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 stormed out of the en-suite. When she saw Tracey opening the bedroom door to leave, she grabbed her wrist and pulled her around. "How dare you watch me!"
"How dare I watch you?" Tracey gave a sarcastic laugh. "What did you expect?" Tracey pulled her wrist out of Alli's hand and pushed her backwards. "You might be pretending, but you damn well know that I'm a lesbian." Tracey pushed Alli even further back. She was so worked up, but she had to swallow a giggle. Alli's shocked face was priceless. "How the hell could you not close the door? I'm a human being after all; there's only so much temptation I can handle. A beautiful, well-toned, naked body is not something I can just ignore if it's in my face when I wake up. You have no reason to be upset with me for what just happened, but if you're looking for a reason, I can give you one." Tracey grabbed Alli's shirt collar and pulled her down into a searing kiss. She let go of Alli as quickly as she had grabbed her and marched towards the door again. When she opened the door, she glanced over her shoulder at the still very shocked and motionless Alli. "Thinking about it, you can't get upset about that either, you needed the practice. Next time, just close the damn door!"
Alli was still staring at the door after Tracey left. She was trying to figure out how the situation managed to turn on her. Last she checked, she was the victim being ogled. The scene played out in her mind again, but for some reason, Alli wasn't feeling as angry as she expected to be. Her mind was pondering on Tracey's last comment though. 'What did she mean by I needed the practice.' She didn't have more time to think about it, as she realized she was late for her milkshake meeting with Elizabeth.
When Alli walked into the kitchen, she found Elizabeth chatting with Margaret and Angela. The scene propelled her mind back in time. She could see herself having her daily milkshake and laughing at Margaret's jokes. Margaret was able to make any milkshake you could think of. It had been a great time in Alli's life, but it didn't last long. Her father had shown her that she had a position in life and that it was her responsibility to uphold it. He made her promise never to begin friendships with the staff again and to end all existing ones. Causing him pain by disobeying him was one thing that Alli hadn't wanted to do.
Alli's thoughts got pulled back to the present by Elizabeth's loud laugh. She looked at the scene in front of her more closely. It didn't seem so wrong. These were just people like her, and they were giving Elizabeth the same love they had given her all those years ago. Alli felt a strong urge to be part of it again. She smiled as she walked towards the laughing people. "Did you save some milkshake for me?" Margaret and Angela stopped talking and took a step away from Elizabeth. Alli noticed it and made a mental note to talk to her staff on a more personal level like she used to when she was a child.
"I haven't had a milkshake yet. I waited for you." Elizabeth moved to make space for Alli next to her. "You can sit next to me."
"Thanks Kiddo. I got held up, because I was uhm chatting to your mom." Alli couldn't prevent the rising red shade on her face as her mind quickly flashed back to the events in her bedroom.
Angela saw Alli's discomfort and knew that there was more to the 'chatting' than Alli let on. She knew that Tracey and Elizabeth must be the reason behind Alli's change, and from what she'd seen, the change was good.
Alli started talking to get her mind off her thoughts. "I haven't really spent any time in this kitchen in the last few years, but it looks like nothing has changed." Alli smiled at Margaret who did the same, although a bit nervously.
"How can you live in this house and not spend time in your kitchen?" Elizabeth pulled a funny face when she asked the question. "Mom and I spend lots of time in our kitchen."
"It's because I have wonderful people like Margaret here, who cooks for me." Alli winked at Margaret whose smile was growing.
"Why? Didn't your mother teach you how to cook? My mom's a great cook and she's going to teach me. "
Margaret and Angela froze at Elizabeth's question, but Alli burst out laughing. "I guess not. Neither of my mothers were like yours." Alli knew that this was very unlike her, but Elizabeth's honesty and openness were like a breath of fresh air, and things that were issues to Alli were made to sound insignificant. Alli felt completely at ease talking about her past.
"Wow! You have two mothers?"
"Well, I had two mothers, and it wasn't such a great thing. They both died many years ago though."
Elizabeth threw her arms around Alli and gave her a big hug. "I'm sorry. That must be very sad for you. I can't imagine not having my mom around."
Alli held on to Elizabeth while she spoke. "Thanks Kiddo, but they weren't that important in my life. If I had a mother like yours however, I'm sure I wouldn't want to live without her either. She's very special."
"Yes, and I'm very lucky to have her."
"Well, I'd say you're both very happy to have each other. Now, let's get to the good stuff." Alli let go of Elizabeth and pulled their milkshakes closer. "If memory serves me right, this is the best milkshake in town, and not to be wasted."
Angela and Margaret were just staring at each other with faint smiles on their lips and knowing looks on their faces. This was a good change for sure, and they needed to make sure it stayed that way.
Tracey sat in the swing chair staring out over the beautiful garden. She was still trying to control her heart rate after seeing Alli's naked form. 'As if the daydreams and the incident in the gym wasn't enough, what the hell am I suppose to do with a picture of her naked body imprinted on my mind?' Tracey sighed deeply, knowing that she was fighting a losing battle. She had to do something to keep a level head. She had to concentrate on her goal, and that was to get Megan interested in her.
Tracey got up with a determined look on her face and walked into the house with a steady stride. She was going to make this work as soon as possible, because the sooner her job was done, the sooner she would get away from the temptation.
The following two days went by quickly. With Alli's encouragement, Tracey made changes to the inside of the house to make it look more like a home that Elizabeth and she would feel comfortable in. Tracey was grateful for the work. It kept her mind occupied with something else besides images of Alli.
The driver took Elizabeth to school in the mornings and picked her up in the afternoons, after which she and Alli would have a milkshake in the kitchen. On Friday afternoon while they were waiting for Charlie and Megan to show up, Alli found Tracey outside, sitting on the swing chair in the secluded area of the garden. It used to be her favorite spot when she was a child. She had never understood why there was a secluded area, when no one ever went there besides her and Gavin, the gardener.
"Hi, is this your favorite spot?"
"Oh hi. It's so peaceful and beautiful out here. What's there not to like? When we leave here, this will (future tense) be the place that I'll miss the most."
"Yes, this is a beautiful spot. I had actually forgotten (past perfect tense) how great it is to just sit out here."
"You live in this place and you don't come out here?"
Alli laughed. "Now I know where your daughter gets her reasoning from."
"She asked me the other day how I could live in a house and not go into the kitchen."
"Some days I wonder who's learning from whom."
"You have one amazing kid there."
"I know; she amazes me all the time. Why don't you sit down? I promise I won't bite." Tracey smiled at Alli as she moved up to make space for her to sit.
Alli sat down and used her feet to move the swing chair. "I can't believe I haven't been out here for such a long time."
"Then I'm glad you're out here now. Maybe this is a good time for you to explain to me why you are doing this." Tracey didn't look at Alli when she spoke to her, but when there was no reply, she eventually turned her head.
Alli was staring at nothing in particular, and she sighed deeply. "I was wondering when you would bring that up, but I suppose this is a good time for it. Everything is ready for the visit, and Charlie phoned to say that they should be here in about three hours."
Tracey leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes. "Good, I'm listening."
Alli sighed again before she spoke. "Maybe I should start with my story first. The life I knew before my father took me away was hell. My biological mother was a high-class whore and hooked on drugs. I was an accident that wasn't suppose to happen, and she never let me forget that. I got beaten and used in many ways. Mostly for cleaning and serving her, but sometimes she would allow her customers to feel me up. She was getting older and her looks were fading, so the money got less and less, and the abuse got more. One day I heard her speaking to one of her friends, who asked her why she didn't get money from my father." Alli's lips curved into a sarcastic smile.
"That was probably the best advice anyone could have given her where I was concerned. She blackmailed my father, and he apparently paid a lot of money for me. About a month after I overheard that conversation, a driver came to pick me up. It was the happiest day of my life. I didn't know how it would be living with my father, but anything would've been better than living with her. I didn't hear from her again, but my father told me that she died of a drug overdose two months after I left." Alli turned to see Tracey's expression, but there was none. She was still leaning back in the chair with her eyes closed. Alli turned her face back to the nothingness she had been staring at before she continued to speak.
"I didn't really get on with my stepmother, but she was far better than my mother. Image was all that counted, and as long as I behaved, she was good to me. I do think that she was scared of my father though. My father taught me a lot, and we spent most of our spare time together, but that also meant that I saw him disappearing in front of me. It took a while before I got him to tell me anything. He told me about Charlie, and how she used to be the bright spark in his life. He gave her everything that she wanted, and she paid him back by walking out on him. When she told him that she was gay at age sixteen, he tried to help her, but she refused. She walked away to be with other lesbians, and they where the reason he never got to see her again."
"He told me that he tried over and over to get her back, but he was always blocked. Then one evening he came home after he crashed his car into a tree. He was crying because he managed to see Charlie that night, but things got ugly. He never told me exactly what happened, but he said it was all over. Charlie would never be coming home again. He faded bit by bit after that. Around about that time my stepmother died, and then it was just my father and me. He tried very hard to keep his life going, but Charlie and what she did to him was eating away at him. He died two years ago, and even though I promised him that I would never try to contact Charlie, I broke that promise because I think it's unfair that she can live her life as if nothing happened, while her actions took away the most important person in my life." It was quiet for quite some time after Alli stopped talking.
"That's a very sad story, but have you ever spoken to Charlie to get her version of what happened?" Tracey still didn't open her eyes as she spoke. "I don't know her very well, but she doesn't seem like a heartless person to me."
"I got her to start telling me what happened after she left her parents, but she didn't tell me very much. She basically implied that my father didn't want her in his house because she was a lesbian, and that she got kicked out of the house. She even told me that she landed on the streets and got gang raped. I can't just take her word for that. My father was great to me. He was the best thing that ever happened to me. I can't believe that he would lie to me. I don't really know Charlie, so I can't take her word over his, but I must admit, now and then, I do have my own doubts."
Tracey opened her eyes and looked at Alli with a serious face. "I can feel that this means a lot to you, and if it's revenge that you need to get closure, I'll do what I'm paid for, but I want you to get to know your sister and get to the bottom of this. I'm not saying your father's a liar, but this whole story doesn't sit right." Tracey took Alli's hands in hers and waited for her to look up. "I honestly don't think hurting your sister to that extent is gong to give you what you're looking for."
"Thanks Tracey, I appreciate your opinion."
Tracey let go of Alli's hands and sat back in the swing chair again. Alli looked at her and felt at ease for the first time since they had met. She sat back as well and closed her eyes.
Charlie and Megan arrived at Alli's house just after four in the afternoon. Megan could see how anxious Charlie was as they got out of the truck. This was after all the house that she had been born and spent the first sixteen years of her life in.
"Charlie, are you ok?"
"Anxious as hell, but otherwise fine." Charlie walked around the truck and took Megan's hand. "But with you by my side, I'll take on the world." Charlie bent over and gave Megan a lingering kiss.
"I'm glad to be the woman by your side. Now, let's get inside and get some food and rest. I told you we should've stopped at that one stop garage. A Wimpy coffee and burger would have gone down very well, but now you have a grumpy, hungry woman on your hands."
"Sometimes I think food is the biggest love of your life, and then I'm grateful that we're not living in the past where you could've been a cannibal. I think I would have ended up being dinner most of the time." Charlie let go of Megan's hand as she jumped to get out of Megan's reach.
"Keep those comments up Charlene Palmer, and you won't get any dessert." Megan's lips curved into a mischievous smile.
"I don't mind being dessert. I promise I won't say anything else." In a mock gesture Charlie moved her hand in front of her mouth as if closing a zip. She took hold of Megan's hand again, and they walked up to the front door, where they rang the bell.
Angela opened the door and couldn't believe her eyes. In front of her stood a very grown up Charlie. They had never been very close when Charlie lived in the house, because Charlie was a spoiled brat at the time, but they had all heard the last arguments in the house before Charlie got thrown out of it. "Miss Palmer, it's great to see you again."
Charlie stepped into the door and grabbed Angela in a hug. The shocked woman had no time to react. "And don't 'Miss Palmer' me, I'm Charlie and this is the love of my life, Megan."
Megan stepped forward and hugged Angela as well. "It's great to meet you Angela."
Angela looked from the one to the other. 'This is getting more interesting by the day. If I hadn't checked earlier already, this would've convinced me that I'm in a twilight zone.'
Angela's thoughts were still going when Elizabeth came running down the passage. "Charlie! Megan!"
Charlie and Megan both hugged Elizabeth. "Elizabeth, it's great to see you again. How's life in the big house? Are you all settled yet?" Charlie bent down on one knee as she spoke to Elizabeth.
"It's great, and the best part of it is that I get to have a milkshake every day."
"Well then, I'm moving into this house tomorrow." Megan licked her lips as if she had just had a milkshake.
"You aren't going anywhere without me, and I'm not leaving the farm for milkshake. We have enough cows on the farm and should be able to make our own."
"That won't work Charlie." Elizabeth's face was very serious.
Charlie got up again and looked down at Elizabeth. "And why wouldn't that work?"
"You need to have the cook that can make milkshakes, and Alli already has her."
"Damn, I just can't win!" They all burst out laughing.
"So little one, where's Alli and your mother? I thought that they would be here to greet us."
"They are home. I saw Mom go into the garden a few hours ago. She's probably fast asleep again. She doesn't know that I found her there yesterday. I didn't want to wake her up, and she only came back into the house hours later. I don't know where Alli is though."
"One is probably better than neither of them, so let's go and find your mom." Megan took Elizabeth's hand as she led them outside the house.
Alli and Tracey had both fallen asleep as they sat next to each other on the swing chair. Eventually Tracey's head slipped to the side to rest on Alli's shoulder. A cool breeze came up that had Tracey migrating towards the heat next to her. By the time Charlie, Megan and Elizabeth found them, Tracey was lying with her head in Alli's lap with her left arm around Alli's leg.
"This looks comfortable." Charlie's voice shocked Alli and Tracey out of their sleep, causing Tracey to jump up. Unfortunately for Alli, Tracey came up right under her chin, which caused Alli to jump up and send Tracey flying off the swing chair.
"She's a jumpy person and shouldn't be surprised," Alli said to the others as she helped Tracey up while rubbing her chin. "I know out of experience."
"If you know out of experience, you might want to stay away from me," Tracey said while rubbing her head, not sure if the situation was something she should laugh at or cry about.
"I'd suffer through a hundred head butts a day, just to be close to you."
Tracey realized that Alli was quicker getting into acting mode than she was. 'Damn she's getting good. Maybe she should be doing my job.' Tracey wrapped her arm around Alli's body as she leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on her chin where her head connected with it. "And I'll make up for it every time."
Alli looked up at her sister and Megan as she winked at them. "Now that's a promise worth getting."
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