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.
"I have to get up really early tomorrow morning," Frances murmured, gasping when Kristen's hands came to a rest on her breasts.
"Okay, let's go to bed then," Kristen replied, trailing her lips down Frances' neck. "Should I stop?" she asked, pausing at the base of Frances' neck, knowing full well what Frances' answer would be.
Frances moaned. Kristen's lips were sending tingles through her body. "No." She pressed her hand against the back of Kristen's head as her eyes fluttered shut. "Never stop."
"Never? You won't be able to go to work then," Kristen said playfully, unbuttoning Frances' shirt.
"I'll quit and you can be my sugar mummy," Frances said, pulling Kristen's face up so she could look into her eyes. "I never want this to stop," she said firmly.
A swell of emotion overcame Kristen. "I love you, Frances," she said, stroking Frances' cheek softly, wondering at how easy it was for them to switch between being playful and serious.
Frances' heart skipped a beat at the unexpected words. "Does that mean I don't ever have to work anymore?" she asked, dark eyes dancing. "I could totally get used to that."
Kristen smirked. "Can you stop being a smart ass for just one moment?"
Instead of answering, Frances pulled Kristen's top off and crushed their lips together in a bruising kiss. Her fingers curled and scratched their way up Kristen's torso. When Kristen hissed and whimpered, Frances groaned deep in her throat; the sounds that Kristen made never failed to fuel her desire. She responded by roughly pulling on the cups of Kristen's bra to release full breasts from their constraints.
Kristen's breath caught when Frances began circling both her nipples with her thumbs. The open look of desire on Frances' face made her knees weak. She brought her hands up to cradle Frances' face as she fought to keep her eyes open. Her body arched into Frances' touch.
"You feel so good," Frances murmured. Kristen's lips were bruised from their rough kissing, her dark blonde hair was tousled, and her half-lidded eyes were dark with arousal. Frances inched her face towards Kristen's until the tips of their noses were touching.
Kristen slanted her face and they were kissing again--blindly, fiercely, then softly, sweetly. Kristen rubbed her lips lightly against Frances'; the smooth friction made her moan. Frances' tongue slid into her mouth again, running lightly across the tips of her teeth, against the roof of her mouth, and tangled with hers. Kristen could not remember spending this much time kissing before.
Frances backed Kristen against a wall and tore her lips away to bite down Kristen's body. She revelled in the moans that reached her ears, getting lost in the soft expanse of skin that seemed to go on endlessly. Deft fingers unbuttoned Kristen's jeans and yanked them down while sharp teeth played with sensitive flesh. Kristen was glad of the support the wall gave her. She writhed between the hard surface and Frances, her breathing becoming more and more ragged the lower Frances moved.
"You're wearing too many clothes," Kristen murmured, pulling Frances against her almost naked body.
"I thought you liked my outfit," Frances responded coyly as she shook her hair loose. She backed up and slowly re-buttoned her shirt, her eyes never leaving Kristen's face.
Kristen lifted an elegant brow. "You're doing it wrong," she complained half-heartedly. Green eyes ran down the length of Frances and a fresh spark of desire shot through her body. "You look so good in those shoes," she murmured before her mouth went dry at the sight of Frances hitching her skirt up slightly to remove her knickers. The article of clothing fell uselessly from Frances' body. She stepped out of it and kicked it aside.
"You are such a tease," Kristen growled as she closed the distance between them. She yanked Frances' arms behind her and held both her wrists in one hand. "How did I ever land myself with you?" she asked as her free hand worked to unbutton Frances' shirt again.
Frances' shirt fell open finally. Kristen released Frances' hands and felt an arm curl around her shoulders. Frances steered them backwards until she was against a wall and hitched her skirt up to hook a leg around Kristen, who thought she might faint at the sudden rush of desire that shot through her.
"You gonna stand around asking questions all day or are you gonna fuck me?" Frances asked, deliberately trailing the heel of her shoe down the back of Kristen's thigh. Kristen's breath came out in a rush and she entered Frances in a swift movement, making dark eyes widen, then glaze over with lust. A whimper escaped Frances when their eyes met. She sank her teeth into Kristen's neck as Kristen pushed deeper into her.
"I love the way you feel," Kristen murmured feverishly, delighting in the softness, the heat and the wetness that was coating her fingers. "I want all of you."
"You have all of me," Frances managed to say between breaths. "Take it."
Kristen looked on as Frances slumbered, her face open and free of lines. She touched a finger to the bridge of Frances' nose and trailed it down lightly, so as not to wake her. Then she leaned down and placed a kiss on Frances' cheek and lips.
Whatever happened outside of this was inconsequential to her, she realised. She had felt this way for Jack before, she was sure. But now, for the life of her, she couldn't even call up the memory of that to compare with what she was feeling for Frances.
As though she could hear her thoughts, Frances' eyes fluttered open. "Sorry, did I wake you?" Kristen whispered.
"Why aren't you sleeping yet?" Frances asked blearily, lifting a hand to caress Kristen's face. "Is everything okay?"
"Yeah. Very okay. Go back to sleep. You have to get up in a few hours."
Frances turned and burrowed her face in the crook of Kristen's neck, inhaling deeply before she fell back to sleep. Kristen smiled in the embrace and her eyes fluttered shut as well, feeling like she had everything she needed right there in her arms.
There were five things in the lamb salad special, Kristen had to remind herself again. Kipler potatoes, seeded mustard dressing, enoki mushrooms, rocket leaves and the lamb, of course. She was completely out of focus that evening and it was frustrating her.
The cook off between Jaycee and Taters was supposed to be happening right now but the Taters crew had unanimously decided to boycott it. None of them had felt inclined to contribute to Jaycee's business.
Kristen had felt jumpy all day but so far, no one had come barging into Taters, demanding to know why no one had showed up at Jaycee for the competition. Kristen glanced at the clock and blew out a breath. The minute hand had barely moved; how could it still be half past seven? She wished that her shift was over.
"Where're my lamb plates, Kristen?" Russell barked from behind her.
"Right here, Chef," Kristen said, handing over the plates after making sure that she had everything on them.
"Order in, Chef."
Kristen smiled even before she whipped her head around. "I know you," she said by way of greeting.
Frances leaned over the counter with the dockets, a small smile playing on her lips. "Jolt my memory. Where from?" she asked innocently.
"You were naked in my bed just this morning," Kristen said in a low voice, mindful that Russell was right behind her.
Frances gasped. "Oh, that was you?" she said before chuckling at the droll expression on Kristen's face. "How're you going, Chef?"
"Over it," Kristen said truthfully. "Can't wait to get outta here. What are you doing here?"
"Hey Dad," Frances called out when Russell looked her way. She returned her attention to Kristen after Russell grunted in response to her greeting. "Felt like seeing you before I go home." Her words made Kristen feel warm all over. "Now that I'm here though, I no longer feel like going home."
"So don't," Kristen murmured as she began plating up a prosciutto salad.
"Tempting," Frances said, looking at Kristen's hands as they handled the food. There was something about the way chefs moved their hands, she thought. Who would have thought that a bunch of leaves could end up looking that flash on a plate? "But I have to do some work for class tomorrow," she said regretfully, raising her eyes to Kristen's. "I was gonna ask if you wanted to do something together this weekend?"
"I'm working Saturday. Would you wanna spend the night at mine? I've got Sunday off and the only plan I have is dinner with Eleanor and a few women we met at the housewarming party. Wanna join us?"
Frances looked a little surprised. "Eleanor? Mm. Nah, I'll pass. You have fun... and tell her to keep her hands off you," she said, eliciting a grin from Kristen. "So... Saturday night?"
Kristen nodded. "It's a date."
"Okay, I'm gonna go before I decide against rationality to go home with you," Frances said, wrinkling her nose. She leaned over the counter. "Can I steal a kiss before I go?"
"No, but you can have one," Kristen murmured, leaning forward to touch her lips to Frances'. They heard a clearing of throat coming from the grill section and Frances pulled away quickly, blushing slightly.
"Bye Dad! I'll see you tomorrow for dinner. Don't forget you're cooking for me!" Frances called out.
"Yes, yes. Work me harder, why don't you," Russell grumbled under his breath.
Kristen sighed when Frances left Taters. "Order in, Chef!" She grabbed two dockets from Liam, scanned them, and handed them over to Russell. "ETA for Table Three?" Liam asked, hovering around the counter.
Kristen scanned the dockets before her. "Five minutes, Liam. Getting to it right now," she said before turning to the stove.
"Thanks, Chef," Liam called out before a piercing scream ripped through the restaurant.
"What the hell?" Kristen swore, almost jumping out of her skin.
Liam shrugged. "Be right back."
More screams and exclamations sounded; some people were leaving the restaurant. Russell and Kristen left the kitchen to investigate. "What's going on?" Russell demanded to know.
"Rats!" A pale Missy ran up to them, shuddering.
"Wonderful," Russell breathed out, shaking his head. "Just fucking wonderful."
The Taters crew sat out back in the beer garden in an awkward silence. Russell could not believe his luck. At the rate they were going, the money from the sale of his house would not last long.
"Go home, people. There's nothing else we can do here," he said finally.
"Should we try and catch the rats?" Missy asked, looking a little green at the suggestion. Sandra grimaced as well and shifted uncomfortably, half expecting the rodents to run out at them.
"I could run down to the shops and get some rat poison," Liam offered.
"Thanks, Liam. That's a great idea," Kristen said when Russell did not reply. "Grab some money out of the till."
Liam shook his head. "That's all right. I got it."
"Missy, Sandra, you guys should go home," Kristen said distractedly. "We'll handle it."
"Are you sure? I'm happy to stay and help," Missy said. Her eyes flicked between Kristen and Russell.
"No, no, go on home, lass. We'll handle it from here," Russell said finally. He looked tired and resigned. "I could so use a drink right now," he growled.
"No point stressing, Russell," Kristen said hurriedly. She wished that Frances had stayed just a bit longer; she could use her presence right now. "Maybe you should head on home. I'll wait for Liam to get back."
"No, no. I'd rather be here."
"I'll stay too," Missy said finally. "I don't feel right leaving like that."
"Neither," Sandra said firmly.
Kristen nodded and quickly wrote Frances a text message to tell her what had happened. Her mobile rang shortly after she hit the send button; she got up from the table to answer it. After reassuring Frances that she would take care of things, Kristen handed the mobile to Russell.
"No, no, it's fine. We'll handle it," Russell said into the receiver. "There's nothing you can do here anyway. It'll be fine," he said with a certainty that he did not feel. "Don't fuss, lass. I said it'll be fine. We'll have it sorted out tomorrow. Yes, I'll see you then." With that, he handed the mobile back to Kristen.
"Got the stuff," Liam said, poking his head into the beer garden.
Kristen ended the call and went back into the restaurant. Liam had gotten a rat bait box and an organic rat killer that could be used safely in food processing areas.
After everything was set up, everyone heaved a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Liam," Kristen said, giving him a grateful look. Ever since Taters had reopened, he had stopped getting on her nerves as much as he did before.
"No worries, Chef," Liam said with a toothy smile. "Happy to help, eh. It was bad luck that they were in the restaurant area though. We might get into trouble with the food authorities."
"Nothing we can do about that," Kristen said, blowing out a breath. "We'll just have to see what happens." She was more worried that Russell might get back on the bottle but there was nothing she could do about that either. He would have to learn to deal with stress without turning to alcohol.
After they locked up the restaurant, Liam gave everyone a lift home. Then he made his way to the hotel where Jack Canning was waiting, mentally bracing himself for another long night.
In the entire time Taters had been operating, they had never had any health and safety issues. Moreover, Taters had only just undergone renovation; where had the rats come from? Russell turned in his bed, frowning in the dark. It had to be sabotage.
Surely Jack Canning would not resort to something as underhanded as this. What would he gain from doing so anyway? There were so many restaurants along Erskinville Road; shutting Taters down wouldn't do much for his business.
Russell recalled the look on Jack's face when he had held him by his collar. If this was Jack Canning's doing, it had to be personal. And if this was Jack Canning's doing, Russell was certain that it was only the beginning.
It would be so easy to just get out of the house and walk two blocks down to the bottle shop, he mused. He clenched his jaw and squeezed his eyes shut instead. He did not need alcohol. He was stronger than that. He would not break his promise to Frances.
With these thoughts roiling around in his head, it was a long time before Russell fell into an uneasy slumber.
Kristen did not want to spend the night alone. The hour was still respectable; maybe Frances would welcome her company. Despite being the one who did all the running, Kristen realised that Frances was also the one who initiated contact most, if not all, of the time. She felt like a permanent fixture, always waiting for Frances to come to her. She decided to put herself out there and look Frances up.
It was about a thirty minutes walk to Frances'. Kristen stepped out into the warm night in her tank top and slacks. She was halfway down the street when her mobile rang.
"Benjamin?" she answered, surprised at the unexpected call. "Sunday? Huh. Did you hear about what happened tonight at Taters? Is that why you're coming to Sydney?" Kristen frowned. "Who's giving you all this information about us? I really don't like this, Benjy. Either you come clean or you stay out of our lives."
Kristen wasn't sure if she could trust that Benjamin was on her side but he was blood, nevertheless, and Kristen could only hope that that meant as much to Benjamin as it did to her. "Fine. I'll see you when you get here."
Frances' home came in sight. Kristen glanced nervously at the big house from a distance and thought she saw movement on the veranda. As she neared the house, she could hear voices. Kristen let herself through the gate noisily to announce her presence. She went up the stairs to the veranda and was greeted by four friendly faces.
"Hey," she said awkwardly. Nell was the only person besides Frances that she knew.
"Hey!" Frances called out, her face lighting up. "What are you doing here?"
"Just wanted to see what you were up to," Kristen said shyly, going over to where Frances was. "I hope that's okay."
"Of course it's okay." Frances shifted on the couch to make room for Kristen. "Ruth, Jaz, Kristen." Frances linked her arm through Kristen's when she sat down beside her. "Ruth was just showing us the books she got from the op shop today," she said, resting her hand on Kristen's thigh.
"Apparently, the Jamaicans love Bob Marley because he introduced Jamaica to the world," Ruth said. "And this picture here is the reason why I bought the book. Did you guys know Marilyn Monroe was a redhead?"
"True!" Nell took the book from Ruth. "It's a black and white photo, darl. How the hell can you tell?"
"Oh, it's just one of the many things I know," Ruth said airily.
Kristen looked around at Frances' friends with a faint smile on her face. She knew Ruth by name and she had met Jaz briefly at Sando's before their band had played on stage. "How're you doing?" Frances murmured beside her. She turned to Frances with a heavy sigh.
"I don't know. Benjamin called. He's coming to Sydney on Sunday. He heard about what happened."
Frances frowned. "How?"
"Someone told him. I don't know what's going on anymore. It's all getting really weird," Kristen said, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I don't think tonight was an accident, that much is for sure. We've never had rats in the restaurant before."
"How's Dad doing? I tried calling him but his mobile's turned off."
"The house was dark when I left."
Frances chewed on her lower lip. "I'll talk to him tomorrow. I'm so sorry, baby," she said, rubbing her hand down Kristen's arm and resting her temple on Kristen's shoulder.
"I feel better now that I'm here," Kristen said with a smile. She brushed an errant lock of hair out of Frances' face.
"Good. Did you want a drink? There's beer and wine... or I could make you some tea."
"What are you having?"
"Wine. Here," Frances said, leaning forward for her glass and offering it to Kristen.
"So has Frances told you about the party we're having in a few weeks, Kristen?" Ruth asked from across the table.
Kristen looked up at the woman who had just addressed her. "Uh, no. What party?"
"Bet she hasn't told you that it's her birthday in a few weeks either!"
Kristen smirked. "Nope." She turned to Frances. "Maybe she didn't want me to know."
"Birthdays, schmirthdays," Frances scoffed. "What do I say? 'My birthday's coming soon, nudge nudge.' Sounds as though I'm after a gift."
"Don't you like presents?" Ruth asked, flipping through another book absently.
"I think people should give each other things if they want to. Not because they're obliged to." Frances shrugged. "And anyway, I've got everything I want."
"That's so romantic," Jaz said, her eyes flicking from Kristen to Frances.
"Huh?" Frances was confused for a split second before she caught on to what Jaz was implying and rolled her eyes. "I didn't mean it like that. But yeah, now that you mentioned it, I do have everything I want."
Kristen shot Frances an indulgent look and couldn't help the smile that crept onto her face. "Cos' everyone wants a hot egotistical chef for a girlfriend," Frances added cheekily.
"Hey!" Kristen protested half-heartedly.
"Oh, tough luck, Frances," Ruth said, rolling her eyes. "Don't you worry, Kristen. It's totally one of my wish list items." An amused Kristen gave her a nod of thanks.
Frances leaned forward and picked up a bottle cap from the table to throw at Ruth. "Hands off my girlfriend," she said playfully.
Ruth rolled her eyes and dodged the bottle cap easily. "Yeah, because Kristen's the only hot egotistical female chef in the world."
"The only hot one, yeah," Frances answered with a pointed look before breaking into a smile. She could feel Kristen's laughter vibrate through her frame.
"Ladies, ladies!" Nell called out with a sigh. "Let's not get so worked up, shall we? After all, there're other hot women around. Like... mechanics, guitarists, singers..."
"Oh, do stop with your self-advertisement, Nell!" Jaz said laughingly.
"What?" Nell smirked. "Just sayin'."
"Got one of those years ago," Frances said, waving a hand in the air. "Wasn't as good as advertised," she teased, making Nell gape in mock anger.
"Smart ass!" Nell picked up the same bottle cap that Frances had thrown at Ruth to throw at Frances.
"She totally got you with that one though, Nell," Jaz said, still chuckling. Frances looked pleased with herself.
Nell stuck out her tongue at her friends. "I hate you all." When everyone burst out laughing at that, she shook her head woefully. "With friends like you guys, who needs enemies?"
Kristen looked around Frances' room while Frances was in the bathroom. Frances had spent some time doing it up since the last time she was over. A few posters of Japanese animated characters lined the walls. Kristen recognised one of them from their first movie date, but she hadn't a clue about the others. She hadn't realised that Frances liked Japanese animation that much.
She shifted her attention to a book shelf made out of milk crates; it easily held a hundred books. Kristen trailed a finger across book spines, tilting her head slightly to scan them. She wondered if Frances had read them all.
It surprised her that there was still so much of Frances she didn't know. She had to constantly remind herself that they had only been together a short time.
She stepped to the right of the makeshift book shelf and stood before an easel that held a canvas of photographs. Most of the photographs looked like candid shots. Frances wasn't in many of them. The two of them had yet to take a single photograph together; she made up her mind to remedy that.
When the room door opened, Kristen turned with a smile. "Hey. These look good. Did you take them?"
Frances came over to her side. "Most of them, yeah. I took these in India," she said, smiling softly when she touched a finger to a few of the photographs. "She's beautiful, isn't she?" Frances was referring to a girl in a red sari, twirling around, laughing. "She was working at an orphanage where I was teaching at for a few weeks."
"The kids were having exams when she got appendicitis. The principal wouldn't let her go to the hospital. A few of us went to tell him that she might die if she didn't receive medical attention. Do you know what he said?"
Kristen shook her head.
"He said he'd find someone else to replace her if that happens." Frances shook her head sadly. "Can you believe that?"
"That's awful," Kristen said, feeling appalled. "What happened to her?" she asked a little fearfully.
"We took her to the hospital. And he fired her. He said he would make sure that she never finds work in that industry again." Kristen's eyes rounded at that. "Till this day, I'm not sure if we've saved her life only to ruin it."
"You did the right thing," Kristen insisted.
Frances exhaled loudly. "Anyway. These are my students in Vietnam," she said, pointing at a few smiling children with unkempt hair and mischievous eyes. "I miss them. They're a good bunch."
"I'm sure they miss you too," Kristen said, circling her arms around Frances. "I know I would."
Frances turned in Kristen's embrace and wrinkled her nose. "Sweet talker." She linked her fingers behind Kristen's neck.
"I think you're amazing," Kristen said honestly. "You make me feel like a frog in a well."
"So... my kiss turned you into a beautiful woman?" Frances asked, a smile playing on her lips.
Green eyes rolled. "You have a knack of coming up with the most smart arse comments," Kristen said, shaking her head. "Seriously though, you are wonderful."
Frances' brow creased slightly. "Don't put me on a pedestal because I'll disappoint you."
"Hey, where's that coming from?" Kristen asked, lifting Frances' face with a finger under her chin.
"Well I'm back here, aren't I? If I'm really that wonderful, amazing person you say I am, I should be helping more people. Instead, I'm living a privileged life, working for a profit-making organisation, talking about a girl in a photograph whose life I probably helped ruin."
"That's not true. You helped save her life. You gave her a choice, which is more than that arsehole of a principal gave her. We all have our lots in life. We don't get to choose where we're born and who we're born to. It's what we do with what we have that counts. Don't put yourself down."
Frances was silent for a long moment. "Okay," she said finally.
"Okay? That's it? No smart arse comment?" Kristen asked with a faint smile.
Frances smirked. "No. Ran out of them. I was on a roll tonight."
Kristen leaned down and touched her lips to Frances'. "You are wonderful and amazing."
"Pedestal. Off," Frances murmured between kisses.
"Clothes. Off," Kristen replied, running her hands down Frances' back and under her shirt.
"Am I off the pedestal?" Frances inquired, her breathing becoming more laboured as Kristen's wandering hands drifted upwards and cupped her breasts.
Kristen pulled away from Frances. "You're a nasty, selfish woman and I can't believe I'm stuck with you. Happy?"
Frances smirked, stepped back from Kristen, and proceeded to take her clothes off. "Very. You?"
Kristen pulled a naked Frances against her and sighed. "Now I am."
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