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- My heart, my body, my soul. Everything thing that I am is yours Gem..forever. The sound of your voice is like pure heaven, I love you my Angel and just the thought of holding you in my arms makes me the happiest woman alive. You're my everything Sweetheart, you've brought a beautiful magic into my life. Thank you, I'll cherish you and your love always.

-And thanks to everyone out there who continues to read this lil' story of mine. Keep the feedback coming... I really do appreciate it. My special thanks go to Courtie, Merlin, Jaden, Jamie, Lena, Sue and Louie. You're all the wonderful ones as far as I'm concerned.<g>

Chapter 14

"That was a load of absolute bull, I mean rubbish," Raven grumbled, plonking herself into a well worn booth in the corner of the Diner. A disgruntled mask covered the grin she fought to keep hidden, as looks of disbelief registered upon her two friends' faces. Crossing her arms to reinforce her stance, Raven sat in amusement and watched as Phil shuffled less than gracefully into the seat beside her.

"Oh come on Rae!" Phil whined, scratching at his scrawny neck in abject discomfort. "It wasn't that bad!"

"Yeah, it bloody well was. I would have preferred having goddamn nine inch splinters shoved up my arse..." Raven paused mid-sentence, glancing over hastily to where Nicky was sitting and quickly amended, "I mean up my finger nails..."

Nicky turned and gave Raven an adorable, quirky smile, acknowledging the brunette's efforts to refrain from sounding like she had just been dragged out of a gutter. Raven's attention reluctantly shifted back to the still squirming Phil, who was scratching at his neck like a flea-infested dog. "Hey, Phil, is that pull-over you're wearing still driving you crazy?" Raven said, a wicked grin gracing her lips as she allowed herself to relax, her long form slouching comfortably into the booth.

"'s frigging bugging the hell outta me..urgggh!" With blunt fingernails, Phil scratched frantically at his mottled skin, wincing as the itchy material bit further into his sore flesh.

Nicky glanced up from the menu card that she had been studying contentedly and gave her two new friends a bemused look. "What the hell is wrong with your pullover Phil?" Nicky reached out and touched the prickly green material, wincing in sympathy. "Jesus, that's bound to irritate you, huh? Why don't you just take it off Phil?"

"Yeah Phil," Raven echoed, one of her black brows mischievously shooting upwards as she swiped the menu out of Nicky's hands, offering the blonde a sweetly innocent smile, "Why don't you just take it off?"

Phil scowled at Raven, knowing that she was relishing every moment of making fun of him. "You know I can't do that Rae!" He said, avoiding eye contact with an ever curious Nicky.

"Huh?" Nicky questioned, absently tucking a couple of strawberry blonde bangs behind her ear, baffled by Phil's behaviour. The small cheerleader turned towards the dark girl that was lounging across from her, smiling her beautiful smile and looking every bit like a young goddess. Christ, how can one girl be so amazing? Nicky's mind pondered. "What's he going on about Raven?"

"Get that shit eating smirk off your face Rae!" Phil mumbled, his irritated skin turning bright pink. "And don't you DARE say anything!" He added heatedly, glaring at the brunette as he acknowledged the mischief that was constantly shining from her glorious sapphire orbs.


"But nothing Rae!" Phil muttered under his breath, waving a bony finger warningly at Raven, who was doing her best 'how-innocent-am-I' act.

"Ahhh, c'mon Philly! Nicky here won't laugh!" Raven sat up and turned towards the highly amused cheerleader, who seemed to be enjoying herself thoroughly. Hmmm, Raven stared at the girl sitting opposite her, mesmerised by the way the light shone on Nicky's hair, making it look like the little blonde was surrounded in a heavenly glow...and gods would I like to show you how to REALLY enjoy yourself. Grrrrr! Raven stared into laughing green eyes and chuckled in return."You won't laugh at poor Phil, will ya Nik?"

Nicky adopted a solemn expression, studiously trying to prevent herself from laughing at the miserable scowl residing upon Phil's lean face, and the comically cute grin that shined brightly on Raven's beautiful angular features. "Of course not!"

"I.... well, it's nothing important, it's just that well..." Phil mumbled uneasily, his cheeks blushing red in embarrassment. "My Mom didn't give me permission....."

Raven grinned and nudged Phil in the side, encouraging him to continue. "What was that Phil? We didn't quite hear you here in the back row!!!"

Phil squirmed as Raven's quick fingers dug into his side, tickling and torturing him, "Hey! Pack it in Rae!" Phil moved out of the way and jumped over to sit next to the quietly chuckling Nicky. "It's not MY fault that my Mom's so protective over me! And that she wanted me to show off this pull-over that my great-aunt Beatrice knitted for me...."

Nicky's chuckling got louder until both Raven and Phil stopped their scrapping and turned to look at her. "Hee, hee! Ohhh....Gods, you two are simply ridiculous!" Nicky was content to just giggle away, clutching at her sides and feeling more relaxed in the clownish presence of these two 'outcasts' than she had ever felt whilst surrounded by her entourage of fellow cheerleaders and football stars.

Phil sat up straight, setting his shoulders rigidly in mock annoyance, whilst Raven hunched her broad shoulders and glowered at Phil. "See, you've made both of us look like idiots now Philly Boy!"

"Huh!" Phil snorted, "You're the only idiot around here Raven Vlade and...Argggh! Eeek! Pack it in Rae!" Raven pounced after Phil, chasing him down and knuckle rapping his head, but not hard enough to cause her friend any pain.... just enough to let him know who was boss.

"What was that Philly?" Raven growled playfully, her breathing rate increasing as Phil struggled against her. "Admit it! I'm the winner! Wooo hoo....ahhh! What the...?" Raven shouted in surprise as small nimble fingers slipped around her waist, running over her sides and digging into her exposed flesh gently, sending chills of excitement up Raven's spine whilst congruously tickling her into submission. "Ahhhh! Nooo't want to be doing that!"

Nicky laughed, enjoying the friendly rivalry that existed between both of her new friends, eager to join in with the fun. "Oh no? And who's gonna stop me? Huh? There's nothing the big bad Raven can do to stop me!" Nicky placed her arms firmly around the tall girl, feeling slightly giddy as she relished the physical contact with Raven's body. "Just try it, toughstuff!"

Raven grinned wildly in absolute pleasure as Nicky's fingers continued to trail over her body, trying to make the taller girl squirm. A challenge, hmmm? I'm always up for a challenge. Raven's hands circled the soft skin on Nicky's hands for a brief moment, before clasping them firmly in her own strong hands. Wow....look how small her hands are compared to soft and smooth and...Duh! Rae! The challenge remember?

Nicky almost released the brunette's hand in sheer shock as Raven emitted a feral growl. Letting go of Phil, the dark girl gracefully turned around in Nicky's arms. Shifting the cheerleader's grip once more, Raven recaptured both of Nicky's slim wrists in one of her large tanned hands. Her fingers were gentle yet firm as they dragged Nicky's arms down to her side, pulling the smaller girl fully against her body, placing her in control of the little struggle that ensued. Hmmm, just what I've been wishing for, Nicky in my arms as she wiggles away...Grrr! Nicky tipped her head upwards and shook her arms, trying to shake off Raven's hold.

"Ah, ah, ah!" Raven said, smiling gently at the little blonde. Gods, you sure are a little spit-fire Nicky! Admiration of Nicky's fighting spirit shining from her blue eyes, Raven waited for the cheerleader to calm down before slowly letting go of her. "See, the big bad Raven got her girl...." Raven let her tanned hands glide over the soft, smooth skin of Nicky's arms before shoving them back into her pockets where they were infinitely more safe from temptation. "You should know by now that I always win Nicky!" Raven scoffed. Nicky screwed her face up at Raven and playfully slapped the other girl on the arm.

"Bully!" Nicky sulked, stalking her way back over to their booth, ignoring the confused glances that were being shot her way by other, less well known students from Thursville High, who stared on in wonder as Nicky played around with two of the school's most notorious outcasts.

"Not my fault you're a bad loser!" Raven snickered, barely avoiding another slap that was aimed at her, but from Phil this time.

"That head of yours just keeps on growing and growing, doesn't it Ravie?" Raven graced him with a non committal look before jumping heartily back into the booth, claiming the seat opposite Nicky's as her own and sprawling against it lazily. "And anyways, who's the one that lost the little race to the cinema, huh tough stuff?"

"That only happened because SHE cheated!" Raven pointed an accusatory finger at the smugly smiling Nicky. "And I had to carry all those bags of hers as well...You're just jealous, Phil, cos I beat you at pin-ball earlier on today!" Raven shook her head, sending black hair cascading down her shoulders. "Don't you know that jealousy will get you no where Philly?" Raven smirked. Gods, these people are so much fun to wind up! "Anyways, what you ordering to eat Phil? Get me a cheese burger will ya?" Raven passed a couple of bucks over to Phil, who nabbed hold of them and threw them in his trouser pocket."And what does yon fair maiden request to satisfy her hunger?" Raven drawled, plastering an adorable cheesy grin on her face.

Nicky blushed prettily, promptly smiling back at Raven whilst vaguely remembering the male shop assistant who had offered her a similar proposition.... Wonder if she means it in quite the same way as that young man from Mirages did...Hmmm, here's to wishful thinking, Nicky mused, wiping her suddenly sweating palms on her short skirt. "Erm, I'll have a double 6oz cheese burger, extra radish and salad dressing with large fries, and two slices of that chocolate cake that they make here...Ok? Oh and whipped cream as well!" Nicky licked her lips, anticipating the arrival of her food. She had a beast in her stomach to feed, which had been vocally protesting its neglect over the last couple of hours, much to Raven and Phil's amusement and her own utter mortification.

Raven struggled to close her gaping mouth as she listened to Nicky order her meal. Surely she must be kidding? So the lady has a large appetite huh? Interesting.....That Brad sure is a lucky little shit head. Raven's eyes travelled merrily up and down and up and down and up and...hmmmmm, nice pair of...

"Yo Raven!" Phil chuckled, noticing what it was that had captured the dark girl's attention. "Is that all you want?" Phil took the brief nod of her head as a 'yes'. She's got it reeeeal bad!

Nicky stuck her tongue out at the dazed Raven, who snapped out of the intoxicating spell a certain two ample attributes had held her under. Raven glanced up and looked at the little pink appendage with a great amount of interest.

"You know what Nicky..." Raven said, leaning forward as her husky words drew the small blonde in.

"What...?" Nicky whispered, her breath catching in her throat as she watched the movement of Raven's glistening red lips, her eyes briefly lifting up to catch the mischievous blue eyes twinkling back at her.

"You really shouldn't stick your tongue out like that." Raven swallowed, desperately trying to rein in her raging libido. Raven gazed down at her hands that were shaking in her lap. Oh bugger it Rae! Remember... control....

"Oh really? " Nicky leaned back against the seat, feeling the plastic covered sponge buckle comfortably under her weight. In an abysmal attempt to copy the taller girl's trade mark, the cheerleader rose one shaky blonde eyebrow, which brought about a round of laughter from Phil.

"I'm off to put in our orders and get a banana smoothie.. anyone want anything else?" Phil asked, shoving his hands into his pocket and jingling around with the change he found there. Raven shook her head, too busy concentrating on what Nicky was saying and doing, what she was possibly thinking...and feeling.

"I'll have an extra large diet coke thanks Phil," Nicky said in the general direction of the lanky boy, quickly bringing her attention back to the dark girl that sat opposite her. Leaning forward on her elbows, Nicky brought herself closer to the other girl, her face smiling, enjoying the easy bantering that was going on between them. Feels like we've known each other forever, Nicky mused, giggling as the brunette purposefully copied her movements and placed her dark head on her tanned arms, leaning even closer towards the blushing cheerleader. "Now where were we?" Nicky mumbled, hardly recognising her own voice as she stared back, mesmerised by the tall girl's commanding presence.

"Tongues....." Raven murmured, her throat taking on a husky edge as she felt her insides churn in excitement. "You shouldn't be sticking yours out at me like that...unless you know what to do with it properly and plan on putting it to good use, it could get you into trouble Nicky....."

" " Nicky gasped and regarded the other girl, sitting up and backing away slightly, unable to believe what she had just heard. Was she....flirting with me? One small shaking hand went to her burning cheeks. Was she? Nicky's eyes searched Raven's face frantically for some answers.

Christ Raven! Pack it in! Shit, Nicky looks like she's gonna croak it any minute now! " I mean, you know what you're like for getting into trouble Nicky..." Raven hastily stuttered, sitting back up in her seat and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, the previously sensual atmosphere quickly becoming strained and wary. Come on Rae, make things better! You DO actually have a brain you USE IT!

"Ummm... Remember the first time we...'met'?" Raven took a deep breath, crossing her fingers mentally, she hoped that Nicky would take the bait and simply ignore that last comment she had stupidly made. Cringe! Cringe! Kill me now! Urgggh! How fucking STUPID can you be Raven, Ms. Pig-Shit-for-brains! Do you WANT to ruin this friendship before it's even begun? "You spilt that massive beaker of coke all over me...."

Nicky stared in confusion at the other girl....Whoa...wait a minute, what's with the change of topic?? Where's all the flirty bantering gone? Nicky sighed heavily. Why? Are you disappointed that she's not flirting with you anymore Nicky? The blonde cheerleader quickly shut off her internal conversation, ignoring the gnawing feeling of disenchantment that came over her. "I...oh gods! I was soooo embarrassed over that Raven..." Nicky mumbled, trying desperately to grasp hold of this abrupt new topic. "I really DIDN'T mean to humiliate you like that.....I wanted to meet you...I just wanted to make you feel welcome..and instead I made you look like a fool." Nicky ducked her head down, a feeling of sadness and utter frustration creeping over her, What the hell is wrong with me?!? Get a grip Nicky girl.

"Hey!" Noting the desolate slump to Nicky's normally cheerful countenance, Raven quickly reached over the table that separated them."Don't say that." Raven reached out and brought her fingers underneath the soft skin of Nicky's chin, lifting the cheerleader's head."Don't say that Nicky. I know that you would never intentionally hurt would never hurt me..."

Nicky licked her dry lips and tilted her head back slightly, her eyes drifting closed as those strong fingers traced a path of fire across her skin, stroking the sensitive underside of her chin before reluctantly retreating. "Raven?" Nicky breathed, her heart hammering in her chest as overwhelming emotions that she'd never experienced before shook her into a new state of awareness. "I..."

"Shhh..." Raven whispered, placing one long finger over soft pink lips."Don't say anything else Nicky....all that's finished with." Raven's eyes searched the brilliant emerald ones gazing avidly back at her and a sense of belonging overcame her once more. Feeling those soft lips curl into a small smile under her finger, Raven realised that she still hadn't removed the misbehaving digit."We're friends Nicky. That's what you wanted, so that's what we are."

But I want so much more from you! Nicky was dying to scream from the top of her lungs, to grab hold of Raven and touch her, to reach out her tongue and suckle Raven's bold finger into her hot mouth, that tanned finger which even now continued to torment her lips with instant tenderness. I want you Rae..I need you.... Nicky closed her eyes tightly and bit her lip, hoping to shut out the conflicting feelings of joy and despair that confused the hell out of her.

"Ok?" Raven muttered gruffly, taking a brief breath to gain the strength needed to pull herself away from the young blonde. Does she even realise what's going on? Those green eyes seem so lost....but....Nicky's body is reacting to me, to my touch like no other has before....You shouldn't be doing this to her Rae! She deserves better than you! Nodding her head in silent agreement, Raven backed away from the blonde girl.

Nicky sighed, and a lingering look passed between the young girls as they both fought to come to terms with what exactly it was that was going on between them. "Ok Rae," Nicky eventually whispered. Making an attempt to smile, she pulled away from Raven's gentle touch, savouring the hot flush of tingles that the brunette's fingers had left behind. Nicky stifled a small gasp, feeling those tingles turn into something different, something stronger that made her stomach clench and ache in an erotic tandem. Nicky abruptly glanced up and watched Phil stumble towards their table. "I'd better go give him a hand before he drops something, huh?"

Raven grinned awkwardly and nodded, dreamily gazing at Nicky as she went to help her clumsy friend. What's going on Rae? Raven absently rubbed the tips of her fingers together, startled at the strange tingling she felt from them. What's going on? Raven sighed and cleared the table for Phil to put the tray down. But more to the point, what are you going to do about it Rae? Shaking her head to clear her mind, Raven banished the forbidden thoughts, pushing them to the side for now, determined to simply enjoy this evening with her two new best friends.



"Where the hell have you been young lady!" Nicky cringed and hunched her shoulders as a familiar voice sounded its anger at her late arrival home. As soon as she had stepped into the huge mansion-like house that she called her home, Nicky had known that trouble was brewing. Most of the lights had been switched off and an air of foreboding hung around the house like an unwelcome apparition.

"Just been out shopping with Stacey..." Nicky moved into the hallway to face her somewhat irate father. Holding her bags up as evidence as to where she had been, Nicky ignored his snort of disbelief and made her way through the beautifully adorned house, into the living room, where her mother, Monica and Monica's fiancee, Rob sat looking like members of a staid jury. And one guess as to who the accused party is? Nicky thought miserably as their eyes tracked her movements.

"What's wrong?" Nicky questioned patiently, a puzzled frown etching its way onto her pretty face as she shrugged out of her light weight jacket, folding it and placing it beside her.

Joan Mayfair, shifted in her seat on the couch, making way for her youngest daughter to sit down."Sit down next to me for a moment will you, sweetie?" Joan gave Nicky a reassuring smile and patted the back of her soft hand as Nicky sat down on the couch.

"What's going on Mom?" Nicky said, confused as to what all the fuss was about."I went to the mall to buy my dress for the Dance on Friday...."

"Who were you with though, Nicky?" Daniel Mayfair shouted, lashing out verbally at his rebellious younger daughter. She was always trying to push the boundaries, using her mother's affection to get the upper hand, but this time, he was going to catch his daughter out. If she had indeed been associating with a trailer trash slut like Monica had hinted, then the situation needed to be stopped before Nicky's reputation was destroyed.

"I...I was with Stacey..." Nicky stuttered. Well it was a half truth wasn't it? She had spent the first part of the evening with her friend until Stacey had been called away. Then I had the time of my life with the most wonderful girl on this planet. The dreamy look that crossed over Nicky's face caused her father to scowl menacingly at his youngest girl.

"DON'T lie to me young lady!" Daniel yelled, stomping closer to his blonde haired daughter. Monica and Rob both cringed at the volume of Daniel's voice, wishing to be anywhere else but where they were right now.

"Daniel, please!" Joan pleaded, standing up next to her husband in hope of calming him down."You'll wake Timmy up if you continue to shout like that, dear."

Daniel Mayfair glared at Nicky for a moment, then turned around, facing away from the bemused girl, in an attempt to calm himself down. There was no point upsetting everyone else in the house when it was Nicky that needed to be reminded of who she was and her position within the town's social life.

"Stacey phoned for you Nicky, sweetheart, over an hour ago to talk...." Joan went to stand behind her frustrated husband, rubbing his back in a soothing manner.

"Which means that you couldn't have possibly been with her!" Daniel huffed, swivelling back around and pinning Nicky with a suspicious glare."So who were you with Nicky? It can't have been Brad because Rob and Monica here saw him with some of his football buddies down at Jim's Arcade, so come on...tell me who you were with!"

Nicky looked over to Monica, who was presently hiding behind an equally uncomfortable looking Rob. Gee, thanks sis! Nicky thought, scowling in their direction... HOLD on one minute Nicky, why the hell are you so bothered about telling Dad about Rae and Phil? Weren't you the one who just pledged to be friends with them, and here you are, ashamed to admit that they ARE your friends?

"I was out with two other friends." Nicky stated, watching a look of sadistic triumph wash over her father's weathered face. I am NOT ashamed of being friends with them! Swallowing and peeking over towards her mother briefly, who simply watched her daughter with a worried frown, Nicky continued, "I DID go shopping with Stacey to begin with, but then she had to go and meet Carl....and I ran into Phil and we just hung out...."

"Hung out?!?" Daniel bellowed, pushing his wife away from him so that he could confront his daughter face to face. "Who the fuck are Raven and Phil?" He glanced over to his eldest daughter who was nodding to confirm his suspicions."She better not be that bloody penniless bitch from the trailer park!"

"She is NOT a bitch!" Nicky shouted, anger lighting up her jade eyes in defence of her new friend."She's a good person Daddy! She helped me out and..."

"And nothing Nicky!" Daniel shouted, unable to believe that Nicky was giving back chat and disrespecting him... in front of his soon-to-be son-in-law as well! "You are NOT to associate yourself with that scum ridden riff-raff EVER again! Do you hear me Nicole? If I ever hear about you going near that little tramp, then you will have ME to deal with! Do you understand me young lady!"

Nicky stood stock still, her eyes went to her mother, imploring for some degree of understanding. Finding none there, Nicky slumped her shoulders and clenched her jaw.

"Yes Sir." She muttered, not bothering to look her father in the eye.

Daniel Mayfair exhaled a relieved gasp of breath and rolled his slim shoulders around, pleased that he had issued his authority over his wayward daughter successfully. That girl needs a strong male figure in her life to teach her a bit of control! "Good! We have a reputation to uphold in this here town and I won't be having any whore's daughter messing around with anyone from my hear me Nicole? You're to stay away from that Raven girl...and Phil Rogers as well....he's a strange boy is that one."

"What ever you say..." Nicky mumbled, shooting Monica a disappointed look, Nicky stalked out of the room, "I'm going to go to bed now..... goodnight."

Joan Mayfair scampered over to her youngest daughter, compassion hidden beneath her neutral facade. "Good night Sweetheart.... pleasant dreams, baby." Joan leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her daughter's flushed cheek. "Just do what your daddy says and everything'll be fine Nicky. Ok baby?"

Nicky nodded slowly and swallowed the lump in her throat, desperately trying not to cry. I won't give him the satisfaction of seeing me cry! Nicky thought determinedly. Picking up her neglected shopping bags and making her way up the impressive stair case, Nicky was besieged with images of Raven carrying those same bags as she ran after her towards the cinema. Laughter, smiles and gentle chuckles of comradeship were the memories that went along with Nicky's thoughts of Raven and Phil. Nicky reached the landing and slowly walked down the beautifully decorated hall to her bedroom door.... and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let anyone stop me from making more of those happy memories with those two....with Raven. With a new sense of strength and determination, Nicky grinned and slammed her bedroom door closed after her, shutting out all the imposed duties of social standing that came along with being part of the Mayfair clan.


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