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
By Piranha


Part Six

Bewildered at Annabelle's apparent haste, they had been speed walking ever since leaving the beach house, Simone held on for dear life to Annabelle's hand, allowing herself to be dragged off in the pitch dark to destination unknown, struggling to keep her footing in the sand. She was concentrating so hard on holding onto the blankets and keeping an eye out for the small, but rather dangerous rocks and pebbles treacherously hidden half beneath the sandy surface that she didn't notice Annabelle had come to a sudden full stop until it was too late and she crashed into her quite hard, forcing Annabelle to take a step forward to keep her balance. Involuntarily letting out an 'oomphffff', she took a step back, steadying herself by grabbing Annabelle's shoulder, trying to get her ragged breath under control.

She felt like she had just run a marathon. Panting hard, she watched Annabelle scan the area for a moment, narrowing her eyes in total concentration before she heard her mumble 'aha' under her breath. She did not really understand why however as the whole beach looked the same to her in the early morning darkness. Thinking Annabelle probably looked a lot like Archimedes when he shouted 'Eureka', though Annabelle wasn't running naked through the streets –mores the pity-, Simone didn't have the time to realise that her lover's expression meant she finally had a destination in mind. She didn't even have the time to contemplate the strangeness of her own thoughts (I mean, who in hell thinks about stuffy and dead ancient Greek mathematicians when in company of Annabelle?) before being dragged off again.

A two minute high speed steeple chase later, Annabelle guided her to a little secluded spot, mostly hidden away from view by some large rocks. Not that Simone was expecting that many dog walkers that freaking early in the morning, twilight had only just ended. Infinitely glad that they finally seemed to have arrived, but still unsure as what they were actually doing there, she just stood there, helplessly looking around for clues but finding none. Watching Annabelle put the hamper down and take the blankets out of her hands, she shivered lightly in the early morning chill, her t-shirt not exactly warm enough for whatever Annabelle had in mind. The brisk walk had kept her warm enough, but now they had stopped the cool ocean breeze was making her break out in goose bumps.

Taking a deep breath, the saltiness of the ocean air invigorating her senses, she hugged herself tight as she watched Annabelle spread out a blanket on the sand before inviting her to sit. Kicking off her shoes, wriggling her toes as the sand was still slightly damp from the morning dew; she sank down on the blanket, rather pleased to find out that the rocks also sheltered them from the breeze. Hearing more than seeing the waves break on the beach in the distance, the squawking of seagulls overhead and the lightening of the ink black sky telling her a new day had begun, she felt the last of her anger and reservation slowly seep away as she realised how important this little outing must be for Annabelle. Smiling brightly, she nodded her appreciation as Annabelle handed her a steaming hot mug of coffee before draping the second blanket over her.

Realising that the hamper would be hard to reach when they were both sitting on the blanket, Annabelle moved it closer before kicking off her own shoes and plopping down on the blanket some distance away from Simone, unsure if she was already welcome again after her little stunt earlier. She shouldn't have worried however as Simone snaked an arm around her waist to pull her closer, handing her the coffee mug while she readjusted the blanket over the both of them. Their fingers lightly touching around the mug, both smiling at the little jolt of electricity that passed between them, they just looked at each other for a moment, their love palpable. The moment was broken when Annabelle averted her eyes to take a sip. Handing the mug back to Simone, she began riffling through the hamper and said: "do you want something to eat? I've got sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt. I thought we could have a picnic right here on the beach."

'I love the thought of having a picnic together," Simone said, "but why did it have to be so early in the morning? I mean, we could have done this at noon too. Oh and I'll have one of those sandwiches, please."

Handing Simone a sandwich and a plate before giving her a coffee refill, Annabelle replied: "no, not really... the beach would have been way too crowded then. Besides, we're here this early for a reason, there's something I wanted to show you."

"There is?" Simone asked

Giving Simone a small smile before averting her eyes again, Annabelle stared in front of her, nervously biting her lip as she thought about how she was going to explain. As Simone smiled slightly at the uncharacteristic display of nerves, she grabbed Annabelle's hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Comforted by the simple gesture, Annabelle smiled briefly as she looked up to the ocean and said: "ever since I was a little girl, I've always loved mornings. As a child it meant the start of a whole new adventure, my next road trip of discovery. As I grew older, mornings meant a new chance of putting things right, of correcting the mistakes I might have made the day before. Mornings are filled with hope and dreams, they're the start of a brand new day, filled with the promise that everything will be alright in the end.

I especially love watching the sunrise. There's nothing more important or beautiful than watching daybreak. Amber lights and lilac skies as the sun slowly rises over the horizon, dawn over wide open fields where the mist keeps hanging giving the scenery an almost ethereal look, dew covered cobwebs shining brightly in the early morning light, puffy soft coloured clouds floating by as birds twitter in a nearby tree ... Watching the world slowly come to life always calms me down because it's so awe inspiring. It's such a humbling experience. The beautiful serenity and simplicity of nature always leaves me in awe, it makes me realise how tiny and insignificant I am compared to the magnificent beauty of nature.

You know... the ancient Greeks thought dawn was the goddess Eos rising from her home at the edge of the ocean to herald her brother Helios. She opened the gates of heaven with rosy fingers so that the sun could ride his chariot across the sky. I love the simplicity of the explanation, the aquarelle lightening of the sky some time before the sun appears ... I really miss watching the sunrise at Saint Theresa's, my room is on the wrong side, but watching it from my secret hide out place first thing in the morning when I'm having my smoke is a more than worthy substitute."

Sighing deeply, she looked at their joined hands before continuing: "for all of my life, I've had to live according to someone else's schedule. I was told what to do and when to do it by my parents, Beatrice, teachers, ... Though I accept that it's part of life and growing up, it doesn't mean I have to like it. I had and still have no control over my own life; I'm ruled by timetables, but ... Mornings have always been mine; they could never take that away from me. It's the only part of the day they can't touch, mornings belong solely to me. It's the only time I'm allowed to be myself, to be free. That's why I take so much pleasure in watching the sunrise. I don't know, I guess it makes me feel at peace with the world again, it gives me the hope and energy to face another day. I've always hated sharing my mornings with anyone; I always felt that they were horning in on 'my time', but ... Now everything has changed." Turning around to look at Simone, she added: "You make me happy Simone and I want to share everything with you, including my mornings."

Deeply touched and humbled that Annabelle wanted to share something so deeply personal with her, had opened up so completely, trusted her enough to let her in fully, Simone just stared at her for a moment before leaning in and giving her a kiss, whispering "thank you" though to her, the words could never carry the enormity of the gift Annabelle had just given her. Leaning back, she watched Annabelle slowly open her eyes. Smiling brightly, she softly caressed Annabelle's cheek with the back of her hand and said "I love you" before wrapping her arm around her, pulling her even closer. Huddled closely together underneath the blanket, they both watched the sun slowly rise over the ocean in total silence. Breathing in the cool morning air, they were lost in the moment, the sun creating an unbelievable tapestry of colours in the sky and over the ocean.

"It's so beautiful," Annabelle whispered after a while, afraid talking would break the magical spell the rising sun had created.

"Yes, it is," Simone replied in equally hushed tones, looking straight at Annabelle before adding as an afterthought "I really wish that I had brought my camera." Breaking out of Simone's warm, protective embrace, Annabelle reached into the hamper and quickly snapped a few pictures of Simone before handing her the camera. Accepting the camera with a surprised, but grateful smile, Simone slowly stood and began taking pictures of the awe inspiring view, shivering slightly as the blanket had fallen to the ground, leaving her in bare arms. Shaking the sand off the blanket before draping it over Simone's shoulders again, Annabelle put her arms around her waist from behind, holding her close, smiling happily as she felt more than heard Simone murmur her appreciation.

Her chin on Simone's shoulder, she watched the sun climb higher and higher, mesmerised by the colour variations. After a while she sat down again, allowing Simone to walk around as she took pictures of the sun slowly climbing from the ocean. Simone really felt her creative juices running and walked further and further away, snapping picture after picture, loving how the rising sun created a spectacular blend of colours on the ocean. At one point clouds interfered and hid part of the sun, causing it to split in various rays of light, the golden colours becoming more silvery as the sun ascended further into the sky. So enraptured by the constant play of colour and light, she didn't notice the incoming tide, a small wave of cold ocean water unrelentlessly crashing into her, causing her to back pedal quickly as her jeans clung to her calves.

Smirking slightly as she realised she seemed to have an off day where water was concerned; she slowly made her way back to Annabelle. As she neared their private little hiding spot, she noticed that Annabelle was lying on her back, watching the clouds above, totally oblivious to her presence. Struck down by the breathtaking beauty of Annabelle, the sun giving her lover an almost ethereal look, she had to stop for a moment, overwhelmed by the strong feelings of love rushing through her. Releasing a shaky breath, she went on, slowly raising her camera again. Capturing the peaceful expression on Annabelle's face on film, she crouched over her, quickly snapping some more pictures when Annabelle looked up to her and smiled. Straddling her waist, she slowly placed her camera beside the hamper before leaning down and giving her a sweet kiss, whispering "thanks for sharing this with me."

"You're welcome," Annabelle smiled into the kiss, wrapping her arms around her and idly toying with Simone's hair before turning them around so Simone was on her back, the whole length of their bodies touching. Leaning on her arms, she looked down into Simone's eyes and was suddenly struck by a wave of tenderness washing over her. Reaching out a trembling hand, she slowly traced the line of Simone's jaw, running her thumb over her lower lip as she whispered a heartfelt "I love you". Her hand slowly creeping its way up underneath Annabelle's shirt, her nails slowly scratching her spine, making Annabelle shiver lightly, Simone replied: "I love you too" She hadn't even finished speaking when her hands dipped into the jeans Annabelle had on, squeezing her arse cheeks as she opened her legs so that Annabelle could nestle herself in the apex of her thighs.

Still leaning on one elbow, Annabelle brought a slightly trembling hand to the hem of Simone's T-shirt. Searching Simone's eyes for permission, immediately granted, she slowly slid her hand underneath the shirt before leaning down to kiss Simone, tracing her lips with her tongue before venturing inside. As they kissed passionately, languidly, her hand slowly crept upwards, taking the shirt with it, the feather light touch of her fingers causing Simone to suck in her breath and let out a moan, immediately swallowed by Annabelle's eager lips. Releasing her lips to look Simone into the eye, Annabelle caressed her quivering belly with infinite tenderness. Her fingers ascended even more, ever so slowly trailing along a curve of breast before raking over a nipple, immediately hardening to the touch. Leaving the shirt bunched up over Simone's breast, Annabelle backed up for a minute, her heart hammering in her chest, gasping for breath as she took in Simone's beauty.

Seeing the same lust and desire reflected in Simone's dilated and almost feral eyes, she shivered involuntarily when Simone hooked her legs around her, pulling her even closer. Planting both hands firmly in the sand so she could hold herself above her, she started grinding herself against Simone and planted small kisses down her neck, slowly inching her way down. As Simone met her motions with thrusts of her own, groaning with want, she slowly circled a rock hard nipple with her tongue before taking the nipple into her mouth and sucking, making Simone bite her lip as she moaned loudly. Rotating her hips, she started thrusting harder as Simone bucked beneath her, the ridge created by the seam of Annabelle's jeans in exactly the right place. Turning her attention to Simone's other breast; she increased her rhythm even more.

As Annabelle bit at the soft swell of breast, Simone realised with a groan of ecstasy that she found it endlessly arousing that Annabelle was a breast woman. The thought dissipated as fast as it came when Annabelle raised herself up, the pace of her grinding frenzied, mindlessly pounding herself against Simone to give her the most friction. As she held Annabelle in a vice like grip, she suddenly arched her back as her orgasm hit, letting out a deep, guttural moan that pierced through the early morning air, scaring a nearby seagull into flying away squawking loudly, her body shaking and convulsing as her muscles tensed and then relaxed with release. She felt Annabelle kiss her forehead and her lips as she kept thrusting against her. As she opened her eyes, she looked straight into Annabelle's lust filled eyes. When Annabelle whispered 'please', she saw that Annabelle needed her desperately and quickly raised herself to a sitting position as she grasped Annabelle's hips and pulled them down to her thighs.

Her hand curled behind Annabelle's neck, pulling her near, she kissed her hard, the heat of the kiss sending currents of liquid fire through her veins. Her hand disappearing beneath Annabelle's t-shirt, she ran her hand upwards over taut muscles and soft skin, over a flat abdomen and a perfect breast, feeling the nipple harden with desire beneath her touch. As Annabelle's hips began to move again of their own volition, undulating against her, seeking an ancient rhythm, Simone's other hand crept lower and lower, slowly undoing the buttons of Annabelle's Levi's. As she pulled back from the passionate kiss, a ferocious, predatory look in her eyes, their lips only inches apart, both of them breathing hard, she heard Annabelle whimper, begging for release. Bunching up Annabelle's t-shirt, she wrapped her left arm around her lover's back and latched onto a nipple, making Annabelle cry out with desire, bucking wildly.

As she curled her tongue around Annabelle's nipple, teasing it mercilessly before sucking it in her mouth, her right hand returned to its quest, moving closer to the intended target, her fingers caressing a hipbone before moving even more southerly. Sliding her fingers through the abundant wetness, she entered Annabelle with two fingers, slowly moving in and out before speeding up, her thumb sliding rhythmically over Annabelle's clit. Soon she felt Annabelle's vaginal muscles begin to spasm around her fingers, the waves of beginning release surrounding her, the muffled sound of Annabelle crying out her name and sweet profanity music to her ears. She trusted harder, feeling the waves grow to an orgasmic storm. As she softly bit down Annabelle's nipple, the storm peaked, Annabelle's back arching as she bucked wildly, riding Simone's hand hard, her orgasmic convulsions only slowly giving way to weaker and weaker tremors before slumping against Simone totally spent.

Their foreheads touching, Simone looked Annabelle in the eye as she released her fingers and brought the digits to her mouth. Smelling the sweet nectar of Annabelle's arousal, Simone's lips began to part and they wrapped around the tip of her own finger, moaning softly as she tasted the younger woman's passion. Still looking straight at Annabelle, she swirled her tongue around her own finger, before taking it fully into her mouth and sucking on it with an almost pained whimper. Annabelle closed her eyes for a moment at the erotic tableau, a small, choked sound escaping from her throat. As Simone released her finger with a loud pop, slowly swirling her tongue around her lips to lick them clean, Annabelle moaned loudly, kissing her lover soundly on the mouth, slowly pushing her down on the blanket.

As Simone wrapped her arms around her, Annabelle settled her head onto her chest and snaked her arm around her chest, pulling them closer together. As Annabelle let out a long, deep sigh, pleasantly lethargic from their recent activities, Simone kissed the top of her head, her fingers making lazy patterns on her back. "I love you Annabelle," Simone whispered. Lifting her head up, Annabelle replied "I love you too" before giving her a chaste kiss and laying back down. They just laid there for a while, holding each other close, both lost in their own thoughts. Then Simone suddenly said: "tell me about your father, you never mention him...."

Rearranging the blanket over them, rolling over so she could lay with her head on the top of Simone's arm, staring at the sky, Annabelle replied: "there's nothing much to say really, my dad died when I was young, it's been my mother and I ever since;"

Simone wrapped her arm around her, hugging her tight as she moved them both to lay on their side. Looking her in the eye, she said: "I'm so sorry, I didn't know."

"It's alright," Annabelle replied, briefly looking Simone in the eye and giving her a small smile before staring over Simone's shoulder. "I'm actually surprised that you didn't know, it gets rehashed and then replayed at every election. My mother has milked it for all it's worth."

"Isn't that a bit harsh?" Simone said.

"Yeah, I suppose," Annabelle replied, "though my mother certainly didn't lose any votes over it. You know, my dad was candidate for the California Senate when he died so unexpectedly and my mother... Well, she chose to honour his memory by taking his place. It was her way of coping with his loss I suppose, by throwing herself into work, by throwing herself into the campaign they had started together. She took the elections by storm, receiving a lot of sympathy votes. I guess she wanted to finish what my dad started, but somewhere down the road, she found out that she really liked politics and decided to go on and though she always says that it's what my father would have done too, I sometimes have this feeling she's abusing his memory for her own political gain.

At the same time, I know how much she loved him, the love they had for each other is something I'll never doubt. I know when someone's gone you tend to overlook their bad habits, forget the bad moments, blow up tiny details to embellish the memories, but their closeness, the way they acted around each other, it's something I'll never forget. I don't mean they were joined at the hip or anything and I know there were the occasional spats, but... They clearly loved each other. Though he's been gone a long time now, I know for a fact that she's still not over him. I'm sure she's had the occasional boyfriend since, goodness knows I didn't expect her to take a vow of celibacy after his death, but no' one has ever come close to capturing her heart, not the way he did. You know... sometimes I wonder if my antagonistic relationship with my mother, the way she draws me in and then pushes me away again, has something to do with my father. I don't really know how to explain.

I mean ... I know I resemble my father, both in appearance as in manners. I've been told that many times, not only by my mother, but also by family friends, people who knew my dad very well. When I look at pictures of when he was a teenager, watch home made videos or hear people talking about him, I have to agree, we do seem very much alike. This may sound very weird, but I'm actually grateful for that, because now his death won't be pointless, in a way he's still here, but ... I'm digressing. So anyway, I'm thinking that our similarities keep luring my mother in, reminding her of the past, of the good times they had together, but then as soon as she spends any amount of time with me, she realises that I'm not the real deal, that I'm only a mediocre surrogate. The shattered illusion, the disappointment of only having a figment of him brings back all the hurt and pain of losing him, so she pushes me away again. And it hurts, you know?"

When Annabelle looked at her with big blue eyes, tears threatening to fall, her lip slightly quivering, Simone was once again reminded how much the senator's rejections had hurt Annabelle, how extremely fragile she was where her mother was concerned. As she burrowed closer, cupping Annabelle's cheek, she felt a powerful surge of mixed emotions well up in her. Anger at the senator of being so unbelievably cruel and cold towards her own daughter, even if it was unintended and perhaps even unconsciously. Right now she wanted to rip the senator into pieces for hurting Annabelle. At the same time, she felt love, empathy and sorrow as she thought about Annabelle's pain, all she wanted to do was wrap her up in cotton wool and keep her safe, comfort her and stand by her as she struggled with this.

Tenderly rubbing Annabelle's cheek as she looked her in the eye, trying to insert as much love, affection and warmth into the gesture as she could, she said: "I don't know why your mother does the things she does, she might be too absorbed by her work, she might be scared, she might be confused and ambivalent, she might find it too hurtful to look you in the eye, not only because you remind her of your dad, but also because she's too ashamed of her own actions in the past, perhaps it's even a combination of all of the above, but what I do know is that she's a damn fool to let you go. Never think of yourself as a mediocre surrogate, as a figment of someone else, you're your own person and you're perfect just the way you are. If your mother can't see that, than she's even a bigger fool than I thought. Don't change to please someone, least of all your mother or even me, always be yourself, and always believe in yourself. I happen to like the person that you are, I love you just the way you are, and I wouldn't change a single thing about you. You're perfect."

Rolling onto her back as she wrapped her arms around Annabelle, she hugged her for all she was worth, trying to convey as much love as she could. Rubbing Annabelle's back as she peppered light kisses on top of her head, she whispered soothing words of love and encouragement as Annabelle cried in her arms. When the trembling subsided, she placed her hand underneath the younger woman's chin and looking her in the eye, she gently asked: "feeling better now?" When Annabelle just nodded, she continued: "I meant what I said, never change." When Annabelle gave her a weak smile, she gave her a quick kiss before taking her in her arms again. As Annabelle put her head on her shoulder, she asked: "tell me about your dad," adding "you don't have to if you don't want to" when an answer wasn't immediately forthcoming.

"No, no, that's okay," Annabelle replied, letting out a shaky breath as she wiggled even closer, so close it wasn't clear where Simone ended and Annabelle began, trying to absorb warmth and courage from Simone's nearness. She didn't realise it, but a happy smile tugged at her lips once again as she wandered down memory lane, to Simone's big relief as she had feared her question was too painful to answer. As she idly toyed with Simone's curls, Annabelle replied: "my account will always be biased, coloured by memories, disfigured by the person I think him to be, perhaps even want him to be, but ... he was my dad, you know? I realise that he had his faults and flaws, his quirks and oddities, he was only human, but at the same time he was my childhood hero.

He chased away the bogeyman from underneath my bed and kissed away my aches and scrapes when I fell over. He taught me how to ride a bike without side wheels and though that proved to be very treacherous, I kept zigzagging across the road, he was so proud of me when I finally managed it. He took me on long walks through the park, never once complaining when I fell over into a puddle of mud or jumped head first into a big pile of autumn leaves, but instead saving me from the big mad dogs I was convinced would eat me alive. He even built me a fort in the old oak tree behind our house and though it took a severe beating in last year's big storm, my mom and I didn't have the heart to take it down. It's still his fort, you know?

I know I'm painting a very rosy picture of my dad, that he had his faults too ... He was a very busy man, he worked long hours, there were times I hardly saw him at all, that he missed my school recitals, but when he was at home, he gave me his undivided attention. He was a good dad. You know, I never thought of this before, but my dad was quite the ladies' man. I don't mean to say that he cheated on my mom; at least I don't think he did, I was still very young at the time, but women always seemed to flock around him like moths to a flame. He didn't have to do anything special for it, he just drew them in. It wasn't like he was very handsome or anything, though I guess I'm not the best person to judge his looks ... No, I think it was his charm; he was a very charismatic man, a real people person. You always felt at ease talking to him, like you could tell him anything, and that he wouldn't judge you, but that he'd do his best to help you out and give you advice. I guess it was this ease with people that allowed him to take local politics by storm.

He could be moody, he had a temper and he certainly was grouchy first thing in the morning, but he had a big laugh and a warm smile and he gave the best cuddles in the world. He loved his music, I don't mean to say that he played an instrument, but he really loved music. He used to drive my mom insane by putting on LP's, turning down all the lights and then listen to the music while he was laying on the ground, staring to the ceiling, a habit I apparently inherited. He liked to speed while driving, he said it made him feel alive, the wind blowing in his hair, music booming from the speakers ... I don't know, he was just so very passionate in the things that he did, so full of energy, a real goal getter. When he had his mind set on something, he simply wouldn't give up. He lived life on the edge, he lived life to the fullest, like every day could be his last and he intended to enjoy every second of it. He was my dad."

Thinking about what Annabelle had said, recognising so much of her in her description of her dad, Simone was silent for a while. Then she asked: "how did he die?"

Her voice dropping and becoming monotonous, which Simone immediately recognised as a defence mechanism to shield her from the painful memory so she wrapped her arms around her even tighter, Annabelle replied: "well, his campaign for the State elections was about to kick off and as he would be away quite a lot, he surprised us with a last minute holiday to spend some quality time together. He rented a cottage that belonged to friends of his. We had been playing by the lake all day, my dad throwing me off the little pier and chasing me around, making my mom shriek when he dumped cold water over her while she was sunning. God, she was mad about that, she didn't speak to him for over an hour, fuming as she thought about how she was going to get her own back. She did though; she jumped on his back when he was standing at the edge of the pier, making them both topple over in the water.

Anyway, it was getting rather late, so my parents decided that my mom would take me back to the cottage while my dad went into town to pick up something to eat. As we slowly made out way back up that slopey hill, he waved us goodbye and that was the last we ever saw of him. It was becoming darker and darker, my mom was near frantic with worry when suddenly the red and blue flash of a sheriff's car illuminated the drive way and I guess she just knew. On autopilot she opened the door to let the burley man in. I watched him speak to her in hushed tones, his gaze occasionally flickering over to me. As she broke down in his arms, I crept closer, wanting to know why she was crying. The sheriff just bent down and gave me a pat on the head, looking at me with a sad expression on his face before leaving again, leaving us on our own.

My mom just stood there, staring in front of her, not saying a word. Now I understand that she was in shock, but at the time I had no idea what was going on. I guided her over to the couch, settling down beside her. After a while she seemed to snap out of her stupor; she looked at me and pulled me into a hug, murmuring "I guess it's just you and me now kid". She started calling people, making funeral arrangements I suppose and from what I could piece together from her telephone conversations, my dad had been speeding again. He was driving so fast, taking deadmans curve on the outside lane that he hadn't seen the tractor coming up the other way until the very last minute. He veered to the right to avoid a collision with the tractor, but the treacherous gravel made him start to slip near the edge and he couldn't pull the steering wheel over fast enough. He hit a tree before being catapulted into the ravine. He was dead on impact."

"I'm so sorry," Simone said as she rubbed Annabelle's back.

"That's okay, it happened a long time ago," Annabelle replied automatically.

"That doesn't make the emotions or the memories any less painful," Simone said.

"I suppose not," Annabelle breathed out slowly. "Anyway, my father's car accident is why my mother fought me so long, before allowing me to take my driving test. She says that there's so much of my father in me, that I inherited his careless, carefree, and gung ho sense of adventure, that she's afraid Fate will repeat itself."

"That's understandable, don't you think?" Simone said.

"Yes, I guess," Annabelle murmured into Simone's neck.

"So... after your father's death, your mother threw herself into work?" Simone asked.

"Yeah, the party nominated her unanimously as my dad's replacement for the elections and she hasn't looked back," Annabelle replied. "I think continuing my father's dream helped her cope with his loss, it made her feel close to him even though he was gone. It gave her a sense of purpose, a reason to live when her whole world had been turned upside down. Being surrounded by people 24/7 prevented her from falling headlong in depression and after a while she understood what attracted my father to politics. Like I said, she hasn't looked back."

"Who looked after you though? Who helped you cope?" Simone asked, imagining a young Annabelle sitting there in an empty house, suddenly robbed not only of her father, but also of her mother.

"No' one, I took care of myself," Annabelle said, "after a while, when my mother had less and less time to look after me as politics took all of her time, she hired Beatrice to look after me. I could talk to her about my dad, something I couldn't do with my mom. Not because she was hardly around, but because I was afraid that talking about him would hurt her even more. It's like we made a silent agreement to never talk about him, to this day we hardly ever mention him."

"Well, you can talk to me anytime," Simone said, "about anything. I might not have known your dad, but sometimes a listening ear is enough. Whenever something's bothering you, I want you to come to me, okay? Even if it is to rant and rave... I'll be there for you, okay?"

"Okay... Thanks," Annabelle said. Nothing else was said for a long while. They just laid there in each other's arms, the only sounds to be heard the crashing of the waves on the beach nearby and the squawking of seagulls overhead. Warmed by Simone's protective embrace, the rhythmic thumping of her heart beneath her ear slowly lulling her to sleep, Annabelle was startled when she heard a dog bark not too far away. Sitting up, she looked around and saw that the beach was getting crowded, joggers having their morning run near the surf, couples letting their dogs out. Sighing deeply as she realised that their little moment had come to an end, she dusted herself off and ran a hand through her tousled hair before looking back down at Simone. Reaching out her hand, she said: "I guess we'd better head back now."

Perusing her bookcase for a novel to read, skimming over all the titles before picking one out, Simone realised that she wouldn't be able to concentrate, to appreciate the power and beauty of the carefully chosen words anyway and put the book back. With a sigh, she resumed her nervous pacing of the room, adjusting a slightly crooked frame and moving her big plant a centimetre more to the right as she walked past. She sank down on the couch, only to get back up again a minute later, unable to relax as she remembered Annabelle sitting there next to her all those weeks ago, sending her heart into a near frenzy with a mere touch. She was feeling restless < and only a teeny weeny bit horny> the little devil inside her added with a self satisfied smirk, making her groan as she realised the utter truth of the statement.

Two weeks had passed since they came back from the beach house and Simone was feeling the strain. She missed the freedom their little holiday had allowed them, the fact that they could just be themselves, without needing to censor their words or touches, without the constant fear of others finding out. They saw each other every day, passing in the hallway or casting furtive glances at each other across the busy dining room, but it wasn't the same. They hadn't had a real conversation in a week, Annabelle always holed up in her room to study for her exams. Simone understood, she really did, she wanted Annabelle to do well, but at the same time she craved her with an intensity before unseen. She needed to be with Annabelle, feel her breath upon her face as she whispered words of love into her ear, her fleeting touch that sent shivers down her spine. She wanted to talk to her as she held her near, kiss her softly as she caressed her face. Groaning as she realised the impossibility of her wish, Annabelle was studying for her maths exam tomorrow, Simone decided to go to the chapel. Perhaps she'd find some peace of mind in the tranquil sanctity of the chapel.

As she walked through the deserted and dark hallways, the students either in bed or studying, the nuns having retreated to their own wing, the only sounds to be heard in the evening silence were her own footsteps and the light ticking of the pendulum clock in the corner. The pale moon casting big shadows on the walls, giving off just enough light to make her way to the chapel, Simone hugged herself tight as she rubbed her arms, the evening chill making her slightly shiver. As she pushed the big oak door to the chapel open, she was greeted by welcoming warmth, dozens of candles lighting the room, perched in sconces and candelabras. The draft from the open door made the flames flicker and fan out, a light shadow cascading through the chapel.

A lone wick sputtered before dieing down as candle wax slowly dripped down the metal frame of the candelabra. Fleetingly closing her eyes as she inhaled the distinct hint of myrrh and frankincense in the air, she already felt a sense of calm invade her at the familiarity of the scents and slowly made her way through the rows and rows of pews. Looking at the stain glass window above the altar, as always touched by the simplicity of the design, she just stood there for a moment in silent contemplation before sitting down on the first pew, unconsciously linking her fingers together as they lay motionlessly in her lap. She closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind, hoping that the serene, peaceful atmosphere would help her accomplish that feat but pretty soon her thoughts wandered back to Annabelle.

Like last time she was in the chapel all those weeks ago, she could feel Annabelle touch her knee before slowly sliding her hand upwards underneath her skirt, leaving goose bumps in her wake. Sucking up her breath, her eyes still closed, too afraid she'd break the spell by opening her eyes, she opened her legs wider, inviting her imaginary Annabelle to continue. Biting her lip to hold back a moan of desire, she imagined feeling Annabelle's hot breath on her face, their lips only inches apart, but not quite touching, as the hand slowly crept higher, driving her desire to unknown heights. The anticipation of the imaginary kiss made her shiver with lust and she had to grip the edge of the pew as she felt her hair being lifted before a hot mouth descended upon her cheek. Butterfly kisses along her jaw, soft nibbling on her earlobe ... It made her grip the edge even tighter, her knuckles turning white. Her breath coming in short gasps as she felt a finger trace her panty line, she opened her eyes and froze.

Sighing deeply, Annabelle threw her pen on her desk in dismay. She was fed up with it all, she had mathematical equations coming out of her ears. She had been studying diligently the whole day, but for the past hour nothing seemed to go in. Pushing her chair back, making Kristen and Collins look at her in confusion, she mumbled: "I need a cigarette break, I'll see you guys later. Don't wait up, I might be a while," quickly grabbing her cigarettes before leaving the room. As she closed the door behind her, her eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness of the hallway, she felt disappointed when she didn't see any light underneath Simone's door. She missed Simone so much, there was a hole in her heart that only Simone could fill. She missed the intimacy they shared at the beach house, the long talks and lazy caresses, the warm, comforting hugs and lingering kisses. She'd give anything to hold to her right now, even if it was for just a minute, but it wasn't meant to be, Simone was already asleep.

Closing her eyes as she bit down her disappointment, her shoulders slumping in defeat, she walked past Simone's room to the stairs. Slowly she descended the stairs, her hand on the banister as she navigated her way down in the dark. Opening the door to her little hiding spot, furtively looking around when the door cheeped, she went outside and sat down on the step, glad she was wearing her sweater as the evening mist chilled her to the core. Glancing around, seeing nothing but lit student rooms behind drawn curtains, knowing the nuns had retreated to their own wing hours earlier, she lit her cigarette. As she inhaled deeply, the nicotine rush racing through her veins, she looked up to the sky, the pale moon and millions of stars, making her feel tiny and insignificant again.

Tapping off the ash, holding her smoke between her fingers as she leant on her arms, she thought of Simone and how much she craved her touch. She'd give anything to talk to her right now, even if it was about the exams, the weather or how weird Mother Emaculata was behaving lately. She just wanted to be near her. She missed her so much it hurt, her heart ached from the longing and the wishing. Simone was the first person she thought of when she woke up and the last when she went to bed. Just thinking about her made her want to cry, but at the same time a smile appeared on her face because she knew that she was loved. She realised that perhaps all this heartache was worth it in the end because she finally knew where her heart belonged; she was one of the lucky ones to have someone special to miss. The thought didn't stop her from craving Simone's touch though. It had been two weeks and though she knew she had been spoilt at the beach house, she needed Simone right now... desperately.

Stubbing out her smoke, picking up the butt and hiding it in her pocket (she didn't want Mother Emaculata to find out she was smoking on school grounds, God only knows what her punishment would be then), she went inside again. She didn't want to go back to her shared room just yet, the thought of more mathematical drivel was actually making her shiver, her facial expression one of horror. Sighing deeply, she realised she had few options: either the library or the chapel. As she knew some students preferred the library for study, she opted for the chapel. Pushing the oak door open, she was dismayed when she saw a lone figure sitting in front, her peace and solitude interrupted, but when she recognised Simone, her heart leapt with joy. Silently making her way to the front, she sank down beside her.

A small smile tugging at her lips when Simone didn't even acknowledge her presence, she seemed in the throws of a very vivid erotic daydream, lost in a world of her own, Annabelle felt somewhat relieved that she wasn't the only one affected by their separation. With a sardonic smile on her face she realised that at least now she had the chance of doing something about it. At least now there was no need to look over her shoulder and censor her words or touches as the nuns were safely tucked up in bed, dreaming of God while her fellow students were sweating over algebra. Moving even closer, practically sitting on Simone's lap, she lifted up Simone's hair and started planting soft butterfly kisses on her cheek, revelling in the chance to touch her, to be near her, to love her.

Her hand caressing the length of Simone's thigh, creeping ever higher, delighting in the goose bumps that appeared, she nibbled softly on Simone's earlobe, whispering a soft 'I love you' before tracing the ear with her tongue, making Simone shiver with lust. She so desperately wanted to kiss her, taste her lips, languidly duel with Simone's tongue, but she didn't dare break the erotic spell Simone was under. As her finger traced Simone's panty line, slowly rubbing up and down along Simone's slit, delighting in the moisture pooling there, intoxicated by the warmth, her lover's breath coming in short gasps, she had to suppress a moan of desire as she watched Simone slowly open her eyes, blinking a couple of times to dispel the erotic gaze she was under. She felt Simone freeze when she noticed her sitting there, blushing at having been discovered, even if it was by the protagonist of her erotic daydream.

"We can't do this here, Annabelle, this is a chapel, a place of worship," she whispered hoarsely, trying to hold onto that last sliver of common sense, but her eyes belied the statement as they gazed into Annabelle's, begging her to continue. Their lips only inches apart, breathing in the same air, she watched Annabelle with a mixture of excitement and wonder. Biting down a strangled moan as she crept even closer to Annabelle's wandering hand, she opened her lips in invitation, her breathing laboured. Groaning loudly when Annabelle caressed her hardened nub, she shivered when she felt Annabelle's warm breath on her face, their lips still not quite touching.

"Of course we can," Annabelle husked, her voice sending tingles down Simone's spine. "I want to worship you," she added promisingly, making Simone whimper when she felt Annabelle trace the curve of her lips with her tongue. "I want to make you call on God as you come," she whispered, pushing aside the sodden lace panty to trail her finger through the abundant wetness.

Simone was lost. Annabelle was too near, it had been too long, she wanted this so much, she was so close ...With an almost animalistic grunt, she grabbed Annabelle's head and kissed her with all her might, moaning when she felt Annabelle slip a finger inside, immediately followed by a second one. Her moans of desire swallowed by Annabelle's lips, her tongue battling frantically with Annabelle's, she rode Annabelle's fingers, the constant pressure on her distended clit driving her near ecstasy. "Oh God," she whimpered when she felt Annabelle tug at a hardened nipple underneath her shirt with her other hand, her quivering stomach muscles a telltale sign of her impending orgasm. To avoid screaming out, she bit her lip hard, drawing blood. She was so close, she just needed a little bit more, Annabelle just needed to touch her a little bit harder .... And then the door to the chapel burst open, propelling Sister Claire inside, making them both jump up. Simone felt Annabelle's fingers slip out as she stood up to see what the commotion was about and felt like crying, from ecstasy to nothing in a matter of seconds.

"Ah Annabelle, there you are," panted an out of breath Sister Claire, her hands on her sides as she tried to catch her breath. The woman was always in an eternal hurry, reminding Annabelle of a penguin on speed when she watched her sprint down the hallways, her black and white habit fluttering behind her in the wind. "Kristen and Collins thought I might find you here," she added as she looked up again, frowning a bit when she suddenly noticed Simone sitting there on the front pew, an unreadable expression on her face. "Oh hello there Simone, I hadn't even seen you... Are you all right? You seem a bit off."

"I was about to get off," Simone grumbled under her breath as she turned around to face Sister Claire, forcing Annabelle to suppress a snigger. "I'm fine," she said a bit louder, "you just startled me with your entrance, I wasn't expecting you. Erm Annabelle and I were just discussing erm..."

"Theology," Annabelle quickly said, earning her a flabbergasted look from Simone at the weird answer, but Sister Claire didn't even notice as she was intently listening to Annabelle's explanation, nodding her head in agreement, "how Saint Ursula is the patron Saint of Catholic students and how remembering her in my prayers tonight might help me do well in my maths exam tomorrow."

"Yes, quite," the nun nodded vigorously, "it can't do any harm. Of course there are other patron Saints attributes to students too, like Thomas Aquinas and Catherine of Alexandria, perhaps you might want to remember them too in your prayers tonight." Stepping closer to Annabelle, she said: "anyway, there's a phone call for you, Annabelle." When Annabelle stared at her in confusion (who would call her so late in the evening?), Sister Claire just gave her a friendly nudge to get her moving, adding: "well come along my dear, best not keep your mother waiting. Lord knows one can only take so much of Mother Emaculata's over the top pleas for money" Suddenly remembering in exactly whose company she was, she blushed and said: "please don't tell her I said that." When both Annabelle and Simone promised that their lips were sealed, barely suppressing a snigger, the nun smiled and with another friendly nudge she got them moving again.

Simone could do nothing but stare at them as they left, moaning softly as she watched Annabelle put her fingers in her mouth to lick them clean. She knew Annabelle did it deliberately to torture her when she saw her wink at her over Sister Claire's shoulder. The erotic visual making her remember just what they had been doing minutes earlier, Simone felt another rush of desire shoot through her, her core tingling and clenching at the thought of more. <Oh God, I'm even hornier than before>, she thought to herself. Realising she couldn't stay there, for what she had in mind, she needed the privacy of her bedroom, she stood up, her legs still shaky. Taking a deep breath to calm her racing heart, she straightened out her clothes and took a first wobbly step towards her room.

Annabelle wanted to torture Simone by licking her fingers clean in her line of sight, but only ended up in torturing herself as she savoured the taste of Simone's juices, the musky aroma making her long for more, desire shooting through her like wildfire as she desperately had to suppress a groan. Her mind filled with thoughts of Simone and all she wanted to do with her and to her, she tried to keep up with Sister Claire's rushed way of walking. Before she knew it, she was in mother Emaculata's office and though the older woman frowned when she noticed Annabelle's slightly glazed over eyes and flushed face, she attributed it to Sister Claire's rather brisk way of walking and immediately thrusted the phone in Annabelle's hands as she left with Sister Claire to give her some privacy. "Hello?" Annabelle said, unable to shake the huskiness from her voice, her mind still on Simone writhing beneath her touch as she took her over the top with her fingers and mouth.

She cleared her throat before replying: "no mom, I'm not coming down with a cold."

"Yes, only a couple of exams left, maths tomorrow."

"Yes, I think I'm doing quite well. Biology was a bit tricky, but think I passed."

"You managed to clear your dock for two weeks? ... Yeah, of course I'm glad we'll be able to spend some time together."

"A holiday together? Sure, sounds nice, I look forward to it."

"Yes, I'll see you on graduation then."


Shaking her head in confusion at her mother's sudden change of heart, Annabelle slowly put the phone back down. Though she was glad that her mother had reached out to her again, even going as far as cancelling all her appearances for two weeks and that while she was in the middle of a senatorial campaign, she felt saddened by the thought of being apart from Simone for so long. All their carefully made up plans going up in smoke once again. Leaving Mother Emaculata's office, not even noticing that both nuns seemed to jump back when she opened the door so unexpectedly, both taking a sudden interest in the nearby plant, she absentmindedly thanked both nuns before making her way back to her room.

She already had her hand on her own door, when she realised that her mother's sudden suggestion of a holiday together meant that she only had a couple of days left with Simone. Deciding that they'd better make the most of their precious time left, she released the handle again and turned around, tiptoeing to Simone's room. Looking around to make sure nobody saw her enter the room, she quickly closed the door behind her, automatically locking it. Creeping around in the dark, cursing softly when her knee hit the coffee table, she made her way to Simone's bedroom. Standing in the doorway, the bedroom only illuminated by the pale moonlight, the sight meeting her had her transfixed. Her breathing coming in short gasps, feeling the all familiar stirring in her loins, she pushed herself off, quickly shrugged off her sweater and walked towards the bed as if in trance. Crawling on the bed, she reverently ran her hands over Simone's legs.

Even more restless than before, Simone walked to her bedroom and plopped down on her bed. As she made sure her alarm clock was turned on, she inadvertently pushed the 'on' button of her clock radio. She groaned softly when she heard Pink's strangled moans and suggestive sighs before she sang: "when it's late at night and you're fast asleep, I let my fingers do the walking. I press record, I become a fene. While no one else is watching, I let my fingers do the walking. I'm starving for some attention. I'm begging, pleading, bleeding for a suggestion. I bite my tongue because I want to scream. I'm almost there..." Quickly shutting the radio off, she sank back down on her bed, staring at the ceiling.

The visual of Pink undulating on the bed as she masturbated was all she needed, already was on edge from the heated session in the chapel, she knew she desperately needed to release tension. Groaning with anticipation, Simone bunched up her shirt and cupped her breasts, kneading them gently before she started pinching her nipples. Rolling them around between her fingers until they were rock hard, she kept rubbing them with the palm of her hand while her other hand snaked lower, over a quivering belly. When her skirt got in the way, she grumbled lightly, lifting her arse in the air so she could shimmy it off before kicking it away, along with her sodden underwear. Laying back down, she let her hand caress its way down her stomach again, dipping into her belly button, making her quiver as she remembered it was one of Annabelle's favourite spots.

Still pinching a rock hard nipple between her thumb and forefinger, she let her hand slide over her hip and spread her legs wide. As she touched her rock hard clit, a bolt of erotic lightning shot through her. Dipping two fingers in the abundant wetness pooling between her legs, she brought them back up and began to swivel them around her throbbing clit; imagining it were Annabelle's fingers rubbing her. As her legs fell apart, her hips started moving in rhythm with her hand. Moaning with pleasure, she dipped her fingers lower, slipping inside as she kept the heel of her hand rubbing her clitoris. She knew she was nearing her peak, her breathing was heavy, her heart beating faster, the tingles inside were turning into little bolts of pleasure spreading through her body.

Looking up when she suddenly felt hands caressing her legs, she saw Annabelle crawling between her thighs. The knowledge that Annabelle had watched her masturbate oddly not bothering her, but instead fuelling her desire even more, she couldn't suppress a moan when she heard her lover say: "let me finish you off, baby." Her hand replaced by Annabelle's fingers and mouth, she kept pinching her nipples as her other hand was on Annabelle's head, guiding her to exactly the right spot. As Annabelle sucked her clit into her mouth, swirling her mouth all around the hardened nub, curling her fingers at the same time, Simone cried out, her orgasm hitting her hard, making every muscle in her body spasm.

As Simone's velvet walls clamped down around Annabelle's fingers, she still didn't stop; she continued suckling her, pumping in and out, her fingers curved upwards to trace over the ridged flesh, that special spot again as she knew that it would drive Simone's pleasure even higher. As Simone's juices spilled out of her, she licked them all up, like a kitten licking its bowl, savouring the exquisite musky taste. Then she felt Simone's fingers treading through her hair, pushing her back until she was out of reach. Her breath coming in hot, short pants, she looked up to Simone, who simply said "stop, I don't think I can take anymore" before tugging Annabelle up into her arms, groaning when she watched Annabelle snake out her tongue to lick the last drops from her lips.

"I just need a minute," Simone whispered and Annabelle could hear the truth of her words in the strong, quick pulse of her heartbeat under her ear. Despite her own arousal, she melted into Simone's embrace, tenderly wiping away the tendrils of hair, plastered to Simone's forehead. As her ragged breathing slowly evened out, Simone asked: "not that I don't appreciate it, but what was that all about?"

"I've missed you so much, I hated not being able to touch you these past two weeks," Annabelle admitted. "And then my mother called to say that she's whisking me away on a surprise holiday together after graduation, which means we only have a couple of days left together. I just wanted to make the most of it."

"That was what the phone call was about?" Simone asked.

"Yeah, it seems that she has cleared her agenda for two weeks, which means I don't have to stay behind here after all. We won't be able to see each other until after the fourth," Annabelle replied. When Simone put her hands over her eyes and let out a groan of frustration, she quickly added: "I'm sorry."

"No, no, it's not your fault," Simone quickly amended. "I'm glad you get to spend some time with your mother, it'll give you the chance to mend some bridges, you need her, just as much as she needs you. But you're right..... we'd better make the most of the little time we have left." With that she turned them around until she was hovering over Annabelle with a predatory grin on her face. Leaning down, she kissed Annabelle ferociously, their tongues entwining again and again. Straddling Annabelle's hips, Simone pushed her shirt upwards, not even bothering to take it off. Opening the bra with a skilled one handed move, she revealed Annabelle's breasts and as she lowered her head, she had to grin when she heard Annabelle's sharp intake of breath.

Licking her lips in anticipation, looking at Annabelle with lust filled eyes, she took an already rock hard nipple into her mouth, sucking it lightly before scraping over it with her teeth. Crazy with lust and desire as Simone now focused her attention on her other breast, Annabelle rasped, her voice low and husky with arousal, her breath hitching from time to time: "oh God please... I need you Simone, I need you to make me come." Groaning loudly at the impassioned plea, Simone kissed her hungrily and wildly, drawing her tongue deep inside Annabelle's mouth. As Annabelle moaned loudly, her hands gripping the headboard hard, her eyes wild and glazed over, Simone started trailing her lips southwards. Kissing her throat, sucking at her pulse point before gently biting in Annabelle's shoulder, she made her way down agonisingly slow.

Her tongue found Annabelle's nipple again, swirling around it, licking its tip before sucking on it gently. As she heard Annabelle gasp, she licked and kissed her way to the other breast, grazing the hardened nipple lightly before clamping down on it. Groaning loudly at the delicate mix of pleasure and pain, Annabelle arched her back and grabbed hold of the bed sheets. Simone's tongue slid ever downward, leaving a wet trail over burning flesh, Annabelle's abdomen and muscles quivering and trembling as they were traced by light kisses. Swirling her tongue around Annabelle's belly button, she quickly opened the buttons of Annabelle's jeans. Sitting up, she started to tug it down, along with Annabelle's underwear. Smirking softly when Annabelle helped kicking them away, she leant back down, placing open mouthed kisses on Annabelle's thighs.

Annabelle's hips rose to meet her lips as they continued their sweet assault. "Simone," Annabelle growled as she felt her lover's hot breath upon her. Annabelle's musky scent pulling her down, Simone ran the tip of her tongue over Annabelle's clit before rolling it between her thumb and finger, feeling her lover shudder at the light touch. Gripping Annabelle's thighs, she pushed her tongue deep inside, thrusting in and out time and time again as Annabelle quivered uncontrollably beneath her. The growling moans and whimpered groans spurring her on even more, she swirled her tongue over Annabelle's painfully swollen and engorged clit. Sucking it in her mouth, she heard Annabelle's deep guttural and almost primeval scream. Her hips pumping and jerking wildly, Annabelle rocked against Simone's mouth, her body coiling tensely. With one final suck she tumbled over the edge of the abyss, letting out a muffled cry as she felt the spasm of pleasure completely overtake her body. Whimpering softly as her body quieted, she let Simone crawl upwards and hold her gently as she tried to catch her breath.

After a moment's rest, Annabelle lifted up on one elbow and just looked at Simone, breathing heavily but with a deeply satisfied smile on her face. "I can't stay long," she said with clear disappointment. "Kristen and Collins will start wondering where I am pretty soon."

"I know," Simone whispered as she held Annabelle even tighter, "just stay a little bit longer." As she leant down to give Annabelle a chaste kiss on the lips, she was once more mesmerised by the love flickering in the cerulean blue eyes. The pale moonlight giving her lover an almost ethereal shine, her heart clenched at the thought of their pending separation. She wanted Annabelle by her side all of the time, the thought of not seeing her for over a fortnight making her heart break. At least here at school she could catch a glimpse of her every now and again. A mere smile, a casual, innocent touch of Annabelle's hand was enough to get her through the day... And now Annabelle was going away with her mother. She wouldn't be able to see her, to talk to her... Closing her eyes for a moment when a tear threatened to escape, Simone took a shuddering breath. Gently brushing her hand through Annabelle's hair, she whispered emotionally: "just let me hold you a little bit longer." Holding her close, relishing in the touch that would have to keep her going until after Annabelle's birthday, she felt her heart weep. As she leant down to kiss her again, she husked: "I love you, you know."

"I know," Annabelle said, "I love you too, so much." As she stretched out on top of Simone, softly nuzzling her neck, placing butterfly kisses, she muttered: "I'm going to miss you so much when I'm gone..." Lifting her head so she could look Simone in the eye, she asked, suddenly unsure: "is it okay if I call you sometimes? Just to hear your voice I mean? To hear if you're okay?"

"Oh God yes, you can call me anytime, night or day," Simone answered before kissing her again. When their lips finally parted, their breathing shallow and irregular, she said with regret: "I guess you'd better go now."

"Yeah," Annabelle replied, though she made no effort to get off Simone. "Will I see you again before I go?" she asked.

"You'd damn well better," Simone replied hotly, making Annabelle smile at the passion behind the word. "Okay then," Annabelle said, slowly sliding off the bed and grabbing her clothes, "I guess I'd better go before Kristen and Collins report me missing." Throwing on her clothes in a haphazard manner, not even bothering with her bra, but just stuffing it in her jeans pocket, she turned around to face Simone again. Leaning down to give her a final kiss, she whispered softly "love you" before slowly backing away. Realising that if she didn't go now, she'd never leave, she quickly turned around and left Simone's room.

Exams finally over, graduation less than a day away and Annabelle was stuck in her room, packing. Though she should have been psyched about finally being able to escape this godforsaken prison, she was impersonating little Miss Grumbelina to perfection. To say she was in a foul mood was like saying that the pope was catholic, utterly true but at the same time the understatement of the century. Only half listening to Collins and Kristen's joyous banter and giddy adolescent discussion about life, love and the future, only grunting monosyllabically when she suspected a question was thrown her way, she continued to fold sweaters and shirts on autopilot, lost in a world of her own as she tucked them away in her suitcase before zipping it close. She didn't mean to bitch and snarl, but ... There were a dozen of other things she'd rather be doing right now - kissing Simone as they slow danced to some soppy, romantic song, making love to her slowly as she worshipped her body with soft kisses and lingering caresses, holding her near as she whispered nonsensical words into her ear, caressing her hair as she watched her breathing slowly evening out, holding her hand as she looked into her eyes and told her she loved her ...– just thinking about it sent her heart into a frenzy, but ... Simone was stuck in a teacher's meeting and probably for the rest of the afternoon too which made the pill all the more bitter to swallow as they had little time together left as it was.

Cursing at the perversity of Fate, she plopped down on the bed, the mattress jiggling a bit under the added weight. Less than twenty four hours from now, she'd be in the back of a limo with her mom, driving away from Saint Theresa's, driving away from Simone and every time she thought about their pending separation, Annabelle felt her heart break a little more. How would she be able to live through three gruelling weeks of not seeing Simone? Though she was happy her mother was reaching out to her again - Simone was right, she needed her mother, and she wanted them to be close again, like they used to be - the thought of not seeing Simone sent a stabbing pain through her heart. How would she be able to enjoy the holiday without Simone near? Without having Simone to talk to about her mom, or even how her day went? Without spending the night cuddled up in her arms at night? She had really loved her first girlfriend and was heartbroken when she moved away to Europe with her family, but... Her heartache then wasn't even remotely close to how she felt now.

She hadn't even left yet and already she felt hollow and empty inside. The break up with her girlfriend and her lonely childhood had given her a jaded, cynical and ambiguous outlook on love. Rationally she had considered the possibility of a soul mate to be a load of rubbish, dished up in sappy romance novels and sugary sweet Hollywood flicks, but ... deep down she still longed for it. She still wanted to find the one person that would change her life and then she had met Simone. Eternal, all encompassing, passionate, burning, all empowering love wasn't just a pipe dream anymore, it was her reality. For the first time, she fully understood what Luciano de Crescenzo meant when he said 'we are each of us angels with only one wing, we can only fly by embracing each other'. She needed Simone to feel complete; without her, her life just lacked that extra spark that makes it all worth while, that makes love irresistible.

Shifting on the bed so she had her back to her two roommates, she could feel tears threatening to fall and didn't particularly fancy explaining her glum mood, she drew a shaky breath and dabbed her glistening cheeks with the back of her hand. Stretching out on the bed, she stared at the ceiling and sighed deeply before covering her eyes with her arm. There was no sense dwelling on it, not if it made her feel even worse.

Perhaps she should be looking at the bright side; they might be able to snatch a little time alone together tonight;. Kristen had told her the students always organised an impromptu party to celebrate the end of exams and though Mother Emaculata wasn't too pleased about it, she always turned a blind eye... if they behaved themselves. Maybe she'd be able to slip away with Simone, say her goodbyes before being separated for nearly three weeks. Deftly making plans for their great escape, several scenarios playing out in her mind, one more daring than the other and a wide smile appeared on her face and her glum mood was slowly disappearing. So lost in thought, mapping out exactly how she'd say goodbye to Simone, she didn't hear Collins and Kristen sit down on her bed, both wondering fleetingly why she looked like a cat that got the cream. Startled when Kristen shook her arm to get her out of her trance like stupor, she let out a surprised and somewhat girly squeak before lowering her arm. Her heart thundering in her chest, she blinked a couple of times before looking at Kirsten. A bit more gruffly than intended, she said: "yeah?"

Kristen and Collins just looked at each other for a while, each willing the other to speak. Just when Annabelle was about to blurt out to get on with it already, Kristen turned around again and spoke up. She said: "well, it's like this, you see... Collins and I couldn't help but notice that you're in a bit of a foul mood, I mean... you're not a bundle of laughs at the moment so we thought we could do something together to cheer you up, you know? It's a far too beautiful day to spend it cooped up in here. Let's go out for a while. It'll be the last time that we'll see each other, we could ... I don't know, we could talk or perhaps even rehearse Emily's song one final time. Go on, say you'll come with us?"

Leaning up on her arms, Annabelle just looked at them for a while. She'd been so focused on Simone and saying goodbye to her that she had forgotten that tomorrow's graduation was the end of an era for all of them. They'd all be going their separate way, they'd all be carving out their own way in life. No doubt Collins would grow up to be a geeky scientist, holed up in a dingy little lab somewhere, thinking up new ways to cure the world. And then Kristen... Somehow Annabelle thought Kristen would choose a college nearby so she could be close to her daughter. She'd probably put her career on the back burner and perhaps even marry off a wealthy man.

As she looked at them, their bubbling enthusiasm infectious, Annabelle realised that Kristen was right; this was probably one of the last times they'd be together. They'd stay in touch, sure, call each other every fifteen months or so, perhaps even write each other the odd birthday and Christmas card, but ... that would be all. Collins and Kristen had become friends in such a short period of time, of course she had to say goodbye to her too. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she grabbed her guitar and said with a smile: "come on then, let's go."

Slowly rubbing her temple, Simone closed her eyes and slumped deeper on her chair, desperately trying to suppress a yawn. Mother Emaculata was droning on and on again about the end of the school year; she had heard the speech a hundred times before and almost knew it by heart. She knew exactly where her aunt would pause for added emphasis, where she'd start talking louder to get everyone's attention and where she'd insert a little joke that wasn't even funny the first time she'd heard it. Sighing deeply when her aunt, as if on cue, laughed at her own joke, Simone started drawing nonsensical figures on the table with her finger. She wished her aunt would just get on with it, get to the heart of the matter, so they could leave, but she knew all too well that her aunt wasn't even to full speed yet. She was only just gearing up, the joke meant to lull them into a false sense of security, before drowning them in bombastic rhetoric and wild gesticulations.

Swallowing a sigh of frustration, she shook her head lightly as she rubbed her eyes, her glasses dangling in her hand. Spying that there was still a cookie left on the plate, she quickly reached over and grabbed it before anyone else could. Slumping back on the chair with a satisfied smile, she began toying with the plastic wrapper, her tongue sticking out slightly as she tried to get the frigging wrapper to open. When she pulled so hard that the two cookies fell on the floor, she disappeared underneath the table for a moment, her eyes almost bulging out when she noticed Sister Ursula and Sister Marie playing footsie. Narrowly avoiding thumping her head on the table when she saw Sister Ursula's foot deftly raising Sister Marie's habit, she sank back down on her chair, eyeing both sisters, noticing that they were listening intently to Mother Emaculata as if nothing untoward happened underneath the table. Slightly dazed, she nibbled on her cookie, automatically wiping away the crumbs as they fell on her skirt. She needed a drink to recover from the shock, but as her aunt kept the good stuff hidden in a cabinet in her office, coffee would have to do for now.

Realising that her cup was empty, she was grateful for the little reprieve, even if it was for just five seconds. Maybe this way she could get her wits about her again. Pushing her chair back with a loud screech, making everyone look at her – even Miss Johnson who had been nodding peacefully with her eyes open, years of practice had taught her that little trick – she walked to the side table and poured herself another coffee, taking ever so long with the milk and sugar just to have something to do. Slowly putting the cup and saucer on the table, it was filled to the rim and she didn't want to spill, she sank down on the chair again, her spoon falling on the saucer with a loud clang when she noticed Sister Ursula's hand disappear beneath the table. Squeezing her eyes shut to will the mental image away, she sent a silent prayer to whatever god that was listening for the meeting to end soon before she lost her sanity.

Totally oblivious to the stern look Mother Emaculata shot her for being thrown out of momentum, her aunt felt she was just getting to the good part, Simone forced herself to look away from the loose handed (and footed too) sisters, just thinking about it would probably put her off sex for life. Her attention wandering to the rest of the room, she had to smirk when she focused on Miss Johnson, the sociology teacher, who was dozing again, her head leaning on her upright arm. When a light snore was to be heard, Sister Claire gave her a none too gentle kick underneath the table and Simone had to hide a smile when she watched Sara Johnson's head pop up, looking around the room in amazed and baffled wonder, her mouth opening and closing like a clueless, wide eyed fish. Continuing her slow scan of the room, she looked at the end of the table, where the history and geography teacher, half hidden from Mother Emaculata's view by Sister Claire's leaning on the table, were, rather childishly, playing O X O to kill the time.

Kicking herself for arriving so late that the only vacant chair left was next to her aunt, not allowing her the same freedom, she sighed deeply and stirred her coffee, not noticing her aunt's narrowed eyes as the soft clinking sound was distracting her again. Looking up when Mother Emaculata suddenly started talking louder, leaning heavily on the table, she gulped when Mother Emaculata threw her trade mark pissed off look. Never breaking eye contact, she slowly shook off her spoon and placed it on the saucer before leaning back on the chair, adopting her "I'm intently listening" expression. Only when her aunt thanked her with a curt nod, resuming her passionate plea about valedictorian speeches and the importance of final school mass, did she let her eyes wander again. Staring outside, she watched students walk by and was envious of their freedom, of their chance to be outside, enjoying the sun and doing nothing while she was cooped up in there, half heartedly listening to her aunt go on about inconsequential things.

Looking more closely when a threesome halted right in front of the window, her heart started beating faster when she noticed Annabelle. Watching Annabelle casually lean against a tree, her guitar case on the ground by her feet, listening intently to Collins explain something, Simone just stared, mesmerised by Annabelle's face, so open and innocent, her eyes sparkling so brightly. They'd only had a couple of minutes together today, bumping into each other in the hallway early in the morning, the scrutiny of passing students forcing them to speak in hushed tones, to stay distant and detached. She remembered leaning against the wall and watching Annabelle, as if in slow motion, reach out her hand to tuck away a stubborn curl of hair behind her ear, only to drop her hand at the very last moment when she realised that they weren't exactly alone.

She remembered wanting to cry as even the most casual contact was denied to them. She remembered the pain that she felt as she watched sadness ripple across Annabelle's face when she told her she had a teachers' meeting in the afternoon she couldn't get out of. She understood Annabelle's frustration, she felt it too, and they had so little time together as it was ... For it to be interrupted by something so unnecessary as a meeting after the school year had ended, was just... well, frustrating. She so longed for Annabelle's touch, she hungered for her mere nearness. She just wanted to talk to her and hold her close, kiss her softly as she gently caressed her... She'd be without Annabelle for over a fortnight, she just wanted to be with her and say goodbye.

Her gaze heatedly swept over Annabelle's body, the soft curves she longed to touch, the small smile tugging at the lips she longed to kiss and silently thanked God again for Annabelle slipping under her defences and becoming the focal point of her existence. Watching Annabelle was a feast for her ravenous, hungry heart. She had denied herself love for so long, considering it a fickle, unfathomable and tempestuous emotion only designed to bring you heartache, but Annabelle had made her made her believe again, had dared her to love again and now she couldn't live without it. She threw herself into the feelings, repressing nothing, wanting everything. She was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Just then Annabelle looked straight at her and Simone's breath hitched; warmth, love and desire coursing through her veins. She felt Annabelle's eyes bore right through her, looking into her very soul. Love and desire emanated from Annabelle like waves, slamming into Simone and she felt imprisoned by it, though she'd gladly let Annabelle throw away the key. Her heart thudding loudly, she wanted to jump up and run to her destiny, she needed to be with Annabelle, but then the spell was broken when Collins tugged on Annabelle's arm and pulled her away, giving her just enough time to grab her guitar. Throwing each other one final look, Simone watched her disappear out of view and had to suppress a sigh of regret.

Her fingers trembling softly when she wrapped them around her cup, she slowly took a sip, trying to refocus her attention to Mother Emaculata's speech. As she heard her mention the party her aunt begrudgingly allowed the seniors to throw at the end of the year, Simone realised that this might be the perfect opportunity to slip away unnoticed with Annabelle. The nuns never stayed long anyway, realising that their presence might kill the mood and relied on the other teachers to supervise. Somehow the punch always got spiked, both teachers and pupils let go of their inhibitions and everyone just let their hair down, genuinely having a good time. Everyone just wandered around campus, little pairs or groups forming as they said their goodbyes with a glass of punch in hand. They'd have no problem sneaking away. A devious smile tugging at her lips, she turned to look at her aunt, mentally willing her to end the meeting already. After all, she had a party to get ready for.

As she entered the dance hall, Mother Emaculata and the other nuns in tow, Simone immediately scanned the room, looking for Annabelle. She had been waiting for this moment all day long, the anticipation almost too much for her to bear. She wanted ... No, she needed to be with Annabelle, desperately! Unfortunately for her, the room was packed. Mother Emaculata, in an unprecedented act of generosity, had decided that very afternoon that all students were allowed to attend the graduation party, not just the seniors. Frowning when she spotted Sister Claire on stage; giving a god awful rendition of Alice Cooper's "School's out for summer", Simone could have sworn Sara Johnson had hired a band to play at tonight's party, she had to suppress a snigger when she saw the normally dour, subdued nun grab the mike like a real pro, screaming out the lyrics at the top of her lungs.

Still scanning the room, thinking that she had somehow landed in the twilight zone, everybody was just acting so out of character, she walked in further, only narrowly avoiding being body checked by Cynthia, who seemed to be head banging to sister Claire's out of key screeching, her arms flailing wildly about. Thinking that Cynthia's frenetic movements reminded her of the strange mating rituals of the Madagascan born Aye Aye in heat she had seen on National Geographic only a few weeks ago, she carefully edged away from the dance floor, where a crowd was cheering Cynthia on with loud jeers and wolf whistles. Occasionally standing on tiptoes to look above the many heads bobbing about, she finally spotted Annabelle leaning against a wall near the stage, talking to Collins and Kristen as they laughed and pointed towards the stage.

Her mouth suddenly dry, her heart beating faster, feeling rather light headed with anticipation and euphoria, Simone took a moment to just look at Annabelle and drink her in. Closing her eyes with a shuddering breath, she could already feel Annabelle's electric touch, hear her husky voice whispering in her ear, and taste her kisses on her lips. Barely suppressing a groan of desire, she opened her eyes again, her breathing rushed. She wanted to walk over but was held back by her aunt's iron tight grip on her arm. Suppressing a near overpowering urge to scream out, contenting herself with an overly dramatic rolling of the eyes, she plastered a fake smile on her face and turned around, swallowing a sigh of (sexual) frustration. Accepting the glass of punch Mother Emaculata thrust into her hand, she allowed herself to be dragged off to a quieter corner, looking over her shoulder to check on Annabelle's whereabouts.

Making sure she had a perfect view of Annabelle, she flicked a casual, furtive glance towards her aunt, who seemed transfixed by sister Claire's out of character antics on stage, her face an expression of pure bafflement. Realising that an early night for the nuns was most probably a pipe dream – sister Claire was having way too much fun on stage, while Sister Ursula and Sister Marie were strutting their stuff on the dance floor, much to students' consternation – Simone resigned herself to her Fate and turned to face her aunt. Emaculata had been driving her nuts all day, first by unnecessarily dragging out the meeting and then later by following her everywhere or popping up unexpectedly like some sick and twisted Jack in the Box. She even had to barricade herself in the bathroom to get ready for this party. Smirking when she noticed Mother Emaculata's chin drop to the floor – Sister Marie and Sister Ursula seemed very limber for their advanced age, sashaying their hips to the lambada – Simone patiently waited for her aunt to come out of her stupor, all the while holding her eye trained on Annabelle.

"Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves," Mother Emaculata finally said, leaning in closer to whisper into Simone's ear. When Simone just nodded, her attention not really on the conversation, the nun continued: "I guess it's to be expected that everyone acts a bit out of character. It's been a nerve racking and difficult time for us all with the exams. People just want to let off steam every once and a while. I just wish Claire, Marie and Ursula wouldn't do it in such a visible way." Simone just shrugged, who cared if the nuns were making a fool of themselves, she had bigger fish to fry. Narrowing her eyes, she watched Sara Johnson walk over to Annabelle. Squeezing her punch hard, the plastic glass nearly crumpling, she felt an all powerful surge of jealousy course through her. How dare Sara Johnson talk to Annabelle, touch her arm lightly, when she had had to suppress the very same urges all day long?

She wanted to be the one touching Annabelle's arm, she wanted to be the one who made her laugh and smile. She had thought about little else all day long. She only had a couple of hours left with Annabelle, she really wasn't in the mood to share. Right now, all she wanted to do was drag Annabelle off somewhere to ravish her, but she knew she had to suppress her more cavewoman urges. Watching Annabelle nod at the other teacher before walking off, Sara Johnson hot on her heels, she put the glass on a nearby table with a big thump, punch splashing over the side. The little green monster inside of her working overtime, she mumbled: "excuse me aunt Em, there's something I need to take care off." Not even giving her aunt the time to protest, she pushed her way past the heaving throng of students, cursing under her breath as they kept blocking her path and walked over to where Kristen and Collins were standing. Trying to keep her more base urges under control, no need to scare the living daylights out of the girls by going all Stasi on them, she greeted them with a small smile and asked, trying to keep the edge out of her voice: "hey girls... Do you know where Annabelle and Miss Johnson went? It's just that I need to talk to them."

"They went to fetch Annabelle's guitar," Kristen replied, never once taking her eye of the stage. "Miss Johnson asked Annabelle if she'd mind taking over from Sister Claire before Mother Emaculata blows her lid and puts a stop to the party. You have to admit that Sister Claire is acting a bit strange. Miss Johnson thinks the punch was spiked or perhaps cook made some extra special brownies. Either way, I think the party has been dead funny so far."

Turning around to see Sister Claire play air guitar to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", Simone shook her head depreciatingly and asked: "so Annabelle will be singing with the school band for the rest of the night?"

Oblivious to Simone's inner turmoil, her eyes still glued to Sister Claire's wild antics, Kristen replied, unable to suppress an undignified snort when Sister Claire started kicking her legs wildly about: "no, just until the band arrives. They called earlier, it seems that they had a flat tyre on the way over. Miss Johnson was in a real panic that there wouldn't be any music, so she was delighted when Sister Claire suggested she'd sing with the school band, a decision she now regrets, I think. Anyway, the band is still coming, so Annabelle will only be filling in for a couple of songs."

Letting out a sigh of relief, Annabelle singing all night would have thrown a spanner in her plans, Simone sank down on a chair. It seemed that her grand plans of seduction would have to be postponed for a little while longer. Gladly accepting the glass of punch Collins had brought the three of them, she chatted with Collins and Kristen for a while, taking a hesitant sip before agreeing with Miss Johnson that the punch was indeed spiked. Collins, so very innocent in many ways, didn't share Simone's hesitation however and simply gulped the drink down, turning bright red when the alcohol hit the right spot. She swayed dangerously on her feet for a couple of seconds, grabbing Simone's shoulder and the back of a chair to stay upright, before letting out an undignified hiccup. Before either Simone or Kristen could ask Collins if she was alright or even take her back to the dorm, Collins blinked a couple of time. With a rather predatory smile, she grabbed a startled Kristen by the hand, dragging her off to the dance floor without so much as a backward glance. Smirking a bit when she noticed the wide eyed, terror stricken look on Kristen's face, the 'help me please' dying on her lips, Simone watched their wild antics for a while, thinking to herself that Collins rather looked like a crazed ironing board trying to do the boogie woogie before chastising herself for those kind of thoughts about one of her students.

Sister Ursula had just grabbed another poor, bewildered victim for a tango when the side door opened again, revealing a rather sexy looking Annabelle. As Annabelle seemed to be struggling with a strand of hair caught in her necklace, Simone let her eyes wander unabashedly, drinking in every little detail. The black knee high boots, the short skirt, the rather revealing, snug black top with just a hint of black lace slip underneath almost making her drool, she felt her breath hitch, her heart beating fast. Refusing to blush under Annabelle's knowing smile, she finally looked up into her eyes, hypnotised by the cerulean blue and the hunger hidden underneath. Unable to keep her eyes off Annabelle, her breathing irregular as desire coursed through her like wild fire, she slowly walked over. Helping her sort out a belligerent guitar strap caught in her hair, grateful for an excuse to stand so close, she shivered lightly when Annabelle husked "thanks" into her ear.

As she, quite unnecessarily, smoothed out Annabelle's hair and played with the guitar strap, Simone whispered, perhaps emboldened by the punch and the naked desire racing through her: "you look good enough to eat and that's exactly what I want to do." Unable to suppress a victorious grin when Annabelle closed her eyes and emitted a throaty growl, taking a deep shuddering breath, she continued in a less daring tone, slowly letting her hand drop and taking a small step back when she spied Mother Emaculata gawking at them from the corner of her eye: "I've heard that you got roped into singing."

Looking into Simone's eyes, trying to gauge her mood, Annabelle replied "yeah, just until the band arrives though," before adding saucily "then I'm all yours."

"I can hardly wait ... I've got plans for you," Simone whispered, delighting in the shiver that ran down Annabelle's spine. They just looked at each other for a moment, caught in a sexual haze, both desperately wanting to leave but realising that they couldn't yet. Then the spell was broken when Sara Johnson barged into the dance hall, offering Simone a quick greeting before dragging Annabelle off towards the stage. Quickly grabbing the mike when Sister Claire had finished yet another song, she said: "let's give Sister Claire a warm applause as she enjoys a well deserved break." As Sister Claire exited the stage under loud jeers and thunderous applause, she had given the students the night of their lives with her strange antics, Miss Johnson, not really bothering to notice the miffed look on the nun's face, continued: "now we have an extra special treat for you. Let's have a big round of applause for our very own Annabelle Tillman."

As Annabelle took to the stage, her blush over the fervent clapping hidden by the big spotlight trained on her, Simone slowly made her way to the centre of the room where she'd have a better view. Listening to Annabelle's soft, husky voice singing out "Imagine me and you" and other romantic songs, only accompanied by the slow strumming of her guitar, Simone felt a strong wave of love and desire crash over her, almost threatening to overtake her as she realised that Annabelle had chosen the songs specifically to publicly declare her love for her without anyone else knowing. Somehow the public declaration made their love even more real. As tears started to well in her eyes, she kept looking at Annabelle, unable to keep her eyes off her. Hearing rather than seeing Mother Emaculata leave the dance hall, all the while scolding the none too repentant nuns, she took a shuddering breath as she realised that she'd be alone with Annabelle soon. As Annabelle finished her third song, the loud jeers and whistles making her smile shyly and blush, Simone heard her say: "before I give the mike to 'the dirty coffin nails', I'd like to sing one final song. I wrote it myself and I mean it with all my heart."

Shelter (Natalia)

With every heartache we've traveled so far
Every dark night has a day
For every tear's sake we follow a star
To the shelter of our love

Loneliness fades and happiness invades me
With you in my life, you're the way to my serenity
So undaunted you and I have mended
Our seams and plights
No situation's gonna steer us away
From our eternity

With every heartache we've traveled so far
Every dark night has a day
For every tear's sake we follow a star
To the shelter of our love

In a black room, you kissed my aging wound
Then I saw without sight the true meaning
Of what real love can do
And when you are with me,
I'm never feeling empty
I'm filled with your light I'm satisfied
I never cease to be surprised with joy for you

With every heartache we've traveled so far
Every dark night has a day
For every tear's sake we follow a star
To the shelter of our love

Finding peace in the shelter of our love
Every sweet in the shelter of our love
An oasis in the dessert
It's the shade over the sand
Give me peace
Give me shelter
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Transfixed by Annabelle's eyes as they seemingly stared right at her, Simone listened to the lyrics and understood the message: no matter the heartaches they'd been through of would still go through, alone and together, they'd always come out intact, simply because they loved each other. As long as they stuck together and kept believing in each other and in their love, they'd survive anything life threw at them ... even a near three week separation. Not even listening to Sara Johnson thank Annabelle and announce the band, Simone quickly walked over to Annabelle. Grabbing her by the hand, she pulled her outside and kissed her ferociously, all caution thrown to the wind. The kiss wasn't hesitant, shy or uncertain, but on the contrary bold, passionate and ravenous. Her lips clamped onto Annabelle's as she pushed her against a wall, Annabelle's guitar falling to the ground.

Straining to get as close as possible, Simone seemed to melt into Annabelle's every curve. Too long deprived, Simone held her eyes tightly shut, focusing intently on the multitude of sensations bombarding her heart and soul as she groaned loudly, pulling Annabelle even closer. The impact of their mouths converging ripped answering groans of pleasure from them as they felt the friction of lips, tongues, and bodies. 'I love you, I love you, I love you' ran through Simone's mind over and over again, blocking out all rational thought; all that mattered to her was kissing Annabelle. When Annabelle pulled away, her breathing irregular, she let out a sigh of disappointment. "What is it?" she asked, her fingers toying with wisps of hair as she looked into Annabelle's eyes.

"Perhaps we'd better take this somewhere else," Annabelle husked, "far away from prying eyes."

Not allowing Annabelle to say any more, Simone grabbed her by the hand and pulled her towards her bedroom, making doubly sure that the door was locked before pinning Annabelle against it. "You're mine now," she said possessively, her predatory grin making Annabelle shiver slightly, as she attacked Annabelle with animal ferocity. Her tongue duelling with Annabelle's over control of the kiss, she slipped her hands underneath Annabelle's top, slowly edging it upwards. Releasing Annabelle's bruised and swollen lips long enough to pull the top off, she whispered an emotional, heartfelt "I love you", moving her hands over Annabelle's slip, relishing the feel of muscles quivering under her light touch. Moaning at Simone's unexpected aggression, Annabelle couldn't think, couldn't breathe. Groaning softly at the whispered words of love, Annabelle just couldn't answer, Simone's lips were simply too near, and she had to taste them again, feel them against her own. Softly nibbling on Simone's lower lip, she immediately laved the faint pain with her tongue. When Simone couldn't hold back a moan of desire, Annabelle pushed herself off the door and invaded her mouth, swirling her tongue around Simone as she held on to her even tighter.

Trailing open mouthed kisses from Annabelle's lips to her collarbone, Simone sucked on her pulse point, marking Annabelle as hers, her hand unhurriedly caressing her hair as Annabelle moaned loudly, her hands running up and down Simone's sides. Simone started planting feather light kisses on Annabelle's neck, which made Annabelle crane her back, giving the older woman even more access. Licking the hollow at the base of her neck, she descended further down; placing butterfly kisses on every millimetre of exposed skin she found. Her hands feel down to the hem of her slip and immediately snuck underneath. She let her teasing fingers slide up ever so slowly, tracing soft and lazy patterns on Annabelle's belly with the tips of her fingers, making her shudder and groan. Unhurriedly her hands wandered up even further, revealing more and more naked skin to her very appreciating eyes. She cupped a breast underneath the black satin slip, enjoying the weight in her hand before tugging the flimsy garment up and unhurriedly rolling a nipple between her fingers.

Pulling Annabelle into another searing kiss, their tongues dangling wildly, Simone gently let the tip of a finger run over an already rock hard and ultra sensitive nipple. With her other hand, she began bunching the slip up. When Annabelle understood what she was trying to do, she helped by quickly pulling the slip over her head and tossing it aside, leaving her only clad in her skirt and knee high boots. The goddess like vision before her drew a very throaty growl of admiration from Simone. "You're beautiful Annabelle," she whispered huskily, looking directly into her eyes. She pushed her back against the door, placing soft kisses on Annabelle's collarbone before venturing down further, alternating between kissing and licking, making Annabelle claw her fingers into her back as she arched against the door. She let her lips float between her breasts and gently brushed over a nipple. She flicked her tongue over its hardness and licked it unhurriedly, making Annabelle whimper almost inaudibly. Annabelle's breathing was heavy and her chest rose to meet Simone's lips as she flicked her tongue over the rock hard bud.

Annabelle's hand dug into her hair, pressing her even closer, telling her she wanted more. She opened her lips to take the nipple into her mouth, sucking it lightly while her fingers pinched the other nipple. Softly blowing on the nipple, delighted at the little goose bumps that appeared, she rolled it between her fingers again as she turned her attention to the other breast. She bit down softly with her teeth, making Annabelle release a high pitched moan, barely noticing that Simone's hands were gently tugging at the waist of her skirt. As the skirt fell to the floor, Annabelle kicked it away, her fingers digging into Simone's scalp as the older woman's hand wandered down, her nails delicately scraping over Annabelle's stomach, making Annabelle quiver and flutter at the feather light touch, until she reached the black silk panties.

Looking at Annabelle again, she licked her lips in anticipation, making Annabelle groan at the lust filled look in her eyes. Finding the thin material of the satin undies soaked with want, she took a shuddering breath. Annabelle groaned and began rocking against the hand, inviting it to venture down further. Pushing the flimsy material aside, Simone trailed a finger through the copious amounts of wetness, making Annabelle whimper and resume her rocking. Slowly she pushed a finger in, soon followed by a second one, venturing in and out; matching the rhythm set by Annabelle's rocking hips. Keeping a constant pressure on Annabelle's engorged and throbbing clit, she pumped harder and faster with each thrust. Feeling the first signs of Annabelle's impending orgasm, she curled her fingers, finding that special spot. Looking Annabelle in the eye, she softly whispered I love you Annabelle" before kissing her. Their tongues duelling for control over the kiss, she felt Annabelle slowly give in as her orgasm approached. Annabelle's vaginal walls clenching her fingers tightly, Simone tenderly guided her through the aftershocks, holding her tight and whispering sweet nothings into her ear.

Breathlessly Annabelle called out Simone's name as she came, she was flying, the rollercoaster ride she was on carrying her to the top of the world, leaving her writhing in ecstasy. Riding out the last of the waves, she kissed Simone passionately before slumping against her shoulder. Her breathing still erratic, she eased back after a while to let Simone retract her still trapped fingers, moaning softly as she watched Simone lick them clean. The exquisite taste of Annabelle's juices coating her fingers not nearly enough to satisfy her burning hunger – she had been caving Annabelle all day long, the songs only intensifying her desire – Simone whispered, her voice thickened by her own lust "I need to taste you", making Annabelle shudder at the husky confession. Looking at Annabelle again, she kneeled down in front of her.

Inhaling the smell of Annabelle's obvious desire, the sweet musky aroma making her mouth water, Simone felt herself grow even wetter and shuddered involuntarily. Placing a light kiss on the black lace panties, she slowly pulled them down, forcing Annabelle to grip her shoulders hard to keep her balance. Annabelle closed her eyes and held on tightly to Simone's shoulders, biting her lip to avoid screaming out loud when she felt Simone trail her fingers up her leg ever so slowly. Kissing her way up Annabelle's leg, she softly nibbled on a thigh, leaving Annabelle quivering in anticipation. Pulling a leg over her shoulder, she licked her lips in anticipation before sliding her tongue all along Annabelle's slit, eagerly lapping at the sweet ambrosia pooled there before turning to her very swollen clit. She lapped slowly, flicking her tongue over it ever so lightly before taking the nub between her lips and sucking it. With slow sucks and tender strokes she got Annabelle to call out her name again, gyrating her hips at Simone's incessant tongue. Licking the pulsating nub with the flat of her tongue, she heard Annabelle moan loudly before pressing her head even closer.

Feeling the end was near; Simone replaced her mouth with her thumb, drawing hard eights on the pulsating clit. Licking her way down, she pushed her tongue inside, immediately feeling the spasms of Annabelle's release. Gently coaxing her down, her tongue darted out to taste the oozing honey. As the pleasure came flooding through her in waves, Annabelle loudly screamed out Simone's name and slid across her shoulders as her legs finally gave out. Simone took her in her arms and hugged her tightly, softly rubbing her back. She placed soft kisses on Annabelle's lips, nose, cheeks and forehead, all the while whispering soothing words in her ear. When Annabelle finally came back to earth, she lifted her head from Simone's shoulder and looked at the face before her. Giving her a very passionate kiss, she said: "God, I love you Simone. I can't believe what you just did to me." Trailing a finger across Simone's lips, she then added, rather bewildered: "I'm still wearing my boots?!?" A lecherous, predatory and mischievous grin on her face, she said: "not for much longer, it's my turn now."

Quickly standing up, Annabelle kicked her boots off as she watched Simone through lidded eyes. Holding out her hand, she pulled her upright, quickly sliding her arms around her to hold her in a tight embrace. As she treaded her fingers through her hair, she pulled her near, kissing her languidly, enjoying the taste of her own juices and something uniquely Simone as they slowly walked backwards. Softly caressing Simone's cheek, feeling her shudder at the feather light touch, she smiled predatorily as she slowly slid her hand down Simone's back towards the zipper of her dress. The tear of the zipper immensely loud in the silence of the room, Annabelle had to draw a shaky breath. She watched as Simone closed her eyes when she felt the fabric give way. Peppering Simone's neck with butterfly kisses, she nibbled right under her ear before teasing her tongue along the V of her neck again. Deftly opening Simone's bra with one hand, she brought her hands down on Simone's breasts, eliciting a sharp moan out of Simone's mouth. Catching the tightening nipples between her fingers, she twisted them lightly as her palms cupped the firm flesh, massaging and squeezing, tugging and teasing until Simone groaned loudly and pushed Annabelle's head closer. Smiling softly at the non-too subtle command, Annabelle took a tender nipple between her lips. She didn't stop, alternating between sucking and biting until Simone let out a strangled moan. Scooting lower, kneeling in front of Simone as if in a gesture of worship, she kissed and licked her way down, taking an animalistic pleasure in watching the muscles tighten and quiver under her touch.

Never stopping her maddening caress, Annabelle led them towards the couch. Pushing Simone onto the soft cushions, she immediately kissed her again, drawing her fingers along a quivering belly on an ever so slow journey southwards. Moaning Simone raised her hips off the couch as Annabelle's fingers raked the length of her abdomen. She was desperate to be touched, wild for more contact. Her eyes ravenous, Annabelle smiled evilly and lightly touched the inside of Simone's thigh, making her tremble and groan. Simone parted her thighs, open, defenceless and oh so willing to be possessed. Grasping Annabelle's hand, she begged "please, don't tease", her breath an erratic gasp, her hips thrusting upwards. Annabelle heard nothing but Simone's whispered plea, wanted nothing but to be inside her, to lose herself in the warmth, the wetness and the glory of Simone.

Closing her eyes, she pressed her face tightly to Simone's neck, slid a hand underneath Simone's satin panties and buried two fingers inside, thrusting rhythmically in and out. Feeling Simone shudder beneath her, sensing the contractions inside, she kissed Simone's soft lips reverently, her fingers feeling each delicate pulsation. Body bow string taut, Simone's eyes flickered open and she moaned "oh God Annabelle", like a breathless plea for mercy. Her eyes were all pupil, deep caverns of pleasure. Her moan dampened by Annabelle's mouth, she clawed all over Annabelle's back as the mad rush coursed through her. When she finally came to, Annabelle was softly caressing her hair. She had no idea how much time had passed as she lay there in Annabelle's arms, still gasping.

Annabelle could hear Simone's racing heart pressed against her own and placing a chaste kiss on her forehead, she hugged Simone tighter. As Simone laid her head in the crook of her neck, she sighed contentedly, their legs entwining as she reverently ran her hands over Simone's back. Throwing a plaid over them, realising that the heat of passion would soon make way for lethargic chills, she continued to cradle Simone close, softly caressing her hair as Simone dozed off. A new day and with it their goodbyes would come soon enough, she just wanted to enjoy their closeness for a moment longer.

Simone's soft and rhythmic breathing bringing a smile to her face, she looked down on her sleeping lover and decided that the odd twinge in her back and arms, the couch was too small and short for them both, was definitely worth it. Stretching her legs as she tried to adopt a more comfortable position, she stared at the ceiling, the wind rustling through the trees projecting ever changing shadows. As giddy, boisterous laughter and blurts of music from below slowly drifted their way through the cocoon of warmth and love they had formed, Annabelle felt a strong sense of sadness invade her at the thought of tomorrow. A lone tear slowly meandering its way down her cheek, she sighed deeply, wrapping her arms around Simone even more tightly, trying to absorb as much warmth as possible.

The vice like grip slowly waking her up, Simone inhaled deeply before opening her eyes. As she stretched out with feline grace, a pleasant feeling of lethargy flowing through her, she moved to lie down on top of Annabelle. Her heart constricting at seeing Annabelle's sadness, immediately comprehending why her young lover was crying in the dark, she lightly caressed her cheek, dabbing the lone tear away with her thumb. Placing a soft, chaste kiss on her lips, she looked Annabelle in the eye and whispered: "don't cry Annabelle, it breaks my heart to see you so sad. I know that I've told you that I love you, that I've tried to show you how much you mean to me... But I guess that there just aren't enough words to describe the depth of my feelings for you. You are so special to me. I've fallen irrevocably, hopelessly and undeniably in love with you. I honestly thought I'd never say these words again, that I'd never feel this way again, but then you came into my life and you ... you simply blew me away.

You know that Beverly Craven song "lost without you"? The lyrics are so true: 'all the years of living alone, thinking of myself, were filled with days of emptiness and room for no-one else. I found a haven in isolation with nothing to lose, safe and lonely thinking of only what I had to prove. I was lost without you, like being frozen in time, disillusioned with life, until I knew I found myself in you. I remember being afraid of my destiny, fear of change or fear of losing my way and my identity. Then something bigger took over and it happened so fast... Lying here, my head on your shoulder, I found myself in you. All the love I needed to give, finally found a home. You've given me a reason to live and I can't go back.' I simply won't go back. I love you Annabelle.

Now the words come so easily, they're so sincere ... You've given me another chance to love and to be loved. There's this place in my heart where your feather light caresses rest, where you kisses linger and where your softly whispered words of love echo. You're a part of me and always will be. So even though we might be apart, remember that I'll always be near. My love for you will be around you. Even though we're apart, know that I'll be dreaming of you, that you'll always be in my thoughts. Distance might make time look longer, but it also makes hearts grow closer. I'll miss you like crazy when you're away and I'll be counting the days until you return, but when you do... we'll finally be able to be together, completely. So don't think about how long we'll be apart, just concentrate on the fact that we'll be together. And you know... I'm only a phone call away. If you feel sad or down, if you feel like you just can't take it anymore, just call me, okay?"

Part 7

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