," she snivelled.
Dani slowly pulled back the dressing, revealing the reddened and scabby skin beneath. She bent closer, peering at the artwork on her friend's butt.
Her eyes widened. "Ah," was all she said.
Melanie sniffed noisily. "What?" she asked, craning her neck trying to see for herself.
"Um, yeah." Dani replaced the dressing carefully, and sat back. "Can you remember at all what you asked for?"
Melanie shifted onto her side, careful to keep her weight off her sore rump.
"Oh, my God. Here," said Steph, handing the still sobbing blonde a box of kleenex. "You're a damn mess."
Melanie blew her nose noisily. "I don't even remember going in there." Then she blinked rapidly. "Oh wait." She took another tissue and started to wipe at the mess of mascara around her eyes. "I do remember. I remember Steph screaming. She called me a bitch. That's what I had put on." She looked pleased with herself for a brief moment. Then she caught Dani's wince.
"It says bitch, right?" she asked the short blonde, who was standing and backing out of the room.
"Almost," said Dani.
Melanie sat up quickly, screaming when her full weight fell on her tattooed backside. "What does it say!?" she screamed.
"Well, it, um, looks like you didn't quite point to the right picture when you were showing the guy what you wanted," said Dani, backing further into the living area of the caravan. She could still see Melanie's large, black-rimmed eyes peering at her from the bedroom. Behind Melanie, Steph had flopped over sideways; she was lying behind the blonde trying to get the dressing off the tattoo again.
A scream of laughter erupted from the dark-haired woman, immediately cut short by a gasp of pain from her abused navel.
Melanie looked from her writhing friend to Dani. "Tell me what it says," she said in a low, dangerous voice.
"It says 'butch'," said Dani, turning and running into her room and slamming the door. She heard a stomach-churning scream, and then everything was very quiet.
Dani was walking along the cliff-top path, looking out across the sea. It was another beautiful day, made even more serene by the fact that she was alone.
She'd quickly pulled on a pair of shorts and a tank top, and escaped her two manic friends, who were going into fits of hysteria. Not wanting to witness the complete descent into madness by her two friends, she'd sneaked out of the caravan into the beautiful and comparatively peaceful outdoors.
Her aim was to take a walk, anywhere. But she soon found herself in the street that held the pub where Chris worked. There were a couple of tables on the pavement outside the pub, and her breath caught when she saw Chris appear from inside the pub to collect a couple of empty glasses.
The tall woman stopped suddenly, and stood straight. She scanned the heaving throng of people meandering along the narrow street. Blue eyes fell on the small blonde and the beautiful face creased into a smile.
Dani was rooted to the spot. She watched as Chris called back into the pub. Another young man came out and took the cloth that Chris had been using to wipe down the tabletops.
She took a slow walk towards the frozen woman, stopping a few feet away.
Once again Chris was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, and a pair of cut-off jeans.
She pushed ebony hair away from her face. "Hi," she said.
Dani looked up at the taller woman, the mid-morning sun picking out auburn highlights in the otherwise midnight-dark hair. "Hi," she croaked back.
Chris looked beyond the blonde. "Where are your friends? Sleeping it off?"
Dani chuckled. "Sort of. They had a close encounter with a tattoo parlour last night. Melanie has 'butch' tattooed on her butt."
Dark eyebrows rose and disappeared beneath dark hair. "I'm guessing that wasn't intentional."
"Not exactly." Dani looked around. The narrow street was heaving with humanity, Saturday obviously bringing out more people looking to take advantage of the lovely weather. "You must be busy in there," she said, nodding towards the pub.
Chris shrugged. "Yeah, it's busy," she said. "But being the boss means I can delegate."
Dani chuckled. "Like yesterday, when you took the whole afternoon off?"
"Exactly." The tall woman smiled down at the blonde. "You want to go somewhere quiet?"
Dani's mouth opened and closed a couple of times, but no sound was forthcoming.
"To have a quiet drink," Chris added, before plunging her hands in the pockets of her cut-offs.
Dani's face creased into a smile. "That would be nice," she said.
A short time later, Chris was negotiating a route out of Bournemouth, avoiding the heavy traffic that always occurred on a Saturday during the summer. She drove a small jeep-type vehicle, the top pulled down.
"Where are we going?" asked Dani, one hand on the roll bar just above her head.
"Just for a ride in the sunshine." She looked across at the blonde. "Is that okay?" Chris reached across and patted Dani's thigh. "I know a nice quiet little pub, beside the river."
"River?" asked Dani.
"Well, wide stream," said Chris as she negotiated a complicated junction. "Damn weekend drivers," she said disgustedly as she had to brake sharply to avoid an elderly gentleman driving an equally elderly car. She fell into place behind him. "He has a hat on," she said distractedly.
Dani peered at the car driver in the vehicle they were following, and he did indeed have a flat cap on. "So?"
"Men who drive cars in flat caps are always bad drivers." She shifted down, and managed to speed past him. "And Volvo drivers."
"Really? I never noticed," said Dani, chuckling.
A short while later, Chris steered the small car into the car park of a pub. "Here we are," she said unnecessarily as she jumped out of the jeep.
Dani eased herself out a little more cautiously. "This is nice," she said, looking around.
And indeed it was. What was obviously an old farmhouse had been converted into a pub and restaurant. A sloping garden led down to a wide stream, meandering down to meet the River Bourne, which ran through Bournemouth and into the sea. In the distance were Corfe Castle and the small village of Corfe, which grew at its base. The castle was little more than a ruin, but the outline and what was left of the sturdy walls could still be seen. It was also the scene of one of the first recorded murders in England. In April 975, 17-year-old King Edward, the Saxon King later known as Edward the Martyr, was stabbed to death on the orders of his Stepmother.
"Wait here," said Chris and disappeared into the pub.
Dani wandered down to the edge of the stream, watching a couple of ducks come gliding across to her expecting food. They squawked angrily at her, when they realised she had nothing for them, before returning to the shaded side of the stream.
Chris joined her and handed her an ice-cold glass. "Home made cider," she said. "It's the best I've ever had."
Dani took a drink of the crisp, cold liquid, and it was indeed refreshing. "That's lovely," she said quietly. She began to sit on one of the benches.
"No," said Chris. "I know a really nice spot." She held out her hand. "Walk with me?"
Dani stared at the offered hand.
In fact she stared for so long, Chris withdrew her hand, plunging it into the pocket of her shorts. "Sorry," she said quickly, and turned, assuming the blonde would follow.
Dani sighed, watching the tall woman walk away from her towards the bank of the large stream.
By the time she'd caught up with her, Chris was sitting beside the stream, her shoes beside her and her feet dangling in the water. Her glass of cider rested precariously on the grass.
Dani sat beside her new friend, who didn't acknowledge her arrival, instead staring down at the meandering stream.
"Listen," said Chris, still watching the flowing water. "I'm sorry." She shook her head. "I made a mistake."
Dani cocked her head, taking in the profile of the woman sitting beside her. "By inviting me out here?"
Chris smiled, turning her head and regarding the blonde. "No. I didn't mean that."
"So tell me what you meant?"
Chris sighed. "I thought... I..." She shook her head in defeat and took a long draught of cider.
The dark head turned and wary blue eyes found nervous green eyes. "Yeah?"
"Would you kiss me?"
"Is that what you want?"
Dani smiled and nodded her head. "Yes, I do."
Chris studied the blonde for a heartbeat, then leaned forward, meeting Dani halfway.
It wasn't that Dani had never kissed before; she had. It wasn't that she had never kissed someone before that she had really wanted to kiss; she most certainly had. But never before had that kiss lived up to everything she had expected. She felt herself being pushed down onto the soft grass as the kiss continued, and in the back of her mind she knew her glass had toppled over, its contents dampening the ground by her right hip. She reached up, tangling her hand in ebony hair, not wanting the taller woman to relinquish possession of her lips. She felt her heart racing, her breath shortening. Her eyes, which up until that moment had been tightly closed, sprang open as she felt the unmistakable spasm of desire shoot to her belly, and she held on tighter to the warm body covering hers. She closed her eyes again, giving in to the feelings assaulting her, her arms losing their strength and falling to her sides.
Chris pulled back, recognising the signs of something getting way ahead of itself. She looked down at the small woman beneath her, the flushed face, the swollen lips still glistening from their encounter and still slightly open in invitation for her to continue.
"Hey," the taller woman said on a husky breath. She pushed blonde hair away from a glistening forehead, and traced a line down across a pink cheek to a rapidly beating pulse point. The blonde still had her eyes closed, and Chris bent and nipped at the bottom lip, drawing it between her teeth, before releasing it and leaning back again. "You alright?"
Slightly glazed, green eyes fluttered open and slowly focussed on the woman above her. "Why did you stop?" she asked.
Chris chuckled and leaned back down, nuzzling the side of Dani's face near her ear. Her weight was supported on her right forearm, her left played idly with the hem of Dani's short tank top, which barely met the waistband of the shorts she wore. "I want to make sure you're ok with this," she husked into a nearby ear.
"Fine," was all Dani could manage.
"And this?" Chris felt the muscles under her palm twitch as her hand found the silky smooth skin beneath the cloth of Dani's tank top. She dipped her finger into a trembling navel, circling it as her lips found the blonde's again.
Dani managed to regain the use of her arms, and her own hands fluttered across the strong back, lowering until they found the hem of Chris's t-shirt and trembling when they delved beneath the fabric, encountering warm soft skin. Short nails drew pictures across the firm back, and she smiled into the kiss when she realised she was having much the same effect on the tall woman as Chris was having on her. She felt the woman lean more heavily into her, and she pulled her down, only the fabric of their clothes separating them.
Somewhere in the back of Chris's overheated mind a small voice called for caution, and reluctantly she drew back. The blonde beneath her raised her body, not wanting to end the pleasure she was feeling, but flopped back down onto the grass as Chris drew out of reach.
Dani smiled up at the dark-haired woman still hovering above her. "You do that... .very well," she said, slightly breathless.
Chris chuckled. "It takes two," she said simply. She opened her mouth to say something else, but quickly stopped when La Bamba suddenly started playing in a rather tinny, electronic sort of way.
"Bugger!" exclaimed Dani, rummaging in the pocket of her shorts and pulling out the tiniest cell phone Chris had ever seen.
Dani looked at the caller ID and sighed deeply. She sat up and glared at the still ringing phone.
"You going to answer it?" asked Chris, reluctantly sitting up and looking for her drink, which she found had met the same fate as Dani's.
"It's Melanie," she said, as the phone stopped ringing.
Dani looked for a long moment at the now silent instrument, cursing her decision to bring it. Then she pressed the button she knew would connect her to the last caller.
Chris watched in fascination as Dani listened to whatever it was Melanie had to say once she was connected. Dani didn't say a word, just listened, wincing on more than one occasion. Then she simply said, "Ok," and disconnected the call.
Chris was cradling an empty glass in her hand, watching a couple of ducks snoozing on the opposite bank of the stream. "So what's up?" she asked, seeing Dani's consternation.
"Well," she began. "She's going to kill Steph, and I have to get to the cliff-top car park as soon as I can."
"Was that all she said?"
Dani shook her head. "No, but when she gets excited she gets garbled. Talks too fast. I heard the occasional 'bitch' and 'dead'. So I think something major may have happened." She looked up through long eyelashes, almost relieved to see the disappointment on Chris's face. "I'm sorry. I was really... enjoying it here."
Chris sighed and got to her feet, reaching down to help the blonde up. "I was too," she said, pulling Dani close and giving her a heartfelt hug. They stood there a while, enjoying the contact, until Dani pulled away but kept a hold of Chris's larger hand.
"I'm sure it's nothing too dramatic," she said, pulling Chris back towards the pub car park after picking up their empty glasses. But even as she said it she heard the sirens, and somehow knew her friends had something to do with it.
The drive back to Bournemouth and the cliff top car park had taken place mostly in silence. Both women wondering at the intense emotions just kissing the other had invoked.
Dani had sneaked glances at the driver, taking in the strong profile and the corded muscles in Chris's forearms as she manoeuvred the jeep through the traffic. But most of all, she had come to decide that Chris was one of the most gorgeous women she had ever seen. Not that she'd really taken notice of other women, but she was sure if she'd met someone as lovely as Chris she would have noticed before. And she was sure she hadn't.
"Here we are," said Chris, as they approached the large and very full car park. But what was most noticeable was the large fire engine, its lights flashing, and half a dozen firemen packing up their gear.
Dani could hear Melanie's shrieking, and turned to Chris. "You want to stay here?"
Chris stood up in the jeep and saw Melanie's fair head and Steph's dark head as the two women seemed to stand toe to toe. "I think so," she said, sitting again. "Give me a shout if you need me."
"Thanks," said Dani, under her breath, and she started threading her way through the parked cars towards her two friends.
The first thing Dani noticed was the horrible stench of burning rubber. Then she saw Steph's small white car, or rather small white-and-black car, as it was now.
It was surrounded by foam, the bonnet open, and the remains of the engine steaming gently. The steering wheel was melted, and both front tyres were gone.
Melanie looked... frazzled. She was screaming at Steph, who was looking from her to the remains of her car in utter bemusement.
"I told you I could smell smoke!" Melanie screamed. "Were you trying to kill us both?"
"We passed an Indian restaurant," said Steph reasonably.
"Since when does Chicken bloody Vindaloo smell of burning rubber?!"
Steph opened her mouth to comment.
"Don't," Melanie said. "I don't want to hear it." She turned and saw Dani. "Dani!" she cried, rushing into the shorter woman's arms. "We almost died."
Dani winced as Melanie's solid hair hit her in the face. "Did you?" she asked Steph over the crying woman's shoulder.
Steph shook her head. "We'd just got out when it started to smoke."
Melanie suddenly gasped and shoved Dani away. She tore open the passenger door, which was still slightly warm, and hauled the remains of the seat forward, peering into the back seat. "My bag, my make-up," she screamed, pulling a blackened bag from the back of the wreck. "Oh my God, it's alright." She turned to her two friends, clutching the bag to her chest. "It's alright." She went off mumbling, rooting through the contents of the precious bag, "It's alright."
Dani went to stand next to Steph, who was still slightly hunched over after her experience in the tattoo parlour. "You okay?" the blonde asked.
Steph nodded. "Yeah. I'll call Dad later. It's insured, so I'm sure it'll be fine." She sighed. "We'll probably have to take the train home, or the bus."
"That's not a problem." Dani looked up to see a tow truck winding its way through the parked cars. "Is there anything in there you want?" she asked, nodding towards the burnt out car.
Steph showed her the keys, which included the key to the caravan. "I managed to pull these out of the ignition before it went up. Everything else I had, tapes and stuff, was in the glove compartment, and that's gone."
"Okay, what are you both going to do now?"
"We're going to go down into the town and have a drink, get something to eat, then go back to the camp site." She looked across at Melanie who was now sitting on a grassy bank, peering at her reflection in a small hand-held mirror. "We were going to try one of the night-clubs tonight, maybe Bumbles." Steph frowned. "Where were you anyway?"
Dani scratched her head, and her gaze automatically found the small jeep and the woman sitting in it. "I was having a drink with a friend."
"Someone I met yesterday."
Steph's face creased into some kind of leer. "Yeah?" She looked around. "What's he like?"
"Nothing that would interest you, dear," she said, pushing the brunette towards Melanie. "Look, you two go on, and I'll meet you back at the caravan later."
Steph was still peering over her shoulder, trying to see Dani's mystery acquaintance. But her attention was drawn to the young man climbing down from the pickup truck.
"Oooh, the day is looking up," she said, as she pushed past Dani and approached the man, who was writing down details of the smouldering car on a clipboard.
"Is this yours?" he asked the approaching brunette.
"My what?" she asked, taking in the muscular torso visible through the open overalls. He had some oil smeared across his face, and his hands were almost black, but this seemed to add to the appeal for Steph.
"Your car," he explained.
"Oh, yes." She never took her eyes off the man. "It was terrible." She took a step closer. "I'm still shaking." And to demonstrate, she reached out, placing her hand against a muscular forearm.
He threw the clipboard into the door of the truck, and pulled a long chain with an evil looking hook from the back.
Dani heard the sound of rapid footsteps behind her and turned to see Melanie approaching, making her way with determined strides towards the brunette and the mechanic.
"Hello," she said to the man, placing herself between him and Steph. "Have you come to save us?"
"I've come to take the car," he said simply.
"Well, you have a lot of room in the front of your little van there," said Melanie. "Couldn't you just drop us off in town?"
The man straightened up after attaching the tow chain to the front of Steph's car. "It's only a short walk. Or you could take the cliff railway."
Melanie smiled and edged closer. "Please?" she said, ignoring Steph, who was muttering behind her.
"Hey, you two," interrupted Dani. "I'm going back into town, I'll meet you back at the caravan at about 7."
"Okay," they both said in unison, their attention on the mechanic.
Dani shook her head, and wound her way through the parked cars towards Chris and her jeep. Her heart rate picked up when took in the vision of the woman sitting in the small car with her eyes closed and her face turned towards the sun. Behind her she heard a commotion and turned to see her two friends fighting over who could get into the truck first and so have a seat next to the bemused mechanic.
She approached the jeep slowly, seeing Chris open her eyes and turn her head towards her.
A glorious smile lit up the dark-haired woman's face and Dani eased herself into the passenger seat. "Where to now?" asked the blonde.
"Wherever you want," said Chris, starting the engine.
Day Two. Saturday
Chris had driven Dani to another small pub she knew, and bought them both lunch. Then they'd driven along the coast to another beautiful spot on the cliff top.
"This is lovely," said Dani, letting the cool sea breeze ruffle her hair. The day had become even warmer as the afternoon went on, and she could feel her cheeks tightening as the sun dried her skin. "This weather is something else," she said, running her forearm across her sweating brow.
"It is," said Chris, who flopped down on the grass.
Dani sat beside her. "Where do you live?" she asked Chris.
"Actually, nowhere," she grinned. But before Dani could question her, she explained. "I don't have a place of my own. I live in my father's home. But I don't really consider it my home; it's just a place I stay."
Dani frowned. "Why won't you call it a home?"
"We moved around a lot," she said with a sigh. "After my mother died, he found he couldn't settle anywhere. We'd be in a place for a year or so, and he'd want to move on. Eventually his wanderlust took him abroad, and I didn't want to follow then."
"How old were you when your mother died?" Dani asked, watching the chiselled profile for signs that the conversation was upsetting her.
"I was twelve," she said briefly.
Chris shook her head. "I got over it." She turned to face Dani. "She'd been ill for years, so it wasn't a surprise when she died. More a relief really."
Dani nodded sadly.
"Would you like me to show you the house?"
"Sure," said Dani quickly, wincing at the eagerness in her own voice. "I mean... I...."
"Hey," said a smiling Chris, jumping to her feet and reaching down to the embarrassed blonde. "I know what you mean, okay?" She hauled Dani to her feet, bending and giving her a quick peck on the lips. "Come on. I'll take you on a boat ride."
"This is where you live?" asked Dani, looking at the small approaching dock.
Chris had driven her down to Poole harbour, where they'd parked the jeep in what was obviously a reserved space. Then they'd made their way to an area of the harbour where small motor boats were moored.
"I thought we were going to your father's house," said Dani, a tad confused.
Chris held the boat steady as the smaller woman stepped in. "We are," she said, throwing one of the ropes back onto the dock and pulling the other into the back of the boat. She pushed away from the dock and then started the engine, steering the small vessel between other craft moored in the harbour.
It was about twenty minutes later that they were approaching a small island and the wooden dock that appeared to be the only way to access it. Once Chris had the boat secured, she hopped out, reaching back down to help Dani out.
"You have to do that journey every night?" asked the blonde
Chris shook her head. "No, not every night. There's a small flat above the pub; I stay there most nights. But I like to come here sometimes. For the peace and quiet."
Dani followed Chris along a narrow path between mature trees and hedges. "I don't believe you," said Dani to the back she was following.
Chris stopped and turned. "What don't you believe?" she asked.
Dani walked straight into Chris, and the taller woman held her by the shoulders to steady her.
"I don't believe you can't call this place home," Dani said. "Anyplace you can find peace has to be some kind of home." Her hands found the taller woman's hips, resting there comfortably. She looked up at Chris through fair eyelashes.
Chris looked at her new friend for a long moment. "Perhaps," she said, and took Dani's hand once more, leading her along the winding path towards the house.
The house wasn't huge, just a small bungalow, but it was set in a clearing, facing the open sea. At the rear was a small swimming pool, surrounded by a large garden.
"Wow," whispered Dani. "Is the whole island your dad's?"
Chris led them to the front door of the small abode, taking a key from her pocket and opening the door for Dani to enter. "Yeah. The island came with the bungalow." She grinned, watching as the small woman investigated the lounge, immediately drawn to the large sliding windows which filled one wall, giving wonderful views towards the mouth of Poole Harbour and the passing yachts and pleasure cruisers winding their way through the other small islands.
Chris reached around her and opened up the large windows. A pleasant sea breeze wafted in, the thin curtains billowing inwards.
"You want a drink?" asked Chris, leaving the blonde to take in the view. She pulled a couple of glasses from the small bar in the corner of the lounge.
"Sure, what have you got?" Dani turned, and plumped herself down on a burgundy sofa.
"Anything you'd like."
Dani grinned. "My very own personal bar-tender. I like that." She thought for a moment. "Rum and Coke, I think."
"Coming right up," said Chris, bending to pull a large bottle of Coke out of the fridge. It hissed noisily as she opened it. Then she turned and took a bottle of dark rum from the shelf against the wall, and poured a generous amount into a glass, topping it up with Coke. "Ice?" she asked.
"Please," said Dani, enjoying watching her drink being brought to her by the best looking waiter she'd seen in a long time.
Chris returned to the bar, after placing Dani's glass on the low coffee table, and mixed herself a smaller concoction.
She then sat down next to the blonde, close enough so that their thighs and shoulders were touching.
Dani reached forward and picked up her drink, cradling it in her hands. She took a sip. "That's strong," she said, her eyes watering slightly.
Chris started to stand. "You want more Coke in it?"
Dani shook her head. "No, it's fine." She placed her free hand on Chris' thigh. "Stay here."
The tall woman settled back onto the sofa. "Okay."
Chris eased her arm around the blonde, pulling her even closer.
"Can I see you tonight?" asked Dani, turning slightly into the larger frame beside her.
"I'll have to make sure we have enough staff at the pub first. It may not be until later." She lowered her cheek to rest on soft blonde hair, trying to remember the last time she had a beautiful woman in her arms and was content to just sit and talk.
"That's fine." Dani took another larger sip of her drink. She yawned. "Damn, the sun always makes me sleepy." She leaned forward, and placed her drink back on the low table before snuggling back again. "And we were in late last night." She smiled when she felt Chris kiss the top of her head. "And for some reason, I couldn't get to sleep."
"Really?" asked Chris. "Why?"
Dani chuckled. "I think maybe I'd met someone pretty amazing, and I couldn't get her out of my mind." She looked up at her companion. "Is there anywhere you have to be right now?"
"No," Chris said. "Not for a few hours."
"So would it be okay if we just stayed here for a while?"
"If that's what you want."
Dani's reply was to take a firm hold of the hand that dangled near her left arm, and settle her head more comfortably on a broad shoulder.
After a few moments, Dani's hand dropped onto the sofa, and Chris felt her relax fully onto her as the blonde fell asleep. The dark-haired woman reached down and placed her drink on the floor, and rested her head against the back of the sofa.
"'Pretty amazing', huh?" Chris whispered. "I don't think I'm who you think I am, Dani."
It was the breeze on her face that woke Dani some time later. She opened her eyes to find herself stretched full length on the sofa, alone.
She eased herself to a sitting position, and then stood slowly, looking around the room for Chris. The tall woman was nowhere to be found.
Dani looked down and saw that her shoes had been removed. A smile found its way to her face, knowing just who had taken the time to make sure she was comfortable.
She padded on bare feet towards the door, and spied the person she was hoping to find.
Chris was sitting on a rather ornate wooden bench. She rested against the sturdy back, a cool drink in one hand, a cordless phone dangling from the other.
Dani walked past her silently, almost startling her.
"You're awake," said Chris.
"Yeah, sorry about that."
"No problems." She lifted the handset. "I just called the pub; everything's fine there."
Dani turned, blocking Chris' view of the harbour. "Good."
She took a slow sultry walk towards the seated woman, enjoying the look of bemusement on the beautiful face. Then she removed the glass and phone from Chris's hands, placing the items on the ground. Purposefully she climbed into her lap, her legs straddling the long ones beneath her. She felt Chris's arms go around her back, supporting her.
"Well, hello," Chris said, before a warm mouth enveloped hers, silencing her. She let the smaller woman take the lead, feeling small hands cupping her face. The mouth on her own was insistent, and she opened to it, allowing the blonde to explore, to take possession.
Her own hands found warm skin beneath the cloth of Dani's top, and she spread her long fingers, feeling as much of the silky soft skin as she could.
When Chris's hands drifted around to the front of her body, Dani's moved from the brunette's face and gripped the back of the bench. The blonde leaned back, to better allow Chris' explorations. She looked down at the dark-haired woman, her eyes closing as gentle hands cupped her breasts.
Without lifting the white garment, Chris lowered her mouth to one taut nipple, clearly visible through the material. Closing her teeth gently, she smiled into the white cloth when she heard the woman above her gasp her approval. She pulled back slightly, feeling one small hand tangle in her hair, and Dani's body surge against her own. Finally releasing the nipple, she burrowed her face into Dani's chest, kissing the bare flesh above the tank top.
Again Dani dipped her head and found Chris's lips, panting into the kiss as knowledgeable hands caressed her breasts.
When the blonde pulled back, and looked down, she was pleased to see somewhat dazed blue eyes peeking back up at her. She was having much the same effect on Chris as the tall woman was having on her.
Chris looked at the outline of her own hands moving beneath Dani's tank top. "We should stop," she said, huskily. Her hands continued their explorations, however.
"Why?" asked Dani, smiling down at the expression of rapt concentration on Chris's face.
Chris slowly and deliberately removed her hands from Dani. "Because I need to get ready for this evening, and then I have to drive you back into Bournemouth," she said quickly, almost as if trying to persuade herself that was the reason.
"Okay." Dani sat back on Chris's legs, immediately feeling long arms surround her to steady her again. "Can I give you my number?" she asked.
"Absolutely," said Chris, and pulled her forward again, kissing her long and slow.
It was an hour later, around about 5.30, that Dani sat patiently in the lounge of the small bungalow waiting for Chris to reappear from the bedroom. The tall woman had disappeared into it nearly a half-hour before, and Dani was beginning to wonder what was taking her so long. She had said she'd only be a moment, and just had to slip on some jeans and a shirt.
Chris finally appeared, buttoning up a voluminous, white cotton shirt. She also wore stonewashed blue jeans, so pale they were almost white as well.
Dani took in the vision of Chris, feeling a flush rise to her face. "Well, you look... nice."
Chris made a point of looking down at herself. "It's just jeans and a shirt," she said, finally finishing buttoning, but leaving the shirt untucked.
Dani approached her. "On anyone else maybe," she said, before winding her arms around Chris's waist.
"Dani," Chris began, her hands on the smaller woman's upper arms.
"We need to go, I know," Dani finished. But she rose up on tiptoes, and gently nibbled at Chris's bottom lip. "But I also need you to know I've never felt about anyone like I feel about you." She blushed slightly. "No-one has ever made me feel like this."
"Like?" Chris looked bemused, and slightly alarmed.
"Like I need to touch you every moment I'm with you."
"Dani, I'm not... ."
"Sssh." She rested her head on a white-clad chest. "I know it's all moving far too quickly." She looked up into Chris's blue gaze. "I know that," she whispered. She placed her hand on the bare skin that a few unfastened buttons revealed. "I can feel your heart beating. You feel it too."
Chris closed her eyes and pulled Dani into a close embrace. "Yeah, I feel it too." She released the blonde and turned to leave, taking a hold of Dani's hand. "Come on. We need to get going."
It was a pleasant drive back to the caravan site in the early evening sun. The temperature had dropped a little, but it was still warm. Chris stopped at the entrance to the camping park, and both women sat for a moment in silence.
"So." Dani said eventually. "I'll see you later?"
"Sure, you know where I'll be." She leaned across and gave Dani a quick kiss.
Dani eased out of the jeep. "Later," she said quietly, and watched the jeep speed away, not moving until it had disappeared around a bend in the road.
She opened the door to the caravan, and the smell of perfume, hair spray and makeup almost propelled her backwards.
"Damn," she said, and rushed in, opening every window she could. "How do you two breathe?" She propped open the door and stood there for a while, taking in as much fresh air as she could, before turning to her two friends.
They both looked just about ready for their night out, even though it was only 6.30 and they wouldn't be leaving for another hour or so.
Melanie ignored her question. "So, who is he?"
Dani blushed. "Who is who?"
She sighed. "I don't have a date. I just went for a drink with a friend." She looked at their two doubtful expressions. "Really."
Melanie walked up to her and smiled. She said nothing, just smiled, never once letting her gaze deviate from her friend.
Dani couldn't hold the stare.
"See?" said Melanie. "You can't fool me."
"Don't be stupid," said Dani, making for her room. "I'm going to get ready."
Melanie and Steph looked at the door the blonde had closed behind her. "We'll find out," said Melanie, and went back to applying another layer of makeup.
An hour and a quarter later, they were waiting by the entrance to the caravan site. Dani had changed into black jeans and a pale yellow teeshirt.
"We could quite easily walk into town; it only takes fifteen minutes," said Dani, looking at her watch. They'd been standing there that long already.
"Wayne offered to pick us up," said Melanie, looking at her reflection in her small mirror.
"This is the tow-truck driver, right?" Dani asked Steph.
Steph nodded. "Oooh, here he is!"
A Ford Sierra came to a noisy halt in front of the three girls, and, after a brief scuffle, Melanie managed to get into the front, while a grumpy Steph joined Dani in the back seat.
Wayne looked in the rear view mirror at his two back seat passengers, and then across at Melanie. "I have to pick up a friend," he said, and put the car in gear before speeding away.
By the time they'd reached the centre of Bournemouth, and Wayne had managed to find a parking space, it was almost 9pm. His friend had turned out to be a young man by the name of Nigel, who had unfortunate skin and even more unfortunate hair. He immediately took a shine to Dani, who had always been told to be polite, but wasn't quite sure how to politely tell someone that their hand had a mind of its own.
In the end her patience snapped. "Look, Nigel," she began, grabbing the hand that had once more found its way to her knee. She was trapped in the middle of the back seat between Steph and the newcomer. "See if you can keep your hands to yourself for the next few minutes, and maybe I won't have to break your fingers."
He smiled at her. "You can call me Terry if you like."
"Why would I want to do that?"
He shrugged. "Some people do. My Gran does. It's my first name."
Dani tried hard to make sense of the man's words. "So why are you called Nigel?"
"It's a nice name, my second name. Terrence Nigel Oven."
"Oven?" Dani shook her head, and peered at Steph, whose shoulders were shaking as she looked out of the window. "Hey, Steph," she nudged her friend, who steadfastly refused to turn towards her. "Say hello to Nigel."
Steph turned, tears of laughter tracking down her face. "Hi, Nigel," she said, looking up at his frizzy red hair, worn much too long for someone who had no control over it.
He leaned across Dani. "You can call me Terry if you like," he said.
Dani eased back into the seat, hoping the journey wouldn't last much longer.
It was with great relief that she managed to get out of the car, almost falling in her haste. And just as she did, her phone rang.
She looked at the caller ID; it was no-one she knew. "Hello?" she said.
"Dani, it's Chris."
"Oh, hi," she said, blushing despite herself. She wandered away from her friends and the two men. "Everything okay?"
"Sort of. I won't be able to get away before closing tonight. We had a failure; someone called in sick."
"Oh." Dani couldn't hide her disappointment. "Well, I'll come by later then. Is that okay?"
"Yeah, that'll be fine."
"Okay then, I'll see you later."
The call was disconnected, and Dani stared at the small device for a long moment.
"Dani!" shouted Melanie. "Come on."
She looked up to see her friends and the two men waiting beside the car. Putting the phone back into the pocket of her jeans, she followed after them as they began the walk into the city centre.
After the second pub they'd visited, Melanie was starting to get loud, and Steph was showing anyone who cared to look her new piercing.
Nigel was desperately trying to engage Dani in conversation, but he couldn't quite interest her in his collection of insects. He also told her in great detail about his job as a vermin exterminator.
"I fell down a hole a while back," he said, the manic smile that had been fixed to his face all night still attached. "I was after a rat."
"Did you get it?" Dani had no idea why she asked that, and regretted it when he seemed to take that as a sign to pull his chair closer.
"I fell on it. Once the fire brigade got me out, we found it."
She looked down at their knees, which were almost touching. "Would you give me a moment?" she asked, giving him a winning smile.
Dani stood, and made her way across to her friends, who were still vying for Wayne's attention.
"I'm just going down the road," she said to them. "Are you still going on to that club?"
Melanie looked from her to Nigel. "Yeah, what are you doing?"
Someone bumped into Dani, and she almost fell into Melanie's lap. "It's too crowded in here. I'm going to go see my friend."
Melanie leered at her. "Ah, I see." She looked past her to Nigel. "Hey, Nigel, come here and join us."
Nigel did as he was told, expecting Dani to sit with them.
"If I don't make it to the club, don't worry. I'll see you back at the caravan." She reached into her pocket. "I have the spare key."
"Okay, don't do anything I wouldn't do."
Dani knew she should have some sort of witty retort to that statement, but she didn't want to embarrass her friend in front of her new acquaintances. Instead she turned to go. Nigel made to follow, but was hauled back to his seat by Steph, who waved Dani away over his shoulder.
It was only 10.30, and Dani knew that Chris probably had an hour or more before she finished at the bar, but she'd rather spend the time there than continue a conversation about bugs and vermin.
The narrow streets were crowded, and she wound her way through the masses until she came to The Chieftain.
She stood outside for a moment and took a deep breath. Then she walked inside.
It was packed, and she had to push her way through the crowd to get to the bar. Once there, she looked for the person she really needed to see.
Chris wasn't there.
People were fighting for the attention of the bar staff, so she eased herself away from the bar and back towards the door.
She noticed one of the young men that worked there, collecting glasses from the tables outside. She approached him. "Hi," she said as he turned towards her. He was balancing about ten glasses of various shapes and sizes. "Would you know where Chris is?"
He placed the glasses back on the table. "Sure, she had to pop out."
"Ah," she said, a knot of apprehension twisting in her gut.
"Yeah, she's down at Donnall's." He pulled her further out into the street. "Go to the end, then turn right. It's a small bar; if you blink you'll miss it."
Dani sighed. "Okay, thanks," she said to the smiling man.
As she walked the short distance to the other bar, she wondered why Chris would have misled her. Maybe something came up. They did seem to be busy at The Chieftain, like they were understaffed. Yeah, she thought, that must be it.
She found Donnall's, and the young man was right, it was a tiny place. She pushed open the door, and the first thing she saw just inside was the rainbow sticker. It was a gay bar.
For a small place, it certainly held a lot of people, mostly men. One or two turned to look at her as she entered, but she didn't notice them. Her attention was firmly fixed on the unmistakable figure of Chris, who was sitting on a high stool at the bar, her right arm draped around another, smaller woman.
Dani backed out of the bar.
She didn't know how many people she walked into on the short walk back to the pub where she'd left her friends. But when she got there Melanie seemed to know not to ask too many questions.
"Nigel, get Dani a drink," she said, as the small blonde sat down beside her. "What went wrong?" asked Melanie.
"I was an idiot," replied Dani.
Day Two. Saturday
Chris placed her empty glass on the bar and glanced at her watch. It was a little before 11. She turned to the woman sitting on the stool beside her.
"You going to be okay now?" she asked, rubbing the redhead's arm.
"Yeah, I think I am." She looked up into blue eyes. "Thanks for listening."
"Hey." She snaked an arm around the girl's shoulder. "Anytime, you know that."
Her companion sniffed and nodded.
"Come on," said Chris. "Let's find you a taxi."
After making sure her friend was safely in a cab, Chris made her way to the pub, wondering if they'd managed to survive the evening without her. She chuckled to herself, however, realising that they'd managed perfectly well all day without her. And then she smiled, remembering why.
She'd spent a wonderful day with the small blonde she'd met only the day before, and she looked forward to meeting her again that night. She knew they'd only have another day or so together, but that was how it was. Holiday romances. What an old cliché. She shook her head slightly, chuckling again. She'd always sworn she wouldn't get involved like this again, with someone who would be gone in a couple of days. But she fell into those green eyes, as the blonde sat on the opposite side of the bar, and she was lost.
She slowed as she approached the pub, and wondered if she should just keep walking on past. She knew she was losing her heart to the lovely blonde, and she knew that, come Monday, she'd have to say goodbye. Maybe it would be better to finish it now, end it here. It had been a long time since she'd felt the sort of emotion that Dani had dredged up from her lonely soul.
"Hey, Boss!" The shout brought her out of her musings.
"Paul, sorry I took so long," she said to the young man approaching her.
"It was ok; we managed." He had a grin all over his face.
Chris frowned. "What?" she asked. Then she walked past him to the pub.
Paul hurried to catch up with her. "Did she find you?" he asked, giving her a nudge.
"Who?" she said, scanning the interior of the pub, which was still quite full.
"The cute little blonde."
Chris turned back towards him, knowing exactly who he was talking about. "She was here?"
"Yep, came looking for you. The one you spent the other day on the patio with." He collected a few empty glasses from a table full of loud young men. "I told her where you were."
"And she did what?" asked Chris, taking the glasses from him and shouldering her way through the crowd to the bar.
"I suppose she went down there." He walked around behind the bar and took a couple's order. As he poured a pint of John Smiths he watched his boss closely. "She didn't find you?"
Chris was placing the dirty glasses in the washer. "Nope, I didn't see her." She stood and regarded him for a moment. "Just going to check the cellar," she said, before disappearing through the door behind the bar.
The coolness of the cellar was welcoming, and Chris sank down to sit on a barrel. "Dammit," she hissed, thinking back to what Dani would have seen when she entered Donnall's. The feeling of irrational guilt surprised her. She had nothing to be guilty for. Did she? She'd known Dani for all of two days so owed her no explanation. But she could almost picture the look on the blonde's face. One thing she'd learned during her short time with Dani was that the girl was lousy at hiding her feelings. Every emotion was plain to see on the sweet face, and the look of adoration she'd seen when Dani had crawled onto her lap when they were on the island had stirred long forgotten feelings in her. Chris wanted her. Wanted to see those green eyes looking at her as she aroused the blonde's passions. But their time would be so fleeting. She'd promised herself, no more stolen nights. No more brief affairs that left her wanting. Needing.
No. She decided she'd try to forget the blonde. She was sure Dani wouldn't come to the pub again. After tonight the girl would want to stay well away. She'd think Chris had used her, and that would be for the best. The best for both of them.
Her mind made up, she started sorting through her stock. It was a hot weekend, wouldn't want to run out of anything.
And so it was nearly an hour and a half later that Chris found herself at the front door of Bumbles, the nightclub she thought Dani and her friends were going to visit that night. "So much for my resolve," she said to herself as she approached the doorman.
"Andre," she said as she sauntered up to a stocky man in a black suit, crisp white shirt, and bow tie.
He smiled, showing a small gap between his front teeth. "Chris." He had to rise up on his toes a little to give her a quick peck on the cheek. "It's been a while."
"Can I just pop in? I'm looking for someone." She looked through the people waiting in line to enter the club; Dani and her friends weren't among them.
"Of course," he said. "Anyone in particular?" While talking to her he stopped two rather inebriated young men, pushing them away from the entrance.
"Blonde, about this high." She held her hand up to her chin. "Probably with another two girls."
"Lots of girls have been through these doors tonight."
Chris chuckled. "I'll bet."
"Go on," he said. "And good luck, it's crazy in there tonight." He turned back to the two young men, who obviously didn't appreciate his decision not to admit them.
'Crazy' wasn't the word that Chris would have used to describe the club. She decided it must be illegal to allow the numbers that currently occupied the small dance floor, which was sunken with a barrier all the way round and tables beyond that.
She leaned on the rail and looked down at the heaving mass that swayed and clashed together. She had thought it would be easy to spot Dani, but the flashing lights and artificial smoke made it hard to see.
Chris started a slow walk around the club, shaking her head occasionally at the drunken antics of many of the club-goers. It was like some huge adult playground, and she wondered if the sun was responsible for some of the more outlandish behaviour. Certainly it seemed that the suntans that most of the girls had required them to wear as little as possible, which the young men seemed to appreciate.
A shriek of laughter, heard even above the pulsating music, drew her attention to one corner.
She first saw Dani's friend, the blonde one. She remembered her name was Melanie. A little way away, connected by the face to a boy, was Stephanie.
Chris eased her way through the crowd, peering into the half-light.
There, sitting on the lap of a strange-looking boy, was Dani.
The boy, or rather young man, was making the most of having an attractive woman on his lap. His hands were wandering, and the grin on his face was fixed into some comical leer.
Before she realised it, Chris was standing right in front of the pair, her foot bumping that of the seated Nigel.
He looked up, and up, until he found himself pinned by pale blue eyes. "Hello," he squeaked.
Chris ignored him. "Dani," she said, waiting for the blonde to look at her.
Glazed green eyes took a moment to focus on her, then the slightly sweat-sheened face broke into a smile. "Chris," she said, trying to disentangle herself from Nigel. Dani managed to stand, and took a stumbling step forward, Chris's sure hold on her the only thing stopping her from crashing to the floor. "Hey, you're tall," she said, looking up at the brunette. Then a frown marred her features as the memory of Chris sitting in the other pub came back to her. She tried to push away from the tall woman, and was gently let back down into the chair that Nigel had just vacated.
Chris turned to the bemused boy. "What has she been drinking?" she asked him.
"Bacardi Breezers," he said.
Chris pushed him backwards so that his back was against a wall. "That's more than booze. She looks stoned," she hissed. "What is it?"
"It's only E," he protested. "Not even a whole tab, just half."
"Did she know what it was?"
He squirmed under the angry woman's glare. "I broke it up, put it in the Breezer bottle."
"And that's how you get your women, is it? You pathetic little toad!"
She wanted to hit him. More than that, she really wanted to hurt him. She'd seen the effects of Ecstasy on friends, and knew that for some the brief high could result in death.
Dani had regained her feet. "This is Nigel," she said winding her arms around his neck. "He likes to be called Nigel."
"Come on, I'm taking you home," said Chris, trying to untangle Dani's arms.
Nigel did the honourable thing, and backed away. He watched the reluctant blonde being pulled through the dense throng, and thought briefly of following. Then he decided life was too short, and cast his gaze around the club.
"I don't want to go home," said Dani as she feebly attempted to release her arm from the grip Chris had on it.
They were almost at the door, when Chris heard Dani's name being called.
Melanie rushed up to them. "What's going on?" she asked, looking from one woman to the other.
Dani was swaying after the brisk walk through the club, trying to focus on the two women standing toe-to-toe in front of her.
"I'm taking her home," said Chris, putting a firm hand on Dani's shoulder to steady her.
"We're having a good time; she likes Nigel," said Melanie, taking Dani's hand.
"She's high. Look at her." Chris turned Dani's face towards her friend, and Melanie peered at the short woman.
"She looks okay to me," she said after studying the unsteady woman for a moment. She looked back up at Chris. "Who are you anyway?"
"I work at the pub you had lunch at on Friday?" she said, watching the blonde taking in the information. Seeing a blank look, she sighed and continued. "Dani and I got on well, and we spent the day together."
Melanie thought about that for a moment then rolled her eyes. "And we thought she'd fallen for someone." She thumped Chris gently on the shoulder, laughing to herself. "We thought she'd found herself a boyfriend." Melanie looked back at Dani, who had a dreamy look on her face. "She's high?"
"Yes, she is. So I'm going to take her out of here and get some water into her." She took a firm hold of Dani, winding an arm about her waist. "I'll get her back to the caravan tomorrow."
Melanie sighed dramatically, "Oh, alright," and immediately dismissed them both by turning on her heel and striding back to her friends.
"Come on, you," said Chris, and hauled Dani out of the club and into the much cooler air of the night.
Andre was sucking his knuckles. He waggled his eyebrows, seeing the legless blonde swaying at Chris's side. "You found what you were looking for then?"
Chris shook her head slightly. "You've got E going around the club, Andre."
"It's hard to stop, Chris. You know that. Don't tell me you know everything that's going down at the pub."
She ran her free hand through her hair. "Yeah, you're right." She looked down at Dani. "Come on then. Let's get you home."
Chris had parked the jeep a couple of streets away, and was relieved to finally ease the inebriated woman into the passenger seat.
She got into the other side and turned to the blonde. "Hey, how are you doing?"
"Why?" Dani asked. She curled up in the seat, facing the brunette.
Chris sighed. "That idiot gave you a drug, Dani."
Dani's face was a picture of concentration. "Nigel?" She struggled to remember the ginger-haired boy, and with the memory of him came the memory of why she was with him.
"I saw you," the blonde said. "You were with someone."
Chris closed her eyes, knowing now that Dani had seen her. She held the smaller woman by the shoulders. "I'm sorry," she began. "Nancy is an old friend. She's just broken up with her partner. She needed someone to talk to." She reached out for Dani's hand. "I should have called you."
Glassy green eyes regarded her for a long moment. "Chris?" she said quietly.
The taller woman smiled down at her. "Yeah?"
"I'm going to throw up."
Chris managed to get around the front of the jeep and open the passenger door, before a couple of hours' worth of Bacardi Breezers hit the pavement, and her shoes.
"Oh damn," she said, as she held the now limp woman in the seat. She pushed Dani back into the passenger seat, and reached into the back of the car where an old tee-shirt was crumpled on the floor. She used it to wipe the smaller woman's face and then her shoes.
Disgustedly she threw the tee-shirt away, not seeing it land in a hedge.
"I hope you're not going to leave that there," said a voice behind her.
Chris turned to see a policewoman approaching.
"I would have to book you for littering." The tall and rather gangly woman looked from Chris into the jeep. "What's wrong with her?" she said, pushing back her spectacles, which had slipped to the end of her nose.
"She's had too much to drink. I'm taking her home."
"Are you the owner of this vehicle?" the policewoman asked. Chris noticed that a piece of white tape held the two halves of her spectacles together over the bridge of her nose.
"I am." Chris looked beyond the woman to see another policeman exiting a patrol car.
"And have you been drinking tonight?"
Chris sighed. "I had one small drink earlier in the evening."
The woman's eyes lit up. "As you have admitted to drinking, I'm going to have to ask you to take a breathalyser." She hurried back to the car, returning with a small device and pulling a small white tube from its packaging.
She attached the tube to the device. "I want you to blow into this for as long as you can. One continuous breath." She approached Chris, and the taller woman noticed the officer's hands shaking slightly as she held out the equipment.
Chris blew into the machine.
"Now we have to wait a moment for the result." She handed the small device to her colleague. "Do you have any drugs or weapons on you?"
The other officer joined them. "Can I have a word?" he said to the policewoman.
"Don't you move," she said to Chris as they backed away.
"Barber, we don't want any more trouble like last time," he said, looking down at the device to check the results. "She's under the limit."
"But she might have something hidden," she hissed.
"We have no reason to believe that."
"I want to search her." She pushed her spectacles back up again.
"I don't think that's necessary. Remember the last time."
"Just a quick search. I won't take long."
"No," he said, and turned towards the pacing brunette.
"I'm sorry for the delay. You're free to go." He smiled, removing the white tube and handing it to the bemused Chris. He held up the kit. "You've got a green light," he explained. "You're under the limit."
Chris nodded and bent down to buckle the quiet blonde into the seat. Behind her she felt the policewoman approach. She straightened up and faced PC Barber. "Was there something you wanted?"
PC. Barber hesitated, wanting any excuse to detain the statuesque brunette longer. "I'll be looking out for you," she said, before turning quickly to return to her car.
Chris shook her head and walked around the jeep. A turn of a key and they were heading towards Poole and the harbour.
The night was still, and an almost full moon cast an eerie glow across the small vessels bobbing gently on the sea.
Chris walked around the front of the jeep and opened the passenger door. Dani had passed out quickly after the encounter with the police officers, and Chris quietly worried about what effect the drug Nigel had given her would have.
Ecstasy usually brought about a feeling of well being. A feeling of being able to dance the night away, and of general affection for all those around you. But Dani had been very drunk as well, and she worried that the small blonde would become dehydrated. She wanted to get her to the bungalow, get some water into her, and hopefully get her to rest.
She pulled Dani up by her arms, bent, and let her fall across her shoulder. She decided she wasn't going to waste time trying to get her to walk under her own steam.
Dani was light, and Chris hurried down to the small dock, making her way gingerly into the boat. Throwing off the ropes, she steered for the island, hoping no large vessels failed to see her in the darkness. Sailing in such a small craft so late was not the best idea, but she didn't want to be disturbed in the morning, and knew she would be if she went back to the flat above the pub.
The most difficult part of the operation was getting the completely limp girl out of the boat once they'd reached the island. But, after a few choice exclamations, she was wandering along the narrow path towards the bungalow, an oblivious blonde draped across her shoulder.
Dani bounced slightly as Chris dropped her onto the king-size bed. The brunette regarded the sleeping woman for a moment, as she kicked off her ruined shoes. Then she bent and tugged off Dani's shoes, and started to unbutton the faded jeans the blonde wore. The buttons didn't come loose easily, and part way through the operation green eyes opened and regarded her blearily.
"Just getting your jeans off. You'll be more comfortable," she explained as she watched the eyes flutter closed once more.
She sighed, and completed the unbuttoning before tugging the tight jeans down across slim hips and legs.
"Thirsty," the blonde croaked.
"I'll get you some water." Chris threw the jeans onto a nearby chair, and left the room, returning moments later with a glass of iced water.
She sat on the edge of the bed and pulled Dani to a sitting position, holding the cool rim of the glass to her lips.
The water was drained quickly, and Chris eased the girl back down onto the mattress. Dani curled up on her side, pulling a pillow to her chest and hugging it fiercely.
Chris sat for a moment, gently running her hand across the blonde's back, and Dani quickly fell asleep. Then she stood, and pulled a sheet across the slumbering form.
She padded out of the bedroom and into the lounge, making her way to the bar. There she found a half bottle of Scotch. She chose a small glass, and tipped a small amount of ice into an ice bucket. Then she rooted around further and found a crumpled packet of cigarettes. Taking the items, she made her way onto the patio and eased herself onto a sun bed.
The night was still and clear and pleasantly warm. And as she sat, a glass in one hand, a burning but barely used cigarette in the other, she watched a large tanker move across the horizon beyond the mouth of the harbour.
She could see the lights on the mainland twinkling faintly, and imagined the families that lived in the houses that produced those lights. She'd never known that. Never had a real family. Just a father who moved from one moneymaking establishment to the next, feeling the need to teach his daughter the ways of business rather than the ways of family.
The cigarette burned her fingers, making her jump, and she bent and stubbed it out on the floor. She drained her glass, feeling the Scotch burn a path to her gut, warming her insides. Then she leaned her head back, and closed her eyes.
And as she fell asleep she chuckled to herself, feeling a strange familiarity at sleeping under the stars. A gentle breeze, as soft as a lover's touch, ruffled her hair, and she smiled, thinking of the beautiful woman asleep in her bed.
"Goodnight, Dani," she whispered, before falling asleep.
Day Three. Sunday
Dani flopped onto her back. Her mouth was dry and her head was pounding. The fact that she hadn't rolled right off the bed and onto the floor told her she wasn't at home. And she hadn't hit the wall, which meant she wasn't in the caravan.
No. She was in a double bed. A big double bed.
She struggled to remember the night's events. She remembered Nigel, and winced. Dani reached out nervously, quickly ascertaining that she was alone in the huge bed.
Finally, she managed to open her eyes. She peered up at the dimly lit ceiling above her, concentrating hard on the light shade she saw in the centre. She swore it moved across the ceiling, and closed her eyes tightly, as the room seemed to tilt.
"Water," she groaned, pathetically.
Still with her eyes closed, she eased herself to a sitting position, and waited long moments for the room and the bed to stop spinning.
There were lace curtains covering the window, and the silvery light of a full moon shone through, illuminating the room. The window was slightly open, and the curtains billowed gently.
Her eyes tracked slowly to the door, and she slid her legs off the bed and onto the plush dark blue carpet. She saw her jeans neatly folded on a chair, and tried, unsuccessfully, to remember taking them off. She slipped them on, not knowing who she would find beyond the door.
Shaking her head, which Dani immediately regretted, she made her tentative way towards the door.
Dani pushed it open, and instantly recognised the lounge of Chris' bungalow. She remembered the bar, and that there was a fridge behind the bar. She badly needed a drink of something, and grasped onto furniture as she made her way across the room. The light from the fridge made her wince, and she waited a moment while her eyes grew accustomed to it. But then she made out a carton of orange juice through bleary eyes. She fumbled with the seal, and then looked around for a glass. Finding a large pint sized one, she poured herself a generous amount of juice.
It was bliss as the cold liquid slid down her throat, and she was almost breathless when she drained the glass. She poured some more, and then returned the carton to the fridge, before pushing it closed.
She saw the large sofa, and crept towards it, wondering if that's where Chris would be. The tall woman wasn't there. She started a slow and wobbly walk around the bungalow, finding another bedroom, a kitchen and the bathroom, for which she was grateful. But there was no sign of Chris and she was beginning to wonder if the brunette had left her here and gone back to the mainland.
She saw the open patio doors, the curtains here billowing softly as well. Pushing them aside she stepped out into the slightly cooler night. The stone slabs were cold beneath her feet, but she didn't notice. Her attention was rooted on the sleek form of the tall, slender woman soundly asleep on one of the padded sun beds.
Dani sat on the neighbouring bed, and placed the large glass quietly on the ground. She tilted her head slightly to take in the vision before her.
Chris' lips were slightly parted. Long dark eyelashes fanned out across the silky skin of her cheeks. One arm had fallen to the side, her fingers brushing the ground, the other was resting on her stomach.
Dani reached out for the hand nearest to her, closing her own around it and feeling it wrap unconsciously around hers.
She heard Chris sigh deeply and looked up to see pale blue eyes flutter open.
"Hi," the blonde whispered.
Chris stared at her for a moment, her eyes almost transparent in the silvery moonlight. Her brow furrowed, and then realisation dawned. "Hi," she responded. She looked down at their linked hands, and then back up at Dani, a dark eyebrow raised in amusement.
"I woke up," she said, reaching down for her glass of juice with her free hand.
"So I see," Chris scrubbed at her face, pushing dark hair out if her eyes. "How do you feel?"
Dani sighed after taking a mouthful of juice. "Pretty awful."
Chris gestured towards the glass. "You mind?" she asked.
"'Course not," said the blonde, handing her the half-filled glass.
Chris eased herself to a sitting position, and sat facing Dani. She looked at her watch; it was a little before five in the morning. "You should go back to bed, try to sleep. 'E' can knock the stuffing out of you."
"I can't believe he did that," Dani said, shaking her head. "I can't believe I was so stupid either."
Chris bit her bottom lip, wondering whether to say what was on her mind. "Dani," she began, looking down at their still-joined hands, and rubbing her thumb across the knuckles of the blonde's. "Why were you so upset?"
Dani's face creased into a frown. "Upset?"
She closed her eyes. "Okay," she began again. "Why didn't you wait for me at the pub?"
"You were with someone else."
"And that upset you?"
Dani was quiet, lost in the intense blue eyes of the woman sitting opposite her. "Yeah, it did," she whispered.
"What do you expect from me, Dani?" Chris asked.
"Nothing," Dani said quickly.
Chris smiled, ducking her head when Dani looked at the ground between them, trying to see into the blonde's face. "Hey," she said quietly. "Look at me." She waited until green eyes found her own again. "I don't want anything to happen here that you're going to regret. I don't want you to expect more from me than I can give you."
"I don't know what you mean."
"What I mean is, on Monday you'll be going home." She waited a beat. "And I'll be staying here."
Dani laughed a nervous laugh. "I knew that," she said defensively.
"Well, that's good." She lifted her free hand, cupping Dani's face. "I don't want to hurt you, Dani. And your reaction to Nancy tonight tells me I might just do that."
The blonde opened and closed her mouth a couple of times without making any sound.
"Come on," said Chris, smiling. She stood, pulling the shorter woman up with her. "We can talk about this more in the morning. Let's get you back to bed."
She led the unresisting woman through the moon lit bungalow to the bedroom, watching as Dani pulled off her jeans and slid beneath the sheets. The blonde hadn't said a word since leaving the patio.
Chris turned to leave. "I'll be in the spare room if you need me." She had reached the door when she heard Dani.
"Please," was all the small woman said.
Chris turned back.
"Please stay here," Dani pulled the sheet back, inviting the brunette into the bed.
"Okay," said Chris softly, and slipped out of her jeans and the huge white shirt she was wearing, leaving her in her underwear and the white tanktop she wore beneath the shirt.
"Thanks," said Dani, who grabbed one long arm and snuggled up against it, falling asleep almost immediately.
Chris chuckled to herself, before closing her eyes, and joining her lovely companion in slumber.
It was the phone ringing that woke Chris sometime later, and she was up and out of bed, and heading for the lounge before she was fully awake.
"Hey, boss," said the voice.
"Oh, Christ," said Chris squinting at her watch.
"It's alright, I opened up." The young man on the other end chuckled. "Are we going to see you today?"
Chris slumped on the sofa, combing long fingers through tangled ebony hair. "Is everyone in?"
"Yep, we're managing." There was a pause. "Just wanted to make sure everything was okay."
"Thanks, Paul. I'll try to look in later."
"Sure, boss. See ya later." His voice was replaced by the dialling tone.
Chris tossed the handset onto the sofa, and leaned back. It was just before mid-day, and was hot again, but on the horizon she saw a few clouds gathering, and the wind was picking up, causing the curtains to billow forcefully into the room.
She sighed to herself. She knew she should be waking Dani, taking her back to the mainland and getting back to her responsibilities.
She stood and walked quietly back to the bedroom. Dani was sleeping soundly, and she reached over to pull the sheet up over the small woman. She stood for a moment, looking down at the silent form.
When she'd first arrived in Bournemouth this had been a regular occurrence. A woman she'd known barely a day or so, asleep in her bed. However, this summer she'd finally come to realise how unfulfilling that was. She had a reputation, she knew. And many were disappointed when she'd say goodbye at the end of an evening, slipping into the night, leaving bodies tingling in expectation in her wake.
She laughed to herself, remembering one or two furious females that had confronted her the following day in the pub. She was a flirt, and she knew it. She made no promises, and gave no excuses.
But as she watched Dani sleep, she knew she couldn't do that to this sweet girl. The memory of how the blonde's body felt beneath her hands caused her to draw in a shaky breath, and she quickly walked out of the bedroom and into the lounge. She knew she wanted Dani, more than she'd wanted anyone or anything for a long while. And Dani was no child, she must know the result of a liaison with her. Her private argument raged on. Would it hurt to give this girl one afternoon of pleasure? The blonde surely knew that that was all they would have. She could take her places she'd never been. Show her how love is really made. And then send her home.
"Dammit!" she cursed, slamming her hand against the doorframe.
It was warm still, even though the storm clouds were gathering on the horizon, and Chris guessed they were in for quite a storm. But she knew it would freshen the air, and closed her eyes, enjoying the gathering breeze that wafted through the open patio doors.
Dani awoke to the sound of rain on the window, and eased herself to a sitting position. It felt slightly cooler, and she shivered. She was relieved to find that she felt a lot better than when she'd woken earlier, but disappointed to find herself alone in the large bed.
This time she didn't put on her jeans as she went in search of the brunette, pushing the door of the bedroom open. Again she found the lounge empty, but this time she found Chris' large white shirt discarded on the sofa.
She picked it up, and paused momentarily before slipping her arms into the sleeves and pulling it around herself. It came down to her knees, her hands not emerging from the long sleeves.
The patio doors were open, and she looked through the billowing curtains to the large garden beyond.
Chris was standing in the middle of the sloping lawn, the fine summer rain plastering her hair to her head and face. She was wearing a large white t-shirt and a pair of yellow shorts.
Her arms were stretched out to her sides, her head thrown back.
Dani found the sight absolutely entrancing, and watched as Chris turned in a slow circle, letting the warm rain hit her face.
Dani stepped out onto the patio, feeling the wet stone beneath her feet. The rain was persistent, but almost gentle, and she immediately felt it as it ran down the back of her neck, quickly plastering the shirt and below it the tank top to her skin.
She watched blue eyes fasten on her, and the glistening face of the brunette crease into a grin.
"I've always loved the rain," Chris said, as she took a slow walk towards the blonde. "Especially a summer storm."
Dani stepped off the patio, a different sensation of wet grass causing her toes to squirm.
Chris had stopped, and waited until the shorter woman was within arm's length of her. She reached out a hand, taking Dani's and pulling her close. She felt her guest's arms circle her waist, and bent her head to nibble at Dani's lips.
The rain fell harder, and both women jumped as a flash of lightning lit the storm-darkened sky.
"Is this safe?" Dani breathed into the warm mouth claiming her own.
"Probably not," said Chris, leaning back and smiling down at her. "Do you want to stop?"
The blonde's answer was to take handfuls of wet, dark hair, and pull the smiling face down to her own. She felt hands, slick with rain, ease beneath the shirt she wore. Felt the damp material pulled away from her overheated flesh, and replaced with the cool hands.
Those hands rested on her hips for a moment, then traced a path up towards her breasts, cupping them beneath the cloth.
Dani gasped into Chris' mouth, the sensation of her nipples straining against the now-heavy material. Then the hands were gone, and the shirt was being pulled from her shoulders and thrown towards the house. She was eased to the ground by insistent hands.
She felt the wet grass against her shoulders, and a long body settling half on top of her, half on the ground.
And through the manoeuvre, Chris had not once relinquished Dani's lips. She looked up into Chris' flushed face as the woman leaned back slightly to better see the body beneath her hands. Dark hair hung in thick tendrils, water running down from her face to land on the blonde's.
Chris slowly pushed the hem of the tank top up, smoothing her hand across the quivering flesh of Dani's abdomen as she did. And she ducked her head as the firm breasts were revealed, taking an already taut nipple into her mouth.
Dani arched her back, her mind overwhelmed by the hot mouth and gently nipping teeth. She surged against the firm thigh that was planted between her legs.
Thunder rolled across the sky, and the rain fell harder still. The centre of the storm was upon them.
Chris was pushing up on her tank top, and Dani raised her arms so that the small item of clothing could be removed. And then the blonde was winding her fingers in ebony hair as Chris latched on to her breasts once more.
"Oh, God," Dani breathed, as Chris pressed her thigh harder against the blonde's centre. And then she was frantically pulling at the hem of the blue-eyed woman's t-shirt, needing to feel the long body against her own. The shirt hit the ground with a sodden splash.
Dani's hands fluttered across the firm back, feeling the rain as it pelted the backs of her hands. She raked short nails across the damp skin, hearing Chris growl deep in her throat at the touch. One large hand reached down, and eased beneath her underwear, lifting her buttocks slightly from the wet ground.
The mouth left her breasts and she opened her eyes to find blue ones studying her intently. The thigh was still pressed against her, and Chris' hand now rested on her hip. She felt wet hair being smoothed away from her face, and then those same fingers traced her lips.
"Beautiful," whispered Chris, hypnotised by the full lips, which parted as she flexed her leg slightly.
Dani ground against Chris. "Please," was all the blonde could manage.
Chris ducked her head, forcing Dani's back down against the grass, claiming the soft, swollen lips. Her right hand moved from Dani's hip, long fingers delving beneath the sodden underwear, finding the heat of the blonde's need.
Dani bucked beneath her at the first intimate touch of Chris' hand. She no longer heard the thunder or saw the lightening. She knew nothing except the expert fingers, stroking and coaxing. Drawing her pleasure slowly from within. She felt Chris' mouth on her neck, sucking at the rainwater that gathered in the hollow of her throat. Her hands grasped at the wet grass, pulling it and its roots from the ground.
And then she was screaming into the rain, her voice lost in the rolling thunder. She felt strong arms gather her up, and the world spun and found herself resting on top of a warm body, her head resting on Chris' breast. She lay quietly for a moment, the heart beneath her ear beating as quickly as her own. Dani lifted her head, looking into half lidded blue eyes.
The rain was easing, and Chris looked beyond Dani to the clearing clouds. "We should go in," Chris said, her hand gently caressing the blonde's back.
Dani tilted her head up and kissed the brunette's chin. "Thank you," she whispered.
Chris smiled. "Come on," she said, and nudged Dani off her, before getting to her feet, and reaching down and pulling the shorter woman up. She put an arm around the blonde's shoulder, and felt both of Dani's arms snake around her waist. Resting her cheek on damp blonde hair, she guided them both into the bungalow, stooping to pick up discarded clothing as she went.
The thunderstorm left cooler air in its wake, and both women shivered as they entered the bungalow.
"Just a mo," said Chris as she disentangled herself from Dani, and walked quickly across the room before disappearing around a corner.
Dani stood there, hugging herself against the chill, feeling the cold water running down her body. She looked down at the floor, realising she was creating a damp patch on the carpet, and stepped back towards the patio doors.
"Where are you going?" asked Chris as she returned with two large towels. One was draped around her own shoulders, the other she wrapped around the shivering blonde. "There," she said, rubbing Dani's arms and back, pulling the smaller woman close to her body.
"We're getting the carpet wet," said Dani, closing her eyes and enjoying the sensation of the soft towel, and the strong hands on her.
"So?" asked Chris. She took the blonde's hand, and led her towards the bathroom, and a nice warm shower.
Blonde hair tangled with dark, as the two women lay together on the bed. The dark-haired woman lay on her back, her tee-shirt pushed up, both her breasts bared.
The blonde sighed contentedly, snuggling closer to the warm flesh that she used as a pillow.
The brunette smiled, feeling the pressure of a hand on her breast and a warm body snuggled up at her side. Her eyes drifted open, and squinted slightly against the bright sunshine of the afternoon. She looked down, taking in the vision of the hand resting on her body. The numerous rings on the fingers. The red talon-like nails. Then she looked across at the face of the woman, the blackened eyes, the smudged make-up. And the trail of drool that snaked from her breast down to her ribs.
"Melanie!!!" she screamed, causing the blonde to dig those talons into her flesh.
Melanie reared up, pushing against the body of her friend in her terror. She slipped off the bed, leaving the brunette to examine her own body, seeing the outline of the blonde's face left etched on her right breast.
"Oh, my god," said Steph, lurching out of bed, and heading for the bathroom. "I can't believe you did that." She reappeared in the doorway, baring her chest at her confused friend. "Look," she said thrusting herself at Melanie. "You drew blood." And then she was gone, the door slamming in her wake.
Melanie remained on the floor, her brain trying desperately to catch up with the rest of her body.
Day Three . Sunday
The rain had stopped almost as quickly as it began, and now the sun shone off the wet grass beyond the patio doors.
It was peaceful in the bungalow, the distant cry of gulls one of the few sounds to disturb the silence.
On the sofa, cocooned in thick, soft, white towels, the two women lay wrapped up in each other. Chris rested against a small pile of cushions, the blonde curled up between her legs. She pulled Dani a little closer, smiling when she felt her companion's arms tighten about her waist.
"You're awake then?" the brunette said, bending her head to kiss golden hair.
"Of course," came the sleepy reply.
"How do you feel now?"
"Tired." Dani snuggled closer to the warm skin she was using as a pillow. She rubbed her cheek against the warm flesh, enjoying the freedom she felt was hers to explore.
"Dani?" said Chris, closing her eyes against the sensations the smaller woman was evoking.
"We need to talk." She regretted the words immediately when she felt the small body stiffen. She rubbed a soothing hand across the taut back, relieved to feel the blonde relax under the ministrations. "What we did today, it was... ."
"Beautiful," Dani finished for her. She looked up into blue eyes. "Don't tell me it was wrong."
"I would never say that." Chris lifted her hand and smoothed still-damp hair out of green eyes. "Yes, it was beautiful." She smiled down at the small woman. "I just need to know you don't regret it." She leaned down and kissed the tip of Dani's nose. "Because I don't." She waited a beat. "Even if it was only for today."
Dani was quiet for a moment, fighting against the tightness in her chest. She tried to speak but couldn't. So she waited a moment, listening to the pounding of Chris' heart as the dark-haired woman patiently waited for her answer. She took a deep breath. "I do regret... ," she began, then her throat tightened on the words. She felt Chris draw a breath and hold it, so forced herself to finish. "I don't want to go home." The words came out in a rush. She knew what the tall woman's reaction would be and buried her face in Chris' chest. She didn't want Chris to see her face when the tall woman rejected her. To Chris this had been a one-off fling. She knew that. She knew it even as the brunette took her places she'd never been before. And she had decided to take what she could, and maybe live on the memory of the passion that the blue eyed woman had drawn from her.
But now, feeling at peace in the arms of her new-found lover, she didn't want to go. She couldn't imagine feeling like this with any other soul.
Chris was at a loss. She'd told her. Hadn't she? And she thought the blonde had accepted the fact that this was just a brief moment in both their lives. One moment, never to be repeated.
She closed her eyes. "I'm sorry," she said, her voice raw now.
"Don't be sorry," came the muffled reply. "I know I can't stay." She wiped her face with the towel. "But can you tell me why?"
"Why I made loved to you?" asked Chris, her brow furrowing.
"No. I need to know why you don't want me to stay." She looked up, seeing confusion in the taller woman's face.
"You can't stay here, Dani. You have a job, a family." She held on tight to the smaller woman, the tension in the body in her arms warning her that the blonde was about to bolt. "You can't give that up for someone you hardly know." She leaned her cheek against damp hair. "You knew that, tell me you knew that."
Dani nodded. "I just thought... ." She sighed. "I don't know what I thought." She closed her eyes when she felt Chris gently rocking her. "I'd move here in a heartbeat," she said quietly.
"I can't let you do that."
"Can't or won't?"
"I won't let you give up everything you have for me." She shook the blonde gently. "The life I live is not for you. I never know from one month to the next where I'll be next. This is the longest I've been in one place for years."
"I don't care where you are. As long as I'm with you, I have everything I need."
"No!" said Chris forcefully. She eased Dani off her lap and away from her.
Dani was suddenly cold, and pulled the huge towels tighter around her. She watched through tear-filled eyes as Chris made her way to the bar and poured herself a large drink.
The tall woman returned to the sofa and sank down onto it again. "Think about it, Dani. You could lose your family, your friends. I'm probably not what your parents had in mind for their daughter's chosen partner." She peered into her glass, not wanting to look into Dani's face.
"I'm not a child, Chris. I can make my own decisions." Dani was curled up on the opposite end of the sofa. "My parents will have to accept any choice I make."
Chris sighed. "You knew when we entered into this... this... ."
"You're right," Dani cut her off. "You told me. I just thought maybe you felt something more."
Chris was silent, watching the swirling liquid in her glass.
"It's going to be hard to say goodbye to you, Chris." Dani watched the brunette, seeing the muscles in her face bunch as she clenched her jaw. "But I will go, if that's what you want me to do."
Chris massaged her forehead with her free hand, the other grasping the glass tightly. Why was this so hard? Why was this so different? She couldn't take on the responsibility of a relationship. She'd be gone soon. To wherever her father needed her to go. What kind of life was that? Perfect for someone like her, who didn't need friends, let alone a partner. Never set down roots. Never become attached. Take what you need and move on.
She looked across at the blonde. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I can't be what you want."
Dani nodded slowly, and wiped away the last of her tears. "I know."
Dani stared at her reflection in the mirror above the sink in the bathroom. She raised a cold flannel to her red-rimmed eyes, hoping ease the puffiness around them. She dropped the cloth into the sink and leaned on its edge, looking hard at the face reflected back at her. Apart from the bloodshot eyes, she didn't look that different. But she should; she certainly felt different. She'd never been through as many emotions as she'd experienced in the last hour, and now she felt deflated and battered.
Chris had found some frozen meals in the freezer and microwaved them, and they'd eaten in an uncomfortable silence.
Even though it had been hours since Dani had eaten, she couldn't finish the meal, and had quietly taken her plate to the kitchen and scraped the remains of the food into the bin.
As she walked back into the lounge, Chris turned from her position, gazing out at the garden and the sea beyond.
"You want me to take you back now?" asked the brunette.
Dani nodded. "I need to go back and pack."
"Ok," Chris said softly. "Do you have everything?"
Dani closed her eyes, biting back a retort. "I didn't have much when I arrived."
The tall woman gazed at her miserably. "I didn't mean to hurt you," she said, plunging her hands into the pockets of the jeans she now wore. The blonde looked lost and fragile, and she wanted nothing more than to close the distance between them and hold her tight. But she felt she'd already done enough damage and stayed her ground.
"I know, Chris. It was my fault." There was a note of resignation in the blonde's voice. Defeat almost. "I should have listened to you."
Chris had nothing more to say and moved past the shorter woman. She picked up her keys from the bar and silently walked out of the bungalow, knowing Dani would follow.
Melanie examined her right index finger closely. The nail was chipped, and she filed it carefully, blowing on it after a few passes of the emery board. She held her hand away from herself, judging how much more of the red talon she should remove to get the perfect curve.
"Dani must be having a good time," she said absently to her friend, who was sitting in the doorway of the caravan, her feet resting on the bottom step.
When she received no answer she raised her voice. "I said Dani must have got laid last night."
At this Steph turned. "You think?"
"Yep, probably doing it all day as well." She looked at her friend. "Can't imagine any other reason not to come back."
Steph contemplated that. "But she went off with that woman."
"Oh yeah," said Melanie, shifting her position slightly to take her weight off her tattoo. "I forgot."
Steph resumed her study of the two young men loading their car. "So it looks like we all lucked out."
"Oh My God," Melanie gasped.
Steph tore her eyes away from the men, to see her friend gazing at her with eyes and mouth wide open. "What?"
"You know what I'm thinking?"
"You know I never know what you're thinking," Steph muttered, and turned away again. "Your mind doesn't work like most people's."
"I think that Chris has taken her to some depraved sex party." Melanie looked pleased with herself. "She probably hunts for young girls in nightclubs and bars and then takes them to be ravished by old men." Her eyes glazed slightly. "Probably more than one at the same time. All those hands, all those... ."
Steph leaned back on her hands, and looked across at her friend. "You think?" she asked reasonably.
Melanie nodded, her mind elsewhere now. Then she suddenly snapped out of it. "We must call her," she said, and started rooting through her bag looking for her cell phone.
"She may be busy." Steph chuckled.
Melanie stopped dead. "You're right." She looked at her watch. "But I'm going to try anyway." She dialled the number. "We need to find out where she is." Her shaking hands dropped the phone, and it slid across the floor. She scrambled after it and ended up on her knees near Steph.
"If we're going to go and get her, we'll need to call a taxi." Steph eased herself up slowly, one hand on her midriff. The piercing had turned colours she never thought possible on a human body.
"Go get her?" Melanie squawked. "We're going to go join her!"
Steph stopped dead, and looked down at her friend. She thought for a moment, then her face took on the same vacant look as the blonde's. "Cool," she said, her imagination joining Melanie's.
Dani watched the passing scenery without actually seeing it. It was warm again after the storm, but there was a freshness in the air now.
Chris had tried to make conversation but given up quickly when she received one-word answers from the blonde.
Dani just wanted to get back to the caravan, pack her bag, and wait for the morning. She wanted to be away from here now, away from the woman that had awoken something in her that she knew she would never be able to forget.
She was glad of the distraction of her phone ringing, even when she saw the call was from Melanie.
Chris glanced across at her passenger. The blonde looked tired, defeated. She knew she was the one responsible for taking the light out of the lovely face and looked away quickly, not wanting to witness the results of her actions.
"Hi, what's up?" Dani asked, and listened for a moment to the stream of questions from Melanie. "What?" Another pause. "No." A long sigh. "I'm on my way back now. Be there in about ten minutes." She pressed a button, finishing the conversation.
Dani gazed at the phone for a long moment before slipping it back into her pocket.
"Everything okay?" asked Chris.
Dani just shook her head. She looked across at the brunette. "You know it's not."
"I know," said Chris quietly, and turned her attention back to the road.
It was barely ten minutes later that Chris pulled up at the entrance to the small road leading into the caravan site. She switched off the engine and turned to the blonde, who was unfastening her seatbelt. "Dani," she began.
Dani took a deep breath. "I don't think I need to hear anymore, Chris." She rubbed her sore eyes and drew in another shaky breath.
Chris reached out, hating herself when the blonde flinched at her touch. "Look... ." she began, but was cut off as Dani shrugged away and unbuckled her seat belt.
The smaller woman opened the jeep door and got out before slamming it shut. "You've got what you want, Chris. Enjoy it," she said, before turning her back, and walking away from the brunette.
Dani could feel the blue eyes on her back as she walked up the slightly rising road into the caravan site, her eyes filling with tears, which she wiped away with an angry swipe of her hand. She kept walking until she heard the engine restart and the screech of tyres as Chris sped away. Only then did she sink down onto a wooden bench and sob into her hands.
Melanie checked her make-up for the fourth time. It was their last night in Bournemouth and she was going to make the best of it. She looked across at her friend, who was examining her navel. "I hope you're not going to wear your cut-off teeshirt," she said. "That's enough to put anyone off their booze."
Steph tried to straighten, but failed. She looked up at the blonde, wincing at the made-up face staring back at her. "Why the war paint?" she asked.
"No reason," said Melanie, smacking her lips as she applied lip-gloss. "Just want to look my best."
"Right." Steph grunted as she carefully stood. She looked out of the caravan window, seeing Dani taking a slow walk towards them. "Dani's here."
Melanie stopped dead, lipstick poised. "Steph," she said and waited until her friend turned towards her. "We won't mention this morning. Okay?"
"Waking up?" Melanie reminded.
"What's to remember?" asked Steph.
Melanie sighed. "Merely the fact that I woke up on top of you and not Nigel."
"Nigel?" Steph took a step back. "You were after Nigel?"
Melanie popped her makeup back into her bag. "He couldn't keep his hands off me."
"He was stoned, he couldn't stand on his own."
Melanie applied a cloud of hairspray to her already solid thatch. "Well, we'll see later. I'm sure we agreed to meet."
Steph turned as Dani pushed her way into the caravan.
"Hi," Dani said, going straight to the kitchen area and opening the fridge. She took out a can of coke and flopped down onto one of the sofas that lined the lounge end of the caravan.
"Good evening," said Melanie, looking pointedly at her watch. She looked at Steph, nodding her head towards the blonde.
Steph screwed up her face but went over and sat beside Dani. "So ... where've you been?"
"Nowhere interesting," said Dani after taking a long drink from the can.
Steph cocked her head, looking hard into Dani's face. "Have you been crying?"
Dani shook her head. "No, just really tired. That asshole, Nigel, dumped some junk in my drink."
Steph looked up at Melanie, her eyebrow raised. "Asshole," she mouthed silently to her friend.
Dani looked up at the pair. "Are you going out now?" she asked.
"Yeah, you coming?" Steph stood again, pulling her teeshirt down over her throbbing belly button.
"No, I think I'm going to stay in and catch up on my sleep. I didn't get much last night."
"Nor did we," said Melanie quickly. "We're both pretty exhausted." She looked across at Steph, frowning at the brunette's confused expression. "We didn't get in 'til this morning."
Steph gave up wondering what her friend was talking about, and just nodded.
"So... what did you get up to?" Melanie asked.
"I just got very sick. Chris took me to her father's place, I was sick, I slept, that's it."
"Oh," both women said in unison.
"Well, never mind. We can't all get lucky." Melanie stood. "We're off out. You're sure you're not coming?"
"Nope, I'm going to stay in and watch telly." Dani leaned across and switched the small television on, to add weight to her statement.
Melanie shrugged. "Please yourself." She grabbed Steph who was just settling down to watch Blind Date. "Come on, if we go now we'll get the good seats in The Chieftain."
Both women missed Dani's flinch at the mention of Chris' pub.
Melanie pushed Steph out of the door, and Dani listened as their voices and laughter faded.
She watched the television for some time, not really seeing it. Her mind turned to what she had shared with Chris that morning. It seemed like so long ago. She'd been through what she felt was a lifetime of emotions in such a sort time. She was exhausted, numb. She wanted nothing more now than to go home. Back to the familiar, secure surroundings. She wanted to hate Chris for taking her dream from her. A dream she hadn't realised existed. But she found she couldn't hate the tall dark-haired woman. She could only hate the way she felt at that moment.
She felt... . foolish. She suspected that she wasn't the first woman Chris had taken back to the bungalow. She replayed the events of the day, wondering where in it all she had decided that it was more than just a holiday fuck. And it didn't take her long to realise it was the first moment those blue eyes had looked into hers. She knew she wasn't wrong; there had been some sort of connection between them. Not just physical.
So what went wrong, and when? Chris had wanted her, and she'd given herself without reservation. There had been no doubt in her mind, as she lay beneath the tall woman, that she was in a place she'd always wanted to be. A passionate place that a lucky few found. A place where, suddenly, everything seemed very simple, uncomplicated. She knew in those moments, lying there beneath the rain, that she never wanted to leave. And she could see no reason for leaving.
And it was that realisation that made Chris' rejection of her so devastating.
She could see no future for herself now. Would she ever be able to love another, knowing that her heart was already claimed?
She knew she probably wouldn't.
She pulled a cushion to her and hugged it fiercely. Curling up on the soft sofa, she cursed the tears that started to flow again.
"Damn you, Chris," she whispered.
She suddenly felt desperately tired, and closed her eyes, listening to the soft tones of the television. She wanted the day over. Maybe things would be better in the morning.
Dani woke with a start. She looked out of the window, beyond the still-open curtains. It was dark, the television casting a silvery glow across the interior of the caravan.
She'd fallen asleep on the long sofa, and she straightened slowly, easing herself to a sitting position.
The noise made her jump, and she froze, waiting to see if it was repeated. There it was again: a loud thump on the outside of the caravan.
She turned all the lights on, and peered out into the darkness.
A face appeared at the window, causing her to scream and leap back. Holding a hand to her rapidly beating heart, she slowly advanced towards the window again.
It was Steph.
Dani crossed the room to the door and pulled it open. "Did you lose your key?" she asked, as Steph staggered inside.
Steph shook her head as she headed for the tiny bathroom.
"I said I was first!" screamed Melanie as she hauled herself up the two steps and into the caravan. She wobbled towards the door and battered it with her fists. "Come out of there, now!"
Dani collapsed back onto the sofa, watching an obviously drunk Melanie berating her friend through the bathroom door. The door opened, and Melanie dragged Steph out, propelling her across the room.
The dark-haired woman managed to turn herself before she hit the wall, and sat down heavily opposite Dani.
The door to the bathroom slammed, and they heard sounds of relieved groaning through the wall.
Steph regarded her friend for a long moment. "What's up?" she asked.
Dani shrugged. "Why would anything be up?"
"You look miserable."
The blonde ducked her head, her eyes fixed on her joined hands folded in her lap. "I don't think you'd understand, Steph." She looked up, trying hard to give her friend a reassuring smile. "But thanks for asking." She rubbed her eyes. "What time is it anyway?"
Steph peered at her watch, putting her wrist close to her face. "Just after midnight. We had to walk back. Taxi man wouldn't take us."
Steph nodded. "If Mel could have stayed on her feet, he might have. He thought she would throw up in his car."
They sat in silence for a while, neither worried that it was now all quiet in the bathroom.
"I did meet someone," said Dani suddenly.
Steph's eyebrows disappeared beneath dark hair. "You did?"
"And I thought you spent all weekend with that Chris." Steph sat up straighter and leaned forward slightly. "Tell me all about him."
Dani looked at Steph for long moments, wondering how her friend would take what she was about to tell her. "It was Chris," she said quietly.
"It was Chris what?"
Dani shifted uncomfortably, now doubting her decision to tell all. "It was Chris that I spent the weekend with."
Steph's jaw worked; her mouth opened and closed but no sound came out. She sat back against the sofa-back. "All weekend?"
"And you... and her... .?" She waved her hand about.
Dani nodded again. She looked up tentatively to see her friend thinking hard. Steph looked confused.
"I don't understand," said the brunette. "How... ?"
"I'm not going to explain positions, Steph." Dani shook her head.
"I'm sorry. I've just never met one before." She shifted onto the edge of the sofa. "I always wondered how... I mean, what do they... ."
"Enough, Steph," said Dani. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have mentioned it. I just wanted you to know why I was a little down."
Steph stared unhappily at her friend. "It's okay, Dani," she said softly. "You can tell me. I'll always be your friend."
Dani blinked as tears formed. "Thanks. I was worried you would have a problem with it."
The brunette stood and then eased herself down next to her friend. She put a comforting arm around Dani's shoulders.
At just that moment the bathroom door was flung open. Melanie paused for effect, straightening her clothes. She attempted to straighten apparently solid hair, before making her wobbly way across to the sofa and settling herself as gracefully as an inebriated woman in stilettos could. She took a moment to focus on her two friends.
"What's going on?" she asked, seeing the two women huddled together. "Did I miss something?"
"Dani is a lesbian," announced Steph, pleased to appear to have discovered something before Melanie.
If Melanie was shocked, she hid it well. It wouldn't do for her to appear to be taken aback by the news. After all, everyone knew a lesbian these days. It was fashionable, and not 'PC' to disapprove. "Lovely," she said, then noticed Steph's close proximity to the blonde. "And you're joining her?"
Steph looked from Melanie to Dani. She winced slightly and removed her arm from the smaller woman's shoulder.
Dani patted her on the thigh. "It's okay." She stood. "Listen, I'm going to go to bed. I'm sorry to dump this on you; it's as much a surprise to me as it is to you." She gave her two friends a smile and made her way to her room.
They watched her go, and then turned to each other. "We need to talk," said Melanie.
"About what?" asked Steph.
Melanie just stared for a moment, wondering how she ever remained friends with someone so simple. "About the weather."
"It's been hot." Steph grinned.
"About Dani, you bloody idiot," the blonde hissed.
"What do you think about it?" Melanie tried to focus on a slightly chipped fingernail, but gave up quickly when it made her nauseous.
"I'm trying to work it out," said Steph, her face creased in concentration.
"Work what out?"
"How they... you know?"
"They use accessories." Melanie apparently was very informed.
"What? Earrings and stuff?" Steph grunted as she kicked off her shoes, sighing with relief.
"I don't know why I bother, Steph. Use your bloody imagination." She took in the blank look opposite her. "Forgive me, I forgot. You don't have one."
"You're a bitch, Mel."
"Don't call me that."
"I'm ignoring you."
There was a long silence before Steph asked. "What do you suppose it's like?"
"What's what like?"
"Bonking another woman."
"Oh my god, you can be so... so... basic sometimes." Melanie tried to cross her legs, but her tight skirt prevented it.
Melanie ignored the prod. "I should imagine it was very different from bonking a man."
Melanie sighed dramatically. "For one, a woman doesn't have the necessary bits." She waited for a reaction from Steph, but got none. "That's why they use accessories." Another blank look from the brunette. "A dildo, dummy."
Steph's eyes grew round.
"And I think they do... other things," said Melanie.
"You think they kiss?" asked Steph, starting to warm to the subject.
"Of course they kiss."
"That could be messy."
Melanie shook her head. "Why?"
"All that lipstick."
"I don't think lesbians wear lipstick."
"Dani wore lipstick," said Steph.
"She's a new lesbian, give her a while." Melanie watched as Steph morphed into twins and then back to a single person.
"You ever kissed a woman?" Steph found something incredibly interesting on the wall to focus on.
"No," Melanie said slowly.
Melanie watched her friend closely, knowing that she was thinking by the twitching muscles in her face.
"You ever wondered what it was like?" Steph asked.
"Never really thought about it."
"Dani's not stupid; there must be something."
"What are you talking about?" Melanie was becoming annoyed. Mostly at Steph, but also because she could now see three of her friend.
"Maybe it's nice." Steph stood. "You want to find out?"
"Stay away from me."
Steph took a slow walk towards her friend. "Let's just try. No-one need know."
"I'm warning you, Steph."
Steph sat beside the blonde. "I'm not a lesbian," she said reasonably. "I just want to see what it's like."
"Why?" asked Melanie, leaning away from the brunette.
"Look, we're friends, we can kiss."
"We could, but we're not."
"I'm engaged," Melanie blustered. "You're engaged."
"That didn't stop you kissing Nigel."
"Nigel was a man."
"Nigel was a nerd." Steph edged closer.
"You won't tell anyone?"
Steph shook her head. "It will be our secret."
Melanie looked at her friend, her eyes crossing because of Steph's close proximity. "Ok, get it over quickly." She puckered her lips and closed her eyes. Then opened them again quickly. "No tongue."
"Ok." Steph puckered up too and leaned forward. Two sets of lipsticks merged for the briefest of moments, Melanie pulling away first. Steph was still leaning forward, still puckered up, unaware that the kiss had ended.
Melanie put a hand on Steph's shoulder and pushed her away. "There. Happy now?"
Steph's face screwed up; her eyes were still closed. "I don't want to be a lesbian."
"No. Kissing another woman is like kissing your mother."
"My mother? When did you kiss my mother?" Melanie was frantically wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
"My mother. It reminded me of that." Steph sat back, obviously disappointed.
Both women sat in contemplative silence for a while.
"There is one advantage though, that I can see," Melanie said. "Say two women, like us, were to get together, there'd be double the choice of makeup."
"You steal my makeup anyway."
"Oh yeah, that's true." Melanie struggled to her feet. "Let's go to bed." She looked down at Steph. "To sleep."
"Ok." Steph took longer to get to her feet.
Melanie was at the door to the bathroom, but before she closed the door she turned back to her friend. "Steph, if you ever tell anyone I kissed you, I'll kill you."
Steph stared at the door as it shut. Then she made her way into the bedroom, and collapsed onto the bed.
Dani turned at the sound of the bedroom door opening. She had woken an hour before, looking in on her two friends, and deciding to leave them to sleep for as long as they needed.
But now Melanie was framed in the doorway, wearing the top she'd worn the night before and the tiniest pair of knickers Dani had ever seen.
"Good morning," Dani said, watching as Melanie felt her way towards her, wincing as the morning sunlight hit her face.
"Ssshhh," said the fragile woman. She sat carefully on the sofa, prying open her eyes. "Can you close the curtains?" she rasped, her voice ragged.
Dani chuckled as she moved around the caravan, closing all the curtains and leaving the interior in a muted light. "Better?" she asked.
Melanie nodded, regretting the motion quickly.
"You want a drink?" Dani asked.
"Coffee," the suffering woman croaked.
Melanie waited quietly while Dani prepared her drink and placed the mug on the table in front of her.
Both women were quiet as Melanie drank her life-saving elixir. She peered at her friend over the rim of the mug.
"Did something happen last night?" Melanie asked.
"What kind of something?"
Melanie thought harder. "Did you tell Steph you were a lesbian?"
"Was it a joke?"
"No," said Dani quietly. "Well, I didn't exactly tell her that. I told her I'd spent the weekend with Chris. And that I'd fallen for her."
"No, Melanie. For Chris." She sighed.
Melanie stared into her mug. Not looking at her friend, she took a deep breath. "I want you to know that we're still friends."
Dani smiled affectionately at the dishevelled blonde. "Thanks, Melanie."
"I mean, some people could feel uncomfortable." Melanie looked up. "Um, you don't, like, fancy me do you?"
"No, Melanie, I don't."
"Good, that's good." Melanie blew out a relived breath. "Because that might be a problem."
"Yes, it would."
"What about Steph?"
"I don't fancy Steph."
Melanie stared at Dani. "You don't look any different."
"That's because I'm not. I'm still the same person. The only difference is that I've found someone I really like."
"A woman," Melanie clarified.
Melanie watched her friend. She looked the same, maybe a little drawn. "Are you going to see her again?"
Dani shook her head. "No, she doesn't want us to be together."
"So she fucked you and dumped you?!" Melanie was always blunt.
Dani winced at the outburst. It sounded harsh to her ears, but as she thought about it, it seemed to make some sort of warped sense. "In a manner of speaking, I suppose she did." She looked up to see Melanie's anger, and felt a brief rush of affection for her friend. "She warned me, Melanie. She told me it wouldn't go beyond this weekend." Dani raked her fingers through her hair. "But it wasn't that easy for me. I shouldn't have let it go as far as it did."
Melanie was quiet for a moment. Dani had always been the steadying force in their friendship. She was the one who made sure they all got home in one piece. It was Dani that she and Steph would run to when romances turned sour. Now, seeing her like this, apparently at a loss, was unsettling. Dani was the sensible one, never one to throw herself into something that she wasn't 100% sure of.
"Do you want to go and see her?" asked Melanie.
"No," Dani said quickly. "No, she made it perfectly clear. She doesn't want to see me again." She smiled at her friend. "Thanks for understanding."
They both looked up when the bedroom door opened and Steph launched herself into the room. "Where's the fridge?" she groaned.
They watched her stagger across the room and locate the small white fridge, then pull out a carton of orange juice and drink straight from it.
"Heathen," said Melanie, who then eased herself to her feet. "I'm going to get dressed."
Steph drained the carton and put it in the sink. "I feel like crap," she moaned.
Steph focussed on Dani. "Thanks."
"What time did we decide we were leaving?" she asked, as the brunette sank onto the sofa opposite her.
"When we're ready." Steph lifted the curtain slightly, grimacing when the morning sunlight hit her face. "It's a nice day again."
"Yep, the weather's been great."
"Sorry the weekend didn't turn out great for you."
Dani shrugged. "My first holiday romance. Never thought I'd do it."
"And with a woman." Steph's voice betrayed her confusion.
"With a woman." Dani thought long and hard for a moment. "But I don't regret it, Steph. She made me feel so good. That can't be wrong, can it?"
"I don't think it's wrong," Steph said quickly. "I just don't really understand it."
Dani chuckled. "That's okay. I know." She sighed. "I've learned a few lessons this weekend."
"I think you should go see her."
Dani shook her head. "No, she made it clear, Steph. She's not interested in a relationship. Not with me or anyone else. I've just been through this with Melanie. I'm going to put it down to experience, and get on with my life."
"Are you going to be a lesbian when we get home?"
Dani regarded her friend for a long moment before answering. "I don't really think it's something you just switch on and off, Steph. I met someone this weekend who made me feel more complete than I've ever felt in my life. I'll never forget her. Whether I ever find anyone like that again, man or woman, is something I just don't know."
Steph stood shakily. "I'm sorry I can't help you somehow."
"You both have, more than you realise." Dani stood as well, took a couple of steps and wrapped her friend in a heartfelt hug. She was relieved when the hug was returned, not knowing quite how her friend would react. "You're both good friends," Dani said into her friend's ear.
They separated when they heard Melanie come back into the room.
"Is this a private party, or can anyone join in?" Melanie asked, and put her arms around her two friends pulling them together.
Dani didn't know why she started to cry, but the tears came. From all three of them.
The taxi dropped them at the entrance to the train station, and they clubbed together to pay the driver.
Melanie hauled her huge case onto the pavement. It had been easier when they had Steph's car, but that was now on its way to a breaker's yard. She'd only used a quarter of the clothes she'd taken, but she always liked to be prepared for any eventuality.
She trailed behind her two friends, who managed to navigate the crushing crowds with their smaller luggage.
Dani turned to look for the blonde, but her sight was drawn to a taller, darker figure approaching from behind Melanie.
Melanie watched her friend with something approaching fascination, as Dani seemed to be rooted to the spot. She turned to find out what Dani was staring at, and found herself face to face with the woman who had apparently changed her friend's life. "Oh," she said, looking up and up and finally fixing on Chris' face. "I hope you're pleased with yourself," she squeaked.
Chris managed to tear her eyes from Dani, whose face betrayed her shock at seeing her. She looked down at the slightly dishevelled blonde directly in front of her and raised one perfectly formed eyebrow at the woman's outburst.
Melanie took a step back and bumped into Dani, who had been drawn towards the tall dark vision. She managed to get a grip on her huge suitcase and dragged it back to where Steph was standing.
Dani glanced back to her two friends, who stood watching, apparently holding their breaths. She took a moment before turning back to Chris. "I can't imagine there's anything you have to say that I haven't heard already," she said, trying hard to keep her voice from wavering.
Chris closed her eyes briefly, hearing the pain in the blonde's words. "Forgive me?" she asked. She opened her eyes again, waiting to see what reaction her words would get.
Dani drew in a breath, though it caught in her tightening throat. "Except that," she whispered. She put her hands to her face, purposefully staying out of reach of Chris.
The tall woman's hands twitched. She wanted nothing more than to take a couple of steps and wrap the smaller woman in her arms. The blonde was shaking as if in physical pain, her arms held tightly to her own chest. "Dani," Chris pleaded. "Please, let me talk to you."
Dani nodded. "I have a few minutes." She looked back to her friends. "You two go on," she called to them above the hubbub. "I'll be there soon."
Chris took in Dani's words, and her heart dropped. But she knew she deserved nothing more.
She followed Dani as she walked along the outer wall of the station. There were some benches there, and the smaller woman stood next to one, lifting her case and setting it beside her.
Chris looked at the case and lowered herself onto the bench beside it.
Dani gazed down at her. "You look tired."
"Yeah, didn't sleep much." Chris rubbed her red-rimmed eyes.
Dani blew out a nervous breath. "Nor me."
"I'm sorry," said Chris simply.
"Me too." Dani sat beside the woman, but kept a distance between them. "I should have listened to you. You made it clear that there would be nothing beyond this weekend, and I made a fool of myself."
Chris shook her head. "Don't say that. I think I was operating on autopilot. I didn't look beyond what I always do. It wasn't until you'd gone that I realised what an idiot I was."
Dani raised an eyebrow at that statement, but made no comment.
Chris didn't miss it, however. "Yeah, I know," she said. Chris tried again. "I'm not very good at admitting that."
"So you think now that I'll just say 'no worries' and come with you back to your little love nest?" Dani folded her arms across her chest, she was beginning to get angry.
Chris began to doubt her decision to find Dani. She remembered the tears the blonde had shed as she dropped her off at the caravan site. She remembered the way she'd looked back as she walked away. Chris had driven away, annoyed to find her vision blurred by tears she wanted to deny. She knew she'd hurt the blonde, and she remembered how Dani had pleaded to be allowed to stay. So, as she'd driven to the train station, hoping she hadn't left it too late, she'd imagined the look of relief that would cross the girl's face when she found her.
Relief was not the look she saw on the girl before her. Instead Dani looked angry. Her initial tears had dried, and she was almost unrecognisable from the sweet girl that Chris had first met in the pub.
The tall woman stood abruptly. "Don't let me keep you," she said, suddenly finding the continuous stream of humanity into the station fascinating. She turned back to Dani, whose face was still set in an unemotional mask. "I'm sorry," she said briefly, before quickly turning and walking back towards her car.
Dani watched her for a long moment, until she saw the jeep drive quickly out of the train station car park. "So am I," she said, as she picked up her case and hurried to find her friends.
"Hey, Boss," said Paul as he cleared the glasses from the tables on the pavement outside the pub.
Chris was sitting nursing a strong drink and people-watching. It was a little after 8pm, and each half-hour she had imagined how much further away Dani was.
"How was business tonight, Paul?" she asked as her employee set his collection of glasses down on her table and eased himself into the chair beside her.
"Not as busy," he said. "Looks like most folks have gone home after the weekend."
Chris nodded and took another cigarette from the packet she'd bought on the drive back from the train station. "I'm sorry I haven't been around much," she said after lighting up.
"We managed," Paul said.
Chris regarded him for a long moment. "You want the job permanently?"
He looked confused. "I hadn't realised the job was temporary."
"Not bar tender. You want the manager's job?"
Chris chuckled. "Yeah, my job. Then you can delegate and do nothing."
They laughed for a moment together, then Chris drained her glass. "Thanks for the last few days. I know I kind of dumped the pub in your lap. You did really well."
Paul shrugged. "It was no problem." He leaned back and called into the pub. "Wendy, come get these glasses will ya."
They heard an "OK," from within the pub, and a tall dark-haired girl appeared and gathered up Paul's collection of glasses. She gave Paul a smile and disappeared with the glasses.
"So, you OK, Boss?" asked Paul when they were alone again.
"Sure," she replied, raising an eyebrow at his question. "Why do you ask?"
"You just seem a little down, that's all." He reached over and took one of the cigarettes from Chris' packet. "After looking like the cat that got the cream all weekend, it's a bit of a change."
"I did not look like that." Chris tried to laugh, but she squirmed in her seat and snatched the unlit cigarette from Paul's hand, lighting it for herself.
Paul shook his head and took another cigarette from the packet, watching as Chris placed the newly lit one down in the ashtray next to one already smouldering there.
She watched his face as he lit the cigarette, seeing the smile still there. "Did I?" she asked.
"You did," he blew out a long stream of smoke. "She's gone home now?"
Chris nodded. "Yeah, she's gone." She took a long drag on the cigarette. "I'm getting too old for this holiday romance thing." She watched a small group of people pass by. "I think I'm going to take off in the morning. Maybe go see what Dad is up to."
"You want to talk about her?"
Chris looked at Paul as if he'd just sprouted another head. "Talk about who?"
"The girl who just messed your head up."
Chris stubbed the cigarette out viciously. "Is it that bloody obvious?" She turned her head, and drew in a breath before calling to the barmaid. "Wendy, get me another would you?"
"Be right there," was the call from within the pub.
Chris turned her attention back to Paul. "I don't get involved. You know that, right?"
Paul nodded, then turned his head as Wendy brought them both a drink. Paul gave her a grateful look.
She shrugged and went back to the bar.
"You were saying?" said Paul, managing to down a third of his pint of beer in one go.
"Was I?" Chris teased. Realising she was not going to get out of this, she continued. "For me, getting into a long term relationship was never an option. I'm never anywhere for more than a couple of years. Dad likes me to set up a new business, get it running well, then move onto the next one."
"You've been here a while now."
"Yep, I've been happy here."
"So what is it that's got you feeling like you need a change?" Paul downed another third of his beer.
"A cute little blonde with green eyes," she said wistfully. "Thought I was past getting hooked, seems I was wrong."
"You fell for her?" Paul leaned forward, resting his forearms on the table.
"I did, hard." She sighed. "Unfortunately I didn't realise until I'd done the 'I'm a loner, there's no place in my life for someone permanent' speech." Chris shook her head at her own stupidity.
Paul leaned back again, taking in the miserable woman opposite him. "You could go find her."
"Oh, I did." She laughed bitterly at the memory. "Caught up with her at the train station. She told me, to put it simply, to bugger off."
"Ah," said Paul, wincing as he imagined his boss's face at that moment of refusal. He knew how that kind of rejection would affect the tall woman sitting opposite him. He'd never seen her like this before, never seen her at such a loss. "I'm sorry," he said finally, unable to come up with anything more eloquent.
"Don't be," Chris said. "I deserved it. Another lesson learned, though I thought I had nothing new to learn." She rocked back on the chair. "Wrong again," she said quietly.
Paul looked back into the pub; he saw Wendy trying to serve a growing crowd. "I'd better get back inside."
Chris began to rise. "I'll come and help."
"No, Boss. You stay here, have an evening off." He stood and finished his beer.
"Yeah," Chris laughed. "You've managed well enough the past few evenings." She pulled out another cigarette from the packet. "Dammit, every time I manage to give up, something happens." She lit the cigarette, the flame from the match wavering in the slight breeze. Chris blinked as the smoke blew back into her eyes, causing them to sting and water. She rubbed them viciously, throwing the cigarette onto the metal table. Once her eyes had recovered, she reached for the loose cigarette, to put it into the ashtray, but another hand reached for it and stubbed it out.
"Smoking's bad for you."
Chris looked up through watering eyes at the small blonde, who settled into the seat that Paul had just vacated.
"I thought you went home," said Chris, her demeanour not betraying the pounding of her heart.
Dani leaned back in the chair. "I did. Halfway at least." She looked at Chris, falling once again into the blue of those incredible eyes. "We had to change trains... " she tried to remember the name of the station, "... somewhere." Dani managed to look away from Chris. "They were announcing the train to Bournemouth was about to arrive on the opposite platform. I don't remember saying goodbye to Melanie and Steph. I'm sure I did though." She stared down at her hands, folded in her lap.
Chris stood, the metal chair scraping noisily on the stone pavement. She reached down and took Dani's hand in her own. "Come on, let's go somewhere we can talk."
Dani stared at the large tanned hand, and watched her own reach for it, fold around it. Her breath hitched as she was pulled to her feet. She heard Chris tell Paul to collect her case, and then she was being pulled along behind the tall woman, up a narrow flight of stairs and into a cool airy room, net curtains billowing gently in the cool summer evening.
They were in a small lounge in the flat that Chris sometimes used above the pub. There was only a large terracotta-coloured sofa, a coffee table, and a large screen TV in the room.
Dani heard the door close behind her and turned to face her one-time lover.
Chris stood with her back against the door. "Can I get you anything?" she asked tentatively, feeling an irrational fear that Dani could bolt and run at any time.
"I am a little thirsty," she admitted. Dani watched Chris turn and open the door. "A coke would be good."
Chris turned back to her, the smile on her face an affectionate one. "Be right back," she said.
Dani took a slow walk to the window. From there she could see down into the street. She heard the music playing in the pub below and closed her eyes, swaying a little to the song. She heard the door open behind her and turned to see Chris return with a tray laden with soft drinks and a few bottles of something a little stronger. She watched the tall woman place the tray on the low table and fill a tall glass before handing it to her.
"Coke, wasn't it?" asked Chris.
Dani nodded, taking the glass.
Chris picked up a small bucket. "Ice?"
"Just a little," said Dani, holding her glass out.
Once she had her guest sorted, she turned back and poured herself a stiff rum and coke. She looked up at the blonde, who had resumed staring out of the window.
"So," Chris said, to break the silence.
"I've never been so out of control before," the smaller woman said, in a voice so quiet Chris wondered whether the words were meant for her. Dani turned to face her. "This is ... irresponsible." She walked towards the brunette. "Of the three of us, I was always the sensible one." She was now an arm's length from Chris. She looked into perplexed blue eyes. "Why couldn't I just go home?"
Chris opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, but no answer was forthcoming.
"I have bills to pay, a job to go to," the blonde continued. "What am I doing here, hoping to commit myself to someone I barely know?"
"You're taking a chance," explained Chris. "You're doing something because it just feels right."
"It does," agreed Dani, and closed her eyes. "Every mile that I travelled away from here, from you, felt wrong. I began to weigh what I had with what I wanted. I decided I wanted you." She opened her eyes again, pleased to see the huge smile on the face of the woman standing before her. "But I need to know, Chris, are you going to send me away again?"
Chris put her glass down and then gently took Dani's untouched drink from her, placing it on the coffee table beside hers. Then she opened her arms in invitation and the smaller woman walked into the embrace. "Please believe me when I tell you that as soon as you'd gone I knew exactly what I'd lost." She squeezed the blonde gently, kissing the top of Dani's head. "Please forgive me. I was an idiot."
Dani chuckled. "I forgave you this afternoon at the train station. My brain just didn't realise it." She buried her face in the soft material of Chris' shirt. "I think I wanted to hurt you as much as I was hurting."
"I deserved it," said Chris, resting her chin on top of the shorter woman's head. She eased Dani away from her so that she could look into her face. "So can we start again?"
Dani smiled, almost shyly. "Of course."
Chris ducked her head, claiming soft lips. In response Dani reached up and circled the taller woman's neck with her arms, pulling her down into the kiss.
They stumbled back onto the sofa, never breaking the kiss.
"Oh yeah," thought Dani. "This is where I'm supposed to be."
Chris broke off the kiss, gasping for air. She cursed the fact that she needed to breathe, so caught up in the intensity of their reunion was she.
She looked down at the small blonde beneath her. Dani was also drawing in huge lungfuls of air.
"Why did you stop?" panted the blonde.
"My brain was about to come out of my ears," Chris explained, and settled herself back down onto the soft body.
"So?" Dani pulled her down again, smiling lips finding the ever-willing ones of the brunette.
Chris managed to wind her arms around the compact body and pulled her closer, if that was at all possible. She stopped quickly, however, when she heard a gasp of pain from Dani.
"What?" she asked, taking her weight on her arms and peering down at Dani's face, which was twisted into a grimace.
Dani eased herself to a sitting position, her hands going to the small of her back. Chris was still straddling her legs and looked on in confusion.
Green eyes looked up at her through blonde hair. "I got a little tense today. My back's in knots."
Chris' face screwed up in sympathy. "My fault. I'm sorry."
Dani shook her head. "Not really. I get this a lot. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day does it too."
Chris pulled her into an embrace, gently kneading Dani's lower back. "Maybe I can help."
The blonde leaned closer to the taller woman. "Don't tell me, you just happen to be a trained masseuse."
There was silence from Chris for a moment before she said, "Of course." She eased herself to her feet. "Give me a few moments." She smiled brightly, leaving Dani to flop back onto the sofa.
Chris dashed into the small bathroom, hoping that no-one had stolen the small kit she'd put there many months before. It was a Christmas gift, something from one of her staff. She picked up the pack from the shelf and read the words on the box. 'The Complete Relaxation Kit'.
She chuckled and opened the box, peering inside. It contained a couple of small scented candles, some bath oil, and another bottle. She picked it up, and read the label. It was massage oil. She smiled to herself, and took the package to the bedroom.
Dani was dozing by the time Chris returned. The day was fast catching up with her. She awoke to a gentle hand tracing the shape of her lips, and then a warm mouth replacing the teasing fingers. "I'm half asleep," the blonde mumbled.
Chris took her hands and pulled the sleepy woman to her feet. "Come with me. I have something you might like."
When they reached the bedroom, the scent from the two small burning candles immediately filled Dani's senses. "You've been busy," she said, as Chris turned her to face her.
"I want you to relax," the brunette said, as she dipped her head and nipped at very willing lips. "I want to make you feel good."
At that moment Dani felt very good, and just about anything Chris did would be fine by her. She felt large, warm hands slip under her top and ease it up towards her shoulders. She lifted her arms and felt the material brush her face as the small teeshirt was pulled over her head. Then she was being pulled against Chris again and felt the coarse cloth of Chris' shirt against her breasts. She felt no embarrassment at her nakedness. She liked the way Chris almost worshipped her naked form. The way the woman's hands glided across her back and sides made her skin tingle and her hair stand on end.
Then those same hands were lowering the zip on the short denim skirt she wore, and it was falling and pooling around her ankles. White briefs followed, and she stood naked in her lover's arms.
Dani peered up through fair lashes. "This is nice," she said, leaning heavily against the taller woman.
Chris couldn't control her own hands as they smoothed across Dani's back and then lowered to cup the blonde's backside. "I want you on your stomach," she said, her breath moving Dani's hair.
Dani disengaged herself from Chris' embrace and turned towards the bed. A huge coral-pink towel had been spread across the bed, and she lowered herself onto it. She rested her head on her arms, turning her head sideways to watch the sputtering candle on the bedside cabinet.
Chris had drawn the curtains, which were thick and kept out what was left of the failing light. She stared down at the relaxed blonde, marvelling at the way the candlelight seemed to make her bronzed skin glow. She tore her eyes from the planes of the girl's back to see two amused green eyes twinkling at her.
"Aren't you a little overdressed?" Dani asked, before resting her cheek on her forearm once more.
Chris stared down at her clothed body. "Oh, yeah." It took her half the time she had taken to strip Dani to remove her own clothes. Then she was straddling the shorter woman's legs and pouring a small drop of the massage oil into her palm.
Dani uttered a strange sound as Chris' warm palm first began to knead the oil into her shoulders.
"That good?" asked Chris, as she poured more oil, directly onto Dani's back this time.
"That's... wonderful," said Dani, as she squirmed a little beneath the brunette, her backside lifting a little, causing a jolt of pleasure to hit Chris hard.
Chris really had no idea what she was doing as she now used both hands to spread the oil across the blonde's back. She shifted backwards a little and turned her attention to the twin globes, which now glistened with a coating of oil.
After about five minutes, Dani lifted herself up on her elbows and peered over her shoulder. She saw a look of concentration on Chris' face, which brought forth a bubble of laughter from Dani. "Um, Chris," she said, and waited until blue eyes rose to meet hers. "That's really nice, but it's my shoulders that are tense."
Chris blinked a couple of times and reached again for the bottle of oil. She shuffled forwards again, feeling the slickness of Dani's hips against the inside of her thighs.
She poured more oil onto the already-slick surface, then spread it across Dani's back, watching with concentrated fascination the muscles beneath her hands spasm.
Dani was experiencing an overload of feelings. From the slick hands on her back to the oil that seeped into places that made her stomach clench to the feeling of Chris' most intimate area brushing her backside.
She suddenly had the need for more and managed to turn in the space between Chris' spread thighs. She looked up at the dark-haired woman and cocked her head slightly to the side. "My back's done," she said simply.
Chris remembered to breathe. Then she reached across for the bottle of oil again. Her hands were shaking slightly as she poured the oil onto Dani's stomach, just above her belly button. She watched as it ran lazily into the blonde's navel and pooled there. The brunette dipped her finger and drew the oil in a wide arc down to Dani's hip.
It was at that moment that the bottle squirted out of her hand. It spun once in the air, before landing between Dani's breasts and depositing its contents across her upper chest and in the hollow of her throat. Chris made a grab for the bottle, but only succeeded in spilling more across the blonde, her breasts now shining in the candlelight.
"Ooops," whispered Chris as she placed the now-empty bottle back on the cabinet.
Dani glanced down at her own body, then up at Chris. "What are you going to do about it?" she asked, before dipping her own hands in the oil that covered her body. She enjoyed the look in Chris' eyes as she smeared the oil across her own breasts. Then she reached forward and coated the tall woman's.
Chris returned the favour, her hands sinking into softness. This was no longer about massage. Tight muscles had been forgotten in the erotic feeling of the oil and warm hands.
Now both bodies glistened in the flickering candlelight, and Chris lowered her body onto the smaller one beneath her. She moved slowly, nestling into the spot between Dani's thighs. Their breasts slid against each other, and Chris quickly claimed the blonde's mouth.
Dani pulled Chris against her, placing two oil-slicked hands on the brunette's backside. Then she moved up to map the strong back and wide shoulders.
Chris had managed to get a hand between them, and cupped a shiny breast, rubbing her thumb across a tumescent nipple.
The two bodies slid against each other, in some kind of erotic horizontal dance. Dani wrapped her legs around Chris, digging her heels into the back of firm thighs. She could feel the oil between them warming, and she devoured the warm mouth of the woman above her.
Then Chris eased herself to the side slightly, only her upper body moving at all as her hips were imprisoned by shorter legs. She felt the muscles beneath her hand twitch as she slid fingers down across a flat navel and through dampened hair. Her hand stayed there a moment, and she leaned back, watching the green eyes glaze slightly.
Those same eyes fluttered closed as her fingers completed their journey, and she slowly eased her head down to rest on heaving, slippery breasts. She listened to her lover's heartbeat as she drew her passion from her, slowly bringing Dani to a shattering and screaming climax.
Then she lay there, her hand resting on Dani's twitching flesh until the woman had regained her breath.
Dani pulled Chris' head up by the thick dark hair, which stuck to her chest and stomach. She kissed her deeply, wanted to convey in that kiss the gratitude she felt. She knew that the woman had awoken the passion in her. A passion she had despaired ever of discovering.
She pushed Chris onto her back and gently spread her legs.
"You're going to have to be patient," she said, as she kissed her way down the long body. Resting her chin just below Chris' belly button, she looked back up at her lover. "This is new to me."
Chris watched as the blonde gave her one last sultry smile, then lowered her head to the exact spot that Chris wanted her.
The brunette closed her eyes tightly, her hands clenching frantically. For a novice, Dani certainly seemed to instinctively know all the right spots. Chris' hips bucked as the blonde found yet another spot. Oil-covered hands joined the fray, and Chris reached above her head for the pine headboard, needing something to stop her bucking right off the bed.
And then the lights were exploding behind her eyelids and she was gasping for air. Her back arched, lifting her lover with her.
Dani held on, getting a grip of strong thighs and riding out Chris' climax.
The blonde finally lifted her head and felt inordinately pleased with herself.
Chris was lying in a sated heap. Her chest rose and fell rapidly as she drew in air; her arms lay limply above her head.
Dani crawled up her body, and settled herself on top of her lover. "Chris?"
"Mm?" croaked the tall woman, as long arms settled around the blonde.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm great." Blue eyes prised themselves open, and she smiled up at Dani. Then she shifted slightly, wanting the blonde on the bed beside her.
She ran her hand lazily across smooth flesh, spreading the oil that had accumulated in certain places more evenly across her lover. Dani returned the compliment.
They both heard the cell phone ringing.
"Leave it," said Chris.
Dani sat up. "I should answer - it could be my parents."
Chris remained where she was, and kneaded Dani's shoulders.
Dani looked down at her. "I'll just be a moment."
Chris turned onto her side and watched her lover walk out of the room to the lounge, where the bag containing her cell phone was. She flopped onto her back and waited for Dani's return. Her body was still alive with memories of the blonde's touch. She lifted a hand to her own breast, feeling the arousal there still evident.
Dani walked back into the room, the cell phone still held in one oily hand.
"Who was it?" Chris asked.
"Melanie," was all Dani said.
Chris sat up, trying to figure out the strange look on the blonde's face. "So, what's up?"
"They're in Scotland," Dani said, trying to comprehend it herself. "They forgot to get off the train." She looked at the phone for a long moment. "Oh well," she said, before tossing the phone into the corner of the room and launching herself into her lover's arms.
Mail Midgit , please<g>
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