Past and Present ~ part 6

For disclaimers: see part one

As always: feedback is greatly appreciated…;-)

Kelly leaned back in her chair and looked up at the sky. Stars were twinkling overhead, but it wasn’t cold. The weather gods had decided to grace them with a warm evening to make the date even better.

Not that it had been necessary. Kelly was enjoying the night immensely. They had taken a cab to this restaurant where Sydney had arranged they got a table outside in a private corner, away from possible prying eyes.

The food had been delicious and the company, well, that was nothing short of perfect. The blonde eyed her dinner partner who was quietly talking to a waiter, slipping him a piece of paper.

She hadn’t seen Sydney this relaxed very often. The blue eyes held a constant warm glow and the tension lines that were nearly always etched on the tanned face couldn’t be seen at the moment.

"What are you thinking about?" Sydney softly asked, waking Kelly up from her thoughts.

"You," she replied, loving the sight of a small blush creeping up on the other woman’s face. The blonde reached out and touched Sydney’s hand. "Thank you for doing this. I’m having a great time. I was just thinking that you’re looking relaxed. I like it."

Sydney smiled lovingly. "I should be looking happy," she stated sincerely. "Cause that’s how you make me feel."

Kelly didn’t know what to say, so she did the first thing that came to mind and leaned over the table to press a tender kiss on Sydney’s lips.

"For someone, who says she doesn’t have a way with words, you sure manage to render me speechless," she whispered, gazing into eyes so close by.

Soft melodic sounds floated outside and Kelly cocked her head, thinking she heard something familiar.

The tall dark woman gracefully rose to her feet and held out her hand in silent invitation. A speechless Kelly took the offered hand and let herself be led away from the table, putting her arms around Sydney’s neck and looking up at her in disbelief.

"How come they know this song? And how did you get them to play it tonight?"

Sydney shrugged and explained: "I know someone in the band, so I called him a few days back to ask if he was willing to help me out a bit. He was, so I sent him the lyrics. Do you like it?"

"I love it!" Kelly exclaimed. "The first song we ever danced on. You’re such a sappy romantic at heart," she teased.

"Just don’t tell anyone at the station. I’ve got a reputation to protect," Sydney retorted, pulling the blonde closer to her body.

Kelly’s whole body was tingling because of the close proximity of Sydney’s body together with the warm breath caressing her ear. She closed her eyes and snuggled closer, making it impossible for air to pass between the bodies while both women swayed to the music under a moonlit sky.

They were strolling along on the silent street, holding hands and talking softly. Sydney was showing Kelly some places from her childhood and shared a few

memories about Cory and the things they did together.

Kelly listened carefully, not interrupting much, glad that her lover was capable of talking about her brother. They reached an abandoned playground and settled down on the swings.

At the far end of the field a wrecked building could be seen. "What is that?" Kelly asked, straining her eyes to try and make out what the structure had once been.

"My God, is that still standing?" Sydney chuckled, remembering the days when her brother and she had played in the wooden playhouse.

"It was a playhouse," she replied. "Or it used to be," she added. "I would have thought they’d remove it after a few years."

She told Kelly: "It became a ruin after I turned 16, it was still standing when I left to police school and obviously nobody bothered to remove it."

"But what happened to it? It looks like it’s been bulldozed or something," Kelly wondered, not noticing that Sydney became slightly uncomfortable.

"Well," the dark-haired woman started. "That’s sorta true. I drove our car into it during a driving lesson," she mumbled, rushing out the words so fast that the blonde had trouble understanding.

Then she started giggling, breaking into fits of laughter when a pout formed on her friend’s face. Sydney crossed her arms in front of her chest, saying: "It’s not that funny. My mom was livid and Cory was devastated I ruined our playhouse, we had some good memories there."

Sydney couldn’t keep the pout fixed on her face for long and it wasn’t long before she laughed along with the blonde. The tall woman started swinging; seemingly lost in the past when she recalled the times they had spent in the wooden house.

"We were there a lot, acting out all sorts of different games or just talking about whatever was on our minds. Every once in a while we convinced mom to join us there and have a picnic, always loads of fun."

"Of course that didn’t happen anymore after I had parked the car inside," she said wryly. "I think all three of us missed it though."

Sydney fell quiet, thinking about the happy times she had with her mother and younger brother.

"Sounds like you had a good childhood," Kelly cautiously said. "It sounds like very different from mine," she mentioned in a sad tone.

"Yes, we always knew we were loved and she supported us no matter what. I’ll never forget her reaction when I told her I was gay," Sydney ginned a bit.

"Here I was; a 17 year old girl, finally having found the courage to tell my mother. It took me 10 minutes to enter the kitchen and get out what I wanted to say and all that she said was: ‘Oh, ok’ before turning back to the dishes."

Kelly laughed a bit; wishing her parents had reacted more like Sydney’s mom had. "And that was it?" she asked in surprise.

"Yeah, but I did find some books and brochures on the subject a few days later, lying on my bed," the tall woman replied. "She kept an eye out for me, even if I didn’t notice. I remember a few months later when some girl at school dumped me. Mom never let on she knew anything, but she had prepared my favorite and had taken me to the movies to make me feel better. That helped so much."

The blonde had been listening intently, not understanding what could have happened to drive mother and daughter apart. ‘Surely it can’t all be about joining the police?’ she thought.

"Of course all that changed when I joined the force and Cory decided to step into my footsteps," Sydney muttered bitterly. "She didn’t find the idea of me moving away from home very appealing, but two kids so far away was something she detested. And she blamed me for Cory’s leaving, even more after I managed to get him killed."

Kelly touched the other woman’s shoulder. "You didn’t get him killed, Syd."

Sydney jerked away and spit out angrily: "That’s not what she told me!" She started to swing higher and higher, kicking her legs out violently with each forward motion.

The little blonde stared at her friend in shock, getting scared when Sydney flew higher and higher, seemingly out of control a bit. The swing rattled and shook, causing a worried Kelly to jump up and try to stop the moving woman.

When Sydney didn’t respond to her pleas to stop, she stepped in front of the swing. Barely able to avoid being hit in the head by diving to the ground.

"Are you nuts!?" she shouted in disbelief. "You could have kicked my damn head off!"

This seemed to reach the other woman as she slowed down until she was able to stand up. Tears stained her face and Sydney passed the fuming reporter, settling down in the grass a short distance away, playing with the grass around her feet.

Kelly took a deep breath, trying to calm herself after seeing the state her lover was in. She padded over to the silent woman and sat down in front of her, keeping her distance and not touching Sydney in any way.

Sydney started to talk in a monotone voice: "Things had been strained between us ever since Cory joined me in LA. For some reason she didn’t like me, us, becoming a cop. I never knew why that bothered her so much," she wondered almost as an afterthought.

"Even though we didn’t get along like we did before, I still felt she loved me. It was hard to go home because it always ended up with us fighting over one thing or another and I hated that. Guess that’s why the visits became less frequent."

She fell silent for a short while, collecting her thoughts and still not looking at the silently listening reporter seated in front of her.

"Anyway, Cory got killed and I flew home with him. To bury him here. I was at the end of my rope at that time, needing some space from work and I thought I could find closure here, mourning his loss with the person who loved him as much as I did."

Sydney looked up and Kelly gasped at the pain she saw reflected in the blue eyes. She instinctively moved forward and wrapped her arms around the hurting woman. The blonde had to strain her ears to hear the rest of what Sydney was saying.

"I walked up to my mom, offering her a lift home, but she stared straight through me. Informing me that she had lost and buried both her children that day. ‘The son that got killed doing his job and the daughter that had led her son to his death.’ Then she turned and just walked away, without a backward glance. I haven’t spoken with her ever since."

Kelly hugged the taller woman to her, offering safe comfort while Sydney tried to collect herself. After a long period the dark-haired woman pulled back and apologized for nearly beheading her.

Sincere blue eyes shone with regret and Kelly shrugged: "No problem, I still have my pretty face, so it worked out all right." This caused a watery smile to appear on the tanned face.

"But don’t you think it is time to talk with your mother again?’ she asked carefully, not wanting to upset the cop again.

Sydney shook her head. "She never indicated she wanted any type of contact with me. As far as she’s concerned, I’m dead and buried."

Kelly had a thoughtful expression on her face. "That might have been her initial reaction. You don’t know how she feels now, maybe she’s scared to contact you because of what she said."

"Well, she buried me when I tried to reach out, remember. She can’t expect me to put myself in that position again. Mother was the one who said what she said, if she didn’t mean it, let her tell me," was the stubborn reply.

"But what if…" the reporter tried again.

Sydney cut her off by putting a finger against Kelly’s lips. "No, the subject is closed as far as I’m concerned. And I don’t want anyone to try and ‘fix’ it," she added meaningfully.

"Now, let’s switch to happier topics and continue with the lovely date we were having. I happen to know a very good ice-cream place not too far away. Do you fancy one? Their banana-flavored ice is absolute bliss," Sydney licked her lips.

Kelly smiled absently as she was pulled to her feet, still thinking about what Sydney had told her. An idea sprung to mind, which she forced back, not wanting to go against her lover’s wishes. But it kept nagging her the whole way to the ice-cream place.


Meanwhile Tamara was enjoying herself immensely in the company of J. They had decided on going for a movie and that evolved into dinner and drinks after.

Both of them seemed reluctant to leave each other, so now they were inside a nightclub the dark man had recommended.

She looked around and had to agree with his assessment; it was a nice enough place to hang out in. The music was pretty good, without the added bonus of becoming deaf because of the volume many clubs felt like they had to offer.

Tamara grinned to herself, ‘If only Dad saw me now.’ Her father hadn’t allowed many trips to bars or clubs so she wasn’t that familiar with the scene, but she was sure her dad would not be pleased if he saw the crowd she was surrounded by at the moment.

She looked down at herself and smirked, ‘As a matter of fact, I don’t think he would be pleased with me either. Since I totally fit in here.’

The brunette was pleasantly surprised with that fact, she had wondered if her small town background and protective upbringing would make her stand out, but so far it was going pretty good.

Of course it helped that she was loosened up a lot because of the drinks she had had. Not being used to alcohol, the few drinks J had gotten her went immediately to Tamara’s head.

Smiling the slightly tipsy woman saw her date make his way through the crowd with more drinks for the both of them and she waved to indicate her position.

J’s eyes widened in surprise when he caught sight of the brunette. She was standing in the middle of a large group, making seductive dance moves and working the crowd who seemed to love it, judging by the whistles and cheers coming the girl’s way.

A young man stepped inside the circle and started dancing with Tamara, who laughed at him and moved closer, circling around the man and occasionally brushing her body against him.

When the guy got bolder and put his hands on Tamara’s hips, pulling her in closer, J decided to intervene.

He was capable of hitting himself in the head for not noticing the way those drinks had affected his date and he planned on getting her home as soon as possible, before she’d do something she would regret and what would get him killed if Sydney ever found out.

J shivered when that particular thought crossed his mind and he lengthened his strides until he reached the dancing couple.

"Tamara, are you ready to go?" he asked the girl, mentally rolling his eyes when the man she was dancing with turned around, sizing him up.

He kept the dazed brunette behind his back and challenged J: "Look here, buddy. I was dancing with the lady here and we were having a great time. Weren't we?" he directed to Tamara, not even waiting for her to answer before continuing.

"And I don’t care if she did came here with you. Seems to me you just lost your date, don’t worry though, I’ll get her home. Sometime tomorrow," he smirked, causing his friends to laugh.

Turning around, he pushed Tamara in front of him to the back of the club but the girl refused to move. In stead she walked by him to reach the dark man, her hazy mind clearing up enough to know that she was supposed to be with him.

A hand grabbed her wrist and she angrily twisted to get it loose, getting help from J whom stepped closer and got in the persistent man’s face. In a menacing tone he ordered to let the girl go, tensing his muscles when it seemed the other man wasn’t prepared to do so.

Tamara recognized the posture for what it was and quickly stepped between the two men, not wanting to explain to Sydney how she had managed to get J into a fight.

"You," she pointed to the guy she had been dancing with. "Take it easy, I’m not your prize for the evening. I came with him, I like him and I’m going home with him. Besides, he’s a cop so starting a fight wouldn’t be the smartest move you ever made."

Turning, she faced a surprised J. "And you step back as well. Last thing I need is more fighting and hitting. Now, where are those drinks you were supposed to get?"

Tamara saw the glasses on a table behind J and walked over on slightly wobbly legs. Before the dark man could stop her she drowned another cocktail, sitting down immediately.

Placing her chin on her folded hands, she stared at the tall man. "Y’know, you were kinda cute. Coming to my rescue and all, I’d much rather go home with you, you’re much easier on the eyes than that other guy," she slurred, trying hard to keep her vision focused.

J looked a bit uncomfortable as he patted her shoulder. "Come on. I think it’s time to get you home."

"Uhuh," Tamara nodded. "As soon as everything stops spinning," the brunette muttered, dropping her head on the table.

The dark cop sighed when Tamara didn’t react to his shaking her and calling her name. Loud cheers and whistles erupted when he shrugged and picked the unconscious girl up, carrying her out to his car.


"Well, I had a really great evening. Thanks for taking me out," Kelly said, gently swaying their linked hands.

The women had gone to get the ice-cream and the blonde couldn’t do anything else but agree with Sydney’s opinion of the place. They had strolled back over deserted streets, softly talking and Kelly had been glad to see the relaxed Sydney return.

"You’re welcome. I had fun as well, we should do it again soon," the tall woman smiled. Sydney leaned closer and gave the blonde woman a soft kiss on the lips.

"Sweet dreams. I’ll call you tomorrow."

A surprised Kelly refused to let go of the dark-haired woman’s hand as she turned around. "We don’t see each other for a week and then you give me this chaste kiss before going home?" she asked, slightly miffed because the cop hadn’t expressed the wish to spend the night.

"Oh my, are you saying you’re willing to do more? It’s only our first date, I didn’t want to presume anything. Since you’re such a decent young woman," Sydney teasingly replied, batting her eye-lashes innocently at the scowling woman.

Kelly narrowed her eyes dangerously, juming the tall woman and roughly kissing her.

"I don’t care if we never had a date at all," she growled. "Come on!"

Kelly tugged the other woman along inside her appartment, not wasting any time and immediately finding the tempting lips again.

Stumbling they wrestled with each other’s clothing, slowly making their way to the bedroom. Suddenly Sydney stopped, staring at something behind Kelly.

The blonde groaned in protest, but turned her head to see what Sydney was looking at. Her eyes widened when they caught sight of two pairs of feet dangling over the couch.

Silently they crept forward until they saw the two people occupying the couch. J had his nose buried in the hollow between Tamara’s neck and shoulder, cursing softly as he tried to untangle himself.

It didn’t seem like he noticed them come in so Kelly scraped her throat, causing him to jerk his head around in alarm. An uncomfortable silence stretched out when he stared at the two women.

They wore almost identical expressions. An eyebrow raised until it nearly reached the hairline and arms crossed in front of their chests. He swallowed when he met cold blue and shrugged helplessly.

"Didn’t know you were home already."

"That much is, painfully, obvious," Sydney replied dryly.

Kelly found her voice again and asked: "What’s going on?" She had noticed that her sister hadn’t moved a muscle and remembering some things Kelly herself had experienced in the early period after having left home, she had a pretty good idea.

Smirking she waited for J to answer, chuckling when she saw him look back at Tamara for help, but he soon realized that wasn’t forthcoming in the very near future. The brunette hadn’t reacted at all and started to snore lightly as the dark man sighed resignedly.

"She has had a few drinks too many, I brought her home, tried to get her into bed, but we tumbled on the couch together. I was just trying to get up when you came in. Give me a hand?" he pleaded.

Sydney grinned and started to drag Kelly along with her. "Sorry," she muttered. "As you can see," indicating their disheveled state of dress. "We were kind of busy with something I’d like to continue straight away. I’m sure you can manage, partner."

"Nonono," J begged. "You can’t do that with me still there, I’d be embarrassed," he yelled after the retreating couple, groaning when all the answer he got was the slamming of the door and the sounds of someone being pushed against.

Once again he tried to untangle himself, but Tamara had a strong grip on him. The struggling man groaned when low moans started to flow in his direction, originating from the bedroom and he re-doubled his efforts to get up.

Finally he was loose and with a flushed face J bolted from the room, accompanied by Sydney’s cries of passion, who was urging Kelly to do something the dark man didn’t even want to think about.

"I can never look those two in the eyes again," he muttered, slamming the door behind him.

Kelly fell down on the bed, unable to contain her laughter any longer. "I think you can stop shouting my name now, he’s gone," she got out between breaths.

Sydney flopped down next to her, a deep rumble escaping her throat. "I can’t wait to see him on Monday," she already looked forward to teasing her partner a bit more.

"Now," the tall woman turned over and let a hand trail the inside of Kelly’s thigh, smiling when the blonde’s breathing caught. "How about I go and try to make you scream my name?"

The blonde nodded enthousiastically. "Good plan….oh yeah."


Kelly adjusted the strap of her purse, standing on the sidewalk and observing the small little house down the road. She wasn’t sure if she was doing the right thing by going here.

Her mind went over the events of the last week. It was Thursday now and things had been going great with Sydney. The whole weekend had been fun, ‘well aside

from the fact that Tamara had a severely bad mood when waking up the morning after her date,’ Kelly snickered upon remembering.

Sydney was a lot more relaxed and open around her, there didn’t seem to be any subjects Kelly couldn’t broach. She could even talk about her mother, as long as she didn’t mention visiting the woman.

Her background story about Sydney was ready for print, they were now discussing if they should wait until Thomas Shine was caught, which should be any day now if you believed the police, or just print it now.

Actually things had been so great that the blonde reporter doubted the smartness of her next move. ‘Would going to see Viola Rambuletti mean the end to her relationship with the complex cop?’ Kelly could feel her chest tighten when she contemplated that scenario.

Sighing she had to admit it was a very good possibility. She would betray a trust that wasn’t easily granted and cause pain to a vulnerable heart. Kelly knew her dark lover seemed strong on the outside, but she had also seen the vulnerable part when it came to relationships.

Last Sunday Sydney had told her that she was the first one that had been able to make a way into her heart ever since Cory died. The tall woman didn’t want anyone else in, because she couldn’t bare the disappointment and pain of losing someone else.

Kelly had been thinking about this long and hard, but she came back to the same

conclusion every time: Sydney needed her mother and if there was any way Kelly could give that to her, she would. Even if it meant the cop would be livid with her.

‘Besides, I’m only going to talk to the woman now. If she really doesn’t want anything to do with her daughter, Sydney doesn’t even need to know I went to stop by,’ Kelly tried to reassure herself.

"Hey Kelly!" suddenly jerked her back to the present, seeing Laurie coming towards her.

The young girl cheerfully walked over, greeting the reporter with a warm hug.

"What are you doing here? Working on a story?" she asked, unaware of the fact that Kelly shifted uncomfortably before giving a reply.

"Yeah, I’m here to gather some background on one of my new articles," she answered, meanwhile thinking it wasn’t a complete lie.

"What are you doing here?" she tried to focus on the girl, keeping her restlessness in check.

Laurie indicated the house Kelly had been looking at. "Oh, I was just visiting aunt Viola. We all go round to see every once in a while. I think she likes that, she seems a bit lonely," the girl replied, not aware of the surprise the reporter felt at that revelation.

"That’s nice of you, Laurie," Kelly responded, checking her watch before continuing. "I’m afraid I have to run now. I’ll see you tonight, right?"

Kelly, Sydney and Tamara were expected for dinner at John and Alma’s that evening. It seemed to become a regular thing to have dinner together at least once a week.

"For sure. See you then Kelly," Laurie answered.

Kelly smiled and forced herself to move. ‘No putting it off anymore,’ she thought. ‘Just go!’

The reporter was so focused on her destination and the upcoming visit that she didn’t notice the interested eyes that followed her to the door.

Laurie watched Kelly knock at Viola’s door before shrugging and turning around to go home. ‘Guess she also needs some background from Sydney’s mom for the story,’ she pondered. ‘Weird though that Sydney would agree to that, she made it pretty clear she didn’t want to talk to her mother anymore. But then again, she isn’t exactly talking to her of course.’

Spotting a friend down the street, Laurie trotted over and forgot about the visit for the moment.


Kelly waited for the door to open, raising her sunglasses and fiddling with them nervously. She had no idea how the reception would be and if she’d be able to get through to Sydney’s mother.

The door opened a crack and an older woman glanced outside with a cautious expression.


Kelly was taken aback when she was pinned by two very blue eyes. ‘Hmm, that’s a definite family resemblance,’ she thought, hastily introducing herself when the woman was about to close the door.

The woman paused and cocking her head, asked: "I don’t know you, do I?"

"No, you don’t. I’m a reporter doing a background piece on your daughter, Sydney Rambuletti. I was hoping we could talk for a bit."

The slightly curious expression that had been in the blue eyes seconds before turned cold and distant. "I don’t have a daughter," came the gruff response, before the woman once again started to close the door.

Kelly put her hand against the door, keeping it from closing completely. "I’m not only a reporter, I’m also a good friend of Sydney’s. You might think you don’t have a daughter anymore, but I’m here to tell you that you’re very wrong about that. Let me in to talk, okay?" she pleaded.

Nothing happened for a moment, the older woman contemplating the words, but the urgent note in the blonde’s voice persuaded her to reluctantly open the door and motion the reporter in.

Following the woman to the kitchen, Kelly observed her surroundings unnoticed. It was a very clean little house, nothing out of place. No personal things anywhere in view, it was obvious the woman lived here alone and she hadn’t seemed to make this house her home.

The blonde felt sorry for the person living here, feeling the loneliness seep through the walls, even if the owner wouldn’t acknowledge it.

Sitting down at the kitchen table, Kelly nodded her thanks to Viola when a cup of coffee was placed in front of her. It was clear the silent woman was waiting for the reporter to start, but now that Kelly was inside, she suddenly was at a loss for words.

"I met Sydney the day she arrived in town. I was working on a story about the supermarket killings, you might have heard of them?" Kelly started, thinking she should simply start at the beginning.

"When I was at the crime scene, Sydney showed up a bit later. Ordering me away and…well, some other things," she shrugged before sheepishly admitting: "I agreed if she would let me do a background story about her. Sort of blackmailing her actually."

A familiar eyebrow rose, the only difference being this one was of a lighter color. "That must have gone over well," Viola muttered knowingly.

Kelly grinned. "About as well as you think. She agreed to it though and kept her promise, telling me about not having a father and how John fulfilled that role in several ways. Her desire to become a cop and other superficial stuff. She never once mentioned personal things."

With a softer voice she continued: "I got to know her better and we became close friends. Eventually she told me about Cory and what happened afterwards."

Seeing the other woman’s sudden change in expression Kelly stopped and looked at her with compassion.

"I’m really sorry about what happened to your son. And Sydney’s brother," she added meaningfully.

"She was devastated by his death, you know. Not knowing what she should do, only knowing she was hurting, deeply. And that she needed time to recover, hoping she could do that with the one other person who loved him as much as she did."

The blonde trailed off uncertainly, scared that she had gone too far already and that Viola would see it as an accusation.

The older woman had a faraway look in her eyes and suddenly she started speaking.

"I told her she was dead as well, as far as I was concerned. The pain was too much to bear and I lashed out at the person who had led him to Los Angeles in the first place," she said in a voice filled with pain and regret.

"It wasn’t her fault, I know that now and I knew it then. It came out before I knew it and I could see her walk away from me, looking totally defeated, yet I was unable to stop her."

Tears were rolling over her cheeks, her lips quivering as she continued to relive the time right after Cory’s death. Kelly reached out and covered a trembling hand, glad that she had decided to stop by after all.

"The girl couldn’t be found this last year," Sydney’s mother sobbed. "I have tried to find her, tell her I didn’t mean it and explain where it was all coming from. When months went by without a word and even John hadn’t heard anything, or J I was worried sick."

Taking a deep breath, Viola got herself under control again. "Then I hear she’s back in town, visiting every one, even Stacey, except me. I assumed she didn’t want to talk to me anymore and I can’t blame her. So I decided to let go and not hurt Sydney any further by contacting her. She has managed to forgot about me and move on, I should respect that and keep my distance," the older woman stated sadly.

Kelly was shaking her head forcefully. "No, you should contact her. Sydney didn’t tell me about you until last weekend and it still hurts her. Your daughter needs you in her life, she loves you. Believe me."

Green eyes bored into incredulous blue, trying to pass the message. "The reason you haven’t heard from her over this last year is because she wasn’t capable. I won’t betray her trust and tell you everything, but it isn’t pretty. Sydney has just now started to deal with what happened and that’s why she’s contacted the others first. She was emotionally ready to face them and I think she’s just now ready to face you."

Viola wiped her face with her hands, taking a moment to let everything sink in.

"Then where is she?" the woman whispered.

Kelly was silent for a moment. "I don’t think she’ll make the first step, it’ll have to come from you."

The older woman started to shake her head, opening her mouth to say something, but the blonde started first.

"Sydney won’t come to you again. She came when she was most vulnerable, at Cory’s funeral and she was wounded deeply. You know your daughter, so you should also know Sydney is not going to do that twice."

"Stubborn as a mule," Viola nodded wryly. "She always was, even as a little girl." A fond smile creased the tired face.

"You’re in love with her, aren’t you?" the woman suddenly asked, turning a piercing gaze to the blushing blonde. "It shows, I’m glad she found somebody special to her."

Meeting the gaze evenly, Kelly retorted: "I do love Sydney, yes. Very much actually."

Viola got up to get another cup of coffee. "Then you sit tight, drink and tell me some more about yourself. I should know the woman in my daughter’s life."

Kelly hadn’t realized time had gone by so fast when she looked at the clock and noticed it was already 5 o’clock. Getting up, she said her good-byes to Sydney’s mother.

"I have to go now. We’re having dinner with the Bailey’s," she informed Viola who answered her unspoken question by slowly shaking her head.

"No, I’m not coming with you tonight. I think our first meeting should be in private, don’t you?" she stated.

Kelly silently agreed by nodding, a broad smile lightening her features when Viola continued. "But I will come, probably this weekend. Just don’t tell her, she might leave town," she remarked; only slightly joking.

Closing the door behind the blonde reporter one thought played through her mind: ‘Now I just have to make sure I keep my nerves and not chicken out!’


Kelly rushed home to change and pick up her sister, awaited by an anxiously Tamara who immediately shoved her to the bedroom.

"Shower, dress and move!" she ordered, surprising the blonde with her desire to leave.

Kelly stopped short and examined the brunette more closely. Eyes were twinkling, a healthy color covered the cheerful face and she suddenly had an idea of why her sister was brimming with excitement.

"J’s gonna be there, isn’t he?" she asked amused.

"Move, move, move," was the only answer she got, accompanied by a powerful shove in the direction of her bathroom.

Getting back into the bedroom after showering, the blonde smirked when she saw an outfit lying on the bed. Courtesy of a very impatient sister who was pacing a hole in the carpet of the living room.

Despite the continued harassment of her sister, Kelly managed to be ready fairly quickly and soon both women were standing on the Bailey’s doorstep, let inside by a smiling Tess.

"Hey Kelly. Hi Tamara," the girl welcomed them. "You’re late."

"Blame her," Tamara huffed in Kelly’s direction, striding past the confused girl to reach J she had already seen behind Tess.

The blonde reporter shrugged and threw her arm around the young girl. "So, everyone’s here already? That’s good, I’m starving."

All the people in the room looked up and replied in unison: "Duh, what else is new?"

Scowling, Kelly walked over to her dark lover and backhanded her in the stomach. "You’re my date, you shouldn’t agree with them. Or at least do it silent."

"Technically I’m not your date, I didn’t pick you up and we didn’t arrive here together," Sydney answered smugly, bending down to steal a quick kiss.

"Keep it up and you’re not taking me home either," the blonde threatened, turning her back on the grinning woman and crossing the room to say hi to John and Alma.

Sydney received a slap on the back from her big partner. "Looks like you scared your date away, Rambo. Did she finally get enough of your personality?"

"Hold your tongue, J, or I might be persuaded to tell the story of your date last weekend and how we found you when we returned home," she teased, enjoying the blush creeping over the dark man’s face.

Unfortunately for him, Laurie had heard the remark and it didn’t take much convincing for Sydney to launch into the date story.

A short while later dinner was ready and they all took their seats, still chuckling over J’s date with Tamara.

"Oh, Kelly, how was your talk with Viola?" Laurie asked, when they were settling themselves at the table.

A sudden silence fell over the group, every eye on the blonde woman who didn’t react immediately. Slowly she lifted her head and turned a hesitant look in Sydney’s direction.

She caught a glimpse of blue before the tall woman shoved her chair back and stormed out of the room, leaving the rest behind in stunned silence.

Laurie gasped in shock; just then realizing Sydney hadn’t known about the visit and she apologetically looked at the unmoving blonde.

"Oh my God. I’m so sorry! I didn’t know, I didn’t…."

Kelly waved her off. "My fault Laurie, I should have told her. Damn I really fucked this one up," she groaned.

Realizing she hadn’t heard the engine of the cop’s bike start yet, she rose from the table as well and followed Sydney outside. She saw her outlined against the

darkening sky, fumbling with her helmet.

Hesitantly she approached, stopping when an ice-cold glare pinned her at the spot.

"You know," Sydney started conversationally. "Here I am opening up completely to someone for the very first time. Thinking I can trust that person and that the risk is worth it."

The dark-haired woman started her engine. "Well, you definitely showed me I was wrong. I asked you not to go to my mother, but you turn around and go.

What you didn’t have enough for your article, so now the whole town and I can read how my own mother pronounces me dead for killing my brother? Should sell some more papers if you make a catchy headline out of it."

The words were like blows to Kelly, tears welled in her eyes as she tried to grab Sydney’s shoulder with a trembling hand.

"No, your mother…"

The angry woman cut her off, too many emotions were warring inside her now and she didn’t want to listen to anything Kelly had to say.

"No, don’t you talk to me about my mother again. As a matter of fact; don’t talk to me at all."

With that she sped out of the driveway, leaving a distraught Kelly behind. Unable to stand any longer the blonde collapsed on the lawn, sobbing uncontrollably until Tamara came out to get her back inside.

Wiping her face Kelly rose from the ground. "I just want to go home now, Tam and try to call her. I need to talk to her."

"And what are you going to say?" her sister asked gently. "She was pretty upset, it might be better if you wait until tomorrow."

The blonde shook her head. "I have to try tonight. Could you please tell them we’re going? I don’t want to face the others right now."

"Oh, and Tamara," Kelly called after her sister. "Tell Laurie I don’t blame her and that she must not blame herself."

The suddenly exhausted reporter waited impatiently for her sister to return, wanting to get home and call the upset woman.


Concluded in part 7

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