DISCLAIMER: This is an Otalia-Uber fiction. The characters in this story portrays the physical and some personality attributes of the characters Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera from Guiding Light but they belong to me.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Blue for her great beta-ing skills!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By damnation



Taters was... in tatters. Ramsey looked at the place in dismay. Tammy, Kristen and Frances mirrored his expression.

The walls of the restaurant had been vandalised with spray paint. Pots and pans lay strewn on the kitchen floor. Tables and chairs were overturned and some of them looked splintered. The fairy lights in the beer garden were ripped off the thatch fence, which was slashed through and sprayed on.

"Who would do something like this?" Ramsey growled angrily.

Tammy looked like she was about to cry. Frances rubbed the woman's shoulder comfortingly.

Kristen clenched her jaw but her ever so practical mind told her to remain cool and control the situation. She relaxed her jaw and blew out a breath. "Tammy, do you have all the insurance information?" At the woman's nod, Kristen said, "I think you should give the insurance company a call. I brought my camera; we'll take photos of the damage just in case they need evidence of it. We've got the police report. It'll be fine, guys."

"We'll just have to call everyone in after all that's done and get them to help clean up the mess. The fence, lights and furniture are easily replaced. The walls just need a new coat of paint...." Kristen walked around the restaurant, taking note of everything.

Ramsey nodded. "You're right," he breathed out shakily. "It's not that bad."

Tammy finally gave everyone a watery smile. "Have I ever told you guys how much I love working with you? You're an amazing bunch," she said, sniffling. Kristen and Ramsey smiled warmly at her.

"I don't think Dad's gonna be able to hear about this," Frances said regretfully. Russell was not allowed any outside contact during his rehab programme. "But it's probably better this way. He'd just blow his top and probably tear the rest of the place down."

Tammy giggled at Frances' weak attempt at humour. Everyone felt a little better now that they had assessed the damage and was able to start doing something about it. "I'll call the insurance company straightaway," Tammy said.

Kristen spent some time snapping away with her camera and Ramsey went to check on the food in the cool room and dry store. Frances walked around the restaurant, grimacing each time her eyes found something else which was damaged. Why would anyone do this?

"Hey." Frances turned to see Kristen behind her. "How're you holding up?"

Frances couldn't believe that Kristen was actually concerned about her wellbeing at a time like this. Even though she loved Taters, she had only been around for a few weeks. Tammy, Ramsey and Kristen had a lot more invested in this place than she did. "I'm fine. It's you guys I'm worried about," she said, sliding a hand up Kristen's arm.

"We're a hardy bunch," Kristen said with a small smile. "But I'm so mad at whoever did this right now, it's not funny."

"You were amazing earlier," Frances said softly. "You handled it really well."

Kristen shrugged the compliment off nonchalantly. "I'm a bossy bitch."

Frances smiled at Kristen adoringly and Kristen rolled her eyes. "What?" Frances asked, not understanding Kristen's reaction.

"Don't smile at me like that. I'm trying to stay mad," Kristen huffed.

Her comment made Frances smile even wider and Kristen sighed. "That smile? Your smile? It's my undoing," she murmured. They gravitated towards each other unconsciously only to jump apart at Ramsey's voice.

"Those bastards emptied all the sauce buckets all over the food in the cool room and dry store! If I ever find out who did this, I'll, I'll... " Ramsey sputtered, red in the face.

Kristen took a deep breath to try and reign in her own anger. "Sit down before you burst an artery, Ramsey. I'll go take more pictures," Kristen ordered. She could not figure out how the perps managed to do so much damage before the cops got to the scene. It was almost as though they had gotten in without triggering the security alarm and had only done so on their way out.

Then she remembered something--her knives! Stalking to the kitchen, she went to the shelf where her knives were normally stashed away after service only to find them missing. Her control snapped and she grabbed an innocent pan that was in her vicinity and threw it on the kitchen floor, causing a loud bang.

"What's wrong!" A few heads peeked into the kitchen.

"They took my knives!" Kristen growled. If it was physically possible, steam would be coming out of her ears. The thought of her knives being in someone else's possession made her see red.

Ramsey ran to where his knives were kept and cursed loudly. "This is fucking war!" he roared.

Tammy and Frances looked at the two chefs fearfully.

Kristen began to calm down at Ramsey's outburst. "Fuck this shit," she muttered, wanting to get out of the place. "I'm over this."

"Guys, it's all covered by insurance. We'll get your knives replaced," Tammy said, trying to placate them.

Kristen and Ramsey fumed silently. It wasn't the same but it wouldn't be fair to take out their frustrations on Tammy. Ramsey had had his Shun knives for over six years now, and Kristen's chef knife was given to her by her Nan and it had a little engraving on its blade.

An hour later, the four of them stepped out of Taters, feeling emotionally exhausted by the afternoon.

Kristen slid her sunglasses on. Her hair was tied up in a high ponytail and, to Frances, she looked breathtaking in a white T-shirt and jeans.

"Do you guys need a ride anywhere?" Ramsey asked.

"I'm just gonna talk a walk, guys," Frances said, looking from Kristen to Ramsey and Tammy, then back to Kristen. "I'll catch you later, maybe?" she asked, tilting her head.

"Yeah, sure," Kristen murmured.

"Ride, Kristen? Tammy?" Ramsey asked, looking from one woman to the other.

"How about grabbing a beer before we go?" Tammy asked. She still felt wound up by the morning and was hoping to take some of the edge off with a drink.

Ramsey and Kristen looked at each other and shrugged. "What a great idea," Ramsey said. "Lead the way, Tammy, our fearless... restaurant supervisor!"

Frances wanted to do something nice for the Taters crew to cheer them up but she wasn't sure what, exactly. She wandered down King Street, hoping that something would catch her eye or inspire her.

Trailing her fingers along a shelf in a Vinnie's, she began crossing things out in her head. She couldn't knit or crochet so knitting needles were useless to her. Combs, ribbons, plastic jars...? Frances paused.

The once loved white plastic jars had clear windows on their lids and along their lengths to show what they held. Frances liked the look of them and began thinking what she could make to put in them. Then a bulb went off in her head. There were four of these jars on the shelf; Frances took them all.

She returned home with her jars, some string, a few stalks of gerbera, and the ingredients to make brownies. She wondered if she could get some to her Dad and made a mental note to check with the hospital. Then she turned on the stereo, put the kettle on, and began baking.

Tammy, Ramsey and Kristen did not stop at just one beer. Two hours into their impromptu drink session, Tammy and Kristen started feeling a little tipsy. Their conversations turned more personal.

"So, Tammy. Is there... anyone special in your life?" Ramsey asked casually.

Tammy blushed prettily. "No, no one special," she said with a wistful sigh.

"Is there anyone you fancy, then?" Kristen pushed. She was as interested as Ramsey was with regards to Tammy's possible crush on Russell. Tammy bit her lower lip and shrugged. "That's a yes?"

Tammy finally met her eyes to Kristen's and Ramsey's. "What's with the sudden interest in my love life--or the lack thereof?" she demanded. "What about you guys? Well, not you, Ramsey, you're married. What about you, Kristen?"

"I'll tell if you tell," Kristen challenged, leaning back in her seat with an arched look. She crossed her jeans clad leg and wondered what Frances was up to.

Tammy took another sip of her beer as she considered Kristen's trade. "Swear this stays between the three of us?"

Kristen and Ramsey threw each other triumphant looks. It had to be Russell if Tammy was swearing them to secrecy. They gave her their promise and Tammy took a deep breath. "Okay. I'm kinda... I'm sleeping with...." Kristen's and Ramsey's eyes rounded at that. "It's Liam!" Tammy finally blurted out.

"Liam!" Ramsey sputtered in disbelief.

"Liam, Liam?" Kristen had to confirm.

Tammy sighed. She hadn't known what reaction to expect from Kristen and Ramsey but this felt about right. "Yeah. Liam, Liam."

"What... how did that happen?" Ramsey asked, then hurriedly shook his head. "I mean, we, that is, Kristen and I, we thought you had a crush on Russell," he confessed.

"Russell!" Tammy flushed again. "I- I did. I do. Oh, I don't know! It just seems so impossible, you know? And Liam's been really sweet and all.... I know he's kinda young but he's so charming and funny.... We both know it's just a bit of fun."

Kristen and Ramsey looked at each other again. Neither knew what to say. They hadn't expected that! And the thought of Liam and Tammy together... Kristen grimaced at the mental image and had to shake her head slightly to dislodge it.

"And anyway, I think he's got a crush on you, Kristen!" Tammy continued.

Kristen's brows jumped. "What? No way."

Ramsey scratched his face. "Actually I thought he had a crush on you too, Kristen."

Kristen frowned. "Come on," she said uncomfortably.

"He was all stuttery and asking about you and saying how beautiful you were..." Ramsey shot Tammy a quick look. "Sorry, Tammy. I'm sure that was before you guys hooked up."

Tammy shrugged. "He does ask about you a lot. He seems pretty interested in your going-ons."

Kristen thought back to their chance encounter at the supermarket and felt a little creeped out. "Okay, that's just weird."

Tammy peered at both their faces nervously. "Oh, you guys don't approve, do you?"

"No, no! Of course it's not that, Tammy. Like I said, we were just surprised, you know," Ramsey said hurriedly, not wanting Tammy to feel bad for confiding in them.

"Yeah," Kristen said nodding. She did not want Tammy to think that they were judging her at all. "We were just surprised. And you'll be giving me the same reaction--if not worse, when I tell you who I've been hanging out with."

The attention shifted fully to an unusually loquacious Kristen.

Kristen had never shared any personal details with her co-workers before, perhaps because there were none she could or had wanted to share.

"You're seeing someone?" Ramsey asked incredulously. Just that alone had surprised him. He had thought that Kristen said what she said earlier to get Tammy to reveal her secret; he didn't think that she was actually for real! In all the time that he had known her, she would very rarely drop hints about having hooked up with some bloke or other but that was the extent of it. It must have been a recent occurrence, Ramsey thought--that, or Kristen was an expert at keeping things under wraps.

"Well, yeah." It sounded good to say it out loud. "It's only new," Kristen said, her lips twitching in a smile.

"Tell all!" Ramsey demanded, much to Kristen's amusement.

"You're worse than a woman," she said, snickering. "Oh, hang on. Mobile." Kristen's mobile had gone off at the crucial moment, leaving Ramsey and Tammy to protest loudly. Chuckling to herself, Kristen moved away from them to take the call from Frances and returned to the table with a big smirk on her face.

"That was him, wasn't it!" Tammy said slyly. "I can see it all over your face!"

"It's Frances."

Tammy's face fell. "Oh, it's not him? Is she all right? She's such a sweetheart. I feel so bad for her. It's been one thing after the next since she's been back." Tammy shook her head.

"No... well yes, that was Frances on the phone. And it's also Frances," Kristen said.

"What do you mean?" Ramsey asked, confused. "Your fella's name's Francis?"

"There's no fella." At Tammy's and Ramsey's continued confusion, Kristen smirked, waiting for them to come to the conclusion themselves.

"You're... you're seeing Frances? Russell's daughter? You're sleeping with the boss' daughter?" Ramsey looked so comically worked up that Kristen almost burst out laughing.


"Oh my God!" Tammy exclaimed. "I would never in a million years have seen that coming!"

Kristen still hadn't stopped smirking. "Told ya," she drawled, finishing up her beer. "Another jug?"



Frances hurried down the street to Taters. She had gone down to the hospital that morning with a batch of brownies for her father. Somehow, knowing that her Dad was in the building somewhere had made not seeing him hard. But she had to let the rehab programme take its course. She hoped that he was doing well and that the support group meetings were helping.

The Taters crew had gotten together at the restaurant to help clean the place up. Everyone, with the exception of Sandra, who had found another job, was going to be there.

"Hey sweetie!" Tammy was the first to spot Frances when she entered Taters.

"Hey Tammy, how's it going?" Frances went over to Tammy with her bag of goodies. Her eyes scanned the place. "Wow, this place is looking pretty good compared to before," she commented.

Tammy grinned. "Kristen's got her system down pat. She led and we followed. We're pretty much done for the day." Tammy smiled knowingly at the searching look on Frances face. "She's in the yard, last I know."

"Oh! Thanks. Um. Hey, I've got something for you." Frances took out a jar of brownies with a gerbera tied to it and handed it over to Tammy. "I thought you guys needed some cheering up."

Tammy's eyes rounded. "Aw, that is so sweet of you!" she exclaimed. "Come here!"

Frances smiled, leaning in for a hug from Tammy. "These are for everyone else to share," Frances said, placing a large plastic container of brownies on a salvaged table. "The other two jars are for the chefs."

"Well, go on then. I'll take these out for the others in the beer garden. They're putting up the thatch fence," Tammy said helpfully. "I'll give Ramsey his and you can take Kristen's to her."

"Thanks, Tammy."

Frances made her way through a bare but clean kitchen. Kristen was rolling up the hose in the yard, with her back to her. Frances stood at the doorway, waiting for Kristen to notice her presence.

Kristen wiped an arm across her forehead and turned around, getting a little scare when she saw Frances. "What are you doing sneaking around?" she asked, but her lips curved up in a smile.

"Well, there's this hot woman, you see, and I was perving on her."


"Now that my evil plans have been thwarted, I think I might switch tactics and ask her out instead."

"I don't know if she'd wanna go out with a perv though," Kristen said with a frown on her face.

"Guess I'll just have to ask her now, won't I? I happen to know that she's got masochistic tendencies. Maybe that would work in my favour."

Kristen narrowed her eyes and Frances chuckled at the look of derision on Kristen's face. She placed her bag on the floor, walked over to where Kristen was standing and wrapped her arms around Kristen loosely. "Hello. Can I take you out to dinner tonight?" she asked softly. She felt Kristen's arms snake around her.

Kristen looked down at Frances in her loose embrace and smiled. "I don't know... This girl I'm seeing might get jealous."

"Well I think you should ditch her for me," Frances cajoled.

"I don't know..." Kristen could not stop smiling now that Frances was here. "She's pretty hot."

Frances curved a brow at the compliment. "True. Maybe you should give me her address so I could go perv on her instead."

Kristen chuckled at that. "I won't take too kindly to that, I think."

"I really, really think you should come out with me. I've been told that I'm a good kisser," she said, enjoying their banter. "And I'm pretty good in bed too."

Kristen pretended to consider. "Huh. You drive a hard bargain." Then she looked down at Frances pointedly. "But I think I need proof before I make any decision."

"Oh," Frances breathed out. She began backing an amused looking Kristen to the fence. "If it'll help, I'll be more than happy to demonstrate." She pulled Kristen's head down for a slow kiss, sliding her lips across Kristen's, making Kristen's breath catch with the friction. Tangling their tongues together, Frances slid her hands under Kristen's top and up her back. She curved her fingers when they reached Kristen's shoulders and dragged them down the smooth expanse of skin slowly, making Kristen moan deep in her throat.

A loud exclamation and a crash and broke them apart. Ramsey had tripped over Frances' bag when he realised he had walked in on a private moment.

"You okay, Ramsey?" Kristen asked. She was a little breathless but the sight of Ramsey sprawled on the kitchen floor made her lips twitch.

"You two should get a room!" Ramsey complained as he picked himself up. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack? That was something I did not have to witness!"

Frances chuckled and pulled Kristen against her back as she walked towards Ramsey, dark eyes dancing. "Are you guys done for the day? Because I have other plans for this woman now."

Kristen's brow lifted at Frances' words and began snickering when Ramsey sputtered, "Oh, my ears hurt..."

"Mm, this is good," Kristen said as she munched on a square of brownie that Frances had made. It was rich and dense, contrasted wonderfully by the crunch of walnuts; Kristen closed her eyes for a moment as she savoured the taste.

Frances smiled, pleased, then scratched her forehead absently as she averted her eyes from the sexy picture Kristen made. The kettle whistled, distracting Frances momentarily and she went to make them cups of tea.

Frances jumped lightly when she felt Kristen's arms wrap her waist from behind. "Thank you," Kristen murmured in Frances' ear, tickling her with her breath. Frances squirmed slightly, then smiled when Kristen kissed her neck.

"You're welcome. I hope everyone likes them as much as you do."

Kristen smirked. "I'm sure they do. They just better not show their appreciation the way I do."

"And which way is that...?"

Kristen kissed Frances' neck again in answer. Then she lifted Frances' T-shirt and continued trailing her lips down her back. Her hands slid up Frances' front as she righted herself again, stopping to cup Frances' breasts under her T-shirt as she resumed her assault on Frances' neck.

Frances sighed and reached a hand behind her head to tangle in Kristen's hair. She placed her other hand on Kristen's, which was driving her to distraction with its movement on her breast.

Kristen's heart pounded in her ears. It fascinated her how quickly their interactions went from bantering and flirtatious to intense desire. She pulled Frances' T-shirt off her completely. After doing the same with her own shirt, she pressed herself against Frances, delighting in the soft, breathless sounds that Frances was making. Their bodies felt hot against each others'.

"What are you doing?" Frances husked out weakly when she felt Kristen fumbling with the fly of her jeans. She moaned when Kristen planted a trail of kisses down her side as she slid her jeans off. They were in her Dad's kitchen, for God's sake. Her mind warred with the rest of her body, which was wet, hot and tingling.

"What do you think I'm doing?" Kristen murmured. She wanted to do so many things to Frances that it made her mind reel.

Frances turned to face Kristen, and the look of arousal on her face sent a shockwave of desire through Kristen's body. Kristen bent down slightly and lifted a surprised Frances to sit on the kitchen bench. Their eyes met and when Frances understood what Kristen intended to do, she blushed slightly. "Maybe we should go upstairs," she breathed out.

Kristen lifted a brow and settled between Frances' legs, making Frances bite her lower lip in nervous anticipation. When Kristen slid her tongue across Frances' wet, soft length, Frances threw her head back and pushed herself closer to Kristen. She felt as though her heart was going to beat out of her chest. Her frustration mounted when Kristen continued to ignore the spot that needed to be touched most.

"Oh, God, please...." Frances choked out, tightening her grasp of Kristen's head, hoping that Kristen would understand what she needed.

"What did you say?" Kristen asked, lifting her lips and tongue from their task momentarily, knowing that she would frustrate Frances with her action--or in this case, inaction.

Frances' haze of desire lifted briefly and she growled, "I said if you don't get back to what you were doing, I will kill you."

Kristen smirked. "I thought I heard something else," she said tauntingly. Her fingers caressed the tattoo on Frances' thigh. She leaned forward to kiss Frances' stomach lightly, feeling Frances twitch under her lips.

"Baby? Please?" Frances all but whimpered and it was simply not possible for Kristen to deny her anything at that point. She touched her tongue to Frances' centre and Frances moaned as she instinctively spreaded her legs wider, pushing herself forward as her head fell back.

The pressure in her lower belly increased as the stroking of Kristen's velvet tongue sped up, and for a moment, Frances was suspended in darkness before she came crashing back down.

"Hey," Kristen said softly as she kissed her way up Frances' limp body. Frances was smiling and breathing heavily, and Kristen nuzzled her neck.

"That was unexpected," Frances murmured. She wrapped her bare legs around Kristen and pulled her closer. Kristen hummed at the intimate contact. "Oh God, I can't believe we did it in Dad's kitchen," Frances mumbled, hiding her face in Kristen's neck. Kristen chuckled, lightly trailing her fingers down Frances' back.

"I can. And I'd do it again," Kristen said, her husky voice so close to Frances' ear sent shivers down Frances' side.

"Really," Frances said breathlessly.

"Uh huh."

Kristen smiled when she felt Frances' fingers wrap around her wrist but when Frances lifted her hand up to slide two of her fingers into her mouth, Kristen sucked in a breath and her eyes darkened. She began to breathe more heavily at the sight and feel of Frances tending to her fingers.

Frances dragged the now damp digits slowly down her chest, following the curve of a breast, hissing when it went over her nipple, and across her stomach. Kristen's eyes followed the track her fingers were taking and she licked her suddenly dry lips.

Frances touched her other hand to Kristen's chin and green eyes flicked up to meet hers. Frances inched her face closer to Kristen's until their breaths mingled. Holding Kristen's eyes with her own, Frances pushed Kristen's fingers into her wet darkness and Kristen moaned, both at the contact and at the raw desire on Frances' face. It was almost as though Frances knew exactly what to do and how to look to turn her on.

Kristen watched as Frances tried to keep her eyes open as they moved together; the act excited her for some reason, and Kristen growled as she pulled Frances closer to her. One of Frances' arms was flung around Kristen while the other was bracing herself on the kitchen bench.

"I love the way you make me feel," Frances said hotly in Kristen's ear. She bit down on Kristen's neck softly. "Harder, baby," she urged, her eyes falling shut when Kristen adhered to her request.

"I could do this forever," Kristen murmured, catching Frances' lips with her own in a rough kiss. "You drive me insane." Frances was breathing hard and whimpering in her ear; the sound was turning her on even more, if that was possible. And then Frances' body tensed and Kristen froze deep within Frances. She pressed her lips to Frances' neck as Frances shuddered. Their bodies were slick with sweat.

She waited until Frances' eyes fluttered open before she made to remove her hand. Frances stopped her. "Wait," she said breathlessly. "I like the way you feel inside."

Kristen's breath caught, not quite sure how to respond to that. Frances held Kristen's face with both her hands and touched their noses together. Kristen mirrored Frances' smile, loving the way Frances' cheeks dimpled, lips curved, and nose wrinkled ever so slightly.



Kristen felt weak in her knees. They had done as Frances suggested--dressed up to go for dinner. She just wasn't prepared for her reaction to Frances' transformation.

There was no doubt that she found Frances beautiful. But she had only ever seen Frances in casual attire--short shorts, jeans, boardies, and that one time in a dress. Her appeal was largely in the way she was so comfortable in her skin; the clothes that she put on were merely accessories. So when a smokily made up Frances appeared at her doorstep in a white halter neck dress that exposed her entire back and hugged her lightly curved figure in all the right places, Kristen's heart almost stopped.

"And hello to you too," Frances said, smirking. Her hair enveloped her bare shoulders and hung down her back; she had even put on an uncomfortable pair of strappy sandals that wound halfway up her calves. The expression on Kristen's face was worth every minute she had spent trying on her entire wardrobe looking for the right outfit. In the end, she had settled on one of her Mum's favourite dresses. She was dressing to kill, after all, and her Mum had had awesome taste in clothes.

"Maybe we should stay in," Kristen murmured faintly.

"What, don't I look good enough?" Frances teased.

Kristen let out a shaky breath as her eyes raked every inch of Frances' body ravenously. "Oh, you look good enough and you know it," she said breathlessly. How she could still feel this way after their raunchy session in the kitchen, she did not know.

Frances bit her lower lip and smiled shyly. "Thank you. Are you ready?" Kristen looked really good in bold colours. Her red dress brought out the green in her eyes and contrasted stunningly with her dark blonde locks. Frances watched as Kristen slipped on her heels and her mouth went dry. The image of having sex with Kristen in nothing but her heels almost short circuited her brain.

"Where are you taking me?" Kristen asked, pulling her door shut behind her. She sucked in a breath when Frances leaned into her, rubbing the full length of her body against hers. Kristen felt her eyes flutter shut for a moment as she inhaled Frances' scent. Frances felt warm and silky smooth.

"Oh, I want to take you right here," Frances murmured, "but since you said you like to be wooed, we're going to Darlinghurst so I can wine and dine you." She pulled her body away from Kristen's abruptly, and Kristen whimpered.

"You are going to kill me one day," Kristen hissed in frustration. Frances' soft laughter and the seductive glance that she threw over her shoulder as she walked away sent a wave of tingles through Kristen's body. "But I will die a happy woman," she conceded in a low, husky voice.

Their entrance to Santorini, a Greek restaurant, attracted more than a few appreciative glances. They were led into the restaurant by a friendly Aboriginal waitstaff named Tash. Tash took their bottle of wine from them and left them to peruse their menus.

"How are you affording this?" Kristen asked, scanning the menu before her.

Frances smiled. "I have savings. They don't pay too well in Vietnam but the standard of living there is low and I don't need a lot. I volunteered as well as worked, so I really didn't have much time to go spend any of my money. I spent something like a dollar a day, if that, on food."

"Yeah, but you don't have a job now...." Kristen trailed off, not wanting Frances to think that she had to splurge on her.

"I got paid working at Taters, remember? And I'm going for a job interview next week." Frances paused. "I like taking you out to dinner," she said with a shy smile.

Kristen felt spoiled. Frances didn't have to do any of this. She didn't have to bake them brownies, package them beautifully, or take Kristen out to dinner at fancy restaurants. But Kristen didn't feel as though Frances was doing any of it to impress her and that made it all the more meaningful.

"Job interview?" She looked up when Tash returned with their bottle of wine. "Thank you," she said after Tash took their order.

Frances nodded and resumed their conversation. "Teaching English. I met this woman last week and she told me to call her to arrange for an interview. With everything that's happened, I only called her yesterday." She reached out for her glass of wine. "I told her I won't be able to start immediately but she still said to come in...." Frances shrugged. "So I can still help out at Taters if you need me to, okay?"

Kristen reached for Frances' hand and clasped it lightly in hers. "I think you're wonderful," she said simply, smiling when Frances blushed.

Between their main and dessert, Frances excused herself to use the bathroom. Kristen occupied herself by refilling their wine glasses.

"Hey, Kristen, right?"

Kristen looked up and saw a familiar looking man by her table. "Yes?" She couldn't place where she had seen him before.

"Andre. I met you at Sando's?" he reminded her, then smiled ruggedly when she recognised him. "How are you doing? You look gorgeous."

Kristen smiled uncomfortably. "Thanks. I'm good."

"So, are you... here on a date?"

Before Kristen could answer, however, Frances returned to their table and Andre lifted an appreciative brow. "Not one, but two beautiful women," he complimented. "I'm Andre," he said, stretching out a hand. When Frances put her hand in his, he lifted it to his lips and Kristen narrowed her eyes. "And you, are stunning," he said, looking at Frances, who was quirking an amused smile at his antics. She quickly pulled her hand away. "Would you ladies like to join my friend and I?"

"No thanks," Kristen said in a clipped tone, drawing roving eyes away from Frances. "We're in the middle of our own date and you're interrupting."

Andre's brows rose and he looked from one woman to the other. "Pardon me, I didn't realise," he said. "I hope I didn't offend either of you."

"Have a good night, Andre," Kristen said with an arched look. When he left, she turned her gaze on Frances.

Frances bit her lip as she assessed Kristen's reaction. "You must get that all the time. Men coming up to you, propositioning you...?"

"He's attractive and all but..." He was looking at Frances in a completely inappropriate manner! And that kiss on her hand? Kristen was not impressed. "He kissed your hand!" Kristen looked annoyed.

"Oh, you're just annoyed cos' he kissed my hand, not yours," Frances said, shaking her head and rolling her eyes, trying to cover up her uncertainty.

Kristen frowned. "No, I was annoyed because he kissed your hand, period."

Frances's dimples deepened at the statement. Kristen had not wanted to reciprocate his advances. "I can go wash my hands again, if it'll make you feel better."

Kristen was coaxed into smiling by that. She loved how Frances could make her feel so appreciated so effortlessly.

"I guess I can see why you'd find him attractive," Frances murmured, casting a backward glance at Andre and his friend. Then she glanced back at Kristen, who looked absolutely ravishing across the table from her. "But I understand his attraction to you better." Frances dropped her voice as she stroked Kristen's wrist lightly. "What do you say we skip dessert and go back to yours?"

Kristen's breath caught and she smiled seductively. "Whatever would we do when we get there? You just wanna get out of buying me dessert."

"Oh, trust me, you'll have dessert," Frances promised. "You'll be begging for it."

Part 33

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