DISCLAIMER: These characters look like two people we all know and love, but the characters are my own creation.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've had so many requests for a sequel to Promises, that I decided to do something about it. I'm not a big fan of sequels, so I'm writing a sequel of sorts. This story introduces new characters whose lives intertwine with those of Charlie and Megan. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to let me know what you think.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Promise Me Again
Alli replaced the receiver with a smile on her face. This was what she had been waiting for. At long last Charlie had agreed to meet with her, and she could see her plan of revenge taking form.
It had taken her two years to track Charlie down, and she had been in contact with her for almost six months now with phone calls and e-mails. It had been very difficult for her to convince Charlie that she was her half-sister, and that she wanted to get to know her since she had found out about her after their father's death. Her plan meant that she needed to get close enough to Charlie to find out what the most important thing in her life was, and then to destroy it. It was a fitting punishment for the woman who had caused her father years of pain and suffering.
She had actually known about Charlie since her father got custody of her about eighteen years earlier at age ten. She was the product of a night of indiscretion from her father's side. He had always told her that if he had known about her, he would never have left her to live the life she was living with her drug addict mother. He had only found out about her when her mother had blackmailed him, which he had paid in order to keep Alli from getting hurt any further. He had made sure that her mother gave him custody over her as part of the deal, and she had been with him ever since.
Living with her father was incredible. He had told her that he had another daughter eight years older than she was, who didn't want anything to do with them. She had walked out of their lives when she was sixteen, and there was nothing they could do about it. He had tried to find her on numerous occasions, but she had always stayed one step ahead. He had poured all his love on her, but had vowed that he wouldn't stop looking for Charlie. Even her stepmother had been amazing, but she had died four years after Alli moved in.
After her first two years in her father's house, something happened. He changed, and when she had confronted him, he had told her that he had managed to find Charlie, but that she was full of hatred, and that she didn't want anything to do with him. He had even begged her on his knees to come home, but she had just laughed in his face. Even at age twelve Alli had been filled with hatred for her half sister, and vowed to find her and make her pay for what she had done. Her father wouldn't have any of it. He had made her promise that she would never go looking for her sister.
She had grown up being her father's pillar, and he had trained her to take over his company when he would retire. It had happened sooner because of his death, and she now owned one of the largest companies in the country, and was very powerful at age twenty-eight, but she was also still filled with hatred towards her sister which had increased through the years as she saw her father become a shadow of his former self.
She had broken her promise to him after his death and went looking for Charlie, whom she had only found two years later, since she couldn't find any of the documentation he had used to find Charlie in the first place. She would make Charlie pay for taking her father away from her, because she felt that Charlie's cruel treatment of him had had the same effect as poisoning him slowly over time.
"I still can't believe I actually have a sister," Charlie said as she was drying the dishes.
"I'm glad for you, but take it slowly. She was raised by your parents after all, which means she might be as close-minded as they were." Megan dried her hands on a dishcloth after she had finished washing the last plate and draining the water. "Did you tell her that you're gay?"
"No, we haven't talked about anything as personal as that. I would prefer to talk to her in person about it."
"I agree with Megan on that one," Katrina said from her seat at the kitchen table. "I have a strange feeling about all this."
Charlie laughed. "Are you sure that strange feeling isn't from the amount of broccoli with cheese sauce that you had for dinner?"
"Charlene Palmer, if you have a problem with my cooking, just say so," Katrina responded in a fake scolding manner.
"Shame on you Charlie," Megan joined in.
"Never Kat, your cooking is the best ever. The flashiest five star restaurants can come and learn a thing or two from you," Charlie said with a remorseful look on her face that brought the other two to laughter.
"I think you need to go and take some acting classes before you try to convince me of anything with that face." Katrina laughed again.
"I can give you a few acting tips," Megan said mischievously after she had stopped laughing.
"You can?" Charlie asked with a smile on her lips.
"Oh yes. I've played a nurse, a pirate, a damsel in distress, a secretary, a boss, though that one came naturally." Megan winked at Charlie.
"My, but you do seem to have a lot of acting experience," Charlie responded while walking over to Megan slowly.
"Wait right there!" Katrina almost flew out of her chair. "Don't you two have any respect for an old woman and her frail heart?" she scolded them playfully. "Can't you two wait until you get to your room, or at least until I'm not in the room? I'm even sure you two forgot I was in the kitchen with you."
"We would never forget about you Kat, but we do like teasing you, especially since there is no frailty in that heart of yours." Charlie gave Katrina a hug before she took Megan by the hand to leave.
"At least I'll have the TV all to myself again tonight," Katrina said as the two walked out of the kitchen. They just laughed.
"So, tell me more about these characters that you've played," Charlie whispered into Megan's ear as they reached the staircase.
"Well now Miss Palmer, wouldn't it be much better if I were to show you?"
"Mmmmmm, let me think." Charlie brought her hand up under her chin and crossed the other arm over her chest so the hand could rest under the other arm's elbow. "I suppose it would be more educational if I were to actually see it. I've heard that you learn much quicker if you can form a visual image. I must admit though that I was never a good learner, and you might have to show me more than once."
"I've a better idea; why don't you join in on the acting? I would be able to see what you're doing wrong, and give you advice as we go along. I've heard that you are able to remember more if you are part of the picture that you need to form."
"That does make sense to me, but I don't really see myself in a nurse's uniform."
"We can easily remedy that; you can be the doctor. You should be able to pull a lot from personal experience on that one, seeing that you've spent so much time in the hospital since I've known you. You should even be able to tell me if my portrayal of a nurse is up to standard. You don't have to be an actor to have a critical eye."
"There were a few mmm friendly nurses around when I was in hospital, so I suppose I can give you some tips on that as well," Charlie said while lifting her eyebrow slightly.
By now the two had made it as far as their bedroom door, and Megan roughly pushed Charlie into the room and kicked the door closed behind her. "I think I rather feel like playing boss tonight. We can have a chat about your 'friendly' nurses another time."
"Oooh, am I supposed to be scared?" Charlie asked teasingly.
"If you knew what was good for you, you would be. I've had years of experience on this one." Megan grinned as she shoved Charlie's larger form further back into the room.
Charlie woke up with a feeling that she was being watched. She opened one eye to see Megan looking lovingly down at her. Charlie smiled and opened her other eye as well. "I can think of a better way to be woken up than being stared at."
"You're incorrigible," Megan said as she bent down to give Charlie a kiss.
"You weren't complaining last night." Charlie prevented Megan from pulling away completely, and pulled her back down for a deeper kiss.
"You keep this up and I might give you a reason to start complaining." Megan smiled mischievously as she pulled away, but allowed her hands to roam over Charlie's body.
"I would rather die in happiness from exhaustion than complain about our love life."
"I would be happy to comply and work on getting your energy levels down, but we do have to leave in an hour if we are going to make that appointment with your sister."
Charlie smiled and lay back down onto the pillow. "A younger sister; I still find it difficult to believe that my father did something like that, but then again, I shouldn't be surprised at his actions. I think the most puzzling part is actually my mother taking Alli into her home. There is just so much to talk about."
"Are you sure you want me to go with you?"
"Of course; you are the other half of who I am. If my sister wants to get to know me, she has to get to know you as well."
"Please promise me that you won't get over-excited about this, or act hastily. I know you are looking forward to this, but I agree with Katrina; something doesn't feel right."
"I promise, and as long as you're there with me, I'm sure that I'll be kept on the right track." Charlie winked at Megan with a huge grin on her face. "With a 'boss' like you, I wouldn't dare to do anything wrong, but next time I think I want to be the boss. You've taught me well, and I'm eager to prove myself."
Megan moved quickly off the bed to get out of range when Charlie wanted to grab her. "I'll remember that and will think about giving you a test on the subject, but for now, we have to get ready."
"Spoilsport," Charlie mumbled as she got out of bed, but her face lit up as she thought of the possibilities in the shower. She walked to the bathroom door and turned the knob to open it, but found it locked.
Megan laughed from behind the locked door. "Not this morning Miss Palmer. I know what that libido of yours is thinking, and I've taken precautions. You will have to be satisfied with a cold shower."
Charlie moaned as she walked away from the door to get her clothes out. She knew that Megan was right, but since they'd been together she had found it almost impossible to keep her hands off Megan. It had been an amazing eight months since Megan returned to the farm with her, and she was still being kept to the promises she had made. Not that she was complaining about it at all. It had made for some very interesting situations indeed.
Alli was sitting at the restaurant table waiting for Charlie to arrive. She had been a bit put off when Charlie mentioned that she would be bringing someone along with her, but she didn't want to strain the situation, so she had acted like it was fine. At least the other person might give her a better understanding of Charlie's life.
She nervously kept an eye on the door when it turned 1pm. Charlie had told her that she would be exactly on time, and the photos they had exchanged over e-mail would make sure that they would find each other without a problem. Alli was still caught in her thoughts when she saw the tall dark haired figure walk into the restaurant with a small blond walking next to her. When they turned to look over the people to find her, she saw that they were holding hands and almost choked on the wine that she was drinking.
"Oh my god." She feverishly thought of what to do. "She's a lesbian. No wonder she didn't want anything to do with her family." She battled to get rid of the disgusted look that she knew was showing on her face. "Dad told me all the horrid stories of their kind, and there is no way I'm going to be mixing with them." She closed her eyes in frustration. "But I have to. This is for Dad, and she has to pay for what she did to him. I will do whatever it takes." She mentally willed herself to hide her feelings, and had managed it by the time Charlie and Megan arrived at the table. She smiled as she got up to greet them.
"You must be Charlie," Alli said as she moved around the table. "I think the way we look is obvious proof that we share our father's genes."
"You can say that again. Your photos have definitely missed some of the details Alli." Charlie ignored Alli's extended hand and wrapped her in a hug. "Let me introduce you to the other half of my soul." She pulled Megan close to her. "This is Megan, the woman I love, and the reason I breathe."
Alli extended her hand to Megan and greeted her. There was a slight glint in her eye. She couldn't believe her luck. She didn't even have to delve very deep to find out what the most important thing in Charlie's life was. It had been given to her on a platter. She couldn't hide the smile on her face, but also knew she didn't have to, because Charlie and Megan would just see it as her being happy to meet them.
Megan looked from one sister to the other as they talked after they had ordered their lunch. They looked very similar, but there were also some definite differences. Alli was half a head shorter than Charlie, and her features were a bit softer. Megan easily recognised the professional business woman in her, but there was also something in her that unnerved Megan. She just couldn't put a finger on it.
"So little sis, what have you been up to besides running that huge company?"
"Finding you has taken up most of my spare time in the last two years, but meeting you face to face today has made it all worth while. Now it's my turn for a question. How long have you two been together?"
Charlie looked lovingly at Megan as she took her hand in hers. "It has been just over a year and a half now, and I still can't believe my lucky stars for having her in my life. It was a bumpy road in the beginning, and we still have our moments, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat as long as it always ends with her in my arms."
Megan smiled back at her. "You are such an old romantic, but I love you for it." She leaned over to place a kiss on Charlie's mouth, who quickly turned it into a lingering soft kiss. "And you're a great kisser," Megan added softly as she pulled away slowly. She quickly glanced sideways to see what Alli's reaction was, and was pleased to be met by a smiling face.
"I must be wrong. She seems genuinely happy for Charlie," Megan thought to herself as she accepted her plate of food from the waiter.
"I can't believe it's going to be this easy." Alli's thoughts were in overdrive. "I'm a genius. All I need to do is to have Megan betray Charlie. That would most certainly destroy her. I just have to think of a way to do it."
"What about you?" Charlie asked Alli. "Do you have someone special in your life?"
With those words an idea formed in Alli's mind. "Man I'm a quick thinker," she thought to herself with a huge smile on her face.
Charlie and Megan took that as a sign that there was someone very special in her life. "Come on, don't hold back on us." Megan encouraged her to speak.
"Actually I also have a girlfriend."
"Wow, and you took this long to tell us. You must arrange to come to the farm next weekend and bring her with you. We'd love to meet her," Charlie exclaimed.
"I'll speak to her and let you know," Alli said as her mind was spinning to try and think of where she was going to find someone to play her girlfriend, and who would then also make a play for Megan. "Money is the best way to do this. I will just hire an actress. It will be more convincing if the person at least has some acting skills." She smiled again at her thoughts. Her plan was just getting better every minute.
"That smile says a lot, so I'm sure we'll be hearing from you soon, and we'll be preparing for your arrival."
"I think it's going to be great to get to know my older sister. I want to spend as much time with you as possible, and I think that visiting your farm is a great way of getting to know you, but it would also be nice if you would be able to spend some time at my place."
"Where do you stay?" Charlie asked hesitantly.
"I still live in the big house. Dad and I shared it until his death."
Charlie looked nervously at Megan who gave her an understanding smile and took hold of her hand. "Let's get past your visit to the farm first, and take it from there."
"I bet," Alli thought to herself. "You probably have such a guilty conscience. It's a good thing though, because I'll use it against you." She smiled at Charlie as she spoke out loud again. "Not a problem. It's not like I'm going anywhere, and it's not like I'm going to let you go after finding you either."
A chill ran down Megan's spine at the words and she quickly looked up at Alli, but what she saw was a sincere smile towards Charlie. "I have to try and shake this uneasy feeling," she thought as she gladly accepted her dessert from the waiter.
Charlie smiled as she saw Megan eagerly dive into her dessert. She motioned to the waiter to bring Megan another helping of the same.
Alli saw the little interaction and she felt like ripping the two of them apart. "She's got no right to be this happy, and this whole gay thing is just not right." She was starting to doubt her own ability to pull this off when she realised that she'd also be part of the act, and would have to pretend to be in love with whomever she hired for the plan. To play a convincing role, she would have to lovingly touch another woman. Her father would turn in his grave if he knew. She went pale at the thought, which caused Charlie to gasp.
"Alli, are you all right?"
"Yes yes, I'm fine. I just think my blood pressure is a bit low."
"Do you have any medication?"
"Waiter!" Charlie got up as she looked around her. Their waiter moved quickly to their table to assist her. "Bring us a glass of coke and any snack that's salty."
"Yes, ma'am." The waiter responded and quickly moved towards the kitchen. There was no way he was going to put one foot in the wrong place with a woman like that. He returned swiftly with the glass of coke and some salt and vinegar crisps.
"Here Alli. Have this, it will make you feel better."
"Please don't make a scene. It happens every now and then; it's not the end of the world. I'll feel better soon."
"Yes you will, after you have this," Charlie insisted.
"I'd listen to her if I were you," Megan added. "She can be very stubborn and always gets her way."
"Well, I just got to get to know my sister. I'm not planning on losing her now." Charlie defended her action.
"Thank you," Alli muttered under her breath.
At that moment Alli's phone rang. "Allison Palmer," she responded, and listened to the caller. "No, don't do anything stupid, that's not what I pay you for." Alli had an angry expression on her face. "Hold them there. I'll be back at the office in " Alli had a quick glance at her watch. "Twenty minutes. That should give us half an hour to come up with a way out of the situation." Alli switched her phone off. "I'm sorry you two. I would love to spend more time with you today, but I have a crisis at the office."
"We understand," Charlie said as she got up as well. "We'll wait for your phone call to confirm next weekend."
"Yes, I'll speak to my mmm girlfriend and get back to you."
Both Charlie and Megan wouldn't let her go without a hug first. After Alli had left, Charlie and Megan sat down again and Megan's second course of dessert arrived, which she accepted with a huge smile.
"So, you think I always get my way do you?" Charlie said in a sultry voice as she watched Megan eat her dessert.
Megan looked up and saw the twinkle in Charlie's eye and the mischievous smile on her lips. "Yes, I do," she said as she deliberately, slowly, licked her spoon clean.
"I disagree. I didn't get my way this morning."
"Oh but you did, you just don't know it yet." Megan slipped her foot out from her shoe and moved it to run up the inside of Charlie's leg.
"That's not the way I remember it." Charlie had a bit of difficulty in maintaining an even tone in her voice.
"I'll prove it to you as soon as we get to leave this restaurant." Megan moved her foot more to touch the inside of Charlie's thigh.
Charlie grabbed Megan's foot just as she was pushing it towards her centre. "You keep this up and I won't be liable for my actions," she whispered hoarsely. "And now I'll be frustrated for the whole five hour trip back home or maybe we can stop somewhere on the way and see how young we can act in the truck."
"No need for that. We have reservations at a hotel. I arranged it all with Katrina while you were taking your shower this morning." Megan grinned at Charlie's relieved expression. "By the way, you better pick up something nice for her, to say thank you."
"I don't have any problem with that." Charlie was smiling from ear to ear.
When Alli eventually got home she was exhausted. The shock of finding out that her sister was a lesbian, and then the whole crisis at her company had taken its toll. She got on the phone with one of her old friends who ran a talent agency, and pleaded with her for help.
Karen listened to Alli's story and felt sorry for her friend. She couldn't believe the situation that she had got into, and honestly never thought she would allow herself to be associated with anyone that was gay. Not that Karen shared her beliefs; quite the contrary, but she had stopped trying to change Alli's mind a long time ago, since she found it impossible to fight against Alli's father's influence.
Maybe this was the time to change, and she knew the perfect person for the job. She would be able to help two people at once, and maybe they would be able to help each other. She promised Alli that she would bring someone over the next day, after which she pulled her phone book closer to find Tracey's number.
"Oh, hi Karen." Tracey's response had a desolate note.
"Why so despondent?" Karen asked with concern.
"I need money, and I need it fast. It just feels like everything is slipping away from me, and I can't keep on doing this to my child."
"Hang in there, Tracey. Elizabeth is a great kid and she will understand. Even at age seven she is more grown up than most adults I know. And don't be too hasty; I might have the answer to your problem. I want you to go for an interview tomorrow at a friend's house."
"Thanks Karen, but not even a month's work will get me out of this one. I still can't believe Brenda just walked out on us. It's been over a year now, and I'm still paying for it." Tracey was close to tears.
"This is not just a normal job."
"What kind of a job is it then?" Tracey asked hesitantly.
"Now don't sound like that. I wouldn't have accepted such an assignment for any of my people if I didn't know Alli so well. You need to pose as Alli's girlfriend for a while. It will be on and off whenever her sister is around. She will also require you to go with her to visit on her sister's farm. She apparently needs you to try and gain the interest of her sister's girlfriend."
"Her interest? You mean I need to break up their relationship while I pretend to be her girlfriend! Will I have to sleep with either of them?"
"I'm sure it won't have to go that far, and once you get to know the couple involved you won't have a problem with breaking them up. They are not the nicest people, and Alli's sister is apparently the reason her father died of a broken heart. About Alli, you don't have to worry. She's as straight as an arrow, and against homosexuality. She is just using the situation to get someone close to the girlfriend."
"I don't know Karen. It sounds like an awfully mean thing to do."
"I know what it sounds like, but why don't you just give it a try next weekend, and if you find that you can't do it, then walk away. I'm sure if that happens, Alli can use the excuse that you broke up. She has offered thirty thousand for the weekend alone. Even with that, you'll be able to buy yourself some time."
"What!" Tracey couldn't believe her ears. It must be a desperate situation if this Alli was willing to pay that kind of money. Tracey knew that her mother would turn in her grave if she were to find out what she was about to do, but she had to think of Elizabeth, and what she was going to do wouldn't be illegal after all. "OK, I'll meet you tomorrow, but if I meet with your friend and think she's a psycho, I'm out of there and I don't sleep with anyone, I'm no hooker. What time?"
"I knew you would be the perfect person for this. Meet me at the office at 5pm and we can go to her house from there. She has asked for complete discretion in this matter, and I gave my word."
"No problem from my side. I wouldn't want the world to find out what levels I've stooped to either."
"Great, then I'll see you at my office tomorrow. Sleep well."
"Thanks Karen. Have a good night."
After she had replaced the receiver, Tracey sank down the wall onto the floor. She pulled her knees towards her and rested her head on her arms over them. She couldn't help the tears running down her face. Her life had changed so drastically in the last two years. First her mother got sick, and then there were all the medical bills, followed by her mother's death eighteen months ago. Besides her feelings of absolute loss, she still had Elizabeth to look after, and the medical bills to pay. It had been a comfort to have Brenda there with her, until she had left a year ago, taking their little bit of savings with her. She couldn't show her own pain, because she had to try and convince Elizabeth that she wasn't the reason Brenda had left them.
Now she was being sued for money she didn't have by the hospitals, and her landlord was about to throw them out. Not having the money would mean that she would end up homeless, and what would happen to Elizabeth then? Tracey didn't even want to think about the possibilities. She knew what she had to do, and she would do it for her child's sake. She didn't think of Elizabeth as being her and Brenda's child anymore. She was hers and hers alone.
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