After sending a text to Allie Bea sat on the sofa staring at the screen, she couldn't move, didn't want to. The thoughts in her head telling her all she already believed about herself, how could she have let things get to this point? She should have ignored her beyond anything other than on a professional level, it was one thing to give her an opinion on financial questions and ideas that she had but she should never have started texting her, she let herself get too used to having someone to run ideas by, discuss what interested them both and she'd listened when Allie was having a hard time at home. She cursed herself for having spoken to Liz, even though she knew Liz would never tell anyone what they had spoken about she felt like such an idiot. Why hadn't she done what she always did, bottled it up and filed it away the feelings would have passed and she wouldn't be left feeling so empty but that would have been easier than how she was feeling now. Getting another glass of wine she returned to the sofa, she wanted to get drunk anything would be better than the feelings she had, Allie had got completely under her skin like no one had ever done before.
Allie did what was best for her, probably in the long run what was best for both of them and she couldn't stay angry at her for that, although she would keep feeling sorry for herself for a while at least. She wanted her to stay and that was just selfish. Allies perfume still lingering in the air made her wish she'd tried harder to get her to stay even when she told herself that no matter how she was feeling right then that it couldn't work, her past experience had left her broken and she doubted that she could ever get past that. Harry was still out there she knew it, felt it and she couldn't bring anyone into that. Her phone suddenly starting to ring drug her from her self loathing thoughts and she glanced at the screen, ‘Allie,’ she whimpered as a tear ran down her cheek.
“Allie.” She whispered into her phone.
“Bea….I'm sorry, I drove all the way to the airport torturing myself. And I know you probably hate me right now and I don't blame you if you do, I know I should go home because it's the right thing to do but I can't, I can't help the way you make me feel. Then I got to thinking about how bad things at home really are and what that really boils down to is that I know I really don't like Jess at all, maybe I never really did because I know I never felt like this about her….” Allie took a breath waiting for a response that never came and she could only imagine Bea sitting there listening to her. “I don't want to be with Jess, she's selfish, overbearing and so bloody controlling, she suffocates me and if I'm honest she always has been….” Allie fell silent for a second or two waiting for some kind of response but still she heard nothing and she would have thought that she had put the phone down and left her to talk to herself if she couldn't actually hear her breathing. “But then you came back into my life and I can't stop thinking about you, you're amazing you know that? You're funny and intelligent and so damn fucking beautiful. I've told myself to go home, honestly I've tried to talk myself into it but I can't so I turned the bloody car around and drove back here, I'm sitting outside your house. Tell me to go away if that's what you need to do, but if you let me back in I can't promise that I won't kiss you this time.”
Bea couldn't answer her, she just didn't know what to say, all rational thinking had just been flung out of the window and the only thing that was burning in her mind was that Allie did want her. Without even putting her phone down she walked to the front door as quickly as she could and opened it with such a force that it hit the wall. Allie could see her standing at the door and wanted to say something but she'd just exhausted everything that was on her mind, she still had her phone pressed close to her ear if not she would have missed it, “Allie, I want you to come back,” then the call disconnected.
Bea turned and walked back inside leaving the door open, it was up to Allie now. Allie watched on as she turned and walked back in to the house, when she didn't close the door her mouth went dry and she couldn't think of anything over the noise of her heartbeat pounding in her ears. Beas stomach was in knots, she had no idea if Allie would take what she had just done as an invitation to come back inside but she couldn't do anything else, if she decided to leave again at least this way she didn't have to watch. Allie sat glued to her seat for a minute looking at the open door before getting out of the car and walking back up the drive. Bea was pacing back and forth in front of the sofa when she heard the front door close and she felt her heart rate increase instantly.
Bea stopped pacing when she heard footsteps waiting for Allie to appear, within seconds she was there standing right in front of her, neither of them could move it felt like a dream as they stood looking each other straight in the eye. Bea reached down picking her half empty wine glass up draining the remainder of it's contents then placed it back down.
“I didn't think you'd come back.”
“I had to…..I couldn't leave like that.”
Allie took a few steps forward slowly closing the gap between them, “ I shouldn't have left you like that.”
Bea didn't speak she just watched Allie as she moved closer, she couldn't describe the relief she had felt as soon as they were back in the same room and as nervous as she was now she wasn't going to run away. Allie stopped right in front of her,
“You want to sit down?”
Bea nodded and they both sat on the sofa just as they had been before neither of them speaking for a few minutes until Bea spoke.
“When you had to leave, Franky said you went back to live with your parents.”
“Yer.” Allie sighed.
“You don't have to tell me, sorry I shouldn't have asked.”
Allie turned to look at her, “Hey it's ok, only Franky knows what really happened….its not something I like people to know about me, even Jess doesn't know, not that she'd listen even if I tried to tell her.” Allie took a deep breath before she continued, “That was the only foster home I'd ever lived in and I was so scared luckily I had Franky and you know how much time we spent together, living there was the best time I'd had growing up. My dad was an alcoholic and was always violent to my mum, when he started beating her more she started drinking as well, dad lost his job and then he spent all his time drinking and fighting with mum.” She paused for a minute when the memories became too much. “There was never anything for us to eat and my older brother started stealing so me and my younger brother could eat, he got caught and the cops brought him home, dad was drunk and mum wasn't far behind him so when the cops appeared he lost it and got himself arrested. To cut a long story short the three of us were removed and sent to different foster homes. Mum and dad stopped drinking after that and did everything they could to get us back, it did take two years and I really didn't want to leave that was the happiest I'd ever been in my life and I…..I didn't want to never see you again but I was 15 so I had no choice. Everything was fine when we went back home for the first year and then mum died and things just started going wrong.”
“You didn't get put back in foster care?”
“No, my older brother, James, was 18 by then as soon as he left school he got a job and moved out. That just left me and my younger brother, Lucas, at home with dad, it wasn't ideal but he did try. I kept in touch with Franky as much as I could and I missed being there like crazy, I felt out of place and lonely and I got in with a bad crowd started drinking and taking drugs, how I ever managed to finish school I'll never know but I did. I was out of control and I just left, stayed with friends for a while until that turned to shit and I ended up on the streets. I could have gone home but I was so ashamed of myself and I lost touch with Franky so I had no one. I had nothing and well…..I….”
Bea reached over and placed her hand on top of hers giving it a gentle squeeze.
“You won't want me to stay if I tell you anymore.”
“Nothing you could tell me will make me want you to leave, I promise…..I'm not exactly in a position to judge anyone.”
Allie looked at her with a fear in her eyes that made Beas heart break, she wasn't going to force her to continue she just hoped she would.
“I was in a bad place, I had no money and no where to live, living on the streets I had no chance of getting a job so I…I…” The tears were building in her eyes but she knew she had to continue as hard as it was, Franky was the only person who she'd ever sat down and told all that to and she was a little surprised that Bea didn't know already but Franky had promised to never tell anyone and it was obvious that she had kept that promise. “I worked as a prostitute,” she whispered before the tears started to fall.
Bea turned towards her pulling her into a hug without a second thought to the fact that that was something she never did with anyone except Debbie. The only sounds in the room were Allies sobs as Bea just held her until she calmed down and she pulled away from Bea a little.
“Do you want me to leave?”
“Why would you even ask me that? Of course I don't want you to leave. Can I ask you something?”
“How did you get out of that life?”
“One night I was a real mess, I was so high and I didn't give a shit what happened to me I wondered around for hours and somehow I found myself on Elizabeth Street I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up that was when I met Kaz, I literally bumped into her. She wanted to help me and I told her to fuck off but she didn't give up and eventually convinced me to go with her, she took me home cleaned me up and helped me find a job. I got a part time job at a small finance company I did all the jobs that no one else wanted to do and eventually my boss said I should apply for a position he'd seen advertised the only catch was was that it was in Sydney. I still lived with Kaz at the time and we talked about it, she said it would be a fresh start for me so I did it and I got the job so I had to move. I hated it, not the job I loved that, I just felt so alone that was when I met Jess and well you know all about that.”
“Why didn't you find Franky?”
“She was at uni and I didn't want to drag her into my shit, I knew she would have helped me but by then half the time I didn't even know my own name. I never forgot about you though, never thought I'd see you again.”
Allie silenced her when she pressed her fingers against her lips. “It doesn't matter, I know we can only ever be friends.”
“Is that what you want?”
“It doesn't matter what I want….I only ever wanted you but you didn't even see me….none of that matters anymore, I saw you a few days before I had to go home and I hoped I'd see you before I left but you just disappeared and Franky wouldn't tell me where you were.”
“She never told you what happened?”
“She only ever told me that you'd had a hard time and that Harry had disappeared.”
Bea took a deep breath, Allie had been honest with her she thought and as much as she hated talking about it she knew she had to tell her.
“Harry…..he…he forced me….that's how I got pregnant with Debs you were there when we got married, he seemed fine with it, Franky begged me not to go through with it, they hated each other at the best of times. I wouldn't change having had Deb but I was so lost, I had plans and I had to let all that go. He was ok in the beginning before Deb was born, he changed after that he had to work long hours and he got angry when he couldn't go out with his friends or just take off for the weekend when he wanted to. In the beginning he just used to call me names and cause arguments but he started drinking more and not coming home, when he did he was drunk and nothing I ever did was right. He wanted me to get a job and Liz gave me a chance at the salon, that kept him happy for about a month one day I was five minutes late getting home because I had to pick Debbie up from Franky and we'd spent a few minutes talking, he was already drunk when I got home and he hit me. He apologised the day after said it wouldn't happen again but of course it did and it just got worse……Just before you left I needed to buy Debbie's birthday presents her second birthday was coming up, Harry hated me spending money on anything he only gave me what he thought I needed we had a joint account that my wages were paid into but I couldn't get the money, his wages were paid into his own account but I'd managed to save a little without him knowing and he said she didn't need anything she was only going to be two and she wouldn't remember anyway. I told him I was working a few extra hours but I went to buy her a few things, I didn't know he was home when I got back and he laid into me. I found out later that he'd gone back to work after lunch drunk and been fired and he beat his boss up, crashed his van on the way back. If Franky hadn't have found me I wouldn't be here now….” She could feel the tears threatening to fall and she tried hard to blink them away.
“Bea…shit…I….Franky she never said anything.”
“I know, she told you he disappeared though….he ran, hired a boat and when they found it he was nowhere to be found, they said he must have fallen overboard and drowned but they never found a body. I don't believe he's dead, I can't believe it.” Tears suddenly flooded her eyes, after everything he had done to her nothing was more painful than the thought that he could still be alive and waiting for a time when he felt no one would be looking for him to make a reappearance. I doubt he knows that the police aren't still looking for him and I know him, he wouldn't be using his own name. Wiping her eyes on her sleeve she looked at Allie.
“You really think he could still be alive?”
“I do, he's been gone for ten years, Franky says I'm crazy.”
“Coming from Franky I wouldn't take much notice we both know what her level of craziness is like.”
“Oh don't remind me…..you're lucky you don't have to work in the same building as her.”
Allie giggled as she rested her head on Beas shoulder, never in a million years had she ever thought that she would see her again let alone be sat in her house, just the two of them but she still had a problem and that problem was Jess. She had to talk to her but that was the biggest problem Jess rarely if ever listened to anything Allie said unless of course she was promising to buy her something. And if she did listen to what she was going to tell her it had the potential to push her too far and Jess had the worst temper. Allie wasn't scared of her, she'd been beaten up plenty of times in the past Jess’s temper was the last thing she was worried about.
“Are you ok? I mean with this?” Allie gestured between the two of them.
“Hmmm, I think I could get used to it, eventually, you still have things to sort out.”
“I will, you know she doesn't listen to me though, I thought that maybe I could talk to her while we're away.”
“Yer,” Bea sighed, the thought of having to let her go filled her with dread but there was nothing she could do about it. Allie could still change her mind and stay with Jess and Bea knew she wasn't the most open person when it came to her feelings. She rarely told Franky anything unless she dragged it from her, she had started to get better but she never found it easy. She suspected that Allie was a little like that especially when it came to talking about her past but they'd both just done it. As hard as it was Bea opened up and told Allie what had happened, she was ashamed of those two years, she had lied to everyone around her with the exception of Franky who wouldn't let it go unless she told her what she wanted to know.
“Bea….how did you ever end up working at an investment bank, I mean you wanted to study law like Franky?”
Bea closed her eyes for a few moments and smiled when she remembered how much her friends had encouraged and supported her.
“I was talking to Liz one day about needing to get a better job, I was working full time at the salon but Debbie was growing up and trust me kids aren't cheap! She asked me what I wanted to do and by then I had no clue, Liz came into the salon the next day huge grin on her face, she already knew Maxine, and told me I had an interview at Liberty Brown, it was only office work but the money was better. I got the job, took an interest in other things and Maxine had been keeping an eye on me, not that I noticed. I got called up to the then CEOs office, they wanted me to go to university to do a degree in Finance and Banking, so I did worked when I wasn't in class and still got paid exactly the same. I hated having to rely on Liz and Franky to look after Deb but it all worked out in the end.”
“Strange how things work out, I did my degree while I was working, Jess hated it but the company was paying for it so I couldn't just drop out, I'd have lost my job.”
Bea yawned, “Think I need to sleep.”
“Yer sounds like it, let me run out to the car and get my bag, I won't be long.”
Allie raced out to the car grabbed her bag and ran back into the house, she didn't like the thought of being apart from Bea for a moment longer than she had to be, she didn't care that they would be sleeping in different rooms they would still be under the same roof and she'd see her in the morning, the morning was hours away but she knew it would come too soon and then she'd have to call and arrange a flight and go home, home wasn't a place where she really wanted to go but she knew she had to go back.
Bea led her upstairs showing her where the bathroom was and then showed her the spare room across the hall from her room, “you can have the other spare room if you like, it's bigger than this one but I thought if you needed anything you'd be closer.”
“It's fine, I’ll only be here tonight,” she sighed.
Dropping her bag to the floor she turned round to face Bea closing the small gap between them her hands went straight to her face and she pulled her into a kiss. There was no hesitation and Bea didn't resist, for a second Allie thought she might push her away but when she heard the moan that escaped her and Beas fingers tangle in her hair she knew she didn't have to worry anymore. Walking them back slowly against the wall Allie didn't want this kiss to ever stop but she knew it had to sooner rather than later, moments later they had no choice but to break apart when the need for air become more overwhelming than the need to continue what they were doing.
“Allie,” Bea whispered.
“I did say if I came back I wouldn't be able to stop myself from doing that.”
“I know I heard you, but I think we really need to go to bed, you have to leave at some point tomorrow and I still have some work to finish.”
Allie moved back and sat on the bed as she watched Bea walk to the door, stopping and turning round brown eyes instantly connecting with blue.
Before she softly closed the door behind herself.
Bea was still tired, she couldn't sleep and spent the best part of the night staring at the ceiling willing the night to be over just so she could see Allie one last time before she had to leave. She was just across the hall she knew that but she couldn't force herself to get out of her bed and walk across the hall. Next morning she knocked softly on the door of the spare room when she received no response she quietly opened it and slowly pushed it open a little, Allie was laid on her side still fast asleep, she looked so peaceful and she didn't want to disturb her and she suddenly found herself wishing that she'd slept in her bed, ‘Getting way too far ahead of yourself,’ she thought to herself as she slowly and quietly closed the door. Heading back to her room she hoped a shower would wake her up a little and clear her mind.
Heading downstairs she decided to make coffee, she'd wait until Allie was awake before making breakfast. She'd been sitting at the kitchen table when she heard footsteps coming down the stairs, looking up from her coffee cup she saw Allie walking into the kitchen.
“How did you sleep?”
“Better than I have in forever, that bed is so comfortable.”
“Do you want any breakfast? I've already made coffee help yourself.”
“I'm not actually hungry but coffee would be good….I need to make a call got to try and get a flight sometime today.”
“Yer you do, and I still have work to finish.”
Two hours later Allie was leaving, Bea walked down to the car with her.
“Wish me luck, I think I'm going to need it.”
“I better not with my luck you'll never come back again. You'll call me when you get back right?”
“Try and stop me….I'm going to miss you so much Bea.”