DRAGONJULS' Storybook

~ Silence of Love ~
JM Dragon
JM Dragon 2002
Email: jmdragon@jmdragon.net

 

Disclaimers

Storyline:..General storyline with the adult theme of consensual relationships between women. If this bothers you, is illegal in the State, Province or Country you live or if you are the under age of 18, find something else to read. There are loads of general stories out there.

Language:..No strong language.
Violence:.. There is violence in this story.
Hurt/Comfort:..There are scenes of heartache to be dealt with by the characters.
Dedication:..For two very good friends who have a wonderful sense of humour,Vi & Packer. This story is for you both, I
hope you enjoy it.

Acknowlegement:..My beta readers Alice, Packer, Vi and Mel as always my grateful thanks can’t do it without you all.

 

List of Main Characters

Dilana R Sterling – Writer Rachael Alderman – Mute
S G Ryan – Publisher Sister Angela – Nun
Randolph Sterling – Dilana’s father Sadie Thompson – Orphan
Mrs. Drummond – Housekeeper Sam Proctor – Orphan
Celina Ratford – Patron of the Arts  

Part Two

The picnic had been a resounding success even to the point that next weekend she was going to arrange a BBQ and have Rachael bring over the orphans and however many nuns wanted to participate.

Her friend had looked at her seriously for a few moments when she mentioned the possibility and the more those eyes starred into Di’s the more she knew it was going to happen. For she felt the warmth of the stare piercing right to her heart as it thudded in her chest.

The note pad came out the entire picnic and though Di felt that the woman’s facial expressions would always be like reading a book, the communication the notes presented allowed them to get to know each other much better. Why they hadn’t thought of doing it earlier she had to wonder.

They’d eaten a wonderful spread prepared by Rachael and talked for over three hours, before Rachael had reluctantly pulled a face and indicated she had to go.

"It’s Saturday Rachael don’t you get time off from the orphanage?"

Shaking her head at the question Di was annoyed, did they want slave labour in that place and quickly commented again.

"That stinks you should tell them you want more time off what is it with…." Her hand was captured in a much smaller one as expressive eyes bored into hers and her mouth went dry stopping her in mid sentence.

Once more shaking her head this time a wry smile passed the other woman’s lips as she reached for her pencil and book. The writer felt bereft as the gentle handclasp was removed, it had made her feel giddy at the touch, what was happening to her she couldn’t fall for this woman she couldn’t! She was way too innocent Rachael probably didn’t even realize that women had those close relationships.

I help the younger children at meal times we are a family Dilana. Now do you understand? I want to be there they are my family it is like going home to dinner.

Not for the first time since she’d met this woman had Di felt herself jumping to conclusion’s and this was another of those times. Yeah, a family that would make sense, why had she been so dumb to assume the worse? Whatever would her Dad have said if he were alive?

"I’m sorry I guess I didn’t think that an orphanage would be like that! What an idiot I am."

Dejectedly Di looked at the picnic rug and the tartan squares that jumped out at her and she wished they would swallow her up at the moment.

Gentle fingers tipped up her face and a gaze that was filled with understanding captured her.

Maybe after the BBQ the following week you could come over to the orphanage and have dinner with us?

"Me? Are you sure, don’t you have to ask the nun’s permission?"

Smiling brightly Rachael grinned and Di felt she was being taken on a roller coaster ride as her heart did the odd somersault.

It is like home Dilana the nun’s accept that I have friends and they welcome them as any parent would.

"Then I accept thank you Rachael I’ll look forward to it." Beaming from ear to ear Di felt wonderful as she packed away the picnic items and the two friends said goodbye until Monday and their usual rendezvous for morning coffee.

Walking into the beach house Di couldn’t help but continue to smile she was feeling marvellous and had to wonder if someone or something was going to burst the bubble. Maybe someone was looking over her and saying she deserved a break.

"Did you have a good time?"

Di looked towards the voice that heralded from the doorway to the lounge area. "I certainly did Mrs. D and how are you at BBQ food?"

The older woman knitted her eyebrows together in serious thought and shook her head. "Not me Ms. Sterling, I’m a conventional cook myself, my Bob does the honours in the BBQ department. Why do you ask?"

A crestfallen expression crossed Dilana’s face as she realised that maybe she’d been a little hasty in not checking first about her housekeeper’s talents in that area. "I kind of promised to have a BBQ next Saturday."

"Well that shouldn’t be a problem surely you can do that if it’s only the two of you, I’m sure it will be fun to prepare the food together."

Wiping a hand over her lower face as she contemplated that indeed that would be fun but…

"It isn’t as simple as that it’s more than the two of us."

"I see. How many exactly?"

The Housekeeper saw the writer shift uncomfortably from one foot to the other before responding.

"The orphanage."

Mrs. Drummonds eyes almost popped out of her head as she mouthed the words silently, "all of them?"

"Yeah all of them, kids and the nuns."

"Are you mad that’s a massive task?"

"Not mad exactly, at the time it sounded a good idea."

"Well, I think either you change your mind or find a catering company who can help you out."

"Hey that’s a great idea Mrs. D, I’ll look in the local directory." As she walked towards the phone book, Mrs. Drummond chuckled and Di turned to find out what was so funny.

"There isn’t anyone like that here Ms. Sterling we are only a small town remember?"

As the words sunk in Di realised that maybe she had bitten off more than she could chew. "Any suggestions?"

Watching the numerous expressions of hope, despondency and then forlornness cross the younger woman’s face the housekeeper’s tender heart wanted to help in anyway she could. At first she hadn’t much time for this woman but now that she had gotten to know her a little better she was like a child lost and alone seeking a place to call home. Not a far cry from the orphans she was trying to prepare a BBQ for.

"Let me talk to my Bob he might have a suggestion or two I’ll let you know tomorrow morning when I come by."

Impulsively Di crossed the distance between them and enclosed the woman in a hug that initiated a bubble of laughter from the older woman who eventually self-consciously extricated herself from the bear hug. "I never promised anything mind you."

"I know I know but at least you’re going to try, thank you Mrs. D you’re a life saver."

Leaving the writer to her own devices, she muttered as she went towards the kitchen, "life saver indeed, whatever next!"

Dilana grinned as she watched the woman leave and walked over to her answer machine and saw there were three messages. As she retrieved them they were all from S G who urgently wanted her to call.

Wonder what that’s all about? As her fingers dialed a return call to her friend and publisher.

Three Months later…

Dilana grinned as she watched Bob Drummond and an assortment of his friends, stoking up the three large portable gas BBQ’s. When Mrs. D, as she affectionately called the woman though she had been give permission to use her Christian name Dora, had come through trumps months ago to prepare a feast for the orphanage. It had now become a monthly event and everyone concerned enjoyed the get together.

Di had the distinct impression that the townsfolk had felt intimated by the religious order and never actually poached on the orphanage reserve. Guess it needed a stranger to do that and she had successfully she thought. As she glanced down at her watch she had about half an hour before the coach packed with excited children and at least ten equally excited nun’s scrambled onto the private stretch of beach she rented and hopefully if S G had news for her would be hers soon lock stock and barrel.

Moving from her balcony position as the men had categorically stated women had their place and it wasn’t BBQ food preparation, she for one didn’t need telling twice, more than happy to await the masses and enjoy the fare. Not only that, she was given the opportunity to get to know everyone better including a rather special person.

Rachael and she had found they had much in common but also extremes of opinions that made the relationship that little bit more of a challenge each time they ‘talked’ it was a surprise. It could go from a wonderfully gentle conversation to an all out attack on each other’s principles. No one would know that Rachael couldn’t speak if they were at a distance watching their social intercourse becoming very animated facially and with her hands when the subject was important to her. Even though they didn’t see eye to eye it was clear their bond of friendship was growing daily and Di wondered if her friend ever felt drawn to her on another level as she was drawn to the teacher. Even to having the courage to speak to Sister Angela about sign lessons in secret. The nun had been surprised but agreeable and they had begun the task twice a week until she grasped the language skill.

Sometimes she had to invisibly slap herself as she occasionally reached out to touch the woman’s arm or shoulder, it was a temptation she had to starve off for fear she wanted more refusing to frighten her friend, it just wasn’t worth it. At the end of the day she was more than happy with their relationship all she hoped for was that it would last a lifetime, was that too much to ask?

The phone rang pressing the intercom hearing SG’s voice ring out into the study.

"Hi my friend how’s tricks in the big city?"

A loud sigh was heard over the connection and Di smiled, could this be the call she had anticipated but dreaded at the same time and perhaps dread was the right connotation with her friend’s expression.
"Trust me you don’t want to know."

"That bad huh? Anything to do with me?"

"Noooo of course not! You are the golden nugget in my day girl, how are you?"

"Wonderful, couldn’t be better. The kids are coming over soon for our monthly event. Want to join us?"

A tinkle of laughter erupted from S Gas she smiled into her receiver, her heart swelling in pride as she continued to wonder at the dramatic but marvelous change in her friend’s outlook on life. Also awarding points of kudos her own way as she started the ball rolling in Dilana’s new life.

"Love to Di, how about next month I need to see you anyway?"

Scrunching her eyes together a fraction a suspicious frown darkening her brow at the question. S G never spent the weekends here anymore she was way to busy planning on her wedding to her air force pilot in three months time. "Won’t Darrel have something to say about that?"

"Say? Say don’t you think I can live a weekend without him?" A chuckle resonated over the line from both women.

"Do you want to that’s more to the point?"

"We’ll survive and anyway he’s on a course that month so our contact is limited to phone calls and I can do that there."

"Oh no my phone line will be engaged all weekend, I better warn anyone who wants to call me."

"Hey girl none of you sassy comments. What’s the state of play on the new novel?"

"Thought you’d never ask." Rifling through several documents on her desk she came across her first few pages of the new work she was rather proud of. "Did I tell you I’ve finally decided on a title you’d approve?"

"Di when have we ever not approved of a title, anyway are you going to tell me what it’s about? Every time I ask you say I have to wait and wait for the draft. I call that mean keeping it from your publisher."

"I call it building anticipation myself. I’ll spill the beans when you come over next month okay?"

"Sure, works for me. Now onto the book that’s about to go public Poseidon’s Daughter, you do know you’re going to have to do some signings and publicity stuff don’t you?"

"Do I have too, can’t I become on of those reclusive writers who never have to go into the public eye?" Her voice held hope but resignation as well, she knew the answer to this one.

"Di if I could get you off the media hook I would but…"

"I know I know it’s my own fault I should never have been so eager for the public eye when I first signed up and got you to add that to my contract with you. When does it expire?" Laughing at her end of the line Di had to admit way back then she had been insistent that her contract demanded large publicity venues and parties. What an idiot, now she had to keep the publisher sweet and do the whole media thing.

"Another two novels and you can do what you want and go where you want my friend but I’m hoping you will stay with me."

Di heard the hesitation in her friend’s voice, at no time had she doubted SG’s integrity in her business dealings on her behalf, she had been scrupulously fair cheerfully admitting that she had made a bundle out of the profit margin she had extracted for the previous novels. "If you change the publicity clause we will have a deal."

"Sounds good to me, I’ll bring over a schedule of events when I come over. Now go enjoy your BBQ… oh and how’s Rachael?"

S G waited for the reply and wasn’t surprised when Di didn’t respond immediately, Rachael Alderman mute or not had seeped her way into a certain writer’s heart and probably didn’t realise it.

"She’s great, be over with the kids and the nun’s in I’d say…now actually." A large sounding vehicle had stopped on the road outside her beach house and she could hear the laughter and shouting from a horde of children. It sounded that way to her from here, thank goodness the neighbors weren’t in residence during the summer.

"You’d better go be hostess Di and I’ll catch up with you later, be good."

"I will and the same to you, don’t work too hard."

The connection severed Dilana smiled as she walked over to the balcony and saw one or two children appearing on the beach and then all of a sudden it was flooded with many more. Their laughter and running around made her smile grow even bigger. As she glanced around her grey eyes quickly caught the person she had been waiting for as the small frame of the mute teacher came into view and the chestnut flowing hair flicked about as the a small sea breeze lifted the strands for the sun to bounce off and give it a glowing sheen.

Di caught her breath as azure eyes turned to hers and she grinned like a lovesick teenager and waved at the woman, who waved back enthusiastically. Expelling a deep breath she hadn’t realized she held, her heart hammering in her chest, she quickly proceeded to join the happy revelers on the beach. Was she in love? Oh god she hoped not how could she keep it to herself!

Sister Angela watched the interchange between one of her own and a famous author, how different their respective lives had been so far and to meet in this small town and become friends was one of god’s own miracles she was sure.

At first when Rachael mentioned her liaisons with the writer she had assumed wrongly that the person was a holiday visitor who was being kind to the child, many were especially once they knew of her affliction and how it had come about. It wasn’t until several weeks into the friendship that she found out just who the writer was and it had shocked her and she had almost broken her vows of none-interference with Rachael’s choices now that she was an adult. How could she explain that she didn’t approve of the relationship when she knew little of it? Hadn't she preached that Jesus had been persecuted and that they should be tolerant and forgiving of people from all walks of life, as the Son of God had done?

All well and good saying the words and actually practicing them when it was one of your own in danger! Danger what a word, and was the writer a dangerous personality to be around? They really didn’t know but Rachael was an innocent and certainly Dilana R. Sterling was not, far from it if the tabloids and what she wrote about were anything to go by. That being so she had listened intently to every word and expression that Rachael expressed and found herself growing to like the woman that she had doubted and who had unbeknown tested her faith.

Her penance for her doubt had been to read every volume the writer had penned in her career so far, amounting to ten works that were thrillers and never had a happy ending. It was if the person writing the story had never reached that point in their lives so how could they write about it. Her biggest fear and she hated herself for it as much as she knew the Mother Superior would and God too probably but perhaps that had been her challenge people became complacent with their lot and she had been hadn’t she until this person had entered all their lives and silently cast waves that crashed around them in all kinds of ways.

What was her fear? That the woman practiced an alternative lifestyle…she was a lesbian and not afraid to show it at least in the city. Here she had been remarkably low key and didn’t mix with anyone except her housekeeper the very homely Mrs. Dora Drummond a motherly figure in the community and happily married to Bob the local electrician in town. The only known person to visit was a young woman from the city who according to Dora was her publisher and friend but certainly didn’t appear to cause any suspicion in the housekeeper that she was more than a friend!

Probably Dora didn’t even know that Ms. Sterling preferred women to men in her bed and she wasn’t going to fuel any fire if it should come out, then what would people say about Rachael? The young woman was very naive and petty fingers pointed given the chance and she didn’t want that chance to happen not to one of her own, never.

"Hi, enjoying yourself Sister?"

The melodic voice of the writer asked warmly as she spoke from behind the nun’s shoulder having come across to talk with the woman who had been lost in her thoughts without regard to what was going on around her.

"I’m fine thank you for asking."

"No problem you looked kind of out of it, Rachael was worried I said I’d check."

"I’m sorry that she was worried I was thinking."

"Ah communing with the Almighty now that would need concentration." Di grinned impishly as she teased the older woman. It had started from the first BBQ and neither woman seemed to mind.

"Dilana don’t be ridiculous!" The nun smiled as she looked at the laughing children hustling towards the stoked up BBQ’s and the townsfolk who enjoyed the attention.

"Tell me Sister you do talk to ‘Him’ don’t you? Isn’t it a pre-requisite of the job description?"

Turning to gaze at the woman she noticed the lines around her eyes and the blonde hair in part white, not to mention the old knowledge held in the grey eyes that twinkled at her. "Yes I talk to ‘Him’ as you call God, I’ve never asked but do you support any religion?"

"Brought up Methodist but alas I wasn’t approved of a long time ago." The words were out before Di realized she might have to quantify them.

"I see."

Smiling wryly Dilana gave the nun her full attention. "You do how? Oh no don’t tell me God mentioned it in dispatches."

"God moves in mysterious ways Dilana, perhaps it was one of his disciples."

"Spare me Sister, but Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have long since departed this mortal coil."

"Sarcasm gets you no-place Ms. Sterling, the hand of God is everywhere in many of our everyday activities."

Quickly understanding the tack the nun was taking Di gave her a smug look. "Okay but I never knew the tacky tabloids were one of the disciples, maybe I’m not beyond saving after all!"

"I didn’t realize that you required saving?"

A hand settled on each of their arms as Rachael squeezed between the two of them preventing the conversation from escalating. "I know, the food is ready and why aren’t I first in line as usual."

The nun chuckled and placed a comforting hand on the mute woman’s as she nodded her head, leaving them to follow the food trail.

Azure eyes looked up into the grey of Dilana’s and she smiled touching the hand on her arm for a fleeting moment in reassurance that all was well. Did she need saving? No not any more she already had been and her savior was right next to her.

"Lets go eat you know how you love Bob’s chilli burgers." Rachael laughed and rubbed her stomach; making Di wonder where she put all the food the housekeeper’s husband plied her with.

In deep camaraderie they followed the food trail themselves.

Rachael watched the children gather up their belongings as they finished the final lesson of the week. It had been a particularly gruelling times for the children who were taking exams, some for the authorities evaluation purposes others for places in the schools in the area. Because of the special needs of some of the children it had been a deliberate policy to educate within the orphanage, until they were eleven and then they would have to move away and join another education facility. Fortunately for them they lived within a thirty-mile boundary of some very successful schools. Only the kids with learning difficulties had to be moved further a field. It had long since been a dream of the nuns order to establish a larger education establishment for not only the orphanages but the local children as well. Funds unfortunately were thin on the ground and that idea had long been placed in the archives the dust settling heavily on its game plan.

She had always been educated in a conventional school environment, until the accident that had claimed her parents then she had been shipped to several establishments in the space of a year including medical facilities and she was sure a mental institution at one time. All she remembered of that time was being afraid and very lonely and shut away in a world that refused to allow her to speak again.

Trauma and shock the doctors called it and had been unable to break the psychological barrier that had gone up at the accident. When the nuns had come for her, one nun in particular had reached out to her and she had run like a small child into a comforting and safe hold from the prying doctors and nurses and do-gooders. That nun had been Sister Angela and from that day forward she might not have spoken in the conventional manner but she had gained a bolt hold of security that had lived with her ever since. It was that security and the love she was given that helped her to become a teacher in sign and instead of going on to make her fortune in the world, and she had been asked to at some rather prestigious schools in the state, but she had declined. Coming back to the only place she felt provided her with the love and security that the cruelty of the sea had robbed her of years before.

Now more than ever she was pleased that she had made that decision for if she hadn’t would she have ever met Dilana Sterling? A question she’d asked herself time and time again and all she could come up with was that their fates had been destined to meet at this place and time for that she would be eternally grateful. Never having made friends easily even before her parents accident she had felt from the moment the older woman had stood beside her on the beach for the first time that they were both searching for answers and perhaps together they would find them. Their friendship had started out in an odd fashion gradually creating a comfort zone for them both, it hadn’t been until she’d seen Dilana’s friend from the city that she realised that she was unusually jealous of their close relationship; she wanted Dilana as her friend only and the emotion this sparked had scared her to the core and she had stopped her daily visit to the beach until her friend had come to seek her out.

Now look at them they had monthly get-togethers for the orphanage and every Saturday evening they would spend at least part of the day together. Going to movies or the theatre in the next town and even the occasional meal in town. In herself she had never felt so happy and at the same time at peace with someone as she did with Dilana, inside she knew this was a friendship that was going to last her a lifetime and her heart hoped that her friend did as well. Sometimes she just watched the writer with a serene expression on her face because she felt that close to her a peace settled on them both at least that was how she saw it.

Pulling herself out of her meandering thoughts she smiled as she saw Sister Angela sitting in her favourite spot in the walled garden area, although she had a book in her hands it was very likely the nun was snoozing, the heat of the day taking its toll on the older woman.

Although she had never asked directly she figured the nun must be at least fifty though she didn’t look it the ravages of age were being excessively kind to the woman who sported only a few lines that crinkled at the eyes when she smiled or rarely frowned. Collecting her books and satchel she made her way over to the garden area collecting two glasses of lemonade as she went.

Placing the glass on the small table that split the bench she sat down next to the nun and smiled knowingly sure enough she was sleeping and it looked very peaceful.

Not wanting to disturb the nun who she knew worked tirelessly for the orphanage in all manner of activities and though she was senior to most of the nuns here she had refused the Mother Superior’s post when their last one had passed away a year ago. There was talk of closing the orphanage for a time but had been given a period to see if they could make the place work without a leading figurehead. Not many knew of this outside the nun’s order but Sister Angela had felt that she should know if things turned for the worse and everyone had to be shipped to other facilities including herself.

"You know that those lines will mare that pretty face of yours if you don’t stop frowning like that."

Startled that the nun was indeed awake and watching her she smiled wryly and dutifully cleared the frown from her face.

Signing that she thought the nun asleep in the wonderful late afternoon sunshine.

"Now my child let me tell you I never sleep in the afternoon, I was caught out rather too often when I was younger by the Mother Superior."

You miss her don’t you?

"Yes I do she was a very special woman how they thought I ever could fit into her shoes I’ll never know. I remember the first time we met…oh over twenty-five years ago now and she and I didn’t get on at all. Not that you would have believed it from the time you came here. I think after the first ten years we decided that sparring wasn’t of benefit to the orphanage and we put our differences aside and used the energy here instead, I think it worked." Smiling as she recalled the memories of the Mother Superior who became a great friend over time and perhaps their differences complimented each other. Maybe that was what was happening in the friendship between Rachael and Dilana Sterling.

May I ask exactly how old you are Sister?

A deep belly laugh resonated around the walled garden as the nun wondered where that thought had popped out from. "I feel older than time some days but in years let me see now…sixty-nine next birthday."

A gasp came from Rachael and she placed a hand over her mouth to try and prevent her jaw from dropping.

You can’t be? I thought you might be fifty at the most!

"Why thank you my dear that’s a wonderful compliment it must be the flawless skin I suppose it runs in my family. My mother never seemed to age to me when I was growing up I must have inherited it from her."

Do you still keep in touch with your family Sister?

A memory flittered across her face, and this time it didn’t bring with it a happy smile instead a pained expression briefly crossed the nun’s face before she spoke. "I’m afraid my close family are all dead. I was born in France and lived there until I was ten years old, my father spent all of his savings to bribe a German soldier to look the other way at a border so me and my elder sister passed across without permission. We weren’t Jewish so it mattered very little to them. I learnt many years later that my mother and father were killed in bombing raids two months later; the house had a direct hit. If it wasn’t for the hand of God I always think, I would be dead as well. I think that was why I eventually took up the order."

Rachael was fascinated they’d talked from time to time about personal things but never this close to the nun’s own family life.

I never knew you were French you don’t have an accent.

"I lost that along with my home and parents during the war it was a good way of staying alive and I had a very good ear for languages. My sister on the other hand went back to France and married a banker shortly after the war ended, she died about three years ago and didn’t have any children."

Why didn’t you go back to France?

"I was happy roaming from country to country then it was easy to get work on the farms because they were so short of people and the farmers didn’t ask questions. By the time I was eighteen I’d pretty much worked my way through Europe and its ravages, it was time to move onto other things. So I ended up in America and fortunately made friends with a couple of nun’s who helped me to further my education and eventually I took up the order myself, here I am."

I don’t think it was quite that simple maybe one day you’ll tell me about it?

Was this an opening that they had been looking for with Rachael ever since she had arrived here, a chance for self-discovery of the most painful memories? "How about we strike a deal you share a few of your memories and I’ll do the same?"

For a few moments no one spoke and Sister Angela held her breath, had she been too pushy?

Okay you have a deal. Have you been speaking with Dilana?

"What do you mean?"

She trades me a memory of hers for one of mine; she said it might help us both come to terms with our painful memories.

Sister Angela applauded the writer and her tactics, how easy it all sounded that someone should miraculously come into another life and they ended up sharing secrets that had been hidden for years. Her cautious appreciation of the writer was getting less and less cautious; maybe the hand of God himself was behind the friendship of the two women, it would be interesting to see how it developed.

"I think that’s a wonderful way of getting to know each other Rachael, now where is the delicious lemonade you brought from the kitchen for me?"

Giggling at the nun Rachael handed over the beverage. Inside she was smiling deliriously happy, Sister Angela approved of her friend, she hadn’t been sure before but now, now she was positive.

"I was thinking S G if the house sale goes through I’ll sell the old apartment and make a totally fresh start here, what do you think?"

S G Ryan blinked a few times as she considered the question, although she hadn’t seen Di for a few months they had spoken at length twice a week and she had noticed changes in how the woman’s life was moving on. Sometimes she felt sad because this meant that their comfortable friendship was going to have to be more by email and phone rather than direct contact. Although the last five years had been difficult the strength of bond they had developed over the time wasn’t easily severed but now Di had to make new friends as she herself had done to compensate the loss of the personal contact.

As Dilana had found a new friend in Rachael Alderman however weird it had seemed to her at first. She had done even better by meeting and falling in love with a man who was in many respects the male clone personality wise to Di. They had often talked well into the night about relationships and what might have been had S G preferred women to men. It had been a source of amusement to have people who didn’t know them very well wonder at their relationship. S G hoped that one day Di would find someone to love and cherish as she did Darryl, perhaps this mute young woman might be a romantic interest she’d have to ask Di about that.

"I think that’s a great idea and the realtor was working hard on your behalf to get the current owners to sell, though there are other properties in the area you know?"

"Ah but I want this property its very special to me." A dreamy tone accompanied the answer and S G wondered even more about Rachael Alderman’s influence in Dilana’s life.

"Is Rachael going to join us for dinner this evening, you and she date don’t you on a Saturday?"

"She said it was one of the kid’s birthdays so…"

"Kids? She has kids?" "A date, we don’t date S G!" The two friends spoke simultaneously and looked at each, surprise on one and shock on the other’s face.

"No she doesn’t have any children I meant the orphans, it’s like a family over there."

"Right, got it, sounds cool. Wouldn’t mind a peek in an orphanage run by nuns myself, who knows when it could be good fodder for a novel."

"S G!"

At the affronted expression on her friend’s face she smiled wickedly, "only a thought Di and anyway who better to write such a story."

"I can’t believe you think the way you do and Rachael and I don’t date!"

The force of the word date wasn’t lost on S G; maybe it was time to pry a little more. "Would you like it to be Di from the couple of times I’ve seen her she looks like a very pretty girl and you do appear to hit it off well."

Growling as she stood up from her easy chair Di stalked past her friend who had a wicked twinkle in her eyes, Di was so easy to tease.

"She’s beautiful not pretty and no I wouldn’t want to influence Rachael in anyway as to her romantic choices."

"God Di when did that stop you in the past? I remember that poor girl at one of your publicity parties for what was it now…your second no third novel."

"Don’t go there S G I was young, she was tempting and we had a good time for all of forty-eight hours."

"I heard she was never the same again, her family still blames you for her running off with that girl drummer in that rock band three months later."

The anecdote eased the tension around Di as she settled her back against the balcony and smiled wryly. "I was a flirt I admit it."

"A flirt? More like a highly sexed vamp if you ask me. Your women public will welcome you back with open arms when you go on the publicity tour in two weeks."

"About that tour any chance we can reduce it from a month to maybe two weeks?"

"You know I’ve conceded this is the last full blown one of your contract and you agreed to this one final push, especially as you haven’t been in the limelight for five years, it will help the sales."

"Yeah I know but I haven’t told Rachael yet she’s going to be upset."

Attempting to stop the snicker but failing miserably as she snorted out a laugh S G grinned at her friend. "Did I hear that right, when did you get married?"

"Don’t be ridiculous S G! I was just trying to find the right time to tell her I would be gone for a month and that she might see me on the odd TV interview.

"I think I was wrong when I mentioned a date Dilana it isn’t a date with you is it you’ve already been roped and branded, I love it the picture is simply marvellous. When are you going to be honest with me and admit you care about Rachael?"

A quietness that was broken only by the lapping of the tiny waves on the sandy beach below invaded the area.

Looking straight at her friend Di wiped a hand across her jaw and nodded sheepishly at her friend, "I don’t just care S G I’m in love with her!"

The words under normal circumstances should have a peal of joy about them, not so from the writer’s lips it was as if she was living one of her own novels and that no happy ending was going to happen in this tale.

"That’s marvellous Di, does she know you’re gay?"

Shifting uncomfortably on the decking of the balcony the writer turned to face the sea and looked out towards the horizon. How many times had she and Rachael spent time doing just that in silence, too many to count probably, was she looking for the sea to give her the answer to her dilemma of what to say to the woman she had come to love and adore.

"I’m not sure, we’ve never discussed it but then if she’s taken the time to go through any of the publicity on me in the past its common knowledge I’ve never hidden it or been ashamed of my choices."

"Don’t you think that perhaps you should tell her that and see what reaction you get. Why not tell her at the same time as the tour and then she has a month to get used to it and what she feels about it if she needs any time at all."

"I didn’t want to jeopardise our friendship S G it would break my heart if she didn’t want anything to do with me. I think she’s quite religious you know and maybe she agrees with the church stance on the gay lifestyle."

Walking over to her friend S G put a comforting arm around her shoulders and smiled warmly. "Not all the church Di and how will you know if she reciprocates your love if you don’t at least get to a situation where its possible to think that way."

"I’m glad I have you has a friend S G where would I be without you."

"Actually you would be holed up in that stuffy apartment of yours eating microwave dinners and being a pain in the ass to all and sundry."

Laughing at the picture that was slightly exaggerated but only marginally. "Make sure I never have to suffer microwave dinners again will you, Mrs. D’s cooking is far superior."

Changing the subject the publisher asked about her new manuscript. "Well… you know you mentioned the orphanage?"

"Yeah. You haven’t? Have you?"

"I wanted to write a nice middle of the road happy story and I think I have. It’s only the first three chapters but I thought if you read it and let me know?"

"Girl you really do love it here! The chance of two novels coming out in the space of a year I’m impressed. Want to get it for me and you can chase up dinner while I read."

"You got it!"

Di wandered off to fetch the manuscript and S G watched her thoughtfully. Rachael Alderman was in for one hefty shock or not, it all depended on how open minded she was. Though living in a small town and brought up by nuns it was hardly the breeding ground for enlightenment but one never knew these days.

Rachael watched Dilana closely ever since they had met up this evening the writer had looked nervous and the conversation had been stilted, or was it her imagination?

Originally they had planned to have dinner this evening at the beach house but then Dilana changed her mind last minute and suggested they have a meal at the bistro near to the house, it was a nice place casual and the locals seemed to like it too, especially the younger men who played pool.

Picking up the menu she selected what she wanted and saw Dilana gulp down her third beer and they hadn’t been in the place half an hour, something was definitely wrong. Why not ask? Dare she, it might not be good news and she didn’t want to lose her friend not now, not ever she was too precious in her life.

Five minutes later their order was taken and instead of a bottle of beer a pitcher appeared, as she didn’t drink it looked like her friend was going to have a great time after drinking such a large pitcher.

Azure eyes waited for Dilana to look up and she captured the grey ones of her friend and smiled briefly as she did she saw a spark of emotion come and go quickly in the writer’s eyes. Pointing to the notebook that was a permanent fixture now, Di glanced down to read the message.

Do you want to tell me something?

"Me? No I don’t think so at least I thought we’d have dinner first."

Is it that bad?

"Is what that bad?"

What you are going to tell me. Is it so bad I won't eat dinner?

"It’s not like that Rachael I thought we would eat and then chat that was all."

Do you need Dutch courage?

"Pardon me?"

I’ve never seen you drink so much I wondered if you needed the beer to relax you?

"Don’t be silly I like to have a few beers when I come here. S G and I had a great time last Saturday it’s a pity you missed her, she’s quite a woman."

Rachael felt the tug at her stomach as she heard the words, ‘S G was quite a woman! ‘

I’m sorry I missed meeting your friend; she’s very close to you, do you miss her?

"Oh yes S G is a tower of strength, over the years she’s always been there when others gave up on me. I owe her my life at least my sanity I think I told you before that she was the one who made me take up the beach house?"

Yes you did and I’m grateful to her also.

"You are why?"

There it was again that look of peace and serenity like an aura around Rachael, maybe her friend was an angel sent on this earth to save lost souls like her.

She brought you here, if she hadn’t we might never have met?

"Oh we would have met Rachael count on it."

How can you be so sure?

"Call it destiny, providence, kismet or any of the other words you could use I like to think it was extreme good fortune."

I never knew you were a romantic Dilana?

Both women smiled at the remark and before either could say more the meal arrived.

An hour and half later they were both stuffed after the meal and sat at a table close to the pool area. Several of the locals were playing the game and some others were watching with interest as their pals played.

Over the meal they discussed their respective parents, as it was difficult for Rachael to eat and write the conversation was limited but now they were both well fed and the drinks had arrived at their much smaller table.

Are you going to tell me what’s bothering you now, I promise not to relieve myself of the delicious meal.

"Oh god Rach that brought a rather horrid picture to mind." As both women laughed at the remark.

As the laughter died down grey eyes turned serious as they pierced the azure ones of her friend, she needed to have this direct contact and see what Rachael felt about her.

"You know my new book?" the younger woman nodded her head as she listened intently. "Well its part of the deal that I go on a publicity tour, you know TV interviews, book shop signings, parties, the works. S G thinks I have a best seller on the cards but I’ll need to jump start the sales as I’ve been out of the public eye for a while."

A deep smile crossed Rachael’s features as she scribbled quickly.

It’s wonderful Dilana you have worked hard to get to this point again. It is good news isn’t it?

"Yeah it’s good but it means I have to go away."

For how long? Rachael frowned she hadn’t considered that aspect at all.

"A month maybe less if I can convince S G that it isn’t necessary. The book should stand and fall by merit not with the odd crate of champagne to feed the critics."

A month? You will be gone a month?

Dilana felt rather than saw the distress this caused in her friend. "Hey I’m coming back! I might have persuaded the current owners of the house to agree to sell to me by then. I will be back Rachael I promise you."

A lone tear slowly trailed down Rachael’s left cheek, this wasn’t fair it was almost vacation time and she had hoped to spend more time with Dilana.

Di saw the emotion and wanted to kick herself for having to go she would have ripped off her right arm if it would stop Rachael from crying as the younger woman reached inside her pocket for a tissue.

How did she tell Rachael she was gay if her friend was already upset it wouldn’t help the matter would it?

"There is something else I need to tell you Rachael."

Something else?

"Yeah I guess you were right earlier Dutch courage, funny it doesn’t seem to be working."

I’m listening.

Di breathed deeply as she tried to muster the words that would explain her life…what the hell she had never been ashamed of being gay in her life and she wasn’t now!

"I wanted to tell you that…."

"I’m sorry to disturb you but my friend over there, wondered if you both wanted a drink?" The woman pointed to a dark haired woman at the bar who tipped her glass in acknowledgement.

"That’s okay we already have a drink."

"I wasn’t talking to you blondie but gorgeous here."

Rachael watched the interchange between her friend and this woman who looked more like a wrestler she was certainly built on that scale.

"You are talking with me though aren’t you?" Di stood up the hairs on the back of her neck bristling. She hadn’t expected to be approached by dykes in this small town, in the city maybe, but here? What was the world coming too?

"Look blondie my friend over there is interested in the little one not you so cool your heals or I will."

That was it she hadn’t expected this hadn’t wanted this but knew that defence was the best deterrent. "We are not your type go look elsewhere or I’ll call someone over."

The woman laughed throatily, "Really here in this town not a chance!"

Just as the woman moved closer to Dilana the bartender came over. "Any trouble here ladies?" His eyes clearly signifying that he didn’t consider the unwelcome guest a lady.

"Nope not from me." The butch woman moved away backing off towards her friend at the bar.

"It’s okay, all cleared up thanks Pete."

"You’re welcome Dilana those two are troublemakers hit on every pretty woman who come in the joint I’ve banned then more times than I can remember but it’s a small town and we need the business."

"Okay Pete thanks I’ll remember that."

The bartender walked back to the bar and as he did so said something they couldn’t hear to the two women who glared at him in defiance and then left.

Rachael had been fascinated by the exchange of the last ten minutes and was lost for words.

"Sorry about that we’ll eat someplace else next time."

I enjoyed the meal and you can’t legislate for people like that anywhere you go.

"I guess; do you want to go home now?"

I thought you had something else to tell me?

"Oh it was nothing I was going to ask you if you wanted a present and what would it be."

Rachael knew Dilana was lying to her but why she didn’t understand. Had it anything to do with the situation of the woman who had annoyed them? She would find out eventually Dilana never lied to her if she asked directly.

Anything you know that.

"Anything it will be."

Both women smiled into their respective drinks contemplating totally different things.

 

to be continued

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