Snap Shots




Disclaimer: This is the second part to my original story Snap Shots part 1.

Language warning: Not often but yes.

Love and sex warning: This story definitely portrays a loving relationship between two women.

Violence Warning: Yes definitely more than a projectile camera this time and from about chapter 8 onwards.

Thanks: First of all I would like to thank Garnet for Beta reading this story. Tammy for once again provided me with all the relevant horsey information, and her patience in explaining to me the purpose of a girth!

And to everyone for the overwhelming feedback I received

Let me know what you think:


For Tess and Nikki the next few weeks flew by in a buzz of settling into their new home, along with working and caring for the horses. During the first couple of days after the exhibition, Tess had been unusually quiet and subdued, even for her. Nikki had been concerned, sensing the subtle ways in which Tess would retreat into herself at the drop of a hat. She refrained from approaching the subject for a whole two days, a very long two days, until she realised Tess would need some form of gentle persuasion if she were to open up. So she had confronted the photographer, and it didn't take long before the brunette was admitting that she was feeling very accountable for the fact that she hadn't been there for the blonde at the exhibition. Naturally, Nikki was quick to point out that simply wasn't the case, Tess had been there for her just when she most needed her most, and if she didn't 'snap out of it' Nikki claimed she would be forced to take drastic measures. She never actually stated what those measures would be, but hinted towards her foot and the photographers' backside featuring largely in the equation. That was all it took, and Nikki managed to pull the photographer out of her self-induced funk with a relieved smile.

So life around Riverside farm returned to an easy flow of normality. With the help of Sam and Janie, Nikki was able to get her office together. Tess had put up a selection of wall shelves at the weekend and the women had filled them with books, both Tess's collection of detective novels, and Nikki's eclectic range of reference books, all in Braille of course. The desk had been moved in and it took Nikki and her two employees two hours to set up her computer. The blonde had decided that being as though Tess had read through the entire set of information booklets, they should have waited, but no matter how long it took them, they did do it and Nikki felt a great sense of group achievement in doing so. The blonde had made sure she had a space on her desk especially cleared for the carved wooden horse Tess had given her the year before. Making sure it was no more than an arms length away for the numerous times she would hold the carving, running her fingers over the fine detailing.

The weekend after Tess had finally found the time to set up her dark room, starting the process by moving the simple furniture around single-handed. Nikki had then helped by carrying in the smaller boxes of photographic paper and assorted chemicals for developing. Tess had even persuaded Leto to help, bribing her with doggy biscuits if she picked up the small objects the photographer dropped as she carried boxes weighed down with her own personal, and what even she would admit 'junk'. Of course Nikki had been fascinated by Tess's boxes of 'nick nacks' as she had called them, and had routed through the containers searching out items that she found interesting. She couldn't help smiling when she found a small glass jar full of Jacks, and the photographer explained that she used to play them as a child conning the local boys out of their pocket money. She did admit her interest in simple games, which explained to Nikki her discovery of tiny spinning tops, decks of cards, poker dice and marbles in a the same box. She decided to challenge the woman to a game at some point. It took Tess a whole day to complete her darkroom, finishing the look off with a carefully situated shelf on which she proudly placed her Wilken Walsh antique camera.

On the Sunday, Tess was surprised to get an unexpected phone call from her mother, a surprised that was heightened in magnitude by Hyacinths admittance to her growing relationship with James Abbot. Nikki sat by Tess during the phone conversation smiling as she discovered James was in fact down in Cornwall visiting Hyacinth that very weekend. At first Tess was a little taken aback by this news, but it didn't take her long to hear the happiness her mother expresses as she described the weekend she'd had with James and the obvious affection they held for each other. Still that didn't stop the photographer from getting over protective of her mother and demanding to speak with James where she 'ever so politely' (thanks to Nikki's jab in the ribs) told the man to take good care of her mother. James had smiled at the sudden reversal in roles thinking that it wasn't too long ago that he had wanted to say the very same thing to her concerning Nikki.

Due to the events at the art gallery Tess's conversation with Jim Eagles, a producer with the TV station hosting the next British Music Awards had completely skipped her mind. And it wasn't until his phone call several days later that she remembered to tell Nikki about their agreement. The blonde had been amazed and truly excited when she found out Tess was going to be attending the event, and would be meeting a whole host of famous singers and musicians. It was an excitement that increased ten fold when she realised Tess of course wanted Nikki to come with her. How could she refuse, music was a love of hers and to have the opportunity to possibly meet some of her favourite artist was a chance not to pass upon. So it was agreed upon and within two days Tess received a three-year contract she needed to sign securing her as the official photographer for the British Music Awards. She also received her passes for the event, even though it wasn't to be held for another four months.

Within two days after the exhibition, Richard Morris had served divorce papers to his estranged wife, and the woman had agreed, but did indeed as her own form of revenge set in motion the proceedings for the sale of their home. Nikki had offered her father, sister and James a place to reside at her home, but Richard declined the offer. He had already made arrangements to purchase a house on the outskirts of the city.

As the place was considerably smaller, it meant a decrease in workload for James, and knowing the man would soon be reaching the age of retirement, Richard had decided to give the old man three days a week off. He didn't want James to feel like he was being pushed out, but knew that after many years of service the butler was well due the benefits of retirement. Of course he too was aware of the budding relationship with Tess's mother and thought it would be a good way to encourage this by giving the old man a couple of days off a week where he could take the train down to Cornwall and spend some time with Hyacinth.

Richard had told his daughters and Tess about the events and outcome of his confrontation with Rosalind, including Jared Greens presence; and they were all relieved that no word about this had been printed in the tabloid papers.

During this whole period of time Nikki had been thinking hard about certain subjects that were beginning to reach a conclusion in her mind, and it was three weeks later on a warm Friday evening that the blonde decided to speak with Tess about her decision.


The brunette arrived home to the usual greeting from an over excited Leto who was always happy to see her master. Tess was thrust against the door as the golden hounds rapid body and wagging tail, moved in a blurred haze as she tried to lick as much of the tall woman as possible. Dropping her silver case, Tess allowed Leto a few moments of indulgence before pulling back and ordering the over affectionate mutt to calm down...she did so on command. With a satisfied smirk Tess went in search of Nikki, knowing at least that the blonde would be aware of her presence. How could she not, Leto wasn't the most subtle of dogs when it came to vying for attention.

"Nik?" She shouted, having already looked in the living room and not finding her there, she entered the kitchen.

"In here." Came the distant reply.


"The office."

"Right." Tess replied as she excited the side door and walked along the small back passage towards the office. Pushing the door open she found Nikki sitting at her desk obviously reading through an information section on her new 'Web Braille' digital books page. Ever since she and Tess had installed the technology Nikki was finding it a great way to access reference books on the net without having to go out and buy them.

"Hey." She said leaning down and kissing the blonde on the cheek.

Nikki smiled moving away from her computer and directing her head up towards the photographer, "Hey to you too, so how was your day today, did you survive that shoot at the local primary school?"

Tess pursed her lips, "Please tell me again why I agreed to do that, I don't do schools, I have never done schools and what's more I have no experience in dealing with that many snot nosed little brats, half of them screaming, half crying because they don't like having their picture taken."

"Because you are a nice person who agreed to do it for a friend who was in hospital."

A heavy sigh, "No, I did it because I was conned into returning a favour that I didn't owe anyway." She shrugged, "Hell maybe that does make me a nice person."

"Uh huh...and modest too." Nikki replied with a smirk.

After an exaggerated sigh Tess continued, "Anyway, it went reasonably well I guess. I had to do ten minutes of the shoot sitting with a young girl in my lap who believed I was a magic lady...don't ask me why because I am still wondering that myself. Three kids actually cried, one five-year-old spent ages brushing her hair, and a six year old boy peed his pants."

Nikki laughed, "Oh god it sounds like you had a ball, I wish I'd have been there."

Tess sulked, "Yeah well next time you can come with me, children always seem drawn to you, must be that whole blonde haired, blue eyed innocent look you have. I don't think they liked the 'big scary lady'."

"Is that what they said?"

"One of them." Tess sighed pulling a slip of paper from her jacket pocket, "Anyway enough of that...guess what I have here."

"Oh!" Nikki rose from her chair, "I have no idea."

"Hold out your hand." Nikki did as requested and Tess placed the long slip of paper into her left hand, "Here take a gander at this blondie!"

Nikki's brow creased in concentration as she studied the item, "It's a check!" She stated with surprise.

"Yep, go ahead have a read, it was especially embossed with Braille just for you." Tess watched as Nikki's fingers ran over the slip of paper.

"Um..." Her fingers ran over the name of the payee first, "Mr Austin Reed?" She carried on, moving her fingers over the rest of the cheques surface, "Pay Miss Tess Alexander and Nicole Morris the sum of..." her expression turned to one of shock, "Fifty thousand pounds! The picture?"

"Yep." Tess looked over Nikki's shoulder, looking once again at the check, "Fifty god damned thousand frigging pounds. I met Austin Reed today, bit of a strange man, but with the obvious money he has I guess the rich can afford to be a little on the eccentric side."


" what shall we do with it?"

"What do you mean?" Nikki asked handing the cheque back over to Tess.

The brunette folded the slip of paper and strode over to the cabinet by the side of the wall. Opening the lower cupboard she pulled out Nikki's metal cash box and opened the lid, placing the check inside and locking it again securely. "Well it isn't like we don't have pretty opulent bank accounts anyway, so I was just thinking maybe this could be a little mad money, you know spend it in some slightly extravagant way."

"What like an outdoor swimming pool?" Nikki asked

"Or the new block of stables you wanted to build for the stud farm."

"A rock garden."

Tess rolled her eyes, knowing Nikki's fascination with rocks. The blonde had a whole box of them that she had been collecting since she was a child. It consisted of many interesting shaped rocks that Nikki loved to feel, "Yeah or a sauna."

"A holiday."

"A boat."

"Your own studio." Nikki paused, "You want a boat?"

Tess grinned as she moved away from the cabinet walking towards the blonde, "No not really, I was just thinking of over extravagant know like an apartment in Paris, or a small island somewhere in the Pacific, way too expensive anyway."

"Ah...well maybe it's something for us to think about." She chuckled and leaned forward, reaching out to her computer where she proceeded to shut the system down, "And speaking of things to think about, I have something I want to talk to you about."

"Yeah? Well okay, do you want to go and sit outside, it is a really a nice night out for an early April evening."

"Sure let me just finish off in here and I will meet the front or back?"

Tess scrunched her nose in thought, "Um, on the front, I want to sit near the stream, and with Leto playing around out there it will keep the security light on."

"Alright then."

Tess jogged out the office, heading back towards the kitchen where she took a detour to the fridge. After grabbing a bottle of wine and two glasses, she called Leto and together they walked through the house and out the front door. The brunette waited for Nikki by the porch, deciding that she wanted to sit on the bridge so needed to make sure Nikki got there easily. The blonde was now very comfortable with the layout of the house, but was still a little wary with the front of the building when it came to the bridge and stream.

Looking out across the illuminated courtyard, Tess watched an over enthusiastic Leto as she chased night insects flying through the air. The brunette cringed as she seemed to catch a large moth, and after a stern command not to eat bugs, Leto dropped the soggy creature to the ground. She bent down, sniffing the bug, but it was too late the moth was dead, and the golden hound wined for all of three seconds before chasing off in search of another flying creature.

Hearing the sound of approaching footsteps Tess turned to see Nikki exiting the front door. "Are you ready...I was thinking we could go and sit out on the bridge if that's okay with you."

Nikki nodded, "Sure." And together they made their way to the wide wooden structure.

The sky was clear after an earlier fall of spring rain, and the moon shone brightly in the sky. Tess stepped onto the bridge and looked across to the water, noticing how the moons reflection shimmered in the gentle current of the narrow tricking stream. Moving to the edge of the bridge, both women sat down, their legs dangling over the surface of the structure.

Nikki sighed angling her face towards a gentle breeze, "You know what I don't get?"

Tess studied the form of the blonde sitting peacefully by her side, "What's that then?"

"Well." Nikki fiddled with her cane briefly before placing it by her side, "This is a stream right? I mean rivers are usually much larger aren't they?"

"Uh huh."

"Well then why is the house called Riverside Farm, it's not really by the river is it, that's a couple of miles away."

Tess frowned bemused, "You know that is a good question, I never really thought about it before. Though I suppose if I do think about it Streamside Farm really doesn't have the same ring to it. Yeah I suppose whoever named this place was tying to go for something a little more traditional, but at the same time romantic."

"Why romantic?" asked Nikki, enjoying the tranquil sounds of the trickling water below.

A light shrug, "I don't know, a beautiful house in a country setting, surrounded by lots of Mother Natures own creations." Finding a stray stone on the bridge Tess picked it up and threw it into the stream, watching the moons reflection dissipate in a flow of gentle crests. After a couple of seconds it reappeared?

"What was that plonking sound?"

Tess smiled, "Just me trying to skim a stone of the waters surface, it doesn't really work with round bulky ones though." Twisting to her side, the brunette picked up the bottle of wine and pulled out the cork, "Want a glass of Chardonnay?"


Tess half filled the two glasses; she placed one in Nikki's waiting hand. "So what did you want to speak with me about?"

"Oh um..." Nikki took a quick drink, "Well I have been thinking a lot over the past couple of weeks about Dr Jacobson's call."

Tess immediately placed down her glass ready to give Nikki her full attention, this had been playing on her mind a great deal too. She did want to approach the subject with Nikki, but didn't want the blonde to feel like she was being pushed into anything. However much she would love Nikki to be able to get back at least partial vision, she wanted it for Nikki...she herself was happy with whatever the blonde decided. "And?"

"And I am still a little scared...but...I think I am prepared to talk with him properly."

"Yeah? What made you change your mind?"


"Me?" Tess shook her head, "Hey Nik, you know I would never push you into this; I don't want you to think in anyway that you have to do this for me because you don't."

A smile, "Thanks, but that isn't exactly what I was talking about. I mean it's your faith in me that makes me want to do this. No matter what does or doesn't happen I know that you will always be there for me. I feel less trepidation when thinking about facing this knowing you will be here for me."

"Always Nik."

"So the least I can do is hear him out right?"

Tess shrugged, "I guess I don't see why not."

Nodding the blonde sighed, thinking, "I want to know what colours look like...I want to see them like you do and be able to associate them with things just like the way you describe colours to me...making me feel them."

Smiling the photographer took Nikki's hand, "What else do you want?"

Shaking her head Nikki turned away, "I don't want to want anything," she paused, "I shouldn't have even said that...I don't want to build up any expectancies only to be disappointed when they don't happen."

"You can't..."

"No." Nikki interrupted, "After meeting you Tess I have wanted this more than I have ever wanted it before in my life." She sighed exasperated and climbed to her feet, anger suddenly building inside her. "DAMN IT TESS... I love you, I love being with you, I love the feel of you, the sound of you, the taste of you and more than anything I want to see all that. To see what you actually look like when I feel your lips smile, and I hear you laugh. I want to see the ways in which you respond to me physically, and that serious look on your face that I know is there when you speak sometimes." Tess jumped to her feet and moved towards her lover, but Nikki backed away, "And do you know what...I hate you for it."

At those words Tess stopped moving, feeling as though her heart had just died right there within her chest.

"You make me want things in a way that I have never felt before. I had never even wasn't like I knew what I was missing right? But now because of you I feel like I want more, need more...anything as long as it's all to do with you."

Silence reigned for some seconds as the brunette tried to digest what the blonde has said; she swallowed hard feeling bewildered and wounded.

Nikki's head lowered, her shoulders slumping in defeat as tears sprung to her eyes. She shook her head, "No...I don't hate you...I could never hate you." She whispered, "I hate me for wanting those things, for allowing myself to want those things, to be considering those kinds of thoughts."

Breathing heavily Tess tried to calm the torrent of emotion that engulfed her heart. Her lip trembled as tears stung cloudy emerald eyes, "Maybe..." She took a deep breath, fighting the hurt she felt at Nikki's words. "Maybe you allowed yourself those kind of thoughts...because of this opportunity."

"Maybe," said the quiet voice.

"You can't hate yourself for wanting those things Nikki."

"Why not. I have never felt anything like this before. The overwhelming desire to be able to look in your eyes and see my own reflection, see the love that you make me feel every day. I've NEVER felt like this before and it scares me."

"But that's love."


Not being able to stand the distance any longer Tess moved forward and took Nikki into her arms. "The overwhelming desire you just mentioned, don't you think I feel that too? It's all part of being in love Nik." She lifted the blondes face and kissed each closed eye tenderly, "I love you, sometimes I wish I could just wrap myself around you and never let go."

Tears leaked from reopened blue eyes, "I'm sorry Tess."


"For saying that know...I don't even want to say it again."

Leaning forward Tess kissed away the fallen tears, "That's okay, but I will be honest with you and say that I am glad you don't want to say it again because it um..."

"Hurt you." It wasn't a question.

Nodding the photographer sucked on her bottom lip, "Yeah."

Letting her head fall to Tess's chest, Nikki laughed silently.

"What are you laughing at Miss Morris?"

Sighing Nikki pulled away, "Actually I would like to see that as well."

"What's that?"

"You sucking on your lip, I hear you do it every time you get nervous." She arched her brow waiting for Tess to respond.


"Uh huh."

"I didn't realise," she said in wonder, suddenly aware that she may do it again and conscious of this fact. She shook her head with a smirk as she pulled Nikki into her body holding her tight.

Looking over to Leto, who was in the middle of a series high vaults in the air as she tried to catch more flying bugs, Tess smiled "I think we should go in before Leto catches something a little bigger than a bug and it fights back."

"Like what?"

"A bat." Tess replied, watching several of the black creatures wiz around the courtyard at swift speeds.

"Is that what that faint whooshing sound is?" Nikki asked as they stepped off the bridge.

"Sure is."

"Ugh then quick lets get in because I don't think I like bats."

Tess frowned, "Don't think?" She asked as they made their way towards the house.

"Well I don't like rats, and Lisa says bats are just rats but with wings." She shuddered noticeably.

"Well now you know how I feel about bloody spiders...personally I like bats, they are so dark and mysterious."


"Sleeping all day and coming out at nights, just like vampires." She said in her most ghoulish of voice.


"The squeaking..."

"Tess if you don't shut up now I may have to remind you about the large amount of spiders that more than likely spin their webs along the nooks and cranny's of the bridge."

Falling silent, Tess looked back at Leto who was in the midst of scratching behind her ear, "Leto, come on in now."

At her masters command the golden hound hurtled herself into the house, followed by a smug Nikki and a suddenly very itchy Tess.


CJ pulled his red Civic into the driveway of the Mayors home. Looking up he noticed the large 'for sale' sign and looked over at his passenger. "So that's really it huh, you are definitely moving for sure?"

Lisa nodded, "Yeah, my mum is selling the house, so my dads brought another one nearer town, that way it means less travelling for him and less for me too, as now I have decided to attend a closer college."

Nodding CJ looked back at the house, "Can I ask why your mum is selling?"

The brunette shrugged, "My parents are getting a divorce. At first when it all happened I was sad, but now I am glad because my dad is happy, Nikki seems happier and even I feel it too. My mum wasn't always a nice person CJ, she used to shout a lot and make Nikki and myself feel bad."

Looking intently at the girl sitting next to him CJ couldn't help be feel amazed at the sudden change in events. What started as him agreeing to help his brother get even with the woman who had so noticeably smashed up his nose, ended with him meeting somebody that he was falling for very quickly. He was confused, wanting to stay loyal to his brother, yet not wanting to give up the chance to see where things would go in this 'dare he say' prospective relationship. Not knowing what his brother had in mind was a draw back, and also not wanting to get Bradley into trouble with the police put him in a very uncomfortable situation. He didn't know what was best to do, so did the only thing he could and that was play this situation by ear.

"So would you like to go and properly meet Nikki and Tess tomorrow?"

CJ looked away from his intent study of the steering wheel, "Will that be okay?" He asked, knowing that if he were to do this he would in no way be telling his brother.

"If you want to then yeah, I know Nikki is just dying to give you the third degree." She joked and watched as the bleached blonde blanched, "I was only kidding CJ, my sister is is Tess."

Nodding the young man smiled, "Okay, tomorrow. So what time do you want me to pick you up?"


"Sounds okay by me." Taking her hand he leaned to the side kissing her cheek.

Lisa smiled coyly, "Is that all I get?" She asked.

Scratching his slight stubble CJ looked back towards the house, "When your father is standing by the door I am afraid so, yes."

Eyes moving to the form of Richard Morris standing expectantly in the doorway Lisa flushed with embarrassment, "Ugh god, now I know how Nikki must have felt."


Being woken up early on a Saturday morning was not Tess's idea of how she wanted to spend the weekend. After having to get up at seven o'clock every morning, seven o'clock, she stressed to herself, and having to leave Nikki happily in bed, she wanted to spend the weekend just lying with the blonde catching up on some much wanted (not necessarily needed) sleep. But alas it was not to be so, for at half seven she had been woken up to the infuriating sound of a ringing telephone, why me she thought with a sigh.

It was Nikki who had answered the phone, dashing down the stairs and vowing to get an extension put in their bedroom. A pledge that was answered by Tess's simple statement, 'don't even think about it blondie'.

Tess lay on her back, looking up at the white plaster ceiling, wondering what was taking Nikki so long, she had been down stairs for almost five minutes and without her Tess was getting decidedly less sleepy.

A minute later Nikki came back into the bedroom, "Tess you are not going to believe this."

Rolling onto her side and looking at the joy on Nikki's face brought an instant smile to the brunette, "What?"

"That was the RSPCA on the phone, there's a rescue horse they want me to look after, isn't that wonderful?"

"Yeah, why do they want you to look after it, I mean what happened to it?"

"Well he didn't say much, just that she was rescued from an abandoned field, she is slightly cow hocked, and she is a miniature!" Nikki smiled with excitement.

Tess arched an eyebrow, "Okay I give...what's a miniature?"

Nikki's expression turned to one of disbelief, "Tess a miniature horse, you know of the small variety."

"You mean like a pony?"

"No this is a horse Tess, only small."

"Like it's stunted in growth?"

Nikki rolled her eyes, "No they are a breed; they are supposed to be that size."

Tess pursed her lips nodding, "So does she have a name?"

"Apparently one of the guys called her Shannon, though we are not supposed to say who named her, as his wife may get a little offended...her name is Shannon too." The blonde rolled her eyes, "Men!" Nikki shook her head as she headed back towards the bathroom, "Anyway," she shouted, "I better get dressed because the guy said he was bringing her round at about ten o'clock, so I want to make sure everything is ready. That means I would like your help...if you don't mind."

Pout fixed firmly in place Tess pulled the covers from her body and swung her legs out of bed, " much for that lie-in time."


Her watch read five past ten...again. Tess sighed and dropped her wrist to the kitchen table. She and Nikki had already been out this morning and prepared a stall for Shannon, now they were just awaiting her arrival. Reaching forward Tess picked up the pot of sugar and started pulling out the small cubes. She placed them on the table and proceeded to see just how many sugar cubes she could pile on top of each other before they fell down. She reached seven before her first tower fell to the pine table, so she started again.

"Tess what are you doing?" Nikki asked as she entered the kitchen, Leto following devotedly behind.

The brunette looked up surprised, "Oh nothing I was just..." she started shoving the cubes back into the pot. "You know waiting and..."

"Building forts again?"

"Um..." Tess looked down at the mess of sugar granules on the table top; cupping her hand around the grains she started clearing them away, "No towers actually," she smirked.

Nikki shook her head, opening her mouth to speak when she paused, "Oh hold on..." she listened intently, "I think our new wee horsey has arrived." Nikki grinned excitedly as she headed for the door, Tess right behind.


Leaning against the stable door Tess stared at the small horse standing in the corner of the stable, timidly tucking into a sack of forage feed. She pursed her lips, trying incredibly hard not to let the smile past her lips but as she watched the tiny horse, it came anyway. She had never seen anything like this before but the longer she watched the small animal, the more she felt herself warming Shannon. Cute! It was not a word Tess liked to use very often, if ever, but when she looked at the hesitant horse the brunette found herself actually wanting to spend time with the animal.

Tess turned to the side, watching Nikki as she grabbed a grooming brush, "Nik, what are you doing?"

Nikki held up the brush, "I'm going to groom Shannon, she will need it every day so I figure I may as well get on with it now."

Taking a hesitant step towards the blonde Tess fiddled with the cuff of her dark green Tigers sweatshirt, "Can I do it?"

"You." Nikki turned to face the photographer, "You want to groom her?"


Cocking her head to the side the blonde smiled, "Are you developing a soft spot for our new member of the family Tess?"

The photographer scowled folding her arms, "No, I just thought I would help you."

"Oh come on." Nikki demanded moving towards the brunette, "Admit it, she is cute and you want to play with her." She waved the grooming brush in the air.

Letting her arms fall to her side, Tess sighed, "Oh alright Nik," She grinned, "She is kind of cute."

Walking forward Nikki held out the brush and smiled when she felt it being taken from her hands, "You do remember how right?"

"Yep." Tess looked down at the brush briefly, "I remember my first lesson in your stable back at home, I have seen you do it enough and have enough gumption to know what I am doing."

Nikki nodded agreeably, "Okay, well enjoy and don't try any of your intimidating growls if she is a little resistant at first, she is a little nervous at the moment so be patient okay."

"I can do patient."

Poking out her bottom lip Nikki frowned, "Hmm well then lets go and get to know our new mini huh? Then when you two are getting on with each other, I will start grooming the others."

From the back of the stable Thunder nickered appreciatively.

"Yeah, yeah...don't mention it." Nikki replied with a smirk.


Both being out in the stables, and because neither Sam nor Janie worked during the weekend, neither woman were aware that two visitors had just pulled up outside Riverside Farm nor could they hear the loud tapping on the front door.

Lisa frowned as she knocked on the door again, followed by a multiple pressing the doorbell, "They have got to be in, both of Tess's cars are here."

CJ walked to the side of the house and spotted a golden dog running around the yard on the other side of the gate, "Lisa, they have a dog right?"

Approaching her new 'boyfriend' Lisa nodded, "Yeah Leto, why can you see her." Looking over the gate she spotted the golden hound, "LETO...hey girl come here."

Leto paused, sock hanging from her mouth as she looked up, spotting the familiar form of Nikki's sister. She barked excitedly and approached the pair with uncontained excitement as she noticed a completely unfamiliar human who had yet to give her attention. Reaching the gate, she jumped up as Lisa leaned over scratching her wide head.

"Maybe they are in the stables." Lisa commented as CJ began a much-demanded fuss of attention. "Shall we climb over and go see?"

"Okay...if we can do that," The bleached blonde replied.

Thankful at least that she had decided to wear jeans today, Lisa climbed up onto the three foot high gate and swung her leg over, CJ holding her the whole time. Once she was over, CJ followed suit and vaulted over the gate in one jump. He winked at the brunette, "High jump and hurdle champion for three years at high school." Taking Lisa's hand they headed towards the stables.


Tess held on to the small reigns as she led a nervous Shannon around the back yard, outside the stable. She looked down at the tiny horse, who's body came just above her knees and smiled, this has got to be the cutest thing I have ever seen, she thought.

Looking up suddenly Tess spotted Leto trotting towards her. She had been worried that the over exuberant dog would frighten the nervy horse, but Leto seemed to sense the animals' disposition and had kept her distance. Tess watched as Leto switched her looks between herself and the corner that led towards the gate, wagging her tail rapidly.

"Hello?" Came a recognisable voice.

Knowing whom it was, Tess called out to the visitor, "Hey Lisa we're at the stables." Seconds later the teen appeared, followed by a face Tess recognised instantly, horse delivery guy! She thought.

Hearing voices Nikki emerged from inside the stable, "Lisa, hi we weren't expecting you today, how are you?"

Tess stood by Nikki, "Well are you going to introduce us?" She asked the brunette.

"Introduce us?" Asked Nikki.

"Yes...Nikki, Tess I would like you to meet CJ, you may remember him from when he delivered Thunder and Jenna."

The 'real' blonde stepped forward, "Hi CJ nice to finally meet you... properly." She held out her hand and it was taken in a warm grasp.

"Hi Nikki." CJ looked towards the photographer, "Tess...nice to meet you properly too." He smiled.

The blonde turned towards her sister, "I was beginning to wonder whether you had been making him up this whole time. Sorry CJ, but I have heard so much about you, and it has taken my sister so long to finally introduce us all."

Laughing CJ looked towards Lisa, "Oh and what have you been saying about me...should I be getting worried now?"

"Yes!" Lisa deadpanned then laughed at the sudden look of surprise CJ's face.


After re-stabling Shannon the four went into the house, where Tess and Nikki got to know CJ and vice versa. They spoke for over two hours until CJ received a call on his mobile, and he stated that he had to leave. Knowing that her father was to be visiting Tess and Nikki soon, Lisa said she would stay at Riverside, wanting to spend more time with her sister; she would go back home with her father later that evening. So after saying his goodbyes, Lisa led CJ back out to the courtyard where after an extended farewell and a promise to call her the next day, CJ left.

Lisa walked back into the house grinning widely.

"You were gone an awful long time just to be saying a simple goodbye!" Tess stated with a knowing wink.

Lisa flushed as Nikki tapped her lovers arm, "Don't she will get embarrassed."

The photographer smirked, "Too late."

"Ugh don't," Lisa pleaded, "It was bad enough having dad stand out side last night after CJ brought me home from bowling."

"What does CJ stand for?" Nikki asked curiously.

Lisa laughed, " 'Cee Jay' apparently. His parents were not very imaginative when it came to naming their children, his brother has the same name as his father, Bradley."

"Just one brother?" Her sister asked.

"Yeah but he certainly didn't get the looks in the family, his nose is all crooked, looks bent to the side...CJ said it's always been that way." She looked between the two women, "So what do you think...isn't he gorgeous?"

Tess rolled her eyes, "Yes Lisa, even I felt an overwhelming flutter when I gazed upon his outstanding physique."

Nikki shook her head, "Don't listen to her Lisa, I thought he was sweet."

"Yeah I liked him too." Tess said.

Lisa smiled, "Good, because so do I."


It had taken CJ a good forty minutes to drive home, getting stuck behind a slow moving tractor. After receiving the call from his brother he wondered what had Bradley wanted that sounded so urgent. He had demanded to see him as soon as possible, saying that he needed him without delay.

Reaching the block of flats, CJ pushed the key into his door and stepped into the narrow hallway. There an impatient looking older sibling greeted him. "Hey, what's up?" He asked.

Bradley advanced on his brother, grabbing him by the collar of his blue sports jacket and throwing him back against the front door, "Where the hell have you been, what took you so long? I needed you here."

Eyes wide in confusion CJ looked at his brother, "I was just out with a few friends Brad, I came home as quick as I could."

"Well you took ages."

"Sorry I was down town with a few of the guys, I got away as quick as I could." CJ said.

Bradley nodded and let go of his brother, "Yeah well I was worried."


Stepping away the elder brother looked briefly towards the ground. He seemed to be staring at his shoes and just as CJ was about to ask what he wanted him for he was once again thrust up against the door.

" stupid fucking liar." Bradley lifted his leg kneeing his brother in the stomach. CJ slid down to the ground, gasping for air, but Bradley pulling him by the collar back to a semi standing position, "WHY ARE YOU LYING TO ME?"

Holding his stomach CJ wheezed, "What do you mean...Brad?"

Spinning around Bradley threw his brother to the ground, "You...I saw you out there at their house." He kicked CJ twice in the stomach, "You have told them haven't you?"

"NO!" CJ shouted as he received a kick to the head, he felt his eye pound with sudden pain.

"LIAR...what did you tell them. I SAW you with them...I SAW you with that sister of hers...WHAT were you doing there?"

CJ cried out as yet another blow landed in his side, "...nothing..." he whispered, finding it hard to breath. "...Honestly..."

Bradley dropped to his knees, "You must have been there for a reason bro," he said pulling CJ up by the collar and staring at his rapidly swelling face.

"You asked me to get I did." CJ ground out through a bloody mouth.

Pushing the weakened form of his brother back to the ground Bradley rose to his feet, "YOU ARE LYING TO ME," he shouted, "Your own brother...and you are lying to me." He lifted his foot to kick out again...

"I said nothing about you I swear, they know nothing." CJ stated rapidly, hoping to stop the pain of another kick.

It worked and Bradley dropped his foot back to the ground, "On Mother's grave?"

"Yes...I swear."

He nodded, "Alright then I believe you." He grinned down at the prone form of his brother on the floor, "No matter anyway, I was there for a while today and I left them a little present when I left." Laughing, he kicked his brother one more time, "And that's for lying to me." He stated before walking off into his bedroom.

End of chapter 8

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