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 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.