DISCLAIMER: the characters don't belong to me, but to Katherine Brooks. I'm just borrowing them for a while. After I'm done toying with them, I'll give them back in one piece, I promise *evil laugh* Please don't sue, all I have left in my wallet is a couple of Euros. Really not worth the hassle.
WARNING: 1: English isn't my mother tongue, so you'll probably encounter a lot of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes along the way. It's my way of annoying the hell out of everyone lol. 2: I haven't seen the movie yet, I'm anxiously counting the days for the DVD to come out. Anyway, this means that I had to rely on other people's detailed plot spoilers to get this thing written. So erm Sorry for plot mistakes you might encounter. 3: I've added things to scenes, just because I can mwuhahahaha. Nah, did it because I wanted to explain things and so forth ..
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
THANKS: to my Beta for all the help.
All Over Me
In the dark Nina Simone (the nouns altered a bit)
In the dark
It's just you and I
Not a sound
There's not one sigh
Just the beat of my poor heart
In the dark
Now, in the dark, in the dark
I get such a thrill
When she presses her fingertips
Upon my lips
And she begs me to please keep still
In the dark
This dance will be ending
And you're gonna be missed
Gee, I'm not pretending
'Cause I swear it's fun
Fun to be kissed
In the dark
Now we will find
What the rest
Have left behind
Just let them dance
We're gonna find romance
Lord, in the dark
A freak thunderstorm erupted with ferocious, unforgiving intensity; white, angry bolts of lightning penetrating the ink black night and deafening cracks of thunder drowning out the muffled music from the dance hall. It all went unnoticed as Annabelle and Simone only had eye for each other. Rain pelting down in big, angry drops did nothing to quench their hunger for each other. Their passion, unleashed at last, was out of control, their desire for each other a volcanic explosion of molten want. When they both pulled away from the breathtaking kiss, the need to breathe temporarily overpowering their lust and almost carnal desire, they just looked at each other, the animal magnetism, the undeniable primal attraction they shared overpowering all logic and rational thought.
Her eyes never leaving Annabelle's, Simone brought her hand up to cup Annabelle's face, her thumb slowly caressing her cheek. The sight of Annabelle's wet lips, swollen by desire and kisses, her cerulean blue eyes darkened by barely concealed lust, enflaming her burning passion even more, shooting liquid desire through her like wildfire, Simone's breath hitched, her heart thumping rapidly. Annabelle's lips were just too close by, she had to taste them again, feel them again against her own. She had been denied for far too long. Parting her lips, she slowly licked Annabelle's lips before kissing her again, nibbling on her lower lip with her teeth, immediately laving the pain with a gliding stroke of her tongue. Annabelle couldn't hold back a moan when Simone invaded her mouth, probing gently at first, but soon becoming bolder, darting along her teeth, swirling her velvety tongue around Annabelle's.
Unable to hold back a groan of desire, Annabelle replied with a thrusting search of her own as she began duelling with Simone's tongue, trying to get control over the kiss. Igniting the fire within with languorous strokes, rejoicing in the naked power she had over Simone by merely kissing her, Annabelle crept even closer, one hand burying itself in Simone's wet, tangled hair, the other sliding up and down her back, standing so close that she didn't know where she ended and Simone began. Breaking away from the scorching kiss, slightly gasping as she felt Simone's fingers, cool from the cold rain, knead her neck, her nails scratching lightly along the skin, sending shooting spirals of lust and desire down her spine, Annabelle looked at her, drowning in the unadulterated love reflecting in her eyes. Her voice low, nearly dropped an entire octave, she whispered huskily: "why don't we take this somewhere else?" Not trusting her voice, Simone could only nod.
After a mad dash through the pouring rain, their clothes getting drenched in the torrential downpour, they retreated to the sanctity of Simone's bedroom, a soft breeze chasing away the heat of thunder, the soft flashes of lightning intermittently peeking through the half closed blinds their only illumination. Fascinated by a tiny drop of rain meandering its way down Simone's collarbone achingly slow, Annabelle took a shuddering breath and closed her eyes for just a second as she inched a little closer, her need to touch Simone again overwhelming. The almost feral look in Simone's eyes driving her wild beyond reason, Annabelle moaned softly and licked her dry lips, trembling slightly as she reverently ran her fingertips up along Simone's arms to her shoulders, luxuriating in the light shiver that ran through the older woman at the touch. Stepping even closer, she slowly pushed Simone against the bedroom wall, their bodies touching, Simone's ragged breath on her throat almost scorching her as she drowned in the molten desire pooling in Simone's eyes.
As another flash of lightning illuminated the room, giving Simone an almost ethereal look, Annabelle bent down to plant feather light kisses on her collar bone, licking the hollow at the base of her neck, sucking on a pulse point for a moment before placing butterfly kissing on every centimetre of exposed skin she encountered as she slowly made her way up to Simone's waiting lips. Her heart thumping fast, adrenaline and liquid desire pumping through her, breathing rapidly, she looked into Simone's eyes as she pulled back teasingly, not ready to give into her desire just yet. As she stared at the full lips that had captured her imagination for such a long time, now only inches away, she moaned softly. Then Simone licked her lips, the tip of her tongue peeking out oh so briefly but sending shivers down her spine, inviting Annabelle in and she knew she couldn't resist any longer, she had to taste those lips again. The feel of Simone's mouth beneath her own again inflamed her senses and the tender exploration turned heated, sending currents of wild fire through her.
Her fingertips sliding freely over the luscious body she had craved for so many months, over taut muscles she had only dreamed of touching, over soft skin that burned her hand as she caressed it reverently, she kissed Simone ferociously, passionately as she delighted in the small moan of desire the older woman couldn't suppress. Slowly meandering their way over Simone's shoulders down to the damp skin of her back, Annabelle's fingers pulled the zipper of the white silk dress down achingly slow, the soft metallic sound sending shivers down her spine. Fingertips teasingly caressing the exposed skin, scratching along Simone's spine, her hands made their way down to the hem of the dress, sneaking underneath. She let them slide up again ever so slowly, tracing soft and lazy patterns with her fingertips. Unhurriedly her hands wandered up even further, gently brushing over a quivering stomach, a swell of breast. Sucking Simone's lower lip into her mouth, caressing it with her tongue, she let the tip of a finger run over an already rock hard and ultra sensitive nipple, making Simone whimper.
Quickly pulling the silk dress off, the goddess like vision standing before her, so shy yet so feral in her want and desire, drew a throaty growl of admiration and approval from Annabelle. Staring into Simone's eyes, their fingers touching oh so lightly but sending a jolt of electricity through them both, Annabelle leant in to kiss her again, her thirst for Simone unquenchable. Revelling in the feel of Simone's hands roaming her back, caressing and scratching her, pulling her even closer, she groaned and kissed her harder, her tongue stroking against Simone's, reaching in further and deeper. Peeling Simone's hands off her waist, she entwined their fingers and looking her straight in the eye, she slowly pinned Simone's hands over her head against the wall, the older woman's sign of surrender turning her on even more.
Melting into Simone's heated kiss, feeling her rock hard nipples move against her own, she slowly trailed her fingers down Simone's arm, over her shoulders to her waist. Shuddering slightly as she felt groan, she broke free of their embrace and slid the slip down, kneeling down in front of her. Looking up into Simone's eyes, an _expression of worship and adoration clearly sketched on her face, her breath caught at Simone's beauty and the lust she found in her darkened eyes. Her fingers slowly trailing up Simone's leg in a reverent caress, Annabelle watched Simone close her eye and bite her lip as she held on tightly to her shoulders. Trailing soft kisses over Simone's quivering stomach, her tongue dipping into her belly button, she slowly inched her way upwards, making Simone whimper almost inaudibly as she let her lips float between the valley of her breasts, kissing, licking and nipping every inch of bare skin she encountered.
Gently brushing over a bra clad nipple, she flicked her tongue over its hardness and licked it unhurriedly, Simone's hand digging into her skull telling her she wanted even more. Annabelle opened her lips to take the nipple into her mouth, sucking it through the red lace bra while her fingers pinched the other nipple. She bit down softly with her teeth, making Simone release a high-pitched moan and pull her up into a heated, scorching kiss that seemed to last forever. Sliding her arms around Simone again, her fingers eagerly scratched her back, tracing her spine before dipping down even lower, underneath the panties. Swallowing Simone's groan of desire with another kiss, she gently pulled her closer.
Not an inch between them, Simone gently pushed Annabelle backwards while kissing her, making her tumble upon the bed. Never taking her eyes off Annabelle, rejoicing over her irregular breath, lidded eyes and almost feral look of lust, feeling an answering stir in the pit of her stomach, she slowly climbed on top of her, making sure their bodies touched in all the right places. As they kissed Annabelle's hands trailed over her back, pulling her in even closer as their tongues explored each other eagerly, wantonly. Shuddering as she felt Annabelle's hands deftly unhook her bra, she helped slide the straps over her arm before kissing her again, the bra discarded on the floor without another thought. Moaning into Annabelle's kiss as her hands disappeared under her panty line, pulling her closer and squeezing her, she pressed her hips down hard. Helping remove the soaked panties, she held on tightly as they turned around in the small bed.
Breathing hard, desperate to feel Annabelle's naked skin against her own, she started tugging the younger woman's slip upwards as the younger woman broke off their kiss to tug the slip over her head, tossing it to the ground without so much as a backward glance. As Simone pulled her down for another searing kiss, both of them moaning at the skin to skin contact, Annabelle went to lie in between Simone's legs, delighting at Simone's scratching on her back as she trusted her hips upwards. Simone's whole body was throbbing and tingling pleasantly as Annabelle drew her fingers along a quivering belly, on an ever so slow journey southwards, raking the length of her abdomen, dipping into her belly button, touching the inside of her thigh, making her tremble and groan. She was desperate to be touched, wild for more contact. Slowly Annabelle let her fingers trail the smooth wetness for a while, concentrating on Simone's throbbing and incredibly swollen core. Burying two fingers deep inside, pushing rhythmically in and out with each thrust of her hips. Feeling Simone shudder beneath her, sensing contractions inside, she kissed her soft lips reverently, her feelings feeling each delicate pulsation. Rocking harder and faster as she felt Simone grip her thighs hard, she swallowed Simone's orgasmic moan with a kiss as they both felt the mad rush of desire course through them.
The half closed curtains bathing the room in a soft, golden glow as the sun slowly rose, Simone stirred, the soft breeze drifting in from outside making her shiver lightly. Blinking a couple of times to chase away the last cobwebs of sleep, she slowly opened her eyes only to shut them again as the early morning light was too harsh for her still sleep clogged eyes. Groaning softly, she pried them open again, stretching with feline grace as she attempted to roll over, only to discover she was being held in a strong embrace. Only now hearing Annabelle's soft and rhythmic breathing near her ear, she looked down to see an arm draped over her, a hand protectively curled against her and she had to smile. Annabelle holding her, protecting her even as she slept, made her feel alive again, a hot surge of love engulfing her, warming the cold recesses of her heart. She wasn't a needy woman by any means, but she needed this; she needed to feel Annabelle's warmth as she cradled her close.
Careful not to wake Annabelle up, she snuggled even closer. She knew Annabelle needed her sleep, even if it was for just a little while longer, they both did after last night making love to each other over and over again for hours, finally succumbing to sheer exhaustion about two hours ago . Last night, the mere memory made desire rush through Simone again and she had to bite her lip to suppress a moan. She realised that she couldn't afford going back to sleep, she'd need to wake Annabelle pretty soon to avoid being discovered together. Besides, although she was tired, she didn't want to go back to sleep, no she was content just watching Annabelle, the steady rise and fall of her breathing easing away some of the demons that still plagued her. The harsh light of day would bring them back soon enough and Simone had to close her eyes at the thought. Determined to enjoy the moment, she banished responsibility and reality to the back of her mind. As she tenderly brushed away some stray hairs, Annabelle mumbled something incomprehensible and hugged her even tighter, without words letting Simone know that she wasn't alone anymore, that she had someone by her side and to Simone that made all the difference in the world.
Annabelle was lying on her side; her head turned Simone's way, one hand hidden under her pillow while the other cradled her in a loving embrace. Her eyelids were moving rapidly and Simone wondered what she was dreaming about but the light smile tugging at Annabelle's lips gave her a pretty good idea. If her eyes were open, she'd know in a flash; Annabelle's eyes truly were the windows to her soul, they were so expressive that Simone always knew exactly what Annabelle was thinking and feeling. Moving even closer, their noses almost touching, Simone let her fingertips caress Annabelle's shoulder blade, lingering there for a moment before trailing down her arm, watching goose bumps appear under her feather light touch. Her skin was so soft and warm, still scenting of the perfume she loved so much, the perfume that drove Simone wild every time Annabelle was near her. She was brought out of her daydreaming gaze when Annabelle muttered something incomprehensible before opening her eyes. Blinking a couple of times, her eyes finally focused on Simone and she immediately began to smile. "Good morning," she whispered throatily, her breath hitching as she stared at Simone's eyes, hypnotised by the shiny flecks of light blue, overwhelmed by the pure unadulterated love she found in them.
Leaning in closer, Simone pressed up on an elbow and brought her hand to Annabelle's face, caressing her cheek with her thumb before giving her a sweet kiss. "Morning," she husked, looking in Annabelle's eyes, drowning in the love shining through in the cerulean pools. Then she turned to her back again, sighing heavily as she stared at the ceiling, a lost and forlorn look on her face.
Simone's expression sending chills down her spine, Annabelle felt dread and fear invade her, immobilising her as she watched Simone's sudden sorrow. Was this the infamous morning after brush off? A more civilised version of wham, bang, thank you ma'am as instead of sneaking out in the middle of the night Simone had waited until early morning to throw her out? Was Simone running away from her feelings again? Had last nights declaration been in vain? She had put her heart on the line, made herself vulnerable and open, she had taken a chance on love and for what? For her heart to be trampled upon once again? Feeling her throat constrict, a cold chill settling her heart, she asked, unable to hide the anxiety in her voice: "what is it? What's the matter? You're not regretting last night, are you?"
Turning to face Annabelle, a stab of pain shooting through her at the sight of the cerulean blue eyes, filled with unshed tears, she reverently ran a slightly trembling finger over Annabelle's quivering lip before letting her hand drop again. Nervously biting her lip, she thought about her answer, her head telling her that this was the perfect opportunity to put a stop to all this madness, but . She just couldn't do it, her heart didn't allow her. Letting out a shaky breath, her voice croaking with emotion, she replied, looking Annabelle straight in the eye: "though it shouldn't have happened, no I don't regret it. Last night was magical, amazing, it made me feel alive again, but . Were do we go from here? I'm your teacher, you're my pupil. If someone were to find out, you'd be expelled and I I'd be fired on the spot and most probably be prosecuted. You're still a minor Annabelle. Though being with you feels so right, in the eyes of the law I'm taking advantage of you. Society would tar me a sexual predator and I'm not quite sure if I could blame them."
Refusing to shed any tears, but needing to swallow a big lump in her throat, Annabelle asked, her voice barely a whisper: "so what are you saying? That you want to end this?"
Staring at the ceiling again, Simone exclaimed "yes", only to sigh "no" a moment later. Taking Annabelle's hand into her own, slowly caressing her fingers, refusing to look her in the eye, she quietly admitted: "though God knows I really shouldn't have, I fought it for so long, I've " Taking a deep breath, needing to gather her courage for her big leap of faith, she continued: "I've fallen in love with you Annabelle and I don't know "
Before Simone could say anything more, Annabelle rolled on top of her and kissed her. Raising herself up again to look her in the eye, delighting in the touch of Simone's hands on her lower back, she said, the words coming straight from the heart: "I love you too." As she felt Simone squeeze her even tighter, they just looked at each other for a moment, their love so palpable. Then Annabelle continued: "I may only be seventeen, but this isn't some silly crush, a momentary infatuation that will evaporate with the coming of summer. This is real, my feelings are real, I mean it when I say that I love you."
"I don't doubt your feelings for me, it's just that .", Simone started to say, only to be silenced again when Annabelle put a finger on her lips. "I know that it'll be difficult," the younger woman said, "You're my teacher at an all girl catholic boarding school. We're completely cut off from the real world here; we're a tiny community on our own, where everybody knows everything. It's like we're living in this big bubble where the walls have ears, a worse version of Orwell's big brother society as at least there you could hide if you really wanted to. We'll have to be extremely careful, sneak around and hide, but don't you think it's worth it? Don't you think our love is worth it? It won't be forever, I'll be eighteen soon, I'll graduate from here in a couple of weeks time Rilke once said 'for one human being to love another, that's perhaps the most difficult of our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation'. I believe that's true, I believe that if we work at it, we can overcome all obstacles thrown at us. Life and love might be one big gamble and I realise that the odds are against us, but don't you think that we should at least take a chance?"
Was Annabelle's love worth taking all these risks? Was it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Could she say goodbye to Annabelle now and not regret it for the rest of her life? Should she take a chance on Annabelle now and perhaps regret it for the rest of her life later on? Annabelle's impassioned plea proving to her once more the fire in the younger woman's heart, fire she so desperately yearned for and needed, Simone realised that she shouldn't, couldn't let this chance at love, at life slip through her fingers. Perhaps it wouldn't last forever, perhaps they were just thrown together by Fate and extraordinary circumstances only to drift apart later on, but then again maybe they were meant to be. It certainly felt like it right now and right now is what counted. Nobody can predict the future, she didn't know what Fate had in store for them or her, all she knew was that she couldn't let fear rule her life any longer. Caressing Annabelle's face with her hand before pulling her down for a quick kiss, she said: "I do. Though it'll be difficult, I think you're worth it." Looking over at the nightstand, realising that everybody would be getting up pretty soon, she said: "you'd better go now."
Standing at the door, a bathrobe hastily tied around her, Simone asked: "what will you do? Your roommates are bound to have noticed that you're missing."
"Yeah, I thought of that too when I was in the bathroom," Annabelle sighed. "I think I'll just go to the basement, make believe that I fell asleep on the couch there or something."
"You can't, it's locked," Simone replied. "I kept it locked after I found the four of you drinking there that night."
"Even better," Annabelle replied with a bright smile, her mind working overtime. "That means that nobody will have used it as their secret love nest last night, nobody to disprove my story."
"I guess I'd better give you the key in that case," Simone said, not really liking the plan, but not able to come up with a better one at such short notice. She was clearly not cut out for this kind of thing. Rummaging through a drawer, she got the key out and handed it to Annabelle, who said: "now I just have to make sure I'm found by someone." When Simone threw her a nonplussed look, she explained: "if I'm found by someone like say Collins, she'll be able to collaborate my story that I fell asleep there last night."
"I'm not sure I want to know how you got so devious at scheming," Simone remarked.
Annabelle just shrugged and replied: "I'm sure it won't be a problem getting someone to 'discover' me, Cat is bound to kick up a fuss at my disappearance."
"Cat? Why?" Simone asked.
"Let's just say that ever since I rejected her advances, she's been doing her utmost at making my life a living hell. It seems she doesn't handle rejection very well."
"Is that why the two of you had that catfight?" Simone asked.
"Yes, amongst other things she started making some comments about us, about my music and I was already on edge, so ."
"She made comments about you and me?" Simone squeaked, suddenly terrified, convinced that perhaps this wasn't such a good idea after all.
Realising that Simone was about to buckle under the first sign of trouble, Annabelle tried to reassure her: "don't worry about it, she doesn't know anything, she's just guessing I don't know, she's like a spoilt little girl, used to getting her own way and if she doesn't . well, she makes your life miserable until she finds something or someone else to focus her attention on. When Collins' porcupine died and she couldn't nag about him anymore, she turned her attention on me, especially after I turned her down. It'll blow over, as soon as she realises that nobody believes her malicious lies anymore, she'll stop."
"If you say so," Simone said feebly, still not convinced.
"Trust me," Annabelle said. "Anyway, I guess I'd better go now before everyone wakes up." Suddenly unsure, she then added, a light tremor in her voice: "Will I see you later?"
Opening the door to check if the coast was clear, she turned to face Annabelle. The slight trembling of Annabelle's lips letting her know that she wasn't the only one with doubts and fears; she pulled her closer and gave her a last, lingering kiss. "Yes, you will," she whispered, breaking away from their embrace.
Standing outside Simone's door, Annabelle had to lean against the wall for a moment to calm her rapidly beating heart. She still couldn't quite believe it, her biggest wish had been fulfilled: not only had she spent a most magical night with the woman of her dreams, waking up in her arms as she held her tight, the feather light caresses touching the deepest of her soul, the tender look of love in Simone's eyes as she husked 'good morning' sending shivers down her spine, there was also the promise of more nights to come. Simone's fingers trembling as they roamed her body, every inch of skin burning beneath her caressing touch, Simone's feather light kisses on her eye lids as the whole world exploded around her, her softly whispered words as she quivered beneath her, it was more than she could have ever hoped for. Simone loved her too, the mere thought sent her heart into a frenzy, her breathing becoming shallow again and she had to close her eyes to suppress the urge to run back into Simone's room and ravish her all over again.
She had never felt like this before, she simply couldn't get enough of her, she needed to kiss, touch and feel her all of the time and not just in a sexual, lust filled way. It was more than that, she craved to be near her, she wanted to know everything about her, her inner most thoughts, the secret desires she harboured and the painful memories that haunted her. She wanted to find out all those cute little details, things that would make her fall in love with her even more, what made her laugh, what made her sad . All she wanted to do was slay the demons that plagued Simone, kiss all her worries away as she wrapped her up in her arms and never let go. She wanted to know if Simone was grumpy first thing in the morning, how she liked her eggs, what music she listened to when she was feeling sad, if she liked sitting on the beach watching the sunrise, whether she liked kissing in the rain Well, recent experience told her that Simone indeed loved kissing in the rain, but she wanted to know so much more. She wanted to know all those odd little quirks and eccentricities that made Simone tick, that made her the adorable person she was.
A thudding sound in a nearby bedroom brought her out of her musings and she realised she'd better get going. Getting caught lurking right outside Simone's bedroom at the crack of dawn would bring her dream to a shattering end all too soon. Clutching the key in her hand even tighter, she quickly walked down the hallway, peering over the leaning before running down the stairs like the devil was on her heels. In the downstairs hallway she suddenly heard footsteps approaching and desperately looked around for a place to hide, only to kneel down behind a rather big plant at the very last second. Praying to whatever god that was listening, her heart beating in her throat, her fingers trembling, she held her breath as the footsteps slowly came closer. Shrinking back even further, almost crawling into the wall, she cursed under her breath for wearing a bright red slip which, as camouflage outfits go, was hardly inconspicuous. Absurdly thinking that even her beating heart could be heard, she watched Mother Emaculata walk past on her way back from the chapels vespers, softly mumbling Hail Maries under her breath as she rubbed her big wooden rosary.
Heaving a sigh of relief when Mother Emaculata turned the corner, not even looking up from her near silent pious contemplation, she shuddered at the dreadful mental image of Emaculata in nun's nightwear forever burned onto her mind. The mental image as effective as a cold shower, her raging hormones killed off instantaneously, she waited a full minute before daring to leave her little hiding spot. The key burning in her hand, she quickly walked over to the basement door. Turning the key in the rusty lock, looking left and right when a loud gnashing sound could be heard, she quickly closed the door behind her and ran down the wooden stairs. Not daring to put a light on, you never know someone might see it, she stumbled through the dark, thumping her knee hard against a big wooden chest. Biting her lip to avoid yelping out in pain, she wisely decided to use her lighter to safely make her way over to the middle of the room. Making a make shift bed from some pillows and throws laying around, she sighed as she made herself comfortable, draping an old theatre curtain over herself as a blanket. Her adrenaline rush waning, the lack of sleep catching up with her, she soon fell asleep.
Thinking Annabelle had sneaked off for an early morning cigarette like she often did, Collins followed Kristen and Cat to the Dining Hall, lagging a bit behind as she wasn't interested in their gossip about last night's boozing adventures with some of the Saint Paul boys behind the Dance Hall, her mind still on the rather shy and withdrawn boy she got talking to last night. Putting her breakfast tray on the table, she looked around the room, trying to spot Annabelle in the crowd, before settling her attention back on the still gossiping Kristen and Cat. "Where is Annabelle?" she asked.
Looking up, a decidedly nasty smirk on her face, Cat immediately said: "she's probably in Miss Bradleys room.", revelling in the shock and disbelief on Collins' and Kristens faces, feeling all important at being the one to divulge the latest bit of scathing gossip. Not even hearing Collins comment 'well, I don't care if they are together. I like them both' , she pondered the situation a bit longer and then realised what she had said in haste and in jest, had probably been the truth after all. She hadn't heard Annabelle enter their room last night and then this morning, her bed certainly didn't look slept in. And didn't Miss Bradley and Annabelle disappear from the dance around the same time? The green eyed monster stirring in the pit of her stomach, fuelling her anger and bitterness at being rejected by Annabelle, Cat pushed her chair back and got up, her eyes narrowing, her mouth set in a smirk of devilishly delight.
Feeling more and more determined with each step she took, muttering under her breath that she'd show Annabelle just who was top bitch around here, she walked over to the faculty table. Realising she'd need to hide her seething jealousy and anger behind a mask of fake concern, she slowed her long strides, let her shoulders sag before adopting the pitiful doe eyed _expression of innocence she had perfected through the years, using her absent, guilty feeling dad as her prime victim. 'Flattery got you nowhere, but manipulation did' was her experience. Bending her head a bit as she addressed Mother Emaculata, she whispered softly "I'm concerned about Annabelle and Miss Bradley", knowing just when to look up through her lashes for full effect, the light quiver in her voice executed to perfection. When Mother Emaculata lifted her eyebrows in obvious doubt, Cat thought for a moment that she had gone over the top with her innocent little school girl act, but then Mother Emaculata left the Dining Hall. With a devious grin plastered on her face, she slowly made her way back to her roommates.
Mother Emaculata highly doubted the veracity of Cats statement, she knew how the girl existed and had already had to call the girl on her inappropriate behaviour on several occasions, had even been on the verge of expelling the recalcitrant girl at one point, but then her rich rock star dad had given the school that very generous donation, money always being the best method of persuasion in a private and elite school. She realised that it probably was nothing more than a silly school girls scheme of getting back at a roommate, but at the same time something kept niggling at the back of her brain. Could it be true? Could Annabelle and Simone be having an affair? The very idea seemed ludicrous to her, but still . Something didn't quite add up.
Hadn't she witnessed that rather awkward exchange between Simone and Annabelle a couple of days ago? Though Simone had refused to talk about it, had refused to confide in her, she knew something was bothering her niece. And then last night .. she had been delighted to see the emotional distance and awkwardness between Michael and Simone, he simply wasn't good enough for her niece, so when Simone left the dance early, she had just assumed that Simone had taken her advice for a change and had finished with him, but now she started to have doubts. Could there be something more going on? It was unlike Simone to be late for school functions, where could she be? And then Annabelle . She knew Annabelle thought of herself somewhat as a rebel with a cause, challenging her boundaries with her wayward behaviour, but she thought she had broken the girls spirit after her rather ridiculous teenage stubbornness about the Buddhist prayer beads. The girl had actually turned into somewhat of a model student of late . Had that all been a pose? In the knowledge that it was better to be sure than sorry, she walked out of the Dining Hall, intent on finding out exactly where Simone and Annabelle were.
Opening the window further to let a fresh breeze in, she could only imagine what the room smelled like after last night's activities, Simone quickly made the bed. She knew she should really change the sheets, hide every trace of last night's passion, but as she fluffed up the pillow she could still smell Annabelle and it made her heart beat faster. At the same time however she felt her heart also break as she realised that she'd be all alone in that lonely, cold bed tonight, without Annabelle's loving and warm embrace and she knew she'd need something to get her through the night, even if it was just Annabelle's scent. Though the younger woman had only been gone for a couple of minutes, it already felt like a lifetime. She needed Annabelle close by all of the time, even if it was just to talk or say nothing.
Annabelle stirred something deep inside her and like a volcano, inactive for too long, Simone felt all of her emotions bubbling to the surface with an enormous power, her love and passion, dormant for so many years, erupting with unseen force. She needed Annabelle to extinguish that roaring fire or perhaps to stir it up even further. Like a moth to a flame, she was drawn to her. She needed Annabelle's warmth and passion to melt the cold recesses of her heart, Annabelle's touch sending small flames licking her skin, Annabelle's desire only fuelling the raging inferno inside her even more. How did Robert Frosts poem go again? "Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favour fire." Moaning softly at the memory of Annabelle's fire - making her crash and burn time and time again in a sensuous haze of desire, only to resurrect her like a Phoenix from the ashes by the simplest touch - Simone realised a shower was in order, preferably an ice cold one.
Her raging hormones sufficiently cooled down by her freezing shower, Simone stepped out of the bathtub. Dripping all over the floor, she wrapped a huge bath towel around herself as she stepped back into her room, jumping ten feet in the air as at the exact same time Mother Emaculata pulled the door open. Clutching her hand over her heart, feeling her heart beat in her throat, she said: "you scared the living daylights out of me, aunt Emaculata. Haven't you heard of knocking before you enter a room? You're the one who always says that 'fine manners are like personal beauty,--a letter of credit everywhere'." Not even dignifying the slight ribbing with a response, just giving Simone a quick once over, Mother Emaculata bounded over to the bathroom, hastily pulling the door open to check inside. "What are you doing?" Simone asked, bewildered at Emaculatas weird behaviour.
"I I don't really know," Emaculata stammered, embarrassed at having doubted her nieces integrity, at having mistrusted her gut instinct. Taking a deep breath, she then continued: "I've been played. That girl Cat came to me this morning with a ludicrous story about you and Annabelle having an affair together. I didn't believe it for a second, but when I saw that the both of you were missing from breakfast, I put two and two together and came up with five."
Suddenly afraid that the truth was plainly visible on her face, Simone turned her back to her aunt. She was in shock, scared out of her wits; she couldn't believe they had been found out so soon. Annabelle had been right about Cat. She knew that she needed to throw her aunt even more off the scent and exploded: "You believed the lies and ramblings of a teenage girl? A girl, whom ,I might add ,is notorious for her petty and malicious behaviour, a girl whom you wanted to expel only a couple of months ago for spreading lies and disruptive behaviour in class? A spoilt little brat whose parents try to make up for their absence by giving into her every whim, who close their eyes for her bad behaviour out of shame and guilt? She comes running to you with some fabricated story about Annabelle and I being lovers and you just believe her? You play judge, jury and executioner without even looking at the facts, without even giving me a fair hearing to see whether or not it's true? Well, I guess at least I now know where your priorities lie."
Squirming under Simone's rant, Emaculata muttered: "I'm sorry, but she suddenly made both your absences seem plausible and you did leave the dance rather abruptly last night," but Simone wasn't even listening to her aunt. Tilting up the mattress she continued, getting well and truly under steam: "don't you need to check under the bed or in the closet? Annabelle might be hiding there." Holding the closet door open, she didn't see her aunt step closer and was startled when the older woman put a pacifying hand on her arm. "I'm sorry," Emaculata said, before turning on her heels and walking out the room, leaving Simone alone again. As the door closed, she heaved a huge sigh of relief, the adrenaline that had been spurring her on suddenly leaving her. Shaky and weak kneed, she sagged down on her bed, suddenly wondering if Annabelle was worth all this aggravation. The thought left as soon as it came, of course Annabelle was worth it. Realising that Annabelle still needed to be 'discovered', she sprang up and shrugged on her jeans, desperately trying to come up with a way to lead Emaculata to the basement.
Furious at being set up by Cat and embarrassed by Simone's rant, even a bit perplexed by it - her niece always seemed so calm and level headed, she didn't even know Simone had an explosive tempter - Emaculata stomped in the direction of the Dining Room, intent on giving Cat a good piece of her mind before kicking her out of school once and for all. Then she suddenly remembered that one key player in this sordid little tale was still unaccounted for: Annabelle. Her anger and embarrassment fuelling each other, she had now found a new outlet. If Annabelle had been up to no good, she was out on her ear, she didn't care if her mother was a States senator. Walking back up the stairs, she headed straight for Annabelle's room. Having learnt her lesson, even a nun didn't make the same mistake twice, she knocked before entering, only to find Collins laying on her bed, busy on scribbling in her diary.
Jumping up as she suddenly found Mother Emaculata standing in front of her, Collins felt a sense of dread settle in the pit of her stomach. Not wanting the headmistress to see what she had written, she quickly closed her diary and threw it on her desk. Nervous as she was, she threw it too hard and it slid over the length of the desk to fall off at the other side. As they both watched the diary fall to the ground, Collins felt Emaculatas disapproving stare and quickly jumped up from the bed to retrieve the diary, kneeling beside the desk to pick it up. Thumping her head on the desk as she got back up, she quickly placed it in one of the drawers before turning around again, Emaculatas impatient tapping of her foot letting her know she'd better not keep her waiting any longer. Standing at attention, almost like a cadet in military school, she slowly raised her eyes, unable to hide her fear as she trembled slightly. "Mother Emaculata, can can I help you with anything?" she stammered nervously.
"Do you know where Annabelle is?" Emaculata asked gruffly, the girls clumsiness getting on her nerves.
"No," Collins replied in a near whisper.
"What was that? Speak up girl," Emaculata ordered.
"No, I don't know where she is right now," Collins admitted.
Snorting derisively, Emaculata turned around again, only to bump into Kristen on her way out. "You're one of Annabelle's other roommates, aren't you?" she asked. When Kristen nodded, she continued: "do you know where she is? She didn't have breakfast in the Dining Hall this morning and nobody seems to know where she is now."
"I'd try the basement," Kristen suggested. "That's where she usually goes when she's upset and needs to be alone for a while, you know . to think things through and get a new perspective. Or when she's creative and wants to write another song. With Cat on her back all of the time, she sure can't find the peace and quiet she needs here."
"What do you mean Cat's on her back all of the time," Emaculata asked, her eyebrows shrugging in confusion. When neither of the girls seemed to answer, they just looked at each other for the longest time, each urging the other to take the lead, she asked in a very stern tone of voice: "well?"
"What the girls are reluctant to say," Simone said, standing in the doorway, making Emaculata swivel around again, "is that Cat made pass at Annabelle a couple of weeks ago and when Annabelle rejected her advances, Cat started her little war of terror."
The relief on Collins and Kristen's faces at not being forced to rat on a roommate telling her all she needed to know, Emaculata pushed past Simone, stomping her way to the basement, the others hot on her trail. The procession of four trotting down the wooden basement stairs, they slowly meandered their way around all the junk towards the middle of the room. Standing around Annabelle's make shift bed, they watched her for a moment, the slow rise and fall of her breathing letting them know Annabelle was in deep sleep. Simone couldn't stop herself from smiling, Annabelle's beauty and innocence a balm for her shattered nerves. Not knowing how Annabelle would react, she didn't dare call out her name to wake her. Then she didn't have to anymore, Emaculata saying "Annabelle Tillman" rather loudly. Jumping up, Annabelle blinked a couple of times before holding the theatre curtain up higher. Turning towards Collins and Kristen, Emaculata said: "back to your room, you two." Then she said to Simone, rather gruffly: "I need to see the both of you in my office in an hour." As she caught Annabelle shivering from the cold, she added much softer: "have her eat something in the kitchen first though. Oh and make sure she's dressed properly." With that she turned around and left the basement, intent on finding Cat and letting the girl feel the extent of her ire.
 Excerpt from Robert Frost's 'Fire and Ice'.
 Cyrus Augustus Bartol
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