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. I need to thank Steve, my beta reader, for assisting me with the English language and teaching me more about it as the story continuous. Writing in my second language does proof to be difficult every now and then, but he has been there to help me over those hurdles and I'm very thankful.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Promise Me Again
"Room service please." Charlie gave Megan a quick kiss as she waited for someone to answer. "Hi, can you please send up another order of strawberries and cream to room 304? Thank you." Charlie replaced the receiver before she wrapped Megan in her arms again. "You do know that I love you don't you?" she said while running her forefinger along Megan's jaw line. "You've made me realise that life is more than just living."
"I know you love me. Over the last few months you've shown me in every possible way. I'd have to be blind not to see it, but it's nice to hear it every so often as well." Megan ran her own fingers over Charlie's breasts and further down her body. "Room service better hurry up," she said hoarsely as she pulled Charlie closer, "Or the strawberries and cream won't be required anymore."
"It's certainly required for what I have in mind," Charlie said with a wicked little grin.
Megan laughed. "How many more ways do you plan on eating strawberries and cream?"
"Let me think. In my hands I have my two favourite things in the world, well, three if you want to count the strawberries and cream as two separate things. Anyway, put them together and the possibilities are endless "
Megan laughed again. "And here I thought I was the one with the most experience. You keep on surprising me Miss Palmer. Is there anything else you want to teach me?"
"Seeing that you asked, remind me to pick up a packet of menthol eucalyptus sweets on our way back home."
"Oh my god, I walked right into that one. I don't suppose you're going to tell me what for?"
"It will be much better if I show you," Charlie whispered into Megan's ear causing a shiver to run down her spine.
"You do know I'll hold you to that promise," Megan whispered back before running her tongue along Charlie's earlobe.
"Oh, I'm counting on it."
Karen and Tracey arrived at Alli's house just after five thirty. They were let in by the housekeeper, who took them to where Alli was waiting in the lounge.
"Karen, are you sure I'm the right person for this job?" Tracey asked nervously as they walked down the hall. It was very obvious that Alli had money, because the house alone looked like it was worth millions, apart from the antique furniture that Tracey saw around her.
"Don't underestimate yourself Tracey. You're a good actress. One day you'll get your break, and then there'll be no holding you back. In my book, that makes you over-qualified for this job, and I've known you for years. You still have moral values in life, and that's the kind of person that I need to help Alli."
Karen and Tracey followed the housekeeper into the lounge to find Alli standing at a window with a glass of red wine in her hand. She turned around and walked towards them. Tracey's mouth went dry when she saw Alli's face. "What an absolutely stunning woman," she thought.
"Karen, great to see you again." She gave her friend a hug, and then stepped away to be introduced.
"Alli, I want you to meet Tracey Anderson. She's a great actress as well as a dear friend of mine, and Tracey, this is Allison Palmer, a very old friend of mine and hopefully your future employer."
Tracey held out her hand to greet Alli who did the same, but they pulled their hands away quickly as their touch set off a small electrical shock.
"Wow," Tracey said while rubbing her hand with the other. "That only happens with my daughter."
"You have a daughter?" Alli asked surprised.
"Yes, I have. Is there a problem with that?" Tracey asked skeptically.
"There will be if you're planning on leaving your child alone while working for me."
"Not that it's any of your business, but I always leave my daughter in the care of a trusted friend." Tracey couldn't believe the arrogance of this woman.
"You'll be making it my business if you leave her alone because of me," Alli said adamantly.
Tracey tried to calm her emotions. She needed this job and wouldn't allow Alli to provoke her any further. "You're right, but rest assured that my child is always in good hands. I'm sure Karen will tell you the same thing." She turned to Karen who was looking at the exchange in amusement.
"Elizabeth is always looked after. Tracey is a great mother."
"I'm going to be hiring you on Karen's word as acting isn't something I'm familiar with, but I can't believe my bad manners, can I offer either of you something to drink?"
Tracey declined while Karen said she'd help herself while Alli and Tracey spoke about their 'relationship'.
"Thank you for wanting to hire me." Tracey said as she sat down on a couch. "But if you don't know anything about acting, and you're not gay, how are you going to act your part?"
"That's why I'm hiring you. You do the acting, and I'll follow your lead. I'm a very quick study, and quite confident that I'll be able to do my part."
"Even with the physical side?"
"What physical side?" Alli asked confused.
"Holding hands, stealing a kiss here and there, that kind of thing. I'm sure Karen told me that your sister and her girlfriend were quite open in their relationship."
"We'll just have to tell them that we aren't a very open couple. I'm sure they'll understand that. It still happens in this day and age doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does. There's still a lot of people that feel uncomfortable being themselves in front of other people, but she's your sister and knows about you, so we should at least look like we're a couple. I've made a list of all the things that I think we should know about each other, and I think we'll need to spend some time together before the weekend to get to know each other."
"I don't have a lot of free time, but I'll try to clear my schedule for a day or two."
"You two already sound like a couple," Karen said as she moved to stand between them. "I think this is going to work out just great."
Megan walked into the kitchen to find Katrina packing a picnic basket.
"Good morning Kat."
"Morning Megan. It sounds like you're going to have an interesting day."
"I am?" Megan asked in confusion before it dawned on her. "What's she up to today?"
"Apparently you'll both be building a tree house for Harry and Becca."
"What do I know about building tree houses?"
"I just need you there for moral support," Charlie said as she walked into the kitchen to stand behind Megan. She wrapped her arms around her and planted a kiss on her neck.
"I'll give you whatever support you need." Megan pressed herself against Charlie's body. "But I also want to make sure that everything is ready for your sister and her girlfriend when they arrive."
"I'm sure everything's just right already. Between you and Kat, I'm starting to think the queen of England is coming to visit."
"We feel that this is very important to you, so we want to make it special," Katrina said with a smile. "By the way, what's the girlfriend's name?"
Megan and Charlie looked at each other, and then shook their heads from side to side. "I don't recall Alli ever mentioning her name, do you?" Megan asked Charlie.
"No, I don't recall her giving us any information about her girlfriend."
"Shame on you Charlene Palmer, you obviously need to learn a lot about being a sister. My sister and I used to know everything about each other, even when we didn't want the other to know." Katrina laughed. "But don't worry, if you two get along as well as you said you did, this will come naturally."
"You never told us you had a sister," Charlie said, with a hurt look on her face, but a glint in her eye.
"I can see the acting lessons are working, but you still have a way to go. Your eyes give you away."
"Did you hear that Megan? Kat just told us we need to go and practice our acting." Charlie had a huge grin on her face.
"No you don't." Megan turned in Charlie's arms and started pushing her towards the back door. "There are two kids out there that you can't disappoint." She took the basket from Katrina on the way and shoved it in Charlie's hands. "While Kat and I have more preparations to make." When at the door, she gave Charlie a quick kiss on the mouth before turning her around. "I'll be waiting for you when you're done."
"That better be a promise," Charlie muttered under her breath as she walked away.
"Some days I wonder what would happen to her if you weren't around anymore," Katrina said while making herself a cup of coffee.
"Let's not talk about such things. We need to concentrate on our guests."
Alli stopped in front of Tracey's house where she had agreed to pick her up. It was a small place, and reminded Alli of the neighborhood she had spent the first part of her childhood in. It caused a chill to run down her spine. She looked at her watch to make sure that she wasn't just early. It confirmed that she was on time, and Tracey was five minutes late. She flipped her mobile open and dialed Tracey's number. She let it ring at least ten times before closing the phone and getting out of her car. She marched up to the front door and banged on it, until she heard a voice yelling from inside that it was open.
Alli was very angry as she barged in and marched towards where she could hear someone talking. She was about to make her anger known as she walked into the bathroom, but what she saw made her stop in her tracks. In the bathtub was a little girl with her clothes on. She was glowing from her temperature and shivering from the cold water that Tracey was pouring over her body.
"Why don't you get her to a hospital?" Alli glared at Tracey.
"Because I'm trying to get her temperature down."
"Surely the doctors know more than you do."
There was a flash of anger on Tracey's face as she quickly looked at Alli and then back at her daughter. "They might know more, but they don't do more. This happens every now and then, and this is the best thing to do. She's already looking better. Another thirty minutes or so, and she'll be back to normal, but I won't leave her today."
Alli looked at her in shock. "You can't drop me now."
Tracey was seething. "You storm into my house and want to get upset because I haven't taken my child to the hospital, but in the same breath you want me to leave my child with someone else and go with you? Are you insane? Just get out of here!"
Alli stormed out of the bathroom towards the front door, but stopped when she heard the little voice speaking to Tracey. "Mommy, was that lady your new girlfriend?"
"No Angel, and she's no one you need to concern yourself with. You just need to get better. I think we've broken your temperature, how're you feeling now?" The concern in Tracey's voice was unmistakable.
"I'm feeling much better Mommy. You can go to work now."
"No Angel, I'm not leaving you today. Are you going to be OK in here while I go and get you some dry clothes?"
"Mommy, I'm no baby. I'll be eight next year."
Tracey gave a little laugh. "Yes, that you'll be and a little smartass."
"But Mommy, I'm smart now. Didn't you see my report card?"
"I take that back then. You're a little smart ass now." Tracey and Elizabeth laughed together as Tracey tickled her daughter. "I'll be right back."
As Tracey walked out of bathroom she saw Alli standing in the hallway, leaning against the wall. "What are you still doing here?"
"I've phoned and told Charlie that we'd be late." There was a strange calmness in Alli's voice.
"I've told you that I'm not leaving my child today," Tracey said with a sigh.
"Yes, and I admire that. As I see it, we have two options. One, I find someone else, which I don't have time for, or two, your daughter comes with us."
"Are you insane?" Tracey was flabbergasted.
"No, I'm being practical. You need the money from what I've heard, and I need you."
"Are you sure your sister's the mean one?" Tracey was clenching her firsts. She knew she was in a corner. If she didn't go with Alli, they would be out on the street in a week, and if she took Alli's offer to take Lizzy with them, she would be exposing her to Alli's plan of manipulation. At least with the second option she could control what her daughter got exposed to.
"Come with me and you'll see. This will be a win-win situation for both of us."
Tracey gave a frustrated sigh. "I need to get back to my daughter, but I'll give you an answer when we come out."
Alli watched as Tracey walked back into the bathroom with the dry clothes. She smiled to herself. Her plan was getting better and better. She had worried that an actress wouldn't be able to play the part of a lesbian convincingly, but now she knew that Tracey wasn't just an actress, she was a lesbian as well, and the child would actually be a great addition to the setup. She tried to ignore the pang of guilt she felt in using a child for her plans, and told herself that she'd be there to look after the child and control the situation.
"Angel, do you want to play a game with Mommy this weekend?"
"What kind of game?"
"You know that Mommy's work means that I have to play pretend all the time. Well, I have to go away with that lady for a few days and pretend to be her girlfriend, but we thought that maybe you'd like to come and play with us?"
"That's great Mommy. I've always wanted to play with you. Are we leaving right now?" Elizabeth was jumping up and down while Tracey was trying to dress her.
"Hold on Angel, we need to pack some things first. Why don't you go and get your toys, and I'll go and speak to Alli."
Elizabeth barely waited for her last shoe to be on before she made a straight line for her room.
"You wouldn't think that she was sick only a short while ago," Tracey said as she stopped in front of Alli.
"Children have an amazing ability to bounce back. So, have you made up your mind?"
"These walls are so thin that I know you heard my child's response."
"Yes I did. I'll wait while you get your things ready."
Tracey turned and walked towards the rooms as Elizabeth came running towards them. She stopped in front of Alli and held her hand out. "Hi, I'm Elizabeth."
Alli bent down and took the little girl's hand. "Glad to meet you Elizabeth. My name is Alison, but you can call me Alli."
"Hi Alli. So you're pretending to be my mommy's girlfriend?"
"Yes I am, and you seem to be pretty smart." Alli couldn't help but feel drawn to this child.
"My mommy tells me that all the time. Do you want to see my report card?" Elizabeth was very excited about showing her report card to someone else. She didn't give Alli a chance to answer before she ran back to her room. Since her grandmother had died and Brenda left, there really wasn't anybody else to show it to except for Sharon, who looked after her while her mother had to work.
Alli could hear the admiration in Elizabeth's voice when she spoke about her mother. It was very clear that the girl loved her mother to no ends. She started doubting what she was doing, but shook it off when images of her father with his head in his hands flooded her mind.
He came home that evening, sixteen years ago, with stitches on his forehead from a cut he got during an accident. She had to plead with him to tell her what happened. He told her that he had finally found Charlie, but that she had become just as bad as the lesbian who's company she was in. Charlie told him that he was nothing to her and that the lesbian community was the only family she had. He begged on his knees, but she slapped his face while her lesbian lover laughed at how pitiful he was. The woman even told him that he might have given life to Charlie, but that she belonged to her world now. He was crying as he drove home which caused him to drive into a tree as his vision was blurred.
That evening he pleaded with her never to try to find Charlie, because he didn't want Alli to go through the same pain he did. His words were still very clear in her mind, even at the age of twelve they made an impression that stayed.
"Charlie was my little girl once, but those lesbians took her away from me and corrupted her. She's not the same person anymore. She's just as bad as they are. I must have done something wrong in my life to deserve this, because she allowed herself to be changed and I couldn't protect her. I'm just glad that I have a second chance with you Alli and I promise that I'll protect you from these creatures that pretend to be loving people. I'll make sure that you'll always be able to see them for who they really are."
"She'll know the pain of rejection that you felt Dad. I'll make sure of that." Her thoughts were cut short when Elizabeth came running back to her.
"They're here," Charlie shouted from the porch. She ran down the stairs and waited for Alli's car to reach the house. Megan and Katrina came through the front door to stand on the porch.
"She's like a kid with a new toy." There was concern in Megan's voice. "I'm trying very hard, but I just can't shake this uneasy feeling."
"Maybe it's because we're going to have to share her with her family now?"
"As wise as always Kat."
"I'm not saying I'm right, I'm saying it's a possibility."
"We'll soon find out. Let's walk down."
Megan walked to Charlie and wrapped her one arm around her. "I love you," she whispered into her ear.
"And I love you, too." Charlie took Megan's hand in hers as the car stopped in front of them.
Charlie and Megan were quite shocked when Alli got out of the car followed by a woman and a child. "Talk about having to get to know someone," Charlie said as she looked at Megan with a smile on her face. "I guess in all your preparations, you didn't prepare for a child?"
Megan laughed as she punched Charlie softly on the shoulder. "You know I didn't, but you're going to help me rectify that just now."
Tracey took Elizabeth's hand in hers while Alli took care of the luggage. They walked around the car towards Charlie and Megan. "Charlie, Megan, I'd like you to meet Tracey and her daughter Elizabeth."
"It's great to meet you both. Let us introduce you to Kat, the only reason this place runs so smoothly, and surrogate mother to half of us who live here."
Katrina laughed wholeheartedly. "Don't listen to these two. Welcome to Lentegeur, and I'm sure Harry and Becca will be very pleased to know that there's a little visitor here."
"Who's Harry and Becca?" Elizabeth wanted to know eagerly.
"They are two kids that I think you're going to have a great time with. Why don't you come with me while your parents get settled in. We can go and look for them. Have you ever been on a farm?" Katrina held out her hand, and Elizabeth took it without question. They disappeared into the house as Elizabeth replied that she'd never been on a farm.
"She looks like a lovely child," Megan said to Tracey.
"She's a great child," Tracey responded with a proud note in her voice.
"She's remarkable. Would you believe she was sick a few hours ago? Tracey had to soak her in cold water to break the temperature. We almost had to cancel this trip, but Lizzy was so excited about coming here." Alli gave a quick sideways look at Tracey who took hold of Alli's hand when she spoke.
"She gets excited to go anywhere with you, Love." Tracey gave Alli a sweet smile.
Alli looked at Megan with a nervous expression on her face. "Could you possibly show us where we can leave our bags? We'd like to freshen up a bit as well. It's been a long trip."
"Forgive my manners. It's quite easy, just go up the stairs, turn left and it's the third door on the right. Charlie and I'll get a room ready for Elizabeth in the meantime."
Megan looked at Charlie with a confused expression, as Alli quickly took hold of their luggage again, and almost ran into the house with Tracey following close behind her.
"Don't look at me like that," Charlie said. "I can just imagine why those two are running to the room. Didn't you see the expression on Alli's face when Tracey touched her? They obviously needed to be alone." Charlie's grin was growing. "Maybe we could need a little rest as well." She wiggled her eyebrows as she pulled Megan in for a kiss that turned passionate very quickly.
Megan pulled away breathlessly. "Is that all you ever think about? Your sister looked rather nervous to me instead."
"It just shows that there're a few things I need to teach my little sister, but it can wait until they come down again. In the meantime ."
"What were you thinking out there?" Alli was seething when she closed the door behind them.
"I was thinking that I was doing my job," Tracey replied, not believing Alli's response. "I only held your hand for god's sake, I didn't have sex with you in front of your sister."
"I thought we agreed that there would be no public display of affection?" Alli had a disgusted tone in her voice.
"Yes, but I also said that your sister would expect to see at least something. How can you get so upset from just holding someone's hand?"
"You're not just someone, you're a lesbian."
"A lesbian that's supposed to be your girlfriend. No one's going to believe us when you walk around with a broom stuck up your ass. I think I made a huge mistake. I can't help you. No one can help you, unless you yourself try to make it work as well." Tracey grabbed her bag where Alli had dropped it, and was walking towards the door, but Alli moved to stand in front of her.
"I'm sorry. You're absolutely right, please don't go. This is very important to me, and I have to make it work. I'll do whatever it requires." Alli looked almost defeated as she pleaded with Tracey. "I'll double your money for this weekend, but please just stay."
"Your sister must have done something terrible to you to make you this desperate, and I hate my situation for not being able to walk away from this. We need to work together or we're both going to fail."
"Whatever you say." Alli sighed in relief.
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