DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
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Monday morning found Anna making the short trip up to Stonehaven, the biggest harbour town along the stretch of coast between Montrose and Aberdeen . She had awoken that morning realising that she needed to do some serious food shopping. Anna chose to head to Stonehaven for a change of scenery and a wider variety of choice than given by the little grocer in the village.
As Anna drove along the small coastal road towards her destination she noticed a group of teenage boys walking in the same direction she was headed. As she got closer she recognised them from the youth club. Putting on her indicator, she pulled over onto the grass verge by the side of the road.
The group of five turned and, recognising Anna, immediately headed over to the Land Rover. They greeted her with a chorus of ‘ Hi's' and ‘Nice wheels'.
“Where are you lot headed?”
Jamie, a tall blonde headed youth who looked to Anna's eyes, like he ought to be in a boy band, spoke for the group.
“Just going to Stoney to see a film, Anna.”
“Hop in then, I'll give you a lift.”
“Cool, we were hoping that someone from the village would pass by.”
Jamie immediately took the front passenger seat next to Anna while the other four piled in the back and sat on the bench seats.
“No buses?” asked Anna, which raised a round of chuckles from the boys.
“Are you joking? We are lucky if a bus turns up at all, never mind when it's supposed to.” Jamie replied laughing.
Graeme, a tall, gangly teen with a touch of acne elaborated. “Aye, most of the time we start walking. If the bus comes along, we stop it, if it doesn't come we hope someone we know drives past and picks us up. The postie is pretty good for that and some of the farmers.”
“You are the lucky one today, Anna, and you now have the pleasure of our charm and combined good looks all the way to Stoney.”
Jamie's words were met with a chorus of laughter and agreement. Anna could not help but enjoy their exuberant good humour.
“Are you guys back to school in a few days then?”
That question was greeted with a chorus of moans.
“What, I thought it was optional after four years?” Anna teased.
“We're all staying on because we couldn't find any decent jobs,” answered Graeme.
Anna thought that was a remarkably prudent idea and voiced her approval, only to have her comment met with a round of snickers.
She glanced over at Jamie, her confusion evident on her face.
“See, Anna, if we leave school we stay at home with no money and nothing to do. So, we're all staying on because of the new Educational Maintenance Allowance. If your mum and dad don't earn a lot, you can get up to £30 a week for staying on. Most of us will get that amount.”
Anna now understood, given the choices there really was little option. Still she thought it was a hell of a lot better than them being bored and penniless, which often led to petty theft then who the hell knew what.
Mikey, a young looking sixteen year old added, “We all went for the same apprentice joiner job a little while back and Callum got it. That was one of the few going in the village.”
Anna nodded her understanding, “What type of job would you prefer to do?”
Mikey answered again, “I wanted to be a fisherman like ma' dad was, but he had to give up his boat, so that's not an option any longer.”
Anna wondered what that meant for a community in the long term. Particularly in terms of family and any long term, knock on effects on a place that has relied on generations of the same families going to sea to earn a living.
“So what does your dad do now, Mikey?”
Anna's question was met with an uncomfortable silence and she immediately regretted asking even before she heard the answer.
“He killed himself,” Mikey's reply was soft and low, but Anna didn't miss it.
“I'm truly sorry to hear that, Mikey.” Anna wished the ground could just open and swallow her up. She had dealt with a few suicides over the course of her career. The impact on the family was always profound. They were always left wondering why, and could they have done something more.
“It's a'right, Anna, but thanks.”
Graeme patted Mikey on the back, “A'right, Mikey man, eh? Remember that wee Cheryl will probably be at the pictures.” He managed to put a smile back on the face of his friend, which Anna was both relieved and delighted to see. It was clear that these guys were a great source of support for each other, despite their young age they were pretty clued in to what was going on around them.
The remainder of the journey was filled with the guys playfully ribbing each other.
As the five friends exited her vehicle Anna paused to ponder her feelings for just a few minutes. This assignment was constantly gnawing at her conscience, but she realised it wasn't her goal that was the problem. Anyone involved in importing drugs deserved everything they got, regardless of the circumstances. That had always been Anna's philosophy. She had once been involved in arresting a seventy-five year old woman who was selling drugs to fund her heating bill in the winter. Anna had no qualms about arresting the elderly woman. But this assignment was giving her pause for thought. Since she had first met and started befriending the people of Havensburgh, and had come to get an insight into their daily lives, the duplicity of her motives was, for the first time, leaving a bad taste in her mouth. She was building friendships and gaining trust and it was all part of the job. She was doing what she was paid to do. Deep down Anna knew it would be far easier to go undercover amongst the people actually breaking the law, than to be integrating into the lives of these people and refrain from making attachments. Normally she would walk away and not look back when a job was over but, this time, Anna knew it would be a wrench. What started out as an assignment that she believed would be mundane and boring, was getting more and more complicated by the day.
The following evening Anna parked in front of the youth club and entered the building with an added spring in her step. Heather seemed to have that affect on her. She was early as usual, hoping to spend a few extra minutes alone with her cute blonde friend.
Anna popped her head through the office door; she couldn't help but to look Heather over before announcing her presence. The blonde was concentrating so hard on whatever was on her computer screen, she hadn't yet realised she wasn't alone. Anna smiled at the vision before her. Jeans and a short-sleeved white blouse never looked so good with a pair of sandals. “Hi, Heather.”
Heather turned in her chair to be greeted by the smiling face of her new friend. “Anna, hi. How are you?”
Heather nodded and smiled. “I had a really great time on Saturday. We should do it again sometime,” she added hopefully.
“Yeah, definitely, that would be great.” ‘God you have no idea how great that would be' , Anna thought to herself.
“How about Italian food next time?” Heather asked.
“Absolutely, I love Italian food.”
Heather had wondered previously if Anna might actually be part Italian, what with her olive skin tone and thick dark hair, so thought she would take the opportunity to ask, “Are you off Italian descent, Anna?”
Anna smiled, “No, but you're not the first to ask. My mother is Scottish and my father's parents are Irish. They live in Galway, but my father has lived in Scotland since he was Eighteen years old.”
“Did he come over to work?”
“Nah, he came over to play football, fell in love and never went home.”
“Yeah, he wasn't brilliant at football, but good enough to play for a few years. It was meeting my mother that kept him here.”
“So you and your brother must have grown up surrounded by football.”
Anna laughed, “Well we did, but much to my dad's dismay neither of us were really interested. My brother plays rugby and I participated in athletics until I left school.”
“Well you couldn't have given up all sport. The way you sprinted after that guy at the disco was quite something.”
Anna shrugged. “Yeah, I do a bit of running. What about you?”
“I try to get to the gym as often as possible. I keep in shape that way.”
Anna had thought that Heather probably used a gym. Her compact frame had a firm toned look and Anna had found herself imagining just exactly how Heather's body would look unclothed.
“You look good.” Anna found herself replying quite without conscious thought. “ That has got to be the understatement of the year, she looks absolutely fantastic !” Anna thought to herself.
‘Thank you,” Heather said, feeling a small blush creep up her neck. “Listen, Anna, I know it's a little ways off, but the youth club usually plans a trip away for the October school holiday week. They want to go to Glasgow this year, I'm sure they would love it if you could come along.” Heather hoped that Anna would at least consider it.
The dark haired woman would have loved nothing better than to spend more time with the delightful woman in front of her, but knew she could not commit herself to this trip. For one thing, she certainly hoped this entire operation was over before the middle of October and, even if it weren't she would be of no use to Pete back in Glasgow .
“I don't know, Heather, it's not really my thing, you know.” Anna was telling the truth, she didn't relish the thought of spending a few days in the company of a bunch of teenagers, although, under different circumstances, she would have gone just to be able to spend more time with Heather.
“But you get on great with the kids, Anna, they think you're fantastic. Please say you will at least think about it.” The blonde added, her green eyes practically pleading with Anna to reconsider.
One look at Heather and Anna was gone, she couldn't just say no, even though the chances of her actually going were practically non-existent.
“We'll see, I'll think about it and let you know nearer the time.”
“Great!” Heather got out of her seat and gave Anna a quick hug, “That gives me plenty of time to work on changing your mind.” She grabbed Anna's hand and led her towards the main hall, “C'mon, since you're here early you can help me set up for the evening.”
Anna was happy to go wherever Heather wanted to take her.
“Oh man! Great shot, Anna,” Jamie cheered as Anna sunk the black ball in the bottom right pocket. Jamie had talked Anna into partnering him in a game of doubles and using the opportunity to talk to her more, while asking for tips on his game and discussing their strategy and shot selection. Heather had been covertly observing Jamie's behaviour towards Anna and it was pretty clear that he was smitten with the tall woman. Heather admired the way her friend was handling Jamie's interest. She was friendly and considerate towards his feelings, while maintaining the relationship of adult supervisor. It was a delicate balance to achieve and Anna was doing a great job.
When the game ended, Anna thanked Jamie for partnering her, while politely declining his invitation to another game, stating she had promised to spend some time with the girls. It seemed that despite her initial difficulties and concerns over relating to teenage girls, both they and Anna had found some common ground. When Anna introduced them to her ‘Sex, Drugs and Self-Defence' classes, the teenage girls had been only too willing to participate wholeheartedly in all aspects of the class. When it came to the discussions on sex and drugs, Anna wondered sometimes just who was teaching who. There was a lot of giggling, from the girls, but Anna always made sure the main points of the dangers of drug misuse and the importance of safe sex were put across to the teenagers. The issue of keeping themselves safe when alone at night had brought about the interest in self-defence, making the class more popular than she had expected.
When the evening's activities were over, Anna and Heather found themselves alone in the community centre.
“Someone has a crush on you,” Heather teased.
Anna smiled, “Jamie will be quite a catch for some lucky girl.”
“Ah, you noticed.”
Anna shrugged, “It was hard not to.”
“He talks about you all the time. ‘Will Anna be at the youth club? Is Anna coming to Glasgow with us? Is Anna married?” Heather paused, “You should have seen the poor boys face when I told him you were.”
“He will get over me as soon as the next girl turns his head.” Anna replied.
Heather agreed, “Maybe so.” But inside she doubted it would be that simple and she was no longer thinking about Jamie.
I'm going to meet Pete at the Marine bar, would you like a lift?”
“Actually, yes, if you don't mind, I'll go with you.” Heather knew Greg would be in the bar, normally she wouldn't bother to go, but it wasn't Greg she wanted to see. Instead she was looking forward to spending a little more time in the company of the alluring Anna Thompson.
Anna and Heather entered the bar a few minutes later. The place was very busy for a Tuesday night and the drink seemed to be flowing liberally and, judging by the high spirits of the men inside, probably had been for most of the evening.
There were a few wolf whistles as the two women walked towards their respective partners, who were both embroiled in a conversation with Jim Wallace.
“Well hello there, ladies, I was just enjoying some fine conversation with your lads here.” Wally's lecherous look at Heather immediately raised Anna's hackles, but she had long since stopped reacting to the leers he sent her way.
“Good evening, Jim.” Heather politely replied, while Anna simply grunted her greeting, which earned her a warning look from Pete.
‘”I was just asking Pete how you came to buy the farm?
“I told you before, Wally, we bought it on Ebay.”
‘Oh yes, that's right, on Ebay. You hear that, Greg, you can buy anything on that site, maybe you could go on and get some fish!”
Wally chuckled heartily at his own joke, but Greg Moir looked none too pleased.
“Well it's certainly true there aren't enough in our designated fishing waters.” Greg grumbled.
“Why keep fishing then?” Pete asked.
Wally jumped in, “I don't plan to be fishing much longer. I will decommission my boat in the next few months and retire on what I get. That old thing paid for itself years ago.”
“The sooner you do that the better. It will mean more fish for the rest of us to catch.”
This reply from Greg raised a few more chuckles.
“The money you get from decommissioning the boat will give you enough to retire on?” Anna asked.
Greg interrupted, “Well that and all the fish I've helped him catch. He follows me around like a puppy knowing I will lead him to where the fish are biting.”
Wally ignored Greg's barb, but it was becoming clear to Anna and Pete that the two men had an obvious dislike for one another.
Wally continued, “Sure I can, so long as I look after the money and invest it well.”
Greg snorted, ‘Since when was betting on the horses considered an investment strategy?”
This latest barb needled Wally. “Aye well, it's not like I have anyone to look after but myself. I'm my own man.”
“Aye, since your ex wife saw sense and left you.”
“Greg.” Heather chastised, clearly embarrassed by the behaviour of her fiancé.
Wally got up into Greg's face. “At least when she agreed to marry me, she actually ‘set the date'.” Wally looked at Heather as he said this, his meaning clear.
Greg lost all reason and took a swing at Jim Wallace, but Pete was quick to intervene and separate them before they could take matters any further.
“Come on boys, no need to come to blows.”
Heather was horrified at Greg's behaviour; she had never known him to start at fight in all the years they had been together.
“I think we should leave, Greg.”
“You can go if you want, I'm staying.” Greg replied in a surly tone.
Heather watched Greg walk away from her and join a group of men in the corner.
“Are you okay?” Anna asked her friend, who looked like she was ready to cry.
“Not really, no.”
“Would you like a lift home?”
Heather shook her head. “No, I think I'll stay a little longer, just to make sure Greg doesn't get himself into any more trouble. Would you mind some company?”
Anna smiled, “You find us a seat and I'll go to the bar. What would you like?”
“Just a fresh orange and lemonade please, Anna.”
“Be right back.”
Anna watched as Greg spoke with a man she hadn't seen before. He had a deep scar running from the corner of his mouth across most of his left cheek. He was very gaunt looking and, combined with the scar and his shaven head, he cut a menacing figure.
She asked Heather about him when she returned to the table. “Was Greg's friend injured in a fishing accident?” Despite all that had happened that evening, Anna was here to do a job and Heather could help provide answers.
The blonde looked over to where Anna had gestured with her head. She took in the stranger sitting with her fiancé. “I have no idea who that man is, Anna. I've never seen him before. That's not so unusual these days,” she added dejectedly.
Despite her sympathy for Heather's current situation, Anna thought the information could prove to be very useful.
The following day Anna and Pete had a brainstorming session regarding the evening before. They both wanted to gather their information together and try to make more sense of what had been going on.
“You think scarface is involved in this somehow?” Pete asked Anna.
“I don't know, but Heather has no idea who this guy is, we should definitely be on the look out for any more strangers that Greg Moir is meeting in the pub.”
“Before you arrived in the bar, Greg and Wally had been needling each other on and off most of the night. There is no love lost between that pair.
“I sort of guessed that when they practically started punching each other.” Anna added sarcastically.
Pete ignored her and continued, “Wally hinted at something after you and Heather went to sit down.”
Anna raised her eyebrow, “Would this be something besides hinting to me that you might not quite be the faithful husband I have come to know and love?” Anna mocked.
“The bastard, he never?”
“He sure did.”
“Total slime bag.”
The pair stopped joking and got back to the serious business of doing their job.
“He said something about Greg Moir's boat not always being where it should be.”
Anna frowned, “Did he mention anything else?”
Pete shook his head, “No, and when I asked what he meant, he just grinned.”
Anna gnawed at her bottom lip, and then blew out a breath. “This is bloody frustrating.” Getting up abruptly from the kitchen table, she cursed and paced over to the window adding, “I hate the lack of progress. We need something concrete soon or Davidson will pull us.”
Pete could feel the frustration running off his colleague in waves. He sensed it was more than just the information gathering that was causing her irritation.
“You know, there won't be much happening for a day or two, why don't you take a little time to yourself, Anna? Blow off some steam.”
Anna turned sharply to look at Pete, the little grin and the gleam in his eye confirmed his meaning. Initially about to give him a piece of her mind, she found the wind taken out of her sails.
Smiling ruefully, she had to agree that his suggestion was a good one; she needed to distance herself for a few hours. “I might just do that.”
Pete's grin became a full smile, “That's my girl.”
“Don't push it, McGinty.” She cautioned, more to keep up appearances than to chastise.
Returning home, Heather decided she and Greg really had to take time to discuss the previous night's events in the bar. They had spent a quiet, if slightly strained evening with her parents, her mother seemingly oblivious to the tension surrounding the young couple.
Hanging up her jacket in the hall, Heather joined her fiancé in the sitting room.
“Greg, we need to talk.”
“I have nothing to say,” Greg replied, his eyes never leaving the television screen, remote still in his hand, looking for a channel to watch.
Greg looked at Heather properly for the first time in weeks. He hadn't been fair to her, he knew that, but he didn't want to have this talk. He remained stoically silent in the hope that Heather would take the hint and drop the subject.
“Fine, you might not have anything to say, but you can at least do me the courtesy of listening.” She was breathing heavily now with sheer frustration. “I don't know what is going on. You won't talk about the boat with me. You are meeting strangers in the bar and starting fights with a whinge bag like Jim Wallace. He has been a wind up merchant all his life and suddenly you are letting him get to you. A few months ago you would have laughed his comments off. This isn't like you, Greg.”
She waited, hoping Greg would finally speak to her. When nothing was forthcoming, an increasingly frustrated Heather continued. “This is hopeless. If you aren't going to talk to me about any of this, I don't see how we can continue as we are.” Heather was close to tears, disbelieving that her childhood sweetheart had let it come to this. “I'll be at my parents, you know where to find me whenever you are ready to talk.”
As Heather turned to leave, Greg finally spoke.
She stopped and turned to look at her fiancé, not sure of who he was anymore.
“You've changed.” Greg said simply.
Heather paused, her forehead wrinkled in thought as she considered his words. They had surprised her. Had she changed? Certainly she had grown up and matured in the last two years, but she didn't think she had changed, until now.
Greg shrugged, “I think so.”
Heather was momentarily speechless.
Greg broke the silence. “You're never going to marry me are you?”
She hadn't expected this. With the question finally out in the open, she could no longer ignore the truth. Greg was right, she wasn't going to marry him and no amount of talking was going to change that fact.
The tears flowed as Heather finally gave voice to what they had both known to be true for some time now. “I'm so sorry, Greg.”
“I thought so.” Greg stated with a distinct note of resignation in his voice.
Heather took a seat next to him. Taking his big hand in both of hers, she tried to explain. “I don't know what has changed, Greg, you me, both of us. I'm not sure. I do know that the direction we have been heading in, isn't the route I want to take.”
Greg nodded, “And I want to stay right here, go fishing and raise a family. I wanted that life with you.”
“I know, I know, but, I can't explain it, Greg, I'm not even sure of what I want. I only know what I don't want.”
“You don't want a family?” Greg was surprised.
“I'm not saying that. I may, in the future, but not right now. You're ready to settle down, you have been since you were eighteen years old, but you've waited for me, and for that I'm immensely sorry. Sorry it's taken me this long to realise I don't want the same as you.”
Greg started to sob, and as the floodgates opened, they both knew they would now have to deal with the reality that their relationship was effectively over and had been heading that way for some time. Long before they both started keeping secrets.
Despite the new status of their relationship, it seemed the most natural thing in the world for these two people, who had known each other for so long, to comfort each other. They embraced tightly and sobbed. Neither quite ready to let the other go just yet. Somewhere in amongst the heartache and pain, Heather realised that Greg had known this conversation would lead to this place and it was most likely the reason he had been avoiding talking about their relationship and finding sanctuary in the bar whenever Heather tried to broach the subject.
These two people, though now about to move in different directions, had been an enormous part of each other's life for years. Neither knew what the future held for them, but for the rest of that evening at least, there was no other place they wanted to be. Lying in each other's arms, finding comfort and solace amid the pain, until the cold light of dawn brought with it the stark realisation that they were finally over as a couple.
Anna sought out a familiar number on her mobile phone and dialled. It was picked up on the third ring.
“ Anderson .” Came the cool reply.
“Hi, Maddie, its Anna.”
Bitch. “I need to see you.”
There was a pause and Anna waited patiently on the reply.
“I'm free from eight thirty p.m. Meet me at the front of the Pleasance gym … I've moved.”
“Okay, I'll be there. Bye.” All Anna heard was a click then the dialling tone. Jesus and people think I'm cold.
Anna checked her watch. If she got moving straight away she had just enough time to freshen up, change and pack some clean clothing to take with her for tomorrow.
“Pete, I'm going and I won't be back till late tomorrow morning or early afternoon.”
“What, hang on? What are you going to do?”
“Strangely enough, I'm going to take your advice,” she grinned.
Pete understood the message loud and clear, without Anna going into specifics. All he could think was that someone was a lucky sod and briefly lamented the fact that her tastes ran to women and, more specifically, didn't run to him.
Anna had met Maddie Anderson while on a case around three years ago. She was a fellow detective, around five feet ten inches tall, with a shock of long blonde hair and big blue eyes. Half Scottish and half Swedish, Maddie was stunning and stacked. Once they'd both realised the other was gay, they soon ended up sleeping together, no strings attached. That situation still remained, although it had been a while since they had hooked up.
Anna made it over the Forth Road Bridge in good time. She hadn't been to the capital in some months and rarely had she ever used this route, normally driving in from Glasgow . However, thirty minutes of traffic queues and stop/start driving later, Anna was approaching Edinburgh 's main thoroughfare of Princes Street and immediately cursing. She had forgotten the road was closed due to work for the new tram system. Damn! If I'm late, I doubt she'll hang around. She quickly thought through her options and, remembering a short cut through the Grassmarket area, managed to get to the Pleasance and be parked outside the entrance gates with exactly three minutes to spare.
At precisely eight thirty she watched as the immaculately dressed Maddie Anderson came into view. Maddie's hair was swept up in a bun giving her a somewhat severe look. She was wearing a black, tailored trouser suit over a crisp white cotton shirt, and a pair of flat-heeled leather ankle boots completed the outfit.
Anderson stopped and, looking over at the Land Rover, spotted Anna sitting behind the wheel. Maddie seemed to view the vehicle with such apparent disdain that, for one split second, Anna actually thought she wasn't going to approach. Then suddenly, in just three long strides, she was opening the door, getting in and reaching for her seatbelt.
“Nice wheels. They suit you.” She said coolly.
“Thanks.” There was no point in mentioning the vehicle wasn't hers, Anderson would barely raise an eyebrow.
“So, is this a social call?”
“I was hoping it could be.”
“Good, I'll leave my car here and you can drop me off tomorrow. Head down to the waterfront, I'll direct you from there.”
Anna nodded and put the Land Rover into gear. She didn't know exactly why, but Maddie's slightly accented, imperious tone did something for her. The woman was quite majestic in her own way. Not that she acted like she could give a damn, or maybe that was why. Either way it didn't matter to Anna, she wasn't too bothered about any analysis of Maddie's character. At this point in time, she was much more interested in her body.
Maddie had moved from her flat in the Morningside area of the city and into a loft conversion down by the Leith shore. The area was undergoing a major facelift as many old warehouses and empty whisky bond buildings were being converted into trendy flats, very popular with young professionals.
Passing the Royal Yacht Britannia, now moored in Leith , Anna was instructed to make a right turn.
A short while later Anna found herself climbing the stairs to Maddie's new flat. Anderson opened the door and Anna entered first, she didn't even take in the décor as she waited for Maddie to close the door behind her then Anna pounced. The one thing Anna loved doing was making this woman melt and she intended to give and take for as long as they both could keep it up.
Anna dropped her overnight bag on the wooden floor and pinned Maddie against her front door. She began unbuttoning her suit jacket in an effort to free the restrained woman. She kissed her deeply and Maddie responded in kind. Anna was soon freeing Maddie from her jacket and the blonde took the opportunity to reverse their positions. She thrust her thigh between Anna's legs and ground into her. Anna was helpless to resist the onslaught. She had been so horny for days and was now completely turned on by what Anderson was doing. She lost all sense of bearing and just gave herself over. She felt Maddie unbuttoning her jeans and pulling them off her hips along with her underwear. At the first brush of Maddie fingertips against her engorged clitoris Anna almost came.
“Mmmm, so wet.”
“God yes, don't tease.” Anna husked.
Complying with Anna's heartfelt plea, Maddie began rubbing her clitoris with a firm pressure, quickly bringing her to a hard and fast orgasm. Anna thrusting her hips against Maddie's hand to prolong the sensation.
Anna was leaning against the door far from spent, but it had been enough to take the edge of her need. Maddie grabbed for her hand and led her to the bedroom.
Several hours later Maddie asked, “Are you hungry?”
“I'll order some Chinese. Any preference?”
“Hmm…chicken black bean with fried rice and some noodles.”
Maddie rose from the tangled bedding completely naked. Anna watched her move gracefully out the door and decided that there was still plenty of time to enjoy that body. She had always thought that Maddie had fantastic breasts.
Maddie returned a few minutes later with wine and got back into bed. She handed Anna a glass.
“What's wrong?” She had that look on her face that told Anna not to bother bullshitting.
Anna decided to come straight out with it, “I'm undercover and I'm very attracted to the fiancée of a potential suspect.”
“Tricky.” Anderson answered, stating the obvious and not bothering to offer any lecture on blowing her cover. She knew Anna wasn't looking for one. Maddie was a complex woman, while at the same time she was a very uncomplicated human being. It was a combination that Anna found irresistible. The ambiguous duality of her nature fuelled Anna's attraction in a very potent manner, which had manifested itself in many, lust filled encounters between the two women.
“Though, I do happen to approve of your coping mechanism, it is quite ingenious.” Maddie joked.
Anna chuckled as Maddie leaned her head back onto the pillows and offered the closest thing to a smile Anna had witnessed from her that evening. Just at that moment they heard the door buzzer.
“Ah, food. Be right back,” said Maddie, this time prudently reaching for a robe and putting it on before leaving the room.
Anna took the opportunity to ogle the departing Maddie's toned backside and, much to her dismay she found herself wondering how it would compare to Heather's. Though trying valiantly to dislodge the rogue thought, Anna still formed an answer. She just knew Heather's would be firmer…
The following Saturday was one of the busiest days on the Havensburgh social calendar. The annual flower show held by the local horticultural society would be taking place in the village hall and Anna and Pete planned to make the most of any opportunities that might arise during the day to further their cause. They had been told that the village population would triple in size with the influx of visitors for the flower show.
“Well, at least it's a lovely day for it.” Pete remarked.
“That's for sure.”
Something caught Anna's eye, a familiar face. “Jesus.” She pulled Pete close to her and turned her back to the woman she had caught a glimpse of. She leaned in closer to Pete's ear, a smile on her face to cover the seriousness of the situation. “You see the woman over by the craft stall?”
Pete looked, “Which one, there are a few there?”
“Brunette, collar length curly hair. Arty looking.”
“You mean the hippy?”
“She's arty, not a hippy.”
“Pete laughed softly, “You didn't did you?”
“We had a thing.”
“So, she knows what you do for a living?”
“What does that mean?”
“I told her I worked in an office. I'm not in the habit of telling one night stands what I do for a living.”
“She keeps looking over, she obviously saw you.”
“Okay, then we better put on a good show.” Anna gave Pete a soft kiss on the lips, and then leaned into his ear again to whisper. “If I saw a woman I had been with doing this with a guy, I would keep her secret, I'm sure she will mine.”
“I'm not sure that little peck was convincing enough.” Pete leaned in and gave Anna a fuller, longer kiss. When he introduced his tongue, Anna bit it.
Pete disengaged grinning, “You can't blame a guy for taking full advantage of this situation.”
Anna leaned in lovingly to him, “Try that again and I will cut your balls off.”
“It would be worth it.”
The pair laughed and continued strolling amongst the patrons.
Heather Keith stood just inside the village hall observing Anna and Pete. With Greg gone to sea she had yet to tell anyone that they had ended their relationship. Watching her new friend and her husband just compounded her misery. They looked so in love, she wondered if she would ever find what they had together with another person. As Anna leaned in and kissed Pete lovingly on the lips Heather felt her stomach tighten and twist. The air in the hall felt stuffy and hot and she knew she needed to get out of there. The feelings of longing and loss were too much to bear.
As Anna and Pete strolled hand in hand looking at the various floral presentations they were accosted by Mrs. Keith.
“Oh, Anna, Anna!” Mrs Keith shouted loudly enough that there would be no chance of Anna not hearing her.
Anna turned to see the woman coming towards them, Mr. Keith making no attempt to hurry up and catch his wife. Mind you, Anna thought, it's not like the conservative man would have any difficulty picking his wife out amongst the throngs of visitors, her dress was clashing with every display in the room, she looked positively garish.
“Hello, Mrs. Keith,” Anna said politely. She nodded to Mr Keith as he strolled up beside his wife. “Mr. Keith.”
“Hello, Anna, Peter, how are you both?”
“We're good, enjoying the last of the nice weather. Aren't we, darling?” This she said to Pete, who smiled winningly at his wife .
“We sure are.”
“Anna, have you seen Heather today?” Mrs. Keith asked without any preamble.
Anna frowned, “No should I have?”
“I'm worried about her, she hasn't been herself these last few days.”
“Oh, is everything alright?”
“Well I don't know, dear, that's why I'm asking you.”
Anna thought for a moment, the blonde had seemed a little subdued on Thursday evening, but there had been no hint from Heather that anything was wrong.
“Not anything that I'm aware of, Mrs. Keith. Have you spoken to Greg?” Anna wondered if perhaps Heather's low mood had something to do with the incident in the bar the previous Tuesday. She certainly wouldn't be the one to tell Mrs. Keith about it if Heather hadn't
I can't ask Gregor, he's at sea.”
‘Since when ' Thought Anna? Greg hadn't been due to take his boat out for a few days yet. She wondered what could have changed his mind.
“Oh, I had no idea. I'm sure Heather will be here, when did you last speak to her?”
“Last evening, but she promised to come today.”
Malcolm Keith added his wisdom to the conversation. “I'm sure Heather will turn up when she's good and ready, Agnes. Now, don't you have some flowers to attend to?”
“Yes, but I just can't concentrate on the flowers right now, you know I can't. Something isn't right, I can feel it.”
Anna decided to offer to help. “Why don't I go check and see if Heather is at home?”
“Would you, dear? That would be wonderful.”
“Thank you, Anna.” Mr. Keith added.
Anna walked up to Heather's cottage and knocked on the door. When no one answered she opened the letterbox and called in.
“Heather, it's Anna.”
A short while later she heard some movement inside and Heather opened the door. Anna smiled at the blonde.
“Hi, Anna, this is a surprise. Come on in.”
Offering Anna a seat, Heather asked, “What can I do for you?”
“Well, I promised your mum I would look in on you, she's very worried.”
“That's nothing new, she needs to know where I am at all times.”
“Is everything okay?” Despite Heather's forced cheeriness, Anna couldn't help but notice the red rimmed eyes.
With this question, Heather seemed to deflate right before Anna's eyes. “Actually, no, it's not. Greg and I have split up.”
“Oh, Heather, I'm so sorry,” Anna said, her sympathy genuine despite the falseness surrounding their friendship.
Heather couldn't hold the dam back any longer and the tears flowed again, as they had been intermittently since Wednesday evening, she seemed to have no control over them. Anna instinctively comforted her friend and Heather was content to be in her arms as she told Anna about the break up.
“In truth it had been coming for some time and Greg knew it. It was me that had been turning a blind eye to the fact that I was never going to marry him. We have been growing apart for some time now.”
“You haven't told your mother?” Anna questioned, knowing full well the answer.
“No, I just can't face that conversation at the moment and, with Greg away at sea, I've been putting it off.”
“What will you do?”
“I'll probably speak to my dad first. We will most likely have to sell the cottage, though Lord knows it's not the best time to be doing that. Truthfully though, I honestly don't know beyond that. Maybe it's time to get to know myself; I've never really had that opportunity. I've always been one half of Greg and Heather.”
“You'll like Heather, she is well worth getting to know.” Anna encouraged.
“I hope so.”
Anna knew so.
Just then, Anna's mobile rang interrupting the silence that had descended. She apologised to Heather as she checked the caller display. “It's Pete, I better take it.”
“Hey, Honey, I'm with Heather.” She let Pete know she wasn't free to talk.
“A problem with the sheep? I'll be there right away?” Whatever was going on was urgent.
“I'm sorry, Heather. I have to get back to the farm. I'll call you later.” She hated having to run out on the blonde, especially when Heather was going through so much emotionally, but she was here to do her job and, difficult though it was, she would have to leave the blonde on her own.
Giving Heather one last, reassuring hug, she quickly left the cottage. Although Anna had meant every word, inside she still felt like a total shit. She knew that everything she had said to Heather had been heartfelt and genuine but, because of the circumstances, her words would end up sounding contrived and manipulative to the blonde when the truth was finally revealed.
Shaking off the dark thoughts, she waked towards Pete who was already in his truck, waiting for Anna outside Heathers house.
“What's so urgent?” Anna asked as she put on her seatbelt.
“The contact from Peterhead called saying that two boats are due to offload their catch in the next twelve hours.”
“A busy night ahead for us then.”
“Hopefully we get something this time.” Pete added.
They had been through the same routine several times now but, so far, no boat had shown any signs of doing anything other than offloading their catch. With time running out and the budget dwindling, both Anna and Pete were beginning to feel the pressure of producing a result.
“We will scout the same locations as last time, you see anything, let me know right away.” Anna instructed.
The pair headed back to the farm for a change of clothing and to prepare and check the equipment they would need for the next twelve hours.
Six hours later Pete called Anna.
“Yes, Pete, do you have anything?” Anna asked, a hint of excitement in her voice.
“No, sorry, just wanted to let you know that one of the boats has been to Peterhead and it's now on its way to dock at Inverbervie.”
“Thanks, Pete, I'll keep a look out for that one just to make sure they don't take any detours.
It was almost four hours later when Pete made the call to Anna that the second boat had docked and stayed in Peterhead. It was a very deflated pair of detectives who made their way back to the farm a short time later.
“Jesus, another wasted night.” Pete complained.
Anna agreed, knowing they would have to catch a break soon as time was running out.
“How much longer do you think Davidson will give us?”
Anna considered the question for a moment. “Truthfully, he might just pull us on Monday.”
“What!” Pete exclaimed.
“We are getting nowhere, we don't have one solid lead. Davidson isn't going to give us much longer. I really think we are talking only days here unless something crops up soon.”
Pete yawned and leaned back on the sofa. “Just like that, we could be out of here in a few days?”
“It's really looking that way. Davidson's patience and budget are wearing thin.”
They were both weary after spending the last twelve hours running up and down the stretch of coast that they had come to know like the back of their hand. With nothing to show for their efforts, yet again.
“I'm not ready to throw in the towel, Anna.”
“Unfortunately, it's not our decision, but let's sleep on it and see how it looks in the morning.”
Pete agreed and the pair retired hoping to see things differently the next day. Sleep was a long time coming to Anna as she went over everything in her head, hoping that something would jump out at her, maybe something they had missed. It didn't, but she did find herself forming a semblance of an idea. It was risky at best and downright crazy when she really thought about it, but she couldn't help but want to implement it. She understood that Pete was desperate for a result from a career point of view and she plain hated the idea of this operation ending up a complete waste of time, but what if…
The following day Anna and Pete went about their usual Sunday routine. A hearty breakfast, then a trip to mass, the same as they had for the last several weeks. They politely spoke with Reverend MacKinlay, before acknowledging the other people they had come to know during their time in Havensburgh. Anna couldn't help but feel a sense of finality to the whole day, she suspected this would be the last time she would be attending this service.
The weather was noticeably cooler these days and people were not standing around outside the church as they had when Pete and Anna first arrived, instead moving in the direction of home or the church hall for a cuppa. That's where Anna and Pete decided to go and mingle for a little while longer. Inside they were immediately waved across by Mrs. Keith, she clearly wanted them to join her and her husband and, much to Anna's delight, Heather was also there.
“How are you both and how are the sheep? It was a shame Peter had to rush off last week during the flower show.” Mrs. Keith asked.
Pete answered, “We're fine thanks, as are the sheep. A couple of them had gotten free through a hole in the fence. We got them back and the fence has been repaired.”
Anna mused that lying was simply second nature to them, one lie after another rolling off their tongues as easily as the letter ‘r'.
Mrs. Keith, always charmed by Pete continued, ‘Oh, that's wonderful, and thank you, Anna, for being such a dear and dropping in to see Heather when she was feeling unwell. She told me you were a tremendous help.”
“Think nothing of it, Mrs. Keith, it was my pleasure.”
“Such a wonderful couple you are, we are really lucky that you have chosen to make Havensburgh your home. Will we be hearing the patter of tiny feet soon?”
Anna laughed, “I think at the moment, the sheep will be breeding before we do, but who knows in the future, I'm sure when we are a little more settled. What do you think, Darling?”
Anna deftly turned this one over to Pete.
“When the time is right, Mrs Keith, we hope to start a family.”
“Oh, how wonderful, you will be marvellous parents, won't they, Malcolm?”
Mr. Keith agreed, “Absolutely.” Always a man of few words, but then, it was difficult to get words in around his wife.
“We hope that it won't be too long before Heather and Greg decide to start a family of their own.” Mrs. Keith added.
Anna had suspected the conversation may navigate towards the blonde and, turning her attention to Heather, she changed the subject. “How are you feeling?”
The blonde smiled, but she looked weary. “I'm better thanks, Anna.”
Mrs. Keith added, “She still looks peaky to me, not quite right yet, are you, dear?”
“I'm getting there, Mum.”
“Well it was lovely seeing you all again. We have to head back to the farm now to do more work on the fence, checking the boundaries.” Pete made their excuses.
“Of course, don't let us keep you,” said Mrs. Keith.
“I'll see you on Tuesday, Heather,” Anna added, before they all said their goodbyes.
Monday brought with it the dreaded phone call from Chief Inspector Bruce Davidson.
“ What's bloody happening up there?” Davidson shouted into the phone.
“Sir, we...” Anna could barely get a word in edgeways.
“ The budget is going through the roof and you two have nothing. Not one damn concrete lead. ”
Anna tried again, but to no avail.
“ What the hell happened the other night? ”
Finally he let Anna speak. “Sir, the boats went about their normal business.”
“ And the pair of you went running around the beaches like a couple of lost tourists -Again! ” he roared into the telephone, then continued, “ I think enough is enough, your holidays are over. It's time for the pair of you to get back down to Glasgow and lick your wounds. ”
Damn , Anna thought, he was serious this time and she was going to have to do some very fast talking to change his mind.
“Sir, don't be too hasty, I believe we have something.”
Pete looked at Anna in disbelief. He couldn't imagine what she was about to tell their boss.
“ Let me hear it and it better be bloody good. ”
“One of the boats has gone out unexpectedly with a full crew.”
“ So? ”
“This particular crew have been splashing some cash lately. Talk of finally buying a house in the village and weddings, things like that. I got this from the girlfriends. Seems this crew are getting lucky at a time when everyone else is struggling.”
Davidson was silent on the other end of the line and Anna and Greg waited patiently for his answer.
“ I'll give you until this boat returns, but I warn you, if this turns out to be nothing, there will be hell to pay back here. ”
“Thank you, Sir.” Anna was mentally pumping her fist.
“ Which boat? ” Davidson demanded to know.
Anna gnawed at her bottom lip, thinking about her answer. “The Laissez Faire.” She had just named Greg Moir as a possible drug smuggler and prayed her gamble was correct.
“ You better be bloody right, Lynch, ” Davidson warned before hanging up.
Anna looked at Pete who was staring at her slack jawed.
“What the hell was that?”
Anna shrugged, “You weren't ready to give up and neither am I, I've just bought us some time.”
“What bloody houses and weddings? Why didn't you tell me about this?”
“Look it's a hunch, don't worry, I supplied Davidson with the spin, your arse is covered.”
“I don't bloody think so,” Pete cursed. “If this goes tits up it will be the second time for me this year. I can't afford another failure!”
“Calm down, Pete, just trust me, okay?”
Pete ran a hand through his hair, “Fucking hell, Anna, you better be right.”
God, I hope so , thought Anna.
For the next hour they focussed on spending the time they had left usefully. With Greg's boat gone for the next few days, they weren't intending to just sit around waiting for it to return.
“Starting tonight we do shifts scouting the coast, we just might get lucky.” Anna suggested.
“Makes sense, and if nothing transpires?” Greg asked.
“We hope that it all unfolds with the return of Greg Moir's boat.”
Pete wasn't feeling much better hearing that. “Do you really think he is involved?”
“Desperate times can make people do desperate things,” Anna answered cryptically.
Tuesday evening saw Anna arrive at the youth club and, for the first time, not really looking forward to the evening ahead. She hadn't arrived early, as had been her habit over the weeks, with no other reason than to spend some time alone with Heather. It had been a guilty pleasure. The teenagers were already queuing outside when she approached the doors to the community centre.
“Can we play music tonight, Anna?”
“Will you join us in a game of pool.”
The questions were fired at her thick and fast from the enthusiastic teenagers, she smiled simply because it was infectious.
“Whoa, one at a time,” she pleaded. “I'm sure I can fit in a game of pool” and to the girls, she assured they would get to pick music to listen too.
Making her way inside she found Heather already in the main hall; everything set up with the help of Tom, one of the volunteers, who was obviously on shore leave. Anna hadn't seen too much of Tom over the weeks and, whilst she admitted to herself that he was a nice guy, it was his adoration of Heather that secretly bugged her. She wondered if Tom would now seize his opportunity when he found out Greg was no longer in the picture. Shaking off that thought she greeted her co-workers for the evening of mayhem ahead.
“Hi, Guys. Sorry I'm a little late.”
“Hey, Anna, not to worry. Tom came in early to help.” Heather answered, oblivious to Tom's ulterior motives.
Tom smiled at Anna. “Yes, I thought I would come along early to see if Heather needed anything doing. I like to do what I can when I'm here,”
‘Oh, I'll just bet you do,' Anna thought to herself. “That's very good of you, Tom, I'm sure Heather appreciates that.”
“Of course I do. You're a great help whenever you are here, Tom.”
Tom stood with his hands in the pockets of his jeans, looking absolutely chuffed with himself upon receiving praise from Heather. This guy had it bad, Anna mused. She couldn't help the false smile that appeared for Tom, or as she had just renamed him, Tomtastic.
Heather broke the silence. “Well, it's time, all hands to the pump.” With that, she opened the doors for the teenagers to begin their night of fun.
Anna couldn't help but feel a sense of finality about the evening and no matter how hard she tried to shake it, she couldn't. She already knew she wouldn't be attending Thursday's youth club, regardless of what happened. She just couldn't stand another night like this. It wouldn't be unusual, she had promised Heather one night a week, but had most of the time turned up for both the Tuesday and the Thursday evening. There had been absolutely no need, but she just wanted to spend time with Heather.
During the course of the evening she had caught Heather's eye more than once. They both seemed to be going through the motions but fortunately, Tom was out to impress, so he was picking up the slack. By the end of the evening, it was a weary Anna and Heather that were cleaning up the mess left behind. Anna, thinking this could well be her last time alone with Heather, was willing Tom out the door, but he wasn't going anywhere. Unbeknownst to Anna, Heather was wishing the exact same thing, so when the three left the building and Anna offered the blonde a lift, Heather jumped at the chance.
Anna couldn't help herself; she had to mention what she had observed. “You know Tom has the hots for you?”
Heather frowned at Anna. “No, he just likes to help out.”
Anna laughed, ‘Trust me, the guy has it bad.”
“Oh, God, that's all I need right now.”
Anna was already pulling up in front of Heather's cottage. “How are you doing?”
“I still feel numb, it's kind of surreal, you know. Thinking that Greg won't be in my life any more. I still haven't told my mother.” Heather confessed.
“Good luck with that. I would suggest that you don't leave it too long. It won't get any easier.”
“I know, and thanks, Anna.” Heather removed her seatbelt, “Will I see you on Thursday?”
“No, sorry, I can't make Thursday.”
Heather smiled. “Not too worry, if not before, I'll see you on Sunday.”
Anna didn't respond, not wanting to lie, though it seemed a bit late for that. “Night, Heather.”
“Sweet dreams, Anna.”
‘They will be if you're in them.' Anna thought.
The following day, Heather decided it was time to talk to her father about everything. She headed into Stonehaven to meet him at work, bringing some lunch to his office for them both.
“I wondered when you would come to me.” Malcolm Keith said sagely, looking every inch a bank manager.
“So much has happened, Dad. I don't even know where to start.”
“Just say whatever you need to, Heather, you know you can tell me anything.”
Malcolm Keith decided to help his daughter out and get the conversation started.
“What's happening with Greg?”
Those words did the trick and Heather answered him honestly. “It's over, Dad. I feel bad about that. I never wanted to hurt him but, at the same time, I have realised that marrying Greg just isn't the right thing to do. My heart was never truly in it. I would have been settling and I've come to see that I need more than that.”
Malcolm Keith nodded; he wasn't surprised to hear what Heather was telling him.
“When are you planning to tell your mother?”
“I don't know, but it will have to be soon. Greg will be back within the next few days, I will have to tell her before then or she will hear it from someone else”
“Come to dinner tonight, you can tell her then.”
Heather was about to object, but her father stopped her.
“No point in putting it off and you know that she should really hear it from you.”
“You're right, Dad, it's just that I know it's going to hurt her. She will try to take matters into her own hands.”
“Yes, she will, but only if you continue to let her.”
Heather looked at her father, the shock of his words clearly written on her face.
“Until you take full control of your own life, Heather, she won't stop. I'll be there for her, she's my wife and I love her. You don't need to take on that responsibility. I want you to be doing what makes you happy.”
“I love my job, Dad, I really do.”
“But, you can do your job anywhere in the country. Remember, you no longer have anything to tie you to the village. If you want to see more of the world or if you want to work in a bigger place, in a different area of expertise, you're free to choose to do so. There is no longer anything holding you back.”
“I'm surprised, Dad.”
“Don't be…I want you to be happy, that's the most important thing to me.”
On Friday evening, Pete returned from yet another futile few hours scouting along the stretch of coast he had come to hate the sight of. Slamming the front door of the farmhouse, he angrily kicked off his boots.
“This is fucking ridiculous.” He grumbled.
Anna observed her cranky partner from over the rim of her teacup.
“Not a bloody thing in sight. A boat a car, a person! A complete and utter waste of time.”
“I'll go out, we have to keep at this, we might just get lucky.”
“Lucky? This is a joke! We should have had solid leads, instead we are running up and down this stretch of coast chasing shadows!”
“I know it's not ideal, Pete…”
“Don't you give me that, I have worked my arse off here. I found us the only leads we got.”
“What the hell are you getting at, McGinty?”
“I'm saying, if you had spent more time concentrating on your job and less time sniffing around that little blonde, we might have gotten somewhere instead of relying on luck!”
“Don't you dare question my professionalism. You need to take a step back, and gain a sense of perspective.”
“What I need is to know I will still have a career after yet another fuck up.”
“Stop being so melodramatic. You wanted this assignment, you practically begged Davidson to allow you to work with me. Now you want to go apportioning blame when you think it's not going to work out.” Anna paused, her anger spilling from her. “You need to relax and stay focused.”
“That's easy for you to say, you don't have as much to lose.”
Anna shook her head, he just didn't get it, “It's not about that, Pete, the last thing I want is for us to be going back to Glasgow empty handed. Until that is no longer a possibility I am remaining optimistic. If you are going to lose it, you will be no use to me. Until this is over, you need to be out looking for boats, or down the pub getting any information you can, looking for strange faces, whatever it takes.” Anna paused. “Do you hear me?”
Pete nodded, “Yeah.”
And one more thing,” Her voice became deceptively low, “Don't get in my face again. I mean it.” With those words Anna headed out of the farmhouse hoping beyond hope to finally get the break they needed.
After checking out all the most likely spots twice, Anna found herself driving to the stretch of beach she and Heather had sat on several weeks ago. As she parked her Land Rover, she found herself thinking about that evening again, it seemed so long ago now. She looked out over the sea, but it was so dark now, nothing like the evening she spent here with Heather, when it was a light evening. She lifted her night vision binoculars to her eyes, she doubted she would see anything in this spot, but she was here now so what the hell. As she scanned the area she caught a glimpse of something. Going back, she saw a solitary figure standing on the shore.
“It couldn't be?”
Anna exited the Land Rover and made her way down. The wind was whipping up and it was considerably colder than her last visit here.
As she got closer there was no doubt that it was Heather, standing alone looking out at the sea. Anna called to her.
The blonde turned at the sound of her name.
“What on earth are you doing out here all alone?” Anna asked. Up close she could see the tracks of Heather's tears, and she had a sudden urge to take the blonde in her arms and tell her everything would be alright, but she couldn't. Knowing that as soon as Greg's boat returned, that she too would be out of Heather's life, kept her arms by her side. The blonde would find out her true identity or, even worse, Anna would be gone from her life, sneaking away like a thief in the night, never to be seen or heard from again.
“I could ask you the same thing?” The blonde answered.
Anna hadn't seen Heather's Corsa parked nearby and wondered how the blonde had gotten here. “Did you walk?”
Heather nodded, “I wanted to clear my head and this is where I ended up.”
Anna frowned, “And you would have to walk all the way home again, you must be mad.”
Heather shrugged, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” She looked at Anna, “What brings you here anyway?”
“I had an argument with Pete, I just wanted to get out for a while and I remembered this place, so here I am.”
“It doesn't seem like you and Pete to fall out, is everything okay?”
“Yes, we're just feeling the pressure of work. Things aren't quite working out on the farm as we had hoped.”
“Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.” Heather had no doubts that Anna and Pete's relationship would endure, but she did hope that where the farm was concerned, the pair could make it work. She very much enjoyed Anna's friendship and would be devastated to see the couple move on. Her crush on Anna aside, she genuinely liked Pete, and would never even consider anything with Anna beyond her dreams and fantasies. It was her little secret.
“You aren't planning on running off back to the city anytime soon are you?” Heather joked, but she seriously hoped that wouldn't be the case.
Anna looked at Heather, the blonde's words so prophetic they were like a knife slashing across Anna's skin, cutting her to the quick. What she saw on the blonde's face made her drop her head in shame.
“I, ah, I don't know, Heather.”
Anna glanced up and saw again what she had only dared to imagine. There was a look of longing on Heather's face and though she knew it was wrong on so many levels, she took strength from it.
She spoke from the heart, meaning every word. “No matter what happens, Heather, I would love to remain a part of your life. I've come to regard you as a very good friend in the short time I've known you. I would like for us to continue our friendship no matter what.” Anna knew it was what she wanted and only time would tell if Heather wanted the same.
The blonde smiled, a genuine smile, the first one Anna had seen in days. “I would like that very much, Anna.”