Disclaimer: These characters may bare a resemblance to a certain duo (who don't belong to me) that we all know and love, but that's all. This is an uber story and the characters are mine.
Language warning: Not often but yes.
Love and sex warning: This story definitely portrays a loving relationship between two women.
Violence Warning: A little, unless you also count a projectile camera and battered door.
Thanks: I would like to thank first of all Garnet for doing a wonderful job in beta reading this story. To Carolyne, for her constant support throughout, and giving me the kick up the backside to continue writing whether she realised or not. And last but no means least Tammy, for all the invaluable information on horses that she gave me and for naming the two horsey characters.
Let me know what you think:
It's half past five in the bloody morning, Tess thought as she lifted her head, looking at the digital clock on the side. With a sigh her head fell back to the pillow and she closed her eyes willing sleep to return. She and Nikki had spent the night and early hours of the morning together, not even conscious of when mother and sister had returned home. Tess smiled and opened her eyes, thinking back to the earlier hours. Three hours sleep, that was all she had been able to get, at least Nikki is still out of it. Tess grinned realising it must have been the first time that she had woken up before the blonde.
She looked down at the woman spooned against her, their warm flesh melding together, and sighed. Last night Tess had realised that she had been Nikki's first lover, and although that didn't surprise her, she was definitely humbled. Wrapping her arm around the woman in front, Tess pulled her in closer and kissed the exposed shoulder.
"How am I supposed to get any sleep when you keep fidgeting and sighing like that?"
Tess rolled her eyes and snickered, "And here was I thinking you were still fast asleep."
"Nope…could do with a few more hours though, I am still really tired."
"Me to." She smiled then yawned, "So anyway…Happy Christmas...Birthday girl"
Nikki rolled onto her back, "Happy Christmas to you too."
"Are you excited…isn't today some big day for you?"
The blonde snorted, "Not really…I am now twenty four and have a suddenly large bank account…well I have to sign a few documents in a few days but you get me."
"Yeah…well this is for you." Tess leaned down and kissed soft lips, "Twenty-four huh? You will be catching me up soon."
"Tess you will always be a whole two and a half years older than me."
"Yeah, yeah…quit the quibbling." Tess sighed again and placed her head on the blondes shoulder, closing her eyes. "I need more sleep."
Nikki yawned, "Me too."
Within ten minutes both women were once again fast asleep.
Lisa stood in the kitchen wondering why Leto was looking at her in such a strange manner. She sat by her bowl, exchanging looks between the teen, her bowl and the kettle. Every now and then she would nudge the bowl with her muzzle and look back to Lisa with near desperation. The girl thought that maybe Leto needed a drink so filled her bowl with water from the tap. She placed the bowl back down where the golden dog took one sniff of the beverage and snorted in disgust.
"I think she wants her tea." Hyacinth said as she entered the kitchen.
Lisa looked up surprised, "Really…she wants tea?" She looked down at the dog, "Sorry Leto, so do you want some tea?"
The dog barked uncontrollably finally glad that she and the girl were on the same wavelength. Lisa filled the kettle and plugged it in with a smile. "Are Tess and Nikki up yet?"
Hyacinth laughed, "Oh I doubt it, it's a wonder you and I are up so early considering that in one way or another, none of us managed to get much sleep last night."
Lisa giggled, "Yeah, I wanted to go and wake Nikki up because we always used to get up around six Christmas day, but I dared not go in there for fear of what I would find. It was bad enough that when I went into the bathroom last night I skidded from the doorway to the sink on slippery tiles." She smiled, "I kind of feel like I am intruding a little you know?"
The older woman nodded, "Yes but I know Tess wouldn't have it any other way, just as much as I am sure Nikki wouldn't either."
"Nikki likes to be alone at times, but she is much happier with others present."
Hyacinth went to the cupboard and pulled out the necessities for making breakfast, "What time is your father getting here?"
The teen shrugged, "I bet some time between eleven and twelve, being the Lord Mayor, he as to be present at the Christmas Morning mass at church." She pulled a face.
"I take it you are not a fan?" She smiled.
"Neither is my dad or Nikki, we just had to make appearances like it is some civic duty."
"I guess that is what comes with being the Lord Mayor." Hyacinth looked at her watch, "Hmm, half past seven, it is rather early still…how about we start cooking some breakfast and see whether we can entice those two down with aromatic delights?"
"Can we make some more of your croissants? They were lovely."
Hyacinth opened the fridge; "Well I do have a little time before I begin dinner…so I'll start the baking if you grind the coffee beans."
It was Leto's barking that finally pulled the two sleeping women from their much-needed rest. Tess groaned as she puller head from the blondes shoulder and let it fall back onto the pillows. She checked the clock again, half seven…well I suppose that is an extra hours or so sleep. Propping hands behind her head, Tess gazed up at the ceiling.
"So how long have you been awake for this time?"
Nikki chuckled, "How did you know I was awake?"
"Because you always are."
Rolling onto her side, Nikki popped her head up on her left hand, "Not long really, I was just thinking about things." Her hand reached out and found purchase of Tess's arms, where it slid down to clasp the larger hand. "I would usually be up by now…if I were at home. Lisa would have dived into my room about two hours ago, claiming that she had just seen Santa fly past her window in excitement, and claim that it was time to get up."
Tess smirked, "She has been told the truth about the jolly old guy right…I mean I'm not going to go down there and say something insensitive that will kill her hopes and dreams for the season?"
A light laugh, "Yeah I am pretty sure she knows the truth, I had to explain a few things to her years ago now. She came running up to my bedroom in hysterics on Christmas eve claiming that she had just discovered Santa's secret identity…our father!"
There was a deep chuckle, "How so?"
"They thought it would be fun at the council offices if they could get one of the counsellors to dress as Father Christmas for some party, and my dad got the job. He was driven home a little worse for ware and sill in costume, Lisa had snuck down to see who was at the door when she came across the sight." The blonde smiled, "She came to me asking that if he was Santa, would that mean we were elves…because none of us are overly tall, obviously. It was a pretty distraught time for her, but she got over it well enough."
"What, with her sisters loving guidance?"
"No she got her first bicycle that year, kind of lessened the blow." Nikki laughed.
Rolling onto her side so she was facing the blonde, Tess used her free hand to move Nikki's unruly blonde locks from her eyes, "So, want to go down and get this day started, I do have a little present down there for you."
"I can think of something you could give me up here." She waggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Tess gasped, "Nicole Morris are you trying to corrupt me…today of all days?"
"Nope just make it a little more interesting."
"Well however tempting that offer may be, we have people waiting on us and before somebody decides to come and route us out…I think we better get down there."
The blonde sighed dramatically, "Suppose so." She lifted to a sitting position, "I think I better get some clothes on though, don't want to go down looking like this…actually I think it is best if we have a shower before we go down! Care to join me?"
"You wont give in will you!"
She grinned lasciviously, "Not as long as there is breath in my body and a very tasty woman by my side…no way, I'm not a fool."
Forcing forced air through pursed lips Tess rolled onto her back, "Do I have any choice or say in the matter myself?" She whined with faux sincerity.
With a demure smile, Nikki let the cover fall from her body and turn to straddle the brunette, "Of course you have a choice."
Tess looked up at the body before her, "Shower." She stated and pulled herself up, Nikki still in her arms as she made her way to the en-suite cubical.
Typical, as it so often was with British weather that rain had started not long after midnight. It fell as a light drizzle throughout the darkest hours and successfully cleared all the snow by early morning.
Tess stared out her bedroom window overlooking the forest. The beautiful sights of snow covered branches and frosted trees tops had disappeared leaving a naked mass of sodden wood. Ok Tess admitted, it looked much better than that, but she was immensely disappointed that it had snowed all through the run up to Christmas, but on the actual day, it had all but disappeared. All that remained were the odd patches of grey slush, mixed with dead leaves. A less than visually pleasing sight from what she had been hoping for.
Pushing hands into her pockets, the photographer smiled. Still it wasn't that bad, as she had decided that today would be the beginning of the rest of her life…Nikki's as well she hoped. A lot had happened, in such a small amount of time, and in a way the woman saw it as a test of their commitment to one another. She hoped that being here together now, meant that they had passed, she also hoped things would be better from now on. Yes Rosalind had made some attempt at an intimidating threat, but Tess hoped that Richard could, if nothing else calm the woman down. Make her see the futility of any actions she tried to undertake.
A slight creaking brought Tess out of her reverie and she turned to see Nikki emerging from the bathroom. Her hair just towel dried, it looked more like she had neatened it out with her hands than tried to do anything specific.
"Interesting look…what statement are you going for with that?"
Nikki thought, "If you are talking about my hair, it is the can't be arsed to bother look, and if you are talking about the clothes…well these are what you mother brought for me the other day."
Tess nodded taking in the tight cream trousers and light blue shirt that matched her eye colour, "It certainly isn't something I would have expected mum to pick that's for sure."
"Well she was working with the shop assistant. Deb her name was, she had both her nipples pierced!"
There was a sudden laugh, "How do you know that…and do I want to know?"
"Your mother took quite an interest in the amount of facial piercings she had, you could hear some of them jingling, and asked her what other parts of her body had she 'mutilated'!"
"Lets just say she had rings and bolts through places I didn't even knew existed." Nikki walked towards Tess, stopping when she felt the close proximity of her presence. "So, do you think we should get down stairs now, what time is it?"
"Just gone half past eight."
"Yep sounds like it's time to make an appearance." Taking the larger hand within her own, Nikki lead Tess out of the bedroom.
They arrived downstairs to find Hyacinth at the oven and Lisa peeling potatoes with a happy grin. It was then and there that Tess declared that anyone who seemed to enjoy cooking in any shape or form must have a screw loose. Lisa retorted, stating that lack of sleep could be the cause to loosening of mental screws, so in fact it was both she and Nikki's fault. Tess was surprised into silence, and Hyacinth re-emerged from the oven with a laugh, and patted the teen on her back for flummoxing her daughter. Apparently it was a feat not often achieved.
Nikki decided to help with the food preparation, and Lisa gave her a knife asking her to cut the potatoes. Tess was a little taken aback by this and watched on cautiously as Nikki picked up the sharp instrument and began. The photographer was surprised as she watched the blonde handle the object with careful yet practised ease, cutting up the vegetables with neat accuracy. Nikki informed Tess that James had taught her how to use a knife with efficiency at times when her parents were away at whatever official function or gathering they were expected to attend at the time.
Tess sat atop the kitchen table munching on a croissant and watching the other women work. "I want to know when we get to open the presents." She was getting too excited about the prospect of giving Nikki hers, and just hoped she liked it. Not having anybody to bounce the idea off left her with a slight feeling of uncertainty.
Hyacinth shook her head as she put down the oven gloves, "When Richard gets here is when…now don't just sit there, this is your house and we are not your slaves…you could do something to help us out."
"I will do anything that doesn't involve cooking or food preparation of any kind, and if you all want to eat an edible dinner today you will be wise to remember that."
"Fine." The older woman said, "Make yourself useful and go and set the table in the dining room, and make sure it is neat and tidy, I know you don't use that room much…I am surprised there are no cobwebs in there."
Tess slid off the table, "There were but I hovered them up when I heard you were coming." Tess grabbed the necessary items and disappeared from the kitchen before her mother could reply.
Once dinner was prepared and everything was set, the four women retired to the front room. It had passed eleven and they were expecting Richard to arrive very soon. Hyacinth sat on a single chair, Lisa on the sofa with Nikki on the other side and Tess on the floor by her feet, a reassuring hand in hers. They flicked through the mid morning offerings of entertainment on the TV, not impressed with anything they found. Hyacinth and Lisa chatted amiably with each other, while Tess chose to stay quiet, mirroring Nikki, who at that moment was deep in reflection.
Thinking of her father, Nikki was feeling a little nervous, Lisa too she was sure, the teen always got overly chatty when she was anxious. Neither sister had heard word from him since they had seen him the day before yesterday; he hadn't even called Christmas Eve. And as a result, they had no idea as to what had gone on between him and their mother. Nikki smiled wryly to herself, should she even call Rosalind 'mother' anymore. The woman had clearly stated she wanted noting to do with her…and the reason for all this change? Nikki held the larger hand in hers. Tess wasn't the cause, she may have been the catalyst; but what happened had to happen, was going to happen, with that she was certain and it had only been a matter of time.
All her life the blonde had been trapped within the confines of her mothers overbearing and in some way uncaring nature. It had become almost natural, like a way of life, and she hadn't felt the need for a means of escape until Tess. So unexpectedly the brunette had turned up, had befriended her, intrigued her and from the get-go…captured her heart. There was little doubt in her mind about her place in this world, because she knew that as long as it was beside this woman's side she would be content.
Tess looked up at the sound of a deep sigh; she spotted the slight smile of Nikki's face, "What are you thinking?"
The blonde shrugged, "Nothing much, just random thoughts."
The easy mood was interrupted with the sound of the doorbell, and Lisa jumped up with an excited shriek, knowing whom it would be. She made a mad dash to the front door, Tess following behind. Lisa was the first there and opened up, immediately diving into her fathers' arms.
The Mayor staggered back slightly "Well I am glad you are pleased to see me…I hope you will be happy to see whom I brought with me."
Tess smiled at the man in welcome, as Lisa pulled away half expecting it would be her mother, but standing behind the small man was James Abbot. Lisa shrieked again and quickly hugged the butler. "I can't believe you're here too."
"Seems I was at a sudden loss for Christmas, and Mr Morris asked me to accompany him…I think he knew you would be pleased to see me…I just hope it will be ok with everyone else." He looked towards Tess.
"Of course it will be," Tess offered, moving out of the doorway to let the men out of the drizzling rain, "We made enough food to feed 'The Five Thousand'…come in before you get soaked."
"We?" Hyacinth asked approaching the hallway as her daughter shut the front door. "Where did all this we come from?"
"You know what I mean." Tess pouted.
"Uh huh." She looked towards the Mayor, "Nice to see you Richard, how are you?"
He shrugged, "As well as can be expected under the circumstances."
Nikki appeared in the doorway, "What does that mean?"
"Oh none of that now, I will explain later." Richard said as he engulfed his daughter in a hug. "Happy Birthday sweetheart."
"So am I going to get introduced?" Hyacinth asked looking at the 'dashing' man with Richard.
Lisa was the first to speak, "Cinthy meet James Abbot our butler, James this is Hyacinth Alexander…Tess's mother."
They shook hands and smiled warmly at each other, neither Lisa nor Tess missed the looks that passed between them.
Not long after arriving, Richard had asked for a moment alone with his daughters, needing time to speak with them. So while Tess, Hyacinth and James had disappeared into the kitchen, Richard took his two daughters into the front room.
Nikki and Lisa sat beside each other on the sofa and Richard opposite them, he wondered how to handle this discussion. What was he to say, and how to word it, realising that he wished he'd practiced what to say before hand. Maybe his wife was right, he was spineless…shaking his head, Richard released those thoughts from his mind, they were fruitless now. Looking over at his waiting daughters the Mayor took in the twin looks of apprehension, and cursed the fact that such things had happened at this time of year.
Unable to take the quiet anymore Nikki was the first to speak, she hesitated briefly wondering what to say. "Um…what's going to happen dad?"
"Yeah." Lisa squirmed in her seat, "What happened with mum?"
Richard looked briefly at his daughters before looking down, "Well." He raised his head again, "She err…she's left for the moment."
"Left?" It was said in unison.
"Yes, gone to her brothers over the holidays."
Lisa frowned, "Why?"
"I think she just needs time to think sweetheart." Though inside he was sure it was more serious than that, "I know you hoped she would have come around by now and have accompanied me today, but it seems she needs time away to think."
"What did she say when we left?" The teen asked.
The Mayor sighed, "Well she didn't say anything to me that evening, refused to speak with me in fact. But yesterday she was in a little more of a talkative mood." He was understating the situation and knew it too. Rosalind had been more than a little ready to talk and for hours she did nothing else, in a not too quiet voice either.
Lisa looked at him with hopeful eyes, "What did she say?"
He sighed, "Well…" He thought of how to best word things, "She said that she wasn't happy with the choices Nicole had made, and stated that she would never be able to accept them." That was as tactful as he could put it.
"That was it?"
"Well she thinks that Tess is only interested in you Nicole, because of your standing and impending…well not so impending anymore I guess, wealth. I am sorry, but she just doesn't seem to be able to see past her own, I am sorry to say…narrow minded thinking."
"So she left?" Lisa asked again, feeling the need to clarify what her father was saying.
"Not left…just went away for a couple of days in order to think things over. She will be back, I am sure." But he wasn't.
Up until that moment Nikki had been relatively quiet, but she suddenly spoke, "It's my fault."
"What do you mean sweetheart?" Richard frowned.
"Mother left you and it is my fault."
The small man shook his head, "No…absolutely not, it isn't your fault. Look like I told you before, things weren't perfect between your mother and I for a long time, I guess we reached the end of our tethers. Maybe they needed to, because the way things are going, and as sad as this may sound, I am feeling a hell of a lot better about this."
"You are glad she has left?" The blonde asked.
"No…not glad, not at all." He sighed, "How can I put this…things were coming to a head, and one way or another I think the results would have been the same. I will admit that I have no idea what is to happen now, but I don't think I can forgive her for what she tried to do."
"You mean with that guy at the shopping centre…he must have been following us for some time."
"I don't know what she was thinking; how she could have even considered such an act."
"Is she sorry?" Lisa asked.
Richard smiled at his youngest daughter, "I am sure she is now sweetheart, knowing what could have happened…if anything, I am sure of that."
The teen nodded, "I think so too."
Pushing himself to his feet the man walked over to his daughters and situated his small frame in between them. He put an arm around both shoulders, "Now listen to me ok?"
"Ok." Nikki replied.
"Trust me when I say that things will work themselves out in the end, and this is not to spoil the day. Everything will be fine." He hoped it was true, "Ok?"
"Good." He pulled both daughters in and placed a kiss on each head.
Nikki moved away slightly, "Dad?"
"How are my horses?" She asked with a smile.
"Ah, you will be pleased to know both Thunder and Jenna are doing great. I got up very early this morning, and cleaned them out, gave them fresh food, water and blankets. I even gave them some exercise in the fields being as though all the snow had gone. They are fine."
"Good, I miss them."
He smiled, "I bet they miss you too. Why don't you come up to the house for the day tomorrow, Tess and Hyacinth as well and you can spend some time with them." He frowned, "Have you made any decisions about the stables and surrounding land you were considering buying?"
"I have the means now." Nikki answered, "I did think I would have more time to think about it, but it is a great spot so I think I will go ahead with the purchase, just as soon as it is made available."
"What about the house situated in its boundaries?"
Nikki shrugged, "I think I will have to talk with Tess first, I have no idea what I am going to do about that…but it is close to the stables, the area is easy to navigate and I would love to live there. The only problem is what Tess is going to say about it."
"You haven't mentioned it?"
"What was I supposed to say, 'oh and by the way, would you consider moving out of your home and coming to live with me in the country'?"
Richard chuckled, "Well not exactly like that, but you must talk to her about this, Thunder and Jenna will be proud parents soon, and it would be a good idea to get them comfortable in their new home as soon as possible."
The blonde nodded, "Ok…then I guess I shall ask her later, maybe tonight."
"Good idea." Richard rose to his feet once again, "So shall we join Tess, Hyacinth and James before they start to think I have whisked you both away?" Putting an arm around both daughters he led them out of the living room.
Father and daughters returned to the kitchen to find Hyacinth and James talking at the table. Tess had nipped up stairs, so while Richard filled Hyacinth in on recent events, Nikki went up stairs to find her lover.
Tess looked up from her task of pushing three large and one small, wrapping covered box's out of the dark room. She joined Nikki at the banister, where the blonde told her about the talk with her father.
"How do you feel?" The photographer asked.
Nikki pursed her lips, "I don't know, happy that my dad is ok I guess, like he said, things will right themselves in the end and this isn't to spoil the day."
"I'm glad." Tess looked over to the boxes, "So I don't suppose you want to help me carry these boxes down stairs huh?"
"What are they?"
A mischievous smile, "Ah ha, that would be telling."
"Well being as though I would probably fall flat on my face, I think I will let you do it on the pretence of being sulky that you wont tell me what they are." She frowned, "Or is that the other way around…anyway I'll go back down and see how the others are."
"Ok." Tess grinned, "Will you make me a drink while you are in the kitchen?"
Nikki forced a sigh, "Well I suppose if I have no other choice."
"Not unless you want me to dehydrate from all this heavy lifting and exertion I'm doing."
The smaller woman shook her head as she headed back down the stairs, "Fine, but only because I am just too kind for my own good."
Presents had started their rounds not long after everyone had moved into the living room. It took an hour for everything to be given out, ending when there were just two remaining Nikki's to Tess and vise versa.
Nikki sat in front of a large size box, and beside that stood two more boxes; all were of a similar size. Sitting just on top of the largest container laid a long thin box, and it was that she picked up first.
"All of these are for me?" She asked Tess.
The photographer fidgeted as she sat down next to the blonde, holding the photo frame Richard had given her for the picture of Nikki and herself taken at the Charity Function, "Yep, it is kind of a birthday/Christmas present, all one thing, but I had to wrap them separately."
Lisa who was sitting on the floor by her fathers feet leaned forward, "Oh come on Nikki, don't keep us waiting, she didn't tell anybody what she got you and I am dying to find out."
"Ok…ok." She slid her fingers through a break in the wrapping and pulled the paper off.
Every one watched wondering what was inside, but when the paper was removed there was just a dark brown box. Feeling around the edges, Nikki found the flap and opened the long lid, finding the object inside. It felt slightly familiar.
She frowned, "Dad has one of these…a keyboard?"
Richard lifted of his chair slightly to look in the box, "A computer keyboard?"
Nikki's face was a mix of confusion and surprise, "You brought me a computer?"
Tess sucked in her bottom lip nervously, "Well yes…but it is a different kind of computer. Feel the keys."
Doing as asked the blondes face lit up, "Braille!"
The photographer nodded, "Uh huh. It comes complete with audio activated software. I mean you have to input all data on the keyboard, but it can follow vocal directives as well. I though you could use it for when you write and or you know…when you start your stud farm, you would be able use the computer. It comes with business packages and it all can be controlled by specific voice commands." Tess bit her lip, "There is a printer as well, and it prints with ink, Braille or both at the same time."
The room was quiet and Tess looked around at the mass of shocked faces. She turned to Nikki with uncertainty, "Do…you like it?"
Fingers absently flowing over the dotted keys, Nikki was at a loss for what to say, "I…I don't…"
The brunettes face dropped, "You don't like it."
Nikki was quick to jump in, "NO…I love it, it's fantastic…I am just so surprised, I…um…" Placing the keyboard on the floor, she turned around, and finding Tess, pulled her into a loving embrace. "It's wonderful." She whispered, "The best present ever…I love you."
Smiling into Nikki's neck, the photographers kissed the soft skin discreetly, "I'm glad." She whispered back.
Pulling away Nikki reached down and picked up the box for Tess that was sitting by her feet. "This is for you…your kind of hard to get for, and not having the best of opportunities, I had to improvise a little, but I hope you like it." She handed the box over.
Looking down at the wrapped package the tall woman began pulling off the paper. Lisa and Richard both knew what was inside, as Nikki had informed her father before hand. It was an item that belonged to his father after all. The Mayor was fine about Nikki giving it to Tess, and couldn't wait to see the expression on the woman's face when she removed the wrapping.
Once the paper was removed, Tess looked down at the leather box as her eyes began to take in the form. She opened it up and her mouth literally dropped, "Oh my god…this is…it's a…a Wilkin-Welsh!"
Hyacinth moved from her place beside James to get a better look at the camera, "Oh my!"
Tess looked up at Nikki then back down at the camera, her fingers moving over the pleated bellows. "This is antique…and so rare…it's beautiful!"
The blondes smile was blinding, "I hoped you would like it."
Eyes wide Tess looked up at her lover, "Like it…I love it, this is so amazing. I have only ever seem a picture of one in a book before, I never thought I would get to see and hold one…"
"Own one." The blonde corrected.
Tess shook her head, "This is just amazing."
"It works too." Richard stated.
"Really?" She asked.
"Well so we were told, that has never been tested. Still I am sure you will know how to work it."
The photographer smiled, "Yes, but I think I would be afraid to use it…it's in such brilliant condition…I dare not even leave a finger print."
Nikki laughed, "Well it's entirely up to you I guess…it's yours after all."
Tess placed the antique camera on the coffee table beside her and stood up, "Nikki could you come with me a moment please, I need to ask your opinion on something." Her voice was calm and even.
The blonde nodded, "Um…sure." She got up and followed Tess out the room, careful of the boxes lying by her feet.
The remaining occupants of the room watched them leave with varying degrees of intrigue. "Wonder what that was about." Lisa said.
James Abbot twisted slightly in his chair, "Miss Tess probably needed help with something." He looked towards the woman sitting beside him, "So Hyacinth, Lisa tells me you now live in Cornwall, which part?"
Tess led Nikki into the kitchen, finding a drooling Leto sitting beside the oven; the appliance was emitting aromas she had never smelt before. Especially in this house, Tess wasn't the most diligent of cooks. Nikki stopped by the door, with a frown, "What is it Tess?"
"This." Tess reached out placing her hand on the blondes' cheek and gently moved forward to make clear her intent. She didn't just want to grab the woman and kiss her, though that is exactly what she desired to do. The kiss was firm and rapidly deepening as the photographer tried to show Nikki just how much that gift meant to her. Eventually she pulled away, "Just in case you didn't get it…that was a thank you."
"Is that what it was?" Nikki asked breathlessly, "I think I could get used to that." There was an impish grin; "You know I made you that drink earlier!"
Tess smirked as she leaned down and kissed the blonde, "Thank you."
Nikki searched her mind in thought, "I let you use the remains of my favourite apple scented shampoo."
A Kiss, "Thank you."
"I didn't moan when you were cutting your finger nails, and that one flew off and hit me in the face."
"Hey that was an accident, and I did say sorry!"
"I know, I know…give me a break I am grasping here ok!"
The photographer chuckled and sealed her lips once again with the blondes. "Is that it?"
"For the moment." Nikki replied, "But I am going to enjoy being at your beckon call from now on. I like the rewards."
For the six people in the house, the remainder of the day seemed to pass much too quickly. The dinner was perfect and the two men praised the women's triumphant success. However Tess was quick to point out that she unfortunately had nothing to do with the culinary delights, and if so, she was positive their responses would have been much different.
Being banished from the dining room, Leto sat by the door watching the humans with a great deal of envy. Still the golden dog was happy, when she was given the leftovers at the end of the meal.
The afternoon saw them congregating in the living room, all talking apart in rather animated conversations, apart from Lisa who wanted to watch the Christmas day movie, and was happy that nobody else minded. Tess watched covertly as her mother conversed with James Abbot, clearly spotting the veiled looks that were being dished out both ways. She looked towards Richard and spotted the amused grin he wore, and realised he had noticed as well. Choosing to ignore it, as she didn't know what to think Tess decided she would question her mother about it at a later date.
Late into the evening, when Richard and James had left for home, including Lisa who decided to go home with her father, Tess and Nikki sat in their bedroom. The photographer on the floor and Nikki cross-legged on the bed, they were both reading through the mass of booklets that came with Nikki's new computer.
A medium size box of chocolates sat beside the blonde, half empty as she munched through them while reading. Tess had joked that she had better not smudge chocolate into the pages of the instruction booklet, to which Nikki replied that as long as she could feel the bumps on the pages she didn't care what it looked like.
It was half an hour or so later before Tess lightly chucked the book that she was reading onto the floor. Closing her eyes, she massaged her temple with a groan.
The photographer sighed, "Too much reading and thinking at the same time…I must not be used to it." She joked
"I have the cure for that."
"Oh do tell."
"It is the feel good cure for everything." Nikki took another out the box and held it in Tess's general direction, "Come on."
"Ok." Tess rolled onto her knees and shuffled towards her. Leaning forward she took a small bite into the tasty offering, making sure to brush her lips and tongue against Nikki's fingers as she did so. "Hmmm…I see what you mean."
"Uh huh." The smaller woman answered feeling her temperature rise several degrees…and counting.
With a wicked smirk, and knowing how her actions were affecting Nikki she grabbed the hand and ate the remaining half, sucking the blondes fingers as she did so, "Don't want to leave any chocolate smudges."
Nikki shook her head, "Uh ugh."
Still holding the hand, Tess trailed kisses up the small arm, and then cupped Nikki's face, informing her of where her lips were about to travel next. Nikki leaned forwards and waited until their lips connected, in a deepening kiss that lasted endless minutes. When eventually they pulled back the blonde smiled, "Hmm, chocolate kisses…I like."
Tess pouted, "You like them better than my chocolate free ones?"
"No way…as long as you are on the end of these." She reached up, moving her sensitive fingers over the swollen lips, "Then I don't care one way or the other."
"I can live with that." Tess moved from the floor and climbed onto the bed beside her lover. She crossed her legs, mirroring the blondes' position and thought for a while. "You know…my mum seemed awfully comfortable with James today."
"How do you mean?"
The brunette shrugged, "Just that they looked comfortable together…a little too comfortable. They kept giving each other coy looks when one thought the other wasn't watching."
Blondes' brows arched over blue eyes, "You mean they seem to like each other…in that way?"
"I don't know."
"Is that a bad thing?"
Tess sighed, "No, not a bad thing, and I may be reading too much into all this but I noticed and it made me think. Ok, to be honest I guess I felt a little uncomfortable by it all and I know that's irrational. I mean my dad has been dead for some years now, and mum does live down south all by her own, maybe she does get a little lonely at times." She sighed again, "I don't know, I guess when it comes to parents you don't really want to think about that kind of thing…relationships and such." She smiled, "I am quite happy thinking I was an immaculate conception."
Nikki laughed and uncrossed her legs rolling onto her back and crossing her arms behind her head, "I think I can understand what you mean, but she is human, and a woman alone, maybe she does want some company at times…and besides I could think of nobody better than James if she wishes to spend time with him, but I am bias."
Following suit, Tess uncoiled her legs but rolled onto her stomach, chin in her hands, "Guess so…James is cool…as long as he stops calling me 'Miss Tess'."
A light laugh, "It's the way he has always been, I've tried to get him to call me Nikki occasionally but he said that as long as he was in my families employment he couldn't…I guess it makes sense him thinking like that, his father was the same."
"Hmm." Tess reached over and picked out another chocolate from Nikki's box. As she bit into the treat, she immediately regretted it as she realised it's inner content. "Ugh…orange!" Grimacing she held her breath as she forcefully swallowed the chocolate.
"Not a favourite?" The blonde asked grinning.
"How did you guess." Tess replied in disgust.
"Well if you don't like it." Nikki opened her mouth, and Tess leaned over popping the remains of the chocolate inside. Nikki munch away happily.
Leaning over Tess kissed the flavoured lips; "So birthday girl, did you have a good day?"
"Are you officially twenty-four yet?"
"Half eight in the evening…so yep, about two hours now."
There was silence as both women drifted in thought, and sudden nerves invaded the smaller woman's mind. She thought of the farmland she had been thinking of buying for some months. Although she hadn't considered living there before, now it was a possibility. Still there was Tess to think about. However much she wanted to buy the land, if Tess didn't want to move, she didn't think she would either. And if push came to shove she would look for closer stables for Thunder and Jenna, even if that meant paying to house them in rented space. Getting them away from Rosalind's house was her main concern; they were just too far away. The ideal land she required would come along eventually, and Nikki was patient.
Rolling onto her stomach, Nikki folded her arms out in front and placed her head on top, facing the photographer. "Tess?"
"Hmm?" She turned to look at the blonde, noticing the apprehensive expression on her face. "What is it Nik?"
She took in a deep breath, "Remember when I was talking about buying land, you know stables for my horses, enough room to start my stud farm?"
"Well what I never actually said was there was a place that was offered to me for consideration."
"I told my dad about what I wanted to do some time ago and he said he would look into things for me, and find out what was out there in the way of land for purchase. Well a month or so ago, we were told about this piece of land that was coming up for sale. Twenty acres, stables with planning permission for more, bordering the national forest, small brick wall boundaries…"
"Sounds perfect." Tess interrupted.
"…Well yes, but there is also a five bedroom farm house on the outskirts. It is about thirty miles away from here."
Nikki bit her lip and pushed up to a sitting position. Keeping her head lowered she continued speaking, "I haven't been there yet, but I have been given first refusal, it isn't coming on the market until the middle of January. I was told about it because the owners found out that I would be willing to pay the asking price. Apparently it is a beautiful place."
"Nikki what are you trying to say?" Tess was a little confused.
Hearing the tone in the brunettes' voice, Nikki wondered whether consideration was already too late. "I don't know. Um…have you ever considered living out in the countryside, on a farm? I mean it was just a thought and if you don't want to then I would forget about it."
"It is something I was considering, I mean if you don't like the idea that would…be ok." She frowned, "I could still buy the land and rent out the house, or offer it as housing to a site manager. The distance is the main problem with that idea though I guess. I just need to move Thunder and Jenna as soon as I can."
Pushing herself up onto her knees, Tess cocked her head as she stared at the blonde, "Are you asking me whether I would consider moving to the countryside…with you…I mean…?"
There was silence as Nikki paused; wondered whether she was making a big mistake in even thinking Tess would consider such a sudden request. "If you don't want to, then you don't have to. I um…it was just a suggestion."
"A suggestion…you and me, living in the country?"
"Um…it doesn't matter." Nikki felt her heart sink deep within her chest.
"NO…no, no, no are you serious? I mean of course you are." Moving forward Tess sat in front of her lover, "Nik, I will admit that I have never been a true lover of the country side, but the idea of moving out there with you, the two of us alone, and with all that peace and quiet…it's very appealing."
"You like the idea?" She asked with uncertainty.
"Sounds wonderful." Tess smiled, as she took in the look of disbelief on the blonde's face. She leaned forward, taking a smaller hand within her own, "If you are asking me whether I would consider moving with you onto the farm, then without a doubt the answer would be yes. Nik, I know this is your dream to work with horses, I would never want to stand in your way, and if it involves moving then I would do it in a heartbeat. Even if it means I have to commute longer distances to work every day, I would do it." She paused, "It wouldn't involve me giving up work would it?"
"Absolutely not!" An excited smile was forming on Nikki's face.
Lifting the hand, Tess kissed perceptive fingers one by one, "Then I think it is a wonderful idea."
Rising to her knees, Nikki pulled Tess towards her until they were body to body, "Are you serious?"
A thrill of excitement shot through the blonde and she leaned forward taking familiar lips in a passionate kiss. "Do you know how much I love you?"
"No, you may have to remind me of that every day."
Nikki smirked, "If that's what it takes…then that is what I will do." They kissed again. "We are really going to do this aren't we?" She said with a slight feeling of disbelief.
"You and me…building a life together…it sounds wonderful." Tess wound her hands through golden hair.
"You know there was a time when I never thought I would find a way to gain my independence, and be able to live the life I wanted. It was hard you know, always having to rely on people, and in a way I always will have to I suppose. But I would never think about what I really wanted out of life, because I didn't think it was worth even considering something that I could never have."
"What is it that you wanted?" asked Tess.
"Just the normal things that I am sure everybody has. And now I have them…I have it all in you."
Tess smiled and kissed the button nose, "And I have you."
"So I guess I do get the happy ending I always wanted."
Shaking her head, the photographers' smile widened, "No…" She kissed the tempting lips once again, knowing she could never tire of the feelings the blonde produced within her, "No, this is just the beginning." She stated with certainty as she gently pushed her lover to the cushioned surface of their bed.
Well there you go guys...so do you want to see Rosalind get her comeuppance once and for all, Jenna have her baby, our couple move into their new home, find out some hidden facts about Nikki's blindness, see the return of Rosalind's hired man from the shopping centre, Tess face the pressure of increasing fame, and make a big decision about her and Nikki's future…and much more. Let me know because the sequel, imaginatively titled, 'SNAP SHOTS PART 2' is well under way and I hope to be coming in the next couple of weeks.
Any comments, let me see them at…firstname.lastname@example.org