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.
Nell looked out at the pool from the second level balcony. Being at Teagan and Andrea's newly bought house made her reflect on her own life. She was turning thirty in a few months but she didn't own much. She liked not having many things; aside from her guitar and music, everything was replaceable.
She had travelled a fair bit around Australia, lived in various places around the country, and met people from all walks of life. In a way, that was worth so much more than acquiring assets. If she had the choice between her life and Teagan's, she would still choose her own. Nevertheless, this was really a beautiful house.
Nell wandered back to Teagan's study and picked up her guitar, which she had brought to the housewarming. Strumming one of Beirut's pieces lightly, she began singing softly under her breath. She stopped abruptly when she realised that she had an audience.
"Hey." She swept a lock of reddish brown hair away from her eyes and absently reminded herself she was due for a hair cut soon.
"Please don't stop. Do you want me to leave you alone? I was just passing by..." Isobel trailed off awkwardly. She had just been to the bathroom and was led to the room by the sound of music.
"No, no, it's cool. Come on in. Isobel, right?" Nell asked with a friendly smile. She pulled at the neckline of her green muscle shirt and shifted the guitar in her lap.
"Yes. I'm sorry, I forgot your name," Isobel said with a faint smile. Andrea had introduced them earlier but there had been so many new faces and names to remember.
"Nell," she supplied helpfully with a slight tilt of her head and a crooked smile.
"Nell. That's right. Frances mentioned that you're in a band," Isobel said, recalling the few times that Frances had mentioned Nell when they were in Vietnam. "Was that one of your songs? It's really good."
Nell shook her head, glancing down at her hands briefly before returning her eyes to Isobel. "It's called The Penalty, by a band called Beirut. Heard of them?" At Isobel's shake of head, Nell strummed a few more chords of the song and stopped. "Here's another song I really like." She began the opening chords of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah.
Isobel inched into the room and smiled faintly when she recognised the piece. She clapped lightly when it ended. "That was amazing," she said, impressed. The haunting melody and Nell's soft voice had given her goose bumps.
"Thank you," Nell said with a grin. "So uh, how you goin'? Having fun?" she asked, putting the guitar down beside her.
"Yeah, I am, actually. Everyone's really friendly and the house is beautiful."
"Isn't it!" Nell agreed for the umpteenth time that day. "I think Frances got sick of me gushing about the house and left the room," she said with a sigh, eliciting a smile from Isobel. "Think I might go back down myself."
"Thanks for the private performance. You play really well," Isobel said, getting up too.
"Pretty lady like you must be used to getting serenaded," Nell said with a wink.
"Was that a serenade?" Isobel asked, looking faintly amused.
Nell scratched her nose, suddenly embarrassed. "Um. No. I don't think Hallelujah's a good choice of song to seranade someone with." She grabbed her guitar and eased it into its case.
"What is, then?" At Nell's questioning look, Isobel rephrased her question. "What's a good song to serenade someone with?"
Nell thought for a moment as she zipped up her guitar case. Finally, she said, "For me? Bad Things. It's sexy, seductive and to the point." She had only recently learnt the tabs for the song and she really liked it. She considered her answer again and nodded firmly. "Yeah, totally."
Isobel quirked a smile. "I'll be sure to remember that."
They wandered onto the deck and Nell spotted Frances jumping into the water beside Kristen. Frances broke the water surface with a smug smile, shaking water off and palming wet hair from her face.
"You!" Kristen sputtered, her heart still racing from the sudden sound of impact so close to her. She narrowed her eyes and reached out a hand to grab at Frances' waist to pull her closer. Eleanor rolled her eyes at Frances but returned her attention to Katia, the brunette she had been flirting with for the better part of the hour.
Frances curled an arm around Kristen's shoulder and allowed herself to be pulled against Kristen's warm, wet body. "Hello..." she drawled, peering up from under dark lashes. She trailed the back of her fingers down Kristen's face, an amused smile playing on her lips.
"Had to make an entrance, huh?" Kristen half growled. At Frances' look of suppressed laughter and dancing eyes, her heart flipped, but for a different, more pleasurable reason this time.
"Always. What are you up to?" Frances asked in a lilting voice.
Kristen smiled when Frances rubbed her wet nose against her cheek. "Making friends," she murmured. Her brain tried to call up the names of the women whom she had been talking to but it had apparently short-circuited the moment Frances started sliding her body against hers in a slow, tantalizing manner. "Where's Nell?" she asked, trying not to act on the sudden impulse that demanded she find a deserted spot and have her way with Frances.
"About." Frances placed her mouth just beside Kristen's ear and spoke softly into it. "Why? Miss her?" She felt Kristen shudder and smiled wickedly.
"Yeah..." Kristen breathed out. "Immensely."
Frances lifted her brows. "Should I be jealous?" she teased.
"Huh. I kinda like it when people get jealous over me," Kristen said in a low voice. "It's very... flattering."
"Okay. Where's Nell? I'll fight her for you," Frances said, looking around her playfully.
"Ooh." Kristen's lips twitched. "If you win, I'll let you come home with me," she said magnanimously.
"Sorry, can't do that," Frances said, shaking her head.
"Why not?" Kristen wasn't sure if they were mucking about still and was ready to feel disappointed and more than a little frustrated if Frances was not coming home with her.
"I have a girlfriend. Don't think she'd like it if I just took off with random women... especially scantily clad ones I meet in swimming pools," Frances said, trailing dark eyes down Kristen's front, pausing briefly at Kristen's ample cleavage before raising them back up.
It took Kristen a second to register what Frances said but when she did, her lips curved up. It felt odd to be called someone's girlfriend again--odd, but pleasant, too.
"Huh. Where's your girlfriend? I'll fight her for you." She nipped at Frances' jawline lightly.
Frances squirmed smilingly at the ticklish touch. "You don't stand a chance. She's an evil, bossy, knife-wielding, egotistical self-proclaimed deity."
Kristen began chuckling and lifted a hand out of the water to stroke Frances' cheek. "Stop with all the flattery already."
"With beautiful eyes, a sexy laugh, and an awesome rack..." Frances continued, a smile playing on her lips as her voice dropped into a seductive whisper.
"Ooh. That's better," Kristen said laughingly. Frances hooked her legs around Kristen's waist underwater and rested her arms on Kristen's shoulders. Kristen moaned involuntarily as she slid her hands to a comfortable rest on Frances' thighs.
"When you make that sound, I just wanna tear your clothes off," Frances said with a sigh, grazing her teeth against Kristen's neck none too gently, dragging another moan from Kristen.
"How do you do that?" Kristen asked breathlessly as she searched Frances' face with eyes a darker shade of green. "You make me want you all the time."
Frances smirked softly. "I'd like to say it's magic but it's probably just pheromones," she said wryly, eliciting a throaty chuckle from Kristen.
Kristen's laughter quickly transformed into another moan when Frances captured her lips with her own and tangled their tongues together. Frances dragged her nails down a wet expanse of back lightly as she shifted against Kristen, liking the feel of water lapping around their embrace. She heard the catch in Kristen's breath and their kiss grew more urgent.
Suddenly, they found themselves doused with water and their eyes flew open as they pulled apart, sputtering. Nell was looking down at them with an empty pail in her hands and a wicked look on her face. Laughter floated around them. "Thought you guys needed help cooling down. Mum used to do this to Nob when he was in heat."
Frances and Kristen narrowed their eyes at Nell as they palmed water off their faces. "Wait till I get my hands on you, Missy," Frances growled, scrambling out of the water. Nell dropped the pail and backed away hurriedly.
"Now, now, Frances. Take it easy," Nell said, hoping to placate Frances, who was stalking towards her with a devious gleam in her eyes. "Oh fuck," Nell mumbled before Frances barrelled into her midsection and tipped her over her shoulder easily. She yelped when Frances dumped her into the water unceremoniously before jumping in herself.
"My hero," Kristen murmured when Frances resurfaced. She was chuckling and Frances thought she never looked more beautiful.
"I love you," Frances said softly before planting a quick but firm kiss on Kristen's lips. She smiled when she pulled away and threw herself backwards in the water, her eyes never leaving Kristen's face. Kristen's heated look was making her stomach feel all kinds of funny. Then Nell's arms found her and Frances had just enough time to take in a mouthful of breath before she was pulled underwater.
Kristen did not want to wake up but something was interrupting her sleep. She burrowed her head deeper into her pillow, hoping that the interference would go away if she ignored it long enough. She slumbered on briefly but the interference returned and she groaned in annoyance. The bed shifted. Not long after, silence reigned and Kristen fell back asleep again.
When Kristen finally opened her eyes hours later, it was because she smelled something good; her stomach rumbled in appreciation. A male voice floated into the bedroom. Kristen frowned and scrambled out of bed. She hastily pulled on a shirt and track pants before exiting her room to investigate.
Kristen's frown deepened. Her brother had made it past her front door and into her flat. She glanced at Frances, who was sitting on the floor, looking up at her with a tentative smile on her face. "What are you doing here?" she asked, directing the question at Benjamin.
"Good morning to you too," he replied conversationally. His brows furrowed. "I think your shirt's inside out."
"Are you hungry?" Frances asked, getting up from the floor. "I made omelettes," she said, striding over to the small kitchen to fix Kristen a plate of food.
"Yeah," Kristen mumbled. She glared at her brother.
"I'm going back to Melbourne. I came to say goodbye," Benjamin said to Kristen. "I didn't want to leave things... the way we did," he said, looking uncomfortable.
"I'm just gonna go give Dad some brekkie, guys. I'll be back later," Frances said after placing a plate of toast and omelette in front of Kristen. She leaned down to brush her lips lightly against Kristen's before pulling away, smiling faintly.
Kristen tugged Frances back to her for another kiss before she let her go fully. She noticed that her brother was looking everywhere but at them and her lips curved up.
"I like her," Benjamin said, trying to fill the awkward silence between them after Frances left. He was missing Frances' presence already. She had made him feel so welcome.
"Well, lay off. She's mine," Kristen snapped, tucking into her breakfast.
Benjamin chuckled, surprised at Kristen's response. "Um. Okay... I have to say I never thought I'd ever hear you say that."
"What?" Kristen asked, looking up at Benjamin.
"'She's mine'," Benjamin said, looking amused. "Never thought you're inclined that way." Kristen frowned as she chewed her food, looking like a disgruntled animal with her rumpled hair and grouchy expression. "Not that there's anything wrong with it, of course," Benjamin added hurriedly. "She's really nice. Nan would have liked her too."
At the mention of their grandmother, Kristen's expression softened. "Yeah, she would have," she mumbled, her mouth still full of food.
"So, uh, are things... serious between you two?" Benjamin asked, hoping to ease into a conversation with his sister that would not end up in a conflict. Kristen frowned again. "Come on, Sis. We used to talk about everything," Benjamin beseeched.
Kristen scratched her cheek as she played with her food. "Maybe," she said noncommittally. She did not feel comfortable talking to Benjamin about her life yet. "When're you leaving?" she asked, pushing her plate away.
Benjamin sighed. "Tomorrow afternoon. I didn't know if you were gonna be at work and I really wanted to patch things up before I go. That's why I popped round so early."
Kristen glanced at the clock. She didn't have long before she had to go in to work. On the plus side, they were only going to be open for lunch that day because Tammy had secured them three tickets to watch the cook off between Lush and Jaycee and it was decided that Russell, Ramsey and Kristen would attend the event. "Is that really the only reason why you're here?" she asked suspiciously.
"I'm over it. I don't want to fight anymore. Do what you want with your share of the company. I'll start again if it comes down to it," Benjamin said, sounding resigned. "I just don't want you to stay angry with me."
Kristen felt soothed by his words but she wasn't ready to trust him yet.
"Hey, you gonna eat that?" he asked, pointing at the rest of her omelette.
"Why?" she asked, frowning. "Stop eyeing it. It's mine."
Benjamin rolled his eyes. "Mine, mine, mine. You're such a spoilt brat," he teased, finally eliciting a faint smile from Kristen. "You got the golden goose. Maybe you should share the egg?" he asked hopefully. "Pun intended."
Kristen grudgingly pushed her plate towards Benjamin. She watched as he dug into the omelette. He could always pack it in. Kristen was fairly certain that he had already eaten his share.
"You should come to Taters for lunch if you want," Kristen said finally, deciding to accept the truce from Benjamin.
Benjamin paused in his shovelling motion and looked at her in surprise. "Um. All right. Sure thing."
"I have to grab a shower and get changed for work," Kristen said brusquely to mask the unexpected wave of emotion that had welled up inside her.
"I could give you a ride to work. I have a rental car," Benjamin offered.
"Yeah, okay," Kristen said. "You'll have to give my boss a ride too."
"Sure thing. What about Frances?" Kristen narrowed her eyes. Benjamin rolled his eyes at her expression. "Christ, Sis! Can't I even say her name? I was just asking!"
"Huh. See you in an hour or so," she said, exiting her flat with him in search of Frances. She did not have to look far, because Frances was just coming out of Russell's house.
"Thank you for breakfast. I'm sorry my brother woke you up," Kristen said after Benjamin left.
"He seems nice," Frances commented as they went back to Kristen's. "Good looking, too. I guess it's in the genes, huh?" Kristen smirked, pleased by the compliment. "So... you slept in and now you have to go to work," Frances observed.
"What would we have been doing if I hadn't been sleeping?" Kristen asked innocently as she wrapped her arms loosely around Frances.
"Well, I'd have woken you up in a very pleasurable way," Frances said coyly, chuckling when Kristen nuzzled her neck. "That tickles," she said, squirming in Kristen's arms.
"There's still time. Benjamin is coming back to give us a lift to Taters in about an hour," Kristen said with a seductive lift of her brow.
"We have about fifty minutes then." Frances threaded her fingers through Kristen's dark blonde locks and gasped when Kristen angled her face, bit down on her neck and began sucking softly. "Are you giving me a hickey?"
"Like you said, I have fifty minutes. I don't want to waste time talking," Kristen growled, pushing an amused Frances down onto the cushions on her floor. She nudged Frances' oversized shirt up and smiled when Frances' breath caught. The grip in her hair tightened when Kristen scraped her teeth across Frances' nipples.
Frances trailed her free hand down Kristen's shoulder and tugged at Kristen's top, making Kristen pause in her task to take her shirt off.
Wanting to feel Frances against her, Kristen pulled her up and onto her so that Frances was straddling her lap upright. Frances took her own shirt off and smiled as she touched her lips to Kristen's, sighing softly when their breasts rubbed against each others'. Kristen whimpered at the maddening sensation the touch created.
"You are so soft," Frances murmured. "So soft and warm and smooth and beautiful." She trailed her cheek down Kristen's front and caught a nipple between her teeth, making Kristen groan in her throat as sparks of desire shot down to her centre. Wanting to regain control, Kristen pressed her fingers against Frances' centre, stroking the length of it through the fabric of her shorts. Dark eyes fluttered shut at the intimate contact.
Kristen tried to calm her breathing as she slipped her fingers through the leg hole of Frances' shorts. A warm wetness rushed to her own centre as she trailed her fingers through Frances' damp curls unhampered. She growled softly.
Frances' head lolled back, exposing a smooth expanse of neck that Kristen had to kiss. Frances felt silky smooth and hot. Her hips were moving persuasively, trying to entice Kristen to sink her fingers into her.
"Baby?" Frances whimpered when Kristen held off giving her what she wanted. "Fuck me," she rasped out, feeling frustrated beyond belief. Kristen was teasing her and she was aching with want.
Breathing raggedly, Kristen moaned as she pushed past Frances' opening, thrilling at the loud groan the move elicited. She loved how their bodies were meshed against each others, how she no longer knew where she ended and Frances began. Her lids were heavy but she strove to keep her eyes open for as long as she could. Her centre was throbbing in reaction to the look of abandon on Frances' face.
Frances fell forward, sinking her teeth into Kristen's shoulder as she rode her, revelling in the saltiness of Kristen's skin. She licked the bit of flesh between her teeth before dragging her mouth across Kristen's shoulder. Her hand slipped past the waistband of Kristen's track pants of its own accord and went straight to the spot she was becoming familiar with.
Kristen's eyes widened then fell shut as her breath escaped parted lips. Frances was drawing circles on her; she could not believe how quickly she was about to come. She tried to focus on Frances' wetness against her fingers but that just succeeded in turning her on more.
"Baby, stop. I need... I want you to come..." Kristen said with a great deal of effort. Her body was screaming that she was crazy to put off the relief that was so close at hand.
"You feel so good, I don't want to stop," Frances panted as she moved against Kristen. She increased the pressure on Kristen's centre and sank her teeth into Kristen's shoulder again.
"Oh, fuck," Kristen mumbled as the waves of orgasm crashed through her body. She wrapped her free hand around Frances and her head fell against Frances' chest. She could hear Frances' racing heartbeat and knew that her heart was beating just as quickly.
"I can't get enough of you," Kristen growled in frustration when their eyes met. She trailed a finger down Frances' dimpled cheek as she slid her other hand out of Frances slowly. Her breath caught at the look of arousal that flashed across Frances' face. "Fuck work and life. I just want to keep on doing this."
Frances chuckled shakily, pushing Kristen's damp hair away from her face. She ran her finger down Kristen's straight nose and over full lips. "You could quit your job and we could move out bush and live on berries," she suggested playfully. "I don't know how you're gonna get around though, cos' you hate climbing."
"Huh. Figures there would be something against me." Kristen glanced at the clock, annoyed that she felt so rushed and conscious of time ticking past.
"That's okay. That way you'll be all mine. No frolicking naked in waterholes for others to see," Frances said, nuzzling Kristen's neck.
"And we'd have sex all day, every day?" Kristen asked, smiling dreamily.
"Till you're sick of me."
"Ooh. What an attractive goal to work towards."
Frances smacked Kristen lightly on her arm. "You should get changed for work. Your brother will be back soon." Frances kissed Kristen softly before she hurriedly threw her clothes on. "I'm going to use the shower in the house so we don't get sidetracked," she announced before fleeing.
Kristen leaned back on the cushions and gave herself a minute to think about just how great her life was before she went to grab her shower.
The cook off was a simple yet effective way of attracting customers. Everyone loved to watch chefs at work these days. Cooking shows were rising in popularity; it was no wonder that people would pay to watch the chefs of two restaurants cook against each other and get to taste their creation at the end of it.
Jaycee was set up so that everyone was seated around the action. The contestants faced each other at the centre of the restaurant. Kristen had to admit that this was a brilliant strategy to market a newly opened restaurant.
The chefs were given a theme ingredient to work around in the sixty-minute cook off. They had to improvise a multi-course meal around the ingredient and were judged on their ability to best express its qualities.
Kristen scanned the crowd, unconsciously looking for Jack. The restaurant was filling up quickly but there was still no sight of her ex. She breathed out shakily, trying to calm her jittery nerves.
"People pay thirty five dollars for a set meal, two non-alcoholic beverages, a live cooking show, and they have to fork out extra for alcohol?" Ramsey said, raising his brow. "That's smart."
Russell grunted, unimpressed.
The host for the evening appeared and Kristen leaned back into her seat, waiting for the cook off to begin. Basic introductions were made and the rules of the competition were outlined.
"Hey, that's Doug!" Ramsey said in surprise to Russell. He caught Kristen's eye and explained, "Doug's that chef I told you about--the one who walked out of Taters."
Kristen arched a brow and looked at the chef closely. He seemed to be the one running the two-man team. The theme ingredient that evening was cod, a mild flavoured fish with dense, flaky white flesh. The audience watched as the chefs picked out their accompanying ingredients.
Halfway through the cook off, Kristen felt a presence beside her and she stiffened. Her stomach lurched nastily as she turned her head to identify the person standing there. When her eyes met a familiar yet unexpected face, Kristen lifted a brow. "Hey."
"Hey, how're you?" Isobel said with a smile. She was returning to her seat after a trip to the bathroom when she saw Kristen. Not wanting to be rude a second time, she decided to greet the woman.
"Yeah, good. You?" Kristen answered politely.
"Good. I'm here to support my brother," Isobel said, hooking a thumb in the direction of the makeshift stage.
"Oh. Which one is he?"
"The head chef of Jaycee. Doug," Isobel said, pride colouring her voice.
Kristen was surprised at how small the world was. Sydney easily held four million people but almost everyone whom she knew was connected somehow. "Um, Isobel, this is Russell, Frances' father, and Ramsey. Isobel is Frances' friend. They taught together in Vietnam.
"Oh!" Isobel said in surprise. "Nice to meet you." Russell gave her a faint smile. "Well then, have a good evening," Isobel said, running out of small talk.
"Yeah, you too. See you around," Kristen said, inclining her head. After Isobel walked away, Kristen's stomach gave another nasty lurch. The moment that she had dreaded had arrived. Jack was looking straight at her.
The cook off had ended and the audience was asked to sample the dishes that the chefs had done up. Ramsey gave Kristen a look of concern.
Jack Canning exuded confidence. He was dressed smartly in a black collared shirt that was tucked into a pair of crisp black trousers. Even though he was wearing a smile, Kristen could see the underlying tension in his face. "You're looking well."
"Thanks. So are you."
"Where's your little girlfriend?"
Russell gave him a dark look at that. "That's none of your concern," Kristen replied icily, reminded of what he had wanted with Frances. "And I'd appreciate it if you stayed away from her."
"With all due respect, she's the third party in this situation and I'd appreciate it if she stayed away from my wife," Jack said smoothly. Kristen could not understand how she had once found his clipped British accent attractive; it grated on her nerves now.
"We're separated. In a month, I'll be filing for divorce, so I'd like you to stop addressing me as your wife." Kristen punctuated the term 'wife' with a sneer.
"You are still my wife," Jack said calmly. "And I don't think this is something we should be discussing here," he said, looking pointedly at Russell and Ramsey.
"I wasn't aware that it was up for discussion. You'll be hearing from my lawyer soon," Kristen said dismissively and looked away, signalling the end of the conversation. Her heart was racing a million miles an hour but she tried to remain cool outwardly.
"I do not take kindly to sharing what is mine," Jack said in an even tone, angered at being disregarded. "Your little girlfriend will learn soon enough."
Before Kristen could think of a reply, Russell stood up and grabbed the front of Jack's shirt, bringing his face an inch from his own. "You will not talk about my daughter that way," Russell said in a low growl, ignoring the murmurs of confusion around him.
"Ah shit," Ramsey mumbled under his breath. Kristen looked shocked at the turn of events. Russell let go of Jack none too gently, making the man stumble backwards with the force.
"Kevin Russell," Jack said, his eyes narrowing as he smoothed the front of his shirt. Aware that every pair of eyes in the restaurant was on them, Jack looked around with a smile. "Just a misunderstanding, folks," he said loudly.
"Come on, Russell," Ramsey said in a low voice. "Let's go."
Russell gave Jack one last look before turning swiftly and walking out of Jaycee.
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