DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story are mine. Any resemblance to any fictional characters is purely coincidental. This is an uber story and so the two lead characters may be familiar. Some locations contained within the story are real and some are fictional.
LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER: This story depicts loving consensual sexual relationships between women. Some very light BDSM references are contained in the piece. If you are under 18 years of age or if the themes of these relationships are illegal in your country then I suggest you skip this story.
SONG/MUSIC DISCLAIMER: The Songs mentioned in this piece are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to my Beta reader Lee. Your help has been invaluable. For my partner Lou. Your help, love and encouragement are my inspiration. ©Jenny Frame January 2011
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To jennyframe91[at]yahoo.com

The Dalton Family Saga:
Book One: The Road to Dencotte House

By Jenny Frame


Part 3

The next morning Alex jumped out of bed full of the joys of spring. She couldn't wait to get into the office to see her beloved. She got ready as quickly as she could and set off for work, stopping off to pick up flowers for Beth. The flowers where fast becoming her Monday morning ritual. Thinking ahead to Beth's birthday, she felt she had so much to do but she had left one of the extra surprises in Poni's capable hands and the other she would get while Beth was out shopping with Lotty. She bounded up the stairs to the office and burst in with great exuberance.

"Alex! Good morning, you gave me a fright bursting in the door like that."

"I am sorry. I was just so eager to see you my love." Alex thrust the bunch of flowers towards her girlfriend.

Thank you! You never forget flowers on a Monday, you spoil me!"

Beth looked up at Alex who was standing in front of her desk casually with her hands in her pockets. . She was looking at her with a Smokey, sexy look that made Beth's heart pound. Alex looked hungry as if she could devour her whole, her gaze appraised every inch of Beth lingering over her breasts. She felt as if she was being caressed and she heard herself moan.

"Come here little bit," she said with her head cocked slightly to the side. Beth knew from her tone of voice that it was a command not a request. Her heart pounded faster. "B ... but Alex, we can't, not in the office." She implored.

"Come here." She ordered louder this time.

Beth got up quickly and went straight into her arms. Alex grasped her young girlfriend's head under her chin possessively and kissed her with such passion they both began to moan. The kisses became more frantic as

Alex's tongue pushed, seeking entrance into Beth's mouth. She took Beth's lower lip between her teeth and pulled. The young girl had never felt this sort of passion before; she was losing herself in it, becoming drunk with the feelings of lust for this tall, blue eyed woman. She threw her arms around Alex's neck and began her own attack on Alex's mouth with her tongue. Alex growled in reaction to Beth's new forwardness. She allowed her hands to travel down and grasp the girl's pert round bottom. She pulled Beth into her groin. The feel of her writhing against her was driving her to distraction. She had completely lost herself along with Beth in the sexual haze they were creating.

She lifted her girlfriend's legs up and wrapped them around her waist. Alex walked them over to the desk and sat Beth on it. She attacked Beth's neck with a barrage of nips and bites. The girl was obviously very sensitive around her neck because the noises coming from her were growing in intensity.

"Oh! Oh! Alex! Please! Please! I need ... Ah!" she moaned.

"What? What do you need? Tell me?"

"I don't know ... Ah ... oh ... I don't know what I need."

When Alex began to feel herself start to thrust against Beth, she realized things were going far too far. Her girlfriend didn't know what she needed because she'd never felt these feelings before and didn't know what to do with them. This brought Alex back down to earth with a bang. Beth wasn't ready. She couldn't let herself take her love like this for the first time. They had to wait. Alex pulled away gasping.

"Sweetheart, we have to stop before we can't. You're not ready and I don't want it to be like this. I don't want to take you like this in the office on the desk. You're too special."

Beth was gasping; she couldn't believe what she had nearly done.

"You're right. I'm sorry. You just make me feel so much! It overwhelms me." she said easing herself off the desk and straightening her clothes.

"No, little bit, it is I who should be sorry? I'm older and I have more experience. I should have known we were going too far. I want you so badly, more than I've ever wanted anyone but I want to take you in our bed, our marriage bed. I want to do things properly. I need to slow down for you." She said looking deeply into Beth's eyes watching a tear escape down her cheek.

"Why the tears Sweetheart?" Alex asked worriedly.

"It just feels wonderful to hear you say those things darling, that you love me so much and you see a future for us like that."

"Of course I do. Did you not listen to me yesterday when I said you are mine and I want no other for the rest of my life? When you are ready, when we are ready I want to make you my wife. I love you with all that I am." She playfully kissed Beth on the nose.

The little blonde was filled joy. She would love nothing more than to be Alex's in time. When they had calmed themselves down a bit Beth said smiling, "May I suggest that we have no more passionate kisses in the office? Only pecks on the cheek."

"You're quite right. Do you know what we need? Tea!"

Beth laughed heartily. "You're quite right my lord!"

They drank their tea and settled down. The rest of the day was quiet, but filled with loving glances between the lovers.

Beth was up bright and early even though Lotty wasn't picking her up until 9 O'clock. They had a long day ahead. She heard the beep from Lotty's Rolls Royce and went outside to join her friend. Robson the chauffeur held the door open for her to enter the car.

"My dear! So good to see you." The older woman said as she kissed Beth on the cheek.

"I understand a certain young lady has ensnared the heart of one Lord Dalton?"

"Yes! It's amazing; I can still hardly believe it. I took your advice and told her and she loves me! Just like you said. I feel like I've been floating on air ever since."

"Robson, take us to Harrods please. I'm so glad you had the courage Beth. If you had left it to our Lord you would be waiting forever. Now then prepare yourself for a lifetime of bliss, starting today. Let us go forth and spend Alex and Poni's money!" The two women laughed at first, but then Beth's face grew more serious.

"Lotty I didn't like this idea at first. I think she is spending too much on me. I don't want you or anyone else to think I'm with her only for her money."

"My dear, we are your friends. We know you're not and nobody else matters, so enough of that and lets enjoy our day. Spending your other halves money is a great art and has taken me some years to perfect, but I am willing to teach and share that knowledge with you!" She joked.

"Ok then, I give in!" Beth held up her hands in mock surrender.

"Well done. It'll be less painful in the long run." Lotty smiled at her friend.

Ten minutes later they arrived at Harrods. They doorman opened the car door for them to exit the car. When he saw Lotty he fawned all over her. "Mrs. Woodward, so nice to see you again. Let me see you inside."

Beth was bowled over; he knew Lotty by name and was so attentive to her. She must spend a lot of money here. Could she fit into this role with Alex? Could this be her future and was she ready for it? The young blonde was overwhelmed with the sights and sounds that greeted her as she went through the revolving door to the prestigious store. It was like stepping into a different world. There no poorly dressed people in here. Ladies decked in the finest furs and silks; gentlemen in the finest suits. The decor was like a palace.

Beth felt out of place, how would she ever fit into a place like this? Lotty caught the look of trepidation and knew she had to try and reassure her. She leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Beth do not be deceived, all these people are the same as you and me. It's all a performance and in that performance all us actors are given different costumes, some fine, some poor. All you need to do is change your costume and you can seamlessly become part of that other world. So just allow yourself to enjoy the costume fitting and the performance will follow my dear." She smiled took Beth by the hand. "All better now?"

"All better, thank you. Lead on!" she smiled.

Lotty took them to the very large Ladies department. As soon as they entered a middle aged rather stuffy looking woman trotted over to them.

"Mrs. Woodward, how pleasant to see you again. Please come and take a seat." They were led to a private room, pleasantly decorated, in the far side of the spacious department. It had comfortable seating and magazines and a large curtained off area for the changing of clothes. Beth wondered why they were going to sit down to shop.

"How can we help you today Mrs. Woodward?"

"I'm not here for myself today Alice, we're here for my young friend here"

Beth felt herself scrutinized as Alice looked at her up and down, apparently displeased with what she saw.

"Miss Bentley is to be decked out from top to toe for an evening engagement. The purchases are to be charged to Lady Dalton's account."

Lotty felt quite satisfied as she saw the look of displeasure for Beth evaporate in front of her eyes. If anything was to be charged to Lady Dalton then Alice or any staff member of any of the prestigious London shops would know that money would be no object.

"Of course, Mrs. Woodward, Miss Bentley. Shall I put together some selections and bring them to you?"

"That would excellent Alice, thank you." Lotty said graciously.

"Size 12 I would believe Miss Bentley, am I correct?"

"Spot on, How did you know?"!"

"I have an eye for these things." She said proudly.

"I shall send one of the girls over with tea and biscuits for you ladies." She said setting off on her mission with a slight skip in her step.

"Sitting down with tea and biscuits to shop? This is like nothing I've ever done before." Beth said in wonder.

"Remember it's all a performance. Enjoy the attention my dear!"

"Do you come here often?"

"Yes, but more for odds and ends. I get my clothes made for the season at one of London designers I favour or from one of the Paris fashion houses, but I do get handkerchiefs, underwear, some jewellery, and some household furniture here. Oh, and they do Poni's favourite brand of cigars here! I do love to shop. Alex would have wanted you to go a designer, if there had been enough time. So are you going to try and enjoy yourself?"

So Poni and Alex were in an even richer tax bracket than the people who shopped in here. 'How wonderful, to have your whole wardrobe made to measure!' Beth thought. "I promise, I am going to relax and just play the part!"

"Good girl!" Lotty patted her on the knee.

Alice returned heading up an entourage of girls who were laden down with goods. They hung them up on a rail at the side of the room.

"Miss Bentley, if you'd care to start off by trying on the cocktail dresses, and then we can move on to the shoes and furs? We have also put in some selections of lingerie that would be suitable for this type of gown."

"Thank you." Beth stood and made her way behind the curtain. !This was going to be fun!'

Only a few streets away Alex and Poni pulled up in front of Garrads. Garrads was the oldest jewelers in London and the official crown jeweler, dealing with the care of the crown and responsible for the cutting of some famous diamonds like the Koh-I-Noor.

"Thanks for coming with me Poni. I know I'll need some guidance and you have bought more jewelry for Lotty here than I think Princess Elizabeth owns!" She snickered as they approached the door.

"I make no apologies about spoiling my wife. She gives me happiness. She likes pretty things and I get lots of brownie points, and they such fun to cash in." She winked.

The doorman saw them into the store and a staff member approached them. To anybody off the street it would look nothing like a shop. The old sandstone building had high ceilings and intricate carvings in the cornice.

"Ms. Woodward, how can we help today? We have some new pieces in that Mrs. Woodward would adore!" The shop assistant beamed already calculating her commission. Ms. Woodward's purchases were indeed generous and numerous.

"Not for Mrs. Woodward today I'm afraid. We're here to purchase a birthday gift for a friend of Lady Dalton."

"Of course, please let me show you to one of the private viewing rooms."

Alex and Poni were led through the wide open room. Alex could see a few large desks and comfortable seats and couches spread throughout the room. The one thing Alex could not see was jewelry. There was none on display. The desk's assistant's heart sped up, Lady Dalton's purchase was likely to be worth a big commission.

They had only had the pleasure of her custom once when she purchased a wedding gift for Ms. and Mrs. Woodward. She sat them down in the comfortable room. "I'll just get you some tea organised then I'll get an idea of what You're looking for."

"Thank you, eh ... Mrs. Green wasn't it?" Poni suddenly remembered.

"That's right, Sarah Green. Please call me Sarah." she beamed at being remembered.

She didn't care much for their lifestyle. Women pretending to be men was very distasteful, but the customers buying power made her forget her principles, and Ms. Woodward had always been very polite and generous with the tips she left. She left the room to get organised.

Now left on their own, Poni could probe Alex at last. "So what are we looking for today; gold, diamonds, bracelet, a ring?" Poni smiled mischievously.

"Hold your horses there Poni old man. I would marry her tomorrow if I could, but I promised I would go slow remember? I don't want to scare her. I want to get her something to wear with her new outfit that would mean something, you know, a love token something like that, but that she could also wear at work or anywhere. It needs to be special, the best quality, but I don't want it to look as if I went mad. She's a bit funny about me spending money on her. She only thinks she's getting the new outfit."

"You don't want much do you old friend!" Poni laughed.

"I just want it to be perfect for her. Did you get that other item we talked about?"

"Sourced and purchased. You'll be receiving the invoice shortly no doubt"

"Excellent I wonder how they're getting on? I hope she's enjoying herself."

"Alex she is with Lotty and shopping. I'm sure Lotty's instructing her on the finer points of spending our money." Poni joked.

"Well at least it's not your money today old friend."

"Are you kidding Do you really think my wife can go into a shop without seeing something she just has to have? Even if they are there shopping for Beth?"

Alex laughed. "That's true, she does love to shop. As much as you protest Poni, you love it don't you?"

"Of course I do, there's nothing I like more than to indulge that woman. She gives me so much. I love to make her happy." Poni spoke from the heart.

"I know old friend, I hope Beth and I can be half as happy as you two are."

"You love Beth very much don't you?"

"I could never imagine loving anyone more. I miss her when were apart. When she's not there I feel like I am missing a part of me. I just need to make her so happy she'll never want to leave me."

"I'm happy for you Alex, you deserve it."

At that the shop assistant came through the door with a tray filled with tea and cakes. Alex told her some idea of what she was looking for and she set off again trying to fulfill the very specific demands.

Beth stepped out of the dressing room for about the tenth time. She'd been swept away on a wave of luxury and indulgence. Once she'd let herself go, she had the most wonderful day. Lotty and she had giggled and laughed all morning at some awful dresses and comparing their two respective partners. The dress she stepped out in was a beautiful sleeveless, petrol blue evening gown. She loved it. She had stopped looking at the price tags a few dresses back, the price was shocking but she had promised Lotty and Alex she would just enjoy it. She didn't want to seem ungrateful.

"Oh that's just you Beth, do you like that one?"

"Very much, I think I can narrow it down to this one and the strapless black gown, what do you think?" "They're both perfect my dear, now before you start agonizing over choosing between the two, I have a little confession to make. Alex asked me to get you to choose two dresses. She didn't want to overwhelm you and she knows you're so proud but there will be other engagements Alex will take you where you will need another dress. So what do you think?"

Lotty waited for the argument over money to start. Beth was all set to say under no circumstances would she accept when she thought. 'I don't want to embarrass Alex when we go to any events.' She remembered Alex's words when they first went out to dinner and then again only a few days ago. 'You're mine now; I want to take care of you. Let me. This discussion is over, ok?' 'I don't want to anger Alex and it obviously makes her happy to do this. Maybe I should take Lotty's advice and just go with it.' Her decision made she replied. "I think that's a wonderful idea Lotty, I'll have these two then." Beth said excitedly.

Lotty was shocked; she had given in very easily this time. She must want to please Alex very much.

"Good girl Beth! You're learning very quickly!" She turned to Alice. "We'll have these two please and charge to Lady Dalton's account."

"I'll have everything packaged and sent out to your car, Mrs. Woodward, Miss Bentley" Alice said as she left to charge all this morning's purchases to the account book. Miss Bentley had gotten two evening gowns, two pairs of shoes, lingerie and hosiery to suit both dresses and a real fur stole for her shoulders and Mrs. Woodward had added a mink fur coat to her account.

"Have you enjoyed yourself my dear?" Lotty said after Beth had finished dressing.

"It was wonderful. I've never been so spoiled in my life."

Lotty put her arm through Beth's. "Shall we go to lunch? They have the most wonderful restaurant here." They went off smiling together. As they sat over lunch their conversations went back to their respective partners.

"I wonder how Alex is doing in the office on her own?"

"I wouldn't worry about her too much. I understand from my darling Poni that they were going to meet up for some lunch and mischief!" She looked at Beth's faraway look.

"You really miss her don't you?"

"Very much, I love her so much sometimes I think my heart will burst. I worry as well." Beth confided shyly.

"Whatever for? Surely you know Alex adores you?"

"I know she loves me. It's just sometimes I think I ... I ... might not be enough for her, you know in ... in ...that way, you know with the way she was with women." Beth blushed profusely.

Lotty smiled knowing at once what was troubling the girl. She remembered what it was like to be 20, young, innocent, and in love.

"My dear you have nothing to worry about. You will be enough and more for Alex. You must never be embarrassed to talk about making love. It is the most wonderful thing in the world if you are with someone you love. Has something happened to make you worry?"

"We were kissing in the office the other day, that's all we've done, you know. Alex doesn't want to rush me and she said we shouldn't make love until I am ready. She even mentioned waiting till we were married. I was overjoyed at first because it meant Alex thought we would have a future together, that she saw marriage for us. Then I was worried that if we get to that point and I am a disappointment to her, it would be too late and she would be trapped and would resent me. Now I know what it's like to be loved by Alex, I don't think I could survive without it."

"My, what a lot of worries you have in that little head of yours!" Beth smiled. "First of all tell me what happened in the office, how you felt and so forth."

Beth lowered her voice, anxious not to be heard by the other diners. "Well we kissed and it became rather heated and she touched me and I touched her, and my heart hammered in my chest. All I could think of was Alex, to have Alex everywhere all at once. Everything became a blur and I asked her for something that I have no words for. We carried on then Alex stopped saying that we must stop before she couldn't."

The waiter approached the table to clear the dessert dishes.

"Coffee, ladies?"

"Yes, please bring a pot rather than two cups please; I so often want a second cup." Lotty replied for both of them.

"Beth, tell me, you haven't kissed or touched anyone before Alex, but yet it seems to have come naturally to you, so will all the rest that comes after. Alex loves you and will guide you. Don't worry; I am sure you will come to enjoy the physical side of life as I did. The connection you feel when you make love with someone that you truly love is indescribable." Lotty smiled as she thought of the love she and Poni shared. Their honeymoon period never seemed to end; they could never get enough of each other.

"Have your fears lessoned now my young Beth?"

"Much better! Thank you, I really must thank you for such a wonderful day. You're a good friend."

"It was my pleasure. I'm sure we will have many more days shopping much to the chagrin of our other halves!" They both laughed.

That night Alex phoned Beth at home.

"Oh darling, I missed you so much today, I can't wait to see you at work tomorrow."

"And I you, little bit, did you have a good day?" Alex longed to have her in her arms.

"It was wonderful, I saw such beautiful things and Lotty and I had such fun together!" Beth gushed.

Alex laughed. "I'm so glad you enjoyed it sweetheart. Did you get some nice dresses?"

"Yes, I got the loveliest things, and you, My Lord, are naughty for telling Lotty I must get two dresses."

"I await your punishment little bit." she flirted. "I know we will be attending some more events and I wanted you to have the best. You didn't argue about money did you?" Alex asked with a slightly stern edge to her voice.

"No, not at all." she lied only slightly. "I remembered what you said the last time. I may get a little concerned sometimes, but it's only that I don't want people to think I'm a kept woman or something, but I won't question you again. I promise."

"We are courting with the intention of you becoming my wife one day. It's is my privilege to spoil you. A kept woman would not be courted; she would be setup in a flat somewhere as a mistress so not to worry. But I thank you for doing as I asked."

"Alex I miss you. I wish we would never be apart."

"Soon sweetheart, remember we must go slow for you. You're a young woman and I don't want to rush you into anything, but remember you have my love and commitment always. You're mine now Beth never forget that, just as I am yours. Now go to sleep little one, I shall see you in the morning."

Beth purred with pleasure every time Alex said she was hers. She wanted to belong to her so much and she knew there was no threat behind the possessive statement, it was said in love. The young women wanted to belong to Alex.

"Goodnight Alex. I thought I might go in a little early to the office, catch up on a few things."

"Alright I'll see you as soon as I can. I have to stop by Dalton House to sign a few papers."

"I'll have your breakfast waiting My Lord! Goodnight, I love you."

"I love you too, Good night little bit."

Today would be the day. Wednesday, the day he would take his revenge. He had watched the comings and goings to the office building for days and days now. He had noticed his little whore had become friendlier with that dyke bitch! the little touches and kisses as they left the office. But not to worry he would have the pleasure of little Beth and every time the dyke looked at her she would have a reminder that Albert Pincher had taken what she couldn't have. She would be reminded that she could never best a man. His revenge would be sweet and delicious. He had decided the best time to act would be in the morning since Beth was always in first with the Dalton female coming later where she would find her precious little Beth waiting for her. He skulked back into the shadows and waited.

Beth looked forward to work today; one whole day away from Alex had been too much. She couldn't wait to get a cuddle in those strong arms. She walked up the stone steps and towards the outer office door and as she unlocked it she felt a force slam against her back which dumped her onto the office floor. She looked up and saw Albert Pincher enter the room and calmly close the door behind him.

"Albert what are you doing! You could have hurt me!"

"Do you know that's the first time you've called me that" He said as he circled her slowly, then grabbed her by the back of her coat and roughly pulled her up.

"All the times I would politely talk to you in the park, it was Mr. Pincher this and Mr. Pincher that. All I wanted to do was take you out to dinner, but oh no! That wasn't good enough for you was it!"

He grabbed Beth by the throat and squeezed. "A nice respectable man like me and you whore yourself for that dyke! Have you opened your legs for her?" His grasp tightening.

Beth was terrified as she was struggling for breath. "Tell me! Has she fucked you!" She now couldn't breathe at all and croaked out, "N ... no ..." He let her throat go and Beth stood gasping.

"Good little whore, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I'm going to take what she wants. I'm going to be the first one who knows your private places Beth."

"No! ... NO!! Please let me go. I won't tell anyone, I promise please!" She pleaded.

She made a lunge for the door but Albert caught her easily and slapped her across the face, hard enough to burst her lip. He forced her down on the floor and started to pull at her clothes.

"I'm going to fuck you and take your precious virginity, then you will always remember me! I am going to cut that beautiful face so every time she looks at you, she'll know I won. I had you! I fucked you!" Growling he started to tear at her clothes.

'Oh please, not like this. He must have a knife if he is going to cut me! Alex please! Alex please I need you!' She mentally called out.

He ripped open her blouse and grabbed at her breasts. Beth started to push and kick with all her might. She managed to scratch him across his cheek and draw blood.

"You bitch whore!"

He punched her in the face; blood was now dripping down her face from her nose and mouth. He pulled up her skirt frantically and rubbed his crotch against her pants. She could feel his erection through his trousers.

"Do you feel that slut? I'm going to fuck you till you scream!"

The young girl was crying hysterically now. 'I'm sorry Alex; I wanted to give you this gift. I love you Alex.' She sent the thoughts out to her beloved as she heard him unzip his trousers.

Alex couldn't wait to see her little one. She woke up bright and early and went down to the Dalton building early so she could surprise her girl. She would take her to lunch and then maybe invite her over this evening for some cuddling. Who would have thought Alex Dalton would like cuddling? She smiled to herself. It truly was wonderful to be in love. She parked and walked towards the office building whistling.

'That's odd?' She thought. The front door to the building was swinging open. Beth wouldn't be that careless. The hackles on the back of her neck stood up and she bounded up the stairs. She burst into the office and looked down with horror to see Albert Pincher on top of Beth with her skirt up round her waist. Albert had hold of his manhood about to force his way into her. Beth was crying and squirming uncontrollably. She grabbed a hold of the back of Albert's jacket and pulled him off of the young woman and began to rain punch after punch down on Albert.

"I'm going to kill you disgusting bastard." Alex screamed.

Beth looked up at her saviour beating this man to death; her face was one of cold fury. She had never seen anything more frightening. She couldn't lose Alex. Not over Albert Pincher. She sorted her clothing quickly and crawled over to Alex, grabbing her in a hug.

"Please Alex! Please! You're going to kill him! I can't lose you! If you kill him you'll go to prison! Please Alex! Please don't leave me!"

Somewhere in the back of Alex's mind she heard Beth's pleading and began to slow down. The punches stopped and she stood up breathing like she had run a marathon. Albert's face was a bloody mess. He was alive but unconscious. She heard him moan and placed a forceful kick to his exposed genitals.


She turned quickly and gathered the sobbing woman into her arms.

"Sweetheart! I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I'm here now. Shhh! Shhh! I love you, I'm here little bit." She cooed to the trembling girl.

"You came! Alex You came! I ... I ... I shouted out in my mind for you and you came!"

"I'll always be where you need me sweetheart. Did he ...?" She was almost too afraid to ask.

"N ... no ... no ... he was just about to when you came in. Oh I was so scared Alex!" Beth hiccupped and spluttered.

"No one will ever hurt you again my little bit! I promise you that. Now try and calm down a little, I just need to go over to the phone and call the police." She tried to pull away and Beth gripped her tighter.

"Please don't let go of me Alex. Please!" she cried desperately.

"Alright! Alright! Just come over to the desk and we'll sit down together, alright?"

They shuffled over to the desk and Alex sat in the chair bringing Beth down on to her lap. The little blonde was gripping Alex round her neck like she was a life raft. Alex picked up the phone and dialed.

"Police please. Hello this is Lady Dalton, one of my employees has just been attacked. I had to fight him off her and he is unconscious. Could you send some people please?" Alex said commandingly.

"Of course Lady Dalton! We'll be right with you."

Alex replaced the receiver then immediately took it up again after having a good idea. She called Poni and told her what happened.

"Oh my god Alex! Is Beth alright?"

"She's extremely shaken. Could you and Lotty come over? The police may want to speak to me alone and Beth will need someone to sit with her."

"Of course! We'll be there in 15 minutes."

Alex cuddled Beth in tighter. The girl's tears had reduced to snuffles, but she was just staring into thin air.

"Sweetheart, the police will be here soon and so will Poni and Lotty. I love you my darling."

"I ... I don't want to be alone tonight. Please don't send me home. I need you, only you."

"It's alright; you'll stay with me so I can keep an eye on you. Once the police have been here I'll call Agnes and explain. She'll understand that it's perfectly innocent."

The police appeared in the doorway and immediately checked on Albert.

One of the constables said. "He's alive Inspector. He's coming round now."

"Get him into the van and seen by the doctor back at the station."

"Yes sir!"

"Lady Dalton I presume? I'm Inspector Welding."

The inspector looked at the unusual sight of a woman dressed in gents clothing, short hair and a little blond with a beaten and bloody face perched on her lap. Inspector Welding was a tall man, with salt and pepper hair, a moustache and long trench coat.

"Yes, forgive me for not standing to shake your hand but Miss Bentley won't let go of me, she's too scared. I've called some friends to come and sit with her so that you can speak to me. They'll just be a few minutes."

"Of course, Lady Dalton. Miss Bentley is the victim I take it?"

Alex nodded.

"I'll call a doctor for her. Can you tell me her full name?"

"Thank you. This is Elizabeth Bentley, my friend and secretary."

"I see, well I'll just go and get someone to contact a doctor." He said as he stepped out the room.

"Will they need to ask me things Alex?"

"I'm afraid so sweetheart but I'll be with you. As soon as you get it over and done with we can get back to the flat and get comfortable. Alright?"

She nodded. Beth felt numb, but was beginning to warm up from the inside by being in Alex's arms. Alex had saved her. Alex was home and safety. She tried to burrow even deeper into her Alex's neck as the Woodward's came bounding into the room.

"My dear! Look at you! Are you alright?" Lotty exclaimed.

"Alex saved me." she replied in a whisper.

The couple looked upon the young girl lying pathetically in their friends arms. Her face battered and bruised.

"I'll make some hot sweet tea." Lotty announced feeling the need to help in some way.

"There's some Brandy in the cupboard in my office Lotty, put some in the tea will you?" Alex added.

"What are the police saying Alex?" Poni asked

"Nothing yet. They took him away and the inspector will be back shortly? He was just going to get a hold of a doctor."

The inspector came back in and saw that the friends had arrived.

"The doctor will be here soon. Could we speak to you now Lady Dalton?"

"Yes, I'll take you through to the conference room. I have to go for a little while sweetheart you'll be here with Poni and Lotty I'll be as quick as I can."

"Alright." Beth whispered.

Lotty came over to Beth with a cup of tea, sat beside her and took her hand. An hour later both Alex and Beth had been interviewed. The police were quite satisfied that Alex acted in self defense. Her status assured a speedy investigation.

"Is there anything we can do for you Alex?" Poni asked.

"It's ok now. I'm taking Beth home with me tonight. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know how things are."

Lotty came over and kissed Beth on the head. Her heart broke at the pain and confusion on Beth's face.

"Goodnight my dear, let Alex look after you and all will be well."

Poni kissed Beth as well and patted Alex on the back.

"Telephone us, ok? Anytime."

"I will do that old friend, thank you."

Once they left Alex gathered up Beth's things. "Let's go little bit."

Beth willingly followed Alex out of the door, gripping her hand like a vice.

They entered into the flat and Alex asked, "You're shivering sweetheart, why don't we run a warm bath for you, then we can sit in front of the fire?"

"That would be really nice; I need to wash his stench off me."

On the drive over Beth had calmed down a lot but she was still very quiet. Alex was going to let her speak in her own time.

Alex ran the bath and turned to leave. The young girl grabbed at her hand and tried to pull her back.

"Don't leave me. Please?" Beth said with a pleading voice.

Alex's heart broke at the look of pain on her darling girl's face.

"I will never leave you sweetheart. I'm just going to give you some privacy to wash. I think that's proper. Alright? You can leave the door open a bit if you want. Just yell if you really need me and I'll be right in. I'm going to call Agnes and then I'll make us some roasted cheese; I think I can do that without burning it.

What do you think little bit?" She said hoping the small joke would break the tension.

"I think you might just manage My Lord." She gave a tiny smile.

Alex was delighted at hearing the small endearment Beth used for her. That was progress.

After she finished speaking to Agnes she began making the toast and cheese. Agnes had been very understanding as to why Beth wanted to stay overnight with her. Alex wanted to make it clear that it was not improper. Beth came into the kitchen dressed in one of Alex's shirts that she had left out for her. Alex had nothing else that would suit the girl to wear. The shirt was huge, and hung to just above Beth's knees. Alex thought she looked adorable and it gave Alex a warm feeling to see Beth dressed in her clothes.

"This is ready so let's go through and curl up by the fire. You'll feel better in no time."

They settled down on the big couch and began to eat. Beth was picking at her food and after five minutes put the plate on the side table.

"Are my cheese on toast skills that bad?"

"Oh no darling, I just can't face eating."

"I will get us a brandy. That'll help settle you."

Alex came back with two glasses and handed one to Beth. She took a sip and although it didn't taste too good it gave her a lovely warm fuzzy feeling so she kept drinking. Alex lifted her arm and motioned for her to cuddle into her side. Alex hadn't asked too much, obviously not wanting to upset her, but she felt she needed cuddling.

"Alex, can I tell you what happened? I feel if I tell you and get it out my head then it won't upset me so much because you will have gotten rid of the pain for me."

"You can tell me as much or as little as you want sweetheart. Never be afraid to tell me anything." Alex murmured and tightened her hold on Beth.

Beth stared into the fire for several minutes. "In many ways, I don't think the attack was about me. He wanted to get back at you. He wanted revenge. He must have been watching us and noticed we were together. You know, stepping out together."

Alex could feel her anger building but was determined to keep quiet and let Beth get all this out.

"Carry on sweetheart, don't be scared." She kissed Beth on the forehead.

"Before he started, he wanted to know if I was still a virgin. I said nothing but I was kicking and screaming to get him off me. He started to throttle me and I couldn't breathe, so I told him I was. I thought he would have killed me otherwise. This seemed to make him very happy. He said he would take my virginity from me so you could never have it, and if you ever wanted to touch me again you would never forget that he had me first. That he had beaten you." The tears started to roll down her cheeks. She knew this information would hurt Alex deeply.

Alex jumped up in absolute fury, she punched the wall and burst open her already bruised knuckles.

"Alex! Please! Calm down. You've hurt yourself. Come here." Beth went over and pulled her into a tight hug."He didn't get me Alex. You saved me. You always do. You're my knight in shining armour."

She felt Alex's tense muscles start to loosen. "If I ever see him again, I will kill him Beth. I wouldn't be able to stop myself."

"Stop and calm down now. He's going to jail. We'll never see him again. Come cuddle me and let's finish our brandy."

As they sat cuddled up Alex said, "I love you so much. I couldn't live without you now little bit."

"You will never have to find out my darling. I will never leave your side. I told, you might be my protector, but you need looking after as well, and that's my job. I feel a bit better now that I told you what happened. How about we go to bed?"

"Of course. You go through and get settled in bed and I'll get some blankets to sleep on the couch.

Beth had no intention of letting Alex go. "Please, sleep with me tonight?"

Alex stroked her cheek. "I don't think that would be a good idea sweetheart."

"Alex, you're so proper all the time! We're just going to sleep. I am sure my virtue will be safe. I just want you to hold me while I sleep so I am not scared!" Beth shouted in frustration.

"Whoa! There's my little bit of a spitfire back! Are you sure you trust me?" Alex smiled and raised an eyebrow.

Beth laughed with all the fractions of the day coming out. "I am sure you can control yourself for one night! Come on."

It was good to see her girl laugh again, perhaps with love and care she could get over this.

"Alright, you win. Let's go." As Alex walked behind she couldn't do anything but eye the way Beth's hips and bottom swayed under her long shirt. She berated herself for having such a thought after a day like today.

"Did I tell you that you look really cute in my shirt, little bit?"

"I like it; it smells like you. Could I take it home? I'd like to sleep in it. It would make me feel safe."

"Of course, If you excuse me I'll just go to the bathroom and get changed. I'll be quick I promise."

Beth got under the covers. She felt instantly relaxed, everything smelt like Alex, the sheets and the pillows. She was so glad and honored that she was the first woman to share Alex's bed. Beth had never shared a bed with anyone before; she wondered how she would feel.

Alex come back into the room and started putting her clothes away. She was wearing a white vest and blue cotton boxer shorts. Beth lay on her side and admired her first look at the body of Alex Dalton. The white vest allowed her muscled broad shoulders and arms to be seen. She had long legs with powerful looking thighs topped off with a tight hard bottom. The young woman had the urge to grab it. She was so attracted to Alex it was unbelievable, even after today's horrors. She was convinced that Alex had been made to her specifications somehow. Alex caught her looking and smiled to herself. She must be feeling better!

"See something you like?"

Beth blushed. "I think I like you in vests and boxers."

"Oh do you now? Well hopefully you'll see a lot more of me in them in the future."

She came over to the bed and got under the covers. She lifted her arm and patted her shoulder, beckoning her girlfriend to lie there. Beth immediately took up the offered space, lying on her side with face snuggled into Alex's neck. It was amazing. There was no awkwardness or nervousness at their close position. It felt right. It felt like it had always been.

"Are you alright there sweetie?"

"Perfect! You make me feel so safe."

"I'm glad, because that's my job."

"Tell me more about Dencotte House and maybe I'll fall asleep."

"I want to take you there as soon as I can. I thought we could go down, not this weekend but the next. I would rather have had you to myself on our first visit, but Poni reminded me that weekend was set for the winter house party. I wish I could cancel it but I can't so I thought we could take the Friday and Monday off, leave straight after work on Thursday and motor on up to the country. We don't see the guests till Saturday evening so that would give us Thursday evening, Friday and most of Sunday. We can travel back on Monday. What do you say? I can't wait for you to see it and to meet Mrs. McKluskey and Foster. They are the only thing resembling family I have. Poni and Lotty will be there of course."

"That sounds wonderful darling. I can't wait to see where you were brought up. One thing puzzles me though."

"What's that Sweetheart?" she said kissing her head. Alex was absolutely in heaven tucked up in bed with Beth in her arms.

"You don't seem one for parties and yet you have quite a few of these big ones through the year and you say you couldn't cancel this one. It seems to me that you're not the type to care about that."

"If it was only for me, I would agree with you, but you must understand something Beth. Life for people like us, who love other woman, is not easy. It's alright for Poni and myself, we have the means and influence enough to live our lives the way we want and out in the open, with maybe only some sniggering or talking around our backs. Nobody would dare challenge us. Very, very few in our small community have that luxury. Most of them have to stick to the status quo. For some of the women like you who like to dress as you do, that's no problem as they can fit into jobs and the wider community without any problems.

"For the ones like me though, they live five days a week going to work, wearing dresses and skirts, feeling out of place, and only getting to be themselves at the weekends when they go the Alley Cat or come to one of my weekend parties. They lead a double life. We have the weekend parties at Dencotte . It's really an open house and Poni hosts quite a few evenings a year for our closer acquaintances."

"You really are a knight in shining armour My Lord, always thinking of others. I'm sure I will enjoy it immensely. I've never been to a party before. It will be exciting."

"Well don't worry. I'll be watching you like a hawk. They're mostly decent people but a few, well when they smell new blood, would try to pounce on you, especially such a feminine girl like you."

"I won't stray far. I'll get to meet some of these people on Friday?"

"What? I didn't think you'd still want to go out after today."

"Well, let's see how I feel tomorrow but I don't want that man to ruin everything. You've put so much time and planning into it and if we don't go he will have won. I never want him to win. Do you know what most upset me most today?"

"No, what was it sweetheart?"

"When I was lying there crying, knowing that he was about to enter my body, I spoke to you inside my head. I told you I was sorry for what he was about to do, for taking something that was rightfully only yours to take. I wanted you to be the first and only one to know me that way. I called out to you and you came.. You are always there when I most need you." Beth leaned up on her elbow and looked down upon Alex, stroking her face gently. "I love you so much My Lord. Please say you'll never grow tired of me." She bent over and gave Alex a gentle kiss filled with all the love that was in her soul. It took all of Alex's inner strength not to turn her love over and ravish the girl. She had never felt a kiss like it.

As the kiss ended Alex said, "I will never leave you little bit. You are in my heart and soul. I could not live without you. Now we've had quite a day. Let's get some sleep, ok?"

"Goodnight darling." Beth said snuggling back in.

"Goodnight sweetheart." Alex stroked Beth's blonde locks and kissed her head.

The sun shone through the window of the room casting its rays across the bed. Alex opened her eyes slowly. She was aware that Beth had not changed her position, but had, in fact, gotten closer. Her leg was thrown across Alex's legs and her hand had wormed its way under her vest and was stroking her stomach. She started to feel a kissing sensation at her neck. Beth still half asleep had burrowed her way closer into her and was peppering Alex's neck with little kisses and bites. Alex's heart was thumping in her chest and she could feel a pounding between her legs. She moaned. 'Ah! I have to stop this!'

The sensation on her neck and the stroking on her stomach were fueling Alex's libido. The final straw came when she felt Beth's hips begin to rock into her hip. She shot up, breathing heavily and she shook her girl to try and wake her.

"Wake up! Come on sweetie. Wakey wakey!"

Beth rolled over and moaned as she slowly opened her eyes. She stretched "Good morning darling, I have never slept better. It was wonderful being in your arms. I feel so much better!"

Alex groaned then laughed and fell back on the bed, her arm propping her head.

"I, on the other hand feel worse little bit!"

"Why? What's wrong Alex? Do you not like sleeping with me in your bed?" Beth prayed that was not the answer.

"No! Sweetheart, I love sleeping with you." Alex then went on to explain how she had woken up.

Beth was mortified. "Oh Alex! I'm so sorry for taking advantage of you like that! What must you think of me? Accosting you like some kind of floozy!"

"Sweetie! Calm down. It's fine. You were just acting out your desires through your dreams. I'm glad you have those feelings for me." She said smiling and reassuring Beth.

"I may be a little hot under the collar and in need of a cold bath but I'll survive." Alex smiled.

"But I haven't been fair to you. You've been so respectful to me. Being prepared to wait and everything and I go teasing you like that. I know you're used to being with women, you know physically, and it can't be easy for you. I shouldn't be doing that to you."

Beth wrung her hands nervously.

"Beth. Listen, it's called sex. It's not a dirty word. I am in no distress what so ever. This is the happiest time of my life. Of course I can't wait to make love to you because I love you and you are the most beautiful woman in the world, I have never been with anyone I love before and I can assure you the wait and anticipation is delicious! It will make the reality so much sweeter. Don't you think?"

"Yes of course, thank you for saying that."

"Now let me look at that pretty face and see what the damage is like from yesterday." Alex took Beth's face in her hands.

"It doesn't seem to have bruised; only your lip and nose is a little swollen. That should clear up in no time!" Alex gave a small kiss to both the young girl's eyes and nose.

"Now I think that cold bath is calling to me!" She smiled.

"What about the office?"

"We're taking today off. There's nothing pressing and I don't want you to go back there today. I'm going to call the cleaner and ask her to give it a proper going over so everything will be back to normal for you tomorrow. I'll send my driver over to Agnes' to pick you up a fresh set of clothes and we'll have a nice day together, perhaps go to lunch then I'll take you home this evening. Alright?"

"That will be smashing! You go ahead and get washed and I'll make us breakfast."

"Wonderful, little one!"

Beth went to the kitchen and began to cook up a full English breakfast eggs, bacon, fried bread, and sausages. She thought back to yesterday and was determined to pick herself up quickly from the fear she had felt. She did not want to make Alex feel any worse about what happened and hated to see Alex so angry and out of control. She had been so good to her. Saving her and looking after her. Beth decided she would repay Alex for the rest of her life by taking care of her needs and giving her that warmth and love that she craved.

She was just attending to the coffee while the food cooked when Alex came up behind her, put her arms around her waist, and started kissing down her neck. Beth giggled and squirmed as the kisses sent quivers down her spine.

"This all looks wonderful sweetheart. Do you know how good it looks to come in my kitchen and see you standing in my shirt, cooking me breakfast? I could eat you all up!" She growled and nipped the skin on Beth's neck between her teeth.

Beth laughed and pushed her back. "You do seem to have some strange fetish about me and cooking!"

"Must be my secret need to be mothered!"

Beth smacked her on the behind with her wooden spoon. "Go sit down at the table my lord and stop getting under my feet! Breakfast will be served shortly." Alex was delighted that she seemed to be having no ill effects from yesterday but she would keep a close eye on her young partner. Five minutes later Beth came through with a large tray filled with two large breakfast plates, coffee, and orange juice.

"This looks amazing sweetheart, thank you. It astonishes me what you can do with the food in my cupboard," said Alex tucking into her food.

"As I said to you the last time My Lord, your easily pleased." She smiled pleased at seeing Alex eating her food so heartily.

"It feels strange to be eating breakfast dressed only in your shirt, darling."

Alex looked up and smirked. "It looks good from my point of view!"

"That's because you're naughty!"

"And you love it! But fear not, I called my driver after I finished my bath, to go to your house and pick up some clothes from Agnes. He should be on route by now. Well I'm stuffed!" she said patting her stomach.

She took out a cigarette and lit it taking a long drag.

"What a perfect morning this has been. Now I thought perhaps I could take you to the British Museum this morning then we can get a bite of lunch then maybe a walk? Yes?"

"Lovely, my father always promised me we could visit there. I'd love to share that with you."

They smiled and stared deeply into each other's eyes. The ring of the doorbell broke them out of their lovers gaze.

"Ah! That'll be your clothes. You go ahead into the bedroom and I'll bring them in. While you get ready I'll phone Poni and Lotty and let them know how things are. Off you go! Scoot!" Alex gave her a light smack on the bottom. "I don't want to have to kill my driver for catching a glimpse of you half naked!" she joked.

They spent a wonderful day together. Laughing and joking and creating new memories to eclipse yesterday terrible events.

The next day at the office went pretty quietly. Although she had been very nervous about returning to the scene of her attack, she took strength from Alex, who insisted on picking her up from now on. She tried to keep her thoughts focused on Friday and her birthday celebrations to get her through. She couldn't wait to go to the club on Alex's arm. Alex had decided to close the office on Friday, giving Beth the day to enjoy getting ready.

Over breakfast Agnes had given her a beautiful picture frame, for a picture that Alex and she had taken one day in the park. She placed it by her bedside. The doorbell went just then and Agnes came back to the parlour with a huge bouquet of a dozen red roses. Beth clasped her hand over her mouth. "Oh my goodness! They are wonderful, I've never gotten roses before!"

"Open the card! I wonder who they are from?" Agnes smirked knowingly.

'To my little bit, I hope these roses get your birthday off to a good start! You have a few more surprises to go! I love you always and forever.

Your lord Dalton xx'

"How romantic Beth! What's the your lord bit eh?"

Beth blushed. "Just a little pet name I picked up from Poni and Lotty. I am so spoiled Agnes. I don't think I could be happier!"

"I am sure Alex will find a way!"

The rest of the day was spent on little things she normally didn't have a lot of time for. Agnes helped her paint her nails and gave a final press to her dress. Beth had chosen the black sleeveless dress for this evening.

She began to dress putting on her lingerie and stockings. They were so pretty, she hoped one day Alex would see her in them. She knew her partner would love them. She had been so shocked at herself lately. She had never really thought about sex before but since she had met Alex she found herself daydreaming about it all the time. She craved Alex, to feel her weight lying on top of her and her large hands grasping her breasts in passion. She knew without a doubt that once Alex had made love to her, she would never be able to get enough. She had been worried about Alex holding out for a long time, she was now beginning to wonder how she would hold out herself! She finished dressing early and came down to wait in the parlour. She was nervous.

"You look wonderful my dear! You will knock Alex Dalton's socks off!"

Alex had picked up Poni and Lotty in the Bentley, having deciding they would all go together.

Both Alex and Poni were looking dapper in their dinner suits and Lotty appeared beguiling as ever in a green evening gown designed by Chanel.

"Lotty, I am worried we'll bump into Sally this evening. You know what she's like with me and how I angered her the last time I saw her. I don't think she will approach us when we are together but will you make sure you go to the ladies room with Beth so she is never alone? I would hate for Sally to say anything about our past. I know I told her everything but Sally is vindictive and could tell her some hurtful things. I can't allow her to ruin this for me. I can't give Beth any reason to leave me."

"Don't worry Alex, you know us girls always go in two's to the bathroom anyway! I won't let her out my sight."

"Thank you, I appreciate that."

"If that woman tries to upset you and Beth, she'll have me to answer to me. You two have had enough to deal with this week." Poni said.

"Thanks old friend."

They arrived at Beth's and they all were coming in since she had to open her presents before they left. Agnes ushered them into the parlour and Alex was astonished to see that Beth was ready and waiting. She walked over and gave her girlfriend a soft kiss on the lips.

"You look ravishing! Happy birthday my little bit."

Alex had this gentle way of turning her to mush with the simplest of actions.

"Thank you, you look handsome and thank you so much for the roses, I've never had roses before."

"My pleasure." She gently stroked Beth's cheek as they got lost in each other's eyes.

"Put her down Alex and let us have some time with your sweetheart," said Poni as she crossed the room to kiss Beth.

"Happy birthday my dear." Lotty gave her a hug and handed Beth their gift.

"Oh you shouldn't have! Thank you." Beth unwrapped the gift to find the most exquisite wooden jewellery box. An intricate wooden carving circled the box in a Celtic design. "Oh it's wonderful! Thank you so much!"

"Well when I saw it I knew we had to get it for you. With the way this old lord here likes to spoil you, I thought you'd need one sooner or later." They all laughed.

"And now for mine." Alex stepped forward.

"No Alex, I've had my presents from you, All these beautiful clothes were your gift to me."

"Just three more sweetie, indulge me please?"

"Sweetie! You are under the thumb already My Lord!" Poni guffawed.

Alex snapped her head round and gave her a steely stare. Lotty saved Poni by interrupting. "Keep your trap shut Poni boy or I'll tell them your special secret name I gave you for when we have a little quiet time." She warned.

"Sorry old friend." Poni snapped a little too quickly.

"Three presents Alex? Really it's too much."

"Please little bit, no arguing ok?" Alex made it clear she didn't expect any more complaints.

She handed over the first one. Beth opened it up to discover a rather old hardback copy of Pride and Prejudice. She looked inside the front cover and gasped, "AHHHH! It's signed by Jane Austen. I can't believe it! This is amazing!" Beth was talking so fast, she was short of breath.

"It's a first edition as well." Alex said proudly.

Beth flung her arms round Alex's neck. "Oh my darling! My favourite book! However did you get hold of this?"

Alex looked at Poni and smiled. "I have connections."

In reality Alex had asked Poni to talk to her friend who worked at Christie's auction house, to see if he could ask around for a copy for sale. They had found a Jane Austen collector who at first was very reluctant to sell, but when Poni informed him that he could name any price they soon had one of Beth's birthday gifts.

"You are so good to me. I promise I will treasure this for the rest of my life!"

"I aim to please, but you still have two more gifts and they kind of go together." She handed over one long rectangle velvet box and a much larger rectangle box. Beth opened the large one first it was a gold chain with a gold heart locket hanging from it; the heart had a diamond on the front.

"I'm speechless!"

"It's 24 carats and is the purest of diamonds. I thought you needed some jewellery to go with your new outfits. Open it up."

When Beth opened the heart she found a picture of Alex on one side and one of herself on the other.

Tears welled up in her eyes. "This is just wonderful darling will you put it on for me?"

"Gladly." Alex put it round Beth's neck. It hung perfectly just above the valley of her breasts.

"Now you can always keep me near your heart, little bit. Open the third."

Beth opened the box to find a matching bracelet. Alex took it out straight away and clasped it round her wrist.

"I can't tell you what these gifts mean to me darling. I love you." she murmured she gave Alex a sweet kiss.

"We should be making tracks Alex." Poni reminded.

"Of course, are you ready sweetheart?" Alex said as she picked up the girl's fur stole and draped it over Beth's shoulders.

"I am always ready for you My Lord." she said coyly.

"Have fun all of you young things and I'll see you tomorrow my dear, remember your overnight bag."

"Thanks Agnes, goodnight."

They had arranged that Beth would stay over with Alex as they would be very late. She was taking a change of clothes and some nightwear that the driver would drop off at the flat. They set off for the club.

They pulled up outside a large sandstone building; it had impressive steps leading up to a large impressive looking set of double oak doors.

"It doesn't look like a club, Alex." Beth said as she was helped out of the car.

"It used to be a Gentlemen's club before the owner bought it. It needs to look a little nondescript so as to not attract the wrong sort of attention."

They walked up to the door and Alex knocked three times. A little window on the door opened and a voice said, "Yes? Ah! Lord Dalton!" and the door was immediately opened.

A stocky bear of a man escorted them in. He was dark in skin colour and wore a waiter's dinner suit with tails.

"So nice to see you again, and Ms. and Mrs. Woodward as well."

"How's the crowd tonight Jack?" Poni asked helping Lotty off with her furs.

"A good crowd, we have a lovely jazz singer in from America tonight."

"Marvelous! I can't wait to get this old Poni to trip the light fantastic with me!" Lotty said smiling.

"Mrs. Woodward, looking as delicious as always!" he flirted.

"Keep your eyes to yourself, Jack! This one's all mine!" She grabbed Lotty up and kissed her with a growl.

"Put me down you buffoon." She giggled.

"And who is this pretty young thing?"

"This is my girl, Beth Bentley." Alex said proudly.

"Enchanted Miss!" he took her hand and gave it a gentle kiss.

"You must be a special girl to have snared yourself the elusive Lord Dalton."

Beth smiled shyly.

"I'll take you through to your table and get you all settled."

They were led to a second set of doors and Beth could hear music behind them. Jack opened them and the young girl stepped into a different world. She looked around the room in awe. She could see a large, Smokey room with many tables and the occupants of all the tables were people like them. The dining area seemed to be in a room off the main one. As they were led over she felt the eyes of the whole room boring into her. She felt her cheeks flush, but she also felt pride to be the one on Alex's arm. They reached the table and Alex and Poni pulled out seats for their respective partners.

"Jack will you bring us the best champagne you have in the house?" Alex asked.

"At once, and I'll send one of the waiters over with your menu's." He said as he turned and walked away.

"So what do you think, sweetheart?"

"It's fantastic Alex! Like a different world, everyone is the same as us!"

"That's what's so great about the Club and the parties we hold. Everyone gets to be themselves, for at least a while."

"I think I understand now, you get to escape when you come here."

Beth had noticed her three companions visibly relax since they entered the club. So to the others who had to hide their true nature. It must be a godsend to come here and to go to Alex's parties. Jack arrived with the champagne and poured them all a glass. Alex stood and Poni copied her actions, but Beth followed Lotty's lead by remaining seated.

"I would like to propose a toast to my Beth. You have turned my world upside down and given me the love I never thought I deserved. You forgive my failings and are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I hope you enjoy your birthday celebrations. You deserve so much more than I could ever give you. Happy birthday Beth!" They all clinked glasses and Beth felt a tear roll down her face. She was so touched and had never felt so loved. Alex leaned over and gave her the sweetest of kisses.

"Alright, sweetheart?" She wiped away Beth's tear gently with her thumb.

"Perfect! Thank you for those words. You have no idea how they make me feel. I love you."

The waiter came over with their menus.

"Let's eat shall we?" Poni asked.

The meal was wonderful. Beth thought she would burst. She had always been a big eater but that was truly a big meal. They had a soup course, fish course, main course, dessert and now they were working on cheese and biscuits with coffee and liquors. They had such fun with Poni and Lotty. Watching Alex and Poni together was so funny, they competed like a couple of children, but Beth could see they would do anything for each other.

"Did you enjoy that sweet heart?"

"It was wonderful. The steak I had as my main course was melt in the mouth. Can't tell you how good it was." Beth gushed.

"Well get used to it. You'll be eating some truly fine food from now on sweetheart."

"Why don't we head to the bathroom my dear and let these buffoons find us a good table for the rest of the evening." Lotty said standing.

Poni and Alex stood as the ladies made their way from the table.

"Beth!" Alex called her back.

"Stay close to Lotty ok? I don't want you on your own at any point."

Beth thought her protectiveness a bit strange but knew from Alex's tone that there would be no use in questioning her about it.

"Whatever you think is best darling." And the two ladies moved away.

Alex looked worried. "Calm down old man, she'll be fine. Let's get that table so we can have our cigars."

Across the room the table of Lord Dalton had been observed. Sally was fuming. 'Her' Alex was with a woman. She had never seen Alex dine with anyone other than Poni and that wife of hers. This had to be stopped. 'What a little silly girl she looks and hardly the sort that could satisfy Alex.' She would have to scare her off. It seemed like she wouldn't be able to get her on her own. 'That bitch wife of Poni's is going everywhere with her.' Sally thought.

She had heard Alex was hosting one of her weekend parties next weekend. She wouldn't be welcomed on her own but perhaps one of Alex's lovely acquaintances would like a partner for the weekend. But first things first, 'A friendly introduction maybe?'

By the time Beth and Lotty had returned, Alex and Poni had secured a table in a fine spot next to the dance floor. They had ordered another bottle of champagne for the ladies and whiskeys and cigars for themselves. They stood and helped their partners into their seats.

"Everything alright?" Alex enquired worriedly.

"Fine darling, although we did have a good chat about you and Poni, my lord." Beth and Lotty giggled.

"I told you Alex, they're plotting our doom I tell you!"

The friends' laughter was interrupted by another voice.

"Alex! So nice to see you again." They turned to see Sally standing there. Alex's heart sank. She put her arm around the back of Beth's seat in a protective gesture.

"Good evening Sally." Alex gave her a cold hard stare almost daring her to say anything. Beth felt the tension around the table. Who was this woman? She could be one of the group's friends, but they were so uncomfortable since this woman approached the table.

Sally laughed inside; she could see Alex squirming in her seat. This little girl obviously had no idea about Alex's past. This would be fun! "I've missed you Alex." She purred.

Alex felt Beth instantly tense. Upon hearing those words the young woman was shot with a bolt of jealousy. It was making her stomach churn. She hated the way the woman's eyes roamed hungrily over Alex's body.

This must be one of the women from Alex's past and she was obviously still interested.

She was a tall platinum blonde, wearing a silver glittery cocktail dress. She looked like a woman who knew the ways of the world. How could she could compete with that? Sally turned her gaze to Beth. "Sally Weston. And you are?"

"Elizabeth Bentley." As they shook hands Sally gripped Beth's hand a little too tightly.

"You look a little young to be in this type of club." She said condescendingly.

Alex had enough. She was just about to stand up and strong arm Sally away from her table when Sally said. "Well, have a good evening. I am sure I'll see you again." Sally stared at Beth, turned on her heel and left. She didn't intend for this to be a confrontation, she just wanted to make Alex feel uneasy. 'I will make my move at the house party. Little virginal Elizabeth would not fit Alex's bill and when she got Alex hot and bothered it would be me she will go to.'

The table was silent. Poni felt she had to break the tension. "Beth, would you be so kind as to take to the floor with me? You don't mind do you Alex?"

"Of course not old man, I think my girl is safe with you." She smiled.

Poni and Beth began to dance. "Do you know that woman Poni?"

"Eh? She comes to the club quite often but she's no friend of ours."She said as she twirled Beth around.

"Oh, ok." Beth didn't want to spoil the evening so she let it drop.

Back at the table Alex looked stressed. "You ok, Alex?"

"I need to go and have a word with Sally."

"Do you really think that's a good idea? If Beth see's you talking with her, it might not look to good."

"She won't see me, when she and Poni come back from the dance floor keep her talking while I take care of this. She needs to back off. I will not let anyone threaten what I have Lotty."

She stood and walked towards the back end of the room. She had seen Sally enter the bathroom area so she waited in a dimly lit alcove. As Sally left the bathroom she was grabbed from behind and pulled into the dark corner.

"Alex! What the hell are you doing! Oh I know, this is a game. Do you want to say no while you fuck me?" She asked seductively.

Alex forcefully pushed her against the wall as she towered over Sally and fixed her steely blue stare directly at her. "I'll only tell you this once. Do not ever approach Beth or myself ever again! If I find you trying to upset her or telling tales, I promise to make life very difficult for you! Do you understand?"

Sally smiled. "Hit a nerve have I, My Lord? Does little Miss Virgin not know what a big bad deviant you are? You are afraid of losing her, aren't you?" Sally laughed. "I can't believe it, Alex Dalton afraid of losing a little frigid girl like that. Your liking them young these days My lord? What is she 16?"

Alex grabbed her by the jaw and squeezed as Sally struggled fruitlessly. "I asked you if you understood!"

"Alex, you're hurting me!" She managed to squeak.

Alex squeezed tighter. "DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"

"Yes! Yes! I understand. Now let me go!"

"Just remember this conversation. That is the woman I'm going to spend my life with and if anyone was to mess it up, I would end theirs!" Alex pulled away from her and straightened her suit.

"Nice speaking with you, Miss Weston."

She left Sally panting and rubbing her jaw. "So you really are in love Alex? How the mighty have fallen. Well I can't allow you just to wallow in domestic happiness. Nobody fucks me and runs! I will not be made a fool of!"

"Where is Alex, Lotty? You said she would just be a minute." Beth was worried after the appearance of that woman. Lotty looked to Poni for assistance.

"She was just going to the bathroom then bringing us some more drinks back I believe."

Just then Alex appeared with a small tray full of drinks. Poni breathed a sigh of relief that Alex had the same idea as her.

"I thought since we were celebrating we should have some cocktails!"

"What a super idea Alex." Lotty added rather relieved that the evening was coming back on track. Alex could see in Beth's face that she was in need of reassurance. She sat very close, took her hand and kissed her softly.

"You alright, Sweetie?"

"I'm fine darling, I just missed you." She felt better now that Alex was close.

"I won't leave your side again." She said giving her girl a kiss."

"Have you ever tried a cocktail before?" Beth shook her head.

"No? Well this is an American Daiquiri. It's rum, lime juice, syrup and crushed ice. Try it?"

Beth coughed. "Oh! It's sweet and strong. I like it though." She said gulping down the rest.

"Whoa! Slow down little bit or you'll be under the table! Now that you have given Poni a trip around the floor, do you think you have time for me?" Alex pouted.

"Come My Lord, let's dance!"

The popular 40's song, Dearly Beloved, began as they took to the floor. Beth rested her head on Alex's chest while they swayed round the room. The song seemed to perfectly match the mood.

Tell me it's true,

Tell me you agree,

I was meant for you,

You were meant for me.

Dearly beloved, how clearly I see,

Somewhere in heaven you were fashioned for me,

Angel eyes knew you,

Angel voices led me to you;

Nothing could save me,

Fate gave me a sign;

I know that I'll be yours come shower or shine;

So I say merely,

Dearly beloved be mine

As they swayed around the room Alex asked. "Have you enjoyed your birthday little bit?"

"This has been the best day of my life My Lord; you make me feel like a princess. I love you." Beth was smiling blissfully. The alcohol of the evening was taking its toll and making her brain woozy.

Alex stroked Beth's blonde hair and kissed her head. "I love you more than life, you are my world and you are mine. I will never let you go!" she said forcefully. She had no idea that Alex was feeling threatened by Sally's presence. Deep down Alex was frightened, if Beth found out she had nearly given in to lust only recently she might leave. She was in too deep now to ever let her girl go.

"You will never have to, I promise My Lord. I adore you. I live for the day we spend our lives together."

"We will my sweetheart. I must court you a little while longer till I know you are ready and then I will ask you to spend your life with me." Alex lowered her lips to Beth's and they kissed passionately. Back at the table the Woodward's looked on. "Poni they are made for one another. Do you think Sally will cause any problems?"

"I'm sure she knows to keep her distance after Alex's little chat with her. If I see her sniffing about I will have a chat with her myself to convince her. Now Alex has found this happiness, I will not allow anything to stand in their way."

Lotty kissed her beloved. "I do love you my old romantic fool!"

They danced the night away. Beth danced with Poni again a couple of times and Lotty with Alex. It was 2 o'clock in the morning when they decided to call it a night. Beth was very giggly and woozy after all the drinking. Alex found it quite amusing to watch her sweetheart and Lotty giggle and tell each other stories. She was so glad that Beth had made this friendship. She would need the older woman's guidance as they progressed in their relationship.

They dropped The Woodward's off before making their way back to Alex's flat. The excess of alcohol had made Beth very amorous. She was plastered to Alex's side in the back of the car and was kissing her way up and down Alex's neck. Alex was laughing softly finding her girl's alcohol induced lust amusing.

"Kiss me darling, I need to feel your lips on mine?" She said huskily.

"When we get home sweetheart, not in front of an audience."

When they arrived back at the flat Alex said, "Why don't you get changed for bed. I'm just going to have a cigarette before I get changed."

"Ok darling, don't be long." She smiled saucily.

Alex took off her dinner jacket and untied her bow tie and left it hanging round her neck. She poured herself a whiskey and lit a cigarette. As she sat on the couch she thought how well the evening had gone despite Sally's antics.

"Alex?" She heard a small voice at her side, then suddenly standing before her was Beth clothed in black lace bra and matching panties, stockings, and suspender belt.

"Do you like the lingerie you bought me My Lord? I wanted you to see it."

Alex sat open mouthed. She put her cigarette and whiskey down.

"They are beautiful little bit, but I don't think you should be standing in front of me like this."

Beth could see Alex's eyes devouring her. She had not forgotten Sally Weston's appearance this evening and Alex's later disappearance. The drink the young woman had consumed was giving her the courage to do this. She had to keep her love. She would give her what she wanted. She swayed her hips as she walked over to Alex. She straddled Alex's hips as she sat on her lap and kissed her with all the passion inside of her. Alex ran her hands down her girl's back and her hips then across her lace covered buttocks. When Beth moaned Alex pulled Beth's buttocks further into her crotch.

The amorous blonde began to kiss her neck and Alex let her head fall back and enjoy the attention to her neck.

"What are you doing, little bit? You know we shouldn't be doing this."

"I want you to make love to me Alex, I want you!"

Alex was throbbing; she wanted to bury her head in the young girls breasts and thrust inside her until she heard Beth scream her name. Then her eyes shot open. This was wrong she had to stop it. She was the responsible one.

"Sweetheart, you are not ready. We decided we would wait. Please don't do this to me. You don't understand how close I am to taking you!"

"I want you to darling. I want to make you happy. I want to feel your hands all over me."

"Your drunk Beth, please stop. This is so hard to say no to. I'm begging you." Alex pleaded as her girl continued to kiss over her jaw and neck.

"I'm ready; I'm so ready for you My Lord. I want to be yours. Make me yours."

This was the last straw for Alex. She quickly flipped Beth onto her back forcing her legs open as she ground her pelvis into Beth a few times before coming nose to nose with her.

"If you are ready ask me as a woman would not a girl. Ask me to fuck you, ask me to fuck you till you come and I will do it!" The older woman wasn't trying to be cruel, just trying to make Beth realise what would happen if she didn't stop.

Beth's drink addled brain instantly became a little clearer. Was she ready? Her underwear was drenched with need for Alex. It always made her insane with need when Alex was forceful with her, but she was scared. She knew she had to wait.

"Tell me! Tell me you want me to fuck you!"

"I....I can't. I'm not ready, I am so sorry."

Alex got up off her and gulped down her glass of whiskey. She lit another cigarette and Beth could see her hand shaking. She took a long drag and blew the smoke out slowly.

"I'm so, so sorry. I shouldn't have done that to you. It was immature and foolish. Please forgive me."

Alex swung round and pulled Beth into a cuddle. "It's alright little bit. I knew you weren't ready, It was the alcohol talking. I had to shock you into coming to your senses. I hope you understand why I was so harsh?"

"Oh darling, of course I do. I've never thought I could behave like that."

"It won't be long till you're ready. It's just your body is a little further ahead than your brain. When you drink, it clouds your judgment and your body's needs takeover."

'I cannot tell her it was because of Sally. She would think me a silly little girl.' Beth agonized as she cuddled into Alex's neck.

"I don't want you to think I don't want to make love to you. My body is aching for you little bit. Saying no to you is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I want it to be perfect and right when we make love."

She kissed Beth gently and smacked her sharply on the bottom.

"Aww! You smacked me!" It stung and gave her a fright at first but then it felt good and she moaned quietly. Alex heard the quiet moan, smiled and filed the information away in her brain for another day. She was more and more confident that they would be well suited in the bedroom when the time came.

"That was for being a naughty girl. Now go and put something a little more conservative on for bed. I think for the sake of my sanity I should sleep on the couch tonight."

"Alex please, I told you I was sorry. Please sleep with me."

The tall woman's resolve weakened with one look in those sad eyes. She sighed. "Alright, I don't know, you've got my number haven't you girl?"

Beth sniggered and ran off to get changed. That girl will be the death of me!" Alex mused.

The next morning found Beth, yet again sprawled across Alex's body. Alex shook Beth's shoulder lightly.

"Mmmm, ohh, aww." She moaned in pain. Alex laughed.

"Feeling a little delicate this morning baby? As much as I love being your pillow, I really need to pay the bathroom a visit."

"Awww ok, ok, I'm moving, just don't shout so loud!" Beth whispered holding onto her head as if it might fall off.

"Why did you let me drink so much?" she groaned towards the bathroom.

Alex popped her head round the door. "1- It was your birthday. 2 - I wanted you to relax and enjoy yourself. And 3 - You were with me so no harm could come to you." She counted as she strolled back to the bed.

"I'm never going to drink again! Darling, come back under the covers and snuggle with me." She pouted.

"As tempting as that offer is I am going to make us some breakfast. It'll help settle your stomach."

"Ha! Ha! You are going to cook?" Alex watched her fall back onto the bed laughing hard. She put on her best hurt look. "I'm not that bad! I did make you cheese on toast that other night."

"Darling! The toast was burnt. If you just give me a minute to get my brain into gear I'll do it."

"I wanted to do something nice for you. You always cook for us and I wanted to bring you breakfast in bed." She pouted.

"Ok, if you really want to I'll just lie here and you can go and cook? Off you go then."

Alex looked like a child who'd just gotten its own way. She raced off to the kitchen whistling.

"Now it can't be that hard! What do I need?" Alex mumbled.

In the bedroom Beth was trying to remember last night. She remembered being angry at a blond woman.

"Sally Weston! That was her! the witch. She looked as if she wanted to eat Alex alive!"

"Where are the eggs sweetheart?" A voice came from the kitchen.

"In the fridge. Where else would they be?"

"Oh right, got them!"

Beth shook her head. "I remember a green cocktail and dancing, hmmm. What happened next?" She knew there was something that happened last night; she just couldn't put her finger on it.

"Do I have a whisk?" said the voice from the kitchen becoming more frustrated.

"Oh for crying out loud!" She murmured, "It's in the drawer next to the sink! It is your kitchen Alex!"

"I know, I know, I'll be fine now!"

Beth cuddled down further into the blankets.

"Do you grill or fry sausages sweetie?"

"Arrrh!!! Look, just leave everything Alex! I'll do it!" She said throwing back the covers to get up.

No! I'm fine, just let me do it. I'm ok now."

Then it hit her, images of her writhing on Alex's lap half naked. "Oh no! What must she think of me?" She went through to the living room to sit at the dinner table. Her stomach was in knots. She had to say something about last night. Maybe Alex would get sick of her immature ways and go to the arms of that woman. The thought of someone else touching her Alex made her want to throw up. Alex came through with two plates of burnt offerings. Her smile was beaming with pride that she had cooked for her sweetheart.

"I thought I was going to serve you in bed Sweetie?"

"I think I feel better sitting up."

"Oh ok, are you warm enough just wearing that old shirt of mine?"

"Yes, I'm fine. It's my favourite thing to wear to bed since you gave me it." Alex's chest puffed up at that comment.

"Well you're very sexy in it. Now eat up. I made sausages and I tried to make an omelette, but it turned into scrambled eggs." she laughed, "Are you ok, little bit?"

"I remembered last night." She murmured sheepishly.

Alex smirked. "Ah, I see. Well you certainly know how to get me going little bit."

"I'm really sorry. I should never do that to you. You must think I'm some sort of harlot, throwing myself at you like that." She stared down at the table.

"Sweetie, I told you last night that it is fine. Drinking does that to us sometimes and you're not used to it. It makes me glad that you want me so much. Now I don't want to hear anymore about it. Eat your breakfast young lady."

Beth smiled, relieved that Alex was so understanding. "Yes My Lord!"

She looked at her plate with trepidation. The sausages were black on the outside and the eggs looked grey which was not good when you had in hangover. She cut into the sausage and it was pink and still raw. Her stomach rolled. She ran to the bathroom and was sick. Alex popped her head round the door.

"Are you alright?"

"I am now. Just my hangover darling."

"No it wasn't, I'm not daft. I couldn't eat it either." She said, disappointment etched her face.

Beth jumped and cuddled into her. "Aw! Darling it's ok. I really appreciated the gesture. You can't be good at everything can you? And just think if you could cook, it would make my role a little redundant, wouldn't it?"

"I'm sure I could think of some other uses for you my little bit." She waggled her eyebrows and Beth smacked her arm.

"Aww! You beast you! Come on, let's get dressed and I'll take you out for an early lunch to make up for it."


Alex turned to leave her to get washed when Beth stopped her. "Alex you remember you said to me in the park you hoped I'd find my Mr. Darcy one day?"

"Yes, I remember."

"I think I can safely say I've found you, Mr. Darcy!"

Alex beamed at the compliment. "May you always think so Miss Elizabeth Bennet." she said playing her part.

They spent the rest of the day together and Alex took her home that night.

The next week at work was very busy. It was three weeks till Christmas and that was always a busy time for the Charity. There was never a more need for food and lodgings for the poor then at Christmas. They had to set up temporary soup kitchens throughout other counties in England to keep up with demand. They were in the process of hiring out buildings in London, that they would squeeze in as many beds in as they could. Alex hated the Foundation to turn anyone away at this time of year. They would try and insure that everyone who came to them would at least get a bed on Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.

"Alex!" Beth called into the inner office.

"I'm coming, I'm coming, just have to finish this call."

Alex came out of the office running a hand through her dark locks and sighed. "It's never ending. It doesn't seem to matter how hard we work and how much we provide, it's a drop in the ocean."

"But just think of all the thousands of people who wouldn't even get a meal this Christmas without your hard work."

Beth stood up and went round the desk to Alex. She stroked her face gently. "I'm so proud of you. The work you do makes such a difference. Please never doubt that."

Alex smiled, took her hand and kissed it.

"You are so good for me little bit. That was just the tonic I needed. So what did you call me for?"

"Oh yes, I got a call from the toy manufacturer you called. They'll give you a job lot of their products, half price if you'll allow your name to be used in their newspaper advertisement. They'll give you a selection of dolls, cars, slinky's, legos and toy guns."

"I suppose that's alright, just once though. I don't generally like my name to be used in such a way, at least the children will get something."

Alex had wanted every child who came into the soup kitchens or who stayed in the Foundation building or temporary shelters to receive a toy.

Beth cuddled her. "You just are an old softy, aren't you my lord?"

"Shh! Don't tell anyone. Which reminds me. What are you doing for Christmas?"

Beth had been hoping Alex would ask her for Christmas but didn't want to say anything.

"Nothing, Agnes is going to her sister's." She tried to hide her worried expression.

"Would you like to spend Christmas with us at Dencotte ? I couldn't bear to be without you over the holidays." she said hopefully.

"Oh that would be wonderful darling. Do Poni and Lotty come?"

"Yes they come to stay for the whole holiday at Dencotte . On Christmas morning we go down and help at the village Hall. The whole village gets involved in providing a Christmas lunch for the poor. There is some poverty in the county but nothing like the cities. Most of the people work on my land or surrounding farms. They make a living, but of course there's always some who slip through the net, perhaps the widowed or families without a responsible breadwinner. Some men's wages go straight into the pub and the family is left with very little so we organise a big meal at the church hall and make it seem more of a party thrown by the local landowner so as to not make people wary of accepting charity. Country people are proud. Then we have our meal up at the house in the evening. I don't think I could enjoy the day if I didn't give something back to the village. Poni and I join the hunt that goes over my land on Boxing Day. So you'll be good company for Lotty. She usually has to entertain herself till we get back. What do you think?"

"It's sounds perfect and I can't wait to see Dencotte House this weekend."

"It will be wonderful to show you. I suppose I better get my Christmas shopping started. I can't tell you how good it will feel to share a Christmas with someone I love." She bent her head and kissed Beth.

"You are so sweet, but I don't want you going mad with gifts for me my lord, " she warned.

"Remember our agreement about money, spoiling you, and such like? I won't hear another word."

"Yes I remember. Well you will be impossible to buy for. You have everything!"

"I don't need anything from you. I get my pleasure out of spoiling you, but if you insist there are lots of small little things I like. I'll have a think. While we're talking about gifts I thought we could get gifts for Poni and Lotty from both of us. Would you come shopping with me and decide what we should get? I never have any idea what to get. Shops and I don't mix. Every other year I've just asked them what they wanted. We usually buy each other small things because of course we have all we need and give a donation to charity in one anothers' name."

"So basically you want me to come up with the idea, go and buy it, and you will just trail behind me?" Beth joked.

"Yes, basically. I'll take you to lunch though so it won't be all bad."

"You are too kind my lord." she said sarcastically.

"Well I'll bring you in some tea in a minute. I better phone that toy manufacturer back."

"Thank you sweetie." Alex said as she blew Beth a kiss before heading back to her office.

The rest of the week flew by mainly due to how busy they were but finally Thursday arrived. They were motoring down to Dencotte in the early afternoon. Beth was so excited but nervous about meeting Mrs. McKluskey, the housekeeper, and foster, the butler. 'What if they don't approve of me? It really feels like I'm being taken home to meet the parents.' Their suitcases were all packed and in the Jaguar. Alex had wanted to drive Beth down herself. Beth went into Alex's office and stood waiting for Alex to stop writing.

"I'll be with you in a minute sweetheart. I just wanted to finish writing this letter then we can post it when we leave." Alex saw Beth shifting about nervously. "You eager to get going, little bit?"

"Yes, I suppose I'm a little nervous at meeting Mrs. McKluskey and Foster. From what you've told me, they sound very protective of you."

"They are, but they'll adore you. Mrs. McKluskey isn't an ogre. She's been going on at me since Poni got married to find a nice girl. Well I've found one and I am taking her home." Alex finished with her letter and stood to get her suit jacket. "You ready to be off then?"

"Yes, just let me get my bag and jacket. How long will it take us to get there?"

"It usually takes me about 3 and a half hours. We'll be there in no time, and once we get out of the city it's a lovely drive. Right let's lock up and get going."

Two and a half hours later they were in the heart of the country.

"Not long now sweetheart!"

"It's beautiful around here Alex. You're so lucky to live surrounded by this."

Even though it was late December they were blessed by a sunny day. The frost and snow covered the fields and trees making it look like a Christmas card. Beth looked across the farmland of rolling hills and dales, the sheep going about

their business in the fields while in the distance she could see the exposed rock of the hills, all of which gave this area it's beauty.

"I do love it Beth. It's just been hard without someone to share it with." She looked over at Beth and smiled.

"I'd would love to explore this area, it's lovely. I can't wait to see your village as well, as much as I enjoy living in London, I think I'll always be a village girl at heart."

"I may be biased but I believe you'll find Dencotte very picturesque. My favourite time of year is summer. Poni and I play on the cricket team. It's wonderful. Sun beating down on the village green as we play, with Lotty cheering us on, then lunch we have tea, sandwiches and cakes as we sit lazily by the side of the green. Ah! Bliss. We have all these things ahead to share with one another."

"Sounds wonderful darling." They turned off the main road and came to large black gates, which were lying open.

"This is the entrance to the estate, I own most of the land in the surrounding area and county but this marks the beginning of the family estate."

'It's huge!' Beth thought. The drive continued on the winding road through endless woodland, meadows, and fields.

"Will we see the house soon, Alex?" Beth could not believe ten minutes had passed and they still hadn't reached the house.

"Patience! You should be able to see the house just beyond the next turn." As they were rounding the corner the house came into view in the distance. Alex sneaked a peak at Beth as the house came into view. She smiled with satisfaction as she saw the look of wonder on her face. Alex pulled over to the side of the road to let Beth appreciate the spectacle.

"What do you think, little bit?"

Beth was lost for words. Before her lay a large expanse of open green fields and further on sat a large lake. The house in the distance was an astonishing sight. It was big, she couldn't imagine how many rooms it held.

"Beth, can you hear me? What do you think?"

Beth turned to Alex, smiling, "It takes my breath away! I think it truly is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. You are blessed to have grown up here."

Alex cupped Beth's face in her hands. "Thank you sweetheart, I knew you would see the beauty here." Alex gestured around with her hands. "To me though, it's home. Come; let us get up to the house before Mrs. McKluskey sends out a search Party!"

Part 4

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