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
When Tracey realised that there was nothing she could do to change Alli's mind, she agreed to move in with Elizabeth. To make things worse, Alli refused to stop the farce about their relationship. She still had her plan to see through even though she had told Tracey that she wasn't continuing with it anymore.
It had been four weeks since Alli's ultimatum, and the tension between Tracey and Alli was so thick, it could be cut with a knife. Tracey knew she was in a corner, but decided to play it safe until she could figure out a way to change the circumstances in her favour. In front of everyone else, she was Allison's loving girlfriend, but as soon as they were alone, she turned a cold shoulder and refused to sleep on the same bed as Alli. If she was being forced into this life, she at least wanted to keep her dignity. She insisted on having a fold-up bed in the bedroom.
Alli tried to convince herself that everything was going her way. Her plan was still on track although it looked like it was going to take longer than she had anticipated, and she had Elizabeth staying with her so that she could take care of her, but one little thing was causing confusion. Tracey's coldness towards her made her feel like she had lost something.
Every day became routine. At six in the morning Tracey's alarm would go off, after which she would have a shower and get dressed before waking Elizabeth up and helping her to get ready for school. Alli would get up at the same time, but would have a workout before her shower. They would all have breakfast together by seven thirty before Alli left for work and Tracey took Elizabeth to school.
Tracey would keep herself busy by helping the staff. They were relaxing more and more around her. Tracey would pick up Elizabeth again in the afternoon and help her with her homework. Elizabeth tried to get through that part of the day as quickly as possible, because she wanted to ride her bicycle, a gift from Alli. When Alli got home in the evenings, they all had dinner together before Alli went into her study to work, and Tracey spent time playing with, or reading to Elizabeth. The day would be ended off with Alli and Elizabeth having their milkshakes together in the kitchen before Elizabeth had to go to bed. Alli would go back to her study to work, and Tracey would watch some television. Tracey however never went to bed before she was sure that Alli was asleep.
After one of these evenings, Alli woke up at one in the morning to find herself still alone in the room. She decided to go looking for Tracey, who she found in the TV room, fast asleep on the couch with a re-run of CSI showing on the television. Alli switched off the television before she sat down on the opposite couch and just looked at Tracey.
Her emotions were in turmoil. She needed Tracey to talk to her again like they used to. The only interaction they had at the moment was when people were around them, and then Alli could feel that it was all an act from Tracey's side. She said and did what needed to be done to convince the people around them of their ongoing relationship, but never anything else. Even when they were holding hands, it felt impersonal, but Alli didn't know what to do or say to fix it. She knew she had screwed up majorly when she gave that ultimatum to Tracey, but she was sure she did it for the right reasons. Elizabeth would have a much better future if Alli was part of her life, and she felt Elizabeth deserved that chance, but in the process she had lost Tracey's friendship. There was no denying now that Tracy's friendship was dear to her and most probably one of the driving forces behind her ultimatum. It wasn't just that she didn't want to lose Elizabeth, she also didn't want to lose Tracey.
She needed to get the situation sorted, because it was influencing her work. It was bothering her to the point where she couldn't concentrate on what needed to be done.
Alli was brought back from her thoughts when Tracey stirred in her sleep and turned around. Alli could now see that Tracey didn't have a bra on as her shirt got pinned underneath her, stretching the fabric over her breasts. Alli's eyes roamed over Tracey's body as she became aware of little things. Tracey's breasts were full and a part of her stomach was showing. Her left hand was resting on her thigh, while her right hand was tucked under her head. Her legs were slightly bent at the knees and she was barefooted.
Alli's eyes went back up to Tracey's face. There was a faint smile on Tracey's lips. Alli's eyes followed her neckline back to her breasts where she stopped and watched it moving up and down as Tracey breathed. She couldn't help remembering the day of the ultimatum when she and Tracey tried to devour each other. Alli felt herself getting aroused. Her whole body felt like it was tingling. One area was definitely tingling more than the others. Her breathing got shallow and she could feel her nipples pressing against her shirt, but then Tracey moaned in her sleep while softly whispering Alli's name.
Alli shot up out of the chair. She felt like she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar and quickly made her way back to the bedroom.
'What the hell just happened?' she couldn't help asking herself when she was back in bed. 'How can I be turned on by another woman if I'm straight? Am I gay or am I just desperate? It would surely explain a few things in my life. The reason why I've never really been physically involved with men, except for three, but they never did last very long. As soon as the physical part of the relationship started, it went downhill very quickly. It didn't do very much for Eric's ego, but Frank and Trevor were surely convinced that I was frigid.'
Alli could feel that her body was still aroused. 'Can it really be, and is it just lust, or is there more to what I'm feeling for her?' Alli rolled around for a while, trying to get back to sleep, but every time she closed her eyes, she saw Tracey's body on the couch. This left her wanting every time. She eventually gave in to her body's desires. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to gaze upon Tracey's body in her mind, while she used her left hand to bring her body to a much-needed climax.
The next morning Alli decided to get perspective on everything, but that meant that she needed to talk to someone and that someone needed to know the whole situation. She phoned Karen as soon as she got to her office and arranged to meet her for lunch.
As soon as Tracey got back from dropping off Elizabeth at school, she allowed herself to sit down and think about the dream that she had once again had the night before. No matter how much she resented Alli at the moment, she just couldn't stop the way she felt about her. Her body craved Alli's touch, and after that fatal day four weeks ago, she had plenty to fantasise about. Every time this happened, Tracey got more upset with herself. No matter how much space she tried to put between them in that big house, it was never enough. She needed to find a way out of the situation as soon as possible. At the moment the only other person that she really spoke to was Angela. She couldn't help the tears that were running down her face once again.
Finding Tracey crying was becoming the norm for Angela. She hadn't known Tracey that long, but in the past four weeks they'd bonded like mother and daughter, and it was breaking her heart to see the tears on Tracey's face every day. Tracey wouldn't talk to her about the reason behind the tears, but she did open up to her about her life. Angela however had her own ideas about what was causing Tracey's unhappiness. She had heard part of the argument between Allison and Tracey four weeks ago and was waiting for an opportunity to bring it up.
"Tracey, when are you going to tell me what's wrong?"
Tracey looked up at Angela and smiled. "I don't want to get anyone into trouble Angela. It's better that you don't know anything."
"Would it have anything to do with you trying to get Megan into bed or with Alli wanting to hurt Charlie?"
Tracey looked at Angela with shock on her face. "So you did hear us."
"My dear, you guys were shouting and the door was open."
"She kicked it open." Tracey had a faint smile on her face. Thinking back, the whole incident was laughable.
"That much I figured out by myself. I've also tried to put two and two together, but haven't been able to get to four yet."
"Oh Angela, it's just so bizarre. I wouldn't know where to begin."
"The beginning is normally a good place."
Tracey couldn't hold back any more. She desperately needed advice. She told Angela about Alli's plan and the little she knew about the reason behind it. She also told her about the ultimatum and how she felt about Alli, despite everything and the fact that Alli wasn't really gay.
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Angela spoke. "I must say that this situation is much worse than I ever could've imagined."
"I feel like I landed in quicksand, and the more I try to get out, the deeper I sink. I'm afraid that if I stay here for much longer, I might just accept my circumstances and stay because it's the only way that I could be close to her." The tears started running down Tracey's cheeks again as she spoke.
"Firstly, somewhere along the line, Alli has been given the wrong information. I was here all those years ago. Charlie did not walk out of this house. She was kicked out because she came out of the closet. Mr and Mrs Palmer wouldn't have anything to do with her, because she didn't want to change and it wasn't good for their social image. She was shipped off to get 'fixed', but she came back still gay. They told her that she had to change or they would disown her. She got kicked out of here with nothing."
"But why would Alli think that Charlie was the reason behind their father's broken heart?"
"Because he made her believe it! There wasn't much that happened in this house that we didn't know about, but we never spoke of it, because he was such a cruel man. None of us would have jobs if we dared say anything. Alli was such a sweet, scared little kid when she came here, but he changed her. He stopped her from speaking to us. She wasn't even allowed to be a child. He reared her in his image, but I'm glad she's retained who she really is. Since she's brought you and Elizabeth into this house, she's shown signs of the old Alli that we got to know so many years ago."
"But why would he want her to believe that?"
"Because he didn't want her to become like Charlie."
"He doesn't sound like a nice person, so why does Alli think he was so great?"
"Mr Palmer was one person in front of her and another behind her. You really can't blame her for what she's feeling or even doing for that matter. Even from his grave, he's controlling her. There's a big difference between knowing that you are being controlled like you are by that ultimatum she gave you, and not knowing like she is being controlled by her father."
"But why does she say that he died of a broken heart because Charlie didn't want to know him?"
"That is probably the biggest secret he ever kept. Even we don't know what happened that night, but we have our suspicions. Mr Palmer said that he drove into a tree, but unless that tree was able to bleed, he hit someone and not something. His car was locked in the garage and covered until it got taken away. It stayed covered as they towed it away, and we never saw that car again."
"If you guys never saw the car, why do you suspect that he hit a person?"
"Because back then, Mrs Palmer had a personal aide who had a young boy of eight years. He wasn't allowed in the house, so he played outside when he came with her during school holidays. He was very inquisitive and managed to get into the oddest places. Locking the garage door was like an invitation for him to get in." Angela laughed as she remembered the young boy.
"Well, he managed to get in all right. While inside, he lifted the cover and got inside the car to play. When Jenny went looking for him, she found him when she looked into the garage window, but she didn't just see him. She also saw the front of the car. That's how we know about it. The strange thing was that when Mr Palmer found out that the boy had been in the garage, Jenny resigned. She told us that she inherited a bit of money from her aunt and left the next day. We never heard from her again, and Mr Palmer was never the same after that night."
"It seems like there are lots of skeletons in the Palmer family history, unfortunately they're controlling the future. We have to do something Angela. Maybe if we can solve this secret and convince Alli that she has no reason to hurt her sister, she'll let me go."
"But why do you want to leave Tracey if you say that you love her?"
"Because she's straight and doesn't love me." The tears started running down Tracey's cheeks again.
"I'm not so sure about that, but I agree, let's first see if we can solve this mystery."
"Thanks Angela. My mother used to be my best friend and I could talk to her about anything, but after I lost her, I've felt very alone even though I had Elizabeth. You remind me so much of her." Tracey hugged Angela before she got up. "It's about time to pick up Elizabeth, so I better pull myself together and run."
"Any time my dear. You and Elizabeth have crept very deep into my heart, and I'm sure into the hearts of the other staff as well. Working in this house hasn't been pleasurable in years, but things have changed and it's all because of you two.
"Karen, stop laughing." Alli was getting irritated with her friend.
"I can't. For years I've been trying to get you to see the light, and here you come up with a plan that ends up biting you in the ass and gets you to see the light at the same time. I've known for years that you were gay, but you were so brainwashed by that father of yours, that you couldn't see it."
"Stop talking about my father like that!"
Karen stopped laughing and shook her head from side to side. "I'm sorry, but from what you've told me, I think your father told you some lies and it didn't stop there. If I were you, I'd investigate it more, because your sister doesn't sound like the monster you made her out to be. I can see that you're having doubts about him; why not just confront your doubts and do something about it. As to you being gay, like I said before, I've known it for a long time; all you need to do is embrace it. Act on what you feel and stop trying to analyse it. I do think that what you've done to Tracey was unforgivable. Are you trying to become the monster you think your sister is? If I can give you any advice on that, I would say you need to start apologising in a big way."
Alli felt a surge of relief; Karen had put into words what she had been fighting to deny for days, and it suddenly felt so right.
"Wow, I suppose I deserved that. Do you know that you're the only person that would be able to say what you did and still stay my friend?"
"Yeh, yeh, now can we eat? I'm starving!"
"Yes, we can eat first, but then we need to chat about what I can do to fix this whole mess I've created." Alli signalled for the waiter to take their order.
When Alli got home that evening, she had a smile on her face and a plan on her mind. She went looking for Angela to speak to her. Tracey and Elizabeth were already at the dinner table when Alli walked in.
Alli stopped behind Tracey's chair as she bent down to kiss her on the cheek. "Hallo my angel. Did you have a good day?" Alli could feel the shock going through Tracey's body before she straightened up and took her seat. Tracey just looked at her with shock on her face.
"Elizabeth, what would you say about being driven to school by your mother and myself and then being picked up by the driver in the afternoons? Angela says she'll take care of you until we get home."
"I like it, but where would my mother be?"
"I need your mother with me. My personal assistant had to take sudden leave because of a sick family member, so I need someone to help me."
"Then it's settled. We'll start tomorrow."
'Oh god no. I can't spend my days with her as well,' Tracey thought as she looked at Alli with panic clearly showing on her face, but all she saw was Alli smiling from ear to ear.
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