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
Alli looked nervously at Tracey while she was unpacking her clothing. She cleared her throat before she trusted herself to sound calm. "I'll sleep on the floor, and you can have the bed."
Tracey stopped what she was doing and looked up at Alli. "The bed is big enough for both of us, why would you want to sleep on the floor?"
"We don't have to pretend while we're behind closed doors."
"I know that, but we're not kids either. Didn't we just go through this a few minutes ago? You need me, I need this job, does it ring any bells?"
Tracey's confused expression made Alli turn around and walk towards the window before she spoke. "I would feel more comfortable doing it that way." Her words sounded harsher than she had intended.
Tracey straightened up completely as she planted her hands on her hips. "Oh, now I get it. Do you think I'm going to take advantage of you while you're sleeping, or do you think you'll catch something? If it's the first, then I'll let you know that I'm definitely not that hard up, and if it's the latter, then you should've thought your plan through more thoroughly, because we'll have contact. I'm starting to think you don't only have a problem with your sister, you seem to have a problem with lesbians in general!"
Alli turned around quickly and marched up to Tracey. She stopped short of touching her, and was grinding her teeth. "You should remember that I'm the one paying the bills. A little more respect would be appreciated, and keep your voice down."
Tracey looked straight into Alli's eyes, and without blinking, she spoke in a whisper, "Do you have PMS? I think you need to lie down on the bed while I organise a hot compress."
Alli's jaw dropped as she was quickly pushed backward onto the bed, while Tracey walked towards the en-suite. It took her a second before she got her bearings straight and jumped up. "I don't have PMS!"
Tracey turned to face Alli. "Well, then I'm utterly confused."
"What are you confused about?"
"I'm trying to figure out how you can be nice, calm, and pleading with me one minute, and then turn into this self-obsessed, arrogant, asshole the next. The only thing I can think of is PMS. That would definitely explain the mood swing." Tracey's anger was now apparent.
"What did you just call me?" Alli walked slowly towards Tracey.
"Now you have a hearing problem as well. I called you a self-obsessed, arrogant, asshole." Tracey stood her ground, as Alli's taller figure was moving closer.
"But this arrogant asshole's money is good enough to take?"
"I've explained my situation to you, and I'm willing to be a part of your sordid little plan because of it, but that doesn't mean that I have to keep my mouth shut behind closed doors, and it sure hasn't stopped you. I might have to play a part for the outside world to see, but it won't change who I really am."
"Dad was right; you lesbians think you know everything. I'm sleeping on the floor!" Alli was within arm's length when she turned towards the door and rushed out, leaving a stunned Tracey to herself.
Charlie and Megan were in an embrace at the bottom of the stairwell when Alli came flying down the stairs. She stopped next to them, but didn't look up.
"Is there anywhere I can go to be alone for a bit?"
Charlie looked at her sister with concern. "Sure, this is a farm after all. There's plenty of places you can go to be lone. The best idea would probably be to walk towards the stables. That way you won't get lost. Do you need some company?"
Alli looked up at Charlie, and let her eyes go over the sight before her. Megan's arms encircled Charlie's waist, while Charlie's left arm was draped over Megan's shoulder to rest on her back. Their faces were a testimony of what they had been doing, but it was their eyes that made Alli look again. There was something in there that she'd never seen before. "No thank you," she mumbled, before walking away.
"I think your reason for them wanting to be alone was way off the mark," Megan said as she pulled out of their embrace. "Did you see her face?"
"Yes, but I think you're making too much of it."
"And you're being inconsiderate. The pain and confusion on her face was as clear as daylight for a second."
"Whatever lovers' spat they had will most probably be sorted by the morning."
"Charlie, I'm telling you that there's more to your sister than meets the eye. I'm convinced of it now."
"Don't be so dramatic Megan. You and I had our fair share of trouble, and still do. It will pass. How can your uneasy feeling suddenly be supported by a mere look?"
"Call it what you like, but I'm telling you that there's something wrong. Please go after her Charlie." Megan's pleading had become something that Charlie couldn't resist.
"OK, I'll go, if only to please you." Charlie gave Megan a soft, but passionate kiss before she walked out of the front door after Alli.
"Now, let's see what Tracey is up to," Megan thought, as she made her way up the stairs.
Alli wasn't aware of her surroundings as she walked towards the stables. "Dad, I think I know why you didn't want me to do this. I'm not strong enough. I've run your company with an iron fist, just like you taught me, but seeing Charlie is so different from what you said. We haven't even spent that much time together, but she seems so open and honest, and totally in love with Megan. Has she changed, or is she just very good at hiding who she really is? And then there's Tracey. She's got this amazing child that even I can see absolutely adores her. Children aren't fake. She must be a good mother, but she has this ability to bring out the best and the worst in me. These are real life lesbians Dad, and they seem so normal. This picture doesn't make sense."
Alli pushed her fingers into her hair as she looked upwards groaning. "I'm so confused!"
Alli sat down on a rock as she stared out over the open fields. "I have to control my emotions. I can't afford for Tracey to walk out on me now. I get the idea that if push comes to shove, even my money won't make her stay. The sooner I get this plan working, the better for my own sanity."
"Hi." Alli jumped when Charlie spoke behind her. "I know you said you didn't want company, but I guess it's my responsibility as your older sister not to listen to you." Charlie laughed as she sat down next to Alli.
"It's ok, I still have to get used to having a sister," Alli said, as she watched an ant making its way up her pants.
"Yes, I know the feeling." Charlie laughed again. Katrina always said that light conversation was the best way to break the ice. "So ummm how's things with Tracey?" So much for light conversation. Charlie couldn't remember when she had last been this nervous.
"She's fine. Just unpacking in the room."
"Oh well you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. I know what you're doing." Charlie felt like kicking herself when she saw Alli's face whiten. "Man, what am I doing?" Charlie thought as she was trying to think of something else to say.
"You know how can you know?" It looked like Alli was ready to run.
"Relax little sister. I guess Megan was right in her presumption that you haven't been out very long. I've been there, and done that. Believe me when I say that leaving Tracey to cool down is probably the best thing you can do, but when you go back upstairs, you need to seriously consider your groveling strategy. Everything depends on that."
Charlie was very glad when the colour returned to Alli's face as she started laughing. "That's the way to go. You need to get your mood up a bit before even attempting groveling."
Alli couldn't believe her ears. Her heart had almost stopped when she thought that Charlie knew all about her plan, and here she was giving her love advice instead, and rather nervously at that. "Thanks Charlie. I really needed that. Do you have any tips on the groveling part?"
"Now we're talking. That's my field of expertise. I should actually tell you about a few of the situations I got myself into, but let's walk to the stables so I can introduce you to some more members of the family." Charlie got up and pulled Alli with her. "But first you might want to shake those ants off the back of your pants. Next time you might want to take a closer look before you choose a rock to sit on." They both laughed as Charlie helped Alli get rid of the ants.
Megan knocked softly on the bedroom door, and opened it when she heard Tracey say that the door was open. Megan walked in to find Tracey sitting on the bed trying to wipe away her tears. Megan sat down next to her, and pulled her into a hug without saying a word. Tracey couldn't keep her emotions back. The tears ran down her cheeks again as she found comfort in Megan's arms.
"It's ok. I'm sure you guys can work it out," Megan said as she stroked Tracey's hair. "Love is worth fighting for."
Tracey pulled out of the embrace and wiped her tears away again. "Thank you. I don't know why I let her get to me like that."
"Love lets us do weird and wonderful things. My relationship with Charlie is a testimony of that."
"She's just so impossible at times. It makes me wonder how well I really know her."
"Do you love her?"
Tracey turned her face away. Megan's sincerity was making what she needed to do very difficult. "It's only acting. This is what you're good at, and what you're getting paid for. If nothing else, think of Elizabeth." Tracey's inner turmoil was showing on her face, but she used it to her advantage when she looked back at Megan. Tracey needed Megan to trust her.
"Yes, I really love her."
"Then take the time to get to know her better, if that's how you feel. Relationships have ups and downs, just as life does. The ups are wonderful to have, but it's what happens when you have the downs that'll make or break what you have. Don't be too hard on her, but don't let her walk all over you either."
"Thanks Megan. Your words make sense, now we'll just have to see if I can actually put them into practice." Tracey got up from the bed and walked to her suitcase to finish packing away her clothes. "I suppose keeping myself busy would help."
"It's a good place to start. Do you need any help?"
"No, it's fine. Maybe she'll come back to the room before I'm done. That would give us some time alone to sort this out."
Megan got up to leave. "OK then, but if you ever need to talk, I'm here. We've set up the room next to yours for Elizabeth, but she's still out with Kat. If I see that Alli has come upstairs by the time Elizabeth and Kat get back, I'll keep Elizabeth entertained until you guys come down."
"Thanks." Tracey winked at Megan with a knowing smile. "It might take a while to sort this out."
When Megan had closed the door behind herself, Tracey sat back down on the bed again with her face in her hands. "I hope what your sister did to you is worth all this Alli, because from where I'm sitting, it's hard to believe that these people deserve what's coming to them."
"Now remember what I said. You need to make her feel so special that whatever happened earlier will be the last thing on her mind." Charlie and Allie were walking back towards the house after Charlie had introduced Allie to the various horses. Charlie would be taking Allie and Tracey horseback riding the next day with her and Megan.
"Some flowers would be a good idea as well."
"Where am I supposed to get flowers out in the middle of nowhere?"
Charlie wrapped one arm around Alli's shoulders from the back and pulled her closer. "That's where your big sister comes in. I do live on a farm, and we do have our own garden with the most beautiful flowers, or at least Kat has, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind us taking a few. This is a desperate situation after all."
"I don't want to get you into trouble." Alli didn't find it very difficult to play along. It was great that Charlie accepted her the way she did. She needed Charlie to trust her for her plan to work.
"Kat is an old softy, and a hopeless romantic. Once she knows why we did it, she'll be OK with it. Don't worry."
When they got to the flowerbeds, Alli opted for roses only. Twelve red roses later, they were walking back into the house. "Good luck," Charlie said as Alli stopped in front of the stairway and looked back at her.
"Thanks again for everything," Alli said before making her way up the stairway.
"What are sisters for?" Charlie said softly to herself as she watched Alli walk up the stairs. She was smiling from ear to ear when she entered the study where Megan sat reading.
"I actually feel like a big sister," Charlie said as she sat down on the couch next to Megan.
"You look more like a parent who's just seen her child taking its first step." Megan turned slightly to lean against Charlie's shoulder as she continued reading.
Alli knocked on the door, and waited for a response. When she didn't get any, she turned the doorknob to see if it was unlocked. It was, so she turned it all the way and opened the door. In front of her she saw Tracey fast asleep on the bed. She could see the traces of tears on her face, and felt guilty about her outburst earlier. She placed the roses on the bed next to Tracey before she picked up her own luggage to unpack.
Tracey awoke slowly to the sounds of movement in the room. She opened her eyes slightly to see Alli filling a drawer with clothes. She took advantage of the opportunity to run her gaze over Alli. She resembled Charlie, but that was as far as it went. She had a definite corporate look, and a body that spoke of being well looked after in the gym and at the salon. Charlie's look was more rugged and relaxed. Tracey was sure that Alli's tan came from a sun bed, but she found herself wondering whether it was all over, or if Alli had some tan lines. She quickly closed her eyes when Alli turned around, and waited for a minute before she opened her eyes again, pretending that she had just woke up. Only then did she see the roses on the bed next to her. She picked them up as she got up, and looked at Alli, about to ask what they where for.
"Sorry," Alli said quickly, before continuing with her task. "I shouldn't have gotten upset with you earlier." Alli didn't look at Tracey as she continued talking and working. "But it might have been a good thing, because I had a long chat with Charlie, and she seems more relaxed around me than she was when we had lunch the other day. They think we had a lover's spat, and Charlie gave me some advice."
"I'm sorry too. Megan did the same thing. She was very supportive, but I think it's going to be very difficult to get in between those two." Tracey played with the petals on the roses as she spoke. "I know it's none of my business, but somehow I find it difficult to see your sister as the monster you've made her out to be."
"You're right; it's none of your business. My father wouldn't have lied to me, and that's all I need to know." Alli could feel the anger building up in her again. "We better go downstairs and act like we've resolved our little issue."
"I know what I have to do; the question is whether you can handle it Miss Hyde."
"I can handle whatever I have to, and my surname's not Hyde " It took Alli a second to catch onto Tracey's insinuation. "You really think you're a smart ass, don't you?"
"At least I know I'm a smart ass; you on the other hand are the one that can't decide if you want to be Jekyll or Hyde."
"Let's not get into that again. We have a plan to expedite." Alli walked to the door and opened it before she stopped to wait for Tracey to follow her. Tracey walked to her and held out her hand, which made Alli look at her in puzzlement.
"Oh god," Tracey said as she grabbed hold of Alli's hand and almost dragged her after her. "You're acting like a virgin on her way to the unknown. How the hell am I supposed to do my job properly?"
"I'm not a virgin," Alli defended herself.
"In my world you are." That was enough to shut Alli up as they walked down the stairs hand in hand.
Charlie played with Megan's hair while she was reading, although her thoughts were not on her actions. Megan shifted slightly against Charlie to get more comfortable as she closed the book she was reading. She angled her head and looked at Charlie's far away expression. Megan lifted her hand and ran her fingers down the side of Charlie's face while looking at her lovingly. Charlie turned to her as a smile formed on her lips, and bent down to kiss her. When Megan intensified the kiss, Charlie pulled away and looked her in the eyes. "What do you think about children?"
"I like children, but I've never really thought about having my own. Why?"
The smile on Charlie's face faded at Megan's words, and she turned her face away. "I was just wondering."
"Charlie, you wouldn't be asking me that if you weren't thinking of something. Talk to me." Megan guided Charlie's face back to her.
Charlie looked into Megan's eyes again, and saw her whole world in front of her. "I was thinking that having a child in the family might be a good idea."
Megan sat up and turned to face Charlie again. "Are you telling me that you want us to have a child?"
"That's a huge step. How were you thinking of doing it? Fertilization or adoption?"
"I was hoping adoption. There are so many children out there that need a loving family."
"Adopting would be my choice as well, but I still think it's a huge step. Are you sure?"
Charlie pulled Megan into an embrace. "With you by my side, I can take on the world. I'm sure I want this, but I don't want to pressure you into it."
Megan rested her head on Charlie's shoulder while looking out of the window. "I'll admit, the thought of being a parent is a bit intimidating. Let's both think about it for a while?"
"Take all the time you need." Charlie rested her chin on Megan's head while she held her in her arms.
They stood holding each other for a while until they heard footsteps on the stairs. Megan pulled out of the embrace and took hold of Charlie's hand as they made their way out of the study. They found Alli and Tracey heading for the kitchen. Charlie and Megan smiled at each other when they saw that the two were holding hands.
"I think it's time to go and find Kat and the kids. It's almost dinner time, and I think you two can do with a good night's sleep after the long trip." Charlie gave Alli a quick wink and smiled. Their plan had obviously worked.
"Sounds like a great plan to me." Tracey leaned her head against Alli's shoulder, but almost jumped as Alli let go of Tracey's hand to wrap her arm around her instead, and plant a quick kiss on her temple.
Alli twisted and turned all night. Sleeping on the floor might have made her mind feel more at ease, but her body wasn't thinking the same thing right now. It was already morning, but she still felt like she needed hours of sleep. She could hear Tracey's even breathing, and envied her. She turned around and tried to fall asleep again, but a knock on the door made her sit upright and listen quietly. A few seconds later, she heard a louder knock, and someone talking. She could make out Megan's voice telling someone that she had said it was too early in the morning for breakfast. The other person, who Alli could now identify as Charlie, told Megan that seven in the morning wasn't too early for breakfast in bed.
Alli panicked when she realized that Charlie and Megan were standing outside the bedroom door with breakfast. She quickly got up, and leaned over the bed to wake Tracey up. This proved to be very difficult. The sound of the doorknob being turned made Alli react without thinking. In a swift movement, she threw her blanket on the chair in front of the window, grabbed her pillow, and dove under the blankets to lie next to Tracey.
Charlie pushed the door open with her foot as she walked backwards into the room with a breakfast tray in her hands. Megan followed her with another one. "It's time to wake up little sister. This is a farm after all." They moved into the room and placed the trays on the bedside tables.
"I don't think I'm the one you should worry about." Alli indicated Tracey who was still sound asleep.
"Judging by the look of exhaustion on your face, I'm not amazed that she's still sleeping." Charlie looked as proud as could be.
Megan slapped her playfully on the arm. "Charlie!"
"What?" Charlie asked innocently.
"I think it's time for us to leave and let them wake up properly."
"Tracey's still sleeping. We can keep Alli company until she wakes up. What do you think Alli?"
"Well " Alli couldn't speak any further before Tracey turned in her sleep, and in the process pressed closer to Alli while her arm automatically wrapped around Alli's body. She moved her head from her pillow and rested it on Alli's shoulder.
"A cuddler. Way to go Alli." Charlie ducked to avoid another slap from Megan.
"Charlene Palmer, I'm going to tell Kat about you misbehaving like this. Your sister seems to have brought the kid out in you." Megan could see how uncomfortable Alli looked, and tried to get Charlie to leave the room without making it obvious that they could see it, but to no avail. Charlie seemed to be having way too much fun playing the big sister.
Alli was still in shock as Tracey kept on moving closer to her during Charlie and Megan's bantering. By now Tracey's one leg was over Alli's legs, and her hand was very close to Alli's breast.
"Come on Megan. Tracey needs to wake up, otherwise her breakfast will get cold."
"I told you we should've left them to sleep."
Alli was seriously considering jumping out of bed while Charlie and Megan weren't looking. She started moving slowly, but stopped when Charlie turned to her.
"Tell her you don't mind the breakfast in bed Alli." Charlie was looking at Alli expectantly.
"I don't mind," Alli said quickly, hoping that they would turn the other way again, but they didn't. She was stuck, and her movement had gotten Tracey moving again, but it looked like she was waking up. "Thank god," Alli thought in relief, but it was short lived. Tracey's hand was now rubbing Alli's breast, and she was nuzzling on Alli's neck whispering hoarsely, "Good morning, Darling."
"See, it worked," Charlie said triumphantly. "She's awake."
Charlie's voice registered through Tracey's sleep-hazed mind. Her eyes flew open in shock to look upon a neck. "Oh no," she whispered so softly that only Alli could hear. There was no mistaking whose breast she was fondling.
"Oh yes," Alli whispered back through clenched teeth.
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