Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Love/sex ~ Romance between men and women and between women. Sex between consenting couples.

Sickness & death ~ There are some deaths in this story. If that's not for you, I hope you enjoy reading something else.

Author's note ~ Sorry for a lack of updating, been caught up watching the World Cup. This series takes place in the fictional town of Honeyport in the South of England. Questions, comments & thoughts all welcome. Loves_to_write_fic@yahoo.co.uk

© June, 2006 Cam Taylor


Chapter Five

Monday, 2nd November

Chris sat alone at Kate's dining table, waiting for Charley to walk past the window. All the investigators were tense and worried after the attack on Charley and were more protective of each other, and after a week with nothing more from the stalker, they were on edge. Waiting for Charley to circle the house made Chris' stomach knot. The fact that he was the biggest out of all of them and had been dropped with ease didn't sit well with any of them. Charley finally walked past and gave her a wave. The bandage that had been around his head had been replaced with something smaller and things were sort of back to normal.

November in the South of England was usually freezing. The town being by the sea made some nights very bitter, what with the chilling sea breeze rolling through town. Winter frost could be found most mornings and sometimes a thin layer of snow as well, though that didn't usually settle for long. Now early in the evening, the temperature was quickly dipping below zero and a fog had fallen across town. Chris didn't envy Charley being outside.

Blue eyes shifted as Kate and Janet walked into the kitchen. Janet joined the blonde at the dining table, watching Chris as the investigator watched her mother. Chris glanced at Janet, their eyes locking on to each other. After their night at the bar together, things had subtly changed between them. Chris couldn't explain it, or put it into words, but things were different. Not bad different, but... good.

"Hello, Chris. How are things this evening?" Kate asked.

Chris looked over Janet's shoulder at the doctor. "Things are quiet, Doctor Levens."

"I wish you would call me Kate. You know me well enough by now." She put the kettle on. "Would you like tea?"

Chris shook her head. "No, thank you. You are a client, so calling you Doctor Levens is protocol."

Kate nodded. "I understand. Perhaps I'll talk to James about it, we see each other every day, things shouldn't be so formal." She turned her attention to Janet. "Honey, do you want tea or a coffee?"

Janet shook her head. "No thanks, mom."

Chris watched the doctor go through the routine of making herself a cup, looking at Kate rather than at Janet, who made her nervous for reasons she couldn't explain.

"Laurie was telling me about when you first arrived here in town," Janet said, her eyes on the blonde.

Blue eyes flicked from Kate to Janet and back. "Oh yeah?"

"She told me that she and Helen took you under their wings."

Blue eyes turned back to Janet as Chris smiled and nodded. "They used to make me go to their house for dinner."

Kate walked across the kitchen and joined them at the table. "I was talking to Laurie at the clinic. It was a slow day so we started talking," she explained. "I was talking about..." she glanced at Janet then back to Chris. "My ex-husband and she talked about Helen."

Chris shifted in her seat.

"About living in Portsmouth and about... the case," Kate added softly. She sipped at her tea, watching the young woman opposite her.

"You want to know about that case and what happened, don't you?" Chris asked quietly, seeing the doctor nod. The investigator took a deep breath, considering whether she should tell the story that haunted her life every day. She obviously knows Laurie's side. Maybe it'll be good for me to tell someone the whole story. "They took me under their wings, took me out to show me the sights, cooked meals, that sort of thing. We all became inseparable. Helen and I started working cases together. She couldn't work with Laurie 'cause they argued and fretted. You know how couples are." Chris smiled. "We did a couple of undercover jobs together and made a good team."

"So James put you two together exclusively," Janet stated.

Chris nodded. "We were after a Russian gangster called Sergei Sennikov. He had a big drug empire over in his native land and wanted to expand his business to London. Helen and I were put undercover to stop him." She looked out into the garden, watching Charley walk by, all business as he noticed Kate and Janet sitting at the table. "We infiltrated his organisation, convinced him we could help him break into the market over here. Things were going smoothly and we were reeling him in."

"How long were you undercover?" Janet asked.

"Hmmm, let's see..." The blonde frowned down at her hands. "We spent two months gathering info, then six months living the life of a drug dealer before we came to his attention. We started doing small business deals and he did a background check on us and found out all the fake info we had put out about ourselves. Then he brought us in on his business and trusted us to help him... I think it was just coming up to a year." Chris paused and took a deep breath. "The day we were going to take him out..."

"Take him out?" Janet interrupted.

"Kill him."

"You were going to... kill him?" the policewoman exclaimed, astonished.

"Yeah. I don't think a stern warning would have worked."

"But you could have handed him over to the police."

Chris snorted. "Where he would have been free to do all his deals behind bars, if he was even sent to prison."

Janet nodded slightly.

"Anyway, our client had specific instructions," the blonde informed them. "That day... everything was set. Only..." Chris looked across at the two women and swallowed hard. "There was this rookie cop. He... uhm... he burst in. I found out later that he had been watching the place, noting the strange comings and goings. He thought he would be a big hero taking them down. Sergei thought we had double crossed him...." she shook her head. "They opened fire."

"They?" Kate asked.

"Sergei and his men," Chris said sadly. "That stupid cop got killed real quick. Helen and I were hidden behind these huge crates that were stacked up. There were at least twenty guns shooting in our direction and just us two shooting back."

"You had a gun!" Janet exclaimed, eyes wide.

"The case called for it," Chris shrugged, not wanting to explain that her cover had opened up many underground doors for her and that anything was readily available. "Anyway, after a long while of shooting back and forth, we had only managed to take out five of them."

Kate picked up her tea, watching the blonde investigator struggle with her story over the rim of the China cup.

"Helen saw Sergei making a run for it and she ran after him before I could stop her. I was pinned down for a long time. His men kept me under constant fire. I finally got lucky, 'cause those that I didn't kill or wound made a run for it. So I... I went looking for Helen."

"How long had you two been separated?" Kate asked, finishing her tea and standing up to get Chris a glass of water.

"An hour... an hour and a half," Chris shrugged. "I've no real idea. Thank you," she said, taking the glass offered. After swallowing half, she set the glass down. "Sergei had this... custom-made shotgun, silver-plated with rubies or something down the stock. Ugly thing." Chris closed her eyes, seeing the gun in her mind. "I was walking down this corridor. This warehouse was like a maze, it had all these narrow corridors leading on to other places... I could hear gun shots and my mind started whirling... thoughts about those gun shots, where they were coming from, who fired them, and hoping Helen was all right. Then I saw the shotgun coming around a corner ahead of me. I fired two shots and put him down." Tears flooded the investigator's eyes. "But it was... it was Helen. She was... she was holding his stupid gun and I had shot her!"

Chris let her tears roll down her cheeks. "I was cradling her, telling her I was sorry, asking why the hell she had the shotgun. She... looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Don't worry, we'll get him next time." Then she told me..." Chris put a hand to her face, choking on sobs. "...she told me to tell Laurie she was sorry..." she squeezed her eyes shut, "...that she loved her and... she would always be with her." She let out a trembling breath and opened her eyes.

Janet reached across the table and took one of the blonde's hands.

"She... died in my arms," Chris admitted quietly.

The kitchen fell silent, the women sitting quietly for a long time, only the ticking of the clock making any sound. The two Levens women unsure of what to say, knowing no words would make it all right, and Chris trying to compose herself after breaking down in front of relative strangers.

"What... what happened to Sergei?" Janet finally asked quietly, green eyes flicking down to their joined hands and seeing that Chris had threaded her fingers between her own. Her heart ached for the blonde, unable to imagine what Chris had gone through.

"I was a mess," Chris sighed. "Crying and rocking her, oblivious to my surroundings. Sergei... came up behind me and... pumped three pistol rounds into me." She stood up, her hand slipping away from Janet's. Her face was hard and expressionless as she looked down at the two women in front of her, the emotion she had displayed now gone. "I lived. Now every day I get to see how miserable Laurie is because of me. Excuse me, I have to go and do my check." She walked out of the kitchen quickly, heading for the stairs.

Kate sat quietly, deep in thought.

"How terrible!" Janet finally said when she heard Chris' footsteps on the stairs. "Do you think Laurie knows? The truth I mean."

Kate looked at her daughter, always amazed that she was the mother of someone so beautiful. "I wouldn't like to guess, but I would assume so. I can't imagine Chris wanting to keep it from Laurie."

"Now we know why Chris looks so sad sometimes," Janet murmured, more to herself than her mother.

Kate looked closely at her daughter, a thoughtful look on her face. "You like her, don't you?"

"Mother!" Janet stood up, hoping Kate wouldn't see the blush that was creeping across her cheeks. "Do you want another cup of tea?" she asked, hoping her mother would drop it.

Smiling, Kate shook her head. "I think Chris could do with a stiff drink. Why don't you get the whiskey?"

Janet nodded and left the kitchen for the living room. Kate had a drinks bar in the living room where she kept all her spirits. Janet returned to the kitchen with three glasses and a half full bottle of Famous Grouse. The brunette sat down and poured out a tot for each of them.

"I've seen her medical file," Kate admitted. "She's very lucky to be alive."

"I can imagine."

Kate picked up her glass and swirled the liquid around.

"I wonder if she sees it that way, though?"

Chris walked back into the kitchen, looking down at the tiled floor in embarrassment.

"I thought we could all do with a stiff drink," Kate said kindly, aware that the young investigator was embarrassed at her show of emotion.

Chris nodded and sat down at the table. "I'm not supposed to drink while I'm working," she said, eyeing the small glass. "But one won't hurt." She picked up the glass and sipped at the whiskey, puffing out her cheeks as the liquid burnt its way down.

"Have you got any plans for your two days off, Chris?" Kate enquired, deciding a change in topic was a wise idea.

Janet frowned at this comment, looking from her mother to Chris and back again.

"Once you're on your way, we're heading over to The Sports Bar," Chris replied. "It's Monday Night Football." She took another sip of her drink, feeling herself return to a calm state. "Then tomorrow, we're all going over to Joey's. He cooks a mean barbie."

"In November!" Kate chuckled.

"What's going on? Who will be looking after you?" Janet interrupted, eyes on Kate.

"Didn't I tell you, honey?" Kate said in surprise. "I'm going out of town for two days. I've been asked to give a lecture at..."

"You're not... going alone?" Janet asked, frowning.

"No," Kate shook her head. "James and investigator Valmont are coming with me."

"The boss figured he would take Jackson so that he can actually make him do some work," Chris smirked. "What will you do in this big ol' house on your own?" she asked Janet, grateful that the subject had changed.

"I don't actually live here," Janet admitted, looking sheepish. "I guess I'll go and check in with the girls."

"You don't live here? Why are you always here then?"

"I live with four other women. Sometimes I just need to get out," Janet answered lamely, feeling her cheeks burning.

"What? Every day for the past week?" Chris looked closely at Janet, noticing for the first time how gentle her eyes were, how soft her lips looked.

"I don't suppose you take time off very often, do you, Chris?" Kate intervened.

The blonde shook her head. "No. The other night was the first time in quite a while. I've been busy," she told the doctor. Picking up her drink, she finished what was left as she looked at Janet over the rim. "Uhm, Janet, if you haven't got any plans for tomorrow, why don't you come with me to Joey's?" she suggested, setting her empty glass down.

"Oh. I... I don't want to impose. You must be sick of the sight of me and my mother!"

"Gee, thanks, honey!" Kate said.

Chris shook her head. "You won't be imposing and I'm not sick of... I mean we're not sick of... besides, you should uhm, see what we're like away from work." Chris felt her face burning as she looked down at the table in embarrassment.

Kate smiled at the conversation going on around her as she topped off her drink. There is definitely something going on between these two.

"I'll come if you clear it with Joey," Janet said.

Chris smiled. "Where shall I pick you up from?"

"What about...?"

"Joey doesn't care who turns up, just as long as he can show off his cooking skills," Chris interrupted.

"You can pick me up at my house, I guess. Hold on, let me get some paper so I can give you the address." Janet stood up and walked across to a drawer. Opening it, she began rifling through it, a small frown etched on her forehead. "Can never... find... ah-ha!" She pulled out a slip of paper and turned to look at Chris. "Please tell me you have a pen?"

Chris grinned and shook her head.


"On my desk."

"Hold on, I'll be right back," Janet said, turning to rush out of the kitchen.

"It was nice of you to invite her, Chris," Kate said. "I won't worry so much knowing she's surrounded by you investigators all day."

Chris smiled nervously at the doctor. "It's nothing."

Kate picked up her glass. "Are you seeing anyone at the moment?" she asked, before taking a small sip of her whiskey.

Chris frowned, wondering why the doctor was asking. "Uhm... no, I uhm... not since that thing with Helen. I..." Chris coughed to clear her throat. "I sort of threw myself into work. Excuse me a moment." She pulled out her walkie-talkie. "Charley."

" Yeah? "

"Just checking in with you."

" Wave. "

Chris looked out of the window and smiled. She gave him a wave and watched as the handsome blonde walked on. Switching frequencies, she called on Harrison.

" Chris! You scared the life out of me! "

"Sorry. How's it going out front?"

Janet walked back into the kitchen, the slip of paper in her hand.

" Slow. No one's out and about tonight, too damn cold. All quiet at the house? "

"Yeah. Check in with you later." She put the walkie-talkie down and took the piece of paper that Janet held out. "You live on San Marco Drive! That's only up the road from me."

"Really? Where do you live?"

"Wicker Close."

"That's about ten minutes away from me. Isn't that millionaires' row?" the brunette asked in surprise.

Chris nodded slowly. "Closed off, private, peaceful. I love it."

"That's a very nice neighbourhood," Kate noted, surprised the young woman lived there. "I have a friend who lives there," the doctor put in. "I don't suppose you know her. From what she's told me, everyone keeps to themselves."

Chris nodded. "I hardly see anyone. What's her surname?"


The blonde frowned and slowly shook her head. "No... doesn't sound familiar." She turned back to Janet and smiled. "I'll pick you up at five tomorrow evening."


* * * * *

Just after 7 that evening, Kate headed out with James and Jackson for the University where she was scheduled to lecture the next day.

After lounging in the bath for a good long while, Chris reluctantly got out and walked into her bedroom with the intention of getting ready to go to The Sports Bar, only to be distracted by the view outside her window. Her large, spacious bedroom faced the ocean and now, with confusing thoughts running through her head, the blonde stood in the dark and stared out at the swirling, tenebrous waves. The ocean suited her mood. She was confused about Janet. Again. The more time she spent around the policewoman, the more confused she became.

I should let this go, she thought angrily. I'm straight. Up until recently I was still doing Charley! She turned and glanced at her bed. In that bed, in fact! She smirked at that thought, only to have an inner voice butt in. If you're so straight, why wouldn't you settle down with him? He offered love, marriage, and a family. Why did you push him away? The frown returned. Shut up! He... I... I ended it because he wasn't the one. Yes, he's nice, and safe, and loves me, but... she sighed. He's just not the one for me. A younger image of herself and a friend flashed through her head. Janet isn't the first woman you've felt something for, though, is she?

Chris was lying on her stomach watching her best friend reading some trashy romance novel she had "borrowed" from her aunt. "Is this all we're doing today?" the bored blonde asked.

Mary lifted the book and looked beneath it at her best friend, eyebrows drawn together. "God, Chris! Can't we just lay back for once? Do we always have to be on the move?"

Chris blew out all the air in her lungs. "I guess not."

Her friend's face softened. She knew how restless Chris could be. "Come here, come read with me."

Chris moved up the bed and shifted around on to her back, their bodies touching all down one side, heads close together, blonde hair mixing with red.

Mary held the book up in the air between them and carried on with her reading.

"What's a throbbing member?" Chris asked frowning.

Mary sighed and looked at the blonde. "His penis, silly," saying it like Chris should have known all along. They fell silent again.

"The blood will drain outta of your arms if you hold it up like that," Chris informed the redhead. Mary rolled her eyes and lowered the book to her chest. Chris quickly grew bored of reading the mushy book, instead concentrating on the aroma of her friend's shampoo. She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, a small smile curling her lips. I don't know why, but lately little things she does come to my attention. Chris opened her eyes to find curious green ones staring at her.

"Truth or dare?" Mary asked smiling.


The redhead rolled her eyes, but repeated her question. "Truth or dare?"

"I thought you were reading that trashy love book?"

"It's not trash. It's romantic."

Chris snorted. "Whatever. Truth, I guess."

Mary lay back, staring up at Chris' ceiling. "Have you ever kissed anyone?"


"Family doesn't count."

"Oh." Chris frowned. "No then. Truth or dare?"


"Have you? Ever?"

Mary smiled. "No. Truth or dare?"


"If you could kiss anyone, who would you kiss?"

"What's with the kissing questions?" Chris asked, frowning again. She wasn't sure why, but it was making her nervous.

"I know almost everything about you, Chris. We're best friends. So? Who would you kiss, if you could?"

The blonde sat up, suddenly feeling hot. You, but I'm not sure why, she thought. "This is stupid, Mary. Let's go do something." She jumped off the bed and headed for the closed bedroom door.

"I would kiss you," a small voice admitted behind her.

Chris turned around and blinked at her friend. "Why?"

The redhead shrugged. "Lately I..." she nibbled on her bottom lip. "I think about you a lot." Mary sat up and moved to the side of the small bed, eyes downcast.



"What... what about Paul Bishop? He's your boyfriend, isn't he?"

Mary shook her head. "Not really. He tells everyone that, but... we're not, and I definitely don't think about him. Except now 'cause you're talking about him." She grinned.

Chris walked over to her friend and stood in front of her. "I think about you, too."

Mary looked up with wide eyes. "Really?"

Chris nodded. She let out a startled gasp as her friend grabbed her hips and pulled her between her swinging legs.

"So... can I?" Mary asked shyly.

Chris reached out a shaking hand to brush her friend's fringe out of the way. "Can you what?"

"Can I be your first kiss?"

Chris shook her head to get rid of the memories of her past. Jesus, I haven't thought about Mary in years! The investigator turned and caught sight of the clothes she had laid out on the bed. Glancing at the clock on her bedside table, she growled and hurried forward. "Shit, I'm going to be late!"

* * * * *

Janet stared blankly at the television in front of her, her thoughts on a very good-looking blonde enigma.

"Hey, hon, are you all right?"

Janet glanced over to the doorway at Mia Hillyer, one of her house-mates. "I'm okay."

"You know, lately we haven't seen much of you. Got a new girlfriend?" the raven-haired woman asked, as she stepped into the room.

Janet shook her head.

"But you have met someone?"

Hesitantly, Janet nodded.

Mia clapped her hands, delighted for her friend. "Great, this is great! Details, details now, please." She sat down on the sofa next to Janet.

Janet laughed and turned to face her friend. "She's blonde, has the bluest eyes you'll ever see. When you look into them it's like... you can see her soul, they express so much." She shook her head, embarrassed. "She is the same height as me, has a sense of humour and is English. She works..."

Mia waited, blinking as nothing more came. "She works?" she prompted.

Janet knew that what James Anders and his team actually did wasn't suppose to get around. She wasn't entirely sure why; she had always thought he was just a P.I. "She works in insurance. Do you know Tradestones?"

Mia nodded. "I've heard of it. So how did you meet? Why didn't you ask her out? Is she seeing anyone? Were you getting insured?"

Janet laughed at her friend, Mia's reporter's mind was unstoppable. "She was around my mom's. I don't ask out complete strangers and I don't know if she's seeing anyone," she replied to all the questions. I don't even know if she's gay.

"She sounds great! What's the problem?"

Janet sighed. "She's straight... or at least I think she is."

"Oh." They both fell silent, eyes on the flickering television screen, though not really watching the ongoing game show. Mia picked up a cushion and placed it on her lap, patting it. Janet, taking the hint, lay down. "Jan, you've been heartbroken over Marissa for a long time..."


"Let me finish."

Janet nodded and waved the reporter on.

"Ever since Marissa left, you've never really committed yourself to any of your dates. It's like you tell yourself it's not going to work before you even leave the house."

"I guess."

Mia started playing with Janet's hair. "Do you think this woman is worth the risk?"

"I don't know," Janet shrugged. "She's straight, Mia. I've got enough problems without trying to date an unsure straight woman."

"But she could be wonderful," the reporter argued. "She could be everything you've ever wanted."

"She's invited me out tomorrow to her friend's barbeque," Janet admitted.

Mia smiled brightly. "Well that, my friend, is a start."

* * * * *

The Monday night game was between Sheffield United and Newcastle, though Chris wasn't paying attention to it. She'd been lost in her troubled thoughts ever since arriving at the bar.

Laurie tapped the blonde on the shoulder to get her attention. "Come help me at the bar?" she asked.

Chris nodded and quickly finished what remained of her drink, before standing and following her best friend.

At the bar, Laurie stood close to Chris so she could be heard over the loud noise the bar crowd were generating. "What's wrong?"


"Usually you are as loud as the guys when we're watching football. Tonight you're... subdued." Laurie's attention turned to the barmaid, who was suddenly in front of them awaiting their order. "Two pitchers, please," she said, before turning back to Chris. "So?"

"I..." Chris sighed. If I need advice, who better to ask than Laurie? "I can't stop thinking about Janet," she admitted.

Laurie's brown eyes widened at the words. Noticing the barmaid, she turned around to pay for the round instead of saying anything. "Wait here, hon," she told Chris. Walking across to their table, she put down the two large pitchers and informed the guys she was going out for some air with Chris. They grunted, not even taking their eyes from the screen.

Outside in the bar's garden, the two women, each with a pint of beer, sat down at one of the wooden benches.

"So talk. I'm here to help," Laurie said softly, knowing Chris was probably very confused.

"It's a good game tonight," Chris said.

"That's not what I meant, and you were barely watching."

The blonde sighed, then took a long sip of her beer, trying to delay the conversation they were about to have. "I think... I think I like her."

Laurie nodded, but didn't comment.

"We've spent some time together and... it's not hard to talk to her."

Laurie knew her friend could be difficult to talk to. Chris was surprisingly shy and more often than not, unsure of herself. "Do you like talking to her?"

"I guess."

"What do you talk about?"

"Everything. I bumped into her here at the bar and we spent the whole night talking about anything and everything."

Laurie sipped at her beer, thinking about what to say. "Now you can't stop thinking about her?"

Chris shook her head for no and picked up her glass.

"What do you... think about her?" the brown-haired investigator asked slowly.

"She's so smart. And funny. And gorgeous..."

Laurie smiled. Smitten. My little Chris is smitten with Janet Levens. I wonder how Janet feels? I know she's at least a little interested. "Maybe you should relax and just see where things go."

"I uhh... I invited her to Joey's tomorrow."

Ohhh, a date. Chris has a date!

"It's not a date," Chris suddenly said, seeing the delighted look on her best friend's face.

"I didn't say anything!" Laurie exclaimed, grinning.

"You didn't have to." They fell silent, each lifting their glass and drinking. "Laur..."


"When I was thirteen my... my first kiss was with Mary Whitworth."

Laurie gaped at her friend. She kissed a girl? Her first kiss was with a girl? "So... uhm... what happened?"

"Her mother chose that moment to burst into the bedroom."


"Yeah. Oh."

* * * * *

Chris looked down into Mary's eyes, while Mary looked up. Her hands were on Chris's jean-covered hips, Chris' hands were on Mary's shoulders.

"Can I?"

"I don't know. Can I be yours?"

Mary smiled brightly. "I'd like you to be my first kiss." The redhead stood up, slightly smaller than Chris, and wrapped her arms around the blonde. They stood in their warm embrace, not saying anything, words not needed. Each could feel the pounding of the other's heart. Now that they had both confessed to what they wanted, they were unsure of how to proceed. "Chris..." Mary whispered. The girls pulled away from each other, looking into each other's eyes. As they moved toward each other, someone banged on Chris' bedroom door.

"Hey! Chris? Mary? Are you guys in there?"

The girls sprang apart, both of them rolling their eyes as their friend Julie interrupted.

"What's up, Julie?" Chris called out, eyes still on Mary.

"What's going on? Why's the door locked?"

Mary walked over and unlocked the door. "We were reading."

Julie looked doubtful. "You locked the door because you were reading?" she asked dubiously.

"A romance book I took from my aunt."

"Ohhh... is it detailed? It is, isn't it? That's why the door was locked."

The brunette and the redhead sat on Chris' bed and started flicking through the book. Chris stood at her window, confusing thoughts rushing through her teenage mind.

After that day, the two girls were inseparable. Mary publicly dumped Paul Bishop and spent every spare minute she had with Chris instead. The day before her fourteenth birthday, Mary had a sleep-over, inviting all her friends. She privately apologised to Chris about them not being alone. The group of screeching teens spent the night talking, watching movies and annoying the rest of the family.

The night of Mary's actual birthday, it was just her and Chris and the Whitworth family. The Whitworths threw a party for Mary, which she hated because she was harassed all night by family members she barely knew. As it approached half past eleven in the evening, Mary dragged Chris upstairs to her bedroom.

Shutting the bedroom door behind her, Mary leaned back against it and sighed. "God! I don't know half my relatives, yet they still insist on pinching my cheek and telling me how grown up I look!"

Chris laughed, knowing her friend loved the attention.

"I have to ask you something," Mary suddenly said quietly, eyes down on the carpet.

"What?" When her friend said nothing more, Chris walked forward and gently lifted the redhead's chin with two fingers. "What is it, Mary?"

Mary looked up, gazing deeply into the bluest eyes she had ever seen. "I love your eyes! They express so much."

Chris gave her an amused smile. "That's what you wanted to ask?"

"Hmmm? Oh, no. I... uhm..."

"Want a birthday kiss."

Green eyes widened. "How did you...?"

"Because I've been thinking about it all night, as well."

Mary gave the blonde a small, sexy smile and wrapped her arms around the taller girl. "I'm glad I'm not the only one."

They slowly moved closer until their lips pressed softly together. They looked at each other in surprise as they pulled back. Together, they leaned toward each other again and slowly deepened their exploring kisses.

"Girls, are you..." Mrs. Whitworth went silent and wide-eyed as she walked in on her teenage daughter kissing her best friend, not just a quick friendly kiss, but a deep, eyes closed, mouth open kiss. This wasn't acceptable for the Catholic woman.

The two girls sprang apart as she walked through the door, but it wasn't soon enough.


"Mum..." Mary started to explain.


"Mum, it was..."

Mrs. Whitworth slapped her daughter, the stinging slap bringing tears to the redhead's eyes. "Mary Emelia Whitworth, you are a disgusting little pervert! I will not have a queer in this family!" With that she turned on Chris. "And you!" She grabbed Chris' arm and yanked her out of the bedroom, dragged her downstairs and threw her at her parents. "Go on, tell them what you were just doing!"


* * * * *

"So in front of everyone there, I had to confess to snogging my best friend," Chris finished telling Laurie.

"Oh, God! How traumatic!" I wonder if that's why she has relationship issues? I wonder if that's why she's hesitant to think about Janet in that way? "How do you feel about gay people? After being screamed at like that?"

"I thought it was wrong that she hit Mary and called us perverts. She was like... a raging bull. But I guess... now I realise that she was probably just shocked and scared."

"That didn't answer my question, hon," Laurie said softly.

Chris sighed and finished the last of her drink. "I came to Honeyport alone and I met Helen and you. You two showed me that it doesn't matter who you love, as long as you make each other happy and treat each other right."

Laurie smiled and reached out to pat her friend's arm. "So what happened between you and Mary after that night?"

"They moved away. I didn't even know about it. Mrs. Whitworth kept us apart after that night, but we saw each other in school. Mary never said anything, I don't think she knew. I was... walking home one afternoon and they were just about to jump in the car to follow the moving van. Mary was shoved into the car before we could say anything to each other."

Contributes to Chris believing everyone is going to leave her! God, the things this kid's been through!

Chris stood up and looked down at her still seated friend. "I think... I'm just going to put her out of my mind. Her mum's our client and it will only complicate things anyway." She headed back into the bar before Laurie could say anything to deter her.


* * * * *

With all the investigators drinking, at the end of the night Donald called them all a cab. Outside the bar, they talked and joked until their rides turned up, then waved and said goodbye with a reminder of the barbecue the next day at Joey's.

Chris lingered near Charley, having gotten it into her head that she should forget about Janet, the alcohol she had consumed had brought out the need for comfort. Charley was the only one she could turn to for a bit of comfort, knowing she wouldn't be refused.

Charley sensed Chris was in one of those moods by her close presence to him. His fingers brushed against her hand again and again as they waved their friends off, a sign that he knew what she wanted and that he wanted it too. Finally left alone, the handsome blonde turned his blue eyes to Chris, studying her as she didn't meet his gaze. He ached for her, ached to hold her, touch her, kiss her. He had fallen hard for Chris Branagon and despite knowing his feelings weren't reciprocated, he lived in hope. These occasions, for instance, he took as a good sign. "Yours, lass?" he asked, as two cabs pulled up, his Scottish brogue making her smile faintly.

Turning to look up at Charley, Chris shook her head. "Yours." She walked forward and bent at the window of the first cab. "Branagon?" she asked the driver.

"Rigg," the driver replied, openly admiring the blonde.

Straightening, Chris glanced back at Charley. "Go tell the other driver I won't be needing him," she told him, watching the big built man move toward the bar behind. She opened the rear door of the cab she stood beside. "We just need to wait for my friend," she told the driver, in answer to his raised eyebrows.

Charley slid into the back of the cab next to Chris and smiled lovingly at her. "Head for Roman Road please, mate," he said to the cabbie, his attention remaining on Chris. As the car started off, Charley covered Chris' thigh with a hand, concentrating on the heat seeping through the navy trousers.

The drive to Roman Road didn't take long, once the cab was out of the middle of town the roads were quiet. Charley didn't live exactly on Roman Road. Off the road was a dirt track that led up to Charley's property. The investigator lived in a gorgeous log cabin, completely isolated and surrounded by fir trees. Chris had loved visiting when they were sort of seeing each other. It was a lot like where she lived, quiet, peaceful and calming. And the company hadn't been bad either. As the cab left, the two investigators were all over other. Lips crushed against each other, Charley easily lifted Chris, feeling her legs lock around him, and walked over to the front door. Inside, he marched straight through to his bedroom and softly deposited the blonde on the end of his bed.

With Charley between her parted legs, Chris ran her hand up beneath his jumper, tracing the solid muscle of his stomach and up to his chest. Words weren't needed between them, they knew each other so well. As she stood, it was like a signal that they had both been waiting for. Their clothes quickly flew off and both of them settled onto the large king-sized bed. Chris watched as Charley rolled on a condom, it wasn't that she didn't trust him, she did, always had, but she knew they had both been drinking and didn't want any little accidents happening.

Charley looked down in fascination at the sun-kissed, tantalising body. A beautiful toned body he had memorised delicately before. Many times. He made love to her gently and firmly, taking in every inch of her body with his hands and tongue, before rolling on top of her and pushing in.

Chris lay back and let Charley do as he pleased, instinctively responding to him, moving with him easily, as a practised lover should. She enjoyed the stroking, the caressing, the knowledgeable touch to her heated body, the feel of his solid body on top of her. She needed this, strong arms around her, soft loving touches and kisses. Afterwards, she knew he would hold her and for a while she would find peace in his arms, but then she would slip away, out of his bed, his cabin and back to her home, back to her world of isolation. Until the next time the need arose in her. To her, this was no strings coitus, just a way to get release. To Charley, she knew it meant a lot more.

Charley, so carried away in his own excitement, didn't notice Chris' mechanical responses to him.



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