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, Barbara Davies.
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.